National Black Book Festival


Sunday, October 6, 2013


I usually leave to go home to DC on the weekends at midnight.  I drive about 30 miles and wait at the 95 north exit.  It’s not long before five to eight 18-wheel trucks are flying by like bats out of hell.  I then gradually ascend my speed to 70 or 75, turn on the cruiser and I'm on a roll.  Can you picture my little cube car, a lady bug, flying behind a big line of winged out butterflies.  It kinda looks cool, but I’m not too crazy. I ensure there's some room to maneuver if anything should happen.  I've done this run for years.  People always ask me why so late at night and why wait for the trucks.  If you are not a regular long distance driver, you may not know that during certain times of the night or early morning, the traffic is very light and the truck drivers use that time to catch up and not worry about the psychopathic drivers 

I’ve learned a bit about the route these truck drivers take, coming from Florida.  They pick up the goods.  Make a stop at one of their favorite hide outs.  Eat and get, how do I say, “sexual fixing” and head out to make the deadline.  

I really need to get a better life don't I?

You may be thinking I made this up, but as a former long distance driver (I drove while in college for money.  Just short trips from DC to North or South Carolina), I know my trucks.  Another reason I drive so late at night.  I love the lights on those trucks.  I love the sound of the wheels and the blinking lights I give them to let them know they can cross over to the lane in front of me.  I love when there are 4 or 6 trucks in a roll driving down the long 95, 85 or 10 highway.  The sight of those long big trucks hauling who knows what has always fascinated me.  I guess that’s why I took a part time job driving.  I have loved trucks every since I was a kid.  Just damn fun.

By the time Tommy the dog and I reached North Carolina, traffic started to get painful, but still not as bad as when we reached Fredericksburg, Virginia.  The whole damn world changes then and it’s like roaches running from the dark when you turn the lights on.  Man, it starts to get crazy with drivers weaving from one lane to the next, speeding up to get to a destination that will surly be there when they get there.  

This time I stayed and cleaned up my house, walked Tommy for an hour each day and just relaxed.  It was hard.  I’m so use to moving from one thing to another, I could not get my body to calm down and relax.  9am Monday morning came and I started the long drive to DC.  It usually takes me about 7 and ½ hours, without Tommy.  With Tommy, it’s 11 hours.  I was not in hurry and did not want to arrive during rush hour.  It was a warm, clear sky day with a softly bright sun.  I took the time to really look at the trees and landscape.  I made many stops to walk Tommy and calmly let him control the walk.  Made the usual stops at JR, a huge store that sells just about everything, especially cigarettes by the carton.  Yes, I’m still smoking and it is getting harder to find places you can smoke, even outside.  I know some people are pissed about that.  I’m happy about it.  The less I smoke, the easier it will be to stop cold turkey.

JANE KIRKPATRICK - $9.99 - The Daughter's Walk: A Novel.  I'm always looking for christian books to refer to my church's book club and this looked interesting to read about two women make a historical mark in women's history.  

Helga Estby, a wife and mother of 10 children decides to walk with the oldest child, Clara, from Spokane, Washington to New York in 1896.   The prize at the end of the walk was $10,000.  Helga and her family needed the money to keep their house from foreclosure.   The family wasn't too keen on the ideal, but they know their wife/mother's stubborn Norwegians' attitude and did fight it. It wasn't just the money, this walk was in support of the new shorter reform dress and a big part of the feminist movement. 

They endured many harsh trials along the way.  They were robbed, went hungry at times, ran into Indians as well as men and women who thought their "walk" was an affront to society.  A secret was revealed during their walk which affected Clara for the rest of her life. Helga and Clara also became great speakers of women's rights at major cities. Unfortunately when they returned home, this time by train, a year and half later, the family was in worse shape than before and Helga's husband and younger daughter Ida, never forgave either of them.  Clara, hurt by this, went on her own and became a successful business woman.  Over time, while her family continue to struggle, she tried to help them financially, but they would not take the money nor wanted to talk about the "walk."  

I expected to eventually read about some forgiveness and I did enjoy learning about the food of Norway, women's rights and the language.  When Ida became very elderly and ill, she went to live with Clara.  She still refused to talk about the walk or forget the past.  They sorta came to an understanding. I don't know if I could hold that much resentment for so many years.  It would wear me out.

JEN SINCERO - YOU ARE A BADASS: HOW TO STOP DOUBTING YOUR GREATNESS AND START LIVING A AWESOME LIFE - $8.80 - - - A friend of mine recommended this book to me and I recommended it to my BookClubGroupies. Unfortunately, out of 15 people in the group, only three of us met and actually read the book.  I see why.

It wasn't a bad book.  Any and all books on how to motivate yourself, be more true and provides good advice, is a good thing.  She talks to you as if it is a real conversation and not some new-age, mumble jumble, high in the sky mantra.  She has some great quotes too, "Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are - Kurt Cobain (I love his music)." "In order to kick ass you must first lift up your foot - Jen Sincero."  "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent - Eleanor Roosevelt."  True, but give me a break. I've heard this song before and I thought this book was going to sing a great opera.  Wrong, it was just OK. Maybe it's me since when I look in the mirror as see me as God's child and nothing less.  Maybe that's why the book did not really move it, I just went, OH!.     

One of the things I did have a problem with is her recommendation in using credit cards to get what you need to motivate yourself.  As a Dave Ramsey defender and champion, I see this as another string of marketing crap to get you further into debt and to really make you feel like dodo when the bills come and you have no money.  

All in all, it is a good book, but I have read better.  I like the way she writes though, no big words, just in your face words. Sometimes we need the "in your face words" to get motivate and sometimes, we just need to listen to our hearts. 

You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life

EDWARD KELSEY MOORE - THE SUPREMES AT EARL'S ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT - $10.99 - - The "Supremes" are Clarice, Odette, Barbara Jean.  Three African American women who grew up in a small middle class southern town. Through civil rights, love, death, backstabbing, adultery and just everyday living.  There is one exception, ghosts - Odette's mother, a marijuana user and Eleanor Roosevelt, Advice hound.  Oh, more ghosts do show up.  That's the best part!!!

These women have lived the same type of lives as you and me, except they have the funnest ghosts around.  Odette is the narrator.  She starts with their childhood to their 60s and how it all began at Earl's.  A place where everybody knows your name.  A place church folks go and talk bad about the preaching and the promiscuous dressed floozies  A place where the strangest people stop by, as in Bailey's Cafe by Gloria Naylor.  A place of complete pandemonium and hurt and a place to love, laugh and forgive again and again.  

I just cried, laughed and cried again.  I did not wan it to end.  I wanted to read more and I hope he comes out with a book two.  Read this book with a good cup of coffee and a piece of chocolate cake. Your endorphins will thank you.

The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat