Category Archives: Uniquely Made

My Cheesy-Ass Stereotypical Grin

I went grocery shopping because lack of food makes me do that from time to time. The store wasn’t crowded but I managed to bump into everyone who was there. Literally.

I did the cart-dance with a guy in a gardening hat. We laughed and sidestepped.

While searching for—I don’t know what— something, something in a chicken package, I almost had a three-way collision with two other women; one searching for something, something in a beef package, and the other searching for something, something, something. We laughed and admitted we didn’t have a clue to share.

My journey continued and I met the Twirly-girl. She was about five or six. Spinning, spinning, singing and giggling. Her ponytail was just three rotations from becoming a memory. Her face was gooey, her hands were sticky, and her shirt had evidence of a recently devoured purple popsicle. She was missing a flip-flop. Somehow it got stuck on the rack under the cart. She didn’t care, she was twirling and she was the perfect picture of summertime. I had to pull some serious maneuvers get out of her way (you don’t mess with happy twirlers).

She was so adorable, I was still smiling when I rounded the corner and HE almost bumped into ME. This twenty-something…something shook his head, rolled his eyes and said, ‘Cheesy-ass, Stereotypical grin.’

He was around the corner and gone before I could make a helpful suggestion of where he could go and what he ought to kiss. I stood frozen, debating going after him.

For what purpose? I know what I heard, but could I have been mistaken.

What proof did I have? None.

What could this lead to? That is a very real point to ponder for a person of color. I live in an area where I am outnumbered and I didn’t recall seeing any other minorities in the store.

Finally, he didn’t say or do anything illegal. Or, even, to me.

I chose to let it go. I accepted the damage. Hate won.

I didn’t ‘bump’ into anyone else. I didn’t have any more light, pleasant exchanges. My smile was gone. I didn’t make eye contact with anyone and I suspected the motives of every person I passed. I wondered who was a President ‘Mean-Girl’ follower and how they would justify the incident and/or blame me.

With head bowed, I finished my shopping and made my way to the checkout.

The lady behind me had a basket full of items, I had a cart full. I let her go ahead of me. She was genuinely surprised and thanked me. When it was my turn, the cashier and I exchanged pleasantries but were interrupted by a crash. The person behind me dropped a jar of jelly.

There were no other lines open and no available associates to help. The customer was apologetic, the cashier was full of assurance, but it was a sticky mess.  As it was just the three of us, this was the time for action.

I jumped in with the plan. “You get the stuff to clean it up, you go get another jar, I’ll hold the fort and keep people out of the way.”

“Are you sure?”

“You don’t mind?”

“Nope. It’s a race. Go!” We made it fun.

A guy got in line, and after hearing my explanation, offered to drop a jar of peanut butter so we could all have a snack.

Next came Twirly-girl and her mom. I immediately warned her of the glass and pointed to Twirly’s missing shoe. Mom didn’t know the shoe was missing. She scooped Twirly up, deposited her in the cart and thanked me.

The Jelly-lady returned and thanked me for watching her cart and holding her place in line.

The cashier came back, made quick work of the cleanup and thanked me for waiting so she could get it done.

And right at that moment, the woman I let in front of me, came over to thank me once again for being so nice. For some reason, she was extra appreciative. The cashier said that I was really nice and helpful. The other patrons agreed.

I thanked them for thanking me and the last thing I saw as I left the store was that Twenty-something, last in line, frowning as the people around him imitated my cheesy-ass stereotypical grin.

Hate did not win.

ME

I have a need to explain myself.

No. No, I don’t. I have a desire to address a few nonsensical individuals who have been emboldened by their leadership.

Dear Sirs,

Pleased be informed, your time trying to derail my postings has been wasted. I realize, when you friended me, you were expecting a much better behaved HN. I appreciate your gratuitous use of capital letters and exclamation points when you chastise me. And, your lengthy paragraphs full of stupid shit…err…deep wisdom on subjects beyond your comprehension.

I know, writing about the topics you suggest would help me earn your approval (Seriously, using that Jamie Foxx, Django Unchained interview, where he said he gets to kill white people, as an example of the suffering of whites, was eye-opening. Clearly, more important than the real issues affecting my family).

Obviously, I don’t understand my purpose. I was supposed to be your ‘black friend’. Your silent, accommodating, black friend. I messed up accommodating; totally blew silent. Friend is such a strong word. Gee whiz. The only part I got right was ‘black’.

I’m divisive. I say mean things. I intentionally antagonize people who have only shown me love (they’ve shown me some other things too but that part doesn’t count).

I know, I know, I’ve hurt you..mocked you…betrayed you… (All on purpose, I confess.) But, sadly, there is an unavoidable reason your efforts to train me, teach me, get me in line are failing.

I do not give a damn.

Call me flawed, but meeting your standards just so you can feel good about your judgments is not on my itinerary. Ever. Also, cracking your rose-colored glasses is my gift to you.

Sincerely,

Notyourblackfriend

*

I do my thing and you do your thing

I am not in this world to live up to your expectations,

And you are not in this world to live up to mine.

You are you, and I am I,

And if by chance we find each other, it’s beautiful.

If not, it can’t be helped.

(Fritz Perls, “Gestalt Therapy Vervatim”, 1969)

I don’t know anything about Gestalt or this therapy. This was on a poster my brother had on his door when I was three-years-old. I memorized it, impressed visitors with my reading skills and let those words become a part of who I am. Deal with it.

Speaking of who I am…

For the first twenty years of my life, I lived under liberal influences. For the next twenty, under conservative influences. And, the last ten, detoxing from both. I don’t base my political opinions on the news, social media, or religious understanding. I am guided by personal experience. I have sat around enough dinner tables listening to ‘the other side of the argument’ long enough to have developed a decent sense of truth. When I take the time to call your hypotheticals and judgments BS, it’s because, while you are having a cup of coffee and a second helping of assumption, I am putting real names, real faces and real situations to your wrongful conclusions.

That twenty, twenty, ten breakdown applies to my Christianity as well. No religion, too much religion and now proper religion. By proper religion, I mean love, not control. Respect not manipulation. Help not hurt. Truth not lies. Living by a code that makes me a better human being rather than a code that places expectations on others. That’s what my Bible teaches. (My Bible also taught me not to put up with BS from people playing God. It was a good lesson. Just saying…)

I have lived in the ghetto. I have lived in my car. I have gone without food and wore safety pins in my shoes. I have been beaten, I have been sexually assaulted.

I have lived in four different states and another country. I’ve hung out in the homes of the wealthy. My wedding reception was held in the backyard of a retired Westinghouse VP. I have interacted with Bishops and Archbishops, and more than a few successful entrepreneurs. Single mother, suburban homemaker —yes, I’ve even made cookies for the bake sale.

I was married to the Military for seven years. I can give you a list of things true heroes and real patriots don’t do.

I grew up among the disabled and handicapped, watching them accomplish more in a day than some of their full-body counterparts could accomplish in a month. Eating crabs with a quadriplegic or having my ponytail adjusted by a lady without arms was not an oddity.

I lived with a murderer and was surrounded by all manner of criminals. Urban fiction writer, Donald Goines, based his stories on real people/events. His work was required reading for my survival, because a few of those characters were in and out of my mother’s kitchen, regularly.

They weren’t the only people in my house. Diversity was the norm. Different races, different religions, different levels of understanding. I repeat, in my house-not on my television. Ever ate with a Muslim? Worked with an illegal immigrant? I have. Under all those labels and judgments, they’re sooo… human.

I can tell you all about the benefits I received from being married to a white person…and all the things (and people) he lost because he married me. I could just as easily tell you about the things (and people) we’ve lost because we fight injustice…and everything we’ve gained in pursuit of the truth. When I say something is white-privilege or supremacy, it’s because I have experienced it first hand. Not one iota of your surprise, shock, denial or outrage can change that.

Finally, I am a writer. That means, I read. I research. I listen. I learn. I am required to see the world through a thousand eyes. I have to live a hundred different perspectives, searching for what is right about each one. I don’t get to enjoy a history of control, the luxury of fearing others, or the desire to throw people into boxes (that would make for some flat, boring characters).

I’m not talking about myself because I need attention. I don’t. This is who I am. This is what I bring to the fight: personal experience. I am diversity. I am racial. I am proof that your locked-in, blocked-in understanding is limited. If your comprehension of the subjects I write about does not reach any further than your comfort zone, social circles or the news, I’m not the person you should attempt to enlighten.

I choose truth, so, of course, I am divisive. Yes, I say mean things. And, no, I am not going to fix your rose-colored glasses.

Would you like that in caps, or perhaps with a few exclamation points?

The Cookout

 

Yesterday, Matt and I took advantage of the unusually nice seventy-degree weather and took a walk through the park in Frederick. Rather than compete with traffic, we parked on a side street and cut through a bit of downtown. We happened by a rundown apartment building and some houses in need of attention on a sadder street just as the occupants were setting up for a neighborhood cookout. I was struck with a note of longing.

Poor, black neighborhood cookouts were a way of life for me, growing up. There was no money for family vacations (most people didn’t have those kind of jobs anyway). There was no money for a lot of things. But what you could do, was pool your resources, hang out, let the kids go wild and catch-up on community.  When black people get together, anybody walking down the street can eat. I missed that.

Especially given our circumstance. We don’t live in a neighborhood that favors block parties. I offend half the people we know, by virtue of my existence (I’m okay with it. Most of the people I offend, need it). They only party with people who agree with them, and BS overload gives me indigestion, anyway.

We enjoyed our walk and detoxed a little from the acid we’re constantly wading through, but that cookout lingered in my thoughts. It was a classic example of the ‘Gutter Flowers’ I’m so into. The area wasn’t pretty. The people didn’t appear to have much, and yet there was laughter and fun and the camaraderie that comes from having to make do with what you have. There’s no one-upmanship. No, who-has-what that’s better. Your job or your look didn’t have anything to do with what went on your hotdog.

On our way back to our car, we caught sight of the party in full swing.

They waved us over.

They would not take no for an answer. Because when black people get together, anybody walking down the street can eat.

It was a moment. We didn’t have to. We didn’t know these people. We had things to do. The area wasn’t pristine. It wasn’t racially balanced… We had an arsenal of excuses at our disposal. We ignored them all.

There were three older guys sitting on a tailgate. One of them may have been white or mixed. I’m not sure, but my husband is white. He had a burger. Because they didn’t have a preference on who was welcomed. It didn’t matter, that I was a black girl, with a white man instead of a brother. What mattered was, where I put the ketchup when I was done using it.

We talked and laughed and looked and listened. I wanted to take a picture, but I didn’t see a cellphone anywhere. If you’ve ever seen a group of ten-or-more people not on electronic devices, it’s a work of art. That’s not to say, they didn’t have them. But, they were doing community, it wasn’t worth a picture to interrupt that. I left my phone in my pocket.

Ernestine a.k.a Tater, has seven kids, twelve grandkids, and eight great-grandchildren. She drove an over-the-road rig for ten and a half years- the first year, without a CDL license. She says she didn’t have a choice.

Charlie and Wilder took turns manning the grill and Gwen sat there, nursing a beer. She told me, she didn’t contribute a thing- she couldn’t. She lost her job two months ago, but everybody made sure she had food…and today, a beer.

As far as the state of the nation, they had opinions. But only a few. Ferguson is like a third world country, somebody said. The racial divide is one of the reasons they came out and fired up the grill. They hoped, they prayed, somebody like my husband-somebody white would rather eat than fight. That’s as far as politics went.

Just as we were leaving, a lady with two kids were being wooed by the aroma coming off the grill and the temptation of games.

Those awesome neighbors, who clearly had less than many, put a table full of love in the midst of a time of hate. They challenged us to trust. They rewarded our effort with acceptance and food…good food.

There’s your Black Magic.

YOUR WAR

If you think this is only about politics, you have abandoned the truth. Democrats and Republicans have been running the country in turns for years. Ford to Carter to Regan, Bush to Clinton to Bush; that, is not this. Politics just happens to be the stage on which this latest power struggle has been set. President Obama’s birth certificate was not politics. His religious affiliation was not politics. Placing Mr. Trump in office was not about politics-he’s not a politician. This is not politics. This is war.

A war you incited. A war you wanted. A war you’re going to have to learn to live with, because it’s not going away. All of your weariness, all of your attempts to disconnect, all of your pretending it’s politics, is just your privilege kicking in. Only, this time, it’s not working.

Let’s get your favorite tactic out of the way so we can get on with business.

Diverting. Please, stop diverting. As I said, it’s not working.

Dealing with Mr. Trump’s actions/behaviors by focusing on what President Obama did doesn’t change Mr. Trump’s actions/behaviors. Tit-for-tat is petty. Always has been. It means, you are intentionally avoiding the truth. And, while we’re on the topic of what President Obama did: According to my calculations, you’ve had eight years to discuss President Obama. That’s 2,922 days (including two leap years). Over 3,000 if you count the time leading up to his first election. That’s a lot of hours to complain, resist, organize, whatever. But, that time is over. What President Obama may or may not have done, is neither an excuse nor a justification for Mr. Trump. (But, you already knew that.)

Today, we’re taking about you and your war. This is about supremacy. Nothing more. Nothing less. Nothing else. I think most of the people who support Mr. Trump have one thing in common: they wholeheartedly believe he will advance their particular form of supremacy.

You have to give credit to the White Nationalist, at least they own it. They aren’t pretending it’s something other than what it is. If you support what they support, you are supporting them. Period. …for whoever is not against me is for me. I put it in red because Jesus said it. Mark 9:40

For extreme conservatives, it’s about preserving an ideal and a lifestyle that is beneficial to them… regardless of the cost to the rest of us. Until now, America’s greatness has been at the expense of minorities. Only a supremacist (closet/subconscious/outspoken) believes that’s a good idea. Only a supremacist (closet/subconscious/outspoken) would think the rest of us should sit down, be quiet, and accept it.

And finally, the Christians who don’t know the difference between Christianity and white privilege. They believe it is God’s will- and their duty- to force everyone to live according to their understanding. Your entrance into heaven or banishment into hell is dependent upon their interpretation of the bible. And, whether or not the country is ‘blessed’ is determined by how a situation affects white-people. (You know America was founded on Christian principles…and stealing land and making slaves.)

Supremacy doesn’t get any more supreme than that.

So, here we are. Fighting your supremacy in all it’s forms. It doesn’t matter how many times you divert. It doesn’t matter how political you pretend this is. It doesn’t matter if you claim God is on your side (screw the rest of us). This is a war you created and catered to when you chose supremacy over love…again.

Since we know your game, it’s only fair for me to tip our hand. Just this one time. Mr. Trump is making America great again. Not by returning us to some period of white-only prosperity. But, by giving us the incentive to rise. America’s greatness comes in large part, by way of it’s minorities. Race, religion, orientation, whatever. We, the minorities, are also, We, The People. We know how to fight -some of us have been fighting this particular war since the beginning. We know how to get along and see equals rather than less-thans. We see potentials not problems. We don’t live in fear of others (we are others). Because, we are true Americans of the United States.

You don’t have to like us, we accept that. Regardless, we’re not coming under your supremacy ever again. You’ll have to accept that.

Veterans Day

So, I saw two memes this week about Veterans. Expected. Veterans Day is coming up. Unfortunately, the memes were being used as a bullying technique.

One was a picture of a wounded soldier walking through a battlefield with this comment: Before you go idolizing some jerk wearing a football uniform disrespecting the national anthem try understanding what that anthem stands for.

Another was a grieving woman beside the open casket of a decorated soldier with this sentiment attached: Tell all the protesters in the NFL to put on this uniform and then they might understand why we stand.

I don’t buy into the ‘sincerity of the message’ because the NFL protest has nothing to do with the military. They know that. They just don’t care.

The second meme was entitled: This is why we stand.

Well, this is why we kneel.

The people of Standing Rock, the people of Flint, The victims of the SC church shooting, The Mississippi church vandalism, Tamar Rice, Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, Korryn Gaines, Freddie Gray, Laquan McDonald, Walter Scott, Terence Crutcher,….and so on, and so on, etc., etc… There are just too many to count. But the list includes the six officers killed in Texas and the two officers killed in Iowa.

We kneel for injustice.

1-

I choose to kneel because I do not believe honoring heroes –make no mistake, our troops are heroes- is more important than defending victims. I show my love for our troops by imitating them. I’m a civilian-solider. They fight and they die so that all (and by all I mean ALL) Americans can benefit from liberty. If we are not getting that liberty then they fight and die in vain… But not, if I can help it. I don’t have military weapons or training, but I do have a conscience and a voice. You mock their purpose when you use their images to try to silence me.

2-

I choose to kneel because the brave men and women in our Armed Forces are adults who have made a conscious choice, knowing the possible outcomes, including injury and/or death. Though not nearly enough, those men and women receive a paycheck for their service. Five-year-old Kodi Goines and four-year-old Dae’Ann Reynolds didn’t choose to fight a war. They weren’t trained for the horrors they witnessed. The innocence taken from those babies is as disturbing as your insinuation that their lives are less important than symbolism. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful those soldiers choose to fight and I am truly sorry for their family’s loss. We will be forever indebted to them, but, that indebtedness does not, for me, supersede doing the right thing.

3-

I choose to kneel because my father, four of my brothers, and numerous family and friends are Vets that no one bothered to stand for. Despite fighting in every war America has engaged in, soldiers of color have never been exempt from racism. They bled and died and showed their patriotism while being treated as less than human (I’m not even going to get into how degrading it is to apply the Anthem’s third verse to them). Their sacrifice demands acknowledgment and respect. Along with the bullets, they have taken abuse and hate and criticism for me. I’ll take a knee for them.

4-

I choose to kneel for homeless Vets who don’t get to make it into pictures because they are hungry and dirty. After serving their country, they are left to beg without their promised benefits. Flip through my blog. I’ve spent time with a couple of them. They’re not nameless faces. Their plight is real to me. I would not be the least bit surprised if some of the people driving by, belittling and calling them names, stand for the Anthem because, you know, the troops…

5-

I kneel because I can. It’s not illegal. It’s not immoral. For me, it’s not wrong. You stand, because it is your right and your choice. I do not judge you or get in your way. (Fyi-wanting to control what other people do is a supremacy-thing.) But, I will not accept your passive-aggressive BS. Yes, passive-aggressive. Yes, BS. People who peddle the idea that kneeling for the National Anthem has anything at all to do with the military are either fighting to hold on to their ‘America is perfect’ image (that’s the passive-aggressive part) or they have no legitimate argument for the real reason we kneel so they throw out something that sounds good (that’s the BS part).

As you roll out your judgmental, name-calling memes, realize it amounts to the petty-people version of stamping your feet and sticking out your tongue like a spoiled rich kid. (Don’t forget to pout.)

I’ve heard it claimed, our Vets fought for my right to protest. I don’t disagree but, I’m not convinced there was much battle-line conversation about the importance of standing during a song. However, I feel very strongly that fighting oppression was a key focus. That would include all oppression…even when you label it patriotism.

As Veterans Day approaches, I would love to see pictures and stories of our heroes…the non-white ones too. Hopefully, the posts will be more about appreciating the troops rather than belittling and using them to further personal agendas.

I know, I’m an optimist.

After All

Once upon a time, I was surrounded by a loving supportive (mostly white) Christian community. But I did a terrible thing. I committed the unforgivable sin. I am black and I willfully, intentionally, sinfully chose to stay black in spite of their best efforts to fix me.

Oh, it was all happy times in the beginning. They could pity my poor inner-city upbringing and lack. It helped them feel better about themselves and assured them, they were living white~err~ I mean, right. They were very generous and supportive, reaching out to my family with blessings and gifts. They were happy to share the white~err~right way of living.

These are good people. I have no issues with who they are and what they do. White people do white very well. I accepted them without judgment or expectation. Not so, the other way around.

Our problems began when I didn’t allow overstepping of my personal boundaries. It caused a great deal of confusion. How dare I not submit to my betters? How dare I not bow to supremacy disguised as God’s will? Clearly, I defied the system and acted as if I could think for myself. I was a heretic; a white-privilege heretic. I shamelessly used words like no and stop… It made them want to pray for me.

They patiently tried to teach me what to think and what to do and what to say, and how to respond, and how to behave and, and, and… I didn’t listen. They wanted me to be silent and agreeable (especially the silent part). They said and did things to me that were wrong, but I was supposed to accept it because…well, just because. They pushed their agendas and when I pushed back, they determined the problem was me. The truth is, I saw things from a different perspective. The non-privileged, not their way, not allowed perspective (It wasn’t of God).

This good Christian community didn’t know what to do with me. I was behaving in a manner inconsistent with the White-Way Handbook. The possibility of my pigmentation playing a part in our differing opinions was not considered. Instead, they concluded, it was because I was rebellious, argumentative, problematic, oppressed, in need of a deliverance, and too attached to my roots. In other words –not servile enough.

To be fair, there were a handful of people who loved me exactly as I am. Sadly, they couldn’t escape unbreakable rule #52. Rule 52 says: If you can’t say something white~err~I mean nice, serve coffee cake and pretend nothing is wrong. Because, if you can’t eat coffee cake while pretending nothing is wrong, the problem is you.

The ones who were full of…coffee cake, went on to attack my husband for not disciplining me properly (They wanted this century’s equivalent of the whip implemented). He’s white. He should have known better. They couldn’t say it’s his fault I was out of control (according to the handbook, you can’t blame a white person). It was decided, I somehow forced my husband to rebel (bewitched, henpecked, tied him up in the basement…). That he could think for himself and had worked through the racial issues they were facing was never a consideration.

They had to take drastic measures. They issued me ultimatums. ‘Do things the white-way or else…’

My inner-city upbringing left me underwhelmed with their scare-tactics. We chose, or else.

So that good Christian community had to give up and admit defeat. I was going to stay black, after all.

I love happy endings.

The People I Write For

Now that I am down from my chocolate high, I can take a moment to reflect on my experience at the Martinsburg Chocolate Fest.

Writing is somewhat of an introvert activity. An author is fortunate if she or he has an extroverted personality or a flair for marketing. I have neither. I enjoy people, places and things as much as I am able, but I get my energy from quiet endeavors. Needless to say, the Chocolate Fest was not something I actually wanted to do.

Besides being a great opportunity to get some visibility for my book, it is an annual community event people enjoy. Chocolate, books and kid-friendly activities. What’s not to like? (That was the argument I used after I talked myself out of it twice.) I applied late, yet the sponsors went out of their way to fit me in. As a local author, they wanted to help me in spite of my best self-sabotaging efforts.

So, what did I get for stepping out of my comfort zone? Lots and lots. Elsewhere, I mentioned the special visits, the support, the networking and the sales – a surplus of the things a writer hopes to accomplish. Beyond that, I have two memories that are mine to treasure. Two moments of personal awe.

The first was gifted to me by a young lady I guess to be about fourteen or so. She and her mom came in to get their chocolate and chat. Her mom chatted. She picked up my book, read the front, read the back, and started reading the book. Having secured the candy and paid her greeting-dues, mom was ready to move on. I watched the hesitation in her daughter’s movement. The wistful longing. Her mom saw it too. Mother’s eyes darted to the price signage.

I suddenly knew things I had no business knowing. I knew this was not a greedy person who got everything she wanted or asked for very much. I knew her mom would give her the world if she could afford it. I knew two minutes was not enough time for any sensible mother to gauge the value of an impulse buy.

I offered the printed-out first page. A stack of which, I had on hand to tempt readers. My young friend informed me she had already read beyond the first page. (That fast, she was five pages in!) Our kindred spirits clicked and I said, “Well, then you should have it.”

Her mom agreed and with a sigh reached for her purse. I shook my head and said it was a gift. There were squeals of gratitude and excited appreciation, and look of sheer joy when I handed E— her very own signed copy.

I came to the Chocolate Fest for her. I wrote my novel for her. During that short exchange, accomplishments didn’t matter. Jobs didn’t matter. The next president didn’t matter. All that mattered was a story and a beautiful, bright mind to fall into it.

My other treasured pleasure came from a sister who was unafraid of herself and who loved me for me.

We were stationed at a restaurant. My girl came in looking for lunch but paused when she saw me. In her mind, I am a black success story. I wrote a book. I accomplished something. I am a point for the underdog. In her excitement, she left me to hold her things while she rounded up her crew. A few minutes later she returned with two brothers who had to see me for themselves before they became true believers. All three purchased books in a show of solidarity and support. One gentleman even gave me a tip because he was so proud to have me there. Another teared up when he asked me to write something encouraging for his granddaughter because she likes to write too. My girl showed everyone in the room the inscription because I signed it: to my girl, G—. You made my day! She wanted people to know she was My Girl. They shook my hand again as they were leaving the restaurant and promised to ‘show me off’ to everybody.

It felt like undeserved star-treatment, to me. For them, it was a chance to celebrate life.

I wrote my story for them. I write all my stories for them. I grew up in the inner city without basic necessities. Last Saturday, I ate chocolate and signed books. Of course, I write for them.

As introverted as I am, and as much as I like my house, I can honestly say, I am glad I chose to participate in this year’s Chocolate Fest. I wanted to sell books and I did. But I received more than just money. I had more than just fun. I was fortunate enough to meet the people I write for.