Friday, December 26, 2008

Seven Pounds

I saw a movie on Christmas Day that I feel compelled to write about: Will Smith's Seven Pounds. Critics have battered it.

Not to be contrary, I have to say that I liked it.

Yes, it made me weep. I was miserable for hours afterward, so miserable and disappointed about having seen a downer on Christmas Day that I slapped the poor guy who took me.

I'm not going to summarize the plot. You'll find that done elsewhere easily enough. I'm not going to regurgitate negative commentary here, either. I'll just say that while I agree with some of the comments, I disagree with their conclusions.

I agree that it was achingly sad, but ... I'm glad I saw it. Maybe I stayed in Europe for too long, where despair and the desire for redemption might be considered worthy subject matter, and where there's less preference for the contrived and saccharine storylines that we Americans strongly prefer.

The thing is, I do enjoy the contrived and saccharine. Very much so. They nourish my rather shaky sense of optimism. Having spent the last couple of months obsessing over the "realities" of life as we know it, and can expect it, through the prism of the esteemed New York Times, I was ready for the mindless relief of a truly heady dish of junk-food cinema, the deprivation of which led me to slap a really good friend. I wanted to laugh and be happy, especially on Christmas Day. Instead, I found myself weeping like an idiot, in public.

For a moment, I was furious.

But then I calmed down, and I realized that when all was said and done, it felt good to have downed this bit of cinematic medicine. This is indeed a movie that makes you want to call someone and say, "You won't believe this, but ..."

I wasn't the only one to dissolve into tears, and many in the audience burst into appreciative applause as the movie came to an end.

So, I don't give a damn what the critics say. I recommend Seven Pounds, especially if you're in the mood for a cathartic bout of weeping -- always a good thing to have, I'd say, at the end of the year.

Best wishes for very Happy Holidays,


P.S. There's still time to take part in the Win-an-iPod contest. Visit my site for details.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Rallying cry

Have you thought about one thing you'd like to accomplish in 2009?

Rallying cries help me stay focused on my annual goal. I started the practice in 2003. I noticed I was spending so much time volunteering for my local writing chapter that I was getting very little - if any - writing done. That made for a very miserable Patricia. If I wanted to get back to writing, I'd have to cut back on volunteering. Spend less time on others and more time on myself. That's why my 2003 rallying cry became "2003: The Year of Me."

Did I mention I like rhyming rallying cries?

Despite my best intentions, I still spent more time volunteering than writing, so 2004's rallying cry was "Me Once More."

Moving into 2005, I found a variation on the theme. I drastically cut back on volunteering for my group, but I earned a promotion at my day job. My savings account was very happy, but my writing continued to suffer. In fact, I considered giving up my dream of becoming a published author. My brother talked me out of that insanity. I'll never forget what he said. "Don't give up your dream. Don't ever give up your dream. Even if you just write one page a day, don't ever give up your dream." He's the best. And, to my credit, I listened to him. The rallying cry for 2005 became "Keeping the Dream Alive."

I don't recall the rallying cries for 2006, 2007 or 2008. Perhaps I never identified them. But I do have a rallying cry for 2009: Managing My Time. This rallying cry is very sincere. I've got to do a better job of time management. Too often I've found either time managing me or no one minding the store at all. Before I realize it hours have flown by and I haven't completed my tasks for the day. So, for 2009, I want to focus on time management.

What's one thing you'd like to accomplish for 2009?


Thursday, December 04, 2008

Carleen Brice--The Black Book Lady--Welcomes Non Black People To The African-American Book Section! Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

December is buy a book by a black author and give it to someone not black month!

Ever since Barack Obama's historic presidential win, many black authors, myself included, have been wondering--hoping--the Obama Effect will trickle down to the publishing world and publishers will finally realize that the typical baby mama drama, street lit, and erotica books don't wholly represent black people and our experiences.

But as with any business, publishing is a numbers game. All publishers see are the big sales and dollar signs attached to publishing such narrow views of black life. So all of our bitching and griping, no matter how valid, thus far has been to no avail. As Shon Bacon so aptly put it in her recent Blogging in Black post,"They want to see the numbers, they want to see the sales, they want to SEE the change."

But such change is going to be hard to come by if we can't widen our readerships. Just in time for the holidays, Author Carleen Brice started a blog to introduce non-black readers to books by black authors. She's urging us to buy our non black coworkers, friends, and acquaintances books by black authors for the holidays.

I think this is an excellent idea. I fully believe that readers of all races will buy and read books that appeal to them, no matter the race of the author, IF they know about them. I've received email from readers across the globe who told me they enjoy my books. So, I'm not buying into the idea that our books don't have mainstream appeal. Because at the end of the day we're all just people, people who share many of the same human experiences. And our books reflect that.


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