Archive | August, 2018

Finally…take the leap

30 Aug
“Genius often emerges where there is intimate support for it.”
If I had a dollar for every time someone told me, “I always wanted to write,” I’d be rich ok maybe not rich, but I’d have a nice stash of cash. For many, writing down the narrative of our lives is a primal desire. I have taught various forms of writing, but love teaching memoir best. (See my post, Teaching Memoir). I teach in the daytime in Montclair and for a long time, people have been asking me to do one in the evenings. So, I am.

Beginning Wednesday, Oct. 3 through Dec. 5, 5 pm-7 pm

wood light creative space

Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán on

This memoir-writing workshop will help you birth your story by sharing your work in a positive roundtable environment

With the use of writing prompts, exercises, to help foster your material and create compelling characters from your life

We will teach the craft of dialogue, scene, and action to help you gain an understating of plot

Student Reviews:

“I can’t imagine feeling safer sharing my writing than in this group molded each week in the capable hands of Benilde Little. Benilde shares the skills of her craft generously and poignantly, wrapping them inside a burrito of honest critique and genuine praise. She holds our hands while we face the darker parts of our souls and channel that pain into our writing, resulting in beautiful, visceral memoir.” – Laura K. from Maplewood

“Benilde is wonderful…she’s accessible and open.
Her memoir writing class helps inform a direction and encourages writers to mine deep, extracting painful memories. Her instruction and suggestions help trigger those challenging gems that lie beneath your writing tablet, allowing them to surface, and thus molding these recollections into your memoir.” Judith A. Montclair

“Benilde does her magic. She creates such a safe space, that within no time at all, everyone reveals the true self…from the heart. For almost four years now, these two hours a week have meant the world to me and changed my life in ways that only a writer can understand. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.”
Silvia, Essex Fells

Launchpad, suite 240
Downtown Newark/Historic Hahne’s Building suite 240
625 Broad Street
Cost: $400 per 8-week session (no class 10/31 or 11/21)

The Queen and Me

16 Aug



At Atlantic Records in the early 90s during my time as entertainment editor at Essence Magazine. 

So Arthea Franklin died today and I don’t know how to feel. I guess the best description is I’m feelin’ some kind of way. On my morning drive to work, WBLS was playing her songs, I think most stations are doing all-day tributes. Of course I hear, I say A Little Prayer, Ain’t Never Loved a Man, Call Me, Don’t Play That Song for Me,  Ain’t No Way–WHAT!! Until You Come Back to Me, get me all in my feelings and Jump to it, Who’s Zoomin Who, Dr, Feelgood, Day Dreamin, Oh Me Oh My, Call Me–I can’t…got me feelin’ that thing in my chest, that I don’t care who’s lookin’ while doin’ the ugly face bop in my convertible.  . Her voice is soul music. Her songs make me feel uplifted, sad, a longing, the make me reminisce for home. I miss home. Her sound was the best kind of music, the kind that enters you and moves around, makes a place in your soul and doesn’t leave.

When I was growing up in my South Ward/Weequahic section neighborhood in Newark there was a record stored own by a cigar-chompin, race-man, Hampton graduate named James Sedgewick, later christened Kaboobie by my brother Marc. Kaboobie had mounted a speaker outside his store, which was down the block from my house. He’d play R & B, jazz, speeches by Malcolm and Martin; he’d play Dick Gregory and inside the store, for my brothers, his friends and select male customers he’d play Pigmeat Markham’s “blue” comedy albums.

Mine was a rich neighborhood and Aretha was literally part of the soundtrack of my childhood.

My kids remember growing up, being in the back seat of the car, being treated, they would say tortured, by me singing along with ReRe on the radio. Every time, I would look in the rearview mirror and say, “Who’s the Queen of Soul?” they’d wearily recite, Aretha Franklin. I’d give the same quiz when we heard James Brown.

I wanted them to understand that soul music birthed all popular music and not just in this country. Black American soul music begat The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Elvis and too many to name–the recent heirs like Adele gladly hail the queen. My kids’ indoctrination was about more than just understanding musical history, but the huge contribution our people made to the culture.

I’m thrilled to see all the Aretha tributes in the New York Times and beyond. While it’s sad to think we’ll never again hear her voice live, what she’s left behind is a life lived out loud. A talent that we probably won’t see for a long time.

Rest in Peace ReRe.