Eryka Jackson is a freelance writer and communications professional living in Memphis, Tenn. She writes creative non-fiction, speculative fiction, and poetry.
Eryka holds a Masters in Applied Linguistics from Old Dominion University. She is a Certified Aromatherapist, who enjoys photography, cooking, and yoga.
A true southerner, Ms. Jackson can make a pound cake and peach cobbler from scratch; has caught lightning bugs in a jar and blessed many hearts.
This has been quite a year! I haven’t posted much here, which I will work change next year. I finished the first draft of my first novel in September (96,000! Thank you!) And I have been working on improving my craft and building my confidence with Gotham Writers classes. I am so grateful to make another year on this life. I look forward to what the next year brings!
Also, I turned 49 today, but they don’t have any stock photo images for 49, and I’m not claiming 50 before I have to!
I hit 50,000 words on my current project (it’s a novel) last Saturday and then I didn’t write a stitch for two whole days. Achieving that goal was a big deal for me because this was the highest word count I’ve ever hit on a project. In fact, this is the longest I’ve worked on a project! Those classes I took at Gotham Writers really helped.
I just needed a pause to catch my breath. I was pushing myself so hard to hit the 50K mark that when I did, I just wanted to sit back and look at it for a minute. Have you ever done that?
Since my hands like to stay busy, I started a new knitting project. I’m working on the Urban Ranch Shawl, it’s a simple garter stitch pattern that’s knit sideways. I love a sideways knit. It creates an elegant ridging throughout the fabric with a nice drape. I’m using Caron simply soft yarn in the Ocean colorway. I just started it, but I think it’s going to be quite lovely.
I’m back writing now. My average is about 1,000 words a day. I am using the Microsoft Word dictation function, which really isn’t the same as *actual* writing, but it’s getting the words on the page and that’s all that really matters since this is a first draft, right?
Also, as I write I am stunningly aware of how little I know about drugs and drug culture. The language I use seems a bit disjointed at times. My protagonist is a narcotics officer and there are a few scenes where she is interacts with drug dealers and the language needs work. But I can work that out in the next draft.
I’ve written almost every day for the past two months and I am over the moon! I’ve taken two classes with Gotham Writers this year and the feedback and encouragement helped me finally conquer the writer’s block I’d suffered with for the past few years. I am almost finished with the first draft of my very first novel and I couldn’t be happier.
I went to my aunt’s house last night to pick up some toilet paper. I have tried in vain to buy my own for weeks with no luck.—let me just say, we have had shortages of vital services in this country before, like the gas shortages in the 1970’s but I have never-ever seen a run on toilet paper before. But this is a story for another day.
Anyway, when I walked into the house, I expected to see my aunt at the kitchen take with her grandsons walking back and forth with their faces buried in their phones. But this time, no one was there.
I found them in the in the dining room playing a board game. They were playing the game Sorry! to be exact. I’ve never seen black people play this game. Okay, I’ve never seen anyone play this game, but game night is a serious thing in the community and a certain level of “stank” is required when you execute dominating moves. Like playing spades, dominoes, or bid whist. If we can’t hear you playing—then you aren’t really playing.
Last night, my young cousin demonstrated the most remarkable Sorry! technique. He would flick his opponent’s piece off the board rather than placing it back at the starting circle. This was in addition to the traditional shit talking.
But no one was on the phone or looking at the television. No screens at all. Just a family enjoying each other’s company.
I watched and held my aunt’s dog Pepper on my lap. I was glad to see that family time still exists…I hope to play next time.
I find I cannot wait any longer for
condition to be perfect for writing. I must write. My right-hand hurts terribly
from writing those emails all day at work. The copying, pasting and all the
scrolling takes a toll on my hands (I started to work the mouse with my left
hand) so I find I don’t write anymore because I’m waiting for the pain to abate.
But I can’t wait any longer
I’ve started using the dictate
function in Microsoft Word 365. I’m using it right now and I must say it’s
pretty good! I’m not especially close to the computer, I’m not shouting, and
I’m not slowing down my rate of speech or anything! what I’m saying and it’s appearing on the
screen. Punctuation is an issue of course because I must remember to punctuate
my speech. I mean, nobody walks around saying “I had this thought comma.” but if
that is what I must do, then that is what I must do. There is so much swirling
around in my head I must get it out. Plus, and I feel like such a **** for not
OK why did Microsoft just bleep out the word
**** Microsoft spell the word **** Microsoft will not spell the word **** this
is so funny! Microsoft refuses to spell out a swear word let me see if There is
a work around because if I’m going to use this for writing I’m going to be
saying some **** damn and ***** all along the way!
Media reports portray Nipsey Hussle as a rapper, entrepreneur,
and former gang member. But he was more
than that. Hussle, Ermias Asghedom, was
a peace maker, healer and community leader who encouraged rival gangs to put
aside their differences and was trying to turn them into a coalition to build
his vision: “Turn Slauson into Venice Beach.”
In an era where raps about drugs, murder, hoes and
depreciating assets are the normalized and profitable, Hussle used his platform
to spread sustaining values like hard work, fidelity and true wealth creation. He
bought derelict lots and stores and turned them into profitable businesses that
provided kids a way out of the gang life.
I encourage my brothas to take up the mantle of Ermias Asghedom. Don’t let it fall into the dust. Keep pushing for unity and progress despite the pain.
I’m awake and I have mixed emotions about this. I have decided to commit to my writing and
that means a writing schedule, something I have never done. I want to write
every day and the only way I can do that is to get up at least an hour earlier.
So here I sit at 7:35 a.m. stumbling through this because I don’t have the wherewithal
to work on my current WIP.
But this still counts as writing and it still counts as a writing
schedule so there you go.
I feel good today! While I didn’t get up early like I wanted to, I did go for a walk around my complex and that has warmed my blood and my imagination. I love living amongst all these trees. Scientists have recently “discovered” that trees have a consciousness and form vital relationships with the trees around them. This is not news to anyone who has spent any real time surrounded by trees.
The trees around me take special care of each other and the life forms that depend on them, including me.