Sure as you’re born, the light at the end of the tunnel usually is a train coming. Not this time: every once in a great while, shit work out.
Don’t spend much time updating my bio. Mainly, ’cause there generally ain’t much worth updating about. Slogging away as a freelance grunt doesn’t, as a rule, generate gads of glory. So, with the advent of special stuff, had to dust off the file and tack on “made his film debut, performing in Brenda Bell Brown’s Sing Blues,Thank You. And Black & Single Blues is slated for publication by Indie Gypsy Press, early 2015.” Off hand, I’d say it’s worth a word or two.
Brenda Bell Brown, God bless her heart and soul, is one of the few Twin Cities powers of consequence who’ve, right down the line, not given a flying figure-eight what arts scene insiders say against this uppity, out spoken theatre critic. Not that me and B have, by a long shot, always seen eye to eye. We just respect one another’s ability and integrity. So, performing on her Sing Blues,Thank You soundtrack (making a blink-and-you-miss-it film debut) was, to say the least, an interesting experience. To date, our onliest opportunity to work together. If something like that don’t never happen again, still there’s a well worthwhile memory.
Black & Single Blues is about the damnedest career-defining deal I ever could’ve backed into. It started out as a short story Loomings Magazine at Long Island University was going to reject until faculty advisor Dan Levin (eventually my literary mentor, to this day a beloved friend), decided otherwise. Essence later bought it by the most amazing situation. Then editor Rosemary Bray had it on her rejection pile when publisher Marcia Ann Gillespie interceded and overruled. Bray, herself, swear to God, told me in a workshop at Frederick Douglass Creative Arts Center that Gillespie said, “We’re publishing this.” That was way back then, 1981, fast forward to about a year and half ago. When the publisher and senior editor at Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder were casting about for someone to write a weekly soap opera series. Shuletta Brundidge, for some reason, wasn’t doing Down Low Brother anymore. My first response was somewhere along the lines of How in the ham-sam did they expect me to fill her shoes? My second response was along the lines of This is a potential paycheck. So, I dusted off One Going, One Staying and, my contracted commitment to Essence having long expired, sold first serial rights to MSR as Black & Single Blues. Still had no idea about a book. Just, after readers kept the thing alive over a year and half, thought to myself: Self, you might have something here. The biggest kick in the head. The novel came to the attention of Indie Gypsy Press purely because I’d bought a copy of company owner Shelley Halima’s newest stroke of genius (okay, don’t know whether it’s good as her previous kick-ass work (don’t tell Halima, but, on reading Azucar Moreno, helplessly, hopelessly and every other kind of lessly had a crush on her like a ton of steel). I complained because Crimson Mirror was late shipping. Shelley apologized and offered a refund. I declined, not because I’d come out of my pocket for the purchase (Denise Richardson, damned near good at playwriting as Shelley is at noveling, had give me an Amazon.com gift certificate), but because Crimson Mirror‘s new release date inevitably would arrive. To the point, happened to, in the course of idly shooting the proverbial shit, told her I was going to put Black & Single Blues out on Kindle/Amazon.com along with (shameless self-plug) already e-published titles Something I Said and Shelter. So help me God, was not fishing – which, of course, would’ve made sense. Shelley invited me to submit the manuscript.
The result has to be kept under wraps until Indie Gypsy Press makes a formal announcement. But, can you say, Black & Single Blues hits print in early 2015?