African American Authors, Christopher D. Burns, fiction, friendship, Love, relationships, Stages: A Handbook on Men and Relationships

Part 2: Stages: A Handbook on Men and Relationships – Chapter 24

Chapter 24 Stage Four isn’t approached without trepidation. It’s an awkward time for any man. Making a commitment is one thing but saying to a woman that you want to live the rest of your life with her is an entirely different monster. In other words Stage Four is the final phase before you leave the Stages behind altogether and graduate. But this book is about the Stages not the graduation, so allow me to give you the specifics of what Stage Four is: The road that has been traveled had so many obstructions in what lay ahead, that you can barely believe that you made it this far. You have finally accepted the fact that life is meant to be shared with the woman you care for, honor, and above all respect. Love comes after all of these other things. At Stage Four the words I love you are small compared to the feelings that you have for your lady. When you said those words in all the other stages it was a word that conveyed what you thought you felt. In Stage Four you no longer think it you live love, breath love and share it: that it being a commonality, sexual and mental connection that heightens each day that you are with her. At the point when all of this has finally come together, you take the last step and ask her for her heart in marriage. You have doubts, but those fears soon subside when you realize that your relationship has survived the strains of ex girlfriends and major arguments. You buy the ring and become a part of a life circle. A never ending connection of souls that when completed will have no beginning and no end. After placing this final stage in the book I felt that it was time to share this knowledge with everyone. But unlike the cocky guy you met at the start of this book, the guy writing now is a man. Hard to believe huh? Well if you don’t believe me I’ll give you the proof. On December 23rd Flip and I put the final touch on our plans. The idea seemed to be pretty good, all we had to do was make it happen. San Diego has got to be the best town to do anything because of the weather. It was December and Flip and I had planned a harbor cruise. It was Saturday afternoon and Janice and I were getting ready to meet Flip at his place so we could all go in my car down to the bay and go on our cruise. “This was a good idea baby. It’s gonna be a real relaxing night, I know.” “Yeah it’ll be relaxing. They have a seventies funk band there tonight. You know I got to get my Robot and Hustle on, Saturday Night Fever style.” “As long as you don’t embarrass me.” “Me embarrass you? Come on when have I done that?” “Let’s see, at the pizza place when you asked me to pull your finger, at the mall when you kept picking up the bras in the lingerie shop and shouting, ‘Damn you’d look good in this.’ Do you want me to continue?” “I thought that was all in good fun?” “It was, but it was still embarrassing.” “So, you embarrassed me before,” I said. “When? I’ve never did anything silly in front of you.” “That time when we went to take pictures and I walked out with the photographer for a moment.” “And?” “You thought we didn’t smell anything, but believe me we smelled it.” She hit me on the shoulder and continued getting dressed. I was in a great mood. “One of My Favorite Things,” pumped out of the speakers downstairs and I mimicked playing the saxophone. I put on a lime green, butterfly collared shirt, with some blue polyester bell bottom pants. I had a pleather coat for the chill that would be out over the water. It was seventies night, I had to be on point. Flip had everything set up on the ship. We had to pay a little extra to have it the way we wanted. The cost wasn’t much though. Janice had on a pair of tight bell bottom jeans and a multi colored shirt, looking fine like Thelma on Good Times. She had a leather coat that tied up around the waist. And of course we hooked up the platform shoes. We grabbed the camera and took a few pictures before we left the house. “This is gonna be so much fun,” Janice kept saying. “More than you know.” “What do you mean by that?” “Let’s just go.” It took us about ten minutes to get to Flip’s house. We arrived at around six-thirty. The sun had gone down and the night was clear, perfect weather. When we arrived at Flip’s crib, Tina answered the door with one of those dresses with the thin spaghetti straps, and rhinestones at the bottom, she also had a shawl over her shoulders. “No you didn’t girl. That is too cute,” Janice said hugging Tina. “I got it at the thrift store when Flip told me we were going on a seventies night cruise,” Tina said as they walked off leaving me at the door. I walked in and down the hall calling Flips name. He stepped out from behind his door foot first. A clear like glass bottomed, yellow uppered shoe came through the door and I got weak. Flip followed with an all white three piece suit. With the chest hair sticking out past the yellow shirt. “You the man boy.” “Why thank you my man, slide me some skin,” Flip said. “The women ready to ride on down to the boogie woogie joint?” “You know it brother, you hip?” “Right on, right on. I’m fly and ready to reach the sky,” I said. “I can dig that you jive turkey. I feel like a hustler rapping with the player of the year.” “Then what you wanna do, barbecue or mildew?” “What you think catdaddy?” “I think you two fools are getting into this a little too much,” Janice said. “Come on Priest and Goldie, we don’t wanna be late do we?” Tina added. We left the house and arrived at the boat. All of our reservations were right on time. Dinner was served on the first level. The dance floor was on the third level. We talked to the hostess to ensure our afros were in the coat room. I pulled Flip by the arm to make sure he had his piece. I had mines all set up. We enjoyed the dinner and began dancing. On about the third dance the DJ used the cue word for us to exit. “For all you soul sisters and brothers with the one that you dig the most, I’d like to make a toast. By playing the song that we love the best, for the ones who outshine the rest, but first I have to take a pause for the cause, so chill out and I’ll be back before you give two thumbs up like the Fonz.” As soon as the DJ walked off, we told the women to wait up here at the dance floor while we ran to the bathroom. Flip ran downstairs and grabbed the afro wigs. I got the DJ and told him we were ready. He went back to the DJ booth and pumped up our entrance song, “Fantastic Voyage.” Flip and I came into the room with our wigs on doing the Bump and then the Robot. “Ladies and gentlemen we have a special appearance by two of the dancers from the original Soul Train,” the DJ continued to play our song. Janice and Tina ducked their heads down at the table and laughed. Everyone was enjoying the show. The lights were flashing and the smoke filled the floor. Flip and I made our way to the table and stopped. “Now for the song that makes us remember that first love and how good the good times really were. For Janice and Tina, “Always and Forever.” The record came on and we both held our hands out for the dance. When they stood we went to our knees, the DJ cut the music and Flip and I pulled the rings out of our wigs. I spoke first, “Janice, I honor you and respect you and I want us to share our lives together. Will you please marry me?” Flip followed suit, “I love you and cherish you. You are my lady for all time and I would love it if you would be my wife?” We stood up and the whole upper deck was quiet. The ocean air whipped around the dance floor and the moon overlooked us. Janice and Tina both responded simultaneously, “Yes, yes yes.” But the odd thing was they hugged each other first. So Flip and I hugged. Manny walked from the next table and pulled his wig off and told me, “I thought you guys were going to quit doing this.” A few of the people from work came to the boat with us. We all laughed and hugged. The whole upper deck clapped and our DJ played our song as we danced the night away.

Buy Stages now if you want to read it at your own pace.

African American Authors, Art, books, Breaking Down The Myth, CB Publishing, Christopher D. Burns, fiction, friendship, Love, marriage, relationships, Stages: A Handbook on Men and Relationships

Part 2: Stages: A Handbook on Men and Relationships – Chapter 18

Chapter 18 I thought about what I would say to Janice on the drive to the house. How would I begin? I had been practicing certain lines like, “I want this thing to work but it’s gonna take both of us.” Nothing seemed real. It all sounded rehearsed. I figured when I saw her I’d know what to say. We pulled up in front of the house, I didn’t see her car. The garage door was open and my car sat next to Tina’s inside. But Janice’s car was nowhere in sight. I felt kinda depressed when I saw that. I had really changed and I couldn’t believe that it had happened. Over the course of putting this down on paper everything I thought was going to happen didn’t. I converted and the funny thing is Clyde my barber said it would happen soon. He was right. When I asked him to give that card to old girl at the shop, he said something that I declined to say. That day in the shop went down like this, I hope you remember: “Alright man, I’ll do it but don’t make this a habit,” Clyde said. “I won’t.” “You need Jesus.” “And you need to come back from Stage Three.” “What?” he asked. This is what I left out, now pay attention… “You know what Tee, I did the same thing before I met Beverly. The same thing. Big Mike gave this girl my card at a club and told her I wanted to talk to her.” “At a club? That was stupid,” I said. “Yeah it was stupid, but it happened for a reason. I didn’t talk to that girl. I met Beverly the next day at church.” “Church? I didn’t even think you went to church.” “Listen, I met Beverly and fell head over heels. I didn’t know it then but I went back to church just to see her. I went back again and again until one day I got up the nerve to say something to her.” “At the church? You were checking out someone at the church?” “Like you ain’t done it? Like I was saying, I finally talked to her. She had been waiting on me to speak to her since that very first day that our eyes met.” “So what does any of that have to do with me?” “I’m not saying it’s going to happen like that with you. I just feel it Tee. I think you gonna slow down real soon, not because you want to, but because everything is going to fall into place.” “I don’t think so Clyde.” “I’m gonna keep this whole twenty for my services.” What Clyde talked about had indeed come full circle. And to think that conversation with him only happened a week ago. That day before I went to Sunset Cliffs went Janice. You get what I’m saying. No more than a week after that haircut here I was worrying about not being able to see Janice. I guess that’s why I decided to start this handbook/story from that point, cause it all seemed so crazy to me before. But not now, I had gone down to the shop to get a haircut the day before the move. I was still in partial denial, so I figured I would break out of it by trying to get Red’s girl. Clyde must’ve really made his mark with me. We began unloading the furniture from the truck when Tina walked out to the porch and placed a triangular door stop beneath the storm door to keep it from closing on us. Flip looked around the apartment and liked the way that Tina had placed the pictures on the wall. He even liked the addition of the candles in the corners of each room. She had hooked it up. All that was missing was the furniture. “Baby, how much money did you spend on this stuff,” Flip asked her. “Not much, don’t worry about it. I want your house to have that touch to it,” she said patting him on the butt as we passed with the chairs. “Watch out there girl, you gon make a brother get weak,” Flip said. She laughed. We continued to move the heavier things into the house. It didn’t take long before we could see the back of the truck. All we had left to move was the bedroom stuff and that would be it. I still hoped that Janice would come. I never stopped to think that there wasn’t any way possible for Tina to have done all of that hanging and cleaning without any help. We finished up with the truck and the final touch was Flip and his stereo. What I hadn’t noticed was that we had brought in speakers that he didn’t have before. I didn‘t notice until he opened the boxes that he had placed in every room. Each box held a small speaker which mounted onto a place on the wall that seemed to be pre-designated. “Tee, wait till I finish with putting up all these speakers,” he ran from room to room hanging speakers. “Did these wires come in the house like this?” “No, you see the borders? I had someone come in this week, lift them up and run wires through out the house. I had them terminated in the Music Room.” “How much did that run you?” “Bout fifteen hundred. I pulled it from the down payment for the house. I also took a thousand and had it invested in a mutual fund. That was Tina’s idea.” I looked at Tina and she smiled. She had begun to open the boxes. “I’ll stop. I remember how much you said you enjoyed taking the equipment out of the box,” she said. He trotted past her and kissed her on the lips. I went into the living room and started to arrange the furniture. “Call me when you finish Flip. I’ll try to make this living room presentable” “Alright, hook it up.” Flip was into it. He was plugging the wires in and setting the equipment on its stand. I could hear him laughing with Tina. She was organizing the CD’s and finding what they wanted to listen to first. I continued with the front room until everything was spaced out pretty good. The good thing about the move was how Tina had moved all the small stuff during the week. There were hardly any boxes to unpack, which made finishing the job a snap. Five minutes after I finished the room I heard music floating through the house. I stopped and listened to how clear the sound was. I listened closer and realized that it was my Kenny Lattimore CD. I walked back into the room. “Ain’t that my CD Flip?” “Yep,” he replied doing a little dance with Tina. “I figured I’d listened to it one more time before I gave it back to you.” “Hell, you’ve had it since I bought it. You might as well keep it. Consider it my housewarming gift.” “Thank you bro.” “Don’t mention it. Is there anything to drink in the kitchen?” “Yes, help yourself,” Tina said. I grabbed a water from the fridge walked back into the living room. I was stinking from the move. “Hey Flip, I’m gonna go home and catch a shower.” They both came out and thanked me for helping. “You coming back tonight? We’re gonna have a little pizza party to break in the new house?” “Sure Flip, I’ll be back. You know I can’t pass up take-out pizza man. Take it easy Tina, I’ll see yaw’ll later.” She waved and they started dancing again. I made it to the house and took a shower and chilled for a few minutes. I needed to take a break. It was six forty-five. The sun was starting to creep down towards the horizon although it wouldn’t set for another hour. I got up and left the house at about seven fifteen to go back to Flip’s place. The whole day I had thought about Janice and I really wanted to see her. But I guess she didn’t want to see me. At least that what I thought. I made it to Flip’s house and asked where the pizza was. They had already started eating. They were looking at some corny horror movie when I walked in. I walked through the dining area and into the kitchen. Janice was standing with two glasses in her hand. There were two wine cooler bottles on the counter. “Janice, how, how have you been?” “Not good. I’ve had this headache and this heartache all week.” “Me too. I want to apologize for being so closed-minded last week. I know it took a lot for you to say what you did and I just wasn’t man enough to hear it. I had been denying what was ahead of me, what was waiting for me, that I just didn’t realize that-” She placed the glasses onto the table and wrapped her arms around me. I buried my head in her shoulder and she placed her head into my chest and we held each other. I felt my eyes water, but I caught that before it fell. I still had to remain cool, even if I had accepted the increase in status. What, did you think I would lose my cool and start balling? Not yet. “Terrence I thought long and hard about the way I walked away from you. I can’t say that you didn’t deserve it, but I can say that I needed to do that to you.” “You’re right. Let’s take this pizza back in here and look at the movie.” So there I was, confirmed bachelor sitting at my boy’s house eating pizza with a woman who knew everything about me, well not everything, but it felt good and it felt right. Just as everything had fallen into place for Flip, everything had worked out for me. My journal had taken a different turn. All of this information that I was trying to give you helped me find the woman of my dreams. I was a Stage Three brother and proud of it. We sat in the room on the couch and joined Tina and Flip. They were sitting, on the opposite love seat, engrossed by the movie. Janice sat between my legs and rested her head on my chest just as she had done at the beach. Just when we got comfortable, Flip turned off the TV. “We just can’t stand it anymore, are you guys-” Tina complimented his words by pointing to both of us in that, ‘Yaw’ll together’ way. Janice didn’t answer, and rightfully so it was my decision. She had already told me how she felt. I needed to say the words now. I sat for a moment and played the ignorant role. “What? I didn’t understand the question.” Janice looked at me and I finally confessed. “Yes, I want Janice to be the woman in my life,” it wasn’t so bad. I felt a ton of pressure drop off of my shoulders. Tina walked over to Janice and took her by the hand. “Help me put this stuff up in the kitchen so it won’t spoil,” she said. “Pizza doesn’t spoil baby,” Flip said to her. “Shut it,” she replied. “You want anything Tee?” Janice asked. I guess she wasn’t at the baby stage yet. I wanted to be, so I said it, “Nah, I’m cool baby.” Flip looked at me and shook his head in disbelief. “What the hell happened in the kitchen?” He asked. “I listened and it all made sense. Besides I couldn’t let my younger brother out do me in the maturity department.” “That ain’t why you did it I hope. Remember wha-” “Flip calm down, it was a joke.” “I knew that. I did.” “Right Flip. I just couldn’t pass up this opportunity. What if God did all of this for a reason and I blew it off?” “Word. I feel you.” “She’s beautiful, her best friend is your best friend, she’s independent and most of all I respect her.” “So you finally admit that you didn’t respect any of those other women?” “I didn’t say that. Why do you always put words in my mouth?” I asked. “Whatever man. Congratulations though, on the real. I think you made the right choice.” Coming from Flip that meant a lot. I could’ve talked to anybody about what had just occurred but their words wouldn’t have held any weight at all. Flip was the family that I never had. My mother was back in Tennessee and so was my sister. I rarely got to go home and I knew I wouldn’t be going back there anytime soon, so I had to find a new family. I never found a new, “family.” I never wanted to put up with the drama of dealing with a lot of people so I stayed to myself, until I met Flip. I love him to death. He knows I’ll do anything in the world for him and I’m sure he’ll do the same. He walked over to me and we gave each other the famous brother hug. The one where you grasp each others hands and pull each other like your about to wrestle and then you either grab the head or the back, depending on how serious the conversation, or emotion was. We held each others backs for a moment. Yeah I’d made the right decision, I could feel it in the air. “Let’s go back here and see what the women are doing,” Flip said. We stood outside of the door and listened. “Does it feel right though Janice?” “More than right, girl. I mean as much as I believed that he was no good, I could feel that he would be good to me.” “I know how you feel. I told Flip about what happened to me at the beginning of our relationship. Six months ago girl and he hasn’t acted funny or anything.” “Have you slept with him?” Janice asked. I heard silence from behind the door. “Tina I know if you feel as strong as you say and I know that you just can’t get over something like that, in a day or a year or a lifetime, but I honestly think he loves you.” “I know. I know, but I get so nervous, so worried.” I could hear her voice trembling. I whispered to Flip, “Let’s go back up front man, this ain’t right.” We walked back up front and turned the TV on. Neither of us was concentrating on the movie. “I’m sorry I doubted you.” “Tee, I love her to death. I know that we haven’t been together a year yet, but I know she’s going to be my wife. Janice is right, I would love to make love to her, but I could spend eternity with her and just hold her.” He stroked his goatee over and over and placed his thumb and index finger in the corners of his eyes. I moved over beside him. “I understand what Janice is saying. But maybe you should express to Tina that you can wait, just so she’s sure that you really do love her.” “I’ve already told her that. She seems to think I’m just being nice. But I mean it man. I don’t want anything from her, except what I have and that’s her soul.” “Everything’ll be okay,” was all I could say. Those cure all words which, from the right person, can make you truly feel that everything will be okay. I could hear Tina and Janice coming back up. We straightened ourselves up and stood up. Janice walked to me and held me. Flip did the same with Tina. It all seemed surreal. They both smiled, as did we, but they were smiles that held a foundation that we would build on. Hugs which encompassed everything that’s good about being in a relationship. That everything was compassion, truth, and more than anything else, patience. Buy Stages now if you want to read it at your own pace.

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African American Authors, Art, books, Breaking Down The Myth, CB Publishing, Christopher D. Burns, entertainment, fiction, friendship, Love, relationships, Stages: A Handbook on Men and Relationships

Stages: A Handbook on Men and Relationships – Chapter 17

Chapter 17 Stage Three amendment: When a man has come to a fork in the road, he can’t sit and take his time. He has to choose and accept what may come. No turning back and going to look down the other road. Keep straight and accept it. Allow God to do his job and all things will turn out fine. I thought long and hard about what had occurred. I knew that I’d made a mistake and that I’d blown my chance at stepping up. What I didn’t know was that I’d blow it in an attempt at moving up to Stage Three. That could’ve caused a bigger problem in the long run if I would’ve acted on my emotions and called Ros or Laney. The thought had crossed my mind. But I knew I had to reconsider. I wrote in my journal and it finally came to me. I had to get Janice back. I knew if I got Flip to talk to Tina then I could get back in there, but I had to fix this one. I had to take responsibility. I didn’t talk to Janice for a week. That next weekend I had to help Flip move to his new place. He didn’t have much stuff, but the things he did have weighed a ton. We rented a truck and started with the living room. He refused to put his CD player and stereo stuff in the truck even though he still had the boxes for it all. There is nothing like a man and his music. Without a good stereo system a man is only half the man he could be. The same thing holds true for a man and his car. Flip saved all of his stereo equipment to move last. He put all of his stereo equipment into his SC. We filled the truck with all of the stuff and began cleaning the apartment. We didn’t have much to do considering Flip had stop spending the night at his house. He was staying with Tina at her crib, which is normal I guess. It’s that whole process when you start dating seriously. You spend one week at her house she spends the next week at yours. It eventually gets to the point that you question why you both have a place to stay. The normal progression is to make the next jump, moving in together. I guess that’s why Flip was asking me about it that day.

While I vacuumed, he cleaned the bathroom. We hadn’t said much all morning. It wasn’t that there wasn’t anything to actually talk about, we were just tired as hell and we both wanted to get the stuff out of the house as quickly as possible. So we whistled while we worked, but we didn’t do much talking. I finally finished with all of the rooms, and Flip had cleaned both bathrooms and the kitchen. He had a little portable radio playing by the door. I had left my car down at the other house earlier that morning when he came to pick me up. Tina was at the other house cleaning and getting everything ready. She had bought new curtains and a big sandy brown and green rug to cover the floor in what Flip said would be his music room. She had also taken all of the bathroom stuff, the stuff that wasn’t bad looking, and began hooking up the two and a half baths. He had definitely struck gold with Tina. She had done most of the miscellaneous stuff before we left to start picking up the stuff from the old house. I figured that she would be finishing up by the time we got down there to unload the furniture from the truck. “Man you got a good lady,” I said. “I know this.” “Don’t be cocky.” “Not cocky just sure,” he said laughing. “Janice asked about you yesterday. Of course she told us not to tell you. She should be at the other house now. Act surprised when you see her.” “I can do that.” I wound up the wire on the vacuum cleaner and moved it by the door. We gave the house another look over to make sure we weren’t forgetting anything. “I think that’s it,” I said. “Yeah I guess. Have you ever noticed the sense of closure there is when you move?” “Closure?” “You think about all the shit you did in the old house, both good and bad, and you close the door on it all.” “I guess you can really close the door when you’ve moved in the right direction. Like you have Flip.” “You know the best thing that has happened other than getting adopted by a good family and meeting Tina?” “What?” “You man.” We knew that this was the end of an era. Helping Flip move was closure for me also. He picked up the box of cleaning stuff and I grabbed the vacuum cleaner and we closed the door on Stage Two together and walked out to the truck. He jumped in his car and I drove the truck, a new beginning and a new life. Buy Stages now if you want to read it at your own pace.

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Stages: A Handbook on Men and Relationships – Chapter 5

Chapter 5 A couple of years have passed since I read over my older journal entries. I always scrolled through the entries, but I was usually looking for a specific thought or incident. Since I decided to create this book, I’ve been looking at those early entries that were written before the art gallery. The section that gave me the biggest kick was this period of time that I had labeled: The Playoffs. This was when I would go to the club and see how many numbers I could leave with. Flip had came out of his shell, but he still didn’t seem to be interested in doing the things I was doing. He did do okay for himself. During the playoffs, on my best day, I got seven numbers counting the ones before and after going to the club. Of course two of them were incorrect, one of the women had what my man Flip called the DDF. The distance distortion factor, honey was troubled in the face, but she had body so I kept the number just in case. The other three began a series of interludes which eventually brought me to my current stage. Flip got three numbers, one of his was wrong. The ratio for us always seemed to be three to one. Out of three numbers, one would always be a throw away. What bugs me, since I’m not an uncompassionate man, was how easy it was to deceive the women who I was seeing at that time. I didn’t have to put much work into it. Why is it that women fail to question a brother in the first few months of a relationship? Is it because they are just meeting you and they don’t want to push you away too fast? Or is it that the women I chose were just simple. One sister was in the military, Laney. The other two both had kids, Ros, short for Rosalyn, and Eva. I could give you a detailed account of this era, but it would take entirely too long. On the other hand I guess it’s important considering this is the only time you’ll get to see me before I discovered smoothnicity, and discussing this will help paint a clearer picture of the stages.

In dealing with the aforementioned women I saw how women also go through changes, but I can’t relate those experiences to you and that’s not what this handbook is for. This handbook, once again, is for clarification. Kind of like in Biology and Psych courses where you study the stages of sleep. Knowing what the different stages of sleep consist of, isn’t really that useful, but it’s a nice thing to know, don’t you agree? No? Well, look at it like this, before you learn to drive you have to read the book, take the test, get your permit and do a road test. If you fail to meet any of these requirements, you can’t drive. For a man to truly understand relationships he has to have an understanding of the steps that we go through. And I’m sure a woman would like to have a manual for a quick reference. Now do you see the relevance? When I first started dealing with Laney, it was a trip. We went out a few times before anything happened between us. But I can recall when it finally did happen. I drove out to the Navy base to check her out. She was in her little blue uniform, looking cute as hell. Her jeans fit nice around her hips and the matching blue shirt had her last named stenciled over the left pocket: HICKS. Her hair was tucked under her hat revealing her chocolate brown neck. Her height kind of bothered me because I wasn’t really used to messing with a woman that could look me in my eyes without tiptoeing. She met me at the gate with a smile on her face. She spoke with a guy in camouflage for a few seconds before she came to the car with a temporary pass so I could drive onto the base. “Put this on your dashboard,” she said climbing into the car. I placed the pass on my dashboard before pulling into the base after the guard waved me through. “What’s up Terrence? Have you ever been on this base before?” “No, never had a reason, until now. I’ll come here everyday to see you though.” “You still trying to run game like you did on the telephone last night.” “Game? I don’t play games, unless you want me to,” I said. “Anyway. I told you that you could wait for me outside of the gate.” “I wanted to see where you worked.” “Why?” “Never met a sister who worked on helicopters before.” “Well you just met one that’s been doing it for almost ten years.” “What rank are you?” “I’m an aviation electrician’s mate second class.” “A what? I know what the ranks mean like E-1, E-6 and all that other stuff but what the hell is an aviator mate’s man?” “Forget it, I am an E-5.” “Is that good or bad?” “Oh, pull over here to these barracks. That’s my little Mustang over there.” “An American car driver, I guess it’s that military thang.” “I just like the power under me. Besides I’m just not the economy car type, like yourself.” “This is not an economy car. It’s a Legend, just like the owner.” “Really?” “That’s right.” “In your own mind,” she said jumping out of the car. “Try and keep up if you can,” she said looking into the window. “No problem.” I followed her to her apartment which was off of Home Avenue, not the best part of the city. She had a nice place though. She shared a two bedroom town home, that had a balcony and private parking, with another sister who was in the military. She even had a guest spot where I could see my car from her apartment. “So where is your roommate?” “She’s on det.” “What’s that?” “A two week trip on a ship. They perform all kinds of operations while out at sea, war simulations and stuff.” “I bet that’s cool.” “Not really,” she said pulling her shirt off in front of me, revealing a tight sports bra. “Hold on now, I didn’t think it was gonna be this easy… I’m just playing before you get an attitude.” “I’m not getting an attitude. Hell, if you can’t handle seeing a woman in workout clothes then I know you have problems. I’m just getting comfortable.” “You never answered my question concerning your rank.” “What?” she yelled from the kitchen. “You want something to drink? I got soda, beer and wine coolers.” “I’ll take a cooler.” She walked back into the room with a napkin and the drink. “As for if my rank is good or not, it’s neither. I didn’t score high enough on the exam to receive a higher rank. I’ll make it next time.” “Is it harder to make rank being a woman and all?” “Not really, so what do you want to do?” “We can continue talking if you like. Do you have any videos? Whatever you want to do is cool with me. I just wanted to see you.” “I have a few movies, but I’m not in the mood for videos. I’d rather take a walk. As for you just wanting to see me, use another line.” “How long have we been talking now, about what, a month?” I asked. “Bout three weeks. I wouldn’t return your phone calls the first few days.” “I know.” We walked outside for a few minutes, thank God I wore sneakers. “Damn Laney I wasn’t really expecting to take a walk.” “Spontaneity is always a good thing to have in your life, don’t you agree?” “I guess, but I like things to be kind of set unless it’s-” I stopped speaking as she interrupted me. We walked into the house as she finished stating what she cut me off to say. “Like a new relationship? A new relationship should be spontaneous. I’m sorry, go ahead, continue.” She walked upstairs to the bathroom to turn the shower on. “So new relationships are supposed to be spontaneous and that’s it?” “It should stay exciting, but the sad truth is familiarity breeds complacency.” “What?” I asked her. “The longer you know someone the easier it is to start forgetting to be romantic.” “Maybe. Why are we talking about this,” I said trying to get away from the relationship talk. “You’re avoiding, I can feel it. I guess we’re not a couple so we don’t have to discuss such things,” she said. “Maybe we will be one day, right?” “If you say so,” she responded walking towards the stairs. “Laney, what do you expect of me?” “Excuse me?” “Nevermind. If you’re about to shower I can go home. I wouldn’t want to invade your privacy.” “How do you know I don’t want you to invade?” “Look, I’m just chilling. I wouldn’t want to start anything that we aren’t sure about.” “Maybe you’re right,” she said from around the corner. I stood up and walked towards the stairs to see if she was standing there. The contrast of her white towel wrapped around her dark skin stimulated me. She looked down at me and said, “If you want to turn on the TV or the radio just grab the remotes sitting on the arm of the couch.” “I’ll do that.” Temptation. There wasn’t much work involved at all with Laney. I think it was her, not me, who made the decision to become involved. I knew I was going to get it, but I just didn’t think it would really be that easy. I walked back to the couch and turned on the TV. I looked at Sportscenter for a few moments and finally I allowed my manhood to take over. I could still hear the shower running when I began walking up the stairs. As I reached the last stair I could see steam coming out of the door to my right. It was open, but the lights were off. I slipped my shoes off in front of the door, dropped my pants and the rest of my clothes on top of the shoes and walked into the bathroom. I could make out her figure through the glass. “I knew you wouldn’t keep me waiting for long.” “You did? I figured you would call me to wash your back or something.” “Thought about it, but I allowed free will to take precedence over whatever is about to happen.” “Which is?” She stepped out of the shower with her arm reaching out to caress my johnson. I stood right by the door and held her towel. As her hand rubbed over my shaft, she held my shoulder and turned me away from the toilet. She sat down on the seat and placed me in her mouth. The warmth caused my knees to buckle momentarily. She looked up and licked from the base to the tip slowly. Her breasts were still wet as I touched her nipples. She stood and walked me towards her bedroom. “Damn Laney that felt nice.” “I’m glad you liked that. Tell me what you want.” At this moment the only thing on my mind should have been stabbing, but for some reason I was thinking, “Wait til I tell Flip.” Straight up Stage One stuff. My mind wasn’t even on the fact that this fine ass sister was about to freak the hell out of me. I was thinking about what I was going to tell my boy. That’s a trip huh? When we made it to her room she grabbed a condom from her nightstand and gave it to me. I stood butt-ass-naked in front of her, attempting to roll the damn thing down for about thirty seconds. It wasn’t smooth at all. I finally got it rolled down and the damn rubber caught my hairs. I dropped on the bed like a punk. Laney laughed and lay back on the bed pulling the covers up. Her legs were bent pushing the sheets up. I lifted the sheets and placed my head between her legs. I kissed the inside of her thighs and made my way up to her breasts. She wrapped her legs around me. I thought, “Damn long legs aren’t so bad.” That shit felt good. When we finished I lay on my back. She was definitely a good catch, tall, dark with a beautiful style about her. She rested her head on my chest. “Terrence what’s on your mind?” I knew better than to say nothing, especially after sex. “You.” “What about me?” I remember thinking to myself something like, “What about you? Your mouth, close it and go to sleep.” But I didn’t say it. “I’m thinking about how good you looked in that towel earlier.” “That’s all you’re thinking?” At that point I thought, “I’m thinking I should’ve gone to the bathroom to wash myself up so I wouldn’t have to listen to your ass.” Instead I said, “I’m thinking of us.” “Me too,” she said rubbing her hand on my stomach. “I’m thinking that maybe this wasn’t right.” “Why would you say that?” “I don’t wanna lose your respect.” Too late. What the hell was she thinking? Giving up the draws and giving head in the same day, I’m sure she knew that shit was instant freak status, especially since I had no intention to kick it with her too tough. “Do you still-” “Have respect for you? Of course I do. Why wouldn’t I? You’re still the same woman you were when I met you at the club that night.” Except that, nevermind I don’t wanna go there. “You can sleep here if you like,” she said. “I think I will.” Laney, as easy as it seems to have turned out, became more complicated. But I won’t get ahead of myself. Instead, I’ll address some of the set rules to Stage One as they pertain to this night that I had with Laney: 1) Never shoot yourself in the foot with a dumb comment after sex. Ensure that her mind is at ease. 2) Always stay the night, the first time, I don’t think I have to explain why. 3) Finally, make sure you get it one more time, that first night, so she goes to work with a smile on her face. Laney was a nice sister. Don’t ask, “Then why did you dog her?” Please don’t ask that. I did not dog her. If you can recall, I never dog anybody. She assumed that it was going to be me and her. I never asked or said that I wanted to be with her only. After that night Laney and I shared a good two weeks of friendship. We continued to sleep together as I began talking to Ros on the phone. A lot of brothers go wrong in trying to play games on women because they continue to do the same things after they get a few phone numbers. They continue to hit the clubs and all the “singles” spots. When you’re out there like that you can’t help but get caught up in a lot of shit. Besides, San Diego is way too small for that kind of stuff. You can talk to somebody you’ve never met and almost everytime you’ll have someone in common. Kind of like the, “six degrees of game.” Instead of continuing to have my face out there in the scene, I chill on going out and concentrate on the ladies that I have on deck. Ros had a little boy, the problem with women and children for a Stage One, or Two man lies in how you deal with her and her family, initially. If I’d started to see the boy and her at the same time then there would have been conflict. I always asked her how he was when I talked with her, but I never did anything corny like asking her to put him on the phone. I didn’t talk to her about anything that would make it seem that I was interested in anything except friendship. If her son came up, I kind of glossed around it by switching the subject with a joke or talking about music. We also talked about the things that she enjoyed doing, versus what I enjoyed. What was cool about the timing in dealing with Ros, was that Laney had to go out to sea for a two month deployment. I drove her to the docks the morning that she was leaving. “Are you gonna miss me?” she asked. “A little.” “That’s all, just a little?” “Yeah, I’ll try to keep busy so I won’t think about you so much.” “So you will miss me? That’s what I thought.” We had been kicking it for about two and a half months at this time. The irony in this was that me and Flip had actually been out of the club scene for a while now, but I had only dealt with Laney. Almost like a real relationship. He was taking care of his business, and I was dealing with Laney exclusively, big mistake. She eventually got to the big question before she boarded the ship. “Tee don’t be out there messing around while I’m gone.” “What do you mean?” “You know what I’m saying.” “Not really. I don’t mean to upset you before you go on the boat, but do you recall when we first started this that I didn’t want to be in any commitments?” “Yeah, but I thought that since you and I-” her expression caused me to feel bad for a second. “Laney, I do care for you greatly, but while you’re gone I’m going to think about us, a lot.” “I’ll think about you too, but I really thought that we were trying to build something.” “I know. I felt it and I wanted it, but I just got out of a long relationship that didn’t turn out the way I wished it would have. You know that. I just need a little time. Maybe we should chill out when you come back, you know? Just be friends for a while, again.” “Terrence, you could’ve told me this before now. I mean that’s some real fucked up shit to do,” she said holding back her tears. The wind picked up and all of the other sailors were almost through getting on the ship. Her eyes seemed darker than the brown that they were. I had to make this right if we were still going to be cool when she got back. “Look Laney, forgive me for saying this now, but I knew if I didn’t say it then I would’ve been just another dog who was leading a woman by her leash. I didn’t want to do that to you.” I held her chin and looked her in her eyes. “I think too highly of you to do that.” I kissed her on the lips softly. She made a small smile and then it disappeared. “I just thought…Well, you’re right that it would’ve been messed up for you to have strung me along for six months or so and then decide to pull this. I respect you for being honest with me.” “And I respect you for listening rationally. I’ll pick you up when you get back and we can talk about this more. Agree?” I held out my arms. “Agree.” She pulled me close and held me tight. I would miss her for the next eight weeks, but I’d get over it. She walked up the steps and disappeared inside of the massive gray ship. Buy Stages: a handbook on men and relationships if you want to read it at your own pace, or just check back to keep reading it here.
OHTW Back Cover

Business, Christopher D. Burns, Entrepreneurship, Starting A Business

25 Keys: Points to Stay Motivated in Small Business-Intro

I have been working on a book for 4 years and I recently finished the book. I was in the process of sending it to the printer and I had to stop because things changed in my business again. In other words, my small business is constantly changing and I have to adapt. I finally realized that I can’t sit down and make things so cut and dry. I also can’t sit back and not pass on information that has enabled me to keep moving forward. I have decided to share part of that book here on the blog. If you use any of this, please share my web address and give credit where it is due. I hope these 25 Keys can help you with something you are considering. Enjoy. 25 Keys:

Get Your Janitor On

I have lectured on building businesses and websites at the University of Memphis, Southwest TN. College, the YWCA and the Memphis Housing Authority. In each lecture I discuss the importance of entrepreneurship. I would like to leave you with these key points which are for diving into your own business, but are really for you since you are your own business. While the length of this book does not determine its power and potential, I do hope that you are beginning to think about how to build your own One Hour To Wealth program. Next are my 25 Key Points. A key is used to gain access and these 25 points will allow you to begin creating ideas. There isn’t a thing in the world that I can write that will make you rich. You will have to generate your own idea. Everyone has something they are good at, something they are passionate about, and something that occupies their mind. What I want is for you to actually do something about those dreams instead of letting others, or yourself, kill them. With that said I truly appreciate you reading this short book and I hope it has inspired you to do something. If it has, take a few minutes to visit any of my sites and drop me a note. I look forward to hearing from you. Sincerely, Christopher D. Burns, MFA http://www.cbpublish.com/ http://www.arch-usa.com/

Introduction: 25 Key Points to Stay Motivated in Business

Key Point 1: Be Creative
Key Point 2: Capitalize on Opportunities
Key Point 3: Stay In Your Lane
Key Point 4: You Need A Business Plan
Key Point 5: Learn To Do Some Things Yourself
Key Point 6: Grassroots Marketing is Vital
Key Point 7: Change Is Inevitable
Key Point 8: Daily Dedication & Consistency
Key Point 9: Do Not Swim Upstream
Key Point 10: Develop A Plan of Action
Key Point 11: Social Media is Grassroots
Key Point 12: Find Out About Resources
Key Point 13: Research Your Chosen Market
Key Point 14: Use A Blog To Launch Your Ideas
Key Point 15: Blogs Are Easy To Use vs WYSIWYG or Dreamweaver
Key Point 16: Blogs Are Easier To Monetize
Key Point 17: Ad Revenue is Real
Key Point 18: Conquer Your Region First
Key Point 19: You Have Great Ideas
Key Point 20: Stay Away From Dream Killers
Key Point 21: Remember The Blog is a great way to launch an idea
Key Point 22: The Perfect Time Is Now
Key Point 23: Get Up and Write it Down

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Business, Christopher D. Burns, Entrepreneurship, Starting A Business

25 Key Points: Key Point 1

(Note: I recently installed a plugin named Old Posts Highlighter for this blog. What the plugin does is to recycle articles based on a schedule I set. I set it to pull blogs older than 2 years. This post/series was originally posted on 8/31/2011. Since the plugin works randomly, it does not post in sequence, so you might want to bookmark this particular post. A few months ago I began working on my passion project CBP using my own book One Hour To Wealth (see the post explaining this here). I knew that I wanted to begin reaching more people to show them what I was able to do to overcome an extreme setback in my life. While I’ve made incredible strides since writing this book, actually using the book will solidify the information I’ve provided. Instead of being motivational, the writing will be considered instructional. All of these ‘Key Points’ make up the end of the book which can be read for free on Kindle with Amazon Prime, or purchased in paperback. Please share this information, retweet and like with a pingback to this site and feel free to comment or ask questions.) Over the next 25 days I will post a Key Point. Collect them, share them with friends and other people thinking about starting a small business, leave feedback and make sure you give credit. I appreciate you reading. If you’d like to read some of my fiction, got to my Author’s Page to read my bio and pick up a book. Enjoy Point 1.
Christopher D. Burns, MFA
Key Point 1: Be Creative – There isn’t any such a thing as a stupid idea. If somebody tells you to create a fart catcher, sit down and think about if you can be passionate about it. I’m not kidding. Creativity is the realm of childhood and the dreams that you have when you are young, become the memories that dissipate due to inactivity. People forget how to be creative. Watch your child play with some LEGO Blocks. Children have the knack for creativity and they can sit for hours building bridges and playing in imaginary worlds. When we get older people tell us to stop playing games and get serious. The only thing getting serious does for us is make us overweight, tired, stressed and angry. I challenge you to keep a journal for a month and in that journal write down every odd idea you can think of that you can be passionate about. Write down the ones that you can’t get excited about as well. The goal though is to be creative.

Introduction: 25 Key Points to Stay Motivated in Business

Key Point 1: Be Creative
Key Point 2: Capitalize on Opportunities
Key Point 3: Stay In Your Lane
Key Point 4: You Need A Business Plan
Key Point 5: Learn To Do Some Things Yourself
Key Point 6: Grassroots Marketing is Vital
Key Point 7: Change Is Inevitable
Key Point 8: Daily Dedication & Consistency
Key Point 9: Do Not Swim Upstream
Key Point 10: Develop A Plan of Action
Key Point 11: Social Media is Grassroots
Key Point 12: Find Out About Resources
Key Point 13: Research Your Chosen Market
Key Point 14: Use A Blog To Launch Your Ideas
Key Point 15: Blogs Are Easy To Use vs WYSIWYG or Dreamweaver
Key Point 16: Blogs Are Easier To Monetize
Key Point 17: Ad Revenue is Real
Key Point 18: Conquer Your Region First
Key Point 19: You Have Great Ideas
Key Point 20: Stay Away From Dream Killers
Key Point 21: Remember The Blog is a great way to launch an idea
Key Point 22: The Perfect Time Is Now
Key Point 23: Get Up and Write it Down

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stages front

African American Authors, books, Breaking Down The Myth, CB Publishing, Christopher D. Burns, fiction, friendship, Love, relationships, Stages: A Handbook on Men and Relationships

Stages: A Handbook on Men and Relationships – Chapter 14

Chapter 14 This is where everything gets odd. In a handbook that details the circumstances, or patterns, that a man might go through in reaching the “promised land” of a “perfect” relationship, that handbook should remain somewhat reliable. I had the best damn date a man could have without having sex. I wanted Janice so bad that night, I had to turn on some freaky deaky movies when I got back to the house. I thought getting next to Janice wouldn’t be a problem and that I’d be able to pull the whole thing off as I had with Laney. It just didn’t work that way, but that’s later. For me to remain a reliable source, I have to say that I actually felt like shit after I cut Laney off. It wasn’t so much that my conscious was bothering me as it was that I saw her a few weeks after with some tall, White guy. That shit ate at me for more than a minute. I wondered if I drove her to that. I wondered if she would ever date a brother again. It was almost time for me to call her and see how she was doing, but ironically I didn’t know if I could handle it if she said she was already over me. I wouldn’t have appreciated that at all. Selfishness is not a good trait to have, and I think I’m guilty of being the most selfish guy in the world at times. Well, you reap what you sow. If I was indeed doing wrong, then it would come back on me, right? Then again, no it wouldn’t, the bad guys always get away with murder if they have the right defense, which I have. My defense is the truth. It ain’t my fault if women never ask the right questions. If a woman can honestly sit down and live her life without having to have a man then I wouldn’t go in and out of relationships because there wouldn’t be any one to go in and out on, you dig? You have to keep your eyes open. There are signs that a man is a Stage One or Two brother, clear signs. Allow me to share with you these pieces of info about the male psyche: One, if a brother gets a lot of phone calls and he always says that it’s one of his boys, watch out. A man usually has two friends, he doesn’t have boys (notice the plural). He only has two. Of those two, one is going to be Stage Four and the other is going to be Stage Three, that is if he is the one at Stage Two. Things change when you find yourself in the equation. As simple as recognizing this trait is, it is often taken for granted. Two, if it seems as if your dates are alternated between weekends, watch out. That’s all I have to say about that, imply what you will. Third, if you get to a point where you want to say I love you and he says it also, and it’s less than four months, watch out. There are some exceptions to this rule. I, for instance, never say those three words. Some guys use it at random, or something close to it, especially when he’s really reaching to get a woman in bed. Three simple yet effective ways of recognizing these signs. There are more, but I can’t get bogged down in the rest. I may later, but I won’t right now. What I will say is that Laney with that White guy definitely bothered me. It wasn’t because of his color, it was just that I never thought she was the type. I called Laney up to say hi. “Laney, how are you?” “I’m fine and you?” “Kind of miss you, but I’m maintaining.” “You know, I missed you also, but not in the same way I think,” she said. “What do you mean?” “I think I missed having someone to talk to about small stuff, you know, work and stuff like that,” she laughed at something in the background. “What are you doing right now?” I asked her. I figured since I hadn’t slept with Janice yet I could get a little something from Laney. It had only been two and a half months since we called it quits. I was horny anyway. “I’m chilling with a friend of mine.” “Oh, who is it Stacey?” “No. His name is Will. He’s a guy I used to work with who got out of Navy this year.” “Man that was a short grieving period.” “Tee, it’s not like that. He’s just a good friend. I’m being extremely rude, can I call you back?” “No, it’s cool I was just calling to see how you were doing. Don’t rush to hit me back, it’s all good.” “Bye Terrence, I’ll talk to you later right?” “Yeah, peace.” I had just committed a major sin. I had played myself and she heard it in my voice. Going from Stage One to Stage Two changed more rules than I thought. There wasn’t anyway to stay with a woman for longer than three months and expect to still be in good if you called things off. It just didn’t work that way. She would automatically go out and meet someone after the breakup just to justify that it isn’t her that’s fucked up. Laney had done this faster than I ever dreamed. I had too, but it’s different with guys. I picked up my journal and added something that has become a universal trait in the Stages. It goes for either men or women I assume: If a relationship has lasted a while and it ends without the consent of both parties, both people will go out and meet someone as fast as possible, if they don’t have someone lined up already. They will revert back to Stage One and not really give a damn about the person they’re with. They will do this to make themselves feel better and that’s the only reason they do it. It just ain’t the same in Stage Two. I didn’t like it, but it was something I had to deal with and continue to deal with. I’ve been with Janice now for almost three months and will still haven’t consummated this deal yet. I haven’t really given it a shot. I guess that night after the crab dinner threw her for a loop. It seemed as if she wanted to come in the house with me. It was a Friday night and we had basically spent the whole afternoon and evening with each other. But at the end of the night I jumped out of the car without kissing her. “Did you enjoy yourself Mr. Terrence?” “Of course I did, but did you handle me like you did at the club that night?” “I don’t get it?” “Was this pity?” I asked. “No pity on this side, just a really good feeling.” “I have a good feeling also, but I have a lot on my mind still.” “I understand,” she said looking at me as she turned the car off. “Call me when you get in,” I said climbing out of the car. She was stumped. Just as I had done at the club that night, I blew her off. I got out of the car and watched her pull off. She waved out the window as she drove by me. This, now that I look back on it, was supremely idiotic. The chance had presented itself, and like a moron I overplotted. This part of my masterful plan to keep her on a string, didn’t work. She thought I was still stuck on Laney and she stopped pushing it. Another rule of smoothnicity I discovered was defined: Don’t allow any chance to make something happen pass you by. You may end up screwing yourself in the long run. My smoothness had been tested and I had to respond. She called when she made it in. “Are you okay Terrence?” “I’m cool. Did you make it home without any problems?” “Yes, but I did have one problem.” “What happened?” I questioned. “This guy I know who’s still mourning over something that’s finished is allowing this great chance to slip away.” “Really?” “I mean I understand that he’s hurt and may need a little time to adjust, but sometimes you let luck enter and change some things.” “You know I’ve said the same thing a few times myself.” “Then why did you let me leave?” she asked. “No mistakes on this one, gotta make it right.” “I understand that and I won’t question you on it again.” “So what are you doing now? I hear some music in the background that doesn’t sound like jazz.” “Oh that’s the TV.” I turned off my porno flick and switched the channel to videos. “Yeah, the TV, right.” “What do you mean by that?” “Nothing at all Terrence, nothing at all.” She paused, “What are we doing tomorrow?” “I’m going to wash my car and clean up the house a little. Then we can do whatever you like.” “Maybe I’ll wash my car too.” “I’ll wash it with you, notice I didn’t say for you?” “I noticed. I also noticed how you said that we could do whatever I wanted afterwards. I want to buy an apple pie from Julian.” “What? Black folks don’t go up to Julian. You know San Diego turns into Mississippi the further you drive east.” “No, I don’t know that. I do know that you always seem to mention racism, but it seems that you have a lot of racist things to say yourself.” “I’m not a racist. I just look at things in a certain way.” “Terrence, name me one state where there isn’t racism and I’ll give you anything you want. No strings attached.” “No strings attached? Give me a few to think about that. Don’t change your mind either.” “You can’t take all day. You need to give it up anyway, there isn’t one.” “There’s one.” “Which?” “Alaska.” “Have you ever been to Alaska?” she asked. “No.” “Then what the hell are you talking about?” “Name me one brother in Alaska, it’s too damn cold to hate somebody in Alaska. You can think cold thoughts in Alaska, but I’ll be damned if you catch anybody burning crosses or having a rally in Alaska.” “Good night Terrence, it’s late and I guess you start losing your mind the later it gets.” “You know I’m right.” “Do you look at sports Terrence?” “Of course.” “You look at college basketball?” she asked. “Yeah, do you?” “Who’s your favorite team.” “Come on now, you know it’s the Vols. What else would I say?” “I like Duke myself, my folks are originally from North Carolina.” “What are you getting at?” “They have a shooting guard from Alaska.” “So?” “He’s Black.” “No he isn’t, he’s Eskimo.” “Good night.” “Hold on I was just kiddin. I felt like being a little goofy. Janice, I really had a fantastic time tonight. I enjoyed being with you and it felt like what we were doing was real.” She seemed to think about what I said for a moment. She responded, “And why would it seem unreal?” “I was just saying that because of how well we worked together.” “It sounds like you’ve never just let yourself go. Maybe you were to busy trying to run game to see the fun that can occur when two people are honest,” she said. “Yeah, I guess I haven’t allowed myself to trust. I’ve always wanted to control everything.” “I won’t allow that anyway. As for being unreal, Terrence it was real. There isn’t anything fake about me. I hope there isn’t anything fake about you.” “So what are we doing here?” “Nothing at all. We’re being friends,” she said. “I like that.” “Me too, good night Terrence.” Now, remaining honest in the telling of this story/ handbook I have to say this, rather, I have a little story to tell. Just go along with it and yes it has a point: Jimmy worked down at the five and dime on Broadway. He worked there for thirteen years of his life. About six weeks ago this woman asked him to join her for dinner. Jimmy had to have been about six foot three and about two-hundred and forty pounds. He wasn’t bad looking either. Rumor had it that in the seventies he was a fierce pimp with a stable of about fifteen women and then the drama started between him and this other cat named Johnny. Johnny had been in the city longer than Jimmy had and didn’t appreciate the way everything had gone down concerning the amount of money Jimmy was bringing in. Anyway, Jimmy had these two beautiful sisters working for him. Johnny wanted those women in his house. The thing was that Johnny wasn’t right in the head and he had killed other women before that wouldn’t work for him. So instead of allowing Johnny to kill his ladies, Jimmy took all of his money and sent them all away. He took every penny he had made and split up between each woman. Now, a lot of this money the women definitely deserved, but the amount they received was not proportionate to what each of them may have earned. But even the women that did well received thousands over what they might have made while working for Jimmy. The women all disappeared. Johnny attacked Jimmy with a straight razor and caught him twice beneath his ribs. No one knew what happened to Jimmy after that. All they knew was that the women had all become successful business ladies. During the whole time that Jimmy was running those women everybody thought Jimmy was the worst person in the world. After the confrontation with Johnny everyone considered him to be a saint. Then a few years after the incident settled down, Jimmy returned to the city and began working at the five and dime. From that point on Jimmy worked there, until recently. This sister walked into the store and asked him out to dinner. From the way it went down, I assume Jimmy didn’t know who this sister was. When they got to the restaurant the lady had her driver bring a briefcase in. She passed it to Jimmy and walked out of the store. Inside was a handwritten letter signed by each of the girls that he had sent away. The letter read: Because of what you did for us by pulling us off of the tracks and treating us like women, we became successful. Here is what you gave us all that day, with interest. We love you. Three hundred thousand dollars was in the briefcase. Whether this is a true story or not, I think it shows that all players aren’t bad people. Sometimes it takes a player to put a woman on the right path, don’t you agree? If that wasn’t a smooth analogy to show how valuable what I’m doing is, then I don’t know what else to say. Yes I do, I had to make myself feel better by writing that. The truth is when I got off the phone with Janice I felt as if I had made all the right decisions in moving on to her. I enjoyed being with her and we hadn’t even had sex, which wasn’t killing me, but it would’ve been nice. That Saturday we kicked it. I called Flip and let him know what was happening. I actually didn’t have to call and tell him. Tina always got the new info from Janice about what was going on and I guess she couldn’t keep her mouth closed. Flip was successfully mastering Stage Three and was making his way to the final stage, four. We got together at a sports pub on Sunday to look at some basketball and rap a little bit. We ordered drinks, a large pepperoni and an Italian sausage pizza. As I walked to the fountain to grab me some more soda I noticed that some of the people in there were having a bachelor’s party. The guys around this tall brother were all cheering and singing crazy songs and stuff. They all seemed pretty damned happy that their friend was getting married. “That gonna be me and you real soon? Me throwing a bachelor’s party for you?” I asked. “Maybe.” “Serious?” “Like I said, maybe. Tina and I have been talking about that kind of stuff but I don’t know. I like her a lot though.” “I feel you. So how does it feel?” “How does what feel?” “Being locked in with one woman?” “It ain’t so bad if you don’t think of it as being locked in. I like it man. I like to wake up in the morning and honestly like the person I’m waking up with.” “Hmmph.” “For real man. Check it right, I was feeling real bad after work last Thursday right?” “Yeah we put in a lot of work that day.” “I got home and she happened to get off earlier than I did. She’d cooked a nice little dinner and everything. Nothing extravagant, but a nice small dinner.” “She got a key to your crib?” I asked. What I had failed to do was expect that a brother who had arrived at Stage Three would move so rapidly to try and get to Stage Four. Okay, here it comes the one I’m sure has been on your mind for some time now, Stage Three: When a man can no longer stand to play the game anymore he makes a decision to call it quits. He will hang up his trunks and pull the gloves off. He will walk into the corner and accept the position he’s in. That position is one of submission, which can be good or bad. That man will not lie to get what he wants in a relationship and he won’t cheat, unless the opportunity is overwhelmingly strong. The person he would cheat with, will be someone that the woman will already know about, like an old girlfriend. Now Stage Three is a good time to catch a man. He is more than willing to work out any problems that may come up in the relationship. Sounds good huh? The catch in this Stage is a big one though. The man isn’t settling down because he cares for you, or loves you. He’s settling down for himself, because he wants to. The woman that happens to come along at that time just happens to get the benefit of his decision. The reason this is a problem, follow close now, is that the man may settle down with a person that he does not truly love. He will even go as far as marrying that woman. These are the marriages that fail. It isn’t any fault of the woman or the man, just a problem with timing. Stage Three man assumes that the world is his at this time and will have a long relationship with the first woman that comes along. Sometimes it can last, very often it doesn’t because a brother has decided to be with his lady because it was time for him to settle down. But when a man is at Stage Three and everything is mutual, life seems to take a turn for the better. It can and will last. Flip had become a Stage Three man right in front of me and from my vantage point it didn’t look so bad. He seemed happy enough, but I had to ask him. “Yo Flip, why was Tina the right person for you?” I knew that this question would answer for me where Flip was. I hadn’t given Flip my spill about the Stages, but if he answered correctly I would tell him what I had so far. “I guess the way she looked had something to do with it.” “And I hope that wasn’t it.” “It wasn’t. She was professional. I didn’t have to worry about her needing me for much.” “So you’re saying you wouldn’t settle down with a woman that’s needy?” “Tee, I didn’t say that. I just prefer that a woman can pull her own weight if necessary. You’re the same way, so don’t front.” “True, I am, but I’m just interested.” “Why? You thinking about going in the same direction with Janice?” he asked me. “No. What was it man? What was it about her that made you say, fuck it all.” “If you recall it wasn’t her that made me say fuck it all.” “So you made the decision to settle down for yourself?” “Yeah, but don’t we all?” he replied. That was a good point. I was going to have to make an amendment to my journal. However the current info I had still seemed to fit enough to express what I was going to try and get across to Flip. “Alright Tee, Tina said something to me that made me think real hard.” “What was that? If it’s personal I understand,” I asked. Flip took a bite of his pizza and drank from his cup before he began. “When we were going to the Park and doing all of those things that were freaking you out,” he laughed for a moment. His expression took on the same face he had when he spoke passionately about something. “She told me that she had never really enjoyed San Diego. Relationships had been one disappointment after another. All that most men saw when they looked at her was a nice piece of ass, but not a woman to bring home to their mother.” “With her job, education and her looks, no one wanted to be with her?” “I never told you how old she is did I?” “No.” “She’s twenty-nine. She didn’t lose her virginity until she was twenty-two and she only did it with her first love and two other guys.” “I’m sorry man, but you believed that?” “Tee, serious man. I’m trying to tell you why I decided to settle down man you asked.” “I’m sorry Flip.” “She was with a number of men that left her alone when they found out she was a still a virgin in college. Don’t tell Janice this shit man.” “I ain’t gon do that man.” “Well, when we were in the Park she kept telling me that she wasn’t going to get too close to me. She kept saying it jokingly, but I could feel that there was more. So I asked her why she kept saying that: ‘Flip I have really enjoyed these last couple of weeks. That night at the club when you guys came over to the table, I felt something different from you. You had this look on your face like I was the only woman in the place that you would’ve said something to.’ she said. ‘You were the only woman I spoke to that night. I had a lot on my mind and I just wanted to release some tension.’ ‘The reason I keep saying that I’m going to keep my distance is because the last person I was with-’ She started crying man,” he stopped telling the story and looked down. “Flip you don’t have to tell me this. It sounds like it was personal,” I said. I could feel that what he was about to say was heavy. I hadn’t seen him so passionate about something since he realized that some of the people on the line didn’t have any health care. He continued to look down when he began speaking again. He wiped his face as if he was crying. “Tee she told me that the last dude she was with wouldn’t take no for an answer, basically.” “Don’t tell me that man,” I said not knowing what else to say to him. His chest heaved slightly and he sucked his tears up and looked me in the eyes. “She hasn’t been with anyone in over a year. She hasn’t dated or anything.” I couldn’t help but think why she decided to tell him all of this. Such a personal issue wasn’t shared lightly. Flip interrupted my train of thought. “Tee you know we’ve been together for a little over six months right?” “A little bit longer than that man.” “We’ve never made love. I hold her at night sometimes until she falls asleep. She wakes up at night sometimes in cold sweats. I don’t know why she decided to trust me and I don’t really care but sometimes God brings people into your life for a reason. That’s why I settled down Tee. I settled down because God wanted me to. Now you know.” I didn’t respond. I know in some situations you just don’t say anything. You allow the silence to speak for you. I wanted to tell Flip that I understood but all I could do was sit with him. My mind wandered as I sat. I thought initially that it all sounded too scripted. Why would a woman stay at a man’s house after something like that happened to her? I almost asked him if he thought it was a lie, but I could see in his face that he thought it was truth. If Flip thought it was truth, as far as I was concerned it was. Maybe God does place you into peoples lives for a reason. Then again I’m sure he does. What secrets were there to be told by Janice? I wondered. Would I be man enough to ask her? I guess Stage Three is God’s way of slapping a man in the face with an ultimatum. Flip finally calmed down and sipped on his drink. I ate another slice of pizza and reached out my hand to him. He shook it and we interlocked our thumbs in an arm wrestling like grip, which was our way of saying we had each other’s backs. “Flip I didn’t know man and I won’t say a word.” “Tee I know you’re thinking the same thing I did.” “Which is?” “Why me? Why did she decide to seek comfort in me? Is she lying? Am I right, is that what you’re thinking?” “Yeah but-” “Don’t worry about it. I thought the same thing, but then I decided to let it go. Why question everything?” “I don’t think you should.” “You ready to go back to the pad?” “Yeah let’s roll.” Buy Stages now if you want to read it at your own pace, or use the search bar to the right to find each chapter (What? You think I should make it easy, lol.)

Business, Christopher D. Burns, Motivational Blogs

Why Most Ideas Never Happen

Ideas are the foundation of the capitalist society. Actually ideas are the foundation of all society. Someone had an idea to take the teachings of various leaders and the world now has religion. One guy sat down and had an idea about placing dough in the oven with cheese and we now have pizza. Some guy looked at a woman and figured out that the thing between his legs could fit inside the thing between her legs, and pow, children. Seriously though, ideas are born and they give rise to great companies and even better philosophies. What is great about ideas is that anyone can get an idea. The poor, rich, middle class, old people, young people, teens and babies, doctors and homeless guys with golden voices all have ideas. Although everyone awakens at night with an epiphany, this does not mean that we are all capable of actually bringing these ideas to fruition. Very often we will think and think about an idea we have, and we will even go as far as talking with other people about these thoughts. We toss ideas around at bars, during the game, at the mall, in schools and at business meetings. These ideas become the root of discussion for some and the basis for argument for others, but very often ideas, like dreams simply fade away. Why is it that ideas are not taken seriously? What happens from the moment a person writes down a few notes to when they take that sheet of paper, ball it up, and toss it in the trash can? Why do most ideas just go away?

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books, CB Publishing, Christopher D. Burns, Love, relationships, Stages: A Handbook on Men and Relationships

Stages: A Handbook on Men and Relationships – Chapter 3

Chapter 3 The easiest way to present what I’m trying to disclose here is to simply show rather than tell. I know, as smooth as I am, even a brother that’s got his stuff together can get on your nerves. I wouldn’t want that to happen because what I’m saying here is important. It’s as serious as someone sitting on your new couch, jheri curl smearing on the material leaving a stain that, if not cleaned immediately, leaves a hole in the linen, woven cloth couch that you recently bought after you had just enough money to pay off the layaway on the rest of your living room set. It’s serious. When a man has reached the point where he wants to call it quits from the race, he quits sometimes because of meeting the right woman. I believe there is something that will cause a brother to change more often than the right woman, frustration. The fun in being with more than one woman kind of plays itself out really fast, but you wouldn’t know that because of how most men live. The whole dating scene is a pain, the riding around looking cool, saying the right things, hoping that a woman will accept what you’re saying so you can hook her, it’s all a big pain. So why do we do it? Ego, maybe, fear, maybe. Mostly it’s the idea that we can have whatever we want, whenever we want, selfishness. Frustration is a constant for a Stage One or Two man. It is this frustration that is the precursor for most men who settle down.

My boy Flip is a perfect representation of this. I’ve known Flip for a few years and as far as I’m concerned that gives him a much higher status than just an associate, he’s like family. We met at work. Being the only two brothers in the department we instantly bonded and became good friends. He asked a lot of questions his first day, which is normal. Usually I avoided new people cause I didn’t want to play twenty questions with them. But because Flip was a brother, or close to being a brother, I felt that I had to be there for him. “How long have you been working here?” “Bout three years,” I said. “Are you an engineer?” “Nah just a QA analyst. I repair what the engineers mess up before we ship the stuff out of here.” He laughed and continued with the questions. “Do you like it?” he asked. “You’re an inquisitive brother ain’t you? What are you supposed to be doing and how old are you?” “I’m not quite an engineer but we do the same thing.” “Oh, you run programs and print out old schematics without having a clue of what you’re doing?” I said. “Yeah, something like that.” “Terrence Matthews,” I said holding out my hand which he shook with a firm grip. I pulled my hand away. “Easy, easy umm?” “Felipe’ Mendoza. You can call me Flip though.” “You Part Rican or something?” “I’m Puerto Rican, but I was raised by a Black family.” “Too much information, let’s get back to work.” Flip and I walked back towards the assembly line and ran into Mr. Samuels. His suit was tight, snug tight, not nice looking tight, as usual but at least it was clean today. “What’s up Mr. Sams.” “Hey Tee, I see you’re showing around our rookie engineer,” he said chuckling, his chin shaking with every giggle. “Yeah I got him before you guys ruined him. If I let him get in cahoots with you office boys he’ll be sending down bad schematics in three or four days.” “As long as you’re down here to catch those bad drafts we’re okay.” “Thanks Mr. Sams. You want him back now.” “No, no, no, keep him with you. Maybe we’ll make him the floor engineer.” “Yeah maybe.” Anytime the office boys hired another brother I always thought that something was up. Most of the brothers worked on the line. The only other minority engineer they hired was whitewashed and never came down to the floor. After time passed I realized that nothing at all was going on. Flip was just a damn smart brother, with a great personality. I considered it to be a minor blessing having him there. And it’s been pretty good having him down on the floor. I thought for a while that they didn’t want him up in the offices anyway, but who cares the young brother was getting paid. “I’m twenty-three, and they decided that they would take me on at an engineers pay. I didn’t mean to say I wasn’t an engineer. I’m actually a computer science-” “Don’t worry bout it man. Us brothers have to stick together. This ain’t the street, where you have to look out for yourself to an extreme, and I ain’t the jealous type. I may be hourly but at twenty four-bucks per-” “Too much information Terrence,” he said cutting me off. “Let’s get to work like you said. I think I might like being the floor engineer.” From that point on Flip and I were tight. Two high powered brothers in a small focus facility for Motor Control Centers Inc. in fantastic San Diego. I could’ve easily been an ignorant brother with Flip and gotten jealous that he made the same amount that I did starting out. But I’m doing fine, if another brother is doing okay there ain’t no reason to clown. As a matter of fact I think that’s reason to celebrate. Flip had a place in La Jolla and I stayed in Mission Valley. Neither one of us was wanted in the areas we stayed. I assumed getting away from the South, would free me from ignorant folks. I realized in the matter of a year how biased San Diego is. This buried racism made me more conscious. I knew that whenever you had a chance to meet another brother who wasn’t phony, in other words a bother who isn’t trying to keep up with the Joneses, that you had to do right by that brother. I guess that’s why Flip and I became friends so quickly. I think he could feel the city’s tension, he just couldn’t place it into words. With me in his corner and him in mine, it was like having a younger brother. What impressed me about Flip was his patience. For a younger cat he didn’t allow anything to get to him. At least not at first. We ran through San Diego with a vengeance. Every club, every bar, White, Black, Filipino, Mexican, we didn’t give a damn. We just kicked it, me and him at Stage One. Buy Stages now if you want to read it at your own pace.

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African American Authors, books, Christopher D. Burns, fiction, friendship, Love, relationships, Stages: A Handbook on Men and Relationships

Part 2: Stages: A Handbook on Men and Relationships – Chapter 23

Chapter 23 I’m still trying to figure out a few things. If a relationship can be as good as it was with me and Janice why in the hell was I so afraid to try it before? I know the trauma from the first girlfriend thing was my excuse, but it was just that, an excuse. I should’ve done this relationship thing a long time ago. I’ve done things with Janice that you only do with a girl that you know and trust. Everything we do seems to be more fulfilling. There are things that she does to keep our relationship fresh. She sits down on certain days and maintains a book, kinda like a log of all we do. The log has pictures, silly letters and other little things that we could look at and laugh at. That seemed so small to me when she started the book. Now that book is like an intricate part of who we are, it grew. All of the little stuff like catching a movie or walking and talking about things that we want and have dreamed about is something that I obviously hadn’t done with anybody else, except maybe Laney. I once thought that settling down meant you run out of things to talk about in a year or two. That can happen if you stop doing things. But the hobbies that we have always gives Janice and I some kinda conversational pieces. She reads a lot of books, which always gives her something to say and it’s not just meaningless little words to fill quiet space. Each word is meaningful, unless we’re just trippin. Janice is a dream come true for me, and Tina is a dream woman for Flip. The closer it came for me to propose though, the more nervous I got. I started feeling like I was doing this proposal thing more for myself than I was for her. Maybe it was a new experience that I wanted to have. I didn’t know. I just started feeling uncomfortable. During lunch three days before the 24th, one day before we got a week off for Christmas and New Year’s I talked to Flip about my doubts. “Man have you had any second thoughts?” “Nope.” “Come on man, I know you’ve had one thought.” “Nope, not one. If you asked me if I’m scared, I’d say hell yeah, but having second thoughts, nope.” I sat for a second and processed what he said. “I guess they are two separate things. I haven’t really had second thoughts. I guess I’ve been afraid also.” “That’s all it is. Fear is a trip. It’ll have you thinking some crazy shit.” “No doubt. So you’re afraid also? But what the hell are we afraid of?” “Losing our freedom.” “Yeah, I guess you’re right. That’s what I’m afraid of for sure,” I said. “Think about it though, when was the last time you’ve wanted for anything mentally? Or for that case physically?” Flip asked. “I haven’t thought about it.” “I haven’t wanted for anything since that day we went to the club and met the girls. Don’t get me wrong I wanted more from her for a long time, but I knew it was worth waiting, but now, it’s all good.” “I feel you.” “In a way, when we bought those rings we became liberated.” “What are you saying Flip?” “Think about it. We don’t have to live everyday thinking about how we’re gonna find new women. We don’t have to buy shit to impress anybody anymore. It’s perfect, we can be ourselves, without worrying about how we look every second.” “So you ain’t getting your hair cut anymore?” “I didn’t say that. I’m saying we don’t have to sweat nobody ever again. We don’t have to wait on pages, second dates, none of that.” “I feel you, I feel you. I hadn’t ever thought of that. Besides we haven’t been out there bad for over a year,” I said. “Nope. So stop worrying and start making up what you’re gonna say.” “What I’m going to say? Oh damn, I haven’t made up a damn thing yet.” “Tee, I got an idea.” “Speak.” “How about we do it at the same time?” “I don’t know man. We boys, but don’t you think that’s a bit much?” “Maybe, but it would be different.” “What would we do?” I asked. We sat down and put our heads together and came up with the bomb idea. *** Buy Stages: a handbook on men and relationships if you want to read it at your own pace, or just check back to keep reading it here.

ARCH, book reviews, Business, Christopher D. Burns, David Hansson, Entrepreneurship, Jason Fried, Rework, Starting A Business

Rework by Jason Fried and David Hansson

(Written in 2011) What is Rework? Rework is a book on rethinking what it is to be a small business person. The book was written by the founders of 37signals. Real quick, what I just did by inserting their link into this blog post has helped to increase their SEO. Why is this important in a book review? Well not really a book review… but a thank you to the writers of Rework. SEO is search engine optimization. In the world of the internet in order for your business to be found in the search results of Google people have to share your link. This is placed in some funky program in Google’s search engine and the more links to your site, the higher your site is listed when someone searches for certain information. This is important to me because I have found that through research and all kinds of stuff, my site ranks very low. Damn you people who don’t understand this! Okay sorry about that, but as most of you know who follow my shoe company blog/store I’m going through a transitional period right now. If you want to read about that visit http://www.arch-usa.com/ and you can’t miss my current attack on ebay. How is this book review getting so far off topic? It isn’t, bare with me and everything will come together. I recently read Just Do It by Donald Katz. This is an insider’s look at Nike from 89-94. Another turbulent period for Nike. This book was a different more business based approach than Swoosh: Unauthorized Story of Nike and the Men Who Played There, which read like fiction. I guess that’s because Rob Strasser’s, a former Nike Man from the early days, wife wrote the book. Once again I deviate. Just Do It gives this incredible insight into the culture of Nike and how the company has come to so thoroughly dominate the sportswear market. This is relevant to my small business because I am working on ARCH. So what does Rework have to do with this and why isn’t this turning into a book review? Rework is the book I just wrote. Let me rephrase that. I’ve been working on my book since 2008 and I finally finished it this summer. The book is called One Hour To Wealth: Your Great Idea is Valuable…Get Up and Write It Down! and Wealth really isn’t what the book is about. It is, but not in that way. This isn’t about me, this is about Rework. I read Rework in about 3 hours.Why so fast? Because I am going to read it again. It’s that type of book. There is so much great advice in the pages that it becomes overwhelming, but it’s not overwhelming. Paradox? Yep, but no. The book is/was written in a way that makes it accessible. It doesn’t sound like the advice of a millionaire who is a millionaire giving advice to a thousandaire on the verge of becoming a millionaire. Wait a minute, let me make that clear. Fried and Hansson have written a book that is for any person aspiring to work on their ideas for business. They don’t give a framework and a step by step manual; they look at the excuses, the obstacles, the lies that a person tells themselves when approaching the start or the continuing of a business, and they explain why you have to rethink, redo, revise a lot of the ideas you have about business. Rework captures the essence of Just Do It, and well, tells you to stay motivated. Okay you caught me with that one. Stay motivated is the slogan for ARCH. I had to throw that in there, along with one more link to Rework. If you are in a business funk, rut, hole, slowdown or if you are booming and your biz is doing well, I recommend this book because no business person should remain in the same place. You have to constantly change and rework your plan… sorry actually don’t rework the plan, “stop guessing and start doing,” or something like that. Read the book, thank me later and do what I did. Write them and thank them.

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African American Authors, books, Breaking Down The Myth, CB Publishing, Christopher D. Burns, fiction, friendship, Love, marriage, relationships, Stages: A Handbook on Men and Relationships

Stages: A Handbook on Men and Relationships – Chapter 16

Chapter 16 A reflection can be found anywhere, or it can come at anytime. Two of the most important reflections I’ve had in my adulthood happened because of a conversation with a brother three years younger than myself. Flip, like he said about Tina, was brought into my life for a reason. People coming into your life can happen guy to guy, just as it does with men and women. I knew it and I thanked God for bringing me a brother. What I didn’t appreciate was his Stage Three whining. I just wasn’t in the mood for it. But he was my boy so I had to listen. Do you recall when I said that this book wasn’t going to change me, and that it was just a handbook? I guess by now you realize it’s more than that. It’s therapy. I’ve been listening to myself and actually paying attention to everything that’s going on around me. And for once, I’m willing to say that I would like to find a little peace. It would be nice to wake up next to someone, without saying, “Damn, Damn, Damn,” like Florida Evans. It would be nice to know who’s calling when the phone rings and it would be nice to have consecutive birthday’s with the same woman. But there is always some unfinished business to take care of, so until I finish I won’t make that move. I’ll continue with what I’m doing.

After Flip and I spoke about Tina, he had the bright idea to take another risk. He was about to move down to Kensington into that four bedroom house we went to look at. “Tee have you lived with a woman?” “No and neither should you until you both decide on getting engaged. That’s it. I don’t want to talk about it anymore. I’m telling you as a friend, sorry, asking you, not to do it. Don’t do it, don’t do it. That’s it, I’m through, next question.” I nipped that shit in the bud real quick. I didn’t want to discuss it with him at all. Everytime I had a discussion with Flip it always ended with him formulating his own fantastic reasons to do the opposite of what I said. That’s not funny either. I’m right sometimes. Like I was saying earlier, before I started running my mouth, Janice had invited me to her place for Sunday afternoon brunch. Once I got there she decided that she wanted to take another ride. We took off in my car this time and I asked where she wanted to go. “So where we headed?” I asked. “I don’t know, I just wanted to get out of the house.” “You don’t know? I don’t wanna just drive around aimlessly.” “We had a good time before didn’t we?” “Yeah we did.” I felt compelled to ask her what was on her mind, but I didn’t for fear that it might lead to something I didn’t want to hear. “Just drive and talk. I want to hear about you. Who you really are. Not the music, not the job or about Flip, I want to hear from you what you want.” “That’s a heavy question and it’s hard to answer. Could you be more specific?” “I know where I want to go. Sunset Cliffs.” “I don’t know where that is.” “It’s at the end of the continent.” “What?” “It’s where the continent becomes the ocean. I know that sounds weird, but if you haven’t noticed the last place we went to was a cliff overlooking the ocean. There’s something glorious about that.” “I guess you’re right.” “Maybe you should start looking more closely at the places you go instead of worrying about things you can’t control.” “Like what?” “Racism. You always have something awkward to say. I haven’t told you this because I’m bothered by the way you respond to White people.” “What haven’t you told me?” I asked. Oh damn, she had tricked me into heavy conversation and it was smooth. From the cliffs, to the seashore to ‘There’s something I haven’t told you.’ I fell right into that one, then again maybe I didn’t fall into anything. I listened. “My mother is White.” I looked at her instantly and thought, “Not as Black as you are.” “My stepmother you idiot,” she said noticing the puzzled look on my face. “What do you think about that? Does that bother you?” “No it doesn’t bother me at all. I never said I disliked White folks.” “You didn’t say it, but your words. You have to watch what you say.” “No I don’t. I only say what I’m thinking.” “You don’t do that all the time.” “How do you know?” “Because you wanted to tell me the other night to come upstairs, but you didn’t cause you thought it might make you look good. You would be a brother that was respectful. It was a calculating move.” “Come on now what kind of talk is that?” “You know I’m right. Instead of making you look good, it made me become wary of you. See men play the same games that women play.” “Do they?” “They do. I used to play them until something happened to a friend of mine that made me reconsider.” I knew where she was going and I didn’t want to follow, but I had to. She continued, “Things can go wrong when you mess with people’s heads. They can even go wrong when you don’t,” she said looking out the window. I followed the signs that directed me to the cliffs as we drove down the street. I could feel the tension build. She hadn’t mentioned Tina’s name, but it was implied. She just didn’t know I knew what she was saying. As we rounded the curve over looking the cliffs I rolled down the windows and turned the music off. I could hear the waves crashing against the rocks. I pulled into a parking space and grabbed a blanket from the back of the trunk. The air, as usual at the beach, brought a chill to both of us. I held my hand out for her to take a hold of. She seemed to take my hand cautiously, as if taking my hand was accepting my soul. I tucked the blanket under my arm and walked to a clear space on a grassy part of the cliffs. We walked over a few rocks to reach a spot. I placed the blanket on the ground and sat down. She stood for a moment, looking out over the ocean. “Look at that ship floating into the clouds.” It did look as if the ship was being swallowed by a huge cloud. The waves turned over creating a white foam at the top of each roll of the water. It was like a painting. Janice finally sat down beside me. “Tee, what do you want?” “I don’t know.” “Me either and I’m afraid now,” she said. “I’ve been afraid for a while, but sometimes you have to be strong for your friends and you never get a chance to sit and cry for yourself.” The wind picked up over the cliffs. I wrapped the blanket over both of us and we sat beside each other. The blanket was split in the middle and the wind cut right through it. She moved forward a bit and I slid behind her. She sat between my legs and I pulled the blanket over us. The wind bumped the outside of the blanket. The chill eventually took its defeat and moved on. I held her as she sat in front of me. She tilted her head back to look into my eyes. I was speechless. Her eyes lay the whole story out there without her lips parting to say one word. “I want to be happy,” she said. “I want to be happy.” “I know.” She lay on me a little longer before she spoke. I wanted to kiss her and declare that I was a changed man. I wanted to tell her about everything I’d done. I needed to be honest with her, but I couldn’t. “Terrence, I’m not being dramatic to trap you or confuse you. I just wanted to talk and although you seem as if you’re going through some things, I thought you would listen. I don’t want anything from you. I’ll wait for you to make up your mind.” “What do you mean?” “You aren’t ready for anything right now. There is a confusion to you, an indecisiveness, that speaks louder than you know. Some things you can’t hide, they just come out.” “I know some things you can’t hide, but I’m not hiding anything. I don’t have anything to hide.” She turned to look at me. The blanket fell off of her shoulder. I felt the wind coming on again. The sky had a twilight look to it, the moment where it’s not quite dark but it definitely isn’t light out. My mom use to call it the hiding time. The time when people who lied told the perfect lie. “If I tell you this, don’t take it the wrong way,” she said. “I won’t.” “That night at the club when you came to the table. I told Tina something. Flip hasn’t told you anything has he?” “No, about what?” “I told Tina that… you seemed like a man that I could fall in love with.” “I don’t …know what to say.” “Don’t say anything Terrence. I’m not looking for a reply of any kind. I just wanted you to know that. I felt like I couldn’t hold it in anymore. I knew saying this would make you think you had me and that you could get away with anything on me, but sometimes you have to put it out there and have faith.” “I’m not gonna play you. I won’t do that Janice. I honestly don’t know how to respond to you although I want to-” “But you don’t want to open up, right? I figured that. Let’s go.” She stood up and walked to the car. I opened the door for her and threw the blanket in the trunk. I stood and looked at the cliffs and the water for a moment before I climbed in the car. I knew there was something that I was feeling. I knew what I wanted to say. But I chose to remain on the same level. I kept quiet. In the car I turned the radio on. She looked out the window without saying anything to me. There wasn’t anyway that I could run anything down on her. I had to move on, I kept thinking to myself as I drove. She turned the radio down for a second and then she turned it back up, without speaking. “What’s up?” I asked. “I don’t want you to call me anymore. When you drop me off that’s it, lose my number.” “But-” “Terrence, I know your type. Serious relationship, time to tuck the tail and leave. You always want the easy way out, but this time you won’t get what you want and get out easy. You’ll remember what I’ve said today and I pray to God that you change, or something will happen to you.” “Are you wishing bad shit on me? If so, that’s fucked up. I haven’t said a word, I’ve just been quiet. I wasn’t the one who said all that stuff back there.” I figured if I wasn’t going to be able to get anything I might as well save face. How ignorant is that? She didn’t respond. She didn’t say a word. I turned the radio off. “So what do you have to say?” I asked. “I feel sorry for you, that’s all I have to say.” “Sorry for me? I’m straight, you don’t need to feel sorry for me,” I said. She didn’t say anything at all. I was hot. I wanted to kick her out of the car at that point, when it all hit me. God does give you moments to make a decision. Usually they come at a time where you are so preoccupied with you, you fail to see that moment occurring. I didn’t see it until after she said she was sorry. I knew at that moment I had to make a decision. “Janice, I know you’re not going to respond to anything I’m saying right now, but-” I paused for a second to park the car. She opened the door and got out. I called her and she stopped in front of her door. “Can we please talk about this now? If we both leave and have this out in the air, then we’ll think too much and everything will be fucked up.” She agreed and we began walking. “I was talking to Flip the other day and he told me something about myself. He didn’t even intend to do it, it just came out.” She still didn’t say anything. “I want to try and do this thing.” “What thing? You can’t even say it. You don’t need to do anything except grow up.” “Can I talk without being scolded, please?” What happens most of the time when a man is about to come clean to a woman, is the woman will say something that messes with the man’s concentration. It will distract him just enough to make him punk out. He’ll change his mind and just say, “Fuck it.” Remember that if a guy is trying to get serious, even when you’re arguing, let him. If you don’t he will freeze up and he’ll never tell you what’s on his mind. She quieted down and let me continue. “This is not some kind of game I’m trying to run on you. I felt something between us that night also. I just thought that you had,” I changed my words. “I thought I had to be who I was for a while longer. I didn’t want to try a relationship.” “What was Laney to you then?” I hadn’t thought about that coming up. Oh well. “I liked Laney, but I never had any intentions on really being with her.” “So you were playing the role when you met me?” “Yeah I was, but-” “You were going to do the same thing to me?” “Yeah I was, but-” She raised her hand up as if she was about to hit me. Then she put her hands up to her eyes and covered them. She turned around and began walking back towards her apartment. I ran after her and grabbed her on her shoulder. “Janice, I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what you want to hear. I’m trying to be honest with you. If all you’re going to do-” She pulled her shoulder away from me and kept walking. I shouted. “If all you’re going to do is walk away when I finally tell the truth then what’s the point in me being honest?” She stopped and turned towards me. I ran to her and held my hands out to plea. “I’m not sure of what to say, I just don’t know these words. You understand?” I asked her. I held her hands and rubbed them gently. “I want you to give me time to learn. I want you to teach me.” “I can’t teach you anything Tee. I don’t know the way. I just know how I felt about you.” “How you felt?” “You scare me. You are so unsure of yourself that it just plain scares me. What do you expect?” “I expected you to say that you would be the person that I can count on.” “Count on for what? Talk to me Tee I need to hear it as much as you do.” “Flip said something to me,” I said letting her hands go to walk beside her. We had been walking down the street holding hands in an awkward walking dance. “He told me that he was tired of waking up in the morning and questioning what he had done the night before. I don’t want to question anymore.” “But are you doing this for you or because you think we can make this work?” “I don’t know.” “Then I can’t be the one Tee. I can’t.” She walked up the stairs and into her apartment. I climbed into the car and drove home. Buy Stages: a handbook on men and relationships now if you want to read it at your own pace, or just check back to keep reading it here.

Black Writers, Christopher D. Burns, Get to Know, Gil Scott Heron, Reg E Gaines, Social issues

Get To Know: In Honor of Gil Scott Heron

I wrote this paper while I was enrolled as an undergrad at San Diego State University. I did not edit this in any way. I felt compelled to post this because people will allow Gil Scott’s death to go uncelebrated, and unrecognized. I hope they won’t. I won’t because his death diminshes my creative world, but in his own words of Guan Guanco, we are born to discover ourselves and in doing so we have our rebirth and regeneration. Gil Scott is now among the ancestors and within all of us we carry his spirit and by sharing we keep him alive. This is long so come back to it if you have to. Chris B. The Words of a Modern-Day Jali (Gil Scott-Heron’s Influences, Social Commentary and his Affect on the Hip-Hop and Spoken Word Community) I stood with the others along the shimmering coast as waves pushed loose sand from troughs and carried rocks onto the shore. We had awaited the call of the Atumpan for several days waited for the master drummer to tell of us any impending danger. Each day seemed longer than before. Our chieftain had informed us that we did not have the weapons to match the gunpowder that the British men carried. To calm us he asked everyone to listen to the sound of the talking drum. After listening he then told us that this was our advantage. I failed to understand. The Atumpan gives us notice, we see the enemy through the words of the drum, he explained. After waiting for close to five days for the White men to arrive the warriors began to finish the tasks of moving baskets of yams too heavy for the women and children to carry. It was early, quiet. The sun made long shadows of trees on the shore. The waves echoed the warning from the Atumpan that the White men had returned and would be arriving with guns and various weapons, I felt my chest tighten. The women and children ran to safety. I prepared along with the others for what was about to occur. The speed of the drumming carried over the water faster, with more urgency. I felt fear. I asked my chieftain if the drums were wrong. In his heavy raspy words he informed me that the drums were never wrong. We all moved from the shore in accordance with the call from Atsimewu and prepared for battle. Atsimewu sounded They are here, they are here.

In our past, in every African society there were people known as Dagomba. Dagomba was a griot and a master drummer who knew, completely, the past and the present history of his people. This tradition of historic storytelling presented by elders such as a Dagomba, has been an integral part of African-American music and history. In particular this form of storytelling influenced an artform which ‘began’ in the 1970’s, Hip-Hop. Hip-Hop, a form of music from the inner city, began as party music. A DJ would play songs and rap, or talk, over the instrumental parts of records, in order to keep the crowd moving during the fade in and fade out of a record. As people began to listen more and more to what the DJ would say, the DJ’s rap became more sophisticated and the lyrics, storytelling, became more focused. The lyrics reported on the events taking place in neighborhoods and in society. Similar to the Dagomba, and the playing of the Atumpan, Hip-Hop consisted of spoken words in conjunction with a heavy drumbeat. The words of the deejay/ emcee began to give references and warnings of societal problems affecting African-Americans. For instance, Grandmaster Flash wrote a song titled, White Lines: Don’t Do It. This was a reference to the cocaine addiction problem that exploded in New York and other parts of the country. The line, “Don’t Do It,” is an obvious precursor to the very flawed, “Just Say No,” campaign pushed forth by Nancy Reagan and the government years later. Hip Hop, as documented by Nelson George, began in New York with a DJ whose stage name was Kool Herc. However, just as the lineage of jazz and blues is rooted in the rhythms of African music, so is Hip-Hop. But, as the following information will detail, there was a more immediate precursor, a founder, and a prophet for the culture of Hip-Hop, not unlike the griot. This creator and torchbearer of social-consciousness storytelling began by shouting to the world that, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” (Heron 1), and he never looked back. His messages of hope, desperation, and family focused on the concept of ‘Us’ instead of ‘I’. Heron was quoted as saying, “Black Americans do a lot of singing about ‘I’…We were singing ‘us’ songs…because we didn’t love ourselves at the time” (Saunders pg. 2). In the turn of a phrase he had the biting wit of a confident satirist who condemned the government for pushing human rights from the public spectrum. While others declined to comment on society in their art, his views can be found in all of his music and writings. Gil Scott-Heron arrived on the music scene in 1970 with music that was thought provoking and representative of the times. In the following pages, a picture will be painted that will cover the landscape of Gil Scott Heron’s influences, his passion for the written word, his admiration of the beauty of music created from the African culture and how he has influenced the Hip-Hop movement. Throughout African-American history our music symbolized the struggles of our past, the happiness in our lives and the situations that created the happiness or sadness. Sorrow songs, the field songs, cries, hollers and hymns named by W.E.B. DuBois were sung during the time when African-Americans were enslaved. The songs were often coded messages that gave slaves directions of escape and a means of communication with others in the field. This ability to use music as a tool for the dissemination of information continued through the works of Gil Scott-Heron. Gil Scott-Heron was born in Chicago, April 1, 1949 (Contemporary pg. 189), at a time when civil rights struggles were reaching a new level of importance in African-American politics. This racial and confrontational backdrop would become fodder for the music of Gil Scott. The fifties and sixties introduced leaders and groups who had the experience, motivation and ability to organize Blacks and fight segregation, unlike any other time. It was this racially charged era that bore poets such as Nikki Giovanni, Stanley Crouch and Angela Davis (SonicNet pg. 2). These poets came along at a time when the non-violent ideas of Dr. King had been obliterated by the bullet fired in Memphis, TN. These poets along with the heavy influence of The Last Poets set the tone for Gil Scott’s arrival. Like all Blacks, as a child, Heron had no choice in understanding, accepting and overcoming racism. He learned at an early age how vicious the sting of prejudice comments could be. As a child he lived with his grandmother in Jackson, Tennessee where he, “[H]ad the nerve to be one of three Black kids who integrated a Jackson elementary school” (Maycock pg. 1). As traumatizing a situation as this was, it is reasonable to understand why in this southern state he was, “[U]nable to tolerate the abuse ladled out by his White schoolmates” (Bourgoin pg. 189). Many African- Americans believed that salvation could be found in cities of the north. Heron’s grandmother, who continued to fight for Civil Rights, believed this. She sent him to live with his mother in the Bronx, New York, after she realized his inability to cope with the constant abuse by his White peers (pg. 189). However, the melting pot of diversity that awaited Gil Scott, was not a haven that kept him from segregation and racism. New York was exemplary of the broad spectrum of cultural frustration that existed in America. New York also made available to Heron the different and numerous forms of African-American culture. Although he was not immediately attracted to music, his attraction to writing became stronger. Heron began writing at an early age, “[H]e was writing detective stories by the time he was in fifth grade” (Clark pg. 307). Heron’s early writings were a precursor to the diverse outspoken topics that became a standard for him. His ability to capture his thoughts and place them onto paper was a definite sign of the inherent talent of a young Black man who would carry the torch of storytelling. His storytelling would be in correlation with the way Black society was represented, or misrepresented. Just as the Jali, or griot, was educated from birth to know his history, Scott was nurtured and continued to write into his formative high school years. In one of New York’s more prestigious schools, “Fieldston School in the Bronx, he began to absorb modern black poetry by men like Langston Hughes” (Clark Jr. pg. 307). Absorbing the aura of one of African-America’s cultural and spiritual meccas, Harlem, Gil Scott found himself so attracted to the work of Langston Hughes that he decided to continue his education at Langston Hughes’ alma mater, Lincoln University in rural Pennsylvania (Clark Jr. pg. 308). As a student at Lincoln he was awarded the, “Langston Hughes Creative Writing Award in 1968” (pg. 308). The time he spent at Lincoln was the springboard for his journey into music, but his writing was the vehicle he would use to maneuver into the musical realm. Heron’s poetry, although heavily influenced by the Harlem renaissance poets, was similar to the spoken word work of the Last Poets, in it’s brash, in your face presentation. One of his influences occurred through contact with Gylan Kain, a member of the Last Poets, who was on the faculty at Lincoln University for a short time (pg. 308). Heron, during his time at Lincoln accomplished things that are amazing considering he worked, attended school full time and at times was a member of the university basketball team. He completed two novels. The first book was The Vulture, which he completed at the age of nineteen. The Vulture was a novel that presented the problem of drugs and gangs in American society. The plot of Heron’s book continues to be addressed in movies of the Hip-Hop era such as, Boyz in The Hood and New Jack City. His second novel, The Nigger Factory, was a story partially based on a student strike Heron led as a student at Lincoln University. The book dealt with, “[P]olitical unrest and….the history of campus discord” (Bourgoin pg. 189), this book could have likely been the foundation for another movie of the Hip-Hop era, Higher Learning. Both of his novels have the feel of hopelessness and desperation. It wasn’t until his second book; that his personal growth would give hints of a slight change in his ideas about the oppressive state of America. That book was a collection of poetry, which was to become the basis for his first recording, Small Talk at 125th & Lenox. “The poems in Small Talk fall into two types: the free verse street rap, and the shorter rhymed poems…close to the blues in… folksy tones” (Clark Jr. pg. 309). Heron’s constant desire to become a better writer led him to use colloquial tones, which gave a familiarity to his writing. The rhythm his words and speech carried were similar, of course, to his muse Langston Hughes. For example, this is a section of a poem by Hughes named I, Too: …. I am the darker brother. They send me to eat in the kitchen But I laugh/ And eat well/ And grow strong. Tomorrow…Nobody’ll dare Say to me, “Eat in the kitchen.” (Sherman pg. 74) Although Heron’s earlier writings all dealt with topics that lacked the usual ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ he did become more optimistic about the possible changes in American society. The words in Small Talk were still harsh and straight to the point, but his inspiration becomes evident in his poem, Enough: There is no promised land! There is only the promise! ….. look over your shoulder motherfucker I AM COMING! (pg. 309) These volatile words, as angry as they seem, stated that we could make a change once we realized that the ‘Promised Land’ was what we made it to be. Similar to Hughes’ I, Too the message of Enough is the same, if you continue to ignore me I will surpass you and find my own way in this world. Unlike the desperate nature and outcome of Heron’s two books, in Small Talk he began to tackle the problems of African-American neighborhoods with maturity. The hopeless ideas had been replaced with his notion that we had to make our Promised Land by working and challenging the norms of the greater society. The words in the poem, Enough resounds throughout positive messages found in Hip-Hop recordings such as Public Enemy’s, “It takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back.” Conscious songs like Arrested Developments’, “Raining Revolution,” almost every thing that Tupac attempted to accomplish and the passion of every record by Common also reflects Heron’s transmission. As was mentioned earlier, Heron’s book of poetry was the catalyst for his mix into the music business, “[A]ged 21 in 1970, Record producer Bob Thiele recorded a first album…the same…as the poetry book…to conga beats and percussion” (Maycock pg. 2). Being reborn and baptized into another artform at such an early age is in itself a fantastic accomplishment, but this recording was only the beginning. His articulation of what he was doing, singing poetry over jazz and blues music was given the name ‘Bluesology’. This term he described in terms similar to what people stated about the rhythms of African music, the sound is a structured feeling, What bluesology is supposed to say is how it feels. [It’s] not melodic, exotic or erotic; it ain’t none of those things. It’s that they all come together and relate what it feels like. I play what it feels like (Bourgoin pg.191). Soon his music overtook his writing and decreased the attention that was given to his books. But this was not of any concern to him, his sole intent as he stated was to, “[R]ecognize the “spirits” of [B]lack ancestors and the history of the struggle…to share ‘gifts” (Bourgoin pg.191). With this first album of poetry the ground had been set to take his outspoken expression to a new level. His outlet would allow him the opportunity to reach millions, and the songs would lay the groundwork for, “[C]onscious rap and poetry slams [and] acid jazz” (Harrington pg. 1). Small Talk was recorded on the Flying Dutchman record label. This label had set a number of poets’ and ‘political agitators’ works to music, such as the aforementioned Angela Davis. Heron recorded for Dutchman records from 1970- 1974 (Bourgoin pg. 190). The recordings are a collaboration with a fellow Lincoln University friend, and co-founder of their “Midnight Band,” Brian Jackson. Others in the band included, “[B]assist Ron Carter and flutist Hubert Laws” (Saunders pg. 2). While Jackson was the musical talent of the two, Heron wrote the lyrics and also composed a number of songs. During his stint on Dutchman he recorded three albums with songs titled, Whitey on the Moon, “[A] satirical look at American socio-economic values” (Bourgoin pg. 190), Lady Day and Coltrane, and A Sign of the Ages (Heron). Each song complemented his growth. They either recognized African-American heritage, or dealt with society issues. He also created a piece which many consider the first Hip-Hop recording, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. Just as he did early in his college career, Heron was burning the candle at both ends. He completed his degree in English, creative writing, and went on to finish his master’s degree, all while he continued to perform and make new music (Bordowitz pg. 2). He began teaching creative writing at Federal City College in Washington D.C. while pursuing his artistic expression, but he stopped, “I didn’t think I was doing a good enough job as a teacher and that’s what I was there for” (pg. 2). Heron walked away from teaching and from the Flying Dutchman to become the first artist signed to Arista Records in 1975 (Saunders pg. 2). But before he was signed to Arista, he recorded an album that would bring him to the attention of Arista’s label owner Clive Davis. The name of the album was Winter in America. The song which gained the attention of Davis was titled, The Bottle, “[A] powerful single lamenting the mind-numbing influence of alcohol in the [B]lack community” (Saunders pg. 2). Winter in America, was a return to the roots. The album featured Heron, Jackson, Danny Bowens and Bob Adams, who both drove up on the last day of recording to participate in the record’s completion (Heron 2). In Heron’s liner notes, he states what the metaphor of Winter is, “Mrs. Peggy Harris…contributed the collage…[she] continued to urge me to write a song called Winter in America… Winter is a metaphor for the period in our lives through which we are traveling” (Heron 2). The collage to which Heron is referring is a part of the cover on this album. It is a multifaceted picture of Vietnam veterans, slaves toiling as an overseer watches, children playing, and hustler’s hanging and rapping on a street corner. The collage also has a Black couple hugging each other in a park, a statue of Abraham Lincoln, a silhouette of an African-American man in prison and continuous images that can be described in detail. As an understatement this album is a visual and musical work of art. One of the songs on this record, contains another reference that has been considered a precursor to Hip-Hop, “H2Ogate Blues”, “H20gate Blues is a freestyle ‘70s-style, a partially extemporaneous blues-rap featuring caustic sociopolitical commentary that still stings 25 years later” (Harrington pg. 1). The song title is an obvious reference to Watergate. But it’s the style in which the song was made that ties it more so into Hip-Hop. In the Hip-Hop culture an emcee is respected when he is able to ‘kick a lyric from the top of his dome’, or create a rhyme from inspiration. This ability to freestyle obviously comes from the gospel era, or even the slave songs, where a singer was expected to use heterophony, which is usually performed when one is inspired (Southern pg. 198). H2Ogate was recorded, “[O]ff the top of his head” (Heron 2). Upon closer inspection of Heron’s music we find that nearly all of his songs, books and styles, have been sampled and reproduced by people of the Hip-Hop/spoken word era. For example, the use of percussion, to set the tone of the record, was one of Heron’s trademarks. In Hip-Hop the emcee raps over break beats created by a deejay on a turntable, or in the case of live Hip-Hop bands such as Stetsosonic (mid eighties) and The Roots (current), the bands use classically trained percussionists. Hip-Hop has transferred urban poetry into music, placing political and social commentary into songs, like the KRS-ONE project record, Self-Destruction, which was inspired by the early eighties anti-apartheid album Sun City. Heron was a part of the Sun City record; he recorded a song with Miles Davis and rapper, Melle Mel (Bourgoin pg.190). The last album Heron created was titled Spirits. Spirits arrived after Heron’s turbulent eighties, he had parted ways with the Midnight Band and created his new band the Amnesia Express in 1980. He continued to attack politics with songs about the, “Ray-Gun era…[where he] ferociously spoke about the Reagan era’s demolition of the social policies that had been in place for twenty years, and what that did to the black working class” (Maycock pg. 2). Heron had not recorded for over twelve years when he made Spirits. People wondered where he had been. The answer could be found on one of the tracks he recorded for Spirits, “I need to go home. Mama could change it, Daddy could help me…Mama don’t need to see me this way…I can’t go on” (Maycock pg. 2-3). Heron had been fighting a drug addiction problem and this song he had written earlier, Home Is Where The Hatred Is, came to be his, ‘personal testimony’. With a career that has spanned three decades, Heron’s dedication, to writing and his influence on the Hip-Hop culture has covered miles. From South Africa to South Carolina, the title of his 1975 release, Gil Scott-Heron has maintained the link from the history lessons of Dagomba, to Sorrow songs, to gospel, to the creation of Hip-Hop. Although he won’t say that he is the founder of the Hip-Hop/Spoken Word culture, “I ain’t saying I didn’t invent rapping, I just cannot recall the circumstances” (Bourgoin pg. 191). The evidence is overwhelming in stating that he is truly the grandfather of the Hip-Hop and spoken word artform. Gil Scott’s Message Baritone words of revolution, hidden messages of dreams, Us Black folk done fell asleep. Wake yo ass up and realize, the fields is still callin, invitin you back. Yet you gloat and brag lookin like retired pimps from SuperFly, thinkin that’s cool, fool, find yo spirit. Speak of heritage, there is much more to this world than you believe. Open yo eyes and realize things ain’t changed that much, brother. (Burns) Gil Scott did not officially accept the badge that this culture placed upon him. But in his own words on a song from Spirits, he told the messengers of Hip Hop to beware because their words hold power, like the Jali, the misuse of one word can reshape history forever. End Note: I spoke to Reg E Gaines, who has performed with Heron and is a co-writer of Bring in Da Noize, Bring in Da Funk on Friday, March 10, 2000 at an Open Mic in San Diego. He signed an autograph for me and informed me that Gil Scott is still dealing with his drug problem.

Discover the music of Gil Scott Heron by clicking here and buying work by one of the greatest poets in American Literature.

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PR & Marketing for the little guy

screenshot of my recent Facebook Ad campaign

PR or Public Relations as defined by Howstuffworks.com is, “A basic definition of public relations is to shape and maintain the image of a company, organization or individual in the eyes of the client’s various “publics.” What is a “public” exactly? A public, in PR terms, is anyone who ever has or ever will form an opinion about the client.”

I recently decided to actually work as a writer again. The interesting thing about this is that, I already had a number of projects completed, from a writing career that started in 1995. I was pretty young at that time and knew I needed to learn my craft so I went to school and studied. I practiced and continued writing producing several books in a number of genres. Somewhere along the way, life interrupted me and I never really promoted any of the work and eventually I stopped thinking about being a writer as a job. This year though I was inspired by an associate of mine (Jay Norfolk owner of Urban Expressions bookstore),  too begin placing some time into the work I’ve created.

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African American Authors, books, Christopher D. Burns

You Should Read This: Archie’s Psalm

Authored by Christopher D. Burns

Archie’s Psalm is a glimpse into the life of a latchkey kid who is encountering situations that force him to learn about the changing world around him. A coming of age story with a carefully crafted narrative and subplot, Archie’s Psalm shows the transitioning world of a neighborhood in Memphis, TN ten years after Dr. King’s death. Through the setting, vivid character descriptions and moving storytelling a hot and humid southern neighborhood comes to life. Through the use of dialect and song the shifting tone and sound of the south reminds the reader of Zora Neale Hurstons’ novels. A work of literature that is artistic, powerful and important. A book that could become as relevant as Ann Petry’s The Street.

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