Friday, October 21, 2005

Friendship Lost...Was it REALLY Meant to be?

All is not well in my camp. This past week I lost a friend. And I can truly say that the fault is not mine. Suffice it to say, when circumstantial innuendo is allowed to hang on the surface and one fail to go deeper for clarity and better understanding, it not only clouds truth, but surely leaves one of us much worse for the wear. Inasmuch in these trying times where tenets are forged to galvanize stability there should always be room for keep those that are deemed worthy of platonic commaderie close at heart and embraceable. I've always felt that there's no excuse for not permeating a meeting of the minds to settle any disparaging differences for the betterment of the relationship in coming to one accord.

In my case, I did nothing but tell the truth and it came back to slap me smack in the face. My so called 'friend' only looked on the surface and made the decision she felt she had to make. You see, this happens only if you've made up your mind despite options to think otherwise. To my chagrin, and at the expense of our friendship, I continually ask myself, "was it meant to be"? Not one to cry over spilled milk, I shed true tears with this one, because this was not ordinary friend. Sharing much, and seemingly to come together despite a few character differences, we spent time talking trying always to find common bonds of ambiance.

You see, Deborah (I'll call her this to protect her 'innocence') and I met online. For a year and a half we took pains to get to know each other despite the mileage between us...and given the set of circumstances where you never throw caution to the wind, we thrived. We even progressed despite being told that it wouldn't last. I've second-guessed myself wondering did I do the right thing in expelling her from my life?Will my conscience and consciousness suffer with her absence so evident of circumstances gone awry? My best defense was, and is to embrace the fact that I don't need to lie at this stage in my life. Or, that there wasn't any ulterior motive for my actions save to make sure that if push come to shove that I'm convincing in my explanations.

Was it really meant to be, to lose like this? I stand my ground and will chalk it up to fate. I've moved on, but I know there is space reserved in my psyche that will allow me to think 'what if', coulda, woulda, or even shoulda. Now that I'm allowed to shuck the burden of guilt, I surely can lament that it shouldn’t have ended this way, that in the face of it all, REAL friends would have found a way for common ground to prevail. I would be remiss at this point if I didn't revisit essays I've written in the past extolling the virtues of true friendship. Going there, I would recall my ditty on what it takes to be a 'Friend for All Seasons', or to reminisce on saving face and send my 'Epistle to A Friend' and call it a day.

I trudge on looking for more opportunities to allow Agape love to order my steps in gauging good ties to equal parity, where mutual respect is one of many ingredients to stay the course to define what friends should truly embody. I still give a toast to Deborah, as I wish her well, and will miss her terribly...and if either one of us should allow ego to subside for a minute, just maybe we will hook up again in a Providential way to save face and shame the devil. Keep your head to the sky, Deb...there's an upside to your being that will manifest success for you.

Your erstwhile friend,

The Jackal

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

A Novel Idea Coming to Fruition -- At Last!

I’ve finally started writing my first novel. Yeah, yeah, the bullet has been bitten and I’m taken the plunge. I’ve been provoked into writing for reasons I can't ignore, and for having the opportunity to let others share my opinionated views and the wherewithal for writing a good story. I do realize though, that the publishing industry is a ruthless business that often do not give best returns on investments if one is not prepared for rejection and rewrites. Am I ready? You betcha! Why now? Because it’s TIME! Robbing Peter to pay Paul has been manifested in stealing time from my other priorities for the sake of literal notoriety, and a chance for me to say the book in me is being produced. Yes, sneaking away from my desk at work the manuscript clutched tightly to finish “this last chapter” only to have it turn into the next chapter, and the one after that, until it’s time to go on to the next rendezvous in life. Everyone is wondering without words whether temperance and perseverance will suffice enough for me to allow this quest to become more reality than imagery.

Oh, but do I have a surprise for those who doubt! When, and should I falter, I will have at my side the trials and tribulations of Ernest Hemmingway, who after countless rejection letters and setbacks stayed the course and wasn’t worse for the wear by producing remarkable work. I still see myself some 20 years ago as a Sophomore in high school reading The Old Man and the Sea, being that man between those pages committed to an idea and never stopping until the task is done and all storms weathered. For all of these reasons and many more, in my quest to take this idea from book to shelf.

I admit to being a greedy reader, and a voracious writer. I believe too, that the least I can do is bridge gaps to help my fellow writers realize their dreams of finally getting up and over the proverbial chasm that separates publishing success and a wannabe novelist with grandeur hopes of a six-figure income. The Romer Review will continue to be the vehicle for that journey to manifest itself relative to it’s mission statement
( I believe in the power of a good story told simply and presented elegantly and with panache, and for that reason, I know that I will continue to allow the craft and the muse of the literati to guide and propel me toward my lofty aspiration to not only just belong, but to command respect! Keep me in your prayers, will ya?

Monday, October 10, 2005

I Remember New Orleans the Way It Used to Be

She was older by far than any of her contemporaries in the region. Multi-hued and culturally diverse, she was hot, spicy and full of panache. You might say that she was a seductress that invited you to all of her wily charms, opened up and gave you all you could bear. Bared it all she did on many occasions, as she alluringly dared you to whet your appetite, when she wanted to be more than what was seen on the surface! They called her the Crescent City, the Big Easy, Sin City-- I called her whenever I needed rejuvenation and vivacity. Ah yes, New Orleans! New Orleans, the way it was known had enduring appeal found in the alchemy of unlikely combinations, where different rules applied, especially under the cover of darkness. I remember that fun place, that erudite City of the South, where beads meant something, imagery everything, and egos nothing. Will she ever be the same? Can she bounce back and give us that which we miss so much? Will we be able to afford her? Questions, queries, and quests are about us as we curse Katrina, and regret Rita.

Yes, I remember Royal Street, that paragon of priceless art, artifacts, and antique wonders! ... And Bourbon street and the rest of the French Quarter was more than mere memory -- it defined presence and perseverance, where Preservation Hall presented much more than joyous jazz and nostalgic sounds that Louis rocked to in his hey day. It was cajuns, creole, and somewhere in between, where the distinct cuisine of favor and flavor was the ultimate sense of belonging that beckoned me. I remember and miss Antoine's, Cafe Du Monde, and the taste of real hot sauce!

Oh, Katrina you wrecker of dreams, drama and desire, why so demonstrative and destructive? You ruined it all, and had help from our inept government and pathetic president, but you MUST bounce back, and with those who were left homeless and incapacitated....and I know you will. I remember you in great detail, New Orleans. The essence of music was your legacy, your cuisine your calling card, and certainly your reputation gave you notoriety. Give it back to me, and in a hurry!

The Writer, The Wisdom, The Woman -- Introducing, E. Claudette Freeman

Every so often along comes a talent so defined and diversified you try to draw parallels, and for no other reason than to chalk it up as unique, you’re resigned albeit reluctantly to give this talent her just due. This is because you want more and demand more from authors who are bubbling just under the radar. You realize that the writing is genuine and comes profoundly from the bowels of self, giving new meaning to originality. Her name? E. Claudette Freeman and she has arrived, ready to expand your horizons and give you new hope to literary fortitude. Who in the hell is this E. Claudette Freeman you ask? Sit back and take it all in. She’s everything you imagined, but was afraid to assume!

E. Claudette Freeman is …….. Co-author of the nationally-toured production of CHARCOAL SKETCHES, a biographical dramatic performance produced and co-authored by Bhetty Waldron on the lives of Zora Neale Hurston, Augusta Savage and Mary McLeod Bethune. Performed as a one woman show, and one woman with Chorale.

The author of PIECES AND ME: A Collection of Life, a gathering of short stories that deal with various relationships. Published by Imagine Graphics of South Florida, the book is available in Black-owned bookstores across the country and on the Internet at,, and other sites. The author of six stage plays {two placing second and third in the Loften Mitchell Playwrights Festival, in 1994 and 1995 respectively.) The plays are:

FROM THE PORCH - Commissioned by the Miami Sports and Exhibition Authority and narrated by actor Danny Glover, this historical piece traces Black history from enslavement to the contemporary hip hop era. Told through the voice of a narrator, the piece is accentuated with dramatic vignettes that colorfully relay various timelines.

THE SLUMBER PARTY -- Self-produced in March 1995, this play centers around a night of secrets revealed when five life long friends get together for a sleep over. Tales of sexual orientation, abuse and loneliness unfold like pages from a diary. (Second place 1994 Loften Mitchell Playwrights Festival, staged at Barry University‘s Broad Theater, March 1995)

REMEMBERIN' PAPA -- Is an emotional story of the relationship between and aging father and his three children, and how the unresolved issues of childhood affect them when their father dies suddenly. (Third place 1995, Loften Mitchell Playwrights Festival)

THE PORCHES OF HOME --Is actually a collection of four pieces in one. It is small town tales that invite the audience to visit the lives of several of the town's people. These stories deal with a daughter tired of small town life, family superstitions, the memory of a painful death, and the curiosity of a teenager.

THE TEARS A SISTER CRIES -- A look at the raw dialogue of three Christian women about sex, relationships and the issues allowed and encouraged in relationships. (Staged African Heritage Cultural Arts Center, October 2001)

THE WAY MY MAMA LOVES ME - A story of unspoken emotions, unspoken pain and the tormented relationship between a mother and daughter. (Staged Florida Memorial College, October 2000, Vision To Victory Center, January 2001).

E. Claudette Freeman is also the author of a series of poetry and inspirational E-Books under the imprint, E-Inspirations: IN MY DARKEST HOUR, EVOLUTION OF A DARK CHILD, THE MORNING HOUR and DADDY'S GIRL/MY FATHER'S CHILD

She is a former student/artist-in-residence of Ntozake Shange, who personally chose Freeman to participate in an intense one month writing enhancement session. The author, erudite in her prolific writing style is recognized as rising star, and one of the most prominent African American female writers of the 20th Century by the African American Cultural Arts Coalition and the Pan African Bookfest of South Florida.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Notes on a Napkin Voume I, No. 1

Slavery is NOT Dead: The Plight of Three Lost Boys From Sudan!

Modern day slavery is alive and thriving in the 21st century. In many instances there's no varying degree of atrocity than that of social inequity where freedom is snuffed out and stiffled, and free-will is fleeting. Human bondage, no matter how the script is written, is a sordid affair that has shown its ugly head through the annals of time. Whole races and cultures have been obliterated because of it. Every so often I think of my ancestors and what they went through just trying to unshackle the chains and lighten the yoke of oppression. I've read a series of articles, books, and reports of several factions still feeding the institution. Now comes a poignant, yet harrowing experience involving our precious children, one which should make you stand up and scream!

Northern Africa, the Sahara, and Sudan has systems in place rife with all the ingredients, and very little escape. Civil wars and rumors of like wars are commonplace where raids for women, and children, especially boys are relished to fuel the fire. In Sudan it takes on dire proportions that has the world watching with a third eye, wondering how much and how long can they continue to exploit and extinguish young boys that will never see manhood. The story of The Lost Boys are told ( in detail with a published account of how three made it out to tell their story, and if you're compelled to do something as I plan to, click here: