words of wisdom

Words of Wisdom: Aretha Franklin

Yesterday, the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, was laid to rest. I’m huge fan of her music, as I found her voice supernatural: listening to Aretha was akin to touching the divine, even if she wasn’t singing a gospel tune. As a music appreciator, I will always treasure the amazing recordings she left us.

I won’t write much, since there are so many of other writers online that are sharing their heartfelt emotion about Ms. Franklin. However, I will share some of my favorite quotes spoken by the Queen. Have a great Saturday.

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(Photos courtesy of Goalcast, LikeQuote and Saying Images)

 

words of wisdom

Words of Wisdom: Lupita Nyong’o

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One of my favorite movies of this year was Black Panther. For those that recall, I was in Kenya when the movie was released and, while I didn’t get to see it before I left the country, I did see the national pride for Lupita Nyong’o, the stunner that played Nakia, a brilliant spy whose wisdom saved Wakanda from certain implosion.

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I can’t help but think that Lupita and Nakia have a great deal in common. Lupita’s confidence, poise and intelligence are traits that moviegoers easily identified in Nakia. It was difficult to distinguish between the character and the real, life Nyong’o.

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One of the things I love most about Lupita is her pragmatic attitude toward her beauty. Slim, with flawless skin, a button nose, high cheekbones and perfect out: she’s enviably beautiful. However, when her stunning beauty is discussed, she graciously acknowledges it but also brings up how that is only one aspect of who she is. She is an endearing star that not only enchants onscreen but offscreen as well.

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I love her energy and everything that she represents. I hope you all enjoy these quotes as much as I have! I’ll talk to you all tomorrow.

(photos courtesy HuffPost, Essence & QuotePrism)

culture · words of wisdom

Remembering Jackie: The Power of Words

On what would have been Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’s 89th birthday, I want to reflect a bit on her legacy. You all recall that I’ve shared some of her words of wisdom before, but I thought it was time to share a quote that I’d had on my mind for a while now:

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(Photo courtesy of Town & Country magazine)

One of the things that impressed me most about this quote is that Jackie acknowledged the POWER of words. Our words mold our realities, so we have to be careful with them. Are we using our words to “speak into existence” the things that we want, or are we regurgitating the things that depress or discourage us?

Recently, I’ve been especially mindful about the words that I’m using. I’m making a concerted effort to speak positively, using words that reflect the reality that I want to see, even if it doesn’t perfectly match what I’m actually beholding. I’m not living in a “fantasy world”, per se. However, I am focusing my attention on the best aspect of “what is” as well as discussing only the things that I want in my world.

I appreciate Jackie for stating plainly that our words are powerful and can create the world that we want to see. I’m delighted that I can use my words to make a difference, not just in my own world, but in the world of those that I interact with daily.  I’m honored to have such power and to be able to use it wisely is my pleasure.

It’s no coincidence that Jackie’s life eventually led her to a career in publishing: she always had tremendous love for words. As a writer, I can relate, and I’m thankful for her contributions to the literary world. Above all, I’m thankful for her example. She was a woman that lived with integrity, used the power of words expertly, and left a legacy of excellence. On this day, let’s remember Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and the mark she left on the world with her words.

words of wisdom

Words of Wisdom: Sophia Loren

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Beautiful. Earthy. Intelligent. Seductive. All of these descriptors paint a perfect picture of the many elements that make the incredible Sophia Loren. I first learned of Sophia Loren many years ago when I came across her movie Houseboat with Cary Grant. Her hourglass proportions and sultry Italian accent dominated the screen every time she was in a scene. I wanted to look like her and even sound like her when I grew up!

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Sophia didn’t have a fairy tale upbringing. Her parents never married and she dealt with the stigma of being born out of wedlock. She also was poor and got teased for being skinny. She was always a beauty but it’s hard to see your own beauty when there are so many naysayers ready to tell you otherwise.

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Sophia took Hollywood by storm. After all, her physical presence fit in well with the Marilyn Monroe/Elizabeth Taylor aesthetic. Unlike Monroe and Taylor, Sophia was tall and statuesque. At 5 foot 9 inches, Loren was actually equal in height, and occasionally taller than, her male counterparts. She owned her powerful presence and used it to her advantage.

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What is most enchanting about Sophia Loren is her perspective on beauty. Her down-to-earth wisdom is a refreshing take on what really matters. Her emphasis on inner beauty is probably why she is still radiant as an octogenarian. Her love for her family and self awareness shine through in every portrait. We may not all be as physically beautiful as La Loren, but we are certainly able to take on her positive attitude.

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So here’s to the incredible Sophia Loren! Enjoy, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow.

 

(photos courtesy of AZQuotes, MemesandQuotesInspiration, EliteColumn and DebraSmouse)

words of wisdom

Words of Wisdom: Judy Garland

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One of my favorite singers of all time was Judy Garland. Like most people, I got my first introduction to Garland when I saw “The Wizard of Oz” but as an adult, I got acquainted with her other songs, as well as her life story.

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This petite powerhouse felt with feeling ugly, awkward, and unloved. She was undoubtedly talented but never happy and secure in who she was. That unhappiness bled through her lyrics, making many of her songs heartbreakingly sad. But there is beauty in everything, including sadness. Even in her most painful songs, there is still so much elegance, warmth, and passion: she took heartbreak and turned it into art.

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Garland had such naturalness when she sang: it was never forced or overwrought. I’m sure it was quite a sight to see her perform live, with such an enormous voice coming out of such a tiny woman (only 4’11”!). Recordings of her voice give me shivers now: can you imagine what it was like to hear her live?

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It’s difficult to listen to her recordings and to not be moved by them. I only wish she could have known how beautiful, special and loved she was. I hear her singing and I wish I could have hugged her and reassured her of her immeasurable value. She deserved better, and her tragic death at the age of 47 is a reminder to continue to love and affirm those around us.

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Judy Garland had some poignant musings, and I’m honored to share a few of them with you all today. I hope that Judy’s words move and inspire you. Take care, and talk to you all tomorrow.

(photos courtesy Pinterest, StatusMind, AZQuotes and QuotePrism)

words of wisdom

Words of Wisdom: Octavia Butler

Tell stories filled with facts. Make people touch and taste and know. Make people FEEL! FEEL! FEEL!

I’m really surprised that I hadn’t written about this incredible author before, especially since she is one of my main inspirations when it comes to my writing. I haven’t tried my hand at science fiction/fantasy, but reading Octavia Butler’s work always makes me want to give it a whirl.

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Butler willed her success into existence. Some of her papers show the affirmations that she wrote, encouraging herself along the way. While working an assortment of temporary jobs, she would wake up early to write. Her writing effortlessly weaves fantasy with contemporary issues like politics and power struggles around age-old dividers such as race, gender and sexual relationships. Her characters – multidimensional and transcendent – stay with you long after you finish her books.

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I’ve read several of her stories, starting with Mind of My Mind though, knowing what I know now, I would have started with Wild Seed, my favorite book by Butler. Wild Seed is an origin story, which describes the long history between Doro and Anyanwu. This story sets the scene for the subsequent novels. These two powerful beings struggle with one another through centuries, until they have a final showdown that end their tug-of-war.

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I love how Wild Seed takes readers through Anyanwu’s growth into an empowered woman. I love reading about Doro’s calculated nature and how everything he does is part of his master plan. And most of all, I love how well-developed the characters are and how they navigate their dysfunctional symbiotic relationship. I found myself questioning my own journey to empowerment and self actualization while reading Wild Seed.

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On today, which would have been Butler’s 71st birthday, I’m sharing a few of my favorite quotes. I hope you enjoy!

 

(Photos courtesy of BlackMattersUs, JenebaSpeaks, Pinterest and ForReadingAddicts.co.uk)

words of wisdom

Words of Wisdom: Toni Morrison

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What would literature be without Toni Morrison? Her poignant stories seamlessly weave the past with the present, the natural with the supernatural, the sacrosanct with the profane. I’ve found myself going back to “Sula” and “The Bluest Eye” to reread certain passages and become once again swept up in Morrison’s moving language.

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Morrison has published 11 novels, and I fully intend to read them all. Every page is full of vivid imagery and powerful dialogue. One doesn’t read Toni Morrison’s books: one becomes part of Morrison’s world.

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There’s a lot to love about Morrison. She wrote “The Bluest Eye” while raising two children post divorce. She published “The Bluest Eye” at the tender age of 39. She had to wake up at 4 AM to do her writing, but she got it done, and her efforts paid off.

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She speaks candidly about the importance of writing and why we must tell our stories. She shares profundities on life and love. And she tempers all of her works with humor, grace and timeless charm.

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I could sing Morrison’s praises forever and it wouldn’t be enough. So let me just say, if you are so inclined, make sure to read one of her books. I suggest you start off with “The Bluest Eye”: after all, it was her first book! Then move on to “Sula” and think about your closest friend: it will make you want to reach out to him/her and hold them close. Read some of her work and just watch your soul grow: it’s inevitable.

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Thanks for stopping by, and enjoy the rest of your day! I’ll chat with you all tomorrow.

(Photos courtesy of Pinterest, TheQuotesIn, QuotesFav, Goalcast, and LegendsQuotes)