Archive for August, 2012

(Post transferred from my website: www.bnewsome.yolasite.com. Clearing up space for another post. :-))

Every writer has two reasons for why they write. The first is for fame and success. Many will tell you that they don’t write for the first reason that I mentioned, but I assure you, no one dives into a profession with intentions of being mediocre and overlooked. The second reason a writer writes happens to be the force that drives them when fame and success appears to be out of reach. The second reason is different for each person, but without that second reason, the first can not be obtained. If I only wrote for fame and success, I would have stopped being a writer two months after making the written word my profession. I have never been denied anything I sought to obtain, but I quickly realized that being a successful writer was not going to come easy. As a matter of fact, I have come to accept the fact that my first reason for writing may not happen at all. Nevertheless, I keep writing.

So, what is that second reason that drives me? The answer is simple. The answer is my child, and/or future children.

I knew I wanted to be a writer when I was ten-years-old. However, my plan was to pick a well paying profession, then start writing when I retired from the job market. I was very levelheaded for a child — more so than I am now, it seems. I eventually became an adult and it didn’t take me long to realize that the world did not orbit around my plans. Obstacle after obstacle was thrown my way. Disappointments came. One day I was a child with ignorant optimism, and the next thing I know, I’m in my twenties. I’m still optimistic about my future, but I now know that life is no fairytale.

(Desert Breeze Publishing brings you Life is no Fairytale by Bennie L. Newsome this September).

After coming to that realization, I began to wonder what else might not go as I planned. Who could say I would even live to see an old age and retire? That was something to think about. If that part of my plans was derailed (like everything else had been), then I would never get to live my dreams. I would never become a writer.

My mind began to travel along thoughts of an early demise. That thought branched off into the area of kids. What if I had kids and died prematurely? No one likes to think about death (no one with their sanity intact), but who can say when the skeleton cloaked in black will come for them. So I asked myself: If I had children, then died before I could teach them the things I had in mind, how would their life be affected?

Well, that did it. I decided not to wait for an old age that was not promised. I became a writer while I was still able. My chosen audience became young adults, middle grade, and children for one simple reason. If I was to have children and tragedy struck for one reason or another, I wanted to leave them something that could benefit them in my absence. They could learn from the tales I left behind.

I wrote my first young adult novel more than a year before my first born came into this world. The main character was named after him. Since then, I have written more young adult novels, middle grade novellas, and children stories. I would love to become a famous and successful writer, but the reason I must be published is for Benjamin and the little girls that I hope are to follow. My most important audience is my child(ren). If I was to die tomorrow, my five-month-old child would at least be left with the beginnings of his own library — a book collection that I wrote myself. Through my writings, Benjamin would be able to see that his father was funny, a bit insane, and that I loved him very much.

Then there is the possibility that I will live to see a ripe old age. If that happens, and I pray that it does, then I hope that my efforts would have blazed a path for my children to tread. By my example, my children will know that they don’t have to settle for the first menial job that comes their way. I want my children to do what they love. I want my children to follow their dreams. And in order for that to happen, I must first break the mold.

I started this by telling you the first reason I write. Now you know the second. Now you understand the force that drives me.

(review was transferred from my website: http://www.bnewsome. yolasite.com)

Every once in a while, I’ll read some crappy piece of writing that makes me scowl at the Independent Presses. Then I come across writing like that in Little Bernie’s Map and I think Independent Presses aren’t all bad. Of course, Little Bernie’s Map was not published by an Independent Press, but you understand what I’m saying.

I met Troy (virtually, mind you) a few months ago when I was participating in NaNoWriMo for the first time. November is long gone, but we keep in touch through Twitter’s #WW and #FF and the occasional clicking of the like button on Facebook–best of acquaintances. Anyway, I caught wind of Troy’s short story on Facebook. He was giving the book away on Amazon for a limited time, and I thought, What the hey! It’s free, why not get it? So I downloaded the short story and let it sit on my Kindle for PC with the other stuff that I don’t read. Mind you, I have been disheartened by some of the work I’ve read from Independent Presses, so I don’t read them too much. I also hate reading stories on my computer. It feels too much like work. So Troy’s story sat there and I was content to let it be, that is, until I needed someone else’s work to feature on my website. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of seeing The BoogeyMann stuff all over my website. I wanted a breath of fresh air, so I thought, Let me see what Troy’s story is about.

I must say that I respect Troy as a writer, and I didn’t want to lose that respect by reading any of his work. Once again, it’s my experience with the Indie Presses. I found that I respect a writer, read their work, find myself thinking, What the hell was that? then lose said respect. Disheartening, like I said before. However, after reading Little Bernie’s Map, my respect for Troy grew. The man is a talented writer and this was showcased in his short story about a family returning home from vacation they couldn’t afford. Daniel, the main character, has just been laid-off; therefore, he and his wife anticipate harsh times to come. As the story progresses, their son Bernie is discovered to have a map (given to him by a stranger) and this map proves to have some mystical powers. The tale was full of wonderful imagery and I was so impressed that I went and purchased another story of Troy’s, The Uninvited Guest. This one won’t be sitting on my computer collecting…dust…in a manner of speaking. When you get a chance, go on over to Amazon and get an ebook copy of Little Bernie’s Map. It’s only 99 cents. What the hey? Why not?

A blogger friend of mine, MsKatykins, asked how my son Benjamin was doing. Because no one wants to receive a response that’s the length of an essay, a respectful answer would be, “He’s fine. Just as active as ever. Thanks for asking!” That’s the proper way to answer such a question; however, I decided to blog my response because I’m not typical. I’m a writer who just so happens to have a kid, and that kid provides me with a lot of writing material. The child is a gold mine, or at least, he was a gold mine when he was younger. 

For those of you who have not been keeping count, Benjamin is six months now (he’ll be seven in a week). And during these last couple of months, the relationship my son and I have has matured. You’re probably saying to yourself that that’s good news, and I agree with you, but it doesn’t really leave me with a lot to rave about nowadays. You remember the ravings, don’t you? Well, most of you do. And for those of you who are new to The Ravings of a Madman, let me catch you up real quick. A few months ago, when Benjamin and I were getting to know each other, we were known to have our share of spats. After our falling outs, I would come here and blog about the arguments I (a grown man) had with an infant. 

And don’t get your dandruff up, no need to call child services. Our fights never ended in fisticuffs. We just got loud with one another. 

So, three months ago, Shardae went back to work leaving me and Benjamin to ourselves. It was rough going at first, and I will admit that I was terrified. I mean, who could I hand the baby off to when a problem arose — such as him crying for no particular reason. Well, I was forced to learn my baby and now there’s not a problem I can’t handle. As a matter of fact, I’m better with him than his mother (which I throw in her face on a regular basis), but that doesn’t stop him from favoring her more. For instance, he said his first word a couple of weeks ago, and it turned out to be “Momma.” Not “Dada”, who he looks to when he’s hungry, or needs a diaper change. His first word was “Momma.” That’s fine, though. I was just happy to hear him speak. Now, back to the point I was trying to make. Benjamin and I are in sync, so we don’t fight as much, which results in me blogging about him less (more like none). I mean, who wants to read me gushing about, “My baby just said his first word, y’all!” and, “My baby is rolling over!” or “My baby is eating solid foods now!” Yeah, it’s exciting for me and his mother, but you could care less, I’m sure. 

Now, don’t get me wrong. Although Benjamin and I are on better terms now, we still have our share of arguments. Just the other day, I had fallen asleep on the living room floor (and I can’t recall why I was on the floor in the first place). I couldn’t sleep peacefully because it was uncomfortable, so I decided to retire to my room and nap in the bed. Well, Benjamin and Shardae was in the bedroom. Benjamin was playing on the bed, and Shardae was doing whatever she does on the computer. I flopped down on Shardae’s side of the bed — because Benjamin was on my side — and I tried to go to sleep. Notice the emphasis on “tried.” As soon as I closed my eyes, Benjamin started screaming, probably fussing at me to get out of the bed. When I refused to leave, he started hitting me and kicking me, while keeping up his hollering. 

“Hey, boy!” I said. “You have your own room, and your own bed. If you have a problem with sharing my bed with me, then you know where you can go.” 

And with that said, I dozed off — intermittently, of course. The boy kept kicking, clawing, and screaming. His mother eventually carried him into his room, and the dispute ended with Benjamin and I napping for quite some time — separately. So, Benjamin and I still have disagreements on a daily basis, but nothing blog worthy. 

MsKatykins, you probably didn’t want a response that’s the length of an essay, so to make a long blog post short, “Benjamin’s fine. Just as active as ever. Thanks for asking!” 😉

Posted: August 13, 2012 in Uncategorized

Word Blurb

The BoogeyMann – by Bennie Newsome

This story begins with a curious introduction to the Mann family, by all accounts an average, respectable family who have developed an odd way of disciplining their children – Mr. And Mrs. Mann are dead set against lying, stealing, cheating and bullying, but they don’t believe in physical discipline so theygo to some extremes to counter such behaviour. Despite this, two of their three children, Chloe and Benjamin, still manage to break the rules on a regular basis, landing themselves in trouble. The third child, Kayla, a do-gooder and rule-keeper, finds herself the victim of a bully.

Mr. Mann’s solution to his disobedient children and Kayla’s bully is certainly not orthodox, and his methods, we eventually learn, have proven problematic in the past. The story lends new meaning to “cruel and unusual punishment,” as we get to experience his unusual parenting methodology first hand.

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Once again, it’s been awhile since I’ve posted a blog. I’ve been busy with one project after another, then there’s baby Benjamin to deal with. I don’t see how you other writers do it. You write, blog, read blogs, network, and review the work of other independent writers. That’s a lot to pile on a person’s plate. Of course, I could probably get all that and more done if I cut out videogames, naps, and television. Something to think about, I guess. While I’m on the subject of television, let me tell you something that has been bugging me lately. May I? Awesome.

The thing that has been getting under my skin is commercials. Once upon a time, I was a big fan of commercials, but they seem to be getting dumber by the season. Maybe it’s because advertisers feel like their target audience is getting dumber, I don’t know. “How are commercials getting dumber?” you ask. Well, take the recent Multi-Grain Cereal commercial they’ve been airing. The television ad goes on to tell you about how great the cereal is, then they end it by saying — and I quote — “people who eat Multi-Grain Cereal tend to weight less than those who don’t.” If there is one thing that I just can’t stand, it’s someone insulting my intelligence. I’m sure there are some who hear this and think, Oh, this cereal helps you lose weight. However, those of us who write — or actually read something other than magazine covers when standing in the grocery store checkout line — know exactly what it says. “People who eat Multi-Grain Cereal tend to weight less than those who don’t,” translates into, “Skinny people tend to eat Multi-Grain Cereal while those who are overweight are less likely to purchase this cereal.” Both statements are true; however, the first one can be misleading, and that’s the purpose, I suppose. That one line has aided in ruining the whole commercial watching experience for me. It’s a lot like those commercials that advertise a certain food, then say, “such and such combined with diet and exercise will help you lose weight.” Really? I’m sure diet and exercise could stand alone.

Commercials are nothing more than salesmen who no longer knock on your door. Nowadays, they bombard you during your favorite shows, they greet you as you go to check your email, they’ve even set up a social networking site called Twitter (you can’t tell me Twitter is not a gathering place for Spam). And then they treat us like we’re all stupid. Some of us may be, but not everybody. I don’t want some dealership to tell me the price of a car is this, then display half a page of small print that says something different, but they don’t leave the small print up there long enough for anyone to read the whole thing. They’ve even gotten to the point where they will put small white print on an eggshell colored background, so only those like myself who actually look for small print will catch a glimpse of it. And don’t get me started on these for profit colleges that dominate the thirty second time slots. I live in Alabama, and we have commercials for colleges like Virginia College, Southern New Hampshire University, one of them is some school located in California. “Get up off that couch,” they say. “Come on and enroll in an online class today!” Their goal is to get paid from us who get into debt by securing a degree in a field that will have no openings once we finish paying for that degree. These politicians are saying that the job market is looking up, but down here in Alabama, places are still closing and people are steadily scrambling for work. And those for profit colleges don’t even put that in fine print at the bottom of their commercials.

So yeah, I’ve grown weary of commercials. I think commercials should be restricted to ten seconds. They should be just long enough for the advertisers to tell us what they’re selling. “We have popcorn that’s already popped for you,” is all they should be able to say, let me see what it looks like, then make way for the next commercial. Show me what car you’re selling, then get on. I don’t need some professional driver doing tricks in a closed off set. I’m just driving around Birmingham; I won’t be doing donuts in the Sahara desert. Commercials suck, and that’s my rave for today.