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”*

 

Jasz McGhee: Poet and on the Way to Emerson

Check out the Author Interview by Ms. Dorothy Day, a fellow MS author!

MISSISSIPPI WRITERS' PATHWAYS

Screenshot 2018-06-18 22.10.30

pen name:  J.N. McGhee                                                      genre:  Poetry

Tell us a little about yourself (short bio).

“I’ve been writing poetry for 19+ years now; as I reflect, it saved my life, God’s gift to me. Poetry helped me discover my voice that I’d never used before. I was always, and still am, shy and meek. My words on paper spoke for me. I profoundly love and respect poetry on a level some may never understand. Recently, I was accepted at Emerson College’s Publishing and Writing Grad Program. My goal is to be a Copy Editor for a publishing company. One day, I want to have my own editorial and writing home-based business.”

When and why did you begin writing?

I was young, around the age of 10…

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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.

Read Poetry: Unchanging Penitence, by J.N. McGhee

Poetry Festival featured my poem “Unchanging Penitence” on their website. Yes, this poem is also in my book, “Little Girl Blues: Existence of an Image.” It’s on Amazon, Goodreads, Alibris, Abe Books, Book Depository, and Indie Bound! Get your Copy Today!

POETRY FESTIVAL. Submit to site for FREE. Submit for actor performance. Submit poem to be made into film.

Genre: Dark, Sad

Love + me will always = pain.
Disappointments and knowledge are the results I gain.
Mending gradually yet the heart remains the same.
Closets are filled to capacity with no vacancy to place the blame.
I hate myself, this flesh never seems to redeem.
Outward appearances capture strangers’ eyes; their conjured reflections evade my dreams.
I’m not good enough; I will never be seen for who, not what, I truly am.
Perfection, requirements, and preferences overwhelm me like a dam.
Scars, bruises, and blemishes leave their mark.
Constant remainders chipping away at me like tree bark.
Beating myself emotionally, physically, mentally has left sensations numb. Damaged beyond repair; I’m an invisible shadow.
No sense of place nor time.
Just a faceless phantom.
No matter what people do to me, for it will never come close as to what I do to myself on the inside.
 I’ll return…

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Doubly Blessed

Well, today is one of the happiest days of my life! My first book of poems, “Little Girl Blues: Existence of an Image” is available on Paperback and Kindle version! And I have a new little nephew, D-Baby. I’m so excited; he’s the first and only nephew. I’m just thrilled that he will be an addition to my life. My life has changed so much from every dark corner on every turn. However, I’m glad that I’m on my journey. Though I’ve recently lost a few friends, I’m learning that there are going to be a lot more who will not be taking this journey with me.

It was hard to grasp at first; now, I’m on my way to fulfilling my goals and dreams for once. I always help so many with their dreams and goals that I often forsake my own. I’m getting older, and I don’t have anymore time to waste on people who refuse to acknowledge that, “Hey, I matter too.”

That’s all for today! Don’t forget to get your copy of “Little Girl Blues: Existence of an Image” on Amazon, paperback and Kindle today! Hope you enjoy the read; I also pray that this book plants a seed. It’s up to you to help nurture and help it grow in the right direction.

God bless because I surely am.Little_Girl_Blues_Cover_for_Kindle (1)