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 1 of the Sabbatical

This blog entry is actually the beginning of my sabbatical; it will probably be short.

Today was basically just another “Manic Monday.” Personally, I hate Mondays. I can’t remember why. I guess it’s because my favorite cartoon character, Garfield, doesn’t like Mondays either.

Anyway, I was supposed to do a research project for a writer working on a historical novel. I was asked to go to the Archives and Historical Department. I arrived, ready to work and get the assignment done. No sooner had I walked through the door, an officer stops me and says, “Sorry, ma’am. The entire building had a meeting today. They closed the building and won’t open until tomorrow.” I just let out a sarcastic laugh. Then, I say, “I wish I knew that before I drove down here.” I left the building. I’m thinking to myself, “Now, what am I going to do?”

I decided to visit my Alma Mater and visit my professors. I saw Dr. Pizzetta and Dr. McDaniels. Every time, I see Dr. McDaniels – she can’t wait to hear the crazy chaos I’ve been enduring. We talked and laughed for a while. It felt good to be able to see Dr. McDaniels, enjoy laughs, and get my mind off things. The next thing she asks about is Emerson. She had a series of questions. For instance, “Have you found a place to stay? Are you actively looking? What about a job?” My answer was, “Yes,” to all the above.

Dr. McDaniels is sort of like an academic mother to me. She stays on me every chance she gets. Before now, after I had graduated with my Bachelor degree, she kept asking, rather telling, me about graduate school. It was never part of my plans. From her perspective, yes, I was going. LOL. It was not up for debate or in question. Sometimes, I could do nothing but laugh. That woman is the busiest woman I know. Half of the time, she is on the computer: checking, reading, and responding to e-mails, answering phone calls, and checking her personal phone. I sit there and think, “How the heck does she do that?” Mind you, she’s doing all that while interrogating me about school. Guess what? She never looks at me while juggling her circus. Dr. McDaniels is amazing. I had to cut my visit short, and she looks at me and tells me, “Make sure you keep me updated and come see me before you leave.” I told her I would.

After that, I went to the store and bought a few things to eat. I got back home, got on my computer and played games for a while. Now, I’m working on blogs, book promos for my book, etc.

That’s it. Nothing else more to tell except I survived this hectic Monday.

And I got four hours of sleep. It wasn’t much, but it’s a start.

I’m wondering what tomorrow will be like and what it will bring…

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.

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!

Jackson Community Expo

Yesterday, I was invited to participate as a vendor at the Jackon Cash & Carry Supermarket. This was my second event as a vendor. I really wasn’t feeling my best; but, I just made the most of the opportunity. There were a few entrepreneurs; it was great! I was really nervous. Of course, Ms. Gigi pulls me to the side to try to talk some sense into me. It worked (for the most part).

I didn’t sell any books, and that’s ok. I was just glad to collaborate with other people and learn about business. Ms. Meredith McGee was also there as a vendor. She pulled me to the side and shared a lot of knowledge with me. Basically, she told me about how to get exposure, what to do, what to say, and who to connect and reach out to. I enjoyed the knowledge that she shared with. By the end of the event, we both decided to swap our works and review them. It feels good to work with other authors as we continue to uplift and genuinely support each other.

Also, another young lady stopped by my table. I was so amazed at the fact she was excited about wanting to purchase and read my book. She was like, “Girl, it’s amazing to be a published author. In fact, it’s a blessing. God is going to take you places with this book. So you might as well strap in and get ready. I feel it is very vital as an African American to know who you are dealing with ‘image’.”  And her name was Jasmine as well.

I guess God is getting ready to take me places; I am scared and uncertain of the “where.” But I am trying to work on my faith. I know God has never let me down, abandoned nor forsaken me. To me, I’m just a small town, countrywoman just trying to find my way, trying to actually live life instead of existing, and find out who I am. And somehow I keep getting pushed back to “Square 1.”

Overall, I enjoyed the meet and greet with the other vendors. Hopefully, things will pick up. Still working on local promotion.

Next entry will begin to fill in the gap as the backdrop to catch you guys up.

Before I forget, I just updated my author/poet website: mcjasz2205.wixsite.com/jnmcghee.

I’m still working on linking my WordPress blog to my website, so I won’t have to keep starting new blogs. I will figure it out soon.

More updates to come.

Until then:

“Speak your truth, Live your truth! Use your voice.” © – Jasmine N. McGhee

 

Little Girl Still Not Heard. The Story Continues to be ignored

Today is the day. A decision has to be made…

So, I had purchased a book review and an author review for $60. This individual claimed to support Indie Authors. I’m thinking, “Well, maybe this person can help. I’ve been getting lies, the runaround, etc.” When I woke up this morning, (I wasn’t fully awake yet) I read that review. It felt like someone sucked the life out of me. (The book review is a reblogged entry if you want to read it).

Basically, I’m a “failed poet.” “This book is the most difficult, most underrated form of art using words. Clumsiness, some metaphors seem forced, artificial, and not at all inspired. This short book is an example of what a few neatly placed words can done (it’s supposed to be “do”), what can be achieved within the confines of letters and punctuation.” And my book received a 4-star rating. On the contrary, my book was critiqued not reviewed.

To be honest, I don’t even care about the rating. It’s the wording of the review! Poetry is an art! Just like a painting, sculpture, or anything. It’s not the beauty of words; it goes beyond that!!! There’s a story within the poems that I’ve dedicated my life to writing, to convey.  For some reason, nobody is listening to the doggone story! They’re so busy trying to restrict my poetry to guidelines, rules, and how “they” think it should be. The cliche’, “You’ll miss the forest looking at the trees.” This review is a prime example.

Nobody doesn’t want to listen to the story, yet everyone is very quick to say, “everyone has a story to tell.” But who truly wants to listen? Who out there has the open mind to really see what the little girl is saying in that book?!

There is a huge difference between a writer and a poet. I’m a POET! Someone once shared “poetry burns the soul and evokes emotion.” A true and profound statement.

As I stated, I am that little girl. Yes, my story still goes unheard. Perhaps, if it was a novel, it would be more receptive. My allegiance is to poetry. I’m open to all types of literature. Poetry won my heart a long time ago. It saved me when “people” didn’t have the time to listen, care, or just have the time.

Being a published author is one of, if not the only, accomplishment in my life. Like, “Hey, after all the hurt, pain, multiple types of death, it all lead me here.” Now, I’m undergoing another type of death: the death of the soul, the death of a poet. Poetry used to be held in such high regards. In this decaying, withering, society, most wouldn’t know what art was if it was right in front of them.

I’ve been facing so much rejection because I’m a self-published author, or my book is poetry. But, I kept trying, trying to connect, trying new ideas…..

My worst fear: my poems out in the open; I can’t protect them or keep them safe. As long as they were on my computer, written in composition books and journals, and within my safe haven, I could control who I wanted to read them and put my poetry away. However, that’s no longer an option.

There are some who share my vision while others heartlessly mutilate my soul.

“Sorry, Little Girl. No one is listening still. So let’s go back to our unreality. Pretend we have a few like minds there. The world’s reality is not my reality. Their sense of rules is overbearing and unrealistic. But prejudice, isolation, and fake patriotism is the drivel that fuels society’s sanity. If rejection doesn’t kill me first, then I will be the world’s main course. And those that speak “truth” will be silenced within Dante’s Inferno. Never to be seen or heard from again: The ‘One-Hit Wonders’.

Subjected to mediocre meanings such as the period, an end. A comma, a possible addition. A semicolon, another addition making it more complex. Letters birth words involving the alphabet. How else would man have learned to categorize, to define the ‘thing,’ the ‘it.’  Yes, ‘it” could be anything. But what would yours be?

Let art live. Just let it be. Stop trying to cut it up, define it, understand it. It simply just the ‘is.’ Words do cut deep, and the truth is supposed to free the soul. Do you really want to be set free? Or be condemned to the world’s crumbling, archaic method of thinking?

I’m an artist; I will die an artist. But I will choose my demise.
NOT YOU!”

© – J.N. McGhee, poet (first), published author

 

 

 

 

Opening Act: First Appearance as a Published Author

So, there’s so much to divulge! But I will have to do another entry later in the week. I was invited by Ms. Gigi Gates to participate as a vendor at her 2nd Year Anniversary of Moving Forward Seminar. This was quite a challenge for me. I’m a published author now, yet I’m still shy and meek. However, this was an opportunity to meet potential customers, market/promote my book, and gain other opportunities such as speaking engagements to share with others.

My mother and sister went with me, and I’m so glad that they did. I was a nervous wreck. My mind was all over the place because I had so much to do: setup the table, where to place stuff, where to sit, etc. But my mother and sister took the initiative and helped ground me.

The event itself was outstanding! So much knowledge, so many women that came to support Ms. Gigi and her vision.

Also, I was able to engage with these women and provide a synopsis of my book. I sold a total of 6 books! I celebrate the small victories, and I was asked to come to a future speaking engagement. I was excited but still shy at the same time. Overall, November 11th was a very special day for me. The venue, where the seminar was held, was actually a bookstore. I spoke with the owner, Tamarah Mack. She agreed to sell my books at her establishment. I was overjoyed. I gave her five copies and signed a consignment form.

God is really opening doors for me! A few weeks ago, I wanted to give up on the local promotion because it wasn’t getting anywhere. Now, look!

That’s all for today. The next entry will be a backdrop to catch you up on what’s been going on since the publication of my book.

All I can say is God can. He will. He’s able!