Category Archives: storytelling

Creative Advocacy-Are You In?


“My parents used to say 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 another day that allows us to follow our dreams, speak our truths and live 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 am focused on championing the voice of the “voiceless”, promoting Unleash Your Pearls Empowering Women’s Voices to women and the men that love and support them. I concede that my time, like yours, is valuable and therefore, I need to concentrate on doing valuable work.

My purpose mission today is to ensure that Unleash Your Pearls lands in the hands and on the hearts and minds of every woman 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.

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 just say, 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 that need to hear, see and feel your flow…

Peace and Summertime Blessings!

Special Guest Interview With CEO And Publisher of Dream Quest One ~Andre West


DreamQuestOne120x120Maya Angelou — ‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’

I really got serious with my writing in 2000, whereas, before, I’d write stuff and put it away in my file cabinets. Submitting my poems and short-stories in competition, in hopes that one of my babies just might get published, was a bit intimidating. I felt awful whenever my work came back solidified in a cold detached form letter.  One day, I opened another rejection to another submission, only this one differed from the usual cold form letters, in that small side-notes of encouragement were written along the edges of the paper.

The editor had taken time to encourage me to keep writing, telling me that I was an “excellent” writer!  Since, then, I’ve written numerous articles, stories and poems and even managed to write and publish a book or two. My writing definitely improved.  And I never forgot that rejection letter.

How fitting that on the last week of National Poetry Month,  Clara54 gets to interview the person whose kind words kept me from throwing myself a ‘pity-party’ and motivated me to keep writing… Please join me in welcoming CEO and Publisher  of DreamQuestOne, Mr. Andre West to the blog:

Welcome, Andre! We haven’t met personally, but I feel like I know you through  your creative ‘rejection’ of my short story and now, our  LinkedIn connection.

Can you share a bit of background with my readers?

Clara, first and foremost, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for being a gracious host and for interviewing me to be featured in your prestigious Clara54 Writer’s Blog. I truly admire and respect your undaunted encouragement, warm-hearted inspiration and endearing support for the fine arts and writing community.

I appreciate that, Andre. Thank you.

About me, hmmmm? Well, uhhhh, mmmm, okay! In my early childhood, besides playing with Lincoln Logs and Army Men toys, I remember reading books and learning Mother Goose nursery rhymes. Particularly, I really loved the times when my mother would read bedtime stories to me. So about the age of five or six years old, I began reading books on my own. This is when my mother would let me read bedtime stories to her. She enjoyed my reading so much that I would read her to sleep. Of course, it was supposed to be the other way around. Heh heh! Enthusiastically, and with childlike confidence, I wanted to read stories and nursery rhymes to my dear mother, in order to show her that “I can read.” In doing so, it made me feel great to start and finish reading a complete book. As a child, my favorite book to read was “The Bike Lesson” by Stan and Jan Berenstain. I guess you could say that I was hooked on phonics at an early age. I still have my old favorite book to this today!

I’ve learned that a picture is worth a thousand words. Noticing that many children’s books contained illustrations, I saw that those pictures only reinforced what I had already read. My imagination teleported me to far off places in the universe, where I may visit kingdoms by reading just words alone. Therefore, in my youthful mind, pictures had become redundant. Not that there was anything wrong with a colorful illustration, but pictures seem to replace words I could be reading. I then asked my mother to get me books without pictures. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a word is worth a thousand and one pictures, I imagine. Mother brought me all sorts of new and exciting tales to read.

My imagination began to grow and develop as my mind opened to new concepts. I lived with my family at a government housing project in the row houses called the “The Village” at the A.B.L.A. Homes, in Chicago, Illinois. Located on the near West Side, I lived right across the street from Fosco Park. Donnie, my big brother and I use to play in the dirty field, ride bikes, skateboard, roller-skate, fly kites, and even ice-skate during the winter months at Fosco Park. We always had what we needed, so being poor didn’t bother us that much. We hardly even thought about it sometimes, but we knew the deal. Occasionally, we use to eat maple syrup and bread sandwiches back then. Hey, it kept us alive. I’d still eat one today, but I prefer wheat bread.

As the years went by, I was considered a “gifted” child at Medill Elementary School. I really didn’t know what “gifted” meant, since I didn’t receive too many gifts back then. All I remember, is that a few other students and I had to take more advanced classes than homeroom peers. I went to different instructors for reading, music and art classes. At this time, my reading comprehension, vocabulary, and verbal skills were considered above average. I didn’t understand what that really meant. All I wanted to do was have fun and play with my friends. Although it was nice taking a break from the monotony of being in the same classroom setting all day.

So from first grade through junior high school, I remember attending Junior Great Books reading classes. We read stories such as “The Velveteen Rabbit,” “The Ugly Duckling,” and “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” Then we discussed what happened in those stories, as a group. It helped develop the essential skills of reading carefully, thinking critically, listening intently, and speaking and writing persuasively. I enjoyed participating in those group discussions and did very well in English grammar. We wrote essay compositions and poems for classroom exercises and homework. I never stopped reading books. My teachers would always praise my ability to produce interesting creative writing. I felt great while writing, whether it was a short story or a poem, transforming thoughts and feelings into words, conveying messages to readers, or producing a desired outcome or effect. I love writing. It’s that simple.

At school, I remember having my essays, stories and poems posted in classrooms and hallways. I continued writing but there was something else about me. I always wanted to fit in with the popular students. And being smart was not very popular in these circles. Also, there were some negative influences from family members, and so-called friends that steered me to mischief at times. So I became shy and timid about showing my gifts and talents in writing to those around me. I tried to please everyone as I grew up. In doing so, I was never fully able to express myself or “be myself,” so to speak. I usually wrote a story or a poem or two, as required from my teachers. Once in 5th grade, I kept a composition book filled with essays that I wrote throughout the school year. There was a time when I went home with a note from my teacher to my mother. She told my mother that she didn’t believe I had written a certain composition and ‘please don’t do your child’s homework for him.’ Well, my mother didn’t help me. I wrote the story while sitting alone in my room. The night before turning in my homework, my mother couldn’t believe I had created such a great story. Nonetheless, I wrote it. Unfortunately, at the end of the school year, my composition book thrown into the trash. I really regret throwing those stories away. My mother said she wanted to keep that book, too. Usually, I write a story or poem when inspired or motivated by a profound person, a memorable place, a wonderful thing, or an outstanding event in my life.

Mrs. Smiley, a strict and disciplined school librarian, at Gallistel Language Academy, once pulled me aside. She said, “Andre, you really have a talent for creative writing. Keep it up. I want you to remember that.” She even wrote her wonderful praise to me in my elementary school graduation autograph book. At the time, writing a book became somewhat of a dream that might be possible. But I never went deeper into the thought of it.

Why do you write?

There was always the fear of rejection that haunted me for many years. I always sought approval from others for fear of being criticized. I was also afraid of failing and succeeding. Thinking disaster would come to bring me down and out, of my introverted comfort zone. I was scared too, of taking risks, making mistakes, letting go, and living life as I believed in my heart. Sometimes family members mean well, but they may also discourage one from pursuing her or his ‘calling’ in life. They may sound like Glum from Gulliver’s Travels saying, “You’ll never make it”. They are called, “dream-killers.” All the wasted time I spent trying to be whatever someone else wanted me to be, has passed. I got tired of being afraid to venture off into the unknown. In spite of any opposition from others or within, I choose to write because I feel more alive while writing. I’m able to express myself freely and creatively through the art and craft. In my heart, I’ve always been and always will be a writer, a poet and a dreamer, but not in that exact order. I’ve always loved poetry and writing even through high school and college. I wrote more stories while taking English courses. Upon receiving an A.A. degree in Liberal Arts Education and Business Administration, I continued pursuing a degree in Finance. To support myself I have been a landscaper, a front-end maintenance worker for a major supermarket chain, a postal mail-carrier, and a computer information systems expert. “In whatever job I choose to do, I like to do it right or I won’t do it all.”

What does Poetry mean to you?

During high school, I occasionally wrote poems and stories about my life and the things that I have done. In the year 1986, there was a local writer’s newsletter, which sponsored a poetry contest. Inspired by a girl, whom I liked very much during my sophomore year of high school, I entered the following poem.

“Imagine This”

Sweetness is for her, body’s motion on a staircase

About seven feet down the lane, staring upon that lovely face

Looking upward as a matter of fact

Walking forward to be exact

 

Gracious is her style, thus owning one principle

Glorious is she, who audaciously attracted me

A host to her mind, the waiter for her heart

Frequency of the wave, the commencement of a start

Imagine this,

Knowledge of love, it has no definite flaws

Throughout friendship we understand

there’s certain common laws

Thresholds of peace, insinuations I may

Intimations I may. Instilled visions of rhymes

Instituting our day

Imagination,

is a powerful tool. Don’t interpret me wrong

I’m nobody’s fool

There is just so much that you must see

Imagine this, you and me

Though this is the beginning and not the end

Imagine this,

my marvelous friend.

By © 1986 Andre La Mar West

To my surprise, I won an honorable mention and received a big red dictionary. Clara, that contest really gave me a healthy dose of inspiration and confidence to continue writing poetry. I began reading and sharing poems with students at school. When a poem makes your feel as if your head is spinning and you are falling off planet Earth: that is poetry to me. When I can read or write a poem that makes me think and feel like I’ve been turned right side up, to me: to me that is poetry. If it moves me to feel pure emotions such as; joy, anger, empathy, sadness, love, hate, pain, ecstasy, fear, or enlightened, because its composition is a true self-expression: that is what poetry means to me.

Andre_West-DreamQuestOne

Are you all enjoying this interview as much as I am?!  Want more ? Great, because we’re not finished… Part two of my interview with Andre West continues next week! I wanted to give you all of Andre’s powerful writings, publishing and living life as an artist insights!

You don’t  want to miss part two of this interview. Andre shares his vision for Dreamquestone and gives us his take on winning poetry and writing contests. In the meantime, you can access Andre’s site to get the 411 on upcoming submissions – http://www.dreamquestone.com/rules.html

Happy writing!

Eye On The Poet: Krissy Mosley


Happy Friday!  So, technically, I’m not back on the blogs until next week, but I have some great April guests lined up for y’all, in celebration of National Poetry Month.

I love meeting wordsmiths who takes the ordinary and molds it into something meaningful and extraordinary. Please join me in welcoming the poetess, Krissy Mosley to Eye On The Poet~

 

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Poetry Manifesto~

I am electric

My creative flows – makes up who I am, and who I am becoming

I am art

I am these poetic currants

I am studying me

I am growing my art’s intuition

I am my art’s path toward my true self

I am loving  all of its ups down’s – the ins and outs of art making

Poetry lets me breathe

I am alive

I am much more than words alone

I am this journey to my oceans

I am the lungs to my pen

I am she who writes of freedom

I am she- listening to the howling winds

I am thirsting for life’s utmost peace

I am beating, loving and reaching….♥

Krissy Mosley

index2Writing way down in my spirit brings me happiness

Blogging for three years, recalling historical events through Poetry

Poet for Mother Bethel A.M.E Church, Phila, P.A.

Author of Short Edition of Poetry “Seventh Fire”

M.J. Master Jurisprudence Health Law Degree, Widener School of Law,

Follow me https://visionariekindness.com/

Twitter @krissymosley83

Did you all enjoy reading Krissy’s Poetry Manifesto as much a I did? Make sure to visit her blog for an awesome reading experience and follow her on Twitter! Y’all can thank me later:)

Everyone get out there and enjoy the spring weather this weekend and join me next Friday for another celebratory post in honor of National Poetry Month. I can hardly wait to introduce you to a giant in the world of poets/ poetry and writing contests!

Today’s Quote:

It is precisely the possibility of realizing a dream that makes life interesting.” – Paulo Coelho

 

Joel Christian Gill’s Blog Tour


1938486293.01._SX450_SY635_SCLZZZZZZZ_ Happy Friday Creatives!

Today I get to host author and artist Joel Christian Gill’s Blog Tour for Black History Month. You guys get to read an excerpt from Strange Fruit, Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History right here and right now.  YAY!

When I saw the cartoon characters depicted in Joel’s books, I immediately thought of my son (comic book collector) and my nephew (actually a very good cartoonist)  and I thought what a genius way to celebrate African-American Culture! Here’s an excerpt from Strange Fruit.

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Here’s where you can find out more about the author, his work and his beautiful stories:  https://joelchristiangill.wordpress.com/

Links to purchase books & follow Joel :

https://fulcrum.bookstore.ipgbook.com/strange-fruit-products-9781938486296.php?page_id=32&pid=FUL

http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781938486296

Twitter @ https://twitter.com/jcg007

7280228 JOEL

Joel Christian Gill™ is the chairman,CEO, president, director of development, majority and minority stock holder, manager , co-manager, regional manager, assistant to the regional manager, receptionist, senior black correspondent and janitor of Strange Fruit Comics. He is the author/illustrator of 2 forth coming books from Fulcrum Publishing Strange Fruit vol I Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History May 2014 and Tales of the Talented Tenth Fall 2014. In his spare time he is the Associate Dean of Student Affairs at the New Hampshire Institute of Art and member of The Boston Comics Round table. He received his MFA from Boston University and a BA from Roanoke College. His secret lair is behind a secret panel in the kitchen of his house (sold separately) in New Boston, New Hampshire where he lives with his wife, four children a 2 talking dog and 2 psychic cats.

Hope you guys enjoy and learn more about African-American History from Joel’s comics. I love the beautiful images in the book, the feel and texture of the book and the stories… Loved the experience! Say what?! You want a free copy?  Hit me up with a comment telling me why you’d love to own a copy of Gill’s Historical comics before March 5th and you might be the winner of this generous gift!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giving Props To A New Tribe of Memoirists


Hello Authors and Happy Friday! So, I popped over to visit my good friend, RODEO CARLSON’s murder & mayhem mystery books site, only to find out she has a new book on the horizon, amid everything else going on over there. There are personal blog insights, pic of mouth-watering culinary eats, online classes forming and free stuff to boot. I downloaded an editorial calendar for authors and plan on putting it to good use 🙂 Rodeo, you rock! Just sayin’

Go here to see what I’m talking about~http://rodeocarlson.com/

Today I’m giving props to a new tribe of memoir writers by celebrating their author status , with a focus being on the memoir. I feel like it takes courage, true grit and a passion for other people to turn your life story or particular slice of your life into a memoir.

Without further ado, here are a few of the authors I’ve come to know through their voice, blogs and personal stories. Remember I’ve been doing this book/writers blog for a minute and couldn’t shout out everyone I’ve connected with, but just know you’re doing the thang!

Congratulations going out to:

Lynette Davis at reflectionsbook.org for Even Rain Is Just Water: A Memoir. Coming: Summer 2016

Mary Perez at Reflections From The Heart, maryaperez.com Running In Heels: A Memoir of Grit and Grace

Darlene Greene at www.inamaegreene.org for Blood Relatives: Breaking the Cycle; Breaking the Silence

Nine Rubies by Mahru Ghashghaei

Kathleen Pooler at Memoir Writers Journey –krpooler.com for Ever Faithful to His Lead: My Journey Away From Emotional Abuse

Mandy Smith at healingbeyondsurvival.com for Secrets in Big Sky Country: A Memoir

Pat Mckinzie at pattymackz.com/wordpress/ for Home Sweet Hardwood: A Title IX Trailblazer Break Barriers Through Basketball

Chris Thrall at christhrall.com/blog for Eating Smoke

 Linda Diane Wattley at http://www.lindadianewattley.com/  for Soldier With A Backpack: Living And Dying Simultaneously.

Ms. Faith Elle Walls at http://www.msfaithelle.com/ for Ten Lessons My Mother Taught Me Before she Died

Karen Tyrrell at www.karentyrrell.com
for Me & Her: A Memoir Of Madness

Thanks for sharing your memoir with me via interviews, book reviews and PR requests. Either by hook or crook, we connected and I appreciate the experience. I’m sharing the cover of your books below.

 

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Finding The Positive In Your Story Rejection


 

logo_landingThank you for submitting “Andrew And Mullins”.

With just the two of us reading all stories ourselves, it is not possible to provide specific feedback, I’m afraid, but I can tell you that, while we won’t be publishing this piece, it was a good read—thank you!

Happy Friday Storytellers! Like most readers, I can get lost in a good story. I have been intrigued by the art of storytelling since I was a young girl and my siblings and I would sit wide-eyed in our folks bedroom listening to them share tales from their imaginations. Anyone ever hear of the “No Headed Man”?! Yep, one of the scariest  from their vault filled imaginations.

Mama and daddy couldn’t have known they were scaring the heck out of their children or did they? 🙂 of course not every story was scary, but where’s the fun in that? Anyhow, I loved story so much that I began writing my own. The short story above was submitted to Glimmer Train,  one of the most respected short-story journals in print.  You can find their website here: www.glimmertrain.com and their submission calendar  through 2015 here:  http://www.glimmertrain.com/pages/writing_guidelines.php

As you can see, Andrew and Mullins didn’t make the cut.

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But, did you notice they enjoyed the read? Even when your story doesn’t  make the winning cut, you can oftentimes gauge its value by the comments from the publication of your submission. The positive comment from Glimmer trains editors encouraged me to keep writing and sharing my stories.

When you don’t win from submitting your short stories, the clues in response to your story, if positive can help lessen the blow of rejection and keep you focused on your dream to eventual publication. If you receive a negative response, still read and learn from such comments and vow to show them what you’re made of.

Editors and publishers aren’t usually so anal in their responses to your work, unless they’re overwhelmed and will send out a cold form letter of rejection. Either way, just keep rewriting and submitting until your babies find a welcoming home.

I’ve decided to change the ending of Andrew & Mullins to one of empathy for its main character before submitting it to another publication.

I love when I’m in the flow of story and even when the piece doesn’t place in one publication, I can usually take the rejection in stride and take note of the message in the rejection to use it as a learning experience that will lead me to re-work the story for a better chance at acceptance, the betterment of readers and for the betterment of my craft.

How did your upbringing influence your love for storytelling? How many re-writes do you do with a rejected piece?

I will be taking a Thanksgiving break until December. Keep writing and stay humble.

Your writer’s quote:

“It’s hell writing and it’s hell not writing. The only tolerable state is having just written.” — Robert Hasse