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The Story of St. Valentine

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on February 14, 2015 by peace4diane

There are many versions of the story of St. Valentine. Being the hopeless romantic that I am, I decided earlier today to share the one that touched my heart several years ago. Enjoy it, talk about it, then pass it on!
In 270 A.D., marriage  was outlawed by the emperor of Rome, Claudius II. Claudius issued this decree because he thought that married men made bad soldiers since they were reluctant to be torn away from their families in the case of war. Claudius had also outlawed Christianity in this time period because he wished to be praised as the one supreme god, the Emperor of Rome.

Valentine was the bishop of Interamna during this period of oppression. Valentine thought that the decrees of Rome were wrong. He believed that people should be free to love God and to marry. Valentine invited the young couples of the area to come to him. When they came, Valentine secretly performed services of matrimony and united the couples.

Valentine was eventually caught and brought before the emperor. The emperor saw that Valentine had conviction and drive that was unsurpassed among his men. Claudius tried and tried to persuade Valentine to leave Christianity, serve the Roman Empire and the Roman gods. In exchange, Claudius would pardon him and make him one of his allies. St. Valentine held to his faith and did not renounce Christ. Because of this, the emperor sentenced him to a three-part execution. First, Valentine would be beaten, then stoned, and then finally, decapitated. Valentine died on February 14th, 270 A.D.

While in prison, waiting for his sentence to be carried out, Valentine fell in love with the jailer’s daughter, the blind Asterius. During the course of Valentine’s prison stay, a miracle occurred and Asterius regained her sight. Valentine sent her a final farewell note. He signed his last note, “From Your Valentine.” Even today, this message remains as the motto for our Valentine’s Day celebrations.

St. Valentine the priest was named the patron saint of lovers by the Catholic Church 200 years after his death as an attempt to quell the celebration of the pagan Lupercalia festival that took place in the middle of February.

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How To Start A Revolution

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 1, 2015 by peace4diane

My girlfriends and I have been talking a lot about what is happening in this country with regard to race. The other day, as we continued to debate the best way to resolve the conflict and stop the violence, we began to speculate a lot about a revolution. She mentioned that blacks should learn from the Montgomery bus boycott on how to effect change. Then it hit me, how to get it started: a nationwide show of solidarity by boycotting Wal-Mart or Target stores.

There has been a love/hate relationship between the American consumer and Wal-Mart forever. The fuse was lit when Target dropped the ball by using white models to sell clothes made famous in the movie remake, Annie. Annie stars a black child actor Quvenzhane’ Wallis but we see no evidence of this diversity in the initial Target advertisements. This, hot on the heels of price gouging, charging more for black Barbie than white Barbie a few weeks ago. Mix in the fact that consumers are experiencing a gift of lower gasoline prices which translate to money in our pockets and companies like Wal-Mart or Target as cha-ching.

In my opinion, the Target boycott is poetic: people, the corporate logo is after all a bullseye. Some smart protestor reading this blog is gonna pick up this ball and run with it for sure.

Protestors can send a loud message that We The People want no more black death at the hands of white police officers by staging an extended boycott of Target. For at least 21 days no black or Hispanic person would shop at Target for any reason. Non-Violent Takeover 101 requires that any time one holds another hostage, the captors present their list of demands to an entity with clout and money. Target meets that criteria.

According to its annual report of sales by product categories which included household essentials, food & pet supplies, apparel & accessories, hardlines, home furnishings & decor, Target Corporation raked in $71.3 billion in sales in 2013. This is respectable clout if ever there was clout. [See https://corporate.target.com/annual-reports/2013/financials/financial-highlights.]

Surely the bright young executives at Target will see their bottom line start to budge if we keep our money in our pocket for 21 consecutive days. They will go to Washington to demand action for us. They will file class action lawsuits regarding the violation of our civil rights. They will lead the lobby for black people. They must because evidently we lack the capacity to advocate or lobby for ourselves, or we would have done so by now.

Social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook will spread the word of the boycott and Target’s response to it like wildfire. But the key to solidarity is #weareone. No hidden agendas and EVERYBODY must participate. Liken it to the year-long bus boycott in 1955-56 described here in Wikipedia that brought attention to racially based segregation on public transportation effecting black people in Montgomery.1

220px-Rosa_Parks_BusThe Supreme Court became involved and the rest is history.

In our discussion, we decided that a clear statement of demands be mapped out in advance. If this statement of demands has already been published, we have not seen or heard of it yet. With the advent of social media, crafting the language and spreading the demands of the manifesto should be a cinch. After all, the YouTube video of Blaze the talking Huskie saying no to bedtime has 14,231,279 views and counting.

Otherwise we fear that in 2015 the protests and protestors wearing “I Can’t Breathe” t-shirts are reduced to the equivalent of a flash mob sent to annoy commuters and create greater levels of gridlock. An economic response to the outrage at the death of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and Eric Garner in New York City sends a serious message and begins the change we seem to want to see. It gets us a seat at the table and the microphone in our hand. Otherwise the talk in totality becomes rhetoric, propaganda that gets easily ignored…that is until another black person is killed by a while police officer. That is the inevitable event that the universe is holding its breath in hope that this will somehow magically not happen.

But in my opinion, the revolution starts with the drafting of the manifesto. Here are our demands submitted by savvy Target lawyers to local, state and federal government officials and politicians who perpetuate institutionalized racism and social inequities. It is non-violent and as such will not make some live-by-the-sword-die-by-the-sword folks happy.

However, if the radical protestors take up my challenge and start the boycott, we would support it 100 percent.

Only thing, I really think Wal-Mart should feel the pressure too. IJS

1The Montgomery Bus Boycott, a seminal event in the U.S. civil rights movement, was a political and social protest campaign against the policy of racial segregation on the public transit system of Montgomery, Alabama. The campaign lasted from December 1, 1955—when Rosa Parks, an African American woman, was arrested for refusing to surrender her seat to a white person—to December 20, 1956, when a federal ruling, Browder v. Gayle, took effect, and led to a United States Supreme Court decision that declared the Alabama and Montgomery laws requiring segregated buses to be unconstitutional.

Power of Words

Posted in Uncategorized on April 23, 2014 by peace4diane

I feel I spend way too much time watching television or video-chatting with my girlfriend or tweeting or Facebooking to be able to create enough content for the next few months of blogging. Frankly, I’ve fallen off the blogging wagon, giving away to work and worrying about work, working to try to stop worrying about bills…well, you get the picture. I find so many other things that keep my mind cluttered so I cannot write. Well that stops here. It is a Wednesday evening and Criminal Minds is playing low in the background on the TV in the living room. My excuse tonight is that I need the company and the sound of voices in the next room is somehow comforting. However, the voices are not calling me to watch television tonight—at least not yet.

Nevertheless, I am a serious poet, not the couch-potato you might imagine. I devote much time to the art and craft of writing. Recently it paid off with the publication of several of my poems in the 2014 Durham Editing and E-books poetry anthology, Words of Fire and Ice. I’m excited to share these pieces with the world. The power of words and the purpose of poetry is evident with the publication of this anthology. Shortly after the release of the anthology, Words of Fire and Ice took the #1 Bestseller status on both the Poetry Multi-Author Anthologies and Poetry Anthologies via Smashwords!! Who says poetry is dead???? Woohoo!!

I invite you to lose yourself in the full range of human emotions. Happy, sad, up, down: you will soar through the sky and plummet into theWOFI Google Plus Cover-IRF deepest despair, all through the words of fire and ice contained in these pages. As you read, you will become wrapped in the magic that is poetry. Breathe in the words, and share the raw emotion captured on paper, written in blood, sweat, and tears.

I share the link here with you and for those who follow me I humbly ask that you download a FREE version of the e-book available on Smashwords.com. Use the Coupon Code below for your complimentary copy. Note that there is an expiration date for this, so make a move quickly…

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/430392

Promotional price: $0.00

Coupon Code: KC89W

Expires: May 6, 2014


Then if you can, please do your part to support small press by visiting https://www.createspace.com/4770914 for a print version of the book.

But if you’re like me, struggling every day to make ends meet, you’ll probably appreciate the FREE version. Since it is free and everybody loves free stuff, please consider sharing the link with a friend.

Finally, I appeal to all my fellow writers, to keep on writing, submitting, entering contests, attending open mic nights at your church or synagogue, being rejected. Your ship will come in—I’m sure of it. This website is all about persistence and perseverance. It never goes out of style and it always pays off. It’s all good stuff. The editors at Durham have a simple motto “Let us help you publish your masterpiece.” They did it for me—perhaps they can do it for you.

The Eyes Of Truth: I Miss Writing

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on November 25, 2013 by peace4diane

Dear Readers, It’s been too long…way too long. I’ve neglected to write in the blog, even though I promised myself this time would be different. It wasn’t. I found that my life takes such unexpected turns, and the pressure to write can easily be abated by ignoring it for a minute. But as a writer who continually seeks to hone craft, I cannot ignore it…or you dear reader… for long.

So predictably now that the holidays are rapidly approaching, I have a few minutes to rub together in the hope of generating a fire about my writer’s passion. And even now as I write, the phone rings and I can tell by caller ID that it’s a co-worker.  The tea kettle whistles a merry tune for my attention to get a second cup of coffee.  One of the dogs has laid his head gently in my lap which is my signal that it’s time for a walk. In other words, I’m perpetually distracted by this thing called life.

But the writing calls, a siren nestled securely in the rocks of the shore of my soul. Today I seek to look into the eyes of truth and see who I am as a writer, artist, lover, friend. My commitment to self is to write for the blog each day. I need your help to keep this commitment. Can you comment on the posts and let me know what you like or don’t like? Let me know what bores you and why? Let me know what you’d like to know more about? It will help…I swear it will.

Until then.

You Are The One We’ve Been Waiting For–Part 2

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 25, 2013 by peace4diane

(Continued from WordPress Posting Dated May 19, 2013)…

Close your eyes and imaging yourself shipwrecked on a deserted island somewhere in the south Pacific. As you sit on the sandy beach alone, as you’ve sat on the  sandy beach alone for the last 1,367 days, you look to the horizon and see a  shadow that with time begins to favor what might be a cruise ship.

Helen Island, Helen Reef, Palau. Original description: “Helen’s Reef – a classic desert island – elevation above sea level about 8 feet.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You stand up and squint your eyes because your eyes cannot believe themselves at this  moment: A ship is heading in your direction. You are rescued. You are okay.

This is the state of the demographic that is so profoundly affected by Mr.  Tony’s success. On the one hand, there are women who have been longing for a  man who openly demonstrates that he does not hate you simply because you are female. By the way he adores Kerry Washington and her alter-ego Olivia Pope, women sense that he is a loving, tender, caring man.  Tony represents the prototype of what we have wanted from a man all our lives and we are no longer forced to accept misogynistic hatred from black men.

On the other hand, there are women who have refused to compromise or accept poor treatment. The decision to live alone without a mate reflects  that we are not victims of domestic violence and abuse, either verbal or physical. We declare our independence from men who articulate their hatred for women,
or have no problem exploiting women, rejecting women and are especially hostile toward women of their own race. Isolation and loneliness is our only choice .

From personal experience, being alone is a quiet, dark place and we have waited for someone like Tony to turn on the light in the room. And that he has done. He is gently touching that place in the heart of every woman who lives in either of these rooms. He is not like
God, but he is god-like. He is touching the place that longs to be loved, to be known and to be heard.

We have always wanted to give ourselves completely to a man like Tony, but we have buried these longings deep inside us—until now. So when women say “I don’t know what it is about him, but I’m drawn to him,” or  “I really like/love him,” or  “I’m crushing on him,” or  “I wish he were my man,” what we are really doing is defining and giving voice to that longing inside us.

He expresses to Olivia the sentiments we wish to hear in our daily, mostly mundane lives: “I love you”, “I need to see you”, “I am nothing and you are everything”, “Wait for me”, “Watch me choose you”, and a personal favorite:  “I love you more than I love being president.” What woman of any race would not want to hear these words fed to her like a gourmet meal, week after week, day after day, hour after hour, minute after minute?

I am left to solve the mystery of Tony Goldwyn’s appeal to me. I find him sexy and attractive as a man. It is a turn on that he has been married to the same woman for over 20 years. I am turned on by the fact that he is the father of two girls who are obviously going to grow up to appreciate the men in their lives. It excites me that Tony is consistently classy in a Hollywood Clark-GableRock-Hudson sort of way. As an actor, throughout his career he has maintained dignity and integrity. As a director, his work is flawless and thoughtful.

Tony_in_Black_and_WhiteWhenever Tony wears a tuxedo, I get a rush—a refreshing alternative to the hood-rats too numerous to count who insist on wearing their pants around their ankles. Tony’s voice is like water flowing over rocks. His hair is the stuff of legends. His walk, his swagger is. . .well, uh…jazzy and sophisticated. So, it’s
no wonder that I proudly join the ranks with so many other women who have fallen in love with Anthony Howard Goldwyn.

Carry on, Mr. Goldwyn. Our ship has come in and you have flipped the switch.

You Are The One We’ve Been Waiting For

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 19, 2013 by peace4diane
Actor, director Tony Goldwyn Photo courtesy ABC.com

Actor, director Tony Goldwyn
Photo courtesy ABC.com

Inspired by the title of a book by Alice Walker entitled We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For: Inner Light in a Time of Darkness (2006)

I’d like to take this opportunity to clarify some things.

As a cultural anthropologist, I have some observations which, in my normally humble opinion, need to be said. After watching an interview with Tony Goldwyn on Wednesday’s Watch What Happens Live (BRAVO), I got more insight into the phenomenon that is Tony Goldwyn and his amazing persona.

Specifically, I am seriously seeking the origin and nature of his appeal to middle-aged African American women and why masses of women of color are going bonkers for this man. Simply put, he is the one we’ve been waiting for.

Let me explain.

For years, women of color have been accepting their fate. Hated by their own race of men, they are forced into a corner to decide between surviving in a misogynistic, male-dominated world or living their adult lives alone.

It is no secret and should not be revelation to any women over age 30 that African American women would be drawn to a personality like Tony Goldwyn. Consistently he presents himself as a caring, loving person, the rare man who truly likes women and enjoys their company. We know him to be a compassionate man, advocating tirelessly for people who, though incarcerated, proclaim and maintain their innocence (Click here for more about Tony’s recent award for his dedicated work in this area and his ongoing involvement in  the Innocence Project.)

He is a passionate man as well as millions of viewers tune in faithfully each week to his most recent television project: Scandal on ABC. He is openly enamored with his talented co-star, Miss Kerry Washington and it’s no stretch that as his presidential character Fitz demonstrates each week, he holds equally in high esteem Miss Olivia Carolyn Pope.

There’s enough blogging and texting and instant-messaging and tweeting and facebooking and instagramming and tumbling going on out there that I do not need to expand on this aspect of Mr. Tony’s career.

That is not the intent of this blog entry.

As a cultural anthropologist, I want to examine that indescribable thing that ignites a fire in so many women like me, especially as one of African American descent, making this man’s extremist base grow exponentially. Close your eyes and imaging that you are shipwrecked on a deserted island somewhere in the south Pacific.

As you sit on the sandy beach alone, as you’ve sat on the sandy beach alone for the last 1,367 days, you look to the horizon and see a shadow that with time begins to favor what might be a cruise ship…TO BE CONTINUED.

For the Eternal Love of Writing

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 8, 2013 by peace4diane

I’ll admit. . .it’s been a while since my last blog entry. I have been working steadily and trying to overcome distractions to return to planet WordPress as Girl Gladiator/Word Warrior.

Gladiators Ready!

Gladiators Ready! (Photo credit: canonsnapper)

It has been quite the journey. Since my last entry, I have moved into a different physical space with my writing, having settled in a little coffee shop on the north side of the city. It is a cozy place where I never cease to find inspiration. It has quickened my resolve as a poet.

I resolve and find peace continuing to work on my little book of poems:
Crazy. Love. Poems. by Diane Lewis will be available fall 2013.

The coffee-house excites me, despite a mild case of writers’ block, my winter despair and annual depression that once again came to visit and wore out its welcome. I was finding my way back to my literary self; finding that I am the earthen vessel that carries God from one place to another.

He does not live in a building—He lives in a heart. . .my heart; and my heart loves poetry. I identify myself as a poet because that is who I am. My identity is hidden in the poet, and the poet is hidden in Him. So I continue to write and hold sacred the art of writing because I was made to be a poet, a lover of words, a wordsmith, loving all things written and discovering that for me, all roads lead to words.

I am a poet; I see the world differently by design. I live in the now as often and as fiercely as I can. I march to the drum beat rhythm in my head, not your music. Poetry makes me strong because poetry is my small offering to the world and I am happy to give it, contributing something towards humanity.

And besides all that, I have fallen in love with the concept of living (at least for a season) in Paris.

And besides all that, Stream of Consciousness is accepted for publication. Details to follow.

It has been a good break.