Author Feature~ Andrea Daniel


‘What’s In A Name’

There are some cultures that use rituals when naming a baby. I recently read the blog Just Genesis about African Naming Practices, which states:

 

Giving a child a meaningful name in Africa requires accepting that the child has a personal dignity right from the moment of conception that needs to be respected and protected. This respect for the dignity of the newly born is symbolized through practices associated with the naming ceremony. Among the Yorubas of Western Nigeria, water is dabbed on the child´s face during the ceremony to symbolize the child´s purity and the importance of having no enemies. In some other African countries, honey and bitter kolanuts represent the sweet and bitter dimensions of the life that the child is about to begin.
 

I’ve also heard of parents who waited seven days before naming their children. They watched to learn their baby’s attributes through facial expressions and little mannerisms, to determine what revealed itself, for the sake of their names.

 

When I as born, there was no ritual. I was the last of three children. My parents named my brother, the eldest, and my brother named my sister. My mother said she named me Andrea, (pronounced Ahn-dria) because it sounded soft and peaceful. She was very purposeful in the pronunciation – the beginning carries the “ah” sound at the back of the throat, rather than the nasal “an,” often used for the name. She said it sounded warmer.

It’s a name I didn’t particularly like as a little girl. It sounded stern, and oldish. Not at all fitting for a child who liked to play. I really wanted the name Carmen.

theredlist.com
theredlist.com

I believe this desire came after I saw the movie “Carmen Jones,” starring Dorothy Dandridge and Harry Belefonte.

Carmen. The character was beautiful. She was sassy, sexy and feisty. She got her way. She didn’t take stuff from anybody. Though she was a bit of a troublemaker, I wanted those “Carmen” attributes, although I was skinny, and in elementary school.

fineartamerica.com
fineartamerica.com

I’ve since learned to appreciate my name, which is the feminine of Andre or Andrew. I‘ve looked up its meaning, which is “manly,” with its feminine counterpart “womanly,” a rather boring description. But through a friend, Reshounn who does name analyses through what she calls the NaMe Project, I’ve learned a great deal about my name. This is from a recent analysis she performed:

 

Of Latin, your name means “beloved one filled with grace”.

Ps 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

 

The name of Andrea gives you a clever, quick, and analytical mind. Your idealistic and sensitive nature gives you a deep appreciation for the finer things of life and a strong desire to be of service to humanity. It is far easier for you to express your deeper thoughts and feelings through writing than verbally. As such, you find pleasure in literature, in poetry, and in your ideals and will turn to them when you feel you have been misunderstood. You are deeply moved by the beauties of life, especially nature.

 

I was touched by this analysis. Reshounn also suggested doing a word unscramble of my name. I got words like and, ear, dear, end, ran, near, read… just fun stuff. (I also did one of my middle and last names, which revealed even more words that relate to my life.)

 

Turns out, I’m glad I didn’t change my name to Carmen, though I badly wanted to. As I learned from Reshounn’s name research, we are, in essence, our names.

andi_IMG_2090_WEB

Andrea Daniel is a lifelong poet, with work in publications and as part of a visual poetry exhibit at the Detroit Institute of Arts. When she’s not writing poetry, Andrea is a freelance writer for various publications. She also has freelanced for an internationally distributed arts and entertainment magazine. Andrea is co-owner/operator of Dakota Avenue West Publishing and copywriter, editor and voice over artist with her own small business, AND Communications. She is a member of the Motown Writer’s Network, and the Michigan Literary Network and is producer of the Michigan Literary Network’s Internet radio show on blogtalkradio.com. Additionally, she is a registered songwriter with BMI. She lives in Detroit, Michigan with her son and a sweet little Terrier-Poodle-mix named Dot.

Author: Andrea Daniel

Website: http://www.andreadanielpoet.com/

Twitter: @andi2747

Facebook: Andrea Daniel

LikeGwendolynCover_cmyk

Like Gwendolyn, Andrea Daniel’s debut book of poetry, epitomizes nearly forty years of her life as a poet. The first chapter, “Life, death and stuff in between,” is about just that, as Andrea or someone else has experienced or she imagined it to be. “Love and such,” depicts love in its many forms. As a survivor of domestic violence, Andrea shares in “Abused Tales,” poems written in her years of recovery. And she wrote the poems in “Love for Jay,” the final chapter, during the frequent periods of separation from her (now adult) son in his early childhood years. It is the legacy of poet Gwendolyn Brooks and the beauty of her work that inspired the completion of this book.

 

 

 

 

Author Feature ~ Dr. Debraha Watson


photo (1)What is your writing process?

I primarily write as the narrator or observer. That way I see all and know all and can analyze the thoughts and emotions of my characters.  I probably developed this style of writing as a result of listening to the oral stories told by my elders as they sat shuckin’ and jivin’ on the front porch or gossiping around the kitchen table.  I started writing as a child in a little pink diary that had a lock and key. Over the years I graduated to legal pads and pencils, typewriters, word processors, PC’s and the iPad.  I love to write in the early morning before the sun comes up.  The spirits are busy at that time and they whisper in my ear as the refrigerator hums in the background.  I love writing in silence, on any writable surface but I can also take myself away in a crowded room if a character is insistent on making an entrance.  Sometimes it starts with one word, a sentence or If I’m lucky an entire paragraph.  I love developing characters.  Some I find on the city streets, in my classroom, in the church and in my dreams.   I admit I’m not disciplined in terms of writing every day.  However, when I do decide to tell a story I allow my soul to open up and I ask the Spirit to guide my thoughts and emotions to deliver a positive message.  I do agree with the writer E.B. White who said “A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.”

 

Bio

Dr. Watson holds a Doctorate in Adult and Higher Education from Capella University; a Master of Arts in Adult and Higher Education from Morehead State University;  and a Master of Science in General Administration from Central Michigan University. She has been invited to speak at numerous workshops and conventions throughout the United States and Canada.  Most recently, she was featured on the LGBT Radio Nation Show the topic being Intergenerational Communication.  Dr. Watson has also been a guest on the Rhonda Sciortino radio show Crack the Code and the Detroit Area Agency on Aging Senior Solutions Radio Show.

As an author, Dr. Watson shares her personal foster care journey having spent twelve years in the system in her memoir; If Not For Dreams: Memories of a Foster Child and is also anthologized in Growing Up in the Care of Strangers edited by Waln K. Brown and John r. Seita. She frames her discussion to educate, motivate and provide insight to the challenges faced by youth aging out of foster care.  She also penned a novella, Dancing Under the Same Moon and has been featured in several other publications.

Another creative outlet is contemporary abstract art.  Dr. Watson states” the creator gives us many talents.  Whether it’s writing or painting I take myself out of the way and trust the creative process.” Her work has been shown at the Detroit Artist Market, National Conference of Artist Gallery, Jo’s Gallery and The Juanita Ford Gallery and the Charles H, Wright African American Museum.

Since her retirement, she has ventured into yet another genre, film making. Starting a production company, Reel Women Speak is dedicated to impacting the lives of women through visual media. Women will have the opportunity to become empowered, enhance and develop their quality of life and recalibrate their future, thereby strengthening families and transforming communities. Collective Voices: Wisdom of our Lesbian Elders is her first independent film.  Dr. Watson states that “whether it’s in my writing, art or film I have a deep need to recollect traditions and generational legacy, this perhaps comes from listening to stories from my elders specifically, African American women sitting, laughing, talking on porch steps or around the kitchen table.”

Debraha Watson describes herself as a mother of two adult children, a film maker, poet, short story writer, essayist, editor and retired higher education administrator.  “I can be driven or complacent.  Insecure or egotistical like all living creatures I am passing through stages.  I am recovering, discovering and growing.”

If Not for DreamsDancing Under The Same Moon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stay Connected to Dr. Debraha Watson

Twitter: @watson_debraha

Facebook: Reel Women Speak 

YouTube: Reel Women Speak TV

 

Life will come to do what it’s supposed to do


PhotoXpress: Sergey Galushko
PhotoXpress: Sergey Galushko

Today started out like any other day, until I did my normal routine of checking for reviews on my first novel.  It would happen at the very moment that my second novel is to come out that I would receive a very negative review. I had to laugh at myself because my first reaction was “Huh?” I thought maybe the reviewer had placed the wrong review on my book’s page.  Shocked by the review, I realized that it was real.  I sent the link to the three people who mattered most with regards to my book; my editor, my #1 fan, and my partner.  I decided in that moment that I was going to be okay and that this is something to be expected because everyone is not going to like everything. I had a good laugh about it and then asked myself “What are you going to do about it?” I told myself that I would press on and let it roll down my back just enough to keep me in check; to keep me motivated, to work harder, and to do better.

For the past two years, the Creator has been toughening my spirit so to speak. He has been preparing me for the trials that are going to come because I know that there will be many. He has been putting down in my spirit all of the necessary tools I’ll need to do my job. He has also been faithful to place the right people in my midst to help me to continue on. You see, I believe in my heart that I have a purpose as a messenger and I cannot let anything get in the way of doing that. There are going to be times that people may not agree with what I am doing or what I have to say but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that I say it.

One of the toughest things in life is to do what you believe that you are called to do in the face of opposition.  But the key is to not question yourself, but to move forward. There will be many obstacles but I know that I must remain calm, and know that life is coming to do exactly what it is supposed to do; challenge me.