0 comments on “#BlackHistoryMonth Treat: How Playwright Lorraine Hansberry Inspired My Novel, Love’s Troubadours”

#BlackHistoryMonth Treat: How Playwright Lorraine Hansberry Inspired My Novel, Love’s Troubadours

LT-ALandLorraineHansberry

My debut novel, Love’s Troubadours was inspired by a speech given by activist and playwright Lorraine Hansberry in February 1964. She spoke to a Harlem-based group of aspiring young, gifted, and African American writers about the power to love in America. In her remarks, Hansberry stated,

“O, the things that we have learned in this unkind house that we have to tell the world about! Despair? Did someone say despair was a question in the world? Well then, listen to the sons of those who have known little else. If you wish to know the resiliency of this thing you would so quickly resign to mythhood, this thing called the human spirit … Life? Ask those who have tasted of it in pieces rationed out by enemies. Love? Ah, ask the troubadours who have come from those who have loved when all reason pointed to the uselessness and foolhardiness of love. Perhaps we shall be the teachers when it is done. Out of the depths of pain we have thought to be our sole heritage in this world-O, we know about love!”

She referred to African Americans as troubadours, the descendents of people who used the power of love to live through and overcome despair and insurmountable odds. She went on to urge the audience to seek wisdom from African Americans because of their capacity to love.

I first read about Hansberry’s speech in Salvation by bell hooks in 2001. Salvation discusses how African Americans have used the power of love to transform their lives and communities. hooks’ writings caused me to question how I could use my gifts as an artist and writer to promote love as a healing tool in the lives of individuals and communities in America. I answered that question by writing Love’s Troubadours, a novel that tells the story of Karma Francois, a 30-something museum curator and yoga teacher who loses her job, discovers family secrets after a loved one dies, and begins a healing journey as she relocates from New York City to Washington, DC. Learn more about her in the video below.

Karma learns many life lessons as she comes face-to-face with the choices she has made in her life and relationships. Watch the video below and learn about some of them.

Throughout her journey, she uses journaling, meditation, mindfulness, poetry, spirituality, therapy, and yoga to heal and love herself. Hansberry’s wisdom on mindful living inspired the way I wrote about Karma’s healing journey:

 “I wish to live because life has within it that which is good, that which is beautiful, and that which is love. Therefore, since I have known all of these things, I have found them to be reason enough and–I wish to live. Moreover, because this is so, I wish others to live for generations and generations and generations and generations.”

Watch the video below and learn how Karma’s healing journey transformed her idea of love in her life.

After reading Hansberry’s book, To Be Young, Gifted and Black, I made a conscious decision to use my novel’s characters to celebrate the beauty and diversity of people of African descent. Watch the video below and learn about the diverse characters.

 

Listen to a chapter excerpt from Love’s Troubadours that illustrates the diversity of African Americans when Karma walks into Mocha Hut, a coffee and tea café in her U Street neighborhood, and eavesdrops on a conversation.

 

0 comments on “Web Site Relaunch of My Novel, Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One”

Web Site Relaunch of My Novel, Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One

Love's Troubadours - Karma: Book One
Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One

Happy Monday,

Five years ago I launched my web site for my debut novel, Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One (2007). Last year, I realized the site needed a makeover. Click here to check out the new look (very simple compared to the old site). Let me know what you think. And be sure to read the book summary below.

Book Summary:

Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One tells the story of Karma Francois, a thirtysomething Oakland-born BoHo B.A.P. (Bohemian Black American Princess) with Louisiana roots and urban debutante flair. The novel begins with Karma’s life in an uproar. Her relationships and the museum curator career that she struggled to form in New York City have crumbled, leaving no viable options to rebuild. Relocating to Washington, DC, Karma  struggles with denial, depression, and debt. A lack of full-time employment opportunities forces her to craft a gypsy existence as a Jill of Many Trades:
yoga teacher, art consultant, and freelance curator at Howard University Gallery
of Art. Unable and unwilling to appreciate these jobs as gifts, she wallows in a
pool of lost identity-and doesn’t see a way to keep from drowning. When she looks in the mirror, Karma  sees a woman whose choices have dishonored her true character. Now, for the first time in her life, Karma must learn to see herself for who she really
is. To purchase a copy on Amazon.com, click here.

Enjoy!

Ananda

PS: Watch the short videos from my 2007 book party.

0 comments on “Day 5 of 30 Days of Poetry, Jazz & Earth Day Awareness: Celebrating Dr. King and his teachings on love”

Day 5 of 30 Days of Poetry, Jazz & Earth Day Awareness: Celebrating Dr. King and his teachings on love

Happy Monday!

This morning I went walking … speed walking.  During my walk, I thought about the sacrifices Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. made for so many of us.  When I returned from my walk, I read Nikki Giovanni’s poem “The Funeral of Martin Luther King Jr.”   Giovanni wrote the poem on April 9, 1968. Click on the Cinchcast audio blog to hear me read the poem.  I also read my poem “The Word” from my new book That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetic Memoir of Self-Discovery.

What is your favorite word?

Here are six of my favorite words:  Poetry. Jazz. Earth. Soul stories unfold.

Enjoy your day and week!

Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Gratitude for Dr. King and his teachings on love,

Ananda

0 comments on “Open your heart by watching Ananda’s 2/12 online yoga class for computer users”

Open your heart by watching Ananda’s 2/12 online yoga class for computer users

Hi All,

Give yourself the gift of love by taking 15 minutes to watch my yoga class video that explores the power of opening your heart.  It includes kind and gentle yoga poses that you can do while sitting in a chair or in your bed.  Click here to watch the video: http://stickam.com/anandaleeke.

FYI – My yoga class honors women’s heart health month (celebrated in February) and the people of Haiti.  If you learned something from the class, please consider making a donation to Doctors Without Borders to support their work in Haiti: www.doctorswithoutborders.org.

I am teaching two more online yoga classes on February 19 and 26 at 7:00 a.m. EST: http://stickam.com/anandaleeke. I hope you can join me for the classes.

Enjoy your day and weekend!

Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Love OMs,

Ananda

1 comment on “Ananda Celebrates Love Day w/ a poem & video from her new book That Which Awakens Me”

Ananda Celebrates Love Day w/ a poem & video from her new book That Which Awakens Me

Happy Friday! Happy Early Valentine’s Day!  Happy Love Day Every Day!

I thought you might like to read a poem about love from my new book That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetic Memoir of Self-Discovery (available on Amazon.com –  http://tiny.cc/7uFsg).  See below.  I have also included a video of me reading the poem. Let me know what you think of the poem.

What does love mean to you?

Enjoy your day and weekend!

Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Gratitude for love in all of its beauty,

Ananda

Excerpt from That Which Awakens Me

Copyright 2009 by Madelyn C. Leeke.

The Word

In the beginning was the word.
And the word was a seed called a thought rooted in Spirit.

In the beginning was the word.
And the word that we were given from Spirit was choice.

In the beginning was the word.
And the words that we choose each moment create energy,
meaning, and power in how we experience ourselves, each
other, and the world around us.

As we think and speak, we become a vessel of spiritual,
emotional, physical, silent, verbal, and written expression.

Our thoughts and words have lives of their own.

They tell our life stories out loud.

They stamp the universe with our vibratory signature.

Our vibration finds its way into the universe and dances to the
beat of beautiful music or noisy disturbance.

If we are mindful and aware, we can choose to allow our
vibration to create love, peace, light, beauty, joy, healing,
happiness, laughter, and abundance.

If we are unconscious or ego-tripping, we run the risk of
making a choice that will add more emotional, spiritual, and
physical violence in the universe.

The question we must ask is: what do we want the beginning
of each moment to look and feel like?

My answer is L-O-V-E.

0 comments on “Celebrate February with Ananda and her online yoga classes, author chats, and creative coaching sessions.”

Celebrate February with Ananda and her online yoga classes, author chats, and creative coaching sessions.

Happy Early February!

February is one of my favorite months. I am celebrating February by offering online yoga classes, author chats, and creative coaching sessions.  See my schedule of online events below. I hope you can join me.  Please share them with your network.

If you like or learn anything from these online events, please consider making a donation to support Doctors Without Borders’ work to improve the lives of Haitians impacted by the January 12th earthquake.  Click here to learn more and make a donation: www.doctorswithoutborders.org.  

1) YOGA FOR WOMEN’S HEART HEALTH AND PEOPLE OF HAITI ON STICKAM.COM

I will be teaching a series of online yoga classes on February 5, 12, 19, and 26 to honor women’s heart health month and the people of Haiti on Stickam.com:  www.stickam.com/anandaleeke.  Each class will be held from 7:00 a.m. to 7:15 a.m. EST.  

If you miss the classes, you can watch the videos. They are all free! Click here to watch them: http://stickam.com/anandaleeke.

Click here to learn more about women’s heart health month and the Heart Truth campaign: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/educational/hearttruth.

2) AUTHOR CHATS ON BLOGTALKRADIO

I am hosting three author chats on The Ananda Leeke Show, my new BlogTalkRadio program, on February 8, 15, and 22 from 7:00 a.m. to 7:15 a.m.  EST: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/anandaleeke.  During the author chats, I will read excerpts from my debut novel Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One and share reflections that answer the question of the day.  See the list of questions of the day below.   

1) Who are love’s troubadours? – February 8

2) What does love look like in my main character Karma Francois’ life? – February 15

3) What is love mentalism? – February 22

3) CREATIVITY COACHING SESSIONS ON USTREAM.TV

Join me for two creative coaching sessions on Ananda Leeke Live!, my UStream.tv show, on February 11 and 25 from 9:00 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. EST.  Click here to watch the show: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/ananda-leeke-live.  Don’t worry if you miss the live recording. A recording will be archived on the web site.

My online coaching sessions will utilize creativity exercises included in my new book That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetic Memoir of Self-Discovery.  See the list of topics below.

a. How to use six-word memoirs to identify the many parts of yourself – February 11 

b. What does creativity look like in your life? – February 25

Enjoy February!

Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Gratitude for Love,

Ananda

4 comments on “Summer Creative Adventures – Museum Visit to see Mami Wata Water Spirit and Yoga Movie Treat – Enlighten Up!”

Summer Creative Adventures – Museum Visit to see Mami Wata Water Spirit and Yoga Movie Treat – Enlighten Up!

MamiWata-ZoumanaSanesm

Mami Wata, circa 1987 by Zoumana Sane (dates unknown, Senegal)
Photo Credit: Don Cole

 

Happy Thursday!

Today I reflected on how I launched my annual summer museum adventures last weekend.  I started with a visit to the National Museum of African Art.  The goal of my trip was to soak up the beauty and splendor of the Mami Wata: Arts for Water Spirits in Africa and the African Atlantic World exhibit. http://africa.si.edu/exhibits/mamiwata/intro.html.  It arrived at the Museum on April 1 and leaves on July 26. 

 Mami Wata (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mami_Wata) is a water spirit celebrated throughout most of Africa, Brazil, Cuba, Dominican Republic, and Haiti.  I first learned about Mami Wata in 1991 when I discovered the West African Yoruba goddesses Oshun (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oshun) and Yemaya (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yemanya) who are her sister water spirits.  I immediately embraced her image which is often portrayed as a brown-skinned mermaid.  I love that fact because she reminds me of me.  Her power as a nurturing mother, sensual woman, healer, and provider of riches also appealed to me.  Mami Wata, Oshun, and Yemaya introduced me to Erzulie (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erzulie), the Haitian goddess of love.  These water goddesses played a pivotal role in my early artwork and writing.  They still do!  Erzulie is a major force in the artwork and characters featured in my debut novel, Love’s Troubadours – Karma Book One (www.lovestroubadours.com— iUniverse, Inc. – 2007).  Click here to see Erzulie’s veve which appears inside my novel and serves as the logo for the Love’s Troubadours novel series (scroll down to the second photo and look for the black and white drawing of a heart-shaped image): http://www.lovestroubadours.com/id26.html.  It also appears in the painting featured on the back of my novel.  Click here to see a photo (scroll down to the bottom of the page and look for the heart-shaped symbol in the center of painting): http://www.lovestroubadours.com/id7.html.

The Mami Wata exhibit was powerful because it explored the visual culture and histories of Mami Wata and her sister water spirits. It also taught me about several new water spirits such as  Lasirèn from Haiti and Santa Marta la Dominadora from the Dominican Republic.  At the end of the exhibit, I decided to participate in the creative exercise set up by the Museum. I never turn down an invitation to play!  The exercise involved making drawings of Mami Wata-like mermaids, fish, and shells.  Iloved the exhibit so much that I purchased the exhibition book as a keepsake.  I plan to go back later this month to see the Mami Wata exhibit one more time before it closes.  Yes it’s that good! 

So do you have any summer museum adventures planned?  If so, where are you going and what will you see when you get there?

Teaism-PennQuarterInner1Img

After the museum, I stopped at Teaism in Penn Quarter for lunch (http://www.teaism.com/Restaurant/PennQuarter7.html).  Teaism is one of my favorite places to drink tea, eat healthy food, meet friends, and write.  I wrote several chapters of Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One (www.lovestroubadours.com) and my soon-to-be released poetic memoir, That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetic Memoir of Self-Discoverywhile sipping tea at Teaism.  I even wrote about my novel’s main character Karma Francois eating a salty oat cookie and drinking tea at Teaism on Dupont Circle!  I treated myself to one of my favorite entrees, the salmon bento box.  As always, it was delicious.  Before I left, I purchased a chocolate salty oat cookie for my afternoon movie snack.

enlightenup

Enlighten Up! (http://enlightenupthefilm.com) is a new yoga documentary by filmmaker Kate Churchill.  It tells the story of Nick Rosen, a twenty-something journalist from New York City, who explores the world of yoga in search of a practice that meets his needs.  The film was yoga yummy and funny. The yogini/yoga teacher inside of me adored the Enlighten Up! because it gives everyday people an opportunity to witness Rosen’s down-to-earthsearch for a yoga practice with some of the most widely known and not so known yoga teachers in New York City, Los Angeles, Hawaii, and India.  I highly recommend the film.  If you go see Enlighten Up!, tell me what you think about it.

 Do you practice yoga? If so, describe your practice. 

Right now I am practicing yin yoga (www.yinyoga.com and http://www.yogajournal.com/practice/580?print=1) in the early morning before I get out of bed and before I go to sleep at night.  My morning practice includes sun salutations, twists, cat-cows, cobras, and forward folds. 

If you are in DC this weekend, please consider attending my free community yoga class on Sunday, June 14 at 9:00 a.m. in Malcolm X – Meridian Hill Park in Northwest, DC. For more information, visit http://yoga.meetup.com/584.

 Thanks for stopping by!

 Peace, Creativity, and Summer OMs,

 Ananda