It’s going to be okay, right?

THE PERFECT (1)

I left childhood many years ago, followed paths that I thought were meant to bring me success and work satisfaction, and learned skilled that were supposed to bring some kind of fulfillment.

My lifelong quest has been a frantic chasing of the perfect balance between creativity and responsibility. Having someone take care of my bills while I chase creativity is a little distasteful, which always thrusts me towards responsibility. Except it is spiritually draining to sit in a room with stodgy authoritarians who perform tasks that high school drop-outs could easily complete, or managing clashing personalities who enjoy office/corporate drama. When faced with that, I am an optimist with soaring ambitions, whose inventiveness and creativity in this – brand new – field is going to change the World and finally change my life.

my youth was completely wasted on a lack of focus because of this teeter tottering between office stiff and frenzied creative energy, never settling comfortably in either one

On the other hand creativity on a growling stomach, with bills stacking into teetering piles on my desk, and the anxiety of looming failure and defeat, does not translate into success. My frazzled state of mind is unable to create anything that I enjoy, and the sparkle of optimism fades, slowly at first as I struggle with taming despair, then plummeting like a rock, into darkness, and a good old fashioned Netflix binge.

By the standard of many, my youth was completely wasted on a lack of focus because of this teeter tottering between office stiff and frenzied creative energy, never settling comfortably in either one. I’ve watched people build lives around children, husbands, careers, and never envied their lives, but I have envied their seeming satisfaction at having “arrived” in a comfortable place.

I’m still lost and trying to find my way to the thing I love most, creating something out of raw ideas in my mind and collecting skills that will make that happen. Maybe my personality can never be properly satisfied, so that I will be locked in this cycle for the rest of my life. Maybe that final push to stay hungry for a little while longer, is just over the horizon and will lead me to success.

However, right now I’ll finish packing my lunch and race for the huffing red and white bus that will transport me to the birthplace of Zombies, where a little bit of my soul will be sucked out.

Have a nice day folks!

Micro 0119: Welcome

Welcome.

Your mother told you not to join a gang. But here you are, foolish rebel. You have romanticized this moment but it is not going to turn out the way you think. You need to stop watching movies. There is no information in there that will tell you the truth. We live hard lives, we are not friends, you will not be receiving fringe benefits for a long time.

We are a serious organization. It is not our fault that the ‘authority’ call us a gang. We do what we want, when we want it, regardless. And don’t you go “regardless of what” -ing me. REGARDLESS! That should be enough, you lazy sunzabee… Now look what you made me do.

That scared look you have donned is not going to help you either. My emotional armour is tighter than your little brother’s briefs and cannot be penetrated by pathetic looks. Mcccchhhheeeww. So stand up straight, and look into my eyes.

First order of business: Today you thought you would be attending some kind of briefing. This is not to be so. You were brought here by someone who hand picked you from a throng of admirers of our work, and some seriously twisted parents who want to make a little money off you. A rival gang has challenged us to a duel at 51st and Juma Avenue. We are not cowards and we will not be put to shame. You will be sent to battle on our behalf. Do not return until you are victorious. If you are unable to achieve victory, be sure to perish in battle. There will be no sympathy for survivors.

Line up against that wall. I will be handing your weapons to you in a just a moment, as soon as Yunia stops crying. Wipe those tears, foolish child. No one wants to be here as much as you do. And yes, George, you have to fight. No way to get out of it.

NO MORE QUESTIONS.

What do you think this is? Chatterbox time. Look at my face. My I-am-not-playing face. Remember it.

Take only one package from the top of the pile (thank you Cissy), the small bag is to be worn against your hip. All the packages go inside and your weapon is worn against the side of your chest for easy access.

What is it George? Are you old enough? For what? Fighting? You think you can stop the inevitable? You think that you have earned the right to question the laws put down… hold on…

The vehicle is here. No more time. Line up!

Enjoy your day at school.

The Struggle Factor

There is nothing so unappealing to me as the struggling artist. I know that many do, but can I say that I don’t like it?

When there are so many examples of artists that have been able to ‘get there’ I just cannot understand the appeal. That being said, I know that so many compromises have to be met in order to get to that point and many artists have (and quite rightly so) said they had to sell their souls, but I’m of the opinion that I can buy it back and make it all worth it.

Am I naive in suggesting that this might work? Possibly. But I’m still gonna try.

Please don’t misunderstand me, I know that people legitimately struggle in an effort to sell the work for a price that is reasonable. After all, no matter what medium we use, paint, fabric, words, film, we all find it difficult to convince people that it actually takes effort to create what we create.

But I find it difficult to go quietly into the night. I’mma fight for mine, hope you’re fighting too!

Where did they go?

Have you ever had a childhood dream? Something that you wanted so badly, and had to have the moment you were old enough to get it? What did you want to be when you grew up? Did you get to do it, or did your desires change as you grew older? Did you succumb to the pressure of doing that sensible thing so your life could seem meaningful to others? Did you follow your heart? Did you chase your dream?

I think that if most of us were pressed into saying something about our dreams we would come up short. My confession is that I don’t even remember what I wanted to be. Somewhere in my teens I read a novel called Doctors, ER in novel form, but about medical students. Which teenager with big dreams would think that wasn’t something to do? I tried working towards it, but my heart was not in it.

An engineering degree later, here I am. Wondering what happened to the dream I do not remember having. What the hell did I want to be? Where is my dream?

Maybe it is different. Maybe it is now a part of the future I’m trying to create by sheer will and the sheer force of my determination.

Today is a day filled with questions, and precious few answers.

Goodnight y’all.

Rule #1

I have a difficult relationship with rules.

If the danger (and it has to be danger) is not explained in a way that makes sense, my brain gives instructions to my body to break those rules.

If the danger is explained, but is just unconvincing, the same thing happens.

Someone told me recently that it is important for a woman my age (I know, right? GASP! I don’t refer to your age, don’t mention mine!) must dress a certain way.

Look, I wasn’t going to wear skinny jeans. I happen to think that blood circulation is important. I’m not gifted with a butt cleavage even though I’m a proud card carrying member of the IBT (itty bitty titty) Crew. I don’t let it all hang out. But please don’t tell me to shop for Chanel suits. Lemme wear my frills and bows. Don’t give me rules.

I’mma have to start going out like this:

Don’t mess wit me!

It’s your thing. Do what you wanna do.

Karibu Reader and Happy Father’s Day!

Toronto is finally warm and I find myself inexorably pulled outside basking in the sun.

As an author trying to offer entertainment to readers, I’m often baffled by the notion of trying to get fans. If I were to approach a random person (she’s a black woman like me) and ask her to purchase my book, what would I say to her? What exactly is she looking for in a story? A heroine who battles aliens? A dark handsome hero in whose arms she can rest safely? A challenging socio-economic situation that has been solved in the future using a solution currently unthought of? What does she want and how can I satisfy her?

That is a trap. Don’t ever succumb to the pressure of trying to sell your story to anyone. The beauty of art is that the audience falls in a spectrum (regardless of what genre you write) from those who love it and cannot live without it, to those who end up abhorring you, the writer, for coming up with such a story.

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I’m a big supporter of supporting black artists, whose work is often marginalized. Watch this and support.

Sorting through confusion

Karibu reader!

The weekend is upon us, what are your plans? I went to an all-girls secondary school where I studied music under a teacher we all loved. In trying to teach us what syncopation was she had us clapping to and memorizing this little ditty,

Syn-co-pa-tion
Teaches you to
Con-centrate.

This week has been a little crazy and ideas have been popping in and out of my head like the Higgs boson! I have literally had to keep a list of the ideas floating around with me so they could leave me alone so I can finish the short story I began last week. Problem is, they keep popping up at the most inopportune times making it difficult to concentrate on the one thing I should be working on. Ms. Hobday’s little rhyme did nothing to get me where I needed to be.

In my struggle I realized something that helped me find my story-telling center again. Sometimes our hearts and minds are tuned into that place where inspiration flows from, and we have to sit in it and allow it to infuse us. When it starts to swirl and get confusing, write your ideas down, write flash fiction, draw your idea, just let your creative ability reach for the thing that will get you out of the rut and back into the sunlight.

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Mapenzi, from me to you.

Rebels UNTIE!

Karibu reader!

I hate rules. Don’t you? I dislike being told what to do and sometimes have to check myself before I rebel simply because someone told me what to do. I never thought of myself as a rebel and still don’t regard myself as one, but try telling me what to do see what happens.

So when I came across all the different “RULES OF WRITING” being peddled on the internet,

Some ‘experts’ have decided that you cannot use the word SAID. As in, “Oh, look,” she said.

Others think that using doing words, adverbs that end in -ly is basically dooming yourself to writers’ purgatory. For example, “Oh, look,” she said, longingly.

And yet some others say, don’t tell me what they said, show me what they said. They mean “Oh, look,” she whimpered, gazing longingly at the dazzling bracelet in the window.

Enough.

All these rules are arbitrary and suggested by people who pretend to hold the keys to publishing and the money jars. Bad writers get paid gobs of money all the time and they break every single rule that was ever put in place by ‘experts’.

My advice? Just write what you want to read and those who love reading the same things will line up to read your books.

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Peace!

Dreaming

Karibu!

I hope your week has gone swimmingly and that your anticipation for weekend proggie* is almost at its zenith.

An article I read this morning has absorbed me completely. I’m a fan of science fiction and I mostly write science fiction and fantasy. I write about the things I love. I’m constantly scouring the internet for cool and interesting things and contemplating their use for systems for the future. Take for instance all the research going into the different uses of graphene or what 4D printing can do for the development of a smarter World or how people feel about replacing their bodies of flesh with mechanical smart machines.

All this stuff I love bleeds into my writing because I love them. My mind finds ways to grapple with these subjects while I’m asleep and if I allow myself to have a moment to think and mull over the dream, my stories take flight and soar!

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Working for pay

Karibu! Come in, sit down, let’s chat!

Sometimes the itch to get my work out to the World is so crazy, I just want to post my precious intellectual property out there for everyone to read and enjoy. There are times I have. Mostly my best friend and sometimes co-author will come up to me and screech and holler about giving my brain away. So, just as an FYI…

This place where ideas reside can be elusive, the Ether, is an unforgiving place where you have to pay to receive. Generally artists (of any trade) have to allow themselves to have space and time to allow inspiration to rain down. Giving form to the idea and letting it develop into something marketable is an impressive accomplishment that takes time and dedication. People pay handsomely for beautiful works of art or photography, but no one wants to pay for words.

I once heard someone say that ideas are a dime a dozen. A butt load of hooey. Bad ideas may be a dime a dozen, but good solid ideas are priceless.

Let me explain the various examples out there.

  • One person had an idea for a natural hair vlog. They talk about the challenges they have faced in taking care of their natural hair and provide some tips that have worked for them. Go to youtube and type “natural hair” in the search box. How many videos are you going to get? 1,480,000 results.
  • One person thought up what elves could be and what they would look like. How many versions of Legolas have you read about in books or seen on covers? How many children who suddenly find that they have a gift no one else has? How many vampire stories are airing on your television this past year?
  • What about social media? The big dogs are Facebook and Twitter, but remember MySpace?

Lesson of the day?

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