It’s the Best of Times, It’s the Worst of Times


Hello, Lovelies. I’m beside myself and not because I put on 10 pounds hanging out with Francisco, Francois or whatever his name was. You see, on my way from Jamaica, I swung by Brazil and not by a tree limb, okay? Though, it may as well have been because the seat was so cheap, it was one bumpy ride, people. You don’t want to know what I had to go through to get that seat or what I went through to keep it. Trust moi, Francois will be hearing from my TV lawyer as soon as I dial this 1-800 number.

As you can see, I’m not wearing black to pay tribute to the end of Robin Thicke’s marriage. And I’m not here to joke about this separation. I say separation because they could reunite. I hope so but we know how separations go in Hollywood, don’t we? I’m not sure what disintegrated that relationship but Hollywood is ripe soil for the breakdown of marriages. It’s really sad. So much plastic flesh to be had, you just can’t settle on one tush or bush, alright?  In some cases, marriages do survive. They really do. Clap, clap. 

Gabrielle, as in Union, I really am enjoying Being Mary JaneAfter all these years, you’ve proven to me that you can act. Now, I understand from a reliable source the show’s not doing well, which surprises me. Anything that sustains my attention is usually a hit because I’m one chick on the move, alright? I do hope the show returns for a second season and was glad you decided against turkey basting that stolen sperm. Plus, you’ve got that pre-nup you insist on signing with Dwayne Wade, which I don’t think to be a smart move if you don’t show up after this season. Marriages tend to tense up when one spouse isn’t working, even in Hollywood, okay? Anyway, rah rah to your breakthrough role, as far as I’m concerned. You’re still pretty to me, girlfriend. Just thought I’d throw that in.  Ahem.

Before I depart and leave you drenched in tears, I want to announce that I’m starring in a new comic series here on the blog this summer. Naturally, I’m excited that Totsy’s seen the light of my acting abilities. While she’s run into a creative speed bump, we know this series will start the first day of summer, for 8 weeks. Once a week, that is. Look out for the comic book trailer in the coming weeks. The fall line-up brings you Totsymae Presents, premiering 5 shows. In the meantime, enjoy the best and worst of Hollywood, with me, Beatrice from Apartment 7B. Propping feet on coffee table while dipping Oreo cookie in milk.

Prime Time TV: Archie, George and Race

This is the second post in the Archie Bunker series that addresses relevant topics. While race relations have come a long way, there is still more work ahead of us. There will always be work to be done.

What would Archie have said about America electing an African-American president? What makes Archie and George’s way of thinking about race relevant today? Are the conversations we have amongst one another and with our children helping to bridge how we view race? Share your experiences and thank you for joining in.

Prime Time TV: Archie Bunker on Democrats

If you’re familiar with All in the Family, you know that Archie Bunker  not only made the show, he was the show. He was an amalgamation of many folks, two of them being a racist and male chauvinist. He was so believable in what he stood for that he was one of those TV folk one loved to hate. One thing for sure, he provoked a consciousness of thought about topical subjects that are still relevant  today.

Initially, when I was going for my Masters, my thesis was based on 1970’s shows and the lack of black visibility; how those images, if portrayed as African-American, or Negro at that time, would’ve affected the black psyche or self-image. Turned out, I ended up not mastering in art but in another field. Though, I kinda always wonder how my work would’ve turned out ’cause I still have the paintings I started during my brief stint as an MFA student.

While I won’t exhibit those paintings here (cause they’re in oil and would take awhile still to complete),what I aim to do is take some of those topics, showing Archie in typical form. Here’s one you may have some opinions about.

Movie Flashback: Claudine

I’m in the mood for watching movies that premiered back in the day. Now, I’ve never seen Claudine. It stars Diahann Carroll and James Earl Jones. I don’t remember how I came to be interested in seeing this movie but I found myself watching parts of it on YouTube.

Anyway, Claudine is about a single mother  on government assistance and straddled down with six younguns. That’s about the most I can tell you, other than her getting herself a little boyfriend and the government’s all up inside and sideways in her personal affairs. I have this movie on order from Amazon. You may even be able to find it on NetFlix.

I think one of the reasons I’m drawn to this movie is that, like Claudine, the characters I create in my work also have it kinda rough. That they’re so badly flawed, by their own making or otherwise, makes them that more appealing to write about. Too, I feel a need to acquaint myself with works that will inspire me ’cause I don’t feel it at all these days. More about that later, however. Maybe. Or not, if this passes soon.

You can also watch a clip of Ms. Carroll’s interview regarding the movie.

The Problem with Not Nipping It in the Bud

Watercolor on paper. Copyright 2014 Totsymae

Watercolor on paper. Copyright 2014 Totsymae

Folks, maybe you couldn’t rightly tell but I’m from the south. That simply means that I’m genteel, polite and I, occasionally, display a smile at the absurd.

I said all that to say this. I think I’ve generated myself a slight problem of sorts, on account of being so southernly nice. There’s this woman who finds me so interesting, I reckon. she’s always trying to be up and inside of my business. Look, I’m just regular, plain ole ordinary folk much like yourself, so I haven’t quite figured out why she needs to know the whys and whatnots of me taking a day off. I don’t be off much at all in the first place but it seems she feels the need to know the details of my absence.

Instead of me saying, “If you don’t get your life, I’m gonna carve you a new one,” I figured with her being so smart, being a problem-solver and all, she’d take the social cue of me staring at her without so much as a blink, and go on ’bout her nosey business. But nooooo. She stares, waiting for a response as if she’s the check signer.

Now, why I’m off has no affect on what she’s gotta do. What I absolutely loathe is folk wanting to know the whys and whats on account of being a no count busy body. They have no use for the information other than wanting to know. I was thinking to put out my business in the form of a magazine and have her subscribe for $500 a month. That way we’ll both know if what I have going on is valuable enough for her to pay for. I’d be required to disclose every why and whatnot, in that case. Maybe we could even do lunch and I’d talk about myself in the third person, saying stuff like, “She didn’t come to work ’cause her jeans  were so tight, she couldn’t walk,” or “She hurt herself twerking at a Miley Cyrus concert.  Pulled a hamstring like you wouldn’t believe.” 

How do you gently keep folk outta your business? Or is gentle not a term you’d use to describe how you go about it?

The Day After Valentine

Watercolor on paper. Copyright 2014 Totsymae

Watercolor on paper. Copyright 2014 Totsymae

Lana couldn’t remember a thing. She felt nauseous while scanning the room, the stench of outside garbage drifting in from the open window. After giving the room a once-over, Jim walked in, wearing a dingy wife-beater and familiar boxers. The ones with patterns of red lips on them that sagged in the rear. The same ones he wore last night and was nasty enough to slip back on, apparently.

“You want coffee?” he asked her, now sitting on the bed with white crust in the corners of his mouth.

Lord have mercy, she thought, what am I doing here with him?

“Mama brewed a fresh batch. I can get you some, if you want.” His voice was poor-sounding to Lana. She could hear his spit turning and sloshing against his mouth with each word.

Lana turned to the nightstand and looked at the red box of chocolates she’d eaten a fourth of  as she pulled the sheets over her. She felt his hand on her shoulder and scowled under his fingers that felt like damp clay. Pulling her arms together and tucking her body into a ball, she remembered every damn thing now. The gold ban on her left ring finger jogged her back to Vegas lights and them both wearing gem-studded Elvis-like jumpsuits, saying I do.

Copyright 2014 Totsymae

Reconsidering Snowbound Food Items

Watercolor on paper - Copyright 2014 Totsymae

Watercolor on paper – Copyright 2014 Totsymae

I was definitely starting to feel claustrophobic with being stuck in the house on account of the snow. That’s how we do it down south. We stay tucked in after stocking up on eggs, milk and bread. I never understood why these three grocery items were so significant. I’m lactose intolerant, so milk wouldn’t be a good thing for me. I don’t eat bread all that much ’cause I can do without the carbs and eggs, well, we know what happens when eggs gets settled in real good in the bottom of your belly.

I just wouldn’t wanna be snowbound with folk who’ve filled themselves up with eggs. The common sense thing to me is to leave them in the store. I understand that folk get tired and angry with one another after being locked in together for so many days. Thus, may I suggest eggs may be the reason why? The answer is so simple when considering the little things ’cause little things really do mean a lot in this case. Know what I mean?

Never do I hear that stores are running outta breath mints or toothpaste. Kinda mind-blowing, if you ask me but since you didn’t…

Meet the Queen of Twerk

I don’t know about you but I’m not into this cold weather. It’s way too cold out there. I’m telling you, I can be indoors from the cold for half and hour and the cold is still deep in my bones. Plus, I wasn’t sleeping so well ’til the last two nights. It sho’ nuff is something to wake up, feeling like you haven’t slept but five good minutes and then have to face the cold while dark is still out. But I’m not here to whine, though I realize I just did…So. Whatever… I’m really here to share this personalized postcard from Beatrice who’s found her place under the sun.

Beatrice in Jamaica

“Beatrice in Jamaica” Color Pencil/Marker on paper. Copyright 2014 Totsymae

Hello, you fabulous people trying to stay warm. I am so delighted to be with you from where I am, I just had to share. Yes, I’m sipping from a coconut and have picked up a rasta as I listen to dis raggae, mon. Dem beats play in de background and I do tink I’ve picked up an accent, yah. Peace to you and glory to the sun while dis girl has herself some fun. Miley, take some lessons from the people who invented twerking, okay?

Murder, She Wrote

Maxine looked out her window at the neighborhood from her second floor, blowing halos of smoke from those dark lips and lactating while the baby lay screaming in the crib. The perfect life of birthing a child and marrying Sammy hadn’t come together after all. Never had she figured he’d lay dead by her hands for wanting to leave. Sure did wish the child would cease all that hollering. She finished out the last of her smoke and pushed back from the window opening. Darn near tripped over Sammy, blood still warm, when she lifted the baby to feed it.

Copyright 2014 Totsymae