The Day After…Oh my!

aaduna online literary journal

Okay, we all know the feeling that we have regarding the day after, whether it falls after a national  holiday or especially Christmas, New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, or a Birth Day.

Many of us celebrated St. Patrick’s Day yesterday and may still be feeling the aftershocks of our festivities.  If you are reading this posting, you already know the best antidote for post celebration ‘blues’ or recovery {whenever that happens} is emersion in reading.  And eavesdropping on someone else’s conversation is diabolically sweet, adventurous, and downright enjoyable!!!

When aaduna launched it premier issue, there was Tamara J. Madison. When aaduna conducted its first readings in Jersey City, New Jersey, USA, there was Tamara J. Madison.  When aaduna launched its first annual fundraiser, there was Tamara J. Madison when aaduna tries to connect members of our publishing family, there is Ms. T. 

aaduna editors tamara J madison and Sarah khan
Tamara J. Madison with Sarah Khan, another aaduna contributing editor
met for the first time while Sarah was visiting Florida from Pakistan in February 2018(photo  provided)

Now, on a day after many days, Tamara still stands with aaduna as a contributing editor, valued colleague, trusted adviser, and fondly as a respected and dear friend. So…  

Enjoy openly "ease dropping" on our chat.  It is meant for you to read, hear, embrace, and reflect upon. 

Tamara J. Madison and aaduna, better than -------------------------------! You fill in the blank.

Without any further introductory remarks, enjoy the berry/Madison Chat

* * *

bill berry, jr.:

Welcome Ms. Madison.  Let’s get started. 

You are a well-respected published poet, writer, theatrical presence, public speaker, mentor/teacher, recording artist, and on a personal level, a highly motivated recreational dancer.  More importantly, you have continued to teach; transitioned your college classroom skills and instructional ambiance from New Jersey to Florida, and now you are a full-time professor at Valencia College in Orlando, Florida, as well as continuing to raise your last at home child, a son who is 13, a young teenager.  So, what are your creative goals (call them resolutions if you want to) for the new year, and what concerns, if any, do you have for your son as he moves through his next six years as a African-American male teenager?   

Tamara J. Madison:

That was a very loaded opening statement, as well as a loaded double question!  You are on some “sink or swim” immediately! I will swim…

One of my most immediate creative goals is to revise my manuscript to the point where I am “at peace” with it and ready to submit it for consideration of publication.  I have been working on the manuscript for a number of years, had a love/neglect (I won’t say hate.) relationship with it; however, it has grown as I have grown.  I am grateful for that.  It is time for its newest evolution to be born to share/show my own evolution.  I am working on that slowly but surely because it haunts me that I have not found a home for this book.  I also want to continue my “highly motivated recreational dancing” as you called it.  The art for me is not just the dancing but the fellowship encouraging all types of people across (ethnic, figure, fitness, and age lines) to come together and “healthily circulate” internally and externally.  Dance for me is the prayer and praise of the breath and body.  In this time of chaos, that is crucial to maintain our balance and our humanity.

My greatest concern, or rather I shall say “wish,” for my son is that he be mindful of the endless resources and support that he has in all aspects of his life and use them positively and productively.  As the youngest of six siblings (4 men and 2 women, ages 23-27), he has a wealth of support and experience from 5 very different walks of life.  He is also blessed to be raised by a father present and interactive within the home.  He even has teachers and administrators constantly reminding him when he is not “on point” and that he is capable of greatness.  My prayer is that he will see the endless opportunity in all this wealth and manifest his dreams and destiny. Many of our young people do not have support and live in extremely negative and violent environments on a daily basis.  Others have mentors and support but get lost in the “doom and gloom, me-against-the-world” of adolescence.  That is a most dangerous abyss for them, us, community, and country.  That doom and gloom and violence and horror is real, but we must be mindful of our power to transcend it and use it.


The art of dance…the fellowship of togetherness and the holistic essence of balance through a communal experience appears to be evident in a variety of intergenerational health activities.  Have you considered yoga, Tai Chi, or Qi Gong or do you see those situations as more individually based movement instead of collective movement, and are those practices more in tune with the nuances of dance than dissimilar?  I guess the faster fluidity of dance (in its different forms and especially via a dance group) may have a special appeal for you? Enlighten me!

Now, Lisa and I have had the pleasure of interacting with you in New Jersey and Orlando, Florida. We have shared a gracious meal with you, your son and husband in Orlando.  We have known you for more than a few years.  As far as “A” (I do not use the full names of children/young folks in these chats for a variety of reasons so there is no disrespect intended or implied to him,) one can easily observe his gifts of love, guidance, family mentoring, and embracing of sibling life lessons that are evident in how he carries himself. His ease in engaging adults that he has met for the first time in meaningful conversation with focused viewpoints suggest that he is older then what he is.  Unfortunately, “blank” happens.  Unexpectedly. Without rhyme or reason, and often caused by others who are not known to us before a tragic encounter.  How do you prepare him for those interactions that may be based on the color of his skin and not the content of his character?


To begin with your first inquiry again about dance, I would love to learn Tai Chi at some point and I do some yoga now as well.   Tai Chi is definitely a form of dance for me.  I love how power is demonstrated through grace, strength, and balance in Tai Chi.  It is on my “To Do List” for sure.  I find that the slower movement and pace can take even more strength and focus to really develop the precision of the technique. I have not seen as much Qi Gong and could not say with regards to it, but the martial arts in general to me are very much a dance and a dance with life.  I choose now to “get my groove on” at a faster pace while I still can.  I will slow it down as it becomes necessary.

So… regarding those interactions based on the color of one’s skin rather than the content of one’s character…

We do not hide those things from him or try to deny them. They are very real.  S*** happens to “good people” doing the “right thing” at the “appropriate time” minding their own business sometimes.  It is part of the reality of being in this plane of duality.  It is a part of our human experience here on earth.  Although we can embrace wisdom and self-discipline and awareness to avoid it as much as possible, there will still be “those moments.”  We are very realistic with him about this. 

It is imperative, however, to be aware of what we can control in those moments.  The first item on the “control list” is staying focused on our own thoughts, perspective, and behavior in the situation.  We cannot control the behavior of others, but we must learn to control our own response to chaos and danger. It is that idea of being “in the world” but not “of the world.”  It is the difference between “surviving the chaos” versus “thriving amid the chaos” even if that thriving is merely one’s own intellectual and emotional freedom or will.  We encourage him to remember who he is and where he is from at all times which can help him to navigate such moments.

We also try to gird him with some history and perspectives that he most likely will not learn in a public school.  The idea is to give him tools of empowerment emotionally, spiritually, physical, and intellectually.  Hmmmmm…

Speaking of martial arts and self-mastery, a martial arts instructor (sensei) who worked with my oldest son once taught me:  “Many people think that freedom is being able to do whatever you want to do when you want to do it.  (That is nearly impossible in the physical plane that we share with others.)  True freedom is the ability to be self-controlled in any given moment and situation.”  I was the student that day (not my son), and I have never forgotten that lesson.  I am still learning.


You have shared valuable life lessons that remain adrift in most school learning environments and are often not articulated by parents who battle their own versions of “in the world,” “of the world.” “surviving the chaos” versus “thriving amid the chaos.”  I am reading Christopher Golden’s novel, Tin Men, basically about an USA robotic army that has become a global police force and the occurrences during and after an unknown enemy’s EMP (electromagnetic pulse) attack during a G20 summit as a way of assassinating world leaders.  But the point of sharing this trivial pursuit, is that I now can re-examine the characters based on your analysis of harnessing life’s dubious aspects.   Anyway, let me further pursue the teaching side of who you are. 

Since you have taught college and students in the East and South, do you perceive any differences in learning styles and their approaches/attitudes towards education? What are differences in department and/or institutional politics if any?


I have thought about that one for a few days.  I don’t perceive many differences at all that result from the culture of geographical areas.  Perhaps I am so swamped with essays and curriculum that I don’t have time to look up and notice!  In terms of institutional policies, my class loads are heavier in the community college environment.  I teach 6 classes per semester and 2 in the summer B session. I also have to maintain 12 office hours a week.  Many schools opt for a model of 4-5 classes as a full load in the spring and fall semesters.  It is quite challenging. I feel like my brain often runs on steroids to make it work, but I love what I do.  I feel blessed anyway.  I simply have to be very mindful of time management, boundaries, and self-care.


I embrace and take to heart your determination, intellectual vigor, and nurturing actions that we all should follow: time management, boundaries, and self-care.  Surprisingly, our chat is at its closure junction, and I want to thank you or taking the time to chat with me.  As I bid you adieu, are there any other words of wisdom that you want to share that will complement and supplement what you have so graciously given me and our readership.  Enjoy the rest of the semester and thank you for the conversation.


The only thing that comes to mind is that the planet is in need of our creativity now more than ever in every dimension of being (intellectually, emotionally, creatively, spiritually, scientifically, etc.).  I seriously mean that.  There are many who use their creativity recklessly and sometimes intentionally causing severe damage and harm.  It can easily make others shut down and surrender.  Why not use our creativity to counterbalance those elements?  The world is changing so fiercely and so quickly that now more than ever we must push ourselves with our greatest offerings of love, light, positivity, enlightenment, acknowledgement, appreciate… Yes, the list is endless.  We must remember that is why many of us are here.  This is not just for “artist.”  This is our human contribution to the existence of the planet. 

Time to get busy!

Thank you so much for taking this time with me, for provoking me in such wonderful ways.  I appreciate that.  Thank you for being “aaduna…”  Huge

* * *

Tamara J. Madison (photo provided)

Tamara J. Madison is an internationally traveled, poet, performer, and instructor currently living in Orlando, Florida. Her critical and creative works have been published in various journals, magazines and anthologies including Poetry International, Extract, Web del Sol Review of Books, Tidal Basin Review, and aaduna. She has also been published in the anthologies, Temba Tupu (RedSea Press), Check the Rhyme (LitNoire Press) and SisterFire (HarperCollins). Author of Collard County, A Collection of Short Stories, and Kentucky Curdled, a poetry and essay collection and poetry audiobook, her album, Naked Voice, is grand prize winner of the First Literary Recording Contest for Manzanita Quarterly and AUTHENTIC VOICEwork Records, as well as an editor’s pick on independent music distributor, CD Baby.

Tamara’s latest manuscript, “Breast Poems,” was short-listed as one of four in the 2015 Willow Books Literature Award for poetry. Ms. Madison has performed and recorded her work for stage, television and studio and also facilitates creative expressions workshops for youths and adults.
Madison holds a BA from Purdue University and a MFA from New England College. She is currently an English instructor at Stetson University in Deland, FL and Valencia College in Orlando. For more information visit her home on the web at

aaduna - an online adventure with words and images - a globally read, multi-cultural, and diverse online literary and visual arts journal established in 2010.  Visit us at where we put measurable actions to our words.

Help us build community!  Share with your friends,  "like" our Aaduna-Inc facebook page and follow us on twitter @ aadunaspeaks !  

aaduna-Inc aaduna-Inc  Visit regularly for updates !