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Archive for May 2013

Book Review: 'Krik? Krak!' - Edwidge Danticat

Edwidge Danticat's books are of the sort that make you fail miserably when trying to explain what makes them outstanding. The kind that ties your tongue.  That makes you restart your sentence three times before finally giving up and saying, "You just have to read her work."  Even so, I'll do my best.

When I picked up Krik? Krak! I was expecting a book of unrelated, short stories.  But Danticat truly demonstrated her storytelling abilities in this one.  In every story, she would infuse a golden, literary nugget that was breathtaking, but not distracting.  I would read it, admire it and move on to the end of the short story in which it was written.  As I moved into other parts of the book, and at a time I least expected, I'd find that golden nugget nestled in another story, tying everything together.  And I discovered this wasn't just a book of short stories, this was a history of generations of Haitian women.  And let me take this moment to say, I was unable to finish any of their stories without closing the book and thinking about how powerful it was.  

I'm going to cut this post short because I don't want to give too much away.  So, I'll end by saying, you just have to read her work.

Managing Expectations: ODB, Evita and You

Today, I finished reading Evita: In My Own Words, an autobiography of Eva Perón, former First Lady of Argentina .  And while I loved its insight into Perón's thoughts on social equality, religion and the need for people to actively pursue what is rightly theirs, the below quote is my take away.  It was written by John Page in the book's introduction.  He had just relayed that Perón refused a hysterectomy after being diagnosed with the uterine cancer that would eventually claim her life:
Psychological and perhaps even cultural pressures may have made it impossible for the "Spiritual Mother of All Argentine Children" to cope with the symbolism of a hysterectomy.
If Perón had opted to have her uterus removed, the odds were in her favor that she would have lived a long, cancer-free life.  Instead she got engrossed in her title of the "Spiritual Mother of All Argentine Children," refused to have her womb, the physical embodiment of motherhood, removed and ultimately gave her life to continue playing the role that was cast upon her by others.

After reading this, I couldn't help but think about the similarities  between Perón's story and Ol' Dirty Bastard's.  At first glimpse, you'd think an Argentinian women who died in 1952 would have nothing in common with an African American man who died almost nine years ago, but hear me out.

RZA, of Wu-Tang Clan, provided a eulogy at ODB's funeral.  Here's a video of, what is in my opinion, one of the most notable things he said.  There's a text summary below:
RZA remembered back to when Jones was a young teenager and chose the righteous name of Ason Unique. He said that as Ason Unique, his cousin was radiant, beautiful and angelic, more powerful than he was in the ODB persona. As the years passed and RZA gave him the name of Ol' Dirty Bastard, he noticed his cousin changing more and more, adopting the characteristics of his stage moniker and going wild. (From
The important thing to note about all of this, is these names were not intended to  be a burden.  They were bestowed upon Perón and ODB as a way of people showing appreciation for their work.  Perón was given her title as the Spiritual Mother of All Argentine Children in gratitude of her humanitarian efforts.  ODB received his alias by RZA as a way of recognizing his unique delivery.  His flow was said to have no father, a reference to a 1980 martial arts film titled Ol' Dirty and the Bastard.

But ill intent or not, these two stories are proof that words have power.  So, whether you're naming a child or offering up a prayer, remember the expectations you're speaking into existence should be delicately balanced.

Live Love

This post is adapted from my recent Facebook status. Enjoy!!
Extending yourself for anyone does leave you vulnerable to ingratitude, but you know what?? Do it anyway.  There's not enough kindness in the world and every now and then, you'll run into someone who appreciates it.  And you may even inspire them to be a blessing for someone else.

Following the Boston Marathon bombings, the sentiment I heard expressed most often was that people couldn't believe this happened to those who were just trying to support good causes. And people were wondering why some can't let others live in peace. Well, we need to be the change we want to see. Create happiness for others if only for a few moments.  Live love.

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