Tag Archives: Abuse

Writing My Wrongs by Shaka Senghor

Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Convergent Books
Price: $14.00
Purchase: Amazon | BN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Description

Shaka Senghor was raised in a middle class neighborhood on Detroit’s east side during the height of the 1980s crack epidemic. An honor roll student and a natural leader, he dreamed of becoming a doctor—but at age 11, his parents’ marriage began to unravel, and the beatings from his mother worsened, sending him on a downward spiral that saw him run away from home, turn to drug dealing to survive, and end up in prison for murder at the age of 19, fuming with anger and despair.
Writing My Wrongs is the story of what came next. During his nineteen-year incarceration, seven of which were spent in solitary confinement, Senghor discovered literature, meditation, self-examination, and the kindness of others—tools he used to confront the demons of his past, forgive the people who hurt him, and begin atoning for the wrongs he had committed. Upon his release at age thirty-eight, Senghor became an activist and mentor to young men and women facing circumstances like his. His work in the community and the courage to share his story led him to fellowships at the MIT Media Lab and the Kellogg Foundation and invitations to speak at events like TED and the Aspen Ideas Festival.

In equal turns, Writing My Wrongs is a page-turning portrait of life in the shadow of poverty, violence, and fear; an unforgettable story of redemption, reminding us that our worst deeds don’t define us; and a compelling witness to our country’s need for rethinking its approach to crime, prison, and the men and women sent there.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Vlog Review: https://youtu.be/ER3t-xnHgE4

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Review

Writing My Wrongs is about the power of hope, change, and redemption. It sheds light on the reality and truth of mass incarceration.

I have read many books about prison, but never as poignant, gritty, and honest as this one. This memoir provoked me in ways I had not expected.

Shaka Senghor is an inspiration and a great writer. He was born with a gift which he was able to develop during his time in solitary confinement. It was through reading and writing that he was able to heal and find himself.

His story taught me that people deserve a second chance, and should not be limited or defined by their past.

Writing My Wrongs is an important and powerful book, which touched, inspired and encouraged me. I hope it gets into the hands of the youth in public schools, detention centers, and prisons across America. I highly recommend it.

In conclusion, I want to thank Convergent for sending me this complimentary book in exchange for an honest review.

Locked up for nearly nineteen years, Shaka Senghor has used his incarceration as a vehicle for change. Through years of study and self-reflection, he has transformed himself from an uncaring “thug” into a principled, progressive man who refuses to allow his circumstances to define who he is or what he’s capable of.

Once a very angry, bitter young man, it was books that saved him from self-destructing and allowed him to see beyond the barbed-wire fences that held him captive. In an environment where hopelessness and despair grow like weeds, writing became his refuge. Eventually, he began writing creatively, tapping into the growing interest in street/hip hop literature. The author of six books and countless articles and short stories, he is inspired by revolutionary prison writers like George Jackson, Malcolm X and Donald Goines.

Whether writing street lit or poetry, Shaka speaks the truth about the oppressive conditions of the ‘hood and the not-so-glamorous side of the streets. He writes in a way that compels his readers to see the hope and humanity of a discarded generation shaped by the crack epidemic, the fall of the auto industry and the rise of the prison industrial complex. He is soon to be released and is eager to begin working with youth through gun and violence prevention programs in his hometown of Detroit.

Posted in book reviews, writing | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 1 Comment

Blaque Widow by Allison Grace

Paperback: 250 pages
Publisher: Illuminnessence Publishing
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0983048185
ISBN-13: 978-0983048183
Price: $11.99
Purchase: Amazon

 

 

 

 

 

 

Description

Taryn Durand believed in happily ever after but the man she married didnt believe in her. After being married to someone that didn’t love her or want her happiness she sought it out on her own in a way no one imagined. Taryn eventually gets her mind, body and soul right and in that she meets Asher. There’s something different about Asher yet he knows there’s something different aboout Taryn. Soon the differences that keep them apart will bring them together and they will be fighting to either stay together or live their lives separately. Will true love prevail?

Review

Blaque Widow draws you in from page one. The story is about the main protagonist, Taryn and who endures abuse by her mother, Edith, and her ex-boyfriend Trenton who happens to be sleeping with her mother.

After Taryn tears away from Trenton and her mother. She meets Devon, with the hopes things would be different and he would love her unconditionally. Sadly, after they got married, he starts to abuse her too.

It was only when Devon dies from an “accident” that Taryn was set free. She decides to join a gym and meets Asher, who becomes her personal trainer. They seem to have a connection and chemistry, however, because of all the abuse she endured, she is afraid to let him in.

Allison Grace creatively pens the consequences and affects of abuse. She exposes the self-hatred, and how abuse plays out mentally, emotionally, psychologically and physically. This story shows the extreme measures of what could happen, when abuse is not addressed and goes unchecked.

Blaque Widow is shocking, surprising and suspenseful. The story ends on a cliff hanger, and I look forward to the sequel.

Meet Allison Edwards formerly known as Essence M & now known as “Allison Grace”. The beautiful brain behind Illuminnessence Publishing, founded in  2007 by this avid writer/ reader who began her love affair with words at a tender age. Allison went on to create an extensive catalog of unpublished works including poetry & short stories.

Allison’s passion for words began in early childhood, she had always been fond of reading about life, love, poetry and short stories. As she matured, she challenged herself to hone her craft, exploring various story lines and navigating into the tumultuous world of adult relationships. Throughout her teen & young adult years she decided to put pen to paper and indulge one of her fantasies, to become a writer. Some of her favorite authors include Donald Goines, VC Andrews, Jackie Collins, Judy Blume and ZANE. This eccentric choice of novels allowed her to see different genres, writing styles and what they entailed. Each were very different and taught her a lot with regards to target audiences, story lines, and descriptions. Nothing prepared her however for her venture into Urban Literature.Allison’s first experience with Urban Lit began when she, as an avid reader received a message from one who promoted for a brand new unknown publishing company and was seeking assistance in promoting novels. Members would receive a chance to win free books and other spectacular prizes. Allison jumped at the chance and was soon an official Street Team/Pep Squad member of the “Cartel Publications” spearheaded by Essence Best-selling Author T Styles and her partner Vice President, Charisse Washington. They both would play an important role in Allison’s literary career later on as mentors.Their influences and support caused Allison to link up with KingPen A.S of HHEAT Magazine and she was able to co host a show with him featuring authors on Blog Talk Radio. Authors interviewed include K.D Harris, Jason Poole, Iesha Brown, and much more. This allowed Allison access to an industry untapped where new and established authors were able to speak with her regarding novels they wanted to promote. She then took on the responsibility of hosting her own radio show which showcased authors such as Takerra Allen, Tanisha “Mahogani P” Pettiford as well as others. During this time, Allison shamelessly continued to promote The Cartel Publications and began writing her first novel.

It is with that unwavering tenacity that we’ve arrived at this point. Allison’s first venture into self publication “Broken Promises Never Mend” became available in paperback in January 2010.  An amended version of which was released June 2010 in paperback, which features a new cover. It premiered on Amazon for Kindle, as of June 2010 as well. Allison learned various lessons while putting this novel together. Some of which she’s still learning to this day and with every novel she improves her craft and tries harder. She proved that by releasing a follow up to her debut less than a year later showing naysayers that she wasn’t a one hit wonder.

The sizzling sequel Bound By Lies debuted on Amazon for Kindle, February 2011 to rave reviews and is still causing mouths to drop with an ending that rivals its predecessor. Both novels are considered an “underground success” and were edited by Brandie Randolph of Editing Couture. Allison followed up with a novel for the streets entitled Bittersweet which showed the world that she was here to stay. During a brief hiatus, Allison published a short story series (Bitch Clique) that brought just as much drama as an entire season of “Scandal”.

Allison is currently focused on a collection of other works slated for release in 2016, under her  imprint “Full of Essence Publications”. The idea to reinvent herself came about with prayer and the desire to be so much more than she already established herself to be. In 2013, Allison Grace was signed to an independent publisher “Sevyn McCray Presents” spearheaded by Sevyn McCray and David Weaver of SBR Publications. Her novel under that imprint PrePaid Mistress debuted at number 5 on the Amazon Bestsellers list for African American women’s fiction. She followed up with the sequel Prepaid Mistress 2 and also revamped her ebook series Bitch Clique Reloaded into a full length action packed standalone. in 2015, Allison released an emotionally charged novel focusing on domestic violence and addiction entitled Blaque Widow. Allison anticipates an abundance of blessings in 2016 and beyond beginning with work on other titles she’s got in store as well as promoting authors that seek her assistance in publishing.

“I was blessed to enter this industry and know how hard it is, so the least I can do is give back.” she says with a gleam in her eye and a smile on her face. This native New Yorker prides herself in assisting others and promotes literacy to her children. This isn’t the end of Allison Grace and we can tell she’s got a long way to go but the rewards have been phenomenal.

You can follow Allison Grace on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Posted in book reviews, novels | Also tagged , , , Leave a comment

Finding Your Voice

This week was difficult. I was yet again faced with a choice, either to accept abuse or not.

You see, it would have been easier if it was a stranger, but it’s someone I love very much.

As many of you know, I am 46 years of age. I don’t act like it, I don’t look like it, but I am.

Those 46 years manifests itself through life experience.  At 26, I wouldn’t have made the decision I made this week. I would have just accepted it and continue to tolerate it.

I accepted toxic relationships and abuse. I didn’t know any better, or maybe I did, but I just didn’t know how to go about setting boundaries.  I didn’t find my voice.

Courtesy of Creative Commons

I accepted things, I made excuses and justifications for the abuse and utter disrespect, for years.

When you are subject to abuse, it starts to look normal to you. You start to think this is how life is and you settle.

However, there is a fighter in me.

Despite the put downs, disrespect, name calling, being hit, cursed and spit at, abused in every sense of the word… deep down, I knew it was wrong. I knew I didn’t deserve it. I just knew.

When I was a child, a teenager and even in my twenties, I didn’t have a voice. I was on coping mode. I was trying to make sense out of things that made no sense. I was trying to survive.

I was surviving for years, but not living. I was just trying to get from one day to the next. In a dark, dismal and lonely world. I didn’t feel loved or love.

Thanks to God, I came a long way from those days, but this week I was brutally reminded of it. I was faced again with a choice, do I just go along and accept it? Or do I say no?

As much as it hurt me, I said no. I cut ties with this person I love. I am not angry. I am not harboring resentment or unforgiveness. I simply said no.  I can love this person from afar and pray for them.

I no longer have to accept or be subject to anyone’s abuse; whether it be family, friends, associates or strangers.

I found my voice.

Have you found yours?

Posted in blogging, Healing | Also tagged , , , 3 Comments

I Could’ve Been A Contender

“You don’t understand.  I coulda had class, I coulda been a contender.

I could’ve been somebody, instead of a bum which is what I am, let’s face it.” ~ Terry Malloy

The above is taken from the movie, On The Waterfont, a poignant and powerful scene.

My godmother had told me about this movie over the weekend. So, I decided to venture over to the New York Public Library and borrow it.

The movie hit home for me because a close relative who I love very much works as a longshoreman. Actually, I have quite a number of relatives who work or have worked at the waterfront.

It’s a rough job. I’ve been privy to a lot of it based on my relatives working the docks.

They love their jobs immensely, but there is a lot that comes with it that isn’t so attractive.

This movie brings such realities to the forefront.

There is much to be said on the topic, however, this isn’t my focus.

“I could’ve been a contender.”

Have you ever felt this way in your life?  If it wasn’t for someone or something, your life would have gone differently?

I definitely feel this way. I made some wrong decisions in my life and based on those wrong decisions, my life went a different direction.

One example of this, is when I left home at the age of 19 and eloped. To me, that was the single biggest mistake I’ve ever made because I was going to college at the time and had to drop out.

I got married too young. I was immature. I was naive. I didn’t have any life experience. I should have focused on completing my college education, instead of getting married (i.e., I was married once before).

A wrong decision changed the course of my life.

I’m not sitting here dwelling on it, however, I do recognize how our decisions can pretty much make or break our lives.

“I could have been somebody.”

Yes. I truly believe I could have been somebody if I didn’t have negative associations.

In this movie, his brother was the one who sold him (Marlon Brando’s character) out.

His brother placed bets and fixed who would win. He told him it wasn’t his night. His brother’s decision destroyed his boxing career.

Which is why the above scene broke my heart. I am well aware of how one wrong move, by a person or a bad decision, can change the course of someone’s life forever.

I am grateful the Lord gives us second chances. I don’t know where I would be today if He didn’t.

Have you seen this movie? If so, what did you think of it? Also, has God given you a second chance?

Posted in blogging | Also tagged , , , , , , , 6 Comments