Sun Ra’s Creativity| Afrofuturism

Sun Ra was such an intricate and thoughtful creator. He made sure that what he created had meaning. His lyrics in his songs, poetry, the powerful sound of his music shows off his seriously he took his craft.

During my research on Sun Ra, I was so happy to find out that he wrote poetry. I have always been a huge lover of poetry and I thought it would be interesting connecting his poetry to Afrofuturist novels. I mean, Afrofuturist poems are incredibly interesting. To grasp the powerful vastness of space and otherworldliness in poetry is phenomenal.

At this point, I’m not even surprised to say how well Sun Ra pulled off Afrofuturism in his poetry. I will use the poem The other otherness (1972). He wrote two other versions of this poem in 1920.

The poem goes like this:

The Other Otherness (1972)

When one understands 

There is no ego involved

There is no communication

In the supervised state of distances

For we who are

Know we are to is

To be

To rise above an evoluted eternity

To feel our worthless pricelessness 

Invaluable similitude

A separate only onliness

Only on

Movement out to behold kindred outerness

An other-otherness

That is not like them

If they are a non-similarity vibration

Now let’s break this up and A N A L Y Z E

When one understands 

There is no ego involved 

There is no communication 

In the supervise state of distances

 

Sun Ra has a vision of being an alien on earth to preach peace, forgoing negativity and hate in order to bring forth love.

He IS the other of otherness (Black). He is choosing to bring peace and love from Space with “no ego” and no communication for those who were made with love will bring forth love and its stated in the following lines:

For we who are 

Know we are to is 

to be 

to rise above in evoluted eternity

Sun Ra being such an outrageous and out there black man, he truly was the other of other mess and living in his truth, he is separate, living in “onliness” for he is the only one living this life. Not only was he deemed crazy or on drugs because of his truly out there behavior, but people would also run away from his performances. People who did not understand that this jazz musician wasn’t just playing Jazz. 

 

The poem continues:

To fill our worthless pricelessness 

invaluable similitude

A separate only onliness

Only on

Movement out to behold kindred outerness

An other-otherness

That is not like them

If they are of a non-similarity vibration 

 

Our “worthless pricelessness” this poem begins by discussing being “the other of otherness”, so far removed from a society, truly living in the outskirts of everything. He writes that in order to become this other, you must forgo your ego and not communicate because those who are other naturally know how “to be”. He writes as if there are more people who are on the same plane as he is he uses “we” and “our” but then uses “only” and “onliness”. The loneliness of not being seen by the majority but how rewarding it must be to have traveled with so many people who were living in the same plane. His world, his people seem to be in a bubble. Free and out there creators.

Throughout his entire career, he never got the success he deserved for being so far out of societal norms. My family who was around during his rise give me mixed comments. My parents loved his work but I have older cousins who judged his work and assumed he and his Arkestra were all in drugs. His work was dismissed and most people didn’t understand his vision. He was around before many well-known jazz musicians like John Coltrane and Miles Davis but his work wasn’t as appreciated. Most people don’t even know who he is or that his Arkestra is still performing to this day.

I believe his space persona was his way on alienating himself. He knew that his vision and his sound will place him out of the norm but he followed his dreams anyway. He lived as an outsider with a passion, a dream. He grew up with his family alienating him because he chose not to continue his education in school or go into the military. Instead, he chose to leave his family and create.

Sun Ra wrote different versions of this poem and it seems to continue in different moments of loneliness , in version one written in 1980, he finishes most of his pieces with dots trailing after, “to rise above the earth’s tomorrowless eternity…..” Which sounds like he’s saying that he is trapped in some sort of endless cycle. His onliness is leaving him in a world with a “tomorrowless eternity”, living with no end. Sun Ra once wrote, “If death is the absence of life, then death’s death is life”. A circular idea of what life and death may be (there may be something here, or I’m totally over analyzing anyways. Let’s move on)

His SOUND! I’ve mentioned before how my dad felt about his music but this is a slightly edited stream of consciousness while listening to the 21 minute Space is the Place song, on his album Space is the Place. Please listen to it before or after reading this in order to get the gist.

Space is the place… a lot of insane and funky sounds. Many instruments being played and throw in at once. To indicate which instruments are being played is a challenge. There are a few women signing “Space is the Place” all through the sound of the instruments. With all of its intensity, it’s a bit calming though I can see how the sound is a bit anxiety-inducing. 

There is so much happening in this. 

It is a 20-minute song that just continues having intense and disastrous sounds. My cat is going insane just listening to this. She is running around the room fighting her imagination. 

By six minutes in with so much sound. I am truly wondering if there will be some kind of turn down because from the very beginning of this song, there was just sounds bombarding each other. What does Space is the Place mean? That is what I’m wondering now that I am almost 8 minutes in.

Now there is a man saying “Yea, space is the place. don’t you want to go outer space.” He is joining in with the women singing. Even when most of the instruments drop out, there is still so much going on. 

His (Sun Ra and his Arkestra)  sound has no end, there are so many webs just in this one song. So much happening. This sound makes me feel like I am stuck in a web or falling down the rabbit hole in Alice and Wonderland. I can see myself falling down a black hole with wildly vivid colors and having no end to this hole. Just falling for all eternity. 

“OUTER SPACE”

My cat is still losing her shit.

It’s toning down around 13 minutes. It’s calming down. There is this strange sound that sounds like someone screaming or laughing but I bet you twenty bucks it’s an instrument. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised because Sun Ra’s mind is insane (In the greatest way possible). Totally a genius. I just can’t imagine screaming and making a sound like this for that long. It is starting to sound like a tea kettle when it’s ready. My cat has chilled out.

15 minutes now and it toned down again and it sounds pretty classical jazzy.

My cat is now fighting a bottle. I think she wants to be a musician.

Around 17 minutes, it sounds like it’s toning out. All the vocalists are saying space is the place and riffing off of each other.

As their voices tune out, there are horns and other instruments being played calmly to match it

and we get another vocalist. OH! now the space is the place female vocalists are back. The instruments are coming back up now. We are coming back into space.

19, is it zoning out? no, we still hear a vocalist singing space is the place.. I think we are coming to a close at 20 minutes. OH NO! another loud sound to override her voice but then he sings louder.

This song took me on a whole ass trip. It is ending with a piano I believe but not your average piano sound because. What the heck?

All in all, listening to his music was an amazing experience and I have never had an experience like that while listening to music EVER. I definitely understand why he was criticized. Just hear me out, if you listened to his music, you would hear how insane it sounds and the fact that there is no sound like that ever. There is no artist, even today that is as genius as Sun Ra. Artists today will copy Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, Ella Fitzgerald etc. but Sun Ra’s sound is unheard of!

In the next and final post on Sun Ra, I will again delve into his life as a creator using his poetry and music. After that, we will be getting into N.K. Jemisin! Let’s go!

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Sun Ra and His Arkestra| Afrofuturism

Hello, my kids! Gather around and let me tell you another story about the Great Sun Ra!!

So, if you don’t remember where we left off in the last post, click here.

For four decades, from the early fifties until his death in 1993, Sun Ra and his Arkestra baffled, dazzled and aggravated jazz fans with an uncompromising and unpredictable musical style that wandered the spectrum from finger-popping bebop to the harshest of atonal free jazz (sometimes in the same piece), and a mythology that often kept audiences off-balance and guessing. Sun Ra didn’t sell many records in his lifetime, but along with the Arkestra, he nevertheless became the stuff of legend.

Angels and Demons at Play written by Jim Knipfel

Today, we will start roughly ten years from where we left off. In those ten years, Sun Ra was finding his footing.

He actually didn’t even change his name until October 20, 1952. It was apart of the movement where many black people were changing their names to something that wasn’t linked to slavery just like Muhammed Ali and Malcolm X. My dad even changed his name a few times.

During those ten years, he was doing a lot of soul searching. He devoted himself to his music and was trying to find his sound. He was drafted for the war and chose not to go and then was arrested.

After all that he finally packed up and moved to Chicago where he really found himself.

August 1946, he ended up in Club DeLisa working under a man named Fletcher Henderson who was a composer and bandleader, on his last creative dregs. When Sun Ra joined them, he was their pianist and tried to throw in his bebop spin on their sound but none of the members were having it.

The beginning of Sun Ra’s Arkestra all happened in the amazing Chicago but it took some time for things to settle in. He tried starting something with Tommy Hunter, drummer, and Pat Patrick, saxophonist. Both were very accomplished musicians and two of Sun Ra’s close friends.

Tommy Hunter, unfortunately, got drunk and had sex with a white woman after an impromptu party. Now if you know anything about American history, you’d know that these were some crazy segregated times. Black people were killed far more often and for stupid things like having sex or even whistling at white women (Emmett Till). Sun Ra made sure that he immediately got Hunter out of Chicago and to New York.

Pat Patrick moved to Florida with his new wife but eventually, he came back and joined the group. Patrick has been in and out of the group until his death.

Along with Pat Patrick, tenor saxophonist John Gilmore and Marshall Allen were constant members of the group.

By 1955, Sun Ra finally settled on the name Arkestra for his group. By them, dozens of musicians have come in and out of the group and Sun Ra was truly born. He was the embodiment of a Science Fiction tale. He spoke in riddles and got the other fellow musicians to follow the space sounds he had in his head.

Sun Ra would create the entire sound of his music and in his Documentaryone of his members even mentions not understanding what sound he needed until years after being in the Arkestra. (the link starts where he says that he didn’t get the sound. Don’t worry, you don’t have to watch the hour-long documentary… unless you want to.)

“Somewhere in the other side of nowhere is a place in space beyond time where the Gods of mythology dwell,” Ra said. “These gods dwell in their mythocracies as opposed to your theocracies, democracies, and monocracies. They dwell in a magic world. These Gods can even offer you immortality.”- Sun Ra

Sun Ra and his Arkestra made their way to New York City in 1961 and with their intense sounding music, they mostly scared off their audiences. As my dad said in the last post, “people would leave his performance holding their ears, heads, whatever in fear because his sound was too much.” My dad even called his sound as “a dissonance and cacophony of sound”.

I love how wicked it is that I have actual people who went to see him perform and give a review and I’m living in their home!

At that time, they couldn’t really get a true audience because their music scared most people. People at that time were used to traditional jazz music and not the out of this world jazz that Sun Ra orchestrated.

The group traveled to Philidelphia in the late 60s which ended up being their base of operations. When they first arrived, their neighbors complained about their music but after some time, they became praised members of their community. They played for free for their neighbors, Danny Ray Thompson, saxophonist, owned and operated the Pharaoh’s Den, a convenience store in the neighborhood. They were friendly and drug-free and were great with the kids in the neighborhood.

Their home in Philidelphia was the home of the Arkestra until Sun Ra’s death.

The tour traveled all around the world, even to Egypt to perform.

I started losing my fun momentum. I think I sound like a wiki page so please go to Wikipedia for more information.

My next post will be all about the fun stuff. I really wanted to take you all along with my journey finding out all these amazing new things about this man.

Sun Ra| Afrofuturism

Hello, Hello! We are back at it again!

This post is apart of a series I am doing on Afrofuturism. I will be posting something new every week!

While doing my research, I was so excited to learn that Afrofuturism began back in the ’50s with an artist named Sun Ra. I first heard of him in Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture by Ytasha L. Womack and I went on a crazy google spree right after.

Sun Ra was born named Herman Poole Blount (I know, such a mundane name for such an amazing creator). He was born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1914 and grew to be a Bandleader, composer, arranger, artist, and poet who played jazz, Bepop and Space Music. If you’re wondering what the hell Space Music is, don’t worry. So was I. We’ll be touching on that soon.

Herman Poole Blount let go of his past identity and created a persona named Sun Ra or Le Sony’r Ra. With this persona, he told everyone that he was an alien on a mission to preach peace.

During his four decades of popularity, most of Sun Ra’s past was a mystery. He encouraged this by spreading contradictory news about his life, claiming he was born between years 1910-1918 in order to confuse people and maintain his outer worldly persona.


It wasn’t until close to his death that writer John Szwed wrote Space is the Place: The Lives and Times of Sun Ra, published in 1998. (A must read. The information below comes from sites written about the book.)


When he was young, Sun Ra taught himself how to read music and play the piano. All through his adolescence, he showed passion for music, he would memorize sheet music for his band practice in and he began composing music around 11 or 12. In school, he was an honor roll student who kept to himself.

In 1934, Sun Ra’s was offered a full-time musical position by his biology teacher, Ethel Harper who was a singer in the Ginger Snaps. He toured with Harper’s group across the U.S. Harper left the group mid-tour and Sun Ra took over until the tour. The tour accumulated a lot of fans but it ended when the tour stopped making a profit.

After the tour, Sun Ra worked as a musician in Birmington and studied at Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University until he dropped out and began his journey preaching peace.

When Sun Ra dropped out, he knew that he was on a mission. He knew that the universe was calling him to do something better. In the book written by John Szwed, Sun Ra said:

My whole body changed into something else. I could see through myself. And I went up… I wasn’t in human form… I landed on a planet that I identified as Saturn… they teleported me and I was down on [a] stage with them. They wanted to talk with me. They had one little antenna on each ear. A little antenna over each eye. They talked to me. They told me to stop [attending college] because there was going to be great trouble in schools… the world was going into complete chaos… I would speak [through music], and the world would listen. That’s what they told me.[12]

Sun Ra seriously went out there to follow his dreams and so should you because LOOK AT THIS DUDE!!!

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Sun_Ra_BeautifulBizarre_004.png

 

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HE CAME THROUGH KILLING THE GAME!!!!

He let all of his creative juices flow. He truly expressed himself in a world that did not openly express black men being THIS outrageous. His outfits were totally out there during the ’50s. First of all, I want to wear that outfit in that last pic. He looks amazing! I’m wearing it at AfroPunk.


My parents were around during Sun Ra’s prime time. They went to his shows and they both claim that he was pretty out there. My dad said that people would leave his performance holding their ears, heads, whatever in fear because his sound was too much.

I am listening to Astro Black as I write and I describe his music as offbeat but in the best possible way. His sound doesn’t conform to my expectations of what jazz or Bepop but it definitely sounds like it’s from out of space. It’s cosmic and epic. There are these wild sounding notes that must be played on a guitar or base but it is played in an out of this world kind of way.

My father describes his sound as “a dissonance and cacophony of sound”. He says that Sun Ra would play your typical jazz and then take you away with his space music and then bring you back to earth. His sound is an experience.

For my next post,  I will be discussing Sun Ra’s Arkestra. I am really looking forward to delving in.

If you have any more information about Sun Ra or any other Afrofuturism creators, please let me know!

Until next time!

Links
https://believermag.com/logger/angels-and-demons-at-play/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_Ra#cite_note-12

http://www.sunraarkestra.com/1-main.html

Intro to Afrofuturism|Afrofuturism.

Hello and welcome!

I wanted to start a blog series discussing Afrofuturism because I’ve been writing my senior project as a literature major at SUNY Purchase. My initial plan was to write my project on the representation of people of color in Science Fiction literature. When I first started writing, I realized that writing about all people of color was too broad so I chose to write about black people, my people.

While doing research, I kept reading about the term Afrofuturism so I decided to pick up the book Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture by Ytasha L. Womack. I fell madly in love. I spoke to my teachers and advisors about this book and this genre and they were just as excited as I was. This is a genre that we didn’t know a lot about which was exciting because that meant I got to read more about black people and black culture.

My intention for this series is to educate myself and other people about this amazing genre and to connect with Afrofuturist creators and other people interested in the genre. I plan on going to events and reading books about this topic.

If anyone has any recommendations or information on this topic, please share it!

Okay, without further delay, let’s introduce ourselves to Afrofuturism!

“Afrofuturism is an intersection of imagination, technology, the future, and liberation,” says Ytasha L. Womack author of Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture. “I generally define Afrofuturism as a way of imagining possible futures through a black cultural lens,” says Ingrid LaFleur, an art curator, and Afrofuturist.” (9)

The term was coined in 1993 by Mark Derry in his essay Black to the Future. An essay that I recommend you read because I will be reading it as well.

I first discovered  Afrofuturism while reading. I was surprised to find that the genre also appears in other forms of media such as art and music. One popular creator is Janelle Monae. Have you seen Dirty Computer? She created a short film based off of her album. The film was based in a dystopian future where people get penalized for their expression. Such a clear piece of Afrofuturism. In an interview with New York Times, she says, “The songs can be grouped into three loose categories: Reckoning, Celebration, and Reclamation. “The first songs deal with realizing that this is how society sees me,” she said. “This is how I’m viewed. I’m a ‘dirty computer,’ it’s clear. I’m going to be pushed to the margins, outside margins, of the world.” The beautiful Janelle Monae continues to put black people and black experiences into her art and I love it!


My favorite thing about the term Afrofuturist is that it’s science fiction but BLACK! It’s seeing us in the future as heroes instead of side characters. I’m a huge lover of Star Wars but how can we travel through time and space seeing aliens and androids but not see people of color? As if seeing us in the future would be more surprising than seeing someone move objects with the force!


Speaking of music and space, while doing my research, I was surprised to hear about an artist named Sun Ra born Herman Poole Blount. He was a jazz musician who forgo his past and created a persona named Sun Ra or Le Sony’r Ra. Sun Ra “…drew from Egyptology, black Freemasonry, Biblical exegesis, science and science fiction and most anything else that lay outside the traditional domains of scholarship.” says National Public Radio writer Patrick Jarenwattananon.

Sun Ra’s influences are the main focal points of an afrofuturist piece. Sun Ra was known for creating his beats with the sound of hard bops, claiming to be an alien from Saturn on a mission to preach peace. Throughout his career as a musician, he publicly denied ties to his prior identity. Most people would view his persona as a form of insanity but Sun Ra was before his time. He has a vision that would make his work and his style and icon of today.

Please do yourself a favor and listen to his music here. I plan on discussing the GREAT Sun Ra in a future post so please, prepare yourself!


 In Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture, Ytasha L. Womack writes:

Whether through literature, visual arts, music, or grassroots organizing, Afrofuturists redefine culture and notions of blackness for today and the future. Both an artistic aesthetic and a framework for cultural theory, Afrofuturism combines elements of science fiction, historical fiction, speculative fiction, fantasy, Afrocentricity,  and magical realism with non-western beliefs. In some cases, it’s a total re-envisioning of the past and speculation about the future rife with cultural critiques.

For example, Octavia Butler one of the first black science fiction writers, who wrote  Kindred, a story about a young girl who travels back in time and gets a first-hand experience in slavery. Butler granting her main character the ability to travel through time makes it such a timeless piece of Afrofuturism. Although the main character has no crazy technical time traveling device, her going back in time and seeing how her ancestors lived makes it science fiction.


On my journey discovery what Afrofuturism is, I’ve discovered so many interesting things and I am so excited to share them all with you. I’ve gained a connection within myself and my culture. When discovery Sun Ra, I had nights sitting on the couch with my parents as they relived their own experiences with such an outrageous artist. I’ve visited the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture and was able to see all that black people endured and how we are still thriving. I’m so excited to begin this series and I hope you enjoy it too.


Here are a few links to articles and information mentioned in this post:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Dery

Featured image is from Into the Spider-verse. It’s my boy Miles Morales

Short writing: Otto

I’m working on a short story/series of stories for my blog. I’ve been working on it on and off for a few months and I decided to post my introductory piece.

 

“Okay,” Diane huffs as she throws herself into the seat next to Calle. “I’m ready to get this class over with. I’ve tripped three times just getting through the house. I need to empty those damn boxes.”

“Yea, no shit, you moved in a month ago and for some reason, you still haven’t made things homey. I love coming over, you should let me clean up.” Calle responds handing Diane her morning tea latte.

“Thank you, dear.” Diane grabs the cup and sips.

“I’m just scared about what I’ll find in my grandma’s boxes. She and her wife are into some wild stuff and I don’t want to find some weird kinky things in those boxes… On second thought, maybe I’ll just let you look through it.”

“Alright, will do. Grandma and Gran have far too many things. I got you, girlie. Where is Shay? She’s always late.”

Just then, Shay runs into the room with paint smears all over her green overalls and some smears can be seen all over her arms and chin.

“I literally ran across campus. From the studio here. Not for class but for my-” Calle shoved a warm danish in her face.

“Yes,” Shay moaned as she sat in the seat next to Diane.

The two of them immediately slouch closer to each other. One enjoying her danish and the other sipping her tea and gazing at the video on the board. Today they are learning about the intricate processes of evolution.

As usual, Calle was the only one of the three who was writing out her notes aggressively., trying not to miss anything on the board. The other two jotting information down here and there. Knowing that Calle would help them study later.

————————————————————————————————————————————–

The three girls walk back to Diane’s crowded home, their ritual after class. Once the door opens, Calle walks down the hall and heads for the kitchen to cook dinner and make them some tea. Shay runs upstairs to lay in Diane’s bed for her post-class nap.

Diane grabs her laptop and sits at the kitchen table while Calle chops onions on the counter.

The two girls work in silence for over an hour until Diane asks, “So, in evolution, there are some parts within the body that are useless now, like our tailbone, remains, even though we don’t have any tails so with that idea, my characters; if their ancestors had wings, they’d have wings bones? So, with wing bones, I can use the science within my world to bring those wings back. Right?” Diane asks Calle’s back.

Calle turns around for waving her knife, “Either way, it’s your own book with its own history, their history has a different kind of science. Just make shit up. If people don’t get it then, they won’t.” She turns back around and continues chopping.

“But according to Williams, the people within our generation will need to understand and connect with my plot. They need to understand the book and connect with the day to day in order for my book to gain popularity.”

“So say you write a book that conforms to society’s standards and everyone hates the book. Then what?”

“Shut up. You’re right but shut up. Am I just supposed to write this book for me and only me? What if no one gets it. Everything falls to the majority, to widespread media. So…. just…. How?”

“Just write. Let’s figure it out later. Go get Shay. Dinner is ready.”

Diane popped up from her chair and jogged up to her room. Diane walked past three unused rooms until she kicked open her own at the end of the hall.

She threw her body next to Shay on the bed. Shay turned over half asleep and just gazed at Diane. Diane gazed back. The two of them laid there staring at each other, unmoving for a bit. Finally, Diane whispered, “Dinner is ready.”

“Okay,” Shay replied, both unmoving. They heard Calle’s feet running up the stairs and the two of them slowly turned away and got out of bed. By the time Calle reached the room, Shay was heading towards the door.

Calle leaned against the door frame and slyly said, “I thought you guys were fucking. I didn’t know if I wanted to interrupt or join in.”

“Ha. You would just tell us to stop and go eat your dinner.” Shay grumbles.

The three of them walked downstairs and sat around the table, Calle already cleaned off the table and placed the food elegantly on the table. There were pots filled with pork belly, chopped scallions, green cabbage, jalapenos, limes, rice, and cilantro. A plate piled high with tortillas and a pitcher of sake margaritas. Tonight’s dinner was pork belly tacos, Calle’s specialty.

Calle loves cooking and combining both her heritage in every meal, Mexican and Japanese. She finds it a challenge. Both of her parents were born in America and don’t really cook so she learns recipes from her grandparents on both sides and cooks.

Shay drops herself into a chair and fixes her plate. She huffs and says, “I can’t believe that those idiots I call parents won’t stop drinking. They argue constantly. I know they hate Leo and I AND each other. They made a bad choice when they were young and now they are just miserable drunks who refuse to fucking grow. I don’t want to be there with them anymore. I’ve spent 25 years taking care of those idiots and hurting myself. I don’t want Leo to have to go through that. I wish we had somewhere better to go. We’re just squatting in my dorm room and hoping we don’t get caught.”

“How much do you have in savings? Can you get an apartment?” Calle asks.

“Not enough to afford anything near this campus. I can’t afford to pay for gas. I’m just a broke college kid.”

“It’s a good thing we have so much free booze from my Grandmother. Now we can afford to get drunk.” Diane says, raising her glass to the other two.

“HERE, HERE! Grandma has booze from everywhere around the world stored in her basement! I love her!” Calle yells, slurring her words a little.

“Your grandmother is a gay goddess and her booze and her home are saving us. Diane, you live in a fucking man… mas… mansion. How many rooms do you have? like eleven? twelve? Is there a pool?” Shay giggles.

“I do not have a pool and this house has I think ten rooms? I just stick to my own room. I’ve been too busy. There is an art room and a music room and a greenhouse. This place is wild.”

“THERE’S A GREENHOUSE?!?!” Calle looks up from her plate alert.

“Yes! It’s down the hall and to the right. I have no idea what those plants are but I water them every day. When I got here, they were dying.”

“What if they’re all mary jays!? Your gran is the coolest so I wouldn’t be surprised.” Calle implores.

“I doubt there is weed but I did see a bunch of herbs. Gran is a witch. Just like you, Calle.”

Shay jumps up, “Sorry, it’s Leo, one sec.”

Diane and Calle began cleaning up the table.

Shay runs back in, “I need to go, they caught us, campus police found out about Leo and they’re kicking us out.” She chokes on the last words.

“What? We’re coming!”

The three girls grab their jackets and head out.

 

They spent the night comforting the 17-year-old, frightened Leo. They all had to pack up Leo and Shay’s belongings, deciding they’d move in with Diane for the time being. Someone down the hall mentioned an underaged kid wandering the halls which made the campus police check in.

The police told her that she needed to leave housing immediately, even after explaining their situation, they kicked them both out. Shay was allowed to remain studying on campus but due to her financial aid and the housing policies, she needed to vacate her room.

The four of them traveled back to Diane’s home an unloaded their things in their new rooms. The girls sat in the living room complaining about their new problems and fell sleep on the couch together.

Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler (non-spoiler review)

HEY! 

I’ve been reading this book since 2016. I wanted to finally read something by the well known Octavia E. Butler. I decided to do a family book club and only one of my sisters actually finished the book. lol

I was starting my college career at Purchase College and decided not to read this book. I am not used to reading adult sci-fi. I feel like adult sci-fi takes a much longer time to get to the main focus of the novel. It’s filled with detail but YA sci-fi gets right into the action which makes it far more exciting in my opinion.

I had to finish this book in order to write my senior project. Once again, it’s taken me months to read it.

When I finally did, I obviously loved it. It could possibly be because of my senior project work but I started reading it and connecting the story to things that happen in real life. I know I can really use this book to help my project which is exciting.

Anyways, let’s begin the review. 

Didn’t like:
I feel like we spent a big chunk of time learning about the MC, Lauren’s, day to day life. I found that to be pretty boring.

Non-spoiler but the MC has this ability that seemed pretty useless in the first book, I hope the next book gives use to this power.

I didn’t like who the MC’s ended up with.

Liked:

I did really like the dystopian world. I feel like Butler created a truly realistic world and a very awesome and intelligent MC.

I love that the main character was black and hella smart. She was smarter than everyone around her and was so creative.

I feel like it was really well written, I got super emotional at some points but I was so wrapped up into it, I couldn’t put it down.

I’m interested in seeing if anyone will die in the next book. The world they live in means death at any turn and I’m so curious to see who will be next. (morbid, I know)

I give the book 4/5 stars. An additional star because the writer and MC were black.

Anyway, thanks so much for reading!

Have you read this book? What did you enjoy?

let’s take a chance


let’s take a chance
what’s living in our truth
let’s be authentic with ourselves
always and completely

let’s acknowledge when we must
forgive ourselves, others, circumstances

Let’s  be clear about what we need,
always and allow ourselves to

be responsible about that

we are made of love and deserve

love. I am now aware of that

I apologize to myself

for taking so long to realize that

but I forgive myself

 

I’m going to own up to my mistakes

to stay in my integrity;

continue to persevere

and to gain a deeper understanding

love myself