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Inspiration

Art Moves Us. When you're feeling too tired to walk or are about to eat something you don't really want because you're bored, visit our online gallery and mind spa to get inspired.

We're kicking off with a poem by Cave Canem fellow Stephanie Pruitt; two Micro-short Film Teasers created for Ada's Rules by Melba Williams; photographs by award winning professor, poet, filmmaker, and photographer Rachel Eliza Griffith; photographs created by outstanding new comer Sierra Mitchell, and an essay by Katie Sulkowski on how a tall, thin, young white woman can be an Ada, too.

Ada's Lyric, Parthenon, TN 2012

Photographs by Rachel Eliza Griffith

  • Rachel Griffith
  • Rachel Griffith
  • Rachel Griffith
  • Rachel Griffith
  • Rachel Griffith
  • Rachel Griffith
  • Rachel Griffith

Rachel Eliza Griffiths is a poet and a photographer. She is the author of Miracle Arrhythmia (Willow Books), The Requited Distance (Sheep Meadow Press), and Mule & Pear (New Issues Poetry & Prose), which was selected as the 2012 Inaugural Poetry Winner by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. Her visual and literary work has been widely published. Currently, Griffiths teaches creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College.

Please visit: www.rachelelizagriffiths.com

Bonded by Ada

by Sierra Mitchell

  • Bonded by Ada - Yoga
  • Bonded by Ada - Yoga
  • Bonded by Ada - Yoga
  • Bonded by Ada - Yoga
  • Bonded by Ada - Yoga
  • Bonded by Ada - Yoga
  • Bonded by Ada - Yoga

The starting point of where we each begin is different. Our ages are varied. What brought groups of African American women together every week was for a moment to relax, a chance to breathe easier, and with a purpose to reshape our minds and bodies.

We are Ada's Army.

Sierra Faye Mitchell received her BFA in Photography at Watkins College of Art, Design & Film in Nashville, TN. She has exhibited her photography in galleries and publications in New York, Tennessee, and Washington DC. Her awards and recognitions include Juror's Choice Award in the 12th Annual Renaissance Regional Art Exhibition and Finalist in Photographer's Forum 30th Annual College Photography Contest. Sierra is currently an active member of WAL (Women Artists League) in Nashville, TN.

I am Ada, Too

by Katie Sulkowski

What those four little words mean to me is I love myself; I value me, my healthy body and healthy spirit.

Like so many of the women tapped to be a part of Ada's army, Alice's book, Ada's Rules, came into my life at a crucial time when I needed support while I was transforming both my body and my life.

A life circumstance had caused a great disruption in my health, and it was showing up in my body. I knew I had to change. I came to realize Ada's first rule that I couldn't keep doing what I had always been doing. If I wanted to experience change toward healthier me and harmony, I had to start now and work with what I had. Those words really resonated with me as I battled digestive issues. Even though I may not be a black woman or over 200 lbs, this book gave me a buzz of energy as I continued to read further into Ada's Rules.

I've been on a healthing journey ever since I met Alice 6 months ago and had the wonderful pleasure of working by her side, aiding with the birth of the web components to her beautiful baby-child, her novel, Ada's Rules. I have no doubt Alice and I crossed paths at this particularly appointed time.

If there is a short way for me to summarize my experience with Ada, it is this: Healing~Wisdom~Empowerment~Transformation~Beauty
All words coming from strength, a strength present in Alice, in Ada's Rules, in the women who make this a vibrant community, and a strength that is familiar like an old friend or favorite sweater you can pull over your head and wear around, walking confidently out in the world—the strength it takes to grow or to support ourselves when we sometimes need to wrap our own two strong arms around our own bodies and feel our own love.

I love Ada, and I love no matter what size my body or anyone's body, we all benefit from Ada's profound, divine, and yet very human and feminine ability to honor her body and herself.

I will carry Ada's many healthy messages with me for a very long time! And I thank Alice for being such a wonderful friend and guide and giving me tremendous encouragement. From this experience, I have grown and exhibit more courage while savoring Ada's Rules to the last drop, number 53: Do it for you.

Sugar Montage

by Stephanie Pruitt

1.
Nanna bakes a cake
even when the cupboards are bare.
She stores flour and sugar in places
we don't know to look
and has cocoa, always
on an upper shelf.

2.
October 31st 1984.
I am a hobo princess.
half tiara, half dirt smeared bandana.
White lace and torn plaid shirt.
I am a candy hunting child who knows
contradiction.
trick or treat
smell my feet
give me something good
to eat.
If you don't
I don't
care. I'll pull down your
underwear.

3.
Yesterday: Sugar melting on my tongue
was never white or brown
only sweet.

Today: My tongue vets
the texture, taste, color of granules.
Knows the difference a bit of molasses makes.

4.
I hear de school children sing 'bout you, my son.
I watch dem poke you 'round de yard.

bati boy, bati bati boy
bati boy born wit sugar on de tongue
bati boy got de sweetness 'tween his toes
bati boy, bati bati boy

Nothing but de blood gone wash it 'way.
Nothing but de blood put salt where de sugar be.

Me nephews bring de blood.
Me see dem boys bust your head.
Say, wash behind de ear.
Get de sugar from there
Say, we save you from things
be harsher than dis.

Say, Mama's here now.
Mama's here, gone clean my baby.
Gone clean my baby so sweet.
Say, my boy not need no sugar.
Gone rub 'em down.
Rub 'em down with linen and oil.
Close dem wounds.
Let 'em heal up right.
My boy. My boy.
Mama's here.

5.
You bring me to my own self.
Love me to home in silence,
a reverence of now
I've not known before.
My Love, no convention
or vow defines this.
Our sugar laces the lemon's pucker.
Mmmm!
How sweet it is to be loved by you.

6.
Swing the machete.
Cut the cane.
If cotton is King,
then sugar is queen.
An American aristocracy self-seated
on African shoulders.
Black lives harvested for the benefit of others.
Swing the machete.
Cut the cane.

7.
Caramel

Place clean pot over medium heat.
(Not nonstick. Reserve cast iron for steaks and stews.)
Add
1 cup white sugar
3 tbsp water
splash of lemon juice (to prevent recrystallization)
Mix to the consistency of wet sand.
Scrape down the sides.
Stir continuously.
(optional: add a pat of butter or splash of bourbon)
Heat to a deep amber.

8.
Action
The estranged lovers
find themselves together
forgiveness and fear pressed in the palm of their hearts

Take one
Bed linens cannot cover their act
emerged from a trip,
language still packed,
tasting one another with each sweet, swallowed breath

Take two
Call won't you?
She nods her head yes feeling the no roll inside
as caramelized memories begin to burn

Cut.

9.
Songs threaded through the backbone
of cane fields carry me from sun up to down.
I hunker into a groove.
They call me the sugar cane pied piper.
I take a rusted nail, old railroad spike
or any trashed sliver of a sharp edge,
hollow out those syrupy fibers,
blow my breath in, and make it sing.

10.
I'm fat?
You're fat!
And your Mama must be fat
to let you get that fat,
and your Daddy's prob'ly fat
to get with such a fat chick.
And besides, it's all McDonald's fault anyway,
puttin' sugar in the fries...

11.
No metal bird gonna eat me, she says.
Grandma Lorna won't fly,
Won't take elevators either.
Her ways are tucked tight,
Tight as a belly full of eleven children,
Water always breaking,
Spilling out onto Mississippi crossroads.
No shortcuts here.
This mountain of a woman raised me,
Cured my colds with turpentine
folded into a little molasses.
What could Mary Poppins know about sugar?
{hum: Just a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down.}

12.
Senior prom and I will be ready.
Danielle teaches me the ways of women.
a. Lick him like a lollipop.
Relax your throat and let it glide back like a banana
b. Carry a packet of sugar in your purse.
(I pick up a few extra off the Olive Garden table that night.)
Rim your lips, lace your clit, slide a bit in.
You will make a syrup he'll want to lick.
c. Do not fear the blood. Think cherry, strawberry, melting Popsicle or koolaid.
No matter. It's all sweet.
d. Douche later. Wash away your syrup and anything he might leave behind.
Use vinegar and water, like they fed Jesus, none of that flowery, spring mist mess.

13.
Aunt Fanny, Aunt Peaches, Aunt Lois, and Cousin Chatty.
Grandma Dorothy, Pop Pop Gene, Uncle Hesley, and Nanna Rose
all got the sugar. My Mama and Sister, too.
Sucrose, fructose, glucose
an edible, crystalline carbohydrate
We know much about the gospel of sweet potato pie,

are studied experts
on the therapeutic qualities of a pound cake,
but forgot the healing work of three mile walks to work every morning.
Edible, crystalline carbohydrate
as in a crystal, prismatic sharpness,
edges that cut

Aunt Lois and Nanna Rose tell about their ghosts of legs.
Hesley and Mama see through their ears and fingers,
walking with candy-striped canes.
Prismatic edges that slice arteries, veins,
and capillaries to the eyes and legs.

Sugar cuts my family from the inside out.

14.
$658 to fill this pin hole of a cavity.
Let my child be a dentist,
not a poet!

15.
sugar plum
sugar daddy
sugar mountain
sugar bear
sugar tit
sugar cookie
sugar pie honey bunch
sugar cane
sugar shack
sugar foot
sugar lips
sugar-coat
sugar Mama
awwww Sugar
you are my candy love
and you got me wanting you.

Films

by Melba Williams





I Photographed Ada

by Bob Delevante