This is being cross posted on The Sunday Post.
I’ve been listening to Jay Z’s non-stop since yesterday and I’m still not tired of it. I use music – primarily the poetry of hip hop and calypso – in my workshops quite a bit, and can see using this one at some future time. Jay Z, who was recently inducted in to the Songwriters Hall of Fame, is one of the top lyricists in the game and in this CD (album? … whatever the kids are calling it these days), he’s in quality form (both in terms of content and craft). It’d be incorrect to think of this as just a response to Lemonade though he certainly addresses the infidelity rumours sparked by his wife Beyonce’s best record to date (in my opinion as an non-stan) – it touches on growth/change, black enterprise, sexuality, and more and is vulnerable and authentic (keeping it real in the best way). Jay was Big Pimpin a decade and a nickel ago, now he’s introspecting on who he is as a man. With this CD it feels not only like he is maturing but that hip hop itself is, as one of its most potent voices enters middle age (much like the fans who grew up on it), and expanding the conversation.
I’ve been watching Queen Sugar (an OWN original series).
I’m about a season behind (who has time to watch all these good shows they have out right now – I’m behind on everything). The pacing is sometimes slow but it’s otherwise an atmospheric, nuanced, character driven family drama. It’s hard for me to commit to any show just now but as much as I’ve been watching anything the last couple of weeks, for now, it’s this.
It rained cats and dogs (where does that expression come from anyway?) this week, so one of the writing classes I teach was cancelled (and yet I still managed to miss my nephew’s first music recital – steel pan and keyboards – but I saw the vid and he did well, no nerves at all); took on a couple of editing projects – the hustle continues.
As for the writing life, it’s not stagnant (some tweaking, some new writing, some progress on some works in progress) but not flowing as freely as I’d like it to. BUT my guest post on Wandering Educators inspired by my picture book and Caribbean fairytale With Grace went live this week; I had to give feedback on the cover in progress for the re-issue of my other picture book (and I like the direction it’s headed in); and my teen/young adult novel Musical Youth picked up some fresh reviews on goodreads, including…
“This was a really sweet story about friendship, love, family values and music, and it really felt like travelling to this little Caribbean island. It also deals with colorism within the Black community, which is a topic I haven’t read much about in books so far. So I’ve discovered cool music while reading this book, and people who love The Lion King should really listen to this.”
“Musical Youth is the first book that I have read by Joanne C. Hillhouse, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! She captured the excitement, insecurities, and elation of being part of something bigger than oneself for the first time and the extraordinary growth that comes from the experience. I look forward to reading more of Ms. Hillhouse’s books!”
Plus “We love your book!” Cherish 365 blog said on her blog about With Grace.
Always grateful for the love.
What I blogged about…
Tuvalu by Andrew O’Connor
Plus I shared this new book alert re the evolution of Caribbean literature over on my other blog
I’m still reading In Time of Need by Shakirah Bourne and Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys. They’re going well. Just not fast.
One I am looking forward to reading, but don’t have yet (that plus all the books unread on my shelf and the many more books on my to-read list). Sigh, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, so many books, so little time.