Chronicles of a Single, Black Christian Female: Episode 1

Photo by @caminho_do_despertar from nappy.co

It’s probably the wrong thing to say, but I say it anyway.

“You remind me of my pastor.”

He stops, right as I’m about to reach my peak.

Definitely the wrong thing to say. Especially to a man whose face is currently buried between my thighs. Especially when I’m supposed to be at Bible study—I’ve already missed two straight weeks.

And I don’t think he’s saved. But I am. Or, at least, I’m supposed to be.

“Do you think of your pastor doing this to you?”

“No,” I say a little too quickly for it to be believable. His laugh offends me, because I know there are plenty of women in my church who do think of Pastor that way. And how could they not? He’s young, handsome— smooth skin, thick curly hair, full pink lips, eyes that haunt and the adorning long lashes to envy. If not a pastor, he’d be the kind to break hearts.

But he is a pastor. A good one. And a Christian. A good one. Or, at least, he presents himself to be. At this moment, who am I to judge?

I pull my dress up from my ankles and slip my arms through the sleeves. “I think I should go to church.” I’d be there already had I not taken this detour in response to his “Wyd” text.

“Feeling sinny?”

“No.” He disgusts me how he makes a joke of an obvious problem that I have—giving in to temptation. Maybe it’s because, in fact, I do feel a little . . . sinny.

I give him a quick kiss as I leave, which I immediately regret, not only because it gives him the impression that he can easily lure me back— perhaps after service—but also because now I’ll have the smell of my secret shame fresh on my lips, a smell that Mother Thompson—forever casting stones with her eyes on us “slippery skinny young thangs”—is sure to notice when I’m sitting on the very back pew, begging my Father in Heaven for forgiveness.

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What to Write for NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo is coming soon, and I’m considering taking the dive once again.

I don’t know why I continue to torture myself like this…

But I haven’t done any kind of planning or brainstorming, and although I have I plenty of works in progress (including a novella I’m considering giving a total revamp) half-baked ideas, and a current novel I haven’t yet started on, I want this potential NaNoWriMo novel to be 100% new.

Nothing I’ve started and stopped and started again…and stopped again.

Nothing that was once a passion but, after a year, has now become an afterthought.

Something my editor brain won’t overthink to the point that it’s debilitating.

Something I can approach as an adventure rather than potentially the next great American novel (that will only disappoint me when I read it again).

Something absolutely brand spanking new.

But what?

Maybe it’s because it’s almost Halloween, but I’m thinking of doing a ghost story. Nothing too scary, but something definitely spooky.

What do you think?

Tell me, what story should I write? I want to step out of my comfort zone a little. I’m sick of writing sad romance. Maybe a different genre will give me the boost I need to get to 50,000 words in one month for the first time ever!

Don’t Hold Back on #MarquessaChallenge This November!

Can’t get enough fiction on a Friday? …

Yes, yes, I know it’s Monday, but there’s a purpose here, I’m getting to it, I promise.

No, no, I’m not being cruel for looking ahead to Friday when it’s only just Monday. I don’t mean to disappoint you.

Ok, ok, in honor of Mondays, and #1MinFiction, I’ll make this short— one minute in fact—because I cherish your delicate feelings so much.

Time for my one-minute advertisement. And . . .

Ready . . .

Set . . .

Write!

This Friday, and next, and every Friday in November, and December, and forever, if you enjoy it that much, join #MarquessaChallenge, a Fiction Friday writing challenge that uses song lyrics as prompts. Yes, that means you can listen to the tunes in the background as you type away. How’s that for inspiration!

Ok, minute’s up. Did I miss anything? Ah, yes. Marquessa, host of #MarquessaChallenge (did the name give it away? 😉 ), and I are teaming up this November to bring you Monday’s #1MinFiction and Friday’s #MarquessaChallenge.

Starting this Thursday, Marquessa will give you a new song lyric prompt for the Friday challenge, and I’ll be reblogging it right here on Lovely Curses (I’ve gotten a little reblog-happy lately). Your job is to write a story using that lyric, or a part of it, or if you’re just not feeling it, any part of the song that inspires you. Be sure to drop a link to your story on Marquessa’s prompt post so she can find you, because comments on my reblogs will be disabled.

And don’t forget to come back next Monday, when I’ll be continuing with my holiday-inspired #1MinFiction prompts. November is all about . . . you guessed it, THANKSGIVING! *Gobble, gobble*

If you miss my prompt posts, no worries, Marquessa’s gotcha covered. She’ll be reblogging all of my #1MinFiction prompt posts on her blog, Simply Marquessa. So go ahead and follow her, and not because I told, but because she has great content, including beautifully crafted fiction, #TribeTuesday ideas to fix your life, #WriterWednesday tips, and the occasional opportunity to shamelessly promote your own blog. So why not follow? You’ll never be dissatisfied!

And to get you ready for this Friday, let’s scream with Shawn Mendes, “There’s nothing holdin’ me back!”

Forecast

“Careful. Hurricane’s out there churning.” Steve says. “Rip currents are strong.”

Always the meteorologist. Even on vacation. I hate it. I don’t need his job reminding me of how sad I am.

I step closer to the water’s edge, seashells making crescent moon imprints on the soles of my feet, spume from the crest of the waves kissing my toes.

It’s forecast veer north, fizzle out in the ocean, but how I wish it would stay the course. Make landfall. Pull me under and drag me out to sea. How I pray he would dive in after me, swim through the crashing waves, the salt in his eyes, the entangling seaweed and obstructing driftwood, to bring me back to him. Hell or high water. My life guard to press his lips against mine, breath the air back into my lungs, the beat into my heart.

Two days ago, he proposed, and when I told him no, he said work was moving him to Texas. There he’ll be an anchor, he tried to justify, more than just a weekend weatherman. People will see him.

How far is Texas? I Googled—nearly 1,500 miles. And away from me. He makes a living predicting the future in weather patterns, but he can’t see what’s right in front of him—the storm clouds gathering above my head, that I’m caught in a whirlwind, being pulled and tossed in different directions, falling apart.

Though he hasn’t explicitly said it, this trip feels like goodbye. Why continue in a relationship that will never end in marriage?

But the truth is I love him. More than the air in my lungs, more than the salt in the sea. More than I want to see the sun rise over the ocean in the morning, or his back shrinking behind the radar green screen.

Water splashes my hips. I’m deeper than I want to be, and when I turn around, he’s a retreating blur in my periphery. I’ve been drawn so far out already. Maybe it’s easier this way. He can climb back over the sand dunes and leave me here to prune. At least then he won’t see me cry, and I won’t have to explain again why it hurts too much to marry him.

Nortina

Moving In

“Did you pack enough boxes?” he asks as he folds the cardboard box he just emptied of all my china under his arm and tosses it toward the trashcan, missing it completely.

I don’t tell him about the two bins still in my trunk stuffed with decorations for almost every holiday—Christmas, New Year’s Thanksgiving, Halloween, Easter, Fourth of July, even President’s Day. I’ll wait to unpack those tomorrow, while he’s at work.

I admit I’m a bit of a hoarder, but just as he would’ve inherited a single mother’s snot-nosed kids, all my stuff instantaneously became his the day he married me.

At least we can both agree children will never be in the picture. I have no intentions of sharing him . . . ever. And in this big house, there are so many places we have yet to christen. Including the kitchen counter.

It takes me a few hops to pull myself on top of it, and once I’m up, I spin around to face him, shimmy my shoulders and let the spaghetti straps of my top fall to my elbows like melting ice cream.

“Are we ever going to eat off these?” he asks, oblivious to my advances. He taps his knuckles against the stack of gilded porcelain plates.

“Of course,” I lie, waving off the flying dust. We haven’t used them since Grandma died and left them for me in her will. Only for show, Mama always said. It’s good to have nice things.

“But not tonight.” Tonight, I have other plans. I pull him to my lips by his shirt collar and he stumbles over the box still containing all of my kitchen gadgets next to his feet—the handheld and electronic mixers (because I couldn’t have just one), the blender, food processor, and Spiralizer (how many ways can one chop up veggies?), the juicer that I’ve only used once since buying it five years ago.

Photo by @_WILLPOWER_ from nappy.co

“We’ve wasted enough time already,” he breathes into my mouth, reminding me of the housewarming we’ve pushed back twice now.

“But we have the rest of our lives,” I say. What are ten more boxes left—or twenty. I’ve lost count. My head spins when his bare chest is pressed against mine. His body heat melts my candle wax like fire.

“This is all I need,” I tell him, and he mounts the counter top to join me.

—Nortina 

Rumbling Thunder

Love Haiku #9

Thunderclap wakes me
in bed, void of your body
heat. I remember

a time when your eyes
lit my room as lightning, your
love gushed like driving

rain. In the distant
shower outside my window,
I think of you. How

you smashed into me
like hurricane winds and kissed
me with tempest force.

You are my storm, Dear
Lust. When darkness descends, I
burn for your fire.

—Nortina

Lovely Curses’ Next Serial Story: You Decide

Earlier this month in my Agenda post, I told you that I was eager to get started on my next serial story, but I that needed your help in deciding. Which one of my favorite Short Story a Day May stories should I expand into a series?

Well, the votes came in, and there weren’t many, so I’m reopening the poll, because I really want to engage my readers, especially those of you who stuck around while I was dealing with my chronic writer’s block. You’ve truly been loyal and I want to reward you!

So yes, YOU have to decide! While I do have my preferences, I won’t be making the decision this time. I’m leaving it up to you. The future of my blog is in your hands. No pressure…

To refresh your memory, here are your options.

  • Widow — A story about a woman who sets her house on fire, killing her husband and infant child. If chosen, this series will begin before the events of “Widow” take place to explain what led her to such horrendous act of violence.
  • For the Sake of Humanity — In this dystopian, post-apocalyptic tale, a young woman takes her adopted ward on a quest to find the last remaining humans on earth. If their search is successful, she’ll avoid having to go through with the promise she made to the young boy’s dying mother to not let the human race die with them.
  • Dreams are Real — Does true love every really die? Lovers grow apart, they embark on separate paths that lead to different careers, pursuits, marriages, kids, etc. But one day, someday, they eventually find their way back to each other, right? If it was meant to be. This story is all about the possibilities of a nostalgic lover’s dreams of reunion coming true.
  • One Night Stand — This story is a continuation of the “White Jesus” storyline. I haven’t quite developed a plot for this series, but it would have a very urban, Living Single vibe to it. This series would follow the shenanigans of three friends: Lyndra, the main protagonist, her ex-boyfriend, Levon, and his buddy, the philosophical pothead, Philip, aka White Jesus.
  • Dry Spell — In this fun, witty tale, a 34-year-old, sexually inexperienced divorcee, tries to get laid with the help of her promiscuous, sexually liberated friend.

You have your five choices, now it’s time for you to vote! Let me know your favorite story in the comments. Eventually, I’ll probably serialize all these stories, but your selection will take top priority. You have until next Thursday to cast your vote. I’m really counting on you, so don’t let me down!

 

Above the Ocean Breeze

Lately, I’ve become obsessed with the Japanese poetry form. My favorite are the tanka and haiku, though I’ve been exploring other forms to try too.

Recently, I hooked up with new blogging buddy and Nigerian sister based in the UK, Amina (Check her out at Ameena’s Musings) to collaborate on a renga.

Renga (meaning linked poem) is meant to be written by two or more poets. It consists of alternating three-line and two-line stanzas. The three-line stanza should have a total of 17 syllables (similar to a haiku), while the couplet has seven syllables per line.

I think the collaborative poem is definitely our thing. This one reads as if it were written by one person. Enjoy! 🙂

beautiful-sexy-blonde-girl-walking-on-the-beach-sea

Above the Ocean Breeze

Walking down the beach
Foot impressions in the sand
Music in my ears

Waves rush ashore ferrying
Seashells across vast oceans

Pondering on my life
How? When ..did it all go wrong
Why did it all change

I touch a dead hermit’s home
To my ear, listen for you

You…I loved you so
But you left when the tide changed
Now here I am – sad!

Standing on edge of earth as
Sun sets where water meets sky

Feeling overwhelmed
As the colours seem to fade
Memories distant

Three thousand breaststrokes away
Reunion makes me seasick

I try to jolt back
To a time I was stronger
I, my own person

When love neither made me nor
Broke me; bearer of my own

A time where my strength
Brought some hope to the hopeless
Where I could stand tall

With my unwavering voice
Part seas; sand feels like concrete

I need to reclaim
All the bits of me I’ve lost
Patching piece by piece

Like sediments of rock build
New structures out of the old

The new and old merge
Creating a stronger bond
Redefining me

No longer bound to life with
You beyond the horizon

Finally I can
Look forward to a new start
Where I love myself

I wrap my arms around my
Body, tight like rip currents

At last, I can breathe
And have freedom like the birds
This is my new start

—Amina & Nortina ❤

Literary Lion: I Once Was a Rapper…

I’ve joined another blog link-up…. Literary Lion, hosted by I Smith Words!

This week’s theme is “morning,” and while I’m a bit drained of creativity on this hot, humid Hump Day, seeing this prompt did take me back to a time when I used to be a rapper.

When I was a kid, my dad and I did all kinds of creative things together. He’s the reason I’m a writer today. We wrote stories, songs, hosted a kids talk show with my brothers and four of our favorite stuffed animals using my kiddie tape recorder, and for a short time, we tried to be rappers.

I can’t remember my stage name, but his was 95 cent (like 50 cent but add a quarter and two dimes). His signature verse was, “95 cent! Aye, keep the change! Drive by your house and blow out ya brains!” Lame, right? He sucked as a gangsta rapper. Wonderful guitarist, though.

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Anyway, we only wrote one song in our brief time as rappers, and it was actually just a hook and first verse. It was called, “Kids Got a Hard Way.” When you read these lyrics, try to imitate that urban, fresh, early 90s style of rap (think of Will Smith aka the Fresh Prince). Do you think we would’ve been famous?

Hook:
Kids got a hard way to go to school.
Kids have a hard time to learn the rules.
Kids got a hard way to go to school. (da, da, dun, da)

Verse 1:
I’m a kid,
And when I wake up in the morning,
I get my head fixed,
To get my learnin’ on aaaand
I brush my hair, brush my teeth,
And get something to eat
Before my daddy starts to fuss,
“Hey kids, head to the bus!”

No Holds Barred Poetry Writing Challenge: Day 7

African . . .

American . . .
 
Elsewhere . . .

 
These are the words my four-year-old son
pushes from his lips
as we drive by American Furniture Warehouse,
leaning over his car seat
pressing his face into the glass window
attempting to read the letters
displayed across the front of the building.

I want to applaud him,
congratulate him for getting at least one word right,
but I wonder why he chose the other two
 

African . . .
Elsewhere . . .

 
as if he’s throwing a part of his heritage away.

And I worry.
Did I not read enough tales of
Anansi, the cunning spider
before he fell asleep?
Did my forgetful husband let him watch
Saturday morning cartoons instead
of the Gullah Gullah Island reruns
I recorded and set aside for him?
Does he still play with his action figures—
Green Lantern from Justice League Unlimited?
Falcon from the Marvel Comics?

I did it, mommy. I read the sign!

I look at him through the rearview mirror,
smile weakly at my baby boy’s reflection.
Does he know who he is?
Can he see himself in
the myths and fables,
the educational programming,
the animated superheroes.
I want to pull over,
sweep him up in my warm, Black embrace.
There’s nothing elsewhere about being African American
I wish I could say with an undeceiving heart.

Instead I continue driving.
Good job, I tell him.
Good job.

—Nortina