Tag: blogging

#ThursdayReads: Chester Himes

Chester Himes, in full Chester Bomar Himes, (born July 29, 1909, Jefferson City, Mo., U.S.—died Nov. 12, 1984, Moraira, Spain), African-American writer whose novels reflect his encounters with racism. As an expatriate in Paris, he published a series of black detective novels.

The domination of his dark-skinned father by his light-skinned mother was a source of deep resentment that shaped Himes’s racial outlook. The family’s frequent relocations, as well as the accidental blinding of his brother, further disrupted his childhood. Himes attended Ohio State University. From 1929 to 1936 he was jailed at the Ohio State Penitentiary for armed robbery, and while there he began to write fiction. A number of his stories appeared in Esquire and other American magazines. After his release from prison, he worked at numerous odd jobs and joined the Works Progress Administration, eventually serving as a writer with the Ohio Writers’ Project.

His first novel, If He Hollers Let Him Go (1945), details the fear, anger, and humiliation of a black employee of a racist defense plant during World War II. Lonely Crusade (1947) concerns racism in the labour movement. Cast the First Stone (1952) portrays prison life, and The Third Generation (1954) examines family life.

In the mid-1950s Himes moved to Paris. There he wrote chiefly murder mysteries set in New York City’s Harlem. These include The Crazy Kill (1959), Cotton Comes to Harlem (1965; film, 1970), and Blind Man with a Pistol (1969; later retitled Hot Day, Hot Night). Among his other works are Run Man, Run (1966), a thriller; Pinktoes (1961), a satirical work of interracial erotica; and Black on Black (1973), a collection of stories. He also published two volumes of autobiography, The Quality of Hurt (1972) and My Life As Absurdity (1976).

Himes, who moved to Spain in 1969, died there in 1984. In 1985, A Case of Rape was first published posthumously.


I have had major depressive disorder (MDD) for the majority of my life. I am now on the verge of 38, married for over a dozen years, two awesome kids, been hospitalized for my depression and have attempted to take my own life. I thought that after my attempt I would have a revitalized spirit for life and being alive, but that wasn’t the case. I thought I would gain some sense of purpose or have some wild existential beliefs… but alas, here I am — still depressed. Even though I didn’t lose my life, I still lost numerous things as a result of my attempt.

1. I lost the trust of my family.

I can no longer have a bad day without getting a leering eye that there is something more to it. They don’t trust me with medication. They don’t trust me to be alone for extended amounts of time. They don’t trust me when I tell them I am going to be OK. They don’t trust me when I say, “I won’t do it again.” I have lost their trust.

2. I lost faith in myself.

I never thought I would go to that extreme. I always thought I was “stronger” than that. Suicide has always been a solution in my mind but it was a line I never thought I would cross. I always thought I had enough coping skills to manage it on my own. I thought they were just intrusive thoughts I would never act on. I feel, in a sense, I let myself down. I don’t trust myself anymore, now.

3. I lost time.

When you attempt to take your life and you survive, life doesn’t just go on when you wake up. There is a lot of work on the backend of an attempt. Time, in essence, freezes for you and you try and determine how you got there. You take time to develop how you are going to move forward. The world continues to spin. But now things are different for me and I need to rearrange accordingly. I lost precious time with my kids. I missed shopping for kindergarten supplies with my son for his first day of school because I was in treatment. I missed important family time when my aunt passed away because I was trying to put the pieces back together. I missed mornings with my family. I missed meetings at work because I was at doctor appointments. Some are more mundane and some are important, but there still is time I lost and I will never get back.

4. I lost friends.

Everyone appears to try and be supportive, and for that, I am very grateful. However, and understandably so, it was too much for some people to digest and accept. While some were concerned and leaning in to help and be there for me, others were walking away. I don’t know how they perceive me now and I wish I could tell them I am still me, but I can’t expect everyone to understand. They have since moved on, but I still think about them.

5. I lost perspective.

I used to have a good idea of what was important in life and have priorities and perspective. All of that has changed. I used to prioritize family, work, music, my dogs and so on. Now… I don’t know what is important. The focus is day-to-day. None of the big stuff carries the same weight as it used to. Work has become a necessary evil, and I struggle to find motivation and energy to put any considerable effort into it. Family has become a repetitive chore; I mindlessly go through the motions to get the kids off to school and in bed. My dogs have been neglected; I don’t remember the last time they got a good walk out of me. Every day, I have imagined how what I am currently doing would be different had I completed suicide. How would things be different? Life feels like a blur and I don’t know how to get back to life before.

I am grateful my attempt was not successful. I truly did gain an appreciation for the little things in life and I can honestly say I am happy to be here. I hope to never be in that dark place again. Since my attempt, I have been seeing a therapist twice a month, my psychiatrist monthly and attending a support group every week; this keeps me focused on my recovery and my own mental wellness.

I may have lost a lot from my attempt, but I didn’t lose what was most important.

*Originally posted on Moving Away From Darkness.

How NOT To Attract A Husband (Part 1)

Earlier this week, I posted an article from a magazine published in 1958 on ways to attract a husband. Some of the ideas were pretty good, but some not so much. I pulled some of those not-so-great ideas & thought I’d share my thoughts here:

  1. Have your car break down at strategic places. Depending on where you live, being stuck on the side of the road can be dangerous. Plus, what if it’s cold or even snowing outside? Should you still chance being stranded? Also, there’s just no guarantee on how long it will take before a cute guy shows up to help you.
  2. Attend night school & take courses men like. I’m not sure that people in night school are looking for serious, long-term relationships. Typically, these students are already working a full time during the day, may even have families and have limited hours to date (since they have to study after class). So while it might be fun to take woodshop or an auto mechanics class in the evening, there’s no guarantee that any of your classmates will be single, let alone looking to date a woman who is there to learn the same thing.
  3. Look in the census reports for places with the most single men. Yes, there are some places, like Alaska, that have more men than women but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should uproot your entire life just to “potentially” meet someone. Sure, if you’ve already connected with someone who happens to live long distance, but unless you’re just looking for an adventure, I wouldn’t say it’s safe to bet on an unsure thing. 
  4. Read the obituaries to find eligible widowers. Not only does this sound downright creepy, it’s just not “normal.” only if you are 70 plus & looking for love should you check the obituaries, otherwise please keep your search to those in the land of the living who are not currently grieving.
  5. Sit on a park bench and feed the pigeons. Unless you live in New York City, this just doesn’t sound practical. A lot of cities even advise you not to feed their wildlife, whether it be squirrels, ducks, etc. Besides, I have yet to meet one man who finds animal-feeding an attractive quality in a woman.
  6. Become a nurse or an airline stewardess – they have very high marriage rates. These professions might have had high marriage rates (and probably still do), but I’m sure their divorce rate is equally high as well. Not to mention, not all men prefer women who work in those professions.
  7. Volunteer for jury duty. Really?!
  8. Be friendly to ugly men – handsome is as handsome does. You really should try to be friendly to all men (and women too) regardless of how they look. Grant it, it’s probably “better” to talk to a good-looking ugly person, but it might not be “easier”. Good looking people can be intimidating, not to mention they might not necessarily want to talk to you (unless you’re really good looking too).   Besides, how does it benefit you to talk to someone you’re not attracted to? You might as well focus your energy on someone you don’t have to force yourself to look at.
  9. Don’t take a job in a company run largely by women. The vast majority of large companies are run by men; however, a lot of the smaller ones aren’t. what if you want to run your own company? What if you work in a female-dominated environment – like a hair salon or a clothing store.
  10. Get a job demonstrating fishing tackle in a sporting goods store. I like the concept of getting a job in a predominately male environment (see #9), but men making those types of purchases typically only respect employees who know about the product they are there to buy.
  11. Don’t be afraid to associate with more attractive girls; they may have some leftovers. While this may be true, this using the assumption that will want to associate with you. And even if they did have some good-looking “leftovers”, is it really kosher to date them? That would make for an awkward friendship, one would think.
  12. Change apartments from time to time. Okay, not only is this inconvenient it can be costly and just plain unnecessary. Besides, why should you have to uproot your whole life with the hope of possibly meeting someone? You shouldn’t…

Men, what pieces of advice do you have for women looking to get married?