Banned Books: Message Rewind

I share this sto­ry because it’s at the heart of the prob­lem with cur­rent mes­sag­ing about banned books.

The Social Dilemma

I am, by nature, a self-con­fessed Lud­dite. I write the ear­ly drafts of all of my books on yel­low lined pads, and only turn to the com­put­er when it’s time to input the fin­ished draft. I then print out the draft, and write my revi­sions and edi­to­r­i­al notes on the hard­copy. Writ­ing and/or edit­ing on […]

Owning Our Words

The per­son cur­rent­ly occu­py­ing the White House has a pen­chant for spew­ing hate speech, as we have been remind­ed with his racist tweets sug­gest­ing that four out­spo­ken Con­gress­women, who hap­pen to be peo­ple of col­or, should “go back to where they came from,” nev­er mind that three of the four were, in fact, born right […]

Lessons from Charleston

An unarmed black per­son dies at the hands of, or in the cus­tody of, white police­men, and we run around as if our hair were on fire, scream­ing, “What can we do? What can we do?” Nine black souls are mas­sa­cred in a house of wor­ship, in a state where the Con­fed­er­ate flag, sym­bol of hatred, […]

The Gift of Story

A recent blog by Sal­ly Lloyd-Jones got me think­ing about a ques­tion we authors hear some ver­sion all the time: Where do you get your ideas, or how do you come up with ideas for your sto­ries? The ques­tion would sug­gest that there’s a trea­sure trove, some­where, packed with sto­ries ready for the tak­ing. Or […]

Under the Gun

So the argu­ment goes some­thing like this: Police­men come into con­tact with any num­ber of vio­lent, crim­i­nal black men dur­ing the course of their careers, and so it is only rea­son­able that they should view all black men as poten­tial threats, and should have their loaded guns at the ready, when­ev­er, wher­ev­er, and under whatever […]


I just got back home from see­ing the movie, “Heav­en is for Real” and I’m baf­fled. “Heav­en is For Real,” based on a book of the same name, is the sto­ry of a four-year old boy who has a near-death expe­ri­ence. Once he returns to his body, he begins relat­ing anec­dotes of his vis­it to […]

The Problem with Poetry

For the record, just because a par­tic­u­lar notion is repeat­ed, over and over again, does­n’t nec­es­sar­i­ly make it true. The earth is not flat, nor is it the cen­ter of the uni­verse. Peo­ple of African descent are not intel­lec­tu­al­ly infe­ri­or to the white race. And con­trary to what you may have heard, over the years, […]

The Prince of Peace

Every now and then, some­one in my life nudges me to write my mem­oir. I nod and make rea­son­able excus­es for putting it off. I’ve got this chil­dren’s series to fin­ish first; my com­pre­hen­sive work­shop notes require all my atten­tion; I’ve got a con­fer­ence keynote to pre­pare; my car needs a tune-up; the win­dows need […]