Patti LaBelle and Step Aerobics

November 29, 2018

Today is the last day of class before the end of NaNoWriMo, and my students are very studiously working on their drafts, so I figured now is as good a time as any to update.

1. First, let me just say that watching my creative writing students write during NaNo has been such a delight. They come in and get right to it. Headphones on, laptops or notebooks open, and away they go. I have put a prompt up on the board every day (some requested it), but I have no idea if they’re using them–I just know that they’re intensely focused on writing. It is a joy to behold.

While I’m discussing my students’ laser focus, I should also cop to the fact that I have not worked on my pilot draft since November 11, which means I didn’t meet my goals for NaNo (one of which was write one word per day). I’m fine with it because I was just so overwhelmed with work that I often didn’t have space in my brain for anything else. Also (and I stand by this forever), November is a terrible time to have a novel writing month since it has a major holiday (one that often involves travel) AND one of the worst months for any kind of academic. As I suspected, the founder of NaNo is a man and he was definitely not in school when he picked the start date. (Why not keep it in July, Chris? I mean, really.)

These are not excuses, btw. My students and I talked about it at length because they were like “Why November? This is the worst! I have so much work to do!” (Next week is the last week of classes just to give some perspective.)

But, like I said, they’re plugging along, and we talked about creating goals for the month that were not tied to the 50,000 word count because I told them the real goal is to write more than you usually do, and we all have, so we all win.

2. My job is currently doing a search for a new president and they’ve been holding candidate forums this week. Today is the last one, but I was also invited to lunch with colleagues. Last night, I was super torn about whether I want to go to lunch or the forum, and this morning, I realized my stomach would decide for me. And guess who’s hungry? So lunch it is!

3. I was looking at the gym schedule last night and discovered that my gym offers step aerobics classes!

True story: when I was in college, I went to step aerobics once or twice a week. I loved it. I can’t even explain why. So I think I’ll try it again over the break and see if I feel the same way. I’m excited!

(Also, every time I think about step, I think about that episode of Martin so I am so happy the GIF I posted above popped up.)

4. Oh, right, Thanksgiving happened since my last post. I had a nice one. I spent it with a colleague and her family.

5. Then, on Friday, I went to see Patti LaBelle in concert, and she is a DELIGHT. First of all, she still sounds amazing. Second of all, she is hilarious. She came out on stage in six-inch heels, complained about her feet hurting, but then said she had to power through one last song in them. Then, once the song was over, she asked who wore a size 10 in the audience, gave the shoes to this woman (until the end of the show), and told the woman she could try the shoes on if she wanted.

She then proceeded to change shoes ON THE STAGE with her musical director helping her. That’s when I noticed that she had several pairs of shoes around the piano.

She spoke to the audience a few times, mostly to point out how old she is (74) and to remind the audience of songs she sang first (including “If You Asked Me To” which was covered by Celine Dion. When someone clapped at the mention of Celine Dion, she said, “No, go on and clap for her. That heifer can sing”).

She also had two fans on stage (“menopause, child”) and would often stop for breath and say, “Take your time, Patti. Take your time.”

She was AMAZING. If you get a chance to see her, you should. She sang every song I expected her to except “When You’ve Been Blessed,” but she did a different gospel song.

Also, she kicked off her shoes. Of course.

I mean, of course. (For a good time search for “Patti LaBelle kick gif.” Some of those GIFs are magical. Here is a personal fave.

I mean, I just wish I could have seen 74-year-old Patti do that.)

Also, as I said on Facebook, sometimes you think you’re cool and then Patti LaBelle walks right in front of you and all you can do is scream “PATTI!!!” while you try to take her picture. And then you lament how your camera only takes terrible, terrible pictures.

I also read some books:

RapunzelRapunzel by Rachel Isadora

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Isadora doesn’t really do anything different or interesting with the Rapunzel story itself, but the illustrations are GORGEOUS. I am in love with them.

View all my reviews

Dramacon, Vol. 2Dramacon, Vol. 2 by Svetlana Chmakova

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m a sucker for books told in a compressed time frame, so I do enjoy that all the drama is on one day. I also like how easily Chmakova fills us in on what’s been happening with the characters since the last book. It’s an interested way to structure a series, for sure, and I am here for it.

I don’t have much to say about the book except it’s a pleasant (and fast) read. I only have two quibbles: (1) There’s a racist character, and I wish more was done to push back against what he says, especially because it’s so exceptionally stupid. (2) Chmakova almost seems to want to confront issues of appropriation when it comes to writing manga as a non-Japanese person, but, again, that issue is given surface treatment at best.

These aren’t major complaints as I think Chmakova leaves enough space for readers to question/push against the ideas themselves, but I noticed it, so I’m pointing it out.

View all my reviews

A Rage in Harlem: A Grave Digger Coffin Ed NovelA Rage in Harlem: A Grave Digger Coffin Ed Novel by Chester Himes

I made it to chapter 8 before tapping out.

See, the thing is I love Samuel L. Jackson’s narration but the main character (named Jackson) is just so stupid that I cannot deal. Also, absolutely none of his choices (except wanting to trust and believe Imabelle) make a lick of sense to me. So yeah, I’m out. I just couldn’t do it anymore.

View all my reviews

Have a great week, everyone!

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  1. K E Garland

    I didn’t know Step aerobics was still a thing.

    • Akilah

      Me neither! I guess the greats never die.

  2. Sharlene

    That heifer can sing!! 😂😂😂😂 You just made my morning.

    • Akilah

      The power of Patti…


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