Sunday, July 27, 2014

calling my woot! part two

 Last post I talked about an article called ''The Four Characteristics of Author Attitude and Why You Need Them.'' Willingness and objectivity represent the first two letters in the acronym that reads ''woot''. Well, actually willingness and optimism represent the first two letters of the acronym but I mixed them up because I'm an airhead! Anyhow, with this post I'll talk about optimism and tenacity, the other two letters of the acronym.
    Everybody knows the basic definition of optimism but how does it apply specifically to authors? Well, we authors have to endure a lot of rejection and criticism for one thing. Whether it's from agents, publishers, readers, reviewers, you name it, somebodies going to have something to say! And somebody having something to say is never a bad thing no matter what they say! With that said, how do you deal with this whirlwind of advise, opinions, etc.? The article says that one must see everything that happens to them on their writing journey as ''pushing them closer to successful authorship''. I agree with this 100% because whenever somebody takes the time to give you their honest opinion it's a gift simply because they gave your work some attention. I would like to add that nothing worth having is going to be easy to attain, so one could also view criticism and rejection ''optimistically'' by seeing it as a sign of progress. Not only does it give you a chance to improve your work but you can strengthen your resolve to reach your goals and have breakthroughs from it. I have experienced this firsthand. I also try to remember that fiction writing is an art form and all art is subjective. So, it's insane to take rejection and/or criticism personally because you have no idea of peoples personal prejudices, taste, etc. Authors have to take it all with a grain of salt and learn how to go inward and discern the meaningful feedback from the rest.
    Wow! Author optimism is a huge topic in and of itself. Writing this post has really got me to reflecting on my own optimism. I'm going to stop here and do a part three to discuss tenacity. I'm worn out!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

calling my woot! part one

July 6th 2014. What's so important about that date you ask? Well, only that it's the last day I've written anything, unless you count this blog. And why haven't I written anything since July 6th you ask? Well, it's not because I've been lazy or unmotivated. It's because I been blocked. I've had writer's block! To be perfectly honest I've never really had writer's block in all the years I've been writing, only motivation problems. But now, for the first time, I'll sit down to write and nothing is coming out! I don't know where to take my story. I don't have any ideas! This has been going on since July 6th.
    Rather than wallow in my writing problems by stuffing my face and watching DVDs I decided I must find creative ways to get myself out of this rut. So, I've been reading articles about writing in effort to get my writing juices flowing again. A member of my writer's support group gave me an interesting article called The  Four Characteristics of Author Attitude and Why you Need them by Nina Amir. It talks about the importance of willingness, optimism, objectivity and tenacity, which make the acronym woot! Anyhow, willingness means to be able to sit back and reflect upon where one is as an author/writer and what it will take to get one where he/she wants to go. Am I willing to look at my self objectively and change some of my old habits and/or beliefs in order to get myself where I want to be? I would add to ''willingness'' by saying am I ready to take risk!
    Objectivity means can one look at their work/idea from a business standpoint. This means to craft ones work to meet industry standards and needs, which are always focused on marketability and sales in the end. You have to be willing and able to take criticism and make changes that you, as the author, may not be able to see or understand. Authors are very close to their work, I know this for a fact, but learning to see/write it in a way that would appeal to masses of people is a skill in and of itself. It's like a comedian telling a joke that's funny to him/her but not considering whether their audience will get it.
    I just realized that I skipped optimism and went straight to objectivity, which tells me that I'm not focused on what I'm doing. Luckily there both O words in the acronym. Anyhow, I'm going to split this post into two parts and go focus on stuffing my face and watching some DVDs. Hay, I didn't say I never wallowed in my writing problems!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

I love new york

Last Thursday [7-10-14] at 2:00AM I hopped a bus to NYC to nominate Rainbow Plantation Blues to be read by an LGBT book club that meets once a month at the NYC LGBT community center. Then, on Friday [7-11-14] At 12:35AM I hopped a bus to come back home to Cleveland. Yes, I spent a total of about twelve hours in NYC and a total of about twenty-three hours on the bus! It was a crazy, insane, whirlwind trip but it  payed off because the book club voted to read my novel. There were two other books nominated but mine beat them out. When the meeting was over a member told me that about a year ago an author showed up at their meeting to nominate his book for the group to read but it was still voted down. And to this day they still haven't read it!
    They nominate their books four months in advance to give everybody time to get the books and read them. So, they will be discussing mine in November and they asked if I could come back for the discussion. Of course I said hell yeah! Well, to myself I said that but out loud I said ''yes, I would be happy to do that'' all calm, cool and collected. There were ten people there including myself and I passed out the business cards I had made prior to the trip.
    My bus arrived in NYC around 11:30AM but the meeting wasn't to start until 8:00PM, so I had over eight hours to kill. I just explored the city on foot, did a lot of people watching and drank smoothies. I 've been to NYC many times before so I know my way around Manhattan but the one thing that was new to me was the city bikes they have now. You can rent bikes and explore the city, or whatever else you need to do, by bike as well as on foot. I love the hustle and bustle, the diversity, the pulse and the concrete jungle that is NYC, and It really is ''the city that never sleeps''. It was dark by the time I walked back to the bus station from 13th st to 42nd st but there were still as many people on the streets as there had been when I arrived at 11:30 that morning! There's no place else in America like NYC.
     The bus ride back was torturous! We went through upstate New York and stopped in Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo along with a few other towns I've never heard of. Then it was onto Erie, PA and finally Cleveland. It was a fourteen hour ride. I got no sleep and I had to go to my writer's support group and  then to my day job when I got back. Still, I have no regrets and I'm glad I took the risk in going. The book club had no idea I was coming and I had no idea how things would pan out. It just goes to show that you have to roll the dice in life and see what happens because you never know!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

call me kuchu : a review

Recently I watched a documentary called Call Me Kuchu[kuchu means queer in Swahili]. It's about the activism of murdered Ugandan Gay right activist David Kato. The documentary itself was good but I did have trouble reading the subtitles sometimes. The lettering was in white and the backdrops were often too light, so the words would blend into them. The subtitles also went fast and I had to keep pausing and backtracking. Other than that it was quite good and informative.
    Kato was murdered in 2011 for his activism, although the official story says that it was by a male prostitute over money. I guess we'll never know what really happened but I don't see how it was not an assassination. Uganda has a disgusting stance on LGBT rights. They recently passed the Anti-Homosexual Bill[ that's what it's called] that Kato was working to stop. The bill says that anybody found to be LGBT, abating anybody LGBT or not reporting somebody who is LGBT can be imprisoned and/or executed! It also says that this applies to any Ugandan living abroad! Of course the international community has spoken out against this but, lets face it, every county commits human right violations.
    Africa came to be so anti-gay in the first place because of the colonist who came there and imposed their anti-gay laws on the locals. Now, most of those colonial powers have changed their laws but most of Africa is still steeped in the prejudice and misunderstanding that the colonist created. Africans in general think that homosexuality is some kind of Western plague but Uganda is a Christan county. This is equally ironic because That's something that was imposed on them, too! The situation is a hot buttered mess! But the good news is that Uganda's LGBT people are not giving up. They have an organization call SMUG[sexual minorities Uganda which Kato helped to found] that has a very articulate and courageous[and handsome I might add] executive director named Frank Mugisha.
    I already knew that South Africa has marriage equality and constitutional protection for It's LGBT citizens but watching this documentary motivated me to find out more about LGBT people in the whole of Africa. I found out that there are about fourteen countries that have no laws criminalizing homosexuality but they don't protect it either. The rest of them specifically criminalize it. The degree to which they criminalize and enforce these laws probably varies from country to country, but Uganda's must be one of the most extreme.