Where passions are kept

Every now and then I’d get these little sparks that ignite furious wildfires in my mind reminding me of my initial passions of my current life choices. 

All I got is smoke. I got a feeling that what I strive for is behind the smoke. I’m trying to get to it before it turns to ash or rendered invaluable by unrelenting sut.

There’s no water in sight. No dust to calm the inferno just an inability to control it. So, I let it burn. I could see it better if it weren’t for the smoke. It has no where to go. A dome contains it choking the air it needs to breathe. 

It wants to be free, and I want to release it. Its exposed in increments like a chef teasing his culinary potential. Its witnesses only see smoke. 

Despite it’s stagnant life, I feel pressure building against the will of the dome. The walls are solid, sustainable yet unwanted. It seeks to reshape the flame and control how it burns.

The pressure builds. I’m waiting on the chance to fuel its ambition and when it does, I’ll be there to watch its light spread. 

Self-Publishing 2.0

I’ve visited self-publishing many times through WordPress. It’s something I have to try, but it’s also one the costly processes I’ve researched thus far. Of course, I can go with the traditional route and submit my work to a publishing house. As we all know, getting through a publisher with an unsolicited manuscript could land in the discard pile no matter how good the writing is.

Self-publishing seems to be the way to go. It’s DIY process to getting the content out there. The upside: The author becomes the publisher. They yield 100 percent of the profits. They get all the credit through copyright.

The downs: All of the work is on the author, and the process is extensive. Promotion, marketing, and cost is all on the self-publisher. Let’s not forger editing. And yes, as an author and publisher, an editor is required to polish the written content. As the author, you’ve seen the story over a hundred times. A second or third pair of eyes will help flesh out those characters and inconsistencies you might have missed.

It’s quite a journey, but I imagine that a future publishing house will take you more seriously if they see you’ve gone through the proper channels to get self-published.

What are the proper channels?

From my research, here’s what I found.

In the event that an author wants to self-publish, the author should:

  1. Purchase ISBNs from the website Bowker. The website suggests 10 ISBNs which costs $295 (price subject to change). Barcodes (about $25) are designed to stand on the book cover, which hosts the ISBN along with other vital information on the book edition such as Hard Cover, Paperback, or eBook.
  2. Purchase copyrights from the Library of Congress. By right, the author is entitled to copyright for creating the work. Registering your work with Library of Congress sets it in stone further protecting your work. It’s a safeguard investment everyone should take.
  3. Make sure manuscripts have been edited by others. All solid, good books have editors. CreateSpace seems to be a good source to start. If not, find an editor that can do several rounds of editing ensuring the content.
    1. Find a graphic artist whose skilled at book covers. It’s part of the investment. If the self-publisher is an artsy person, then time will be only invest there.
  4. Promotion and marketing. Getting the word out is easy but like this entire process, it will take time. Self-publishers have to funnel through hashtags and posts to get the message out, “Buy my book!” Don’t forget a solid synopsis. If you can, see if you schedule an interview with your local media.

Again this is my research. I haven’t actually done all of this yet, but I’m really close. Soon, I will purchase the ISBNs. Finding an editor for the nine (or ten) short stories I’ve written is much tougher than buying the ISBNs. But I’m coming along.

 

Recovery

I’m not sure if I posted anything about this, so I’ll just talk about it to cover my tracks.

On December 1, 2015, my stuff was stolen due to my carelessness. I forgot to lock my car door, and my laptop, flash drives, writing guides, camera, and tooth brush was stolen. What hurt the most was the stolen writing that I worked two years on.

It was devastating.

But I recovered.

Currently, I have a new laptop and two more flash drives (one containing some of the rough draft stories I wrote over the two year period).

For the past couple of days, I’ve been reading, editing, and proofreading these stories. Somehow, I’m working faster and more efficient than before, so I guess the setback wasn’t really a setback. In a strange way, by having my stuff stolen, it made me appreciate my work more than ever.

And I’ve noticed my work, my writing is getting better. I wish I had this mind when I left college. But hey, we live and learn, right?

Marketing: How does one “sell” oneself?

I guess I can say the only thing in my life I sold was candy, particularly in grade school. Do you remember the selling contest schools had to raise money? I remember signing up to raise money, and I filled out this form to sell M&Ms and Reese Cups to raise funds for a field trip. It never worked because I eventually ate the candy they gave me.

Candy is sweet, it’s the guilty pleasure of the healthy and a regular meal for those with a meticulous sweet tooth. It sells better than sex…Maybe not that much.

In the career world, selling yourself is tough, to say the least. Persuasion is your best weapon, but some edges of persuasion are like dusty gemstones every person has to polish in order to land a job.

Even with a glimmer, you have to appeal to the employer and know how to stunt your glow. That’s the issue I’m having today. I know I have the luminous aura of a professional but something is eclipsing it.

It could be a unclear resume, a mediocre cover letter, or perhaps experience. Lately, I’ve been getting hit with the inexperience song and dance.

I’m good with first impressions, though, so I’ve been told. Dialogue is my bread and butter for sure. I just have to implement that into the resume and cover letter.

Career FAQs say:

“Offering solutions to these problems is a great way to overcome a lack of directly applicable experience. Be prepared to back up your claims about your skills or characteristics with relevant and specific stories. Avoid complaining about a former employer or laying blame at a former manager’s feet — doing so will likely make you seem difficult to work with (or disloyal).”

-Monster.com’s Career Advice

Sure it’s good advice; however, it’s up to the individual to perform it effectively. But there’s no harm in giving it a shot. The worst answer is “no”.

I should be handle that.

Elijah B.

Oscars: The Giraffe in the Room

I wanted to ignore this, but the news of the Oscars lack of diversity is everywhere! I initially wanted to keep things like this away from my blog. I guess news and news, right?

As many of you know, or may not know, the Oscars is an annual event where the entertainment industry shows their appreciation for the actors, filmmakers, writers, etc. For the second consecutive year, the Oscars has yet to nominate a non-Caucasian person. Despite one of the owners of the Oscars being a black woman, social media has taken a critical eye to the tradition.

It’s caused quite a stir. Celebrities like Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee are calling for African Americans to boycott the show.

What can you do? Pick a side…? Maybe?

I think the problem isn’t America or the filmmakers or anyone else in entertainment. The problem is tradition.

See we’ve leaned on tradition so long that it feels right. Now that we’re aware and sensitive to just about anything, and the things in our traditions are starting to raise questions. Why?

Why are all the nominees white? Why do people care so much?

To me, the Oscars is a prestigious tradition selecting the most authentic and most talented in film. But the ones with the real power here are the viewers. Without the viewers, these films and TV shows would crumble.

Do I think African Americans should boycott? Be like Bobby Brown, it’s your prerogative. If it offends you that the Oscars didn’t nominate any ethnic individuals then don’t watch. Take it a step further, don’t even talk about the Oscars. Turn off your TV.

Will I watch the Oscars? No. That’s because I find my Playstation 4 more entertaining than controversy, dresses, and corny jokes.

You want to change the Oscars. Don’t watch, don’t tweet, and don’t post. When the ratings take a hit then you’ll see change.

Wait until You’re President

Y’know, political beliefs can be annoying. Everyone has an opinion, which they’re entitled to, on what government is supposed to do about everyone’s problems. But do we, the American public, really know how to solve the problem.

What problem(s)?

Let’s take a look. The problems our country, the United States, has is a long list. To make it specific, let’s review the issues the Presidential Runners have talked about:

  • Immigration – Republicans have pushed the issue that there are far too many illegal immigrant in the United States. According to Donald Trump, illegal immigrants should be deported and the U.S. should build a wall to prevent illegal immigration.
  • Foreign Policy – To some, the U.S. is not the front runner, so to speak, in the world. The Iran Deal and Benghazi has been debated since 2015.
  • Economy & Budget – The awareness is up on the Affordable Care Act and Planned Parenthood. Are they a big concern
  • Gun Control – Will more gun control prevent mass killings or is it step to take gun rights away from U.S. citizens?

I’m not convinced in these debates or tangents about how to solve America’s issues. All I see is a few well-spoken people who think they have it figured it out. They have no clue how to run a country.

What annoys me the most is this negative criticism toward the President Obama. And it’s not just Obama. Republican and Democrat officials criticized President George W. Bush as well. There was nothing wrong with the Bush Administration nor is it anything wrong with the Obama Administration. If it were truly a mess, they wouldn’t have been elected for two terms each.

Okay, there are several things they could’ve done better. But c’mon people! Don’t be swayed by figures who use sensational, tabloid-like speeches. These officials have an agenda that doesn’t include the general public.

It’s all “this and that” until they get into that executive seat.

 

 

Jammin’ while You Write

While jogging has nothing to do with my blog, it compares to my writing.

How?

When I jog, I brainstorm. I let the images of my imagination burst into the adrenaline giving me the energy to survive the five miles in one hour. I have to admit that the best ideas show themselves when I’m on my feet.

The secret ingredient behind the infinite ideas is music–an entity that allows me create epic movie trailers every four minutes. Each slam of the drum, every strum of the guitar takes a character through a miniature journey which seems to last a lifetime during the small fraction of time given by each song.

I don’t know about the rest of the writers and readers out there, but Video Game and Rock music happens to be the go to sound to bring forth the fantasy world while Hip-Hop pushes the envelop of urban grit. At the end of it all, my mind’s eye stares down this mass universe that I can’t seem to comprehend how I will put it on paper during one lifetime.

To be specific, my playlist consists of music from Koei Tecmo’s Dynasty Warriors, Alter Bridge, T.I., and an assorted list of OCRemix. Each song serves a particular pace. As y’all might have guessed, T.I. and Alter Bridge is responsible for the adrenaline pumping sound that makes my teeth grind and my breath puff like a cartoonish bull.

Dynasty Warriors’ music is for the long haul. I really put my mind through a simulated battle. Sparks become a collection of synapse creating an thick yet smooth air from my lungs to the sweat rolling on my salty skin.

Remixed game music takes me through a fluctuating adventure of breathing. I have to make a decision…Do I explode during something harmonious? I’ll regret it later if I do.

Point is that writing takes me through the same exercise as jogging. As music feeds my ears with organized noise and verses, my fingers fill the page with a sketch, which I eventually fill with inspiration, precision, and consideration. Of course, it’s not healthy to blast the music against the sensitive eardrum, so I take it easy–stop a few cycles–and explode in a barrage of words that can potentially draw the reader into the universe I imagined when I placed the balls of toes on the ground.