Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Can anyone do it?

When I spoke to the school kids, I told them how anyone could be a writer. I wouldn't say that to everyone, but I believe kids posses a great amount of potential. Kids know very well what they "can't do", not so much about what they can. Papers are graded with comments on what they did wrong and maybe a smiley face will be added for good measure. I realize that teachers do make positive remarks, its just that, overall, kids receive way more "constructive criticism" than they do positive reinforcement. The teachers are just doing their job. They have to follow the educational guidelines set before them. When I was talking to the kids, I was able to try and motivate them. I wanted them to see their inner passions and how they can use that to follow their dreams. It turns out, however, that I may have insulted other professional writers by saying "anyone can be a writer". I guess its like saying "anyone can be a doctor, lawyer, etc" The intention behind those words were meant to serve as youthful motivation rather than offending writers. I realize that it takes studying, desire, talent and much more to be a good writer. Neil Gaiman (a professional writer) told me once, "if you want to be a writer...write, finish, then write again." He said that's how he did it and still does. Talent stands on its own merits. "Of course," he added, "writers are avid readers, too."
People want to be at the top of their field. They do not want to think that "anyone can do it" (change it to whatever you want). Of course ANYONE can't do it! if they could then EVERYONE would be doing it. I believe that everyone has something they can do, however, and that they should be motivated to find out what that is. We are all valid, contributing individuals on this blue planet. Why not be the best we can be? Be the best parent, teacher, partner, cook, co-worker, student, etc. Find that spark within, for we all possess it.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Book signings

I had a nice pre-Easter book signing. I was right next to the children's section where an Easter Egg hunt was under way. There were lots of kids and onlookers. I had a successful signing with some people buying more than one copy of my book. I had a drawing for a free mug and gave away magnets and bookmarks. Now I have to start scheduling more signings. I must decide where and when to do future signings. Its been an interesting ride thus far. I'm still working on future books in this series. I'm also working on getting my fantasy novel out there. I enjoy writing. The marketing part, however, is a lot of work. Oh to get noticed by that big publisher who spends all their own resources on advertising your work. That's my plan.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

An outpouring of rain and random thoughts

The rain has taken over my previously ice covered world. Now the world is drenched in a never ending onslaught of rain. My street and yard have various sizes of flooded puddles which quickly turn into mini lakes. We have had our fair share of moisture this year which completely makes up for last year which was semi-dry. I actually enjoy hearing the rain on the roof as I settle in with a good book and something soothing to drink. When the weather decides to go to extremes, I still sit in my home with a deluded sense of security. Reality is what we make it. That's what I believe. Everyone believes what they will and there is no stopping them. Advertising will attempt to sway a person's conception toward something, but in the end people will do as they please. Of course, who wants to be left out of the latest fad? Usually, by the time a person gets past their 30's they will be more in tuned with what they like. As such, they will be harder to reach through advertising. The marketers have to be clever to reach an older audience. Between handing out coupons and free samples, advertisers attempt to show how life can be made easier in some way. They leave the trends and what's vogue to the younger target market.
So, here's to a gently falling rain outside my window which makes me feel secure and safe inside my walls of illusion.

Sunday, March 9, 2008


I spoke to an inner city class about my book and about writing. They were very well behaved. Of course you'll have those who are a bit crude, to put it mildly. I was amazed at all of the great questions the students had about writing and the ideas they had. Then, unexpectedly, one of the less attentive students spoke up. Something I said got his attention. I don't remember what it was but it instigated a dialog between us. Previously he had been making rude faces and such and now he was telling me his story ideas. The ideas were actually quite good. I could see that a chord was struck and he no longer exhibited his rude behavior. This is what makes it all worthwhile. When you see that spark light up in a child's eyes. It is so much easier to talk to students who have all the advantages of a good education and family support. It is frustrating to talk to kids you have a chip on their shoulder. We all know the type. The kid who comes from a deprived background where support is something he sorely lacks. In school he causes so much trouble that he gets labeled and pushed through the system without any prospects ahead of him. He is a forgotten soul who ends up being a burden to society. The child who gets attention through uncooperative behavior and downright meanness is lost. If I am able to let this child see, if only for a moment, that he is valuable then it is all worth it.
I've had kids see me later and remember me. They will tell me the ideas they are working on. The same ideas other adult authority figures told them weren't any good. Is there really a bad idea? Of course there are ideas that are not marketable. But if you get a person to thinking isn't that important? One idea can sparks new ideas. Eventually that person may have hundreds of ideas, with one being just the right one. Brainstorming is the foundation to the advertising industry. Throwing out good and bad concepts until the right one is born. Here's to the kids, our future adults. Let us encourage them all, even the misfits.

Saturday, March 8, 2008


The flagging economic indicators demonstrate that recessionary pressures seem to be at play. What this means is that the middle class is being squeezed between a lower mean income and the rising costs of living expenses. This is not a political issue but rather a personal one which millions of families face on a daily basis. When families are doing all they can just to live, the forgotten children suffer. Their earning potential as an adult is inhibited because they lack the funds to go to college. Many of these kids live in poverty and face abuse and neglect. Every child deserves the opportunity to go to college. Many of them fall between the cracks because they believe they are incapable to succeed. There are many scholarship opportunities for low income children. The problem is that many of them have become "labeled" by the school system. As such, they are not given the hope or means needed to explore their educational options. These kids are hidden behind the labels and pushed aside. All kids learn differently. Some kids learn visually where others are able to comprehend facts through mathematics or reading. The visual students are more likely to be labeled as "learning disabled". There have been many strides in the teaching platforms today. However, too many schools have fallen into the same old academic structures. They promote kids who cannot read above a third grade level and in some cases, not at all.
Hope and self confidence needs to be restored in these kids. They are the future adults and deserve to see the spark within themselves. Parents need to be educated as well. They need to be aware of their child's potential. If they don't believe in their kids who will? Studies have shown that college graduates make more money than those without a degree. It is a combination of the specialized training received along with the fact that graduates have a higher level of self confidence.
Always talk to kids as if they are smart because they all possess an inner potential which tends to be overlooked by many adults.