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The all black everything of my dreams.

11 Aug

I know, dagnabbit, I missed two more days on this 31-day journey. Friday was an awful day. Just. . . terrible. I’m pretty sure my therapist was trying to dump me during my session with him that afternoon, shortly after I told him I learned that I probably can’t have children. So that was fun.

I was going to write about that, but my last post was pretty damn bleak. I was inspired to write about something lighthearted after re-reading a book I absolutely adore on Saturday. I decided to gush all about it in the hopes of convincing those of my followers that aren’t spam bots to read it and then I decided I would create the cast of my dreams in the event that I someday stumble upon a few million dollars and immense power and influence in Hollywood so that I can then have it made into the movie it absolutely needs to be.

The book in question is “32 Candles” by Ernessa T. Carter. I stumbled across it the year I turned 32 and was struck by the book’s hot pink cover and silhouette of a woman with an afro. I’m a bit of a book snob and had given up on finding anything classified as “urban” or “African-American” fiction or super popular “chick lit” (outside of the Bridget Jones series) that I’d actually enjoy, but I gave it a shot. And OH MY GOD am I frickin’ so glad I did. I stayed up all night and devoured it in one sitting. I wept and laughed and swooned and blushed and shouted and just had my edges snatched and got my ENTIRE life. I found the author on that social networking site when I was still on it and Ms. Ernessa was kind and gracious and funny and we liked the same things and she answered my questions and holy shit, that just made everything better.

“32 Candles” tells the story of Davie Jones who we meet as a little girl in Glass, Mississippi. She lives with her alcoholic, abusive, neglectful, but beautiful mother Cora, who only came into Davie’s life a year before when Davie’s beloved grandma died. Poor Davie has a horrible childhood and finds her only bit of light and escape in the movies of John Hughes and Molly Ringwald, hence the title of the book. Fast-forward to her time in high school: Davie hasn’t spoken in ten years after an especially viscous beating from her mother and goes unnoticed at school, which is a welcome change from the constant teasing she’d undergone, which included being called “Monkey Night” since kindergarten. Why the strange nickname? Well, both the kids and adults in town have declared Davie to be “ugly as a monkey and black as night”. Ugh. Enter in the Farrell family: rich, light-skinned, and the owners of the Farrell Fine Hair Company which has a factory in Glass. The three Fabulous Farrell children – James, Veronica, and Tammy – attend the local public high school and Davie immediately falls in love with handsome, popular, and surprisingly kind James. Veronica is the ultimate mean girl and after finding out a secret about Davie’s mother, decides to make life a living hell for Davie. Davie runs away from Glass after Veronica pulls a cruel prank on her and reinvents herself in L.A., forgetting all about Cora and the Farrells – until she literally runs into James again shortly before turning 32. AND THEN EVERYTHING IS TERRIBLE AND WONDERFUL AND HORRIBLE AND BEAUTIFUL AND OH MY GOD YOU HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK AND IT NEEDS TO BE A MOVIE.

One of the things that is so amazing about “32 Candles” and Ernessa T. Carter is that she writes a story about black characters and the black characters are diverse. Some of the black people are rich. Some of the black people are poor. Some of the black people are straight. Some of the black people are gay. Some of the black people like movies that don’t have any black people in them. Some of the black people like to travel to California wine country. Some of the black people sold drugs as teenagers. Some of the black people went to Princeton. Some of the black people have two perfectly nice parents. Some of the black people have one terrible parent. This shouldn’t be amazing, and it isn’t, if you are a black person, or have ever known more than one or two black people in your life. But thanks to TV and movies, (Tyler Perry, I’m looking directly at you) you’d think that there is only one kind of black experience in America and only one kind of black entertainment that black people enjoy. Ernessa T. Carter pooped all over that with smart, funny writing and interesting, complex characters that still spoke to things that are specific to the black experience, like natural hair and the never ending issue with complexion, i.e., “dark skin” vs. “light skin”. SHE IS AMAZING.

Alright, alright, so here are the actors that I want to play the most important characters and who I think you should picture when you’re reading the book WHICH YOU SHOULD HURRY UP AND GO READ BUY RIGHT AFTER YOU’VE READ THIS POST:

Naturi Naughton as Davidia “Davie” Jones: Initially I was thinking of Keisha Knight Pulliam, but Davie has to be able to sing. I don’t know if KKP has the ability, but Miss Naturi certainly does. She also proved in 2009’s Notorious that she can act and she’s beautiful and look at her skin and just wow.

Taraji P. Henson as Cora Jones: Cora’s described as not being light enough to be called “yellow” and not dark enough to be thought of as plain, and beautiful, but cruel. I just sat through “I Can Do Bad All By Myself” because I couldn’t find the remote and Taraji’s mean, tragic drunk character in that movie was pretty damn convincing. I know she could do wonders with the better writing and characterization that Ms. Carter’s Cora would offer her.

Aubrey Drake Graham as James Farrell IV: Shut up, I don’t care, I love him. The minute Davie began describing James and how he was like sunshine, I immediately pictured my baby  this guy. He’s got the acting chops, he’s light-skinned, he’s a heart throb, he’s rich, he’s tall, he’s muscular, he’s arrogant, he’s sexy, he’s romantic, he’s insecure, he’s charming, AND ERNESSA TOLD ME THAT SHE COULD TOTALLY SEE DRAKE AS JAMES AND THAT SHE LOVES HIM TOO SO THERE.

Paula Patton as Veronica Farrell: She is a bit older than Aubrey and Naturi, but she is my Veronica. I always felt like Veronica’s behavior and personality made her come across as the older sibling anyway. I can just hear Paula’s raspy voice uttering a chillingly nasty “Hey, Monkey Night”.

Tessa Thompson as Tammy Farrell: Tammy is the far more harmless of the Farrell sisters and I think Tessa Thompson has a natural sweetness in her face that can convey Tammy’s sympathetic role in the story. And she and Aubrey can pass as siblings!

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as Nicky: Super tall? Check. Super muscular? Check. A smart ass? Check. A father figure? Check. Funny, perhaps without meaning to be? Check. Good with the ladies? Check. Rick Fox was a close second, but in the end I had to give it Dwayne.

S. Epatha Merkerson as Mama Jane: Nicky’s aunt and Davie’s savior and surrogate mother, S. Epatha would be perfect as the tough talking trucker with the rough exterior hiding a loving heart.

Okay, so those are the main characters, but I am having way too much fun doing this, especially after such dismal posts and real life stuff. I am in the middle of my re-read and and some secondary characters are getting their time in the spotlight, so perhaps tomorrow’s post will be a continuation of my creating the cast of my dreams. Aren’t they beautiful? I need some more brown and deep-brown actors and actresses, though.

Anyway, GO READ AND BUY THIS BOOK. Please. You will not regret it. More dream casting tomorrow.

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This is what happens when I’m supposed to be cleaning things.

6 Jul

So I was going to write this HI-LARIOUS post about being asked to be a bridesmaid five times, a flower girl once, and actually being in three weddings, with the grand finale being the epic retelling of The Worst Wedding in the History of Weddings, but I am thoroughly distressed because I have just learned that I have to move out of the apartment in which I have spent six mostly miserable years in less than seven weeks when I thought I had more like 14 (I DON’T WANT YOUR HELP OR YOUR PITY, SO DON’T YOU DARE OFFER EITHER!!!!!111!!1!1!), and I am surrounded by unwashed clothes, half-empty takeout containers, and the carcasses of my broken dreams, so instead of doing anything productive or sensible like gathering empty boxes and figuring out where that smell is coming from, I decided that I instead would write an incoherent post about things that boggle my mind about dating and friendship because I am a passive-aggressive procrastinator who can’t express herself outside of a semi-anonymous blog that only people she actually knows reads. But dammit, can I construct one hell of a run-on sentence or what?

I was having a terrible day (of mostly my own creation and imagination) and thought how lovely it would be to have a cold drink and a laugh and a hug and go see a movie with someone I like and/or care about. But I didn’t call anyone and tell them these things and invite them to do them with me. Instead, I made vague proclamations on that social networking site about how unhappy I am, and how stressed out I feel, and waited to see if anyone would come to my rescue. That has only worked for me once – thank you, My Knight in Pastel Armor – but I continue to express myself that way rather than in any way that would actually amount to anything that resembles a positive resolution. Why do I do that, you ask? Because I’ve learned that I hate being vulnerable; I despise the thought of others perceiving me as needy; I loathe having to ask people for help or tell them my needs, wants and desires; and I’d rather die alone surrounded by large print copies of Reader’s Digest and expired canned vegetables than face social rejection of any kind. So yeah, entering into any sort of relationship with me is a barrel of laughs and an absolute breeze.

I realize that my aversion to these things, along with a host of my other special qualities, makes dating a near impossibility. I mean, dating is an impossibility for me, hence the title and content of this blog. The last two men that I “successfully” dated – meaning, I managed to go on dates with these guys, nothing more – were men that I had no real interest in. I dated them both because I figured there was little reason for me not to; they had jobs and cars and places to live and seemingly normal brain function. I manufactured romantic feelings for one of them, primarily because we liked some of the same crap and after a makeover, he would have looked a lot like Drake. The potential Drake, after 5 or 6 dates, declared after my gentle prodding, that he just wasn’t interested in me “in that way” and I was devastated, even though he smelled bad and had the sex appeal of a slug, not because I truly liked him, but because he was supposed to like me. He was supposed to be a “sure thing”. Imagine if I ever had luck with a man who maybe didn’t look so good on paper, who was legitimately sexy and attractive (at least to me), who offered a little bit of “danger” and that “Oh my God, I am so going to get arrested or poop my pants” feeling (You know what feeling I mean, stop frontin’.) and it didn’t work out. My heart would liquify and leak out of my ass and that can’t be a good thing.

My general problems with processing normal human emotions also manage to seep into my friendships. I get into one-sided fights and hold secret grudges. I keep an invisible score card in my brain and people are constantly gaining and losing points and have no idea to what standard they’re being graded against. I am either unreachable or frighteningly clingy. There is very little middle ground. It is a wonder to me that I have any friends at all. And believe me, I will always wonder if I am really your friend. Man, this post is taking a dark turn. Let me try to lighten shit up a bit:

When my mind was being boggled about the differences and similarities between dating and friendship, it mostly had to do with what we deem acceptable in each of these relationships. For instance, it’s not uncommon for any platonic friend of mine to respond to my question of “Wanna hang out?” with something along the lines of “Sure! Come on over. But I haven’t showered in six days and the toilet’s broken so you’ll have to pee in a Ziploc bag. Oh, and when you get here, I’ll probably decide to shave my armpits while we watch a marathon of “Basketball Wives: L.A.” Hey, would you mind bringing over a pint of kumquat-flavored dairy-free frozen dessert? I’m on a special diet/preggers and craving/really high. And about an hour after you get here, I’m going to suddenly get super tired and probably fall asleep with my mouth open. Make sure to lock the door on your way out.” I’d be totally okay with this situation, filled with TMI and far too many bodily functions. In fact, I’d be honored. It’d mean that we’re close! Like siblings! It means you like me, you really like me! But if it’s the beginning of a dating relationship and anything like this mess comes out of a dude’s mouth that I was previously hoping to kiss (with tongues!), I will take serious pause. I will demand that The Council of Friends with Dating Experience convene via online messaging and hushed meetings in Starbucks. I will need to know what it means if a guy I like romantically is “too comfortable too soon”. I’m going over the whole thing like a forensic specialist at a crime scene and everyone I know is giving the poor guy major side-eye.

I have other platonic friends that are a bit more refined in the way they choose to socialize. I kid you not, just last week I found myself sitting on a quilt under a willow tree with a BFF as we read out loud to one another. AS WE READ OUT LOUD TO ONE ANOTHER. That’s a scene right out of a Regency England era porno. Can you imagine if I suddenly reported that I went on a date and my date wanted to read out loud to me (preferably all of Peeta’s really romantic parts from The Hunger Games saga or anything Mr. Darcy says in Pride and Prejudice) while we sat on a blanket under a motherf’ing tree?? WHAT?!? But if I’m going to be perfectly honest, if that happened, I’d assume that he was planning to murder me in the night. You see? If a friend I don’t want to hold hands with suggests that we read out loud to each other, I’m screaming out “Catching Fire or Mockingjay?!?” before they’ve completed the sentence. But if someone I want to bump uglies with asks me on a “Reading Rainbow” date, while he picks out the perfect shady spot in the park, I’m dialing 9-1-1 in my purse.

Operator: “Please state the nature of your emergency.”

Me: “I’m on a date and. . . and he wants us to. . . r-read out loud to each other. While sitting on a blanket. In the park!”

Operator: “Ma’am, stay calm. Is he carrying a picnic basket?”

Me: ‘I don’t know, I don’t know! Oh god! He brought Fifty Shades of Gray! Ohmygodohmygodohmygod! What do I do?!?”

Operator: “Ma’am, just take deep breaths and don’t make any sudden movements. Help is on the way. May God have mercy on your soul.”

My favorite dichotomy (Oh, just look it up.) between acceptable friend and date behavior has to be what happens in Da Club. To be perfectly honest, I haven’t been to da club with someone I felt romantical about in years, but I know what I’d put up with in the name of “luv”. There are friends I will not go out with to anything music or dancing related because of their totally inappropriate behavior. They refuse to dance. I mean, they won’t even bop their head to the beat, sing/mouth along to the music. Nothing. I had a friend check her email on her cell phone the entire time we were out at at a club in another state. She just wanted to get out of the house, she said. If you don’t dance, hey, sucks for you, but you’re not ruining my good time anymore. I won’t go out with these people unless I can guarantee at least three other individuals who will dance are in attendance with us. I’ve learned my lesson. Friends have lots of rules for one another regarding acceptable night life behavior. “We came together, we leave together! Use the buddy system when going to the bathroom! Pretend to be my lesbian lover/overbearing male relative if a weirdo tries to hit on me!” However, if I ever get to go on a club date, it’s fine if my date won’t dance. I think it’d be kind of sexy if he sat all night, drink in hand and glowered at me while I attempted to twerk it for him. Dancing with a potential love interest is tricky. If he dances poorly, it’s awful. If he dances too well, you might stop and wonder. There’s so much potential pressure, having a date that refuses to dance would almost be a relief.

I feel like this post is going nowhere and I don’t feel all that bad about it. I warned you it would. I really wanted to use this entry as a way to complain about things I don’t like that happen all too often in friendship, seeing as friendship is the only kind of relationship I’m even sort of good at having. I wanted to mention that some of the stuff that gets passed off as “friendship” would never fly if you wanted me to live with you forever and have your babies. I wanted to write profound and heart-wrenching things about how friendship is the only relationship where unconditional like, love, and acceptance is completely taken for granted; how platonic friends are the only people on Earth expected to be totally okay with being at the bottom of the freaking social totem pole. But, I didn’t. And I won’t.

Next time I’ll be funny and coherent, I promise?

Super Smart.

28 Jun

Interested in a synopsis of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina? You are, because it’s going to be a movie and The Intellectual Elite reads books before they become movies and you want to be a part of The Intellectual Elite and eat mesclun and quinoa and drink nasty-ass coconut water and claim you’re really torn about voting for Obama again because Jon Stewart offered some stark criticisms about his administration on that episode of “The Daily Show” you DVR’d because you were out hiking in your new Vibram FiveFingers. You want to read this classic because Oprah told you to YEARS ago and you want to be able to properly snark on Keira Knightley’s horse-toothed and extremely bony performance, but you’re intimidated by the fact that that junk is 742 pages long, including a motherf’ing glossary of Russian words and ain’t nobody got time for that. Fear not, for I can sum up Anna for you in three words (You should probably know that I did not read said book myself, but I did open it, flip through the pages, roll my eyes and loudly suck my teeth at its length, and then read the almost equally long synopsis on Wikipedia. I’m a lot of things and that includes honest.):

Bitches be trippin’.

You’re welcome.