Guess What? I’m Published!!!

WooHoo! That’s right. Yours Truly is officially a published writer. Apparently, I’ve been a published writer for about two weeks and I didn’t even know it. A few months ago, I registered to attend Georgia State University’s annual Conflict Resolution Symposium on October 24th. I also submitted one of my poems, circa 2008, for consideration in their short story/poetry competition.

Conflict Resolution Magazine

I’m guessing the notification email of my success got lost somewhere in the depths of my spam folder, because I never saw it. I attended the symposium but missed the opening awards ceremony, because of another appointment that ran late. So, here I am, over two weeks later, finally taking time to read the magazine from the event – and “what do you know?” that’s my name and poem in print!

"Internal"

The poem, as written in the magazine, was formatted to fit on a single page, but you can see the full piece with it’s original spacing intent below.

Of course, now that I’ve reached this first milestone, there’s only one thing left to be done: write my Great American Novel! I’ve got the perfect motivation too because NaNoWriMo is in full swing. It’s already day 11!

If you happen to live in the general Atlanta area and are interested in all that’s going on in the competition with our local region, check out the NaNoLanta Panda page for a full calendar of group writing events. You may even spot me at the Atlantic Station Ikea on Saturday Night! ~cS

 

Internal

I am different Today.

I woke up this morning and discovered
… and discovered Me!

but a Me that was changed somehow
and Different
from the me i had been before.

I stand staring at this Face
scrutinizing Its every pore.

trying to put my Finger
on the
exact
Gruesome
Deformity
that has maimed me.

but there is no Third Eye …
… as far as i can tell.

Everything is the Same.

the Lazy Eye is still there.
the Full Lips the Chipped Tooth the Crooked Smile

but No!

this is an
IMPOSTER
looking out of my mirror.

not my Beloved
connie.

who is
Never
Quite
Convinced
that she is pretty

ENOUGH

or even
enough Enough.

this Person
LIKES
the Flaws

Revels
in them even!

and I am Trying
to Figure out
Exactly
whatwentwrong

so that my best
Friend
would Abandon/Betray
Me
this way. True,

she was In-
-secure and
Broken
and Damaged but

We were working through
all that!

she was my Person
and my Security
blanket

in a Cold Cruel
world. I

didn’t really need her

so much as
I just miss her
… SOMETIMES,

anyway. so what went wrong?

the Hair is shorter
but that’s not it
I’ve lost Weight and made
Friends and finally
Broken Out
of my Shell

but would she really
leave me
for such Trifles?

and suddenly
it Hits Me!
she Planned this! she
Meant To Go.

each tiny Growth
has been a small Parting
and the knowledge
makes my heart
Hurt

there is a Ripping and
a Tearing
as I see that old connie

turn

to walk away
and despite The Betrayal
I want to
call out to her:

Wait! Come Back!

but I know now
that it is Hopeless
… she will not
come back.

I am stuck here
With Myself

with this Constance
who uses her
Full Name and
laughs
Out Loud
and Loves herself

and I know
that I’ve been left in Capable Hands
but it is Bitter
sweet

she could have told Me
she was Going Away
she could have whispered to Me:

“connie, I am leaving you for good, Today.”

but she didn’t
and No One ever warned Me
that it would hurt like this.

No One ever told Me.
but Someone should have warned Me
that this is what it means …

to Find Yourself.

August 12th (Early a.m.) to September 05th, 2008
Constance SHERESE

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ThrowBackThursday: A Night At The Movies… ahem, Film Fest

Popcorn Buckets at the Door.

It’s #ThrowBackThursday and I’ve been looking through my old blog posts. This is one that’s been listed under my “Last Updated” tab since November 2011. Basically, it was still a draft. I’d been really excited about this post when I first started the topic, but other things came up and somehow I never got back to it. After a while, I started to feel like it wasn’t “new” and “fresh” enough anymore. But who says there’s nothing of value to be had in a slightly middle-aged post? That’s what ThrowBackThursday’s are for! So without further ado, I give you ‘A Night At The Movies… ahem, Film Fest.’

For anyone passing through the Georgia State University campus in downtown Atlanta, GA last Wednesday night it would have looked like a typical evening in college town. Vendors and restaurants closing up shop after the rush, young people making plans with friends about what to do with their next few hours of freedom, and a few dedicated students just heading inside for evening classes. But in one of those classrooms there was a group of students, faculty, and community members coming together for something not so typical to the University. On the corner of Decatur Street and Central Avenue, in the Classroom South Building, a student film festival and panel discussion was taking place burgeoning with fresh young talent and creative ability.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m all about scoping out the new and fresh creative scene. So now that I’ve given you the perfect visual, let’s cut to the juicy parts!

The First Annual Black Student Film Festival (sadly, it was the 1st and only edition of this festival) featured submissions across seven genres: Documentary, Suspense/Mystery/Horror, Comedy, Drama, Romance, Action, and Music/Video – and there were over 20 films screened during the two day festival.

IMG_20111102_202316

One of my favorites was the documentary “Keepers of the Culture” – by Amris Bell & Imani Warren

This piece took me back to my childhood days hearing my mother and aunts playfully refer to our family as “a bunch of Guichie’s [sp]” because we all love to eat white rice in place of the more traditional Southern African American breakfast, Grits. I gotta admit, I can throw down on some long grain Carolina white rice! At the time, I thought the word Guichie was simply a reference to rice farmers from the wet marshlands of North and South Carolina.

Around the time I started college, I learned two things. First, that I’d been misspelling the word for years. I think I subconsciously wanted to throw a little French Creole flavor in there. It’s actually spelled “Geechee”. You learn something new every day! I also learned that the Geechees are more than just rice farmers. They’re an entire community of people who migrated to the US from various Afro-Caribbean islands and countries. They’ve managed to preserve a distinct culture – known as the Gullah culture – within this small region. Remember that Nickelodeon children’s show, Gullah Gullah Island? That’s right. It was about the Geechee people of South Carolina!

I was intrigued to discover all this because it shed new light on one of my family’s great mysteries. My grandmother’s real name. I’ve started to think she may have had an Afro-Caribbean background on her father’s side of the family – and a first name to match! Bernice Hopkins, as we all knew her, was the daughter of Susannah Green. Susannah died in child birth when my grandmother was two years old, and Bernice wound up being raised by her maternal grandmother, Betty. So the story goes, Betty never really cared for the name Susannah (or Susannah’s husband, maybe?) had given my grandmother at birth. She made sure my grandmother always knew her real name, but she personally chose to call her by what we think was actually her middle name, Bernice.

When my grandmother got older, she did a bit of the typical teenage rebelling and ran off with a man who was never any good for her. You know the type. Gambler, swindler, drunkard, and all around skirt chaser. But he was fun, exciting, and her over-protective mother (in this case, grandmother) disapproved, so he had to be Mr. Right! Right? Needless to say, the marriage lasted just long enough for him to think he could “lay hands” on my grandmother and she ended it.

Time went by, she met my grandfather, they got married, and she needed to fill out the paper work for a legal name change. Betty had passed away by this time and my grandmother was looking for a way to say “Thank you for raising me and I’m sorry I didn’t appreciate you sooner.” She decided that, although she would always respect her birth mother, the woman she had become was forever tied to the principles Betty taught her. She decided to legally change both her first and last name.

I think she saw it as the great secret of her life. Something that gave her a certain “Je ne sais quoi.” My grandfather probably knew her “real” first name. But neither of them would ever tell the rest of us. She took that knowledge with her to her grave. I’ve often thought about trying to discover her secret. I have an Ancestry.com account, but I go back and forth in my mind about whether it would be a betrayal of her confidence. Then again, if I knew it, I’d name a daughter after her. I still haven’t decided and I may never decide. But films like the one above are a nice reminder that I have a rich cultural history with “new”, “fresh” stories to discover every day!

If you live in the Atlanta area and are interested in other global/ cultural events in the Arts, check out CENCIA’s website. Their current schedule takes audiences from France to Greece to Brazil and back to the United States. Talk about culture! ~ cS

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