Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Greetings! I poked around a little bit, but other than @Troy, I didn't see anybody here from my days of posting, the early 2000s until 2010 or so. I thought about AALBC because I met someone here who became a dear friend (Yvette Perry), and last week she sent me a very thoughtful gift. I started reflecting on our friendship, and it took me a minute to remember where we'd first met. And then it came to me: AALBC! Troy, thank you for providing a forum for some unforgettable characters and conversations. I'm glad to see the conversation continuing, and I hope you and your family are doing well!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@FerociousKitty!!!!  Man it is so nice to see your name again.  It is also heart warming to read that you developed good friendship as a result of meeting here.  @Cynique actually posted regularly here up until last year.  Part of the reason she bowed, I believe, out was the disappearance of voices like yours.  The days of indie forums have dimmed as the hugh corporate voices increasing control our voices and audience. It is actually for that reason I have dropped all of my personal social accounts on social media and only post links to this site from social.

 

At the end of the day, even sites like AALBC can't survive without the active engagement and patronage of people.

 

I got divorced, but other than that my family is doing is doing well.  AALBC had a record year on several levels in 2019. The only weakness has been the discussion forums, but I continue to hold out hope as people become increasingly disillusioned with social media and understand that we have to support our platforms.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Troy Congratulations or condolences on the divorce? You don't have to answer 😊, but as a two-time divorcee myself now, I try not to assume one or the other.  

I'm glad AALBC had a banner year! Seems like everyday now I see someone talking about giving up Big Social, but not being sure what the alternative is. I think they're looking for all the same amenities without all the crap, and that simply doesn't exist.

Good to cyber-see you!

Edited by FerociousKitty
typo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry about the two-time divorce thing @FerociousKitty, but both arappropriate as she took from me the only think she could hurt me with and that was the loss of an intact nuclear family. But it us great in that im free of her negative energy 🙂

 

I don't mind answering as it is probably a subject we should discuss more frequently.

 

There is no alternative to "big social," and that is really the point. In my opinion the WWW was better before big social and we cant know how much better it would have become. The decline of what was "Thumper's Corner" is a microcosm of what has happened across the WWW during the rise of big social.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agreed, @Troy. Divorce--like money, politics, and religion--is one of those things many of us were raised not to discuss, but we should discuss it more often. I think there's also a degree of shame associated with it. Not treating it like some deep dark secret or a personal failing can go a long way in destigmatizing it. That would help more women to not feel like they have to stay in bad situations, and it would help more men thrive after divorce. Women typically fare worse than men financially after divorce, but men fare worse by almost every other measure, mostly because they have fewer social supports, are less likely to seek professional help for depression, and are more likely to die by suicide (related to the depression).

 

I don't do any writing related to co-parenting and divorce anymore these days, but for almost a decade that was my "brand." So I still have all those stats in my head. Which brings us back to doe. Big Social was (is) great for building a brand in order to attract traditional publishers for a book deal. And unless you were established before the rise of social media, many publishers and agents require writers to have a platform/following before they will even consider them. So that's what I did for our co-parenting book--build a platform. It was a full-time job. My next book is a completely different genre, and now I don't feel the same pressure to "be/build a brand." I'm going to have to continue to be present on social to promote the book, but it's a different kind of engagement now. I've changed, the platforms have changed, how people engage has changed. And I don't feel anywhere near the same pressure as I felt with the first book. 

In other news, did I read correctly somewhere in here that you are now in Tampa? I'm looking to relocate in 2022, and Tampa is among the cities folks have encouraged me to consider. What do you find to be the pros and cons of living there?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes I'm in Tampa FL @FerociousKitty. I purchased a place here in 2011 and have been living here full-time since 2017.

 

I actually live in the suburbs (not downtown). It is actually the "country" by my NYC standards. I can see  raptor birds, alligator, fox, deer, cranes, turtles, snakes all in the same day from my back yard.

 

As far as pros and cons it really depends on what you want and where you are coming from. I was born and raised in NYC, but I always preferred the south it is quieter, less expensive, cleaner, better weather. Unless you have some serious paper living in NYC is very stressful. 

 

The downside for me is the Black middle class is small and somewhat insular. Still I'm building a network of book people and friends.

 

I've known two Black women who moved here and hated it. They found it difficult to meet people -- especially men. This is a common refrain for single middle aged women, but I imagine this is true in many places.

 

As far as seeking professional help after our breakup I did not do that, because I'm a man. Seriously, I have great friends who were super supportive. By the time the ex made it cyrstal clear that she did not love me or want to have anything to do with my website I was happy to be free of her. The kids were grown and out the house, I already had the place in Tampa, so the transition was relatively easy. That's the condensed version, of course the full story is more complicated than what I've just related.

 

I'm assuming there is an Author Profile for you on the site FK, if not send me your info troy@aalbc.com

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welp, @Troy, you just told me everything I need to know about Tampa lol. I want to be somewhere with a decent-sized Black middle class. Pittsburgh's is ridiculously small. And I'd like to be somewhere where it's fairly easy to meet new people and build community, especially as an artist. Also, the dating scene sounds like Pittsburgh's, and I'm trying to upgrade lol. By the time I leave here (once my youngest graduates high school), I will have been here 25 years, longer than I lived in my hometown of Jacksonville, FL. So I have a great community of friends and fellow artists here, and it's affordable, but that's about it. I go to DC, Baltimore and Philly and just stare at all the Black folks everywhere, owning businesses, out living and thriving. Those cities are also on my list, along with Raleigh-Durham, Charlotte, New Orleans, and Ft. Lauderdale. What do you think of Ft. Lauderdale?

Brooklyn is also appealing, but I would need a sugar daddy to live anywhere in NYC lol.

I'm glad you had a good support system during/after your divorce. That is critical. I didn't tap into my support system enough after my first marriage ended. If I had, I would never have gotten married the second time, honestly. Cliched though it may be, you really do live and learn. But like you said, that's my process in a nutshell. Learning and healing is complicated. And books have been central to that process. Books have been saving my life forever.

I checked, and I don't have a profile on the site. I'll email you. Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@FerociousKitty, NYC is really no longer a place for artists. It is simply too expensive.  

 

I'll be in Ft Lauderdale this weekend, but I prefer Tampa which is a much larger city. 

 

I've been to the other cities you mentioned many times and enjoy visiting them.  I could live in any of them. Outside of NY, LA, Chicago and maybe DC, the rest of the cities are pretty similar all the same they tend to be somewhat provincial, but are getting better as they attract more people from larger cities.  If you can live in Pittsburgh you can adapt to life in any of the cities you mentioned and enjoy better weather. 
 

@Mel Hopkins can give you some feedback on ATL.  It is indeed a chocolate city but is very spread out and traffic going downtown is a nightmare, so many people hang out in the in their local suburban communities which are all starting to look the same to me with the same chain restaurants, stores, etc.  The real estate is inexpensive if you want a big house.

 

As far as the dating scene, I have no idea which city is ideal for that. Admittedly, men generally have an advantage in this regard.  Have you considered "swirling?" 😍

 

Austin Texas seems to be popping, but getting expensive pushing people out to the suburbs which is happening in many cities. Even downtown Raleigh is expensive

 

I just started a profile for you this morning: https://aalbc.com/authors/author.php?author_name=Deesha+Philyaw  You can send me a bio, headshoot, and link to audio or video (youtube) you might have.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Troy, I'm confident none of those cities are as provincial as Pittsburgh, but I was trying to avoid using that word. You cut to the chase, lol.

I visited some friends in ATL and had a blast, but I don't think I can live there, for the reasons you gave. Plus, I've heard the dating scene is abysmal, for black women. And to answer your question, I don't see swirling in my future, lol.

Thanks for profile! I will email you the rest.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, Troy said:

so many people hang out in the in their local suburban communities which are all starting to look the same to me with the same chain restaurants, stores, etc.  The real estate is inexpensive if you want a big house.

@Troy  This is so true! I live over here by one of Tyler Perry's sprawling compounds and there's is no need for me to venture into Atlanta unless I go to the symphony.   I do like Midtown but I don't care to drive there.   If there were adequate transportation throughout Atlanta Metro it would be an ideal place to live but most counties don't want "Atliens" in their suburbs.  So there's always a fight when it comes to funding public transportation.  We currently have one bus system here in Douglasville and people protested that so I doubt it will be renewed.   I'm not a "southern" woman - nor am I a "traditional" black woman.  So besides my Sorors here -   I've made two  friends in the 7 years I've lived here.  It is difficult to find women with the same mindset - (and even with our founders day tomorrow - I feel like an outsider from them). So, I feel lucky to have at least one or two people to hang out with here.   By the way I learned the county I live in was founded in 1870 and named for Frederick Douglass.  It was allegedly changed to Douglas for "Stephen Douglas" when the southern democrats rose to power.  smh

@FerociousKitty welcome back! I came to the board just as you left.  I ran into Troy at our HS homecoming that year (2010) and I've been a "forum fly" ever since.   I  lived in Wheeling, WV for 10 years. And yes, I know what you mean about Pittsburgh. It felt like a weird climate  to me. At times the racism was stifling then all of a sudden it's kum bah yah. 

I was fortunate enough to sign with Donna Belajac Casting, Docherty Model and Talent and got a record deal with Tom Cossie's Saturn Records.   I spent a lot of time driving up and down I-70.    I finally ended up as a News Anchor/Reporter  for WTRF-TV (Wheeling Steubenville) . Some of my coworkers got a job at KDKA and WTAE-TV   So, Pittsburgh felt like a second home.    Much success on your upcoming release.  I look forward to reading your author's page.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Mel Hopkins, thanks so much for the warm welcome back and well wishes! And thanks for the scoop on ATL metro. When I toyed with the idea of moving there--caught up in the headiness of a fun visit with some friends--I also thought about whether or not it was a good fit for me, if I'd find my people (besides the ones I already knew). I'm originally from Florida and still identify in many ways as a Southerner, but I'm a lot more left of center than many of my friends who are still in the South. 

So you did time in WV and PA?? Whew. Bless you. Incidentally, speaking of WV, my book is coming out from West Virginia University Press. It's the first of its type from the press, and it will lead their fall 2020 catalog. I never envisioned an academic audience for the book, but now that's a bonus. 

Are you currently working in broadcast journalism? Also, if I may ask, what's keeping you in ATL? Are you looking to relocate?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/14/2020 at 9:26 PM, FerociousKitty said:

Incidentally, speaking of WV, my book is coming out from West Virginia University Press. It's the first of its type from the press, and it will lead their fall 2020 catalog. I never envisioned an academic audience for the book, but now that's a bonus. 


@FerociousKittyExcellent!  When I worked for Penguin USA  (now Penguin Random House) I worked the academic market!  Very cool.  May your book be adopted in many university classes!

 

On 1/14/2020 at 9:26 PM, FerociousKitty said:

Are you currently working in broadcast journalism? Also, if I may ask, what's keeping you in ATL? Are you looking to relocate?


Not as an employee any more - but I'm always opened to commissioned features. Before EBONY Magazine "went missing"  I had a few bylines including an Issa Rae cover story September 2018.  I still pitch magazines but haven't had a hit in a minute.  As for ATL, nothing is really keeping me here.   I need a destination to pick up and go.  :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Mel Hopkins said:

@FerociousKittyExcellent!  When I worked for Penguin USA  (now Penguin Random House) I worked the academic market!  Very cool.  May your book be adopted in many university classes!


@Mel HopkinsThank you!

Re: EBONY, I was among the freelancers who had to sue them to get paid. I wrote four pieces for them and had a great experience with the editors. So many good people suffered because of the terrible new owners. 

Good luck with your (eventual) relocation!

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
29 minutes ago, FerociousKitty said:

Re: EBONY, I was among the freelancers who had to sue them to get paid. I wrote four pieces for them and had a great experience with the editors. So many good people suffered because of the terrible new owners. 

 

OMG!  I read about #EBONYOWES ! Did you  get paid? 

I wrote under Johnson Publishing and then again for EMO .  I adore my editor. She wouldn't let me write until she knew the money was available.  Under EMO I got paid shortly after submission. It felt good to see my articles and know they had already paid me. My rate was decent too.  We haven't worked together since 2018 . Her last issue was December  2018 and she mentioned we can't work for them unless the money is already there.  I do appreciate it but dang! I have so many story ideas but not enough editor-relationships.  I had a chance at a commission with BE but when I told her how much EBONY paid for my cover and features- I think they ghost me. lol.  I told them I'd work with their budget.  I think they really didn't want to pay my rate.  I can't see writing for pennies when they makes tens of thousands $$$ on ads.  Welp

You're welcome!  I used to do well with securing orders for book adoptions at the conferences, conventions and seminars.   Penguin gave us a generous budget  to travel the country to pimp their books too.    

Thank you! I must get out of this heat.  My body isn't used to it and I'm miserable in the summer.  I'll probably end up back east in NJ.   My oldest lives in NYC -works in NJ... and my twins live and work in Chicago, and Cincinnati respectively.   I just got to have a reason other than discomfort to move lol

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Mel Hopkins We eventually got paid, but only after #EBONYStillOwes! We agreed to a schedule where they would pay us in groups over 4 quarters. I was in the last group; we were paid based on oldest invoices first. After the Q2 folks got paid...*crickets*. We had to threaten to take them back to court, and we started the new hashtag. Eventually, everyone was paid. Sadly, one of the writers died before receiving his payment. But the writers' union made sure his family got his check. The wildest part? The venture capitalists who now own EBONY tried to shame us for insisting that they pay what they owed!

Are you in any of the Binders women writers' groups on Facebook? There are some editors in the groups, and the writers share editor contacts as well as info on calls for submissions/pitches and who pays what. I'm in several of the groups, but I'm most active in the Black women's group. Few places are paying well these days, but it's good to know who not to waste your time with. Message me if you'd like more info about it.

Do you really need a reason other than discomfort to move? lol Seriously, I feel that way about the cold here, especially having come from Florida. I'd rather be hot than cold any day.

Speaking of New Jersey, I'm going to be on a panel at the Montclair Literary Festival in the spring. This is my first time. Have you been to that festival?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, FerociousKitty said:

Do you really need a reason other than discomfort to move? lol

 

LOL!  I know it seems weird right?  But yep!  I lived in Brooklyn at the height of the crack epidemic and I sadly, but daily, stepped over pools of blood and brain matter to get the subway station.  I don't think I've ever been more uncomfortable than those days.  It wasn't until after I got married that I actually packed up and left NYC . And only then because my exhubby- got his plumbing contractor's license and had a close relationship with the chairman of the marsh cigar factory in Wheeling.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I visited NYC for the first time in 1989. So not at the height of the epidemic, but it was still going strong. I didn't see anything as graphic as what you did saw, but I watched people go in and out of a crack building one day, and I noticed one woman who came back so many times, I lost count. And while I couldn't see exactly what she was doing inside the building with the dealers, I could guess. This was on my second visit to NYC, in Harlem, which I had previously romanticized because of James Baldwin's books. I was terrified of NYC as child because of police/crime dramas on TV, and even the sitcoms joked about getting mugged. My mom went to NYC when I was 5 and I cried the whole time she was away. I was a sensitive child lol. Even when I went in '89 and '90, I was scared to ride the subway. I was still scared when my then-fiance lived there in the early 90s and I'd come in every other weekend from Connecticut to visit him in Brooklyn. And I still drove everywhere once I was living in Brooklyn with him for the first 4 months of our marriage. I got a busted tire from a pothole, and I felt like that symbolized my time there lol. But looking back, I didn't take advantage of the time there at all. We lived on Eastern Parkway, right across the street from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and I don't think I went once.

I didn't enjoy Brooklyn until around 2005/2006 after my first divorce. I had friends in Brooklyn and Philly, and we'd meet up usually in Brooklyn (and once in Philly; no one ever wanted to come to Pittsburgh lol) for a weekend. We'd go dancing until 4 am at APT in the Meat Packing District, then go to breakfast, and then crash as the sun was coming up. Then go to Chez Oscar (in Ft. Greene, I think) for brunch. Those were good times!

NYC to WV? That's a lot!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
44 minutes ago, FerociousKitty said:

I got a busted tire from a pothole, and I felt like that symbolized my time there lol.

 

HA,HA!!! Great line... and accurate!  
 

45 minutes ago, FerociousKitty said:

and once in Philly; no one ever wanted to come to Pittsburgh lol)


They didn't know what they were missing - so much beauty, history and culture in this hidden gem.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
34 minutes ago, Mel Hopkins said:

 

They didn't know what they were missing - so much beauty, history and culture in this hidden gem.


Yes, Pittsburgh is a wonderful place to visit. But to live? If you're Black, especially a Black single woman? Nah. lol

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At the risk of 'jumping in', I'd like to welcome you back even though Ive only been a member for six months now.

Greetings from South East England.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, FerociousKitty said:

Thank you, Maurice!! Are you English by way of someplace else, native born, or both? 🙂

I'm a born and bred Londoner who moved away around 20 years ago. I'm Caucasian and this site and forum is a real eye opener. Interest stems mainly from .1960s soul and rhythm n blues and also the likes of James Baldwin.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Though not particularly busy , the forum itself is excellent. Some nice people , who made me feel very welcome and many interesting topics. Found the site eventually. Better late than never, ha ha.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/18/2020 at 9:35 PM, FerociousKitty said:

I'd rather be hot than cold any day.

 

Lol! Absolutely!

 

Pittsburgh has made fine contributions to our literature. August Wilson's Century cycle and John Edgar Wideman.

 

@Maurice with more regular contributors the forum will pick up. Sometimes I get a bit discouraged as maintenance is a chore and there of course is the expense, but i think the benefits still out weigh the downsides.

 

 

 

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, Troy said:

 

Lol! Absolutely!

 

Pittsburgh has made fine contributions to our literature. August Wilson's Century cycle and John Edgar Wideman.

 

@Maurice with more regular contributors the forum will pick up. Sometimes I get a bit discouraged as maintenance is a chore and there of course is the expense, but i think the benefits still out weigh the downsides.

 

 

 

 

I have faith that the forum will pick up. I've even 'advertised' the place on a couple of You Tube channels. 😀

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, Troy said:

Thank @Maurice I don't have a big budget for advertising so it is folks like you who help spread the word.

 

 

I do my best. It'll be nice for the guests to actually join up too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You are posting as a guest. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...