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The Keka Collection: The Best of Keka's Blog on Open Salon Paperback – February 4, 2013
About the Author
Cynthia Dagnal-Myron is an award-winning former reporter for both the Chicago Sun Times and Arizona Daily Star. She is also the first black woman to become a rock critic for a “major metropolitan daily,” and her articles have appeared in Rolling Stone and Creem, under the tutelage of legendary rock critic Lester Bangs. For five wild years she traveled with, interviewed and reviewed 70's and 80's legends like Kiss, Queen, the Who, Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, Traffic Rod Stewart, Cheap Trick, Peter Frampton, Todd Rundgren and Brian Eno. She also interviewed stars like John Travolta, Kirk Douglas, Richard Pryor and the then unknown cast of Star Wars--and dated Arnold Schwarzenegger. Once. And then one day...she jwalked away from all of it. And never looked back. This book is "the rest of the story," as told via Keka’s Blog, at Open Salon.
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Open up "The Keka Collection" to any page and instantaneously you'll know that you're in the hands of a master writer. The reason is that no matter what she's writing about, she lets you see it too. It's all in glorious color, sound, taste, smell and touch.
Mostly sound. There is a musical wisdom that connects this entire book. Sometimes she is turning the Who up to "eleven"--prompting her daughter to shout "Mom, can you turn that down!" Sometimes she is leading us readers in hearing Sam Cooke sing "It's been a long time coming, change is gonna come."
And sometimes she is making a point about something quite profound, like the ties that bind us all and how a person finds themself. From "Boogie Woogie Baby: A Southside Reverie"
My Uncle Joe was Fats Waller's drummer for a time. My Uncle Nick tickled those ivories all over the country, apparently. He could handle any style you asked for, and then switch to Bach just to mess with my mind. . . He wanted me to know that there wasn't that much distance between Bach and the boogie. I would just have to find my way over."
Read on, and you are out on the town with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Take a few more steps. And you are again learning. A piece called the "Ex-factor." A gentle wisdom communicated not through moralizing, advice or "10 Steps To Solving Your relationship Issues" Instead, you learn they way adults really learn the important stuff. Through stories.
Whether the stories are about a flip flop echoing through a Wal Mart or Trayvon Martin, or anything in between, this is a book to be savored.
As I write this, the great jazz master Clifford Brown is playing a song he owns, called "It Might as Well Be Spring." A deeply personal favorite. I can smell the barbeque sauce simmering outside in a scruffy green side yard on the South Side of Chicago. Everybody is talking about "The Keka Collection." Grab a plate of food. You're welcome here. You are welcome here. Just pick up your copy of The Keka collection and start reading. You will see you're welcome here.
Gary Houston, former book review editor, Chicago Sun-Times
Each chapter is a post from her blog. The subjects vary from her career as a rock critic to racism to the joys of motherhood. In "For Trayvon and Emmett", she addresses the murder of young Trayvon Martin in Florida and the controversy surrounding it. She draws the insightful parallel between this case and the case of Emmett Till, reminding the reader that racism is alive and well.
In "Fishin' Lessons" she writes movingly of her late father, and the time she spent fishing with him. "For our brave girl, Bijou, who died last night" is her heartfelt tribute to her Pomeranian who passed away after almost seventeen years. Having lost my beloved Koko in January, this one moved me to tears. Ms. Dagnal-Myron is correct when she states "It's like losing a child. It IS losing a child." Anyone who has a four-legged baby, or who was blessed with one in the past, will relate to this chapter.
The author's conversational tone draws the reader in, giving the feeling that we are somehow engaged in a dialogue. Her thought-provoking essays will cause some readers to nod their heads in agreement, and some will (hopefully) gain a new perspective. At the risk of sounding all "fan-girly", by the end of the book, I felt as though I had met a new friend. I hated to see this one end. I'm hoping for a sequel.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Pump Up Your Book book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 <[...]> : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
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