Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The State of Black Literature

Anyone that knows me well enough, knows that I don't just write. I have an obsession with books. Not one of those collect too many and only read a few. I read everything I purchase. My reading isn't always because of interest but because I like to see what people like to read. Because I haven't broken the market yet, I like to be familiar with what I have to contend with.

Monday night, I had a book club meeting and it happened to be at a bookstore. When the meeting was over I stayed behind and poked around in my favorite section. Because, I'm an African American writer, I like to see what my colleagues have been churning out. Needless to say, I was gravely disappointed. I don't want to list titles because said authors are in a place that I look to be in in the near future.

However, it's disheartening when publishers won't give you a chance but manage to put garbage on bookshelves. The title tells the whole story so why would I buy that? I mean really. How many she's a hoe, he's a dog, I'm cheatin', I'm a stripper on the side but I have a family at home crappy novels can there be? When does it end? When do the newbies get a chance to shine.

Starving artist is an understatement. I used to think it referred to lack of money and in turn, a lack of food. That's not what it means. Starvation comes from the hunger of you (the artist) NEEDING your voice to be heard.

This particular entry doesn't just apply to novelists or poets but any artist that is frustrated out of their minds because they know "they've got the goods" but can't seem to catch a break.

You know it's love when you'd you'd do your craft whether you got paid or not but you know it's magnified passion when you're willing to fight to be heard.

That's all I have to say today, guys.

Love ya!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Black Church's Dilemma

As a woman (in church) I’ve made some observations. Now, these observations are nothing new. I’ve always noticed this and always vowed that I would NEVER date a man that was in church. As illogical as it may sound, I lived by the reason that I’d get him saved but I didn’t want one that was already there.

Huh? Ashley, that makes no sense. Allow me to explain or first pose a question. Is it just me or does it seem that the men in the Black church are on either end of the spectrum? They’re either promiscuous heterosexuals or feminine and confused. I’m serious and not at all trying to be funny but I guess with 30 getting closer and closer, my desire to have a godly husband to govern over my beautiful family (as figurative as it may be), and wanting to be in ministry with my future husband, I’m purely speaking out of sheer frustration.

I was raised in church. Both my parents were devoted to raising us to love God and to (no matter how much we hated it) learn to love church and to build our relationships with God. However, we stray and are determined to find our way in our own way and I dated nothing but “unsaved” men. Not simply because of my lifestyle but because I couldn’t see myself with that type of guy.

You know the ones. Let me give you some examples. Eyebrows arched. Dressed better than me (and I like to think that I have a pretty good sense of fashion). Around nothing but feminine men or a boatload of flashy women. Hands like cotton and he has little to no aggression with approaching a woman to let her know that he’s interested in her. Here’s a better example: When you’re talking to them you have to catch yourself from saying “Girl”. Am I the only one? “girl, let me tell you!” It’s this or the men in church who find the weak-minded women, the ones they can manipulate, turn out, and leave high and dry.

As badly as I hate to admit it, single and saved Black women are at a loss. The men in many of the Black churches are not interested in us and we don’t have white women to blame in this scenario. No, no. We have the other men in the congregation to contend with. They’re the ones that get the men. How disheartening is that? A church full men and void of men at the same time.

Since re-dedicating my life to the God I love, I pray daily that He continues to work on my husband. I pray for our disadvantage. I pray for the shortage of men in church. I pray that God breaks the bond of confusion that has the minds of our men. Now this is only for the women who seek a godly man to love God first and then to love them. It hurts my feelings every time I see it.

Both my sisters are married and one of my sisters recently admitted to me that she never thought she’d get married because of this dilemma. She knew she’d be single because Christian men aren’t interested in Christian women. They don’t seem to be interested in women period but I digress.

I know that God has something and someone wonderful for me in the near future and my hearts cry isn’t simply for me but it’s for all my single sisters in Christ (and even the married women in Christ who later learned what they didn’t want to about their husbands) that we all receive the desires of our heart. A man that loves God and loves his WIFE as well.