Pre-Exam Prep creative Purge

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   Sometimes you just have to get it out…

As I take an escape from real life, writing and studying and reading and studying and reading, I don’t want to do too many word related activities.  So, here’s a lil something I’m working on…early stages.  needs something… What’s missing??  I’ll get a hook together when I figure out what  it makes me wanna sing/say.

Hope you like it.

November Jas(in progress)

-Brookes

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More than a Game Changer, A NAME Changer

Two weeks ago was a random Thursday that became a very significant Thursday when the man of my life suggested we call our minister to see if he would have time to marry us that afternoon. And at three p.m. I became a Mrs.! Good stuff! Taking a break from law school apps to have my name legally changed, I now sit in the SSA office waiting for A35 to become A53 and I allow myself a moment to give the due consideration to the magnitude of what I’ve just committed myself to. I am changing my name. I am changing MY name!!! In moments I will have a new identity, I will invent a new person and my former identity ceases to be. Heavy. I know I will still be myself and it won’t improve my credit score either nonetheless…I give up my name for someone else’s.  While I’m sure a lot of women are as selective as I have been when it comes to identifying a potential husband, I wonder if they all really consider the magnitude of what we are giving up, the principal behind it all.  The following is likely a collection of disjointed ramblings, competing mildly related thoughts…ride wit me

Despite my charm, an IQ that qualifies me for MENSA and my LSAT score, good looks, quick wit and I could go on but I don’t like to brag, my life to this point has been one of many lessons learned, unexpected changes and well-earned bumps and bruises.  Simply put, while my achievements to this point may not get me in the Journal, it has been  a pretty epic ride.  But last Thursday, I jumped out the window, no parachute.  Him? Still a Mr., last name unchanged and he gained a live-in chef, a maid with mild cleaning related OC tendencies on top of all the other phenomenal woman/mother/wife stuff.  I definitely did not get the short end of the stick as he is pretty darn magnificent as well, but I have relinquished a great deal of independence in addition to the selfishness we all must give up.  I am now identified as a wife because of three letters and a period: Mrs.   I suppose for me the idea of packing up my place and changing my name is symbolic of packing up all of the history that contributed to me becoming Brookes, placing it into a box and moving into the next phase of my development, embarking on the next leg of the journey of life and it demands that I take a pause to reflect.  

My pastor recently mentioned the significance of taking the time to appreciate the season you’re leaving as you enter a new one.  So, as I move into the next season with an excitement that can’t be contained, anticipation of an even greater run than the last, fearlessness and a great deal of faith, I respectfully process all that has happened in the previous season, good and bad.  I courageously release all the habits and associations that don’t have a place in the new season, but I neatly pack all the heart-warming memories, the recollections that make me thank God for growth and for grace, the moments that built my strength and my character and prepared me for today and my future, the love and the laughs, and I tuck them away in the corners of my mind.  Feels like that moment at the end of Set It Off when Jada is sitting on the bed laughing and crying.  I’m not gonna shave my head and move to Mexico, but as I add the hyphen to my name it feels similarly.  Life.  What an amazing trip…LET’S GOOOOOOO!!!

Mrs. Brookes

Good Girl Gone Bad

We’ve all heard it before, and Rihanna is a walking billboard confirming the notion that once a good girl goes bad she’s gone forever.  I can identify with this statement myself.  I won’t bore you all with the events and circumstances that may have contributed to and led me to become a “bad girl”, but I can admit that for a period I squeezed into the proverbial clown suit* and performed my best bad girl impersonation…and rather successfully.  Depending upon when  a person met me they could easily have met two very different individuals. When the bad girl rap got old and I recognized that it just wasn’t all that fulfilling for me, I worked diligently to get back to my old self, fruitlessly.  Turns out the adage is pretty true.  

However, I have learned that while the good girl may be gone forever, you can be a great woman!  All of life is continuing education, ongoing training of sorts.  If you don’t like who’ve you become, don’t try to be who you were before, just work towards being the best person you can be now.  Search out the positive lesson or development that you can take from the parts of the journey you feel don’t represent you well, and hold on to that.  Life will continue to give you opportunities to evolve and develop into a greater person.  Just keep going!  The woman you become could be even greater than what the “good girl” in you aspired to become.  You weren’t meant to be the same person today as you were back then.  If you are still alive, which you appear to be, you were meant to live, grow, evolve, CHANGE!  Keep growing.  Hold onto the lessons and look forward.  Your future can be brighter than your past!!

-Brookes

*this refers to what one figuratively wears when operating in utter foolishness.  One might don the clown suit while on Spring break in college, or during an early 20s party girl phase, or on any given night that involves excessive drinking.

I Don’t Wanna Be Loved….I DON’T Wanna Be Loved??? Huh?

...oh the days when it was cool to love and value women.

I was listening to the radio the other day, which I rarely do, because no matter how much you like a song, you hate it when it is played every seven minutes and twenty-three seconds, and I heard this song that was jammin!  I turned the radio up, and started to groove, not so much listening to the lyrics, and then I heard the hook…I don’t wanna be loved, I don’t wanna be love, I just want a quickie….I found myself reminding myself to close my mouth.  I’m so disturbed because I can only imagine that this song is considered a contemporary “slow jam”….Someone’s lil girl is being seduced by some boy passionately suggesting that she be his quickie buddy, and that being able to separate feelings from sex is a sign of maturity. I would venture to say that in previous generations there were definitely girls who went for this, or felt empowered by being able to have meaningless sex, but it seems that this girl is quickly becoming the rule, not the exception?  Is that acceptable?  Perhaps this evolution isn’t an issue at all.  Where should young people learn about romance, and what they should expect from a mature romantic relationship?  Where did we learn this?

Is there anything on the airwaves for popular urban music that is giving this generation even the semblance of heterosexual romance or love?  Anything on these types of stations that might tell a young girl that when she grows up a young man will come along that she will fall in love with, who will show her that he loves her and wants to be with her and spend the rest of his life loving her?  Ok, well how about a song that will tell her that she has value beyond her sex appeal, sexual skills?  As I continued listening I found that the station was dominated with explicit sexual messages about the male prowess, ability to make a young lady wet the bed, make her legs shake, describing women as accessories, bros before hoes (super homo)mentality or “empowered” women spewing aggression and claims of finding pleasure in the use of whips and chains in sex.  There were very few exceptions.  Of course, the line up has to be no more than about 15 songs repeated throughout the day.  Recognizing that the listening demographic is likely 13-25 I have to ask what kind of character development this supports.  While I’m sure we can all agree that there is definitely a sector of parents that cannot be relied on to shape their child’s development along these lines, so is there a responsibility of artists to consider the messages they are sending?  Could part of the responsibility fall on the stations that air the music?  Or, am I just showing my age by even seeing an issue?  idk. let’s go!

oh yeah, guess who’s bizzack. I shouldn’t a left you, without a dope beat to step to!  

-Brookes

where PASSION meets PURPOSE

The newest producer to enter the game, and arguably one of the most sincere that we’ve had in quite some time, Stephen Starks, who goes by the moniker of S-Choir Music, is the creative mind behind the productions available online at www.s-choirmusic.com.   So far, the full-time attorney has established a musical portfolio that offers a dynamic collection of tracks to roll out to, roll up to, help you unwind, club bangers as well as a lil’ something for lovers .  His style can not be linked to any one genre as he offers  joints like the funky and racy  jam “Ridin”, think Britney Spears (pre-K-fed), to joints like “Me and My Girl” which is a light, fun summer day kinda joint.  In my opinion, his musical mastery is demonstrated with tracks such as the emotionally charged “Off Balance” which offers a legato melody accompanied with  a contrasting and ever so slightly off-tempo drum kick.  Lucky for us, he was able to squeeze us in for a brief interview to speak with me about what inspires him to make the clean, refreshing musical compositions available on his site.

B: So would you say that you believe making music to be your purpose?

S-Choir: I would.  I believe that we are put here for many purposes.  One of mine is to be the best man, son, husband, and father (when the days for the latter two come) that I can be.  Professionally, I believe that I am currently attempting to master the art of being the best lawyer I can be.  But, music has always been my passion, and with that comes the challenge of trying to produce quality music every time, without exceptions.  And, I think that is a huge challenge because if it wasn’t every musician would be able to do it with ease and that’s not what I’m hearing.  So, yes, I believe making music–good music–is my purpose.  Now, whether I’ll be able to reach my goal of never letting the people down is a completely different question.

B: What is the inspiration behind great songs like “Off Balance”(one of my personal favorites), “Love Makin”, “Lay On Me” and “Ridin'”?

S-Choir: For me, unlike what I hear about other producers, I don’t walk around with beats in my head.  But, when I sit down in front of the keyboard, I do think that things come to me.  When you hear my music, that’s where I am at the current time.  The music is me for the time being.  There is no grand equation, but what comes out when I sit down at the keyboard with a gin and tonic is what I am and where I am at that time.  I only hope that the listeners appreciate me in that space. 

B: Can you tell us about your process?

S-Choir: I think I just did.  I absolutely love chords.  I do.  With all my heart, I do.  And, the next best thing is strings.  But, perhaps my strength is drums.  Combine those with a dim light, some incense, the right groove, and a cocktail, and the magic happens.  I could do this all day and night every day and night.  I love music!

B: Who out there would you compare your sound/style to?

S-Choir: I wouldn’t.

B: Who are your inspirations?

S-Choir: Although I absolutely love Kanye and Dre, I would say that Pharrell Williams is my main inspiration as far as producers go.  His appreciation for keys and chords is second to none.  I love what he does.  On a personal music acquaintance level, Jeremias Tamarez (producer) and John Redmon (gospel and R&B singer) have been two of the most supportive musicians out there when it comes to what I do.  Those guys are selfless and have given me the support and confidence to make me realize that I have genuine ability.  And, I continue to learn from them.  I thank them.  Musically, that’s where I’m at.

B: How would you define yourself/sound?

S-Choir: Unique and consistent.  I don’t think that I have a particular sound outside of my love for chords, strings, and drums.  But, I will say that I think I take it seriously every time.  I’m a huge fan of the mid-tempo song.  You know, the song that can be either an R&B or Hip-Hop track.  I have always thought that when you hear a beat and you can’t tell which way you’re leaning, you may be on to something.  I think that if you listen to my stuff, you’ll find that they could be either R&B or Hip-Hop tracks.  I’m not sure a lot of producers can say that.

B: Who do you make music for?

S-Choir: Honestly, I make it for those who truly love it.  Not those who just listen to the radio, but for those who listen to the radio and are unhappy. I make it for those who appreciate simple complexity as I like to call it.  I’m not trendy when it comes to music.  I think that a good song is like a good movie.  Even if you walk away pissed at a movie’s ending, as long as you walk away affected, then the movie was successful.  Like good movies, my goal is to make you feel differently than you did before you heard my song.  If I did that, then I was successful.  I make music for music lovers.  At least I hope I do.  I want to.

B: Is there anything you want to tell the people?

S-Choir: Sure.  I’d like to say that if I ever get to the point where I’m doing this to make a living, which is a goal, please know that I take your $13.99 very seriously.  I’m not into producing average music.  I hope that an S-Choir Music track is your favorite track on the CD.  And, if I were ever lucky enough to produce a premier artist’s entire CD, know that every track will be all that I have to give.  If every artist approached music like that today I think we’d be in much better shape.

Wrap-

I suppose this is my opportunity to get my Syd Shaw on, underground review style.  While most of the song snippets available to preview at www.s-choirmusic.com boast the talent of this music producer, moonlighting as an attorney, I fell in love with the tracks that felt the most honest.  If you’re like me at all, music is not entertainment but one of the most profound manners of communication.  I send tracks, not love letters, to express my deepest feelings.  Even without words music can present an individual in a vulnerable, completely naked state.  S-Choir’s ability to give me that as well as the joints to make me bob my head, lay back or get hype  is what is putting him on the radar.  In any field passion for what you do goes farther than just about anything that can be posted on a resume.  S-Choir’s passion for music is apparent in his productions as they each are musical compositions and not just beats. He correctly assessed his style as unique as I can’t think of a top producer who manages to use chords as he does and balance it with varying drums without it coming out as a ballad.  Should his self-definition of consistent prove true, I expect it won’t be long before he’s regarded as one of the best in the game.  S-Choir Music is where passion meets talent, technique and production.  We at Mimosas and Grits wish you much success.

-Brookes

Dutch? I’m sorry, could you please speak American?

Ok, first “What Would Claire Do?” refers to our favorite family sitcom mom, Claire Huxtable.  When it comes to relationships we often ask ourselves WWCD?  So, it seemed a fitting category name for when we discuss relationships….as we were…

Okay, so apparently there is a growing trend in the dating world.  If you’re like me, you probably took pause at “Dating world”.  Yeah, turns out there is one out there.  I’m gonna blame my absence from this world on the various growing trends including the one that I’m finna discuss rat ‘chere…going dutch!  WTF!  Really.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m alllll about give and take in a relationship.  However, call me a traditionalist but ummmm, me paying is pretty much the impetus of a convenient headache,  a desert drawers inducing, antithesis of an aphrodisiac; a true  panty dryer.  After watching a wonderfully depressing movie last night, Love and Other Drugs , the main character makes a reference to having to give people something for their time and points out that “no one ever got laid going dutch”.  What an astute observation.  It seems that more and more of us are buying into the trend that being progressive means that you pay for yourself, or take turns paying the bill.  Maaannn F@UK THAT!!!  I am not wholly opposed to paying.  I am opposed to you inviting me out on a date and expecting me to pay for myself.  I will assume that I am paying for myself, however you should know men, I use the term loosely  if you allow me to pay for myself, any future potential we may have had has probably been left on the table with the tip.  jussayin.

Now we aren’t unreasonable gold digging ratchety wretches.  We have both been the woman to guys who didn’t have a dime to their names.  Wining and dining me isn’t the issue.  Let me clear my throat make it plain.  It’s not so much your ability to pay, but quite simply, your willingness and desire to pay is translated by the female mind as an expression of where she stands in your list of priorities, interests, cares, desires etc.  

So, in order to justify my thug  and ensure that this isn’t some “men suck” rant, I asked the opinion of a  keep it real to the point of err on the side of being an @ss hole trusted member of the mens in ‘nem group. Know what he said?  Of course not, I didn’t tell ya yet!  He eloquently responded that the notion of going Dutch is “WACK.  Shouldn’t happen unless clear friends, but I’m not a big fan of splitting checks in general.  Even friends can just alternate.”  Well put sir, well put.

Generally speaking, depending on the time spent and depth of the relationship, if you plan to do the horizontal mambo with this lady, she really needs to think she is at least in the top 5 of a 15 point list….yep, first date included.    It’s necessary cause ya know, men are generally flaky when it comes to relationships and attraction.  Non?(that’s French for no, see how I try to help ya’ll be cultured and sh!t (each one teach one.) 

If by chance you luck up on a situation where you are being laid with the panties despite doing the dumb dutch date ish,(you see what I did right there?) understand a couple of things….1. you may be the “D!ck in a glass”-your role is to handle bid’ness in the boudoir, and handle it well!  Play your role!  2. “Sugar Momma” You lucked up with a desperate/controlling chick who is willing to be with a guy that she can manipulate keep with her money, cause trust she will use it against you eventually, or 3.  the “heiress”-money is not an object and she’s used to having to pay for everyone in her life, or finally 4. “Naive”-this poor sweet girl believed them when they said going dutch is how you get ahead a man.  I was taught that a man who cares about you, is interested or intrigued by you will want to treat you, do for you, eventually provide for you and other such things.  Given that women can earn like men these days, this is not the burden it used to be.  If you don’t have it this rip and we are in a relationship and I do have it, no problem!  I gotcha babe.    Otherwise, I consider you handing me the big drawers with my share of the check.  I don’t even like big drawers! Keep those raggedy drawers!  

In my life I have encountered two guys who were members of the aint nothing wrong with going Dutch crew.  The first took me to an all you can eat shrimp buffet, which was free with the purchase two drinks.  I had beer…domestic.  Conversation revealed that he was a fan of Dutch or taking turns.  I paid for myself and never answered another call.  The other, well, in the words of Naughty by Nature, that’s not that simple. But I’ll try…it started out as friends, after which the type of relationship we had, became unclear, but was clarified by my consistently paying for myself on outings.  FRIENDS.  All good though.  You live and you learn. ( I’ve done both.)

Seriously, going Dutch may not be a deal breaker but it can be a game changer.  Consider this illustration for comparison  If you have two great women and one willingly gives you “sweet-n-low”( term for oral used by my fave gays in ATL), which one are you gonna spend more time with?  I think I’m pretty clear on exactly what Claire would do but what say you, enlightened, progressive, traditional people?

-Brookes

So you’re just gonna ask what they think without asking me?

((Jumping on soapbox))

So what’s funny is (but not really)...there are really still cats out here like this…of all the things that are now extinct…this can’t be one of em??!!! Geez, as much as I would love to debate you…I’m in total agreement on this.  Of course, once a relationship or even just a clearly defined and palpable understanding is established, I don’t mind reaching in my stash to contribute.  I really hate that chivalry died-btw nobody called and told me NOTHING… because it really worked!!  This new age “dating” has us all running around crazy.  I kinda think anyone who asks you to go Dutch….just really aint all that into you boo!  To think of it…I haven’t had ONE relationship result from a Dutch date…and I’ve had some relationships.  Oh wait, there was the guy who paid for drinks, but told me he refused to pay the tip, and I’d have to contribute something…umm..the bill was like all of $25…I paid no tip (it was the principle of the matter)…and yep…you guessed it… panties were very dry….and no, I never wanted to see him again. Petty? Maybe…but I’ll let you “progressive” chicks have him…

-Z