There are responsibilities attached to being a writer; to what or whom you write, and to your own reputation. The first time I felt that responsibility, I was in the 7th grade at McMurray Middle School in Dr. Logan’s English class. I liked nearly all of my subjects, but English was my favorite because my mother had shoved correct grammar, enunciation and punctuation down my throat so much that I had no choice but become a student of it. I thought her obsession over it was equal to fits of craziness because she didn’t really obsess over much else. (To be revisited). But, for this English thingy, she was relentless and ruthless enough to interrupt my addiction to Barbie Dolls. Crazy. I didn't understand the need for studying because my teacher had already just taught this stuff and I was listening, so....? I used to wonder why she didn’t just make me go clean up or perhaps just pull out all of my teeth or something, since she suddenly desired to make me miserable. I mean, I had looked forward to the first grade and now she was making me seriously rethink it all.
I literally recall the day she began to be “obsessive”(cause I thought she was crazy, remember?) I was in the first grade and my “carefree”, baby hippie way didn’t call for all the hoopla she was swinging around her bedroom. The atmosphere was thicker than I ever remembered. Thick with responsibility and I wanted OUT. She had actually carved out alot of time in her busy work/single mom schedule to just harass me. The smell of dated textbooks in the air couldn't match the scent that was coming from up her sleeve. "What the he)) was she up to? We'd come this far with the joint understanding that she had a very laissez faire type of leadership in our household. I mean, I thought that pretty much she trusted my 6 years of experience. I can still feel how inconvenienced and outraged I felt that she would not let up on my studying English as if it were a science or something like that. She had never been so adamant. She finally divulged to me that one day I will have to go to college or be a scholar and that language was a swift determinant of the caliber student I would be. She told me it wasn’t enough to be smart and that the most intelligent person can appear unschooled if they could not speak correctly. I mean, wasn't me singing folk songs and opera with her enough already? Side-eyeing her and this novel situation, I came to the conclusion that her explanation was at least plausible and maybe not some desperate effort to manipulate me into some new cult- like mania she had attached herself to and was now wanting me to drink the cool aid with her....I digress... She had never led me wrong in like 7 whole years, so I finally took her up on it. Plus, I knew if I didn't "my days would not be long upon the Earth which the....." Anyway, I became a student of language.
Dr. Logan, my 7th grade English teacher and one fiercely, lovingly, intimidating African Amercian woman (remember her....before I started ranting about my mother? I do that alot) had been honored due to merits she had earned, to have her class selected to write a poem in the city’s most popular newspaper, the Tennessean. And so she gave her students the chance to write "something" and to submit it to her. I still feel the adult-like seriousness that swelled up in me upon her request. Many of my classmates flew the coup when they realized this was optional, but I somehow, owned it and knew that I, for one, had to do her well. She placed the responsibility of her looking good on us in such a way, that it made me feel an allegiance to her that I would carry into my adulthood regarding the concept of teams and leadership... well, after getting over the feeling she might be on some cult-like frenzy and wanted us all to go along with her...(Side-eye) She edited my poem as if it were a masterpiece in the making, while simultaneously pleasantly insulting my idea of perfection and reemphasizing to me the importance of excellence. She made me get it.
Dr. Logan selected a poem I wrote about "the Church and its steeple" and I am sure the writer in me was truly manifested that day. All of the tireless fighting my mother had unyieldingly boxed through past my stubborn resolve, had been fruitful. I was still only a child, but that moment created a dedication in me that would eventually become a subconscious declaration of who I was and what I contributed to the world more purely than anything else. I could sing, dance, "hear music", act and run like road-runner with an inhaler. I liked to think "hard", study science and debate some. But, the one thing I couldn't imagine my life without was and still is writing.
So, with this lengthy explanation of why I have to write and why I decided to create this blog after years of staring at a blank blog site (a lot of responsibility) I am proceeding into the organized rantings of a life that changed a lot after those years in the room with my Mom. I experienced so much that "talk" words don't do justice explaining. Through the many experiences in between, language and my mother's introspection and love for Christ, created an understanding of people that only pen and paper can purely express. I've used my writing skills to advance me in ways I can only thank God for, because He gave me "My" Momma. And, as I move into this next phase, I just ask that you relax on my punctuation and stuff, because the "Blog don't care". I just want to share life and its intricacies, thoughts and expressions that make us laugh, love and be whole.. and I want to do it with you.
Thanks for reading,