This is not going to be a long post, but most of you know the story of my stepmother Judy. Granted the poor woman was mentally ill, but I didn’t understand that during the time I went through hell with her waiving a gun at my head, throwing me up into the walls and such from the time I was 11 and a few other things that went on which I do not care to discuss.
However today, I saw a story that sent chills down my spine because I realize I could have been among this number. I realize how fortunate I am that I was not. For three years I lived in a prison from which there was no escape for a little over three years and those three years shaped my destiny. How I kept my sanity is beyond me. I don’t consider myself broken, damaged and such–but there are times I wake up in a cold sweat even 33 years after the fact.
Oddly enough Judy, my stepmother, died on 9/12/1978. I am always down on 9/11 for obvious reasons, but this anniversary is one I don’t know whether to feel grief, relief or both depending on the memories that come back. I wish she could have gotten help for her illness and there are some things I wish had been handled a lot differently. However, it was not meant to be. For some reason, I am alive and many others were not so lucky. Many nights that .22 was waived at my head and I was threatened but I always put myself mentally elsewhere. Other children did not make it out of their hells and their cells as I did mine.
I saw a story tonight that made me cry. The violence of it and the horrible things that this little girl had to see and hear make my stepmother’s abusive behavior seem like a trip to Disneyland. I realized tonight that I didn’t endure crap half as bad as this famous little girl did. Back in the days when this happened, there was not much Child Protective Services could do if the children wouldn’t talk. It was true at the time of my stepmother’s death and it was true at the time of the death of a little girl named Judith Eva Barsi (June 1978-July 1988).
Judith (Judy–as some called her) was an actress on her way to stardom. Despite the hell she endured at home, she always looked happy and cheerful…I call that the greatest mask because I too was able to wear it. At times I could go to school beaming as if everything was as fine as it would be in a Brady Bunch or Ozzie and Harriet household. However some of my teachers saw right through it. Did anyone besides the psychologist and immediate family see through Judy Barsi’s?
Why did CPS just speak to the mother and not interview the child alone? If they did would it have mattered? Most likely not. I find it ironic that a movie was not made about this because the headlines were almost too many to count from what I am reading tonight. On top of that, after 45 days or so, the judge tended to put the kids right back into the hell they were taken out of for the sake of “keeping the family together”. To me that is a load of pure crap in extreme cases. First time, take their rights and place the kid(s) elsewhere. That is what I feel should be done and ONLY in EXTREME cases–and to me this was pretty extreme.
If you don’t believe me look at the case of the Jahnke kids. Remember? The ones that shot their dad who was VERY abusive to them? I remember it, too. They should have been fully pardoned when it came out what they endured at this hands. Sorry if you don’t agree but these were kids–like me but they were a bit older when their incident took place. They did make movies about this incident, but I am not going to go into it here…They are out of prison and living quiet lives and I wish them peace and a full life.
Ironically, I could have fallen into either category–Judith Barsi’s or that of the Jahnke kids. I don’t know what stopped me to this day from pulling the trigger on my stepmother the night I had the opportunity to, but something did. On the other hand, I don’t know what the hell kept her from blowing my brains out. Does that make me sick or abnormal? I don’t think so. There is a big difference in fantasizing about killing the bully and actually carrying out the thought. I could never do it. Even now I know I could NOT do it. That is the difference between yesterday’s kid and today’s kid I guess. We had Columbine for a wake up call, right? Now if someone tries to harm one of my sons, that is a whole new ball game.
Aside from that there is something that people need to remember. Kids basically had very few rights then, but someone has to be their voice. Someone has to step in and take action when nobody else can or will. My hat goes off to every social worker who has ever had to risk his or her life to remove a child from a parent like Jozsef Barsi or from a parent like my stepmother. I salute every policeman/woman , firefighter and teacher who has ever stepped in to help in such a situation–and many HAVE done so. Many a teacher helped me as best as they could during my time of hell. Day after day, these brave people go in to face the unknown, and just like those less fortunate children that they are trying to protect, they might not make it home again.
As 9/12 approaches for me, I am grateful for all of these heroes–as well as the ones who will be remembered the day prior. We should never, ever take life for granted. We are all here for a reason and now I know this. Someday, maybe I’ll finish the book on it, but there are days that I simply cannot write in it. I still cry. I still struggle with whether or not to take that pen that I have created so many imaginary heroes and heroines with in their worlds and paint the reality of my world for all to see. Besides that, “Precious” was already out there to try to wake people up as well…I wonder if I am the only writer that goes through this type of stuff. I know to this day, I cannot watch “Precious”. Sorry but it is painful for me for other reasons. My niece warned me about it so I can’t watch it. If they make one about this case, I will not be able to watch it either.
Anyway, I feel that Judith Barsi is the long-lost poster child for the reality of what child abuse is. Her own father killed her and then killed her mother as well. Some say the song “Concrete Angel” by Martina McBride may have been written about her. I choose to honor her life here. I chose the video below because it uses a song that brings hope and not tears. She should be remembered with a smile for the sunshine she brought to so many. Her life was cut short way too soon, and I do not feel that she should ever be forgotten. If you know of a child going through hell, please, by all means pick up the bloody phone. You may be saving a life.
Please don’t be sad. You have much left ahead of you. You give of your knowledge freely. Why are you sad and depressed? If your attitude is not what you’d like it to be where you are, change your latitude. Yes you heard me. Go elsewhere. You must follow your spirit. If it bids you to leave you must leave–even if I want you to stay. I would never confine you like that because to chain you would be to destroy you.
What? Come with you? But I thought I stood in your way…You mean, you’ve actually thought this through? It’s scary for me. You are the vagabond. You are the traveler. I’ve never done this before. Are you certain that this is what you want? I don’t understand. What do you mean that I am the one who has been chained all this time? I see. We work as one. We should move about as one unit. Okay. You win. I don’t know why I thought you were pulling away from me, when actually you were pulling me closer.
I guess we both must go where our spirits direct–together…However, you lead the way because I feel safer following in the tracks.
It eludes me, yet I pursue it. I pursue it for the same reason the 3 wise men followed the Star of Bethlehem–according to what I was taught. The rainbow I am pursuing has riches, but not gold. It has many colors, but not all are visible. All I know is I see it each time I close my weary eyes and know that it is getting closer to me. I saw you in that rainbow yesterday. You motioned for me to keep coming toward you, but I wasn’t fast enough to reach you.
Yet I feel you as though you are bringing it to me. Who are you that you keep telling me that my destiny lies with you and to keep trying?You keep telling me to have faith in myself and believe that I have received, but yet where is it? What do you mean I already have this? I do not understand and you still bid me to follow. All I know is this: You’re too congenial and peaceful to be perceived as a leprechaun. You aren’t a wizard or a spirit trying to haunt me…So what are you?
When you are near, I feel peace. I feel loved–but when I wake up, the real world is there for me with its cruel devices. I protect my loved ones from this as much as possible. And what is with the paint you are leading? He’s a beautiful horse yet you never ride him. I don’t understand…He has a gentle disposition. Both of you are wrapped in the colors of that rainbow–and when I reach for you both, you are too quick for me. Please explain to me what this is to me?
I ask this again and you give me three words: “You are loved.” Then it seems to be alright. I think I know what this is now…I am dancing in a rainbow toward my destiny. Somewhere you are out there waiting for me. Fine…I will be there. Eventually my speed will match yours and then I will be there beside you.
I find it great that my sons now view me as tough, fair–and unwavering. I had realistic expectations of them, but I always let them be the individuals that they are and they later thanked me for that. I vowed never to try to mold my kids into an image that was me and not them. I grew up in a strict home and individuality was frowned upon to a degree, but I do not think my parents realized that this is what was going on. As I got older, they realized that I thought differently and had different ideas of how the world works, and then they started to listen to me more. As my writing took on its Frankenstein existence, they definitely began to respect me more after that. I am sure that I was born at the perfect time on this planet because had I been born, let’s say, 20 years earlier, I probably would have been given a lobotomy for my thoughts alone after being subjected to many rulers and whippings by teachers in front of a classroom for my free-thinking attitude. My free thinking, as said earlier, always got me in a jam…I am never one to conform to anyone’s ideals of what they think I should be. No writer should ever get locked into a box from which they can never escape.
However, my younger son’s father wanted me to profit from it and I refused. It led to many fights because he would sneak into my notebooks so I stopped writing until we were divorced. The final nail for that taking place was when one of my sons and I heard the man tell my best friend that he never loved me from day one. Cruel isn’t it? My son felt that he couldn’t love his own children if he couldn’t love their mother and it led to a lot of emotional wreckage which shaped my other stuff. Some of my notebooks were stolen before and I didn’t want it out there because I write primarily for my satisfaction. What looks like notes on here at times may very well come directly from my notes, but the ideas behind them work.
I write what I see happening. It’s almost like watching a movie and it works for me. It is the one thing that I never allowed anyone to take over or wrestle from my mental grasp. It became a wonderful way to escape into other worlds I created and a way to punish those who did me harm. In short, in those worlds I create, I am God. There is something empowering about having the power of life and death in a pen–but there are times when writing off a good character has it’s purpose as well, so no…I don’t simply use it to kill off bullies and negative boneheads.
Some of my characters are actually what I refer to as closet exhibitionists for the simple reason that they would love to just say “Damn the torpedoes! Screw this! I’ve had it!” and then just let the other characters that tick them off have it! However they don’t because they fear the unknown–the result. Some never go into professions they wanted and are held back while others follow their gut instinct and are well rewarded later for it–maybe not in the way they anticipated, but they are rewarded.
However there is a reality that some people don’t seem to be able to envision simply because they are too close to the soul of the issue…The rainbow….That is right…The rainbow. In reflecting on my life and how all the events in it shaped me–my parents divorce, the wives Dad had that I knew of, and my grandparent’s influence, I did realize that at the end of this place a rainbow is present…When we see that rainbow, that is when we finally believe that there is a purpose in all things and forms as well as in life itself. It is also the point in which we realize in this life that it is not what you take with you, but what you leave behind that truly matters because like the ripples in a pond, those waves keep travelling–only that becomes your legacy. It travels forever and others can learn from it, but the genealogy begins within your own voice–and emanates from YOUR own pen. Two people got me to writing again. I think they know who they are. I’ve got a lot of catching up to do in the process.
I have grown to understand that I do not have to please everyone, and for you younger writer’s you simply need to grasp that you do not have to either. Your writing comes from your soul…When you write faster than a dust devil in a hot sandstorm in the Mojave Desert that is stretching its arms out and throwing cacti specimens around at everything in its path, this is the point at which your blood is boiling as you bring your characters, your plots and your backgrounds into a three-dimensional realm. Your paper is your canvas for this chaos and that’s what you should use it for. Show the world YOUR picture as you bring your creatures to life and move them through their plots. When you let your imagination run wild, a pen is now a wand and you are creating your own magic too…
That rainbow has many colors–but the only one visible is what others who read your work see, unless they have that gift of seeing between those lines and into the souls of your characters…If you have done a good enough job of creating those life forms from the nothingness of the universe, then you have created a rainbow of many colors for them…Sometimes it is better to see with the heart than with the eyes anyway–and they will see all those colors if you make these characters real, feeling beings..
Now for those of you with a normal upbringing and existence that want to write nice things with happy endings, disregard this post because you can’t allow that dust devil to come through…It can be an angel, a beloved pet, Bugs Bunny or whatever but unless you’ve had to deal with more drama than what TNT offers, it is hard to write from that perspective…Again, WRITE FROM your own perspective and nobody else’s. You’ll be less likely to get ulcers that way. And you also might lead someone else to their own rainbow through your pen a lot quicker.
Okay…We had a session about putting a short essay together, which we broke down into sentences and paragraphs…Now comes the bloody zinger…WHEN a test grader has you write on an assigned topic. These are a pain in the butt–especially if you DON’T know anything about the topic you have to read about in order to write the essay. PROBLEM one: A lot of these forms and booklets used for standardized testing are printed by a company called NES out of New York. Whoever writes the question doesn’t care what is actually taught in the classroom because such testing is a HUGE money-maker for the company selling the district the booklets and the forms.
Now parents…And also people who aren’t parents but sweated bullets (and chewed their nails to the quick) all through school: How many times did you receive a passage to read about a subject you knew NOTHING about, and the reading passage did NOTHING to illustrate clearly what it was actually discussing? I’ve seen these questions. They look something like this: “According to paragraph three, what was the effect that the fishing nets had upon the ecosystem upon which hermit crabs do rely?” THIS was on a JUNIOR HIGH test when I was in school years ago…Depending on the state and the material given to be taught all year, that might not even have been covered. Some may know nothing about the hermit crab or the fishing industry. Some may not know that as hermit crabs grow, they need larger empty shells to occupy and hide in. To top it off, paragraph three was so vague that all it said was that “…Some other external factors” affected the habitat where the crabs were living. They had trouble finding shells.”
IT DOES NOT MATTER! Tell your kids it DOES NOT MATTER…Again that same simple rule for writing applies: It is NOT the content they are looking for as much as the “mechanics” of the sentence and the paragraphs which contain them. If this is the case, this is how I would have answered that question in Junior High…
“…The makers of this test just had me complete a reading assignment about hermit crabs and the fishing industry, yet they left me more confused because the passage is not clear on how the crabs are truly affected by these fishing nets since the nets were never directly mentioned. I would assume that many of the larger shells that they need to move into as they grow are being destroyed during the fishing process. Thus, it leaves the creatures as prey for larger creatures in the sea…”
“…Since I have not studied this topic, and the passage given only makes a few concrete statements, I will have to guess as to why this is even being addressed at my level of study…”
I basically went on to point out that this is not studied until the 10th grade and that the only thing that I could surmise is that this was a passage with a question inserted deliberately to cause students to be placed in remedial courses because many cannot answer questions on material that doesn’t apply to them and/or has not been covered yet. I got a perfect score but it still caused a bit of concern–but everyone understood why I wrote it like that…Again, they can only grade you on MECHANICS–not content. If they graded on content, they could flunk everyone and get more money for remedial classes to cover that part of the test. I would have never graduated in that case because I was always too blunt and too free–not to mention very forceful with my opinions when I felt justified.
I think it is still a safe bet to teach your children to write in the way described above on questions they cannot possibly connect with in this instance. If they can master the art of telling it “like it is” then there shouldn’t be a problem. Raising a child to be an independent thinker should be the goal of every parent. There are some teachers that will try to give such a student problems in this state. They will tell you to put that child on medication (for which they can lose their license in many states since they are not doctors) and will hassle the child if they don’t agree with what is stated and are trying to force your child to conform to THEIR ideas of how they should be as human beings. In a way it’s a form of bullying. Do not tolerate it. Never let a teacher use personal bias to penalize your student either. Call him or her on the carpet every time–even if you do it in front of the superintendent or the principal. Furthermore, let other classmates parents know what you did to protect your child if they express concerns over the same behaviors that their children are relaying to them. The more the parents stand up to these people, the better off the child is. Their “expertise” does not qualify THEM to literally ‘raise’ your child into the image they want–and SOME of them (not all) do try to do this.
On the other hand there are wonderful teachers that will get alternative material for such a child and encourage it. When you find a teacher like that and will call you up to tell you how great your kid is doing, that teacher is worth his/her weight in gold. Don’t go commando on him or her–especially if they are the new teacher because he or she is not just there for the paycheck and there are many teachers who have many years of experience that work the same way. Many are still trying to make a difference despite the restrictions that their districts and D.C. are trying to place upon them. How many times do parents get called into the school and it’s always a negative? This is unacceptable also. I’ve seen some who only focus on the negative behavior without telling a parent what they are doing to REDIRECT the behavior. Parents should know to ask that question. This is especially true if you are the parent of an ADHD child like I am. ADD parents should ask the same thing when confronted by a teacher. Also do not sit down in a conference if the teacher is standing up. Remain standing. Body language is important here, and it tells that teacher that you will not be a submissive parent if you feel that he or she is wrong.
My son always made great grades. Problem: He would finish before everyone else and would have to have other things to do because he would go around bugging everyone–including the teacher if not kept on task on SOMETHING. His teachers eventually got him advanced reading materials and extra assignments so that his mind could stay occupied and it worked. This kid made the Dean’s List his first semester in college–but now that he’s making $$$ he decided to put it off. I’m still trying to convince him to go back and finish! IF you have such a child–do not get bullied into medicating him either. Again, that’s about $$$ too–and it really won’t enable the teacher to “control” the child which is what they are hoping to accomplish. Engaging the child and keeping him on a task is better in the long run and it is far more rewarding..My son with ADD also struggled, and what helped him was music classes. Once I put him in that his grades skyrocketed–especially in math…It works! It’s strange having two kids with different issues like that.
Now I realize I touched on several items here, but you really need to talk to your kids about what to do with assigned topics that they are not familiar with. Teach them how to refute effectively in their writing and you’ll have an independent thinker for life! Above all, I strongly support 30 minute free writing workshops for students who want those short chunks to help them get the hang of it. It’s more fun than those god awful tutorials they make kids stay for and much more effective, I think…
While some are already in school again, some of you had to go to summer school or had to simply pass the bloody state testing…I realize I go a little deeper into a lot of different things here, but if you can grasp this, you can write stories that will have your teacher going crazy–so be careful not to spend too much time on death and destruction like 3 of you that emailed me did! Most of you that I talked to can put a sentence together…The art you have to figure out is how to put 5 of those sentences in a sequential order that will enable you to pass the essay part. Of the 8 of you that emailed me last week, 7 of you can write coherent sentences and paragraphs. However you had your paragraphs out of sequence. I am going to give you and example of what I am talking about before go any further into this character thing…
Let’s start with this one: “I like Thanksgiving.” Okay…There is your first sentence and they want 4 more to follow…So here goes an example:
“…I like Thanksgiving a lot. During Thanksgiving I get to go to my grandmother’s house and visit my family. I also get to enjoy a turkey dinner and all kinds of desserts my aunts make for the family! I also get to play my guitar and sing for my grandfather who really loves music, but cannot play anymore. It is a holiday for which I am grateful that I get one more day to be with the ones that I love the most!…”
There…Did you notice how I did this? It covers your 5 W’s in that darned book too. Now…That is your INTRODUCTION…Next is the other paragraphs, right? Check this out.
“…I like going to my grandmother’s house for Thanksgiving because it is big enough to hold all the relatives that show up, and there is plenty of room at her table for us all to sit. Grandpa sits at the head of the table, and we take turns helping him to get to it since he is not used to moving around in his new wheelchair. When he’s there we all eat until we’re stuffed and then we all just want to take a nap so we go to sleep on whatever beds we find! Grandpa goes back into the living room and watches T.V. with my mom and Grandma…”
See what happened there? The reader knows what happens just before, during and after dinner. Now let’s go further…
“…I woke up at 3:3o and sang a song I wrote just for Grandpa. As I was strumming the guitar and getting to the last verse, I looked up and saw a tear rolling down his cheek and he was smiling. He has been sick for about three months, but he always makes time for me. We could have lost him earlier this year, so I am so grateful that we had this time together. I hope to have many more of them because my Grandfather has been a very important part of my life!…”
Do you see what happened there? It became less about the food and the holiday and more about the love this child has for his/her grandfather, right? THAT is what those test graders love to see! That last paragraph can also be used as a great closing, can’t it? You should practice writing ONE sentence about something important to you every day and practice building on it in a journal. It does help!
NOW FOR THE OTHER STUFF that 3 other people asked me about:
”Even in the most oppressive of regimes, the spirit of no man can ever be caged…Just as the mustang roams this valley, man has to go freely where his spirit directs or he becomes a slave to his own shadow, which repeats lies to him constantly about how past errors are his own fault …” Prelude to Awakening –Ch 1
This is the opening lines of a book I am working on. My characters are slowly evolving, but I will use a profiling method to make sure the fit is right for the rest of the stuff I’m putting into it. Yes, you read it correctly…I’m profiling…To profile a character, you literally have to create a ‘life” for them. Who are they? Where were they born? What about family, IF they have one? What do they like to listen to music-wise? Food? Pets? If they are evil, why did they become corrupted? Were they abandoned, abused, or just hardened to the core? Childhood memories–build them for your characters. It does help…YOU LITERALLY create an identity from scratch and make it real enough that even if you don’t specify–let’s say–that they hate liver, it will come out in the story in another way.
Question one: Could this person really exist? If you need to ask that, watch “Stranger than Fiction“. THAT will blow your mind. Your character’s profiles should be so believable that a stranger would think you were speaking of a real people if they saw your notes lying about. God help you if you are a student and it is your mother (who cleans up your room because YOU never do) that finds a particular passage that mentions how a fictional character likes to sunbathe nude, but your mom actually thinks you’re writing about the minister’s wife two doors down because of everything else you’ve got thrown in there! If you are writing something based on ANYONE around you and you are still attending school, I only have three words to share until it’s finished and someone you know you can trust reads it for you: “Hide that crap!” I didn’t and ended up in the counselor’s office at least 3 times a month all through High School. This is especially true to you young men and women who love to write rap songs. God knows what they’ll think–especially if you live below the 36th parallel.
Just remember one thing when you are putting your heart and soul into anything you write: “…Every moment that arrives you’re the greatest thing alive…” and it might get you through the day…Thank Duran Duran for that song “All You Need is Now”. Give it a listen. It’s about NOT giving up…If you’re ready to toss your manuscript or your paper, essay, etc…Then you do need to give this song a shot! If you are writing for your own enjoyment, it’s even better because you don’t feel pressured to come up with the wording all the time–eventually, it will flow.
While most who know me know I still have a few days in the year where I become totally anti-social and complaining about everything from romantic love being a myth on those days (among other things) to borderline total recluse again, I have come a long way in the past 2 1/2 years. It started with this blog…
From there I read “the Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho, which you can get here: http://www.amazon.com/Alchemist-Paulo-Coelho/dp/0061122416/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1313791433&sr=1-1 or here: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/alchemist-paulo-coelho/1100248293?ean=9780061122415&itm=1&usri=the%2balchemist
You can also get this on a nook download, and the B&N nook downloads also work on Pandigital readers. I know. I have one.
Every door through which we pass is not an ending. It is always a change of direction–but this can be more of an opportunity, whether it be to learn and grow, or to move into something totally different from what you are doing now. If you start viewing things in this light, then losing the job isn’t such a bad thing. I walked away from being a correctional sergeant due to all the corruption and the fact that the cliques run my old unit than anything else.
These “cliques” are most often ran by administration. Once they run out of officers to gang up on (and do not think that this doesn’t happen, I saw it happen for years) they will go to their house and eat their own young. If they have no kids, they’ll eat their pets…Anyway, that is not what I want to focus on. People like that are like the snake that beheads itself by eating itself from the tail upward until there is nothing left.
Now if you are in a situation like that, you should never be of a train of thought that there is nowhere else to turn to and/or nowhere else to go…As I said, where one door closes, another opens. It always works that way–if you allow it to. Instead of saying, “Okay…I got laid off (fired, demoted, etc…). Turn that thought around. This is not new-agey…It works. Just say to yourself, “A new job is there…” and don’t waste time dwelling on the one just lost. Just start hitting the pavement and fill out the applications, send out the resumes or whatever, but believe that job is there. Check back within a week to ensure that they have the “correct contact information” for you on file. That’s also a good way to let an employer know that you are actually wanting to work and not just fulfilling a requirement for some agency such as The Department of Human Services to receive TANF, Food Stamps or whatever. You cannot just fill things out, drop them off and leave it. You’ll never get called back that way. Always show that you are earnest as well as confident–but don’t be pushy. Just smile–YES SMILE and show a positive attitude.
I also feel that this is another good book to get your hands on…”How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie…Get it at a used book place because it’s cheap there. If nothing else, begin to work on your own “self-image“…How do YOU see yourself? Smile. It does help. Nine times out of ten, it is not anything that you are doing or saying preventing you from getting that job, but how you see yourself. Believe it or not, if you feel negatively about your own self-image, that is what you will project to an employer.
Here is one more thing I suggest you do whether you are male or female: Dress up dammit! Seriously! Dress up and go someplace–even if it’s to a restaurant just for a cup of coffee and read a book. If you make a habit of dressing up, even if out of work, you will eventually carry yourself in such a way that people will see confidence in you…So that is two things you need to have energy-wise coming from inside of your inner-self: Confidence and positive attitude. They go hand in hand.
I have a job and I am quite happy with it. I did not like the person I was becoming while working at the prison. I was skeptical, trusting absolutely NOBODY and didn’t want to be around anyone when I got off of work. I was sinking back into a reclusive lifestyle and I knew I had to change from that. Do I have days that I still wish to be left alone? Definitely. We all do. Do I have days where I am tempted to go right back into shutting everybody out? Yes…What stops me? The fact that that link Lauren has got me to thinking about something besides the junk I had to experience.
This life is not about what YOU gain or take with you…No…It’s about what you can give back. That is what I’ve learned so far in my life in the past two years and it was the first link I shared with you that convinced me that there had to be “more than this” while I was working in that prison–while building a new cage for myself. Have a great weekend! I hope that this helps in some way because I know it worked for me.
This was a question I got two days ago…It is difficult to answer but it depends on A) what you are writing, B) they type of audience your intending it for and C) whether any damned good will come of it–but if it makes you feel a hell of a lot better, then the answer to C) is “HELL YES!” regardless…
When you write from the “head” it is my opinion that you are going for the academia audience–the well-traveled and educated audience and/or the elitists in the movie or publishing industries. When trying to appeal to this crowd, they are usually looking at what will sell and what makes sense TO THEM. Again, that is my opinion. The thing to bear in mind is that whatever makes sense TO THEM might make less sense to “Joe Public“. That is why the a lot of indie projects get respect…They buck the system altogether in many ways. The same is true of the music industry, I think.
NOW for writing from the heart…IF it feels write to you regardless of what those in the above crowd think AND if it helps you or someone else who reads it, then it was worth putting forth the energy to begin with. Now what makes sense to this crowd–which is usually going to be your “JOE PUBLIC” crowd, may NOT make sense to the above crowd…Get it?
The average public will take some C4 and common sense smashing into reality over the new age philosophy any day of the week. Do not get me wrong, I am not knocking the writers in that movement that inspired me, but I am saying that what works for YOU may be different. There is nothing wrong with watching movies like “Letters to God“, “The Help” and such…However some people will NEVER get into such movies because they were raised to think differently and on a different level. It doesn’t mean that one audience is above the other either. However every REAL coin is two-sided. Every person has more than one dimension also.
Now comes the big bitch word: “REALITY“…Are you trying to write to sell? Then you need to get into writer’s workshops and such. Take college English classes too…Believe it or not, it does help. If nothing else, you will learn very quickly how to make a logical thought stick or a new term memorable…My personal favorite that I coined is the “closet exhibitionist“. This is the person who is too afraid to be themselves, go into acting or whatever, and yet dreams of being a public figure…He or she often pretends to be a famous person that he or she looks up to, or acts out parts of their favorite movies. Others play air guitar without ever learning how to play the real thing and then kick themselves when they are older for not doing so.
Believe me that condition is very real…I should know. For the first time in 25 years, I sang publicly last night…I was quite well received and so was my son–who I did one duet with. Not that we’ll ever make it big but I was not kidding when I said a certain Facebook page changed my life. I had to build up to this point. I left singing for reasons which I will keep to myself, and I refused to take more theater classes…I probably should have done it, but I had some rather strange ideas about “the establishment’ back then and felt that I was better off being a recluse.
Anyway, to the person who asked, this is from my heart…25 years ago I let my head rule and not all jackasses have long ears…Figure it out and decide for yourself where your destiny lies, but don’t let anything keep you from it–not even those who mean well…Why? Let’s just say JOB had 3 good friends. Get my drift?
Have a great week! If you have time, you might consider watching “Chariots of Fire” with Ben Cross…Talk about 2 sides of a coin…You have two men running for two different reasons…Figure it out…What are you writing for? Who are you writing it for? Find your reason and then run the ink well dry dammit! I WISH I watched this when it came out…I might have not had a 25+ year case of posterior cranial rectumitis, if you know what I mean…
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