Friday, January 26, 2007

Killa Material

I spent this past Christmas/New Year’s holiday in New York and New Jersey. Hanging out with the various families that God has blessed me to be a part of: through blood, through marriage and with my Stanford alumni family.

It’s always good to see the look on kids faces when they’re opening their Christmas presents.

It’s always good to hang out with my Aunt C who treated me to my first Broadway play. And believe it or not, I didn’t fall asleep!

And it was good to hang out with the Stanford crew as a lot of us possed up in Queens to share
in Ty and Pascal’s wedding celebration!

Since we’ve known each other for almost 20 years, we don’t have to front to kick it when we’re around each other. It’s one of the advantages of having real friends.

Instead of having a “bachelor party”, Ty just wanted the fellaz to hang out at some venue where everybody kept their clothes on. We ended up going to this bar in Soho and our crew was rubbing elbows with Malik Yoba and his crew. You already know I was on my game, pushing Servinemup Ink…

”Yo Malik..I can write you into the role of a lifetime. It’ll be tighter than New York Undercover ever was..holla at a player baby!!”

He must get that line a lot from writers, cuz I haven’t heard from that n’ga yet!! we were leaving the club in Soho headed up to Harlem to start dropping bruhs off at the various places they were staying.

There was this younger brother in the car who I had never met before and we struck up a backseat conversation as we’re driving through Manhattan...

"Soo..I understand that you’re a writer? (the younger guy who I had never hung out with before asked me)"

"Yeah..I write."

"What do you write?"

"I’m still working on publishing my first book, but you can check out a lot of my stuff on my website."

"What kind of material is it?"

"What do you mean?"

"You know..what genre is it?"

"Uhhh..I don’t think it really has a name, it’s just kinda lik you know Al and Blake?"

"Al and Blake?"

"Yeah, they both played football at Stanford and one year when me and JAG shared an apartment in Mirrilees, Al and Blake lived next door to us."


So one day I’m in the apartment and Blake comes and knocks on our door. I yell for him to come in cuz our door was NEVER locked….

"Wazzup Blake?"

"Yo you have a colander that I can borrow?"

"A WHAT???"

"You know..a colander."

"What the hell is that???"

"That thing you use to drain the water off of pasta."

"Oh! You want the spaghetti strainer?? Sure..look up under that counter."


"No problem."

"Uhhh…what does that have to do with writing????"

"That’s what I’m trying to tell ya..everybody has stuff they think inside their head, then everybody has like a filter that they use to strain off the things they think from the things they actually say out loud."


"And..the holes in my colander are a LOT bigger than the holes in most people’s colander. Everybody gets on me for saying (and writing) wild stuff, but I know damn well that they might not say it but they be thinking it!!!"

"At this point, my ex-roommate (who’s a New Orlean’s native/displaced citizen who’s strainer holes are really a lot larger than mine!) was sitting in the front seat and listening to the conversation and he just started laughing and said, ‘Damn D! Only you would find a way to bring Blake, a colander and writing altogether in one story.’"

So, that’s what I do, I write that uncut killa material. But what I’ve learned, is that a writer’s life is one with no vacations. I’m always ‘on’, scribbling notes in my head pertaining to the nuisances of living. And more so than writing, a writer reads.

I’m probably a bit different than others, because the vast majority of the books that I read were written by writers who are dead now. I’ve never read any books by E.Lynn Harris or EJ Dickey and when I tried to read Toni Morrison’s, Beloved, I was utterly confused.

Most of the living writers that I read have penned ‘classics’, like To Kill A Mockingbird or Catcher in the Rye. I’m also kinda ‘screwed up’. I like to read the same books over and over, for examination and for the simple fact that I like em. I have recently been reading Catcher in the Rye (for probably the millioneth time!) and there was one passage that jumped out at me this time that just rang true to me, especially at this point in my life:

What I like best is a book that’s at least funny once in a while. I read a lot of classical books, like The Return of the Native and all, and I like them, and I read a lot of war books and mysteries and all, but they don’t knock me out too much. What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’ve done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.” – from JD Salinger's, The Catcher in the Rye, 1960.

After publishing the much acclaimed Catcher in the Rye, with the infamous main character Holden Caulfield, J.D. Salinger pretty much retracted from the public eye into a very secluded life. Much like Harper Lee did after her Pulitzer prize winning, To Kill a Mockingbird, was made into an award winning movie.

I’m beginning to understand why.

Because when you write words from your heart, and you pour out your soul on paper, it’s inevitable that some people just aren’t going to ‘feel’ it. And then they’re some people who claim to ‘get it’ but then you realize that some of them are crazy as hell (even more so than me!!) and you kinda get weirded out by complete strangers who profess that they’re your #1 fanatic. Yeesh. Creepy.

Of course, some people may exclaim that I’m an obnoxious pompous az for even trying to suggest that I’m on the literary level of such giants as Lee and Salinger, but I don’t care. You can blame my father for that one. Cuz he always raised me to play to win.

“Don’t half-az NOTHING D!! If you go do it? DO IT!!! Go all out!!”

I write with an edge, or a chip on my shoulder if you will. Not trying to prove anything to the reader but rather to myself. Each time I sit down at the keyboard, I’m grinding to write the best thing I’ve ever written to date. And I can look back at things I’ve written years ago and I can see the progression and development in D. Washington. I’m striving for perfection.

Now the funny part (actually, some folks may not find it funny, but I do, but I have a weird sense of humor), is that since I don’t hide my beliefs, and I stand ready to jump on gospel opportunities, ready to explain the reason for my faith in Jesus Christ, I’ve had a lot of people criticize my words and my walk.

I curse too much, I have pictures and references to guns and drinking and flat out ‘gutter talk’ is how one person described my work. HA!!

If we all stayed silent until we were ‘holy’ and lived and walked a perfect walk in Christ, wouldn’t nobody be able to shi..uhh, I mean, nothing.

I would much rather be real about me and who I am when I get down on paper, than front and act like a hypocrite who ain’t neva did..whateva.

The Book that I read daily, that I can NEVER get enough of, is the Bible. It’s the realest thang that’s ever been wrote. Period. Hands down, end of story. And guess what? It has stories in it of wars, whores, incest, beheadings, generational curses, God calling people (who don’t believe in Him) fools, fornication, homosexuality, adultery, drunkards, witchcraft, idolatry, demons, anti-Christs, false prophets, doom and destruction (to name a few). It’s not offensive, it’s just 100% real.

And the realest part of the Bible, and the crux of Christianity, is that despite humans living our lives in depravity and sin, there is a way out of this hell that our world is sinking into. We have an option to accept a Savior, repent from our sins and connect with our Creator.

But alas, the preaching of the cross is foolishness to those who don’t believe.

“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” – I Corinthians 1:18 KJV

I like being connected to that power. Or like we say on the Southside, I LUV IT MANE!!

So I continue to ply my trade in the areas and spaces that God has allowed me to be a part of. The hood first, but there’s also a need on the corporate, college educated level. There’s a lot of ‘smart’ people who don’t know Christ, just like there’s a lot of street thugs who are in the dark too.

Because of Christ, I have purpose, I have direction and I have peace.

I know a lot of people haven’t seen Him yet, and they have built their lives as though they are children of God, but yet they have not connected with God in their hearts. They have religion, but they don’t have relationship. A lot of them GO to church regularly, but yet they don't embrace Jesus as Lord of their lives. They’re like the educated Greeks in the 17th Chapter of Acts, who had erected monuments to ‘The Unknown God’. Paul went on and served it up to em…

“Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter.” – Acts 17:22-32 KJV

Now that’s what you call, ‘killa material.’

Monday, January 08, 2007

Love the Brotherhood

"Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king." - I Peter 2:17 KJV

Happy New Year everybody! Hopefully everybody is grinding away at their God given purpose in life and those who haven't discovered their purpose yet, then you should be praying to get it!

But be careful what you pray for, cuz once God 'breaks you off a piece' of that direction and purpose that He has for your life, you better be ready.

These past 3 years of writing publicly on the internet has given me a greater sense of awareness. It's made me a lot more conscience of the things I say and do. Yep, ol D. Wash is still growing!

I'm still not a completed product, there are still a lot of things I need to work on as I continue to grow stronger in my relationship to the Lord. The Christian walk is not a static position, we move from glory to glory. At least, we're supposed to be moving.

But sometimes we get caught up in holding patterns or stuck in ruts and we stop looking up.

One of the stabilizing influences in my life, is the time I spend with my church family. I know some people aren’t down with ‘church’ because of all the hypocrites and janky preachers that’s trying to get all the money they can out of your pocket.

But once I stopped worrying about what everybody else was doing, and focused on my personal relationship with God, going to church no longer was a chore or bore for me. Instead it grew into a vital piece of my survival kit. And now I NEED to go, so that I can be spiritually fed. TV ministers and radio preachers just ain’t enough for me.

Beyond the normal Sunday morning, Bible school, worship service routine, I also attend weekly brotherhood meetings. Our church is one of the few that does this weekly (most churches do it monthly), but I’ve come to cherish those times of studying the Word with the brethren.

Some may see this as exclusive, ‘Why can’t women be a part of it??!!”, but I see it as directed training. When Paul and the other writers of the New Testament were writing their epistles (letters), they were directly written for the specific audiences. The church at Corinth, Ephesus, Philippi, to name a few.

I see the brotherhood in a very similar light. I believe there are explicit Biblical directions and responsibilities that are required of men for us to assume our positions as providers, protectors and priests of our families. So many men want their wives to submit to them, but yet they haven’t submitted themselves to Christ and that’s a problem.

Even though Eve was the first one to eat the forbidden fruit in the garden, the Fall of Man wasn’t sealed until Adam committed the sin. There is a higher level of responsibility and accountability for men. Call me old fashioned or chauvinist if you want to, but that’s what I believe. And if you look at the decaying state of our families today, you can invariably trace a lot of the problems back to men who never stood up and made themselves accountable to the Lord.

So it is at this time of year, that our brotherhood has its annual banquet. It’s not a black tie affair, some people come in suits, and some (like me) only wear ties to hangings. Ain’t nobody tripping.

This year, we have the privilege of having a dynamic gospel preacher, Rev. Lloyd W. Scott, Sr., Pastor of Eastern Star Baptist Church in Port Arthur, TX. deliver the keynote address. Trust me, those who have heard him speak before know that you have to come with a loosened belt. You have to be ready to laugh and also ready to be spiritually fed whenever you hear him preach.

One of the things I’ve learned in brotherhood, is that only the things we do for Christ is going to last. Everything else is going to fade away. When your ticket gets punched in and it's your time to go before the Throne, is He going to say, "Well done my good and faithful servant"?? or is He going to say, "You was tripping"??

Too often the American media portrays Black men as violent, simple or ignorant men. But I’m proud to say, that there’s still a large community of strong men who have enlisted into the army of the Lord.

Firemen, policemen, judges, constables, engineers, writers, truck drivers, barbers, realtors, construction workers, chefs, mechanics, loan officers, accountants, teachers, the list goes on and on.

And once you connect with a group of strong Bible believing men, its like having workout partners, sparring partners, mentors and teachers as a normal part of your life.

So I’d like to invite all of you to our Annual Brotherhood Banquet. We might be a small little church on the Southside of Houston, but the fire that we have for the Word brings heat comparable to any other ‘big’ church out there. Hmph. Already.

And for those who are out of town and can’t attend, or have a previous engagement, you can send in a donation to help defray the cost for one of the youths or senior citizens on fixed incomes. Thanks to Michael and the Pickrum family in D.C. for all your support!

Our late pastor, Rev. W.D. Richardson used to always say that we will reach a time where if you want to see a black family intact: father, mother, children, you’re going to have to go to a museum. Because with today’s soaring divorce rates, teenage pregnancies and single parents, God’s intended structure for family is becoming extinct. And my argument remains, that a key cause of all of this, is men who stray away from the Word.

Love the Brotherhood.

That’s what’s up.