World Building

giphy

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.

Advertisements

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.

Staying on Track

huff-bio
                                    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

IMG_0707

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.

8 Blog Years

outlook-not-so-good-420x260

Before we all die I just want to say…

I almost failed to mention that this blog turned 8 last week. Normally I try not to forget about this “milestone” because it does mean a lot, but this week has been so crazy. What is striking to me is that I started this blog the year Obama started his first term.

Eight Years ago was such a different time. There was hope in the air and there a general feeling that we could get past the Bush years. I never once attributed the creation of this blog to the fact that Obama was the president but I’m sure that him being POTUS was part of an underlying feeling. One of my posts from 8 years ago is entitled Tired of Excuses because at that time I was telling students of color that I advised that there was simply no more excuses for them to not achieve.

I read that post and after realizing how dumb I sounded at the very end of it, I noticed that 8 years ago I was telling students something I should’ve been telling myself. At that time, I had yet reveal to myself that my marriage was failing. I had not yet realized that I could be so much more. The whole way I look at world has changed over the last 8 years because I decided to stop talking about what I want to do and did it.

I also think about all the people who have passed on in my life, friends that I lost, relationships destroyed, and bridges burned and before I can even think about going down a dark road of self doubt and despair, I think about the hope in my life. I think about the my current life, my love, my family, my friends, and the books I’ve written and I can’t help but be grateful that I did accomplish a lot in the last 8 years.

The world is different now.

This current climate does present a lot of material for writing but it will be darker. It will grittier and angrier. This was once a space where I can really get into my feelings of love and life and it has slowly morphed into a place where I express my rage at the world. I’m not sure what the next 8 years will bring, shit I’m not even sure we will be here next year (I don’t even kid you when I say that). What I do know is that I will not stop.

There was a time I thought about quitting this whole thing, but I cannot do that now. There is too much at stake.

Happy New Year?

rogue-one-jyn-erso-tie-fighter-o

2016, What the F–k.

This has probably been one of the worst years in the new Millennium. Sure we can talk about celebrity deaths because there have been quite a few of them. But yet I feel like we’ve been on a collective journey through this shit storm.

Maybe, it was the election that makes me feel this way. Perhaps it was the fact that I wrote last year that I was not looking forward to 2016  due to the fact the Black Lives still Don’t Matter. The news in general has not been good overall.

Kinda reminds me of Rouge One.

rogue-one-beach

It was a dope movie. An impossible mission to stop an impossible creation. So many deaths.

While so many of us have survived this year the question is, what will 2017 have in store for us? Even better, do I still wish everyone a Happy New Year?

I know, personally, that I have no idea what is going to happen to any of us. I want to be the hopeful person that thinks the next 4 to 8 years will be amazing, but I can’t. I can only think about how we are in serious trouble.

I will still write. I will still share my opinions. I will still support my peoples. I just wonder, what it will all be for? Yeah, it sounds like all doom and gloom but we’ve seen the rise in populism before. In fact, great stories are created with great villain with crazy ideals. This is a ride I’m not ready for but will take anyway.

So.. Happy New Year?

p6ozq2msl6jg4i6wii5g

 

(p.s. all these scenes were cut from the movie due to reshoots. Ironic somehow.)

…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.

 

Fluff.

paper-falling

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

Black and White American Flag Newcastle United

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)

 

Book Giveaway Part 3 #bookofisabel

13230259_10103033031507396_5067888276534347001_n

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.

14440798_10157605952585096_3757148900887021728_n

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!