A Weekend of Wonderful Exploration 

Happy Sunday! 

As I sit back and wait for The Walking Dead premiere, I am feeling great about the week ahead. This weekend, I took my daughters to the NASA open house event to celebrate their centennial year of operation. We live in Hampton, now known as the place where the events of Hidden Figures took place and it was incredible to walk on the same grounds where Katherine Johnson quietly made history. 

My oldest daughter is 8 and the Hidden Figures book/movie have had a profound impact in her at any early age. She now wants to be an aerospace engineer and I want to do what I can to help build and support her life vision. She was in awe of all the wind tunnels and computers. It gave me joy to see the wonder in her eyes. 

After a few hours at NASA we made our way to our local comic convention. I managed to see a con friend Stephanie and I made my way out of the vendor room without doing too much damage. Stephanie is the brains behind Red Fish Rue Fish, a company that makes metal bracelets, pins, iron-ons, and much more. I bought my three year old a bookmark and myself this cool Ravenclaw bracelet. I couldn’t get the word “wit” into the photo but Potterheads know how we roll. 


My mom came to my house today and we took the kids to the pumpkin patch. It was nice to get out in a field with a wagon and shears while we searched for the perfect pumpkins. I felt a sense of calm in the middle of no where. 

And, to cap off a great weekend, I am overjoyed about the latest Doctor Who news!! I am thrilled about Jodie Whittaker as the first woman Doctor, even if I don’t see it as a “representation win.” BUT I think I’m even more excited to see a Black male AND a woman of color (Mandip Gill) as her companions! I haven’t had time to formulate my full thoughts and hopes for them, but I am hype! Look at how wonderful the TARDIS will be with more diversity! Thank you Martha Jones and Bill Potts for paving the way. 

Source Facebook/BBC

So much happy in two days! I hope this feeling lasts all week long 💕

Do you love Doctor Who? How do you feel about the companion announcement? 

Let me know how your weekend went and what you want to happen this week.

-Tai Gooden 

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And the (writing) beat goes on…


You know what I’ve been going through for the past few months, but what do I have coming up in the next couple of months? 

Right now, I’m working on an essay about The Walking Dead‘s Michonne. I have enjoyed going back through a few select episodes and reliving her journey from a quiet, isolated warrior to Rick’s voice of reason and the backbone of our favorite group of survivors. I have been a regular contributor for The Learned Fangirl throughout the year and I enjoy every working with the amazing editors.

Of course, I always have something related to Doctor Who up my sleeves. I’ll be a guest on a podcast this month and we are going to cover a verrryyyyy interesting Bill Potts episode. Can you guess which one? 

Orion’s Chains is still my priority and I’m hoping to have some Stranger Things pieces on the way too! I’m slowing down a bit as the year closes and making sure my emotional health comes before anything else. 

I hope the rest of your week is grand 💕

-Tai Gooden

A Slice of Happiness 

Happy Sunday! 

I have been around or at home for the past few weeks, so this weekend I packed up my car and took my daughters to go see my dad in North Carolina. This time of year is always difficult for my father. Today is his mother’s birthday and although it has been over 20 years since she passed away, he still feels the magnitude of her loss as he celebrates her life. Our family is also still reeling over the loss of my Uncle Alonzo this past June. My dad has several siblings, but they had an extremely close bond and his death has changed him in ways that words cannot properly describe. There is a spark missing from his eyes and a tinge of sadness that permeates through his laughter and smile. Uncle Alonzo meant so much to him and to all of us and I’m sure we will never be the same. I’m dedicating my book Orion’s Chains to him and fashioning a character in his honor. 

I spent most of last night and this morning talking and laughing with my dad about love, life, friendship, creativity, music, and so much more. I didn’t realize how much I needed to hear his words of wisdom and encouragement. And, he was uplifted by my children as they told him knock knock jokes and giggled at the dinner table. He recently lost his beloved dog Tommy and he admitted to feeling lonely as he came to an empty home after work. His afternoons would be spent with his dog as he waited for my stepmom to get home. It was the last thing he needed to happen at this crucial point in his life and I was glad to bring him a slice of happiness during a turbulent time. 

I honestly didn’t think my presence could be beneficial to anyone at this moment. I’ve been caught in my own emotional storm as I battle my own mind and feelings of inadequacy. But, I have found a renewed sense of purpose and a burst of creativity and determination through spending just one day with my Dad.

This week, take a moment to pick up the phone and call or go and see someone that you love. It’s amazing how one great conversation can give you the boost you need to walk into this week with confidence. 

Love to all of ya and I’ll see you on Wednesday 💕 
-Tai Gooden 

Breaking Chains and Beautiful Music

Happy Wednesday! 

This week has gone by fast. I’ve been working on my novel Orion’s Chains and I have officially mapped out my entire story. I am doing bios for each of my major characters and doing some research to bring a little fact into my fictional world. Orion’s story takes place in the future and on another planet so I have the creative license to make my own rules and societal structures. 

If you have kept up with my posts, then you’ll know that I’ve been reading The Four Agreements. I admittedly haven’t gotten too far in the book, but the first chapter has been an eye opening experience. The author discusses how we are domesticated like animals from the time we are born and taught to accept and respond to the dreams and truths laid out in our worlds before we were born. We are indoctrinated into these “truths” and we quickly learn that when we go against the grain we will be punished in some way. I’m assuming that the book will help to break some of those chains (pun intended) and help guide me toward spiritual freedom. I think Orion’s Chains will take a lot of cues from The Four Agreements

As I work on my book and another project, I have been putting together playlists to correlate with my writing moods. I plan to share them here when they have filled out properly, but right now I’ll tell you a few albums that are inspiring me right now: 

  • Sabrina Claudio: Sabrina is a new artist and she just released her first full length album. About Time is a soothing R&B experience and Sabrina’s voice is addictive. 
  • Solange: A Seat at the Table is the album of my life. It feels like Solange took every thrilling, heartbreaking, frustrating, and liberating moment of my life and wrapped all 30 years into a musical masterpiece. If I ever meet her, I’ll make sure I thank her for feeding my soul.
  • Sango: I guess I have a think for S names. Sango released North in 2013 but I just discovered it this year via a Twitter pal. I can play the whole album without skipping a track and it helps me get into a futuristic mindset for my book.
  • Stranger Things Soundtrack: Aaahhhh the 80s. I love volume one of this soundtrack. It’s synth heavy, haunting and brilliant. 

What are you listening to this week? Let me know 💕 

-Tai Gooden 

Life Outside the Roles

This week was interesting. One of my closest friends reached out to me for a status update on my social media-less life. She was the fifth person to text me and ask “How are you?” I responded to her message the same way I did to the others because they were all people who KNOW me – I’m not well and my life feels like it’s in shambles but I’m working one day at a time to find peace and joy. 

I could sense my friend’s troubles through the text message, so I threw the question back to her in hopes of an honest response. She spilled her innermost thoughts to me and revealed that although she seems to have it together as a mom, wife, employee, etc., she felt waves of unhappiness. She was unfulfilled and had stuffed her feelings away from friends and family. Like me, she was stressed and on the verge of breaking into pieces. We spent the next hour taking with each other and finding comfort in our mutual feelings. 

She wanted to know what I thought and I only had one piece of advice for her – find a way to define yourself outside of your relationship with other people or what you do for a living. This is the most efficient path towards feeling “whole” as an individual. Most people answer the “who are you?” question with their roles in life – mom/dad, sister, wife, etc. but those titles have nothing to do with who you are and focuses on what you are to other people. The same goes for a job title – it’s what you do, but it doesn’t define the rich, complex, and brilliant essence of your life. When I said this to her, I was talking to myself as well. 

I have the same roles as my friend – mom, sister, daughter, and wife. I work in banking during the day and I write at night. But my life is more than my roles. I am the sum of my beliefs, quirks, dislikes, private thoughts, and passions. I’m a continuously evolving combination of energy, light, love, darkness, and confusion yet I’m always and forever me. And being me is enough. I will continue to seek an adequate answer to define myself and it will change as I gather new information and experiences. Right now, I’m diving into The Four Agreements and my definition of self might shift after I complete the book 😊

Who are you? It’s a challenging question with no right answer. I hope you ponder on it this week. Live well and I’ll “see” you on Wednesday 💕
-Tai Gooden 

Forward Movement with the Four Agreements 

It’s been three days since I gave up social media and started to focus more on my spirit and surroundings. I have done extended social media breaks before but this time feels different. When I left social media in the past, the first few days were filled with anxiety because of FOMO – FEAR OF MISSING OUT. I would wonder what hilarious hashtags were trending on Black Twitter or if I missed some big news on Facebook. Eventually, I would settle in to my social media-less existence but I always felt slightly uneasy. I have built most of my freelance career and connections on Twitter, so it was always hard to sign out and delete my app. 

The past few days have felt incredibly liberating. I haven’t given social media a second thought and I don’t want to sneak a peek at Facebook or Twitter (the only two social apps I use because I’m an old lady). My creative juices are starting to move from a trickle to a light stream as I do more research and world building for Orion’s Chains – my upcoming science fiction/fantasy novel with a Black woman protagonist. I’m mapping out and creating rules for her world. It gives me indescribable joy to create this body of work and I hope to be finished by Summer 2018! 

I am also spending more time reading. I just ordered Don Miguel Ruiz’s best selling book The Four Agreements. The novel is an Oprah fave and discusses beliefs that limit our potential and cause us to live less joyful, fulfilled lives. I have heard about this book for years and now I’m finally going to give it a try! I’ll be posting my thoughts and the connections I make with my own life here. I found this handy chart of the agreements on the book’s website fouragreements.com: 


My meditation and prayer practice has made a triumphant return and I feel less stressed overall. I have a big writing assignment due at the end of this month, so meditation before bed has helped me wind down after my nightly writing sessions. 

My goal for this blog is to post on Sundays and Wednesdays…for now. Hopefully, more people will become invested in my journey and I’ll have time to squeeze in an extra post 🙂 
Have a great day and live well ❤️

-Tai Gooden 

The Story of my (2017) Life

 

Hey hey everyone! I’ve been missing from this space ALL YEAR LONG – even after I said I was going to do better. I’ll admit to my big ole lie and honestly say that I prioritized other things over updating my blog. In many ways this has been great – I’ve had a chance to write for new places like Syfy Fangrrls and I’ve continued to do coverage at conventions in several states. But in other ways it has been awful because I am paying for this URL name so I need to utilize it and share my work on this space. I can’t use my own website as a solid reference point when I am seeking new work and that is NOT okay!

Are you ready for my true life confessions aka word vomit? Here it goes…

I went to Vegas in July and had a great vacation with my husband, sister, and brother-in-law. But when I returned to Virginia, I found myself in a constant state of unrest. I felt like I was slipping in several areas of my life. My finances were not where I wanted them to be, I felt spiritually broken, and I was not satisfied with my progress as a writer. I looked around my home and it was a cluttered, disorganized mess. Yes, I have two small children so I don’t expect it to look like a magazine cover. But, there was too much stuff everywhere I looked and it reflected how I felt in my mind and spirit. I was confused, disheveled, and on the verge of shattering into a million pieces. There had been some major changes at my job, so I quickly contributed all of my problems to work and kept pressing forward. I had a lot on my plate there and I was gearing up to do DragonCon coverage for BlackGirlNerds. I marched through August in a proverbial haze and went through the daily motions of life. I worked, cleaned, ate, slept erratically, and prepared to make my way to Atlanta.

DragonCon was a blast as usual. It gave me a few days to escape my mess of a life and focus on doing what I loved – taking cosplay photos, interviews, live tweeting, and writing panel notes. I came home feeling exhausted, but living on a convention high until I returned to the reality of my life. It’s funny how running away, even if it is for my freelance work, didn’t change a damn thing at home. I became even more in tune with the issues in my own world. In the middle of rolling out convention coverage, I sent my oldest daughter back to school and began to adjust to her new life in a gifted student program. I grinded hard at work to keep up with the never-ending changes in a fast-paced environment. I filled large black trash bags with clothes and things we didn’t need anymore and gave them away. I started tuning into podcasts like Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday to try to find something to satisfy my soul. I started feeling like I was healing, but there was still this wave of unhappiness under my skin and I could not shake it. I confided in my husband and he had no answers, but he did present me with a few interesting questions.

He asked me what I needed to take away and add to create the life that I wanted to live. I spent some time thinking about it and I came to a few realizations. First, I wanted to feel like I had a living and (writing) work space that reflected who I was as a person. I looked around and my house didn’t feel like a home. It was just a sleep and hangout space filled with things that didn’t reflect who WE were as a family. I realized that I needed to do more than purge – I needed to organize and rearrange spaces to add my personal touch to them.

Next, I knew I wasn’t where I needed to be as a writer because I wasn’t investing in my craft. I was sporadically working on a book that made me well up with excitement and passion when I thought about it. I was trading that passion for articles and other writing assignments that put some extra cash in my pocket, but weren’t helping me grow and develop as a writer. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed doing them but I needed new challenges. I wanted to dive more into content marketing and move away from website work. I wanted to dedicate more time to my book and take more courses to help me learn how to become better at world and character building. I wanted to stretch my wings and do different things, but I was too comfortable and afraid to allow myself to take the chance.

I realized the combination of a stressful work environment and displeasure in my writing and home spaces were all contributing to my spiritual downfall. I was falling in bed at night like a zombie and forgoing prayer. I woke up frantically in the morning after missing multiple alarm clocks and I would shelve my morning meditation as I rushed to barely get to work on time. I was leaving my spirit malnourished and it was beginning to chip away at my patience and overall health. Persistent headaches, dizziness, and random nausea became a daily part of my life.

Today is October 1st, 2017. It is the start of a new month and the last quarter of the year. I am stepping away from things that distract me and often disturb my spirit, including social media and several people. I love a good live tweet, but I have to do this for my own life. I am going to focus on my book, Orion’s Chains, and spend more time making my house feel like a home. I’ve tapped back into my prayer/meditation life and I am reading, learning, questioning, and growing as a woman. I want to document some of my journey here and I hope you will follow me. Let’s talk spiritual, TV, pop culture, and Pinterest projects!

With Love,

 

Tai Gooden 🙂