Wow, I can’t believe it’s June 1st. The year is flying by and what a year it’s been so far. Last year, as 2011 wrapped up, I decided that 2012 would be a year of great achievement and accomplishment for me and that each month I’d select a theme to memorialize my experiences. Since I take copious notes with my Facebook statuses and the new timeline lets me jump to each month with ease, I can quickly revisit my good times. So far, this is how 2012 has shaken out. (Friendly Warning: This is a long, but enjoyable post.)
January – The Month of Awesomeness
New Year’s Day fell on a Sunday. My Partner-in-Crime (P.I.C.), Keisha, and I decided we wanted to kick it and get a drink that night. I drove to Hyde Park to pick her up, but discovered our local watering hole, Park 52, was closed. It soon dawned on us that not many places would be open at 8pm on a Sunday night. Plus it was cold and everyone else was home still hung over from New Year’s Eve. I knew we’d have to head further south and find a neighborhood lounge because I was committed to getting a drink and hearing some good music. Since I’m not a lounge lizard, I didn’t know where to go. Inspiration hit and I remembered one of my clients owned a spot on 75th Street called Laristo’s. I called him and he said they didn’t open until 9pm, but of course we can come now. When we walked in all the lights were on and there was an open flame in the middle of the floor to warm the place up. Three people were at the bar drinking a colorful concoction. The bartender told us it was her special punch left over from New Year’s Eve. She poured us each a glass. The owner came over to tell us tonight was motorcycle night so there would be plenty of men and we were his guests for the night which meant we would drink for free…SCORE! Soon the DJ arrived and started jamming. Then all the leather jacketed bikers boyz started filling up the joint. The male:female ratio was easily 10:1. Not only that, Keisha and I were by far the prettiest girls there so all the men were falling over themselves to talk to us. One of my favorite lines that night (which I’m quoting from my Facebook page) was when a guy told us that we must be bougie because we’re the only girls in the bar with our own hair (meaning we didn’t have weave). He said it as a compliment. Anyway, the DJ was on point, the drinks were free and flowing, and with our real hair and social butterfly personalities, Keisha and I were the toasts of Laristo’s. We had the best time and declared January to be the “Month of Awesomeness” and the start to the “Best 2012 Everrrr”. Other highlights from the month were that I received and successful completed my first freelance assignment for Rolling Out Magazine, I saw Mass Hysteria, Primeridian, Pharoahe Monch, and Brand Nubian at the Double Door, cheered the Bulls as they beat somebody (I don’t follow sports), celebrated my P.I.C.’s birthday (we’re fanatics about our birthdays), hired my first intern for Single Girl Summer, saw one of my all-time favorite R&B crooners, Eric Roberson, at the Shrine, and closed the month by attending the Black Creativity Ball at the Museum of Science and Industry. I missed Black Creativity in 2011 because I was under the weather and everyone said it was fabulous. That it’s the best of best when it comes to Black Tie events and they were right. All the Black and the Fabulous were there and a picture of me at the event was even posted on the front page of NBC Chicago’s website. January was awesome!
February – Going All In
February is my all time favorite month. It’s Black History Month, Love Month, and most importantly, my Birthday month. On January 29th, my minister at Christ Universal Temple told the congregation the theme for February would be Going All In. He said if you want to achieve your dreams, you have to go all in. You don’t get wet, if you just dip your toe in the water. You got to get in deep. Like James Brown said, down deep. I knew he was speaking to me. On February 1st, I was keynote speaker to kick off Black History Month at Miliken University. It was my first public speaking engagement. My topic was my “Journey from Corporate Zombie to Creative Writer” and the students loved my message. I was inspired at a “Lyrical Workout Session” aka “Soul Restoration” at the Soul Vegetarian Restaurant. And this wasn’t just any ole’ poetry set…this one of those nights where I leave the house with no expectation of what the night will bring and then I fall into so much fun and randomness that I have to say “Thank God I was born in the greatest city in the world.” That night a couple of guy signed up to be on my Single Girl Summer street team and we ended our adventure making it rain bookmarks at Red’s on Stony Island. You had to be there. On Valentine’s Day, I played the Dating Game on the Vocalo Morning Amp show on WBEZ and hugged another one of my all-time favorite crooners, The Dream. I presented “A Tribute to Black Women” at Fleetwood Jourdain Theatre in Evanston, had another freelance piece run in Rolling Out, sipped High Tea at the Ritz Carlton, cheered all my friends receiving Heineken Excellence awards, performed “Remembering Love” at an Ode to Love Jones event, saw Flynt Flossy (my favorite rapper) and the Turquiose Jeep Crew at Reggie’s (Did I mention I love to dance?), attended my first Savior’s Day with Minister Farrakhan, cheered when Tyler Perry gave Reverend Corey Brooks $98,000 so he could come down from the motel roof and make his dream come true, celebrated an amazing birthday with my wonderful family and friends, but most importantly, I quit my corporate job and I went all in on being a writer and creative spirit. It felt incredible to step out on faith. February was truly my month. Geronimo!!!
March – Think Bigger
On March 5th, I posted “If you are waiting for a sign from the universe, This Is It! Now go big” on my Facebook page. I was adjusting to and loving the life of being a full-time author and writer. In the middle of the day on a Tuesday, I took a pole dancing class at Flirty Girl Fitness. (Yes, I’m now one of those people who perform random activities during the day.) I had lunch with an old friend. We were best friends in grammar and high school and we’ve been trying to get together for lunch for two years. She gave me a three-page, hand-written letter that I had written to her in 1990 (luckily I had dated it). Her mother was cleaning her basement the night before our lunch and found this twelve-year old blast from the past. My friend told me I’ve always been a writer. Now if that wasn’t God winking and smiling at me, I don’t know what that was. After I posted an "Open Letter to the Men Who Can't Figure Out Why We Aren't Dating," a friend told me I'm the black Carrie Bradshaw. I was thriving in my an "Inspiration Cypher" and another grammar school friend nicknamed me the "Imagination Kick-Ass Warrior Princess." For women’s history month, I mentored women at UIC and was a featured panelist at an event called “A Woman’s Legacy.” I saw Robin Thicke perform and even took a picture with him. He’s one of the nicest men I’ve ever met. I had a book signing event at my church’s bookstore and they told me I sold the most books of any book signing event held there. I saw Rahsaan Patterson at the Shrine, Fela! at the Cadillac Palace Theatre and was a guest co-host on Matt McGill’s morning show on WVON. As a featured writer at V100’s Family Expo, me and my super intern took Milwaukee by storm. I kicked it with Bilal and experienced a musical orgasm watching Robert Glasper perform at the Double Door. Later that night, I was talking to someone about one of my Single Girl Summer marketing strategies and he encouraged me “Think Bigger.”
April – Razzle Dazzle
After kidnapping my VP of public relations and posting a hostage video on YouTube, I reached my goal of 1,000 likes for my Single Girl Summer Facebook fan page. I had an amazing book signing at the Barbara’s Bookstore in Terminal 3 at O’Hare Airport. There were huge signs all around the airport announcing my morning appearance. The bookstore manager told me I sold the most books of any author they have hosted in a long time. She was really impressed with my colorful display and sales hustle. I told her I call it the “Razzle Dazzle.” Someone stole my purse at the Darkroom which was disappointing, but a great reminder that I need to be more careful and pay attention. I had an appearance at another bookstore and the turnout was disappointing even though I heavily promoted it. In a brainstorming meeting with my publisher, I complained that hardly anyone came to my event. She told me that if I didn’t have built-in traffic like at the airport signing, then I needed to present compelling content to encourage people to attend. She suggested I present on the “Art of Flirting”. I was a featured author at Feast 411 that night so I left the meeting and started doing research on the topic. The “Art of Flirting” was a huge success. My Razzle Dazzle was back!
May – Savor the Journey
On Saturday, Cinco de Mayo, I completed the trifecta of celebrating the Kentucky Derby at the Hawthrone Race Course, Cinco de Mayo at Dos Diablos, and the Mayweather fight at a house party. I started my “Red Cup Adventures” blog on ChicagoNow, presented my “Art of Flirting” workshop at the Listenbee Collection during the 2nd Fridays Pilsen Art Gallery walk, and was featured on “The Talk with Marion Brooks” on NBC5 Chicago. I received one of the best book reviews from thesavvysistah.com that stated “If Waiting to Exhale and Sex and the City procreated, the healthy, bouncing baby would read like Single Girl Summer.” I was featured in Black Enterprise, ran a 5k with my Northwestern Black Alumni Association, enrolled in Karyn Calabrese’s class at her Inner Beauty Center, completed a four week detox including a 5 day fast, returned to my college weight by losing ten pounds, attended the Black Enterprise Conference, marveled at two topless women who were covered only with colorful body paint at the De La Soul show at Shrine, was accepted as a speaker with the SMG Speaker's Bureau, had a great conversation with my editor about reworking my first book “Voted Most Creative”, and was invited to attend a Single Girl Summer party by one of my facebook fans. At the party, she had materials for us to create “Summer Vision Boards.” I pasted “Savor the Journey” at the top of my board. I started reading The Happiness Project and realized that I’m so busy and so worried all the time that I’m not maximizing my happiness. I’m constantly running at full speed and constantly worried that I’m not doing enough or not doing enough of the right things. In the movie “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” one of the characters says that “It will be alright in the end and if it’s not alright, then it’s not the end.” I resolved to stop worrying and to be present in my moments. When I get to the end, I want to know I savored my journey.
June – Author on Fire
It’s the first day of June and this month’s story is yet to be written. Inspiration hit this morning and I posted on Facebook that I’m an Author on Fire then I cranked out this super long blog. Kudos to you for reading (or skipping) to the end. Anyway, when I say “on fire”, I mean that figuratively…not literary. Just want to make that clear. I’ve got big dreams, ambitious goals, and a long to-do list. I can’t wait to see what happens.
Deanna Burrell is the author of Single Girl Summer. Described as “If Waiting to Exhale and Sex and the City procreated, the bouncing baby would read like Single Girl Summer,” the novel tells the story of three women navigating the ups and downs of life during one special summer in Chicago. Find out more at www.SingleGirlSummer.com.
Filed under: lifestyle
Tags: black creativity, chicago, christ universal temple, Cinco De Mayo, deanna burrell, eric roberson, Fela!, Flirty Girl Fitness, fun, Karyn Calabrese, Kentucky Derby, laristo's, life lessons, listenbee collection, Love Jones, Mayweather, NBC5 Chicago, park 52, Pilsen Art Walk, red cup adventures, Robert Glasper, Savior's Day, Sex and the city, Shrine, single girl summer, soul vegetarian, the art of flirting, Vocalo Morning Amp, Voted Most Creative, Waiting to Exhale, WVON