The Organic Garden Acolyte: Tilling The Soil

I am not yet a gardener. I have a lot of ground to cover before I am confident enough to go it alone. Still, I cannot hide my excitement at being here, in this place of secret desire, stooped over close to the ground, pulling weeds and tilling the soil. There is something powerful and primal about working a piece of land. No artist's brush can capture the vitality of spirit, the deep sense of belonging I feel standing with a rake in my hand. rooted to the tiny plot of land I intend to turn into a garden....more

The Organic Garden Acolyte:Sowing Seeds

Today my stepfather, Pop Lyles, and I will seed our garden. Although I originally planned to grow okra, collard greens and chili peppers, those plans changed. Pop Lyles bought packets of mustard greens and carrots instead of okra and chili peppers because he said the latter require more water and, therefore, more gardening time. His explanation makes sense to me. I am an eager apprentice. I want to soak up as much of his knowledge as I can.....more

GETTING A WHUPPING

     When I was a child, my parents would send my sisters and I “back home” to Texas during the summers.  We were placed in the care of my great-grandmother and great-aunt, two strict disciplinarians who took the job of reining in wild, unruly children seriously. The summers I spent with these two sanctified, stalwart reformers of errant behavior were difficult for me because I was a stubborn and willful child.     ...more

A Train Story

My mother saw him first.“Look at that cute, little chocolate drop. He’s got to go to the bathroom so bad he’s dancing outside the bathroom door,” she said chuckling....more

The Doll Factory: A Real Horror Story

Despair, a cold stone pressed tight against the heart, led me to seek counseling. I was at war on my job, facing a protracted battle I didn't have the stomach for. My volatile emotional state kept me on edge. I burst into tears for no apparent reason or became enraged over minor slights. I awakened each morning in a state of high anxiety expecting the worst from life....more

A Thoughtful Response To Neighborhood Violence: The Peace Gate

Juelez was born on Halloween. I remember his birth day because his parents lived a few doors down from us.  On Halloween night my siblings and I walked over to their house to  "trick or treat" and discovered the front door open. No one was home and the lights were out; it was an unusual situation, to say the least. Unfazed, we locked the front door, closed it behind us and continued our hunt for sweet treats. The next day we learned Juelez had been born....more

Living In The Shadow Of A Black Housemaid: A Different View of “The Help”

My maternal grandmother, great-grandmother and great-aunt worked as domestics for white families in the South. My grandmother or “Big Mama” as she insisted we call her cleaned houses the old-fashioned way—on her hands and knees. In fact, I think about Big Mama whenever I see my knees. I now have dark patches of skin on them, age-related hyper-pigmentation. My grandmother’s knees were dark, almost blue-black in color, for a different reason. Her discolored knees were a visible reminder of the years she spent scrubbing and cleaning other people’s homes....more

Black Lynchings And The Legacy Of Injustice: Regaining Moral Footing After A Fall From Grace

By Ivory SimoneOne of the central themes in my debut novel, “Havasu Means Blue Water”, is the question posed by the protagonist, Lyla Amir, a feisty bi-racial graduate student, as she shifts through the murky history surrounding the 1918 lynching of a black farmer and his wife in the fictional town of Wilburn, Arizona—can a society regain its moral footing after a fall from grace?Lyla frames the question this way:...more

Black Lynchings: Murders Most Foul--An Online Chat With Author Ivory Simone About The Legacy Of Injustice

Inviting book lovers and people concerned about the thousands of mostly black lynching victims whose murders remain unsolved to participate in an online chat with Author Ivory Simone whose debut novel “Havasu Means Blue Water” focuses on the issue of the “legacy of injustice”. The online chat is scheduled for July 10th 3 p.m. (EST). PLEASE RSVP VIA FACEBOOK. http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=218967304788014...more