Monday, January 31, 2011

Fear and the Creative Mind

In November of this year I will celebrate my 53rd birthday.  I feel like I’m living in one of those time lapse commercials; I woke up and suddenly I was, as the old folks say, half-a-hundred.  So immediately I start thinking and rethinking my past―probably, too much.  I begin to travel down a very dangerous road and have somehow ended up on Second Guess Yourself Blvd.  I begin to question many of my past decisions and that’s not good when you’re stuck in an unpleasant situation and unable to make any immediate changes. 

Don’t get me wrong, I thank God for the opportunity to see 50 and beyond, and I am grateful for everything I have, including my dead end job, which people are losing left and right due to the economic downturn.  It’s just that I feel I’m due for a major change since I've reached a major milestone in my life.  Yet the question remains, what am I willing to do in order to invoke said change?

Coming off a particularly difficult year (2010 was not a joke), I am at times discouraged and hard-pressed to keep up the momentum of moving toward my dreams.  So I pray, and ask God to stir up the gifts He’s placed in me.  I pray for Him to show me how to utilize said gifts and turn them into a lucrative business venture.  As a writer, there are many opportunities for me to partake of.  My problem, I think, is the fear of putting myself out there.  Will I be able to accomplish what I set out to do?  Can I duplicate or exceed my current salary, (which shouldn’t be too hard considering it doesn’t amount to much, but I’m not complaining).  Will my clients be impressed or want their money back?  Will I be able to compete with other, more experienced writers?  And the all encompassing dilemma, what should I write about?  All of these questions are currently running through my mind and I am in a constant fight not to allow these issues to paralyze me.  In the midst of all of this chaos, I’ve discovered something very profound: fear is extremely dangerous to the creative mind.  Why?  Because it can literally keep you from even trying.

No matter how talented you are (or think you are), or how many gifts God has endowed you with, if you do not use them, then your gifts are no good to you, the people they may help, or the services they may fill. 

I once heard a minister say, “Do it in your fear.”  “It” being whatever that thing is that you’re afraid of doing; whatever that dream, goal, or aspiration that God has placed on and in your heart.  This is a hard lesson to learn, but one that needs to be achieved nonetheless.  This year I intend to stretch beyond my fear and do “it” anyway.  I intend to reach out to new audiences and those I’ve already established.  I intend to write more and procrastinate less.  Whatever fears I may have will be placed on the backburner, pushed to the recesses of my mind. 

I will learn to do it in my fear until I conquer it.

I cope with what happens around me by spilling my emotions onto paper.  As a writer, I look for solutions from within, through the evaluation of self and the environment around me.  Then I ask myself, what can I do to change things? 

I've been pushed into making a decision that will change the course of my life; to launch out into the deep, and to trust what God has said about me. Now its time for my hands to put forth the creativity instilled in them.  Writing is my love. I want it to become my livelihood as well. A new opportunity has risen out of the ashes; the motivation to love the work that I do—and to do the work that I love.  I can only hope that "my love" will push me hard into the realm of the inspired and the creative and that once I arrive, I’ll be more than happy to stay put.

Friday, January 28, 2011

A New Year Plan

The first month of the New Year is almost over so I thought I’d take stock of what I’ve done so far to get closer to the realization of my dreams and aspirations.

Since reaching and surpassing my 50th birthday ( I am now 52), I have determined to partake of my own brand of extreme makeover, and in the process, I've set some major goals for myself.  Instead of proclaiming the normal “resolutions” for the New Year, I’ve decided that reaching my goals should be more of a lifestyle change as well as a life-long endeavor.  So, my quest to better myself is as follows:

Get closer to God through an increase in prayer and studying His Word.                    
I need what the old saints refer to as a Refreshing.  Life sort of beat me down in 2010, I went through some things that I NEVER thought would happen to me. Yet, through the Grace of God, I survived. I'm reminded that in 2011, strengthening my relationship with the Father is essential for every other phase of my success.  Unfortunately, life and the process of living it can get in the way, pushing back what's most important.
Recognizing that God is my source of peace, love, financial stability, creativity, and everything else that keeps me afloat prevents me from giving up. My relationship with Jesus is what helps me through the daily bombardment of issues, worldly as well as personal that tend to overwhelm the soul.  I'm glad to know that everything that concerns me, concerns Him, and that He has instructed me through His Word to cast my cares upon Him because He cares for me. 

Get my writing career in gear.
As an employee of my city's Board of Education, I usually have summers off (Hallelujah)!  This leaves plenty of time to work on my own projects (I've been asked but rarely work summer school).  Now, what has happened over the years is that I've done NOTHING, made NO PREPARATIONS, and I end up struggling for 2 months to make ends meet.  Well, I’m working to change all of that this year.  If necessary, I’ll bite the bullet and work summer school, but my original plan, with the help of the Lord, is to write, write, write, and self-publish more of my work.  I also am looking to enter a few contests and get my feet wet by having others critique my work (OUCH!)  

I’ve come to realize that I absolutely must do a little each day toward marketing my work, developing a major internet presence, and getting myself in the public arena.  It is my goal to match and then exceed my salaried income.  The public school system I work for is undergoing some serious changes, and not for the better of its support staff. Lay-offs are many and are becoming more frequent.  It is painfully evident that I cannot (nay, I will not) be at the mercy of my employer any longer.  Yet, establishing myself as a creative force takes time, so I figure I'd better get started now. 

Losing weight.
Okay, I know.  This is just about everyone's New Years Resolution. However, I started before the end of the year due to health reasons.  My doctor diagnosed me with a lot of nasty stuff, and I simply refuse to go out that way!  I am currently on meds but I don’t intend for this to be a permanent situation.  The weight must come off.  I've set goals of how much weight I want to lose and I am determined to move around a lot more. 

Well, here's my plan for the year.  Have you moved closer to your dreams?
Harlem Renaissance Time

Had I been a part
of that
Harlem Renaissance…
the creations of colorful
people of
in this joint
that joint
and the other,
I would’ve run
into Langston Hughes,
who I guarantee you
would’ve surely
been my Lover.

We’d listen to
Songbirds chime,
drink literary wine,
in this
Harlem Renaissance time,
when Langston Hughes
would’ve surely
been my Lover.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Book Giveaway

Hello all my readers and writers.  I'm sponsoring a book giveaway for my collection of poems, Affirmations: and Other Poems.  Just trot on over to and get your free copy.  Put in the coupon code JU92N at check-out.  This promotion ends February 26, 2011.  So get your copy, read, enjoy, and let me know what you think.  If you have a writer's review blog or forum, please feel free to review my book on and

Thanks and Happy Reading!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Inside My Head

This is hard.  I'm thinking constantly about this novel that I'm supposed to be writing, and though I've done research for it and written a semi-story synopsis, I still can't get this thing down on paper (or on my hard drive as the case may be).  I hear dialogue in my head, I hear narrative in my head, I see my character and the villains she is to encounter.  I can hear it, see it, why can't I write it?

The process of waiting for your muse to kick in is a very painful one for me.  I get excited about the story idea, and I even make a few notes.  But when it comes time for the rubber to meet the road, I can't seem to focus enough to sit down and write.  So how do you keep the idea alive.  How do you keep the story from dying and becoming a faint memory of yet another  project placed on the dusty shelf of your mind?

First, I pray.  Then I pray some more.  Then I read.  And then I read some more.  Then, I talk about it.  I talk about my idea as much as possible.  I talk to myself, and anyone else who'll listen.  I don't give away everything because I don't know everything, yet. Still, talking is how I keep the dream alive.  Since there's still nothing tangible, I'll say something like, "I'm writing a book.  It's in the development stages," meaning I haven't written anything yet, but I'm rolling it around in my brain.   This is how I eventually get the idea unstuck.

So I'll keep praying, reading, and talking until I get to the most important step, which is writing.

One Woman’s Legacy

doings    speakings
emotions      thinkings
ideas       ideals
images        impressions
that rip and run and scream and shout
awakening the consciousness of
future people…

blazing     engraving
in their hearts  on their minds
wishes     dreams
concepts schemes
that intrigue and insight revolution and evolution
reawakening the consciousness of
future people.

Friday, January 7, 2011


Hello all.  Just posting some more of my poetry.  These poems are featured in my book, Affirmations: and Other Poems in the Sisters in Love section. I hope you enjoy them and don't forget to check me out on or


We spent our honeymoon in
South America.  “Brazil is a beautiful
place,” you said, “we’ll be with the
beautiful people,” but I couldn’t help
thinking you just wanted to see
topless women in thongs.

So, we spent our honeymoon in
South AmericaBrazil really was a beautiful
place, just as you said, and the women,
topless, wearing thongs…and I couldn’t help
thinking, must be in the water…

We did all the things that newlyweds do
on our South American honeymoon; we
walked along the white sands of
Copacabana Beach, we
shopped in trendy boutiques, we
ate rice and beans and made
newlywed love under the stars.

One day I felt queasy, before
blacking out, I remember, must’ve
been something I ate, you said. When
I came to, you were lying next to me
in our King-sized honeymoon bed, I was
somehow surprised to see you there—

your chest, rising and falling in my
peripheral vision, the soft, rhythmic 
purr of your breathing—on our
honeymoon, always…it seemed
I was seeing you out of the
corners of my eyes.

I Confess

I confess…
I want a man who’ll love me
so much that
he’ll love me for what I am and
what I’m not won’t interest him.

When I’m dripping wet with sweat,
he’ll think it quite appropriate.
He won’t try to change me—too much,
won’t think me not enough of this
or too much of that, and
I’ll extend the same courtesy.

When he gets angry with me
the fact that he’s so in love with me
will make him angrier still, but 
he won’t be able to help it,
he’ll love me, even if it’s against his will
(but I’m sure it won’t be).

He’ll steal the covers just to coax me
to his side of the bed and sometimes,
I’ll be the only cover he needs.
He’ll awaken me in the morning
with a nibble of my ear, or a
tickle on my neck, or some such
drippy lovey dovey nonsensical
show of his heart, which will be
fine with me. 

And then he’ll show
a real interest in my interests and those things
that make me tick—my artistry, he’ll rave
about my creativity.  He’ll even brag about
me to his friends and family…probably
to strangers too,

you see…
He’ll love the way that I walk, admire the way that I
talk, melt at the way that I smile, and whatever
I happen to do at the time will capture him, is
sure to mesmerize.  He’ll know when I need time to
myself and when I need him to be all over me, he’ll
tell me how good I feel next to him and how soft
I am to touch. 

His knees will weaken whenever
he thinks of me, and I’m sure I’ll return the courtesy
when he calls me on the phone in a rush
just to hear my voice,
and we’ll spend the rest of our lives growing old
with each other’s idiosyncrasies.  He’ll be able
say ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘I love you’ with ease, because
he’ll mean it, and so will I when I reciprocate.

And on those times when he gets on my one nerve
and I on his, I may want to strangle him temporarily, and
he, me, but that will be just fine, no really,
because we’ll love each other and I’ll do things for him,
he’ll do things for me and we’ll make our own
traditions for all our anniversaries, and I’ll confess my
deepest secrets and we’ll pool our dreams and tie them
together as we combine our destinies forever…
and that will be just fine.