It’s Such a Sad, Sad Day for Liars!

  Liar! Too strong? Are fibber, embellisher, or senior-moment mishap better tags?  I’m no fan of Bill O’Reilly, but please Lord, don’t let someone dial-up on me something I said thirty years ago. However, I must admit, I fell (not just felt) mesmerized by Mr. O’Reilly’s stern facial expression, name calling, and staunch rebuttal of the corrective accounts, made. Watching it had me shaking in my boots for that Mother Jones reporter.  Ooh, Lordy, I thought, O’Reilly’s gonna kick his butt!

It’s something to be said for that tactic. And let’s face it; we’ve seen others do it. To deny in such a vile and affirmative way until the listener almost forgets the subject matter at-hand, and surmises that the accusation must, most definitely, carry no merit. It had to have been a booboo—c ase closed (and on to fresher headlines). And that’s how I felt after hearing Mr. O’Reilly’s rebuttal—until I read the story that started out with —

NEW YORK (AP) – CBS News on Monday released video from four stories it aired about the Falklands War in 1982, all part of a dispute involving Fox News Channel host Bill O’Reilly and his subsequent statements about covering the war.

None of the stories mentions O’Reilly, then a young CBS reporter, or makes any specific reference to a CBS crew member being hurt.

I watched a video report, too. That’s it/That’s all. Because, afraid for myself, I’ll just let the above Associated Press story hang in the air. I ain’t throwing no stones.

Well folks, here’s Lesson 1a: To the big wigs, who may feel so important and/or so far-up-the-ladder that nothing can touch them—they need to respect this digital era we’re living in. So, too, the little guys and gals like me. Guess what Lesson 1 is.

As for me, I loved being a journalist, wearing what I wrote, reported on [using a tape recorder], and that (i.e., my work) which made its way to print like grateful badges of honor. I counted what I did as a privilege. (And, no, that didn’t make me flawless. It caused me to be careful.) Now, I love being a novelist, letting my creative license compose me as imaginative and literary, not as a liar. Still, I know I need to be careful and respectful, period. Any accounted booboos made during my life journey (a journey, ongoing) have only accounted me (thus far) as human, not hurting or disrespectful. If that’s someone’s account, I apologize.

I remember once, shortly after I had read the Terry McMillan novel, titled, Disappearing Acts, I found myself gabbing with a group of girlfriends about love relationships. (I’m lying. I’ve never had a group of girlfriends.) And I said (something like), “Yeah, I know this girl who had a boyfriend who did…” Neck-rolling deep into the responses of Ahh-huhs, What’s-that-you-say, and the I-wish-some %$@^# would try that mess on me, I realized that I did not know some girl who had a boyfriend who did… It was actually a scenario happening to the very lifelike characters inside McMillan’s book that I was recalling. Dern it!

“Oh Lordy!” my innards screamed in the midst (that’s right, my innards screamed) as I could figure out no face-saving no way to exit the story. Because after all, I’m sure I must have been making a valid point (Hot and Crankin’)—about something.

Sadly folks, my memory recalls-not, how I handled my dilemma. But I’m almost positive that I did not ‘fess up. Also, I’m sure I could dial up some worse lie-scenarios in my life. Examples like—“Are you going to the cookout?” My response: “Oh Yeah,” which was my code for, “Hell no.” And—“How does this dress look on me?” My response: “Fine. It looks just fine,” when I was spineless or, perhaps, didn’t care, and I didn’t say, “It’s too tight.” Someone did that to me, one time. And when I partook of the after-pics, in which, I looked hideous, I was devastated. Although, I’m sure I would not have listened to the truth in real-time, that person and I are no longer friends. (I’m lying. We’re still friends.)

Okay, now that we’ve established how, I can’t be trusted (though on the big scheme of things, I’m striving to be), I’m prayerful about it because truth is an ongoing soapbox to climb. And that’s the soapbox, upon which we want to stand. Stripped down, we’re still clothed by our reputations, built.

One last question: How accomplished in life does one have to be, not to feel as though he or she has to uptick and/or manufacture more? I don’t know the answer to that, either.Dream Seeker, Literary



A Cherished Compliment—Weird, But Wonderful!

Living the Dream at Busboys and Poets 10.20.13   The other day, I was doing my thing—Prison Ministry. I’m in jail two Fridays a month, conducting Bible study, which means for me, a myriad of things. So I made it through the pat-down, the Sally Port, and the steel door to the classroom, bolted, with me inside. I sat there preparing in prayer, and awaiting those, whom I affectionately call my girls.  On this particular day, I could see that the ages of the ladies ranged from early twenties to at least mid-sixties. It’s also important to note that I had spied some new faces. The ladies rushed in with a buoyant buzz about them—like they had been conversing amongst themselves and the subject had been left suspended in the air. Mind you, I ascertained this observation in delighted hindsight. As they scurried in, passed out Bibles and claimed their seats, one young woman announced to the others, “Yeah, I told you. She’s just like us!” Her statement caused her to stand and swish her arms in a swag move.  Shocked, my gaze fixed on her like a statue’s. My mouth reflexed an opened smile. My innards mused joyful. Some in the room nodded their affirmation.  In real-time, I began to realize that her statement was a continuation of a prior conversation to which I had not been privy. That’s also when the hindsight began to wash clear. Okay, lemme go deep.

You see, they had all read my novella, The Prison Plumb Line. My novella and my novels are included in the detention center’s library. Some major reading had been going on, and a behind-the-bars debate had ensued. Folklore—if I may be so humbly bold as to use such a word in reference to something that I composed—a bit of folklore was crowning. Okay, I’ll take it down a notch—a rumor had arisen. Rumor had it that the author of The Prison Plumb Line (me), had indeed served prison time, had pulled herself together, and post-incarceration, she had penned and published her story!

Usually, whether or not I’m conducting a Bible study or a writing workshop behind bars, for men or women, as they parade in, it’s customary for me to say, “We’re on holy ground.” It sets the tone before we proceed (even if what we discuss is edgy) and it sets things straight because God is holy, and the written word can serve up blessings and empowerment—if you learn to work it right. That’s my thought, anyway. But on this day, I held back my declaration. I decided, instead, to take in the debate that was being lobbed back-and-forth across the table. Some said that in the novella, I was the main character, Evie. She journeys her way through her jail sentence, her struggle to survive, and through the internal enlightenment that eventually guides her to miracles. Others in the room declared that I was the Church Lady character—one of the vessels, God uses to push the process.

Well, after a while (and before a fight broke out), I clarified, but also, I affirmed. “Wait,” I said, throwing up both hands, using them to cosign, “I am just like you! Because though I have not lived through your particular experience of incarceration, many times, such fate has lingered near.” I went on to explain how at times, I have been unlovable, misunderstood, mistreated/abused, weak and uncertain in my flesh, and in turmoil. I have been both, unfairly and fairly accused and criticized. I have been mean, mad, frustrated, and way too often, I have been powerless. Also, sadly, my mind and heart have been imprisoned. I have been on the ground floor needing to push the button pointing to the not-giving-up mode. However, through it all, whether or not I realized it, I have always been loved. “It’s the same truth for you,” I said. “Today, I am grateful.” I continued my assertion to them, “I’m here, and my love for you inspired me to write this book.” Their looks on me fell nourishing.  I continued, “I know you love me because you read the pages of my heart, and saw me as being a part of you.” I think that’s the biggest compliment a writer can receive.

As a mere volunteer trying hard to live God’s Word in John 13:34-35 (it talks about loving one another), I pray to become purposeful at it. For two or three hours, we pass back-and-forth, the Word of God, enlighten, impact, and uplift as best we know how. In the midst, I might also shoot the Holy Ghost breeze, up-in-there, or share pivotals of my personal testimony—accrued back-in-the-day. I might share a mainstream film, a documentary or colorful prose—all thought-provoking—to hone in on a God-inspired point. Next week, I’m bringing them Get On Up, the James Brown story. You figure out why.

Have a Happy Valentine’s Day, Lovers!

But remember—lasting love can shine through in many ways!!!!!!!