The Beginning Of The End

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Fifteen years, y’all.

Fifteen seasons.

Tonight. Tonight? It is the beginning of the end. The show that reminded me that horror writing is a skill, is ending.

Mane.

My boys–my boys–Dean and Sam–are leaving!

I remember the first episode of this show. I remember watching it my mom’s house, and knew I would love it. There was a grit to it, an underground nature to it, that made me want to watch it every week. Why? This line here:

“Dad’s on a hunting trip. He hasn’t been home in a couple days.”

At this point, at that moment, I was in love with Dean Winchester. I was in love with this show. I was enraptured by the writing–becoming a fan of Eric Kripke and Sera Gamble. The imagination, the reading, the lore and the walking around knowledge this writing staff has?! These were my people! These were my people.

I remember taking off work to make sure I could watch season premieres, and season finales! I remember telling my bosses I couldn’t work on Thursdays! I wrote fanfiction, I live Tweeted and texted with my best friends. I was a card carrying #DeanGirl. And still am.

For fifteen years, these guys were apart of my life. I was pregnant with my oldest daughter at the beginning of Season 2. I had my youngest two years later. I had gotten married and divorced by the time Dean had been to Hell, Purgatory and Sam killed Lucifer with The Colt.

I remember when Chuck came on the show when I started nursing school! I saw Jared and Jensen get married–and be Daddies! I stepped away from the show a while working, writing and building my own stuff.

I knew it was ending…and knew it would have to end. They’ve killed Sam and Dean at least 4 times. Especially, Sam. I mean, Dean killed his own daughter! I mean, where else can you go? I mean–I’m a writer. I know it could keep going. But I know it can’t.

Am I sad? No.

I’m amazed. I remember when the show was almost cancelled because of viewership! I remember Googling legends and stories the show featured (I looked up what a rougarou was!). It pushed me as a writer. It reminded me not to shut down what my imagination saw. Dark or light.

The show reminded me that I can love Jesus and the things that go bump in the night.

Remember y’all:  Driver chooses the music, passenger shuts his cakehole.

 

[image is fanart from aliexpress.com]

The Toxic Side Of Comic Book Culture: Stop Idolizing Joker & Harley Quinn

 

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Best Joker ever:  Heath Ledger.

 

It is no secret that my oldest daughter loves comic books. As a happy Blerd mom, this thrills me. It wasn’t until she started liking Harley Quinn that I got a little nervous.

My daughter is old enough to have crushes, like boys so I know the odd boyfriends and tastes are coming (she actually likes Chris Pratt, Russell Wilson and Tom Holland at last count–I’m okay with that). However, it came to a head when we went shopping for socks.

She had seen these Harley Quinn socks and asked for them. Cool! Not an issue! I, too, like Harley Quinn! I remember seeing her on Batman:  The Animated Series in high school. Even as a high school sophomore, there was something odd about their relationship. I didn’t like how he (Joker) treated her (Harley). The whole dynamic was crazy and toxic! So, when I saw the pair of socks my daughter had which depicted them all cozy, lovey-dovey with hearts around them?

Dude. I was appalled.

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I know the relationship is not real. I know that this character, this personification of malignant narcissism that is the Joker, is fake. But how he treats Harley? As a DV survivor, twice over, this makes me cringe! I never want my child to think this shit is normal. A man hurting you to prove what you mean to him isn’t normal!

This couple is not relationship goals!

Stop saying this shit!

Even in doing a search for the images to use for this piece, I cannot tell you how many  images popped up of Joker hurting Harley–viciously!– or her making light of how crazy everything in their relationship is.

This is bigger than a pair of socks…

However, maybe this is my fault. I have been a comic fan all my life almost. I know what my kids don’t know. I know what it’s like to be with someone that says they love you and then try to kill you in the same week. No, that’s not an exaggeration. I know what it’s like to try and change your life to fit the shifting needs of a vapid person–and that not be enough.

Their relationship is violent, volatile and psychotic. This is legit something I never want my daughter to know about. I never want her to know what a wound from a man that says he loves you feels like. Her mother does. For that reason, I cannot be silent while she grows up in a world that wants to consider this madness ‘a goal.’

I’m even willing to say that this observation is me being hyper vigilant. I can even concede that maybe this is a moment of me railing because I’m closer to 40 than I am to 20. But the part of me that is warrior, mother and survivor–nall.

This is why I let her read Marvel.

 

Updates: Where Is Janelle?

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I know, I know.

Janelle and I owe y’all so much, and thank you for rocking this far. The site has been slow going, but! There light is coming.

More Janelle is coming.

At long last, starting October 1, 2019, you lovely people will see and read all that Janelle has for you. With school, motherhood, and life at a breakneck pace, by then new work will be there, and Janelle’s work will be there.

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So, what will this mean?

This means all Janelle’s work will have its own site:

THE WORLD ACCORDING TO JANELLE.

This includes erotica, poems, snippets and even a few essays and stream of thought pieces. And yes, this means more Daddy and Kitten stories.

And a little birdie told me there will be a book, On Daddy’s Lap, to be released February 2020.

Visit Janelle by clicking here.

 

They Didn’t Hire Me To Entertain The Staff.

Despite what the reading public thinks or says, I’m an introvert. I like to be left alone, I like quiet, and people are taxing. This doesn’t mean I’m sociopathic, or people-hating or even unapproachable! I grew up as a shy, quiet Black girl in a family of loud people. My quiet nature led to me being shy–which is not an asset in a public school.

I learned to be loud, and vocal–just like I learned to write. I learned that as a quiet, introverted kid, I needed to have a loud persona.

But then came life after high school. There was this unspokenness around me when I entered college. The school I was at (the now closed Deaconess College of Nursing) was predominately White. My high school was predominately Black. So, I really didn’t know how or where I fit in at.

But what I did notice was my White cohort thought I was unapproachable when I was quiet. Thought I was mean when I spoke my mind and needed my banter to feel comfortable. Even on some jobs that I have worked, I have noticed the same thing! When I’m quiet and doing my job, I am seen as someone worthy to be suspicious of. I’m legit just working.

But, when I am more open, soft-spoken and quiet at certain intervals, then I’m seen as a team-player, consistent in my work, and easy to work with. That is my personal favorite.

(Thee personification of my silent rage.)

When I came across this article on BESE.com by Sequoia Holmes, I rejoiced. Every woman in me, lived before me who had taught those women, telling them to hold on for me, screamed.

Can I not just come to work, make this money and leave?! Please?! Damn!

But I know that predominately White places police anything and everything which isn’t White, or White and male! From the names on resumes, to if you bring a dish to the office party or participate in Secret Santa. You are consistently monitored to see just what kind of Black girl you are.

If you don’t play the role of a Mammie or a Sapphire, then you have become identified as a problem. White America loves sexy, sassy, loud Black girls! Introverted Black girls need not apply.

Let me help the White folks you work with right quick:

The powers that be did not hire me to entertain you. They don’t pay me enough to banter with you, make up nicknames for you or teach you how to twerk. Don’t touch my hair when I change it. If my door is closed to my office do not knock. I meant to close it, I do not care what y’all are getting for lunch. You slick wanna see what I’m doing. If I am at my cubicle working quiet, that means I am doing just that.

I’m minding my business.

You should try it.

Black women have to be and do so many things just I have peace walking through the world! This none so apparent as when we work in predominantly White spaces. It is tiring: enter code switching, shifting and have a persona you put on from the moment you darken the door in the morning.

You cannot just go to work and be left alone–because introverts need to recharge from people. It’s just how we are wired. But Black girls are expected to be on in order to have some peace at work.

At work.

My job is to do what my job requirements are, and no more. Not every Black girl is Tiffany Haddish or desires to be! Not every Black girl dances or watches Scandal or Power. I don’t have to placate your expectation about being Black people to be seen as valuable to a company.

The same respect you give to David who never opens his office door until he leaves, to Becky that brings her cat pictures to work because it soothes her, is the same respect I need when I come in and sit at my desk to answer emails.

Let me be Black and remain employed.

Thank you.

SABEM-Week 1: So Glad I Made It

 

 I walked into my first English class in six years last week.

The cool thing is that I’d taken a poetry course with this particular professor before! She was engaging, she was witty–and she thought my poetry was brilliant. After looking over my second chap book for the class (my final project), she gave me this direct quote:

“This is good. You need to start getting your published. And rejection? Get over it.”

This is was a realest thing any professor had ever told me. Still.

So imagine my surprise when I saw the reading list for this next 16 weeks, seeing this semester’s required reading as white as paper. I almost cried.

Here is why.

For my latest 6 year hiatus from academia, I’ve been in activism. I’ve been in circles to push for change, and run some of thee Blackest blog on the planet:  The Ideal Firestarter for the last 3 years (year four starts January 2020! Go and be a #Torch!). I have leaned in and accepted this mantle as teacher and writer. I have some other things brewing to be shared by the end of the year. So, I walked into this class with a naivete people have when they believe they know something is happening–and have it under control!

I didn’t.

For the last 3-4 years I have been working this writing gift, and all I know, the biggest thing I had been screaming was visibility and representation. When I saw that reading list? I wanted to walk out! My heart that is still grieving the loss of Toni Morrison, that uses Lorde, Angelou, and Baldwin to cope with the national insanity, did not want to read Robert fucking Frost!

I had to settle my heart, loves. I discovered the work of Lucille Clifton–who I didn’t know she existed–and she’s Black! The part of me that was hurt by the lack of representation, wanted to quit! But the part of me that remembered the writers before me? Hughes, Hurston, Dunbar, Baldwin, Angelou and now Morrison–had to to deal with a much less melaninated canon! I had to stay–there is only one other Black girl in this class. I stayed because that’s what the writing ancestors would ask me to do.

I did my reading, did my assignment. And came to class Thursday–but know what?

Class was cancelled. Oh, well. #TheWritingContinues

 

JBHarris, future MFA recipient.