TGIF and other good news

Well, one thing I know for sure is I’m not the only one who’s happy to see January go. TGIF = Thank God It’s February for the time being and hopefully that sentiment sticks around for a while. During the previous decade, the first month of the year was often challenging for me. I lost two of the most critical people in my life during the month of January. The fact that I often celebrated the birth of both those same souls in January as well, seemed to compound the hard feelings I’ve had towards a month that often asked me to pay special attention to it. However, this year like most people I made a dogged effort to rejuvenate, refocus, and generally not be miserable last month, but the hits they just kept coming anyway.

Image by Tara Bazille

Here’s the good news. February may be minimalist in its approach, but it still makes a kick ass tailgater to the blight of its predecessor. For better or worse, it’s a month many of us celebrate love. I’m looking forward to seeing a lot of written, visual, and performing arts content, produced with that motif. And the Blacker that love presents itself, the better I’ll like it. Anyone else stalking movie ticket sites for first row seats to The Photograph with Issa Rae and LaKeith Stanfeld?

To that end, I’ll be celebrating Black History Month the way I’ve done in the past by reading a lot of Black authors and sharing thought-provoking quotes from Black Americans on social media. I’m focusing on American Blacks in particular this month because the celebration is conceptually American. It also makes me feel good to do that, because it reminds me that myself, my progeny, my ancestors, and my community are as American as any one type of person or thing. America is not just a “melting pot” it’s a multi-layered construct that belongs to everyone and anyone who continues to choose it. Remembering Black Americans in particular right now reminds me of how much we’ve invested in this country and why it’s important to claim ownership of it while still fighting to preserve what we do love about it in the first place. Or to put it more succinctly: “ain’t gonna let nobody turn me around.”

My birthday is in this typically arctic month too. I’ll be celebrating another year by spending a lot of it in my writing studio working on finishing the first draft of my next book. I’ve already been working like crazy on what I like to think of as a pseudo outline.

Image by Hans-Peter Gaster

I say pseudo because my outlines tend to be incongruent. They aren’t necessarily haphazard, but they do probably break any and all universal codes of linear writing. First, they include a lot of mind mapping character observations as well as several scenes from the book in no particular order; some with only a sentence, a snippet of dialogue or some go on for three or four pages. Putting my first drafts together can often be as confounding as a jigsaw puzzle with pieces missing but it suits me fine. Usually I know exactly how a story will end but the beginning eludes me. In the case of my next book, I have a solid beginning and a definite “almost there” on the ending. How stimulating would life be without a few surprises?

I’ll be churning out my very first newsletter this month too. My plan is to put one out every quarter this year. I have a few surprises in this first one plus an awesome giveaway and I’ll share an excerpt of my next book. So if you haven’t already signed up for my mailing list now IS the time to take the leap.

I like to think there is always something to look forward to. Hopefully, you’ll find that something for you this month. While you’re looking, I’ll be here jotting down my make-believe thoughts and stubbornly holding on to my small piece of the world and my peace of mind. Keep your chin up and remember love is the answer!

❤ Lily


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