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…in their shoes?

One of the things I end up doing when I start getting back into novel writing is to write dialogue. Just random conversations to get back into the flow. Sometimes, I will mimic actual conversations and other times, I will go on long tangents just to see where it goes. If I find it very interesting and useful, it may end up in a story that I’m writing. So in that essence, I decided to really write a conversation about a person who believes the exact opposite of what the other believes.

Most times this ends up being an experiment that I play out in my head and then transfer it to the keyboard later. Once I do that, I’ll add more words to give it more depth. I consider this to be an exercise of being in the other person’s shoes. The problem really becomes the issue of trying to debate facts. I mean, how does one do that?

Here’s a scene with two guys talking. I can always add the details later but for the sake of argument it’s probably better to ask yourself where you imagine them. A bar? A strip club? In a car, driving? Later in my writing process, I tend to add other details like… he said or he continues. Also, I’ll add things they’re doing while the dialogue is happening to make the exchange seem authentic because we’re never still when we talk to people.

Anyway here we go:

FADE IN

A: I believe the Earth is round.

B: Oh fuck no, I don’t believe that shit at all.

A: How can you say that? That’s a fact.

B: Really? How is that a fact?

A: Uh, Science.

B. Oh, so you go to school to learn a bunch of shit these Liberals tell you? Have you seen the Earth for yourself? I know you ain’t never been up there personally and don’t tell me you saw pictures because any photo can be doctored.

A. Liberals didn’t create science though. They do teach science in schools so you have to give it some merit. But, back up, you actually think the Earth is flat? What about space and the moon? We did send astronauts up there.

B. See, that’s some bullshit. The moon landing was all faked. I read it somewhere. They never landed and they totally had a camera with some funny lighting effects that gave people watching it on TV the impression that they was there… and you want to know why I know the Earth is flat?

A. This should be amazing.

B. Because if the Earth was really round, airplane pilots would be trained to not fly off into “space”.

A: (puzzled) What? Are you serious? Are you air quoting space?

B. Yup, I don’t believe in “space” either.

A: What the fuck? How do you not believe in space? What do you think is up there? Heaven?

B: That’s right, I do. All I’m saying that if there were billions of fucking stars up there then it wouldn’t be so dark at night. I read all about it and it make sense. I believe what I can see.

A. Wow. I guess gravity means nothing either.

B.  I never said nothing about gravity. Let’s stick to “space” and your belief in “science”.

A: Yes, why don’t we stick to science? I happily believe in a little something we call facts.

B. That’s all bullshit though. All this science shit is a conspiracy to get us to believe that God doesn’t exist and I’ll tell you this: I hope you got your shit together because Jesus is coming real soon.

A: …and that’s a fact.

B. Hell yeah it is.

A:  …and you know this, how?

B. I read it in the Bible.

FADE OUT

Honestly, I can do this all day. This gave me some pause because I realized that I could come up with an argument on facts. Yes, religion came into it and you kinda had to expect it to go in that direction.

The point is that no matter how dumb I think the other person is, they believe what they believe. We are in a matrix moment where people believe so passionately about their own personal truth they they would die on a very steep hill for it.

So, yes, this is life right now where facts and opinions hold the same weight.

Faith is, of course different, but you can also be religious and scientific too.

Also. There really are people who believe the Earth is flat.

Remember this is all fluff anyway.

 

This is Life Right Now?

I can’t fully explain how the next 8 years will play out (yes, I said eight). I can barely get a full grasp how it will feel when January 20th rolls around. The only thing that I can compare all of this to are things I’ve seen in fictional universes.

Maybe its because things don’t feel quite right. Maybe things feel out of place or a tad bit disjointed because this can’t be right life right now, can it? Donald Trump is going to be president. I was kinda hoping we would get some sort of time traveler trying to stop this shit. Unless you consider the alternative that they actually did because Hilary won… but what does that even mean? (answer: ssǝןpɹɐbǝɹ pǝʞɔnɟ ǝɹɐ ǝʍ)

So, yes, this is real life and I can only compare it to a few things.

G.I. Joe: Worlds Without End (1985)

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On November 4th and 5th of 1985 these two episodes aired that depicted a few members of G.I. Joe traveling into an alternate universe (via transmutation device). They soon discovered that Cobra won and took over The United States (and the world). What followed was the discovery that everything had changed. The currency was different. The White House was made of gold. The Lincoln Memorial is now Cobra Commander Memorial (although he’s not dead).

This was a nightmare world where democracy died, where a lunatic and his cronies have taken over everything. Jobs don’t exist because it was replaced by slavery. I’ve always wondered how possible would it be for something like this to happen. How could a egotistical person like Cobra Commander win? How does that start? Hm.

Justice League: The Savage Time (2002)

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This story aired on November 9th of 2002 and its a time travel tale that involves WWII and Nazi Germany. The premise is more of, “what if the Nazis won?”  So how did this happen? Well, Vandal Savage managed to change the time stream. Green Lantern protected most of the Justice League from the temporal force that was unleashed (because they were in space doing what they do). When the JL returned to Earth they discovered that a tyrant had taken over everything.

Since most of the story revolved around going back in time to fix shit, the brief present was nothing short of an Orwellian depiction of how a government can be run by a tyrant. The only bright spot was Batman still existed but in “the resistance leader” sense. This is where I begin to think about how Nazis can run a modern day country. It doesn’t seem so far fetched now.

Star Wars (All of them)

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There are many things that fascinate me about Star Wars that go beyond Jedi, the religious undertones, the father/son dynamic, and the spaceships. At the end of the day, the majority of the story is about the rise of evil and xenophobia. Chancellor Palpatine, despite being a Senator, was considered an outsider of sorts when it came to the political realm of the Republic Senate. He was voted in because the people wanted change and he thus plunged the galaxy into war that lead to him ruling it with an iron fist. Aliens, in particular, were forced to the edge of a galaxy that was ultimately run by old white men.

I think the most fascinating thing is that Palpatine was a liar and the Jedi knew it. He played everyone with lies and when he was attacked he was able to play up a non existent weakness. At the end of the day, he turned a Republic into a an Empire. At one point I couldn’t even imagine what life would be like as a citizen of this galaxy until I read a great book called Bloodline by Claudia Gray which explains the birth of the First Order from the ashes of the Empire.

All it takes is a populist candidate with a group of politicians who want to turn government on it’s head.

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But you know what? This is all fiction right? This shit could never happen on a smaller scale. This could never happen to us. Right.

Fluff.

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Fluff. I feel that pure fluffy shit has been coming out of my fingers as I try to write blog posts. The world is going by so fast and sometimes I feel like I’m on the sidewalk waiting for a light to tell me when I can cross. The problem is, there is no light. There is no crosswalk, just passing cars filled with propaganda, think pieces, real shit, and cupcakes for racists. It’s almost sensory overload.

There are people who say everything I want to say much better than I would. So my life right now is about re-tweeting and liking posts on social media, which is cool, but I feel like I should do more. When I do come up with something it’s often times… fluff.

All this to say that this has been a horrible year. I know that most people will tell me that I get a pass because my aunt died which is fair to a certain extent. I just started to re-energize by completing the first chapter of my next book, but I still feel that something is off with me and my writing habits when it comes to this blog in particular.

Perhaps I need to refocus on other things but the problem with that is that even if I start something new like writing only about comic books, I will eventually get mad enough to talk about the current state of affairs. Then again, I don’t even know what that would look like outside of fluff.

Maybe it’s because the world in an enigma now. What’s up is now down. Racists have a real platform. Fake news is now real news or is real news now fake news? How does a creative person create fiction in a world where nothing seems real? This is what I struggle with because it is all fluff. Do I really want to write about shit that doesn’t matter to anyone but more specifically, me?

My next two blog posts will prove my point. I will still post them but they are crap. Just shit that I came up with because I just have nothing better to write about. But, think about this, Prince died and Trump is about to be the new POTUS. Shit doesn’t makes sense. It’s all fluff from this point out.

Like We Haven’t Been Telling You

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Ctrl-Alt-Right is the new emoji
with an orange face and bad hair
and red a cap saying,
A new America

A place of conflicted interests
and corporate Pinterest
accounts that mark Eurocentric
as newly oppressed

So they took back something
they never lost,
and we blame them
and they blame us

The conserves drink their tea
party like its 1899
and the neolibs cry into
Kale chips talking about…

I never thought this would
be a country of the less free
because my 401k is fat
and it will never really effect me

They call it the New America
I call it the old America renewed
because you can paint shit
red or blue and it will still be shit.

You can stuff it in a ballot box filled with hope
and it will still be shit.

and some of you are surprised
like we haven’t been telling you
all about this shit since Travyon died

LIKE we haven’t been telling you
all about this shit since Katrina

LIKE WE haven’t been telling you
all about this shit since Diallo died

LIKE WE HAVEN’T been telling you
all about this shit since the L.A. Riots

LIKE WE HAVEN’T BEEN TELLING you
all about this shit since the Central Park 5

LIKE WE HAVEN’T BEEN TELLING YOU
all about this… shit I’ve lost count.

(I needed to get this out)

 

This is not a Think Piece

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This is not a think piece.

I’m not going to hit you with stats about this election nor the implications of a GOP controlled government and how that will effect Black and Latinx lives. I’m not going to talk about how insane 2016 has been. This is more of an emotional thing for me because so much has happened that I haven’t really written anything substantial.

First – My aunt Theresa died last week.

I’m still coming to grips with that loss. There’s a missing piece in my life and in my family that has really caused a shift that I’m trying to deal with. Here was a woman in my life that I’ve gotten close to over the last 8 years. I spent time with her and if she need anything I was there. I dedicated my last book to her because I knew that it was only a matter of time before she succumbed to cancer.

Stage three advanced pancreatic cancer. I have seen her wither away for the last three years and feel a certain way about it. I feel a certain way about how this effects my family. I will leave that there because anything else skirts the line of privacy that I’m not ready to breach. What I will say is that as much as I loved her, she was a Trump supporter. I laugh because I know she would’ve been happy with what the hell happened yesterday.

Second – Donald Trump is the President-Elect.

Wow. I never thought things could change so quickly. I feel like we were duped. All the polls were wrong. We were all wrong in thinking this was all a joke and this would never happen. We were all wrong to think that we could elect a woman president. Now, there is a feeling of sadness that is compounded with the loss of my aunt.

I am so tired of feeling sad and 2016 has been that year where too many people had died for little to no reason. 2016 has been a the year that Prince died for Christ sake.

There will be plenty of blame to go around but I will not partake in this because this is not a think piece.

I will not get into blaming the subtlety of white supremacy that allowed people to lie to pollsters about who they were voting for because this is not a think piece.

I will not go into the blatant misogyny that has allowed Trump to become president even when he has a rape trial coming up. This is not a think piece. This is an emotional piece. It is okay to cry. It is ok to kick something.

The only thing I want to do right now is get though the next few weeks. I want to get through my aunt’s memorial and I want to finally start writing again because the world is changing and I do not want to lose myself.

 

Book Giveaway Part 3 #bookofisabel

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I realized that I will end up giving away more books than I thought and I’m okay with that. This past weekend I giveaway two books at the Lit Crawl I participated in. It was a short reading for me but I had a lot of fun. It wasn’t just me who read their work so I felt even better to be a part of a larger collective.

In terms of things I’m involved with and doing… I’m not done this month. I have a reading on October 15th in Washington Heights and I’m also going to be in the LETRAS – Latino Self Published Book Fair on October 23rd at the Bronx Museum of the Arts. I will talk about these on a later post. To end the month, I will be going to Georgia to visit family and speak at a book club.

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I just plan to be in more places as I continue this thing called writing. When I started this, I found myself being frightened by the readings and the public appearances. But, as I’ve come to recently learn, if there’s fear in a opportunity then I must take it. It means that I might afraid of potential success. As we know, fear is paralyzing and I cannot have anything stop me.

Of course during my adventures, I take pictures and post on them on Instagram. I tend to get a warm reception on this platform so I will I will give my Instagram audience a chance at a free copy of The Book of Isabel.

The rules are pretty much the same as the other two. If you follow me on Instagram comment on the photo accompanying this announcement (on Instagram) and give me the name of good book you’ve read written by a Latinx author. I will randomly choose a winner. This giveaway ends on Friday, 10/7.

Let’s Go Mets!

Book Giveaway – Part 2 #bookofisabel

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Despite my business, I can say that I’m still doing this. Yup, another book giveaway during Latinx Heritage Month. The first one was… well someone won and it was a no brainer really.

Before I announce the rules, I want to mention that I will be doing a book reading this Saturday in Lower Manhattan. See details below. Let me also add that this Saturday is the 2 year anniversary of Hanging Upside Down. I can’t believe it has been two years already. If you haven’t read it… now would be a great time.


Okay! So this one is for my Facebook peeps. If you follow me on el Facebook either on my fan page (I hate saying that) or my personal one, comment on this post on one of those pages and give me the name of good book you’ve read written by a Latinx  author. I will randomly choose a winner and they will get a copy of The Book of Isabel. I will close this giveaway on Friday, 9/30.

Good Luck…

First Book giveaway… #bookofisabel

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It’s my fault, really.

I’ve been too busy with work to really put the time and energy to get more blog posts out. The good thing is that this is always in the back of my head so that when I do want to write something down, I know exactly what to say.

So… I’m giving away some books this month (September 15 – October 15th). I mentioned this on Twitter last week and now I’m doing some follow up. I’ll be giving away 4 books during Latinx Heritage Month. I have been very careful on how I market The Book of Isabel because I’ve wanted to do things differently from Hanging Upside Down and the results are interesting to say the least.

Anyway, the first book giveaway starts… well, right now.

This giveaway is for the followers of this blog. Ya’ll have been so amazing and I want to thank you. So yes, you must be a follower for one… and two… you must comment on this post and tell me what’s the best book you’ve read this year. I will end this giveaway on Friday, September 23 at 9pm EST.

I will announce the winner and then… announce the terms of the next giveaway!

 

One Sentence 

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All it takes is one sentence for me to harness my creative energies; it is one sentence that separates an okay novel from a must read book. But, some times I barely get the chance to let it those sentences flow in the way I want. This is why I scramble hard to write anything down when the urge hits me.

Inspiration can comes at odd times and I really believe that other people are put on this planet to block said inspirations. It becomes my job to find away to put my thoughts on the page in spite of all the outside road blocks and my personal insecurities.

Today’s inspiration hit me the moment I grabbed my coffee any Starbucks. The realization that I had a great idea brewing was quickly subsided by the fact that I was so far away from forming it on paper and while any other person reading this will say, ” you should’ve just pulled out your phone,” it’s really not that simple.

I always need to marinate such ideas in my brain when it comes to writing. While I knew it’s was a long walk back to my notepad in my office, I was willing to take that risk by losing myself in thought. Sure I can write it down on my phone but that requires two hands which were full with coffee and breakfast so I was stuck rushing and thinking about how I just had a great idea to start book three.

But of course, I got interrupted twice on the way to my destination by co workers. Because it is such a busy time at work, things need to be handled. It was at that moment that I started to feel these ideas leaving my skull. I had to rush conversations before I forgot everything.

Lucky for me, I manage to reach a pad in time just write one sentence that will trigger my idea at a later time. All it takes is one sentence to start me on my way.

“My Secret Life” #bookofisabel

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I wanted to share with you one of my favorite chapters from The Book of Isabel. This is towards the beginning of the book (page 68) and the protagonist is in a dark place in his life so he goes to the only place that makes him feel better. The interesting fact about this chapter was that this was the last chapter I wrote for this book. I felt the story needed something a little more edgier and I came up with this chapter called, My Secret Life.


This is my secret life wrapped up in damp skin, cheap perfume, and fake breasts. I started feeling the effects of the 40 oz. I downed 10 minutes ago after I said “fuck it,” I’m going to Adult World. I need to get away from my life. I needed to stop thinking about the pure shit that’s my existence.


I focus my attention and energy on a very sexy black woman that wraps her body around a pole that’s at the center of a broad stage. Her well-built naked body is the best thing that my eyes can absorb today. Her stage presence is everything I need right now. I came here to see her, to get lost in her movements, her body, and her magic.

I know the days that Vivienne performs at Adult World because there was a time when I came here quite often to bask in her seduction. It’s been a couple of months and I miss it. Today, I needed to get away, just for a few hours, from this meager existence of crying over a woman I can no longer have. I would rather be caught up in a fantasy starring Vivienne. I would rather get lost in her eyes and her scent. I would rather get lost in her breasts and her G-string. I would rather get lost in her smile even if it means that I’m paying for it.

Her slow movements on the stage elicits an erotic dance that’s in perfect unison with the music blasting from the speakers. Most strippers dance to fast-paced music, but not her. She was dancing to Sour Times by Portishead and it’s as if she’s reaching into my soul giving it head. Her nude body and all her movements are speaking a foreign language that only a few people understand and she knows it. The men in the audience probably don’t even exist to her.

I don’t exist. I’m happy not to exist because there’s no betrayal in non-existence. There is no pain in the vacuum of non-existence and yet all of her rhythmic maneuvering drags me back from the ethereal to reality. Her ever-evolving choreography constantly reminds me that we are privileged to be in the same room with her. There is no pain here, only her.

I love this place because I’m a non-entity. I’m just another paying customer whose life choices have lead him here, to this place, with the hope of being teased. I can sit in the middle of this small venue and fade away watching nude women come and go off that stage. I can choose whom I want a lap dance from and I already know it’s from Vivienne. She won’t reject me because I’m just another paying customer and our relationship is that simple, pleasure and anonymity. I pay for her to give me the attention I only wish I could get for free.

The fixed seating gives off a theater-like quality that doesn’t resonate in other clubs. I do my best not to look up at the stage lighting because that only reminds me of my reality outside of this place. So I keep my vision directly on stage because it makes me comfortable to sit in darkness while I watch the show. My emotional numbness and disconnection to existence makes me feel better. It means the pain is not real. But from here she can see me if I wanted her to, I just have to give her a reason. I play with the singles I have in my pocket with my fingertips in anticipation of her coming into the audience. I know this game. I’ve played it before with her.

I pull out a dollar and I begin to fold it in half lengthwise. I smile while looking at her, hoping to get her attention during her routine. Vivienne does a long swing on the pole and gently lands on the ground. She crawls to the front of the stage and remains on her knees. She grabs her big fake breasts and licks her nipples as she scans the room. She notices the dollar I’m slowing waving and the game begins.

She smiles at me. There is recognition there. Her favorite customer has returned. How long has it been again? Weeks? Months? My invisibility now fades as she climbs down the small stage and provocatively walks towards my seat. Her platform heels make her look overwhelmingly sexy. Vivienne sits on my lap and never breaks eye contact with me. She smiles and says softly, “Welcome back, Professor.”

She grabs my head and pushes it between her breasts. Her skin is cool, but unbelievably comforting. She smells heavenly and for a brief second, this is everything I want. This is where I want to live. She shimmies her torso from side to side. Once she’s done, I lean back and give her the dollar. Vivienne, with her hands on her breasts, moves towards the dollar and I place it in her cleavage. She squeezes her breasts together and takes the money then mouths “thank you” and winks. She then gets up and continues her show.

I’m completely turned on by everything about her as I watch her bare ass walk away. Her sex appeal is off the charts. Other guys begin to give her dollars as well and this doesn’t bother me. This is the business of being a stripper. There is an unwritten contract that all patrons must abide by once they sit in these seats. It states that we cannot touch the women unless they allow us to. They’re also not property. Even though we’re giving money to them to  stroke our egos and make our dicks as hard a possible, they are in control. We are not allowed to disrupt that fantasy with our desires.. The only thing we control is the amount of money in our wallets and right now I have enough money for her to dance for me.

Her dance routine ends after another song and she collects her cash and her clothes before heading backstage. Amber, a tattooed blonde white woman, comes out on stage and begins her routine. She’s a little too skinny for my taste and my interest in her fades, so I wait. It normally takes three to four minutes for any woman who performs on stage to count her money and get redressed before returning to the seating area to continue the fantasy by offering lap dances. I know there’s a chance that I may have to wait a little longer than I anticipated. There may be a few guys here that want a lap dance from her a much as I do, but considering that all the guys in here are white and are focusing on Amber, I think I won’t have to wait long.


As expected, Vivienne walks out in a short one-piece strapless dress with the same platform shoes and she heads towards me. She sits on my lap and we begin to chat. “Hey there professor, it’s been awhile. Can I interest you in a little private time?” she asks.

I nod my head and say, “yes” without being too eager. She grabs my hand and I get up and follow her to the “VIP” section, which is just a fancy way of saying this area is for lap dances. Vivienne calls me professor because she knows I’m going to graduate school. She was fascinated by the idea of my becoming a professor even after I told her what I was really going to school for. Of course, I would never correct her because I’m not going to ruin a potential lap dance

I hope you enjoyed the excerpt. It’s gets pretty racy after this. I had so much fun writing this chapter. After while, the words just flowed from the hands.

You can purchase a copy The Book of Isabel here.