“I draw you into my journey from the dynamics of an inner life strife with conflict and turmoil to the dynamics of an inner life of peace and contentment with myself and with God. Sometimes the words roar across the page like the sound of a mighty river; other times they flow like the sound of a babbling brook. Sometimes the words flow forward in time and sometimes backward.
Hoping my words will touch your heart, I leave you with these words from a person who has influenced my life from afar, the late and great Maya Angelou: “The idea is to write so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart.” —Anita D Russell
“Just because a person has cancer, to me that’s not a death sentence. No matter how many people give up on you, don’t give up on yourself. They might not even fight it. In 1986 when I had breast cancer, it was like it was a journey. I didn’t even know anybody who ever had breast cancer. Now here I am. I know this cancer wants to kill me. I don’t know if it will or if it won’t. But I made my peace with God and I’m not afraid to die. I just wanna see Laney’s house. And I wanna see Maxine. And Daddy. Just like I wasn’t afraid of no cancer, I’m not afraid to die, either.”
—Anita D Russell
When I got connected to Nanny and met her for the first time at the Greyhound bus station in Philadelphia, the first words she spoke to me seeped deeply into my soul and took root: You look just like your father. Getting to know Nanny and listening to her tell stories about you enabled me to get to know you, at least vicariously. It was then I learned that your nickname was Butch. I suppose I’ll never fully understand why you never contacted me, even before you left for good or after you knew I lived near Nanny. (I always knew when you were at that hotel.) But it’s okay; it was a long time ago, and I’m sure you had your reasons. An equally long time ago I wondered if there would come a day when I would forget all about you; that day never came. —Anita D Russell
“One night, when she turned the key in the lock and opened the door, there he was, lying right across the stairs, blocking her ascension. He was drunk, speaking inaudibly, and most peculiarly, there was a shiny penny sticking out of one ear. She stopped breathing, stood motionless, and initially could not speak, her heart racing in her chest.
She did not want to go past him alone in that hallway and she couldn’t leave because it was late and she needed to be in the house. So the words starting in her mind, finally reached her mouth and she screamed out, “Mommy, Mommy”, so her mother would know she was at the bottom of the stairs. Her mother opened the apartment door and came out into the hallway to see what was going on. Seeing Scary Tenant lying on the stairs, her mom told her to hurry and get up the stairs. As she bolted up the stairs, she prayed again—Please do not let him touch me.” —Anita D Russell
My new book “I Wanna See Laney’s House” is my sibling story. It’s also my first solo project as an independent writer. The story opens with tragedy at the family home on Linden Avenue in East Pittsburgh PA, where a dark night of the soul begins. The book will launch soon.
My first publication as an author was a collaborative project. Working with the curator, Erica Blocker was such a pleasure. Each co-author brings a vision of life through a unique lens creating a kaleidoscope of experiences for the reader. Their stories encourage moms to follow their dreams without feeling guilty.
In my chapter, Eden Spirit, I take the reader on a journey into the development of my identity as a woman, based more on spirituality than gender.
“Mr. Pie Man, deemed the Oldest Man in Homestead, owned a small store right on Dixon Street. Mr Pie Man just may have been the one to teach sailors how to cuss because it didn’t matter if he was talking to an adult or a kid, they would eventually get cussed out. He was also know for having an uncanny ability to throw bricks around the corner—though admittedly, Nita never actually saw this feat.” —Anita D Russell
Empowered – it’s something we all want to be, something we want to feel, and yet it’s elusive for many of us at different times in our lives. We aspire to feel good about where we are in life and what we’re contributing, all the while dreaming of ease, strength, and confidence, and we work to bring it into our everyday experience. For those of us who already feel empowered, live in good health, have emotional stability, and spiritual connection, we recognize that it has little to do with inheritance or the luck of the draw, and much to do with mindset and simple practices. The authors of this e-book have found ways to improve their own quality of life and are here to share them with you, so you can do it too!
This e-book is a compilation of mindful and meaningful tips, thoughts, and exercises intended to enhance your own moment-to-moment life experience.
As you read these tips, imagine ways you can bring them into your daily routine. As you do, you’ll find that you’re more engaged with the people in your life, you’ll be less stressed, and you’ll enjoy life’s simple pleasures. You’ll also experience more peace, harmony, and ease with your family, loved ones, friends, coworkers, and community. Mostly, you’ll experience these feelings within yourself. These tips are intentionally brief and to the point because we know you have a full and busy life. Use them to increase your personal everyday well-being and healing.
The individuals sharing these tips are the co-authors of the new book Empower Your Life. They have come together to share their personal experiences and journeys to help you have a more powerful, joy-filled, and graceful experience of growth. It is their wish that the tips in this e-book and their stories in the paperback book will assist you on your personal life journey.
“These opportunities opened up my ability to invest in the growth and development of people through writing. I believe God created people not just to fulfill His purpose, but also for them to discover and nurture the divine seeds planted within. My writing reflects a belief in the power of stories as a means of self-discovery, teaching and learning, and self-liberation. Each person’s life is an extraordinary collection of stories with the potential to have an empowering impact on others. You can teach, learn, love, motivate, encourage, and inspire, just by sharing your story.” —Anita D Russell
“For Little Girl this was a time of quiet, tremendously deep learning about the world and people—in the midst of it all, her character and, subsequently, a new personhood was being molded and developed. She was spending less and less time in the dark space beneath the spiral staircase and feeling more and more visible to people around her. She was unconsciously, way in the back of her mind, beginning to fathom the notion that there was something decidedly different about being Black in America.”
—Anita D Russell