Writer’s Block

kitty book

It’s been a while since I’ve written a post for my Writer’s Block theme so I thought I should give all of my readers an update on what is going on with my life.

First, I have written over 200 posts for this blog. Here is to 200 more!!!

What else? Well, I have fun plans for the extended holiday week-end. I’m spending Thanksgiving with some friends and all I have to do is bring a bottle of wine and an appetite. Yay! And though I usually eschew Black Friday like I eschew reading anything by EL James, I am going to pop off to one of my favorite shops because everything is going to be 50% off that day.

On Saturday, a friend and I are going to the Urban Garage Sale at Milwaukee’s Turner Hall venue. Urban Garage is a rummage sale/craft fair hybrid, and two of my friends are selling their wares. They are very talented artisans and I hope they sell lots of their pretty bling.

On Sunday, I’m going to take it easy, read a bit and do some early in the week cooking.

And yes, this blog is not far from my heart, mind and soul. Look for two reviews next week, one for a novel and one for a memoir. And I just started reading Robert Reich’s latest Saving Capitalism so look for a review of that book in a couple of weeks.

Well, that’s a quick update. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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Book Marks

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The iconic Parisian Bookstore, Shakespeare & Co, provided a safe haven during the attacks.

These warm and inviting book stores should be on every readers’ bucket list (or should I say “book-it list?”)

Judy Blume’s Forever isn’t the only YA novel that doesn’t make light of teen sexuality.

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We all know bigots in the United States want to deny Syrian refugees from entering our country. Want to know who was denied entry into the United States? Anne Frank! Think about it Donald Trump, Fox News and other assorted Xenophobic assholes!

Book Review: Meet Me Halfway-Milwaukee Stories by Jennifer Morales

Meet-Me-Halfway-coverJennifer Morales is a former Milwaukee-based activist focused on education, and once acted as a board member for Milwaukee public schools. Now she can add published author to her list of accomplishments with the release of her interconnected collection of short stories in Meet Me Halfway-Milwaukee Stories.

Meet Me Halfway opens up with “Heavy Lifting.” In this story, Johnquell, an African-American teenage boy, is mortally wounded when helps his white neighbor, Mrs. Czernicki move a heavy piece of furniture in home. Feeling fully, responsible, Mrs. Czernicki feels compelled to connect further with Johnquell’s family that goes beyond attending his funeral. She becomes friendly towards Johnquell’s grieving mother and learns more about Johnquell from his siblings, learning though there are differences that divide us, there are also shared experiences that explain our shared humanity.

Thus, Meet Me Halfway, uses “Heavy Lifting” as a launching pad to share intermingling stories about various Milwaukee residents in one of America’s most segregated cities-Milwaukee.

In “Fragging,” a still alive Johnquell describes his experiences as a black student from a lower middle class family in a mostly white, wealthy suburban highschool.

In “Revision” Stu Reid’s limited ideas on young black men change when he feels compelled to attend Johnquell’s funeral after dealing with him in class as a substitute teacher. Perhaps Milwaukee’s answer to Rush Limbaugh, Clark “Psycho” Sykora, doesn’t have all the answers after all.

When flowers are “Misdirected” and accidentally sent to Johnquell’s mother Gloria that are meant for another woman, Gloria learns a long-kept secret of Donna Tillet, a white suburban matron, a secret that kept Donna estranged from her children for far too long.

And in the final chapter, “Pressing On,” Tarquan, Johnquell’s surviving brother navigate the difficult aftermath of his brother’s death, putting up with the questions from concerned adults, his siblings, and high school friends and peers. If adults can’t explain life and death, how can Tarquan? Perhaps, some day he’ll have the answers.

Morales’s empathetic and vivid writing is both thought-provoking and inspiring. In a city like Milwaukee, so segregated amongst all races,  Morales is able to fully evoke the multi-dimensional characters with wisdom and grace. She doesn’t just feel for these men, women and children; Morales’ feels with them as truly masterful writers should and do. Meet Me Halfway: Milwaukee Stories is a slim book that spoke to me in volumes. And I hope it is not the only book Jennifer Morales has within her. I want more books from such a talented writer.

Book Marks

book mark storeRoxane “Bad Feminist” wins PEN “Freedom to Write” Award. Go Roxane!

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