Some Fridays, Amani made plans to meet her work colleagues at one of Downtown L.A.’s overpriced rooftop bars. For a city native like Amani, the words “Downtown” and “nightlife” sat uncomfortably on the tongue. The Downtown L.A. Amani remembered consisted of two extremes: pristine office buildings and makeshift tents inhabited by the city’s overwhelmingly Black and brown homeless. But the transplants at her office didn’t know—or didn’t mind—that so many impoverished people had literally been removed from the cityscape to make way for their favorite bars and clubs. No, the transplants only knew glitzy downtown, a gentrified space full of vibrant lounges, upscale shopping, and fancy lofts.
Even though Amani committed to these Friday meet-ups, she never failed to cancel because Friday evenings were reserved for her grandfather. Always. Continue reading “At King and Western “
My friends are writers. Not all of them, but a significant number. When you throw a bunch of writers together, they talk about books and exchange notes on craft. One of these writer friends of mine–a really close friend whom I’ve been blessed to know for ten years (!)–suggested that we record our conversation about writing and share it widely. I realize that not all of my readers know me personally, and even fewer know what I think about writing as process and form. This was my opportunity to rectify that! I’ll be sharing another piece on the topic soon. I also have another creative piece in the works that I’m eager to publish. In the meantime, however, I hope you enjoy this snippet of two nerdy friends talking about something that equally frustrates and excites them.
Until soon… Continue reading “On Writing: A Conversation Between Friends”
Sunday mornings came softly in Oxford. They were so unbearably still.
Stillness didn’t relax her. Stillness didn’t calm her. It irked her: it slowly layered onto itself until it triggered the unrelenting urge to flee. Even though she felt the first pangs of that urge as she lifted herself from bed around dawn, she ignored them. Instead, she thought of the chapter drafts she needed to write, the articles she had to read, and the emails she needed to answer. No, she wouldn’t give into her desire to escape. She’d try to push through. Continue reading “Some Days”
“How could you be so fucking stupid? Have I not been good to you? Have I not done more for you than any other man ever would have?”
Just as you open your mouth to respond, he jumps up from his seat and begins pacing from wall to wall. You take a moment to observe him, to look at his tightly clenched fists. To look at the firm scowl set into his face. To look into his eyes, empty and distant. You bite your tongue and listen as he continues.
“I’ve never raised my voice to you. I’ve never hit you. I’ve cooked for you, cleaned for you. I take you out. Hell, I eat you out whenever you want me to! How the fuck could you do me like this?!” Continue reading “A Good Man”
Yesterday, You may have received a notification that I published a new piece entitled “On Love.” If you clicked on the link sent in the notification email, you were redirected to a password protected page. Let me explain why. While working on this piece I struggled–deeply–with the language. Truth be told, I’m still working through it, revising it, trying to find a more fitting narrative voice. I wasn’t sure that the piece was worthy of sharing with a wider audience. The post was password protected so that a few friends could review it and give me feedback.
I’m still not in love with the piece (the irony, right?), but I’ve been told by a few friends that it grew on them. I hope it grows on you as well. “On Love” is now live and available for public viewing. Please take a look, if you can. As always, I’m happy to hear your thoughts.
All my best,
“He left me. We’re over.”
The vibration of your phone against the wooden surface of the table calls your attention away from the book in your hand. It’s a beautiful day—a warm, slightly windy, infinitely sunny L.A.-kind-of-day—but those three words appear to mark the end of what you had hoped would be a relaxing and uneventful afternoon.
Continue reading “On Love”
It’s been a while. A long while. In the five or so months that have passed since I last shared any of my work (in this space), I’ve been busy. I’ve done a great deal of thinking, observing, and reading. Empathy, forgiveness, love, frustration, depression, anger, hopelessness, patience, and a whole lot more have weighed heavily on my mind. I’ve loved on some old relationships, begun the work of healing some others, questioned the continued significance of a few, and let a couple go. I’ve managed crises, large and small, and thought deeply about the future, immediate and distant. Now, I’m finding my way (back) to writing, slowly but surely committing paper to pen and sharing a few pieces (while I hide some others).
Here is something that I wrote months ago but only recently decided to share. It’s a short story about fleeting encounters. Until soon… Continue reading “Fifteen Minutes”
My senior year of college was, by far, the most emotionally and intellectually exhausting period of my undergraduate experience.
I spent hours upon hours writing, rewriting, and revising my senior thesis, the most challenging (and, in retrospect, fulfilling) research project I’ve completed to date; I saw some cherished relationships slowly dissolve while others abruptly shattered; I went through the motions of attending seemingly endless–and frustrating–discussions with university administrators about issues of “diversity and inclusion” (read: insidious anti-Black prejudice) on campus. In the background, forefront, and center of all of this, I watched what Steven Thrasher has rightfully named “the pornography of [Black] genocide.” I couldn’t seem to get through a few weeks, let alone a month, without bearing witness to yet another pointless death of a Black person, often at the hands of an abusive state.
I had many ups and downs during that year, but the downs felt particularly low. I recall continually whispering to myself, “I can’t do this. I’m so through.” I was drained. Continue reading “Breaking & Mending”
A “friend” wants to visit you from the States. You haven’t spoken to or seen each other in a while, but you’ve known each other since you were teenagers. You were never particularly close, but you recall enjoying her company. Back in the day, the two of you used to gossip shamelessly and watch cheesy rom-coms during the weekends. You tell your friend that she should come to England to see you. Why not? You’re looking forward to catching up.
You meet her on High Street soon after her bus arrives. You plan to spend a week together, splitting your time between Oxford and London. Your friend marvels at Oxford’s imposing gothic architecture as you make your way down High Street towards Longwall. “What a dream. I bet living here is an absolute dream.” A dream? Not actually. A nightmare? Quite possibly. But the awe-inspired look on your friend’s face tells you she wouldn’t comprehend the weight of your answer, so you tilt your head to the side and ask her, “How was that twelve-hour flight?” Continue reading “Post-Black Encounters”
Never, ever, accept a dinner date just because you’re hungry…
I’ve debated whether or not I should write about this on my blog for the past few weeks. I hope that readers not only find this story incredibly hilarious but also deeply instructive. I’ve slightly changed some information to protect his identity. I hope he never sees this…
I, admittedly, made a terrible decision. I accepted a date just because I was hungry. Homeboy, as I will refer to him in this blog post, was nice enough. He was attractive enough. He seemed pretty chill. But, to be completely honest, I never would have accepted his invitation had he not offered to treat me to dinner at a restaurant that I really wanted to try but was too broke to afford. Listen, I live in one of the most expensive cities in the UK; most of my income goes to rent. Is it so wrong that I just wanted to enjoy a (free) nice evening out? Continue reading “Chicken Grease”