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It’s 2020, and the Napa Valley vineyards are alive with color and the promise of a bountiful harvest. While fire has devastated a portion of our land, the surrounding hills, inundated by this winter’s rain, are green–sparking hope. I’m Alicia Schooler-Hugg, writer, poet, fine artist, and most importantly observer. It all started when I was a little girl, being raised by my paternal grandparents. Grandpa, Alexander Robinson Schooler, was a preacher and a poet; Grandma, Carrie Weir Schooler, a school teacher. Looking back, I think most ministers are poets at heart. My grandfather’s best days were spent in his study, writing sermons and interpreting “visions.” Writers are visionaries too.

I’ve written poems, short stories, memoir, and a couple of books. In addition to feature stories for Nurseweek.com and the Modesto Bee, my work has appeared in several anthologies, professional journals, liner notes and other print media.  As an Op Ed columnist for the Stockton (California) Record for nearly a decade (1991 to 2000), I wrote about racism, sexism and any other ‘ism’ that struck my fancy. My editor, the late Richard “Dick” Marsh, said “write about anything you want, Alicia. I may not agree with what you say, but I certainly agree with your right to say it!” That’s a truth I’ve always clung to, and in these pages I hope to share with you…

Now available on Amazon:  Art and Soul of Jazz – a Tribute to Charles Mingus Jr ., Fourth Edition, a collaboration between my artist sister, Carol Bowie, and me. Our mother, Vivian Alicia Mingus, often bragged about being the oldest Mingus sister. What’s exciting about this Fourth Edition is It turns out that my mother was actually her father’s third daughter! My grandfather, Charles Mingus, Sr.s’ first marriage ended tragically. On learning of his African heritage, his white wife disappeared over the color line with their two daughters. His desperate 14-year hunt for them proved futile and he ultimately married my grandmother, Harriett. In addition to my mother Vivian and her sister Grace, their union produced his only son, Charles Mingus, Jr. Recently through technology and DNA, the lost Mingus sisters’ descendants contacted me and presented details about them. If you’re a jazz fan, you won’t want to miss their story. A combination of intimate Mingus family history, portraits and profiles of jazz notables, this book, as jazz musician and movie legend Clint Eastwood’s foreword says: “helps us embrace one of our national treasures .”

 Listen and hear us well.  It was for you we lived and shouted the messages crafted to guarantee a place for your children and your childrens’ children. Truth is life’s vintage byproduct, its best lesson. Your task is simple, yet as hard as that of any living creature: Seek out the great truths, embrace them and live them and note their relationship one to another.  For without truth your lives will not have mattered and you will have cast not a stroke upon the canvas of eternity. Life’s basic truths are eternal. Live your truth moment by moment, and your crops will be bountiful. –Excerpted from my essay “Seige,” a tribute to the Million Man March. Go to my blog for the complete essay.

Been harassed, molested, or raped? Me too!
The current dialogue on sexual harassment, molestation and rape has inspired a new section on this website, one that will, I hope, encourage more women (and men) to share their own stories of sexual harassment, molestation and rape. Go to “Memoir” for my personal story entitled “Raped!” Or, feel free to share yours with me.
Here’s an excerpt:
Author’s note: It always surprises me when I share my story with other women, how many of them are encouraged to “come out” with similar experiences. One lesson I’ve learned through my experience is: Keep your head. Although the memories will return through unexpected triggers, I at least have my life with its rewards of seeing my children grow up and enjoying grands and great-grands. When I think of alternative outcomes, I am thankful that I kept my cool.