Book Anniversary and In the Wilderness

It’s definitely been a long while since my last blog entry. I’m going to have to play catch up again. For this entry, I mainly want to share a few of the obstacles I’m facing; and, the unexpected surprises I never planned to happen.

First of all, today marks the one-year anniversary of my book, “Little Girl Blues: Existence of an Image,” being published along with the birth of my nephew. As I reminiscence, I would have to say it was one of the proudest moments of my life. Though my nephew has grown quite a bit, I can’t help but smile when I look at him. In this generation, babies do not stay babies for long. They grow up rather quickly. He’s already a handful like his father and grandfather before him. So, he has it honest; the apple really doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Digressing…

Now, secondly, I’m here at Emerson College in Boston which is quite a culture shock. It’s very expensive to live and thrive here. Do not even get me started on the parking; it’s a nightmare. Many people have revealed that it would be better to commute and I see why. I must confess – I miss the country. I’m trying my best to adapt; it’s not as easy as some would believe. Also, the people here are very cold and intellectual, not much common sense. For example, I’ve noticed that some people will just walk out in front of cars on the pedestrian walk while the signal is still flashing the hand to wait. I cannot count how many times I’ve come close to hitting someone. Yes, I’ve freaked out on multiple occasions. It’s very different up here and congested.

Thirdly, I’m facing several hectic obstacles concurrently. Things that were supposed to work out fell through at the last minute, and it led to me and my partner sleeping in the car for a little over two weeks now.  (I’ll have to do a separate entry about me in a relationship in next one). We barely have any money, hardly any food, and not a place to…well. You get the idea. He and I were questioning everything: being here, trying to find jobs after we were promised positions, etc. We were fighting battles after battles – we were losing, badly. Every time we thought things were going to ease up, we would get slammed with countless bundles of other stuff. I was at my breaking point, so was he.

Then, my legs and feet swelled so bad. The school clinic had to put me in a room for me to prop my feet and get some rest. Then, I was so stressed out, I caught a migraine. I’m thinking: “Why is this happening? It wasn’t supposed to be like this when I got here. Why can’t things just work out for once?” My partner stayed by my side even though I knew he hated to see me in that condition. Similarly, I hated for him to see me at my weakest point too. The school helped as much as they could such as granting us emergency temporary housing. It felt good to have a bed, bathroom, and food. But, we both knew we would be back to square # 1 again.

I had applied for several jobs at the school, but I never heard back from them even after I did a follow e-mail as the school department suggested. There was nothing. And it was the same for him too. He kept telling me, “We’re doing everything right, so why is this happening? It’s always one thing after another.” I couldn’t even begin to form an answer to his question. I was thinking the same, secretly.

In addition, the school helped with food like letting me access the “Student Food Pantry” and adding cash on my student ID to use at On/Off Campus Merchants. So, they have really done all they could. Some felt that they could do a lot more. I’m just grateful for what they did; a little truly does go a long way.

I felt like David when he was in the wilderness. I’m telling you. We tried to ask for help from home. A few did help but not from the ones we were expecting. I’m like, “Lord, we’re in a strange land. Things are different than what we’re used to back home. How can one get ahead when others won’t even give them a chance?” I even had someone tell me, “Oh, yeah. It’s expected for you to have money when you come out here to Boston.”

I told her, “I’ve never had money. Since I came into this world, I’ve never had money. All I’ve ever had was God, my faith, and my driven ambition. I come from two parents: one is sick with Diabetes Type 1, and the other is basically doing all she can, on her own, to provide for the family. So, I’ve never really had helped. Generally, I’m not accustomed to even asking for help. I just try to get by with the little I have.

Most people will “sympathize” your struggle, but will not genuinely “understand” it. Guess why? Because they do not have to go through it or endure it. Guess who does? Me and my partner. Eventually, I got tired of trying to explain and expecting empathy. Very cut-throat.

Even during these obstacles, God has continued to show us, teach us that he’s the ONLY one that will provide, protect, deliver, etc. It’s taught us to be more humble, patient, grateful, and to trust and depend on him, not man. He’s strengthened our faith and belief in him. For the most part, it has gotten just a little better. I believe it will continue to get better as long as we keep God first in everything that we do. He’ll never leave nor forsake us. He’s been with us every step of the way.

I got a few job interviews lined up, and he got a couple himself. But we’re still waiting on the good Lord to open doors, keep us safe, and lead the way. At this present moment, we’re back to sleeping in the car. We now know that it’s only temporary. God is making preparations.

There’s this quote: ““Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” —C.S. Lewis.”

I didn’t know how true it was until now. The wilderness is not always a bad place to be, just like “rock bottom.” In the wilderness, you’re broken down. Then, you’re remolded, transformed. You evolve and embrace the path and person that God is shaping you to be. As for “rock bottom,” you have to build on a rock solid foundation. If there’s a crack, the whole thing is unreliable. To paraphrase T.D. Jakes, “anything in life, you have to build it and build on it: relationships, jobs, school, character/personality, etc. It just doesn’t happen or develop on its own.”

Raw truth.

That’s all for now…

*Next Entry: “The Unexpected Adhesive”*

 

Day 7: Sabbatical Completed; Freed by Truth

I am proud of myself for staying committed throughout this sabbatical.

I attended church today; and, I must say that my soul was more than filled. The message came from Romans 5: 1-12; the sermon, “He looked beyond my faults.” Normally, when going to church, I take notes and record the sermon.

There were a few points that made me think:

  1. Trials teach you patience – patience acquires experience – experience gains hope. These steps are sequential; you can’t skip. Hope is highly positive expectations. God is not negative!
  2. Before and during your trials, learn to praise God. You can’t be a witness if you haven’t truly learned who God is in the storm.
  3. Good things take time. While in your process, let God marinate your situations. Don’t rush them! You won’t receive what God has in store for you. Impatience cause you to just take whatever is convenient.
  4. Learn the difference between concerning and worrying. It’s ok to be concerned. But when your concern becomes worrying, you need to place it in God’s hands.
  5. If you have to ask “why,” then you don’t have faith in God. If you don’t have faith, then you don’t trust him. If you don’t trust him, you don’t believe in him. If you don’t believe in him, it causes you to doubt him.

Well, let’s recap.

Day 1 was basically testing the waters. It did feel good to visit my “academic” mother. She believes in me which causes her to push me to my greater.

Day 2 was heavy hitter #1; I’m learning how to commit and work on me. I’ve always tried to prove myself to others by subjecting myself to be whatever people wanted. I’m learning that self-sacrifice doesn’t help anyone especially me.

Day 3 helped me reconnect to the flow of creativity again. Also, water was a healing element that proved to be more meaningful than I ever realized.

Day 4 was heavy hitter #2; I had to really dig within myself, scratch beneath the surface. I had to unearth the two main traumas that took root. I had to stop doing guesswork and actually acknowledge what I have been truly running from for years.

Day 5 – Bonding is a beautiful form of commitment and trust. Though I bonded with my sister, with anyone else, I know it is a matter of time.

Day 6 reminded me of God’s promise and how I just have to keep trusting in him while still working on me.

Day 7; the day of completion. Everything has come to fruition and seeds have been planted. I’ve seen the truth – I have been set freed.

I love how everything that has been revealed by the good Lord seems to tie in together.

The sabbatical maybe over, but I still have to continue to initiate and commit to changing myself daily.

I’m going to get to the next stage.

Moving forward and up…all the way.

Thank you, Lord for enlightening me!

Day 6: Nature’s Child, Kidnapped, and Coming Full Circle

With the sabbatical coming full circle, today was more revealing and unveiling than any other day.

Earlier, I had decided that I wanted to go swimming in the Reservoir and do a little writing. Due to a major event taking place at the Reservoir, I was not able to swim. So, I took advantage of being in my element, nature. While there, I placed my feet in the water and was able to connect to the flow and write. After I finished the poetic piece, I packed up my things and left.

A friend of mine, whose name is also Jasmine, wanted me to come and visit her. Once I arrived, she wanted to ride with her to the pet store to buy her dog, Massiah’s medicine; but, the pharmacy was closed. We left the store and got back in the car. We sat in the car and Jazmine shared her testimony and backstory with me. I was shocked; I didn’t understand why she felt so comfortable telling me her story to me. But, she was encouraging me to just get closer to God, grow stronger in my faith with him. Also, she decided to invest in my growth by helping me, concerning Emerson. She’s getting married in July on the 28th. She’s invited me to attend her wedding; I promised her I would come. The events included snowballs, helping her chose an outfit, eating, talking, etc. I really had fun. She kept saying, ” I had to kidnap you to finally get you to hang to with me.”

Tomorrow is the last day of my sabbatical. I just thank God for the revealing and unveiling of truth because I have truly been set free.

I will be sharing or doing a summary of all the truths I have learned.

Day 3: Creative, Aquatic Remedy

Today was quite an adventure! For the first time since Elementary, I attended my first art class. Artist’s tools on the menu were paintbrushes and acrylic paint. I panicked a little bit; I was so nervous. But, Ms. Melodie reassured me that everything was going to be okay.

I had talked to Ms. Melodie prior to our art session; I conveyed to her what I wanted to paint. So, she simply drew it and told me I could just paint it.  I sat down at the desk she prepared for me. But, as I looked at the canvas, I had no idea where to start. Ms. Melodie suggested I paint the background first. As we were both working on our projects, she played music from the 90s and now! I’m thinking, “Man, yes! Okay, Ms. Melodie! We have the same taste in music.” Shortly, she received a call from her boss, asking her to meet him. She asked me to ride with her; we headed towards to the location of the community pool. Personally, I’ve never been around a community pool before. Initially, I thought it was cool.

The next minute, I see Ms. Melodie and her co-worker jumping into the pool. I’m looking like, “Why would she jump in the pool with no changing clothes?” I look beside me and her clothes were neatly folded in a chair. Suddenly, I get this itch to get in the water myself. The heat index was unbearable. I found myself staring in a trance at the water. I’m like a fish out of water when it comes to swimming. I just have to get in the water; I can’t resist the subtle call either. I believe Ms. Melodie knew this and began to coerce me.

First, she told me I could just stick my feet in the water. With me, there is no just “sticking my feet in the water.” I HAVE TO GET IN IT! Trying to fool myself, I decided to just “stick my feet” in the water. I sat by the ladder and placed my feet in the water. It felt so good. Then, I quickly inched further in where the water was up to my knees. And then, the water was up to my thighs. I cupped some water in my hands and rubbed it on my face and arms. You can only guess what happened next. I couldn’t fight it anymore. I immersed my entire body in the pool. Forgetting, I didn’t have a change of clothes.

Ms. Melodie laughed and cheered as she figured I would not be able to resist too much longer. While in the water, she provided lessons on how to swim. But, the funniest moment was when she was trying to get me to sink to the bottom of the pool to practice holding on my breath. LOL. However, I tried, and my body would not sink. It wanted to float. I tried to do it once more. This time my body turned a full circle underwater and floated instead. It just refused to sink to the bottom. Me and Ms. Melodie couldn’t do anything but laugh. We left the pool and returned to her house to finish our projects after we changed out of our wet clothes. We both soon learned that our time in the water cut into our painting time. She had another engagement with her sister – movie night.

I finished what I could and told her I would just leave it there until next time. She was okay with it. We agreed to continue our art session next week. I thanked her for the creative, aquatic remedy and how much I enjoyed it.

Once I returned home, I just sat in the bed. I felt so relaxed and calm. I was already aware that water is a healing, cleansing, and purging agent. I didn’t realize it at the time – submerging my body in the pool just sort of “baptized” me. I went in and came out a new person. All the things I was worried about or hanging onto was purged. Also, the art session allowed me to connect back to the flow of creativity I thought I had lost.

This day held more meaning than what I previously thought. I just thought I was going to paint and that’s it. But I discovered a creative, aquatic remedy through Ms. Melody. And my soul is truly at peace.

Thanks, Ms. Melodie! It was much needed.

UPDATE: Emerson, Here I Come!

Hello, everyone! This will be a very short blog entry for today. I just wanted to give an update on the Emerson situation. On my previous blog, I was asking for donations to submit a $400 nonrefundable deposit fee to Emerson College to secure my spot. The ram in the bush I was praying and looking for arrived on June 7. That person was my little sister. She saw that a friend of mine had created a fundraiser for me on the gofundme platform. My sister decided to give me the entire amount; she expressed how she wanted me to finally be happy by pursuing my goals and obtaining a career in my field. I must say I did not see that coming. After all the stressing, anxiety, and worrying, God was right on time. So, we are in there! Thank you, Lord.

Now, that the deposit is secured. I have to make preparations to find a place to live and a job. A friend of mine connected to a non-profit organization who is going to help raise the money for most of that. Thank you, God…again. When people say, “it comes in 3s,” I guess they were not lying,

Also, I want to thank everyone who contributed whether you donated, invested time, prayers, positive vibes, etc. I truly thank you from the bottom of my heart. The seeds you have planted are about to come to fruition. Just watch. Still, I want to thank you all for continuing to witness my journey. This is another chapter in my life that’s about to begin.

I won’t lie; yes, I’m scared. Terrified, actually. But, the only way now is up. I can’t continue to stay at the bottom. I rather go for it and know that I tried rather the alternative.

More updates to come. You guys, be blessed.

Truth Revealed: MOST POETS Don’t SUPPORT Other Poets!

Hello, everyone!

It’s been a while since my last blog. I’ve been enduring my trials in the interim. But this will probably be a short entry or not. I guess we will find out.

So, I just read a review from a “so-called” fellow poet. I will only highlight what gave me pause…

“I appreciate the creativity of using the ‘2’ as ‘to’ or ‘too’, or the ‘?’ instead of ‘question’, but when it is done repeatedly in various poems, it loses its uniqueness and ruins a bit the feel of a poem. There were a couple of ‘ur’ and ‘u’ as well, which weren’t as bothersome. Apart from these, there were few grammatical issues, which are easily overlooked, as no work I have read so far was perfect.

The writing style wasn’t my cup-of-tea either. There was a lack of flow or rhythm to it. As some of the reviews mentioned, some metaphors were forced, and so were some rhymes. I think when one opts for rhyming, the rhythm of that poem should also be more consistent, or else the rhyme is not even as effective. Some of the rhyming pieces really threw me off as they seemed forced, and that’s a shame when the message of the poems was so personal and touching. I can feel the potential in the expression, but I just cannot get behind the style of writing — it simply is not my style to read.” – Anonymous

Now, I wasn’t under the impression that my way of expressing myself was supposed to be subjected to “YOUR” standard way of writing. Also, I read this person’s pieces as well. Only I read to follow along in the story, not to critique it! I personally didn’t like them, but I respected his way of expressing what he felt. Maybe I’m just different, an alien or something. It really seems like no one wants to listen to the story! People want to pick it apart piece by piece because they didn’t like this or that.

I really give because this doggone millennium knows nothing of art or expression. The only thing they care about is the form, not the art!

When I started writing, I was a child. I had no idea what I was writing. I just wrote whatever came to mind. Then, I was taught, at the point, that all poems rhymed. Heck, if you give a little girl a piece of paper and told her to write what she feels, are you going to tear her down because of the “form” or the way she chose to express herself didn’t fit the way you wanted her to do it?

Those poems began at childhood…

I’m done sharing my art! Why couldn’t I’ve been in a time or in the era of the Transcendentalist? They appreciated the freedom and expression of art! Now, all artists are starving because we have to write what people like or what they want to make “it” feel worthy.

Guess what?

True poets support poets because they understand the message, not the form! If you’re constantly worrying about this or that. You’re going to miss the message. All those “urs,” “u’s”, and “?”, they’re there for a purpose. How do you know the little girl is not directing something towards you directly? Hmm….makes you think. It’s our job as poets to convey the message, not to explain it. Everyone has their own perspective of looking at things.

But, I digress.

These dang reviews do not make my book any less important. Despite it not being a bestseller or any other accolade, it is my legacy. And when I part from this God-forsaken planet, it’s all I will leave behind. It’s immortal.

No matter what others say or how they quietly try to tear it down, you can’t take it away.

The power of words…

It’s real whether you believe it or not. Speak LIFE! We have enough negativity in this world: hatred, violence, poverty, jealousy, etc. We’re so quick to throw someone under the bus. So quick to say, “I didn’t like this, or I don’t like that.”

Lesson Learned: Just because people say they support you. “Support” is an action word; support is more than just words or even doing. It has to be genuine from the heart and soul. Just because we’re poets, it seems we won’t be “wholeheartedly” standing together to help bring recognition back to poetry.

You better be careful if you’re caught in a lie. I promise you – it will show around your edges.

I’ll see the real you.

I won’t explain myself or my art ever again!

It’s the last time!

I’m done ranting. More updates to come later.

Chance of Lifetime: The L.A. Art Show

This will probably be a short blog entry…or not.

Well, back in January, I got the chance to go the L.A. Art Show and Aldis Hodge would be among the other artists to meet and greet while discussing his artistic collaboration with another beautiful artist name Harmonia.

Yes, this trip was spontaneous. Totally unplanned, but what the heck? When I plan stuff, it never turns out right. So, this time, I tried something different. I book a room; my drive was like 1 day, and 2 hours away. I started driving Friday, on January 12th. I knew Aldis would be at the event on the 14th. I wanted to make sure I was there. The drive was long especially when I had to drive through the state of Texas! My goodness! As I was driving, I began to think, “Lord, am I ever going to get out of this state?” I did enjoy the scenic route. The multiple states I had to drive through just to get to Los Angeles; the things I saw, the various speed limits, etc. However, once I got to Arizona and New Mexico, I was just drenched in sweat. When I left, it was cold like 32 degrees. In Arizona and New Mexico, desert heat! I couldn’t stand it.

But on January 13th, around 11: 34 p.m., I had made it to my destination. I was exhausted; the place where I booked the room gave me the 3rd degree about paying a security deposit. I told them I didn’t see that on their website and asked why they didn’t inform me of that information when I call to confirm my reservation. Some stranger, a guy, offered to pay the security deposit for me. I was grateful because I threatened to sleep in my car if I had to. They gave me the key to my room, and I just fell across the bed, passed out.

The next day,  I got up early to take a shower, get dressed, and pack. Of course, I had no idea where anything was located. Thank God for Google Maps (it works, sometimes). I didn’t have to drive far just an 8-minute drive. I found the Convention Center; it was massively HUGE! I’m thinking to myself, “I really got to get out more.” I park and go inside. I had no idea what the dress code would be for an event like this, so I dressed up a little with my blue jean, denim sneakers. (I was thinking about wearing heels; I’m glad I changed my mind.) The event opened at 11:00 a.m., but Aldis would not be there until 1:00 p.m. I stood in a very long line for a long while. Finally, the line began to move. Once I received my stamp, I started taking pictures of me, other people, and people asking me to take pictures of them.

The art gallery was littered with multiple art pieces from so many other artists. To be honest, I started in the middle and worked my way to the left side; I never made it to the right side of the gallery. That’s how spacious this place was. I took so many pictures of the art; it kind of made me connect to my creativity, my vision. I felt like I was meant to be there to witness other forms of talent with art: sculpturing, painting, crocheting, glass, mural…too much to count.

However, I looked up and Aldis Hodge passes right by me. Earlier, I was looking for his art piece, trying to find the section he would be in. Oddly, like me, I had passed by it. I was one of the first people to see and meet him and his mother. I asked his mother to take a picture with me. She was a little hesitant at first, but I got her to take 2. The funny thing is meeting Momma Yolette, Aldis’ mother, I almost fainted! I was hyperventilating, burning up, trying to speak…His mother had to calm me down. Why did I do that? Once, I had read how Aldis and his elder brother, Edwin acknowledged their mom: what she taught and sacrificed for them. To be in her presence, I was just in awe. How embarrassing (the story of my life).

Then, I took a picture with Aldis and Ms. Harmonia. He asked my name, shook my hand, and was like, “It’s nice to meet you, Jasmine.” I’m like, “Wow, is this really happening to me? I’m a small town, countrywoman. Stuff like this doesn’t happen to me.” I left right after the pictures were taken.

My grandfather lived in Lancaster, so I stopped by for a visit. He bought 2 copies of my book and asked me to autograph them. I just look at him and laugh to myself. I had to leave because I had to make it back to work on time. Plus, there were reports of snow hitting Mississippi. I thought I would make it before that, but I got caught in it. It was very windy when I arrived in Midland, TX. I thought my car was going to be blown off the road; I have a small car.

Before I reached Dallas, it had started snowing. It wasn’t heavy until I arrived in Shreveport, LA. I had to call my friend because I was scared. I’ve never driven in snow before. He stayed on the phone until he couldn’t anymore. I made it to Mississippi safely around 5:30 a.m. I had decided not to go to work; I couldn’t anyway. The bridges had iced over so bad that many cars were either sliding off the road or sliding into the bridge. Thank God I made it home.

3 things I will admit:

  1. Although, I’ve never driven in snow before; just watching it fall in front of me and to the ground was simply beautiful and breathtaking.
  2. Meeting Aldis, Momma Yolette, and Ms. Harmoina was one of the most treasured life experiences I will cherish for the rest of my days.
  3. The LA Art Show was definitely worth the trip. Other than Aldis and Ms. Harmonia, I hate I didn’t get to meet any other artists. Just seeing those art pieces was awe-inspiring.

With that being said, at least I’ll have another crazy adventure to tell my nephew, D-baby when he’s older. The crazy, spontaneous antics of TeTe Jasz.

Yea, I can’t wait.

*More blogs to come. I was aiming for 4 in one day, but 2/4 is not bad. Just more for me to write tomorrow.*

Here are a few pictures from the LA Art Show. Trust me, that’s not even half of them.

 

 

 

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Backdrop Pt. 2, In the Interim: The Gap after the Publication of My Book and the Birth of My Nephew

It’s the last week of March. I’ve been meaning to keep my blogs current, but I will have to divulge the “why” on another blog entry. As for this one which is long overdue, I have to fill in the gap on what happened after my book was published along with the birth of my nephew.

Shortly, after those two events happened simultaneously, I was asked to come and speak at my Alma Mater, Jackson State University (JSU), to the graduate class of publishing and marketing. I shared my experience with them about being a self-published author, the marketing ordeal, etc. Overall, I admitted to having fun with marketing my book once I found my footing. I told them the various software, tools, and methods that I used and felt would be easier for me. At the same time, it helped me really tap into my creativity on another avenue. Some asked questions; others asked about the book cover, formatting, and all. One of my old instructors asked me, “Why did you choose self-publishing instead of traditional?” I answered, “Most traditional publishers do not feel that poetry will sell. However, with self-publishing or independent publishing, it opened so many opportunities for me. I got to connect with other “indie” authors, writers, graphic designers, and the other creative individuals. In the beginning, I had no idea how to market my book. I reached out, asked others about the methods used to promote their book, and they were all too eager to share their knowledge with me. It was so exciting to be able to ask for help or ideas that these individuals just opened up and advised on what to do. It wasn’t a competition. Once I had what I needed, I just had to apply what they revealed; for the most part, it worked. A couple of students acknowledged that I inspired them to write or even publish their books, poems, or whatever. When my presentation was done, I passed out my author information, encouraged them to contact me if they had any questions or needed help, and I exited that class with a smile on my face. For the first time in a long time, I held my head up. I didn’t look down at the ground as I was walking. I corrected my posture, strutted, and told myself, “I am somebody. I do matter. There are people who are looking at me, admiring me; though, I don’t know who they are. I still want to give back, plant a seed, and hope the seed takes to their soil like so many others before did for me.”

A few weeks later, I connected with my other poetry groups. I didn’t even know there were so many poets in Mississippi. (Lol, I guess they were in hiding.) Years ago, before I graduated from JSU, I had met with a group of poets called the MS Society of Poets, or as I call them, The Belhaven Poets. Why? Because they meet at Belhaven College. I wanted to become a member, but for monetary reasons, I couldn’t join at the time. Yet, I was invited to come and share my poetry. And I did. They were in love with my poetic babies. Before, I didn’t want to share because I’ve always met such negativity, skepticism, and rudeness about my poetry or how I write it. Afterward, one of the poets pulled me to the side and said, “Your poetry is something else. It’s very thought-provoking; it provokes awareness: emotionally, mentally, etc. Don’t you dare stop writing! Continue to write! Continue to be you as you’re fashionably are! Don’t let anyone take that from you! Who cares what others think or say. These are your words; let them unfold and tell your story! No one can stop you except you!” I was so shocked when she said that. But those words left an imprint. It’s funny I haven’t thought about those words until now, as I’m typing this blog. I forgot her name, but I will never forget her or what she planted inside me.

My other group is the Anonymous Poets; I love these poets. There is nothing but a handful of them; they still meet anyway. These are more seasoned, experienced poets. And I’m the only “young’un” as they refer to me. Deep down, I know it makes them happy to have a “young” poet among them. Perhaps, it makes them feel young at heart. Besides, I’m really an old soul myself. What others do or what they are into, I’m just not into it. Just the simple things do it for me.

 

Whenever I meet with them, I feel right at home, spiritually. It’s an indescribable feeling to be among the same individuals who share your passion, who crave the words and emotions that need to be expressed without ridicule or judgment. We’re all there to just share our thoughts, our vision: to just birth creativity and let it be. Not tearing it to shred because it doesn’t fit one’s “criteria.” Poetry is energy; it flows, and it comes from within our hearts, our spirits, our minds; the very thing that comprises human beings. It’s been a while since I’ve been with them, but I will return to that welcome table. Count on it!

In a couple of my previous entries, I talked about my 1st Author Vendor Event with Ms. Gigi, and the Jackson Expo, my 2nd Author Vendor. Now, I’ve caught up to what happened last year. And, well, lol, that’s last year.

This is 2018; I got to get caught up from January to now.

Hope you’re ready for it.

Backdrop Pt. 1: Results of the Book Signing

I promised to do a couple of catch up blog entries from the publication of my book, the birth of my nephew, and everything in between. I will not lie; I was hesitant to share this part of my journey. But it’s important. Later, I will explain why.

December 8th was the day I scheduled my book signing. It was at Yazoo City’s public library, Ricks Memorial. The book signing would be from 9 a.m. to 1 pm. However, that morning, Mississippi got snow! That rarely happens down here. Even if it snows, it never sticks. Anyways, I was a little late because I had to drive carefully and all. (I’ve never driven in the snow before, so I had to be more cautious driving than usual). I got there, set up the table, and waited for people to come. Yazoo City is a very small town, so I wasn’t expecting a big crowd. If three or four were to come, I would’ve still been grateful.

The reporter from the Yazoo Herald arrived; Ms. Cathryn was her name.  She interviewed me; then, I found out something interesting about Ms. Cathryn. She is currently writing a book, and she asked if I would be interested in reading it. I told her, “Sure, I would.” It made her smile. After the interview, she took a couple of pictures and posted them on Facebook to help get the word out and around about the book signing.

Time was passing by so quickly, and I realized that no one was coming. I was sorely disappointed and hurt. I kept beating myself up like, “Did I do something wrong?” “I did the flyers, hanged the flyers myself in community markets and local business owners, and I talked to the newspaper.” ” Did I miss something?” My first book signing to me was a failure. No one came. There were patrons in the library, but no one showed interest. When 1 o’clock came, I packed up in shame.

Just before I left, a miracle happened while at the library. I saw a lot of creative art pieces on display by a local artist. I connected with her, Ms. Melodie Patterson.  Days after the book signing, she asked where she could purchase a copy of my book. I told her where. Next thing, she took a picture holding my book. I just wanted to cry. I couldn’t believe it!

Shortly, she personally invited me to come to her private school and speak to their students. I just froze and thoughts began to swallow me whole. But I prayed, and I let God use me as an example to encourage, inspire, and motivate the next generation.

I spoke on a lot of things; I will mention 5 highlights:

  1. Keep God first in everything that you do. Let him lead and guide you.
  2. It’s a process. Once you start the process, you have to go through and endure the process. Don’t rush it.
  3. There is no age limit on growing up! As long as you are living, you are going to keep learning things and growing from them.
  4. Find and walk your own path. Nobody can walk yours for you, and you can’t walk theirs.
  5. Be yourself. You will be miserable trying to “people please” everyone. Pursue your passion. Make yourself happy.

One of the students wanted to talk to me about publishing a book similar to the format of Anne Frank’s diary. I was amazed; she’s 14. The student talked, laughed, and giggled. She even invited me to her graduation in 3 years. As she was leaving, she muttered, “It just feels good to talk to someone who is just like you. Someone who really gets you, and you’re able to be yourself.” I just sat there. I couldn’t believe that I had that kind of an impact on someone especially a teen. I’m so used to being in the student’s seat. It felt weird being on the other side of the table.

Ms. Melodie was just as shocked as me. She revealed that the student never talked to anyone, and she, herself, didn’t know that the student could write. She smiled at me and said, “You made quite an impact.” I was humbled. Those students at the Thomas Christian Academy are full of creative talent and life. Just being around them breathed life into me.

Let me back up a little.

Again, I was not going to share this, the result of the book signing. But a friend of mine reminded me how it’s important to share successes as well as failures. Most people will share the successes and not mention the rejections or failures that they encountered along the way.

In this case, people need to be able to relate to someone who is not just succeeding but failing. Yet, within failure, there is growth, perseverance, and strength of will/character. You never know who’s looking at you from the shadows, behind the curtain, or out among the crowd.

I never knew anyone was looking at me or even noticed me. I’m so used to being invisible, voiceless, unheard. Being a published author has blessed me to connect with other creative individuals like myself.

So yes, my book signing was not what I wanted. However, it became a blessing in disguise. There was something I missed: the schools, the churches, and a few more. I didn’t get to them in time. I will relaunch another book signing. I won’t miss anyone this time. If I have to visit the schools and churches myself, that’s what I’m going to do. I don’t want to just touch lives, I want to change them too.

All I have to do is plant a seed…

But I’m making sure it’s a positive one. So many people invested in me over the years, and most are not here to see what their wisdom and guidance has helped shape the woman I am today.

This is a journey; it’s my journey. I’ve spent my whole life running from it. I’m not running anymore. It’s not about me. There’s a bigger picture now (always have been). What I do, what I say ripples to other people. It affects them some way. I want to make sure it’s a positive way. We have enough negativity in this world.

That ladies and gentlemen…

That’s how a seed is planted.

 

 

*My goal was to have all my ends tied up with the backdrops. But I won’t make it before the new year, 2018. That’s ok though. Pt. 2 to the backdrop blog entry will be the next entry at the beginning of the year. A reflection of the journey I’ve started.*

2018 on the Rise: New Goals, Making Dreams a Reality

2017 has been full of challenges and growth. I remember when I started this blog. It started out as encouragement and support for a family member. And it grew from there. Also, my blog became another outlet for me to stay productive in my writing. Although I fell off for a while, I am still able to pick up and continue one blog at a time.

Even though I’m still working on becoming a Copy Editor, I’ve decided to go back to school to get my Master’s Degree. It’s a one-year program. Of course, the program will not open up til August 2018, the fall. So I’m working toward getting everything together to attend. Then, I’ve been doing a lot of research about creating my own literary journal to help the creative community. I’m looking into Graphic Design, so I can learn how to do it myself. If I had the funds to pay someone else to do it, I would; however, I don’t. Plus, it will help me get back into my creative flow.

Concerning my book, I have a few author vendor events coming up, and the first one takes place in February. I have a couple of book signings scheduled. I’m very excited yet nervous at the same time. Now, that I just got hired for my new job, I will be able to promote/market my book like I want.

So many promising avenues are opening up and providing countless possibilities. I will say that becoming a published author was not in my plans. But I just thank God after 20-something years of people asking, encouraging, and poking me, it came to fruition. With my book, I was able to connect with so many authors, writers, and poets too.

I am so proud and proud of myself! 2017, thank you for the preview of what’s to come. 2018, let’s make it happen! Let’s not wait! Chapter 30 is blank and ready to be occupied with memories, adventures, and experiences. Time to make my dreams a reality!

HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!!!! Welcome, 2018! I pray it’s wonderful!