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?
So, to add to the awesomeness that is already my writing life, last week, I was nominated for the Liebster Blog Award by my friend, fellow blogger (and subscriber) Eva Rieder
. As part of the nomination, I have been given a few questions to answer.
I am flattered and encouraged that someone is enjoying my blog. I'm not sure what else to do besides answer the questions and post them here, so here goes: 1. What prompted you to set up a blog?I started my first blog in/around 2005, on a site called BlogIt, because I wanted to connect with other writers and possible readers for my yet-to-be-born book, The Other Side of 30. I guess I must have caught the blog bug, because I've had several blogs since the BlogIt blog, including on MySpace, Blogger, She Writes, Wordpress, and on my publishing site, New Renaissance Ink. I started this Write on Time blog in 2010, shortly after I self-published my book, again, hoping to connect with potential readers. 2. When did you discover you liked to write, and why?I discovered my love for writing when I was about seven years old. I wanted to be like my uncle Harvey, who wrote poems. I like the way his poems made people think, and smile, and even moved to tears. I wanted to do that. 3. What is your favorite writing setting? (Coffee shop, office, etc.)I like to write at home on the weekends. I guess that's because that's where and when I get most of my down time with very few distractions. 4. What is your favorite time of day? Least favorite?My favorite time of day is around 4:30pm on Fridays. My least favorite time of day is about 9:30pm on Sunday (or whatever day is the last day of the weekend). 5. If you could have anything you wanted, at this moment, what would it be?At this moment, a bacon sandwich and a tall glass of cold raspberry lemonade. 6. What is your guilty pleasure?Watching poorly done Youtube videos, and then talking about how poorly done they are. 7. If you were trapped on an island with only three things, what would they be?Food, baby wipes, a good book. 8. What is your favorite animal?I don't seem to have a favorite animal. 9. How would you describe yourself in five words or less?Nerdy, but nearly normal 10. You are offered $100,000,000, but you may never write again. Do you take the money? (Crazy question, I know!)Nope! 11. What is your favorite television show, and why?The original Law & Order, whenever I catch it on. Now, I believe the rules
require me to nominate other bloggers and ask a series of . I don't read a lot of blogs, but I am subscribed to many of the ones that Eva already nominated. One other to which I'm subscribed is Insatiable Booksluts
. It's a blog maintained by three bloggers who read and review books by lesser known authors. I think they're pretty cool.
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.
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. :
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.
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.
There's that time thing, again. I meant to write a post in April. Several times, I meant to write, but time got away from me.
I wish I could remember what it was that I wanted to share, but since I can't, I'll share this: Life is a freakin' time suck.
I know that's not news, but it's where I find myself at this moment. Wishing I could go somewhere and just not be bothered by anyone or anything that isn't directly related to my writing, publishing, or creative processes.
I find myself peeved at people and situations that have distracted me from my intentions. The recurring theme in my head is, "Leave me the fuck alone." But you can't say that when you have a full-time job, or people who depend on you to do it. *Sigh* I've GOT to work on my time management skills.
It's a sad reality that sometimes, the people from whom you expect to get the most support and encouragement will be the ones who will be the wet blankets at your picnic. If not that, then choose the cliche most to your liking. Wet blanket at your picnic, rain on your parade, or just plain naysayers to everything and anything at which you put forth some effort. Maybe they don't even realize they're bringing you down, and maybe they do.And unfortunately, that includes family, friends, agents, publishers, and yes, even fellow writers. It's tough to think that not everyone is happy for you, even though they like to caveat their bad vibes with, "No offense," and "I'm just saying," and other crap. Sometimes, it's hard to tell if comments are useful constructive criticism and advice, or genuine apathy and spite; but if you're going to write or take on any other business venture or pursuit of dreams, you have to accept it all and still keep it moving. Sure, some of your ideas and plans will be less than perfect, some of your work not great, some of it just plain bad;
but with all of that in mind, just keep your head up and your eyes open. Only time will tell if you'll ever reach the prize that you're pursuing, but if you stop reaching, then you can be sure that you never will. Never stop reaching.
It's true that everything won't work for everyone. I've been told that a large part of being successful in any business is just being prepared for luck and chance to favor you. Be in the right place at the right time, and don't be afraid to try something different while you're working at your "lucky coincidence" or whatever it's called.
Most of all, don't let anyone tell you that it'll never work, or it shouldn't work, or even if it does work, it's really has no real value. All of that is a back-handed, back-biting, often passive-aggressive, not-so-slick way of someone trying to convince you that their opinions of your efforts and ideas are worth more than your own. Phooey!
That said, I wanted to post a couple of blogs that I read today that might be encouraging.
Here's one from Martin Crosbie
, who shares a story about being among those who made the top of the Amazon bestsellers list, despite many, many rejections before he decided to self-publish.
Here's one from Emlyn Chand
, of Novel Publicity & Co., about leaving your readers wanting more.Another, from Tawdra Kandle, about considering the indie-published route, and how "indie" is NOT a bad word.
And one more, from Michael Fogus
, on reading, especially for those of us who are short on time these days. Yes, another plug for the benefits of being a reader. :)
One of my favorite Michael Jackson songs is called "Keep the Faith," where he sings about keeping your eye on the prize and your feet on the ground. I don't think that was meant specifically for writers, but it's still great advice.
Happy reading, writing living, and reaching!
For those of you who missed it, today is the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a Georgia native (my homeboy), an Alpha Phi Alpha man (swagger personified), and arguably the most prominent figure in the American Civil Rights Movement. He died before I was born. I'm older now than he was then.
History has taught me that while he lived, he was older than my grandfather, younger than my grandmother, and that he was more than the "I Have a Dream" speech, a superb piece of writing, by the way, and more than the March on Washington. And frankly, I find the descriptions "dream" and "dreamer" terribly cliche and overused in reference to who he was. People, especially writers, should find more words to use than those. Trite much?
He was one of many who fought and died for equal rights, opportunities, treatment, and trying to offer the world a perspective of what could be with a little momentum and dedication. Whatever else he was or wasn't, did or didn't do, it's because of him and many like him that I know many of you and can call you my family and friends, and can make the most of the opportunities that I have. That's pretty cool.
Life is full of an abundance of fears. Most people have fears of something, and I suspect that most fearless people are those who have never fallen, failed or been felled.
Me? I've been falling down all my life, failed innumerably, been felled constantly; so fearlessness has never been a luxury of mine.
And the list is endless for many of us.
Fear of rejection, especially as a writer.
Fear of being laughed at, talked about, picked on, disliked, or excluded.
Fear of losing. A job, a loved one, an opportunity, a competition, a tooth.
Fear of being alone, dying alone, dying, period.
Fear of Armageddon. Not so much for me, but other folks really have an issue with it.
Fear of reality TV.
But at some point, while you're still living, you've got to say to hell with it. Shit. Put your fear in your fucking back pocket and move. Even just a little bit. What's the worst that can happen? You'll die? Sure. But you're gonna die if you stand still, too, so go already.
There will always be somebody out there who gets the guy, the girl, the job, the attention, or the money, when you feel more deserving, but so what? Get tired, but then get tired of getting tired and get to gettin'.
And here's a thought. Just maybe the reason you didn't get what you think you should have gotten is because you're not as good as you think you are. It happens. Trust me. So get better. Shucks.
That's not to say that everyone should and can learn to be fearless; but just because you're born in a barrel doesn't mean you have to stay there. Hell, the crabs who got out are probably the ones who lost a leg or two from being pulled back down. But isn't getting out worth taking the risk? What's holding you back? That fear again? Patooey!
Sure, I've seen the fearless fall in what I imagine it would be like to watch one of those giant, larger-than-life trees (redwoods, I believe), in a thunderous, unsettling crash, wreaking mayhem and havoc on its way down and in its wake. But even then, I can't help but admire they way they once stood up. Tall, straight, and always certain, even though their time on this earth is as uncertain as the rest of ours. Living and standing in spite of, or perhaps, in reverence of time. The way we all should live, despite our fears.
Yes, the mighty fall hard, but so do the rest of us. Who the hell cares who was closer to the ground at the time? Blah.
I'm not always certain, but I am certain that fear of dying is no reason not to live. I cannot, will not let fear cripple me. Immobilize me. It's madness. And I'm already crazy enough. I've come to believe that that whole thing about dying a thousand deaths is true. I live to die only once, if I can help it.
I originally wrote this post on 13 November 2011, three weeks after returning from deployment in Afghanistan.