have you met mr. bryant terry?
sometimes the universe gives you a big ole kiss on the mouth to let you know that you’re on the right track. if you’ve read this blog lately you know that i’m in year seven of noveling. you should also know that i *heart* chefs. somehow stalling (uh, researching) on the internets i found my way to this recipe for double mustard greens and roasted yam soup. i couldn’t believe it when i read on to find out that bryant is a native memphian (like me), graduated with honors in english at xavier in new orleans (where i reside) and has an uncle who worked for hi records (maybe you’ve heard of al green?) and wrote i can’t stand the rain. maybe you know “rain” as the sample underneath missy elliot’s the rain, but in memphis we have old school sundays on the radio so all of my contemporaries generally think of the version by ann peebles.
brother isn’t simply a chef. he’s a food activist, author and superhero.
now that’s plenty, but when i stopped to stall (uh, research) i was writing a scene with a character who sings that song. seriously. i had to tell somebody, so i e-mailed the man himself. he was really sweet (good home-training!). so you all need to buy a copy of his book grub. and then buy the new one when it comes out.
the you can go home again edition…
still in memphis…making progress balancing writing & being social. usually i just collapse on my mama’s couch and hide out for a week or so, but this trip i’ve worked more days than not and made excellent progress. i told my family last night that i might not be working fast, but i’m working strong…and for the first time ever…ever…in seven whole years i feel like this is it…the draft that will make all this novelling a book…
over on tayari’s blog, she’s talking about process...she says it so much better than i have the energy to even attempt, so i’ll just cosign what she said…i have natural hair, too and curly pudding set my scalp and my soul on fire! i got rid of the whole $50 tub with the quickness.
here’s the business from this week in novelling:
3 hours revision
0 hours: went to alternate coffeshop, couldn’t concentrate..shopped instead
0 hours: memorial day
4 hours revision: visitation by the ghost of relationships past. i spoke him up. he appeared.
4 hours revision: got religion at the church of badu
4 hours revison w/ lots of visiting and playing. at the work-house by 11 am even though i was out until 2 am
4 hours revision: read mommy & daddy the first section. they laughed at how much i stole from their sane lives for my crazy characters
there is so much to say about this trip. it will take a bit to process it all…i’m going to get to work since i’m out to see sex & the city
i had forgotten this space. this space of being so deep into the sea of the novel that everything is connected. so on a break i was perusing style.com. there was a year in review of fashion and in it the singer beth ditto was metioned. she’s this plus-sized songstress from arkansas of the group gossip. i’ve never heard of her so i go over to wikipedia (my librarian friends are surely rolling over in their twinsets) and find out she is in relationship with a transman. i click over to transman (just to make sure) and skim down to a list strangely labeled publicity. i stop at a listing of someone named wilmer “little ax” broadnax described as an american gospel tenor.
i click over to the wilmer broadnax entry to discover that wilmer was a part of the spirit of memphis gospel quartet and only at his death was it revealed that wilmer was actually a woman living as a man!
why is any of this relevant? i’ve spent the past few days weaving a lot of the music of memphis into my book. memphis really was the crossroads of american music–the blues, gospel, sprituals, rock & roll…and wilmer sounds almost exactly like a character i wrote in a long ago draft of this book…maybe my character duke wants to come back…
spooky. just like i like it…