Memes are often used to make a statement or to entertain, and sometimes when it comes to people and their humor, it crosses a line. One such picture I came across today was of a muscular black man who had incredible sized neck muscles and below that was a picture from the movie Jaws saying, "We're going to need a bigger knee."
A lot of comments were attached to the post listing people in the comments and how everyone finds it so funny. Disgusting. As a nation we've become desensitized to violence, and by an extension we're also desensitized to racial inequality because so much of it involves violence.
The Germans have a word "schadenfreude," meaning to derive pleasure from the suffering of others. How petty must that mindset be? I can't claim to be above it though, because there's always pleasure in seeing someone get what they deserve. Racial inequality is something no one deserves, and why Black Lives Matters exists.
For some people and their attitudes, they are a complete loss. Their attitudes and prejudice will never change. Their hate, they cling to it as they would a warm blanket because they have such an ancestry connected to bigotry. These people are lost and have no place in the future.
The only future that makes sense is one that celebrates diversity. We have to build each other up without tearing someone else down to do it. And there can't be any tolerance for such people who get ahead on the suffering of others. If we can't win them over with love and compassion, then our only hope is to outlast them until the appeal can be made to their descendants.
Racism is a thing of the past, a shameful past. It's been around too long and deserves to be cut off at the head. We can't normalize jokes that prey on the weak, nor attitudes that find pleasure in the suffering of innocents.
"The Race Beat"
In grad school, there was an assignment the class had to pick a book to do a book report of our own choice. The choice I made was a book called "The Race Beat" by Gene Roberts and Hank Klibanoff. A Pulitzer Prize winning piece on the history of the black press and the struggles it suffered over history. Additionally, this book also looks at history through the eyes of the journalists who lived through events such as integration, lynchings, and civil rights.
The recent events in the United States have resulted in an unprecedented amount of Black Lives Matters movement support. Also, the movement has shared literature, publications, movies, and several internet sources for people to gain understanding into the plight of people of color, as well as that of LGBTQ+ members. This source is another one to be lifted up for recognition from the side of those who chronicled systematic racism in journalism.
This time is an opportunity to reduce ignorance with education and understanding. Building bridges, instead of walls. Cowards love walls, heroes meet on bridges.
Something not mentioned in the previous post is that there was a fourth alternative presented by the man who posed the experiment to his followers on Twitter. If people who were participating refused to make a choice throughout the entire post, then DKnight blocks those people from his Twitter page. By not choosing, it was like consigning him to obscurity in the same way as untold stories of police brutality have occurred to people of color without the benefit of someone recording them. To literally let him go because he'd block you and you would experience the actual loss of him.
How many Arberys, Taylors, or Floyds are there who haven't had their stories told? Who was there to mourn these people? What was done to ensure their killers were brought to justice? And worst of all, who could be next?
The Black Lives Matter movement exists to answer that question by saying "no one, not one more."
There was a discussion on Twitter that I was a part of recently where someone who is black asked his followers to choose which person he was going to die as. The options were first Ahmaud Arbery, who was killed after a chase and battle with some white supremacists who had gone "vigilante" in their deeply disturbed minds. Breonna Taylor, who was killed in her own home on the botched execution of a warrant at the wrong address. And George Floyd who was murdered in police custody, being suffocated on the street with an officers knee in the neck.
Originally, my stance on the options were none of them. Because I don't want someone, anyone to really be killed. After being pressured by the man who made the post, almost pleading me to make a choice between these three, I chose his method of death as that of Ahmaud Arbery. Although all three were murdered by cowards, he had the best fighting chance out of them all. Running for his life, and fighting out of sad desperation to his last breath.
After making the decision, he thanked me. He even promoted me on my page to his followers telling them that I would one day be a great writer. The kindness he showed didn't feel deserved, so I asked about the point of the exercise.
Making me choose the manner in which he was martyred, made me feel the remorse and pain for the deaths of the people who were killed. By putting me in the shoes of the killers and feeling the sensation of deciding his manner of death made it so personal. Making a decision that none of those three got to have.
Since then, I agonized about how I was going to write this up in a post. There's a stronger resolve to fight more for the rights and lives of my brothers and sisters, (I hope I can call them family) in this movement, but more doubts as to the capacity to write about them effectively.
This might require more time between posts, so that I don't take over the narrative as I was beginning to do, I think. Instead of turning out a quota of content, the tone is going to be more for quality. For anyone who reads this, I am sorry for how the tone has been up until now. And I hope that you'll approve of further posts and content provided here.
Meanwhile, if you have Twitter, please give this man a follow. He's very wise in ways I can't begin to describe.
I went to my hometown for a Black Lives Matter demonstration yesterday. However, I was given a bogus location. Even before then I couldn't confirm a time or place on social media, and I heard about the location through a second hand and unreliable source.
So, after driving around looking for the demonstration I wanted, I went to go grocery shopping. No demonstration there, just people coming and going. On my way back home though, I passed by a lake on the highway and saw three teenagers on the side with signs and demonstrating. One I could see clearly from the road was "Smash Racism."
I wasn't able to stop or return, having perishables in the car and a bunch of groceries for my mother. However, I was very impressed with the three teens I saw. One male, two female, and white. It's not our place to take over the conversation of racism, but I was pleased to see three young people who used their privilege to add their voices to the cause of equality and compassion.
On the Spot...
I realize that by telling you reader, that I missed the demonstration I said I would go to is something that might make me appear disingenuine to contributing to helpful change. However, if I were the kind of person who would fabricate a story saying "sure I was there" and creating a fiction of having partaken, I wouldn't be any better than the opposition. I ask for forgiveness, and I will move on.
On recent developments on social media, I have seen that "habeas corpus" has been suspended in New York City. This grants officers an unprecedented freedom to arrest and detain without the due process. To do so reveals that even the New York police don't even follow their own rules when a crisis hits. To abandon such a doctrine is to have already lost the moral high ground, on top of everything else they have done to make this problem worse.
Defunding the police is also something I have seen as a course of this movement. And I agree with that sentiment, because I know of some of the expensive toys that the police are given that can and are abused in typical use. Some of the horror stories I have heard of have been used in a prison.
One device was a taser shield. I worked with someone who had worked in a prison, and had to be certified to use this device. Exactly as its name suggests, it is a shield that one normally uses for mass uprising in a prison population, and has the electric shock needed to incapacitate someone. My coworker as he was being certified was subjected to the normal use of the shield, so he was shocked and immediately incapacitated on the ground. However, the training officer didn't stop there, he kneeled down and held the shield on him for a little while. Much more than was called for.
Another device, is a grenade that explodes rubber balls. Sort of like the rubber bullets being used now, but it is meant to be used in a wide open space. The same coworker told me about rounds he was making with another officer. The other officer, turns to the guy I got this story from and goes "watch this." He then takes one of the grenades and throws it into the cell of an unsuspecting inmate and shuts the door. The inmate had to be hospitalized.
The thing I am trying to get across is the kind of people we are facing. People who are sworn to uphold the law, who are suspending the law in a moment of convenience. People who use their weapons as playthings against each other for amusement. People with no regard for innocents. It's literal madness.
I know people would say things like, "Oh it's probably just that one officer." Or, "you can't judge from a few bad apples." Regardless of the simple arguments that can counter both of those statements like "if you thrown a rotten apple into a barrel the whole barrel is rotten in time." I'm going to give you another reason to take me seriously. It may have just been one officer, but that's the one you know about. How can you be sure that the next one you don't know about isn't in front of you now?
People love to use the argument that "looting isn't protesting," but my favorite counter is "murder isn't policing."
As scary as all of this sounds, it's an absolute horror to conceive of for people of color. The burden of law enforcement is supposed to be that they are to be held at a higher standard of conduct than an ordinary citizen, because even though ignorance of the law is no excuse, a police officer cannot claim ignorance of the law because they are responsible for learning it and enforcing it.
Defunding the police is about doing away with a budget that is disproportionate to arming police with these vindictive weapons, and investing it into the communities that are less fortunate. Helping one another, instead of running the police like a business.
It is a well known fact that prisons run by private corporations are a "for profit" business. And that there are lobbyists of these corporations that are making hefty donations to politicians who are in a position to keep major punishments for small offenses on the books. Police are a part of that industry, whether they know it or not, even in the best of times. We have to rebuild the system of policing and of making laws from the ground up so that they don't discriminate against people of color.
I'm going to keep todays post brief today, because I am nauseated at what is happening in our country. Peaceful protesters are being shot in the face with rubber bullets that have the lethal capacity as a conventional firearm. Police opened fire on a gay bar, because the owner was handing out bottled water. https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2020/06/police-opened-fire-gay-bar-owner-handing-water-protestors/
Journalists are under active fire and arrest for covering the protests. People are being killed or maimed with disproportionate uses of force. And the president invokes George Floyds name to praise himself for a slight improvement in the unemployment numbers. So excuse me because this is all a little much to take in at once.
Something I have been doing recently is telling my friends, people I follow on social media, and even strangers now is something I think of as an oath. One of the harshest criticisms of the Black Lives Matters movement is when someone tells them "All lives matter." It's a phrase that tries to dismiss, trivialize, or downright tear down activists. Although all life is important, the movement is about tackling a system that treats certain citizens by different standards than others.
My oath, even though it's just one sentence, is my affirmation that all lives are important but without the dismissal. Simply put, my oath is...
"Your life is precious to me, and your wellbeing is important."
I've told a lot of people this, whatever their skin color or attributes. And I never say it without meaning every word. Sometimes I may preface the oath saying, "I know we don't know each other well," or "I know we have never met." However the sentiment is genuinely there.
Saying that "all lives matter," but not doing anything about it is an expression of privilege that previous posts have discussed. The hypocrisy that I have pointed out in discussions with people using that phrase, is to put them on the spot. Because I believe that if they really believed that "all lives matter," then they should be marching or adding their voices too when someone is killed with police brutality.
I may only have a blog and a website, and no money to donate to the BLM and related movements. A protest is scheduled in my hometown on Saturday, which I plan to attend. I haven't marched previously, so in the grand scheme I haven't done very much yet. However, doing something is a world away from doing nothing, and an entire universe away from actively opposing BLM protesters.
My readers, we are all on the precipice of a radical change in the society of the United States. The government has put the military, police, and unidentified (DOJ?) persons in the path to oppose the protests and to keep the status quo. In other words, trying to keep "business as usual."
Make no mistake, this is tactic used in Middle East countries where a tyrant has installed themselves as a force above the law. Now is the time to make a stand for your own liberty and independence, because this crisis won't go away. Business as usual has brought us to this point, and has not merely identified a broken system of justice. The system isn't broken, it's working as it was designed to do to keep the people down and under control. The system is working against our united front, because the powers have risen through a divided house.
If you take in nothing else from this post, then take in at least one thing I say to let it sink in. The American President is afraid of the American People. Why is that?
White privilege is something that is widely disputed in our country. Does it exist? Do I have it? The answer to the first question is "yes," it does exist and it is widely used. The second question, "Do I have it?" If you're white, then yes you do. By point of fact every white person has privilege and are presently using that privilege in one way or another.
I am a white person with white privilege.
It's not something I thought I used very often, which is why I want to distinguish activities in this privilege between the terms "passive" and "active." Forms of passive white privilege include ignorance and indifference. Ignorance in this sense is something I define as being unaware that your privilege has come to your benefit. Things such as exercising outside, gathering for a family barbeque, or just driving down the street. Normal activities that aren't themselves probable cause for detainment or arrest, however if you were someone who is non-white you are more likely to be stopped by the police or have the police called upon you. This still does not elevate the level of suspicion to probable cause.
This brings me to the next point of indifference. Because if you are aware of these things happening with a racial disparity and unmoved or not concerned, you have expressed your white privilege. Indifference is probably the worst between the two passives that I have outlined because it is the informed, but don't care attitude.
Active white privilege is any activity in which someone expects beneficial treatment for being white. And I'm certain that definition doesn't come close to describing all active white privilege. My only defense on that is that I'm still learning about the different ways that white privilege is applied.
A lot of my friends are taking an active stance on the recent developments in the world, most on the side of the protesters. And they come from a variety of ethnic backgrounds throughout the world. Those of them who are white, have made the same decision as I have to use our white privilege to add our voices to the protesters and the Black Lives Matter movement.
For those who aren't active, or are active on the other side, it does occur to me that I will have to reevaluate those friendships in the due course of time. I do feel that trying to take a stance of neutrality is the same as siding with the broken system that has enabled this treatment against people of color. Lacking compassion and kindness are two big warning flags about people in my mind. However, I will maintain my voice and try to keep the conversation open. Although, if they only believe the news they want and everything else is "fake news," then I feel no guilt or sadness towards removing those people from my life. Because they are trying to cling to their ignorance while expressing their ignorance.
Some people, like myself, for a long time were struggling for a way to support BLM and other equal rights activists. That's why I confessed to a slowness of mind when it came to finding my voice and my platform. In addition to making my website a platform for advocating such causes, I also wanted to demonstrate how anyone who wants to help has a means to do so.
I can't change the name of my website from my own name, and in a way I feel as though that is somewhat shameless on my part. However, it is also binding me to my word. Hate groups typically rely on their anonymity to protect them from the consequences of being hateful. So I won't hide cowardly behind a sheet or a manifesto. Additionally, I don't want my voice to drown out the marginalized. I want my voice in harmony with my activist friends and the use of my white privilege to be in their benefit.
However, I also want to be forthcoming with further information about who I am.
I once tried to become a police officer. Well actually twice, but the more profound attempt is the first one. The interview process was a lengthy and time consuming affair, and I passed everything up until the final step of the process, psychiatric evaluation.
The results from a seven hundred multiple choice answer sheet and the interview with the psychiatrist led them to the conclusion that I wasn't aggressive enough to be a police officer. Not only that, but I was told that I wasn't obnoxious enough to be one either. That police officers should be more instigators rather than responders.
At the time, I was crushed because I wanted to be a good police officer. However, with the recent events in the world I feel as though it was a Godsend that I didn't get in. Either two things would have happened if I had. One, my sense of compassion and respect for others would have been beaten out of me. Or I would have had a target on my back because I would cling to those beliefs so dearly.
Honesty is a virtue I hold dear. That's why when I was given a te-test examination of the psychiatrist, I answered the same as I did the first time through. I figured that if I was going to be judged that I would stand by what I had said the first time around. That was almost sixteen years ago.
The second time I tried to be a police officer was for another city and another department. I wasn't selected to go past the physical tests because I put down the truth on my application about why I didn't get in to the police force the first time. They said it would probably be a waste of money to go through the testing process any further.
I am confessing all of this because I want to be transparent on here. Adding my voice to the BLM movement, in my mind, requires a large degree of accountability. The fact that I tried to join the police force at all may be viewed negatively by some, but I want that information available so that I can be judged appropriately.
I never thought I'd see in my lifetime a government crackdown on the country. A time when the president would call in military troops to subdue protesters to use a church as a backdrop and a bible as a prop to take a picture. Although when it comes to Trump, I supposed nothing is off the table, except for human decency.
The country itself is in grave danger, but not from the protesters. It's from a leader who is unhinged and dead set against American life. Not only that, but his supporters are enabled to be weapons for his cause. People who share his views and who are ultimately pawns for his needs. The MAGA cult is easily stoked by even the merest hint of support from Trump.
The devout Trump supporter doesn't realize how disposable they are to him. He's never so much as spoken out against any of their actions, as though they have the immunity to cause any social chaos that they want because it's a win-win situation for him. Individuals can infiltrate the protesters and BLM movement to trigger a looting and destruction binge as we have seen officers in the Minneapolis police department do. Spreading the chaos so that military force could be brought in, as it has been now.
The truth is that both sides of this conflict are being played against one another. Infiltration triggers the looting and destruction to make the protest look bad, and the MAGA cult is put in play as the pawns that they are as Trump hides in a bunker like the coward he is. Par for the course, he makes others fight his battles because he believes himself to be above them.
There is no reward or benefit that comes to supporting Trump or playing on his terms. He needs voters to get a second term, and then when he has nothing to lose we're going to see a new side of him. Possibly even more intense than his first term, and his MAGA cult will have served their purpose. There will be no more rallies, because he doesn't have to pander to the base anymore. He can set them all adrift while robbing the country blind.
Although I may lose friends, I am unafraid to stand in full support for the Black Lives Matters movement and support for every marginalized community that strives for peace, justice, and equality. The murder of George Floyd, David McAtee, Ahmaud Abrey, and so many other men and women of color, done in plain sight is a testament to the cruelty that has found such a feeding ground under the Trump administration. Derek Chauvin showed no shame, no hesitation, and no concern as he kneeled on Mr. Floyds neck. Murder in plain sight and he didn't care.
Black Lives Matter. Kindness matters. And if we don't win in the end, then we go down in style. We have to come together, for the sake of every human being to be treated with honor, dignity, and a respect for the sanctity of life. Because if we don't adopt kindness, and equality then no lives matter.
I haven't written on this website in a long time. Originally published as something to promote my writing career. However, it has been very difficult to talk about myself and market for my books. Especially when no one has been buying them.
Over the past few days, there have been a lot of protests and uprising of people who are frustrated over the murder of a man named George Floyd. This man was killed in police custody and murdered in plain sight of the public. He was a black man, and the police officer kneeled on his neck until he was dead. Even being on video did not deter this officer from what he was doing.
Across the nation, communities rose up in protest. Unfortunately, violence broke out in addition to looting and destruction of private property. However, I don't fault the movement or the public, because these have been grievances for such a long time. Grievances such as systematic racism, differential justice, and crimes of hate.
I have to confess a slowness of mind. Although my heart is in a good place, it takes me awhile to think of an idea that will help. Something I have long believed in is that opportunities don't often come to you, and instead of waiting for an opportunity one must create the opportunity.
We have all probably asked ourselves at some point, "I agree with my friends who are oppressed, harassed, and exploited. But what can I do about it?" I don't have a lot of money to donate to charities and establishments active on these fronts, and I don't live in a location that is close to a major demonstration site. It bugged me for so long, until it finally hit me. There are talents, skills, and gifts that I have to offer. I have a voice and a platform with this website, so I need to do something with them.
I have friends all across the world. Friends who are people of color, in the LBGTQ+ community, and of different faiths and forms of belief. So I have decided to use my voice and the privilege that I have to speak out in support of them.
The phrase "hegemonic ideology" was a new phrase to me when I went to graduate school a few years ago. A hegemony is nothing more than a ruling or authoritative body. Hegemonic ideology is a belief and the practice of methods that are good or beneficial to a hegemony.
Our country is suffering under an ideology that is implied, if not stated with actions that to get ahead in this country then you must be a white male. In differential criminal justice you can tell how different treatments are applied between different ethnic groups.
Acknowledgement is only the beginning of the fight. I am a white male, and the fact that I can go throughout my day without being attacked or harassed has been a privilege that I didn't even know I was using. As they say about the law, "ignorance is no excuse."
It's not something malicious or vindictive of me, and I humble myself to admit that I have privileged from the color of my skin. Skin color is not a choice, but what I do with my attributes is my choice. So I say, no more. I refuse to be silent about the inequalities of the treatment of others.
Our society has an element of interdependence on each other. As the phrase goes, "no man is an island," we need each other. Coexistence is the truth of our reality, and mutual respect should be the heart of our moral code. Not competition, or feeling superior. That is for the weak minded.
Common goals should unite us, and our diverse history and talents should make us formidable. It shouldn't take a tragedy to bring us together, we already are together. And we must make mutual respect and equal treatment and protection our priority. Today I have, and I hope you my dear readers will do so as well.
I'm not the type of person who hides their weaknesses or denies making mistakes. There's really no point when you think about it because everything comes to light eventually. And being honest is easier than lying because a lie is a story you have to commit to. And lies get tested until they break, because you might have to add more to the story to the point until you are caught contradicting yourself.
However, lying is not the point of this post. The point of this post is about the mistakes that I have made and how I rectify them. Or more specifically, the times that life has knocked me down and how I strive to get up again, stronger. So I would like to dive into my past and tell you about the times life has done such to me and I've tried to show some resilience.
Almost seven years ago, I was fired from a job. I used to manage the surveillance department at a casino. There was a big shakeup in the management throughout the company and a lot of people were losing their jobs. The excuse they had to drum up is that I posted a hostile post on my Facebook page.
I posted that "I haven't been to the gun range in a long time, it's a great way to blow off some steam."
To give some perspective to that post, I knew that I was working hard and that even my off time was always invaded by my job. I actually wanted to take a week off and I ended up getting called in every day I was supposed to be on vacation. So, I decided that I needed to find a way to relax. And I have good memories of going shooting with my uncle and it was fun to plink off the targets like tin cans and so on.
However, my employers took that as a sign that I was planning a workplace shooting. Or that is the excuse they gave me. I had a feeling that they were looking for a reason to get rid of me, but they couldn't find justification in my performance.
Nonetheless, I was terminated from that job. However, I was also attending school in the hopes of getting my bachelors degree in Criminal Justice. Which I did. I graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Criminal Justice in December 2013, with a minor in sociology.
I was very happy to have the ability to say that I was no longer a college drop out. Even though many revered figures have dropped out of college to pursue their passions, I wanted to try for something more.
As part of the degree requirements, I worked as an intern in my hometown police department. Where I was offered a job. I worked there happily for six months and gained a lot of perspective in the police department. Some experiences were kinda funny.
However, after six months I was fired. Again I was terminated and I had done more to earn it this time I suppose. My sense of humor can be kind of bizarre and it didn't seem to fit well with the department I was in. (Records section). I was the first male to work in such a place and the ladies there couldn't tell if I was joking or being serious on what I was talking about.
One example, I was telling a story about a former coworker at the casino who once quit on the job without notice. That employee was rehired despite my objections and he quit later in the same way he had before. I was frustrated with him, and my joke was "I would've liked to leave his body in the middle of nowhere."
One of the reasons I was frustrated was that the employee had left us in dire straights, twice! Each time it happened meant a twenty four hour shift for me and possibly other workers. And when I said what I did, it wasn't a serious threat on the workers life. I'd even heard some of the ladies in the department make similar statements because someone's handwriting was illegible.
However, I didn't make a fuss when I was fired because I had done it to myself. There were other jokes I had made, and then some things that people accused me of saying that weren't true. When I was fired, I just took it in stride and left in peace. I've never made a scene when I was terminated because I know that nothing I can do will reverse their decision.
And I don't have any hard feelings to the police department or the city government. I'm still an admirer of theirs. I am also in good standing with the friends I made and supervisors. But I was depressed about losing my job and being unemployed ever since. Coincidentally, today is the third year anniversary of that termination and I've been out of work ever since.
I can't go back and put right the things that happened. I've even accepted my portion of the blame, but I don't feel racked with guilt now. I've always felt that guilt will paralyze you if you can't move past it. And I went through my phases of depression and blaming myself.
Moving forward from there though, I never have since found another job. Although I have done interviews and met some remarkably friendly people, I haven't landed a job. A little over a year ago, I began to write in earnest on my novel. I've always been a good writer, as I've been told. I just needed to take it seriously.
So I wrote a forty two thousand word novel. Novels are often longer, but I wrote to the natural conclusion of the story as it progressed. I don't feel obligated to add "filler" to the stories, because at that point reading is no longer compelling.
From that first novel, I tried to gain favor with a publisher or a literary agency. I'd done some research on the method in which you submit to such entities and I discovered that most of the big publishers won't accept unsolicited submissions. So I proceeded to try with literary agents and publishers that allowed unsolicited submissions, but just like a job interview or job posting, I failed to gain someone who was interested.
I decided to try and get me feet wet with something a little more simple that the novel. Then I came up with "Trinity the Troublemaker." Her stories didn't take as long to write and I thought it would be a more interesting topic to agents than a war novel. However, that was a bust too.
That was the point where I looked into the self publishing services through Amazon and Create Space. So I began releasing my books on Amazon. I gained several readers at that time. However, most of my readers consisted of free eBook promotions. Which I enjoy, I love it when someone reads my stories. I've been trying to build a significant following to get what they call a "platform."
It's slow growing, but I've been very patient.
In the past few months though, I've become restless. Books aren't selling anymore, and my job applications go unanswered. So I revisited my novel and began to polish it up again. I've kept good relations with a small publishing house who had turned me down on Trinity the Troublemaker.
I contacted them to see about professional editing services and helping me do the work polishing it. I sent in a sample chapter and they were very intrigued by what I had written. I don't have any money to pay them for professional services, but I've been looking into avenues of raising the money.
However, the senior editor nudged me to do a traditional submission to the company for considering for publication. I've done so, but it might be until September until I hear anything back, or later given the backlog of submissions that they receive.
Additionally while all this was going on, I had been tossing around the idea of returning to school to further my education. Criminal Justice was proving to be a difficult field to enter into. So I decided to try my hand at a Communications degree.
Even if I end up as a successful author, I know that despite the royalties I will need an income. I've read stories where successful authors might not have a book picked up by a publisher or agent that they've used before and it left them without knowing where their next check would come from. One of these authors got into the field of copy writing.
It doesn't take a college education to become a copy writer. You can apply for a certification course through certain online sources. However, that would be another job field that I would have stiff and unforgiving competition in. And my gut tells me that such an easily obtained certification would make workers a "dime a dozen." So what assurances do I have that I wouldn't be downsized if I got into a company who had a stack of applicants for the same job who could take entry level wages after I had built a following.
On a personal note, I've seen it that every time I get knocked down by life that it should become my habit to get back up stronger each time. Fired from the casino, got my bachelors. Fired from the police station, become an author and get a masters degree.
I truly feel that every time I get smacked down, that I need to come back better than I was before. It's not enough to just say it, but if I say it then I must live it. This is how I want to get back up every time. Eventually, I will be unstoppable.
It is not easy to live without money. Not long ago after I renewed my commitment to writing I made contact with a couple of companies that help with professional editing services. I have the hardest time proofreading and correcting my own work because I have difficulty finding the flaws in my own work. Like looking into a mirror and not believing in the authenticity of your own reflection.
These services that would help me to polish my novel up for publishing standards aren't cheap. Especially when I don't have a job or any income at all. In the past I have asked for help from friends who I trust with the job if they would be interested in helping me with the project. Despite their willingness, they just simply do not have the time to help me.
I can't blame them because life goes on and so do taxes, family, and bills. It's hard enough for anyone to make a living in my area, and I can imagine in most other areas as well. I wish with how easy it is for people to yell at me to "Get a Job!" That is would be as easily done as said.
I've considered starting up something on a crowdfunding website. However, I have a difficult time accepting money from people I know. And much less money from people that I don't know.
I've hoped that the children's books that I've published on Amazon would eventually generate a little revenue so I could invest it back into my own books. Once again, without advertising revenue I can't generate any brand awareness.
I'm too stubborn to accept money to help me in this endeavor of mine. For now at least. However, the good thing about being stubborn is that I am going to see this through until I achieve my goals in publishing. Regardless of when, it's not a question of "if."
Hello to one and all. I am back after a lengthy inactive period. I want to catch everyone up to this point and then discuss plans for the future.
After my last post about Halloween, I began to suffer from a heavy lack of confidence. One of the publishers I had last submitted to gave me some feedback regarding my published works on "Trinity the Troublemaker." They said the book was ripe with structural and grammar errors. Additionally, I wasn't descriptive enough to facilitate to the imagination of children. Because young readers need a lot more of the work done for them.
It wasn't an easy bit of criticism to take since the books were already released. However, with the loving feedback that I've gotten from the readers, I gradually realized that the most important critics have already spoken and they love these books.
I still struggle with self confidence regarding my writings and I've come to terms that Trinity will likely never see traditional publication. However, that doesn't mean her stories will end. On the contrary I'm going to keep them coming and self publish them on Amazon for as long as readers will enjoy them.
As for other projects, I'm seeking out editing services for my novel and finding ways of smoothing it over before I attempt to submit to a publisher or literary agent. It's a difficult thing to invest in when there's almost nothing else to my name.
I still struggle with depression and a self defeating state of mind. As well as struggling with keeping my head above water without making any money. As much as I have been turned down by publishers or agents, I have longer still been turned down by possible employers. It's not easy finding work in my part of the country, and especially trying to find any job I am qualified for.
I truly wish it was as easy getting a job as it was for people to yell at me to "get a job!" If I ever make it as an author to the point that I can live off of the profits of my books that I will remember to treat everyone I meet who is in the situation that I find myself now with a modicum of compassion that this world so terribly needs.
Hello my loyal readers. Happy Halloween to one and all. I hope everyone has a good time tonight trick or treating as well as a safe night. Be sure to look both ways before crossing the streets, get your candy checked in case of tampering, and brush your teeth before you go to bed after gorging on your treats.
As a bit of news, I want to let everyone know that I have decided to enter a writing contest on Writers Digest. In four thousand words or less, a short story in any of the genres of Love/Romance, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Mystery/Thriller, Horror/Suspense, and Young Adult. Personally, I always enjoy a challenge so I picked a genre that was not yet in my repertoire and I went with Love and Romance.
It's a singular challenge to write an entire story in four thousand words, or so I think. You want to tell the whole story and still make it embellished with some sensational hook to draw in the reader. I finished the rough copy and as soon as I am finished with this blog I am going to begin the task of revising it.
As a child and even as an adult, I don't seek to compete against others. Mainly because it doesn't matter to me to do better at something than anyone else. The only competition I typically seek is against myself. How good am I compared to how I used to be? Do I jump higher, write better, run faster, or lift more than I used to? My only competition is against myself and I am happy to try and beat my old records.
However, when it comes to writing I think I might need to step up my game a little more. My books haven't sold in awhile and it's still a month away before my collected works will be coming out. I'm still getting that project revised and put in order. I need to occasionally "shake it up" with something new, and writing a love story seemed like a good way to get out of my comfort zone and into something new.
My submission is due on November the 7th. Not much time and so much to do. So be safe and well on your Halloween night. And if you're looking for something good to read, visit my books section and see if there's anything you want to buy for yourself or someone special in your life.
Something I have been struggling with in my work as an author is the writing. Not coming up with a compelling story, but getting back to the actual writing. These past few months, I have been composing query letters for agents and marketing myself to try and boost sales. All the while, I'm not doing the work that I really love.
Therefore, I think I am going to designate only one day a week at doing the things that don't entirely contribute to my stories. I think on Fridays beginning next week that I will dedicate that day to manage my website, research publishers and literary agents, and market my books.
I think getting away from the work that I have come to think of as my calling is detrimental to my craft. Until I get a publishing agent, I am going to focus more of my week on bringing quality stories to the world.
The collected short stories of Trinity the Troublemaker will be prepared for release by December in time for Christmas. Once that project is completed I will be taking a break from Trinity to focus on the other projects I have in preparation. Trinity is always a joy to write, however there are always other stories to tell.
These new stories are going to require the services of a professional artist for the covers, and a lengthy time of story editing and revision. I hope that you will all find the stories to be real page turners and struggle with putting them down. I've been so busy trying to find help making my mark that I haven't been putting effort into making my mark.
These stories are coming, with or without a publisher or agent. If one of them want to hop on board once I get momentum, they're certainly welcome. Until then, I've got some readers to entertain.
For the life of me, I cannot draw complicated art. Originally I intended to do a picture of Westrock for the collected works edition of Trinity the Troublemaker. I wanted to illustrate areas of the town that have significance in the books such as Trinity's home, the school, the hospital, and the high school stadium.
I keep having to remind myself that I am a good author, but my artistic abilities are at the third grade level. So, rather than show a road into town with a sign that says "Welcome to Westrock," I'm going to keep it simple and yet fun.
On the front cover, I have the title in multiple colored letters with my signature on the front. Beneath that, and looking up at the title I have Trinity peering over a brick wall. On the back cover, I have the back view of Trinity at the brick wall with her using a couple of garbage cans to help her look over the wall.
Simplicity is the key to making a good cover for me. I love writing about this little girl and her world, and it's nothing flashy or fancy. So my covers should represent the sheer childlike simplicity of a fun little girl who has a love for adventures and helping others.
The collected works for Trinity the Troublemaker will be available in December 2016, and will be the perfect gift for your family. Celebrate the holidays with a little girl and her friends who looks beyond our differences to make everyone feel welcome and important.
Hello my loyal readers and newcomers. I wanted to share my new plans about what's coming up. As far as timing the release of new products and re-releasing my current stories.
First of all, the stories that are already published and available on Amazon are going to remain on there and available. However, I am planning to make all three of the Trinity series available on Kindle as a part of a free promotion again. Amazon will only allow me to run one free or discounted promotion every three months for each book. I was thinking about doing the free promotion around Thanksgiving and Black Friday to extend through Cyber Monday. I plan on making all three stories available for free for five days on that weekend.
Next, I am planning for a December release of my collected works volume of Trinity the Troublemaker. What I will be working on until then for that book is formatting and uploading the manuscript to Create Space. Also, I will be working on the cover art for the book as well as the interior art as a feature in the collection. I plan on introducing images of the characters that I haven't otherwise drawn up in concept. The book will be in full color as well.
I think the collected works would be a lovely Christmas present for families, and their children. I've always tried to make my work suitable for children to read, but the most feedback I get is from parents and adults who have loved reading my stories. I'd love to get some feedback from children reading my stories.
For now, those are the plans. Additionally, I will be working hard to try to get my video blog operating. My recording equipment can be very temperamental. Plus, I think I need to work on my delivery on video. I feel very bland and watered down. Not interesting in the least. I think I get camera shy too much.
As I get things worked out, I will pass the word on to you my friends. I hope everyone is doing well and looking for some good books to read. I have had NO book sales in September. However, I attribute that to the move to my new home and not being able to be as active to market myself and my books. Hopefully, October will be different and I hope to make my best sales yet. The first month my print sales came online, I had five copies of the first book that were sold. The second and third stories have had no sales ever.
The books are available on Amazon, in print for $6.99 and on eBook for $2.99. Kindle Unlimited Members can read the three eBooks for free of course. And remember, I am donating part of the royalties to the "Ark of Hope for Children." So buying my books will help real life children who are victims of bullying and abuse. Although, if you don't want to buy my books and just give to the charity directly, you can. Whatever we can do to help children is need. I'm broke and poor, but I help with what little money I get from my books. If you aren't broke or poor, you can spare just a little change to make a big change in the life of a child.
It's all as simple as the choice to try.
Last night, I approved the proof copy for my latest book of "Trinity and the Sad Child." This is the third book in the series of Trinity the Troublemaker. This story will also be available in my collected works edition that I am currently working on. I'm truly excited to have these projects in the works and to present the collected volume for my devoted readers.
Once the collected volume is released, I will be giving Trinity a break so that I can focus on other unrelated projects in my writing. These stories are more grownup in their theme and plot. Definitely nothing I would recommend for young children, but nothing I am deliberately trying to make too graphic for them. I don't write my stories for demographics and marketing, I write them because I can think of a plot with a compelling story to be told. An adventure to be shared, or an issue to provoke thinking in others. Frequently, I write on a given topic because I am constantly challenging myself to write in unfamiliar terms to take myself out of my comfort zone.
I used to write essays in college concerning social topics and criminal justice issues. However, I was also a part of writing in a creative writing class with the teach I wrote a dedication to in "Trinity and the Sick Kids," by the name of Brian Kirby. When I took my first class with him, it was an introduction to documentary films. Weekly we wrote a response to a film he would show us and then assign other papers as he saw fit.
To me, Brian Kirby is the definitive "thinking man" of today. He is an educator who challenges others and doesn't allow his students to merely slide by. He's the kind of educator that our society needs more of to turn out truly smart and intelligent people. Because of him, I honestly felt challenged to write well. Challenged when I took his classes, and challenged today to bring forth a story worthy of his class.
Not everyone appreciates a man like this. We all know someone who likes to take the path of least resistance. A life lived with minimum effort for maximum benefit. Which is a fine sort of life I guess if you never want to achieve anything great. Although, on the other side of the coin I can understand people who adopt this kind of life. People trying their best to pay their bills and raise their families. They can have the good and happy life of their choosing, and by no means do I condemn such people because they live their lives from a practical standpoint.
I hope no one takes my comments above as a reflection on their own lives and I certainly don't want to alienate any of my readers. I don't despise someone for living their life like this. On the contrary, I am saddened by it. I feel as though they have lost the ambition that drives them to pursue their dreams. The zeal for life that makes them strive for personal satisfaction of doing something that defies everyday monotony and doing something that people will talk about with admiration.
Whether it is writing, mountain climbing, scuba diving, community leadership, or volunteering I would love to see people who feel that their lives mean more than merely settling down and paying bills. People who will strive to make a mark and show how special they can be in what they've done. You don't owe anyone for deeds of excellence or greatness, you deserve the pleasure and the satisfaction of doing those things. You might just surprise yourself when your own hidden talents are revealed.
When I was twenty four years old, I applied to become a police officer in my home town. I had physically trained and studied things that I thought would be important and ask police officers for any inside tips that I might be able to put to use. The hiring process was a long and drawn out affair between all the tests and interviews. Over the course of a three or four month span, it all came down to the psychological testing.
I didn't pass the test because I was crazy. I didn't pass because the psychiatrist thought I wasn't cut out for the job. They believed that I wasn't assertive enough, that my moral compass was too good to be true, and I was even told that I was not obnoxious enough.
That failure still stings sometimes because I thought it was what I was meant to do. Four years later, I tried again with another city. However, failing once was enough to make the department decide not to try wasting any money on my examinations to try hiring me. Not only did I fail, but it was like I was marked.
I resigned myself to the fact that I would never be a cop, but that also didn't mean that I couldn't do good things as well. Back at that time, I worked at a casino and I was in the surveillance team. Regularly I had to seek out thieves or determine the truth of a given matter. I was even privileged to occasionally discover evidence that cleared someone of an accusation. That was my favorite thing to do, because it meant that if not for me then someone or a whole department wasn't pre-emptively cleared out under suspicion of theft or wrongdoing.
After a couple more years of working, I decided that I should return to college and complete my bachelor's degree. I'd hoped that acquiring it would open me up to new opportunities and give me a chance to do even more of what I loved, helping people. I love helping people with the gifts that I have been granted. An intellectual thrill from providing a solution or comfort by thinking out the problem. I was really good at investigations, but I also have a good ear for conversation.
I still haven't found a job where I feel like I belong. By the time I had published my first book, I had been out of work for nearly two years. I had to do something finally, and with the encouragement of my friends I took the leap with story writing. Maybe my stories don't solve anything, but maybe through happy tales of adventure and overcoming obstacles it will give someone hope.
People think I am funny for collecting trinkets that represent my failures. It's not from a sense or some need to punish myself. I want to remain humble and avoid being arrogant. I want to remember that even if I had succeeded at what I tried, that it still might not have been what I was meant to do. However, I believe that my failures have served to shed light on my road to success. It's a path I continue to walk because success isn't a stopping point, it's an everlasting desire. I have never been defeated by failure, I've been given a lesson from each time that I have failed. Although it is not always clear to me at the time, I think that lesson is simply put: "Not here, keep going and you will find it."
"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
I'm a man with many fears. Admitting it is nothing to be afraid of because I tie up no pride in myself to the point of trying to play myself off as perfect. It's an ordinary thing to be afraid because the human body has its own built in flaws and weaknesses and is vulnerable to several kinds of injury. So is also, the human psyche.
A lot of fear exists in our minds, but it is no less real. How others perceive us is almost more important to us than how we perceive ourselves. Acting on that fear might drive someone to try harder to gain the approval of others and modify oneself to extraordinary efforts to conform to the group mentality.
That manner of behavior isn't facing fear, instead it is the act of surrendering to fear. Such a person may well one day come to the conclusion that while they have been so busy doing so much for others that they don't even know their self very well at all. Loss of identity by not trying to define one in the first place and going with the flow like a dead fish.
That example wasn't meant to be as long as it turned out to be, but it must have needed to be said. Otherwise, it would not have come out of my mind. So, therefore I think and therefore it is.
My personal fears could be along those lines with the sense of stage fright that I have. Getting up and speaking in front of crowds and being the center of attention has never been easy for me. However, when I began to write my books with the full intent of publishing them I came to a realization.
I realized that the fame and attention that I had shunned for all of my life before was now something I would have to reach out for. I am a brand and my stories are my product. My face has to be behind what I am trying to sell, otherwise it won't be worth buying. My fear was trying to draw attention to myself and I consider myself a very meek person.
I don't allow my fear to rule me, nor have I surrendered to it. I wouldn't say that I have conquered my fear, but I would say that I have defied it. With my website, my efforts to raise my brand awareness, and submitting query letters to publishers and literary agents I am now in a position where I am seen and judged for who I am.
As a Christian, I strive to remain humble and a good example of how I believe a person who accepts that label should act. While retaining my own sense of individuality. Being humble is something I do for myself because I don't want to raise high expectations. I don't want to be disappointed by big dreams and suffer from feeling unable to measure up. Aside from that, I am not a greedy person. Just making a living would be enough for me.
Another fear I think people have is to be deprived. To have to do without something. Not having enough, or ever having enough. That might be a fear I have conquered because I have had less than I have now and I survived well. I'm grateful for my blessings and I want to work hard to keep them.
At the same time, I also want to reach people with the written word. Beyond my image or anything else, I want people to hear my ideas and come up with some of their own. I want my thoughts to provoke thoughts and the things I have to say I want them to inspire friendship and kinship with each other. Instead of fighting to compete with each other, I would like for us all to have a common goal to bring our different talents and resources together to overcome a challenge.
Maybe we won't conquer the fear of the worlds problems, but we can do a lot to defy that fear. Wouldn't that be something?
I am back to the world wide web. It's so good to return to my website and to re-connect with my loyal readers and followers. So much has happened during my absence that it may take a little while to recount it all.
First, I have finished moving into my new home. (New to me, but it was built awhile back and fairly well kept and updated.) I have an expanded work space to continue working on my stories and I have new tools for my artwork that should help me to bring out something higher quality in the following days and weeks.
Before I moved in to this wonderful house, I built an enclosure for my cats so they could get the experience of being outside without having to cope with the dangers that they can get into. My neighbor has two large dogs in his back yard. I'm not sure of their temperament to other animals, but I will err on the side of caution as I would if they were children of my very own. I'm neither married or dating, and I have not run the risk in engaging in the act of making children in any way. So, my cats are basically like my children.
I "celebrated" my thirty fifth birthday during the time I was away. I used quotation marks because I don't celebrate birthdays as much anymore. At my age, it's not really an occasion to celebrate. Just merely observe.
My one gift is a drafting board easel. This is a special space I can use to work on the cover art for my Trinity books. This series is the only one that I will do the art for because my artistic skill is passable for the third grade level. So, right around the age of my target audience. As for other stories in the future, I will be turning to a professional artist and graphic designer of whom I have been friends for several years with. However, I won't use his services for free. I must pay him, and to do that I will need money.
If you're interested in seeing what's next on the horizon, you can help it happen. By purchasing books in the Trinity series and telling your friends with kids about the stories I have written. The more I get will roll back into my projects and I will be able to bring you some literature that you will not want to put down.
So I appeal to the compulsive readers and registered bibliophiles. (I think I just made up a term.) Read or recommend so I can produce my stories and share my entertainment with the world. You're a part of it, if you're reading this then you can help me continue my work. And I remind you that 15% of the royalties I receive from the sale of the Trinity series goes to support the Ark of Hope for Children.
Further updates will follow. Thank you friends, it's good to be back.
I usually like to post something new on my website everyday. Typically in the form of a blog. However, as of late I have been unavailable because I was doing some work on a house that I am preparing to move into.
For four days, I worked to enclose a covered patio for my kitty cats. Once I have moved over I will try to remember to post some pictures for everyone to review. I'm not trained or experienced in this sort of work. I have built some of my own furniture, but I have never taken on something of this scale.
However, four days working on my own and without any prior education, I think I did pretty well. Just needs some paint and a few other finishing touches and it will be a safe playground for my animals to play.
I used 2x4 wood studs to build the frame for the lower four feet of the walls, and then I used wire fencing to secure the remaining area on the upper half. The inner and outer walls are covered with segments of plywood, as well as a metal security door built into the frame.
The house has two back doors to access the house. One goes into the laundry room and the other entry is a pair of french doors. I enclosed the french doors but not the entry to the laundry room. I figure it's best to have an exit that bypasses the patio anyway, aside from the actual door built into the patio as well.
I'm happy to have the job practically finished. My animals will have the comfort of getting the fresh air outside as well as the safety from dogs or other animals intending them harm. Once I am moved completely into the new house, I will resume updating my website on a regular basis.
I hope everyone is doing well, and that you will all be safe.
Weird title for a blog post, but this is because something unusually wonderful happened to me today. I was at the restaurant with my mother waiting for our food. My mother ordered mozzarella sticks with her breakfast, (weird right?).
Anyway, this family was getting ready to leave. A father, his wife, and two little girls right around the ages of two to four. The littlest one comes to the booth that I am sitting at and just looks at me so sweet with a smile. I look back with a smile and I shake her hand gently asking her how she was doing.
The older one of the pair went to my mother and gave her a hug. Then they each helped themselves to a mozzarella stick each, hugged us goodbye, and left with their parents. The parents were there for the whole thing, and they got to see the face I make when my heart melts.
I missed a chance to snap a picture with them, but I was kinda taken by surprise. I've had it happen to me before on occasion when a kid sees me and wants to just meet me and say hello. They give me a hug just because or just treat me so sweet that I want to adopt them right there.
Kids really do melt my heart. Especially when they're sweet and so friendly. However, I do worry because if they get comfortable talking to strangers then they might come across someone who won't be nice to them. I'm relieved the parents have always been there to watch as I interact with their kids so that they know that everything is on the level.
It's a sad reality that kids could always come across someone who doesn't have their best interest at heart. As much as I like being surprised with a love-mugging, whenever I see a parent whose child is too shy to interact with me I do like to reinforce that behavior by saying, "That's good, never talk to strangers."
I want all kids to grow up safe, happy, and healthy.
I haven't been available to post within these last couple of days, and I do apologize for that. I've been very busy tending to some personal business, but beneficial. So here's the rundown on what you have to look forward to in terms of my website.
First off, I will be adding new art to the site. It's still my own work and my skill level isn't very complex. However, it's right around the third grade level of my children's series audience. I'd like to add the characters who have appeared recently in my stories as well as some of the places that I have added. I'm also going to be working on the cover for the collected volume of Trinity.
Continuing on, within the first couple of weeks I will begin posting a few video logs or vlogs. Nothing I intend to do too regularly, maybe just a Q&A or two. Perhaps a few things to announce other upcoming attractions, who knows.
The reason that all these changes are coming is because I am moving to more spacious accommodations. Somewhere that I can optimize my work and organize my projects better. As it stands now, I barely have room to stand at all. Much less to do my project artwork and work on my stories.
I'll post as best as I can. I'm looking forward to providing more content and improving on the quality. More news as it develops.
The chart above is a reflection of the free promotion that I run with each release of my books. These are Kindle eBook downloads. The first story was downloaded thirty times, the second was downloaded eighteen times, and the latest story came in at sixteen. Bringing the total to sixty four downloads of my stories in the span of time from June first to August the fifteenth.
Add in the six copies of the first book that were bought in print, gives me a total of seventy copies of the stories that have been obtained over the past seventy five days or so. A good portion of the sales and downloads took place before I opened this website.
I'm grateful for everyone who has downloaded or bought my books. The adventures of Trinity and her friends are likely to become a timeless treasure in homes around the world. The seventy times my stories have been obtained is also a sum of who around the world has sought out my stories.
If this website has the ability, I will display an itemized list of the areas that the stories were obtained in on their individual Amazon sites. I still manage this entire website on my own, so it may still look a little rudimentary. However, all the content is available for your amusement.