The Coffee Will Make You Black On-line Reading Group's Chat Transcript

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Transcript of On-line Chat Featuring author Arthur Flowers

Discussing Another Good Loving Blues

Wednesday, December 1, 1999, 9:00 PM EST

 

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[careycarey] I think we should talk about the book more during the middle of the monthe

[careycarey] Hello

aalbc> Hello Art I'm Glad you made I'm Glad to "see' you

[careycarey] Mr Flowers what would youlike to be called

aalbc> OK carey just expose my poor manners (smile)

[careycarey] I see Troy called you Art is the OK

[arflowers] arthur will be fine

[arflowers] art is okay also, flowers also, anything but artie

[careycarey] Okay Auther, glad to "meet" you

aalbc> Arthur As i was tell Carey everyone realy I spoke to realy enjoyed your book!

[arflowers] glad to hear that

aalbc> You must send me some biographical material so that I may build a web page for you on the AALBC

[careycarey] Art as I mentioned on the board I was not taken by the title who picked it and why

[arflowers] sounds good to me, i have a web page myself, somewhat eymbronic

[arflowers] chose another good loving blues cause i consider myself a literary bluesman and so many blues are about a good love gone bad and this was just

- another blues about good loving

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aalbc> You can always use more tan one -- what is the URL of your web site I'll add it to your page

[careycarey] I was pleasantly surprised by the book though, Literary blues man? explain

[arflowers] i would appreciate a page on aalb, you are buddies with a partner of mine, sheree thomas

aalbc> Anyone cool with Sheree is cool with me!

[careycarey] Art, what do you know about Coon can *smile*

[arflowers] because i do the blues but i do it through literature, i use blues character, i use the blues sensibility, i use blues metaphysics, the whole thing

- of redemption and the transformation of adversity into art, i believe the blues are a sacred oral text, there are those of us in afroam lit who feel that we are

- heirs to two literary traditions, the western written and the african oral tradition and trying to manifest both and in the fusion contribute to the evolution

- of both

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[arflowers] dont know what you talking about, coon can, is that in novel, dont recall

[kytkat] hello everyone

[meccas] Good evening

[tabonnefee] Art ... the art of storytelling is what caught my attention with your novel ... as well as the historical content

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[Thumper6488] Hello all!!

TO Thumper6488> ya had me worried for a sec homie

[Thumper6488] I'm so sorry I'm late

[kytkat] hello thumper--how are you tonight?

[arflowers] i call myself doing that oral thing and exploring the storytelling thing in the work, not as well as i would have liked

[careycarey] is it fair/right for me to assume that you came from a time in which a band was expected at the local joint as apposed ti the DJ's that aare

- the hit know. Yeah it was in the novel (coon Can) but that's okay w?

[meccas] what do you mean "not as well"

ling aspect came out in print ... it was like having a personal narrator ... I could definitely hear the

- voice

[arflowers] its an work thats about 5 6 years old now, i cant even read it because i want to rewrite it, i could do it all better now

aalbc> CHAT ROOM NOTE: Click the float button upper right hand side, then maximize that window to increase the chat window size

[arflowers] i hear it the music when im writing and i can tell when its that full sound i like and when its that tinny sound, i hear the words as music

[arflowers] duh, whats a float button

[tabonnefee] I was a mazed at how easily the storytelling aspect came out in print ... it was like having a personal narrator ... I could definitely hear the

- voice

[arflowers] its an work thats about 5 6 years old now, i cant even read it because i want to rewrite it, i could do it all better now

aalbc> CHAT ROOM NOTE: Click the float button upper right hand side, then maximize that window to increase the chat window size

[arflowers] i hear it the music when im writing and i can tell when its that full sound i like and when its that tinny sound, i hear the words as music

[arflowers] duh, whats a float button

[careycarey] Thanks aalbc, my eyes where hurting

TO arflowers> No Problem

[meccas] art:what really made me appreciate your story was the dialog, it was so real/down home/ and colorful!

[meccas] thanks aalbc!

[arflowers] thank you, tried to have the text reflect that oral thing, tried to have the dialogue reflect it too, tried to make it part of the poetry of the

- work

[arflowers] dont really know how to answer the band question, they had bands, jukeboxes and djs when i was coming up,

[Thumper6488] If I'm covering old ground forgive me. The appearance of Zora Neale Hurston was a hoot! Duid you study any of her work for the story?

[meccas] art: did you do alot of research for this story, or was it mostly the people/places you knew?

[arflowers] their eyes was watching god was part of the impetus for me writing this book, wanted to write a delta love story that ended happily, also zora was

- the first writer to start studying hoodoo and using it systematically in her work, the bridge between hoodoo as folk tradition and hoodoo as literary tradition,

- and then in my research i read that she had a brother who had a pharmacy in memphis, so i stuck all that together

[careycarey] Art why did you decide to make Melvira an attractive women

[arflowers] much much research, cant write a historial novel without the research, one thing i didnt do that i wish i had though was read the newspapers of the

- time, will never write a historical piece without doing that in future

[tabonnefee] and stuck it all together very well I'd say ... historical fiction is a love of mine

[tabonnefee] finding those newspapers isn't always an easy thing to do

[arflowers] the woman i based her on was attractive, as was janie in Eyes, plus that the book was my fantasy, what can i say

[careycarey] Okay, true to history? Cocaine, 25 cents at drug store?

[arflowers] very true, on beale street of the time, and it was legal

[careycarey] Any history of Conjure women in your family

[arflowers] think i have the line in there that my moma once told me -'half my family gives consultations and the other half wont make a move without one

[careycarey] I thought so!

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[careycarey] What was Lucas's onus to stop drinking?

[arflowers] i was trying to say that he was growing past it, in part because of the influence of a good woman, which is kinda cliche, plus that he started being

- concerned about his health, boy was getting onto some maturity

[Thumper6488] What happened to the sick baby that the old woman gave to Melvira that was near death? Did the baby die?

[careycarey] Yeah his nose was WIDE open!

[careycarey] Yeah the baby???

aalbc> Check out the quote from the book re sick baby:

aalbc> The holloweyed woman just stood there crying silently, paralyzed with the injustice of it all. Melvira took the little blue bundle from the shaking hands

- and unwrapped it: an infant child staring up at her with trusting eyes starbright with fever. A sick heat rose from the child, and melvira dropped her

- eyes....her heart went out to the little brown child staring so silently up at her. Wasn't enough spirit left to pull back from the grave, but she tried anyway,

- placed the child to her naked breast and let the dry hot fever surge into her body. Death fever. More than she could ever assume. The slightest little tremor

- quickly supressed. Restless. She dressed, wrapped the blanket tight into her arms and hurried out into the night.

[arflowers] i dont think so, i had her take the baby to the doctor, was speaking on the fact that hoodoo in transition was ceding the care of the body to

- medicine and reserving to itself the care of the soul

aalbc> Thanks for the quote Carey

[careycarey] Hey Troy you my man!

[tabonnefee] Art forgive me for writing it all out but this was the one line in the book that I will take with me ..."He had been feeling the bitter bite of his

- days lately and had begun to fear that ll the knowledge and understanding he had bought so dearly with the coin of his lifeyears would die out with him" .. we

- should have such desperate need to make a difference

[arflowers] you like that passage, i dont even remember it, like i said, i cant read it since i cant rewrite it any more

[arflowers] this is big fun, yall do this regular

[careycarey] Art I must ask then, when di dyou last read it?

[Thumper6488] every month

[meccas] I likedd the way you portrayed men and their relationships with each other. some things were very typical-like when Bodeen woke up from his fever in

- the cathouse-yet other scenes let us in on male 'stuff' we don't usually see-like him with his father.

[arflowers] so long ago i cant remember

[tabonnefee] this is my first time ... I'm glad Istumbled upon it

[careycarey] What other male stuf Mecca?

[arflowers] part of the point of writing the book was i had got my little heart broke cause i was careless with love and wanted to explore love and wanted to

- like speak to the brothers so they wouldnt have to hit the wall like i did to understand the importance of love

portrayed men and their relationships with each other. some things were very typical-like when Bodeen woke up from his fever in

- the cathouse-yet other scenes let us in on male 'stuff' we don't usually see-like him with his father.

[arflowers] so long ago i cant remember

[tabonnefee] this is my first time ... I'm glad Istumbled upon it

[careycarey] What other male stuf Mecca?

[arflowers] part of the point of writing the book was i had got my little heart broke cause i was careless with love and wanted to explore love and wanted to

- like speak to the brothers so they wouldnt have to hit the wall like i did to understand the importance of love

[meccas] carey: like the real feelings behind what men do in relationships..the hurt & regret..that little space behind those egos we love so much :)

[careycarey] Since everyone is qouting a favorite line here's mine .Some things you don't watch a man go through if you want to remain his friend!

[arflowers] thats a good line, i wrote that huh?

[careycarey] Okay Mecca did you think we were absent of those emotions *smile*

aalbc> Ha Ha LOL

[meccas] see thats the ego part I'm talking about!

[Thumper6488] LOL Ol' Lucas was broke down at that point

[Thumper6488] Even I felt sorry for him

portrayed men and their relationships with each other. some things were very typical-like when Bodeen woke up from his fever in

- the cathouse-yet other scenes let us in on male 'stuff' we don't usually see-like him with his father.

[arflowers] so long ago i cant remember

[tabonnefee] this is my first time ... I'm glad Istumbled upon it

[careycarey] What other male stuf Mecca?

[arflowers] part of the point of writing the book was i had got my little heart broke cause i was careless with love and wanted to explore love and wanted to

- like speak to the brothers so they wouldnt have to hit the wall like i did to understand the importance of love

[meccas] carey: like the real feelings behind what men do in relationships..the hurt & regret..that little space behind those egos we love so much :)

[careycarey] Since everyone is qouting a favorite line here's mine .Some things you don't watch a man go through if you want to remain his friend!

[arflowers] thats a good line, i wrote that huh?

[careycarey] Okay Mecca did you think we were absent of those emotions *smile*

aalbc> Ha Ha LOL

[meccas] see thats the ego part I'm talking about!

[Thumper6488] LOL Ol' Lucas was broke down at that point

[Thumper6488] Even I felt sorry for him

[careycarey] I"ll tell everybody what we can do. Let's pretend I'm Art and I'll answer questions about the book *smile*

[careycarey] Please Mecca !

[Thumper6488] Let's not

[tabonnefee] lol

[careycarey] Art, (another book question) What do you knoew about conked hair? *smile*

[meccas] no, not at all. but...often women talk about their hurt & pain while men-even in some literature-just shrug it off. I appreciated seeing the whole

- circle of this relationship.

[arflowers] well that was before my time, i know the process but never wore one myself, i dreadman

[tabonnefee] Art ...what advice would you offer to would-be writers?

[arflowers] my first novel was abut black soldiers in vietnam and was all about war and power and i got a rep as a hardman so i decided that my second novel

- would be about love and

[careycarey] Art , On a serious tip. You thought It was important to say that you were a viet nam vet, How much of an influence did that have on your writing?

[arflowers] my biggest advice to wouldbe writers is never to give up, cause thats the only thing thats fatal, as long as you struggling and growing then

- eventually one day you are a real writer, and thats why you should only work on stuff that you are passionately committed to so that you wont give up when the

- hardtimes come

[Thumper6488] Art: Uh...where's the new book?

[meccas] Art: I must say, I knew nothing about the blues before reading this book...you got me seriously interested.

[arflowers] my vietnam experience blew my young mind, that was when i realized that history is right now, that we are the history of the future and my first

- novel was an attempt to capture what we called blackinization, which was this incredible solidarity of blackmen in a life threating environment

aalbc> Art what is your profession, rough age, ect -- excuse my ignorance.

[tabonnefee] truth there Mecca

[arflowers] working on it now, turning it in hopefully this week, called Mojo Rising, Confessions of a 21st century conjureman, also working on a novel, called

- Rest For The Weary, about a conjureman who aspires to be a prophet, he was a great sorceror but a questionable prophet, gon be a minute for i finish that one

- though, i hpoe this one will be my masterpiece

aalbc> Art you gotta get us an advance copy for review!

[arflowers] writer, 49, teach at syracuse univer mfa program, exec dir of newren writers guild, ex exec of harlem writers guild, full time writer

aalbc> Man I went to SU!

[careycarey] Art were you writting before viet Nam?

[arflowers] turning it in but it hasnt been bought yet, you will be one of the first to know when its ready

aalbc> Thnaks

[arflowers] its cold at syracuse, snow on the ground already

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 [tabonnefee] isn't there snow year round up in those parts???...lol

[meccas] Art: I loved 'the burner'! who was this character developed after?

[arflowers] no, always thought i would be a writer one day but it was trying to capture that vietnam experience that finally forced me to sit down and write and

- then nothing came, had to go get some training, got in john killens workhsop over at columbia and followed him from school to school for some 13 years

[arflowers] the burner is an uncle of mine more or less

TO arflowers> Art I missed you at the SU book signing John Williams was there '50 ish

[careycarey] Art, how old were you when you went to Nam?

[careycarey] Art, how old were you when you went to Nam?

[tabonnefee] did your uncle recognize himself in the character?

[arflowers] i was teaching, i hated that i missed that, i had a couple of friends involved with that, angeli was there was she not

[arflowers] i was 18 when i went to vietnam

[wssu1] I hope no one has asked this yet but what does stangaree mean?

[careycarey] I'm on this Nam kick because I also went yet I was in Air Force NO ACTION! Wow 18 MAN!

[arflowers] my mother always tells her family not to talk to me cause im going to put them in a book, yeah he recongnized himself, i like 'immortalizing' my

- family

TO arflowers> Sorry Folks Art last response was to my private question "TO arflowers> Art I missed you at the SU book signing John Williams was there '50 ish"

[tabonnefee] your mother's a wise woman ...lol

[arflowers] stangeree is a woman that give you that real serious loving that as somebody commented, bust that nose wide open

[Thumper6488] The flood in the book. Wasn't there a real flood at that time, circa 1920?

 [arflowers] yeah, a big flood that has been immortalized in a lot of blues, i was trying to play with that, realized later that i wrote a tidalwave rather than

- a flood, memphis, my home, is on the bluff so we dont get flooded like the rest of the delta does

[careycarey] Okay Art! "The good thing" *smile* have you ever found it?

[meccas] I may have forgotten, but why was Effie(her mom) 'one-eyed'?

[arflowers] found it and lost it, a couple of times

[tabonnefee] will there be a sequel so that we can see Melvira realize her fate?

[Thumper6488] Art: I swear when I read that I thought of Bessie Smith's backwater blues!

[careycarey] You didn't get to deep into the hoodoo thing, It was basically a ove story why the voodoo angle/ lost love it's a bitch ain't it

[arflowers] is it badwater or backwater, but right, thats the classic

 [Thumper6488] backwater

[arflowers] effie was one eyed cause i was saying one that she left her eye to watch over her daughter and two was playing with the mythic thing of trading your

- eye for the spiritvision that sees with other senses, like odin and other mythic figures

[careycarey] Hey, someone help me out, in the book Art mentioned a formation of Crows is there another name for a group of Crows?

[Thumper6488] The African gods and their background was fascinating.

[arflowers] i had problems with the hoodoo thing in there because im a contemporary practioner and cmparing contempory hoodoo to oldtime hoodoo is like

- comparing the space shuttle to an oxdawn cart, i had to sdtruggle to depict that oldtimey stuff

 [arflowers] im thinking bout having lucas and melvria in Rest as cameos because there are a lot of historical scenes in this one

[careycarey] That's good to hear that writers do struggle to write, thanks

[tabonnefee] what are the major differences between old timey and contemporary hoodo practice?

 [careycarey] Yeah I'd like to know because I want to put one on mecca and thump

[tabonnefee] lol

[meccas] lol

[arflowers] hoodoo has been traditionally a magical system, but with the reemergence of the african gods into africanamerican spiritual practice and with the

- works of africanamerican writers who have manifested the hoodoo tradition through their works we of contemporary hoodoo are trying to forge it into the

- indegienbous african american spiritual system that it is now, a instrtument of political and spiritual redemption and have it be the prophetic tradition of the

- afrospiritual world fa

[Thumper6488] Oh carey, you're so sweet, you really shouldn't

[arflowers] not that we giving up on the magic, its just that we manifesting highmagic rather than low magic, which is basically tricks and spell recipes

[tabonnefee] so more of an autonomous spiritual sense?

 [arflowers] not quite clear what you mean by autonomous spiritual sense

[tabonnefee] hmmm.... having to explain myself after a day with 30 kids is not an easy task ...lol

[meccas] how do you see the afam spiritul system as one of redemption?

[careycarey] I have another line that hit me . Art or anyone can help me on this. .....no-nonsense women capabler of facing life without the illusions that

- make it bearalbe for the rest of us. (illusion that make it bearable)???? I was waiting on tab but

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[arflowers] folks often have truths in their lives that they prefer not to see, it takes courage to face deep truths about yourself sometimes

[tabonnefee] autonomous spiritual sense ... more of a universal feeling intune with one another

[careycarey] Amen on that one Art!

[meccas] its call denial(and often addiction) that allow some people to get thru their 'stuff'

[arflowers] by spiritual redemption basically i guess talking about how a good spiritual system will empower its culture and its ahderents and make them strong

- in the world

[tabonnefee] true mecca

[tabonnefee] I see Art

[arflowers] right, autonomous, trying to make it a universalized afrospiritual practice

[careycarey] Well Mecca I don't think It's denail as such. It might be pain!

[Thumper6488] Art: Not to put you on the spot or anything, but tell us, honestly, what do you think of the surrent status of books being published by AA

- authors?

[careycarey] That's on the spot!

[meccas] Art: is that what you'd like to happen or what you think is going on now?

[arflowers] im in favor of publishing in any form, we literary folk feel squeezed by the predominance of commercial works but we are a whole race of folks and

- require a whole range of works, i think its a good thing

[Thumper6488] Carey: let me ask my question please! LOL Let me do this

[meccas] Carey:denial & pain can be synonomus

[Thumper6488] I'm joking man

[arflowers] dont know, pain leads to resolution, to action, denial doesnt

[careycarey] I know *smile*

[careycarey] Thank you Art

[tabonnefee] I know what I think about the current AA market ... I will support them all but I'm tired of the "fluff" thats out there ... I was pleasantly

- surprised after finishing your book Art ...thank you for sharing your talent

[arflowers] oh im the one whose thankful for this forum and for the dialogue

[meccas] true that...but I know a whole lot of people in pain that are denying its rot cause. And its not leading to anything but an unhealthy life

[careycarey] Tab could you share why you where surprised

TO Thumper6488> 3 minutes before we have to let Mr Flowers go...

aalbc> 3 minutes before we have to let Mr Flowers go...

 [tabonnefee] I think it was the cover carey ... it just felt like another "fluff" piece

[careycarey] Mecca but if pain is caused by something unhealthy I can see your point.

[arflowers] aalb my site is an embryonic cyberhoodoo site but i will send you the bio info, the link is http://www.hypertxt.com/flowers/rootwork

[tabonnefee] but I could feel the spiritual aspect and the storytelling element was wonderful

[Thumper6488] I could too

[careycarey] Yeah Tab I felt the same but I too was surprised by the book

[tabonnefee] for what reason carey?

[arflowers] thanks folks, getting feedback like this is what helps me keep going, i tried to do something that would mean something and you make me feel like i

- have

[careycarey] Tab why did you read it?

 [careycarey] Oh the cover and the title TAB

[meccas] you definantly have, I can't wait for the next one. BTW what was the name of your first book?

[careycarey] I have to be honest, Another good loving blues didn't shake me up but the book did

[arflowers] De Mojo Blues

[tabonnefee] I was looking for an online bookclub and came across this one with this selection ...an online friend said she enjoyed the book and we have

- similiar tastes ...when I say the cover I thought she had lost her mind ....lol

[careycarey] My pleasure Art!

[tabonnefee] say =saw

[arflowers] yeah i know, you didnt care for that title, i love that title, you got to hear me say it to get the full effect

[meccas] i heard that!

[careycarey] Hey you just keep tuning in and ol' thump will lead you straight TAB

[tabonnefee] well Art ..I'm glad I read it ... a very nice distraction for sure

[meccas] Art: are you a poet as well? spoken word?

[tabonnefee] I'll do that carey

[Thumper6488] Well, that's about it for this session.

[arflowers] i do griotic performance work using bluesharp kalimba and berimbau

aalbc> Fols lets thank Art for for spending time with us!

[tabonnefee] I had one bad experience with an online club ...ain't looking for another ...lol

[arflowers] thankyou

[careycarey] Thank ART!!!

[Thumper6488] Art; any parting words

[tabonnefee] Art ... much success to you ... thanks for sharing

aalbc> Thump, carey, Mecca, Tab thanks for comining!

 [arflowers] ill look forward to coming back maybe for other folks discussions, i enjoyed it very much

[tabonnefee] my pleasure aalbc

[meccas] thanks and keep comin with the spiritwork!

[careycarey] by All

[Thumper6488] I do too. Can't wait for the next one.

TO arflowers> Art drop me an email mail troy@aalbc.com with your phone number -- I'd like to debrief

[Thumper6488] Next month's book is Seraph on the Suwanee by Zora Neale Hurston!!

TO arflowers> Another Goodie!

TO arflowers> Bye

[Thumper6488] My GIRL

[meccas] hey Art, should join us for that one!

aalbc> Bye Yall

[tabonnefee] night all

[Thumper6488] Bye bye. Thanks for coming.

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[meccas] peace...

[arflowers] staywell

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