Day 5 / Letter E: I'm thankful for email, education, elevators, empowerment, and encouragement.
I'm thankful for email, and free email addresses, although some of you fuckers out there abuse the hell out
of your contact lists with all the spam and blasting. Email is a pretty awesome invention, and it can be a really efficient form of communication. Can be.
I'm thankful for education and the educators who provide it. I'm sure I'll repeat this gratitude at least once more, when I get to the Letter T, and any other letter that presents the opportunity, because I think teachers should be thanked as often as possible. I've had some pretty awesome formal and informal educators, and I'm glad that I retained so much of what they tried to teach me.
I'm thankful for elevators, and not just the ones that carry lazy bastards like myself and freight up and down flights of
stairs. I'm thankful for people who elevate other people, and for all of the physical, spiritual and emotional support they provide. You rock!
I'm thankful for empowerment. It's not easy for someone who, by most statistical accounts, should have been a life failure, to stay any particular course or to press forward, despite any number of difficult circumstances; but
I'm very fortunate that I had people in my path who were not only my elevators, but my empowerers. Yes, I have enough education to know that that's not a word.
I'm thankful for the people in my past and present who were and are way-pavers and encouragers. You help me to expect more from myself, and have given me positive examples of how to encourage, elevate, educate, and empower
others. And not by blasting them with a whole bunch of funky-ass, empty-headed, soulless emails.
One of my friends put a cool new spin on her "30 Days of Thankfulness" this year, so I'm going to follow suit.
For each day of November, I'll try to share something for which I am thankful, using each letter of the alphabet. Not sure what I'll do for the last four days of the month, but you get the idea. Some days, it might get a little mushy, but other days, eh. No promises. 'Tis the season!
So, here goes:
A is for Army. I'm really grateful for the life experiences and the exposure that I might not have had if I had never joined the U.S. Army. (That's yesterday's letter.)
B is for battles (as in, battle buddies). These folks have been as close as or closer than family to me for more than half my life. I'm thankful for all of my battles, past, present and future. Here's your mush. I love you all.
Every time someone asks me what my book, The Other Side of 30, is about, I find myself scrambling to fine tune my elevator pitch. I was at my cousin's wedding reception this weekend, and when the subject came up, and I was asked for the "one minute of less" summary, I completely botched it. So today, I worked on it a little more, and here's the latest one that rolled off my fingertips:
A young woman turns 30 and basically loses her mind, trying to hold on to her "last chance" at love before going "over the hill." The problem is that she sets her sights on an old boyfriend who is newly married, and his wife
is a friend of hers. From one decision to the next, her biological clock and better judgment are constantly embattled.
Regardless of knowing better, she finds herself willing to do, on the other side of 30, whatever she thinks it takes to get what she thinks she wants: A ring, a husband, a family, and such things that are suddenly so appealing about the "normal life" that she once rejected, but now she believes is passing her by.
I think I can rattle off that bit in a minute or less. I think.
As for substance, I also tried to toss in a few messages about how easily some people, even those who seem the strong, smart types, can become completely unfocused and lose sight of their own self worth to social pressures, real and perceived. I mean, let's face it. Perception is reality. Mix that in with a little bit of the "grass is not always greener" angle, and the "people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones" philosophy, and that just about does it. I just hope the delivery isn't too heavy-handed, but we'll see.
And of course, there are a few sex scenes sprinkled in for good measure, to help move the story along.
What I need is a good tag line. "Trying to make a future out of her past will make a mess of her present," is fitting, but it doesn't pop! And it doesn't speak to the whole biological clock/social pressures thing. And I repeat the word, "make," so it still needs work. Hmmm.
Thanks, so much, to everyone for supporting my 2nd release of The Other Side of 30 (TOST2).
I'm pitching it as "a little saucy, seedy story of a good girl with bad intentions." We'll see how that grabs folks.
I got some good feedback on my most recent elevator pitch, too. I'm going to post it here. If any of you want to offer feedback, I welcome it, as always. Here goes:The Other Side of 30 is a story about a woman who, after what was supposed to be this one last fling with an old boyfriend, a few weeks before his wedding to someone else, decides that she wants a second chance at what might have been. Sebrina Cooper finds herself in unfamiliar territory on the other side of right, the other side of betrayal, the other side of friendship, and she also happens to be on the other side of the age of thirty.
With all of these moral and ethical dilemmas embattling her biological clock, she's driven and manipulated most by whichever one is speaking the loudest at any given moment. Sometimes, it doesn't matter that his new wife is a friend of hers, which was a complete accident. It doesn't matter that glass house that she's unwittingly constructed for herself is only one misstep away from shattering into a mess of jagged little pieces. Other times, it does.
No matter what happens with this title, if it takes off or not, people need to know that I'm thankful for their support and encouragement. Without that, I'd surely have given up on this dream of writing something that matters to somebody besides me. I think that gratitude is always a good look. It's important to acknowledge people. Period. So again, you all are super awesome. Thanks, for reading, commenting, and spreading the word!
Whoohoo! The Other Side of 30, 2nd Edition (TOST2) is on track to go on sale this Monday, 16 September 2013. To say I'm excited about that would be nothing but the truth.
I find that with the release of a second effort of the same story, I see myself striving ever more for a close to perfect product. Oh well. That's not going to happen, but it's nice to shoot for that goal.
I just want to give people what I've asked them to expect of me: Good, solid, entertaining writing. If I call myself true to the craft, and true to myself , then the truth to others will follow. At least, that's the motto by which I tend to live.
It's not an easy path, but I trudge along. Some days, I skip. Some days, I run. Some days, I ease on down the road, like Michael Jackson's Scarecrow in "The Wiz," though not nearly as gracefully. Some days, eh. I just stop and give myself time to regroup.
In any case, I always look forward to and feel energized by the support of my friends and family. As with the first release, I'm dedicating this book to the memory of my Uncle Harvey, and as with the first release, 90% of the profits, if any, will go to selected charities, specifically, the Army Wounded Warrior (AW2) Program, and the Wounded Warrior Project; so, of course, I hope folks will continue to support the book, even if the subject matter may not necessarily be to their liking.
I have to laugh at myself for my constant "apologies" for the content. I can't count the number of times I've told a friend or coworker who is planning to support me, "It's not very wholesome," or "It's a little seedy. Brace yourself." And then, I follow up with, "But I still think it's a good story."
At the end of all of this, I just want to be read. Being read by lots and lots of people would be really awesome, too, because that means that not only am I making some good money for charity, but I'm also increasing my chance of getting on somebody's bestseller's list. Dare I dream? New York Times? Essence? Yes. I dare dream.
I think some folks think I'm nuts for not caring about making money, but the truth is, I'm comfortable and blessed with everything I need, and most of what I want. I'm in a good place. It's the right thing to do to give back. To the community, by donating money, to other writers, by launching my publishing house, and to my family and friends, who believe in me, even when I doubt myself. My sisters are convinced that I should be hearing about a movie deal, soon. That would be pretty awesome, I must admit. One can only hope. And dream. And work.
Anyway, the positive energy that people give me is so powerful, because it's genuine. I am tremendously humbled by that, and I want to continue in that energy. I'll never stop trying to be a better writer, for the benefit of others and myself. Who knows? Maybe, one day, I will actually be I'm as good as I think I am. Wouldn't that be sweet?
As always, good luck, to all writers and artists to put out the best products possible. We have to remember that no matter how hard the work is to get to quality, junk peddling is not an option. Love the craft. Truly.
My grandma once told me, "I know that prayer changes things, but at some point you gotta get up off your knees."
Of course, my grandma was of that Fannie Lou Hamer generation that knew that being "sick and tired of being sick and tired..." meant more than just talking the talk. It's easy to see why they were called the "Greatest Generation." A broken back never translated to broken resolve. Not then. But now? Hmmm.
Guess it's a good thing they didn't have Facebook and Twitter 50-60 years ago, or shit
would never have gotten done.
She said to me, "Stop being disappointed. Stop cryin'. Stop talkin' about how this one or that one, or this thing or that
thing hurt your feelings, and how this ain't right and that ain't right. Don't nobody care what you want as long as they get what they want. You want something to change, go on and do something about it...but child, you got to get
out from 'round me with all that cryin'..."
While you're lying there prostrate on the ground, somebody else is kicking you in the face, because the
law says they can. While your head is bowed in contemplation, somebody is breaking a stick over your back, because the law says they can.
The law tells us that just because something is wrong, that doesn't make it criminal. (And to think, I once applied to law school.) The law contains many tragic and unfair truths. But more often than not, there is a chasmic difference between the truth and the right answer.
Yeah. Prayer changes things. Pray for our sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, mothers and fathers, and yet unborn children. Pray for our leaders, law makers, and law enforcement. Pray for the misguided, misunderstood, mis-in-fucking-terpreted. Et cetera, et cetera, blah-blah, skippitty!
But what the hell are you going to do when you get the fuck up off your knees? Let's put a plan into ACTION to make this world better than it is.
Sometimes, I have so much audacity, it scares me. I can stand up tall, square-shouldered, sure-footed, bold, and focused, with ideas and dreams from here to high heaven.
Other times, I wonder, "Who am I to dare? To expect? To demand?" Other times, my fears hover over me, bully me, tie me up in a dark room and leave me shaking and crying.
I hope audacious me prevails.
R.Y. Swint is my pen name. I've been writing since I was seven years old, wrote my first book when I was 11, published my first book when I was 42, and launched my publishing house, New Renaissance Ink, when I was 43. It's safe to say that I found my way into writing very early in life, and through life I've discovered that I am good at many things, but I was born to do this.
Writing lights my dark places and fills my empty spaces. It is my life's air and my heart's blood. It is every cliche that ever was about what it means to love. Whether the words flow easily, or are delivered through great pains, I stick with writing because I'm trying to be obedient to what I believe is God's purpose for me; and that is to give and receive energy and lifeblood through the people I reach with my words.
I respect and believe in the value of words. I mourn for wasted words like a barren woman for unborn children. In that revelation lay the discovery and execution of my purpose. How could I not embrace something as real to me as that?
In politics, most is spin, very little is truth, and perception is reality; but except for a very few, most people find politics too boring, or too confusing to dig into the weeds of it to figure things out for themselves.
Politics is so ugly, especially around election time. I mostly hate engaging in any sort of debate or dialogue about it, because the truths that are, will hardly ever been seen or discussed, and suddenly everything is personal. We only get accusations and innuendo, and elections depend on people being too emotional to be rational.
We've seen accusation and innuendo tear apart friendships, sever what you once believed were strong family ties, rip nations in half, while the truth stays buried, except to the players of the game. Voters are looked upon as pawns, and smear campaigns and red herring tactics are how they use us to their own advantage, to advance personal or political agendas.
But the reason politicians play emotional cards, like race, religion, and social class, is because those cards always strike the most exposed nerves. THESE ARE THE CARDS that make people, normally peaceful, agreeable, and non-confrontational people, sit up and pay attention, and consider how they may be being affected by someone's words or intentions.
Doing this is the easiest way for politicians to get people riled up and to take sides; and taking sides, unfortunately, is what it takes to win an election.
Unfortunately, it's not just any one political party guilty of it. They all do it. Democrats, Republicans, et. al. We just only notice it more when "the other side" does it.
The race and religion card topics and tactics, as well as those that discuss the military (we're always a handy buzz-word to have), appeal to our basest natures, and people are easily manipulated by the emotions that drive our deep beliefs. It only takes one or two trigger words for the things that mean the most to us will be laid bare.
I've learned that when these "icebergs" are exposed, that the difference between perception and truth is non-existent, and what's underneath our surface thoughts gets revealed in none-too-pleasant ways.
Most of these "icebergs" are not even identified until someone (e.g., a politician, campaign manager) plays and exploits a card of a sensitive nature, and then wait for the voters to draw the lines in the sand. We may even surprise ourselves at where our loyalties lie and why.
All that said, remember that countless people have gone the distance for you; many beaten, battered, burned and blown to hell for your right to vote. Vote your conscience, whatever it is, and allow your friends and family to do the same. The bottom line is: If you don't vote, YOU'RE A POO-POO HEAD. Your mind may as well be on mute, so your mouth should stay on mute.
So...the hunk across the way apparently already has a love-lust interest. My chances of ravishing his body are a dwindling by the moment. Well, if that don't beat all.
I suppose I knew this was possible. Not that my nameless neighbor would get his own potential boo-bunny-sex slave just when I was warming up to him. But that I've created a post that leads to another post. So be it.
He really is completely lust-worthy. To the point that if even says anything else to me, I'm just going to jump on him. Nobody ovulates THAT much.
I think I must blame everything on ovulating. How else do I explain my lingering thoughts and sudden tinges of envy? Just when I was ready to flaunt my feminine wiles and let nature take its course. Hmph. That heffa.
All I know is that he just better not come around me talking and smiling, or I'm just gonna pass out and let him let me have my way with him.
Scene set up:
Me: Walking to the mailbox is bare, freshly pedicured feet, wearing a white camisole and black yoga pants. (I'm still fine enough to pull it off.)
Him: Just happening to be coming home from work. Flashes smile. Says something. It doesn't matter what.
He holds the door. I "clumsily" drop my mail, and perform one of those kneel down to pick it up in slow motion moves. Smiling on the way down and on the way back up. He says something else. I jump his bones right there at the mailbox.
Okay. Well, yeah. That needs work.