Sunday, December 28, 2014

This fall, my best friend gave me four free tickets to Oprah's The Life You Want Tour in Washington, D.C.  Initially, I was a little wary of the invite.  I consider myself fairy driven and mostly happy.  I didn't know how much I would benefit from a weekend of self-help clichés and sponsored motivation (I mean, how intense is that photo?).  However, filled with gratitude that my friend would think of me (and trust in her assurances that it was "just what I needed"), I rounded up my girlfriends and went all in.



I had a great time.  The speakers and activities were great but the energy in that room was life-changing.  Over the two day event, men and women piled into a convention center with hopes of coming out better humans.  I met and had conversations with people who, on face, I should have had nothing in common with. However, I came out of each conversation feeling like a better person.  There was no judgment or pretense - just positivity and support, like a reboot for folks whose lives had left them close to empty.

During the second day of Oprah's weekend, there was a Soul Cycle demonstration called Soul15.  For those of you unfamiliar with it (as I was), Soul Cycle is this indoor cycling class that combines great music with positive affirmations to form this kind of insanely positive, high energy cycling party.  Anyway, this impossibly energetic, beautiful curly-haired woman, Angela Davis, came running out and got the whole audience of well-heeled ladies off their feet and dancing and squatting like maniacs on the floor of that convention center. She would yell positive words and phrases into the crowd, forcing us to declare who we were and how we saw ourselves.  I get chills remembering it.

Somewhere in the middle of cheering and sweating, I was overcome by the palpable energy of the crowd.  It felt good to be moving.  It felt good to be yelling.  It felt good to just be me.  Despite a relative degree of success with my lawyer life and writing career, I couldn't help but feel mocked by my failures.  I realized I had begun to reserve  mental space for things I couldn't control, allowing things that didn't go my way overshadow the things that did.  Dancing like a wild woman among strangers, I felt beautiful and alive.  I wanted to feel that way every day.  I knew the only person who could control that was me.  My first step becoming a better me was easy.  In October, I started following Carmen over at My Natural Sistas weight loss journey on Instagram.  From Carmen's first "after" picture, I decided I wasn't taking another step until I started working on the extra 25lbs that took residence on my body over the past year.  I joined a new gym, got an awesome trainer and committed to going to the gym every other day.



I'm two months in, ten pounds down and every muscle hurts but I'm happy.  I promise to smile in my next after picture (three months will be January 27). 

Be kind, this belly has had two babies.
 The second was to start writing for love again.  When I started writing my first novel, I was a new mom on maternity leave.  I would drive to the small beach by my house while my brand new baby boy took a nap and write furiously into an old journal.  At night, I'd read what I wrote to my husband, like a secret between us.  I didn't think about what anyone would think or how much money it would make me.  I just thought about how much I loved stringing the words together on the blank pages of that notebook.  How the life that was born there seemed almost as real as the little life in my arms.  I needed that again.  Just as simply as I needed water.

So, that's where I am.  Days away from the new year.  365 days of joys, heartbreak and surprises but I feel better leaving than I did going in.  I will have a few writing related announcements at the top of the year that I hope you'll like! In the meantime, feel free to drop me a note or two about what the new year will bring for you.  We aren't jumping up and down in a convention center together but maybe we can join hands across the web and support one another.

Love and Light,
Faye

Monday, December 15, 2014




He said he loved being black. 
His voice was barely a whisper above the soft sound of the tangerine comb gliding its way through his curls.  His brother, my littlest, was fiddling with my contact case, turning it upside down and spinning it against the ball of his fingertips.
For a moment, I forgot what I had been saying.  The rush of the morning slowed and the light from the rising sun suddenly filled our halls.  I had been feeling heavy. An early morning scroll of social media will do that to you. Everyone was outraged.  Everyone was frustrated.  We’d witnessed a man who looked like my husband take his last breathes on a street corner, and we’d learned no one would pay. 
I’d rose from bed with my alarm as I had done every morning, chucking my phone to the nightstand beside my bed. I watched my sons' bounce into our room.  I rested my hand in the warm spot my husband had left and listened to the sound of the shower beat down on him from our bathroom.  I rose, helping my boys, 4 and 7, make up their beds.  I guided them to the bathroom to wash their faces and brush their teeth.  I rubbed shea butter into my palms and then spread it onto my eldest son’s hair. I smiled as I ran my fingers through his deep dark curls, softer than mine but just tight enough to defy gravity in curves all over his head. 
“You have such beautiful curls,” I’d said, picking up the comb and gently releasing a few curls from the matts last night’s sleep had left. 
“You too, Peanut,” I said to my youngest.  He smiled and looked back down at my contact case, spinning it in whatever world he was inventing in his head.  “I love that we are a curly haired family.”  I said it consciously. Deliberately.  Making the choice I made every day to reaffirm our beauty.  I wanted them to grow up believing it; not to have to learn to, as I had.  I slid the comb down to the nape of his neck, mentally preparing the list of things the day would bring after they were safely in school.  Emails, phone calls, gym…
That’s when he said it.  He stared at our reflections in the bathroom mirror.  The glass slightly foggy from my husband’s shower.
“I love being black, Mommy,” he said. He said it matter of factly.  The way he said he loved oatmeal in the morning, honey on his fingertip when he returned from school, or the way he loved writing comic books with his best friend, Caleb. In that moment, he meant he loved his curls.  He meant he loved the scent of shea butter in his hair.  He meant he saw beauty shining back at him in his golden brown reflection.  In all of our reflections.  A big smile spread across his pink lips.  His missing teeth made his sweet smile even sweeter. 
I beamed.  Wordless for a moment.  In all my effort to prepare him for the worst, I hadn’t noticed how truly good it would feel to prepare him for the best.  For all the beauty.  For all it meant to be black that sprouts beyond the distraction of oppression.
I kissed his temple and squeezed his waist.  “Me too, baby,” I said softly in his ear.
Love and Light,
Faye

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Five by Faye McCray
 
I am in the dirt this Wednesday.
My hair is sprouting leaves.
My fingers are burrowed and moistening.
Mud coats my knees.
 
I am digging to hear you plainly again
I last heard you five years ago
I know if I dig deep enough,  
I will still hear your echo.
 
We’ve been five years sullied.
Our roots in mounds of pain.
As if joy is the exception
To deaths dark shadow on your name.
 
I am in the dirt this Wednesday.
My hair is sprouting leaves.
To forget how you left us.
To remember how you breathed. 
 
 
© Faye McCray
 

Love and Light,
Faye

Thursday, October 16, 2014

My baby boy is in love.

Well, not quite.

My four year old has this deeply complicated relationship with another four year old.  She rubbed his back the first day of preschool when he cried in my arms about leaving me for the first time.  Then she gave him a lollipop (and “No’buddy else, Mommy”) just because she had fun playing with him that day. Then she wrapped her arms around him tight and told him she would miss him between a Thursday and Friday just because he was leaving school early.


He looked at me, amidst the embrace, with his eyes wide and mouth reluctantly spread in a wide grin, that wild smile you only get when you’re trying really hard not to, and I knew. 

This little brown girl, with big hazel eyes and sweeping auburn curls had stolen a piece of my young son’s heart.

The next day, I picked him up from school and he was in tears.  Big fat, snotty tears that ran down his face and left giant raindrops falling from his chin.  I scooped him up and kissed his wet face.  His teachers assured me that there were no bumps, bruises or scrapes.  They assured me he wasn’t hurt.  Physically anyway.  That he was crying because a friend had chosen not to play with him.  It was only after minutes of wet kisses and soggy embraces that he confirmed what I thought. 

“She didn’t want to play with me, Mommy,” he said referring to the girl with the auburn curls.  He buried his small face into the crook of my neck. “She doesn't want to play with me for all da days.”

I held him tight and felt so terribly sorry. I know this heartache.  We all know this heartache.  I just naively believed I could shield him from it.  That somehow that part of being a human would skip him. That all his love would be reciprocated and no one would ever be careless with his heart.  

Like I said, it was naïve.

The first boy I “loved” didn’t love me back.  I wrote him a note, and he called me a name.  I cried hysterically in the coat closet with my favorite nun at my Catholic elementary school for a half an hour.  She stroked my hair and waited for me to stop, looking at me in a deeply knowing way.  Despite her circumstance. 

We all know it, right? I mean, we ALL know it.  I wanted to hold him by his chubby cheeks and tell him all the ways that adorable little girl sucked for not wanting to play with him but instead, I told him it was okay.   

"It’s okay,” I told him.  “It’s okay to be sad.  It’s okay to want to play with her but it’s also okay for her not to want to play with you.”

He looked at me with that quizzical look that only a child can give and I continued, “Not everyone is going to want to play with you, sweetie. Sometimes it’s okay to play by yourself or find other kids that like the kind of games you play.  There are so many other awesome kids in your class.” I concluded rattling off their names, including his buddies who stood by the fence while he cried as if they would cry themselves. 

He wrapped his arms around me and squeezed, pulling away with his pink bottom lip still poked out.  “Let’s go get a cookie, Mommy,” he murmured through his tears.

I smiled. 

When in doubt, that always works, too. 

Love and Light,

Faye


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

I can't believe I have let a whole month pass since I've reached out! If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you know I'm alive.  So, that's good.  However, I've neglected this here writing space for the whole month of September.  I haven't been hibernating (though forced exile and sleep sounds reaaaally good right about now).   I've also been working away on a fast approaching deadline.  Earlier this summer, I was asked to participate in a horror anthology!



Aside from being loads of fun, it is also my first professional fiction gig with a real publisher.  After getting over the initial fears and doubts (Am I good enough? Can I really do this?), my fingers have been flying.  I channeled all my creative juices into this project so a few things were put on hold.  But have no fear, I am still planning on pursuing Dani's Belts as a graphic novel! The preliminary sketches are done and next  month I will resume preparing my story boards.  Also, I still plan on self publishing my novel, Boyfriend.  Realistically, however, it likely won't be out until sometime next year. 

The creative juices are flowing, folks.  I can't wait to share all my new characters and words with you - if you'll still have me :-).


Love and Light,
Faye

Thursday, August 21, 2014

I didn't know him all that well but he was familiar.
Like the large, old oak tree that once grew in our front yard.
He was deeply present as if rooted in the ground.  Entwined in the branches that stretched out above our small block.
He lived there since the house was built in the 80s.
He'd tell you that.
His skin was a milky white.  The kind that probably never took to the sun very well.  His hair was a silky heather grey which he wore slick back.  His clothes, even the casual ones, were always freshly pressed.  His loafers always impeccably clean. 

Photo by DardaniM
Every morning, I'd spy him outside my window as I made my tea.  Stretching in the middle of the cul de sac and doing push-ups against the curb.  No matter the weather he wore a sweat band and tennis shorts, no doubt showing off his impressive skills for the other retired ladies living on our block.  When I left to go to work, I'd wave to him as he began his run.  He'd smile, wave back and begin his scurry.  His arms moving faster than his legs as he made his journey through the quiet of the morning.
He knew everyone's comings and goings, including ours.  Every afternoon, he'd perch at the top of his stairs and watch.  Knees bent, arms crossed.  His playful blue eyes bouncing from this to that.  The rabbits chomping on the grass in our yards.  The kids riding their bikes.  And the birds flying their quiet journey through the air.  He could have sat on his deck in the back of the house but I think he preferred being a witness.  Being a fixture in the life around him. Greeting the school children as they arrived home.  Slowing the inevitable rush that marks middle age by waiting for a wave or a comment on the weather. 
"Hi, Mr. Jim," My boys would say as they road their bikes and scooters fast by his house.  He'd smile and watch graciously as they showed off a new move or answer intently as they badgered him with questions.
"Do you have a wife?"
"No. Don't want one."
"Do you have a scooter?"
"No."
"Are you a Grandpa?"
"No."
He was amused by my overprotectiveness. Watching me as I rushed to nurse a sudden boo-boo, or break-up an inevitable dispute between the neighborhood kids about who won at tag or who lost a race. Teasing me about letting the boys "be boys" or siding with my three year old when I told him he was too little to play in the street.
"I'm just messing with ya'," he said waving his hand towards me when I tried to explain.
He was the kind of guy that scolded my mother for looking under the hood of her car when she thought something was wrong.  Me for contemplating fixing the weathered paneling on the side of my house. 
"That's his job," he would say, referencing my husband and gesturing towards my house whether my husband was home or not.  I chuckled because he reminded me of a my grandfather.  He's brand of throw back was a kind I didn't care to disturb.
He had a beautiful 1969 Corvette in his garage. 
"His baby." 
He'd back it out only on the most beautiful days and go for a ride.  He'd pull out of our cul de sac with a small smile on his face.  I imagined him slow riding on I-95, picking up septuagenarian babes and remembering the good old days.

Tuesday evening, we learned he was gone. 
In his bed, I heard.  Suddenly and alone. 
I stood outside with a few of my neighbors looking toward his house.  I  pictured him sitting there watching us.  Amused as we shared tears and stories.  Suddenly filled with gratitude for the bit part we play in each other's lives. 
We've had the most beautiful sunsets since. Filling our quiet streets in strawberry orange.  Making everything in the backdrop glow.  Somehow making his empty stoop look warm and full.
I'd like to think it was his way of remaining present.  Reminding us to be present, too. 
In life.  In all its glorious finite.  For all its quivers and falls. 
I'm glad I was a stop on his journey. 
I'm glad he was a stop on mine.

Love and Light,
Faye

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The walls in my bedroom are ivory.  A rather plain ivory but it ricochets sunlight from our window and captures shadows from the large oak trees behind our house.  In the morning, while my husband is still sleeping, I like to pull our fabric blinds all the way open, lie back down and be consumed by the light.  I watch the soft motion of the wind as it travels through the leaves to the rhythm of the chirping birds. The shadows two-step in the sunlight and sketch patterns on my body. 

 
My youngest son holding his scooter and looking out on a lake.
My hair, when loose, feels like spun cotton against my pillow.  I turn so it captures my face.  It's soft and it smells like coconut.  I like how it feels against my face.  It isn't long before I hear little bare feet smacking against the hardwood in the hallway.  Two sets. Opposite directions.  They swing open the door and jump into bed, my sons, snuggling against my husband and I, kicking blankets and talking about their dreams.  My little guy wants ice cream today.  My eldest wants to run through the sprinkler.  My husband opens one sleepy eye and asks if they're ready for breakfast.  They are.  They sprint from the bed making trips to the bathroom before bounding down the stairs to fill their bellies. 
For a brief moment, I lie still.  Captured in the shadows. Content.  Nothing more than me. 
Labeless.
Loved.
Warm. 
Full.
Alive.
 

 
Love and Light,
Faye

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Response to Kimberly Foster’s Why I Will Not March for Eric Garner

Last week, shielded behind the numbness of my computer screen, I, too, watched Eric Garner take his last breath.  I watched a large, vibrant man’s resolve, self-worth and basic human right to stand up for himself squeezed out of his body in a matter of minutes.  I watched him struggle inside a police officer’s elbow and fall lifeless on a dirty, concrete street corner.  Like many, I shed tears but inside, I bled.  All I could see was my husband’s large build, my brothers’ dark skin, and my beautiful sons’ blind belief in their own freedom. 


At the time, my sons’ played in our playroom.  They chatted incessantly about what superheroes they would pretend to be and what adventures they would take throughout our house as we waited for the rain to stop so we could go outside.  I wiped my tears away and regained my composure, more resolved than ever to be present.  To soak up every drip drop of their beautiful life.  To love them with every piece of myself.  To ensure that I do my part to make the world a better place for them. To make them better than this world.  

You see, almost seven years ago, when the doctor handed me my first beautiful, golden boy – in the midst of the overwhelming love I felt for the new soul placed in my arms, I saw an opportunity.  I saw an opportunity to raise the type of man, I had always hoped to encounter.  The type of man I had unexpectedly found in the man I chose to marry.  Men who didn’t throw bottles at women who spurned their advances. Men who didn’t expose themselves to high school girls on subway platforms.  Men who didn’t call women bitches and hoes.  Men who didn’t chalk up a women’s worth to her reputation or sexual appetite.  Men who valued the little girls they helped create.  

The arduous steps I had taken to that hospital bed had hardened me but holding that innocent life in my arms, I realized who he would be was yet to determined.   I could fight to make sure he was better than the type of man I had once endured.

That afternoon, as I watched Eric Garner’s life slip away from him, all I could think of was what kind of man his mother had dreamed he would become.  Had she watched him play in the house on a rainy day?  Had she loved him with all her might and worked tirelessly to make sure he was a “different” kind of man?  Like me with my husband, had his wife been challenged by his kindness… by his respect? Had his children felt the wholeness of a father who valued their lives? Had his daughter been one of the few brown girls I’ve ever known to call herself “Daddy’s girl”?


Fact is, I don’t know.  The NYPD didn’t stop to question what his mother’s dreams had been for him.  They didn’t stop to ask whether he mattered to his wife or his children.  They didn’t stop to ask whether he had ever objectified a woman or argued for her humanity.  They saw the same dark brown skin I wear every day and decided it didn’t matter.  They saw the same black life, I, as a black woman, have created and took it.  Yanked it away on a crowded city street.  

I do more than shed tears for Eric Garner, I bleed for him.  I bleed with him as I would for my sons.  My husband.  My brothers.  For all the beautiful life born to a black woman’s womb.   As long as black women create black boys and black men create black girls, I will bleed.  Our separateness is a divisive fiction.  A fiction no clearer than when I held my new baby boy in my arms.

Marching for him is the least I can do.

Love and Light,
Faye

Saturday, July 19, 2014


I was watching an interview recently where Pulitzer Prize winning author, Junot Diaz was asked if he had any advice for young writers.  True to Junot, he initially scoffed at the question, making no qualms about his disdain for such a clichéd question.  However, his disdain seemed to stem from his resentment of the professionalization of the writing craft... as if artist as a profession was like professionalizing one's humanity or thought or thirst.  He said, "There is nothing about our craft that needs to be pursued with such Talmudic concentration. But what does need to be pursued in our culture, which does everything to discourage us, is a passionate engagement with the world." He concluded, looking out into the audience and resting his eyes on the young question-asker, "The "you" that spends most of her life living not writing will be the "you" that writes the books I want to read."

I thought a great deal about those words in the days that followed.  Words, speech, or any communicative art form has a way of satisfying your thoughts in a way you didn't know they needed to be.  The quote soundtracked something I had been feeling for quite awhile.  I always felt my best writing followed a truly contemplative period.  Those periods where the world had smacked me around and I needed to make sense of it.  Or, maybe not so much make sense of it but figure out how I felt about it.  Those periods where I felt so deeply passionate about something or someone that I needed to give birth to something more than touch, or tears or anger... When my brother died, I needed to see it, in splashes of black ink beneath my fingertips or collections of letters against a white computer screen.  It made my feelings tangible... present... real. Even in fiction, I find escape.  I'm still there... just disguised, and pretty, and hiding in those in between spaces.  That need... to create... feels so intrinsically weaved into who I am, it is part of my human experience, like thought or thirst.

It's interesting that the young writer asked because I suppose the real question is how do we make "creating" our careers?  How can passionate engagement with the world and the product of that engagement sustain you? How do we become one of the lucky few that avoids the mind numbing ache of 9-5 realities, awkward elevator rides, and 30-year mortgages? I think the torture in being a writer, or any artist, is the urgency with which that desire consumes you.  It gnaws at you like a hunger pain or dirty sore.  There are days where my mind feels frantic.  Like my muse is pounding at the door, rattling my thoughts. Especially these days where my social, moral and cultural outrage seems fueled by my Facebook feed and i-Phone. This beautiful, flawed, unjust world is right at my fingertips, and I'm feeling some kind of way about it.  About it all. And I want to retreat with my words and some tea and the abundance of love I give and receive for every meal.  It's all I want.  Not the 9-5 or crummy elevator rides or 30-year mortgages.

But I wonder if the parts of my life that I'd rather not experience are a part of the contemplation.  If they are a part of that space before the art comes.  That place before its great.  What if "passionate engagement" comes not from getting everything that you want but getting a healthy dose of what you don't want.  How can I write about the beauty of feeling loved without knowing what it feels to be hated?  How can I fantasize about freedom without knowing what it feels to be caged?  How can I know the value of gratitude without loss? Maybe what Junot was saying... or what I'm going to decide Junot was saying (because let's face it, only Junot knows), is that we need to experience the ride.  Not just get through it.  But taste it.  In all its bitter and sweet.  In all its rotten and fresh.  The beauty in the breakdown.  I mean, whether you are able to professionalize your art or not, that kind of experience births wisdom.  And wisdom quenches the thirst of my art better than a dollar ever did.

Eh. Maybe Junot was just talking about reading. Young writers should always do more of that.

Love and Light,
Faye

Saturday, July 12, 2014


I saw this speech a few weeks ago and can barely find the words to articulate how deeply I identified with it.  I'm not alone.  It has been shared, tweeted and discussed by thousands.  I'm putting it here for selfish reasons (so I can hug it and squeeze it and make it mine) but I am also putting it here for anyone with a dream.  I hope you find the same inspiration I did.  These past few months have taught me the value of opportunity, preparedness, individuality, and flexibility.  Your dreams may not be turn out exactly how you anticipate but if you work hard - sometimes they turn out better than you ever imagined!



Love and Light,
 Faye

Thursday, June 12, 2014


When I was ten, my mom moved me to a better school across town.  It was this swanky, Catholic school in a neighborhood with private streets and black nannies.  I remember feeling like a cassette tape in a CD player.  The kids looked different, they sounded different and definitely acted different.  They were nice enough, and some remain my dear friends to this day. However, there were things about me I knew they'd never understand and by virtue of my being immersed in their neighborhood, everything about them that I didn't understand, I had to learn. 
I took the Q60 to get there.  A bus that ran along Queens Blvd in Queens.  It began in South Jamaica and ended in Astoria, just outside of Manhattan.  I lived on the Jamaica end, in a then predominately black middle class neighborhood, and my new school was in Forest Hills, a predominately white wealthy neighborhood somewhere in between.  I remember sitting on that bus in my plaid, green school uniform and watching as the neighborhoods changed with each switch of the traffic lights.  The colors changed, the music changed and even the air felt like it changed.  I began my ride home, smelling garlic knots, sweet apricot Rugelach, and Kosher wine and ended it smelling fried chicken, spicy curries and Jamaican rum.  It wasn't long before I changed with the traffic lights.  Adapting my dialect to the changing faces of the bus riders.  My musical tastes to the smell in the wind.  My identity blurred.  Back home I was Double Dutch and jellies.  At school, I was Hopscotch and penny loafers.

I moved so seamlessly in both worlds that neither identity felt false (though inevitably someone in each group claimed it had to be).  While there was an undeniable comfort and familiarity in being at home, there was freedom to gaining knowledge of things that were different.  I remember the world feeling bigger than it had before.  As if the universe could expand in every direction I chose to take and the only thing that would stop me was if I chose not to move.
I was Nirvana and Rakim. 
Book smart and street smart.
....concrete and grass (the grass was on the Jamaica side, by the way). 
I look back on that experience as my childhood fork in the road. 
My mother wound me up and set me in a far away direction.
Even then I felt the shift.  My life went from what it was to what it could be.

I'm not typically one to believe in the divine purpose of every single occurrence but I know that ride on the Q60 changed me.  It sent me in a direction into adulthood I might not have otherwise taken. 
My life has been filled with twists and turns recently.  Sudden onsets of interests I didn't know I had.  Passions I didn't know I could feel.  Places I never thought I would go. 
I can feel the shift.
It's not a difficult time but its complex.
I'm reflecting on my time on the Q60 and feeling confident it will only add to me. 
Praying that I will raise my gaze on the next bus and maybe find new music in the wind. 

Love and Light,
Faye

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

This week, I did something remarkable for my soul.  I established Celebrating Black Boys, a social media presence dedicated to the celebration of positive images of black boys.

It started as a Facebook group.  In October 2013, with the government shutdown looming into perpetuity, I sat with my three-year-old son outside of our house in the warm fall breeze and wondered what the future had in store.  He was fascinated by a worm that had emerged from our grass.  He could stare at it all day, and all I could do was stare at him.  In addition to my indefinite break from work, I had just removed him from his preschool.  Despite only spending three weeks in his new three-year-old classroom, his teachers had unleashed on us a litany of “concerns” about his behavior.  In an email from his teachers, they noted he was having trouble “pulling up his pants” after using the bathroom (he needed help with buttons), “sorting items into trash, compost and recycling,”  “zipping his lunch box,” “staying behind the same person for the entire walking time,” and “doing an activity to completion.”  As a result, they gave us a choice: have him evaluated by the state or remove him from the school.

He was 3 years and 2 months old.

He was also the only black boy in his class.

We removed him.

The decision did not come easy.  My eldest son had just graduated from that very school.  We trusted their input and diligently took heed of their criticism throughout the years, despite how many times it came up unfounded.  With our little guy, however, it was different.  He was so small, and they had only known him three weeks.  How could they have made such sweeping assertions about his character in such a small window of time?  And based on completely age- appropriate behaviors? How could they have decided his needs required professional intervention without even taking the time to know him?
 
(c) Matt Small
 
So, I observed.  I sat quietly in a corner of his classroom and watched.  The boy I observed was not the son I recognized.  He was shy, withdrawn, fearful and reluctant to interact with his teachers and peers.  What was even more troubling was the hyper-vigilance with which his teachers seemed to treat him.  If he so much as moved the wrong way, they were calling his name, correcting him, reprimanding him… meanwhile, other children talked out of turn, played with their shoelaces and fidgeted relentlessly, and it went completely unnoticed.  It broke my heart.  This was not the little boy who bounced through my home – verbal, eager to assert his independence and full of love and light.  This was a child who was told he was a problem and had started to believe it.  Even at three.  In spite of all the love my husband and I had committed to giving him. 

Sure, there were probably a litany of experiences and reasons those teachers targeted him.  But whether they were conscious of it or not, race was one of them.
This I know.
However, suddenly their reasons were the least of my concerns.  I was more concerned with how he saw himself.  I never wanted how someone else treated him to impact his sense of identity again.  Watching him staring at the icky worm, I felt fiercely protective.   I needed to protect his curiosity.  His creativity.  His intelligence.  I needed to protect his self-worth.  There was no limit to his abilities and the contributions he could make to this world.  He needed to know that.  He needed to know it so they next time someone tried to tell him differently, he would know they were liars. 

I started the group with a heavy heart and tears in my eyes.  I wanted to connect with other mommies and daddies who knew their brown children were remarkable. Mommies and Daddies who fought each and every day to make sure they remembered it…

I am back at work now, and he is in a school that is a MUCH better fit.  However, I have no doubt my sons’ journeys to adulthood won't include more challenges.  Celebrating Black Boys is for the love of black boys.  It is for Trayvon, Jordan and Emmett.  It is for my boys, my husband, my brothers, my cousins, and all the black boys and people who love them.  It is to remind us all of who they are, who they can be.  It is to counteract article after article of damaging statistics that do not have to be predictions of the future.  It is to counteract every mug shot, suspect sketch, music video and reality show that denigrates the black male image and works as a vehicle of white supremacy.  It is to serve as a forum for important discussions and a celebration of what is positive.  So when you kiss your beautiful boy and tell him the sky is the limit, there is not a doubt in your mind that it is true. 

And one more quick note, Celebrating Black Boys is not about the exclusion of black girls.  As a proud black woman, I am invested in the well-being of black girls just as fiercely as I am in the well-being of black boys.  I believe the missions are not mutually exclusive.  Black boys are brothers, cousins and eventual fathers and uncles of black girls.  It is crucial to the protection of black girls that we raise boys that make us proud.  Boys who say no to violence, rape and disrespect of womanhood.  Boys who recognize their importance and worth to their families. We all have something to gain from encouraging self-worth in black boys. 

 
So check us out on:
Twitter @CBBoys
and

 
Oh, and no worries, I'm still writing too :-).

Love and Light,
Faye

Sunday, April 27, 2014

I am struggling to write a blog post lately.
It's not block (perish the thought) because I'm writing. I'm just not writing here.
I think the best writing is emotion driven. For me anyway.  If something is weighing heavy on my mind, I feel flooded with words.  It's like they all coming running to the door waving their little word-hands and screaming, "Write me! Write me!" I choose them carefully, and since I am primarily a fiction writer, most of them wear a disguise.
Knowledge.  Vulnerability.  Yearning.  Freedom. Peace.
I would say these are central themes of my thirties.  Acquiring knowledge and learning what I want.  Knowing what I want and being vulnerable enough to admit it... and telling people as needed.  Once I've admitted it and let it be known, yearning for it with every flutter of my soul and truth in my energy.  And once I have it... once I am living life as it is intended... well...
I'll be free.
...and with freedom comes peace.
I think there is a little bit of that in all my writing these days.  At varying stages. 
My latest work is about yearning.  The more I say the word.  The more I love it.  Say it out loud. It tastes bitter, with a possibility of sweet.
Nia Long, Love Jones

Merriam-Webster describes yearning as a tender or urgent longing
I immediately conjure up images of a young woman sitting at a table in an empty room, her forehead nestled into the corner of her elbow, tears wetting the bare skin beneath her and her mind filled with images of something she wants more than her life.  Something she wants so badly, she is finding it hard to function... hard to bring the right words to her lips.  Hard to string together coherent thoughts.
The thing about yearning is, it can come in various forms.  Is she dreaming of love, motherhood, her declining health, a deceased family member... a long overdue career change?
I haven't decided.
But she wants something.  She needs something.
And as an artist, that desire is filled up and fed with possibility. 
So, I'm writing.  Just not here. But I promise I'll share it soon.


Love and Light,
Faye

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the downloads, reviews, tweets and comments in support of Dani's Belts! What started as a Halloween project turned into a short story series and I am SO very proud of how it all turned out.  For those of you who didn't read my interview with Graveyard Shift Sisters or get to the end of Black Belt, I am proud to say I am currently working on turning the series into a graphic novel!  I am so excited to bring Dani, Rob, Michelle, Coral, Tubbs and the many eaters to life. I am also excited about continuing their stories.  I will keep everyone posted on its progress.



While I am working on getting the graphic novel squared away, I will also be publishing a novella later this Spring.  It is a departure from the horror genre.  It is a nostalgic literary highlight reel of a short, obsessive relationship between a career driven young woman and a charismatic coffee shop barista.  It's told in little vignettes.  It is funny, sexy and a tad disturbing.  I think you guys will really enjoy it. 

I've had a few disappointments lately and some really awesome victories.  I am filled with gratitude for everyone taking this journey with me. For everyone who keeps getting back up with me.  Thanks for being gentle with all the pieces of me I've left across these here internets. Words and me go back.  Like recliners and old men.  Thanks for believing we have a future.


Love and Light,
Faye

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

After a few minor glitches, we are up and running! Special shout out to the Amazon team for their super fast response time.  Thumbs up for Kindle Direct Publishing! So, without further ado...
 

When you're done, please click "Write a Review" and tell me your thoughts! I'm committed to this writer business, folks, and I value every syllable of your feedback!



Thanks to all those who have been following Dani's journey! It's been so much fun. Rest assured, it is not over for Dani.  I am working hard on turning the series into a graphic novel.  I promise to fill you in on more details later!  For now... there is a pillow calling my name.  More words later.

Love and Light,
Faye

Monday, April 7, 2014

Tomorrow!

Sorry folks, I was a little delayed in uploading Black Belt to Kindle!  It will be up in less than 12 hours which may still actually be today but it may not (all depends on the Amazon Digital Gods).  Good news though.  Orange Belt is still FREE today, April 7 through Wednesday, April 9 AND you can still enter to win FREE copies of both White Belt and Yellow Belt by entering HERE!

If that still doesn't make up for it, watch this... it always puts me in the forgiving mood.




Love and Light,
Faye

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The final installment in Dani's Belts, Black Belt is coming out tomorrow April 8!!!



 
In honor of it's debut, Orange Belt will be FREE April 7 through April 9!
 
Also, you can enter to win here for FREE copies of White Belt and Yellow Belt! 
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/31a3643/" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway



 
Winner Announced Wednesday, April 9!

Good luck!

Love and Light,
Faye

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Say it with me….

A Dreamer’s Pledge by Faye McCray
© Faye McCray, 2014

I will fight to protect my dreams.
I will keep getting back up.
I will believe in myself when no one else does.
I will keep getting back up.
I will swallow criticism to the extent it makes me better.
I will keep getting back up.
I will improve.
I will keep getting back up.
I will grow.
I will keep getting back up.
I will be everything my children believe I am.
I will keep getting back up.
 
I will succeed to prove the people who believe in me right, not to prove insignificant people wrong.
 
I will keep getting back up.
I will be inspired by greatness, not threatened by my own infancy.
I will keep getting back up.
I will act with gratitude, passion and greater purpose.
I will keep getting back up.
I will repel negativity.
I will keep getting back up.
For every step forward, I will reach my hand back.
I will keep getting back up
I will remain humble and kind.
I will keep getting back up.
I will not settle.
I will keep getting back up.
I will be present in my journey, struggle and pain.
I will keep getting back up.
I will stay true to myself.
I will keep getting back up.
 



Love and light,
Faye 



Monday, March 31, 2014

An article I wrote, Teaching My Son to Love Himself is featured on For Harriet today. 

A very pregnant-me, pregnant with my 2nd somewhere in suburbia in 2010 :-)
 
 
Check it out here.

Love and Light,
Faye

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Black Belt will be available April 7 8th! Yay!
 
 
 
 
Stay tuned because I will be doing a giveaway later this week.  Get caught up on White Belt, Yellow Belt and Orange Belt now for only $0.99 each!



Love and Light,
Faye

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

On Graveyard Shift Sisters!!!!
 
Technically, I am not there right now... I am... was... virtually there... well, you get it... 

Check out the awesome interview here.

This was totally me at work today when I saw the interview was up. 


Love and Light,
Faye

Friday, March 21, 2014


It feels like its been awhile.  Orange Belt is out YAY! Download it here for only $0.99 :-) 

I've been deep in my cave the past few weeks, working on the Belt series and preparing upcoming projects.  Just to give you an idea of my schedule, I wake up before the sun, work, pick up the little ones from school and daycare, kiss their golden faces, cart them around to their social activities, spend time with the spouse, cook, clean, laundry, and then <3 write<3.

Anything else has kind of been like...


The past couple of weeks have caught up with me and today, I took full advantage of the spring equinox and mellowed the fuuuuuuggg oooouuut.  I work from home a few days a week so I decided to take a really long walk at lunch through my neighborhood.  I've mentioned before, I grew up in New York City, so living in the 'burbs now still elicits a kind of wary curiosity from me.  I live near woods, and creeks, and lakes and while I thoroughly enjoy the beauty, I have this fear that some unknown, hairy animal will emerge from a bush at the exact moment I let my guard down and chew me to itty-bitty pieces.

I didn't say it was a rational fear.

Anyway, today I was brave.  My goal was to make my walk a meditative experience and empty my mind.  When my mind is crowded, I'm no good at any of my definitions... especially writer.  At any given moment, I have a litany of things marching through this head of mine, stamping on each other and screaming at the top of their lungs.  Today, I told it all to shut up and followed the breeze as it nudged me gently on my path.  I tasted it as it flew in the air around me and teased the infant buds on the trees.  I heard its silence as it passed through the pine trees and heard its crunch as it carried away the last of the fall leaves.  I listened to the distant birds and my own rubbery footsteps on the concrete beneath my feet. 

I was present...

...which, let me tell ya, I don't do nearly enough.  When I got home, I had a long shower and a giant cup of water, and I allowed myself to be still.  It was mahhhh-valous.  Suddenly, all those "things" marching around in my mind lined up and quietly waited for me to get to them. 

It's amazing the clarity stillness can bring.

So, this post is my deep breath.  My reset.  My start-over.  My pause, rewind, and replay. 
The beat of my steps feeds my soul almost as well as the beat of my pen.
I do some of my best writing without every writing a word.

“The inner is foundation of the outer
The still is master of the restless

The Sage travels all day
yet never leaves his inner treasure”
Laozi

Love and Light,
Faye

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Orange Belt is coming March 17th!



Woot!

In honor of its debut, White Belt and Yellow Belt will be FREE March 15-17, 2014. 

By the way, pardon my mini-hiatus.  I am in editing-land putting the final touches on Dani's story.  I am also preparing two very special projects coming this Spring and Summer.

Stay tuned...

Love and Light,
Faye

Saturday, February 22, 2014



I have been working hard putting the final touches on Orange Belt and Black Belt, the final two installments in Dani's story.  In the meantime,  you guys have been reading and reviewing. White Belt has an average rating of 4.6 stars on Amazon and 4.53 on Goodreads and Yellow Belt has an average rating of 5.0 on both sites.  I even received my first international review on the UK site which was pretty awesome - big wave to all my readers across the pond! Thank you so much to everyone who read and reviewed!

Special thanks to Dawn over at BookLoads and Amy at The Undercover Reviewer for adding five star reviews of White Belt and Yellow Belt to their sites. 

Orange Belt will debut March 17, 2014 and Black Belt will debut April 7, 2014!

I am so excited about it, and I hope you are too! I'm going to miss Dani, Michelle and Rob.  Is that weird?

Fortunately, my next project will be coming out in May so I am already delving into a new cast of characters.  It isn't about zombies but I promise you will love it all the same.  Blog post about that coming soon.

Love and Light,
 Faye

Sunday, February 16, 2014

He's up from nap.
He stretches his long legs out over his blue and green sheets, snuggling his curly hair into his pillow.  He opens his big brown eyes and looks at me, a soft smile on his face, then he closes his eyes again, turning so his chubby golden cheeks nestle deep into his pillow.  He curls in a ball, drawing his knees to his chest and breathing softly.  He looks so tiny in his new big boy bed.  His three-year-old frame only making up a third of its length.  The rest crowded with his stuffed animal friends and fluffy comforter. 
Are you up, baby?
I whisper it, kneeling beside his bed and breathing in his smell.  He smells like cookies and clay.  From the morning of playtime and the snack he just had to have.  I kiss his nose and he wipes it away, sitting up slowly.  His bare feet dangling over the edge of his bed and his eyes still hanging low from sleep.  I watch as a soft yawn escapes his tiny pink lips.  I remember him as the colorless baby, swaddled and content, nestled in my arms as I dreamed for him, wondering what his new life would bring.  Fresh steps, new soul. 
Now, he reaches his arms out for me and I lift him.  Letting him nestle his head into that soft dip near my collarbone, and wrap his little legs around my waist.  I feel his body release a heavy sigh.
He is safe and he feels it.  I run my hand over his warm back, and I do too.



He fills me.  My soul forever pregnant.  Giving birth to thoughts and plans of his life and his brother's, mine, ours and theirs.  I remember the love that made them.  The love that sustains them.  I nourish it so we witness them hand-in-hand.  I nourish my mind so I don't miss a moment.  I dream of being silver-haired and watching the children they make, play off a country porch, their shadows dancing at sunset in a lake.  Smiling to myself, content.  Lived and full. 

But now I cry.

My tears are puddles at my feet.  Joining in the streams that fill the rivers, staining the Diaspora.  For Lucia and Sybrina.  For Emmett, Addie Mae, Cynthia, Carole and Denise's Mommies.  For Hadiya's Mommy.  For Baltimore's Mommies.  For Chicago's.  For Detroit's.  For New York City's.  For all the dreams halted by bullets.  The joy buried in caskets.  The Mommy's whose babies they were helpless to protect.  Guns loaded with worthlessness both mandated by a careless society and perpetuated needlessly by its victims.

It's all hate crimes. 

I once again lower my head beneath a stream of water and wash a festering sore.  Hoping to rinse away the virus infecting my dreams.  The virus that worries about the evil in others, the criminalization of the beautiful brown skin love made, and the lowered expectations of every teacher under a brainwashed spell.  That virus that caused me to worry when my sons grew out of their toddler clothes because I knew it was only a matter of time before the world stopped seeing the beauty I did.  Before those kind smiles and waves from strangers, became purse clutching, eye-avoiding fear, nurtured and fostered by an unkind media and an unfair justice system. 

I place a Band-Aid on the festering sore and dream awake.  The lullaby of lies is only comforting to the unconscious.

My eyes are open now.

He's awake.

Love and Light,
Faye

*In 2012, after an argument over loud music, Michael Dunn, a 47-yr old white Floridian fired ten shots into a carful of unarmed black teenagers, killing Jordan Davis, a seventeen year old boy.  Yesterday, after more than thirty hours of deliberation, a jury found Dunn guilty of three counts of attempted second degree murder and one count of firing into an occupied car.  A mistrial was declared on the first-degree murder charge. 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

It is cold here in my neck of the woods.  I have been engaging in the most socially acceptable form of human hibernation I can.  I only emerge to make an appearance at the day job, shop, pick up the kiddies or find food.  Other than that, you can find me having dance parties with my family, hiding under a blanket with the spouse, or chugging away at Orange Belt and Black Belt (sequels to White Belt and Yellow Belt).  I am also preparing a super, duper exciting project I will hopefully be able to announce soon (from inside)!

So, yesterday, I emerged from my hibernation to take my eldest son to his piano lesson.  He is six and awesome.  He plays piano by ear.  We discovered it when he was about four.  He had chord bells and he would play songs he knew without us teaching him.  We thought it was different but we were first-time parents and thought everything he did was pretty darn miraculous so we weren't sure whether it was a big deal. When he started doing it on our keyboard and toy pianos, his teachers advised us to take him straight to the nearest music school.  During his lessons, I try to pay careful attention to his teacher so I can make sure he is practicing correctly at home.  I found myself moving my hands in the air with his and wondering why I had never pursued piano.

Nina Simone
The things is, I am not at all musically inclined.  He totally gets that awesome trait from the hub.  I kind of sound like I'm dying when I sing, and my dance moves are not that much better.  However, I have always been fascinated by instruments.  When I was in elementary school, I begged my mother to enroll me in piano.  I remember going to one lesson and quitting because I realized how much time and effort it would take to become good.  I wanted the teacher to just press that button I knew was buried somewhere in my back that would make me magically play like Nina Simone  Apparently not  only do we not have a button in our back, it also takes more than one lesson to play like Nina ;-).  Lost in my thoughts momentarily at my son's appointment, I found myself loaded with regret.  Why hadn't I tried harder?  Why didn't my mother force me to play? I shrugged it off and continued watching my son.  What's done is done, right? I mean, seriously, how ridiculous would I look sitting in a line of children waiting for my music teacher to call me in for my lesson?  I pictured myself wedged in between two kids with freckles, far too big for the seat, and completely mortified. 
But why?
Why was I so embarrassed? Why, at 32, did I decide it was too late for me to learn something new?  Why is it that we reserve opportunity and dreams for the super young?
Misty Copeland, soloist at the American Ballet Theatre started dancing at a Boys and Girls Club as a teenager.

A few weeks ago, Jane Pauley was on the Katie Couric Show.  Jane was on the show to discuss her book, Your Life Calling: Reimagining The Rest of Your Life to inspire baby boomers to plan for the second half of their lives.  In the seventies, Jane was a Today Show anchor.  She was only 26 when she started and consequently, one of the youngest to ever do it.  She peaked early and when she left, she still had a significant amount of life ahead of her.  She wrote the book to inspire people to reimagine the rest of their lives. The book profiles older adults who start new careers after retirement.  She brought a few of them with her to the Katie Couric show. Even though I am almost thirty years away from retirement age, I found myself identifying with their stories. I think the thing I found most inspirational was acknowledging the possibilities for your life at any age.  The realization that there is no age limit on striving for something.   

Sometimes I find myself wondering why I didn't pursue writing earlier.  Why did I go to law school? Why didn't I just graduate college and get an MFA?  I have a job, a family and a mortgage - what the hell am I thinking? Then I remember how much I gained from becoming a lawyer, how much I learned about myself these past nine years.  I find myself becoming grateful for it all.  There is a sweetness to going after your dreams after you've lived a little.  A tangible pulse to every action you take.  My heart is in everything I do because I know I want it now.  I know I want it in a way I couldn't have known at 21.  Anyone who has worked hard and long for something and subsequently achieves it knows how much sweeter success is when it finally arrives.  If you admit who you want to be and find the strength to go after it, you are made of tough shit.  This I know. 

I don't know if I will ever enroll in piano lessons.  Right now, watching my son is more than enough.  However, I refuse to say it will never happen.  We have the right to dream at any age because we never stop mattering.  And if you are like me and need a reminder every once in awhile, here is a list of people who achieved their dreams later in life (feel free to add names in the comments):

Ernestine Shepherd began body building at 56 (declared oldest body builder at 77 in 2012)

  • Jon Hamm got his breakout role on Mad Men when he was 37. 
  • Andrea Bocelli didn't start singing opera seriously until the age of 34.
  • Phyliss Diller became a comedian at the age of 37.
  • Stan Lee, creator of Spider-Man, was 43 when he began drawing his legendary superheroes and his partner, Jack Kirby was 44 when he created The Fantastic Four.
  • Julia Child didn't learn to cook until she was almost 40 and didn't launch her popular show until she was 50.
  • Elizabeth Jolley had her first novel published at the age of 56; Mary Wesley was 71 when her first novel was published.
  • Harlan Sanders, Colonel Sanders of KFC, was 66 when he began to promote his secret chicken resume.
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder began writing as a columnist in her 40s. The popular Little House books weren't written until she was in her 60s.
  • J.K. Rowling was 32 when Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was published. 
  • Vera Wang started designing wedding gowns at 40.
  • Ray Kroc joined McDonald's (a small restaurant owned by two brothers) when he was 52 and turned it into the most successful fast food franchises in history. 
  • Charles Darwin published the Origin of Species at 50.
Not sure who this is, but I think we can all agree she is awesome.

Love and Light,
Faye

 
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