Announcements, call for submissions, garden of neuro, non-fiction, writing

The Talk – The Walk – Every time you leave home words to live by

The Talk – The Walk – Every time you leave home words to live by

Last night, I watched the first episode of the Emmett Till Documentary for the second time. It’s the true story as told by people who knew this young man. Emmett Till was born in 1941. At this time in 2022 he would be celebrating 81 years of life. Instead, at the young age of 14 her was lynched in what Martin Luther King stated that it “might be considered one of the most brutal and inhuman crimes of the twentieth century.”

This incident resulted in a short-lived life because of prejudice. I believe that if a white child had whistled, it would have been laughed off as cute. In 2022 it would have been plastered all over social media as funny.

Therein lies one of many differences. The very most a white child would have gotten was a reprimand, or a talking to, but never a lynching. Never have his life taken.

So, let’s do that fast forward to today. I was talking with a black mother of two yesterday. One is an adult son and the other is an eleven-year-old daughter. I was telling her about The Talk project we are working on in the Garden of Neuro. She thought it was a great idea and offered more input. She informed me that this is about more than a talk but a whole life, day-by-day, when your child is reminded about how to hold up their character in society. When her children walk out the door, they have rules to live by. The rules that black children follow are not the same rules that white people tell their children. I know. I am a white parent.

The white parent says, look people in the eye to show confidence. The black parent says, be cautious about looking white people in the eye as they may say you are threatening to them.

The white parent says, offer your hand to shake a man’s hand. The black parent says, don’t be the one to offer a handshake, but shake the hand if it is offered.

The white parent says, stop by the store on the way to school and pick up a treat. The black parent says, stop by the store on the way to school, get your treat quickly and take it to the register. And be sure to keep your hands where they can be seen.

Emmett Till went into a store and whistled. It cost him his life. It was not his fault.

Flash forward to Trayvon Martin, who is 2012 lost his life at the age of 17. He was walking down the street, an innocent young man— shot because he was walking while black.

What is the difference between these two young men? One death was 77 years ago and the other was ten years ago. Another has and will continue to happen until things change.

Did you know that Emmett Till had “The Talk” given to him? Yes, he did. His own cousin spoke about it in the documentary. That’s the point. The talk about how to conduct oneself when walking out the door, and add social media indoors today— It is, as my friend stated yesterday, more than a talk, but a life you have to live and breathe each day.

Some may wonder why this white woman wants to hear about a talk that BIPOC have with their family members and friends. Anyone who truly knows me knows that my life has never been about black and white. It has always been about people. It has always been about my study of people and concern that people learn to get along. It is important – and I will speak from my own sociologist experience – that we understand what is going on in others’ lives, so we can be more compassionate, so we can make this a better place to live, so that we can be a part of the warm, love-filled environment that was meant to be. And if I appear to wear rose-colored glasses, so be it. Give me ones with purple frames.

I want to read these stories that I cannot tell. I want to know what people of color are dealing with day by day. I want to be inclusive in this life. And this is why I want to read these stories.

Do you have a story to tell? Please send it to the Call for Submissions for The Talk. This is open to BIPOC and their families and friends who have experienced the talk, the way of life, the rules for living. We want to hear them.

By the way, my friend also said something that I have been saying for a long time. The young people these days are going to change the world, and it will be a better place where we will get along. Let’s start with the talk and let’s be a part of that change.

Click here to go to Garden of Neuro Call for Submissions for The Talk

Announcements, Book Announcements, non-fiction, poetry, Poets & Events

She Did It! Have a look & listen to the video – this was so much fun!

It is with great pleasure that we announce the release of Two Time-International Best-Selling Author Zaneta Varnado Johns latest book of poetry “After the Rainbow: Golden Poems.” A celebration was held on Sunday, February 27 at 4 p.m. EST

If you would like an autographed copy you can purchase on ZanExpressions

Also, for sale on many online stores. Barnes & Noble Amazon

Prolific Pulse Zan Johns Page

non-fiction, Personal Essay, writing

Theodore Seuss Geisel – opinion piece

Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash



While I am not a huge fan of censorship, I am even more adamant about eliminating racism. And for this reason, I could not hold my tongue. When I read that some of the Dr. Seuss books were being pulled from the public, I had to investigate. After all, it was Dr. Seuss books which fueled my interest in poetry, right behind Poe. So, it was a shocker to learn about this removal of books. Of course, there is a big rush on book sales for the censored books. I must wonder what that is about, but this is not the place to research that.

With cancel culture at a high point, it is easy to simply say, I am not going to have anything to do with Dr. Seuss. Rid my shelves of his books. Well, that is easy enough as I do not have one single Dr. Seuss book on my shelves. But let us hold on for a moment. As that old worn-out cliché of “don’t throw the baby out with the bath water” comes to mind, that is what seems to me to apply in this situation.

On the Seussville page of the Random House website dedicated to Dr. Seuss, there a statement about the removal of the six books: “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry StreetIf I Ran the Zoo, McElligot’s Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super!, and The Cat’s Quizzer.” Stating this is because: “These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.”

Was Ted Geisel AKA Dr. Seuss indeed a racist man? After reading this well-written article on Dr. Seuss Art I learned a lot about how Ted Geisel evolved. And I had to reflect how, personally, I was also affected by the evolving of influences.

As a child and a baby boomer, I saw and heard so many expressions and artistic depictions of characters which would make my heart hurt. For many years, there were some expressions of which I was naïve, but once I learned what they meant, I no longer used them. Ironically, I also learned some expressions from people who were making jokes about their own heritage. What I did learn is that if you are of a certain culture and you make a joke about yourself, then that is retaining your own power, but do not tell that joke to anybody else, because it is hurtful, disrespectful. That is how I learned about self-deprecating humor. I have a hard time even uttering some expressions, such as in reading poetry and would rather not. It physically hurts my brain and heart.

As an in-home influencer, my father was heard making some expressions, but over the years he evolved. And when I read about Ted Geisel and how he evolved, I must believe it to be true. He was a military veteran, and he earned the highest honor of the Legion of Merit, same as my father did. Dad’s was for exemplary service throughout this military career. Both Dad and Geisel were praised for raising the morale of the troops.

Troops were of many races and cultures and I lived amongst all of these folks in school and in neighborhoods. And in these neighborhoods, the kids got close to each other. One of my first best friends was a black girl and her mother welcomed me, fed me, and encouraged the relationship as did my own mother. Mom had evolved, as well, as she grew up in a time when there were race wars and she was called “poor white trash” and had a scar from a brick hurled at her on the way to school. She did not fight back. She could have held that as a reason to hate, but she released it to us as a reason to love.

I am still mixed about my feelings about Ted Geisel, but I will always appreciate Dr. Seuss for those books which influenced me as a writer, and who helped me to expand my imagination, and to see possibilities with word play. There will be no books purchased by me. I have evolved, in a way, and this is because I no longer read Dr. Seuss, but if a child puts the book in my lap, it is pretty much a sign that it is time to read and to be sure and animate. But, if they happen to have a copy of a book with expressions or photos which are racially wrong, I will give them a good reason why it is a book which I do not support. And I do believe that education is the key to awareness and making each of our own decisions.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com