I was so happy to find Dai Niem Xu Thien Vien Satipatthana Meditation Center in Leesburg Florida. The center is closed but the grounds are open. I took my time and walked around and took photos. This space is so peaceful and quiet. I was able to clear my mind and refocus myself. I was a bit troubled about my manuscript and needed some moments of quiet to recenter myself. This was a perfect space.
The Meditation Center is about five minutes from my new home in Leesburg Florida. They are rebuilding the park, center and monks quarters. There are benches in the park where I could sit and take some quiet moments for myself. Taking time here I got clear on the direction I wanted my memoir to go.
After my visit to Satipatthana Meditation Center I was able to construct the outline for my memoir, with the help of my Writing Coach, Parthenia Hicks. I have compiled my manuscript and now I’m in the process of reading through it and revising it here and there. The quiet moments at the center were very helpful. This will be my new space to go to for quiet, focus and guidance. You can get more information about the center at http://dainiemxutv.com
I am noticing, as I continue on this journey of writing my memoir, that writing is my state of mind. I also notice that I take a lot of notes. But, it dawned on me the other day that notes are no good if I don’t read them. If I don’t use them. What I’m doing now it going over my notes. Notes from books I’ve read, notes from online classes, notes from business courses, notes from church services and Buddhism courses, notes from writing courses, notes from cooking shows and notes from podcasts. All these notes help me – they come together for my memoir. And many notes, I’m finding, stir me up and enhance my memory and are my “ah-ha’ moments. I know now that I already have what I need to succeed in writing my memoir.
I am reading “Born A Crime” by Trevor Noah here is a quote from the book:
“Language brings with it an identity and a culture, or at least the perception of it. A shared language says “We’re the same.” A language barrier says “We’re different.” The architects of apartheid understand this. Part of the effort to divide black people was to make sure we were separated not just physically but by language as well. In the Bantu schools, children were only taught in their home language. Zulu kids learned in Zulu. Tswana kids learned in Tswana. Because of this, we’d fall into the trap the government had set for us and fight among ourselves, believing that we were different.”
The Queen’s Gambit
The Queen’s Gambit is a seven-episode series, on Netflix. Set in the Cold War-era, it is a coming-of-age story that explores the true cost of genius: that of Beth Harmon, a highly talented female chess player. Since watching the series I now want to learn chess. I found an inexpensive chess board at Bealls Outlet store. I’ll watch videos on http://www.chess.com and learn how to play the game. Anyone else want to learn chess?
I have been a DJ for many years. I started in New York City at WBAI 99.5FM and ended my career at WPRK 91.5FM in Orlando Florida. I have always enjoyed DJing and music. I’ve found the perfect global radio tuner http://www.radio.garden.com. I can listen to any radio station around the world. I use the Shazam app http://www.shazam.com to locate the song and then I go to Spotify http://www.spotify.com and look for the artists and add them to one of my playlists. I write and read to music.
For film nerds and screenwriters: you can stream your favorite films through Netflix with the screenplay, side by side, in sync. It works as a browser extension for Chrome or Firefox. You’ll see when dialogue is improvised, what scenes are omitted, or when certain actions get emphasized. Try ScreenplaySubs.
February is Black History Month. It’s a good time to read a book and post about it. It’s a good way to spread the word about the author.
This week I had my first conversation with my writing coach Parthenia Hicks. Our conversation was very productive. I got clarity on working on my outline. This week I’ll read through my writings and construct an outline that is more detailed and beneficial to my readers. As Ms. Hicks said, “You want to put your riches stories in your book.”
“Each human soul has both guides and Teachers. A guide is not a Teacher. Guides are what might be thought of as experts in certain fields that are called in for consultation. If you are wearing a book, for example, or creating a project, or organizing an event, a guide that has the quality of warmth, or creativity, or insight that you wish to incorporate into your work is available to you.“
“It took a year for me to campaign for Shop Steward. During my campaigning process I received great support from the membership. Once I was elected as Shop Steward I attended monthly union meetings. I shared valuable information throughout the membership. As I got more involved in the union it became very time-consuming because I was working full time and attending union meetings in the evenings. There were times when union work and my employment became exhausting but the rewards I received outweighed the sleepless nights, physical exhaustion and mental fatigue. I got an in-depth education in the functioning of the labor movement as I helped members with workplace grievances and promotional battles from 2000 to 2008. I grew in the union by running and being elected to the position of District Council 37 Delegate and Local 1549 Delegate. These are the highest governing bodies of the council and local.”
I think it’s important to highlight my activities and service in the union. I served in many different positions for over ten years. I was a member of District Council 37 Local 1549. I lived in New York City for over fifty years and had a career working in a government job for over twenty-five years. Inserting my union activities in my book will help highlight the work of a union activists.
This is a photo I took in 2012 on top of Rockefeller Center in Manhattan. I was preparing to retire in 2013 and I wanted a photo of the city. The large green patch in the middle of the photo is Central Park. This is where I would ride my bike from Harlem New York. I took walks through the park on hot summer day. You can’t see it in the photo but at the very end of Central Park is where Harlem begins. West 110th Street on the left and East 110th Street on the right. New York City, in every nook and cranny of it, had its own vibe. Even while the blatant gentrification was progressing New York City still had its grit and grime. Standing on the top deck of Rockefeller Center and down on New York City was my way of saying goodbye.
I don’t miss the crowded streets of New York City or do I? Sometimes I would feel so small walking among the tall buildings in the city. The city is congested with buildings and traffic and people. In the summer time New York City would be a tourists playground. I use to follow the tours along 42nd Street watching to see what kind of camera the tourists used, they always had the best cameras. I ended up being a fan of Sony and Canon.
Below is a writeup of the art installation of “The Gates” in Central Park. Some people liked it others didn’t. I found it interesting and was amazed anyone could install such a huge art exhibit in a public space like Central Park.
“The Gates were a group of gates comprising a site-specific work of art by Bulgarian artist Christo Yavacheff and French artist Jeanne-Claude, known jointly as Christo and Jeanne-Claude. The artists installed 7,503 vinyl “gates” along 23 miles of pathways in Central Park in New York City. … From each gate hung a panel of deep saffron-colored nylon fabric.”
One day back in the 200’s when I was still a union activist I went to a Lesbian and Gay Activist luncheon in downtown Manhattan. The luncheon was on the 35th floor of a building. The photo above I took from the hallway window once I stepped off the elevator. You are looking at the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges. The Brooklyn Bridge I would walk in the summer time when I worked in downtown Manhattan at the Municipal Building and lived in Brooklyn. The Manhattan Bridge I would drive across when I lived in Harlem and worked in Long Island City Queens.
Some of these stories might end up in my memoir “Baby, You Have To Go Beyond The Block: Advice My Mother Gave Me While Growing Up In Brooklyn.” Right now I’m just writing and reminiscing at the same time. I do know I will add photos to my book since images are good source of storytelling.
Amanda S. C. Gorman is an American poet and activist. Her work focuses on issues of oppression, feminism, race, and marginalization, as well as the African diaspora. Gorman was the first person to be named National Youth Poet Laureate. She published the poetry book The One for Whom Food Is Not Enough in 2015. You can read the transcript of Amanda inaugural poem here at: https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/20/politics/amanda-gorman-inaugural-poem-transcript/index.html
Stacey Yvonne Abrams is an American politician, lawyer, voting rights activist, and author of the book “Our Time Is Now.” Our Time is Now is more than a comprehensive chronicle of voter suppression. It is more than a comprehensive exposé of voter suppression. It is a book of clarity. It is a book of inspiration. It is a book of empowerment. Abrams points the way forward to American democracy.
“See, you don’t have to think about doing the right thing. If you’re for the right thing, then you do it without thinking.” – Chapter 36
I’m on a different path this year with my writings and my art. My new ideas were already peculating inside me but Amanda Gorman’s poem at the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris turn the flame up.
I’m checking out a few podcasts and Ted Talks for motivation, inspiration, guidance and insight. Here are just a few:
What Should I Read Next?
A podcast for readers hosted by Anne Bogel and author of Don’t Overthink It and I’d Rather Be Reading. Every week on What Should I Read Next, Anne talks about all things books and reading, and does a little literary matchmaking with one guest.
The Book Show
The Book Show with Claire Nichols. She brings you interviews with the best authors from Australia and around the world.
The Currently Reading Podcast
Currently Reading is a podcast dedicated to the love of books and reading. Bookish friends discuss what’s on their nightstands, in their earbuds, and on their Kindles right now, in addition to books they’ve loved forever, and a variety of other readerly topics. It’s hosted by Meredith Monday Schwartz and Kaytee Cobb.
America Meditating Radio Show with Sister Jenna
A conscious, humanitarian, lively radio show! Engaging in conversations with featured celebrities, leaders, authors, and average folks sharing success stories.
The One You Feed
The One You Feed is a podcast that hosts inspiring conversations about creating a life worth living. A behavior coach, podcast host, and author, Eric Zimmer is endlessly inspired by the quest for a greater understanding of how our minds work and how to intentionally create the lives we want to live.
Ted Talks For Writers
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: The Danger of a Single Story
Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice — and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.
Andrew Stanton: The Clues to a Great Story Filmmaker Andrew Stanton (Toy Story, WALL-E) shares what he knows about storytelling — starting at the end and working back to the beginning.
Joe Sabia: The Technology of Storytelling iPad storyteller Joe Sabia introduces us to Lothar Meggendorfer, who created a bold technology for storytelling: the pop-up book. Sabia shows how new technology has always helped us tell our own stories, from the walls of caves to his own onstage iPad.
Julian Friedmann: The Mystery of Storytelling How we tell stories seems to be a mysterious process that millions around the world want to be able to do, but 99.9% effectively fail. Why is it so hard for storyteller and audience to be one? What we communicate can change the lives of the writer and the audience. However, why stories matter and how to tell them better may not be as mysterious as it seems. Julian Friedmann has worked with writers for over 40 years; he believes understanding that storytelling is more about the audience than the writer will result in better storytelling.
I am still writing my memoir. On the right is the Raymond V. Ingersoll Housing Projects I grew up in and on the left is Public School 67 where I went to school. My story starts here…
There are times I just need to find some inspiration to keep me going, to keep writing. I decided to take time out and watch the Soul movie by Disney. Besides this movie being fantastically made with exceptional actors and awesome jazz (I play the soundtrack on Spotify), the movie was just what I needed. The storyline is:
Joe is a middle-school band teacher whose life hasn’t quite gone the way he expected. His true passion is jazz — and he’s good. But when he travels to another realm to help someone find their passion, he soon discovers what it means to have soul.
There’s much more to the story but I don’t want to give it away. I will say I found a lot of moments in the film were I was “awakened.” If you get a chance check it out online.
I live near nature so I want to try my hand at making “Word Wands.” Word Wands are made with tree branches and items that are sentimental to you. Deborah Singletary is the Founder of Vision Carriers and teaches workshops in Harlem New York. You can find information about Word Wands and Deborah’s work at https://www.visioncarriers.com.
My stand by source for inspiration is watching Bette Davis movies on Youtube. I can’t go wrong watching Little Foxes, All About Eve or The Letter. I think for my birthday this year I’ll buy myself the blu-ray box set.
Writers are readers so books are always on my list for inspiration. These are just a few books on my 2021 reading list:
I’ve taken the necessary steps to get a coach. I made an appointment with KN Literary Arts (http://knliterary.com) for a free fifteen minute consultation. I am signing a contract for coaching on “Idea-to-Outline.” The outline is the roadmap to writing my memoir and I need guidance in this area. I’m still moving forward with working on my overview after that it’s tackling the Book Proposal. This will be a very busy month.
I picked up a few good tips from reading the Florida Writers Association (http://floridawriters.blog) that will help me with my posting on social media. It is suggested adding some stackable content. Here’s a few:
Quote Graphics A quote graphic is a photo with a quote written on it, and it is probably the easiest type of snackable content to create. Use your book cover or snap a picture outside somewhere. Take a quote from your book and plaster it on the picture. Finally, you’ll want to add a discreet, subliminal “call to action”. Often, this may merely be a company logo for brand recognition, but for writers it’s probably best just to put their website address in one of the picture’s corners. Infographics This type of content may be more suited for nonfiction writers, but with a bit of creativity, fiction writers can certainly take advantage here as well. Infographics are a collection of imagery or graphics displaying data in order to give a brief and visually-appealing summary of a topic. These can be a bit trickier to make, but fortunately there are a lot of templates online to help you get started. GIFs Whether you pronounce it with a hard or a soft “G”, GIFs in terms of snackable content are those little animated clips that often play on a loop. They’re more than a static photo, but not quite a video either. Of all the content mentioned, these require the highest learning curve. They aren’t too difficult to make, but you may need some help from Mr. Google. If you hope to increase your social media influence this year, be sure to incorporate snackable content on a regular basis to provide a fresh and updated feel to your online posts.
Here I am on the threshold of writing my book proposal. With the guidance of Hay House CEO Reid Tracy and KN Literary Arts founder Kelly Notaras (http://www.knliterary.com) through the Hay House Writer’s Community. I am reading through the steps right now. I am trying my best not to get overwhelmed by this process.
The book proposal should be about a 40 to 60 page document. I need to include who my audience will be, my ideal reader and statistics. This means I’ll have to set aside time to do research online and probably at a brick and mortar book store. I don’t have to finish my book first. As I understand it, agents and publishers want to see the book proposal because it has information about your audience, platform and promotion plans.
There’s need to be about two pages of an overview, of my idea of the book. I’ll have to add an email list, which I’m currently working on through my newsletter. Of course, I’ll have to tell a little bit about myself and why am I the right person to be writing this book at this current time. I’ll have to get myself a professional photographer because I’ll need photos for my book jacket, and I really do need more professional looking photos for my website and newsletter. I year ago I took a photography class with Rinat Halon at Rollins College. She’s not only a good teacher but photographer as well (http://www.rinathalon.com). I’ll have to reach out and make an appointment with her.
There’s much more information that needs to go into the book proposal. I won’t rush myself. It will probably take about a month to complete. I’ve decided that I’m going to go the route of traditional publishing. I want a writing coach and editor. Since this is my first attempt at writing a book I want all the professional help I can get to learn and navigate the waters of being a published author.
If you have any samples or suggestion on writing a book proposal I would appreciate if you would share it with me and others.