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I Will Always Have Her Back: Series Photography for Moms & Dads

I'm sort of a lazy photographer.  I never need to go too far to take pictures that are meaningful to me.  I usually find what I'm looking for at home or very close by.  I love shooting photos that will document something or tell a story.  I often discover, as I'm sorting through or deleting the hundreds of photos I take weekly, images that turn out to create a series.. Like pictures that were taken while sitting in the car at a chicken shack drive-thru with my brother and daughter.. Or like my beloved Urban Junk Journal photo essay... When I snapped those neighborhood under construction/destruction over the course of a few months, I had no idea I'd use them to document the carnage of a community, or that I'd coin the phrase "urban junk." And during my daughter's freshman year in college, I took hundreds of cell phone photos and hundreds more with my Nikon.  All but those cell phone shots were staged and shot for my Finals project in a Photojournalism…
Recent posts

Chapter by Chapter: Progeny

This essay was originally written on February 25, 2015. Mindful of her upcoming masters program graduation, the timeline from pre-k to now has been straight and narrow. She said she would, so she did. I often hesitate to take credit for any portion of her spiritual and human existence, other than my DNA, but when I fail to do so, she does not. She's always saying, "Thank you, Mom!" But for...

... the first 21 years of her life, through no fault of their own (or mine), she and her 97 year old paternal great grandmother never met.. Never exchanged photos. Never wrote letters to each other.  Never called each other. Never visited on holidays. Never ever knew each other until July 2014. Missing each other with as many as 2 - 15 states between them, from Mississippi to New England; her father never wanted the inevitable connection to be.
Sadly, great grandmother passed away a few days ago and was buried last Saturday. Having made a profoundly spiritual connection with her g…

#Feb28 Black History Month 2018 Poem: "To Know Our Kind" by Jackie D. Rockwell

In 2015, I wrote a poem. A forgotten yet impassioned moment on May 29 @ 10:35 AM. Found in the notes app on my phone, just yesterday. I don't remember writing it. It could have been a dedication to my grandmother, or a friend, but most likely my child. Obviously an expression of Spirit and an unapologetic glimpse at my soul as a Black woman. A stroke of good fortune to be found just in time for a public debut before Black History Month 2018 ends. But it needed a frame; a head shot; a magnification. And I found the perfect one. Happy last day of the month for all things historical on being red blooded American & Black.

To Know Our Kind It's been said that black don't crack but here's what black does do: it aspires and never tires, it reaches for and preaches what it's been taught to; no matter how fraught with holy misinformation and any unsacredness that pleases us like theories of conspiracy on one thing or another that has nothing to do with anything exc…

Chapter by Chapter: Adventures in Family History Investigation is Revealing.. to say the least

While writing my book about my grandmother, I want to tell the truest story of her life without her actual narrative of things because she died in June 2016.  I know some of her story, but not as much as I need. I started my ancestry . com quest to find out if: they could read and write post slavery?  For every last one of them, the answer, according to the the earliest census records I can find, is yes. Most went to school 6-8 years, and some only 4.  Which only makes me wonder if they were reading as slaves.  Maybe I'll find that out someday.
But I'm always shocked with additional findings in the endless public documents about my grandmother's 10+  siblings, live-in cousins, her laborer parents and their laborer parents and their parents, her in-laws, her siblings who died in their youth, as well as her own baby Bobby Jane who lived only 9 days in 1940.  Mama's story doesn't lack documentation, just formal interpretation. I'm trying to piece it altogether to…

Chapter by Chapter: Life is good and then you die. Write Your Life. Tell The Whole Truth. Leave Nothing Out.

Remember the time you were homeless for about 6 months? You couch surfed for 3, then moved into a boarding house of unrelated vagabonds worst off than you, all of whom were on some kind of spectrum.. of autism, horniness and hypocritically ingenious, cooking garlic ramen stir-fried folly shit every single night, stinking up the place? The only thing missing was the carrying on of Bill and Nanny Crosby of Lackawanna Blues..  You wanted to leave but you stayed. There was some comfort in the stability of a refrigerator. Filthy as it was.  You could not believe it when you finally landed your perfect hard skills albeit temp keeper job, only to be allergic to the dust the electrical crew was kicking up, and the freezing cold air temperature near your cubicle. You kept asking yourself with every complaint, "Do I wanna quit?" The answer was clearly "Hell yes! But I can't." until your misery convinced you otherwise. They didn't reject your unemployment claim, but t…

Chapter by Chapter: Dog's Got The Bone and Gone.. Your Pet Has a Story that Belongs With Yours

Isn't is sad that 50% of shelter animals never find a forever home? This happy Husky got lucky when my Indigo in grad school wanted a fury companion. Her name is Delilah, she's 4 years old, and was surrendered by a homeless woman in Seattle. Delirious Delilah thinks I'm her grandmother.. or something. She found my lap was conducive to naps during my Thanksgiving visit. And it was hard  to avoid having my face licked like a lollipop during good-bye selfies.  She's not so thrilled with walks in the rain.. But it's Seattle! And she displays a healthy canine disdain for men in trench coats. I wonder what that's about? Otherwise, she is the happiest wolfdog I have ever gotten so close to. Okay.. okay.. Huskies are not wolves, but she eats raw meat like one. We found out her proclivity for Italian sausage. Ruined our plans for spaghetti that night. And is it possible that Oliver suspects something is up, from all the way in Texas? He's been his less sanguine feli…

Chapter by Chapter: Your Memoir Should Tell It All... With Pictures: Like My Urban Junk Journal

In June 2014, on a daily walk I caught a picturesce glimpse of the Universal Mind of urban developers.. in action.  They were greedily modifying this already good enough community from what it was... to something more. - To be completed in apparently 24-36 more months.  NO WAY. I'd only moved in 3 months ago!  Sadly, as my new sanctuary was turning into a zone of destruction, I began seeing the gift of jobs for many, as the taking away of my personal peace & quiet.  If there was ever a time that I'd really rather have peace than be right, this was it.  
My bliss and settled state was misplaced when ownership suddenly changed hands & they were doing "inspections," changing signage, renaming the place, and breaking ground on phase II of what I now refer to as "urban junk." My quaint 75075 community has lost its sub-urban charm.


For all intents and purposes, I liked it here.  At first.  So much so that I took this picture.... and

... and turned it int…