addendum to Elnora (age six)

The last night was fish night. Regardless of the weather, unless it rained, we always cooked our fish outside in a big black pot. The pot would always be filled with sizzling hot lard and there would be a blistering hot fire underneath. A grownup, wearing thick gloves, would place the fish in an iron filter with a long iron handle that was wood on the end. After the fish cooked, it would be brought up to drain and placed on a plat
Uncle Jerry drop by to get some fish. His girlfriend went on a bus trip to New Orleans to gamble and he was hungry. Uncle Jerry did not attend any services, nevertheless, he wanted to know how Evangelist Woo found his stay in our home. Dad walked by and told Evangelist Woo to ignore anything his baby brother had to say because everything that came out of his mouth was a lie. Uncle Jerry had been drinking and the smell of alcohol lit up the entire yard. Uncle Jerry retorted, well, sometimes I do tend to stretch the truth. However, I tell you for a truth something my father told me. Now, if I’m lying, I’m flying, and I haven’t flapped a wing all day. Uncle Jerry declared his father told him back in “the day” many colored folk couldn’t read. The church had line readers who read a line of a hymnal and collectively the people would sing what the leader allegedly read.
One night he left his eyeglasses at home. At that time people called them spectacles. His grandfather revealed to the congregation: My eye are dim, I can not see, I’ve left my specks at home. The people started singing “My -a-eyes–a-eyes are dim- e-dim- . I can-not seeeeee. I’ve left- my specks -eks at hommmmme”. Grandpapa tried to stop them. He cried, No. No, I’ve really left my specks at home. The people went right on singing “No, noooo, I’ve real-y left my specks at hommmme. Grandpapa was so disgusted, he said, Aw shucks, and sat down. After church, that pastor told him to be careful what he said in church. The way he said shucks could be mistaken for a cuss word and some of the women may be offended. Gramps said he said, Aw shucks Pastor, You’ve got to be kidding. At that point, the pastor asks him to leave the church and never return. Later he received a letter stating he was formally dis-fellowshipped. Daddy exclaimed: He’s lying! Uncle Jerry quietly stated: Explain to me why Daddy and none of the other Chambers in our family never go to Saint John Baptist Church. Daddy walked away mumbling, he’s lying.
Uncle Jerry turned to Evangelist Woo and said, I can tell you about a friend of mine called Buffalo. Aunt Mable said: Don’t tell him that story. Uncle Jerry said why. You’ve not stopped me from telling it before! Uncle Jerry turned back to Evangelist Woo and started again. Here is the story. One day my friend Buffalo and me went to the state fair. We rode everything we could and when we were near exhaustion, Buff saw a man doing tricks. The magician was standing there talking to a crowd of people. Buff wanted to go over and watch the man. I said no Buff, let’s go home. Nevertheless, Buff persevered, so we went in a little closer. The magician asked a man for his watch. The illusionist amazed the crowd when he got the watch from a lady’s ear. They were even more astonished when another man volunteered his watch and did not get it back. The magician told him: That was the mess he had to watch at a state fair. The magician asked for another volunteer. Buff had just that day bought a new expensive watch. I begged Buff not to fool with that illusionist. However, Buff wouldn’t listen. He gave his brand new expensive watch to that magician. The Magician swallowed Buff’s brand new expensive watch. Buff waited for him to give it back. However, he did not. He told Buff: That’s the mess at a fair you have to watch. Buff pulled out his new 44 and pointed it at the magician head and said: No, that’s the watch you had better mess at this-hear fair or you will find your brains on these-here grounds. The Police came and got poor Buff and I never heard from Buff or that magician again. Now that’s the truth.
Aunt Mable said, un hum. Here’s your fish sandwich, some slaw and chips. Now go home with your drunk, lying self. You are a lazy, worthless, lying, idle, son of….Uncle Jerry interrupts her in mid sentence and said: Watch yourself. Evangelist Woo is about to see the real you come out. Uncle Jerry said un-hum as he walked away with a duck like gait. That is a Christian for you. Uncle Jerry told Aunt Mable: When you get to heaven, I bet you get a rusty old halo, a skinny white cloud, some second hand wings full of patches. Aunt Mable snapped: Yea! I bet you don’t even get to heaven. She then twirled around and walked into the house as she said: I hate that black, horny, lying, drunk man. Uncle Jerry replied: Un-hum, that’s a church loving, preach-eer loving woman for you! As Uncle Jerry continued to walk away, Evangelist Woo asked: What’s wrong with loving your church or your preacher? Uncle Jerry answered: I love my dog. Evangelist Woo said: I have a dog and I love him too. What is wrong with that? Uncle Jerry asked: Do you love him more than your wife? Evangelist Woo said, I don’t have a wife. My family will find one for me before I go home. Here in America you have an interesting custom of selecting your own mates based on love. Yet, you have the highest rate of divorces in the world. Is that really working? Uncle Jerry turned his head to the side, put his finger to his head, thought for a moment, then said: I don’t really know. You are just like Chester. How is that, questioned Evangelist Woo. Old Chester had many questions concerning pretty girls. Evangelist Woo told Uncle Jerry: As I have said repeatedly, women’s faces are covered in my country. In that way, men are not tempted to commit adultery. Uncle Jerry said speaking of adultery, come a little closer. I moved a little closer behind a tree so I could hear. Uncle Jerry told him a tale about his father’s father. He said Grandpa Chamber was Nigger Rich. That was an expression acceptable in “that day”. He owned a Tobacco Plantation up in North Carolina. A few Negros were free to own land and have a business. All of his workers lived in the shotgun houses owned by Grandpa Chamber free of charged. Grandpa Chamber had a girlfriend too. Grandma Rosa Lee (his wife) did not know about the girlfriend until after his death. One Sunday afternoon, after Grandpa Chamber’s death, Grandma Rosa Lee was lonely. Bubo, one of her sons decided to take out old Betsy and the carriage to take his mother for a little buggy ride. They went all around the plantation visiting all of the workers until Rosa Lee got tired. They headed home. Bubo was a little tired too so he turned the reins a loose, climbed in the buggy with his mother and told Old Betsey take us home. They both went to sleep. When they woke up, they were under the Apple Tree outside Grandpa’s girlfriend house. Grandma Rosa Lee asks Bubo was this some kind of a crazy, sick joke. If so, it was not very funny. Bo said: No Ma! Papa came here all the time. We were so close, Old Betsey thought this is where we wanted to go.
Evangelist Woo said: Yes, this is why women’s faces are covered. men are not tempted to commit adultery. Uncle Jerry said: Yes, but that would not work here in America, especially with Black Women. We can not do that. We are not that far away from slavery. Our women are skeptical of anyone who wants them cover their face. Then Uncle Jerry said: I have enjoyed talking to you. When you come back to America and you are in Alabama, look me up. Evangelist Woo said I will do just that. May the Lord bless you and keep you. May his face shine upon you and give you peace until we meet again. they shook hands and Uncle Jerry went home.

The Sunday after Evangelist Woo left, again it was my turn to take a bath. I took too long and mother came in to hurry me along so the household could stay on schedule. Mother asked if I had washed everywhere. I told Mom I had washed up as far as Possible and I had washed down as far as possible. Aunt Katherine asked if I had washed possible. I told Mom I didn’t understand the question. Momma came in washed my hair, face, under arms, bottom (front & back) legs and feet (even between my toes). As she cleaned me, she said I do not want you to smell like Momma Lucy. Momma Lucy was her mother-in-law and our grandmother who had died before I was born. All of her children, grandchildren and neighbors’ children called her Momma Lucy. Mom told me early in her marriage, Momma Lucy went in the kitchen to cook breakfast when she smelled a foul odor. Momma Lucy looked down near the sink for the odor, but she couldn’t find it. She looked up in the kitchen cabinets, but she still couldn’t locate it’s origin. Momma Lucy told everybody she could not find the odor but it was getting louder near the sink. Momma Lucy stoop down to get a better sniff when she recognized the odor came from her. Momma Lucy screamed: Lawdy, Lawdy, it’s me! Oh, Lawdy, Lawdy! I got out of the bathtub and Momma wiped me off. She told me to go to my room and put on my Sunday slip, Sunday under ware, Sunday dress and Sunday socks & shoes. Later Momma came in and combed my hair and put me on Sunday Ribbons. Everybody said I looked cute in all of my Sunday stuff.

second addendum to Elnora at eight.

I had another birthday party. All of my girlfriends spent the night. Lemon asks my Mom if he could spend the night too. Mom is such a sweetie pie. Of course she said yes he could visit Bay Brother. Aunt Ruby always read us a story at bed time whither we had company or not. Bay Brother was invited to our room for the read. Bay Brother and Lemon were on their way to our room when Aunt Ruby saw what Lemon had on. She asked him: Where are your pajamas? Lemon said he was wearing all he had. Aunt Ruby said he could not go into the room wearing girl’s bottoms and a t-shirt. She found a pair of Robert’s old pajamas and an old bathrobe and told him to put them on and he could keep them. After Lemon put on Robert’s old pajamas & and old bathrobe, he and Bay Bother came into the room. Aunt Ruby read a chapter of the story “Heidi”. The story “Heidi” is about a girl who stayed up in the hills with her grandfather during the summer. He had goats just like us. She ate goat cheese and drank goat’s milk just like us. Later Heidi left the mountains to go to the lowlands to visit Klara. Klara was a girl Heidi had helped saved the summer before. Gifted with a loving character and a kind heart, Heidi inspired her ailing friend with strength, good spirits, and happiness. While Aunt Ruby was reading, Bay Brother became distracted. He kept looking at the wall. Aunt Ruby asks Bay Brother what he was looking at. Bay Brother said I see a fly. Aunt Ruby stopped reading and sang this song. Baby Bye… Here’s a fly…. We will watch him ….you and I…..How he climbs…up the wall…..Yet he never fall. Aunt Ruby finished reading her chapter book and took Bay Brother and Lemon

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third addendum to Elnora at eight

Evangelist Armstrong always told us many parables. One that I cannot forget is the story of the “Stupid King”. The King was not only stupid, he was greedy. The king sent his maid to the goose house to collect eggs. She would bring back a golden egg each day. The King asks his maid to find out how the goose did that. As hard as she tried, she could not ascertain how the goose did that. The foolish King decided to kill the goose and dissect her to discover how she laid the golden egg. The goose was killed, the goose was eaten but nonetheless, the King could not get more golden eggs. Evangelist Armstrong said he experienced a situation similar to that in a community he serviced. A young man wanted to get some money from his mother. She would not give it to him. He decided to kill his mother; however, she suspected what he wanted to do. She changed all of her insurances, her CD’s, her Annuities, and all of her checking accounts, saving accounts and whatever else she had and he got nothing! His message, “Don’t kill the goose who lays the golden egg”, never left my memory.

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About Me

PROLOGUE:  The story about Elnora
By: Carrie Bennett Foxx Ware

I am Carrie Bennette Foxx Ware. My husband, now deceased was Richard Lee Ware. I am the mother of two boys. The eldest, now deceased.  Richard Dishon Ware and his brother Gerald DeVaughn Ware were born one year and two months apart.
I am a true child of God. It is sometimes easy for women my age to say they have lived godly lives. At seventy-one people expect you to say: I have done everything out there to do. Now I will live for Christ. That is not my testimony. I was born into a Christian home. Both parents were Christians. I am not perfect but I have always endeavored towards the mark of high calling. I cannot say I have arrived there yet. But, I am striving toward the mark of high calling. I can truthfully say it is the free gift of our Lord that has allowed me to be a witness for him.

There are those who maintain the theory that one can pray all they desire to, but when it comes down to the truth, the world has the upper hand. Not so, reading the Bible daily will place your will in the hands of God’s will. I guarantee His “will” will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Many things I said and did as a child and as an adult, I wish I had not said or done.

I am glad I serve a God that does not force us to behave a certain way. I am glad that religion is not a thing that money can buy. If so, like Peter, Paul and Mary once sang, “If religion was a thing that money could buy, the rich would live and the poor would die” It gives me great privilege to say, my soul anchors in the Lord.
When I started writing the Story of Elnora, it was not for sharing. The story of Elnora is not a religious story. In spite of the fact her mother and father insisted she attend church every Sunday, It was only common practice for people of that generation who wanted a better life to get it by attending church. The story of Elnora gives a glimpse of life for Black folk during the 40’s, 50’s, and early 60’s Many young Blacks do not know what life for Blacks was actually like. I can say that as a matter of fact by the questions I am asked by some of our young visitors at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. All of us did not have the same experiences. Some Blacks during that area were people of wealth, some were poor and some were middle class.
The story of Elnora tells a tale about a little ordinary Colored girl whose formative years were formed just before the civil rights movement kicks off. Our lives as a race of people did not abruptly terminate with slavery nor did it abruptly commence in the sixties with the Active Civil Rights Movement. Most of what I have written about Elnora is make believe. However, Elnora is also the actual experiences of my own and other people. Just as Elnora, I too was a nosey little girl. I was often getting myself in trouble due to my inability to control my thoughts and behavior.
I have been told one’s thoughts control everything about you. It controls our physical as well as our spiritual and social well-being. As a man thinketh so is he. You may be as wise as Solomon, but we must not lean to our own understanding. We must study the word of God. For those who don’t believe, (Elnora is not just for believers) there is a God. His way is the way of truth. Read the story of Elnora and share some of your stories with me.

The trials and Tribulations of Elnora (age six)

It was a regular hot, fall, Sunday afternoon in Alabama. The year was 1949 and the women were inside frying chicken on an old Coal Stove. The children were outside playing hopscotch. One of the games children often played during that era. There was no cost. Someone simply drew the board in the dirt and all the children played. Others jumped rope or played fiddle sticks. Fiddle sticks was a game actually played with wooden sticks by holding them in one hand and letting them drop on the table. Once they dropped, the one dropping them had to pick them up one at a time without touching any of the other sticks. They were color-coded. The player received different points, corresponding to the the number of sticks and colors picked up. When a stick was touched, it was another child’s turn. Children had fun in those days that did not cost their parents an arm and a leg.

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Writing Process Steps

creative-writing(1)You fell for them long ago. Words. With time, the relationship has only gotten better. You discovered ideas and entire worlds, great minds and experiences, triumph and tragedy and above all wisdom, in books. You perceive words as ideas clothed in ink and paper. Words give you a high. A beautifully composed sentence or verse is all it takes to make your day. There have been times so moving and overwhelming, that the ideas brewing within your mind, only let you rest in peace, when you have put them on paper. If this is your story, you perhaps have it in you, what it takes to be a wordsmith, a writer. No art can be taught, what’s inborn can only be encouraged at best. The way Hemingway puts it, learning to write the truest sentence, demands that you truly experience life, in all its manifestations. The end result is not the thing to focus upon, it’s the internal process that happens within you. Herein, I share some acquired insight from my own modest writing experience, which might help you improve the process. For me, writing is all about capturing the quintessence of truth, as I see it deep within. Here is something from a fellow wordsmith to the other.

The Process

Writing anything of value is a chaotic process, which varies with every great writer you come across. There is a method to every artistic madness though. One common thing is the hard work they put in behind every line that’s put on paper. For some, the piece of writing just keeps simmering inside for years, taking shape, unknowingly, till it finds expression one day, triggered by a life experience or a powerful thought. One day, the idea, the story, the concept, seizes them by the scruff of their necks and demands to be put down right away. Then they just sit on their typewriter or any other tool of trade like a PC these days and let the words just flow, uncorked and free onto paper, finishing the thing in a few weeks or months. Read more »

Creative Writing for Beginners

creative_writing_main2Creative writing is a great way to expend some creative energy, explore emotions, invent new worlds and characters, as well as brush up on your writing skills. Writing creatively is something you can do with very little time, or with extended periods of time, and you don’t need much to get you started. It is a great hobby that anyone can do, alone or within a group. Who knows – you might even become a famous writer one day!

Choose a Genre
Creative writing can take on many forms. When you start to write creatively, you should choose a genre to focus on. These might include poetry, short stories, novels, creative non-fiction, memoirs, or a hybrid of two or more of them. It’s a good idea to test out a few genres before you pick one, but focusing on one can help you hone your craft and improve over time. It’s the same with any other activity; practice makes one perfect. You don’t want to spread yourself too thin by trying too many things.

Any writer will tell you that the best way to improve your writing is to read. You should read both within your genre and outside it. This will not only give you ideas for different styles to test out, but also ideas for what to write about. All writing is part of a conversation, and you need to find what voice and topic you can add to it. In that way, it’s okay to use snippets of other writing for inspiration, and it’s okay to respond directly to another piece of writing. Professional writers do that all the time.  Read more »

How to Improve Your Writing

Fiction-Fantasy-Writing-PromptsA pen is mightier than a sword, if one knows how to wield it. Just like swordsmanship, a mastery over penmanship requires practice, introspection, and perseverance.

How to Get Better at Writing

Read Voraciously
Reading is essential, if you want to enrich your writing style. Reading books, written by master writers, is like learning hands-on. It is akin to watching a sculptor work and learning to sculpt from him. It is about learning how he has given shape and form to his raw ideas and imagination. You can profit from studying narrative styles and literary techniques used by these amazing writers. The ease of expression and the beauty with which they spin the yarn of words and thoughts to create beautiful tapestries of stories, is awe inspiring.

Most of all, you should enjoy reading. Take in the book without analyzing in the first reading. Just experience the book and the story. First read as purely a reader should and the second time, read as a writer. If it’s a novel, study how the plot is set and write about what appealed to you in the book. Join book clubs and discuss what you felt after reading. Analyze from the point of view of a writer and not just a critic. Study the core idea of the book, as well as the way it has been presented. Try doing this and see yourself evolving as a student of writing technique and literature.

To assist children in improving their writing prowess, read out stories to them and introduce them to the world of books. Encourage reading by gifting books and reading with them. Assisted reading, at the start, helps until they have picked up enough to read on their own. Once a kid is hooked to the opening into magical worlds, that books provide, he will stay hooked for life. Read as much as you can. Even though a kid may not take up writing, reading will give him joy and support him for life.  Read more »

Creative Writing Prompts

creative-writing-promptsOnce upon a time…

It was a dark and stormy night…

The shrill scream cut through the stillness of the night like a knife…

You know these beginnings by heart if you are a reader. No two ways about that. Well, as clichéd as they are, they are still the most commonly used prompts for creative writing in schools even today. Initiators into the world of writing, if you will. And the best thing about writing happens to be the fact that it is a skill that can be inculcated and honed. Anybody (literally) can be a writer – no matter what the dialect, what the language, what the subject. All you need are a few ideas to begin with, the courage to let your imagination go where you won’t dare in real life and a little practice. Yes, you might hate what you write in the beginning, but things will get better gradually. So, have a go at the prompts provided below and cook up the supposedly absurd just for fun. Read more »

Creative Writing Exercises

ink_pen___paperCreative writing includes a lot of thought and hard work on the writer’s part. But trust me, it is just as much fun! Creative writing gives you all the freedom in the world. You can write anything that comes to your mind, no rules and no restrictions. You can play around with words to develop interesting plots and characters. Add humor to it or even add drama, just let your mind wander and write whatever it is that comes to your mind. After all, that is what creative writing is all about!

But it is not necessary that you be your creative self at all times. Very often, it so happens that you cannot think of anything to write about, or even if you do, you get stuck every now and then. This can make your writing experience boring, or rather frustrating; as a result of which, you might feel like quitting altogether. So why not try some fun exercises to avoid such a situation? Not only will you be able to rejuvenate your mind, you’ll also be able to come up with some refreshing ideas to start with.

Journal or Diary Writing

Maintaining a journal or a diary is an excellent idea for beginners. You can easily pen down your experiences, thoughts, etc., on a daily basis. Not only does it improve your writing skills, it also acts as a great stress buster. You can pour out all your anger or your frustrations in the diary, which helps you feel relieved. You can jot down interesting story ideas that come to your mind too. You can also fill up your journal with sudden thoughts, dreams, something that you have experienced in the past, a childhood memory, etc. You can even write about different people you meet or people who are close to you, their body language, the manner in which they talk, the importance that they have in your life, and so on. Apart from this, it is also important that you go through your journal regularly, because even a line or a phrase has the ability to trigger an idea for a whole story.    Read more »