Book update: (The Real Struggle)

I’m here, trying to capture the healing energy of writing. I haven’t taken a chance to blog in a long time, but my journal has been working overtime. Blogs take too long to create, because I get caught up editing them trying to get all the tags and keywords right, in hopes of getting thousands of hits to my site. I’m not a big deal to most people so I chalk up my efforts to wishful viral thinking.

Writing a book is a lot harder than I thought too, especially a memoir. You’d think it would be easy to think of all the memories in your life and put them down on paper. It’s not. There were a lot steps to get from a summer journal, to a full on autobiographical sketch, to a first draft, to a thesis project, to a publication in progress; a lot of tears, a lot of decisions on additions and omissions, and a lot of unblocked memories attest to the effort it takes to accept one’s faults, fates and fears. I’m forcing myself to face down the things that led to this time in my life, and this blog gives my readers some insights on the concurrent circumstances of life I tangle with while dealing with my past in a poetic and literary way.

I can tell you that fatherhood has had a huge impact on my writing habits. Writing is a dream in progress, nebulous and free-flowing, coming to fruition when I least expect it, appreciating the moments when it happens. Fatherhood is a reality in progress, steadfast, uncompromising, something I can expect to face everyday and appreciating it always. I now know how parents can get so wrapped up in their kids’ lives and lose touch with themselves. I have witnessed the power of the attention shifting perils of parenthood!

So the book took a backseat for a while…and the blogging. It’s summertime and I’m feeling ripe to type up some more marvelous stuff, though. A corner is turning as one kid starts kindergarten and the other high school. What a spread, right? I’m going to be young forever! Now I have to bend a corner and get my writing flow on go again.

Send me some encouragement. I need feedback. Are you, or do you know someone who is a parent-writer? I’d love to hear the challenges you go through.

#springishere

8 Types Of Toxic People To Leave Behind In 2018 – HuffPost
Very important stuff!
https://apple.news/AWRh-_xd0RkyPgo_q9mGSPA

It’s the first day of spring…time for spring cleaning! If you’re like me, you be feeling vibes, and sometimes people can bring vibes into your life that can cripple you like kryptonite on Superman!

Fear not, here’s a little tidbit I picked up in January, but really, any time is the right time to get your aura straight! Am I right? Happy vernal equinox my peoples!!!

I’ve Been Playing LPs Again…

“Playing LPs” is really my online code for living life in the real world not the digital one. I wish I had a working turntable to play my records on, but I haven’t made the time to find a cartridge for the old Technics direct-drive relic sitting on the top closet shelf.

Sometimes it takes a while for me to come back to this format. There’s been plenty to write about, but a lot are too personal to share with the world, so I’m dealing with them in a space where they can’t be stolen and exploited. Real world problems need real world solutions. A time is coming where I’ll reckon with my feelings more freely.

For me, the real world inspires the words that come tapping from my fingertips. Writing my memoir itself has been liberating in that I’m unraveling a history that explains my occasional reclusions. I think every kind of artist goes through those moments, writers probably more so than most, but in these times you have to be consistent in exposing your online presence in order to be relevant. It’s sad that us humans have chosen to live in two worlds, as if one isn’t hard enough with which to deal.

#testimonialtuesday #tuesdaymorning

 

 

Hospitalized: Redo

IT HAPPENED AGAIN.

I love my work. I get to go places and see things most people don’t (until it’s broadcast), and get paid for the experience. But seriously, one of the best perks about the biz is the food!

My first year in the film industry I gained about twenty pounds, easy. Craft service was heaven laid out on three 6-foot long folding tables, free snacks and drinks to satisfy a hungry crew’s snack habits.

The first time I was ever hospitalized was because of craft service. I was producing a behind the scenes shoot for a Disney Channel show. It was a long day because the shoot schedule didn’t allow many opportunities for my team to interview the cast, so with all this wait time, I’m at crafty, munching on popcorn and cashews, calling myself being healthy. See, I gained those twenty in one year and it took me five to figure out how to lose it. I learned to stay away from the candies, sodas and the chips, and stick to the fruits, nuts, veggies and dips.

What happened that day is briefly documented in three previous blog posts, Hospitalized, Hospitalized – Do and Mended. Well, a few days ago, I had another ill food experience while working on a spot for the City of L.A. It was a run ‘n gun deal across the L.A. landscape, from the heart of downtown, to the Watts Towers to the beaches, we were catching some of the gem tourists spots of my sprawling town. On Day 2 of our shoot we stopped and ate at the Echo Park picnic tables with the locals. I made sure to hand sanitize but still, a little bacteria can creep up from just a thoughtless swipe on a bench or table and contaminate a meal in a minute.

Early the next morning, I was earling in the toilet, but I wasn’t going to let a little vomit keep me from making money, so I gathered myself and joined the crew for Day 3 of our adventure. By the time we got to action I was able and ready, but by midday, earl was calling again…

Needless, to say, I was sent home for the day. The situation was worse by the time I got home. I drove myself to urgent care down the street, and when she took my blood pressure, the nurse freaked. “220 over 180! You need to go to the hospital right now!” An ambulance was called, but my niece and her bae got there quicker. They rushed me to a Mid City emergency room and I was admitted immediately. The preliminary EKGs were abnormal… and they said I had the symptoms of a heart attack.

Oh shit.

I remained calm like an old Roots song, and let the doctors run their tests and scans. I was sad and glad to be there this time. I needed something to slow me down to think about what’s been going on. Lying there in that hospital bed, I thought about the past year and how much I’d done. The changes in my daily structure, like having to take two kids to school almost everyday, and dealing with a newly endowed teenager, are things for me now. I thought about the near death experience I had a few months ago: I was on my way to work one dark, early morning, barely a car on the road. I’m at the light, waiting to turn right on the green arrow. I get my light, and out of nowhere a Yukon came speeding through my turn lane, where I had to slam on the brakes to keep from getting smacked out of existence. After a pause to gather myself, I kept driving. The next song on my playlist was Deja Vu by Teena Marie. The words to that song took on a whole new meaning for me, and I cried my eyes out as I listened to it over and over again, until I decided that it was time for me to do something new. This is what set in motion a series of events leading up to the setting of the deadline for my memoir’s publication. Three days and many more thoughts later, I was released with a clean bill after all test results came out negative, no heart tissue damage, blood pressure hereditarily high, but controlled with medication and a better diet.

I’m at the dawn of my golden anniversary on earth. My health should be my primary concern from now on. My time with my loved ones is so important to me, and that’s why my approach to making the gold is taking a new turn. My vision is vast, and this last speed bump was a reminder to just pace myself. It’s all about to come to together. Thanks for participating in the vision, my readers. Every look counts.

New Look, New Book!!!

Just a quick update. A few changes are underway as you can tell from the housekeeping on the site, but it is a work in progress.

I am officially announcing the release of my first book “Rebelation: A Memoir with Photos” in March of 2018. It is a look at my life in back in 1992. Living in Los Angeles, it was my first year as a hip-hop journalist. It is a familiar tale about a young man coming of age, but in the unfamiliar context after the most violent civil disturbance in United States history. A series of events and alliances with people near and far help me forge a new perspective on life, black unity and personal responsibility. Now I’m ready to share my story with the world.

Come back soon and I’ll throw some pages up. In the meantime, I am just trying to figure out all the links and and click stats that are going to lead to this automatic money I’m gonna get once I figure out web commerce. Yippee ki-o!!!

Falling 

I feel bad for not posting more frequently, but as I stated in Relativity, real life takes up real time, so my blogging falls by the wayside. Notice I said blogging and not writing. I’ve been writing in my journal my butt off between kids and gigs. My poetry has hit some high notes as of late. It’s never enough:  thinking about a new paper to publish comparing contemporary rap to 15th century poetry, planning an art exhibition, figuring out the magic tricks of Lightroom, and finishing unfinished blog posts…

I guess I shouldn’t feel bad. I’m doing all this to make my stuff spectacular and moving. The journey is the hard work towards beautiful results. The living in the moment makes the journey interesting. Now that a new season is here, I’m taking a moment to celebrate the art of the blog and two years and twenty days of keeping one. Keep following. Happy autumnal equinox, my friends…

The South-East Bounce

OK… The deadline for the e-book has passed. I’ve only organized the first round of pictures and there a lot more. Cataloging has become the unforeseen monkey wrench in my show. I thought it would be easy, laying out provocactive pictures and justifying them along  with my peppered prose, but the more I looked at each picture, stories emerged that had eluded my original narrative, and took on lives of their own. If I put more time in earlier on pre-production like I do on my filmed narratives, it would have been done on time and hopefully with great fanfare. I’m still pressing forward, though. I’m going to see what kind of help I can get by reaching out to my community of fellow artists, writers and photographers.

Earlier this month, I had a chance to travel away from L.A. for a couple of weeks. The first stop was Todd Mission, TX, where the first Middlelands music festival went down. The venue was the Texas Renaissance Fairgrounds. I was told that at least 60,000 people attended this 3-day event that popped up in a dusty wood, an hour northwest of Houston. There were many people who attended on a day-to-day basis, but a great majority stayed on the campgrounds. Oh yes, there was camping, and with the camping came the night parties til the dawn and brilliant displays of light. Being Loupy D, I had the luxury of a golf cart and an all-access pass. All day I was getting hailed by partygoers who after partying til the breakadawn were making their way from the campgrounds to the stages. I had a couple of interesting offers in the later hours of the fest, but due to the nature of my duties, I had to give every sweet-faced girlie the go-by. Even if I’d listened to that devil in the white nightgown whispering in my left ear, the best accommodation I could offer was the RV space I shared with two roomies. Three funky fellas in a tight quarters over seven days is an acquired aroma, but when one of the ladies from our group poked her head in our space one day, her acquisition couldn’t quite handle our aroma.

Febreze handled it.

Next week, new stop. After a quick repack in L.A. (and a long shower), I boarded United Airlines for a nonstop flight to Washington, D.C. aka Chocolate City with an orange glaze on top… oh well. The occasion for the destination was not to hate, but to celebrate the bestowing of rights and privileges thereof decreed up on my niece… as a PhD recipient! Her dissertation is titled Concussions, The Emerging Public Health Crisis, and Why Media Advocacy Is Needed. Looks to me as like she’s taking up the mantle against the NFL, and anyone else who puts profits as a priority over health. From day one when she learned how to talk she hasn’t been quiet and, I don’t know a bigger sports fanatic than @ProfCDP. As a teenager, I saw her go head-to-head  at a cookout with a grown man over some college sports stats! Christian caught the journalism bug in the heart of my freelance writing days. She began writing articles for the sports section of her high school newspaper and was the sports editor in her senior year. She was accepted to Spelman College and breezed through in three years with a double major in English and Spanish. Without missing a beat, she tackled the cold of upstate New York to get her master’s degree from the Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University. I still see that tough, gangly 9-year old who I took hiking in Kenneth Hahn Park. The end of our hike was a short, steep incline. Poor Christian lost her footing and and took a frightful dive near the bottom. When I checked her out there was no blood, just a few scrapes. “See, if you can walk away from it then your okay,” I reassured her. By the time we made it back to my red Mazda B-2000 pickup, she was already asking, “can we come back tomorrow?” I feel so good that I kept telling her to put the books before the boys, too. It was the most solid piece of advice that I could have given her as a youngster. The reward for having that kind of patience and focus was getting engaged with her sweetheart of seven years, the day after defending her dissertation.There was a lot to celebrate that week!

You never know how the things you say to a person or the way you treat them, will influence them later on in life. I always tried to give my nieces and nephews aspects from my life that I wished I had more of: inspiration and motivation from an adult. A person who gives the go-ahead to try something new and not be afraid to fail is so hard to find in a competition-minded society. I gave them the freedom to be, and they were able to pick up on the pieces of wisdom and understanding I dropped on them at a young age. I had to wait to get it straight from my grandpa down in New Orleans as a wild youth in my 20s, while running with the hip hop crowd in the 90s. I remember always being told what to do, what not to do, what I wanted and what I didn’t want. I did my best to make other people happy, not knowing that I was the source of my own happiness. Like many misguided youth, I rebelled, made lots of mistakes and engaged in shenanigans that would have put me in the hospital, jail or in the ground. I’m here by the blessings from the good Lord above. I’m happy the ones coming up under me didn’t have to experience life the way I did. I’m not saying that life is hard, but it sure ain’t easy. I just had to change if I wanted to raise my own kids one day. Now I have two boys, and it’s the same with them, but different. Time will tell.

These two weeks of travel have sure put me in a reflective state. Life is short and precious and I enjoy the variety that it brings day to day. I’m getting used to the expereinces that will get me through the next phases of life. I don’t need a lot to be happy. I can be lonely in a crowd or at ease in my own company. There’s no use in remembering what I did for others when I’m going to forget it a year later. What you sow is what you reap, and I’m alright with what I’m seeing so far.

 

How I Got The Name “Loupy”

I have been so busy these past couple of months… Work, kids, write, rest, repeat! I admit I’ve been stingy with my online experience, but all the latest internet fads and trends over the holidays did not go unnoticed, nor did the “Trump-set” of the election. I had to go underground and get my bearings back on straight, so now I’m ready to share something with you.

It’s the story of how I got the name Loupy. Loupy D was created in 1991 when my first interview was published and became my hip hop moniker for life! There are only a few people that have worked with Loupy D, but that story will be told in the second memoir. Right now you’re getting a sneak peak into the first.

I have some more news to share wth you very soon, so stay tuned. The holidays are coming and I’m in a sharing mood. Please share your holiday spirit by leaving a comment and sharing this with someone!


ld_baseball


1979, fifth grade at Windsor Hills Elementary changed the course of my history, though I didn’t know it at the time.

A brotha named Jeff had transferred into Windsor Hills from another school that was on the south side of Slauson. This kid was on the path to destruction. He was like me when I first went to Canfield: always in trouble, always in the office, but the school aids at Windsor Hills weren’t as nice as they were at Canfield.

I met Jeff sitting in the office. The thing that gave way to that reality was that he was a bully to most, but took a liking to me. He was just a cool and funny kid, a little slow and big for his age, but after we joked around I guess he saw me as a cool brotha to hang with, so we became friends. He asked if he could come over after school one day. I told him that his parents would have to check with mine to see if it was okay. I wrote my name and number on a piece of notebook paper and handed it to him.

“Call me tonight and put your mom on the phone, and she can talk to my mom,” I said.  Later that evening he called. I picked up the phone.

“Hello?”

“Uh… may I speak to Loupus?”

“Loupus??” It took me a few seconds to figure out who it was since there was no Caller ID in those days.

“Man, my name ain’t no Loupus! It’s Lawrence!”

“Uhhhhh… aight den… Loupus.” I could hear him chuckling in the background. “That shit is funny.”

“Man, you crazy Jeff!”

“Hu-ha…Loupus…”

“What’s up man? Where’s your mom?”

“She had to work late, but she said it was okay for me to come over.”

“Oh for real? That’s cool. I’ll tell my mom your mom said it was alright in the morning.”

“Okay… Loupus. Hu-ha…”

“Man, stop calling me that!”

The rest of our conversation probably went on about what was gonna be for lunch in the cafeteria or who was the best at kickball, but I sure remember him snickering and saying under his breath, “Loupus…”

The next day I walked alone to recess, and when neared the gate, there was Jeff, grinning. His ashy, whop sided Afro looked steamy in the morning sun, his face beaming as bright. Jeff looked like that kid who was waiting to see his auntie with the candy come off the airplane, standing there, waiting for me right at the gate.

“WHAT’S UP LOUPUS?”

It so happened that one of my new Jewish friends Doug was walking in the gate at the same time. Doug and I both wanted to be architects when we grew up and we were in gifted class together, so we were cool. He was about to be even cooler because after he heard Jeff call me “Loupus” he picked up the chain that Jeff threw down. Doug couldn’t stop laughing.

“Loupus!!” Hahhahahahaha!!! Here we go loop de loo here we go loop de lie!!! HAHAHAHA!!!”

After that, in all my yearbooks, the name stuck and it stayed. Loupy was born.

The school day ended and I walked out of school with Jeff. My house was right around the corner. When we got there he looked up and marveled.

“Dang, this all your house?” That was the typical reaction when someone saw our house for the first time. I had a birthday party earlier that year and invited friends from my old neighborhood. One of the guys said that when he walked to the front door that he wondered if he was at the right apartment.

“It’s all one house,” I said. “My dad designed and built it.” I took more pride in saying that fact than I did in the size of the house. It seemed like it was just big enough for our family to be together and be apart at the same time. My sisters shared a room in the same section of the house where my room was. We shared a bathroom. It was long, with a double sink counter. The toilet and shower/tub were at the end. The bathroom divided our rooms, but the only way in was from the shared hallway. I used to wish that it was like the bathroom on the Brady Bunch, where both sets of kids had an access door from their rooms. We walked in through the front door and you could see the backyard through the glass windows in the foyer. We had a big backyard. There was a big pool in that big backyard, and lots of room to run and play.

Jeff and I came out onto the patio area. It was brick tiled, with white patio furniture consisting of two round metal tables framed by four and two chairs each, surrounded by planters with huge fronded exotic plants. Off in a corner of the tiled area was a wet bar and a gas barbecue grill, perfect for grilling in all types of weather, my dad used to brag. On the other side of the bar was the pool and Jacuzzi area, taking up about one third of the backyard. Next to the pool was a flat grassy area that went towards the neighbor’s wall into a hilly area going towards the back of the house. This is where Meme planted her vegetable garden. Another thing that Meme taught me was how to work the soil and grow things. She was the granddaughter of a slave, and she grew up in Tennessee. Making use of the soil was an ancestral skill she handed down to me, and I took a lot of pride in the strawberries I planted that were bursting with sweet, delicious full fruit.

Jeff was so interested in the garden. Most of my friends who came over would want to race around the pool or roughhouse in the grass. Not Jeff. He walked right over to the strawberry patch and started picking strawberries right off the vine and eating them. Some of those strawberries were already half eaten by snails, but Jeff didn’t seem to care at all. I never ate anything out of the garden without washing it off first, but I realized that Jeff didn’t care. After he got his fill of strawberries, he told me that he had to go home.

“You just got here,” I complained. I didn’t get to have company over very often and it was cool having a guest. It felt like being grown.

“My momma’s gonna beat my ass if I don’t get home,” Jeff replied.

“I thought you said that your mom said it was okay for you to come over.”

“I lied, cuzz. I got to go home before my mama beat my ass. Thanks for them strawberries though cuzz!”

Jeff slapped me on the back of my neck – a Benny Hill as we called it – and took off running. I chased him and caught him at the door leading into the house. I smacked his neck twice: one for lying and one for eating all my strawberries!

That was Jeff’s first and last visit to my house. We still kicked it at school though. When our play area changed from kickball field we would have tetherball or foursquare, and none of the boys were interested in that. So, we walked around the schoolyard and I’d watch him harass other kids. If any of my gifted friends approached me Jeff would scare them off. Even my black classmates Reggie and Blair were cool when it came to Jeff. His trademark greeting was “What’s up cuzz?” He claimed RSC or Rolling Sixties Crip. I didn’t know that kids my age were gang banging. I knew about teh Crips though because we just moved from where 18th Street was founded. Jeff didn’t pose a danger to me, but the other kids feared him.

We eventually drifted apart. He was put into a remedial class, which was far away from the other classrooms. We saw less of each other at lunch because our play area days were on different schedules. Whenever we’d see each other on the yard he would say or yell out:

“What’s up Loupy Cuzz!”

People always ask, “How did you get the name Loupy?” Some think it’s Spanish like “Lupe”, so when they ask if I’m from South America, I say “Si.” That opened me up to meeting a lot of Spanish speaking people. When I was a chubby little chocolate kid, other kids would tease me in reference to my “loopy” proportions. I didn’t even know how that name would one day have its own personality. The way that it came about has nothing to do with what it has come to mean, and the meaning behind has become a lot more significant because of the course life has taken me.

I find that Loupy fits. Loupy is loopy: kind of goofy and nerdy, full of mirth. On the foreign end, like le loup (French for wolf) I can run solo or with a pack.. The yin and yang and is complete, like a circle, churning up the chi and the creativity flows deliciously. Loupy represents the freestyle of my spirit and good nature, the square kid who rounded out his stitch in the fabric of the American quilt. I’ve made it up view my life as a series of cycles and turns, not just a lineation of facts and events. This means I’m always evolving, and I’m great with my Loupy way of life.

Transmission Complete

It’s a big day for me. My online class is up for the offering. It starts October 25th. I’m in the middle of preparing the syllabus and I think that it will be an interesting course for anyone who writes creative nonfiction. It will be nice to teach again; it’s been over ten years since I’ve been in a classroom. The major difference is that this is a virtual classroom. The coolest thing about online education is that you show up to class when it’s convenient for you. As long as you meet your deadlines and participate in the discussions, you’re okay. I did it for two years of grad school, so I’m really looking forward to the experience being the online instructor this time.

Also today, the official announcement goes out that I am an assistant editor at the online literary journal Drunk Monkeys. At last! I’ve broken the digital barrier and now I’m writing for an online magazine. It seems like this blog came just in the nick of time, to chronicle the bridging of the gap between where I left off twelve years ago in my career, and now. I made a little money in between working in the film industry, but somehow the appeal of being a near broke starving artist, working for pennies and cred, is alluring. The feeling is always “this is going to lead to something great!” In the meantime, I’m wondering if they’re gonna turn off the lights because my payment arrangement is a few days late. There’s a sick thrill in relishing in these types of opportunities. I’ve lived with the same kind of hunger since my first article was published in 1991.

I didn’t know where my literary efforts would lead me, but I did it again and again, and man did I have some memories behind a lot of those articles and encounters: interviewing Notorious B.I.G. the night before his first album Ready To Die dropped, snapping photos of Tupac performing at the record release party for 2Pacalypse Now, his first album, interviewing the entire Wu-Tang Clan, to name a few. I was broke, but happy. My grandfather told me back then, as long as you have a roof over your head, clothes on your back and food to eat, you’re doing alright. I’m still doing alright, and my sons seem to be pretty happy when they’re at my apartment playing on the Xbox and eating homemade ice cream.

It’s a hustle to keep this dream alive and make it grow in the process. The digital age is still a new landscape to me. I’ve peeped it out through virtual binoculars and I can’t even see the horizon, which means that there is plenty of ground to build these dreams into realities, just like the artists I knew in the analog age, some who didn’t make it this far. Their inspiration and belief in the hustle gives me reason to keep reinventing the hunger that I felt back then and use it to feed the muse.