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Archive for December, 2013

Year-End Review: On My Career as a Writer

December 30th, 2013 11 comments

If I had to use Facebook to update my relationship status with my career in 2013, I would say it’s complicated.

Depending on who you ask, or when you ask, writing is either hard or easy. But no one who is a professional writer will ever tell you being a writer is easy. It isn’t. Being a writer is not doctor hard or lawyer hard or science hard or even maybe banking hard. It’s not emotionally draining like teaching or being a social worker, and it’s definitely not taking a toll on my body like construction does on my brother.

What makes being a writer so difficult is the way the profession fucks with my head. From wrestling with words and phrases (like when to curse and not to curse), to getting published, to chasing opportunity after opportunity only to be chasing check after check. From trying to write that article for the publication who said yes, to trying to write that pitch letter for the publication we want to say yes, to writing that book proposal to create our own work so we will no longer have to be begging to write for others….I could go on, but you see it, so I digress.

My life in some ways still moves like the way I just described, but this year I was able to smooth things out a little bit. I’m still at the New York Post, and this year, I even picked up another job in my profession as a contributing editor at The Root. There, I write a weekly column called “His Side,” which I encourage all of you to check out. And of course, I still have this blog, which many of you still read.

Thank you.

The biggest breakthrough I had this year as a writer was internal. For the first time ever, I finally found the confidence to say I’m a good writer. That’s something people have told me most of my life, and it was always nice to hear. Sometimes, I even believed those voices myself, but this year I was finally saying it to myself. It was a good feeling to have, and it was also very scary, which is why I say things were complicated this year.

For the first time ever, I started wondering if there was something else other than writing I could do.

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Categories: writing Tags:

Year-End Review: On Friendship With Women

December 26th, 2013 1 comment

Time for me to do some verbal genuflecting on things I’ve learned about myself and/or life in the 2013. For long time readers who may be scratching their heads and thinking they missed past year-end reviews like this, don’t worry, you didn’t.

This is something I thought to do through a combination of it being the time of year when everyone is recapping something from the past 12 months and a lot on my mind lately. You know how it is in the last week of December: Even if we shut of all media to avoid reading any year-end lists, our own internal clocks have a way of waking us up and next thing we know, we’re up thinking, “Well damn, another year has come and gone.” I do this all the time and now I’m deciding to share some of what’s in my head with you all.

In my circle, it’s fair to say, I have more women who I would call friends, than men. That is not to say, I’m closer with them. The men I acknowledge as friends are men I have known for years. Whereas I can think of only one woman who I’m as close to today as I was freshman year, the men in my inner circle are guys who I can say I first met walking through Drew Hall, Howard University’s freshman male-only dormitory. Most of the women I would call friends are more recent fixtures, mostly people I acquired throughout my time in New York City.

The nature of my friendships between the two groups (men and women) have their differences and rightfully so. If there’s one thing I have learned about being friends with women, it’s that they’re not men. That kind of realization is probably why so many men are opposed to being in platonic relationships with women: If we’re going to be arguing with a woman, at least let it be with a woman who can offer up some make-up sex. I certainly get it, Lord knows the apologies I’ve had to make to women I am not having sex with sometimes even had me frustrated.

This year, one of my friend’s didn’t talk to me for two weeks because I flaked on plans we made for her to help me decorate my apartment. Another one of my friend’s gives me crap over most things that aren’t necessarily wrong, but with which she doesn’t necessarily agree. Then there are women who have been upset with me because I didn’t check on them when they were down, the way I said (or didn’t say) bye to them before I finished the conversation, and a couple of other things that no man in my life has ever given me crap about, but the women I call friends have called me out on.

And yet, the women I can say are my close friends have made me a better man.

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Finding Words to Describe a Ridiculous Feeling

December 11th, 2013 1 comment

You will have to excuse the vulgar language in this post, so Mom, because I know you read the blog, you can skip today’s post. I’d actually prefer if you did because the thought of you continuing to read is going to make me uncomfortable. I’m writing about sex, explicitly.

Moving on.

Yesterday, R. Kelly released his brand new album, Black Panties. For the sake of discussion, I’m going to assume everyone knows about R. Kelly’s music and the legacy of that music. So if you haven’t yet gotten around to hearing his latest effort, a heads up: It’s pretty much all about sex, which means it’s vintage R. Kelly. The man who has been the R in R&B for at least as many years as I’ve been listening to it has even publicly stated, “Black Panties” was a return to the classic sex album, “12 Play.” I wanted to argue that was actually his 2000 effort,, but in actuality, if that album had a rating it would be R (no pun intended), and “Black Panties” would be XXX. It’s so sexplicit (typo intended), I’m actually surprised it’s not available for download at, but that’s neither here nor there.

If I’m writing about it, this much should be obvious: I can’t stop listening to it.

Even aficionados will tell you, as far as songwriters go, Kellz is one of the most absurd. Take a song like “I Believe I Can Fly” for instance, released in 1996. If you just listen to it, Kelly sounds like he’s hearkening some gospel roots. The “I” is not his physical self but his spiritual self. But then, when you realize it was the single from the “Space Jam” soundtrack, a movie starring Michael Jordan and a bunch of Looney Tunes cartoon characters you get the feeling this fool Kelly meant fly in the physical sense. The earnestness in his voice is too real. It’s like he actually wanted us to believe we can all fly for real, like into space and such, or at the very least, like Michael Jordan used to back in the day on the basketball court.

That’s kind of what makes R. Kelly so, well, like-able to people like me. He’s kind of in on the joke of his own lyrics. Remember his laughs at the end of “Feelin’ On Yo Booty?”

So on Black Panties, I wouldn’t say he takes his particular type of art to new heights. If anything it’s business as usual. R. Kelly gonna R. Kelly and that he does on this album. (Two very good pieces on exactly what I’m talking about can be found here and here ). But there is one song that I have played over and over and over again.

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Categories: s#x Tags:

It Feels Like Skydiving (Act One of Letting Go)

December 9th, 2013 2 comments

You have no idea what it’s like to skydive, but you imagine it feels very similar to what you are preparing to do. You are about to let these hands go and your feet will follow from beneath you. None of it feels natural, none of it feels safe, all of it feels like the scariest thing you’ve ever done. You’ve done it in the past, all the landings before this one have been awkward, some have even caused injury; especially the last one, you told yourself you’re never going that high again. Ground zero, where you were always in control, was safer.

But the thing about ground zero is it all feels the same after awhile. There are no thrills at the street level. The only time you’ve ever felt alive is when you’ve gone that high and landed, awkwardly. To convince you it’s okay to go up there again, that you’re not crazy, you’re going to fully trust the person who is on your back, jumping out with you. They’ve done this too, had their own share of awkward landings, and they’re a little nervous as well.

YOLO you two say (not out loud, in your head) and then you jump.

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Categories: Life Tags:

The Five Guys She Has In Her Life

December 4th, 2013 4 comments

I have a friend who used to go up to every woman he was attracted to with the same hook, line, and sinker. He chatted her up with friendly conversation, maybe offered her a drink or danced with her for a couple of songs and then if things were going well, he hit her with the question, “So do you have a man?”

His success rate with this approach was a Major League Baseball average at best (for all you non sports fans, a great season for any player is when they hit over 30%). As well intended as his ask may have been, it failed to hit the mark more than it didn’t and I had to tell him why. He never listened because he was stubborn, but maybe one of you guys out there who is reading this will hear me out as to why it’s almost never a good idea to ask a woman if she is single.

As I think I have said before on this site (I don’t feel like looking it up to verify this), asking a woman if she is seeing someone gives her an easy out. If she isn’t single, she doesn’t want to be reminded of that at all. Even if she’s happily single, when has a woman ever said out loud, to a man, “No, I don’t have a boyfriend, thank God!”


I always assume a woman has a boyfriend, but I don’t let that stop me. If I want to confirm, I’ll ask one of her friends for the inside scoop, but I don’t ask myself for the reasons stated above and because, well, I just think it’s good to have a filter. Assuming she has a man is what enables me to approach in an assertive but non aggressive way, that way if some barrel-chested guy with a shirt that’s too small comes out of the bathroom, he won’t try to slam my head into the bar. I don’t want my head slammed into the bar.

But the other reason this question is a waste of your time (and hers) is because even if she isn’t single it doesn’t mean she’s available.

Every woman has a team of guys from whom she is getting attention. I know this because I have been on multiple teams, assigned to multiple positions. Never think you’re playing tennis with a woman unless she says love out loud. Until then, understand you’re playing a team sport, and you are one man against five. If you want to be the MVP in her life, you have to, in the words of Waka Flocka, go hard in the paint and cross up every one of these following five jokers before she ever lets you score.

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Categories: game, guys Tags: