All posts by clara54

Nurse turned freelance writer, author, lifestyle strategist and huffing-ton pot contributor. A women's' advocate who mentors those on a journey of self discovery, self love, authenticity, passion and purpose.

Creative Advocacy-Are You In?


“My parents said that I came into the world, screaming and hollering. I’d like to think that I was merely protesting!” Clara Freeman

Happy Monday! It’s a beautiful day every day when we can open our eyes and say “Thank you lord” for allowing me to see another day of following my dreams, speaking my truths and living a life of purpose and possibility. I believe the universe hears and receives your offerings. So, I begin my mornings thanking God for loving me, guiding me and carrying me through the storms.

I awakened from a fitful sleep in 2008, determined to create a platform for women, that would champion the voice of the “underdog” and empower the power that we possess. I’d always served in some capacity of leadership, whether advocating for children in their communities and schools or recording the stories and voices of the elderly, who felt forgotten in the anesthetic environment of the hospital where I worked as a young nurse. My belief is that I’m being my best self when my work helps others and leads to positive change in some small space of their living. I’m happy with the work that I’ve done over the years and the achievements I’ve accomplished in the process, but I know there’s much I still need to do.

There are plans to revisit my memoirs. I’ve attempted the process many times:) I remain focused on championing the voice of the “voiceless” and promoting Unleash Your Pearls Empowering Women’s Voices to women and the men that love and support them, on a global scale. I concede that my time, like yours, is valuable and therefore, I need to concentrate on doing valuable and meaningful work.

My mission is to ensure that this book, Unleash Your Pearls, lands in the hands and on the hearts and minds of every woman and man, in the nation who seek to unleash their authentic voice and live a more authentically empowered life.

I humbly ask your assistance in this endeavor. Email unleashyourpearls@yahoo.com to purchase a signed author’s copy for yourself and for all the warrior women in your life.

I will be taking an indefinite leave from my blogs in order to do work that makes a difference in my life and the lives of others. I’ve been asked to do more radio talk and recently published in The Book Of Hope Anthology by Krysta Gibson http://newspiritjournalonline.com/the-book-of-hope.

My personal narrative on life during Jim Crow was among the 88 contributors chosen from over 200 submissions for inclusion in the upcoming release anthology, Black Lives Have Always Mattered, a collection of essays, poems and personal narratives, edited by one of the original poets, Mr. Abiodun Oyewole and published by GABRIELLE DAVID of 2LeafPress. I hope you reserve your copy of this important contribution to America’s History.

Preorders are available at http://2leafpress.org/online/black-lives-always-mattered-contributors/

http://bit.ly/blham-amazon).

Whatever mode of creativity you are in, in regards to walking in your authentic truths, I would tell you to just do you. Go with your heart’s calling. Do the work you feel compelled to do and make it matter, not only to yourself, but to others in the world needing to hear, see and feel your flow…

Peace and summertime blessings!

xoxo

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Motivational Speaker and Author Marion Levi Jones


Happy Monday creatives! I hope everyone enjoyed their Easter weekend. Also remember it is National Autism Awareness Month.

I wanted to end April on a positive note with enriching food for thought for those feeling overwhelmed in the struggle that comes from living life experiences. My guest today is motivational author and someone who has been there and survived that- Mr. Marion Levi Jones. Please join me in welcoming Marion to Clara54’s Writer’s Blog.

I’m here to help others who were like me, to encourage, to motivate and lift their spirits to become better than they were when out in the streets. Show them that they’re not alone and here for a purpose greater than themselves. I was lost for over 35 yrs since my dad died but it took me until the age of 50 to hear a click and to get it right. God kept me even in my mess to become who He wanted me to be. Now I’m giving back. Was able to write about my drugging days in my first book Poems From Within Me, A Recovering Addict.

Then how God changed me spiritually in my second book The Full Picture Of Marion Levi Jones. Eleven years clean and just last year became a Deacon in my church. So, if you need someone like me that will tell it like it is, please let me know.

Marion L. Jones  books share his story of how he made it through his trials and tribulations caught up in addiction. He informs his readers how there is always a road leading to a way out.  His first book Poems From Within Me was completed in 2006, a gift he says was given to him by The Almighty.

Contact the author @ Levijones55@yahoo.com

On Being A Woman Poet…


Happy Poetry Month, creatives. I Hope you are enjoying the Me time of spring! My poems placed as a semi finalist in The Mary Shay Ballard’s Chapbook Poetry Prize in 2015 and 2016. Although I didn’t win the coveted prize, I felt and still feel strongly that poetry is cathartic, much like the healing hands of a nurse’s compassionate touch. So, as a special treat for my readers & critics alike, I’d like to share some of my work that forms the heart of me. And no, this work was not included in the competition.

I Am Sometimes Left to Wonder:

The more things change the more things stay the same-
The more she tries to leave something behind that’s hiding in the cornerstone of her being- the more that un-named thing seems to languish on the plateau of her subconscious mind.
The more we try to keep that something in the past; in the layers of our deepest dreams, the more it tends to pick at the center of our being-
I have this ethereal relationship with what some suppose is ‘art’. It’s this worldview I have that’s most perplexing and oftentimes fails to reach past my fingertips to where it’s centered itself, inside of myself, and so through the frustrations of trying to come to an agreement with my art, I decided long ago to shun its audacity to play with my human emotions and not welcome it into my personal space. But, it calls me.
I do love the ambiance of sitting alone in the presence of an almighty entity that becomes a shadowy figure of who I perceive to be the highest and for whom I feel the need to believe in and give reverence to in the center of my writing angst-
Deliver me Oh Lord! For I am blinded and cannot see the gifts that you have given a mere creature like myself and I am annoyingly frustrated. I am a hopeless wonder who fails to see the wonderment. And so why do I continue? Why should I not seek my passions and purpose some place more accepting of who I am and what I offer in contributions to other human beings?
The time came for me to put away the thought of opportunities and possibility in the realm of poetry. But, as I stand in the stillness of nature’s beginnings where birds chirp, bees swarm and the sun is shining down on the green grass growing beneath my feet- I wonder and my fingers itch to create something of similar beauty to share with the masses.
Something feels sorely lacking and I walk away from what could be, to concentrate on the here and now and use my gifts and the skills and talents I have honed to set my eyes on the prize.

I heard it said once that women poets make for great pastimes. Are we, who are of the feminine mystique only passing time? For those women penning poems who should doubt their gifts have only to look to the works of Nikki, Maya, Sylvia, Gwendolyn and so many creations from women warriors who pen their truths onto a mocking blankness of a page that lay untouched before them. I don’t know about the deepest connection other women poets have within their beings in answer to the why of their desires to pen poems but to me-
Poetry should feed the soul. Flow like the swiftness of a soaring eagle’s wing upon the blank page and keep your nimble fingers moving in synch with the rhythmic flow of the unconscious mind where the need to create something worthy in the eyes of your colleagues and readers and others who call themselves “poet” and “poetess” and creators of expressed expressions-awaits to delight in and even judge its merit.
But, I’m not Gwendolyn or Maya or Nikki or anyone but myself and so I must rely on my own merits and pray that my work could even stand alone, let alone see favor in the eyes of the true effortless artists who reign from poet laureate and champions the woman voice in defining what it means to be “Artist.”

On My Work:

I don’t have a name for it. It has been called “expressive” and “Intuitive”.
It has been widely accepted by others with their own labels and I have swallowed the response I wish to utter, but I let it go and wish to stop the torture that calls to me, sometimes at the most inopportune times.
I will try to keep this need for this thing in check because there’s no time to play when my mind is focused on doing the work that will keep food on my table, a roof over my head, my bills paid and clothes on my back. I wonder about the starving artist syndrome and I fear its power over me and so I swallow the need to pen words that people might not even see or comprehend at all.
I am left sometimes to wonder… xoxo

I Want To Feel His Presence

In the presence of God’s work
the world is alive
Mother Nature’s green
grass
Trees, ponds, birds, wasps and bees
Sounds that whispers
I’m here
alive, watching, hovering about
in the presence of God’s
work
your spirit sings
Truths
of who you are and whose you are-
Sitting and watching and listening to the
sounds in
whispers
in colors and in movement,
gentle winds rustle fallen leaves from
bountiful ushering of Mulberry trees
Offerings that shade from the sun
while you become one who sits in awareness
And
in
Understanding of the benevolence where
you are chosen to witness
the beauty and significance that is God’s work…CF

Release Of New Empowerment Book For Women And Job Opportunities!


Hello creatives! Happy Women’s History Month! I’m too happy to share that my book to empower the voice of women has launched!

Yes, Unleash Your Pearls Empowering Women’s Voices is an added bonus in the celebration of women history, because it champions the voice of the “underdog.” I hope you all purchase your copy now, because I’m in the midst of sending out signed copies for women and church groups, family and friends.

Email unleashyourpearls@yahoo.com or use the convenient contact info on the blog.  So far, the book is being well received and I’m forever grateful and humbled.

Intriguing Jobs:

I grew up on a farm, so I know a bit about watching things grow from a tiny seed planted in the earth to an edible fruit or vegetable. That’s why I found these job opportunities so intriguing. I suppose I could have been a Resident Gardner in another lifetime 🙂

If you like feeling the soil of Mother Earth running through your fingers, check out these intriguing job opportunities.  https://www.mainefarmlandtrust.org/job-opportunities/

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The Contributions That Make Black History…


thblk Hello creatives! First and foremost, let’s be clear. I’m black and proud every single  day of my living, but, the month of February is not about me:) It’s about paying homage to all of those gifted and brave people of color who paved the way for me and others like me for generations past, present and future!

I stand in AWE of the Contributions that make Black History Month so special!

Quote for today:

Knowledge IS freedom. Knowledge IS power… Let us continue to teach it to our children, walk it into life, speak it and stand tall in the face of opposition. Knowledge… Let us continue to WEAR THE ARMOR.  CF

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A New Years Interview With Award Winning Artist Henry Jones


Henry Jones standing by sculpture Mother Earth in Scarritt Bennett exhibit

Happy New Year 2017! I have a great bit of artsy conversation to share with y’all, so let’s get this new year party started!

Hi Henry!  I always say that my writings might not make a living but it makes a life and I definitely know that the coins help sustain my efforts. Who were some earlier inspirations that led you to believe that you could actually make a living from your art?

 I love that part about it “…makes a life…” I’ll have used that whole statement. When I think back to inspirations my grandmother, Jessie Overton, is there. There were others but she was the most influential. She was the first artist I knew and loved. Her thing was portraits and painted mainly on commission. Paintings of family members which she did hung in her house. So, her home was I guess the first gallery experience for me too. Her studio space was in her living room in a corner with just enough room for her tripod easel. My job was to hold her stinky oil paints. I watched the colors flow as she painted.

 I was always amazed how slowly and steady she could paint. I used to beg her to let me try. Once she did; I thought I was doing something but she screamed, “No, no, no! You’re not making mash potatoes!” I was smashing her beautiful sable brush fibers against the canvas surface. She held my hand and showed me how to simply let the brush glide along the surface.

She always had music playing too and tell me to listen to the music and float the brush and glide. As we painted together she’d squeeze my hand tighter if I was starting to smash those potatoes! If I was doing it correctly, her grip was gentle. I think of her when I look at brushes or shake someone’s hand firmly.

  Other artists came later when I attended Fisk University. This campus is covered with history. As students we were encouraged to get the “Fisk Experience,” which during my freshman year I was clueless. I was told to go to college to get an education and a degree. What was this Fisk experience stuff? It was about connecting with the university’s rich past. I saw and enjoyed so much art by Black artists both dead and alive.

 On campus I met and spoke with artists such as Earl Hooks, Greg Ridley, LiFran Fort, and Jerry Waters (a new, young artist and professor). They were  dynamic force of the art department. Now, I wasn’t an art major. My major was biology. I was never far from anything art because I drew the structures, animals, tissues, etc. to test myself. I drew to learn. Fisk is a small, private university so I could speak with these artists almost daily. The exhibitions of their work really influenced me. Then, I concluded to be an artist you must be a professor to reach and create art to exhibit.

 Later, after graduate school, I moved to Chicago and met other artists and gallery owners. My two main mentors in the city were Greg Spears (an artist) and Susan Woodson (a WPA scholar). Mrs. Woodson purchased my first painting in Chicago and took me under her wing.  Greg taught me about marketing. He painted tirelessly and sold many prints at festivals. In his home he had one room filled with stacks of prints! There were other people of course, but these two people saw something in me and really encouraged me to keep painting. Mrs. Woodson opened a gallery, Susan Woodson Gallery, and told me to bring some art to it. She carried prints and originals of artists I learned about at Fisk. Then, Susan introduced me to the Chicago Fisk Club which was full of art lovers. You can’t make it as an artist without a supportive community. It’s important to find a “tribe” which connects and helps you. I believe it’s actually part of your identity.

What’s a typical artist work day like for you?

I always start with coffee. This is a must, very essential. My head is always full of ideas. I realized years ago, I can’t realistically do everything. You can’t get anything done by stopping and going here and there. A little here and there adds up to a big nothing! The key, which is what my grandmother taught me while she painted, was to focus. I struggle with this but am better. A lot. My typical day consists of looking for future places to exhibit, following up on interviews of people interested in exhibiting some of my work, surfing social media (a new community to connect with people), painting and organizing. I don’t have set hours because I have a family. I usually work long tiring hours. When they sleep I can paint. I do have deadlines to keep to get art done for people, so I keep a Things to do List to try to stay on track. I feel more like a juggler than an artist. To answer your question moreso, it’s really hard to have a typical day. It doesn’t fit in the whole thing about being creative. But you must CREATE so not to feel discouraged.

Your things to do list is spot on. Plan on doing that for 2017.  We met during the early days of Poets United in Chicago. What were some of the takeaways from being part of the group?

Love. Love for other members and dedication. We were writers and still writing. It’s important to reach out to each other for support, ideas, and feedback. I don’t keep in contact with many members like when I lived in Chicago. Strangely, it is possible with video chat, emails, texts, and other ways. Yet, the Internet can’t do this. If you got a series of rejections and went to a meeting and shared that news, a friend would just come over and give you a long, tight hug. That person understood. How can you do that with electronic means? You can’t. I miss those moments of encouragement the most. Just sitting near another poet as you hear a fellow poet share a new piece. Again. Priceless. This feeds back to finding the tribe and place. With Poets United we were truly united on so many levels.

What words of wisdom do you have for newbies and late bloomers in the literary and visual art world who want to make a career in doing what they love, but are afraid to venture out there?

Stop talking about doing something. Stop worrying about and doubting things. Push away the negative thoughts AND people .Find a way to work. I remember when I didn’t have a book published. I hosted open-mic poetry at Jazz and Java Coffee Shop in the early 90’s. There was a poet who came in to recite and tell us about his book. He had a chapbook which he made. He used an old type writer which he bought from a Goodwill for $5! The old kind with the ink ribbon. Page after page he made his book. His poems were beautiful. He didn’t have a computer but put it in his mind to get his words out there. The cover was simple but he did it. He inspired me to get my first self-published chapbook done, Tell Me No Lies. I had no excuse to not have my book done. I had more technology and resources but this guy was doing more. So, to any newbie, use what you have to do what you can. You will grow. I used to paint on an old wooden chair I found in the alley outside my apartment in Chicago. I fixed and glued the broken leg and used a stick to rest my canvas against the back of the chair. That was my easel. I painted on that chair or the floor. But I worked. Many talk themselves out of even trying out of fear. Imagined fear.

We all can do something if we simply try. We will hustle and bust our butts for a 9-5 and that company’s goals but, when it comes to our own dreams, we can’t find the zeal. Why not? It’s faith. We must believe in ourselves and our dreams. This is where keeping out that negativity out of your mind and soul. Believe. There will stop be doubt but keep moving keep trying because you believe this is what your purpose is on this planet. Paying bills or making debt isn’t a purpose. Create and make the world better is what I’d tell them.

Beautiful! I agree. Can people be okay with viewing their passion as just a hobby? What’s that about? Is it the fear of stepping outside of their comfort zones?

What I’ve noticed and experienced aside from what you said about fear is that people don’t want to call themselves a professional because of responsibility. If you do anything as a hobby, you can do it whenever. You don’t have to be serious.
You don’t have to be concerned with money issues and other things associated with being a professional. When you consider and call yourself a professional this means two things: 1) You’re paid for what you do and 2) you maintain a certain amount of professionalism.
I’ve met artists who are afraid to pursue art as a profession because they believe they may fail. In our capitalistic world, if you have a business and you don’t make money, it’s concluded that you’re a failure. The business of arts and the business of widgets are di$erent. We don’t operate in the same arena.
Artists can fail or feel like a failure equating themselves to non-art business owners.
Is it important to sell your art? In a commercial gallery, that is important but other connections are made. In other institutions, such as universities or museums, the whole money thing is di$erent. But artists must take themselves serious to be taken serious. My art has never been a hobby for me but a calling
which I answered and listened to to do. I keep working. And working to create the best I know how and learn. I don’t smash any more!
Too much, Henry!  Congrats on your latest award. Tell us more about the GANSPA.

The GANSPA (Gifted and NeoSoul & Poetry Award) is the ideal of Renata Brown. The organization’s mission is to support artists year round through its education and mentoring programs as well as spotlight excellence through the Annual Awards Ceremonies. It serves as a fundraiser for Sick Cell Anemia research and education as well. I felt very honored to win. My family and I were able to go to Atlanta for the awards ceremony.

I couldn’t go to that event alone. My wife and children are an extension of my creativity. They’ve helped me in many, many ways. I knew I was receiving the state award but then they announced the national GANSPA Awards for my category. I was stunned. My wife said, “They called your name.” I remember looking around for Henry Jones. It was like a dream.

 At the ceremony I met other artists and learned what they’re doing. I love meeting other artists because I feel less alone. It’s lonely being an artist of any kind. You strive to connect to the internal, overwhelming feeling of human disconnection.  The GANSPA award symbolizes  appreciation for the work you do. Few people know the about of work necessary to create art. So much goes against you. They see the final creation. It’s not easy. But that award says to me, “Thank you for the work you do.” This is encouraging because you constantly push away and battle the demon of doubt.

Thanks for humoring my interview intrusion Henry. I wish you much continued success!

Thank you Clara. I enjoyed this interview.

Hope this talk with Henry Jones got your creative juices flowing. What a great year of opportunity we have to create to the best of who we are!

Henry Jones is an award winning artist & poet. Activist, Author, Editor. Creativity coach Inspiring the world. follow him on twitter @creativeforlife…

Henry’s post award win interview:

 

 

 

 

 

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2016 Holiday Roundup For Fiction & Poetry Submissions


two-hot-toddy-cocktail-drinks-cinnamon-lemmon-whisky-rum-apple-brandy-set-rustic-wood-35766231 Happy Holidays Creatives!

Now that I’ve completed my six week free fiction writing course, How Writers Write Fiction 2016 For Storied Women,  which I enjoyed immensely and obtained a writing buddy to boot, by the way, I’ve decided to take a well deserved holiday time out!

But, I’m not leaving y’all high and dry here either. Here are a few 2016 Holiday roundups that are accepting fiction and poetry writing submissions in December. This is a last shout out for folks to submit something wonderful in 2016, before ringing in a brand new year.

So, come on people, let’s do the dang thing!

http://www.boulevardmagazine.org/short-fiction-contest

http://www.poetrysociety.org/psa/awards/annual,

http://www.lascauxreview.com  lascaux prize in short fiction

I hope there’s something here you might want to tackle and if you have a link to last-minute submissions for 2016, feel free to share. Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a productive and Happy New Year!
Good luck in all of your writing endeavors and I hope to see y’all back here, sharing great news in 2017!