Thursday, January 14, 2016

Interview of Fey Ugokwe, Esq. on Psychological Thriller "Wifey" by Rebecca Danos, Wellesley Underground

Wellesley Writes It: An Interview with Fey Ugokwe, Esq. ‘92  (@pinkpurseintl) Author of Wifey (2013)

It is delightful to catch up with Fey Ugokwe, Esq ‘92 author of the psychological thriller, Wifey, as well as licensed attorney, former human rights and disability rights government arbitrator-mediator, and founder/owner of the socially conscious brand Wharton King, and its social media activity for Women, Pink Purse International (PPI). Her debut novella, Wifey, met with very positive reviews by Kirkus Reviews and on Amazon.
WU: Tell us a little about your novella, Wifey, and what inspired you to write it?
Wifey is both a psychological thriller and a work of contemporary women’s fiction – set in real historical time, in the year 2008, at the height of the gripping, global, national, and economic crisis that rocked that period. It specifically follows the dysfunctional, newlywed relationship of a post-grad couple, from their down spiraling life in a comfy, cool neighbourhood in Los Angeles, to the sliver of hope presented in the teeming, trendy suburbs of Uptown Dallas. At the onset of their marriage, the lead Woman character, a soror, is 22 years old, a virgin prior to the aggressive affections of her fratboy husband – himself orphaned and from the inner city – and feeling culturally and ideologically constrained and disenfranchised by her well-heeled and largely Asian, Trinidadian family. It is this unsteady emotional, social, and economic backdrop that sets the stage for the prickling twists and turns – both natural and supernatural – that result. The book specifically deals with the pressing social issues of domestic violence, xenophobia, racism, classism, sustainability (food), and more, while highlighting the spiritual aspects of existence.
Wifey is also very much, deliberately, a diverse piece of fiction. For example, also within it is a gay character, a haunting, hardworking waiter named ‘Sterling/Tyrell’, two Australian expat characters, one of whom is half-Welsh, a character, ‘Juanita’, who is half Mexican and born and raised in East Texas, and more. The idea was to capture the very real, rich, cultural diversity that existed at that time in twenty-something suburban North Texas (and still does).
Originally, I intended Wifey to be a short story, to just be included in an anthology with other short stories of a contemporary women’s fiction bent that I was writing at the time. However, shockingly, in 2012, my Mum was diagnosed with late-stage, rare, uterine cancer.  We subsequently learned during her journey that she actually was fighting two rare forms of uterine cancer. I battled her disease alongside her – valiant Woman that she was – caring for her, all of her medical needs, her household, and also running her active cardiology/electrophysiology practice. During the early stages of her disease, when she was sometimes at home and every so often had to be hospitalized, I felt a distinct and urgent spiritual call to write. I thought it couldn’t have come at a worse time, given how overextended, tasked from all sides, and exhausted I already profoundly was, but I prayed and meditated on it, and, pressingly, there it was again. The only question that remained after all of that soul-searching was which of the works I had previously been working on to flesh out, and Wifey, with all of its built-in distinct pathos, anguish, reeling uncertainty, and chilling, careening events, not-so-surprisingly became my best outlet, the thing that I was supposed to pen first.

WU: In Wifey you depict an abusive marriage.  Was there an important message you wanted to convey in your writing?
Most definitely. What concerns me thoroughly as a Wellesley grad, a Woman, and myself a survivor of domestic violence, is that domestic violence is actually on the rise and is victimizing increasingly younger age categories of Women at that. Indeed, when I suffered two isolated instances of physical domestic violence, and two attempts at sexual assault, it was at the hands of boyfriends (domestic violence) and platonic, male friends (attempted sexual assault) during my college years. Wifey concerns repeated, sexual, physical, and verbal domestic abuse within the confines of a just post-grad college marriage. Nowadays we’re sadly having to have a repeated social discourse about high school young women being abused in their romantic and platonic relationships as well.
So, in Wifey I decidedly wanted to relay to particularly Women who are preparing for college, in college now, and just out of college: 1) domestic violence is never, ever, in any circumstance, to be tolerated, put-up-with, or quietly endured; and 2) if you indeed excuse a seemingly isolated incidence of domestic violence on your person by a lover, a friend, or whomever, it will very likely re-occur and become more routine, intensify in its duration and methods, and will always chiefly result in your profound harm. To those ends, my maternal Grandmother always used to warn me, whilst I was still just a girl growing up, that if a man hits you once, he will hit you again. Indeed. And, to be 21st century on the subject, let’s just change that to the gender neutral: if a person abuses you once, they very likely will again. Thankfully, I immediately removed myself from every relationship that attempted to cause me harm because of the sage advice my Grandma had given me during my childhood. And I do hail from cultures like the main character in my book, wherein silence on the subject is actually expected, so I happened to very much luck out by having a feisty Grandmother, who would have none of that happen to her own. But, not every Woman has had, or does have, a wise figure like that in her life, whispering the truth of things into her ears. Hence (hopefully), the teaching/talking points within Wifey.
WU: What was it like to write a psychological thriller?  What preparation did you do?
It was easy in a sense because writing thrillers/horror, according to one of my MIT writing professors, himself a prolific, renowned, and decorated sci-fi writer, is definitely in my wheelhouse. He once approvingly remarked in a written review of my work – which was disseminated, as was everyone’s, to the entire rest of the class – that I wrote like Stephen King. But, given that I was writing my first ever novella – and of at all times during the harrowing experience of taking care of the health, home, and medical practice of my chronically ill Mother – it was a process swirling with stress, intense pain, anxiety, depression, isolation, and despair. The prep for any good story, we’re always taught, is to have lived it in some sense, whether near or abstract, and to translate the core of our emotions into all of its parts, especially those that are pure fiction. So, having been a domestic abuse survivor, and also undergoing the daily, grinding, anguish of caring for my beloved Mum – a type A, on-the-go professional Woman who was now ailing with cancer – were all of the additional prep for writing a psych thriller, after all of those post college years, that I needed.
WU: If there is one goal you wish to accomplish in your writing, what would it be?
I hope that I will always strive to occupy the sentience of my readers – to pitch a tent inside their minds, souls, bodies, emotions, and stay there, until well after the period dropped on that last page. The idea is to make you, the reader, see, taste, smell, think, and reason as if you are living the story line, to make you believe for the eating moments that you live there, at the table of the story, and to have you pondering and opining on all of the secret and not-so-secret messages and morsels of morals, long past your consumption of the work itself.
WU: I understand there are a lot of different dialects depicted in Wifey. What research did you do to prepare your novella?
My Mum was from the former British Guiana, a small, extremely diverse country in global South America, and my father was from Nigeria, West Africa. So, to hear various world dialects, all I needed do was incline my ear, especially when they had other equally-foreign and globetrotting, family and friends over. Growing up in Philadelphia also assisted, with its historically diverse cultural groups. Living well within its newer waves of immigration as they rapidly rose, especially during my teen years, also helped.
I’ve also always personally had a knack for really listening to the sounds of others and mimicking them, and for original story play. When I was about two years old, my parents were shocked one day to hear a variety of different types and pitches of speech emanating from my bedroom. My default nature was (and still is, despite all the talking that I have to do) that of an extremely shy introvert, and at the time, it was very difficult for anyone I knew to get me to say more than a few words to them, and I never spoke to strangers at all. In fact, a mini-anecdote here is that I was so unnaturally quiet that one of my father’s friends, who like himself, was also West African, once accusingly remarked, in frustration (because he was endeavouring to get me to chat with him but, staring, I simply would not), “The child – it does not talk??” So, suffice it to say, to hear any consistent sounds coming from my direction was truly a jaw-dropping event. The door of my bedroom was already open slightly, so in recounting the story, my Mum told me that she was wildly motioning for my equally surprised Dad, and that together, they quietly opened my bedroom door a bit more. There I was in the middle of the floor, my back to the door, with all of my dolls and stuffed animals around me, picking each one up and doing various accents and vocal pitches for them in the midst of what was clearly an animated storyline that I’d created for all. My Mum told me that she and my Father almost ran and got the camera but were so tremendously moved, awed, and overjoyed by what they were observing, that they wanted me to continue; they wished not to startle or interrupt me. They just stood there together for a while, stunned, observing me, and then looking at each other, and then turning back to look at little me in my secret, big world of active, audible, short story-spinning.
WU: I am curious about your writing process.  Do you write daily or when you are inspired?  Is it hard to juggle your legal consulting/coaching practice with writing?  What was the editing process like?  How long did you spend writing the novella?
I’m always writing, somehow. My maternal Grandma was a British-trained schoolteacher, and she taught me to read and write with British slate and slate pencil – the exact following year of the above bedroom play incident, when I was just three years old. She realized that I had a unique talent within me and so sought to release and foster it. She taught me both the British English that she and my Mum (and my Dad, in his country and continent) had learned in school, which of course, she had also taught in Roman Catholic schools back in British-controlled, global South America, and then the American version of English that they had all learned upon entry into the U.S. (which is one of the reasons why I tend to allow myself to interplay British English and American English, when writing casually). When I was about four, I started writing whole stories – complete with illustration – filling up ream after ream of those marble-covered composition books they still sell. Ever since then, I’ve been jotting down my creative thoughts whenever they occur to me, which is more frequent than I probably should relay.
The hardest part for me previously has been honouring writing over the distractions of life. I believe one of the many reasons why I was spiritually called into writing a novella during my Mum’s illness, of all harsh times, was to show me that when you have a gift, there will always be a way for you – and time for you – to cultivate, sow, grow, and harvest it. And that you always should. At the time, I was already well, well overdue for penning my first long-form work, given that gift, because I’d previously let other aspects of life relegate my creative jottings to just that. All of a sudden, after fervent prayer and meditation, when it was clear that I was being decidedly called to write – and right then – I squeezed it in during the late nights and wee hours of the morning, whilst I was up keeping vigil as my ailing Mum slept at home, or when she dozed off after pain meds while I was visiting her in hospital.
The entire writing of Wifey – especially ushering it from the short story I had initially, loosely mapped it to be, into a novella – took about a month. It was excruciatingly painful to do so during such a heart-wrenching time – my body ached from all of the demands being placed upon it in caring for my Mum, and sometimes I would literally hear myself groaning as I wrote and would rock back and forth as I typed. Editing it took another gruelling series of months, and I still pick up the work and unfairly want to edit it some – hindsight is, of course, always that best pair of glasses you had that one time. So, the entire process was just agony, agony, agony. But, whilst it meant that I was in a morass of emotional and physical distress, and surviving on almost literally no sleep, it yielded this beautiful, truth-telling, hopefully assistive thing – all that pain.
And my Mum was so proud of me the day that I both told and showed her that I’d written a book! I was getting her into bed for a nap, and she said (lilting accent here): “Ohhh!!! Congratulation!!!” She looked so eagerly in the direction of Wifey – wanted to get right into reading it. But I told her that the subject matter was too intense for her to read it just then, that we should wait until she was well, and then she could read it. That day never came. But, on the day of her funeral, at her repast luncheon, an old family friend of ours – a guy we hadn’t seen or spoken to in years – came up to me and congratulated me warmly on the book. Initially I was shocked that he knew I had written one. But, my Mum had been a public figure in the community there, so when he saw her obituary in the newspaper (which I wrote), as well as the interview the newspaper had done with me regarding her passing, he’d Googled me and found Wifey. I then instantly felt, right there in my spirit, that through him, she was congratulating me on its contents, that she had finally read them in that Great Beyond, and was telling me that she was proud of me, all over again.
WU:  What did you study at Wellesley?  How did your experiences at Wellesley influence your writing? Did you have any classes or professors that particularly affected you?
At Wellesley, my focus became a pre-law concentration, with a major in political science. I loved my pol sci classes and seminars, and I combined them with writing classes and public policy classes at MIT. I liked all of my Wellesley profs – especially my pol sci profs and philosophy profs – and at MIT, particularly my writing profs. I also took a Harvard Summer School writing course and that prof – himself a world-renowned head of a literary magazine and author – was amazing as well. I aced all of those writing classes, and each and every one of those profs always made certain to let me know that I indeed have a gift, when it comes to penning.
So in short, my fave Wellesley prof? Arati Rao, PhD, who was then visiting Pol Sci. My fave MIT profs? Joe Haldeman (Genre Fiction) and the late Elzbieta Chodakowska (Ettinger; Novel Writing). And at that Harvard Summ. Session writing class? Askold Melnyczuk.
WU: Tell us a little about Wharton King and Pink Purse International.  What are your goals with these enterprises?
Wharton and King are my maternal Grandmother’s maiden and married names, respectively, as the entity is named in honour of her. The name for it came to me when I was a newbie lawyer, just trying to make my little way in the Washington, D.C. area. And the concept for Pink Purse International actually came to me in a waking vision, whilst I was seriously ill with the swine flu that came sweeping through North Texas in 2010 (the latter of which I forebodingly hint at in the Fort Worth, “low country” restaurant scene in Wifey). The idea is for Wharton King to be a socially-conscious company, to always have under its works those things that aim to contribute to the progressive, to the doing of its part in the global effort to make this a more livable world. And, for Pink Purse International, the goal is always to uplift the spirits of other Women, to highlight and support the wondrous works of trailblazing, game-changing Women, and to continue the necessary conversation regarding the status and experiences of Women in the world.
WU: What is up next for you on the horizon?  Other writing projects?
I’m always at tasking some side writing project – typically, several at once. Even whilst I was dealing with the aftermath of my Mum’s passing away last year, I was writing voraciously. For me, it’s about trying to be even better in print than I was before – to aim to truly honour that life calling by pushing myself, even if painfully, to a new level.
Until then, of course, Wifey is living in paperback and Kindle at, and at and other online retailers – and regarding the Kindle, it is a free download or just .99, depending on what type of Amazon’er – if you are –you may have chosen to be. So, do very kindly support this work that highlights our plight – our issues as a society, and as Women.
WU: What advice would you give to other writers?
Just keep writing, and don’t let the lack of a mainstream publisher stop you; I didn’t even have the time to try to shop for one during my Mum’s illness. Get the ideas down and then go indie if you have to – as I did – and let the words within you live, blessedly, out loud.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Visionary Philadelphia Woman Chef Creates Ethical, Elevated Perfection in Sustainable Sweet Potato Pies

                              Photo Credit: Jesse Blitzstein, The Enterprise Center (2015).

by Fey Ugokwe, Esq.

As you pop about town, speedily fulfilling those last-minute gifts on your scrolling-endless holiday list, or prepping for an upcoming space-ful of famished and ever-gnoshing family and friends, Chef Yolanda Lockhart-Davis, Small Event Caterer & Food Service Consultant--and the visionary founder of Salt, Pepper and Soul LLC--wants you and yours to take time out to truly enjoy each bow on the vast rainbow of tastes in this new scrumptious season, by taking home her delectable, artfully refined, organic soul food fare. Chef Lockhart-Davis, who caters to some of the most discriminating palates in the foodie-rich, Philadelphia area, lovingly terms her stellar cuisine "Gourmet Soul", and is ethically dedicated to sustainability in all of her offerings, by sourcing only the highest quality of organic, locally grown, sustainably-produced ingredients for her decadent dishes. Her heart's mission is to transform everyday ingredients into an epic taste experience, with her complex, fully-devised flavors, and refined interpretations of classic, soul food faves. 

**Bring The Sweet Side of Salt and Pepper Soul to Your Holiday Table This Year: Bourbon Sweet Potato Pie Holiday Promotion**

This season, Chef Lockhart-Davis is helping you to relish and relax from some of that oven time--whilst still making you look like a graduated pastry pro at your pre-holiday events and upcoming holiday feasts--with her luscious, talk-of-the-town, Sweet Potato Pies. This pie's pedigree is an exceptionally smooth, bourbon-laced, sweet potato custard--elevating the sweet potato to a lilting luxury--sitting lush atop a beautifully buttery, cinnamon-graham cracker crust. This pie is being buzzed about as "lively", "vibrant", and delightfully "complex", whilst still showcasing the unique, organic personality of the sweet potato itself.

These silky, out-of-this-universe and sustainably-produced Sweet Potato pies are on sale through Sunday, December 20th, for just $24.95--and for a mere $4.00 extra, let the dream-inducing, homemade Bourbon-Vanilla Whipped Cream Chef Lockhart-Davis has spun up, send your tastebuds into even sweeter ecstasy along this ultimate dessert experience. And, it arrives--true to sustainability itself--in a lovely, reusable jar.

Order your luscious holiday rounds of organic, Gourmet Soul, Sweet Potato Pie-heaven today and all this cheery season long, at:

If you're a local, or plan to be in the fabulous, food-savvy, Philadelphia area this season, you can pick up your Sweet Potato Pies on Wednesday, 12/23 or on Wednesday, 12/30 at the Dorrance H. Hamilton Center for Culinary Enterprises, at 48th and Spruce Streets. 


Photo Credit: Jennifer Britton, Drexel University (2015).

Brace your senses against the whistling winter chill with Chef Lockhart-Davis' savoury, signature Sweet Potato and Sage Soup.

Photo Credit: Jennifer Britton, Drexel University (2015).

Try Chef Lockhart-Davis' rustic and simply mouthwatering, Organic Baby Kale Salad, irresistibly replete with Caramelized Butternut Squash, Roasted Beets, Crunchy Glazed Pecans, and Rosemary-Scented Chickpeas, and drizzled elegantly with an Aged Dark Balsamic. 

Follow Chef Lockhart Davis' Salt, Pepper, and Soul on Twitter: @SaltPepperNSoul

Like Chef Lockhart Davis' Salt, Pepper, and Soul on Facebook at: Salt Pepper and Soul LLC

Friday, November 20, 2015


by Fey Ugokwe, Esq.

And some are forever The Driven, soaked in the sweat of years of denial and the hard-toil decades of non-diversity, ever streaking forward, kicks on wood and rising up--launching the sweet dreams of others toward Goal. Coach Bernell Hooker, former Pink Purse International Branded Radio, "The PPI Women of Power Hours" show guest, long ago leapt into place amongst them, these eyes-alight pioneers of Women's Basketball--these vehement champions of the inclusion of Women in that wondrous, whooshing world of professional sport. Missioned to her beloved city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Coach Hooker has been at realizing the aspirations of Midwestern young women in the field of basketball for decades. And, she has the accolades for days and scrolling tick list of community awards to prove it--her undefeated dedication to that continuing cause--many due to her superlative work as a Women's college basketball coach, inclusive of the Judy Sweet Spirit Award from the NCAA Women's Coaches Academy (2006), and the Presidential Award from the National Association of Girls and Women in Sports (2007). But one day, Coach Bernell Hooker decisively stepped up to that line again, this time, to spin forth a women-in-sport support nation--Images Of Us, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering girls to achieve their best via the venue of Sport. Images Of Us specifically provides critical workshops, scholarships, mentoring, internships, employment opportunities, and more, in a myriad of sports, to girls and young women from all walks. 

Since our PPI Radio Interview, Coach Bernell Hooker has become pioneering, Team Owner Bernell Hooker--by forming the Milwaukee Aces in 2014, a team in the newly re-launched, Women's American Basketball Association (WABA; which endeavours to be a developmental league for the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) and professional women's basketball teams overseas) she became the first person since 1978 to launch a women's basketball team in the state of Wisconsin. The tireless Coach Hooker also served as Commissioner of the WABA's summer league. 

Coach Hooker reports that to date, her Milwaukee Aces team is headed to a second season and runner up off of the championship game; and that her Images Of Us Sports' STEM in Sports Academy will be partnering with the Black Inventors Gallery, to be launched by the Milwaukee Bucks, on February 27, 2016.

A Pink Purse International "Well Done You, Woman!" to trailblazing Women's Professional Sports Team Owner, Coach Bernell Hooker, and tremendous thanks for being such a sage, call-to-action, and superlatively informative, PPI Radio Show guest. 

Click here to listen to our chat on "The PPI Women of Power Hours" Branded Radio Show:


Visit Women's American Basketball Association Team Owner, Coach Bernell Hooker's websites, The Milwaukee Aces, and Images Of Us, to learn more about her women's professional basketball team's season, and her amazing non-profit sports organization for girls and young women.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


by Fey Ugokwe, Esq.

Vegan. Mention the word in mixed or any other company and it almost always elicits, of all things, an intensely visceral response--both 'yay' and 'nay'--with campers on both sides briskly whisking, once again, that 'why would you'/'how couldn't you' hot-and-sour, social discourse soup. But former Pink Purse International Branded Radio, "The PPI Women of Power Hours" guest, multi award-winning jazz vocalist and actor, several-time cookbook author, and celebrated vegan chef Laura Theodore, did her perfect part to slip that cauldron off the campfire a long time ago. Married to a card-carrying carnivore, she skillfully started serving up vegan substitutes for the moos and oinks and clucks and such--to her unsuspecting hubby and his mates--and yummy-for-your-two-timing-tummy, a socially-conscious culinary star was born. As you do, apparently! 

Since our PPI Radio interview, Chef Laura has transitioned her highly successful MiND TV vegan cooking show, "The Jazzy Vegetarian" to network television---it now airs on PBS. Additionally, her "Jazzy Vegetarian" brand, which includes television, radio, books, food, multimedia, and online communications, won her a TASTE Award in 2014--and this very year of 2015, she was inducted into the TASTE Award Hall of Fame. And of course, Chef Laura's been ever the television show guest on CBS, NBC, ABC, USA, and FOX, appearing most recently on CBS' "The Talk". 

A Pink Purse International "Well Done You, Woman!" to Chef Laura Theodore, and many, many thanks again for being such an effervescent and inspiring, PPI Radio show guest. 

Click here to listen to our chat on "The PPI Women of Power Hours" Branded Radio Show:  


Visit Chef Laura's "Jazzy Vegetarian" website, to learn more about her amazing socially-conscious brand, her PBS television show, and more in her wondrous, multi-talented world:

"The PPI Women of Power Hours" Show 
Chef Laura Theodore Episode Sponsor(s):

Elizabeth Scala, MSN/MBA, RN
Nursing from Within:

Thursday, November 12, 2015




Elizabeth Scala, MSN/MBA, RN
Spiritual Practice Nurse, Awakening the Nurse Within.
Speaker. Author. Reiki Master Teacher. To Contact, Visit:

Reconnect with Your Inner Nurse!
Get Your Copy of 'Nursing from Within: A Fresh Alternative to Putting Out Fires and Self-Care Workarounds', at:

Sunday, September 6, 2015


"But just then, a large, black dog appeared in front of the door unit perpendicular to P.V. and Rodney's. Rev. had not heard it initially approach, and the skin on his arms prickled immediately at the sight of it. It seemed to have literally come from the thin, because the door behind it was not open, neither had anyone rounded the stairwell corner beyond that door--in form or voice--to claim it. The dog was wearing a thick, stark white collar, and the fur of its coat was extremely well-oiled and shiny. It was standing almost as if at attention on all fours, tail and pointed snout both raised and still, eyes staring deeply down into Rev.

 Rev. was, to his core, afraid of the dog. But as they stood there, drawn into each other, something in its moist, brown eyes was quite clearly, oddly, peace-filled--and full of an empathy and compassion for Rev. Yet, too, he felt--saw--a fullness of intent all about the animal, a strong-spiritedness with a defined purpose. So he kept still for a moment, continuing to regard it, as it regarded him..." ( ; and other iretailers):

Wifey by Fey Ugokwe

Saturday, September 5, 2015



Third Place Winner, BYLINE's '1st Chapter of a Novel' Contest, 2003



T.J. will be doing the following book signings:

1) 9/12/15: Book Signing at Unique Finds in Granby, CT
2) 9/19/15: Book Signing at Applefest at the First Congregational Church in Granby, CT

Be there to meet the author, have your copy of her novel autographed, and pick her brain about her literary process!

Saturday, July 18, 2015


"Big, fanciful ideas like that, yeah? But..." he if snapping himself out of a dream.

"But?" P.V. queried gently, her voice a breath...wondering what could be weighing upon him so heavily.

"Well...I decided to have a go at....well, seminary actually...thought it might do me a bit a good for awhile...I'm Rhys," he said gently, stretching a fleshy-palmed hand toward her.  He was exploring her face more directly now, waiting to catch her eyes again, so that he might perhaps discern more..."

Wifey by Fey Ugokwe

Saturday, April 25, 2015


"It was 7:17 a.m., and Rev. wingtips and gold watch glinting in the everywhere sun. A heavy man breathing heavily, he waddled across the blacktop...[E]yes ever-alight and purposeful, chin out in a grace-filled jut--he looked like Sunday morning..."Wifey by Fey Ugokwe

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Tra-la-la, la-la and the Transcenders

(Behind the scenes, basically, far away from my ppi brand's online sites, I 
receive quite a bit of kudos for this blog--both for the largely woman-celebrity 
celebrating work that it once was, as attendant to my interviews with them and 
other influential women on my radio show; and for the illustrative medium it had 
of late become, in my highlighting within it the pathos and pleasures that I 
painted into my new book, a multicultural, woman-centered novella with themes 
for almost all. Additionally, I've been blessedly forever fielding similarly secret/somewhat secret requests to appear on the radio show--which in actuality, I have not 
broadcasted in essentially a couple of years now. In point of fact, I believe 
part of the success of my show was the willingness of those great women guests 
to open themselves up in the on-air interview process, and the other of course, 
my ability somehow, to indeed get their good and guiding stories well out of 
them. So, it is in part because of both the former and the latter--expressed 
love to me for the blog and the radio show--that I compose the entry that I do 
today, with sincere gratitude to all who have reached out to me, in any form or 
fashion, about the blog and the show over the past few years, months, weeks, and 
even days. Bless you all profoundly, profoundly, profoundly for your keen 
interest, unwavering encouragement, and truly spirited artistic support):
It was to the left and diagonal to me, twinkling-keyed and upper-C'd--a wordless 
song so sprite, so high--soaring up, up, up, slanted-air-balloon around and into 
my ears: "Tra-la-la, la-la! Tra-la-la, la-la!" It was little-voiced, 
kid-cartoon-esque and fantastic; and ringing jubilantly out, it dared to defy 
the each and all darkness and gloom of that brisk-winded March day. Because of 
its sheer purity, free-spiritedness, and birthday-bouncy-house joy, I found 
myself in those new seconds curiously beginning to let the sheer wretchedness of 
my current life/week/day, go--and relaxing slightly, listening intently as I 
trod, allowing that sunshine song to ray, radiate into my thoughts. But just 
then--from the same direction of its ascent, left of me, closeby it and at 
angle--rushed this Harsh, slicing that cane-sugar-sweet, summery song well down: 

"Hey-hey-hey! Calm yo' ass down!" And then with it, a something  inaudible, said 
suspiciously lower-toned and thus completely away from the hearing of any 
well-meaning ear-looker. And it next all fell into a sucked-up-hushed, a big 
black hole yielding that awful, immediate, terrified quiet--the little song, and 
all sounds from that direction, inclusive of the ordinary background chatter of 
their fellow blacktop pedestrians. I turned my head--over and to the left--to 
see who had been that spirit-raising baby songbird, and who had so swiftly, 
needlessly, sharply caused her silence. The singer was a little girl about five 
years of age, walking slightly behind her ever-so-tiny, almost still-toddling 
younger brother, who appeared to be about three--and in between a couple, 
presumably their parents, themselves a decidedly very young female and male. Her 
critic had been the male, the father--who was closest in proximity to me. And 
their camp of four walked/toddled quickly, ever-so-obediently on--in that 
gruffly demanded, quick-zipped silence--and thus ended the soul-stirring, 
Heaven-sent, sugar-pop portion of the day. Isn't that sadly, too often 
sometimes, the human way?

It all set me immediately to pondering about relationships--whether familial 
or otherwise. I recalled that I have often contended that at the basis of every 
successful relationship should be a friendship/some of the core tenents of a 
friendship--like respect, an extension of the unconditional love that we're 
supposed to grant our family members, support, encouragement, and a motivation 
to both help lift each other higher and truly be there in our times of the 
lower. But--what if one doesn't operate in one's friendships in such an 
embracing, loving, manner? Or even treat oneself in any goodly/godly way? How 
then, could one turn around and be a true friend to the family one has created, 

And that, the all of it, made me think of what I admire in a friend. When I was 
little, and up throughout my mid teens, my late maternal Uncle--a tremendously 
bright, joy-filled and striding, sage, actively but oh-so-coolly religious, 
knight-like family man--used to routinely advise me to restrict my close 
friendships, and even my fave acquaintanceships, to those who would lift me up 
in this treacherous, swirling vice of a world. And I realized that he wasn't 
just talking about opportunities--he was speaking of spirit, of an 
in-whatever-way emotional support and upswing could be potentially offered from 
those whom you truly let into your little world's door. A cautionary so 
priceless, from a gentle, jovial soul who himself has since gone on to--as this 
Northern woman hears so often spiritedly said here in the South--Glory.

So. Accordingly--are you hoofing it, right this very reality, with those who 
would--or do--trample your 'Tra-la-la, la-la', or entice you into doing so to 
another? Are you consorting with those who merely encourage you into idle 
gossip, or with those souls who set you trending and thinking on higher, more 
harmonious levels of human existence, deed, inspiration, consciousness? Are your 
friends there for you in your ultimate times of need--as you have been there for 
them in theirs, whether it was in their jaw-dropping crises; or by putting money 
in their pockets in patronage of their businesses, livelihoods, or other 
pursuits; or in other of their lives' welcome or unwelcome experiences--to hold 
your hand, pray/meditate/intend good things together with and/or over you; to 
chat with you if you feel/are able to utter words into sentence; or to just be 
stick-still in a room with you, and let their presence--strong and hugging--just 
two-or-three-in-a-sandbox be with you, if your eyes are closing, and your lips 
sometimes have the happenstance to make no sound? 

You know, simply put, I like men and women who source well beyond the darkness; 
who challenge others every day--even unto their friendships--to embrace, speak, 
the good; shut out/prophylax the constant downpull on humanity to that which is 
ultimately meddling, injurious, harmful; who seek to help others soar in their 
unique songs, thereby bettering the spiritual statuses of those populating this 
spinning, spinning, spinning, ever-transitioning planet. Okay--perhaps that 
wasn't so simply put--but that's what I respect, admire, and grateful, think an 
addition to our humanity. Here's an interview with onesuch extraordinary 
person--a woman that I interviewed on the show, who definitely flush-fits that 
exemplary life-lifting mold--Pro Golfer, Olympian, and Celebrity Fitness Expert 
Andia Winslow. Hope you indeed re-enjoy (click link to listen):