Monday, November 16, 2015

Monday evening memories: Najee's Theme

I'm sitting at home this evening listening to some CDs from the 80s and 90s. As I am typing, I'm listening to Jazz saxophonist, Najee. I used to play this CD as new and hip music when I was a DJ at my college station, WHCJ - Savannah State University (90-94). Back then, guys would come up to me and ask for me to make a tape - you know - cassette tape. It was the 90s. Anyway, back then, I could put together a very romantic mix of Contemporary Jazz. Today, it offers me some comfort to listen to it. It's as if I am conjuring some memories from that time in my life. It's all good - all good feelings and memories of my youthful days in the late 80s. Anyway, play it Najee!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

My Thoughts On Writing

Photograph: Erhan Dayi / Alamy/Alamy

Note: This is a post that I wrote 10 years ago on writing. When I read it again, I realized that the same feelings are true 10 years later. I wouldn't change a thing. There is still power in the pen!

It is a peculiar thing… this desire to pick up the pen.

Perhaps, it is born out of the desire to interpret or create life through the people that we’ve met or people that we’ve imagined. Franz Kafka spoke of his torment in writing and how difficult it was to produce a story at times. Ralph Ellison would write for years just to produce one American classic, Invisible Man. Zora Neale Hurston continued to write long after her celebrity had faded; there were dozens of manuscripts found in her personal trunk after her death.

This congenital impulse in me was conceived through the Black oral tradition. My grandmother, Eunice, was the family griot. I would listen intently to the stories that she would tell me as a child. These were stories passed down to her by her elders and she was more than willing to pass them on to me. I was an inquisitive, bright-eyed little boy with dozens of questions about who we were and who we are. She sometimes marveled at the seriousness of my questions that involved the existence of God and the purpose of man. She would usually share these stories while cooking or while she relaxed in her favorite chair. The images that she painted on my imagination were wonderful. I could see all of the characters vividly in my mind. I imagined how they looked. I imagined their lives. I imagined their hearts. These were my people, and I loved them through the stories that I heard about them.

Eventually, I picked up the pen in college and soon realized its power to communicate. I’ve always imagined that a pen is to a writer what a paint brush is to a painter. The words represent color. Honorable mention: Toni Morrison can paint the most beautiful images that I’ve ever seen on paper. These words can evoke emotion and stir the soul to take action for change. There’s power in the pen!

It is a peculiar thing…this desire to pick up the pen.

Friday, September 04, 2015


Joe Sample's Smile

Joseph Leslie "JoeSample (February 1, 1939 – September 12, 2014)
 American pianist, keyboard player, and composer.

In the early 90s, I was a Jazz disc jockey as a student at Savannah State University. I particpated in work study program at the campus radio station, WHCJ 90.3 FM. It was fun and I created a bit of fan base in the four years that I worked there. It was also my first time being exposed to what WHCJ station manager, Theron "Ike" Carter, called "real Jazz" music. I knew little - very little - about Jazz outside of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and Adult contemporary music that I thought was Jazz.

One of the groups that I learned about while working at WHCJ was The Jazz Crusaders featuring Joe Sample, Wilton Felder, and Larry Carlton to name a few. I became a huge fan of their music, and I followed Joe Sample's work and would often play it on my radio show, "An Afternoon Rendezvous."

Well, after graduating from college, I continued to follow Jazz music as well as the music of Joe Sample. Fast forwarding to the late 90s, I had the opportunity to sit in on a taping of the Black Entertainment (BET) show, BET on Jazz. In the taping, I was excited to see that they were going to feature  the music of Mr. Joe Sample. I was so excited; I watched him as he spoke to different people involved with the production and I carefully watched him prepare before everything started. R&B legend, Mr. Lou Rawls, was set to host the show. Soon, he noticed that I was looking at him. Once he looked my way, I immediately smiled and said hello by waving. I think that I expressed it with such vigor and familiarity that he thought that we knew each other. His eyes squinted as he seemed to search his memory for the time that we supposedly met. I noticed and I assured him that we have never met. "I just wanted to say hello," I told him. He smiled, gave me a friendly nod, and continued preparing for the taping. I will never forget that moment.

Well, rest well Mr. Sample and thank you for your sincere kindness and your wonderful music.

Photo Source: Joe Sample. Digital image. Smooth Jazz Magazine. N.p., n.d. Web.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Writing Habits and Inspiration Places

Mr. Wright did some of his best writing early in the morning. He got up around 6:00 A.M. Sometimes, it was earlier during the summer months. He only needed a bottle of ink, a fountain pen, and his legal yellow pad when he climbed to the top of a hill in Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn. On that hill, he would fill page after page as he occassionally glanced down on the brownstones and tenement houses near the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
Brownstones near Ft. Greene

Note: A place to write is very important to me. I find it difficult to write where I live at that moment. It's too suburban and much too bland a scene. I love the comfort and safety of the neighborhood but it dosen't lend much to inspiration. So, there are times when I use my imagination and I travel to places in order to get started. What about you? Do you require a place or do you develop this place in your mind?

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Happy Birthday, Brother Malcolm

Malcolm X (born Malcolm Little; May 19, 1925Feb 21, 1965)

This post is to honor the memory of Mr. El-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz (Malcolm X) for his birthday, May 19, 1925. You know, we sometimes forget that our leaders of the past and present were once little boys and girls who loved to laugh and play. They played games like 21, hop scotch, and hide-and-go-get-it. They became excited when they heard the ice cream truck; they loved bubble gum, cookies, and all types of sweets. They had a crush on the pretty girl or cute boy in their class.

Back then, the young Malcolm Little did not know that he would grow, fall, and rise like the Phoenix. He did not know that he would grow to be internationally known and respected. He did not know that he would carry the weight of the world on his shoulder. Malcolm Little did not know that he would die just trying to make things right -- right for everyone. God bless your soul, brother Malcolm. Happy Birthday. Peace~

Thursday, May 14, 2015

You Are Enough...

Rober F. Smith delivers a riveting commencement speech to the class of 2015 at  American University. In it, he urged students to "dream big" and recognize that they are enough. He goes on to state that "A life contained is no life at all….You are enough to create ripples of change that bend the arc of humanity closer to justice." To find out more about Robert Smith's work visit his website.

American University School of International Service
Sunday, May 10, 2015
Washington, D.C.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Reflections and Projections

First, this painting by artist, Jonathan Green ("Horizon"), is a direct reflection of my who I am. I cannot tell you how often I am enamoured by the clouds and birds in the sky. The lovely azure scenery always grabs my attention, if only for a moment. It is God's splendor - His creation. How can I ignore it?

Well, this semester is coming to an end, and I'm getting ready for summer. Students are dropping off their final papers and I am listening to either their accolades or their worries. Meanwhile, I am thinking about writing for the summer. Even writing on this blog has been a new accurance in the past couple of days. Overall, this year has been good. Of course, I have my loose ends to tie and relationships to nurture and build, but it has been good. Every year, my goal is to become better as a teacher; so, I must read and study. That's the thing about teaching - we are perpetually a student. I love it though.

I have plans to further my studies with another degree. I'm looking into different programs here in Maryland. My goal is to do something that I find interesting. At first, I considered going into Education and Leadership, but that wouldn't hold my interest. No, it has to be about the things I love, which include literature, language, and culture. Besides, that's all that I have discussed on this blog. That's what Morphological Confetti is all about. Anyway, I have something in mind, but we will see. I'll keep you posted.

Well, today's weather is unseasonably warm and the skies are clear here in Maryland. As the song writer said, "...I think I'll go outside for a take in some clean fresh air." Take Care and enjoy your day. ~Peace

Saturday, May 09, 2015

The Tubman Suite

I've been inspired recently to decorate our guest bedroom in sort of Early American. I'm calling it the "Tubman Suite" in honor of Harriet Tubman, abolitionist, who was born on the eastern shores of Maryland. I need to add a few more pieces to make it more nostalgic. I feel like this is the perfect opportunity now that Hollywood is producing an HBO movie on the life of Harriet Tubman starring Viola Davis. I'm excited! Listen, if you have any ideas, please let me know. Well, happy Mother's Day to all the mothers who read MC. Enjoy your weekend. Peace~

Monday, January 19, 2015

Thank You Dr. King: A look at Selma

Last evening, I had the pleasure of going to see SELMA at the theater. The films is based on the 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches led by the Rev., Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., James Bevel (played by Common), Hosea Williams, and John Lewis of SNCC. I thought that it was, overall, a good film. Historically, it seemed accurate and honest in its content - more than I've seen in previous films.
It was as expected, I thought. I also felt that David Oyelowo did an excellent job portraying the slain Civil Rights leader. Specifically, It tells the story of that very important and pivotal day in Civil Rights history. The film also addresses some important relationships in Dr. King's life such as the relationship with his wife, Coretta Scott King. It was not depicted, as in other films, as a smooth and always loving relationship. It explored the difficult times as well. Also, it dabbled in the relationship between King and President Lyndon Johnson as well as The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).

I've been indoctrinated and saturated with the life of the Rev., Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. all of my life; so, this film was no revelation for me. Nonetheless, I still enjoyed watching. For some reason, I am drawn to any new depiction of Dr. King just like many others around the world. It never gets old. This is why this film is so important for younger generations or for people who don't know the history of the United States. It gives an explanation and perspective to the turmoil that is going on today here in the United States in places like Ferguson, Missouri (Michael Brown), Jena, Louisiana (Jena Six), New York City (Eric Garner) and many other places around the United States and the world. SELMA also reminds us that change can happen when people pull together as one.  It gives us hope and for that I am thankful. Go see the film if you can. It is worth your dime and all of your time. Thank you Dr. King. We love you.