Some Lessons For Aspiring Writers Everywhere » VSB

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Some Lessons For Aspiring Writers Everywhere

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Last week, I set my momma up for the fall. Not on purpose, of course, but the end result was the same nonetheless. I took an assumption – my mother MIGHT vote for Trump – and couched it in two stories that without context (and for some people, even with context) painted my mother in a less than stellar light. Not to mention that the piece didn’t have an ask or create much in the way of conversation in the way I wanted it too. What started out, in my mind, as a discussion about family members with significant ideological differences, ended up being a personal statement about my mother where others filled in the blanks that I left wide open.

I pretty much said this: My mother is probably a Trump supporter and makes inappropriate statements at inappropriate times in a racial nature while attempting to prove a point full of blind spots about Black people. My mother is a ___________.

Folks here at VSB were super respectful and I appreciate that. From the heart. On Facebook, however, it was a different story. I can’t tell you how many people approached me offline to ask me why I wrote the piece, or more commonly, what was the piece’s point? Including family. To be fair, I got several other people who also said that they appreciated it because it raised questions for them in their own families, etc. We all have family and they’re not all perfect. The difference is that I put my mother on blast without any defense. I pretty much pulled the goalie then put the ball in front of the goal. Then scored an own-goal. Three times.

I know what I was trying to do; I failed at it. And because I’m evolved, I’m always looking for the lessons, and there are plenty to be taken away from that episode. Learning never stops and its important to pay it all forward. With that being said, and for you aspirational writers, and even those who submit pieces to us here at VSB, I’d like to talk about a few lessons that were learned here.

1. Writing is reading (and re-writing).

One of the most important things you can do when you write something is re-read it. Over and over. At this point, I’ve moved past the point where I re-read things I write four and five times. However, it bit me in the ass last week. Typically, I write something, do a quick scan for easy edits (I fail on copyediting many times, sue me…actually don’t) and then post it when I’m done. I trust myself as a writer (both a gift and a curse at times) to convey what I’m trying to get across. I’m a pretty stream of consciousness writer as it is, so most pieces I write work best when I just let them bitches breathe. It’s also why I spend a lot of time writing things less based on what’s in the news and more based on what I feel or matters to me at the moment. I provide that balance here to Damon’s immediate delivery on the day’s happenings. For instance, many of y’all were probably wondering where the hell a piece on Lena Dunham’s cry-baby Darth Becky ass was or is. Damon typically would have been on that like white on rice, which is all pun everything. Thing is…

…you know what? You see what I just did there. I did what I normally do. I just go where my mind takes me, which can be so far from where I started that I head in a totally different direction. For me, it usually works. But it isn’t a style that works for everybody. Basically I stray. And I stray and I stray. I will re-read that one day and cringe, by the way. Also, that rhymed.

Point here is, when you write something, re-read it to make sure that you get your point across. Hell, make sure you have a point. There’s a difference between having a voice and just plain ole talking. That piece last week? I was just talking. Don’t just talk unless its in your journal or to a stripper.

2. Context is everything.

We all know this. Many of us fail at this often. In fact, I’d bet most people think they’re great communicators when the truth is, most people are shitty at the art of communication. We often expect others to fill in the blanks or use all of the context clues or just be willing to give us the benefit of the doubt. And no diggety, I got a lot of that with what I wrote. Because we have the luxury of being many years in the game and lots of people feel like they know us, some of the things we write here are given significant benefit of the doubt and buttressed by the history that people have with us or know about us.

People have asked me, in a very personal fashion, about my mother, family, etc. based on from things posted on IG or Facebook. When somebody feels they know you and have some grounding in who you are they treat you differently than they do if they don’t know you. Here on VSB, I feel like I got the respect treatment because folks know me. On Facebook, when a post gets shared thousands of times and ends up on the timelines of people who still don’t know about VSB (the horror!), you get somebody coming at you sideways. And it’s not their fault. It’s my own fault for not providing enough context where context was definitely needed, especially in a piece ALREADY brimming with heat.

Even though context is everything…

3. Some shit is just unnecessary to put into a piece because it takes away more than it adds, context or not.

Look, I shared two stories that were pretty innocent on their face in the real world. They were nowhere near as bad as they came across. They were also two personal moments between my mother and I that really didn’t help matters at all or needed to be shared. I presented them as part of a piece that ALREADY had a super negative lean so it didn’t help matters at all. Had I really done a thorough reading of what I had written, I likely would have started to expand on them, or smartly, taken them both out. They’re funny stories to me because of how they happened. But y’all don’t know my mother. My friends do, and they remember those things.

But if you don’t know my mother OR me as well as you might need to in order to understand how that can happen, then it just sounds like my mother is ridiculous. And a racist. And I’m not here trying to change minds or hearts, I’m saying that the lesson for writers is to make sure that when you add a story to something you write, you make sure its relevant and gets across the right idea or point. And if you can’t do it right, just don’t do it. Less is more isn’t just a saying, it’s real.

Of course, if my piece had a point in the first place, then maybe those stories could have been legit jumping off points for discussion, but alas, they didn’t so most people did their best to dance around saying what they really wanted to say but because of the respect factor and laid off the button.

Nothing I’ve said here is ground-breaking. In fact, it’s all common sense. However, we can all stand to be reminded of that every so often. For those of us who write and are ultimately the last word on what goes up on an outlet, it’s an important reminder. Damon and I have the benefit of all of the freedom in the world to post what we want. Since there’s nobody yaying or naying things, there are times when things we put up, whether written by us or others,  don’t go the way we want for various reasons. It’s important to revisit how the way something is framed dictates the entire tone of the conversation following. I didn’t forget that, but I got lazy with that. And I  need to remind myself to do better.

So for those of you who write and enjoy the art of written word, just remember this: Write drunk; edit sober. And re-read your shit.

But most importantly, don’t set up your momma.

As always, thanks, Obama.

Panama Jackson

Panama Jackson is pretty fly (and gorgeous) for a light guy. He used to ship his frito to Tito in the District, but shipping prices increased so he moved there to save money. He refuses to eat cocaine chicken. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. Most importantly, he believes the children are our future. You can hit him on his hitter at panamadjackson@gmail.com.

  • QueenAnnaT

    First… “But most importantly, don’t set up your momma.” End of statement and ditto.

    Two: I am a stream of conscious writer, too. I can’t help it. Even in text messages, which is why I can send a 8 texts in a row and they sound just how I speak.. (ellipses and all).

    With that said, I often need someone else to read my work before I publish it or send it to a client. Even after I’ve written and rewritten. Read and reread. Edited and reedited. It all sounds good and makes sense to me. Then someone else will come along and say, “I didn’t think it bothered you,” or “I think the recommendation is valid, but you may need to beef up XYZ.”

    Whatever it is just…

    Don’t set up your mama.

    • TeeChantel

      “Two: I am a stream of conscious writer, too. I can’t help it. Even in text messages, which is why I can send a 8 texts in a row and they sound just how I speak.. (ellipses and all).”

      YES to all of this. Text messages should be full and complete sentences. Don’t hit me with no, “wat u doing?” or even worse, “WYD?”

      • QueenAnnaT

        I don’t even respond. GM, GN, HRU, HBD, ARB, WYD… nope, nope, and nope. If we are over 30, I need you to not go beyond a LMAO. Thanks, Management.

        • TeeChantel

          Ewwww, GM and GN just irks my soul. I absolutely hate it. Well, I secretly hate Good Morning texts anyway.

          • QueenAnnaT

            I am notorious for sending a Good morning text at 5:12AM. Make ’em feel special. LOL

        • It ‘s like saying “I want you to know that I’m thinking about you, just not enough to type that out.”

          • QueenAnnaT

            HBD KILLS me. Like, really. It’s my birthday, You can’t TYPE out Happy birthday…

            …to the most beautiful girl in the world. Thank you for letting me in your presence and help you celebrate this marvelous day that the Lordt has made.

        • LMNOP

          Thx is a personal pet peeve of mine. Those extra three letters would kill you?

  • TheCollinB

    Re: write drunk, edit sober

    What is it about being under the influence that unlocks the swag and therefore causes the swag to be unlocked. I’ve seen it to be true for most creatives that great ideas come from places of intoxication (liquor, drogas, s e x). I’m not saying this is the case for anyone under the influence because I do believe you’ve gotta have the gift to be creative in ways that most people aren’t, but when that gift is paired with the right substance people make some dope work. Always thought it was interesting.

  • Write Drunk
    Edit sober
    Re-read

    Got it!

    • Drunk writing is the best. Just don’t hit send or publish until the morning.

      • Val

        “Just don’t hit send or publish until the morning.”

        But that’s the hard part. It’s like not calling that person you have so much to say to while you’re drunk until tomorrow. What? Huh? Who has that much self-control?

        • Kas

          You do I’m sure

          • Val

            I do now but….

            • Kas

              Was young Val out wilding in dem streets?

              • Val

                I guess it depends on your definition of wilding. In general I was pretty tame. But I had my moments.

        • Cheech

          There should be Breathalyzer lock for the “Send” button.

          • Now go and make millions…

          • Val

            And the telephone. Lol

        • I know myself. If I wrote it down drunk, I probably need to tone it down later.

          • Val

            Thing is, the times I’ve written while buzzed it was good stuff but I felt very vulnerable when it came to anyone else seeing it. Being buzzed melts away the inhibitions and also the ego. So, many times you end up with very revealing and heartfelt writing.

            But, if you edit it while sober you’re liable to take all of the soul out of it. Therein lies the dilemma.

            • This is so true. Luckily if I’m hungover enough I let most of the “me” through. I find it hard to edit for that very reason. My grammar and spelling are easy but I have to keep my voice. It’s what makes my writing fun for me and I believe my readers, too.

            • Tambra

              That’s so true about revealing too much when you are buzzed. A friend of mine revealed the true state and origins of his marriage while buzzed. We were all chatting and he had drank a bit too much, we tried to stop him but it still fell out. He was mad for a months after, because of embarrassment, especially since he was more my friend than the other 3 person who were present.

              • NonyaB

                LOL, homie better curb his intake with “outside company” next time, then!

                • Tambra

                  A that point he was trying to discourage us about marriage. So the natural question was why are you still married. Then it all fell out. Once we kinda saw where it was going we tried to change the topic but no, he continued. Then got upset that he revealed too much.

            • Buzzed writing feels sooo gooooood. Editing is another necessary skill you have to work on. Like knowing where to put a semi colon. Or how to stop ending sentences with prepositions.

              • Kas

                Where they do that at?

                • Nik White

                  At the house.

                • NonyaB

                  Hah, how apropos.

                  • Kas

                    I wear the pants in the family not the apron. Wait, what, maybe I should Google

              • LMNOP

                This is fascinating to me, I have never really tried drinking with quiet activities like writing.

                • Kas

                  I have never tried writing.

      • #Facts
        Not publishing until the following morning has saved my a ss on grammatical errors and the use of actual names, lol

  • Roz Cat

    Not sure if this a mea culpa for perceived bad writing, a bad idea or just bad execution, but fwiw, I thought the original piece was good. Had a kind of heart and vulnerability absent in the online writing world of hot takes and click bait. With some humor, it touched on an emotionally charged subject in an arena that will be ever-growing as we all are becoming more transparent. connected and polarized at the same time.

    • panamajackson

      Thank you. I try to allow who I am to bleed into my writing. I’m not sure it’s a mea culpa in total, moreso, I should have paid a bit more attention to effectively get across a point.

  • MsCee

    Happens to the best of us. I’ve found myself telling stories to my coworkers about my mother. Never thought anything of it until one day my coworker met my mom and was VERY withdrawn. i asked her what was up and she told me that the stories I’d told about my mom had painted her in a certain light and in turn she felt some type of way towards my MOM! I say all this to say, we love the people in our family and know they (usually) mean no harm, outsiders do NOT know our family the way we do and may see their POV or behavior as offensive etc.

    • Mochasister

      This is very true. Be very careful about what you share with others.

  • panamajackson

    I’m going to go ahead and throw something in here since we often get people in the comments who want to submit something. And I mean this in the nicest way possible: just because you send it, doesn’t mean it’s going up.

    None of it is personal. But Damon and I try to read through all of the submissions we get. Sometimes we just don’t like stuff we get. If we do, we typically try to put it up. We have had epic debates about some posts. But ultimately, whether something goes up really is a decision we’re making and it’s never personal. There are several factors we look at that determine whats going up on VSB when it’s submitted.

    With that being said, if you feel that you have something you’d like to submit, PITCH IT.

    Again. PITCH IT.

    That means send us an email and let us know what it is that you are thinking about writing. I don’t need a 500 word explanation of what it is and why you think it will work. It’s not that formal. But I don’t want you to be upset when you write up a piece and send it and it sits in purgatory because we don’t necessarily intend to publish something. I try to get back to folks with edits, helpful advice, etc – several of your compadres can attest to this – so I try to be as “mentorful” as possible when necessary, and no I don’t think I’m yoda, but this is my house and whatnot. I try not to just say no, is the point.

    Again, shoot your shot. As a writer, I’m glad we have a community of people who like to write and who want to give it a shot. Don’t let fear stop you. Be awesome. But be clear, just because you send it, doesn’t mean its going up. We have a sincere and tremendous amount of respect for our community. Quite a few of the folks we have writing for us WE solicited right out of the comments. Believe it or not, some of those folks even turned us down.

    Point is, shoot your shot. But don’t be afraid to miss. Nobody hits all their shots. But you miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.

    • And we should send these e-mails to….

      • panamajackson
        • [Insert Creative Name Here]

          Suggestion: Can you all make a page that describes what you posted above so that people can access this information in the future? It would be difficult to find this particular comment in a sea of daily posts and seemingly endless comments. Maybe put it in the About Us section: “Here’s how to be a guest author on VSB and $hit”

          • panamajackson

            Yeah, we’ve been meaning to do something like that. We’ve just never gotten around to it, but you’re right.

            • [Insert Creative Name Here]

              The comment was very thorough so now all you gotta do is copy & paste. :-)

    • Nik White

      And so how did TheColorPurpleandComingtoAmericaain’treallygoodblackmovies post make it again?

      • Well it was provocative and indeed got the people going.

        • MsCee

          I see what you did there.

        • panamajackson

          You’re not wrong. Folks are entitled to their opinions. Just because it’s on VSB doesnt necessarily mean we agree with the opinion, but provocative and gets the people going is hard to look past.

      • QueenAnnaT

        They wanted to set him up for the greatest comeback. He HAS to have something major brewing.

        OR

        VSB was hacked.

        • Nik White

          Tell me somethin! Had this born in Watts, raised in Detroit, graduated from an HBCU, VSS questioning her Black entertainment choices and cultural influences. Hmpt.

          • MsCee

            Right, like “have I been wrong about…everything?” Should I really have attended an HBCU? Do I really need to forgo my beloved creamy crack? Are Black girls really magic? What other bad choices have I made in life if all of my go to movies are on “The List?”

            • Nik White

              We really are magic.

          • Law Ware

            Nah.

            It was a tongue in cheek list. I don’t take myself that seriously.

            While I will maintain the importance of black filmmakers, we are all going to disagree about aesthetics.

            Blackness is hard to define–what constitutes a black film does not escape this.

            • Nik White

              Touche`

      • Kas

        ….

      • Other_guy13

        QTNA

      • miss t-lee

        Uh oh.

      • cakes_and_pies

        We’re verbose and opinionated.They know what makes a 1,500+ comment post

        • panamajackson

          Honestly, when I saw how many comments it got, I was actually surprised. I expected a good amount of discussion. Not that much.

          • 2520greatyear

            Last piece before a holiday wknd helped

          • LMNOP

            A great way to get a lot of comments is to be wrong.

    • TheCollinB

      I think I tried to pitch the idea of me learning how to do a backflip as a 6-4 280lb male solely from watching YouTube videos, but I never heard anything back.
      So I’m asking here, can I get the green light and will you post it?

      • Kas

        Are you really 280?

        • TeeChantel

          and 6-4? QTNA.
          And if he wasn’t already married.

          • miss t-lee

            Ask the important questions.

            • TeeChantel

              I mean…for research.

              • miss t-lee

                *cackling*

              • Nik White

                He might have a brothercuzinnephew of the same dimensions and didn’t somebody say shoot yo shot?

                • TeeChantel

                  I’m tall. It’s rare that tall men go for tall women.

                  • Kas

                    Are you over 6′?

                    • TeeChantel

                      In heels, yes. I’m 5 9. That’s tall in the MD/DC area.

                    • kingpinenut

                      imma pretend like i ain’t even read that

                    • TeeChantel

                      Where is the lie tho

                    • kingpinenut

                      No lie…my mind just went places from whence it needs to return….

                      carry on!

                    • Kas

                      That is a nice height.

                    • Nik White

                      I was out with a taller girlfriend and we were approached by some men. The one that was at my girls bust line wouldn’t even look my way.

                  • I generally go for tall women, so there’s that…

                    • TeeChantel

                      My ex was 6 6. So it happens, but it’s rare. Honestly, I prefer someone tall, at least over 6 feet.

                    • NonyaB

                      Amen from fellow long girl!

                    • But us shorties keep scooping them up! #SorryNotSorry

                    • Tambra

                      Verically challenged girl Power!

                    • TeeChantel

                      That’s cool. I never said I had a problem :-)

                    • MsSula

                      I realized the privilege of being a short girl: we got options. I can date from 5’5 onwards! That’s a lot more men than starting at 6’1 or so…

                    • O

                      I’m 5’6.5″ and there’s a guy I like that’s 5’4″. We’ll he likes me more than him. But I can’t seem to get over it…

                    • Nik White

                      Well years ago I overheard a man say to his boy on the bus, “Well it’s all the same (or it all matches up)when you’re lying down.”

                    • Mochasister

                      How tall are you?

                    • Tambra

                      Are you tall?

                    • TeeChantel

                      Todd is like 6 5, I think.

                    • Tambra

                      Oh he is excused then

                    • Mochasister

                      Damn!

                  • Aly

                    This is true.

          • TheCollinB

            QTNA?

            • Kas

              Questions that need answers

            • Cheech

              Questions that need answers

          • Mochasister

            You like those tall drinks of water, too? Lol! I peeped that height thing as well.

        • TheCollinB

          I am

          • Kas

            The VSS’s have a form they are trying to get you to complete below. I didn’t have the heart to tell them you are married.

            • TeeChantel

              We already know he’s married.

              • Brooklyn_Bruin

                Traditional African marriage arrangements…..*trails off in Nag Champa haze*

                • Val

                  Life would be very interesting if that were the case. As long as both parties have veto power.

                  • Brooklyn_Bruin

                    Life would be horrible for 80% of men.

                    And that old school Mormons and some Muslims abide by plural marriage, and that creates a grip of useless young men.

                    Plus, you ever try to keep two chicks happy? Only so much playing Keisha off of Neicy. They will get together and scratch up your 2001 Honda Accord. Or so I’ve heard

                    • There was a whole documentary about what happens to the useless young men cast out due to being deemed excess from the plural marriages: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sons_of_Perdition_(film)

                    • Buster Cannon

                      “Within the FLDS Church in the border towns of Colorado City, Arizona, and Hildale, Utah, under the severe rule of prophet Warren Jeffs, hundreds of teenage boys were exiled from their homes and families among the FLDS faithful for infractions such as wearing short-sleeved shirts, listening to music or talking to girls.”

                      http://i.imgur.com/EfnKUS5.gif

                    • It boils down to FLDS members being the real #creepsquad. Kinda hard to marry a 15 year old girl if she has a boyfriend. But if all the options are off in Salt Lake City, Phoenix and Vegas trying to survive on the streets, it’s open season!

                    • Saw that doc. F*ckin’ Mormons….

                    • Val

                      Who said anything about plural marriage? I was talking about the arranged part.

                    • Brooklyn_Bruin

                      *shutters like an old Leica*

                    • Mochasister

                      Off topic but why do so many people use Keisha for the generic Black woman’s name around here? I’m genuinely curious. Why not Danielle or Michelle?

                    • Kas

                      Not sure how to respond. Are you American?

                    • Mochasister

                      African-American, Negro, Colored, and the perennial favorite Black. ;^)

                    • Kas

                      I’m 50. Growing up Keisha was a more like name for a girl than Danielle or Michelle. Honestly I don’t think of Danielle or Michele as common names for any race. Are they?

                    • Mochasister

                      Not too far behind you. It’s just funny but the name Keisha has been popping up here a lot lately. It’s going to be funny when all of the -isha girls hit old age and wind up in the nursing home together. “Miss Tanisha, would you like some tapioca pudding?” No, baby. Give it to Miss Keisha over there. “

                    • JanuaryBabe

                      Keisha works because in comedy words starting with the letter “k” are funnier. For example you would use Kmart instead of Walmart.

                    • Mochasister

                      So what you’re saying is you find Keishas to be a joke, huh? Lol! I have never heard of this before. Interesting.

                    • Brooklyn_Bruin

                      Cause both of those names don’t evoke imagery. And going with “LaQuisha” suggests something more nefarious.

                      Jay, Dre, Smoky, Junebug, Peanut, Darnell, Tyrone

                      Versus

                      Mike

                  • DM.

                    My uncle back in EA is married to two women (sisters, actually)
                    Polygamy just doesn’t work from what i’ve seen lol

                    • kingpinenut

                      look yo….just readin that made me want to cry….

                      two wives …..lawdamussy

                    • DM.

                      Right? Its such a messy situation. He had to buy them both separate houses (in really upscale areas btw), and whatever he buys one wife (like cars) he has to buy the other. The first wife still gets a social one-up over the 2nd though (and is considered senior in every respect)
                      Summary = doesn’t work, only hoteps think it’s a good idea

                    • miss t-lee

                      I could definitely see how this would be a perpetual problem.
                      And, folks wanna act like this is the answer.
                      Pshhhh

                    • Mochasister

                      And the sad thing is some of those folks are women. I wish some man would ask me to be in that type of “relationship”….

                    • miss t-lee

                      Exactly.

                    • kingpinenut

                      One, I just don’t have that much love. Two, I couldn’t love them both equally…..

                      so…. um…nah

                    • NonyaB

                      It’s one thing to be polygamous but sisters though?! Lawdt.

                    • Kas

                      Sisters? Why does you Uncle have so much self hate? Are they at least twins?

                    • SISTERS????!!!!!

            • miss t-lee

              We already know that.

            • Nik White

              Even YOU asked if he was really 280. Let us live Kas. I’m involved with a similar type of specimen and he ain’t do no back flips. Again receipts.

          • kingpinenut

            Let em know…just cause a dude is heavy don’t mean he ain’t flexible.

            I tend to focus on yoga ( == less time in the hospital ) but do your thang!

      • Nik White

        Just post a video here. That’s a whole lotta VSB to be flipping. We need receipts.

        • TheCollinB

          I’m 100% confident I’ll have this skill by the end of 2016

          • Kas

            Is it a backflip or back handspring you are trying to master?

            • TheCollinB

              Flipper. I acknowledge I’ll probably have to start by flipping off something first.

          • Nik White

            I’m 5″2 and 100% confident that I won’t have this skill by the end of 2016.

            • TheCollinB

              Will you settle for a strong cartwheel? Don’t let 2016 go without achieving something of importance!

              • LMNOP

                I’m calling not making a foolish appearance in the emergency room my achievement.

                • TheCollinB

                  You’re clearly not trying to live your best life, alphabets!

                  • LMNOP

                    I mean, at least I’m trying not to die…

                    • Kas

                      We’ll there is only one way off this plane of existence.

                    • Nik White

                      At least not in 2016.

              • Nik White

                Yessir!

              • Nik White

                Umm no. I’ll have to achieve something else that doesn’t involve possible paralysis.

            • brothaskeeper

              6′, 200 lbs. I can barely jump rope.

    • Brooklyn_Bruin

      If it’s anything like needle dropping records/demos from Lil Pookie n’nem, I can imagine a whole lot of cringe.

      “F-Boy protocol – A smart black woman’s guide to dating”

      “Why these broads need to get they mind right in 2016 – a retort to said protocol”

      “She said “and I put that on all my kids”, during the middle management meeting” aka how to corral the only other black person at your fortune 500 gig so you have one other voice of reason”

      “I brought my non black but not white partner to my uncle’s annual spades and tunk bbq weekend….oh and I came out at the same time.”

      “Why did they do Mr. Eko like that in Suicide Squad…and is Jada letting Will Smith….do you know what with Margot Robbie?”

      “I married a Kappa and still I rise”

      “Why you should have the boogie monsters in your top 20 groups of all time”

      “A Hotep’s guide to Turkey Bacon”

      “Convincing your SO that you can’t afford for them to go back to school for a master’s in social work”

      • DM.

        “I brought my non black partner to the annual family bbq” would actually be an a amazing one (if done well + from the perspective of a black woman, that would be an even better twist.)
        I hope i worded this right.

        • Brooklyn_Bruin

          It’s worded so folks can imagine who they want. And also, you can come out as atheist, or Ether was better than Takeover

          • But Ether became a verb off the strength of that song!

            • Brooklyn_Bruin

              Again making something a hot line, not a hot song.

              Smarten up Nas!

        • Mochasister

          I can one up you on this. “When your cousins non-Black girlfriends prepare the food at your Black family reunion.” Yes, this did happen.

      • “I married a Kappa and still I rise!” sounds hilarious! Though I can only imagine the shenanigans PJ and Damon get in their inbox. LOL

      • Val

        Lol @ the last one. Sounds like a real life BB situation.

        • Other_guy13

          Sounds like a real life situation for some folks I know…but I stay out of it.

      • blueevey

        For what it’s worth, California has the title 4 e program for msw’s. You get 18.5k/yr for school. You have to do a concentration in child welfare, it may have expanded to mental health recently, and then “payback” the stipend by working for 2 yrs in child welfare somewhere in the state.

        It’s a sweet deal considering grad school is paid for and you’re pretty much guaranteed a job afterwards. Minus the whole being a cps worker and whatnot.

        • Brooklyn_Bruin

          Nurses and teachers bring their work home…a child welfare worker? Man alive

          • Other_guy13

            Teachers need to be paid more for the work they put in. Social Worker..idk

            • Val

              What do you have against social workers?

              • Kas

                I think he was implying the opposite . . . beyond his ability to put a price on it.

              • Other_guy13

                Nothing at all. Just my observation.

            • Mochasister

              I am a teacher. And I approve this message.

        • Dera

          I wish someone would have mentioned this to me when I enrolled in grad school

      • LMNOP

        Licensed clinical social workers make good money, some places have grad assistantships where they cover your tuition. If that’s a real life situation, I’d look at all the possible paths before closing the dream down.

        • Other_guy13

          Yea but do you really need a Masters in it if you dont plan to teach? Idk much about the profession other than I dated a few and the all had a bachelor’s and did pretty well.

          • LMNOP

            Yes, you need a masters to become a licensed clinical social worker and do counseling and be able to bill insurances and medicaid. Most health care professionals need graduate level professional education. There is a BSW option, but you can’t do much with it, and you sure won’t make much with it.

      • Other_guy13

        This kappa shade keeps going…

        • Kas

          Are you a Kappa?

          • Other_guy13

            No thanks…I just find it really funny the shade continues

      • MsSula

        That last one sounds mad personal. Loll.

    • Yeaaaaaaaah buddy!

  • Val

    I agree with Cog and Roz Cat, I enjoyed the piece. It’s nice to veer off the beaten path of the usual posts I see around the internets and read something personal that isn’t really trying to make a political point, etc. Just something that says; I’m human and this is part of my human existence.

    So, despite the push-back you received from some, please don’t be gun-shy about sharing in the future.

    • panamajackson

      I appreciate that. And i doubt I’ll be gunshy. I’ll probably just try to be clearer. But gunshy ain’t my method.

  • Objection

    I know what I was trying to do; I failed at it.

    I thought you were trying to do a remix to Tupac’s Dear Mama. It wasn’t a bad peace, but I thought Tupac did a better job.

    • Tupac did a lot of things better than most of us

    • panamajackson

      You know what, that might be the most introspective thing I’ve read on VSB in years.

      • Allen Temple

        Did you write that Phyllis Hyman article in panache?

      • LadyJay?

        Lol.

  • The weaknesses of your mother post are what generally makes you a good writer. No one bats 1.000

  • 2520greatyear

    Your mom never seemed ridiculous or racist to me. Some people get vaginitis over politics. . .and plantation jokes. Keep doin ur thing thing. And please do not over edit. I would rather be intrigued or annoyed than bored.

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