2nd career

That’s what I’m starting

RUST REMOVAL DAY 2

RUST REMOVAL CONTINUES:   DAY 2 WRITING EXERCISE

Last week was fun, creating titles for books/articles/etc. I’d like to write.  What i wanted to do was create spontaneously, first thing to come to mind.  Not spend anytime formatting or editing.  Main  goal was simply moving the thoughts from brain to “paper.”  The whole point of the exercise is to get the creative juices going.

So here’s the next one:

DAY 2:

Create a character with personality traits of someone you love, but the physical characteristics of someone you don’t care for.

Glad they didn’t use Hate.    The remaining vestiges of the Christian in me IS not (supposed to be) comfortable with hate, but, gee,  I can do this using the phrase “don’t care for” as an excuse (yea, I know, can’t fool God)

So as I begin to think of two people on opposite ends of my affection scale I discover  that a huge part of me absolutely refuses to mix the two.  Sad to say, I’m struggling separating hate from “don’t care about.”  Hate’s running pretty strong at this moment in my life – that is, it generates the stronger emotion much, much more easily. I can’t talk about my grandmother while giving her the features of the most “not care for” person in my life: a former co-worker whom I will not speak to ever again,  even at gunpoint.  Biggest joke in office during that time was the teasing I got about showing up at her retirement luncheon.

Did not go!!!

Everybody has limits, she stomped over mine!!

SEE!!! Now I’m all pissed off again!!!  😡

And I don’t want to put this on those I Iove.

Wow! Suddenly this exercise isn’t the piece of cake like I thought it would be.  I can’t separate the personality of the bad from their physical makeup.  Nope, nope, and no.. can’t do it!

Damn if this isn’t turning into a psychological exercise.  Couch time, free of charge.  Hmmmm…   post this, and then regroup.  The only spontaneous thing that’s happening is mental combustion!

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12-DAY RUST REMOVAL

OK, I haven’t stopped writing at least something every chance I get. It’s the posting.  I feel I have to “blog with a purpose” but I keep forgetting this is MY blog and I can write whatever the heck I want, dammit.  I’m supposed to be capturing and sharing my growth.

Alrighty then, a nice little exercise to wake up my Muse, courtesy Writer’s Digest.  They have a good idea to kickstart the new year:

A 12-Day Plan of Simple Writing Exercises

Ahhhh, a loophole the lazy/busy part of me can manipulate – they didn’t say consecutive days. Still, a good way to get the posting rust removed.

So no more thinking, plotting, wondering. Let ‘er rip!

Day 1:  Write 10 potential book titles of books you’d like to write.

I know my heart leans more towards magazine articles, and the true ones I have in mind  I think I’ll keep in the safe.  But in the spirit of the exercise, here are articles, essays, and maybe books I’d write:

  1.  Whiskey, Women, and Prison Time: Country Singer or Rapper?
  2. The Untold Stories of African-Americans and WWII Espionage
  3. The Making of “Me”
  4. When You Can’t Catch a Break
  5. Proving You’re Saved
  6. Power Couple
  7. Three Chains and a Cane: The Story of the World’s Oldest Rapper
  8. The 21st Century Prophets: Street Preachers
  9. The First Inventor: The First Person Who Discovered How to Create Fire
  10. Paths Not Taken

Hey, that was fun !

Whaddya think?  Which should I tackle first?

stack-of-books

Pop’s Stories

My thoughts are spurred  by a Tweet from Roger Ebert, referencing this blog post:

Raised in Fear: Horror Films as Schoolyard Lore | Press Play.

Grandfather Stories

Reading this blog post brings back pleasant memories of my Grandfather, who I call Pop. I remember him telling stories to my sister and me.  Not stories of ancestral heroes, no tales of  ancient tribal  battles and victories. Sadly, those stories faded during the Middle Passage.  Pop tells  us funny stories, scary stories, sometimes funny scary stories.  There are jokes, but mostly  stories that have us laughing and crying.

I remember how he acts out the stories, sitting in his chair and gesturing and moving and mimicking the action as he talks.  My favorite, really the only one I remember the most details about, is about this bad-ass brother who is either the devil or a zombie – I really wish I can remember the details.  Devil or dead, he is a Spook, and I do remember he shows up unexpectedly at a campsite.  Pop becomes the characters.  His eyes open  wiiiidddddeeee as he and his friends see this devil. Then Pop becomes The Spook. He grabs the frying pan off the fire and dumps  the food right into his mouth, hot grease and all.  He  grabs  the hot coffee and does the same.  He wipes his mouth with the back of his hand and in a low, gravelly voice asks the frightened campers for “More!”  Then he reaches into the fire, grabbing a handful of hot coals.

And a little boy and a little girl can’t stop laughing with Pop.  I know now how much fun he has telling us these stories.  I see his face, and see how much he enjoys making us laugh.

I don’t remember when he stops, probably as I get into my teens.  At that time in my world twelve is  the cutoff for “childish” games and innocence.  As damn near every adult reminds me, it’s the age that Jesus assumes His ministry.  Thus, on my twelfth birthday my sins are now my own!  I have to stand before God and account for them, can’t blame it on being a kid anymore!  I’m pretty sure the stories ends well before then.

I do get a chance to be Pop as I become a substitute teacher after my first retirement.  I have an absolute ball reading “Two Bad Ants” to a first grade class.  It’s not on the lesson plan for that day, but once I see the title all bets are now off – I know I HAVE  to read it, for me a much as them.  I can’t act out like Pop, but I read with all of the fun and enthusiasm like him, hoping they are enjoying it as much as I am.

STARTING 1ST ARTICLE: PROJECT 2013

DOWN  THE RABBIT HOLE

I surprise  myself over the holiday.  I do  a little reorganization in my home office.  Rearrange my bookcase, file  away the books and papers from the completed CNF classes, putting current projects close at hand, and so on.  I grab a new project folder for the first article I want to publish, label it, and as I turn to put it on the shelf I thought, “Let’s just see what’s out there, just get a little taste of the project, enough to really get the motor running.”

I already have a roadmap in mind: lots of research, interviews, pictures, and footwork.  I receive tremendous feedback from my last instructor, a lens through which I can  focus  more clearly. What I don’t know yet is how long it would take to complete.   All I want to do now  is  just see what a quick glance at  Google tells me.

I peek into the rabbit hole, the ground under me gives way, and down I go.  Four hours later, I have  two pages of handwritten notes, several links and web pages copied to Evernote, a couple of YouTube videos marked,  and I have to force my self to stop.  I am supposed to be reorganizing.  So, quicker than planned I’ve  begun to gather material for the article. OK, I guess this is a good sign, and encouraging.

MUSCLE MEMORY CHALLENGE

Just about every book I’ve read about writing has one common recommendation:  write, read, and write.  Rinse and repeat.  Or, as they describe it, develop my “writing muscle.” What I’m doing lately is posting comments to web articles.  Getting in a little of both at the same time.  The temptation I’m fighting is to start another blog.  I want to keep this dedicated to  my writing journey, but  I know I’d like to  follow up on my second blog idea, which lost out to this one as my initial foray into blogging.  Trust me, the temptation is strong.  Thankfully a quick glance at everything on my desk yells “Caution: Overload” and I come back to earth.

Still, there’s a lot of fun in the back and forth with people (especially sports and politics) and I find myself wishing I could preserve the dialog.  Thus, the thought about following through with the second blog.  Reading, writing, and preservation. Thank God blogging is cheap!  Thank God I’m reminded I really don’t have the time.  Thank God for knowing that somehow, someway, I might  try anyway!!!!!

ONE YEAR

Gee, it’s been a year already??

renaissance posterOn January 1, 2012 I published my first post.  A home for the stories of My personal Renaissance, my life post-retirement, and my adventures in media.  It has been an incredible journey, and I’ve written about it often here.

For the last post of 2012,  I present:

Press Play: 

Glory to God

At this time, want to say a big Thank You Jesus for All of the Blessings I received this year!  This has been the one of the best years of my life so far, and I’m very, very, very THANKFUL.  Especially thankful for getting me through the last quarter of this year, where it seemed like I faced the most difficult period.  Many, many obstacles and issues popped up, but I refuse(d) to let the gremlins win!

And… I want another year like this!  Or, as the Henny Youngman joke goes:

A woman and her grandson were walking along the seashore when a giant wave sweeps the little boy away.  She begins wailing and crying, “Lord, Lord, please save my grandson!  Please return him to me!”  A few minutes later another huge wave crashes on the shore, and there at her feet lies her grandson, coughing up water, gasping for air, scared, but alive.  The grandmother looks up  at the heavens and shouts “He had a hat!

Yep, a greedy little bastard am I !

Four Maybachs in Pebble Beach, CA

“Dear Lord, I sure would like a Maybach, and if you can throw in a chauffeur also, that would be awesome!”

Thanks to My Wife

A Big Shout Out to my wife for her support.  Couldn’t have much fun without it!!!!  Hope to make her proud in 2013!

Speaking of 2013…

I consider almost everything I’ve done this year as “preparation.”  Absolutely nothing’s been wasted in terms of lessons, travel, books, and writing and voiceover tools purchased. Obviously taking classes qualifies it, but all of the other Writing and Voiceover tasks I have done (and continue to do right after this post) have set the stage for results next year.  Among the many things in my head I  want to:

  • Publish my first article
  • Book my first voiceover job
  • See the newly discovered comet
  • Watch Season 3 of Game of Thrones
  • Attend the Atlanta Film Festival (gift from wife)

Already told you about my writing plans.  There’s a big voiceover event in March here in Atlanta that I’ll be a part of – really looking forward to that. Let’s see… what else… oh yea, continue chronicling My Personal Renaissance, right here.

HAPPY NEW YEAR AND GOD BLESS!! 

Dennis 2.0 logo clean

MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY HOLIDAYS

A Christmas tree inside a home.

 

Wishing every one of you the BEST HOLIDAY SEASON !!!

 

 

 

In spite of the recent tragedies and no matter what your faith or belief is, take a moment and reflect on all of the GOOD THINGS that have, or is happening, to you!

 

 

 

After Christmas I will be working on my end-of-year post, which also marks ONE YEAR since I went live!  Sheesh, seems like only a few short months ago, but on January 1, 2012 My Personal Renaissance went live!  What an adventure it’s been.  I already know I won’t “wax nostalgic.”  I thought about tackling a Christmas tale from my past tonight, but I think not.  Let’s just see where the Muse leads me when I start typing the year ending post..

 

 

 

Once again, ENJOY THE SEASON!!!!!!

 

 

 

GOD BLESS YOU ALL!

 

 

 

Dennis

 

 

 

2013 – PROJECT #1

Writer's Digest Book Shipment

Ok,  I have an idea for my first official, genuine, bona fide, serious, magazine article.  I’ll be working on it the rest of this month, getting everything prepped for the next step – my Query Letter.  Right now I’ve submitted it for review, and once that’s done I’ll adjust accordingly and get it in the mail.  As it’s the holidays I’ll probably submit in January.  So here we go…jumping into it!

2012 has been all about preparation and training, learning the tools of this trade.  I know that I haven’t learned everything, but now I’m anxious to get rolling.  I know I haven’t wasted any time this year; as a matter of fact I’m in the home stretch of my Certificate Program (Thank You Jesus) and I’m really proud of that.  Basic Training is about done, and in 2013 I’ll be on active duty.

Thank God so far I’ve received good reviews from my instructors, so that’s an extra shot of confidence.  I’m not even worried about rejection, I’ve already had a couple of op-ed pieces I submitted this year turned down.  However, I did get a comment I posted to an article in the New York Times web site recognized by the Editors, listed with others under the “Top Comment” section. I can live with a one-for-three score now.

So next year can’t get here fast enough.  I’ve got my Voiceover plate spinning at full speed also, and as I’ve mentioned  in previous posts I’m still doing my balancing act between the two.  Big things are already under underway for that as well next year, but at this point I’m going to start detailing that in a separate blog dedicated to just voiceover.  An interesting thing I learned from my Publishing class is that almost 100% of the marketing and branding techniques are the same in both fields.  So, a VO blog will be another web life form next year, and Dennis 2.0 will just be about writing.

Oh, before I forget, I’m very happy, proud, blessed, and Thankful to have one of my earlier posts referenced by another blogger, so please check Amaya Ellman out:  ellmanbooks.com/2012/12/13/creative-nonfiction-is…

See you next post, definitely plan to get one in before New Year, as I went live with this blog on New Years Day 2012.  One year!!!  Thanks to God!