My novel is going to be a best seller!

If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him.

                                                         – John F. Kennedy

If your goal is to be the next JK Rowling… writing may not (there is a slight possibility) be right for you.

The Talent: It’s going to be a best seller

Voice of Reason: Now that I think about it, I’ve never even seen you read a book.

I’m not going to emphasize the importance or writing, I’ve done that in enough posts. Nor will I emphasize the importance of writing, because I’ve done that a few times as well, I think. You can check out my old posts in this series here if you want to.

There is something that I want to stress, and that’s the importance of money. As humans we need it, can’t live without it because it ensures life’s necessities: food, water, shelter, clothes and other great stuff. Money is important because it allows us to obtain these things, to continue doing the fun, stupid, pointless, amazing things we as writers do. All money does is mediate, acting as a means to something else. Money’s importance comes from a capitalistic interest in placing an arbitrary value on everything. There’s no reason, really, why a tomato should cost a dollar and a loaf of bread several. There’s no reason why essentials should be marketed to begin with, but that’s another post.

So what does being a millionaire, or a billionaire in Rowling’s case ensure? Even if you are a mildly successful author you’d be able to cover your necessities and guarantee that you continue doing what you love: writing.It’s easy to preach when the audience is a screen, but seriously , two for the money, ten for the art. Your skill as a writer has already been commodified, there’s no need to place added stress on yourself to be an international best seller. No disrespect to those who are of course, or those who desire success, but it shouldn’t be your sole goal.

Don’t compromise your novels, poems, paintings, films or essays solely for the fame or the money. You’ll regret it. At the end of that long, never ending day that is life, you owe authenticity not to your friends, family, job or self; you owe it to your work.

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Youth is a B—

Youth is many things, and in response to the Weekly Writing Challenge I’ve come up with this poem. Enjoy!

An unwanted burden

you carry or

a fruit unharvested,

unripened and rich?

Either way, it’s still a—

The girl running breathless in the snow

the wizened scholar at her oak desk

the nervous painter at his first art show

the determined boy standing at the pitch

Youth remains by your side, a loyal—

But now it eludes you, slips through your creased fingers

hides under pampered cheeks and stylish shoes,

hazarding appearances in soft smiles; never does it linger

leaving only laugh scars where once youth grew.

Hurry, gather what is left and preserve it in a ditch

Too late, it’s already gone, that sneaky—!

Some say youth is a blessing, a birth rite,

a bold stone, weathered not withered by the sea;

the beloved years, the black days, the winged bird in flight

but either way it’s still a B.

Here are some other Backwords thoughts on youth, age and other splendid things:

  1. Ilya Fostiy. Amnesia | Crazy Art
  2. Ilya Fostiy. Muse | The Bliss of Reality
  3. Youth Insults My Intelligence | Bumblepuppies
  4. The Illusive FEAR of Getting Old | Musings | WANGSGARD
  5. Weekly Writing Challenge: Golden Years | In my world
  6. Looking Back (and Traveling) | JGTravels
  7. Thoughts on Aging | melissuhhsmiles
  8. Yelp for help…… | Obsessive Compulsive Running…….
  9. Youth is a B— | The Backwords
  10. Riding Into The Sunrise
  11. Weekly writing challenge- golden years | A picture is worth 1000 words
  12. The Defining Number | Through The Eyes Productions
  13. I am not my mother | Twisting Suburbia
  14. Weekly Photo Challenge – Perspective | Joe’s Musings
  15. Artfully Aspiring
  16. Wisdom of a Toddler | Artfully Aspiring
  17. I Couldn’t Wait | Fish Of Gold
  18. Young or old? Here’s how to tell | The Crayon Files
  19. The Elders of Us | Wired With Words
  20. Aging with grace and acceptance | Ezhealthcents
  21. I’m a Writer, Yes I Am
  22. Weekly Writing Challenge: Golden Years | imagination
  23. Thirsty thirties | Scent of Rina
  24. Weekly Writing Challenge: GOLDEN YEARS | Thinking Languages!
  25. Wholehearted living… One day at a time. | masknolonger
  26. You’re As Old As You Feel | A Day In The Life
  27. Social Media has changed me | The Bohemian Rock Star’s “Untitled Project”
  28. Golden Years | Icezine

The Oscars made a zombie of me

Today is a good day. Yesterday was a horrible day, and tomorrow may be even worse, but today is good. This past weekend I sat in front of my laptop unable to do anything else expect read, research and write with the occasional snack, nap an excretion. If this writing and research were of my own wishes, I wouldn’t have minded. No, it was for a research assignment that was due 11;59pm on Sunday. Which I guess isn’t too bad because it prohibited me from sitting in front of a television screen like a zombie for hours.

For the MythBusters Zombie Special, airing Thursday, Oct. 17 at ...

Courtesy of DCL

Sitting in front of laptop screen as an active zombie is much better than sitting in front of a television screen like a dead one, hoping for something interesting to happen. Or at least that’s how I justify my sad weekend. And no, I didn’t learn that procrastination is bad, far from it. I’ve been putting off these two assignments for weeks, I knew the pain, frustration and sleepiness were coming.

https://i2.wp.com/www.personal.psu.edu/afr3/blogs/siowfa13/2013/09/21/procrastination.jpg

I disagree. The longer you wait, the easier it is to accept ridiculous excuses for not doing your work. It was so easy to suppress my anxiety.

Stock photo: Handing out candy is a central aspect of American Halloween celebrations, but one woman from Fargo, N.D. has decided to give out much more. (Shutterstock)

Congrats to the winners! The Academy seemed to acknowledge each group somehow. One for you, and for you, and one for you. Oh did I miss you over there? Here you go. You were naughty this year, you don’t get one. Everybody have a sparkly piece of metal, except for Leo? Good. Lovely.

So you want to quit your job?

Copyright by Incidental Comics

I’ll admit, I’ve considered at some point I’ve wanted to be a teacher, doctor, astronomer, astronaut, athlete, chef, painter, director and costume designer , and I’m not even out of school yet! I’ve settled (at the moment) to pursue something in writing.

If you could quit your jog or finish school today, what would you do for the rest of your life (kudos to you if you’re already doing it)? Any of these professions sound appealing?

Cheap carbon copies

It is only the modern that ever becomes old-fashioned.

                                                       – Oscar Wilde

You want to write but you don’t read?

The Talent: I’m going to be a writer.

Voice of Reason: I’ve never seen you show even the slightest interest in books.

Some writers disregard the authors of the past, claiming they have no relevance or presence in the world of the modern writer. However, good writing is timeless, it revisits issues that are importance to humans of all sexes, ages, races, classes and times. Every generation reads a work and reads it differently, revealing something new about a novel, poem or play written two hundred years ago.

It may sound tedious and unnecessary, but to write well you should be able to read. Actually, you should be putting your reading into practice. To transform, immerse and captivate a reader with your writing requires first hand experiencing of being compelled by a piece of writing. If you’re unaware of a works affect on yourself how can you hope to even tickle a reader? You don’t have to go and read the entire Cannon, but you do have to read, and read often. Ignoring the greats who came before you doesn’t make you cool, fresh or new. It makes you stupid, as often your works will cheap carbon copies of greater works you’re unaware that you’re even imitating.

Can you divorce reading from writing and still be a good writer?

I’m going to write a novel. For the love of all that is holy, why?

There is creative reading as well as creative writing.

                                                        – Ralph Waldo Emerson

A writer is a reader first

You’ve heard it before: in order to be a good writer you must be well read (we’ll discuss this lovely concept in another post). Read as much as you can and expose yourself to as many diverse authors as you can, writers learn to write from reading others who are masters of writing, and other wonderful pieces of advice that do little to ebb away our anxiety as writers.

I discussed in my I don’t need you to be my hero post that it is important to find your voice as a writer through writing. I made the argument that our influences make us who we are as writers, but we shouldn’t get lost trying to be Fitzgerald, Hemingway or their likes.

So we’ve dealt with the possible extreme of losing your voice through excessive imitation, without exploration of your own writing voice. We’ve yet to look at the debilitating effects of not reading at all. Debilitating? Yes, and I’m sure after this video you’ll be using such words to describe the side effects of not reading at all.

Anyone who wants to be an author needs to watch this video:

What are some of the things that have made you the writer you are? Is being “well read” all that important? What’s your favourite line from the video? I can’t decide, but “I’ve never even seen you read a book,” is golden.

My first…

How did your first time feel? Were you anxious, unable to control your desire? Were you nervous and eager to get the whole thing over with? Did you tell anyone, show off to all your family and friends? Or did you keep the knowledge a secret, as if sharing the experience would take away from the special moment?

Well, for me, it happened at school. I remember restlessly waiting for the bus to pull into campus. As soon as it did I rushed off the bus, apologizing as I hurriedly brushed past people. I made it to the student centre, picked up my university’s newspaper, Excalibur, and flipped through the pages until I found it… my FIRST Publication! I was so giddy, I even thought of redistributing the papers amongst the students that whizzed by. I used any conversation I had that day to unabashedly promote my article.

I know it’s nothing big, but here’s the beginning of the piece. It’s on Black History Month and some of my experiences growing up in Toronto. Feedback is welcome, and don’t hesitate to share your firsts with links to your own publications. We”ll save other firsts for another time.

So, without further adieu or misleading sexual references, here’s my article:

The curly, the coily and the kinky

I dug my fingers into a tangle of thick wires that coiled around and bounced off my hand. This time felt different. My fingers weren’t running through straight, thin strands. I realized for the first time, at the age of 16, that my hair was growing.

For years, I had chemically processed my hair. It had become a regular part of my routine. Every two months, as often as someone may cut their hair, I bought a box covered in smiling black girls with smooth, shiny straight hair, and relaxed mine.

The chemical burns were a naturalized exercise of my youth.

Stiff neck, sore scalp, silky hair: I went through the process without hesitation. I’d shiver when the first glob of white creamy crack tickled my scalp; my mother’s hands were always smooth and precise.

It seemed to be a rite of passage for every black girl to shed her kinks and coils as she entered into adolescence. 

I only knew that something undesirable and unacceptable came out of my scalp and needed to be kempt and suppressed.

The rest of the article can be read here.