Sunday, September 22, 2019

Sisters of the Desert Sun Read Junot Diaz for June 2018

It was one of those afternoons.  I spent it searching for the next great read for SDS.  After an endless parade of bookstore listings, author websites, and literary events, I didn't expect to find a title for our group.  But I did, buried between the lines of a scathing blog about Junot Diaz that admonished the author for his untoward behavior with another writer I absolutely adore.  My initial reaction was, "No way!  Junot Diaz caught up in the Perv-nado?  Is he even into women?"  But indeed he is.  I read the blog.  Twice.

Putting my judgment on hold, I searched for additional information.  I wanted to know who, what, where, when, how - I needed to know.  I never liked to think I am one of those types of fans, following celebrity news, becoming emotionally invested - angry or hurt when they do not live up to my expectations - but I suppose when it comes to literature, I AM that type of fan!  I texted friends, called family ranting and raving.  (I almost went so far as to post comments on social media!)

Shortly after reading the blog, another friend posted a link to Diaz' article in the New Yorker, and this gave me pause for thought.  Had I been too quick to judgment?  What do you do when you learn the alleged victimizer was once a victim?  I had so many questions.  I was not done.  I offered "This is How You Lose Her" as our June selection and provided links to the blog and the article.  To say we had a spirited discussion is a gross understatement.

Members enjoyed the book, enjoyed the characters and experienced a range of emotions, mostly anger.  Our discourse included whether Yunior's story was really Diaz' memoir, toxic masculinity, cultural paradigms and domestication, players and dogs.  Did we come to a consensus?  No.  Did our discussion bring the clarity we were searching for?  For some, definitely not for all.  The debate rages on as we acknowledge publicly and privately the profound impact sexual misconduct has on countless lives, and will continue as we recognize that this topic has tendrils that lead to other difficult conversations that can no longer be avoided.

-Karen Rowe Gilliland

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

April 2018, the SDS Annual "Total Self" Meeting - Shea Butter by W.G. Goreja

Each year Sisters of the Desert Sun dedicates a meeting to focus on healthy living - mind, body and soul.  This year we discussed natural skin care products and what we can do to maintain our youthful glow.  Several members live by and recommended shea butter - not commercial products with a 'touch' of shea butter added, but the real deal - African shea butter sold by the pound.  

In addition to what you put on your skin, we also discussed what we put in our bodies.  Our meeting was held at "True Food Kitchen" which was founded by world famous integrative medicine doctor, Andrew Weil.  There we selected from a menu designed to not only be delicious, but to be healthy by scientifically combing anti-inflammatory foods.  

Members left with an abundance of new information about the history and multiple uses for shea butter, soothing music to promote a sense of calm, shea butter samples, natural fragrance oils, African black soap, and information on meditation and yoga.  Members also left with a renewed commitment to making a lifestyle change by increasing their focus on self-care and moving forward positively toward living their best life.

For more information on Sisters of the Desert Sun and upcoming meetings and events, visit us on Facebook at; on Twitter @SistersDzrtSun or email us at

Friday, November 30, 2018

Wakanda Forever! - Sisters of the Desert Sun Read Black Panther March 2018

The meeting announcement began with "Wakanda Forever!! How many times have you seen it?" and the responses did not surprise me.  The excitement surrounding the blockbuster was palpable, making Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet (Books 1-3) by Ta-Nehisi Coates a welcome selection for our March meeting.  Members gathered enthusiastically to share their thoughts about the movie and the graphic novels.  Coates graphics built on the momentum felt by our group, offering new characters and story lines that brought additional realism into the world of Wakanda.  This was one of those discussions that could have gone on for several more hours.  Having had so much to say, the sun set on this meeting, but not on the spirit of what Black Panther has offered our book club, the nation, the world.