Thursday, April 28, 2011

Book Covers

I believe a book cover should be a reflection of the story inside, so, yes, I do judge books by the covers. Sometimes that works for me and sometimes it doesn't. I don't decide to buy a book just because the beautifully designed cover has drawn me to it. I read the synopsis and if it interests me, then I buy the book. Well, not always right away. I still have so many books saved in my Amazon cart.

Some covers have been deceiving; a book that's nice on the outside but inside there's lots of profanity and other content I didn't expect or care to read. I do not like it when the cover misrepresents the content. There have also been times when the story wasn't what I thought it would be, even after reading the synopsis. I buy most books from Amazon, but I also buy books from Barnes and Noble and Books-A-Million. From now on no matter where I shop, I'm going to have to 'search inside the book' to be sure it's one I really want to spend my money on.

The cover image in the corner is one that immediately caught my eye, and some others are: Sellout (Hardcover) by Ebony Joy Wilkins, Stars in the Night (Softcover) by Cara C. Putman, A Girl Named Mister (Hardcover) by Nikki Grimes, Hot Girl by Dream Jordan, Black Tuesday (Hardcover) by Susan Colebank, Saving Maddie (Hardcover) by Varian Johnson, Be Careful What You Pray For (Hardcover) by Kimberla Lawson Roby, After (Hardcover) by Amy Efaw, and Night Road (Hardcover) by Kristin Hannah.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Self Diagnosis: Uncomfortable, But Necessary

I’ve always been able to communicate better with the written word. Paper, pencils, pens, typewriter keys and now computer keys have always been my friends. And music is my friend; especially songs with uplifting lyrics. And movies on DVD and Blu-ray are my friends. But when it comes to people, it’s like I want to socialize but the thought of socializing brings on anxiety. I’d like to make a new friend or two, but the thought of those unfamiliar to me coming into my space brings on discomfort. It’s like I’m thinkin’ come and stay away from me at the same time. Sounds weird, I know. But this is how I am, been that way for a long time and it’s what I do not like about myself.

This isolation mentality is not normal. A little while back I finally asked God, “What is wrong with me?” It may have been a few weeks after that I came across an article about Avoidant Personality Disorder. I read it and I said, “My goodness, that’s me. Some of the symptoms aren’t as extreme as they were when I was younger, but that’s me.” I grew up in a household where there was always confusion and chaos. I grew up being criticized quite a bit. I was bullied in grade school and in middle school, verbal abuse mostly. Some didn’t like my light skin, some made fun of the way I walked (I have my mom’s bowed legs and my dad’s slew feet), and some always had something to say about how skinny I was. Back then it was ‘stick and stones can break your bones, but words can never hurt you’. Yeah, right. That’s a lie from the pit of hell. WORDS CAN HURT and it took me a long time to get over some of the things that were said to me. No wonder I had low self-esteem. Not that I even knew it at the time, like I didn’t know that I suffered from clinical depression when I was around seventeen, eighteen. People didn’t talk about those things back then the way they do today. I heard the symptoms of clinical depression a good while back and that’s when I knew what had been happening with me all those years ago. If you have a child suffering from depression, please don’t think it’s something they can just get over. Take it seriously; find out what’s going on with them and seek help. I hear about young people taking their own lives and it breaks my heart.

I am still shy today, but not extremely shy. I am not a people person; I have trust issues. I’ve been trying to work at being comfortable around others. I participated in a couple of book events since I published Choices and it wasn’t easy for me, but I communicated with people, even waved them over to my table. When I’m out and about I always have promotional materials with me and I kindly ask people if they’d like a pen or if I could give them a bookmark. Before I published Choices, I was okay with a smile and a quick hello even if I didn’t know the person, but now I’m like ‘God’s just gonna make me talk’. I understand Him wanting to get me out of my comfort zone; not much growth comes from staying in a place where I keep to myself all of the time. We all have our gifts, though, and writing is the gift God has given me. I know I wouldn’t be very good as a public speaker, so Choices is my way of reaching out. I wrote a good story, if I say so myself. If you haven’t journeyed through the lives of Shauntice, Angel, LaKeeta, Bridgette and Hope, please consider buying a copy of Choices today. I do believe you will be entertained and enlightened and I’d truly appreciate the support.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Tyler Perry as Madea: Do I Have A Problem With It?

Years ago I was watching a preview for a movie and I kept thinking that the woman standing at her front door looked more like a man. I felt kind of bad about that, because it wasn’t like I was trying to judge or anything; I was only making an observation. Later I found out that I had nothing to feel bad about because there was a man under that gray wig and behind all that make up. Tyler Perry portrays Mabel “Madea” Simmons.

Even though he had been writing, directing and performing in stage plays for years, I didn’t know anything about Tyler Perry until the preview of the movie Diary of a Mad Black Woman, inspired by the play of the same name. Ever since then, different people have criticized this man because he puts on a dress to play a woman. This is how I feel about it: The man is acting. I had no problem with Dustin Hoffman as Tootsie or Martin Lawrence as Big Mama (I loved Big Mama’s House 2, by the way) or Robin Williams as Mrs. Doubtfire or Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari disguising themselves as women in Bosom Buddies, and I have no problem with Tyler Perry as Madea.

Why are some people always trying to find the worst in everything? Yes, Tyler Perry has flaws; we all have flaws. But as far as his work, he brings something good to people’s lives with Madea; he makes them laugh. And he’s not doing it like some comedians do, which is by making fun of another person’s weaknesses or imperfections or personal problems or using so much profanity that if there is a good joke in there, it’s difficult to find. Let me tell you, I always appreciate it when someone can make me laugh because laughter brightens my days. And, oh yeah, if you know anything about me at all, you know I’m gonna quote the Bible: A merry heart does good like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones. That’s Proverbs15:13 the New King James Version. The New Living Translation: A glad heart makes a happy face; a broken heart crushes the spirit.

I’ve gotten the impression after hearing Tyler Perry speak on occasion, that he’d rather not play Madea anymore. He said something like it takes four hours to get into the make-up and the entire costume, and it can get hot in all of that padding. I don’t think he feels good at all luggin' those big saggin' breasts around. I believe he said they are stuffed with bird seeds. If you have never seen the wild woman Tyler Perry created, check out the picture of Madea up in the corner. That’s a whole lot of birdseeds! But this talented man has said that as long as people want to see Madea, he’ll play the role. I do not condemn him for that choice. I applaud him for giving people want they want; a character they enjoy watching because she makes them laugh.

I admit that I’m not into everything Tyler Perry has created. I’ll watch Meet the Browns every now and then, because I like that the show addresses teen issues, but, I’m sorry, Mr. Brown is too zany for my taste. And I guess Madea can go too far every now and then, but it’s not like ‘ridiculous over the top humor’, but more like ‘this woman just does not care and in real life she’d probably be in jail a lot longer than she was in Madea Goes to Jail’. Anyway, like I said before, I have no problem with Tyler Perry as Madea. I like Madea’s humor and boldness, but what I like most is that she always has words of wisdom to share. Nobody should take her seriously when she tells Bible stories or quotes the Bible, though, because, even though she makes it funny, she does not know what she's talking about.

I haven't seen all of Tyler Perry's movies in the theater; sometimes I waited for the DVD. However, I do plan to show my support this weekend and go see Madea's Big Happy Family. I’m not going just to see Madea, though. I really like Loretta Devine and Cassi Davis.