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Shirley Gale

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Everything posted by Shirley Gale

  1. Sorry, I am just seeing your responses. I did not know that our discussion had gone on to another page. This is a goooooood thing. Cynique, thanks so much for setting me straight on Rahm Emanuel. I am an outsider looking in and I don't know nearly as much about him as you do. I felt like because he is such a huge part of the problem, he most definitely should be the one to help fix it. If one makes a mess, he or she should be tasked to clean it up while suffering the consequences along the way. But you are absolutely right in wanting him gone. In a comparison, voters gave Bush a second term to clean up his mess, and of course, the Nation went from bad to worse under his Presidency. I guess I got caught up in the Mayor's tears. Believe me, the letter that I sent to him was not written as a vote of confidence. I slammed what I have seen of him. I am so sure that he, nor any members of his office, is going to respond kindly to what I had to say in my correspondence. We'll see. Also, about some of our people, words cannot begin to explain their actions. Again, I agree with you. It is said that if you make some poor people millionaires, they would be not be millionaires very long. These are not the exact words, but you know where I am going with this. Everyone wants their share of the American Dream--new homes, luxury vehicles, nails, hair, etc. When you've had nothing for your entire life, how can you know the true value of "something?" Our ignorant population of poor people know very little about capital investments. Please know that I use ignorance to denote "lack of knowledge." They lack the critical thinking skills to even go in that direction. These people don't sit around to watch the market so that when they reap their lawsuit money, they might invest a portion of it for their futures. For the most part, poor people who are plagued by ignorance aren't even aware of what is happening in their own communities, "So, what is City Planning, you ask?" I am not at all surprised by a lack of optimism for change in these communities. I am very saddened by what I am seeing in our Black communities. I just want to speak on it so that I might be able to help in some small way. Everyday I wake up with a hole in my soul and pain in my heart for our people. Cynique, I so appreciate your wisdom and intellect. It is truly an honor to share with you. I just wish more people who need to hear what we are saying, were here to receive it. Troy, I have gone from 22 connects in a few weeks on LinkedIn to 150. It's great because I get to connect with like-minded folks--writers, authors, illustrators, teachers, entrepreneurs, etc. I am also on Twitter. I am a newborn to Twitter. I still don't totally get it. Although, I am resistant, I must get more involved on social media so that I can get my name and worth out there among the users. Troy, I appreciate you too much to take your actions personal. You are an upstanding individual whom I greatly respect. Happy Holidays you two!
  2. Yes!!!! We are definitely feeding young minds to the Minotaur and yes, we preach to the choir. The quote is so profound. Thanks guest contributor. Troy, I tried to connect with you on LinkedIn. For some reason I could not. I have posted a milder version of my poem onto that platform. I would so love for you to post what you have shared as a comment there. Please edit it for the quick typing. I know, I just want this comment, which is perfect, to be just that. On another note, I just emailed a heartfelt letter to Rahm Emanuel, along with my poem. Chicago is in deep trouble and I felt a need to add my input. I can hardly wait to hear a response from his camp. I really don't want to see him leave office. I want him to stay and fix the mess that has come to a head on his watch. I think he is the one to do it. We don't know what a new mayor might bring to office. Anyway... Wow, I never expected this poem to generate this much discussion. This is totally wonderful. I love God :)! Surprise. Surprise. By the way, the guest is my son, Tevin Lee Church. He is wise beyond his years. I had no idea he was posting this, CDBurns, I wanted to get in on this too. For me, family has a broad, complex, and very diverse definition. Our World is one gigantic family. My feelings are this: In some way, we are all interconnected and therefore responsible for the actions of each other.
  3. CDBurns and Cynique, I am already there. My manuscripts are already in progress. Cracked Glass ... a semi-biography, is being queried to literary agents as we speak. I started research for it in the late 1980s when it was titled SHIRLEY GALE. Carlton Press, Inc. in 1991 described it as so: "SHIRLEY GALE (TWT) is a candid semi-biography based on a life of tragedy and suffering, including fascinating portraits of despicable individuals that were known by the narrator... Shirley Gale Perry's story is provocative and eloquent in its appraisal of the environment and people encountered, from the faithless husband, to living temporarily in a homeless shelter with her children. It is recommended for its realism and human drama." Cracked Glass is an adaptation of SHIRLEY GALE. And, CDBurns, it does include my poem, Daddy's Little Girl. I 'm taking the courses with Gotham Writers' Workshop to ensure that I am enhancing my craft a bit more. In 2016, I am going at authorship with everything in me!!! Cracked Glass, Part One: The Whole Damned Family deals with familial dysfunction that speaks to mental and sexual abuse to includes rape and incest. It is tailored to the Young Adult (YA) audience because so many of our youths endure like dysfunctions that disrupt their lives in so many awful ways. Cracked Glass, Part Two: Broken, But Never Shattered deals with choices made in relationships, mental and physical abuse at the hands of one's spouse, homelessness, and finally, divorce. Yes, I was homeless with two children. I was even featured in the newspaper which drove my two children quite crazy at the time. And, Cracked Glass, Part Three: Life is a Bitch, But You Don't Have To Die, deals with finally escaping insanity and making things right. This is where I was presented with "A Whole New World" after enduring so much hell in the first part of my life. It is for this reason that one should never give up. Anyway, I am working hard to find literary agent(s) to represent my work. They tell me that my work is very interesting and has merit, but the answer is still "No." But guess what, if I can't find one soon, I am going to publish all my books myself. They say "If there is a will, there is a way." Now, Cynique, I love your ideas for educational reform. Montessori and Home Schooling have proven track records. However, what you propose is too much like right for those who constantly get it wrong. In some countries, kindergarten children have structured play all day to develop their social skills. Play is a form of learning for the young ones because their brains are not ready for the regiment of structured classrooms. Little kids are not designed to sit still that long. If they had more play in the early years, perhaps there would be less ADHD in the middle school years. I am definitely an advocate for this type of early learning. I wish policy makers would lend an ear to those of us who make sense on some of the issues that impact our children. Lastly, CDBurns, you hit that nail on the head. Teacher Certification papers does not make the teacher. I agree with you 100%! Thanks both of you for such insightful exchanges. This is how we learn and grow by listening and appreciating others for their knowledge, experiences, and expertise.
  4. Thanks for the great exchange on this subject matter. Sometimes, I can be overly passionate about this subject. You opened your heart and it certainly made a difference for those kids. Had you not been there for them, who knows? I just want more doors to open in terms of quality reading materials with diverse subject matter, dedicated teachers who really care, and competitive schools for all children. This is a must for our children who need help to get through the opened doors. Again, thanks for the healthy discussion. I love this stuff !!!!
  5. CDBurns, please know that this isn't about me per se, I am using myself as an example. This is by far by not an attack on teachers-- at least not good teachers. I agree with you that youths, at some point, must take responsibility for their actions and educational choices. Thank God, as one of these students, I made it too. But, let me tell you, I don't know how. When my 16 year old brother did unspeakable things to me as a 7 year old child, I don't know how I went to school and listened to a teacher. When my own daddy tried to make me his woman at age 15, I don't know how I went to school to listen to anything or anyone with that sort of garbage on my mind. When our mother walked through the neighborhood with not one black eye, but both, I don't know how I resisted the temptation to kick the person's behind that teased me. My brothers could not resist fighting and were often kicked out of school as a result of their inappropriate behavior. But through God's grace and a system that promoted Black children upward because they'd aged out, I did make it. Please know that when I got to high school, I wasn't nearly equipped to compete with those students whose lives weren't mind. I struggled every single day! I cannot begin to tell you how frustrated I was. My Caucasian teachers, along with some of the Black ones, allowed me to keep my head down and sleep because they did not know what to say or do with me. They probably wanted me to disappear. I had no interaction with most of the smarter students simply because I was ashamed to speak up for fear of uttering an incorrect response. I stayed in school because everybody in my entire family said that I would not and also because I wanted to prove that I was not my momma. They knew the odds were heavily stacked against me. Had I gotten pregnant like I tried to do, I too would have dropped out and became a statistic. As you see, I had no real guidance at home. However, I did have three great teachers that had a lasting impact on me when I was in Jr. High School. But, please know that I did not live with these teachers. I did have to go back to my insane home environment after school each day and that is where all the good stuff in school was torn apart. It takes a very strong person to continually flip that switch from home to school, school to home. You see as great as my teachers were, even they did not stop me from trying to find love in all the wrong places. I attribute this saving of my soul to the grace of God the Father. Many of our babies don't even know God. Momma is too drunk or drugged to get up from her Saturday night activities to attend a church. Oh, believe me, it takes a strong young person to overcome all of this, Thank God, some of them do. I wish I could clone them. That's why it is so important that teachers give all that they can when the children are in their care. This is the armor that these children need to shield their hearts and minds when they are at home--enduring pure hell. We need more mentors who are in it to win it. We need more advocates for these challenged youths. We need an understanding of the reality they are going through. We need to teach them how to clear the destructive garbage from their minds when they are in the classroom. There is no room to put in knowledge if one's head is overflowing with trash. Indeed, this is a tall task for all the stakeholders. My brothers--all 8 of them went through the exact same thing and they all dropped out of school, mostly because their heads and hearts were filled with trash--trash that they could not empty on a daily basis so that they could participate in school. They lacked the mental stamina to endure. Yes, some children do overcome--but far too many others do not, otherwise the deplorable state of education for these children would not be where it is today. Home conditions, socio-economic conditions, poverty, society at large, and yes, to some extent the children themselves, bear responsibility. Lastly, I respect that you worked in some of the roughest/toughest schools in the country. I get it. However, please know this, whether she resides in Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, NY, wherever, a drunken, whoring, mother is universal in my opinion. An absent or unknown father is universal in my opinion. It takes a unique and strong mind to overcome these negative influences. It takes wonderfully understanding, learned, teachers to have empathy for these children. It takes administrators who are willing to come up with a budget that accommodates the educational and social needs of these children, it takes awareness of the causes of this mess. With this being said, it takes a lot for me to blame a child when there are so many other responsible factors involves in the mental destruction of these children. Sorry, blaming the child is just too easy an out for me. Blaming the home solely simply isn't enough. Troy, thanks for responding. I am angry with what is happening to our challenged youths. In 2016, I am going to do all that I can to spread the word about this unnecessary mental destruction of our babies!!!!! I know that they all cannot be saved. Unfortunately, some may not be worthy of saving because they simply do not get it. But there are many good kids out there who can and want to be saved--they just don't know it. Thanks for having this platform where I can voice what is on my heart, soul, and mind. I cannot look at a troubled child who looks like me, my same skin color, my same used to be personality and desperation, and just look in the other direction. Even at the legal age of 21, the brain is still stupid and immature. It still makes mistakes that the 35 year old brain looks back on and laughs--asking "what the hell was I thinking?"
  6. Thanks so much for responding. I need to know how to edit my posts. I often go back to read my submissions a few hours later only to find some sort of error. I have a fond relationship with edit buttons. I am a former Special Education Teacher for children who were categorized under Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), what used to be Mental Retardation (MR), now Intellectual Disabilities, and Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD). When I wrote an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for a particular student, I made certain to do all the background work on that student from their home life to all of their academic achievements and deficits. I did this in order to write an educational plan to service the "whole" child. I could blow a Present Level of Academic Performance (PLOP) out of the water because of my due diligence in getting to know the child and his or her parents. Now here lies the kicker: After doing all of this work, as a teacher, oftentimes I was not able to implement the plan because of an overcrowded classroom, budget cuts, and the overwhelming volume of work that was required from me. If I didn't work at home and stay late after school hours, my IEPs would have been, for the most part, worthless documents. As far as their graduation options, I always explained to students and their parents that there were 3 options following their primary and secondary education. I had to place my students on one of these 3 tracks. I made certain that the parents and the students were well aware of their graduation destinations. Often, because of their state test scores, it was usually the vocational track with the GED. Some did graduate with a standard diploma where they could attend a community college. However, only a few went on to high school with a diploma that allowed them to attend a 4-year college or university. They simply weren't academically prepared to compete. Special Education was never intended to be a permanent placement for children. Administrators and teachers were supposed to deliver instructions that resulted in positive educational progression for these children--a progression that was intended to get them into a regular classroom setting. But the teachers and parents benefited from having these children remain under this umbrella. My kids called their benefit checks "crazy checks." They had better act "crazy" in the classroom so that their parent(s) could continue to reap their meager monthly checks from the state. Learning cannot take place in the presence of distractions and disruptions. I leave you with this. Far too many of our black male children are labeled under SLD and placed in SPED because of their history of inappropriate/disruptive behaviors. This is wrong on so many levels. So many of our children are misdiagnosed and over-categorized for Specific Learning Disabilities--especially in reading and math. Again, I can hardly wait to see what the states do with their implementation of the new Education Reform Bill. Many substandard schools are, for the most part, right back in the segregated conditions of the South.
  7. Thanks Cynique, it is so nice to have these intellectual exchanges beyond the confines of my home. I look forward to many more. I know that I can learn so much from you. Are you on Linkedin, if so I would love to connect with you on that platform as well.
  8. Troy, I must agree with you, Trump is nobody's idiot. Whatever is said about the man, Donald Trump is a manipulative, evil, genius to me. For the most part, I think he knows exactly what he is doing and it is presently working for him. Will he be our next president? I think not. All of America will come to their senses one way or the other and realize that his contributions for this country and for our global economy are outrageous. I am going out on a limb here to make a terrible comparison on a scale of national tragedy, pain, and suffering. Osama Bin Laden displayed evil brilliance in bringing down the World Trade Center. The events of 911 turned out better than even he had imagined. His well planned scheme was successful and made a lasting impact on the world. Bin Laden had a brilliant mind that was set to utter destruction, but he was brilliant just the same. You might disagree with me on this, but no one saw 911 coming and he damned near crippled us in a way that keeps us at war to this very day. I put Donald Trump in almost this same category. He is dangerously brilliant with measured calculations for what he wants and how he plans to get it. What is scary is that we couldn't see Osama Bin Laden coming for us. But we can see Donald Trump and his evil plans coming straight for us. This tells me loud and clear that he is not an idiot--some of his followers may be, but he, for sure, is not. Please know that I am nowhere near advocating for this kind of violence and hatred. I do not like the man or his politics. I am sharing that brilliance can exist in the presence of evil planning. The good Donald is espousing what no other presidential contenders dare to say or do--only because he can--folks who support him says so. To what end is this done? He is about to bring down what compares figuratively to our World's Trade Centers if we, as a nation and world, don't wake up and put an end to his evil genius. Mr. Brown, thanks so much for initiating this great conversation
  9. Thanks all of you for responding to this. First to Cynique, I absolutely meant parole. Once I typed patrol, I could not see it. I had my son stand over me and read silently while I read aloud and he did not catch it. I had my hubby to read it also and he did not catch it. This is crazy. Troy, please fix this for me or tell me how without me having to re-do posting. For my part, I really want our platform to be "tight" as they say. I am going to try to slow down a little more so that I can be a bit more careful in my typing and proofreading. But meanwhile, Cynique, please stay on us. CDBurns, thanks so much for your thoughts on this. It is painful and truthful. I had a beautiful young lady come up to me one day crying. I wanted her to join our Beautiful Young Lady (BYL) Mentoring Club. Her sister had already joined and was proudly wearing her t-shirt. This 15 year old told me that she could not read--really could not read--I'm talking first grade level kind of reading. She displayed deficiencies in all five areas of reading starting with Phonemic Awareness. This girl had no real conceptualization of Phonics, Vocabulary, Reading Comprehension, and Fluency. I found this to be outrageous. How did this child get this far without a conceptual understanding of phonics? Of course, she was put in Special Education where her IEP should have taken care of this situation. IEPs, what a joke they are when they are not properly written for the child and implemented to serve. I cried with her because there are so many "throw-away" older children out there that it is almost impossible for any teacher to do one-to-one instructions with them. Earl is the tip of the iceberg and something must be done to teach our children how to read, write, and think. I see this as a major contributor to their inappropriate behaviors and their life choices. Additionally, I asked for critiques on this piece because I have plans for it. I see that education reform passed that finally gets rid of NCLB. How ironic. I know that hundreds, maybe thousands of over aged, challenged, youths were not only left behind, but they were literally forgotten. Now, when I taught reading to my kids with special needs, my babies outperformed the regular education students on their state tests. Also, I had one young man to skip a grade when he entered high school. I say this because illiteracy is not a disease. Poverty is not a disease either. They both are rampant for sure, but there is a cure. Both can be eradicated over time. I know that the system promotes poverty and illiteracy and capitalizes on it. Poor school administrators, and non performing teachers, who could care less, are paid to service this population of youths and they are not getting the job done. Of course, we all know that the prison system is a huge money maker. The problem is this: there are too many in the black community that tends to embrace this madness via blind ignorance--I have seen it. It is our responsibility to initiate change for ourselves, our children and their proper education, and our communities. Last, but not least, Troy, thanks so much. I did want to get on you about the typos, but I did not know how. It is hard to point a finger when the thumb points right back at the pointer. Anyway, we can always see mistakes made by others better than we can see our own. Hey, I like this. But I always get the message from your comments, suggestions, etc. I reiterate, we certainly need Cynique's eagle eyes on us. In response to you, I want so much to spread the word about these kids and what is happening to them. Even with education reform, you best believe there will be very little implemented by the states for our over-aged, challenged youths. Sure, vocational skills will be taught, but I want our kids to learn how to think critically, to have reason in their thoughts, to be prepared for careers over just jobs. When they read, I want them to conceptualize via visualization and other deep thought processing techniques. I watched my students light up every single day that I walked into my classroom because they knew that I was going to require them them think--to reach deep into the hidden compartments of their brains. I watched many lights brighten, but I also had a few, like Earl's, to go dim. I live in the real world; I know that we can't save them all. However, it is our responsibility and duty to save as many as we can before the prison system is over run with our beautiful black babies. Know that I am speaking of the boys and girls. Girls being incarcerated are on the rise for much of the same reasons that boys are. Now that's another story for another day. Troy, we are all aware that the initiation of innate or learned responses, or lack thereof, for children, starts at home. It is at birth that language acquisition (innate) which is imperative for reading (learned response) begins in the home with the parent(s). As a baby, if all you heard were my four letter word along with other non-motherly remarks toward and around you, your brain would acclimate so much differently than one who receives warm nurturing with great books (read to on a regular basis) in a home that advocates educational excellence. I say to you that it all starts with the proper acquisition of the English language, which we, for the most part have not fully conquered (slavery, a major contributor). I still struggle with the proper use of language--syntax, semantics that include, mechanics, grammar, structure, etc. Believe me, this impacts reading and writing tremendously!!!! Remember, this is an innate skill that the brain is prepared to accommodate, literally at birth. For real, If we don't use it, we lose it. No, I certainly agree that it is not just deficits in reading and writing that drives inappropriate decision-making for these youths. It is everything done to them not to promote their intellectual genius that starts at home and causes them to enter the educational system unprepared. It is indeed a generational deficit in the brain's capacity and capabilities that for the most part are proliferating. Despite the views of some researchers, the brain is dynamic, learning can take place for anyone, at any time, and anywhere. Well, I could go on about this for hours. However, I will end by saying thanks to you all for receiving my words. I hope there are no typos or grammatical errors
  10. Thanks Troy. Here are a few corrections. Like I've said before, I need an editor with me 24/7. Site should be sight and wrong words should read strong words. Sorry everyone. This really drives me a little nuts when I do this.
  11. Thanks, I got it. Troy, this is a powerful piece if I must say so myself. This is the way I used to feel when I was struggling to read in school. My hands are shaking right now. This is exactly why I know how many of these kids feel.
  12. Caution: This contains strong language. What The Fuck Do You Want From Me? “Son,” she said, “got to do yo’ work.” I ain’t got to do nothin’ Yeah, I’m angry—so what? What the fuck do you want from me? So now it’s all my fault. She can’t read or write eitha. Don’t want me around. He can’t read or write eitha. Neva wanted me from the beginning. Naw, I can’t read and write and fuck math and science--can’t do that neitha. “Son,” she said, “keep your head up and listen.” “Fuck you, leave me alone. I don’t know this stuff—hardly seen any of it befo'. School ain’t my answa—no real support there. They say, too old, foundation crumbling--my existence cracked and weak. Fourth grade come and gone, test scores way low. Can’t recall or retrieve it, too late for me—brain cells said so. What the fuck do you want from me? “Son,” she said, “open your book and read along.” I can’t read this shit. Don’t you think I would if I could? I tried. You know I tried. She persists—always persisting, even encouraging. Better than the one who gave me life. Fake the shit, read somehow. Omit some words, stumble on more, makeup others--satisfy her, make her proud. They laugh at me exposing my weakness and shame. I silence them with my stare. I told you I can’t read this. Leave me alone—Bitch get away from me. Son,” she said, “you’ve got to do this.” Didn’t have no books—she didn’t buy any—no magical blue train engine with his friends, no thousand acre forest with a whimsical bear named Winnie the Pooh and his slow friend—the clever, gray ass— nothing like that in my formative years. “Son,” she said, “don’t you want to go to high school?” Stupid questions coming at me from everywhere—all the time—from all of them. I dream of high school—even college—want to find me a good job. I see myself standing in front of the class reading my report written last night, seeing her face delight in my scholar. But that’s not me—can’t be me. I can’t read so I can’t write. I can’t write so I can’t read. Why am I here? Vicious circles all around me—lying to me, always lying. What the fuck do you want from me? “Son,” she said, “you’ve got to try.” I’m here for you, right here, right now. I’m a big ass teen, big as any man; she said I’m on a third grade level. Don’t you think I know it? I know it all too well. Fuck you, fuck her, fuck him, and fuck all of this reading and writing. Papers with hurried marks ripped and tossed, my pencil splintered in yellow wooden pieces on the floor. What the fuck do you want from me? My aim was straight—my target in range. His image mirrored mine. The bullet hit him square in his back. Blood flowed like red and black ink onto the ground. He could read and write, “literate,” she said. They spun me around, punching and kicking—them at me, me at them. Metal bracelets clench my wrists. Oh fuck! I can’t read, I can’t write, I don’t exist. What the fuck did you expect from me? “Life!” he said. Life with no chance of patrol—I’m sixteen years old. What the fuck do you want from me? What the fuck did I expect from you? Shirley G. Perry-Church, 12-4-2015
  13. Well, here it is. Please be warned that strong language is included. This poetic verse comes directly from my heart and soul. I had to put it onto paper somehow. I am tired of our beautiful babies killing and being killed. What The Fuck Do You Want From Me?
  14. OMG! This is when I wish I could revert back to my former, younger, less disciplined, ignorant self--a time when I would have been ready to kick me some old fashioned #@*. What is wrong with people? Oh, I forgot, Donald Trump and those other idiots are empowering their boldness. Bernie Sanders speaks of revolution--I am not saying that I am advocating for him, but I am afraid that revolution is on the horizon if real, positive change does not take place. Unfortunately, this kind of dangerous/ignorant rhetoric will receive response. Depending on who gets to occupy the White House next, Black Lives Matter will only be the beginning. What and who is happening in our country and to the entire world is absolutely shameful and embarrassing. I am so happy that I cannot have anymore children.
  15. Hello Troy, I am seeking permission before I post. I wrote a piece the other day in response to yet another one of my former students getting in trouble for killing a peer by shooting him in the back. I cannot stand what is happening to these kids--the boys and the girls. This work is titled, What The F do You Want From Me? The "F" is of course spelled out. My first student, Earl Joseph, III, approximately two years ago, shot a man in the back after stealing cars. Earl was only 15 years old. When he was my student, he presented himself as this beautiful young man who possessed a gentle kindness and a smile that could light up the night's sky. I would have never dreamed in a million years that he would have shot someone. Now here is the kicker, Earl was reading on a 3rd to 5th grade level. He hardly ever came to school and when he did, the last thing on his mind was reading, writing, and listening to anything that any of his teachers, of course except me, had to say. Honestly, I am fortunate enough to understand this population of kids as my brothers and I were them. Anyway, I was not aware of Earl's activities until it was too late and my poor baby was locked up in adult population where he was of course raped and tormented by guys much older. Please know that I am in no way excusing his actions. He was wrong--deadly wrong! But he had been wronged as well. He was wronged from birth by all of us--his negligent parents, Louisiana's piss poor educational system, his poor excuse for a community, and our out-of-site, out-of-mind society at large. Earl took the life of someone's husband, father, brother, etc. But, the fact remains that I am devastated to know that this child, will be locked up for the rest of his natural life with absolutely no chance of patrol. Rehabilitation you say. Please don't mention that non-existent word to me. Louisiana ain't no joke, but their version of rehabilitation certainly is!!!! Long story short, as I always do when I am in despair, I wrote poetic verse to these events. I would very much like to share what I have written. However, I have some very wrong words which could be viewed as offensive for this particular platform. Troy, I would like for you to preview first and advise. This piece has graphic content, but it is oh, so powerful. I would love to hear what CDBurns thinks about this particular free verse. I greatly respect his knowledge in this area. Thanks so much, Shirley P.S. I picked up my first follower, @madverse, on Twitter. Who would have thought??? Okay, I know. I am so behind. But I am slowly catching up
  16. Troy, I am just getting around to viewing this video because I did not have sound to my computer. Many thanks to you for sharing this. I have sit here and watched the entire video while taking notes (3 pages). Wow, I have gained so much valuable information about Independent Publishing that I did not know. You know, ignorance can be an intellectual killer if left unchecked. I have three manuscripts that I am working on and without being cocky about it, I can tell you that The Peanut Butter Trap Series and Cracked Glass, Part One: The Whole Damned Family are winners waiting to happen. So many literary agents have told me that both these manuscripts are very interesting and some have even said that they have merit and should be marketable. However, they are not picking up either of them at this time. I know that the predominately white literary agencies are not touching either of my manuscripts because of the controversial content and the timing. It's all about making lots of money with very little risks. It is also about the current trends that are out there. It's all good. I am quickly learning the game and how to play it. Wow, I can't begin to tell you how much stamina and tenacity is required by newbie Indie Authors. Had I known all of this, I don't know that I would have embarked on what I am doing. Too late now though, I am in it to win it. Like I have previously said, I am not a quitter. In the New Year, I am definitely going to look into Create Space and Ingram Spark (Lightning Source) after I take a few courses with Gotham Writers. Lord, this is so much work. I am so glad that I am prayerful and passionate about writing for the purpose of informing and empowering our young children and parents, teens, and young adults. AALBC Community, please keep me in your thoughts and prayers. Troy, I so appreciate what you share with those of us who are in the literary trenches. My best to all of you always.
  17. Hello CDBurns, I was going through some of the posts this morning and I saw that I never got to watch the video on Bush that you shared with me. I recently got the sound back on the computer. I recall his attempt at the "Fool Me" quote. It was hilarious then, but for some reason, this morning it was even better. I really needed this laugh. Thanks Shirley P.S. I am starting a few online courses at Gotham Writers in January. Have you heard of them? Since, I do occasionally enjoy writing what I consider to be poetic verse, I may even take a course in poetry writing some time next year. However, right now, I want to interact with more people who are out there trying to get it right so that they can get a chance at the traditional publishing route for MG, YA, and Adult Fiction and Nonfiction. I still have not ruled out LuLu for my future needs. Thanks again for all your advice.
  18. CDBurns, I like the honesty in what you had to say. However, believe me, you are making a real contribution every time you mentor a child. Yes, I wish we could multiply mentoring contributions. Sometimes, I want to give up. However, this is just not an option for me--ever. I will fight for our children until the day I leave this Earth. I was one of them--lost, neglected, and doomed to fail or so I thought. I know what great teachers and mentors can do for a challenged youth.
  19. Hello Troy and fellow members, I am just seeing your email to me. Of course, I subscribed. I want you to know that I find you most impressive. I have told my husband and my sons about what you are doing. I am praying for the continued success of this forum. As such, I am telling people about aalbc.com and asking them to take a peek. It is like pulling teeth sometimes to get people to participate in anything. I gather that everyone is busy trying to survive all the madness in our lives. Well, the best to you, while you "keep on keeping on" as the old folks say.
  20. My sista, my sista, you certainly espouse truth. I love your wisdom and the power of your words. While we may not understand and appreciate all that our president stands for, someday we all will recognize the honor achieved in having the Obamas in the White House. Despite what is said about him, despite what is done to his name, and despite his "human" fallacies, he is brilliant, powerful, and courageous. I dare others to walk in his shoes and perform nearly as well. It is so easy to sit back and judge. JonRenee, I admire you in spirit and love your work!
  21. What a great cover!!! I just did a little research and this is awesome. I am sure that my grand daughter will love this. Your illustrations are fantastic--bright and oh so colorful. I am going to order your book as a Christmas gift for my Boo-Boo. Congrats to you
  22. Hello Everyone, I can agree with most of this. I closed my FB account a few months back for some of these same reasons. Troy, like you, my business account attracted zero traffic. For Business, I think LinkedIn is so much better. My husband does not have a FB account and vows to never start one. He is a master at working LinkedIn and his responses from using it is fantastic. In less than two years, he has acquired almost 3.000 professional contacts and counting. Facebooks keeps too many folks in our business. There are better venues for business connects.
  23. Thanks Troy. For the past few days I have been extremely busy trying to figure out how to get my two grand babies from Atlanta to Texas for Thanksgiving. At first we were going to drive to meet my son at a halfway mark, but, oh what a drive it would be. We have now decided to fly them here instead, and oh, how expensive, even in the business class price range. But I tell you it's a lot better than that drive. Anyway, I am telling you this because I don't have time to set up my profile the way that I want it right now. I will be getting back on this after Thanksgiving. I am in the planning stage for all my delicious meals. Yeah, I am pretty good in the kitchen--rattling pots and pans--at least my hubby thinks so I also want to say "thank you" again for welcoming me into this community. I have been looking for a social platform where I can share my experiences as a black woman and black writer.
  24. Sorry, I am just responding. I have been very busy painting the last two days. I must confess that I am not an artist either, but I love working with paint. I am very surprised that there are many out there who actually like my work--I never would have thought. Now, this is what I am talking about. I think I got some good stuff started here. I read every single word of your comments and I am just as eager as I was before to continue writing and posting. CDBurns, you are right, my skin is soooo thick I am totally accustomed to red ink. I say this to you: The better I see it my dear. It is red ink that has made me the scholar that I am today. After living a life of sheer hell and coming out beautifully clean on the other side, I welcome this type of critiquing. I must say, though, I am not a poet, nor do I aspire to become one. However, I am a dedicated writer with lots of passion. I wrote these poems when my life was in shambles. I did not stop one time to study the rhyme or reasons to poetry--I just wanted to write what was on my heart and mind. Like I've said, writing saved my life on countless occasions, so too did these poems. Don't worry, I wouldn't think about writing a book of poetry without doing some hard studying. However, that is not even where I am heading. By the way, I am also accustomed to rejections. I have received many in my time and there are certainly more to come. But guess what, I don't quit. I will continue to post and I look forward to even more comments from more of you. This type of interchange is what brings vitality to this forum. Troy, don't worry, I am a big girl. I don't intend to run away because of constructive criticism. This is what this is, right? Thanks for taking the time to respond to my work. I asked for comments and suggestions in terms of feedback and I have somewhat accomplished my goal in getting a quality response from you and Cynique. You see, I learn something new, informative, and exciting every single day. I am a smart cookie; I know how to wake people up!
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