World Building

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Before we all die I just want to say…

The dust of graduations have now settled and I can finally look at this blog and admit to myself that it’s been more than a month since I’ve made an entry.  Of course, this hasn’t been an accident. While I cannot say that it has been by design, I’ve maintained a certain amount of “radio silence” because there’s just too much happening in the world. There is also too much happening in my life.

Not that this has been a viable excuse but the writer in me has been search for meaning. I have been trying to find it within myself to continue to do what I do. So it has taken me more that a month to reconcile this. Perhaps this is called a writer’s block of sorts but I’m not so sure.

I have been writing but just not to the degree that I want to. What I have been doing is thinking, contemplating, and assessing. The world we know right now is in chaos and I don’t want to be one of those bloggers that will complain about everything because it’s too much. There are no quick fixes and my words are not enough. Instead, I’m refocusing my energies in world building.

Let me explain.

So, my third novel is not flowing out of me the way it should and I refuse to force it out because then it feels less authentic to me. What I’ve been doing is trying to think my way around this problem. I will write dialogue or perhaps start a chapter from a different spot in the story. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. For the times it doesn’t work, I’ve been reading. Granted, my time for doing shit that is just about me is limited these days so I will not pretend that when I say I’ve been reading and writing it means that I have a plethora of time. All these “creative breakthroughs” happen when I get time to be creative, which is not much at the moment.

World building has taken up much of time and not just for the 3rd book. I was struck with an idea that I don’t want to share much of but only to say that I haven’t decided if this will be a YA novel or a comic book. I’m leaning toward the latter which will mean several things if I get there. I want to make sure that, if I do indeed pursuing this, I have all the points to this story fleshed out. I won’t even go into how I have no clue how to write a comic book (so I will have to Google that) and how I will need an artist to design my thoughts and characters.

Again, this is just preliminary shit. Focusing on the 3rd novel is still a priority but I will be honest, the process is becoming a little monotonous. There are times where I want to just leave the story where it is (with that cliff hanger) and there are times where I know exactly what I want to do.

Hopefully I can world build my way out of this.

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90 Minutes

Focused

Before we all die I just want to say…

There always comes a point where I have to self reflect on what I’m doing. My last post was about my professional career and how I’m willing to do I need to do in order to be successful. Yet, I struggle with my creative world… or rather,  I feel like I’m struggling.

I’m willing to admit that most of what’s happening is in my head. Perhaps I have higher expectations of what I can actually commit my time to. Why shouldn’t I expect to have a certain amount of success? Yet, I cannot define what that actually means and if I cannot get a definition then what the fuck am I doing? Why am I doing any of this?

I do it for me. But is that enough?

Everyday I follow my calendar. I have meetings upon meetings. I take notes and fulfill tasks based on those meetings and notes. Then I work events and if I’m lucky I get to have a meal at some point. I don’t complain because I love what I do and I follow the script that I set out for myself every day when I’m at work. But what happens when I get home?

Since I live with my mother (until such time as when the house is sold), it turns out that I don’t do nearly as much as I should be doing for me. Sure, I will get home, eat dinner, do chores, and then watch television. My television viewing habits mostly consist of political shows that depict how fucked we are right now. Of course, it’s April now so I can spread out that time watching baseball. So for the most part, my nights are unconstructed space.

Why is this important? Why is this the problem?

Unconstructed space is dangerous for me. As I’ve gotten older, I know that if I plan out my day at work, I will simply get more done. So is there no wonder that I feel like I’m in a perpetual state of nothingness when it comes to writing? I need to start planning out my time when I’m outside of work as much as I do when I’m at work. The reason I didn’t want to do this before is because it seems so tiring. What if I don’t want to do a damn thing? Sometime times I would rather spend my god given, American rite (for now) of doing absolutely nothing when I get home from work.

I can’t afford to do that. Not anymore.

It’s not just about the lack of writing. Sure, I could benefit from writing more blog entries because it fits the need to write everyday. Sure, I could benefit from adding to a third book that I’m supposed to be writing. It also has a lot to do with my volunteer life as a member of ACUI. There are things I need to do for that. I also need to think about ways to be better at marketing myself. So, no, it’s not just entirely about the writing but the majority of it is. Which leads me to the main question, what do I do about this?

90 minutes of writing, 6 days a week.

This is something that I needed to schedule a long time ago. A part of me has let my after work laziness get to me. I made excuses of not living in Harlem any more as a reason for why I stopped writing so much or running as much. The best way for me to get on track with my life is to follow my calendar. This isn’t a declaration that everyone has to do this. As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t have thought that this was a very good a idea for me 2 years ago.

The point is that every so often I change and evolve; and thus I need to adjust my habits. Now if I ever question my decision on whether this will work for me, I will just look at this particular blog post since I wrote 706 words in less than 30 minutes of my 90 minute time.

Time for me to write something else before my time is up.

The Definition of Lying

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Before we all die I just want to say…

I thought about all the craziness going on in the government and how everything these days is being called “fake news” by President Trump. I thought it would be fitting to list the all the definitions of the word, lie.

I think it’s important to point out that we all know he’s a liar. This is not a false statement. He has told untruths while weaving a web of campaign promises that he has consistently tried to uphold. What makes me laugh/cringe is that even his followers never thought he would do half the things he promised…why? Because he is a liar.

So with that said, you are entitled your opinion but not your own facts.

Lie
noun
1. a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood.
2. something intended or serving to convey a false impression;imposture:
3. an inaccurate or false statement; a falsehood.
4. the charge or accusation of telling a lie:

verb (used without object), lied, lying.
5. to speak falsely or utter untruth knowingly, as with intent to deceive.
6. to express what is false; convey a false impression.

verb (used with object), lied, lying.

7. to bring about or affect by lying (often used reflexively):

Idioms

8. give the lie to,

  1. to accuse of lying; contradict.
  2. to prove or imply the falsity of; belie:
    His poor work gives the lie to his claims of experience.
9. lie in one’s throat /teeth, to lie grossly or maliciously

Various Synonyms

aspersion•calumniation•calumny•deceit•deception•defamation•detraction•dishonesty•
disinformation•distortion•duplicity•evasion•fable•fabrication•falsehood•fib•fiction•
forgery•fraudulence•guile•hyperbole•inaccuracy•invention•libel•mendacity•
misrepresentation•misstatement•myth•obloquy•perjury•prevarication•revilement•
slander•subterfuge•tale•treachery•treason•untruth•vilification•whopper•

lie. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged. Retrieved February 27, 2017 from Dictionary.com website http://www.dictionary.com/browse/lie

Staying on Track

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                                    New Bio on HuffPo

Before we all die I just want to say…

I like to give background information on some of things that I’m doing. It puts me a space where I can share my thoughts while keeping myself on task. I’m taking my renewed interest in posting for The Huffington Post seriously. I truly believe we all have a role to play in all this. My article last week came from a place of deep contemplation.

I wanted to make sure that my return to that platform was, at the very least, interesting. I know that there tons of people blogging and writing about the exact same things that I want to so I have to put in more work on my posts then I commonly do for this blog. There is always the chance that anything written on the HuffPo can become viral and I want to make sure that my best writing is on display.

When I finally hit submit on my last post I realized that 2016 went by and I didn’t write anything for the Huffington Post. Before this I had a feeling it had been awhile I just didn’t think it was THAT long. Perhaps I silenced myself thinking that my voice was as important anymore or maybe I just simply got lazy. Whatever it was I was smoking in 2016 (in terms of this excuse), I was delusional.

I’m now at a point where I will write how I feel about 45. My goal is not to try to convince his supports (because I don’t give a shit about them), it’s more about pointing out shit that is so amazingly clear to me but perhaps not so much clear to others. This will be my continuing contribution to the resistance.

Now is the time to Write

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Before we all die I just want to say…

It’s a snow day! Time to write!

I’m slowly getting back into the groove for this next book. I finally finished Chapter One and it was tough. I still want to tell an interesting story. I want to end this novel in a very satisfying way. In order to do that, I will have to take my time and really concentrate on what it is I want to get out of all this.

I have also made a decision to take another stab at applying to the VONA writing workshops. I believe in professional development. In my time working in Student Affairs I’ve come to recognize that, though attending conferences, my value as increased from the input of others. If I want to continue doing this writing thing, then I should attempt to do professional development. So applying to this is something I feel I should do. Of course, I should also investigate other workshops.

Since we are talking about writing, I’m also in the process of updating my Huffington Post page. I need to get back in that realm. I just looked and my last article was in 2015. That is unacceptable to me, so it is time to update everything and start writing.

What does all this mean? I think that there are different forms of resistance. While I cannot march all the time, I can write and express my opinions. I think that we’ve had 8 years to be comfortable and now the world is changing. Despite how bad these times can be, it is opportune time to be an artist of any kind.

So, right now I’m gearing up to a lot of writing and I hope it all works out.

2017 Goals

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As much as I would love to stab 2016 in the eye, I should be happy to say goodbye to such a horrid year. I actually went to a Thesaurus to look up synonyms for horrible so I don’t have to say the word so much in describing 2016.

Anyway…

I’ve barely had time to go over goals for 2017 but I’m satisfied with what I came up with. You may know that I don’t do resolutions so I create goals instead. I set 10 goals that are totally achievable and while some objectives are harder than others, these are promises that I make to myself and thus I have to hold myself accountable.

As per usual, I looked back at the past year to see how well I did. I noticed that I’ve achieved less than half of the goals that I set last year. The more important goals surrounding The Book of Isabel were achieved but I fell short on my overall targeted intentions in 2016. This a first for me so that might explain why I have been so somber over the last few months. I need to do better and hopefully these 10 goals will set me straight.

While I don’t put these goals in numerical order, finishing book three is at the top of this list. I feel like I slacked in overall writing this year and the only way to bounce back is to hit the keyboard hard next year. Chapter One is almost done and from there it should be smooth sailing until I’m done with the first draft. The only problem is that I don’t know how long this book will be.

This makes me think about the my failings in blogging this year. Not one Huffington Post article and I failed in posting 50 posts on this site. I usually put out something on the Huff but I just haven’t been feeling the whole part of blogging for another platform and not getting paid for it. In any case, I need to blog more on my page. Sure, I revamped my webpage but I lacked the commitment to give my readers more material. I would like to change that.

Since I’m talking about my failings in writing, I really need to get on my short story game. I’m my worst critic and with all the stories I wrote, I’ve released three of them on Wattpad. I was not ready. I still think my writings and my stories are amateurish at best. I need to believe in myself more. If I can do that, I can feel more comfortable in marketing myself more. Both things need to happen.

Although, the one thing I absolutely did in 2016 was read. In fact, I read more books in 2016 since college (when I was assigned reading). I loved most of the books and that only means I want to continue to read more. More importantly, I want to get back into comic books. I feel like I took 2016 off but I want to get back in the saddle. Thankfully I have Comixology for that.

 

This one is a long shot but… I think I want to get into Podcasting. I love listening to Black Girl Nerds, Black Comics Chat, Fan Bros, and Nerds of Prey. I think I can offer something to the conversation when it comes to Latinxs and comics. I will look into this one. It might be time for this.

Of course, no list is complete without mentioning that I need to move. Yes, this is like the 3rd move in three years but hopefully, this will be my last one. I need a new apartment that is hopefully close to work that will also allow me to get back to my running routine. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve been establishing routines and running was definitely something that was broken when I moved to Mount Vernon (I know, I never wrote about it). However, my current residence has allowed me to reduce a bit of my debt and that is something that will always be a goal.

 

 

That’s it. This is my last post of 2016. I can tell this year to go fuck itself for taking 90% of my childhood.

Happy New Year everyone. Be safe out there.

The Mirror Box

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Next year will be a pretty big year for me.  I plan to devote quite a bit of time writing the third book. I’ve been working on Chapter One for a few weeks now and it’s coming along slower than expected but I believe that the promise of a new year will bring better tidings.

I’ve always planned for this book to come out sometime in 2018 and from the looks of it, I may just make all my intended deadlines. If I finish in the way I want to then I’m probably looking at winter 2018.

This will be the last book in this series.

I feel I need to say this. The self publishing game is a tough one and I think the time is fast approaching in which I have my writing of this to another level. The thing about all this is that no matter what I’ve done, I will feel inadequate as a writer. There will always be questions in my head about how much of an author I truly am. It’s not lost on me that many authors I follow and aspire to be all have  publishing deals and truth be told, I never tried to get one.

So the future plan for me is to finish The Mirror Box (which is a title change from The Glass House). I will explore the final path of Louis that started in 2014 with Hanging Upside Down and then continued in The Book Of Isabel. When I’m done with all those obligations, I will dust off an old unfinished story and make it into a manuscript. Then we will see what happens.

I’m sure that it will fail spectacularly because it will be my first attempt to try something totally out of my comfort zone.

…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.

 

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.