WOW! What a weekend! I met one of my favorite, most influential authors of all time and got the last book of a series signed. I met Kimberla Lawson Roby! It was her book Casting the First Stone that led me to believe it was possible to be a Christian and still write novels with a spiritual undertone. My novels may be a bit more unconventional as far as most Christians would think, but I am not really concerned about that! I have my own path to take. Anyway, I was over the moon and treasure the book and the moment. My daughter was there to help me stand in a very long line. Some day I’ll be signing books!
I also went out for cocktails and small plates with…brace yourself, my daughter’s father mother….and his wife. Yep. You read that right. As a single parent, the road has not always been easy and neither are the relationships involved with raising my daughter. Some of our thoughts, actions, and ways are different and well that makes for conflicts of interests. It was extremely rough starting out, but we try to get along and sitting down with all of together was a miracle within itself. Conversation, cocktails, and food made it a pleasant outing.
Oh, yeah. I got a new hairstyle! Lol! I think it may last for a few weeks. Natural hair can be a challenge. Especially, for someone like me who has Rheumatoid Disease and Fibromyalgia. Which took a toll on me by the time Sunday rolled around. I felt so bad, but I am grateful for the two days, Friday and Saturday, in which I had little discomfort. Sunday was very difficult and I am feeling better on today. I hope you enjoyed your weekend, too!
“We are having chicken again ma? You gonna fry it or bake it?” he asked.
“FRY IT!” yells Roland.
“I am going to bake it.” I look at Jalen and I wink at him. He goes to his room and starts his homework.
“Queen Furniture called me about the-
“Look Angie don’t start in with me about no bills because I had a hard day at work and you know what? Never mind…” He jumps up from the couch grabs his leather Steelers jacket I bought, his Steelers hat, and slams the front door so hard the windows shake. I keep cooking. He’ll be back in a few minutes because I see his keys on the kitchen counter. I am used to this. He probably will come in and say a few curse words and “Angie it’s your fault I ain’t got no money blah blah blah and your fat ass blah blah blah”. I can handle it. I just ignore it. I used to argue back until one time he got in my face. It’s just words.
I hear the door open, but not close. He comes in the kitchen and snatches his keys off the counter. He grabs my arm and I drop a piece of chicken on the floor.
“Look, I’m about sick of your ass starting stuff when you get home. Don’t come up in here telling me nothing about no damn bills because if it wasn’t for you I wouldn’t be in this situation. You better be glad me and Monique getting along or she would be calling asking me for more money and you know I got to take care of my children. Come up in here one more time telling me about a damn furniture bill and I am gonna leave you!”
He let my arm go and slammed the front door. I stood there for what seem like an hour. He never put his hands on me.
“Ma.” I looked over to my left and Jalen was standing there with tears in his eyes. Instead of me running to him he ran to me and put his arms around me. Instead of me comforting him he said to me “Ma, you are not fat you are just fluffy and I like fluffy and I don’t like Roland anymore!” He hugged me so tight. I chuckled when he said fluffy. I wiped the tears from my baby’s eyes.
“I am alright Jalen and you will be alright.”
Jalen looked at me and then looked at my arm. His big brown almond shaped eyes widen even more…
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As a writer and an author, if I were to be honest with you (which I choose to do because why not?), being a babe in this industry can be frustrating, confusing, challenging, discouraging, and frightening. Literally, for those of us who are starving artists and care more about the art than being fed at times, until you hear the growl in your belly or notice the negative sign in your bank account. We work, we hustle, we do whatever we can to produce the best work possible. Many of us don’t have big bank accounts to match our big dreams. At least, not yet. However, we will save, we will sell, we will do whatever it takes to see the pieces of works manifest.
I have two novels I need edited. I have learned the hard way, the hard headed way, I cannot edit my own books. So as I vet our editors, I also vet out pricing. In average I need about $350 per book for the editorial services I desire. I do some soft editing, writers organization and consulting, book formations (manuscripting) and etc. for a heavily discounted price. I’m like the blue collar consultant (lol). Right now my two novels are on soft release on amazon. Before I go full fledge promotion, I want them to be the best they can be grammatically. I have received amazing feedback and I know I have the gift.
I wanted to encourage some writers, artists, creators today because I had that tiny feeling that “things are not going my way as easily as I had planned! Not as quickly as I want them to!” When deep down inside you know this is like the artist “right of passage.” Your initiation into the creative world.
JUST KEEP CREATING! JUST KEEP SAVING YOUR COINS! JUST KEEP WRITING! KEEP COOKING! KEEP PAINTING! AND NOW I SHALL BREAK OUT INTO THE CHORUS: “DON’T STOP!…BELIEVIN! DON’T STOP! BELIEVIN!” #JOURNEY Sing along everybody!!!
What an amazing event I attended Saturday! It was a FREE event for authors or aspiring authors where three self published/published authors shared their journey, successes, failures, and wisdom for about 2 hours. They graciously poured into us and we were overflowing when we left. The authors Angela K. Austin, Laura T. Johnson, and Jae Henderson all have very different methods and I think this is what was so interesting and made for a buffet of information. They also from different backgrounds. All three of these phenomenal authors can be found on Facebook and other links to social media outlets can be found on their page.
The event was held at the Memphis Black Arts Alliance. It was my first time in the building (which is an old firehouse and still has the features of one. it was built in 1910), and I was floored with all of the beautiful art created by local artists. We were welcomed in with smiles. I have my eye on several pieces! And one I must have! I also learned they have classes there. Please, if you are from Memphis or in the Memphis, TN area this is would be a place off the grid to visit. It should be listed in things to do and would make a great trip for students.
One wonderful thing about authors and writers when they get together it’s a sharing of information and it is a meeting place. I met two published authors, Phoenix Rayne and Indiana Tuggle. I also met the head of one of Memphis’ well known book club, RARE- Reading and Rapping Experience. You can find all of them on Facebook and also connect via other social media outlets.
I could not have asked for a better way to end my weekend.
A few of my musings about Artists, Art, and the control of Freedom of Expression:
ALL gifts come with responsibility and NOT just the gift of being an ARTIST (of any kind). Here is the catch or the thing: You really don’t get to decide HOW or IF that person uses responsibility. You do get to decide how you RESPOND or COUNTERACT what you deem as irresponsible or offensive. -Nicole Jackson –#ART depends on who you ask
The conflict between religion, politics, and artists continues. Nothing new under the sun. We don’t want to be controlled. We don’t want to “submit.” Some of us don’t want to even submit to the rules of the category of art we fall under. Heavens forbid if you are a rebel by nature…-Nicole Jackson #ART depends on who you ask.
WE RISE. WE WORK OUR JOBS THEN WORK OUR DREAMS. WE PROGRESS. WE GET BETTER AT WHAT WE DO. WE LEARN BY MISTAKES. WE GAIN EXPERIENCE BY TRIAL AND ERROR. WE DO NOT GIVE UP. WE DO NOT GIVE UP! WE DO NOT GIVE UP!! WELCOME TO THE MORNING PEP RALLY!!!
It’s the quiet thought that floats around in the back of your mind as you create your work of art, your book, or your music. I don’t know where you may have gotten it from, television, some disparaging soul, or authority figure. You know “You can’t make a living being an artist” some doubtful person poured into your subconscious. When I hear some sort of doubt rise in the back of my mind about being creative as an artists or writer, I always think about if I am being creative ONLY for an income. No, I am not. I am being creative because its who I am and I can not separate that from my being.
If you have hidden your creativity and stuffed it somewhere in the closet of your heart, because of what someone thought or of a bad experience, you are not as happy as you are pretending to be. So, I am here to encourage you today with the TRUTH and that is “YOU DO NOT NEED ANYBODY’S PERMISSION TO LIVE A CREATIVE LIFE”- ELIZABETH GILBERT