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Posts Tagged ‘reading’

Creative Sleep and Stephen King

In Freelancing, Writing on October 14, 2013 at 12:58 pm

stephenking_writing

The Art of “Creative Sleep”: Stephen King on Writing and Wakeful Dreaming

 

Dylan Garity – “Rigged Game” (NPS 2013)

In Uncategorized on September 27, 2013 at 8:23 am

There are so many ways that our education is broken and if we continue to suck the humanity and creativity out of our classrooms we are doomed. Why are we not teaching children to learn instead of take tests. Why are we not answering questions? Why are we not teaching them to read. We are stealing our children;s education by our attempt to teach to the middle and create an average student body. Look into your child’s eyes and see if test taking should define who they are. Or are they more? Isn’t the world here to explore? Or should we keep them in rounded hallways so they don’t see the blood of their spirit flowing on the floor?

If you really want to see a society of mediocrity come to pass than you should support www.corestandards.org . If you don’t stand up and protect your child’s education and their child’s education. They can’t protect themselves.

They’ll see how beautiful I am And be ashamed— I, too, am America.: Our Power is Our History

In Inspiration on April 14, 2013 at 10:06 am

It’s odd how some days have a natural theme of their own. Unintentionally you are surrounded with information that is all tied together. Yesterday was such a day. Yesterday’s theme was racism.

Earlier in the day I came across a reading of Still I Rise by Maya Angelou, this lead me to follow other YouTube links. In college I studied African-American history and literature. When I home-schooled my daughter I taught her much of the same. To me I think my fascination with this history is the strength of the human spirit. The beauty of the soul that continues to have hope in the direst of circumstances enthralls me. I came across a PBS special on a remarkable book and its background. Its title is simply, Slave Songs. The songs of slavery offer inspiration, painful naked truth and many were used to hide codes to lead escaping slaves.

 Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

HISTORY DETECTIVES | Slave Songbook | PBS

Here are a few:

McIntosh Country Shouters preform Adam in the Garden

Louis Armstrong: Go Down Moses

Black Gospel Quartet Singing: Roll Jordan Roll (Acapella)

And my favorite

Hazel Miller – This Little Light of Mine

There are so many more songs that I haven’t mentioned.

Still on YouTube I also found some wonderful videos about the period in history known as the  Harlem Renaissance. There was I. Too, one of my favorite poems. This is a very powerful poem by Langston Hughes, an incredibly talented man. Then there is one of my favorite authors of all time, Zora Neale Hurston,  read “Sweat” .

I, Too by Langston Hughes

The History of the Harlem Renaissance

Biography of Zora Neale Hurston

Today there is a book signing in the small town of Mount Dora, Fl. it’s a book about a dark part of Florida history. The book is called “Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America  by  Gilbert King  More of the  story of the Groveland Boys can be found on PBS’s site, The Legacy of Harry T. Moore “.This part of Florida’s racist history is a fascinating and terribly sad story.

Then there was a conversation I had with a friend. She is a beautiful 25 year old woman and she also is an amazing artist and one of those people that as soon as you meet her spirit attracts you. She is also bi-racial. Here’s what she told me when we discussed race.

“I am so offended when people ask me. ‘What are you?’ What kind of questions is that? What are you? Am I a dog or a freak? Who the hell do these people think they are? I choose to not let my race define me. I am me.” Me being me, I told her to answer, “I am a human being”, and walk away.

Racism is still creeping through our society and eating away at people’s hearts. It disturbs me on a profound level. The only protection we have against evil such as racism and hatred is our history and education. I find it terribly, terribly sad that so many people do not know the African-American history. When I took an African-American literature class the teacher pointed out to the class that I, a white woman in her 40’s and the only white person in the class knew more about their history than they did. She said it was shameful. Sounds harsh but it opened up a door in many of the young people’s minds and they started listening and asking questions. They became my friends and would talk to me about their history and we would discuss the good and the bad. I came away from that class having had the richest educational experience of my life.

One of the things that make me the proudest as a parent is that my children are color-blind when choosing their friends. My son’s best friend growing up was African- American and it wasn’t until years later that my son realized that when he was invited to join in a parade that was planned to celebrate Martin Luther King Day that he was the only white person in the parade. He never noticed. My children choose their friend by their character not their color.

There has been progress made in the fight against racism but there is so much further to go. I hope that in some small way this post has enlightened you, maybe educated you or at least made you think. Whether you are white, African-American, Asian, Latino or any other ethnicity the dark history of our world needs to be studied, if it’s not we are in danger of repeating it. We need to come together as the Human Race.

The introduction video was Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child, it is sung by Rev. Timothy Fleming Sr. at the Rialto Center in Atlanta, Ga.. Powerful.

On The Way To Your Mountain: Neil Gaiman Commencement Address

In Uncategorized on February 18, 2013 at 12:50 pm

This video is inspiring, funny and a must-see if you are trying to do anything. As Neil says, ” When things get tough…make good art.” I don’t strive to be the best, what a weight that would be to carry. I strive to be the best I can be. On that day. Doing what I am doing at that time. If I worked every day to be THE BEST how much work would I get done? I would constantly be erasing, revising, rethinking. I wouldn’t get done what needed to be done. But if I am trying to the best I can be that day, well I can succeed. I don’t allow impossible to exist because most of what I know I taught myself in bits and pieces. I’m not completely uneducated but when someone tells me there is only one right way I usually ignore them and figure out my best way to do that thing. Now there are some things that there is only one way to do them and I try to listen to these instructions or remove myself completely from that situation. These things usually involve fire, weapons, traffic and anything with a warning label.

We all have to find our way and our walk to the mountain takes different path and some of us walk slower than others but hopefully we will get there.

By the way, if you have never read the book Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaimen. Read it. Wonderfully writing and a great story. This is one of the books that I will always keep on my bookshelf and every once in awhile I reread it so I am reminded what great writing can be.

Last Day to Sign Up For World Book Night!!!!!!!!!

In Uncategorized on January 25, 2013 at 4:01 pm

What a wonderful idea. An night set aside to give the gift or reading. Wow.
Here is a link so that you can sign up. Today is the LAST day!

http://www.us.worldbooknight.org/

Giving Advice to My Dad. Weird.

In Uncategorized on January 17, 2013 at 1:35 pm

Dad Being Still
This old guy that I know has been asking me about freelance writing. For the rest of this post and the rest of my life I will refer to that guy as, “my Dad”. I am going to lose the quotation marks as he is not a “tired cliché” but a pretty nice guy who looks a bit like Donald Sutherland. My Dad and I have been going back and forth a bit through email on the subject of freelancing and he has been proofreading a few things for me.
Let’s get a bit of backstory here. My Dad is a former IBM programmer/ systems analyst. He was there in the beginning and watched computers evolve. He is a really smart dude. He retired in the 80’s and has worked on some programming projects with my Uncle and also has fished the Atlantic as much as he possibly could ever since. Now he is living in North Carolina close to the Pamlico River and enjoying my brother’s company and trying to figure out how to occupy his time.
I had let my Dad know that I started this blog and also that I was getting paid to write some articles for different companies and he is interested in doing the same or trying his hand at editing.
So, what advice do I give him as a fledgling blogger/content writer? Well, here is what I have figured out so far.
1) Write and when you think you are done…write some more.
2) Remember to eat.
3) And sleep
4) Be organized and manage your time carefully.
5) Research thoroughly. This is my favorite part because I love to learn new stuff.
6) Read about freelancing and writing from people who have gone before you and had successes and made some mistakes. They will share with you this information freely or for a small fee.
7) Look to these same writers for articles on sites that offer freelance work. They will tell you who is worth your time and who isn’t.
8) Figure out who you want to be when you grow up. What kind of writer do you want to be? What is your niche? You may not know this yet but keep it in mind as you feel your way around the wonderful world of freelancing you’ll figure it out. I will probably never, unless the money is REALLY, REALLY good, blog about cleaning the house or raising children. My kids are grown and I’d like to put that behind me, I barely muddled through myself. As far as cleaning the house, it saddens me that I have to do it but I can’t write until it is done. That’s one of my rules. I am hoping to one day have a bit extra to pay someone to come clean for me. I can dream, can’t I?
9) Know that there will be interruptions, usually when you are in the zone and then your thoughts fly right out of your head, but try to keep them at a minimum. Turn off the TV, Turn off your phone. Write and then write some more.
10) Remember the words of one of my favorite writers, Neil Gaiman, “Make good art.” Even though you are writing an article on the newest widget or how to use a whatsis, make it good. Be the best you are capable of being each time you put a pen to paper or type on your laptop.
I could probably go on but to be honest I am beginning to bore myself so I must really be putting you through the wringer.
For several years trying to get through life and raising my kids had kind of sucked the creativity right out of me. I am now feeling the flow again. My heart and mind are opening up and I have room to write and create. I am working my graphic design and writing business, gaining new clients and making good art.
In the words of the late and Great Bob Marley
We’re jammin’ –
To think that jammin’ was a thing of the past;
We’re jammin’,
And I hope this jam is gonna last.

I hope my Dad loves what ever he does. He is one special man. I love you, Dad.

On the Way To Your Mountain: Neil Gaiman Commencement Address

In Uncategorized on January 13, 2013 at 11:36 am

This video is inspiring, funny and a must-see if you are trying to do anything. As Neil says, ” When things get tough…make good art.” I don’t strive to be the best, what a weight that would be to carry. I strive to be the best I can be. On that day. Doing what I am doing at that time. If I worked every day to be THE BEST how much work would I get done? I would constantly be erasing, revising, rethinking. I wouldn’t get done what needed to be done. But if I am trying to the best I can be that day, well I can succeed. I don’t allow impossible to exist because most of what I know I taught myself in bits and pieces. I’m not completely uneducated but when someone tells me there is only one right way I usually ignore them and figure out my best way to do that thing. Now there are some things that there is only one way to do them and I try to listen to these instructions or remove myself completely from that situation. These things usually involve fire, weapons, traffic and anything with a warning label.
We all have to find our way and our walk to the mountain takes different path and some of us walk slower than others but hopefully we will get there.
By the way, if you have never read the book Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaimen. Read it. Wonderfully writing and a great story. This is one of the books that I will always keep on my bookshelf and every once in awhile I reread it so I am reminded what great writing can be.

You too can get your own copy of Good Omens by visiting this link: http://amzn.to/UgLv7V

“Notoriety wasn’t as good as fame, but was heaps better than obscurity.”
― Neil Gaiman, Good Omens

Hollywood, Zen and Rowboats

In Uncategorized on January 8, 2013 at 9:18 am

Image

I was watching the Today Show and Jeff Bridges was a guest along with his good friend Zen master Bernie Glassman. They have a new book out called “The Dude and the Zen Master” that I will definitely be reading. One of the analogies that they mentioned was going through life following the song “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”. The lyrics are:

Row, row your boat

Gently down the stream

Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily

Life is but a dream

In other words, get out and row your boat (do something), do it “merrily” and “gently”. Live the life of your dreams.

Good stuff, huh?

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