Only a few more days before Palmetto Oasis Middle Eastern Dance Troupe performs in the North Charleston Performing Arts Festival. Some of the women have marinated and subsequently created dances beginning after the 2015 show. We spend hours on the internet researching costumes and YouTubes. After my son moved out, I converted his bedroom into a small dance room. My husband thinks nothing of several parked cars and entering the house hearing jingling and exotic music. My dog, Chaz, was eager to greet dancers and hang out until he got underfoot. My cat, Hollywood, loves to get under skirts or plop into the center of the room expecting everyone to dance around him. Continue reading
The Palmetto Oasis Middle Eastern Dance Troupe will be performing at the North Charleston Performing Arts Festival on April 30th. Each year, we brainstorm the name of the next show’s theme should North Charleston invite us to perform again.
The 2016 show is dedicated to powerful women, in dance and beyond. Throughout our performance, Palmetto Oasis will share stories of powerful women in dance. I’d nominate our troupe founder and my mentor/teacher, from whom I learned to dance –Sybil Yocum– who I wrote about in Ameera Unveiled. Based on actual events and the tribe I became part of, Sybil challenged each of us to allow dance to “…encourage women’s self-esteem and wellness, inspiring them to bring forth their creativity and passion for life.” ages women’s self-esteem and wellness, inspiring them to bring forth their creativity and passion for life
To help in that celebration, Ameera Unveiled is on sale at BQB Publishing – CLICK HERE to order your print copy. And I’ll be available to sign your copies following our performance.
If you’d prefer to read Ameera on Kindle, please CLICK HERE!
Hope to see you at the festival to join us in celebrating powerful women in history…
I’ve started my parenting tale with two US Navy fathers raising four girls… just like a modern tale of Little Women. Although, Louisa May Alcott’s father was kept away because of Civil war injury, my tale is more complex.
Products of the mixed signals between Russia and America who economically survived the Great Wars, Korean and Cold Wars…. we dependents were at the mercy of little disclosure or access to our fathers’ duty stations. They defended treaties with allies and defended the right to use international waters without acts of violence. They were crowded on ships that shared and operated as one under pressure. Obedience to an oath to serve country… or among those who wanted to get out of subscription.
Little did I know how intricate this simple fact was for not only my parents… but those who blazed the trail behind them. Life’s one constant was change, some closer to global evidence of genocides, religious division and political agendas than we’d know as small children.
I was never raised to think color, race, or creed. I lived through and embraced the desegregation during my childhood in the South. I didn’t know how to make sense of assassinations of JFK, Martin Luther or Robert Kennedy. I lived between the fantasy of Disney and ignorance of political corruption. I was not aware of the egotistical agenda of the Berlin Wall. Vietnam was just a place my fathers went to work.
My innocence was cocooned by parents who were far from perfect. They just kept the lines of the messiness of adult life issues from us. Playing Cowboys and Indians in the woods was not offensive. As I used a stethoscope or pretended to give prescriptions to my siblings, no one worried I was headed to substance abuse. Being on the losing team at recess did not crush my self esteem. Sometimes you lose, sometimes you win. Pen pals used stationery and postal stamps. I waited and learned patience because there was no instant gratification.
I don’t think there is anything surrounding my five decades of life that is new to mankind. But, I still want to follow in my fathers’ footsteps. Never think the smallest kindness is futile. I don’t want to be discouraged by the magnitude of the descent of a country’s moral compass. I will not be afraid to face mindful weigh ins or challenging offensive lines. I aspire to respect someone’s opinion, hopefully being reciprocated the right to mine.
Change was more subtle during my lifetime. I guess I heard my dad’s Wind of Change subliminally and dreamed away. Looking back, I realize the enormous gift of these great adults. Do we leave that ability to dare to dream?
I owned the most gentle and eager to please mutt, Chaz. Back story: I am not a dog person—I’m a cat girl! Chaz migrated from my ex-husband’s home to my home sometime early 2000s. Eventually, my son graduated high school and Chaz remained in our home. My husband did the walking, feeding, playing and even showers with him once a week. I did potty duty during the day but it was on a leash and only as long as it took to get the deed done. Continue reading
In the five decades I have lived and experienced, there is a common question among all generations…. Where were you when….? Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima? I am a baby boomer but I was not alive during the Great Depression or the Great Wars. My first deep childhood memory was the assassination my President, John F. Kennedy.
Looking back from my kindergarten eyes, I didn’t totally understand what had happened when sent home early from our school day. A couple days later, I watched my mother staring at our black and white t.v. in her ironing room as I quietly leaned against the doorway. The sobriety of his casket being pulled by a team of horses was eerily quiet. I’ll always remember where I was on November 23, 1963 and November 25, 1963. Continue reading
Some of you know, some of you don’t—I’m working on another story. A story inspired from my book coach (Shari Stauch of Where Writers Win) as I plowed through my first novel, Ameera Unveiled. She suggested I consider writing a modern Little Women tale on growing up as baby boomer Navy dependent.
While I was diving in Roatan, I’d check my email for news from home. Unfortunately, one morning I opened my iPad and saw a horrific picture of a dog with her muzzle taped, preventing her from eating, barking or drinking. She was immediately taken to an emergency veterinarian center to be treated; they named her Caitlyn. The situation got global attention. Some may say… it’s just a dog. But it goes deeper…
As an avid reader since my tiny hands could carry a book, the adventures created by authors such as Eleanor Cameron kept me turning pages and living in alternate realities. Building rocket ships in hidden caves off the beach, taking on the challenge of Gandolff and Frodo or just wanting to find and perfect The Secret Garden…
Now, as an aspiring storyteller, I look back in my mind and realize I’m constantly in a Time Machine… my life line. The memories have been created through the journey of being a Hall girl, finding stories in the souls of those that crossed paths, either through the pages of books or my family’s journeys.
Working on my second novel, I have had the privilege of riding in a Time Machine as I meet and listen to the tales of Tin Can Sailors. This is the happy result of researching for a new book based on fathers serving in the US Navy. This weekend was a particularly special one for me. I spent the weekend with a shipmate and his wife who served with my late step-father in the Vietnam War, aboard the USS L. F Mason. Continue reading
For the past few weeks, there seems to be an employment surge on the corners of major intersections in my city. By no means do I think it is a new concept. But, this group seems to be as organized as the CEO of a van of kids dropped off to canvas neighborhoods selling magazine subscriptions. I don’t see any signs of homeless veterans, but mostly young adults drinking Dunkin’ Doughnuts coffee and changing shifts with another peer sitting under an overpass.
I guess my beef is that I see “Now Hiring” signs in business windows up and down my suburb’s highways. I was not a privileged young adult that was able to go to college. However, the work ethic that my parents raised me with failed to allow myself to indulge in the idea that I would ever get rich quick. I worked fast food, the Piggly Wiggly deli and eventually into law offices to earn the title of Legal Assistant for a prominent attorney.
Yes, I worked for food. I improved my living conditions at a tortoise pace. Nothing happened overnight or was served from a silver spoon. My children didn’t have every gimmick or name brand fashion.
I can’t imagine that choosing to hold a sign at the side of a highway pays more than minimum wage at a department store or restaurant. I am not judging their choice to participate in a group peddling scam, but I guess it plucks a sour note. As the younger son in the Bible’s Prodical Son story, I tend to resent being the dutiful worker bee. The one that sends a check to the government and doesn’t sit and wait for one. As hard as it is to stop from rolling down my window and share the fruits of my labor, I feel I am enabling slothful mentality. As my friend, Jacqueline Gum, says…. Where’s the Justice?
“The fear of change can keep you from walking into some of the greatest things life offers. Don’t be afraid to let go of things and people that aren’t making you a better person. Life is too short!” ― Buky Ojelabi
The above quote is a beautiful capsule of encouragement to embrace personal growth. But for anyone who has made it part of their lifestyle, the ability to see what to let go of is a complicated job.
When I decided to write Ameera Unveiled, I knew it would revolve around my protagonist facing her fear. A fear that eventually revealed underlying prongs of insecurities… prickly fears we universally experience…