Musings in the Dark: July 2010


The Sultry Court Anthology

Here are a few excerpts from the upcoming Sultry Court Anthology, to be published by Middle Child Press this fall. Click, enjoy, and please be sure to leave a review...


Learning to Love My Hair

I’m a full grown adult, but my hair and I just met recently. When I say “my hair,” I mean my natural hair. I’ve been getting my hair relaxed since I was old enough to stand the process. Prior to that, I got kitchen perms (or the hot comb). It was standard practice for any girl my age; no one wanted to be seen with nappy hair.

I’ve spent maybe thousands on hair care and products over the years, and I know I’m not alone in this. I’ve also spent many hours sitting in salon chairs and fighting my hair at home. Repeated abuse of one’s hair leads to hair rebellion and my hair started falling out.

I got tired.

Last summer, I got my hair braided and kept it that way for three months. When I took out the braids, I had about three inches of new growth and made the decision not to put another relaxer in my head. That was stressful, because it is difficult to style half a head of relaxed hair while the other half is natural. I knew that I wasn’t ready to cut it at that time. So I got my hair pressed for a few months to let it grow out some more. Hair pressing, or the use of a flatiron, is reminiscent of those old-school kitchen perms I used to get when I was a child. The only difference is that the stylist didn’t burn my ear the way my mom would sometimes. However, all of that direct heat made my hair thin out even more, even though it was really long.

I was concerned about my hair’s health more than anything else. It was difficult to manage because I couldn’t make it look presentable and I wasn’t ready to hack it all off. My head looked like a rat’s nest. I didn’t know what to do. So I was advised by several ladies I know to use hair products specifically geared towards natural hair.

One lady told me, “You can’t use on your natural hair the products you used on your relaxed hair. You don’t even know your hair yet.”

Simple, yet profound. She was right; I didn’t know my hair. I discovered that my hair had two different textures. The top and sides were relatively straight and the back is extremely thick. She told me that I would have to experiment with several products to find what works best for my hair. She also said that because I have dual textures that I may have to use two separate kinds of hair products to treat both.

Since then, I’ve been experimenting with various natural hair care products. I recently hacked off seven inches (yes, seven) to rid myself of the last of the relaxed hair so that I could really see the difference.

The ironic thing is that my mother had naturally curly hair that I always dreamed of having. She could wake up and walk out of the door and do very little to maintain it. What a surprise it was to discover that my natural hair is as curly as my mother’s was. I still have two textures (that won’t change); the top and sides are loose spirals and the back is tight coils. The products I’m currently using are designed to bring out the curls and I’m pleased so far with the results. I love touching my hair. I haven’t used a comb in almost six weeks, nor have I spent any of that time underneath a hair dryer. I feel so liberated!

I just got rid of my wigs, weaves, phony ponytails and curlers. I gave my sister-in-law all of my shampoos, conditioners, moisturizers and sprays. I intend to give her my curling irons and flatirons. I have no need of and no use for them anymore. I was amazed at the amount of space I freed up in my closet. Yet another liberation of the natural.

Don’t get me wrong; natural hair care products aren’t cheap. The products I use are expensive and I am still experimenting. Healthy hair costs money, no matter if it’s relaxed or natural. What my natural doesn’t cost me is time, and that’s worth the money I’m spending.

I absolutely love my hair. I can’t keep my fingers out of it. It’s a cap of short, tight spirals and not at all what I’m used to, but I will adjust. The main thing is that my hair is healthy. It will grow, I’ll get better at maintaining it, and I will never ever have another hair rebellion.


Combat |

This ficlet is an excerpt from a much longer work tentatively entitled "The Velimirs." This sci-fi fantasy epic about a black woman's life on an alien planet called Alvelar will be published by Middle Child Press in the winter of 2012. "The Velimirs" is just one of many soon-to-be published works by Amaya Radjani, co-founder and Creative Director of Middle Child Press. Please read and enjoy.

Combat |

Middle Child Press

As some of you may know, I co-founded an eBook publishing company called Middle Child Press.

My partner, Ankhesen-Mie, and I did this because we noticed - courtesy of the debates and discussions throughout the fandomsphere (if ain't already a word, you best believe it's one now) - that literary entertainment needs of WoC are soooooooo not being met. We already detest what's offered to us by way of Hollywood (and that's just the bullshit black women have to deal with) because the whole damn institution has had it out for us from day one. We've since learned not to get our hopes up. But when literature - written by our own sometimes, mind you - is falling short, you know we've really hit rock bottom.

Our first creation, The Sultry Court Anthology: Volume I, is expected to be available this winter. It'll be the first in our erotic collection. Don't forget to grab a taste from the Writer's Café!