Wednesday, December 31, 2008

5 Things I Did to Close Out 2008

Pampered myself
Called my family
Closed my eyes and envisioned a brilliant 2009
Paid down on my communication gap
Closed out a lot of loose ends

And thanked God for the peace and quiet.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Quote of the Week: "Instructions for Life"

[the first time i read this, several years ago, i thought it was wonderful. now...i see that i've grown more cynical. i like it still, but am wondering about some of the lines here, especially the last one. but read it, there are some gems here!]

(author unknown)

Give people more than they expect and do this willfully.
Learn, by heart, your favorite song. Song lifts the soul and brightens life.
Love deeply and passionately. Believe in love at first sight.
When you say, "I love you,” say it truthfully. An engagement period of 6 months is crucial before marriage.
Marry the one you love talking to the most. When you’re old, conversation will be important more than anything else.
When you say, "I'm sorry," say it with eye contact.
You may get hurt, but this is the only way to live life to the fullest.
Never mock others' dreams. Deal with discontentment, fight fairly but do not offend.
Do not judge others because of their relatives. Every (human being) is his or her own person.
Talk slow, think fast. When you lose, do not lose the lesson.
When someone asks you a question you don’t want to answer, smile and ask: "Why do you want to know?"
Remember that the greatest love and the greatest successes also hold many risks.
Call your mother and father. Live a good, honorable life.
Bless a person who has just sneezed.
Remember: respect for yourself, respect others, and responsibility for your actions.
Do not allow a small disagreement to hurt a great friendship.
When you notice you have made a mistake, take the appropriate steps in order to correct it.
Smile when you answer the phone. Those who call can "hear" your smile.
Spend some time alone. Remember that sometimes, silence is the best answer.
Accept change with open arms; yet do not give up your values.
Read more books and watch television less.
Later, when you grow old and remember the past, you will enjoy them once more.
Believe and trust God, whomever/whatever you conceive God to be, but securely lock your car.
An atmosphere of love at your home is important. Do all that you can in order to create a calm home full of love.
Do not bring back the past. Learn from it and live for the future.
Read in between the lines. Take care of your problems.
Share your knowledge. It is the way to live forever.
Be gentle with our Earth planet.
Pray. Prayer has incredible power.
Never interrupt someone who flatters you.
Do not trust a man or a woman who do not close their eyes when you kiss them.
Once a year, visit a place you never did before.
If you make a lot of money, channel it so as to help others while you are alive.
This is the greatest satisfaction a treasure can reward you.
Remember that sometimes, not getting what you want is being very lucky.
Remember that the greatest relationships are the ones in which the love between two people is greater than the need one has of the other.
Judge your success in light of what you had to give up in order to obtain it.

Friday, December 26, 2008

In Memoriam: Earth Kitt

Singer and actress Eartha Kitt has died, her publicist, Patty Freedman, told CNN on Thursday. Kitt, 81, died in New York, where she was being treated for colon cancer, Freedman said. Her daughter, Kitt Shapiro, was by her side.

She was performing almost until the end, taping a PBS special six weeks ago in Chicago, Illinois. The show is set to air in February.

Her recording of the saucy Christmas song "Santa Baby" was certified gold last week.

Kitt was well known for her distinctive voice and made a name for herself in her portrayal of Catwoman in the television series "Batman." That role produced Kitt's recognizable sultry cat growl.

She worked in film, theater, cabaret, music and on television during her lengthy career. According to Kitt's official Web site, she was nominated for a Tony three times, a Grammy and Emmy twice.

According to the biography on that site, Kitt lived in Connecticut near her daughter and four grandchildren.

LEARN MORE and read related articles at

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

What I Love

Tis the season where love is comtemplated more now then any other part of the year. Here's a random list a just a few of the people and things that I love, from the silly to substantive (just a few):

God, my parents, my siblings, my extended family, chocolate covered peanut clusters, pecans, pecans with raisins, quiet sundays, harriet tubman, adelaide sanford, malcolm x, kwame ture, my friends, learning, writing, reading, listening to music, teaching, akila, h20, salmon cooked with cabbage carrots peppers...on top of the stove (thanks, zed), coach bags, sexy boots, bolthouse juices, playing monopoly, open spaces, palm tress in LA, the laughter of children, being understood, being forgiven, 20 minute power naps, weekly massages, when the trains come on time, solutions to problems, order, balance, harmonious relationships, the color purple, the color silver, the bluest eye, the women of brewster place, khalil gibran, the dictionary, being wealthy.

Friday, December 19, 2008

This Week, I Turn 40.5

[This week, on December 15, I will be 40.5. Here's an essay I published a few years ago that you might enjoy. Many others did.]

Forty Backwards
by April R. Silver (2006)

Last month I turned 38. With 40 fast approaching, I’ve been more reflective than usual. I’ve begun to observe life from over my shoulder, glancing back at how things used to be. I’m ever cognizant of how me and my momma’s 40 is going to be so very different. When Jenny B. was my age, she had a 16-year-old daughter, a 15-year-old son, and had been married for 18 years. She came from the “stand by your man” era, when “shacking up” was not nearly as common as it is today.

Dr. King was assassinated the year I was born. Jenny B. wasn’t at a college campus protesting, or in the streets. She was a “country” newcomer living in a big city with a baby. Plus, she had a husband, a house, and a job to manage. Her journey was a proud domestic one, but her little girl would chart a different course.

Unlike my mother, I went to college right after high school. She and daddy insisted. And unlike many of her Baby Booming peers, I have never been married and don’t have any illusions about that institution. Children would be a welcome blessing, but I have chosen not to have any right now because the conditions just ain’t what they should be. I do, however, own my own company...working with artists. That’s about as much nipple-grabbing as I can stand at the moment.

I’m a far reach from my elder’s crown, but I’ve found a few gems to set. Wrote some notes about 'em. Would you like to hear 'em? Here they go:

From Jenny B.
• Always give God the glory in all that you do.
• In whatever you do, you’re either going to spend time or money. Make your best choices knowing that you have to give up one of them, sometimes both.
• You cannot control people’s actions. You can only control your response to those actions.
• There are certain people you have to treat with a long-ladled spoon so that they don’t bite your finger.
• You have to train people how to deal with you. Always be loving and sweet as you let people know that you are not the one to f**k with.
• You cannot depend on me and f**k with me at the same time.
• The best way to get a man is to chase him until he catches you.

My Father
• Whenever I lost hope or missed my mark, Eddie Silver, an eternal optimist, would say, “You’re closer today, than you were yesterday, baby!”
• My father’s simplest observations often reveal how discerning he is. I learned from him first, for example, that when dictating a telephone number, “‘O’ is a letter and ‘0’ is a number…as in, “our telephone number is (212) 555-62 "zero" 1, not 62 "oh" 1.
• “Smooth talking men will gladly give nice women like you $20 today because he knows that he’ll get $100 from you tomorrow.” Those were my father’s sober words of wisdom after a nasty breakup from my first BIG relationship. At the time, I didn’t know that the man I was dating was a con artist. Well…I saw him conning other people, but I never thought that he’d con me. How silly. That warning from my father helped me to armor up a bit. Since then, I’ve been suspicious of, not mesmerized by all smooth talkers.
• “If a man greets you on the street and says ‘hi,’ sometimes all he really means is ‘hi.’ He’s not always trying to pick you up. It’s okay to smile back."
• Daddy was the music man of the family. Romping through his record crates ignited my passion for music. My tastes would mirror his…from Nina to Stevie to Hugh to Prince.

My Brother Omar
• There is a quiet innocence and deep-rooted gentleness even in the coarsest of exteriors.
• Sometimes, people don’t want you to give them advice, even if that’s what you do in life. Sometimes they just want you to listen.
• You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you ask for.
• “I don’t work for my boss, I work for my money.”
• “Of course, a woman can get her man to do just about anything...but she can’t make him mean it!”

From My Ex-Boyfriends and Other Adventurous Episodes
• Men and women are not equal, but we are equivalent. We have different (not inadequate) ways of communicating what we need and want.
• The truth is always used to sell the lie.
• Con artists tend to talk a lot. Overly chatty people are either lying to you or themselves.
• Never date a man that won’t show you his ID or driver’s license.
• Even romantic relationships are about power. They move forward best when both people are on equal footing.
• We are all dating the same man! Despite how loving and different they appear during courtship, there remains one indisputable fact: most (not all) men will eventually reveal themselves to be powerfully self-centered and/or emotionally under-developed. I have found that women who seek romantic love relationships with men - be the women Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Yoruba, Atheist, bohemian, corporate, Black, Latina, Asian, White, under and over 30, big-boned, slim, sweet or tart - have this same problem with men. It’s best to resolve that the depth of a man’s ego is unfathomable. We should stop trying to figure them out because it is never going to make sense how deftly he disregards your once cherished feelings. And if you think that your man is different, please go gather more gems for your crown.

So cheers to the next forty years! And here’s one parting gem that is sure to bring you a sigh of relief:
“Don’t take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.”
- Don Miguel Ruiz (author of “Four Agreements”).

© July 2006, August 2008, April R. Silver

Quote of the Week: Toni Morrision on Fear (Song of Solomon)

What difference do it make if the thing you scared of is real or not? (from Song of Solomon)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Quote of the Week: Toni Morrison (Bluest Eye)

There is really nothing more to say -- except why. But since why is difficult to handle, one must take refuge in how.

(from The Bluest Eye)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Kidding of Children

"God has lessons for us, but sometimes God has The Devil to deliver them."

That's the soul of the message that I got from wise woman NANA CAMILLE YARBROUGH a few years ago. Don't know what we were talking about, but it applies to this next entry.

I dated said deliverer once, but I learned a few things from him. For example, he used to always correct people when they referred to children as kids. "A kid is a baby goat! Our children are human beings."

Good grief! That was the epitome of over-analyzing a thing. So over the top, I thought. As much as I adored him at the time, he could be overbearing.

Today, I share the same disdain for the word "kid." It didn't take much for me to look more deeply into this. I, as an English Major, surely couldn't shy away from the fact that language has deep meaning and those meanings are attached to the essence, the spirit, the energy of a word.

I used to teach 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students in Brooklyn. It sensitized me to how young people think...and how they hear us. It often reminded me of how I viewed the world as an adolescent. There is a world of language that adults use when referring to young people. "Kid" is not normally heard as a loving term. It carries the weight of dismissive-ness and detachment, very subtly.

My disclaimer: I am not a parent. I have not raised children. My most direct daily relationship to children was years ago when I was in the classroom. My closest connection to a child is my eight year old sister and she lives in Florida. To the extent that I can help guide her through life via my frequent phone calls is the extent of my regular engagement with children. So I don't profess to know more than any parent or teacher whose lives are immersed in raising children.

I do remember that as a child, that I wished that adults would show more respect to children and would listen more. That whole "do as I say, not as I do" irked me then and irks me now. But who was I to say anything, just some kid who didn't know any better.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

In Memoriam: Odetta

From Yesterday's Put On BLAST!(December 3, 2008)

Dear POB! Family,

I'm sorry to share this news: Odetta, respected around the world as the "voice of the civil rights movement," has passed. Sonya White was the first person that I know of who shared the news that Odetta was in the hospital (that was a few weeks ago). Around 2 am this morning, Sonya sent word that Odetta had passed Tuesday night.

I've spent the last two hours reflecting on and listening to the words and music of this wonderful woman. I also watched the New York Times' THE LAST WORD, a 20 minute video interview. There, Odetta re-affirms, in a profound and intimate way, the importance of allowing music to be more than entertainment.

Odetta is not "a long way from home" now. May The Creator bless this great woman's journey during her transition.

~ april

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Quote of the Week: Zora Neale Hurston on Self-Love

I am not tragically colored. There is no great sorrow dammed up in my soul, nor lurking behind my eyes. I do not mind at all.