Has America progressed into a diverse nation where certain laws forbidding discrimination are no longer necessary? With a two- term African American president at the helm of the country, some citizens believe we have overcome our negative past, prejudices, and preconceived notions in regards to our differences.
I don’t dispute facts, as a diverse nation, we have made great strides in bridging the race and equality gap. Many impoverished minorities manage to emerge through cracks of inner city concrete jungles to rise above poverty, deprivation, and less than desirable socioeconomic conditions. Those success stories are few and far in between, accounting for a small percentage of the minority population, who escape an all too familiar cycle of hell to arrive at the promise land of prosperity. What about their brethren? Still, there are large quantities of minorities who are marginalized because of ill social circumstances, partly due to a system of classism and race discrimination which currently exists in this country. To make a claim that we have achieved such heights where racism is obsolete is utterly absurd. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In the 60’s, thanks to President John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, Affirmative Action and the Civil Rights Act were created to balance the playing field, diversify, and repair a broken system in which African Americans were widely discriminated against. Legislation created during this era helped pave the way for minorities to receive fair and equal access to employment, career advancement, voting rights, education and federal programs predominantly restricted to whites despite race, creed, color, gender, or national origin. No doubt their agendas were a step in the right direction, but what happens when right wing conservative organizations target racial equality as an attempt to destroy progress made during the civil rights movement?
Case in point, last week the Supreme Court issued its ruling on Fisher v. University of Texas which challenges the use of affirmative action in admissions. The petitioner Abigail Fisher, a white woman sued the university over their admissions policy. Ms. Fisher, backed by special interest groups and private donors (The Project on Fair Representation) states she’s a victim of said policies, citing reverse discrimination.
It’s true, affirmative action is used in most public and private institutions admissions process as a means of diversifying their student body, but it isn’t the primary provision that determines admittance.The university automatically admits students in the top ten percent of his or her class, then factors in race and other circumstances. Pro Publica published an article which looks at the conditions she faced when she applied to the university and the reason her application was denied. According to their research, Ms. Fisher didn’t possess the potential and academic prowess to meet the university’s standards. And race didn’t play a major part in her denial. Perhaps, had she been ambitious enough to achieve high academic marks, she would’ve been included in the top ten percent of her academic class, having no problems being admitted to the university of her preference.
In a 7-1 decision, the Supreme Court sustained the current affirmative action legislation, but in fairness redirected the case back to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals for further review. The lower appellate court was given orders to thoroughly scrutinize the university’s use of race in admissions, assuring they considered all other options before focusing on race. I applaud the high court for practicing sound judgment by standing in support of institutions of higher learning, and their responsible incorporation of affirmative action in the architecture of admissions as a means to create a diverse student body. What this means is previous advancements made in Grutter v. Bollinger (2003), a case which permitted the use of race as a tool to variegate college campuses remains unchanged. The court’s ruling ultimately proved that Ms. Fisher’s legal team failed to demonstrate she was victimized by affirmative action in the admissions process.
The question remains, when will issues involving race and equality be passé in America? Culturally, intolerance has become a part of the American experience. The depths and effects of bigotry run deep, and without healing, hatred taught by our ancestors becomes transgenerational. Perhaps, one day, the use of affirmative action policies to keep the scales of equality balanced won’t be needed. But the likely hood of that occurring is slim to none. Until we address the issues that prohibit us from moving forward as a progressive race of people, the fight for justice and equality will continue.
I have an admission. First of all, let me say, that I had no intention of purposely walking into this location. Seriously! Do not doubt my dedication to my first love!?! This visit was purely consequential with what I was doing at the time and not that I wanted to step out on her, she means the world to me, but it was all about convenience. I know, it’s a horrible excuse. However she was there when I needed her, where as Starbucks was no where to be found. It meant nothing. Like, I understand this is not an excuse, but I needed a fix and Second Cup was there to quench my thirst. It seriously meant nothing!
I was lost. Desperately needing a caffeine fix and well, I stumbled upon her. I decided, why not. It’s just a cup of coffee. Think of the moments when you need Starbucks, but the nearest place next to you is a Dunkin Donuts. What does an addict do? Do you go without caffeine for the next couple of hours and possibly kill someone one in traffic because you were missing your caffeine fix?? I think not!! You make a sane decision and save a life by drinking Dunkin until you find a Starbucks. America Runs on Dunkin is a horrible slogan. It should be America Accepts Dunkin as a Starbucks Replacement in Order to Save Lives!
Keeping this mentality, I hope that you understand my reluctance in possibly committing vehicular homicide. I was a responsible adult and I stopped at the first available caffeine source. I parked my car, walked up to the building and opened the door. Caffeine scent smacked my receptors and drew me in without hesitation. My eyes checked out the decor that reminded me of Central Perk from Friends, while my mouth savored in anticipation. The mood was LATTE! Now, you think that Starbucks has a complicated menu, THINK AGAIN MY FRIEND! Second Cup has an intricate menu ranging from coffees, lattes and others. I decided to go with a Vanilla Bean Latte AND OMG was it amazing. If you have one near you, check them out. You won’t be disappointed. Did I mention the price was right? It was about half the price of a Starbucks beverage and probably more delish! I still heart you Starbucks!
How Do I Kill You?
I was writing my first novel. As the story progressed, I realized that I hated my main character. Like, stick-a-rusted-razor-tooth-dagger-repeatedly-hacksaw-your-eye truly fully hated her. I then realized that I needed to get rid of her. It was time to plot her murder. It was then time to sit back and wonder, exactly how would she die?
How often have you found yourself in this conundrum? Exactly how do you kill a character? I thought about this almost obsessively. Let me clarify first, that these are ONLY ideas to help you murder a fictitious character and NOT a real human. I do not want this blog post to be evidence in a murder trial NOR do I want my name to flash on the screen and cause a Fox News exclusive on why blogs shouldn’t discuss character killings. I don’t want to spark a national debate on the infringement of the First Amendment and all that jazz. NO, I am merely sharing with you, my personal favs on how to get rid of FICTITIOUS characters that I cannot stand.
1) Poison – Think of Snow White and the apple, but not the coma apple. Make it a deadly apple, or a deadly cup of Starbucks. You can use a real poison (Google it) if your are writing a murder mystery or just make up some random concoction. Hucklevisa Mumble Berry is a good one. Make sure to mix with honey first, to get rid of that sour taste.
2) Fall – Nothing is better than making that pain in the butt character than to cause them pain. Stumbling to their death is the best. Maybe upon walking to the store, they trip on their shoe lace, stumble a couple of paces only to fall backward and then land on a upside down razor sharp ice skating boot that slices into their head and down the back of the neck until it severs their spinal cord killing them within minutes letting them reflect on all the misery they caused. So what if your story is centered in the summer? Maybe the ice skater was cleaning out the closet and the boot fell out into the street.
3) Car – Hit by a car, dragged by a car, rolled over by a car, car fell on their head, and even had a heart attack in the car. The possibilities are endless. Explore this one.
4) Eaten – Works very well if your working on a Sci Fi…but can be made real if you use a parasite or bug or a zombie. God I love zombies! OMG…what if you have a rabid zombie pink haired leprechaun who is high on bath salts??? Picture it for a second…. yup, hilarious!
5) Gun – Get more creative than this. I know you can. This is just sooo blah! Same as using a knife. Gun/knives are just a little over done. Nunchucks now THAT is a murder weapon! Have your character assassin randomly pop into a scene, cartwheel over to the pain in the butt character and nunchuck him/her to death! This also serves as reflection for you character to finally repent for his/her malicious ways as the rabid zombie pink haired leprechaun nunchucks chucks the life outta him/her. Sorry… I still think it’s hilarious! PICTURE IT!!
6) Turkey Leg – Picture this… Your characters are sitting down for a wonderful Thanksgiving meal, Pop Pop is about to do the honors of slicing the turkey, when drunk Uncle Ted starts complaining about how he wanted do the honors and Pop Pop is too old to do it. Pop Pop looses his marbles, slices off the turkey leg and proceeds to beat Uncle Ted in the head chanting over and over again ‘Viagra is for duration not necessitation!”
7) Eye Pop – A what? Exactly! Make something up. It’s your world. It doesn’t have to be real, as long as you can verify it’s validity through your writing. This could be the most rare form of a venereal disease that your character contracted while being a jerk. Make it painful!
Whatever you come up with to kill your characters, remember to make it creative. You want something dramatic, something to make your reader go WTH just happened?? I say omit anything that you’ve ever read before and add your own demented idea. There’s nothing unbelievable about how you create your world, as long as you have the supporting words to invite the reader to the places you want to lead them.
May 12 is Mother’s Day, but you knew that already. What sort of things remind you of your Mom?
We’ve been ask to write about the things that remind us of our mothers for May, yet the more I think on the matter, the harder it is to choose just one thing. Even five things is a tough call. My mother has been one of the few reliable people throughout my life thus far. Between her and my grandmother, they both constantly surround me. Whether it is a certain country song that plays over a radio in some foreign location or a just a simple chocolate milkshake, I’m reminded of these woman in some way. Growing up, my grandma would pick my sister and I up from school while my mom and father were at work. When my mom got off she would come to pick us up, but not before grandma prepared me a chocolate milkshake, or two, paired with an egg sandwich just for being her grandson. Breakfast to dessert, she is with me. As for my mom, there are numerous things I can link her to. The amount thinking about it is almost overwhelming. Her and I went through some awful times together, but in those awful times we still laughed with each other. She has shown me what it takes to be strong, and unbeknownst to her, shown me how to use pen and paper. My mom is with me from sun up till sun down. I couldn’t think myself any luckier to have that. So here’s to you mom, the fights we’ve had, the tears we’ve shared, and to the laughs we loved. You’re greater than you’ll ever know.
Once upon a time, I took a creative writing class in college. The teacher wanted us to select a poem and use it as inspiration for our own piece. It had to resemble the style and format of the original. I wanted to choose a poet that no one else in my class was going to pick. Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, Sylvia Plath and Walt Whitman were a few of the poets that were out of the question. A friend of mine suggested Pablo Neruda. I had NO CLUE who this guy was. He was from Chile and was a Spanish Poet so I knew that no one else would use him in our class. SOLD!
One night, I was writing in the kitchen, with my borrowed library book by Pablo Neruda and my mom walked by. She started reciting the poem that I was working on. “Puedo escribir los versos más tristes esta noche.” I was in shock. I didn’t know my mom could read!!! I asked her how she knew that. She sat down and flipped through the book and started telling me how he was her teenage crush. She would stay up late reading his poetry and followed him the way I would stalk …um I mean… admire NYY Shortstop Derek Jeter. It turns out that she was a huge fan of Pablo Neruda and knew a lot of his poetry by heart. She even helped me with my assignment. We connected that night, like no other. My mother’s first language was Spanish and English never became a second for her. We always had a separation when it came to anything literary that I was interested in, until that night. A couple of years later, we went to a bookstore and I bought the book pictured above. On the subway ride home, we flipped through the book and read some of the pieces. I knew that there had to be a connection to my reading and writing, but I never thought it could be her. My mom is just as much of a fan of the literary world as I am. Now we share books back and forth and have conversations about it all the time. WHOO HOO MOM! =)
This is my first contribution to 7TheMag. This month is a very special one for a lot of people for we celebrate Mothers Day in a couple of days. To commemorate this month I present you with this picture of The Angel Of The Waters located in Bethesda Terrace in Central Park, NY. Mothers day for me always comes on a sour note. Sadly, I lost my mother on Mothers Day Sunday May 11th, 2003. To me she was my entire world, just as this photo is entitled, she was my “Protector”. I tell all my friends and family members or just anyone I’ve met that if you’re still lucky enough to have that wonderful person in your life known as your “Mother, Mom, Mami, …” or any other name you’d like to call her, you should cherish those moments every day. Don’t just take one day a year to show them how much you care for them and how much they mean to you, because TRUST ME, one day, when you least expect it, they may no longer be with you.
K. S. Pratt:
Writing about the woman who was one of my greatest friends and inspirations is a bit of a challenge for me. See, it’s been nearly ten years since she’s passed, every particle of life I experience reminds me of her in some way. Although her gracious presence no longer stalks the earth, I carry with me daily the many life lessons and values she’s ingrained in me. My mother taught me that in the middle of life’s storms, pain and suffering, to find solace in the little things. Because of her I find comfort in a stranger’s crooked smile, joy in a tranquil ocean gently washing over delicate sands, and a sense of peace gazing into the darkness at an enchanting star lit sky. I often miss her at times, but she is always with me. I am the fabric, and her spirit is intricately intertwined in the seams of my daily life, which helps me to keep it all together. As a child, I often wondered why people would stop and stare when she entered a room. It wasn’t because she was famous or a super model, she possessed what the French call “Je ne sais quoi”, an elusive quality no human being could touch. I’m convinced she was of another world, sent to earth to spread light by making it a better place. My mother was a peacemaking, funny, kind hearted, and loving angel. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to know her. She was my everything.
My mother has always had a playful spirit. She’s the one who always laughs the hardest and has this underlying sense of humor that you always find yourself laughing along with her. In my childhood, my siblings and I got into the habit of playing hide and seek in the dark. After my brother scaring me one to many times, my mom set me up in a white sheet with eye holes in it and coached me in what to do to scare him. Well that yelp of fear he gave upon seeing me helped mold one of my favorite childhood memories. That’s who my mom has always been for me. She’s supportive and creative and there to fight battles in her own unique ways. My mother has always played so many roles in my life. Mother, mentor, protecter, friend, doctor, therapist, cheerleader, travel agent, and so much more. She’s always been there for me and I grew up idolizing her. I’ve always admired her strength and ability to pull us through despite adversity. She’s always been a hero in my eyes. Now that my I’ve donned the cap of mother, I’ve learned to further appreciate her. As I raise my children I reflect on the mother she was for me. Everyday I strive to be the same type of mother for my children that she’s been for me. She’s always been there and is the biggest constant I’ve had in my life.
The title of ‘Scribe is an Adjective’ was created with the idea that for some, writing is a need. It is what we do and who we are. It was intended to be a category dedicated to honoring those writers who have changed our lives and taken writing to new levels. However, this issue we will be deviating from our normal broadcast. We know that those authors to whom we dedicated an entire section to, those who write for the love of the art, aren’t that different from you or I. From the most mediocre to the most established writer, we are still writers and form a part of this community.
We at Seven feel that to remain a respected community we must all set some rules and adhere to them. We must set a standard. Not only to avoid these faux pas that are being seen way too often, but to also help make you a more respectable writer. This is for everyone but especially for those that seem to have misplaced their moral compass. We hope that someday writers of all backgrounds and aspirations find themselves on the same moral ground. We feel that all writers should have a common ground, a mutual understanding and an underlined foundation. Did I lose anyone there? I speak of a writers code. One that goes beyond courtesy and should be acknowledged by all. We at Seven have gone back to the times of King James to effectively lay out A Scribe’s Ten Commandments.
10. Hone thy craft Make time for writing. – This follows the lines of the idea that practice makes perfect. Everyday take out time to write. Make it a time that you can afford on a daily basis. Even fifteen minutes if that all you could spare. But use that time wisely and write to your hearts content. If writers block becomes an issue, then write of the frustrations of writers block- but write.
9. Thou shalt write passionately to better thine craft No matter where you draw your inspiration, the best writing comes from the heart. So write with passion, with emotion, with your soul and your heart. When you give yourself over to your writing and emotionally invest in it, not only will it be that much more special but it’ll also be more likely to truly reach one of your readers.
8. Thy pen shalt not cease to touch thy paper After all scribe is an adjective. Never give up on your dreams. Write to your hearts content and never use the fear of rejection as a scapegoat to give up on your writing dreams.
7. Thou shalt ask for permission to use other’s works Not only should this be done as a courtesy but not doing this can also result in copyright infringement. This includes audio, art and writing. Be respectful of others creative ideas and respect their work as you hope for yours to be respected.
6. Thou shalt give thy credit wherest it be due Give credit where it is due. There are often many things that motivate us. Nature, music, others… When we draw inspirations from others, we should give them credit for it. This is truly a from of respect.
5. Thou shalt respect the art of writing It’s not always easy to be nice when voicing our opinions on novels that took up hours of our life and are a waste of the paper they were printed on. While this could easily be me asking you to not vandalize these books or use them as kindling that is not what I am referring to. Um… But please do refrain from doing those things. 🙂 Respect all creative styles and outlets of an artists despite your differences in taste or opinions.
4. Thou shalt not limit thy self Lets say that there have been over a billion books written since the beginning of the written word. Let me also say that what makes the difference between one novel and the next is the writer. So when you have an idea to write, don’t not do it because you think it is too common or too crazy. Unleash your crazy and own up to your interpretations and creativity. Because you are unique your novel shall reflect that and your voice will make it original.
3. Thou shalt hate not Despite what can be said about writers, we make an awesomely creative and unique community. Oftentimes competitive but a community nonetheless. As we are all in this together, be supportive. Congratulate other artist on their work and accomplishments rather than throw shade.
2. Thou shalt know thy craft The same way that an artist can go to a museum and appreciate the art of others, a writer should be capable of reading the works of others. No, beyond that. A true writer should love reading as reading and writing go hand in hand. I am a firm believer that to be a great writer, one must read the work of others and appreciate the good and the bad. Know your craft. I also believe that reading will make you a better writer. Therefore a writer should never stop being a reader.
1. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors art In a world where you are not always brimming with ideas, it is a rather easy thing to see the awesomeness of someone else’s work and to want something like it under your name. Well, as it easy as it may be, it doesn’t at all make it OK. Plagiarism is a very serious offense that not only takes away your credibility, but also is an injustice to the original author. I ask that no matter how much you enjoy, love or admire someone else’s work, you do not reproduce it without giving the original author credit for it and asking for their permission to re-post/distribute/etc.
Speaking of which, I recently found a bloggers account of the 5 sure fire ways to avoid being plagiarized: Five Step Method to Ensure Non Plagiarism Real Good by Kat Kennedy over at CuddleBuggery Book Blog. Truly great advice with laughs guaranteed. This includes trying to emulate the uniqueness that was Shakespeare, ways to make your work unappealing to plagiarist, how to ensure you have plagiarist free followers and a sure fire way to keep your ideas from being stolen. A must read.
We all have different reasons for writing, yet I believe there should be a common code for writers of all motivations and aspirations. Please heed the rules set forth to not only be a respectable writer, but to also be a positive member and contribution to the writing community.
I was raised in a Christian household and my mother was a firm believer of turning the other cheek. Yes, quite literally. As in “But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” (Matthew 5:39 ESV) Being bullied at school and having my mother advise me to not fight back and simply pray on it was no easy feat. Being bullied, at all, does something to a person. It changes them and not necessarily in a good way.
There was a time where parents would send their children to school completely at ease, believing in their safety. Lets say that instead of being in a safe haven, the child was being heavily bullied at school. This child became increasingly withdrawn and was continuously sporting a shiner. As the parents search high and low to find the best solution to protect their child in school; they are at ease when the child is home. After all, they are far away from said bully.
Although statistics state the the most common victims of cyberbullying are children from the ages of 9-14, the truth is no one is safe from it. Someone, who wishes to remain anonymous, and has experienced cyberbullying said, “Cyberbullying is a problem that is a lot bigger than anyone can imagine. I feel it’s necessary to take appropriate steps to combat this issue before it gets out of hand. My advice to anyone who is being harrassed or threatened by someone is to immediately report the incident to the proper authorities. Next, they should seek support from loved ones or attend counseling to help deal with the damaging side affects. There are a large array of resources and support groups available on the web for both adults and children. The most important step is to talk about it. No one should ever feel like they have to deal with this issue alone. “
Although I completely agree with Anonymous’ words, it is in this advice that we find our crux. Because not all states have laws against cyberbullying, it’s not always an easy issue to resolve. However, there are exceptions. If bullying ever reaches these following levels, they are considered criminal and should be reported to the authorities. Threats of violence, child pornography, sending sexually explicit messages or photos, Taking a photo or video of someone in a place where he or she would expect privacy and/or stalking and hate crimes. While most states do have legislation in place against bullying, not many include cyberbullying.
While every state with the exception of Montana has some form of bullying law only 16 of those states include cyberbullying. If you are not in a state that includes cyberbully legislation what can you do? There are many websites that give very sound advice as to what can be done to help. Such as Safeclicks and stopbullying. However, I think we should take it a bit further. An anti-cyberbullying law was proposed to the federal government and is sitting in some dark secluded corner collecting dust because it has not been able to generate enough backing. H.R. 1966 (111th): Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act named after Megan Meier a girl who commit suicide because of cyberbullying.
We often think that we, as one person, can hardly do anything to make a change. Unlike the story of David and Goliath, I’m not asking you to cast any stones. Truth be told, that has already been done. Plenty of stones have been cast into the waters of this terrible form of harassment. However, we must continue the fight and pick up the torch. Linda T. Sanchez a Californian congresswoman has already set things in motion by submitting this proposal to congress, now, about the torch mentioned, you must do your part. Let us reach out to our senate, these people we voted into office and have a responsibility to us, their voters. Lets ask that they support this bill and see to it that the law is passed. We can all prevent the repetition of tragic cases like that of Megan Meier.
Are you on board and wondering what you can do to help? Well first, go to the government website and find your senators. Senators make themselves available to their constituents and have varying forms of communication available. And as easily as you can call and state your concerns, you can also copy and paste this message in the text of an email:
Dear Senator [Insert Last Name]:
As a constituent concerned about the lack of cyberbullying legislation on a federal level, I urge you to back the H.R. 1966 (111th): Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act presented to congress by California’s Linda Sanchez.
Cyberbullying is an epidemic that destroys lives and rarely sees punishment. Cyberbullying can be very damaging. With the nature of the Internet, once things are circulated they may never disappear. Cyberbullying can lead to anxiety, depression, and even suicide. It is an increasingly dangerous issue that needs to be addressed. With the federal government passing this bill, not only would this form of harassment become a taboo but it would also become punishable by law.
Many bullies don’t see what they do as cyberbullying and are likely to view it as a joke. However, ruining lives is never a laughing matter. I ask that you please help in protecting our community. In protecting our children, siblings, friends and neighbors.
You have the power to speak for me, for our community and to make a difference. I once again urge you to support H.R. 1966 (111th): Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act. It is of the upmost importance that our lives be protected by our government and ask that you represent my voice, that of your constituent, in the face of your peers.
[City, State ZIP]
I know what your thinking? NON FAT LATTE at STARBUCKS!! I know! I know! I don’t know what I was thinking. Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve gained a couple of pounds (I stopped counting at 7 over) and I’m inspired now to do something about it. (calorie counting S U C K S!) Or it’s the fact that I think I have tried every single possible combination for delishishness at Starbucks and have run out of ideas. I guess what I’m trying to say is that… well…. I think that…. I’m just plain bored of the drinks at Starbucks… wait… did I just say that out loud? **Clears throat** Is it hot in here… It feels kind of hot. Oh boy.. Mermaid… Starbucks Mermaid person… COME BACK HERE!!!
I didn’t mean that. Crap…FIX IT! FIX IT!!
I didn’t mean that. I love you forever.
That’s right. Come back here. . . Now that that’s settled (or so I hope). This got me thinking…
WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO WRITE?
I’m not sure where he said this, as I have not read this for myself. However, one of my favorite quotes by my ageless pen role model is “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” That was Ernest Hemingway by the way.
This screams at me. Simply because I think the act of living, on its own, is inspiration to write. When you are infected with the disease of writing, it has a tendency to take on a life of its own. It’s not something that you control. It’s something that flows. One of the Pastors from my church said “You cannot illustrate a story that hasn’t been written in your heart first.” (Pastor Brian Vasil). I believe this holds true, not only in a spiritual life, but also in the writer’s life.
I can think of a story just as thoroughly when I am standing in line at the grocery store, to when I’m having a discussion with a co-worker, to the times where I am sitting around the dinner table with my family. I carry a small notebook in my purse for the JUST-IN-CASE-I-FORGET story ideas. There are times that I plan a bank robbery as I wait for my turn at the teller or plot a murder as I wait at the doctor’s office. Does it mean that I’m crazy? Probably. But, no one truly understands a writer, like another writer. No one else will get it. No one else can understand the sense of accomplishment that flows through your veins when you read something you wrote and see this story that you created in your head solidified in black and white. NO ONE can understand the joy of having someone read your masterpiece and you see the emotions run through their face of awe/disbelief/hatred/love/happiness.. etc.
So, in closing, what inspires me to write? Life. Books. Pens. Paper. That is all.
I’m encouraged to write by simply experiencing life or being in a certain element. I discovered the best ideas are sparked by events that cause me to confront my deepest feelings; sometimes it’s emotional, at times it’s spiritual, and at other times inspiration is coaxed by a glass or two of sauvignon blanc. Lol! Truthfully, I am stimulated by everything around me so I never run out of things to write about. The funny thing about writing is it strikes me at the most peculiar and inopportune moments. Anything ( a song, a sound, a smell, a conversation) can trigger a bout of inspiration which leads me to write. Because this happens quite often, I try to keep a notepad and pen in tow or download an app where I jot down notes on my smart device.
Inspiration for me tends to be a very fleeting thing. It is illusive and I am constantly searching high and low for it. However, I have come to find that there is a constant. The things I draw inspiration from most are nature and music. I have come to always find myself with paper and pen handy. I am one who will be walking down the street, minding my own business and usually looking the part of a sane, respectable member of the community. When inspiration strikes, usually with the subtlety of a wrecking ball, I stop everything I’m doing and looking crazed going into a writing frenzy. Yep, I pull out my handy pen and paper and write. I write as much as I can, regardless of where I am, while the thought is present and fresh. When I’m at home later, with some time on my hands, I pick up where I left off. This is where music comes in. Music keeps the flow going.
SIGN HERE PLEASE
It was a typical South Florida afternoon. Muggy, warm, humid…definitely not a curly to straight hair day. I decided to go natural. The curls were set, no make-up, a tank top with skinny jeans and a decent pair of converse sneaks. I decided to take my sweater knowing that the auditorium was going to be freakin freezin. I knew this, not only because I was a student at the school, but also because this wasn’t my first Author speaking/book signing deal. Besides, everyone knows that Global Warming is caused by the excessive air conditioning units in South Florida. I mean… we crank up the A/C to 69° when it’s hot out and turn the heaters on to 80° when it’s “cold” out. A proper Miamian always has a sweater and umbrella in tow. Anyway, yeah…book signing with Junot Diaz!
Have you ever been? Not to a Junot Diaz event, but any author speaking/signing gig. I have never been to a Barnes and Noble type deal, but I have attended the eagerly anticipated Miami Dade College Book Fair. Last year the stage was blessed with the presence of Pulitzer Prize Winner Junot Diaz. Did I mention it was Junot Diaz? I have a word woody whenever I think of the man. Not only is he Dominican (I am too…I mean not really because I wasn’t born there, but my mom was and since I was conceived in her Dominican Womb with Dominican Juices; I believe I have some sense of entitlement and bragging rights), but he’s from New Jersey too! (Ok, I’m from next door NYC but it’s the same thing) I am also a huge fan and I love/admire his writing style! It’s very rare, especially this day in age, where one can find a book that changes the way you view language and the written word. He does this for me.
However, this piece isn’t about Junot and all of his amazingness. It’s actually about the fact that he signed my book. It wasn’t just that he signed my book and I got to have a totally inappropriate, words didn’t flow the way I planned in my head, my heart was beating out of my chest, I was hearing some kind of background noise that wasn’t really in the room, my face was beat red, I was rambling and I may have called him a nerd, my hands were flying about and I was doing that typical talking with your hands thing, It’s a miracle I didn’t smack the man….. OMG! I hope that he totally never remembers that conversation if I ever get to see/hang/talk to him again! Anyway, it was all about his signature.
I kept staring at this on the way home. (No, I was not driving and yes I did stare at my hand too because I have touched published genius hands!!!) I looked at it and looked at it and stared at it some more. Then it hit me. If the combination of our touch created this über Pulitzer synergy; it was only a matter of time before I would be signing books in my jeans and t-shirt. I wondered what my own author signature would look like. I tried a couple of them once I got home and none of them actually looked cool to me.
This got me thinking… have you worked on an autograph? What’s the best way to come up with one? I mean, do you really want something that is elaborate and long winded. Just think if you make it to JK Rowling status, do you really want to sign your entire name over and over and over again. I mean, Diaz has a short squiggly line kind of deal and I love it, but let’s face it. I’m not the artistic type. So, I thought what better way to find my author signature, than to actually do some research. I decided to first look into what the greats have done…
These are a couple of my favorite authors. I started checking out their signatures and for the most part they sign the entire name. They aren’t ridiculously creative. It’s just a name, right?
Have you thought of your author signature? What would yours look like? We want to know! Post a copy of it on Instagram and hashtag #7themag. While there you can check out what our developing signatures look like by following us on Instagram @7themag.
**All pictures of Author signatures (except Junot Diaz) were borrowed from www.purplehousepress.com/sig.htm They have an amazing collection, check out more by visiting their website.**
His Name is Ray. . . Ray Hernandez
Ladies and Gentleman, we would like to formally introduce you to our new addition to the family. His name is Ray Hernandez (I know… I know, overkill) and if you entered the contest last month to win this photo. . .
Then (hopefully) you have already have checked out his FB Page and have since become a fan of his work. If not, check it out now and like his page (he likes that kind of stuff). Check out his bio on our This is Seven page and make him feel welcome. We are glad to have him on board and can’t wait to exploite…uh.. I mean feature his AMAZING work! This months header photo is Torched. See the full photo by clicking here.
Welcome to Seven Ray! WHOO HOO!!! *Enter the band playing ridiculously loud music, streamers, the people with the sticks, fire breathers etc. . . we go all out here at Seven* We are glad to have you a part of our team.
BTW THE WINNER OF LA PLAYA GIVEAWAY IS:
CONGRATULATIONS SANDRA!!!!! YAAAY!!! Thank you for participating!! =)
As a writer today, there are many options for putting your work out there. Technology has made it possible for books to reach the eyes of millions with a click of a button. With forums like Wattpad and blogs, writers can easily share their words with the world. However, for a writer that not only wants to share the craft but also make a living from it, what are the options? We are no longer living in times where the traditional route is the only feasible one. Today’s writers have options. When it comes to publishing with the intent to make money, there are two options: traditional or self publishing.
Being that neither of these routes is a walk in the park and each being polar opposites from one another, how do you decide which route is best for you? The most important thing is to be informed. What is the difference between traditional and self publishing? If you decide to go with the traditional route, you might meet a bit of rejection. As many of you know, it takes quite a bit to draw the eye of a publisher. For example, you might need an amazing query letter, a lot of patience and possibly an agent. At the end of the day, the big factor is finding a publisher that is a good match for you. One who understands your visions and ultimate goals and what the heck, sending a nice advance your way would definitely help. The publisher will take your novel, edit it, ensure it has a great cover, build up a bit of buzz over it, then market and distribute it. As for self publishing, the only help you get is the one you pay for. You write your novel. You edit it. You design the cover. You publish it. You market it. Where self publishing is involved, every aspect of your novel being successful begins and ends with you.
If self publishing is so much work for the author, why has it become so popular? This is actually an easy question to answer. Although self publishing is an awful amount of work, it truly has many positives. Sometimes when a publisher is involved, the editing can be gruesome and extensive. After all, publishers are looking for novels that are easy to market and are sure will sell. So much so that in order to ensure commercial success many novels are butchered from what the author envisioned to what the publisher deems acceptable. While this is not always the case, Self publishing allows you to always have complete creative control.
Money and how it differentiates between the two publishing methods is a little more complex, at least on the publishing side. There is a very good article written by a blogger that dives into the subject of money from both aspects. To read about it in detail and visit Wrightspeak click here. Basically, the article states that while publishing houses tend to give their authors a very small percentage of earned income and the book royalties, because the books usually reach a broader audience, these authors still make a decent amount. On average a published author makes more than an indie writer. However, an indie author will see nearly every penny spent on the purchased novel. While this truth might differ based on the format of the book, the fact stays that self publisher authors get a bigger piece of the pie.
So when you write your novel and are assured it is a master piece. It is quite simply ready for the printing press as far as you are concerned. A writer seeking to go through traditional publishers will get their amazing query letter, stamp their envelopes and send them out to dozens of publishers. Lets say, you hear back from one who is interested in picking up your book. A this point, saying you are thrilled is an understatement. You wrote this novel with the hopes of sharing your ideas, imagination and passion with others. After all, your heart and soul has been weaved into every word on that page and you could not be more excited to share it with others. Well, overly excited and impatient writer, you will have to calm your horses and learn the virtue of patience. From the time that the query letter leaves your hands to the time the book hits the stands, years have most likely passed. Most publishers seek perfection, and they will polish your novel until it’s gloss is iridescent. Self publishing, however, is great on time. You can go from polishing your novels to having it available for readers within days. That is the beauty of ebooks and websites like Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo and Lulu.
Comics used in this article were borrowed from here and here.
Scribe Is An Adjective is our acknowledgement that for some writing is not a pastime- it is who we are. We will be highlighting authors (past and present) who make a difference in literature. Writers who inspire, challenge and captivate us with their words. This issue we will be looking into two successful and accomplished Irish authors.
C.S. Lewis, to me, is an author of children’s novels and the man who brought us the brilliant and timeless world of Narnia. But I recently found that he is a man of three hats. During his life he played three different very successful roles: literary scholar, author and writer and broadcaster of Christian apologies. But who was Lewis and how did he come to be this successful multidimensional man?
C.S. Lewis or Clive Staples Lewis was born 1898 in Belfast, Ireland. He nicknamed himself Jacksie at the age of three when his dog died and he took up it’s name. He spent his life with that nickname which was eventually left at Jack. His mother died of cancer when Lewis was only ten years old. After her death he and his brother were sent abroad to continue their studies in England. He struggled to adjust in England but came to rather enjoy himself though he never stopped missing Ireland.
As a teenager, Lewis declared himself an atheist although he was raised with Christian beliefs. He also learned to love poetry, including the works of Virgil, Homer and Yeats. He considered becoming a poet until his first published works Spirits in Bondage and Dymer flopped. He was then
convinced he could never become an accomplished poet.
In 1916 Lewis was accepted at Oxford University. However, he took time off from his studies to volunteer in the British Army in WWI. He fought in the trenches of France where he was injured on the front line by a British shell that fell short of its target. He lived the rest of his life with shrapnel in his chest. When the war ended in 1918, Lewis returned to Oxford where in 1925 he graduated with first-class honors in Greek and Latin Literature, Philosophy and Ancient History, and English Literature.
He was elected to join the faculty at Oxford as an English Professor. Lewis continued to be a non believer with various fazes until his 30’s when he converted to Christianity. His first major work, The Pilgrim’s Regress, was based on his own spiritual journey to Christianity. Between 1931 and 1962 he published a total of 34 books but wrote over 60 during his lifetime. His writing won him acclaim in his ‘three separate vocations’. In 1963 he died of renal failure yet his death was barely publicized due to President John F. Kennedy and Aldous Huxley dying on the same day.
It has been said “that those who may have known of Lewis in any single role may not have known that he performed in the other two.” This was very much the case for me. What role did you come to know C.S. Lewis for?
His name is Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde. I know him as Oscar Wilde. There was a time in my life where I was tired of what the New York Bestseller’s list had to offer and decided to revisit THE CLASSICS. That was the moment that I discovered that classic literature is NOT boring. Once I came across The Picture of Dorian Gray, I became fascinated with Oscar’s sarcasm and complex sense of humor. He entered my life and changed the way that I saw literature and changed my style of writing. I always wrote in the sense of what if. For example, what if a lady walks into this bank and her water breaks. Baby is coming. People are calling 911. Etc..etc. I never truly made a connection with any of my characters and just wrote. I never truly fathomed the idea that each time the words hit the paper and flow out of your mind, your heart is actually bleeding. Art imitates life and his life was a Wilde ride.
Up until his first and only novel, Oscar Wilde was the Seth MacFarlane of the playwright world. He was an eclectic story teller with a hint of raunchiness and well educated in art of writing. He always felt the need to go the extra mile and see how much he could actually get away with. He was well known, respected and honorably paid for his wonder works.
However, this extra mile was also his downfall. Since art imitates life, Oscar went ahead and let his heart speak in his only novel. This was the drop of water that flooded the dam. Oscar was prosecuted for … get this …. being gay. Keep in mind that the time was 1891. However, upon reading the novel that destroyed his credibility and ultimately became his demise; the book is not blatantly gay. There are subtle hints here and there, but nothing like Fifty Shades of Grey (For the record, I haven’t read this book…only heard of it). Yet, the story ended his career and left him destitute with no family and no friends. Not even his lover stuck around!
If you are searching for a timeless piece of writing, amazing prose and tons of intellectual laughter, pick up The Picture of Dorian Gray. You will not regret it. Also read up on his plays and poetry…a simple Google search will do (I love that Google.) I leave you now with a quote from Oscar Wilde’s only novel…
“The advantage of the emotions is that they lead us astray, and the advantage of Science is that it is not emotional.”