I received a blog tag from a writer friend today called, "Tell Me About Yourself." I'm supposed to post seven random things. Here goes:
1. Kindness and generosity are at the top of my 25 character strengths; yet, forgiveness and mercy are near the bottom. Some grudges will have to be pried from my cold, dead fingers.
2. I hate driving. I'd rather buy ALL of the gas for a road trip than spend one minute behind the wheel.
3. When I'm really amused, I laugh like Betty Rubble. My shoulders shake and everything.
4. I sing in the shower.
5. Given the choice between sleeping and eating, I always choose sleeping. I'll eat when I wake up.
6. I still have my wisdom teeth.
7. I can retire from the Army in about two years. After that, I want to be a barber, and pursue writing and publishing part time.
Well, that's it. While we're sharing, feel free to share something or things about yourself. :
I think I'm just about bothered to the point of disturbed by folks giving the holy roll a bad name. It's one thing to be genuinely happy and thankful, but a whole other thing to be too confused to know if it's Spirit moving you, or the guilt/embarrassment being poured on you by janky praise leaders.
THIS is why there are generations and generations of fakers in the church, telling folks what they want to hear and showing folks what they want to see, with no truth to the trick.
If you've got to be baited, persuaded, eyeballed, and otherwise cued into jumping up, clapping, stomping, dancing and yelling, "Hallelujah," at the top of your lungs, then that's not the Spirit moving you.
And for all of you janks in the church, here's a hint: If folks are not jumping to their feet, sangin', swaying, and a wailin' and a moanin' (without cue), while you're whooping and hollering (AND off key), it's because they're not moved. Talmbout, "If you love the Lord, you'll..." this that and the other thing. That's like rap stars shouting, "All the ugly people be quiet! All the cool people make some noise!" in the middle of a concert. Know where they got it from? The church!
Now, I'm not a holy roller by any stretch, but I know what it's like to be really moved by the Spirit. It's awesome. And not something to be trifled with, in my opinion. Especially not for the awe of the congregation, or some other audience. It's okay, to slow your roll. You're in church, not a concert. If you're going to be moved, God doesn't need any help to do it.
Don't go through too much trouble trying to hide, forget about, or dismiss your speckled past. So what if you've had a few scrapes, scuffles, and scandalous goings on? Just think of all the great stories and lessons you'll be able to share with your grandchildren one day.
I was just sitting here thinking about the stories my grandma used to tell me of her hell-raising and ho-hopping days in her 20s, and I smiled; thinking now of how I should have done way more dirt in my "youthier" youth. But then, to whose children would I tell those stories anyhow? So, it's a good thing I'm a writer.
Be someone who finally does it, not someone who wishes s/he had done it. Time is a commodity. Use it.
If you want to write, to publish, to be read, there's no better time than now to see it through. If you've stopped writing, just start again. You'll never know if the words you could share will help others if you never share them. Make the time to write because you want to. You can do this.
Whenever Taps is played on Fort Drum, there is a double echo. I'm not sure if it's intentional, but time seems to stand still, and it makes me feel numb all over. This may sound weird, but whenever it plays, I feel sort of haunted.
I just commented to a few friends that I just got caught thinking again.
Taps is one of those songs that reminds you of where you were when it meant something when you heard it, and why. For me, it reminds me that I am one of the less than one percent who have or will serve in the U.S armed forces. I am one of the fewer than that who will serve in combat. Of the fewer than that who will survive combat. I am among those who should never forget.
Perspective. Self-awareness. Connection. Geez Louise. People usually give me way too much credit for having more of any of that than I actually have; except for when Taps plays. More than anything, I think it always puts me to bed with a better perspective. It helps me with that "don't go to bed angry" thing. I just go to bed thinking. And thankful.
Sometimes, happiness is as simple as lying in bed, eating Nilla Wafers, getting fat, getting crumbs all over the place, and not giving a damn.
While doing a little weekend spring cleaning, I found a box of stuff I'd had in storage since before my deployment, and came across a box of old cards and letters, from family and friends who'd written to me while I was in basic training, or college, or somewhere other than home.
My (recently deceased) Uncle Greene wrote, in a letter dated over 20 years ago, "Beanie, be happy no matter what, because, 'life is too short to have sorrows. You may be here today and gone tomorrow...' I got that from a song, but it's true." And then he drew a smiley face. Lord, I miss him.
In another letter, also dated 20+ years ago, my Uncle Bro. wrote, "Don't let anything get you down. And if it does, don't let it keep you there." I miss him, too. He's not deceased, just living back home in Georgia, while I'm up here in New York.
Simply put...eat the cookies, for goodness' sake. And savor the moments when being happy is as simple as that.
My uncles, the wise men, circa summer 1970. Larry (Bro.) Penn (holding me), our neighbor, "Toot" (standing in the middle), and my uncle Harvey (Greene) Penn (holding my cousin, Drucila)
A couple of months ago, after participating in an event called Blackbird Fly, in Staten Island, NY, I decided to put together a writing project, under the New Renaissance Ink
imprint to continue the momentum and the positive energy of that event. I'm calling it the Blackbird Fly Project
, and it will be the second annual project managed by the New Renaissance Ink "Let's Write for a Change" (LWC) Initiative
. The purpose is to not only inspire and mentor the young ladies, but to also give them a glimpse into how the writing and publishing business work. I had to extend the original 31 May 2012 deadline, though. I'm hoping to get a few more quality submissions by 31 August, so that we can possibly reach our target publication date of May 2013.The first project
, in 2011, was called the Up from Here Project
. If all goes according to plan, that project will launch a book in September of this year, and all proceeds will be donated to the Teaching for Change
organization in Washington, DC.This year, the Blackbird Fly Project is taking the LWC Initiative in a little different direction. I'm opening it up to young writers in the age ranges of 10-21 years old, and I'm paying each contributor an advance of $100, with a royalty of 40%, to be divided equally between the contributors.I'm really excited about it, but it's hard to gauge the level of enthusiasm from others is. Folks say they want change. They say they want opportunity. And yet, it feels like a constant struggle to get people to do stuff more than just talk about stuff. But, I'll keep plugging away, anyway. Here's hoping for more participation for the Blackbird Fly Project; but if not, maybe I can get the one contributor I have so far to consider writing and contributing more of her own work. If I can offer just one person an opportunity that she might not have had otherwise, then that's still a good thing.