Dr. Ni's Notes & Nibbles 2
Friday, August 17, 2007 12:13:00 PM
by Dr. Niama L Williams
|Dr. Ni's Notes & Nibbles is a gathering place of news, notes, words and wisdom bulldozing its way into your workday.
Come on in, the words are fine .....
Welcome to Dr. Ni’s Notes & Nibbles, a gathering place of news, notes, words and wisdom bulldozing its way into your workday.
This issue we are beginning with actual NEWS. Yes, Dr. Ni actually has items to report. The first:
DR. NI IS NOW AN AMAZON!!! No, I have not begun to prowl around South America or Africa or wherever it might have been that Amazons originally accosted the Earth and saved their fellow tribespeople with their fierce and widely lauded fighting skills. No, Dr. Ni simply means that YOU CAN NOW FIND HER BOOKS ON AMAZON.COM!!!!
Yes, if you are looking to get your hot little imaginations wrapped around Steven, her first book of poetry dedicated to filmmaker Steven Spielberg (don’t miss the Schlinder’s List poem); Famous Faces, her second book of poems which begins with a thoughtful piece inspired by poet Chris Abani; or The Journey, her first novel, a memoir told in stories, simply go to Amazon.com and type in “niama williams,” then—wallah! The titles appear, crisp and ready for purchase.
Now the second piece of news is not so great, but it must be said:
DR. NI IS NOW OFFICIALLY HOMELESS!!!! Remember that wonderfully sick and nauseous feeling you had in the pit of your stomach when you got off of your favorite rollercoaster? Well, Dr. Ni has become quite familiar with that feeling of late. The Poet Laureate of the United States, that gentlemanly, ever so courteous correspondent Donald Hall, wants to be on her radio show this coming Tuesday, and Jamie Tuck Self, otherwise known as the original “Rebel Bell with Balls” wants to interview her for her show this coming Wednesday, but Dr. Ni may have to do them from a shelter.
Fifteen months of not working for pay produced six completed books and the rediscovery of a blindingly good novel and screenplay she wrote in the 80’s. However, Dr. Ni’s landlord, patient and long suffering, has finally filed papers with the sheriffs. As of August 25th, 2007, Dr. Ni will be locked out of her current residence.
The irony? She has a firm job offer from Fairleigh Dickinson University to teach one course for the fall, Trudy Haynes wants to interview her for What’s Up Philly now that her books are available in bookstores (thanks Lulu.com!), a VIP over at the Berean Institute wants to hire her to do some writing, and Brookdale Community College is courting her for an adjunct position.
On the threshold of three jobs and now about to lose her housing!
If you have a room to let, or are willing to share your home, please contact Dr. Ni via email (niamapers.gmail.com), her home phone (215/989-4760), or her cell (267/349-2122). She is willing to share present and future income if you are willing to share your space! And she brings with her no husband, pets, or children. Just a ton of books (which, of course, can be put in storage!).
And here you thought you were going to get hilarious wisdom bites! No, friends, sometimes it is reality that bites. And that’s when you stop, pray, then get back on your horse and find a way to bite back!
All is not sturm und drang, however. As always, there is an essay for your perusal and enjoyment. This week I have the indescribable pleasure of writing about Dr. Tony Minervino of New Zealand. Please go to his website (the healing business) and check out the illustrious smile I try so hard to describe …..
Copyright August 2007
Knowledge does not come from books, lectures or stories—that’s called information. Knowledge comes from experience. We’ve been taught that knowledge is power, but knowledge is not power—knowingness is power.
-----Dr. Tony Minervino
It was his face that made me want to follow him. Not as one follows a guru—slavishly waiting for every word of new direction—no, it was that smile; so open, so yielding, a face built for, that had come to recognition that it was built for, giving. Dr. Tony Minervino knew as a child that we originated on other planets; it was the only explanation that made sense of our differences, and, unafraid, he declared so in sixth grade.
A life destined for radical change. When I read in the bio of this American’s move to New Zealand, I knew instinctively something traumatic had happened, something that turned his life upside down and made him decamp for New Zealand, for a radically different kind of life. A trauma that unseated and unsettled him so thoroughly he risked loss, absolution, absorption of peace, difference, quiet, tranquility on the other side of the world. What shook him shook him so thoroughly his only chance of possible connection lay over there.
And now he smiles. That open, giving, Roman soldier extended palm I am hiding nothing from you, infectious, almost giddy smile. It is a smile so clear, so clean, constructed on honesty and deep knowledge of vulnerability.
In his past Dr. Tony has ached hard and knew, finally, escape was necessary, Auckland the only answer. He went far as he could, knew he had to.
And now he smiles. Like that. Invites us in to the wickedness he finds so delightful. Anything that healing, that clear, that powerful must be wickedness, right?
I suppose in another life I should have had my turn at the stake, flames licking first my feet, fighting the hardened crust of my heel and toes, for even in that day I knew shoes to be an abomination. The greater tragedy that I was so long without my power this time, without understanding of my power and how to use it. So lost for so long and no Robin Hood to save me. My first Robin Hood on a 78 recording, carefully stashed by me in a children’s book accompanying said 78, a cauldron—though I did not think it so then—of comforting English voices, accents I did not understand as a child why I loved.
I always think of Robin Hood now as that handsome actor who played Joan of Arc’s historical Sir Robin, the one to finally trust her, her madness, and teach her the art of war. Almost too late this time I became aware of my allure, of my power, of the men always there on the periphery, afraid to be masterful, seduce. Only the unworthy ones bold enough to insist, to take. That ending once I learned self-respect, courage, NO. Once I learned NO and said it, spirits knew I was ready for Shropshire. They had to see I was not completely murdered, that some spark of my pre-birth essence still alive and burning—quiet, fierce, relentless—and it was that enabled me to tell handsome Marcellino of the booty calls NO. No want to see me in the daylight? No. No want to date in the conventional fashion? No. No want to share meals, long walks, movies in the sunshine-filled public? Then no, you don’t want a relationship with me.
Others I scared, or they were too lost in their own mists to see. Jim the first to truly wake me, to prod and poke me—with his rising temperature affection—into understanding the danger of my as yet untested sexual prowess. Had no knowledge, no deep understanding that I had “it”—at 400 pounds—until his door was closed to me, until he simply had to stop speaking. If only I were given one more slight chance to explain. They buried me so deep, Jim; they buried me so deep. The beatings, the rapes, and what hurt most, all of the intelligent, witty, winsome adults around who claimed to think me the best thing since sliced bread yet left me there. Saw hints of my suffering, knew something was not quite right, but left me there until I was twenty-one and took the only approved of escape route. Thank God Occidental College insisted all undergrads must live on campus the first year, even 21-year-old junior transfers. Thank God counselor Mike risked everything to take me aside and say, “return home to your mother’s house, you will die.” Thank God Temple. Yes, for all of my curses, for all of my deep and fervent wish, quiet, silent, waiting for the earth to simply part, a crevice widening at Broad and Cecil B. then spreading, becoming a yawning cavern large enough for the entire main campus and the main campus only, one survivor: Marge Pippet; for all the force and intent of that silent prayer, I say thank God Temple because of seven inquiries you were the only yes. 3,000 miles of escape route and now Philly permanent home with even my wisest California friend advising against return. I now wish for it too to sink into the sea, a quiet wish born of vengeance. This is what happens to those you leave in hell. This is what happens when you stand aside. This is the cost of doing nothing when you know damn well better.
I stand aside no longer. I know it is not too late for Jim, my neighbor who won my heart with kind, consistent, blameless and relentless labor. Preening every way he knew how, doing everything but leaping at me, but my blinders still on til too late, too late. His current pain, the agony he feels at perceived rejection when I was just too hemmed in by the past, by what I thought was knowledge to just grab him, to just reach for him when I saw that light in his eyes for no one but me. It is my blindness that binds him in purgatory now, and it is my responsibility to lead him out, to show him that taking my hand does not lead him to a new, more forceful rung of hell.
I don’t have Dr. Tony Minervino’s face yet. I aspire to it. I know it is my true frequency. I feel it more and more in my quiet moments now, especially when talking with Abel. He and I are spiritual kin.
And someday, someday Dr. Tony, knowingness will lead me back to that house in Shropshire, and I will no longer fear the spirits haunting the box pews at St. Michael’s, and we gifted sainted powered women will know, will have learned not to ask the impossible of our men.
And now two more pieces of good news before we go to the comics section:
October Gallery’s (premiere AfAm art gallery in Philly) PAINT Magazine is going to publish an interview with me sometime this fall (conducted by the inimitable Ms. Bonnie MacAllister, poet and artist in her own right!) and the South Jersey chapter of the Coalition of 100 Black Women will be featuring me at one of their meetings, possibly in October 2007 ….. Now I will hush up so we can get to the funnies, which have been contributed this issue by Mr. Sandy Liebermann, good friend who currently resides in California …..
THE FUNNIES (altered just a bit by yours truly):
Top 10 signs you should join E-mailers Anonymous
10. You wake up at 3 a.m. to go to the bathroom, and check your e-mail on the way back to bed.
9. Your firstborn’s nickname is “PC,” “Mac,” or “Apple.”
8. You turn off your modem and are suddenly filled with a feeling of emptiness, as if you just pulled the plug on a loved one.
7. You spend half of a plane trip with your laptop in your lap … and your child in the overhead compartment.
6. You decide to stay in college for an additional year or two, just for the free Internet access.
5. You find yourself typing "com" after every period.com
4. You refer to going to the bathroom as downloading.
3. You move into a new home and decide to Netscape before you landscape.
2. You start tilting your head sideways to smile. :)
DRUM ROLL PLEASE!!!!
AND THE NO. 1 SIGN THAT YOU KNOW IT'S TIME TO JOIN E-MAILERS ANONYMOUS:
1. You share this virtually, and not with one single live human being.
1. One day, a man came home and was greeted by his wife dressed in a very sexy nightie. “Tie me up," she purred, "and you can do anything you want." So he tied her up and went golfing.
2. A woman came home, screeching her car into the driveway, and ran into the house. She slammed the door and shouted at the top of her lungs, "Honey, pack your bags. I won the lottery!" The husband said, "Oh my God! What should I pack, beach stuff or mountain stuff?" "Doesn't matter," she said. "Just get out."
3. Marriage is a relationship in which one person is always right, and the other is a husband.
4. A Polish immigrant went to the DMV to apply for a driver's license. First, of course, he had to take an eye sight test. The optician showed him a card with the letters: “C Z W I X N O S T A C Z.” “Can you read this?" the optician asked. "Read it?" the Polish guy replied, "I know the guy."
5. Mother Superior called all the nuns together and said to them, “I must tell you all something. We have a case of gonorrhea in the convent.” “Thank God," said an elderly nun at the back. "I'm so tired of chardonnay."
6. A wife was making a breakfast of fried eggs for her husband. Suddenly, her husband burst into the kitchen. "Careful," he said, "CAREFUL! Put in some more butter! Oh my GOD! You're cooking too many at once. TOO MANY! Turn them! TURN THEM NOW! We need more butter. Oh my GOD! WHERE are we going to get MORE BUTTER? They're going to STICK! Careful. CAREFUL! I said be CAREFUL! You NEVER listen to me when you're cooking! Never! Turn them! Hurry up! Are you CRAZY? Have you LOST your mind? Don't forget to salt them. You know you always forget to salt them. Use the salt. USE THE SALT! THE SALT!” The wife stared at him. "What in the world is wrong with you? You think I don't know how to fry a couple of eggs?" The husband calmly replied, "I just wanted to show you what it feels like when I'm driving."
And finally a quote, a quote that helped me hold my head up last night as I contemplated darkness …..
What is the nature of love?
“Yes, young man, yes, I have thought about this …. Love. Is a command to rise to one’s highest potential, the best and noblest vision of ourselves; love is a reward, the greatest we can earn, granted to us for the moral qualities we have achieved in our lives …….
Ayn Rand, 1981
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