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But "Telling Obama" now or in ten or twenty days probably will not help stop the unnecessary

spilling of blood in the Middle East.  The starvation of children, rapes, murders, genocides 

and shedding of tears across the world will not disappear.  Evil will not leave planet earth.  



Book by Jeannette Drake


Journey Within: A Healing Playbook


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The Truth May Not Set Us Free

By Jeannette Drake

(New Year 1-1-09)


I awake this afternoon thinking of a word not in Webster's; pensell—sounds almost like pencil, looks like pen and sell.  Though I remember no dream details, I realize this concocted word is a remnant from my dream two nights ago which introduced "The Noise Demon." Pen sell is another hint from this urgent aspect of my unconscious.   "The Noise Demon" reminds me of a truth that is yet to manifest.  If I do my part, which, in this new year, is to more deliberately sit in silence, words that flow from my pen will more readily sell.   She reminds me once again of Robert Hayden's advice, "read and think more and talk less."

At three forty-five pm, I happen to notice a moon-shaped oval of sunlight fallen and centered midway near the bottom frame of my son's abstract painting that hangs on the living room wall. The painting is full of foliage, masks and unspoken sorrows.  Since I barely passed geometry, I cannot ascertain from what precise angle the sun has found its way to this painting. I stand in the kitchen, next to the living room.  From the kitchen window the sun is indirect and almost triangles the wall on which the painting hangs.    I look around both rooms, still clueless as to which object has become a prism, calling in sun to grace  my son's painting.   I take this measured gathering of sun on my son's art as a blessing; a portent of goodness in this new year for him and for me.  Momentarily, the sunlight elongates into a comet, crossing acrylic greens, yellows, oranges and purples, then shifts.  I see a whale, a fat paintbrush, a bottle, a torpedo; movement from right to left. 

Earlier, I have been reading the book of St. Luke; about Jesus's confrontation with the devil, Jesus's trek through the countryside, his encounter with the lepers, his plucking of the corn on the wrong day, the disdain he received from the establishment, his need to get away from them ("pass through their midst"), speak his truth and continue work in his unique way.   

The angle of sun on my son's painting shrinks from a comet to a dot, then disappears completely.  It is five minutes pass four o'clock.  I don't know if the sun will smile from another awkward angle on my son's painting again tomorrow.  I suppose I could stand in the same spot tomorrow at the same time to see.   But this moment will suffice. 

I have thought already this morning of Cain and Abel, bombs dropping in the Middle East, children starving in Kenya, Mozambique and South Africa, crack dealers in Virginia.

I have prayed for relief of my own ills.  I cannot sanely bear these burdens alone. I give them back to Jesus and his other personas, God, The Father/Mother and ghost, Holy Spirit.

At day’s end I watch, for the third consecutive night, Venus's alignment with Crescent Moon. Venus is sure of her destiny.  In my mind's weary eye, I still see the golden illumination of December's huge full moon.  In ten more days the January Hunger full moon will appear.  It will be a time for intentional quiet and gratitude.  And according to some, a time to set goals and plans on how to achieve.  But "Telling Obama" now or in ten or twenty days probably will not help stop the unnecessary spilling of blood in the Middle East.  The starvation of children, rapes, murders, genocides and shedding of tears across the world will not disappear.  Evil will not leave planet earth.  Of this I am certain.

I am also certain that the sun will come back. But maybe not tomorrow.  Whenever it reappears, I pray it will enter the rooms of my home; that I will continue to be warm, safe, and sound in mind and body, realizing that for many persons on the planet such desire represents  fantasy.  Now as before, I, too, ponder meanings as expressed by Jerry Ward, "can words mitigate the effectiveness of evil . . . are our witnessing words only so many sheets of rice paper in a storm?" 

I don't know the answer to these questions.  I don't know if I will ever know. I only know that on this first day of this New Year I must honor my call and that is to come to you with words in my mouth and a pen in my hand to tell you about the mystery that I see and feel.  It is the least that I may do.  

(c) 1-1-09 Jeannette Drake

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Jeannette Drake, a licensed clinical social worker, specializes in Dream and Expressive work in group settings. She has conducted individual and group sessions with adults, adolescents and children in schools, colleges, hospitals, prisons, churches, shelters, and art galleries as case worker, counselor, psychotherapist, teacher, tutor, and writer.

Her writings have been published in Honey Hush! An Anthology of African American Writer's Humor, Callaloo: A Journal of African American Arts & Letters, The Southern Review, New Virginia Review, The Book of Hope & The World Healing Books, The Sun: A Magazine of Ideas, Richmond Free Press, Coloring Book: An Eclectic Anthology of Fiction and Poetry by Multicultural Writers, DisabilityWorld, a bilingual international web-zine and other journals and magazines.


She has performed as a gospel soloist, acted in James Baldwin's The Amen Corner and leads a monthly book discussion and creative writing group at her church.

Her visual art has been exhibited at Richmond City Hall, the Carillon at Byrd Park and the Richmond Public Library (July 1-August 3, 2005).

A graduate of Hampton University and Virginia Commonwealth University,  she lives in Richmond.

 May 2005

Journey Within: A Healing Playbook

By Jeannette Drake

Journey Within: A Healing Playbook is a fun tool for anyone interested in personal growth, learning how to be more creative or gaining a deeper insight into The Divine. Section One includes 13 original color abstracts that invite the viewer to intentionally go on a playful, inner journey. An optional guide of play instructions is included.

In Section Two the author's spiritual autobiography provides an inspirational explanation for each drawing.

This Book Is for Someone You Love!

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The Persistence of the Color Line

Racial Politics and the Obama Presidency

By Randall Kennedy

Among the best things about The Persistence of the Color Line is watching Mr. Kennedy hash through the positions about Mr. Obama staked out by black commentators on the left and right, from Stanley Crouch and Cornel West to Juan Williams and Tavis Smiley. He can be pointed. Noting the way Mr. Smiley consistently “voiced skepticism regarding whether blacks should back Obama” . . .

The finest chapter in The Persistence of the Color Line is so resonant, and so personal, it could nearly be the basis for a book of its own. That chapter is titled “Reverend Wright and My Father: Reflections on Blacks and Patriotism.”  Recalling some of the criticisms of America’s past made by Mr. Obama’s former pastor, Mr. Kennedy writes with feeling about his own father, who put each of his three of his children through Princeton but who “never forgave American society for its racist mistreatment of him and those whom he most loved.”  His father distrusted the police, who had frequently called him “boy,” and rejected patriotism. Mr. Kennedy’s father “relished Muhammad Ali’s quip that the Vietcong had never called him ‘nigger.’ ” The author places his father, and Mr. Wright, in sympathetic historical light.

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The Last Holiday: A Memoir

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Shortly after we republished The Vulture and The Nigger Factory, Gil started to tell me about The Last Holiday, an account he was writing of a multi-city tour that he ended up doing with Stevie Wonder in late 1980 and early 1981. Originally Bob Marley was meant to be playing the tour that Stevie Wonder had conceived as a way of trying to force legislation to make Martin Luther King's birthday a national holiday. At the time, Marley was dying of cancer, so Gil was asked to do the first six dates. He ended up doing all 41. And Dr King's birthday ended up becoming a national holiday ("The Last Holiday because America can't afford to have another national holiday"), but Gil always felt that Stevie never got the recognition he deserved and that his story needed to be told. The first chapters of this book were given to me in New York when Gil was living in the Chelsea Hotel. Among the pages was a chapter called Deadline that recounts the night they played Oakland, California, 8 December; it was also the night that John Lennon was murdered. Gil uses Lennon's violent end as a brilliant parallel to Dr King's assassination and as a biting commentary on the constraints that sometimes lead to newspapers getting things wrong. —Jamie Byng, Guardian / Gil_reads_"Deadline" (audio)  / Gil Scott-Heron & His Music  Gil Scott Heron Blue Collar  Remember Gil Scott- Heron

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Ancient African Nations

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posted 9 January 2009




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