About Me

My photo
Writing, learn-ing, jewelry, deconstructing t-shirts and reality - it's what I do. I live to be inspired, and to inspire.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Shakespeare Roc's!

I went to a performance entitled From Jail to Yale on September 24th starring Charles S. Dutton, who many of us would fondly know as Roc from the old TV show about the garbage man and his family. (Interesting tidbit: Roc is Dutton’s real nickname. They named the show after him.) The event, held in support of the Greater Baltimore Urban League, was at the Murphy Fine Arts Theatre at Morgan State University and free to students (which was a good thing; otherwise I would not have been able to see it).

The performance started off with Dutton relating an account of his own life experiences since “Jail to Yale” is his own true story. That to me was certainly the most entertaining part of the play. His is a truly inspiring story. However, trained in classical theatre, he included excerpts of such timeless works as Death of a Salesman, Richard III and King Lear. He did the scenes with Morgan’s own Theatre majors, which was both a good thing and a bad thing. The good thing about that is that the students had the valuable experience of working with and learning from a professional, well-trained actor. The bad thing is one could see the glaring difference between the students and the professional. One thing I learned from watching this play though, diction makes all the difference when performing Shakespeare.

On that note, Charles Dutton did manage to alter my perspective on Shakespeare, for which I am sincerely grateful. Dutton spoke about the African-American actors of history performing Shakespeare during racially charged times. He said that the reason they performed Shakespeare so well is because they identified with it – Shakespeare wrote for the commoners. I can honestly say I never identified with Shakespeare, at least on stage. I could read it and appreciate the stories being told, but Shakespearean plays never quite impressed me the way I usually see them performed. Dutton, however was able to use Shakespeare’s old-English lines, usually difficult to swallow, and infuse all the real emotion, and storytelling into them in the way only an actor of his caliber can. He wasn’t reciting Shakespeare. He was saying the words as they were meant to be said. This is the first time I’ve heard an audience react to Shakespearean insults with the same “Oooooo” and “Dang!” as a low-blow during a catfight.

I have a new appreciation for the power of the actor thanks to Dutton. The actor has the power to bring characters to life, to translate a story into reality, to bring the audience into the drama: make them feel the pain of loss, the glory of triumph, or the burn of a brutal Shakespearean insult. Or the actor has the power to make a story fall flat. I hope the theatre students, my talented Morgan counterparts, learned this well from Mr. Dutton. I hope they learned their power as actors to bring a storyteller’s vision to life. Most of all, I hope they learn the importance of diction.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Full Of Myself

I’m often inclined, while chatting with friends, to express that I think I’m awesome – because I am. Usually people laugh, sometimes people cosign (usually the cosigners are other beautiful and awesome women), and sometimes I get that judgmental “A little full of yourself aren’t you?” (Usually I get that from men.)

Now I can’t help but wonder; if I shouldn’t be full of myself, then who the heck am I supposed to be full of? Who exactly is supposed to saturate my being? Whose thoughts should I think, emotions should I feel, opinions should I express, stories should I write? Whose struggles should I respect? Whose imperfections should I accept? Whose strengths should I build? Whose creativity should I nurture? Whose beauty should I appreciate? Whose uniqueness should I treasure? Who? Who? Who?

The phrase “full of yourself” implies being vain and arrogant, thinking yourself more important than you really are. The people who tell you that you are full of yourself are trying to “take you down a notch” and “put you in your place.” What they do not know is how hard many women have to climb to get to her place – a place where she can honestly say “I am brilliant” or “beautiful” or “talented” and believe it. It’s not that we think ourselves more important than we really are. It’s just that we are important. And we need to acknowledge our importance and treat ourselves like the most important person in our lives.

I’m not trying to encourage arrogance or shallow vanity (although I do believe we should all be vain enough to take good care of ourselves and be at our best inside and outside, but that’s best left for another day’s rant). I acknowledge the virtues of being humble and selfless – to an extent. There are two types of humility. (a) There’s the self-depreciating humility of those who literally believe (or try to believe) themselves to be nothing. (b) There’s the humility of the truly great who are willing to step down and support and encourage the hard-pressed, the outcast, the homeless, the young, those who can really benefit from their insight but who most people would overlook, on their own journeys to greatness.

Likewise, there are two types of selflessness. (a) There’s the selflessness that stems from someone who does not feel like they are worth anything unless they are beneficial to others’ lives. (b) There’s the selflessness of those who recognize their worth, their talents, their beauty and believe in such abundance of good within them that they are able to freely share it with others. If the Heaven Entrance Exam or the Good Person Proficiency Test asked which is more virtuous, in both cases I’d choose (b). I believe one should work on being self-full before trying to be self-less, because then one has so much more to offer. If you think you are nothing then where’s the virtue in giving away something you do not value?

I’ve tried being full of others; setting others’ ideas, opinions, validations and goals ahead of my own and I promise you it is a bad idea. The truth is you need to be full of yourself. Otherwise you will be empty inside – and then you will fill yourself with all these toxic, ill-fitting external influences. You are custom-built to fit only you. No one and nothing else can make you complete.

So every morning I am going to fill up a glass of Kelene and drink myself in. I am brilliant. I am beautiful. I am talented. And if anyone has a problem with me saying that they really need to look into themselves and figure out why… because it could be they’re simply full of shit.

(Oh no she didn’t! Aw snap! Yes she did! Lol!)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Searching for a Vent

You know that old saying, when God closes a door he opens a window? Well when the door got slammed in my face I went searching for that window. I did everything I had to in order to reach that window. And just as I reached up to begin climbing in, SNAP! The window snaps shut.

Now what? Well, now, I either resign myself to never gaining entry to my own personal kingdom of heaven (so not me), or I start searching for a vent. Always up for an adventure I searched for that vent and, sure enough, there it was, staring me in the face.

The door slammed rudely when my marriage ended. The window snapped shut when I did not get a job. No husband to take care of me, no income to take care of myself; what entrance to heaven was staring me in my face? My redemption lay within me. It always has. My creativity. I’m a writer. I make jewelry. I sew. Why not make a living using my own creativity as my product?

So, I’m relaunching my jewelry line as JadeTygress Creations. I’m also going to write and publish. Maybe if I work as hard for myself as I do for other people (I’m usually a great employee) then maybe I’ll make something of myself (something other than a fool). Hmmm… Lets see where this road goes.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Lost Muse

What happened to my muse? That flow of creative energy that enters the crown of my head, runs down my spine, infiltrates the blood flowing to my fingertips, compels me to write… is gone. The words don’t flow as they should any more. Instead I have to forcefully drag them out, trailing blood, from my heart. It’s excruciating. I think someone took aim and shot my muse down from over my head. I want to find the shooter and take vengeance. All I had were my words.

But my words aren’t gone. I just have to search harder to find them. Writing becomes an uphill trudge rather than the exhilarating freefall it once was. In a way, my writing mirrors my life. The important thing is that I am alive, and so are my words. As long as I infuse life into my words, then my muse isn’t dead. I’ll just write and keep that mysterious little thing alive until I can find it again.

(Image by Kelene Blake)

Friday, September 3, 2010


by Kelene Blake

Poetry is a prison
For emotions the heart can no longer contain.
Fear, pain, love… dangerous hope
Trapped on paper, where it is safe,
Where it will not bother anybody.

But it does. It bothers everybody.
The emotions imprisoned behind the words
Contained on the paper
Reach out.
They will not be confined.
Instead, they call out to everyone
Within earshot, within view,
And leave their stain on hearts and minds.

Emotions like silvered blood, seep through the paper
From behind the words
And the poetry, if it is real,
Becomes a mirror where everyone sees
The emotions their hearts can no longer contain.