“Go shorty, it’s your birthday. We gonna party like it’s your birthday.”
Translation: I'm working on my birthday for the first time in 11 years. Also on today's agenda: lunch with a friend, an afternoon writing session, and an early dinner out the kids. Sounds pretty good to me.
Here’s picture of us from Sunday at the Roller Palace. The last ones to leave. This is my annual birthday tradition—I love skating. I’m actually pretty good at it. It’s the closest thing to dancing that I can experience with the kids, now that they are past of point of falling with every turn.
The next Improbable Poetry Places Tour stops at the Roller Palace. I'm using this visit as research for my next poem.
So, the contract for my second manuscript (Misery Islands) and the manuscript itself have been sitting on my desk for the last month waiting for me to send it in. I told this to Afaa Weaver who asked me, without hesitation, "Why have I waited so long? Was there some other reason I hadn’t sent it in? Am I having second thoughts?" No. No second thoughts at all about publishing such a personal manuscript. I’ve been so busy lately that I’ve really let the po-biz part of my life slide. But his questions did give me a moment of pause. Good questions to ask from a good friend.
The manuscript is in the mail as of yesterday, finally.
I am just so saddened by the death of Whitney Houston, as many of us are. I’m pretty sure I dressed up as Whitney for Halloween during the “How Will I Know?” phase during the 80s. It’s hard to watch someone who sang about love and resilience not mirror those things in her personal life. And watching the news shows turn her life into a lesson on the ills of drug addiction is sickening.
My favorite quote from this year’s Grammys comes from Mitch Winehouse, Amy’s father, whom Tony Bennett invited on stage after accepting a Grammy for best pop performance for his duet with Amy, “Body and Soul.”
“Long live Whitney Houston, long live Amy Winehouse, long live Etta James. What can I say? There’s a beautiful girl band up in heaven.’’
Last night, I watched Charlie Rose talk about Whitney’s life and death and in his closing remarks, he asked his viewers, “What is your responsibility to your gift?”
For Whitney, her voice was a gift we couldn’t keep. For writers, our gift is writing. If we’re not writing, we’re not honoring that gift. And by succumbing to long bouts of doubt—or worse: writer’s block—we are truly missing an opportunity. Because we never know which day will be our last.
So on my 43 birthday, in the words of the late, great Don Cornelius, I wish you “peace, love, and soul.” Here’s to living every damn day like it’s our last.