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felicia pride – hip hop appreciation week: may 18-25

Good people…yeah, I know, May’s been a hectic month!!! But see what happens you get summer vacation from the doctoral program??? All of a sudden, you can re-enter the world again!

I wanted to check in with y’all real quick to share a piece with you…so Felicia Pride put me on to Hip-Hop Appreciation Week and this writing situation that’s jumpin’ off in the literary world…here was the assignment – “What’s one hip-hop song that holds meaning for you? Could be old-school, abstract, or new-school. Maybe it motivated you, empowered you, pushed in the right direction, made you think, or simply continues to make you smile when you hear it.” So I’ve been racking my brain trying to figure out how to pick that ONE song…and then I realized I couldn’t pick one…so I decided to take a trip down my writer’s memory lane and try to put it all together…so my motto for the day is “three cheers for the pen game!!!”

I wrote this piece and felt like it really did the trick for me…and the beauty of it is that it engages a few songs within my favorite era, but also places them in a certain context. When I was in grad school getting my masters, I realized that the world of academia presents this thing I like to call “the ever-changing rules”…basically, the rules continue to switch on a by-the-minute basis…the problem is, no one tells you the new rules until after you’ve followed the given guidelines from the old rules of 60 seconds ago…and the process becomes harder because you are constantly trying to stay in the game and in the loop, but the rules keep switching every time you think you’ve gotten it right…so I tried to permanently document and fix the rules for a minute – and what better way to do that than with hip-hop…of course, Big Poppa B.I.G. lead the charge for me (yeah, so what, I’m from Queens, but Brooklyn came through on the concept…hate me later!!!), and I was able to move through this piece really thinking about how some rules change while others just stay the same…

So in honor of Hip-Hop Appreciation Week, I’ma let y’all hold this down…I call it “commands in trifecta”…happy reading…and make sure you check out Felicia’s website www.feliciapride.com, as well as the blog she posted on this topic at: http://feliciapride.squarespace.com/blog/

I know she’s worked real hard to get the word out, so I’m sure you’ll be hearing from the pens of all those writers and hip-hop-heads you know and love…as well, make something happen at the keyboard yourself…and if not, just appreciate hip-hop – we get the shortest month for black history, so of course, only a week for hip-hop…so live these next few days up to the fullest…

Now back to the grind, I got that library event coming…I’m expecting to see y’all there too…don’t front on the kid!!! One love…

 

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“I been in this game for years/ It made me an animal/ There’s rules to this shit/
I wrote me a manual/ A step-by-step booklet for you to git/ yo’ game on track/
not yo’ wig pushed back”

Notorious B.I.G., “Ten Crack Commandments”, Life After Death, copyright 1997, Bad Boy Records.

 

 

…commands in trifecta…

My only but main concern is when I find my commandments/ rules and regulations/ codes of life going into literary overdrive causing conflict. What is the solution for such ever-present and ever-changing rules? And what does it mean to have to choose between one of life’s three overarching and guiding dichotomies at any given time. How do you flip a coin between a higher good versus evil, temporal right versus wrong, and fundamental life versus death?

#1-“I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”(The Holy Bible in the King James Version, Exodus chapter 20, verses 2-3)

x2-“Master of Education candidates must take a minimum of eight half-courses, at least four of which must be under the Faculty of Education. Students admitted into the specialized programs must complete the program requirements described in the HGSE Catalogue in the section on Specialized Masters Programs and Teacher Education Programs”(Harvard Graduate School of Education 1998-1999 Student Handbook, p. 9)

x3-“C.ash R.ules E.verthing A.round M.e/ C.R.E.A.M. get the money/ dollar dollar bill y’all”(Wu-Tang Clan, “C.R.E.A.M.”, Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers, copyright 1993, Loud Records.)

#2-“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.” (The Holy Bible in the King James Version, Exodus chapter 20, verses 4-6)

x2-“Transfer credit from other institutions is not accepted.” (Harvard Graduate School of Education 1998-1999 Student Handbook, p. 9)

x3-“These friendly skies ain’t for you/ They for me and mine/ This be the year of the grimy nigguh, ragtime/ Keep these nigguhs on the run/ Peep my clan emblem/ Iron Lung ain’t got to tell you where it’s comin’ from/ Catch us swimmin’ with these sharks now, you rap villains/ We feel the same way you feelin’/ Let it be known/ What the bloodclot you nigguhs dealin’/ You crash dummies/ C.ash R.ules/ Still don’t nothing move but the money.”(Wu-Tang Clan, “Cash Still Rules/ Scary Hours (still don’t nothing move but the money)”, Wu-Tang Forever, copyright 1997, Loud Records.)

#3-“Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” (The Holy Bible in the King James Version, Exodus chapter 20, verse 7)

x2-“A student who enrolls at the College thereby agrees to respect and acknowledge the research and ideas of others in his or her work and to abide by those regulations governing work stipulated by the instructor. Any student who breaks these regulations, misrepresents his or her own work, or collaborates in the misrepresentation of another’s work has committed a serious violation of this agreement.”(Williams College Bulletin, 1996-1997, p. 24)

x3-“In the Underworld we take care of beef ourself/ And another thing, yo, we police ourself/ Either you follow them codes or don’t sell cocaine/ This life will swallow you whole, so git out the game/ Go to church every Sunday/ And pray hard/ And drug dealer/ Don’t quit your day job”(Jay-Z featuring Ja Rule, “Gangster Shit”, DJ Clue: The Professional: Volume 1, copyright 1998, Def Jam Records.)

#4-“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maid servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.” (The Holy Bible in the King James Version, Exodus chapter 20, verses 8-12)

x2-“October 12, Monday. Columbus Day holiday. No classes; offices closed.
November 11, Wednesday. Veterans Day holiday. No classes; offices closed.
November 26-29, Thursday-Sunday. Thanksgiving recess. No classes; offices closed.
December 18-January 3, Friday-Sunday. Winter recess. No classes. Offices closed December 24-25 and January 1.
January 18, Monday. Martin Luther King Day holiday. No classes; offices closed.
February 15, Monday. Presidents’ Day holiday. No classes; offices closed.
March 27-April 4, Saturday-Sunday. Spring recess. No classes.
May 31, Monday. Memorial Day holiday. Offices closed.” (Harvard Graduate School of Education 1998-1999 Student Handbook, pp. 76-79)

x3-“I know you thinking now, when all the ballin’ stop?/ Nigguh never home, gotta call me on the yacht/ Ten years from now we’ll still be on top/ Yo, I thought I told you that we won’t stop!/ Now what’cha gonna do” (Notorious B.I.G. featuring Mase and Puff Daddy, “Mo Money, Mo Problems”, Life After Death, copyright 1997, Bad Boy Records.)

#5-“Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” (The Holy Bible in the King James Version, Exodus chapter 20, verse 12)

x2-“October 18-20, Friday through Sunday. First Year Family Weekend
April 18-20, Friday through Sunday. Spring Family Weekend.” (Williams College Bulletin 1996-1997, p. 433)

x3-“And even as a crack fiend, mama/ You always was a black queen, mama/…there’s no way I can pay ya’ back/ But the plan is to show you that I understand/ You are appreciated/ Lady, don’t you know we love you/ Sweet lady/ Place no one above you/ You are appreciated.”(2Pac, “Dear Mama/You are Appreciated”, 2Pac: Greatest Hits, copyright 1998, Death Row Records.)

#6-“Thou shalt not kill.” (The Holy Bible in the King James Version, Exodus chapter 20, verse 13)

x2-“Cambridge averaged 4.5 murders a year in the 1980s and has averaged 2.5 in the 1990s. Nationally, cities of our size average 10 murders a year.”(City of Cambridge, Annual Crime Report 1998-9)

x3-“Fuck ya life!/ Hop on my ’98 dirtbike/ You try to stop mine from growin’/ I make ya blood stop flowin’/ Take affirmative action/ To any ass if he askin’/ Now here come the Mac-10”(Mobb Deep, “Quiet Storm”, Murda Muzik, copyright 1999, Loud Records.)

#7-“Thou shalt not commit adultery.” (The Holy Bible in the King James Version, Exodus chapter 20, verse 14)

x2-“Accordingly, where one person’s present role involves grading or otherwise evaluating the work of another, or puts the person in a position to affect the other’s present performance or professional future, sexual overtures and sexual relationships, even if consensual, are inappropriate and may be grounds for disciplinary action under this policy statement.” (Harvard Graduate School of Education 1998-1999 Student Handbook, p. 33)

x3-“And DON’T/ Take the pussy if she fightin’/ ‘cause you saw what happened to Tupac and Mike Tyson/ Especially if you large, some hoes is trife/ Hit you on a rape charge have you servin’ ya life/ Yo, DO/ Get a yes confirmation before penetration, you’ll wind up in a Police station.”(Nas, “Dr. Knockboots”, I Am…The Autobiography, copyright 1999, Columbia Records.)

#8-“Thou shalt not steal.” (The Holy Bible in the King James Version, Exodus chapter 20, verse 15)

x2-“…a student must be careful to distinguish between ideas that are his or her own and those that have been derived from other sources…a student who submits work either not his/her own or without clear attribution to the original source, for whatever reason, ordinarily will be dismissed from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.” (Harvard Graduate School of Education 1998-1999 Student Handbook, p. 28)

x3-“I gotta new motto this year, don’t fuck wit my ones/ Knock on ya door/ 3 in the mornin’/ It’s just us and the guns!!!” (Jay-Z, “Jigga My Nigga”, Ryde or Die, Volume 1, copyright 1999, Ruff Ryder/ Interscope Records.)

#9-“Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” (The Holy Bible in the King James Version, Exodus chapter 20, verse 16)

x2-“HGSE seeks to maintain an atmosphere free of violence and personal abuse. HGSE is also committed to principles of equal opportunity and nondiscrimination. Harvard University prohibits discrimination based on such characteristics as race, ethnic group, religious belief, gender, sexual orientation, disability status and age. Harassment can create an environment in which access to education and employment is diminished. HGSE is also committed to principles of free inquiry and expression. All members of the HGSE community have the right to hold and vigorously defend and promote their opinions. Respect for this right requires that community members tolerate even expression of opinions they find repugnant.”(Harvard Graduate School of Education 1998-1999 Student Handbook, p. 31)

x3-“Shit that he said, shit that he spread/ lead to this fuckin’ four-fifth to his head/ Shit that he spread, shit that he said/ leakin’ lies on the streets gon’ leave yo’ ass dead!” (Violator featuring Rapper Noyd, “S*** That He Said”, Violator: The Album, copyright 1999, Def Jam Records.)

#10-“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.” (The Holy Bible in the King James Version, Exodus chapter 20, verse 17)

x2-“Financing the high cost of a graduate education is a serious challenge. Despite its limited resources, the HGSE Financial Aid Office is committed to working with all admitted students to assist in financing their education…HGSE grant funds are awarded primarily on the basis of demonstrated financial need. Doctoral students are eligible for HGSE need-based grant assistance for years one through three of doctoral study; grant amounts range up to a maximum of full tuition cost ($20,430 in 1998-99). A limited amount of grant assistance is available for master’s and C.A.S. students; grants range up to a maximum of $2,500. Students with very high financial need may be awarded an Opportunity Grant of an additional $2,500.” (Harvard Graduate School of Education 1998-1999 Catalogue, pp. 62-63)

x3-“Don’t hate me!/ Hate the money I see/ Clothes that I buy/ Ice that I
wear/ Clothes that I dry/ Close your eyes:/ Picture me rollin’,/ Sixes,
money foldin,/ Bitches,/ Honeys that swollen/ the riches/ Nas git in
ya”(Nas feat. Puff Daddy, “Hate Me Now”, I Am…The Autobiography,
copyright 1999, Columbia Records.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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tor’cha reading and book signing event

good people, wanted to make sure i came back through real quick to share the good news with you, and give you all the necessary information. i hope you can make it out to this event: it’ll be a talk about “returning home”, a reading from the novel tor’cha and a book signing. it’s home-team for me, so i’m excited to bring back where it’s supposed to be!

here are all the vitals:

Saturday, May 31 – 3:00pm
Queens Library – Long Island City
37-44 21 Street
718-752-3700

you can get details and directs by downloading the pdf for the event at:

http://www.queenslibrary.org/index.aspx?page_id=126&section_id=12&branch_id=Lic

in the meantime, check the press release below…beautiful things are going on…y’all heard it first!!!

peace

SWANK BOOKS
P.O. Box 300447, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130 617-512-7763

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Bilal Polson
Tel. 516/424-9163
Email: events@blackerinwells.com


TODD CRAIG TO GIVE FIRST

NYC READING OF DEBUT

NOVEL, tor’cha

Swank Books Will Donate

Copies to Grub Street’s YAWP

Long Island City, NY May 31, 2008 – Swank Books is pleased to announce that Todd Craig will read from and discuss his cinematic first novel, tor’cha, at the Long Island City Public Library at 3:00 PM.

In his coming-of-age tale of three African American brothers tempted and tested in their struggle to be moral men in a corrupt world, Craig paints a hopeful portrait of urban life. His talk will gesture towards the positive choices youth in the community can make. A product of New York City housing himself, Craig will also discuss what it means to “come home” as an intellectual and as a writer, and the importance of contribution.

Craig said about his first New York City reading, “The Long Island City Public Library is right in the middle of Queensbridge and Ravenswood projects – I grew up running back and forth between the two, so it’s really a homecoming of sorts.”

In the spirit of “giving back,” Craig will announce that the first market to which he will donate tor’cha, will be Grub Street’s Young Adult Writers Program (YAWP). In addition, Prodigy, of Mobb Deep, who is featured on tor’cha’s accompanying soundtrack, and Voxonic Records (formally known as Infamous / Voxonic Music) will be purchasing between 100-200 books to donate to underprivileged youth in 5-7 markets across the country.

When asked about the Infamous / Voxonic donation for tor’cha, Havoc, of Mobb Deep, said, “Todd’s been down with us since the very beginning-he’s part of the foundation. He’s talked to us about this book and soundtrack idea for years. Me and P both worked with Todd on different projects – he’s an ill writer. So when the time came for his book, we was all happy that we could support him. I worked with him on the soundtrack, and P and Voxonic came through on the donation. He’s really trying to make change in the hood by getting the kids to read. Who can be mad at that?”

YAWP is a free creative writing workshop for high school students offered by Grub Street, a non-profit writing center committed to nurturing writers and connecting readers with the abundance of literary talent in the greater Boston area.

Swank Books is a non-profit cooperative, founded in 2004, dedicated to the survival of independent fiction.

If you’d like more information about tor’cha or Todd Craig, please visit www.blackerinkwells.com

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deesha dyer – geoclan interview

see, it’s not a game good peoples…there’s still more…so deesha dyer came through to talk real fast about a few things…she really went in on the questions, and made sure to get at the rationale behind the book…make sure you support www.geoclan.com…you can check the interview there (they got the book on the front page), but just in case, you can check it right here…

i’m gonna give you a second to breathe real quick…

but there’s more soon…

An Interview with Todd Craig
By Deesha Dyer

Author, DJ, student and professor Todd Craig and I had a brief conversation via phone on one of his many trips down to Philly from his home in NYC. Unfortunately, the tape was damaged, but that won’t stop me from writing about his latest endeavors. So, I asked him a few more question via email and thankfully, he complied with some very thorough answers.

We linked up to discuss the project that added “published author’ to his list of esteemed accomplishments.

Craig’s novel, tor’cha hit bookstands, car trunks, community centers and libraries this past February. It’s a book that he calls – a novel about the hood, not a hood novel. While prepping for the tor’cha Boston launch party, he breaks down his thoughts on hood novels, and why this book is a bit different:

“I think a lot of these hood or street novels that we see out these days glorify this life of crime. I wanted to engage my people in using their brains, because I think a popular misconception about the hood is that we don’t use our brains. But it is so untrue, because there are so many unfound geniuses in the hood, and it’s sickening that they’re caught up in some of the nasty elements of street life. I wanted my novel to engage learning. Some of these ‘hood stories’ give kids an unrealistic view about street life. Instead, I wanted to act more like a reporter. I cannot deny that these things take place, so there are those elements within the stories. However, instead of glorifying these elements, I place them in a spectrum of choice – hopefully readers will see that there are indeed other choices that can be made, various choices. We just have to be strong enough to know what they are, and maybe even make different choices than some of the ones we see in these hood novels.”

Let me give you a little preview/teaser. tor’cha tells the tale of 3 brothers in the hood that are confronted with certain choices that have them questioning themselves. The book digs deep into their lives. Namely, Emil (a stick-up kid turned musician), Damon aka Abdullah Zahir (incarcerated felon turned Muslim) and Christian (escaped the streets via education). While they struggle with what is right vs. what is easy, they are faced with the breaking of the Ten Commandments and the morals from Supreme Mathematics, an Islamic concept that originated from the Nation of Gods and Earths.

I had to ask Craig about the religious/spiritual backbone of tor’cha – like why he chose to bring those elements in, and if injecting the faith aspect would perhaps turn readers off?

“Growing up, I went to church -really Sunday school- with a lot of dudes in youth. As we got older, some of them turned to lives of crime. What I began to notice more and more was that once dudes went away to do their bids, but they came back righteous-it was the teachings of Islam (mainly 5 percenters or Gods and Earths) that brought them back positive and kept them on the straight and narrow. I was always intrigued by how that worked out. Once I started to do the research on the Nation of Gods and Earths, I found their influence reached further than many of us realize.”

“Listen to any hip-hop record, and you’re gonna hear 5 percenter language. Listen to the slang in the hood, it’s got the Gods and Earths speech written all over it. I didn’t feel that I could write the story without it. And it fit perfectly for me to couple the Ten Commandments with Supreme Mathematics. If you really look at it, Supreme Mathematics works for the Gods and Earths quite similar to the ways the 10 Commandments work for Christians.”

“I really wanted to build a bridge between the two in a creative and innovative way. Given the climate of the world we live in these days, it was real important to me to make sure that I cast a positive light on the Gods and Earths as well as Islam, instead of the foolishness we see in the media, where Islam has been painted as this “deviant” culture, where people are doing nothing but violent acts. I know it’s not like that at all. There are good and bad people in religions everywhere, throughout history. But the Gods and Earths that I know are positive influences in our communities-I wanted to honor that positivity and celebrate it properly.”

When we first started talking about various ways that Craig would like to reach the community with tor’cha, he spoke of creating a book that would interest the kids in his neighborhood to read. Craig is targeting urban markets on the East Coast that have programs with disadvantaged youth for a donation of books. Recently, Prodigy of Mobb Deep (who is also featured on the soundtrack – more on that later), and Voxonic Records have purchased a chunk of novels to be donated on behalf of Infamous / Voxonic to disadvantaged youth in 5-7 markets across the country.

“For me, it’s important that our youth in urban inner city communities really and truly know that knowledge is power. There’s an old saying that goes: “you want to hide something from a Black person – put it in a book!” It’s scary, but the climate we live in shows this to be true. For youth these days, it’s cool to be “stupid” in a sense; instead of being in school, getting an education, and making the long-term commitment that leads to a better life, these kids have been brainwashed to think that it’s cool to be out selling drugs, getting shot or shot at, and even more – going to jail. I wish someone would tell me what’s cool about jail! Ask anyone in jail, they’ll tell you they don’t want to be there. Check the drug dealer on the corner that’s been caught in that rut, he’ll tell you it’s not poppin’ at all. A lot of my friends as we grew up have told me how they wish they would’ve stayed in school, so that maybe they wouldn’t be stuck in the cyclical trap the hood orchestrates for keeping people locked in.”

“I wanted to give the youth in my community stories they could relate to, characters they could understand- speaking just how they speak – with the hopes that it may be a springboard for them to continue reading more complex texts, and make a way out of some of the pitfalls the hood presents on a daily basis. There’s nothing easy about escaping the clutches of the hood. For me, I made it out through reading, writing and engaging in education. So in giving back, I wanted to give youth something they could read hoping that would spark their interests to make some other choices…even if they don’t make the choice, I really want them to know there are indeed other ways.”

In addition to the brain food, readers will get some ear candy courtesy of the tor’cha soundtrack that comes with every book. The soundtrack was made for the book and sets the vibe for each chapter. It includes songs by artists like Mobb Deep, Big Twins, Truck North, Big Noyd, and production from various talents like Havoc, Bear-One, and Mr. Len.

Craig bounces around the idea of tor’cha being the first in a 3-part series, but says he isn’t sure of that. What he does know is that isn’t his last published novel and that he hopes the book reaches those that can identify and learn from his words and his life.

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c’bs alife – original thought magazine

…i told you it’d only be a second…wanted y’all to see this review from c’bs alife allah in original thought magazine…check out “the word made fresh” section for the book, then check the site real fast…

in another second…i told you it was poppin’!?!

tor’cha, the new book by Todd Craig
Written by C’BS ALife Allah

See, I check for who is advocating a book. Most books will have a list of names of people who are co-signing a book. What makes me sit up and take notice though about Todd Craig’s book are the people who are recommending it. These are some high caliber people and some of the people who I’d rather listen verses some nameless person in the New York Times. And let me also just get it out of the way…add my name to that list. In fact, put mine’s right up on the top.

The challenge with Black literature is to keep it relevant to the target audience while also securing a place in the larger body of word literature. The problem with a large part of what ‘passes’ as Back literature is that it is just fast food black (yeah a small ‘b’ on purpose) literature. It is only reflective of a small segment of Black life. It also offers nothing to that segment. It doesn’t get to the root of issues, it doesn’t connect it to larger problems, and it doesn’t offer solutions. tor’cha is that answer. It has layers that allow you to dig deeper and deeper into it. It connects with that street youth on the corner while at the same time can be found in the backpack of a college student at a historically Black college. Each layer is a meal.

I have a hard time with a lot of the current onslaught of Black literature because it either offers this idealized view of the street life or it is just so nihilistic. If you are going to show the struggle show the fortitude. Show how the person realizes and implements solutions. Also, get your writing game up. INNOVATE new forms of story telling. The same way that people like Hype Williams and Spike Lee innovated cinematic techniques with video and movies can be manifested in writing. Todd Craig has a magnetic story style that is all his own and will draw you in.

Check out the synopsis…

So you already see the brother is doing it big. Support literature by Original People. Also keep watching this spot here on Original Thought cause we’re working to get the brother to add on with us.

Check out the brother and cop his book at his website Blackerinkwells.com. Don’t play yourself. Go there now.

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gene garber letter

good peoples…my fault for not being on the radar recently…had to finish up the last doctoral push for the first year…a lot of things are taking place, but wanted to share this letter that came in on the book…it’s a real good look…

more in a second…for real…

Dear Editors,

tor’cha is a remarkable book, a credit to the writer and to the adventurousness of Swank Books. Several things give the book its special power, for me at least: 1) the mix of various idioms (African American street, biblical, formal, and maybe especially a kind of deliberately unidiomatic standard English, as though not only was my consciousness being invaded by the perceptions of another culture but so was my language); 2) the existential struggle against deprivation and ruin carried out by most of the characters; 3) the moral and religious anguish to get right and do right in a hood that has been virtually cordoned off by the dominant culture. To contain such powerful themes and feelings within a controlled work is a special credit to the writer. Virtually every minute I am reading the book I feel that I am walking through a field of potential land mines–hyperbole, angry rant, black despair, naked unrestrained polemics, etc. What I get instead is passion and at the heart of that passion faith, hope, and love–just what the good book says. Not to say that there isn’t hideous suffering and tragedy, but it seems to me never irredeemable. I am not equipped to speak about the Islamic elements–only to say that I found them engaging and moving.

I listened to the CD, out of my element. I really did like the social and political protest, but most effective for me were those few pieces in which a kind of frail melodiousness and sweetness appears briefly only to be shattered by pain, staccato. Those pieces seemed very close to the root conflicts of the book itself.

So bully for you guys and for Todd Craig. Thanks for the read and for the listen.

Stay in touch.

Eugene Garber

Author of Vienna øø

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