The Pen Bleeds

“The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.”

~Albert Camus

Photo Credit:-Photo Credit: www.newsone.com

Gwendolyn Elizabeth Brooks was born on Sunday, June 17, 1917 in Topeka, Kansas to David and Keziah Brooks, the descendants of field slaves. Both of her parents were native to the sunflower state, but eventually migrated to Chicago’s South  Side, where they raised Gwendolyn and her younger brother Raymond.

Her love for poetry stemmed from both parents, who began encouraging their daughter’s creative and intellectual side by having her read and recite poems, at a young age. David Brooks advised his children to use education as a tool to overcome racism, hardships, and other challenges confronted by blacks growing up in the great depression era. No doubt, her parent’s tutelage was influential, priming Gwendolyn for the literary scene, which became a significant part of her life.

At the age of 16, Brooks reached a milestone where her talents became noticed by established Harlem Renaissance writers such as James Johnson and Langston Hughes. Johnson encouraged her to read modern poets to hone her skills and Hughes praised her talents and pushed her to continue writing.  Acting on Johnson’s advice, she began studying authors such as T.S. Elliot, E.E. Cummings, Emily Dickinson, and Ezra Pound who all had some type of influence on her creative process.

Receiving the outside endorsement of two prolific writers, and a few teachers, she felt others were beginning to take her work seriously. Brooks began publishing her poetry in the Chicago Defender, a black newspaper, and by the time she turned 19, the paper had published precisely seventy-five of her poems.

Brook’s went on to develop an effectual emotional style of writing, painting a real and jarring picture of the condition of blacks in America.  This was during a time when the “black experience” was foreign to a majority of her audience, which happened to be middle class whites. Writing under the auspices of writers such as T.S. Elliot, in a questioning tone of modernism, placed Gwendolyn ahead of her time and at unique advantage over other poets in her genre. Her work was black in content but traditionally white in style, addressing the lives of everyday African-Americans, the struggles with racism, poverty, black pride, and the exploitation of women.

In 1950, Gwendolyn Brooks became the first African-American to win a Pulitzer Prize for Annie Allen, a masterpiece, which chronicles the journey of an African-American girl growing into adulthood. Throughout her career, Brooks was bestowed with several accolades, over seventy honorary degrees, and awards due to the subject matter acknowledged in her writing. She was able to capture the multifarious linguistic dance of rhyme and meter, with a devotion to consciously create original verse that portrayed challenges and triumphs of blacks through many periods. Her poems breathe life into a race of people at a time where being a minority was perceived as unwelcoming and bleak. On December 3, 2000, at the age of 83, Brooks lost her battle with cancer. As time goes on, I’m sure she will be revered as both activist and writer who had the ability to proactively change the world through her magnificent and expressive work.

Below are a compilation of poems that capture Brook’s spirit through many life experiences and ever-changing perspectives on race issues, pride, class, and gender.  Some poems are gritty and straight forward, while others are simplistic in nature, but nevertheless complex and compelling in thought. I also contribute an original piece inspired by Brooks writing. Thank you for reading The Pen Bleeds.

Do Not Be Afraid of No

Do not be afraid of no,
Who has so very far to go”:

New caution to occur
To one whose inner scream set her to cede, for softer lapping and smooth fur!

Whose esoteric need
Was merely to avoid the nettle, to not bleed.

Stupid, like a street
That beats into a dead end and dies there, with nothing left to reprimand or meet.

And like a candle fixed
Against dismay and countershine of mixed

Wild moon and sun. And like
A flying furniture, or bird with lattice wing; or gaunt thing, a-stammer down a nightmare
neon peopled with condor, hawk and shrike.

To say yes is to die
A lot or a little. The dead wear capably their wry

Enameled emblems. They smell.
But that and that they do not altogether yell is all that we know well.

It is brave to be involved,
To be not fearful to be unresolved.

Her new wish was to smile
When answers took no airships, walked a while.

Gwendolyn Brooks

 Ella

Beauty has a coldness
That keeps you very warm.
“If I run out to see the clouds,
That will be no harm!”

So Ella left her oatmeal
And fleecy coat behind
And ran into the winter
Where there were clouds to find.

Mother-dear went following,
But reprimand was mild.
She knew that clouds taste better than
Oats to a little child.

-Gwendolyn Brooks

John, Who Is Poor

Oh, little children, be good to John!
Who lives so lone and alone.
Whose Mama must hurry to toil all day.
Whose Papa is dead and done.

Give him a berry, boys, when you may.
And, girls, some mint when you can.
And do not ask when his hunger will end,
Nor yet when it began.

-Gwendolyn Brooks

Infirm

Everbody here
Is infirm.
Everybody here is infirm.
Oh. Mend me. Mend me. Lord.

Today I
Say to them
Say to them
Say to them, Lord:
Look! I am beautiful, beautiful with
My wing that is wounded
My eye that is bonded
Or my ear not funded
Or my walk all a-wobble.
I’m enough to be beautiful.

You are
beautiful too.

-Gwendolyn Brooks

To Those Of My Sisters Who Kept Their Naturals 

Sisters!
I love you.
Because you love you.
Because you are erect.
Because you are also bent.
In season, stern, kind.
Crisp, soft -in season.
And you withhold.
And you extend.
And you Step out.
And you go back.
And you extend again.
Your eyes, loud-soft, with crying and
with smiles,
are older than a million years.
And they are young.
You reach, in season.
You subside, in season.
And ALL
below the rich rough right time of your hair.

You
You have not bought Blondine.
You have not hailed the hot-comb recently.
You never worshiped Marilyn Monroe.
You say: Farrah’s hair is hers.
You have not wanted to be white.
Nor have you testified to adoration of that
State with advertisement of imitation.
(never successful because the hot-comb is laughing too.)
But oh, the rough dark Other, Music!
the Real,
the Right.
The natural Respect of Self and Seal!
Sisters!
Your hair is Celebration in the world!

-Gwendolyn Brooks

to the Diaspora

you did not know you were Afrika

When you set out for Afrika
you did not know you were going.
Because
you did not know you were Afrika.
You did not know the Black continent
that had to be reached
was you.

I could not have told you then that some sun
would come,
somewhere over the road,
would come evoking the diamonds
of you, the Black continent–
somewhere over the road.
You would not have believed my mouth.

When I told you, meeting you somewhere close
to the heat and youth of the road,
liking my loyalty, liking belief,
you smiled and you thanked me but very little believed me.

Here is some sun. Some.
Now off into the places rough to reach.
Though dry, though drowsy, all unwillingly a-wobble,
into the dissonant and dangerous crescendo.
Your work, that was done, to be done to be done to be done.

-Gwendolyn Brooks

The Homeless Condition

To be homeless
Is to roam the streets at night.
In your loneliness, you are beside yourself.
You see things
Through urban eyes.
A taxi is yellow.
A rat is grey.
A working girl is turning tricks.
Unexpectedly the city knows what you know too.
In every dank alley she is there
And there you stand
Braving a bitter reality together.
Freezing winters, hungry nights
She blankets you in corrugated scraps.
A sadness too much to endure.
She hesitates to look you in the eye
Because your pain is too familiar.
When she pretends
You’re not there
Then turns her back
And walks away,
Your crutch breaks,
Under pressure,
An infinite melancholy.
You are the indigent half
Of a contemptible metropolis.
You reminisce on days gone by
Of simple pleasures
Taken for granted.
To eat plenty,
To bathe well,
To sleep comfortably,
And have a home;
Luxuries to the have not’s.
But she still walks
With blinders on.
An intentional dilemma
Of the human condition.
To watch you lie there
On cracked sidewalks
A fixed structure
Wasting away.

K.S. Pratt

© Seven Magazine

Please. . . Come In Peace!

20130607-080127.jpg
Photo Credit: http://www.hark.com

Hello there! This is a message to all beings beyond Earth’s hemisphere. Yes, you extraterrestrial beings that seem to be such a part of our culture. On behalf of the staff of Seven, I would like to extend an invitation to you to visit the United States. Earth is large and beautiful with many locations appeasing the eye. However, none has the diversity and intensity as the United States. You already knew that though. Because, the United States is “the only country UFO’s ever seem to land in.” (Reference Monsters vs. Aliens movie). We have a rich history and an even richer landscape. We are sure you will find something to your liking. Unless you are carnivores and Humans are to your liking or like the prospect of world domination, then please stop reading, this message is NOT for you. Other friendly and non-threatening beings, please read on.

Our government does look kindly on foreigners. We are a country full of immigrants. Don’t be turned off by a weird glance or a multitude of people all wearing black and pointing a gun in your direction. I’ll be honest, we humans tend to fear the unknown. However, I would like to share with you some of our history as history has the tendency to repeat itself. This may serve to help you on your initial visit.

On the initial discovery of America, the Europeans came to explore and check out this new land. They were amazed by all that America had to offer. The Native’s were a bit hostile at first because they had no clue who these visitors were. The Europeans were smart though. They won over the Natives by bearing gifts. What did they bring? They gave gifts that were novelties to them, trinkets and other little marvels. Things the Natives had never seen before. The point of this first example is: bring gifts. Everyone enjoys presents. Don’t be rude!

Have I mentioned how amazingly diverse our nation is? It is easy to find people of all races and cultures here. But the awesomeness that I’m getting to is food! A diverse nation means there are restaurants to cater to these people. In big cities like New York you can find Italian, Spanish, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, French, Indian and food from just about every country in the matter of miles. What this means is that we are sure we can find something that can persuade your palate. If you’re in the mood for some good ole American food not only will you find an excess of fast food restaurants, but also the delicious BBQ in Texas and Tennessee to the unique squirrels in West Virginia, there is something out there for you. Eat our food! Not our people.

American history is something that is very rich and unique to us and you can travel to so many places within our borders to experience it. Museums for example do an excellent job of preserving bits and pieces of our history and tend to be very educational experiences. Then there are places like Virginia that host Battle Reenactments mostly centered around the Civil War. These are experiences you are not likey to forget. Not only are they filled with the actions of war, but you can safely experience it by getting front row seats! Do me a favor though, don’t take notes while you watch and explore. Humans might think your taking notes and pictures to plot against us.

Furthermore, our landscapes are truly a beauty to behold. From the sandy beaches in Miami, to the breathtaking skyline of New York, to the expansive deserts in the Southwest, to the awe inspiring mountains in Colorado, to the beautiful islands of Hawaii. You see, our land is just as diverse as our people and our food. There is so much beauty to see.

Begin with a plan. By plan, I don’t mean itinerary. Although arriving with a general idea of the landmarks you would like to visit is a good idea. Be sure that list is flexible. Pick one place and let it lead you to the next. However, let’s be honest. Although all humans tend to fear the unknown, Americans tend to be a bit more territorial. And when it comes from the government, while they might say one thing to you, what they most likely mean this:
20130607-081147.jpg
Photo Credit: mod db

OK, I have to be honest. Our government does an excellent job on alien cover ups. You see, we’re pretty sure your brethren have visited at one point or another. I know this because there have been thousands of eyewitnesses to some form of UFO experience and even government and military personnel have spoken out on the matter. While our government usually doesn’t confirm or deny this, they do a great job of continuing to denying it. Believers sure take that as a confirmation. If eye witnesses weren’t enough to convince people, there is also Area 51. An Air Force base that is located on the southern portion of Nevada which is surrounded by a shroud of mystery, conspiracy and CIA involvement. Many Americans believe that UFOs are in some part the cause of that mystery. To read more up on that click here. The point I hope to arrive to, with all of this. is that you must be careful. Coming here with an unknown fate might be exciting but should also be cause for fear. If you come, be sure to have fun, but be wary of all humans. They have guns.

For the none English speaking beings, this part is for you:
20130607-081534.jpg
Phot Credit: NASA

Okay… I actually have no clue what that says. So um… Sick to the English text written above. Consider visiting our beautiful country. Stay safe and please come in peace!

Ymelda Ramirez contributed to this article. =)

© 2013 Seven Magazine

An Alien to Publishing With David Estes

Publishing, regardless of whether you are self-publishing or going the traditional route, is a lot of hard work. While nothing is ever perfect readers tend to expect novels to be as close to it as possible. We expect the novel to have a good story line, no typos, well rounded characters, eye catching cover art is a big plus, and an attention grabbing blurb. The standards readers set for the books they read are pretty high and writers need to work hard to make their novel a masterpiece. I regress, publishing is a crucial part of getting your book into the reader’s hands and one made all the more difficult when self-publishing.

This month Seven has welcomed established indie author David Estes to break down what it means to self-publish. He was very generous in his advice and we have that all here for you. David Estes has self-published since 2011 and has four series (The Dwellers, The Country Saga, The Evolution Trilogy and Nikki Powergloves) a total of 13 books which include Young Adult and Children’s novels under his belt. He is an amazing writer who has made a lifelong fan out of me. 🙂

Now, I don’t know about you, but when I think of indie authors or self-publishing, the first platform that comes to mind is Amazon. It is a leader as a publishing platform and one of the biggest online retailers. However, for someone looking into selling their books on Amazon, knowing the facts is a must. I think that if I were to look into every reason that this selling giant has been dubbed a monopoly I would be here for weeks. Yet when sticking strictly to the publishing world, it can be spelled out in two words: KDP Select. Kindle Direct Publishing Select is a program where Amazon targets authors looking to publish their novel. In essence it asks for a three month exclusivity contract in exchange for higher royalties and ensures your novel will reach a new audience with the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library. When Estes was asked, ‘In your opinion what is the best and worst thing about publishing on Amazon?’ This is what he had to say:

Now that’s a loaded question! But it’s also an easy one. There are a few things that are awesome about Amazon:

First, their reach can’t be beat. They are still in a dominant position in the online (ebook) book-selling market. The vast majority of authors will undoubtedly get the bulk of their sales from Amazon.

Second, if your books are selling and getting good reviews, Amazon will help you. They will recommend your books to readers who enjoy similar ones and they will actually generate sales FOR YOU. This is an amazing thing once it really gets going. It can make or break your book.
Third, it’s really, really easy to publish on Amazon and the royalty rates are awesome if you price your book at $2.99 or above.

However, there are always two sides to every coin. There are some really frustrating things about publishing with Amazon that I’ve recently made very clear to them in a customer satisfaction survey:

First, their KDP Select program is a blatant attempt to monopolize the market, which is totally uncool. They promise nice perks like making your books available in a lending library (which you get paid royalties for) and give you the opportunity to make your book available for free every so often. However, in exchange, you have to SELL YOUR SOUL. OK, I’m being dramatic, but for me, it’s almost that bad. You have to agree to EXCLUSIVELY publish your book on Amazon. Like I said, not cool. It alienates readers who don’t buy their books from Amazon which I’m not down with.

Second, they have very strict pricing compliance rules that have been a royal pain in the butt a few times. They insist that your book must be priced as low or lower than every other retailer out there. I’m all for having my book priced the same everywhere, but it prevents you from doing, say, a Barnes & Noble promotion where you make your book $.99 on B&N for a few days. Uh uh, Amazon won’t allow it. They cry and shake their fists and say you have to include them at the party and make your book $.99 for them too. Of course, they have NO problem with you pricing your book at $.99 for a few days on Amazon but NOT on B&N. Yeah, double standards.

Third, Amazon has really annoying royalty rates for books priced lower than $2.99. It’s all part of their attempt to force Indie authors to price their books at $2.99 or above. The way it works is that if you price at $2.99 or above, you get an incredible 70% royalty rate, but if you price below that, you get a pathetic 30%. That’s frustrating because if I want to do a promotion and drop the price on one of my $2.99 books to say $1.49, although my price has only changed by $1.50, my royalty has gone from $2.09 to a measly $.46. For the most part, I price all my books at $2.99 or above, even if I don’t really want to. Otherwise it’s just not worth my while.

The bottom line, however, is that I can complain about my three big negatives until I’m old and gray and red-faced, but Amazon is still the key to my success. I own a Kindle, I buy tons of books from them, and I will continue to use them as my primary publishing platform.

Estes does an amazing job at breaking down what Amazon is to a publishing author. Now that the truth has been put out there, which is that through their good and bad Amazon is still a boss and a force to be reckoned with, you decide to still publish with them. Again, they are too big in the publishing world to look over. Just be wary of KDP Select. As in STAY AWAY!!! 🙂 But what’s next? When publishing you definitely shouldn’t stop there. That being said, Estes definitely has a criteria for selecting platforms to sell his novels, “My main goal in picking the platforms to publish on is to make my books available to as many potential readers as possible. I don’t like the idea of being exclusive to one platform as it completely ignores the thousands of readers who don’t use that platform and promotes the monopolization of the industry.” His goal is one I think all authors can relate to. He continues on to share with us his publishing strategy:

As a self-published author, I can’t possibly publish on every platform that offers ebooks, it’s just not feasible. Every day there are more and more ebook-selling platforms popping up, each with its own business model. At the end of the day, I’m a writer and I don’t want to spend my every waking moment on the publishing process. Plus, because I publish a book every 2-3 months, I need the process to be as streamlined and efficient as possible.

All that being said, my approach to publishing also needs to ensure I get the highest possible royalties for all my hard work. At the end of the day, this is my career, how I make a living, and choosing the right platforms can have a major impact on my success. There are distribution platforms out there, like Smashwords, that can help a self-published author distribute to a number of other ebook distributors. Through Smashwords “premium distribution” it can distribute to B&N, iBooks, Sony, and Kobo, to name just a few. However, as a fee for their service, they’ll take an extra 15% of your royalty. So not only will B&N take a percentage of each book’s sale price, but Smashwords will too. This can really cut into your royalties in a hurry.

Thus, I highly recommend publishing direct to as many major platforms as you can within your time constraints. Because I sell most of my books on Kindle and Nook, I publish directly to each of those two platforms. Then I use Smashwords’ service to publish almost everywhere else, like iBooks, Kobo, and Sony. However, if you choose to use Smashwords to publish some places, but not others, be sure to “Opt-Out” of distribution to the platforms you’re publishing to directly. Otherwise your book may be listed twice. So I lose a little bit of my royalty by not publishing directly to iBooks or Kobo, but it’s a minimal loss as my sales from those distributors isn’t a significant portion of my overall revenue. For me the trade-off between minor loss of revenue and the time it would take me to publish to iBooks and Kobo myself, is worth what Smashwords takes as the middle man. But if I had more time, I’d definitely consider publishing to a few other platforms directly. Finally, I publish to up and coming Google Books on my own through their Partner Program. It’s incredibly easy and already I’m seeing my sales from Google increasing each and every month.

That covers ebooks, but I also recommend publishing a paperback version in at least one place. That way your readers who don’t have ereaders can still access your books. Personally, I publish my paperbacks through Createspace, which is an Amazon company. That makes all my books available through Amazon as print-on-demand with no upfront cost to me.

The last question I asked of Estes was, “To a writer who doesn’t know their way around the selling platforms what advice would you give?”

There are a few key pieces of advice I would give to writers who are new to navigating the many selling platforms that are out there:

1. Focus on ebooks! That is the place to be, especially for Indie authors. You can offer your books at a better price than big published books and reach a growing market. You’ll also receive MUCH higher royalty rates than by publishing through print.

2. Focus on the biggest platforms because that’s where you’ll get most of your revenue. Amazon and B&N still have a stranglehold on the ebook industry. Although they will both inevitably lose some market share over time, the market is growing rapidly, so the overall pie will be getting bigger too.

3. Be aware of trends in the market. Do your research. For example, Apple and Google have both been pushing resources into their book-selling platforms, which will likely mean growth from them.

4. Take advantage of a worldwide market! Amazon and Barnes & Noble are only available in some countries. Use platforms like Smashwords.com to reach almost EVERY country. I’m selling more and more books in places like Asia, Africa, and Europe through Smashwords.

5. Use the templates provided by the platforms you choose. You absolutely need your book to be formatted nicely for each of your platforms. Otherwise readers will get frustrated with how hard it is to read your books and they won’t come back for the next one or recommend it to others.

When you are new to the publishing world and it is alien to you, there is always someone out there who has done what you are trying to do and is honest, open and giving with their advice. So ask questions. Also, be sure to let us know what part of the publishing process has you stomped and we will tackle it to the best of our and an experienced professional’s ability.

David once again, thank you so much for allowing me the pleasure of working with you and giving aspiring authors all this great advice. As per his words from the guest post listed below, “Read, read, read! Be a reader and a lover of books first.” So readers and writers out there, be sure to check out his novels which can be found on Goodreads and Amazon (and all the selling platforms listed above). To hear more on what Estes has to say about writing, publishing and promoting be sure to click on these sites: Advice For Writers That Are Just Starting by David Estes
Indie Author Advice Series #2 by David Estes

© 2013 Seven Magazine

The Pen Bleeds

Are you a believer in UFO’s, little green men, humanoids or other unexplained creatures? Maybe you’ve experienced or saw something that can’t be explained. Skeptics discount the phenomena of alien abductions and sightings as nothing more than vivid dreams or fantasies. They believe such occurrences are fueled by individuals who are attention seeking, or people who may suffer from an issue of psychosis or a side effect of heavy drug abuse. As for me I am a believer. The world is more than black and white; it consists of uncharted gray areas, which account for events that cannot be rationalized by logic alone.

To help guide us through the realm of strange beings and happenings, I interviewed international humanoid and alien expert Albert Rosales. He provides us with a more in depth look on the subject matter, and opened about his own personal experiences with aliens and UFO’s.

 

Q&A with Albert Rosalesalbert

Seven: Good evening! How did you become involved in the education and research of UFO, extraterrestrial, and other strange beings?

Albert Rosales: Hello! The main reason for my involvement in this sometimes taboo subject I have to say has been personal experience, since a young boy living in Santa Clara, Cuba I have experienced strange episodes, from seeing strange creatures, to being missing for a time, loud booms in the sky, strange dreams, bedroom visitations by shadowy beings, etc. I strive to remember everything, but I have never been hypnotically regressed by a professional.

I believe that everyone that has experienced a close encounter with a strange being or suffered any other type of anomalous experience should come forward and make it public, let everyone know. I think is important, the more people that come out (out of the alien close if you will) the more acceptance there will be. Most are afraid of ridicule, becoming social outcasts, prejudice, and of course work issues. I don’t blame them, people have been fired from their jobs for coming forward and telling the world of their experiences, not to mention the psychological trauma and sometimes physical trauma. But I think talking about it to others is a kind of helpful therapy.

I am currently involved in compiling a one of kind database of anomalous experiences, mostly entity or humanoid encounters of ALL types, including the so-called abductions. I have over 17,000 case summaries so far and growing daily. I have cases from every corner of the globe, many translated by myself, sometimes with the help of automatic internet translation engines like (Lexilogos). I have written many articles and journals and my work is known in many parts of the world. I feel a personal satisfaction that I am performing a job that is important and would be even more important in the future.

Seven: The database you’ve compiled on encounters and such is it readily available for public inquiry?

Albert Rosales:  Yes, my complete database is available on CD per request to me or I can provide a list of case summaries per year. Also many of the case summaries are available for viewing at the UFOINFO.com site, go to research and humanoid database for the information.

Seven: What is the most interesting documented case of alien encounters or abductions you have on file?

Albert Rosales: When we are talking about alleged alien encounters or abductions, I must point out that ALL are extremely ‘interesting’ to say the least. It’s very difficult to point out a single case that outshines all the others. There are many however which are well known, like the Betty & Barney Hill abduction of September 1961 (one of the first documented cases of alleged alien abduction) the Pascagoula Mississippi abduction of two men in October 1973, the famous Travis Walton abduction of November 1975, and many others.

Seven: Do you believe the public will ever accept the alleged existence of other worldly beings?

Albert Rosales: Many in the public yes, many have already, I don’t know about the public in general, the uninformed masses, the clergy, the religious zealots, perhaps slowly and surely there will be total acceptance to the concept of ‘others’ amongst us.

Seven: How have your experiences with extraterrestrials and UFO research impacted your personal life or life in general?

Albert Rosales: This subject matter has been a sort of an obsession for me since a very young age, and has not been kind. I have had several experiences myself, mostly as a young man. I think my first two marriages suffered as a result of my studies or my “hobby” if you will. I have spent much more money than I have made that’s for sure. I feel content and that I am doing something important

Seven: Many people are skeptical about UFO’s, aliens, and other creature’s existence due to lack of concrete proof they exist. What are your thoughts on close minded individuals who deny this type of phenomena?

Albert Rosales: Well, billions worldwide believe in a God, and yet they have never seen him. Proof is  a double edged sword, perhaps we do have proof, the US government allegedly recovered at least one crashed UFO or spacecraft back in 1947, maybe other countries have as well, but would they shared that information with the flock? I don’t think so. Many, the aliens or whoever they might be will never allow concrete proof to be shared among the masses, maybe there is logic to it, I don’t know. But I can only speak as a result of personal experience and years of research.

Seven: If you were given the opportunity to travel other galaxies with humanoids would you? What type of questions would you ask and how would that experience be used to educate the people of earth?

Albert Rosales: I would welcome the opportunity to travel to other worlds and realms, and learn from others with far greater capacities than ourselves, from others that hopefully have learned to overcome hate, racism, prejudices, and all those other ills that affect humanity. One question will be, who is God, what is God, I know there is a God, but is it their God, is it the same God?

Seven:  So, do you believe aliens practice a religion or are they an advanced race of beings that have a direct path to God?

Albert Rosales: That’s hard to say, since at times they themselves have been considered “Gods” here on Earth. But I believe that they worship a ‘higher being’ or power or maybe a cosmic energy.

Seven: Once people set aside their fears of the unknown, do you believe it possible for humans, aliens, and other beings to co- exist?

Albert Rosales: You hit the nail on the head; fear of the unknown is what holds us back. I think once humanity ascends or grows and humans are accepted by others in the Universe, it would definitely be possible to live together, just like those famous Sci-Fi films we all have learn to love. We will be part of the greater galactic community if you will, but as of right now I think we are not evolved enough, we are not quite ready.

Albert Rosales was born in Santa Clara Cuba on January 14 1958, migrated to Spain with his family in 1966 and then to the United States in 1967. He lived in NY (Bronx) and then like most Cuban immigrants at the time ended up in Miami. He attended Coral Gable Sr. High, and afterwards he joined the Navy and became a Radioman (Top Secret Clearance) after four years received an Honorable Discharge and went to work with his father who was an excellent jeweler (Seyboldt Building) Downtown Miami.

For more information on Albert Rosales please visit:

http://www.ufoinfo.com/humanoid/

https://www.facebook.com/garuda79

garuda79@att.net

alberthumanoid@gmail.com

garuda79@aol.com

Expression of poetry through art using arranged text in a funky order or shape and pictures or symbols that express a deliberate point of view is called visual poetry. Usually poetry and art tends to be subjective to the creator, sometimes it’s relatable to others, but that depends on the observer’s point of view.  Check out the pieces below.

Fear Aliens

alien

K.S. Pratt

My Shadow

concrete_myshadow

Jennifer Phillips © 2009

The Promise

marriage visual4

K.S. Pratt ©

Hope

Humanity

K.S. Pratt © 

Forgiveness

concrete_poem_forgiveness

J.K. Phillips © 2012

Excerpt: The White Fires of Venus

venus

 Denis Johnson © 1994

 

Over Thinking

overthinking

© 2013 Seven Magazine

American Jabberjay’s

In the trilogy, The Hunger Games, written by Suzanne Collins, we are introduced to a world where government goes wrong. Not that I want to get into the decline of human nature, but there is one aspect of the novel that I would like to focus on. It’s the Jabberjays. According to the Wikipedia definition, a Jabberjay was “engineered to be able to remember human conversations and repeat them verbatim with human voices, and thus to be able to spy on the rebels with small likelihood of arousing suspicion.” In essence these little birds were bred with the intention of floating above the human population, undetected, only to report back to the government the movement of the people and anyone that was plotting against them.

If you’ve read the series (if you haven’t, I strongly recommend that you do) you’ll see how this bird in the sky back fired on the Capitol (their government) and how eventually, in conjunction with other government strong holds, the people united against the evil of the Capitol and triumphed. Fast forward to the real world and I can’t help but to be reminded of the Jabberjays when I think of the current administrations use of drones. A drone is an aircraft without a human pilot, or as more commonly referred to as, an unmanned aerial vehicle. The idea behind them is that they can be placed over enemy territory and spy on their target. Just as the Jabberjays, they are used for intelligence purposes. Unlike the Jabberjays, they can be armed with weapons and with pinpoint accuracy take out a target without the use of military personnel on the ground.

Photo Credit: http://www.someecards.com

In an attempt to bring combat missions to an end, thereby securing the safety of our troops, these drones are constantly being used on the war against terror. To date, 3,540 people have been reported killed by these drone attacks. Where they all terrorist who want nothing more than to hurt the American people? Nope! It’s been reported that anywhere between 411 to 884 were civilians and 168 to 197 were children. (Click here for the source). Now, do those numbers sound accurate to you? I mean there is a huge difference in those calculations. I am not good in math, but last time I checked there was a big difference between 411 and 884. Who exactly is taking down these stats? I wonder. . . what color crayon did they use? I hope it was pink.

According to a speech by President Obama dated May 23, 2013, he stated that drone attacks are precise. Precise? Really? How on earth can they be precise when you have so many civilians and children injured in the process? Did the calculating pink crayon smear in the fit of joy of nailing that one terrorist, thereby fudging the precise number of casualties? The President further stated that “putting U.S. boots on the ground may trigger a major international crisis.” Now forgive me if I am wrong, but doesn’t the injury of so many civilians and children harm our international standing, anyway?

I’m pretty sure that I don’t stand alone when, if, confronted with the horrible situation of standing next to some terrorist who was about to be taken out by our military; I would prefer a soldier, who has discretion, to walk up with an M-16 and take out the terrorist they are looking for instead of a drone dropping a bomb into the “general area.” I don’t want to suffer for the hate that someone else has in their heart, just because I had the misfortune of shopping in the same supermarket they do. When this administration is confronted with the number of civilian casualties, the American people are reminded that no war is without casualties. The people are also told that the terrorist death toll to date dwarfs the amount of casualties in the drone attacks. In other words. . . . its OK, the American government isn’t as bad as the terrorist. When would any American want to be in the same ball park as a terrorist anyway? Both literally and figuratively.

Photo Credit: http://www.wired.com

According to the President, congress is briefed on all strikes and they do not intend on having armed drones fly anywhere over the United States. The goal of the American government is to “detain, interrogate and prosecute” all terrorist. Americans do not have to deal with the horrific humming of drones following us to the nearest Starbucks in the morning. Ummm, well, that might soon be a wrong statement. First of all, there were American citizens who were targeted in the drone attacks. Four to be exact. Hey remember this little thing called The Constitution? What happened to due process? What happened to innocent until proven guilty?

The Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment “prohibits all levels of government from arbitrarily or unfairly depriving individuals of their basic constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property.” Let me reiterate that for you, PROHIBITS ALLLLL LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT FROM DEPRIVING INDIVIDUALS OF THEIR BASIC CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS TO LIFE!! However, when any American citizen plots war against America and is unable to be captured, then according to President Obama, “citizenship should no more serve as a shield than a sniper shooting down on an innocent crowd should be protected by a SWAT team.” They have used this fear of terror in order to deny these rights to U.S citizens abroad. How far can this fear of terror extend?

This raises the alert flag to red. Laws and rules were put in place for a reason. If basic constitutional rights are denied to citizens who are outside of the country, what’s going to stop these same rights to be denied to a citizen who is at home? Whose to say that a sly comment or a disagreement with a policy or a person isn’t enough to claim that YOU TOO have raged war against the U. S of A and don’t deserve the right of due process and being tried in front of a jury of your peers. What happens when the First Amendment is used against you?

If being an American citizen is not enough to shield one from the ideals of a free nation, don’t be surprised when the next speech that comes from the White House is closed out with “may the odds be ever in your favor.”

© 2013 Seven Magazine

Una Colada Porfavor!

Out of this world

Before jumping into the delicious beverage that we will enjoy as we talk in the native language of WRITER, lets take a second to acknowledge the wonderful midnight sky. Don’t be afraid. Step outside for a second . . . what? Night hasn’t fallen yet. I’ll wait here while it does. No rush.

Well, did you see that? Beautiful, isn’t it? Imagine being somewhere surrounded by nothing but stars. Infinite places to go, with no restraint. Sure, it’s just a ball of gas burning, somewhere . . . but what if that gas formed something AMAZING. This is what I recently came across. Something that I just fell in love with. A unique blend of gas that is suspended in space. I just had to feature this photograph as our June header. It’s called the Horsehead Nebula.

HorseHead2
Photo Credit: NASA

It’s something about the colors (PINK!!! It’s my fav), to the shapes, to the numerous stars surrounding it; I am just mesmerized by this photo. It makes me want to jump onto a Virgin Galactic flight and carry my own portable Hubble camera and photograph the bejeezus out of it. Now, it would be awesome if one could own a Hubble camera or if the government would once again support our space program so that NASA can properly update the Hubble telescope, but that’s neither here nor there. Gladly, it works well enough to travel 1,500 light years away and take this amazing shot.

Señor una colada porfavor!

Coffee
Photo Credit: Seven Magazine

I have a secret to tell you. I’m from Miami. Yes, Miami… Miami, Florida. Home to beautiful beaches, wonderful palm trees, destructive hurricanes and scandalous female drama. It’s also known as an extension of Cuba. I must say that I do enjoy most of the Cuban cuisine. Pastelitos, Vaca Frita, Tostadas, Empanada de picadillo and most of all… OH MYYYLAAANNTTAA I love that Cuban coffee. Señor!!! Oye! Ven aca!

If you’ve never had it before, then you are seriously missing out. I recently learned how to make it at home and it just doesn’t compare to flavor and texture unless a genuine Cuban makes it. Mas azucar porfavor. It’s the best wake up juice in the morning and a quick fire pick me up in the afternoon. I honestly think that the reason that there is sooo much drama in Miami is because of the caffeine that flows through the majority of the folks veins.

The smell smacks your senses into attention and once you feel that hot liquid touch your lips, the warmth flows through your body. It brings an alertness to every crevice in your body. If every writer has a muse, then I’m guessing that this is mine. Instantly, I am transformed into una escritora divina. I start thinking in another language and sometimes, the words are transferred onto pink and black. (I have pink paper…I told you I love the color!!) Muchas gracias Señor.

This got me thinking. What exactly is a writer other than a master of vocabulary? If in fact, you don’t feel that you have conquered your language, then read some more. Grab that dictionary and get to it! The great desideratum of a writer is to form a a fructuous collaboration with the written word. Fear not a verbose carom of providential serendipity, just ambuscade the nearest dictionary and figure out what this verbal judo is all about! (I used dictionary.com)

Not only would a big vocabulary affect the level of your writing. PAUSE for a second. If you have a large vocabulary, it helps the writer create a vast level of characters. It creates dimensions. PLAY. Now imagine the world you can create in another language.

I was fortunate enough to grow up in a bilingual home. Spanish being my first language, even though now I don’t speak it so well. However, I can still read it. It has given me the opportunity to meet a variety of writers and really experience the world they were trying to create. Trust me when I tell you that the majority of the time, even the most academic translations DO NOT do an original piece justice. Just think of the transition of a book to a movie. Yeah… a lot like that!

I have promised myself to become some what fluent in a different language for each year that I am alive, starting this year. (I haven’t decided on the language yet, but I do see Rosetta Stone in my future.) As a writer, I owe the many characters that live in my head, the honor of living their lives to the fullest. The only way to do that, is for me to live vicariously for them. I can’t do that with all of them if I don’t speak their language. It is my duty to experience as much as I can in my lifetime in order to make each character believable to my readers. I strongly believe that diversity is what makes a good writer. What do you believe?

© 2013 Seven Magazine

Uncommon Grounds

I place the final period and smile at the screen in approval. Staring at the new age typewriter I reassure myself, “this one is good,” as I finish the outline for a short story. Written with care and confidence; this is how I write many of my short stories. I’ve created my own formula for writing them, it’s become a secondhand nature. Whether they’ll be good or not is up for debate, but I know how I like to write them. This allows me to share these stories with friends and followers. It’s all about a comfort I have in knowing what works for me when writing.

Now. As for this piece I’m currently writing, that you are now currently reading, not so much. I feel a slight uneasiness about putting words, non-fictitious words, words of advice, into this new age typewriter. It’s unsettling to think that someone may take the things I say to heart and I can’t simply defend my words with “it’s fiction.” This rather scares me a little. It’s a new experience that I’m unfamiliar with. A discomfort zone, if you will. I don’t like it, but I also don’t dislike it.

Photo Credit: Girls
Photo Credit: HBO series Girls

A year ago, I would have fled from the discomfort. I didn’t like the lack of confidence that came with the first times. This scared me away from many opportunities growing up. The dastardly fear of the unknown tormented me. It ruined my words. It was a tiresome battle with myself to overcome my fear. I had to change things, to climb the wall of discomfort and try something new.

It wasn’t until I was asked by SEVEN to submit a short story that I decided to make my move. My climb began with “Charley Parkins.” That was the spark I needed. The key in the ignition. The kick in the…you get my point. As I became more confident, I began sharing more of my work. I founded my writing formula and found comfort in my short stories. I was always willing to share with others my work. I loved the ecstasy of confidence that filled me. I decided then, “I don’t want this feeling to end.”

So here I am, typing unfamiliar words, full of chattering nerves. Doubt floats around in my head, but I write on. You see, writing aside, I’ve learned that there is nothing to be gained by remaining in your comfort zone. Life can’t happen if you stay in bed. The past year I’ve made numerous new friends, found solace in poetry, and even made a big change by moving to Ocean City from Baltimore (about three hours away) after living at home for almost 21 years. These experiences I’ve had with my friends, new and old, have inspired me; giving me new subjects to write about. The reason I don’t dislike the discomfort is for the simple learned fact that new experiences are uncomfortable, but also unforgettable. You must embrace the unknown. Never fear the new. I’ve wasted too much time hiding from that first time fear. It’s a lesson I learned by taking one chance, affecting my person and my writing.

Go out and try something new. Leave your comfort zone behind. Whether it be trying a new restaurant, talking to someone new, or even attempting to write something inspiring and filled with a little bit of advice. Get out of your comfort zone and enter your discomfort zone, for this is the place we can truly grow.

© 2013 Seven Magazine