Archive for April, 2012

“Heeeeeeerrrrrrrre’s JOHNNY!”

That phrase and the picture to the left has been with me since I was a little boy, although my first time seeing The Shining was today. Yep. Never saw it before. Didn’t get a chance to watch it when I was younger because all I liked to watch was cartoons; however, that phrase and the accompanying image has always stuck with me. When I grew older and became a big fan of Stephen King, my desire to see the movie developed. Apparently my desire wasn’t that great because I never went in search of the film, but it practically fell into my lap yesterday and I was more than eager to watch.

SPOILER ALERT: If you have not seen the movie, you may not want to continue reading. I am about to reveal some very telling scenes.

Alright, now that you’ve been warned, back to my posting. So, The Shining is based on a novel written by Stephen King, and it was brought to the screen by Stanley Kubrick. The movie was pretty good to be so old. I guess this is what constitutes as a classic. And there are not many films that can scare me nowadays, but I must say The Shining actually gave me the creeps. The most chilling thing about the movie was that crazy little boy with the “Tony” living in his mouth and all the “Redrum! Redrum! Redrum!”–crazy little boy and his creepy voice. Jack Nicholson who played Jack Torrance also added a chilling factor to the movie with those signature eyebrows of his. Then there was the dramatic music that added to the suspense just like it was meant to. The ghosts weren’t scary in the least bit, and the rat face wife, Wendy Torrance, brought a bit a comedy to the movie. What? You don’t remember laughing. Well, I did. It all started when she discovered his manuscript that consisted of “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” over and over again. The woman’s reactions were HILARIOUS! The look on her ugly mug was priceless and the way she swung that bat…funny. And don’t get me started on her facial expression when Jack’s famous scene arrived. The way she looked when that ax came crashing through the bathroom door had me rolling on the floor laughing.

The movie was pretty good, but I felt like the ending was rushed (although I kept looking at the clock wondering when the movie was going to end). Jack chasing his son through the hedge maze was a given and so was the outcome. I knew the man was going to get lost in there. Maybe he should’ve taken walks with his family when they asked. Or maybe he should’ve chopped his way out of the maze. He did have an ax after all. Then there was the cook who came back, only to die in an anticlimactic way. I guess he was just there to deliver the vehicle. Oh, well…throw away character. So I felt like the movie was rushed in the end, but I’m sure the book is awesome. A picture is worth a thousand words, but sometimes it hard to convey certain words in an image, which makes the literature better than the film, often times. All in all, I give The Shining two thumbs up.

Advertisements

That’s a picture of my younger brother, Darryl, to the left over there. My son, Benjamin, had just been born and Darryl made a point to make a stop by the hospital–a very touching moment. Well, the boy (my brother, not the baby) is turning 23-years-old today. Can’t really call him a boy anymore, can I? Darryl’s an adult (has been for a minute) and I must say that I’m proud of the man he has become, and I continue to be impressed with his steady evolution.

As I sit here writing this post, I can’t help but smile as I think about me and my brothers (there are three of us–Joshua, you’ll get your post next month) growing up. I still remember Darryl being this bad little boy who was always getting into trouble; I remember all the fights (more like brawls) we had because he and I always disagreed on something; and I remember being disgusted by him because he always had food around his mouth. No lie. And he loved Ranch dressing, so his breath would smell like the horrid stuff and it would be on his face and…ugh! Anyway, Darryl and I had more than our share of disagreements, and I would always scream, “I can’t wait until you grow up!” because I figured he would be more mature when he got older. Well, apparently I was right. Darryl and I get along a lot better now that we are older and a lot more mature. And it’s not that we have more in common than we did when we were little–not at all. The two of us just have more restraint and more respect for each other now.

I have much respect for Darryl. Everyday I watch him go through so much and do without, that I weep (internally, of course). I weep because I feel like he deserves better than what life has given him. I feel like we all (my family and I) deserve more than the cards we were dealt, but I eventually get over it because life doesn’t pause and there’s no time to throw a pity party. What I respect about Darryl is that he doesn’t let things get him down. No matter how bleak circumstances look, no matter how hopeless things may appear, Darryl doesn’t give up. I don’t even think any of us know how to give up. I tried. One day, I laid down to die, but I had to get up and use the bathroom, then I thought, Well, I’m up so I might as well get back to it. See what I mean? Don’t know how to give up. Anyway…I think I might’ve rambled on and gotten away from the point I was trying to make…I had to, because there’s a picture of me and Darryl up there and I haven’t said a word about it…hmm. Oh, well. I don’t know where I was going, but that’s me and Darryl in that photo up and to the right. I had to have been three-years-old in that photo, and I still remember that day. We were posing for the camera and I kept saying, “No, Darryl. You have to sit like this.” Man, I sure had a big head…big head and a little body, like a pitbull.

But this isn’t about me! This is about my younger brother, Darryl, turning 23-years-old today–April 21st. This is about me not being able to buy him anything for his birthday, so I’m dedicating a post on my blog to him. It’s the thought that counts, right? Sure it is! Others will post a little “Happy Birthday” on his Facebook page, and Josh will probably dedicate a status to him–something real sappy–but I wrote him a whole blog post to say, “Happy Birthday, bruh! I love you, and when the struggle is over, we’ll have proper get togethers at our houses to celebrate occasions such as these.” Love you man, and Happy 23rd Birthday.

And before I go, let me tell you about this photo right here. Joshua, our youngest brother, is on the left. You’ll read all about him next month. His birthday is May 21st, and money will probably still be tight. Darryl is in the middle–that was before he let his hair grow out. And that’s me on the right. I swear I look better in person, or at least I like to think I do. I don’t photograph well. But that’s me looking stupid, with those fat cheeks of mine. Oh, well. I’m shrugging because I got my lady.

–The Ravings of a Madman

I went to a funeral this past weekend, and like with any funeral I attend, this one got me thinking about my own mortality. Death didn’t stay on my mind for long because my baby boy got to acting up and I had to excuse myself from the proceedings. When I got outside, the sun was shining, flowers were in bloom, and butterflies were flitting to and fro; so I totally forgot about my dismal thoughts. Nevertheless, those thoughts forever reside in the shadowy recesses of my mind, like I’m sure it does with all of you.

The first thing that came to my mind during that funeral was: life sure is fragile. I like to think that I’ll live to a ripe old age of eight-two, but that’s not guranteed. A traffic accident can take me away tomorrow, or an illness can triumph over me ten years from now–God forbid. So if Death does have me scheduled for an early flight off this spinning rock, I think about how will others remember me. For some, a headstone and memories will be all that’s left. That’s not what I want, but I would love for my headstone to read like the image that accompanies this post–hilarious! For others, a facebook and twitter page will be the only thing that they leave to the world. That’s a sad legacy, indeed. Neither of those options are appealing to me. I prefer to be more like Bernie Mac. The man died some time ago, but to me it’s like he never left. He still makes me laugh when I see him on television; Bernie Mac is in just about every movie I like to watch. Some leave footprints in the sand, a thing that is destined to fade away, but Bernie Mac left his signature in the hearts and minds of the world. And when little one’s come of age, they’ll watch his stuff and they’ll fall in love with him too. The man is an immortal.

I’m not an actor, but I strive to do what Bernie Mac did, only I do it through my writing. I want to inspire people long after I’m gone. I want to make them think, I want to make them laugh. If I was to die tomorrow, I would want my son to still have the chance to know me and learn from me; therefore, I write to my heart’s content.

Do you mind if I tell you a story? Of course you don’t, or you wouldn’t be here. Anyway, I use to write poetry and short stories when I was a teenager. Although I had a tremendous talent for the written word, being a writer was the farthest thing from my mind. Well, a terrible tragedy separated my family (temporarily) and I left just about everything I owned behind–including my writing. One day, my youngest brother and I had come together and we were talking. While we talked, he told me how he entertained himself by reading books from the library I left behind and he also read the writing I had done. The boy was able to quote words that I had written, and that touched me. To know that I had inspired someone through my writing was an awesome feeling, and that’s when I knew that I wanted to be a writer.

When I die, I want to be remembered long after I’m gone. And I want my son (or children) to continue to learn from their father. This is why I write. It would be lovely to make a boat load of money (still working on it), but I do this for things that are considered to be priceless. This is my legacy. And if I do live to be 82-years-old, then I would have blazed a trail for my kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids to travel.

–The Ravings of a Madman

“Hello.”

And the group says, “Hello!”

“My name is Bennie Newsome, and I have writer’s block.”

And the group says, “Welcome, Bennie!”

Yep, that’s right! I have a bad case of writer’s block. Had it for some time now. Came down with it back in November. I was in the middle of National Novel Writing Month and I had a good thing going. I was cranking out words like nobody’s business and the plot was coming along nicely, but I stopped somewhere in the middle of that manuscript. I use to think that writer’s block was simply losing your source of ideas, but that’s not the case with me. I have ideas…tons of them, but I’ve suddenly lost the desire to finish a story. I can begin one easily enough, but when it comes to seeing that thing to the end, it’s like sitting on the toilet dealing with constipation. I strain and I strain and I force both the middle and ending out of me until the story is complete. The problem with that is, crapping and writing are similar in one way: it’s no fun when you have to force it to come.

I told myself that my desire for writing had disappeared because I was expecting a baby at that time and my girlfriend and I were in the midst of looking for an apartment. I told myself that I would return to writing when we had moved. Well, we moved and it was some time before I was able to get my internet back. I couldn’t write without my internet! So when I was back online, I thought my juices would start flowing again, but they never did. “Maybe I’ll start writing again when Benjamin is born. That’s it. I’m just anxious about my unborn child who’s about to make an appearance into this world.” Well, he’s been here for two months and my writer’s block is still there.

How do I cope? Well, for one, I started this blog. By posting to my blog, I’m able to write and still be read. As a matter of fact, I have more people reading my blog than I had reading my short stories that appeared in anthologies. Go figure. And I practically get paid the same for both (with the exception of the paying anthologies I scored.) Another factor that’s keeping me relative at the moment is all the work I stored up when I began last year. I had two novels accepted last year, a whole buttload of short stories accepted, and a bunch of stuff rejected. Therefore, the year 2012 still holds several publications for me even though I haven’t submitted much of anything this year. Then there’s my artwork. Although I haven’t been submitting a lot of my writing this year, I’ve been submitting a bunch of my artwork.  I just finished twenty-two illustrations for my  children’s book I wrote two years ago, and I’m hoping that project snags me an agent.

So, although I’m constipated in the head, I’m still being productive. And that’s the most important part. Because it’s extremely hard for anyone to make a name for themselves in this writing field, but it’s very easy to fade away. So what do I advise? Keep writing, continue to grow, and if writer’s block gets ahold of you, ride that turbulent wave to better shores. Hang ten, folks!

I haven’t posted on my blog for a few days. I’ve been busy with a writing project (one which I am happy to say is coming to a wonderful conclusion), but I am here to promote the publication of my first novel–The BoogeyMann. Right now, it is only available in eBook format (for kindle, nook, ipad, etc.), but it’ll be out in paperback pretty soon. Then I can sell my novel out the trunk of my car like someone trying to hustle mixtapes–stay on my grind and all that rot. 

Anywhoo. The BoogeyMann was published and edited by a small publishing press by the name of May December Publications. I’ve had several short stories accepted by them, so sending them a novel was obviously the next step. The book is intended for young adults, but it has content that adults will like. Because let’s face it, you can’t write for the young crowd until you please some very critical adults who stand in the way of your publication. So the book gets its title from one of the main characters, Bryan Mann, who is the father of three children–Benjamin, Kayla, and Chloe.

(A side note: the three children in my novel were named after the kids me and my girlfriend talked about having. Two years after I wrote this novel, we had my first born, Benjamin–whom this book is dedicated to.) 

Back to my telling you of the book. So Bryan Mann has three kids, and when his kids misbehave, he terrifies them (hench, the BoogeyMann) instead of punishing them with brute force or faulty time-outs.

In this book there are a couple of things going on. First, Benjamin (Mr. Mann’s oldest child) discovers that his report card has some terrible grades on it; grades that will force him to undergo some of that frightening punishment that his father is known for. Because he doesn’t want to face his father’s wrath, and so he can go to a hype party that’s happening that night, Benjamin lets his bestfriend (Darnell Wallace) talk him into lying to his father. When you read the book, you’ll see that lying was a huge mistake. The second problem is that Mr. Mann’s eleven-year-old daughter, Kayla, is having problems with a bully (Anthony Jones) from school, and we all know how father’s behave when they find out that their precious daughters are being mistreated by some knuckleheaded boy. Their reactions are rarely pretty. When these two problems are brought to Bryan Mann’s attention, he decides to take out two birds with one horrifying punishment. That’s how Benjamin, Darnell, and Anthony find themselves stranded in the middle of the woods with monsters all around them.

The BoogeyMann contains my signature wit and some very good writing (if I may say so myself). So if you have three dollars left over from that twenty you broke at your favorite fastfood drive-thru, then go to amazon.com or smashwords.com and buy an eBook version of my novel. If you don’t have a kindle, nook, or ipad (I don’t have either), then you should get the novel when it comes out in paperback. The book’s cover was also illustrated by me which doubles the value of your purchase, especially if I strike it big.