Thursday, December 20, 2012

Order in the Court



Now that my #WriterGrind has slowed down, I can finally add love in the mix. I want it all. Not the money, cars, and clothes, but love and happiness with a decent beau, and he says we're "courting" so...

What does THAT mean???

What's the difference between "dating" and "courting"? Does courting mean you're in a relationship? What about the commitment aspect? Does a title really matter when you're "courting" with someone? Could it mean that you may actually end up face to face as courte and courtee at a court house someday? Or in the middle of a romantic setting on the beach exchanging vows and nonstop smiles? I mean really. I've never actually dated with the possibility of marriage being a final option from the beginning (definition of courting). I'm 26 and I've been in two long-term relationships. I was young. Not yet established, and just eager to be loved. After having your heart broken a couple times, the definition of love becomes a bit skewed, especially when it's shackled by rules, such as these:

Rule #1 No Kids
Rule #2 Light Skinned Guys Only
Rule #3 Legal Hustle = Own Place and Car (in his name)
Rule #4 Close to Family

So, what happens when you meet someone who has all the qualities you're looking for, and he wants you to break all the rules? I like rules. I've always abided by them. That's what good girls do right? I guess I'm tired of being a good girl then. Tired of always doing what's right. Can I live? If I have your permission, then thank you, because one of my goals for next year is to learn how to be more spontaneous. I want to wake up and do unexpected things... On the edge. Fun! That's what it's called. Why so serious? Not anymore. I want to fall in love with my perfect man in writerland... Even if he's not so perfect, and wants me to "court" with him. Basketball has always been my favorite sport, but I know absolutely nothing about tennis. I just hope we're playing the same game on the same court... on the same team... and I end up #winning when my time runs out.

I just don't like "dating". It's too informal. Too casual. Too I-dont-feel-like-committing-so-I-will-just-waste-time-with-someone-special-enough-to-possibly-screw. Why waste time dating to suffice for loneliness? Getting to know someone takes time. Everyone isn't worthy of your time. If you disagree, then I guess I'm speaking for myself. Everyone isn't worthy of MY time, but he definitely is. So, we're courting, and I guess I like it that way.... I think I'm about to score a slam dunk!

Signed, Sealed, Delivered

Whenever, Wherever, Whatever

I'm Yours, Sir... Even after the court has adjourned.

*Music is Life... Poetry is Love*

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I Voted for POTUS


“Grandma, what’s a democrat?” 

She turned to meet my inquisitive stare, smiled and answered me with, “somebody who cares about poor people.” 

I’ll never forget her answer. It stuck with me. The same way the peanut butter stuck to the jelly in between the two slices of bread I ate after school almost every day. I wasn't poor, based on the normal definition, but I also wasn't wealthy. I was a member of the middle class by default, and my grandmother was a democrat. I guess that made me a democrat, too.  

As an innocent child asking that naive question, I still had no idea what a democrat was. Not in the real political sense anyway. As far as I was concerned all democrats were Black, because most Black people I knew were poor. My next question would have been, "well, why aren't there any Black Presidents, Grandma?" but even at that age, I already knew the answer. I also knew that my political affiliation would not define who I was, or who I was destined to become. However, I did not know that history would be made the first time I voted for POTUS... 

***

2004 - It was an election year and my 18th birthday was only a few days away. I wasn't eligible to vote at this time, and I was a bit devastated as I watched some of my high school friends partake in this new adult activity. I had to wait 4 more years to exercise my right to vote. A right that was not always granted so freely. In grade school, I learned all about oppression, and although this situation does not compare, as a future college student I was looking forward to having a direct impact on the next 4 years of my life. Imagine not being able to vote because you were born a woman. Imagine not being able to vote because you were born Black. Imagine not being able to vote because you were born a Black woman... 

But, I couldn't vote because I wasn't of age. For a moment, I felt like I was being oppressed. It wasn't an identical form of oppression, but similar circumstances nonetheless. I immediately understood that voting is a responsibility, and I couldn't wait to be legally responsible for my future.

2008 - Finally! Another election year had arrived and I was ready to experience the joy of voting in a presidential election. This time, instead of starting college, I would be graduating and entering the real world a short month later. I'll never forget the moment, or the hours after. Not only was a Black President in the running, but a Black President was elected the first time I was actually able to vote in a presidential election! I witnessed history being made and celebrated this "unbelievable first" by screaming at the top of my lungs and running around the living room with 3 of my best friends... and then, the sound of loud music stopped us in our happy tracks. Someone was driving around in circles in the parking lot outside blasting "My President is Black" by Young Jeezy. We laughed, and then we jokingly sang along, because indeed he was.

In 2008, I voted for a democrat... a Black democrat... and my vote counted.

***


2012 - It's election time again, and our Black President, Barack Obama, is currently the prime target in a racist battle. For the past 4 years, he has been blatantly disrespected, his power has been constantly tested, and his political viewpoints have been skewed to plot his anticipated departure. All of the doubts, the judgment of his leadership abilities, the falsified documents, and the outrageous statements did not cause him to lose track of his initial promise for hope. He previously told us "Yes, we can", and yes, we did... with steady improvement in the employment system, healthcare for all, the conclusion of unnecessary wars, and increasing the possibilities for students to further their education. I'll be honest and say that I voted for Barack Obama in 2008 because he was Black. However, the truth is he's not as Black as I am. With a mixture of ethnic varieties flowing through his bloodstream, President Barack Obama represents exactly what he stands for: equality. Though many have judged him based on the color of his skin vs. the content of his character, he still maintained his poise to complete the tasks at hand during these past 4 years. With conspiracy theories being used as a ploy to get him out of the White House as soon as possible, we are urged now more than ever to exercise the right our ancestors fought so hard to help us obtain. Those who present an argument about not wanting to choose between the lesser of two evils, and proceed to throw religion into play only when it’s convenient for a political advantage, forfeit their entitlement to voicing an objectified opinion.


This year, I voted early. After standing in line for 1 hour and 17 minutes, I trotted back to my car, looked in the mirror and placed my "I Voted" sticker on my face. I wanted everyone to see how proud I was of having the right to participate in what was once a limited responsibility. I wanted to proudly showcase my confidence in making an informed decision about my future, and I wanted to be able to pay my grandmother back by dedicating myself to fully understanding what it truly means to be poor; a metaphorical reference that exemplifies just how easy it is to overlook those who are nothing like you... The "Poor Things". Those who struggle every day to find their place in a "free" America. The elderly woman who deserves to receive inexpensive medication to ensure that her health doesn't decline earlier than it should. The middle class citizens who are constantly judged based on their education level and how much money they make. The families in debt because they can't totally grasp the concept of progression. The woman who turns to sex to find love, and is bearing a child 2 months later that she can't afford to keep. The single mothers surviving on food stamps and probably feeding their children those peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that I once ate. The victims of society who can't get ahead because others are constantly judging them based on irrelevant factors, such as their skin color. The 47 percent...


I have many goals of my own, but in order to make history, one must be able to endure the struggle and effectively learn from it. This time, I’m not so sure how much my vote will count, but no matter what happens, I hope we all can continue to move #Forward in peace.

I'm a woman. I'm Black. I'm a democrat. I'm Liltera R. Williams and I approve this message.


V.O.T.E (Victory Over Tragic Events)!

*Music is Life... Poetry is Love*

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Is It A Sin To Be Your Child's Friend?


There is no universal method when it comes to establishing the dynamics of family, and apparently it's against the law to incorporate the proper elements of friendship for a parent to simply be a parent. But what does a GOOD parent offer? Financial stability? 24/7 attention? Shelter (in any shape or form)?

I often hear mothers and fathers threaten their children with the following claim, a claim that I never want to utter to my future child(ren): "I brought you into this world and I'll take you out!" This is a vain statement of intimidation, often used as a scare tactic that instead creates a distance gap, and shatters the possibility of friendship.

Parents are required to nurture, protect, and discipline the offspring they have produced, whether their arrivals were anticipated or spontaneous. However, most parents are not prepared for the task of actually raising another human being from scratch, and discipline is also not a universal method.

To quote the Bible:

"Those who spare the rod hate their children, but those who love them are diligent to discipline them" — Proverbs 13:24

In common words, "spare the rod, spoil the child"...

This verse is often repeated when parents are attempting to justify their disciplinary actions, especially when harsh punishment is visible. Some parents discipline by inflicting physical harm. Other parents discipline by implementing persuasive measures. To discipline without purposeful intent is to spoil without positive gain.

What is a friend?

"A person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection; a person you know well and regard with affection and trust; a supporter"

I asked my mom to share her opinion on this topic and she agreed that parents must attempt to be their child's friend, because it opens up the door for unsolicited communication. Most parents support the open door policy, and welcome vocal exchanges when their child is struggling with various challenges of the world. I personally enjoy the benefits of being able to talk to my mother about most things, but the key is setting boundaries.

The biggest problem arises when the child is not able to separate parent from friend, or if the parent crosses the friendship boundary when it solely benefits their own personal needs. In retrospect, developing a friendship with your child invites the opportunity for trust, honesty, and reassurance. Sometimes being strictly a parent can limit the possibilities of a relationship that can flourish from all angles, and possibly keep an otherwise misguided child out of trouble. Everybody needs somebody to love, and double the love is better than no love at all.

To answer my own question, it's technically not a sin to be your child's friend, but being your child's friend will more than likely make you a GOOD parent.

"If you haven't learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven't learned anything."--Muhammad Ali 

*Music is Life... Poetry is Love*


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

He Ain't All That and a Bag of Chips with Dip


*Disclaimer: This post is not intended to place blame on the male species. My primary goal is to encourage women to realize how much they are worth. With that said, men, please don't take offense.


"All men are not the same, but you can't make the men who are change."—LRW

Why are you still chewing on a stale commitment that has no crunch? Once you get past the crunch phase and he starts dismissing you like the residue at the bottom of the bag, it's time to let go. The problem is most women don't know how or when to say goodbye. There are so many layers that I can peel away from the delicate coating of this topic, but for the sake of length and time I will focus my argument on the core of the matter at hand: women who allow men to treat them like Sugar. Honey. Iced. Tea. 

Crying over a man who constantly disrespects you, humiliates you, abuses you, and makes you angry… WHY? We all have the power to be happy, but for some reason we choose not to use it.
 
Comfort vs. Content vs. Complacent

When we get comfortable in a situation, it causes us to believe that we are content. But in actuality, we have become complacent. Learn the difference! The pursuit of happiness should never end.

In order to eliminate the feeling of a preachy, know-it-all tone, I will first highlight relevant circumstances from my own personal relationship experiences and share what I've learned to hopefully reverse the ricochet of the reality that most women seem to blatantly overlook. Love is blind, but it isn't invisible. We see what we want to see and believe what we want to believe. I, too, am guilty of this habit...

I'm a relationship kind of gal. I simply love love. When it comes to commitment, I'm all in.

I should have cheated.

The aftermath of two unsuccessful relationships has caused me to take a step back and reevaluate the actual terms of what it means to be committed to someone. I was comfortable in both of my previous relationships. I invested time, effort, money, and affection into two men who failed to appreciate me as a woman. I set my standards in the beginning, but I compromised a bit too much and did not repeatedly demand the same in return. I wanted to please my lover(s). I wanted them to be happy with me... even if I wasn't happy with myself. Although I personally believe I did all that I was supposed to do, they both were unfaithful. Still, I was forgiving... and left alone to patch up the scars of a broken heart... twice. But today, I'm better, stronger, happier, and wiser. No regrets.

Every woman has a breaking point.

As women, we must establish a limit to our pain. Determine the things you will and will not deal with. For instance, I will not tolerate physical abuse. If a man attempts to physically harm me, I will not continue to put my life in danger just because I "love" him. Most women tend to confuse love and loyalty. We can stop loving a man once he hurts us and remain loyal to him because of the emotional attachment or the history we have established with him. But history is just that... HISTORY! It's in the past. What is he doing to please you here and now? Stop holding on to what used to be, or what could have been IF you were able to alter an action that has already occurred.
 

I've also heard so many women use the "baby daddy excuse". You made the decision to have unprotected sex with him, got pregnant, and foolishly thought that the baby would make him change. Instead, he continued to show you his true colors... yet you have unprotected sex with him again and here comes baby number two, three, four, and five out of wedlock... and then you blast him on Facebook for not taking care of his child(ren). You knew he was a deadbeat on baby number one. Wake up! Have some class, rebuild your dignity, and move on.
 

I will not promote the "a man will only do what you allow him to do" philosophy because at some point that man must also take responsibility for his actions. If a man continues to disrespect a woman just because she allows it, what does that say about him as a "man"? I digress...

The Bible says in Proverbs 18:22, "He who finds a wife finds a good thing". If he hasn't made you his wife, he probably doesn't think you're a good thing. Point, blank, period, comma, and exclamation point. So, why do you keep wasting your time, your devotion, your forgiveness, your love, and your worth on someone who does not appreciate you? If you believe you're a good thing, wait for the man who deserves you. Don't settle for mess when you deserve the best.

I understand how hard it is to detach yourself from a familiar link. Been there, done that, won't look back. My new connections will hold far greater merit because I know what I want and refuse to accept anything less. No, we don't want to give up on that last piece of hope... thinking that someday he will wake up and realize his mistakes and finally appreciate what he has. Sorry to tell you that that someday may never come, sister girl. How long are you willing to wait? Although staying is easy, leaving is smart.

The female species has been conditioned to believe in the ups and downs theory... the idea that we are supposed to stay no matter what. We become so oblivious and naive to the lies and deceit that unsatisfactory behavior from a man becomes normal and acceptable. And then fear creeps in... the fear of what happens next, fear of being alone, fear of never being loved again. We cannot allow fear to overpower our expectations for love. Yes, letting go is scary and starting over is a difficult process, but the quality of your self-value will be worth so much more when you decide to put yourself first.

In closing, for the men who may think I don't have time for love... the fact is, I don't have time for games. I can identify a stale chip without even taking a bite.

This is what a stale chip looks like

What makes a woman continue to deal with a man who breaks the law(s) of commitment (lying, cheating, abusing, neglecting, etc.)? Once a woman forgives a man for breaking the law, why is it so hard for him NOT to break the law again? 

When we break laws in the world, we are punished. So, woman, how are you punishing him and what's so good about his chips? Why do you stay? Are you too afraid to open a new, fresh bag that just might be the crunch you need to be happy? Is his dip really that sweet or are you just accustomed to the sourness? Don't let him make you bitter!
 

You can't change a man, but the right man will change for you. If you think he's the right one, answer these three questions. If you cannot, he is not:

What do you love about him? What does he do to make you happy? Does the good honestly outweigh the bad?
 
When you know better, you do better... The question is: Do you want better? It starts with...

 YOU!

You’re all that
And then some
And
If they want some
They can probably
Have some

Your mouth spouts your self worth
You put YOU first
No matter who it hurts

If they were uncertain
About their purpose
It’s just to serve you
Any idiot can see that
Or
Are you the idiot?

Are you class?
Or
Did you skip that?
Cause if they hit that
Before they
Spent
That time with you
You’re through
Old news
Done for
Used

You’re all that
And
Then some

You feel like nothing
Tired of searching
No more hurting
Your love feels worthless
You can’t let anyone know
Can’t let it show

You won’t be anything
Less than perfect
Close the curtain
To the public eye
When it’s time to cry
All they know of you
Is
HOT
FLASHY
AND
THAT YOU ARE FLY

Even though some days
You wish you didn’t even try
Don’t know why
You bother
Looking for something more
Cause it isn’t there

You’re a mess on the inside
No other person you know
To confide in
All they see is hot, flashy and fly

You’re all that
And then some
Hurt so bad
Till you’re numb
Actions from that make you seem dumb
Waiting for real love to come
So if they want some
They can probably get some

Who knows?
THEY
Might be the
ONE
But
They aren’t
They got what they came for
Now they’re done
And you
You are back to square one

But there is good news
IT starts with you
IN YOU

You knew
It wasn’t pure
You weren’t sure
But you are yet holding on
Waiting for the real deal
That spark you feel
To ignite
To come back
But it’s gone

No place feels like home
It’s NOT
That you haven’t found someone to love you
It’s that you haven’t found someone in YOU to love
And you need a hug
But it starts with YOU!

Written By: Walter "Twon" Adams

*Music is Life...Poetry is Love*

Monday, June 25, 2012

It Was All A Dream... Until I Decided To Go Get It!

"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."~Eleanor Roosevelt


You know that feeling you get when you've accomplished something great... When things begin to fall into place and you finally understand what it means for something to be "a dream come true"?
  
I've experienced that feeling since the day I decided to live my dream: August 4, 2011.
  
In June 2011, I was offered a full-time position to work as a Quality Control Editor for one of the world's largest online marketing companies. Charged with the responsibility of assisting small businesses with maintaining an effective online presence, I was deeply inspired to start my own company based on the same principle of helping others. Since establishing iWrite4orU in August 2011, I have assisted a multitude of clients with projects that include: cover letters, resumes, articles, manuscript edits, business proposals, standard documents, and website content. 6 clients were immediately hired after requesting my resume service.
 
I always knew that I was born to write, but I didn't always know that I would be courageous enough to share my gift with others. I have the right to be selfish with my most sacred thoughts. However, once I realized that God gave me this gift to be a blessing to others, I dismissed all fear and doubt and allowed Him to lead me in my purpose.
 
The Bible says: "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again."~Luke 6:38

For me, this means that every time I give a piece of myself, I should expect double in return.
 
I launched my #WriterGrind Marketing Campaign on 6-12-12. My personal novel writing deadline is 12-12-12. 

I'm on a mission... 

Goal: Become a Bestselling Author before age 30. 

How?
 
Publish two books.
  
Amateur Thoughts: (12-12-12)
A Personal Collection of Essays, iWrite Poetry, and LRW Quotes.
   
Dearly Beloved S.I.S.T.A.S (Summer 2013)
A story that explores the concepts of Family, Faith, Friendship, Forgiveness, and inFidelity.

"We all have secrets... but what happens when your secret is no longer a mystery? When you lose the support of a cherished Family member? When you stop having Faith? When your Friends turn their backs on you? When you're too stubborn to Forgive? When you can't overcome the consequences of inFidelity? What happens when your S.I.S.T.A.S become your enemies?"

My client base is growing primarily through word of mouth referrals, and I'm currently averaging 3,337 website hits per month. My reach has also expanded over the past few weeks due to my frequent updates on social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. As of today, 55 people have supported my #WriterGrind  by rocking one of my iWrite4orU T-shirts. Again, I'm on a mission.

My new motto: Effort (Give it All You've Got).  Perseverance (Never Give Up). Faith (Believe).

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."~Philippians 4:13

Along with continuing to provide writing, proofreading, and editing services, iWrite4orU will soon offer tutoring and mentoring services for youth ages 10-18 who struggle with the comprehension of reading and writing mechanics, as well as publishing services for fellow authors who share my desire to maintain control over their own work through independently published compilations. With global exposure and a committed support base, I believe that iWrite4orU has the potential to become a unique platform for hard work and determination. 


In conclusion, my #WriterGrind was featured in the PonteVedra Recorder and EU Jacksonville Newspaper.


"I don't want to be famous... I just want to be remembered."~LRW

P.S. Today marks the 3 year anniversary of musicislifepoetryislove.blogspot.com. I started blogging the day Michael Jackson died because I want to be remembered... not for who I am, but for what I've done. I openly share my most random thoughts and feelings, my personal realities, and my deepest fears, with no regard to being judged or categorized. I'm a writer and I'm not afraid to "get real". Michael Jackson will never be forgotten. Hopefully when I leave this world someone will "Remember the Time" I made them think, laugh, or cry... and the time I inspired them to live their dream... because for me, "It Was All A Dream... Until I Decided To Go Get It!"

Visit my official website (www.iwrite4oru.com) for more information about my #WriterGrind.

*Music is Life... Poetry is Love*


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Perfect Man in Writer Land



My Dream Guy = God-fearing, handsome, clean, educated, driven/ambitious, stylish, responsible, caring, supportive, thoughtful, creative, straight teeth, nice lips, family-oriented, independent, no kids, employed, own vehicle, own place, has a good relationship with both parents (yes, it's all good if a man knows how to treat his mother, but if he has a father who treats his mother like a Queen, then he will be eager to find his own and treat her the same), open to compromise, funny.

I'm not picky, I'm selective. Yes, there's a difference. Of course every guy isn't going to match all of the preferences on my list, and I did make some exceptions when choosing my previous beaus. However, there's absolutely nothing wrong with having standards. In fact, survey says most men are attracted to women who give them a hard time. And I'm not an easy catch.

I recently read a blog post entitled The Dangers of Dating a Writer and I realized that my go-getter mentality may be intimidating to some men. Oh well...

I'm single.

*pause*

It's been a while since I've been able to say that and not wish that I wasn't. So, I'd like to say it again.

I'm single.


I've learned the following things about men from my past relationship experiences:


  1.  You can't change him. No matter how much he loves you, he loves himself more. He will change on his own time, but more than likely he will stay the same and find someone else who accepts him flaws and all.
  2. They're sneaky. They tell you what they want you to know and when you find out bits and pieces of what they tried to keep hidden, they STILL won't tell you the whole truth.
  3. They need space. Men don't like to be shadowed by their women 24/7. They enjoy breaks from lovey dovey commitments and appreciate the fact that you're still there, willing to understand.
  4. Some men love to have long, meaningful conversations. Some don't. It depends on the mood. When you ask what's on his mind, be prepared for a relevant response or a blank stare. Don't get offended if he totally ignores you.
  5. They prefer showing their love through action examples (gifts, small gestures such as cooking for you, holding your hand in public, massages, etc.) vs. saying "I love you" every single day. We love to hear it, they'd rather show it.
  6. No matter how much they deny it, they're complicated. Most men don't know what they want until they lose what they had.


Which brings me to my conclusion.


These days, I'm all about being independent and free. I realized that if I put as much effort into my writing as I put into my relationships, I could build a union that would truly last forever. So, during this time I have placed dating on the back burner.

Relationships are hard work. I spent most of my life dedicating myself to making someone else happy and decided that I need some "Me" time. Although it's tough, I'm attempting to ignore all of my desires to love and be loved in return to focus on my dreams and aspirations. But, just like you, I get lonely too... and truth be told, I don't really know how to date. Hopefully my prince charming will be waiting patiently to sweep me off my feet as soon as I reach the finish line.

Bonus Dream Guy Qualities: Knows the title of every single one of my published articles, can recite lines from my poetry by heart, reads with me, listens to my new ideas and provides input, critiques my work honestly and lovingly, isn't bothered by my editor instincts, prays on my behalf and asks God to make all of my dreams come true.

If you're out there, Dream Guy, I'll be waiting...

Until then,
#WriterGrind


*Music is Life... Poetry is Love*

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Number 4

Everything that's supposed to happen will happen in due time... no matter how long you have to wait "four" it.  

I attended my first Writers Conference this past weekend.


Tallahassee Writers Association Writers Conference and Book Festival

Here's what I learned:
  • A story isn't a story if it doesn't include scenes. Scenes spark tension.
  • POV is the most powerful tool in a writer's toolbox. Third person omniscient is recommended, but not mandatory.
  • The best stories are based on a single dramatic question.
  • Fiction is never predictable.
  • Every character must have their own agenda.
  • A writer's job is to torture the reader. Create an emotional reaction!
  • Take good notes!
  • Pacing! Don't speed up the action if it isn't necessary. If it progresses too fast, the reader won't feel anything.
  • Your story should be loaded with change, conflict, and intrigue.
  •  Include cliffhangers to keep the reader interested and eager to turn the page. Deliver plenty of unfinished action.
  • How to incorporate autobiography into fiction
  • What are you trying to reveal? Identify it! Explore it!
  • 99.9% of writers don't finish what they start.
  • No one can teach you how to write. Writing is an acquired skill.
  • Acquiring an agent is much harder than finding a publisher.
  • Writing is a discipline, not an obsession.
  • The advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing vs. The advantages and disadvantages of traditional publishing
  • Begin your story with a BANG! Make an impact on the first page.
  • Why do readers read? Six E's (Education, Enjoyment, Enlightenment, Experience, Escape, Emotion)
  • In order to become a bestselling author you must emotionally engage and satisfy the reader.
  • How do you create an authentic voice via dialogue? Become a professional eavesdropper! The best dialogue is inspired by real conversations.
  • Self-Promotion is a necessity for all writers. No one is going to promote you better than you can promote yourself.
  • Establish a brand.

  • Identify your target audience.
  • Read about what you want to write about!
  • Rejection-Proof your writing! Revise, Revise, Revise!
  • Write your first draft as if your pants are on fire! Get it all out ASAP!
  • Put your manuscript away for 2 months before you begin your editing process.
  • Edit in a different font (If you typed in Calibri, edit in Times New Roman) and an odd location.
  • Don't panic if you notice a lot of errors in sequence. Rewrite from a new standpoint.
  • Never give up! Rejection is necessary to improve your creative process.
  • Always remember what inspired you to write in the first place. Don't forget where you came from or how you progressed.
English Building on the Campus of Florida State University

Remembering and Reflecting...


Before hitting the road, I was suddenly bombarded with a "clue" that I would not fully understand until the end of the weekend. I was excited about all of the new information I received, and immediately ready to incorporate all of these tips into my novel. However, this "clue" kept popping up during random moments, and I became distracted. 

The Number 4:

Worked 4 hours of OT

Graduation Date: December 13, 2008 
 1 + 3 = 4

Conference Date: May 4, 2012

2012 - 2008 = 4

Hotel Check-In Time = 4:00 p.m.

Room Number = 418
4 + 1 + 8 = 13
1 + 3 = 4

Keynote Speaker joined critique group that ended up with 4 members.

Independent Author, Michael Beckford signed my copy of his fifth novel, Dying to be Straight

iWrite4orU Wrist"Brands"
Michael is currently writing a book that he started 4 years ago. He has completed 31 pages so far.
3 + 1 = 4

Ahhh! What does this mean???
Add a 4th "Sista" to my novel Dearly Beloved Sistas!

Ding Ding Ding! 

DUH!

Problem solved!

Wait, it's not THAT easy!

Please watch video below...




The number 4 symbolizes completeness and stability...

Please help me add the final piece to my #WriterGrind puzzle!

*Music is Life... Poetry is Love*

Monday, April 16, 2012

Hoodies, Skittles, and Guns: Racism Still Weighs A Ton

Trayvon Martin: February 5, 1995 - February 26, 2012

The shock and dismay from this heartbreaking case initially left me speechless and confused. Before forming an opinion, I patiently waited for all facts to be revealed... facts that still left me uncertain and gradually made me angry... because a young black male who wears a hoodie is automatically stereotyped as a hoodlum from the ghetto... and he's bound to start trouble... even if he's only carrying a pack of Skittles and a can of Arizona Iced Tea.

My brother wears hoodies, but he also wears suits and bow ties. His urban style of dress should not hinder the fact that he's a scholar student who recognizes the potential that he has to change the world. Unfortunately, Trayvon Martin was unable to escape this type of discrimination. He lost his opportunity to attend college and pursue any dreams he may have had. And what hurts the most is the scary thought that this could have easily happened to my family.

My Brother: Future Businessman and Mogul

Although I can appreciate the mass "I Am Trayvon Martin" photographed hoodie tributes, I chose not to participate myself because I didn't want to perpetuate such a sensitive issue. Instead of taking a stance for revenge or promoting the "eye for an eye" mentality, I controlled my emotions and anticipated the chance for justice to be served, legally. I was not physically present during the incident and my speculation may be somewhat skewed, but after analyzing the evidence that has been released, I can confidently say that George Zimmerman could not have possibly been acting in self-defense if he deliberately singled out Trayvon as a suspect and continued to follow him when he was ordered not to. Perhaps Trayvon was the one trying to defend himself, but Zimmerman's word against the world's presumptions presents a one-sided truth that can sadly only be clarified and proven by individual beliefs.
 

The stand your ground law states that "one may use force in self-defense when there is reasonable belief of a threat, without an obligation to retreat first". In this particular situation, Zimmerman was the individual posing a threat and the terms of defending oneself as it pertains to the law should prove to be invalid. Furthermore, screams for "Help" coming from someone with a gun in their possession is both illogical and absurd. This tragedy could have easily been avoided if Zimmerman wouldn't have placed judgement in the first place.

Who's the real victim?

Diverting from the topic of race, a man who shoots and kills an innocent, unarmed 17 year old who was simply trying to make his way home from the store should not have been afforded the luxury of treading freely until a full investigation was completed. Reconsidering the racial stereotypes associated with Blacks, it is safe to assume that Trayvon would have been considered guilty until proven innocent if the tables were turned. 

Zimmerman's claims that Trayvon looked "
suspicious" were contrived from discriminative assumptions and prejudice convictions. His recollection of events includes statements alluding to the idea that Trayvon attacked him first, even though he has yet to showcase concrete proof or any signs of physical harm.   

After a long awaited fight for justice, Zimmerman was finally arrested and charged with second degree murder on April 11, 2012. 
"In Florida, second-degree murder is typically charged in the event of a death stemming from a fight or confrontation that does not involve premeditation. It can result in a life sentence when a gun is used."--LA Times

According to my research, Sanford is a city with roughly 50,000 residents that is famous for its history of racial tension. There is no isolated position of contact for where racism appears, but h
ow is it possible for differing accounts of this tragedy to derive from the same facts? And why is race such a pertinent issue when trying to determine an equal point between right and wrong? As we aim to gather relevant answers to these questions, two parents are still fighting to preserve their son's legacy and Zimmerman's fate has yet to be determined. However, if certain individuals were not brave enough to stand up and fight for justice, Zimmerman would have continued to roam freely with the option to happily enjoy a pack of Skittles and a refreshing can of Arizona Iced Tea... or walk around in a hoodie without having to be afraid for his life... because he wasn't plagued by the stigma of being born a Black male... and he will never understand how it feels to be marked as suspicious based on the unique color of his skin.

"Our son is your son."

"The apparel oft proclaims the man."--William Shakespeare

But...

My style should not jeopardize my character
For with a hoodie as my protective cover
 or a formal dress code to please another, 
you will always discover 
that I am still me.
--LRW

#Justice4Trayvon

*Music is Life... Poetry is Love*



Saturday, March 24, 2012

Friends After Love Ends

After two unsuccessful long-term relationships, it's logical to wonder if you're the problem... Did I do all that I could to make him feel wanted and appreciated? Were my desires too much for him to handle? Did I pressure him to commit? Was I enough? 

As you search for the answers, in the midst of the heartache and confusion, the biggest perhaps most difficult question presents itself: Where do we go from here?

Let's just be friends...

OK.

But what kind of friends? Just the two of us type friends who accompany each other to the movies... dinner... the beach... road trips? Friends who simply text or call each other occasionally just to catch up and stay updated? Or casual friends with physical benefits in order to eliminate the pressure of commitment?
 

I recently posted the following question(s) on Facebook:

Is it possible to be friends with an ex? Why or why not? Define this particular type of friendship. What terms or rules must be followed to prevent or eliminate confusion? Should the friendship end when one or both people become romantically involved with someone new? 
 

I received varying responses that sparked the difficulty in developing my own personal opinion for this complicated topic, such as:
 

"It is possible, but sometimes not plausible. There may be too much hurt or love lingering for that type of relationship to work."--OS

"I think it can work, probably about as much as the relationship worked. Just because a relationship fails doesn't mean it didn't ever work. I think that if you can still communicate without residual feelings it can work. It all depends, but I don't think it can work if the two parties still have romantic emotional attachments or the  breakup was bad.... Oh and there must be rules... no sex, no kissing, clear defined friendship type things. The physical aspects will only cloud the friendship boundaries."--TA

"Honestly, If you are in love, then I do not think that it is really possible to be friends. To go from being lovers to friends, I feel like that is highly unlikely. Maybe somewhere down the line, but not immediately after a relationship. I think that once you have moved on and found someone else, it is very inappropriate to keep a "friendship" with a former lover. Think about it, how would you  feel if the person you were dating claims to be best friends with someone who he was previously romantically involved with? Granted, there is nothing wrong with checking up every once in a while to see how the person is doing but other than that, your focus should be on the man [or woman] in front of you."--RW

"I believe you can if both parties honestly agree it's over. It's when one person isn't completely honest, in hopes of keeping the other in their life in some capacity that trouble starts."--TA

"It all depends on who the ex is."--KW

"For me personally, no. If I'm in a committed relationship I love you with all my heart so it's hard for me to just consider myself a friend and put all my emotions aside. I would have to stop all communication to get over it and you!"--AJ

"I believe that it is okay to be friends after even a bad breakup. Even if the friendship dwindles down to being an acquaintance, it's common, civil ground. The key to having this sort of relationship is CLOSURE. I had a bad breakup after my first year of college, so I was still really young...more serious than high school, less serious than being engaged. Anyway, after a few months of not speaking, we revisited our relationship to see what went wrong and how each of us felt about certain things. After that closure, I then felt like I could actually learn from the relationship and move forward with no regrets."--KD
 

"Cut your loss. Time to be civil, but you're walking on a "hurt wire".--VP 

"It depends on how the relationship ended… as long as it wasn't an ugly breakup where someone cheated or fell out of love with the other person."--TW

"I think being friends is okay as long as both agree that it is just a friendship and each do not have any warrant/bearing on what the other person is doing in their own life. But being friends is good!"--CW

"Yes, it is possible. In fact, I kinda think it should be the norm. If you were compatible to be together for a long period of time then why not be compatible enough to be friendly... unless they fugged you over somehow."--IC

"Yes, I think it's possible to be friends with an ex and I think it's a sign of maturity when you are able to still be friends after a breakup. The two would need to set ground rules as to the time of the day that they can have contact i.e. no contact after 11 p.m. unless it's an emergency of course. I don't think that they should end the friendship when one or both people become romantically involved with someone new [but] I've been in the situation where I was talking to someone new and that new girl was a bit insecure and didn't like that I was still cordial with my ex."--RB

"Sometimes it depends on how the relationship ends or what type of relationship you were in. Yes, if you see them somewhere and it did not end on good terms a 'Hi' and 'How are you?' would be OK. One rule I personally learned is that just to be friends you will have to stop sleeping with each other because that will keep the feelings there and he or she might be able to move on and your feelings are still there while he or she will still be hoping for the best. The flesh sometimes can be very weak."--TW

"I believe it is possible to be friends with an ex. Viewing this question from the Christian perspective, it is a commandment that we love one another. With that being said, a change in the level of intimacy does not have to dictate the enjoying of one another's company. As long as there is a mutual understanding and respect for everyone who is involved in the equation, all can go well."--PL

"I believe you can be friends with your ex if that's genuinely ALL you want. In most situations, someone wants to stay friends because they have a hidden objective of getting back together. Now if that's the case, it will only cause one of them pain, and the other confusion. Once the smoke clears and both parties understand there is nothing left, you can be friends again, but only to a certain extent."--JW

"It is possible but a separation has to be established after the initial break to allow a realignment of feelings (if one is able) and reconvene after the strength of the romantic portion has abated. The dilemma comes if the two become close again (e.g. Besties) and/or a new boo or beau comes into their lives. Serious boundaries must be established and if all else fails and the friendship interferes with the progression of the new romance or now solidly established romance elsewhere it may be reasonable for the two friends/ex-lovers to silently go their separate ways and keep their sustained friendship distantly yet openly amicable, but with little actual interaction as to not jeopardize the romance. It is very thin ice to tread when ex-lovers become friends and any of them find new lovers. Feelings and insecurities become valid and fragile. So for me, I wouldn't recommend pursuing friendship (though the two shouldn't be enemies either), but if it genuinely happens please proceed with caution and handle with care. If kids are involved, a functioning friendship becomes necessary in order to lessen the possible dysfunctionality of the now broken home. I am good friends with two ex-lovers/girlfriends and with one exception I've had no problems when dating other women or in any of my relationships since, and yes everybody knew about everybody."--GE

"It's possible if both parties are mature."--JP

"If both people have no romantic feelings anymore they can be friends, but I don't know if those ever completely go away. It can be hard work if one party didn't want the breakup or still has feelings. It may be easier to not be friends, or sometimes it's easier to be friends if you broke up a long time ago though. If you get a new significant other, whatever relationship you have with your ex should have boundaries that won't make your current partner uncomfortable. Some people make it look really easy though."--DS

"This all depends on the person if each individual is able to control their own emotions and feelings. If the previous relationship ended on good terms and they were friends before lovers then the new person cannot fully expect that previous friendship to just evaporate. However, there should be a fine line that is not crossed. But to say that you must let the previous person go totally out of your life is ridiculous. If you can't live with that person as just a friend and move on with your current life and love other people then you should never have parted ways to begin with."--MB

"It depends on the maturity and integrity of the person. This is easier if you were friends beforehand. However, it is annoying to see people fumble and try to be friends with an ex. One may feel differently than the other. So clean break, no contact, and if your paths cross in the future, then so be it. If not, move on. Let go and let God. It's just too complicated dealing with all of that baggage."--LW

To summarize and add my final two, three, and four cents... being friends with an ex is possible, but can also be risky. Lingering feelings may cause unwarranted jealousy and create irreconcilable circumstances, setting boundaries will contaminate the authenticity of genuine interaction, and letting go invites the urge of regret and a multitude of "what if" scenarios.

Additionally, remaining friends elongates the possibility of reconciliation, and perpetuates the principle of obligation. When considering why the relationship ended in the first place, the significance placed on honesty and forgiveness may or may not produce a common result.
 

The "easy" solution would be to just move on... but what about the undeniable connection or the history of memories that stemmed from love. How do you ignore romantic feelings and revert to a mutual state of normalcy?
 

A more deeply expressive response to my own posed question(s) can be examined and speculated in the video below:


*Music is Life... Poetry is Love*