Author: Erica RivaFlowz Buddington
Pages: 156 (paperback); 95 (Kindle)
Recently, I discovered a writer (blogger) with a new, honest, and familiar voice. After reading and re-reading several lines of her brilliantly woven words, I became intrigued.
Who is this sister?
I ventured further into her literary world and quickly learned that she was more than a blogger, she was special: a wunderkind, a wordsmith with virtually undefinable gifts; able to make ideas dance and rivers flow. Each penned narrative was soporific, each phase bathed in glorious illumination, touching, without apology, on the pulse, of heart and soul, of passion and pain. This scribe’s words were portraits of emotion. They were sketches of brilliance and aesthetics, not for the purpose of beauty, although she could make Mona Lisa smile, but for the purpose of clarity. She brought a fresh approach to a familiar and timeless subject; the heart and soul of a woman. She is Erica Buddington — Rivaflowz, for those who know.
When this journey began I smiled, I chuckled, I was transported. Buddington’s unconventional literary approach, although not new, was inexplicably genius; Sex in the City meets Love Jones. Her passages soared, banging out rhythms with emotion and the tropical coolness of Alize. Each word was deliberately and lyrically written, perfectly executed and perfectly blended; both keen and universal. She wrote with the executive styling of someone who had lived a thousand lives and believed a million dreams. Buddington’s wordplay (or play-on-words), images, visions, intentions, and emotions are alluring, profoundly clear, empowering, and rock solid. You’re apt to forget she’s under thirty.Yeah, she’s really that good.
It seems only àpropos that we read her foundation, the groundwork (her blogs) to better understand her many thoughts. Buddington provided a perfect blueprint, an ideal segue into the visions that she later turned into a book of essays.With each passage, she chaperoned her audience through a poetic maze, boldly marching, traipsing even, with deliberate, but timid, steps along the complex path of relationships, self-love and the intoxicating trickery of romance.The reader, blinded by the array of colors and patterns, ends up in the garden of Love. Relationships. Love. Heartbreak. Love.Love. Love.
Buddington’s work is millennial; youthful, fresh, focused and seriously free. She has tapped into the core of the unknown known and exposed a diagram of life so simple it’s unthinkable. It is a Basquiat painting; a Langston Hughes poem; a self-portrait of Frida Kahlo. She has unique insight into the ‘ouch’ and ‘ahh’ moments of early 21st century relationships. This is the subject, object, and prospect of her book of essays, Of Micah and Men: Collection of Essays on Dating. What Buddington has somehow manages to do is offer a smoothly rough ride on the ‘D’train to the last possible stop. As I poured through the episodes of Of Micah and Men I longed for delicacies only available when time and emotional fortitude collide; that irresistibly sweetest taboo.
Buddington opens her book with the punch of a confessional… forgive me Father…. (my words)
I’m not apologizing for it. I’m not going to chase my aspirations and pretend that it doesn’t get lonely sometimes, and I’m certainly not going to sit still…. Women are so conditioned to wait for love, turn a blind eye, or expect it to come tapping them on the shoulder. Sometimes it doesn’t happen like that. Sometimes love is sitting right next to you and has no clue that it’s wanted or needed until you say so.
Although her book is heterogeneous, it is interesting to read it as a man. Yes, we are considered by some to be: selective in our emotional outpouring, temperamental in our approach, sometimes coarse and unclear in the depth of our love; complicated. But, even when reserved, our ‘way’ of loving is often painfully sincere, despite being exceptionally foreign and sprinkled with misgivings.
Buddington doesn’t point out nor emphasize all of those misgivings, necessarily, but she does offer correctly and alarmingly, the truth; man truth, woman truth, dating truth. She provides the reader with the soul draining void of a spark-less relationship and the perpetual optimism that the sun will shine tomorrow. She is not hopeless. She is energy. We can identify with this. It is honest and pure. We have traveled that road, perhaps more than we’d care to admit. It is universal TRUTH!
I forced myself to love him. I’m finally admitting that, in this paragraph. I’m admitting it and then I am letting it go. We met in a writing group and he spoke often, about looking for love. I was looking for the same thing and since he fit the blueprint, the type of guy that my parents would approve of, I latched to the idea of “us”, instantly.
With the ending of her relationship with [her boyfriend] Ryan, and the need to escape the emotional waterfall, Erica visits with a friend away from Brooklyn. As is often the curious case with people who are newly single, another suitor is usually nigh, attracted, perhaps, by the amount of pheromones unintentionally released. If you don’t believe my theory, begin to pay attention.
Erica describes their meeting as most first meetings (and last meetings) go… slow and dry. But the stimulation of meeting one another was enough to keep thoughts of Erica in his head and enough for Erica to offer her contact details. Micah makes his move (several moves) according to Erica, the following day.
Daily messages, flowers, offers, endless talks about nothing … the stuff that produces daydreams and brain fog, and mysterious, random smiles.
Through the progression of the book what is clear, especially through the actions of Micah, the principal player in her collection, is that he loves Erica and Erica, one can safely assume, loves him, but the love is made complicated after the admission that he and a former girlfriend (I think she was a girlfriend) are having a baby. REAL TALK!
Credit to Micah for not concealing the truth.
…even when reserved, our ‘way’ of loving is often painfully sincere, despite being exceptionally foreign and sprinkled with misgivings.
A multitude of relatable events happen in the book, but nothing that is extraordinary, cutthroat, or exaggerated. It is her casualness that makes you feel that you’re listening to the therapeutic conversations of a good friend. It is this that makes Buddington, as a person, feel so familiar. The dramatic points are experiences we know. The readers can openly, quietly, or collectively relate and admit, without embarrassment, “That is me, too.” I am not completely certain if Buddington was reaching for such a level of Venus / Mars philosophy when putting her book together, but the ability to relate to the trials and pains of her readership earns her a PhD in relationship therapy.
Of Micah and Men makes the hidden side of us yearn, want to win, want to love insanely and deeply. Buddington captured the deeper essence of these feelings. She exposed herself admirably, a transparency that okays human mistakes and this is her draw.
To read this book is to look into the mirror and see the reflection of your family, friend, or self. Yes, it is Sex in the City meets Love Jones. Good, good stuff. This, as well as her other books (and her blog) are must reads, must shares, and worthy of long, overdue, therapeutic discussions.