Keeping up with the Smiths

We borrow film critic Mick LaSalle’s six qualities that make a great movie to analyze the dynamic husband and wife team of Willard “Will” Smith and Jada Koren Pinkett-Smith. The couple has two movies playing in theaters as we write.

Theory: Jada Pinkett-Smith accepted the movie (Bad Moms*) offer knowing how minimal and how inconsequential her role would be and knowing that it will do nothing for her career. The movie belittled her amazing talent, or she took it just to get out of the house because she needed a break from directing and producing.

Theory: Will Smith took this movie (Suicide Squad) knowing how much glorified his role would be. The movie exalted his amazing talents, and he dominates (more like shares the limelight with Viola Davis, who was so BAD that the bad guys called her cruel!).

Will’s movie and its cataclysmic topic gave Jada’s movie a serious disadvantage. Pitting terrorism against incompetent mothers lopsided the scale. Will Smith’s heavy-hitting plot trumps Jada’s light and so humorous one. Suicide Squad grabs the audience from screen opening to the last scene.

Attributes of a Great Movie

Jada

Will

Topical Unrecognized and unappreciated struggles of overworked mothers √√ Random terrorist attacks must be nipped ASAP. √√√
Timeless human values √√√ Sadly, terror has become the way of the world. √√√
Great performance  (Not her fault, just the script’s fault) √ √√√
Overarching consciousness Mila Kunis and her friends gave it overarching consciousness. Deadshot/Will Smith gave an overarching consciousness. As bad as his character was, he seemed to bring the self-serving characters into humanity. √√√
One memorable scene The party scene was it, but Jada was not in that scene. Several memorable scenes, but most memorable is (Will Smith) Deadshot helping his daughter with complex math problems. √√√
Ends on a note of complexity, not just ambiguity √√

Wicked PTSA president turns good and invites her opponents for a ride in the jet.

√√√√

(The meeting between Viola Davis and Ben Affleck clinched it.)

Key: √ = Stars

*Jada is too talented for Bad Moms and for the pitiful role she was given. However, the role of a good actress is to do the best with the hand she is dealt even when she is dealt a hand with nothing.

My Christian Father

This month we honor all fathers. Ironically, in my male-controlled Nigeria, Father’s Day is not hyped up or accorded the same level of celebration as Mother’s Day, or I must not have remembered hearing secular men celebrated on any given special day.

In America, we honor fathers on the third Sunday in June, which falls on the 19th, to be exact. I borrow this American concept to share my Nigerian father, Chief Martin K. Ohanenye. To etch his absence into me and to make Father’s Day’s importance even more relevant, our father passed away during that week in 1996 in Nigeria, on the 22nd of June.

My father was a very religious man, a Christian father, a cosmopolitan human being, an exemplary philanthropist, and the most brilliant and renowned business man. I want to thank my father posthumously and share my appreciation for his prominence in our lives. I want to share my most profound love for my father. While he lived, he was the epitome of the Christian father. I will borrow Mark Merrill’s “10 Ways to Be a Better Dad” criteria to examine my father’s qualities.

  1. Love Your Children’s Mother: That he did and showed it in his care of her and atten-
    PapaandMama

    My parents

    tion to her needs. My mother had a free reign of our homes and her businesses. My father showered her with love and much more. Nothing is more gratifying to a woman than to know that she is loved, that all her needs are important, and that she could have the audacity to ask for and to get whatever she needed or wanted for herself and for her children. In return, my mother showered our father with the most unparalleled devotion, attention to his needs, and with boundless love.

  2. Spend Time With Your Children: Even though there were nine of us, and as busy as he was, our father
    Marces_Convocation

    At my brother’s university convocation

    made each one of us his priority. We could reach our father any time, knew where he was at any given time, and knew that he would be available to each of us. I felt especially close to him as the middle child and as the last girl. In a place where mothers were solely responsible for raising the children, it comforts me that my father featured in a huge part in raising us. He knew what we were up to and where.

  3. Earn The Right to Be Heard: There was no question that my father was heard. The right belonged to him without any doubt. He hardly spoke, but when he did, people listened more attentively than they did to F. Horton. My father’s words have been my atlas and compass.
  4. Discipline with a Gentle Spirit: I was disciplined with “The Look.” Once that look was directed at me, I checked myself and corrected; we did not need words. Our father molded and corrected without much exertion, and we learned just how much he loved us through that method of discipline.
  5. Be a Role Model: My father was my first, best, and last role model. I compared men who courted me to him, and they fell short drastically. My father had to ask me to stop comparing my suitors to him; different times, different people, he said. “You keep doing that, you will never get married.”
  6. Teach the Lessons of Life: I learned so much from my father, lessons of Christian life and love, lessons of endurance and ambition, lessons of the heart and mind, of charity and tolerance, exemplary conduct, humility, walking in the faith, and many other lessons. These instructions have helped me make good choices and helped me to avoid the very terrible and costly ones. He never did anyone any wrong, never spoke harshly, and was the quintessence of Christianity.
  7. Eat Together As a Family: Regardless of the extent of the intrusion of business matters, my father always came home for lunch. My favorite part was preparing our lunches, especially his. He ate all three meals at home except when we all traveled to the village. Even at that, he ate all his meals at that home. My father always made us fruit cocktails/salads with the abundant fruits from trees that populated our home in the village. As unheard of as it was for a man of his status to do anything culinary, his humility knew no bounds. He always made us popcorn and later bought us a huge popcorn machine.
  8. Read to Your Children: My parents always read, read aloud within earshot of anyone who would listen, and were grateful to anyone who would share in their love of reading. When business slackened in her grocery store, my mother would pick up a book and would read it aloud. Growing up, I never realized that our parents did not attend high school. They both were so much wiser and more knowledgeable than university graduates. I never realized their academic level. I devoured books so much that my father built me my own library and gave me the key.
  9. Show Affection: My father showed love in many ways and quite often, not effusively. As closed to open display of affection as Nigeria was back then, my parents touched quite frequently and caused brows to go up. My father and my mother would banter, and I would dream of marrying a man who knew what it meant to be playful with such rare looks and other non-verbal and verbal ways. I knew I was loved. I would say that both parents loved me equally, even as it was evident that I was a daddy’s girl.
  10. Realize a Father’s Job Is Never Done: It was unheard of for a father to allow his unmarried daughter to dash out of Nigeria to “wild” America alone and hustle and bustle after a university degree. Despite advice to the contrary, my father allowed me to speed off to these United States, a most self-sacrificing gesture for which I have been eternally grateful to him. He gave us the wings to direct our own lives trusting that he and our mother raised us well. My father’s “encouragement and discernment” left us with a fulfilling legacy. He knew his job was not finished. We lost him too soon.

On this Father’s Day and every day since 1996, my heart breaks anew. I am consoled that he lived to see me obtain my Master’s in Journalism, lived to give my daughter her Ibo name, and to speak to her on the phone several times.

On this Father’s Day, I went to Mass at 7:30 A.M. in honor of my father, cooked up a medley of dishes for brunch, and sat down with my daughter, brother, and son-in-law to honor our fathers and all fathers everywhere.
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Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers in heaven and on earth. Thanks be to God for all of them.

——————————

 

Works Cited

Merrill, Mark. “10 Ways to Be a Better Dad.” Family First. 12 June 2001. Web. June 19, 2016.

Tuttle, Brad. “5 Awesome Old-School TV Ads for Financial Service Companies.” Time.  20 March 2015. Web. June 19, 2016.

Daughters of the Soil–My New Novel

Daughters of the Soil

  • Cover is ready(?), but getting there took its sweet time.
    • ISBN is assigned!
    • LCCN is assigned!!
    • Front and back matters are ready!
      • What’s the hold? Editing/revising!!!

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Prior to 2013: Toying with the cover: At the time, the title was A Very Smooth Murder.

 

Stethoscope--Huse--large Stethoscope--Huse--small 2 Very Smooth Mortar--compressed for web page Very Smooth Mortar--dark and big hue saturation  wooden mortar--small

 

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2013 Cover Progression for Daughters of the Soil: Notice all the nuances: font type, font size, color changes, background color, dropping the plural letter, putting back the plural letter, piling images on images, peeling off images, superimposing images. Phew!

 

Heather McCorkle is patient!! I give her all the respect in the world for her professionalism. Once I saw this image, I knew the woman was Emelda dead on! She had to stay.  There were times when I wanted to find another Emelda because I did not receive internal validation for what my intuition was saying to me.

Young beautiful pregnant african woman   Daughter mock cover 2   grunge  ??????   ????????????  ??????  ??????   ??????   ????????????   ??????   ??????

 

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Fast forward to 2014. Repeat the process:

2014 Cover Progression: I tried Fiverr. 

Daughter_of_the_Soil_Fiverr_Cover    Daughter_of_the_Soil_Fiverr_Cover2 

 

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Still fastforwarding into 2014. Repeat the process: 

2014 Cover Progression

Notice all the nuances: font type, font size, color changes, background color, dropping the plural letter, putting back the plural letter, piling images on images, peeling off images, superimposing images. Phew!

Betty  Gunn is patient!! I meet all these wonderfully patient illustrators. I am lucky! I give betty kudos. She worked on the cover for weeks, never tiring. I give Betty a lot of respect for her professionalism.

 

blue_background2   blue_background3    blue_background   Glass  broken  shot  bullet   134178443_Bullet_hole    Emelda_in_purple_and_hat     Emelda_worried_DollarphotoNigerian police cap   Daughters_Soil_3_moved    Daughters_Soil_rev_police_uniform2   Daughters_Final_M&P_in_front   Daughters_Blood_Drippping_white_had    Daughters_Final_RED   Daughter_Final_BLK_Kindle2   Daughters_Final_BLK    Daughters_Final_BLK_Kindle

Please post a comment below regarding the cover or the name. Feel free to ask me questions regarding my journey so far. I looking forward to bonding with you. Thank you for stopping by today. Take care.

Meditations of Thanksgiving

This week of Thanksgiving, this entry is centered around gratitude. I am thankful for many, many things and to many, many people. My daughter serenaded me with many birthday gifts and events on my birthday yesterday. I have thanked her for my wonderful gifts and for her abundant love. I thank God everyday for bringing her into my life, such joy, such a perfect gift, and such help and comfort. Also, I thank my ex-husband for pro-creating her with me.

The famous Ralph Waldo Emerson asked us to “Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” I include all things and all people in this blog of gratitude. On that note, I will post my meditation journey for the second leg of the 21-Day Meditation Challenge with Deepak Chopra. This week’s journey culminates with a lengthy entry of gratitude.

Entry 10: What would I do without my tears? They came in drops, a pair falling at a time as if synchronized. Karma is always a fascinating topic, but this is good Karma. I banished all noise and all distractions and reached my “destination.” I cleansed my soul and spirit, so, so refreshing and liberating. I cannot believe that the journey is half way over. I need to be fastidious about my meditation after this event ends with Deepak. Namaste.

Entry 11: Towards the end of my journey today, I pressed my eyes tightly together, and the right eye released some tears calling my attention to the flesh. Today’s own was a deluge falling freely and cascading down like Tugela, Africa’s tallest waterfalls. Despite the droning noise of Jerry’s leaf blower trying to intrude from my lawn, the sound of Deepak’s soothing and embracing meditation music allowed me to go within and stay within disconnecting from my body. I was able to delve in and touch peace. Today, I expect and accept abundance to flow easily to me. Namaste.

Entry 12: I was going to begin today’s meditation but had to delay it because someone rang the doorbell and my dog let out successive and aggressive barks. There is something about the doorbell that annoys her, I guess. Anyway, I could not begin today’s meditation until the noise from outside the house and the one Princess was making inside the house stopped from interfering with my ability to focus, to reach my essence. Now we begin. Yes, I reached in, far in, unaware of my skin. The gentle, crashing waves in the background of the music pulled me in, and I honed into it and allowed it to settle within me and center me. I placed my deepest intentions on a list, placed it in a metaphorical bottle, cast it into the vast ocean of all possibilities, and allowed the universe to work through me today. Deliver, universe, deliver all that I placed before you today. The evidence of my arrival are the tears that mingled with those of the vast oceans of the world. I give you my tears as proof that you and I communed today, Universe. Namaste.

Entry 13: I had applied mud mask to my face before I began today’s meditation, which was no problem because the mask had tried completely and would have posed no problem or distraction to my centering ability. Unfortunately, as soon as I reached within, I felt the tears falling down my left cheek causing an awareness of the mask. The tears made the mask balmy, clammy, and I became aware of my face even at the faintest level. I was able to will myself to ignore that sensation and focus. I was almost arriving there when the bell rang for the end of today’s session. I am glad the tears came, but today they proved to be a distraction because they came prematurely, which has an inherent reference to time. Ironically, that is the message of today’s meditation. In the spiritual realm, there are no restrictions of time and space. Only in the physical realm do time and space occur. Opportunities are boundless and so are potentialities in the spiritual realm. Namaste.

Retreat at St. Ignatius House in Sandy Springs, Georgia

Entry 14: Since Sunday is harmonious, it seems perfect to wake up this morning and meditate in order to capture the law of Dharma, conformity with my character, virtue, and nature. Yes, the tears came, the right eye releasing its first in droplets. I guess I have found a way to determine whether I reached my center if the tears come and how far I reached if the tears cascade. Today’s own did not cascade, but the right eye’s tears flowed and dropped while the ones from the left eye hung there. I feel so peaceful, which I know today will amplify by all the events planned for it: church in a few minutes and a day of religious retreat at the St. Ignatius House in Sandy Springs. I am looking forward to a world of absorption of goodness flowing into me, through me, and out to others. This would be one way I can fulfill my true purpose in life besides publishing those novels, manuals, and books of poetry. Another way would be to share my life’s journey and my survival of numerous deaths, devastations, and whatnots. Deliver, Universe, deliver. Namaste.

Entry 15: I forgot to remove my glasses, hence I made myself aware of my body. I tried to go within, but my body needed to make itself known today. Needless to say, Deepak Chopra’s voice distracted me from me so that I did not have to work at ignoring my glasses; I succeeded. The idea of synchrodestiny is very intriguing. The dictionary offers no definition of it yet, but I imagine that in years to come, that word coined my Deepak Chopra will become one of our day-to-day vocabulary because of its beauty and lyrical sound. Tears came when I opened my eyes to let me know that I connected with the universe through my core. I will try harder next time. I will shed all things that make me aware of the body. I will disengage the skin, the flesh, and be all in tune, one with my soul, my spirit. Namaste.

Thank you God for this bounty from my rose garden!

Entry 16: Today, I remember to be grateful. I am always grateful to my family and friends, to the nature that gives me back in all sorts of ways especially when I cultivate it and it returns blooms upon blooms in my rose garden and my other gardens, when it returns abundant harvest to the farmers so that we can have food and have it abundantly. I am always grateful and always say thanks to anyone who has helped me, done something for me and mine. In honor of that, I dedicate today’s tears that cascaded down my face to everyone who inhabits this universe of ours. Today’s tears are ones of gratitude for all that I am (God and my parents), all that I have (God, my parents, and my employers), all that gives/gave me joy (God, my parents, my daughter, my talents and creativity, my brothers and sisters, my relatives, my friends–some of who are like relatives, and everyone and everything that elevate me).

Count Your Blessings!

Today’s tears, befittingly, are tears of gratitude, especially during this traditional week of Thanksgiving. I am grateful to those tears that have made me aware of my soul, that have cleansed my spirit, that have enriched me daily on this meditation journey with Deepak Chopra and many, many other souls like me. I am eternally grateful for these tears that have allowed me to reach my higher self. I am humbled. Namaste.

Five Steps of the New Writing Process

After years of using the Writing Process to teach students how to organize their writing for maximum effect, the time has come for me to rejuvenate my own look at the Writing Process. Therefore, what unfolds is an adherence to the old but with a fresh look for those who already have a firm grip of the traditional Writing Process. Also, this New Writing Process is elevated for college students and other adults.

STEP ONE: PREWRITING–Brainstorm and gather all utensils and ideas ready for your writing pleasure.



STEP 2: DRAFTING–Immerse yourself in your writing until you feel that you have exhausted all ideas.


STEP 3: REVISING–Incorporate colorful/figurative language for contrast no matter how subtle.


STEP 4: PROOFREADING–Try to see your writing from different perspectives (points of view) and adjust accordingly.

STEP 5: PUBLISHING–Celebrate your writing by leaving a lasting impression in the minds of your readers.