Sunday, March 30, 2014

Two projects on the horizon

I've taken a breather from writing for a brief moment to regroup, re-plan, recharge and re-form.  I had to embrace writing once again, which you would think would be an easy thing to do.  It wasn' least at first.

Life has a tendency to get in the way from time to time.  So on this Sunday afternoon, I had to think about why I began writing in the first place.  It wasn't that I was just good at it.  After all, I've played the role of the team captain of my own cheer leading squad many times.  But with that being said, that wasn't the reason why I began writing.

There is a saying that I'm sure that you've heard me say from time to time; and that's "A writer, writes."  I think that that particular saying says it all.  In addition to that are the ideas that form in my mind.  My work has to have meaning.  "Bruthas" had meaning.  I was able to tell an interesting story through characters and address social issues that were and will probably always be dear to my heart.

This brings me to my current work which I want to release this year.  It is called "Forty-Five Years of Dark" and it is the true story of my life as a sexual abuse survivor.  Men don't normally talk about this much less write about it.

As a gay man, I think that we handle sexual abuse differently than our heterosexual counterparts.  I know that speaking for myself, it was hard to negotiate the waters of social interaction from time to time.  From an emotional perspective, something was thrown out of whack for me and continued to be until I realized what it was.  Abuse survivors deal with their own issues of molestation differently.

This next book will have meaning for me.  Writing it was theraputic.  It's creation involved some deep soul searching.  Here is an unedited excerpt:

45 Years of Dark

Men, as a rule don’t like classifying themselves as victims.  Boys are brought up to be strong.  We are reared to be protectors of our women, children and homes.  We are taught to be fearless in the face of adversity, and there is nothing wrong with that.  But being a victim is not a virtue.  We consider it a weakness, and because of that, we remain silent.  We talk about the occasions where we are victims; but just because we don’t talk about it doesn’t make us any less a victim.

Heterosexual men respond differently to molestation than gay men respectively.  But individually, each man reacts in a way that coincides with their nature as well as what was physically done to them.  I am not a licensed psychologist, but I believe that if a man who identifies himself as a heterosexual is violated by another man as a child, his response may be anger, first and foremost because engaging in sex with another man is not in his nature.  He is literally being forced to do something that he does not want to do and feels powerless to stop it.  This may create feelings of helplessness, followed by anger; but as a child, you may not know the reason why.  You may not necessarily be emotionally equipped to connect the dots.

A homosexual man may respond completely different to being molested by another man.  For gay men, sleeping with men is natural.  Having sex with an adult man may even be construed as a badge of honor.  It would be no different than a heterosexual man having sex with an adult woman.
But simply because a boy has sex with an adult, whether that adult be male or female; the fact remains that an adult is having sex with child, and it doesn’t matter if that child gives their consent or not.  The adult is in control.  They know better and should exercise restraint and self-control.
We know that children don’t look like children nowadays.  We know that children are physically maturing at a faster rate than just twenty-years ago.  But simply because a child physically looks like an adult doesn’t make them an adult.  That child isn’t capable of making a decision such as consenting to indulge in a sexual act with an adult.  They are not emotionally equipped do so.  They think they are, but they aren’t.  Anyone beneath the age of 14 doesn’t understand the ramifications of sex.  All they know is that it feels good.

And as for the adult, all they know is that it feels good to them even if it doesn’t to the child.  In their mind, they think that the child will ultimately forget what is being done to them.  They may convince themselves that the child is enjoying the act just as much as they are, and that the enjoyment translates to no emotional damage being done.  They couldn’t be more wrong.

~ J.L. Whitehead

Thursday, December 5, 2013

What is holding you back from living your dream?

Fear is such a funny thing.  I never thought that I was particularly fearful of success and I was certain that I possessed a talent that could take me far.  I have had opportunities open before me...opportunities that I will always be grateful for.  So I ask myself from time to time, what is it that holds me back from really grasping the brass ring?

And then I began to think of something that used to cross my mind from time to time.  I wondered why some people that belonged to certain ethnicity's seem to target certain businesses and excel at them.  I wondered why African Americans don't do the same thing.  Why couldn't we own a franchise and turn it into our own empire the way that some other races of people seem to do?

We know that as a race , African Americans have been at the very top of the list of people that have experienced true disenfranchisement.  We know that we have been trying to survive the best way that we can, sometimes by any means necessary.  We also know that times have gotten better, but we still have to fight twice as hard to get ahead.

But with everything that I have done, all of the achievements that I have accomplished, I still think that what is hard-wired in my brain is to take the easy way out...not applying myself to the fullest extent.

I wonder what stops most of us from reaching out and grasping the brass ring.  Is it fear of failure?  Is it something more than than that?  Do we believe the inner voice that tells us that we cannot and should not reach out for financial success?  I'm not talking about the millions of authors out there who have already taken the leap of faith and wrote their books or started their business...I'm talking about the trillions of people who don't even bother.  What is holding you back?  What are you afraid of?  Do you think that you can't do it or that you will fail?

Do you think that people won't have your back or will only be there for you when the money comes rolling in?  I want you to think about this for a moment.  If you have a dream, what would be the very first thing that you would do to accomplish it?

Would you write down your plan?  Would you talk about it with friends and family?  Would you spend some quiet time telling yourself that you can do it?  What would you do?  After all, a journey begins with that first step.

~ J.L. Whitehead

Saturday, October 19, 2013

First review of "Bruthas - The Final Chapter" as posted on Amazon

 I received my first review of "Bruthas - The Final Chapter" since it was released a few weeks ago on Amazon.

5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional!! October 18, 2013
By Mikki
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase

I gave this book five stars, this second book had a few errors but not as many as the first book. I enjoyed how the author rounded out the plot with a diverse selection of character's. I'm a family person and its always good to read about other family's, whether they are everyday people with a few of life's struggles or all out dysfunctional. Can't wait to read more from this author.

This is one of the reasons why I write!!

~ J.L. Whitehead

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

After re-writes and publication error's, this part of the journey is complete!

It was challenging.  First, writing the original story and then going through the editing process.  Losing money, having friendships tainted and then doing more re-writes.

The process was maddening but now that it's over, I realized looking back over the few years it took me to get to this point that I wouldn't have changed it for the world.  It was worth it.

The next few months are going to be spent writing more books and meeting writers face to face.  Writing for CNN's iReport has been an amazing journey in and of itself, and it is the perfect platform to showcase my work as well as the works of other authors.  And let's not forget my column on "The Examiner."

I still believe in paying it forward.  That, perhaps is hardwired into my DNA.  But I cannot take the focus off of myself.  I have too many books to write and so many stories to tell.  There are messages of encouragement nestled within my story lines...messages that need to be spread.

As a Crime Drama author, I find that placing myself into this niche will ultimately work for me.  There's a big world out there and I want to experience as much of it as I can.

In the meantime, with "Bruthas - The Final Chapter" completed, I hope that you take a moment to download a copy and find out who the real killer is that is stalking "The Block."  I hope that you rejoice with The Whitfield's in all of their triumphs, remark on their faith and shed a tear in their times of sadness.

In the meantime, thank you all who have taken the time to stop here at The Writer's Megaphone and spent just a little bit of time with me!

~ J.L. Whitehead

Monday, August 12, 2013

Finding the time to write for yourself!

I've been working lately on a few projects...but admittedly, my heart hasn't been into them as much as I would like.  It's not that I don't like writing, reading or editing.  It's not that at all.  It's just that in this world, paying it forward is probably the hardest thing to do when you get nothing in return for it.  Most times, you won't even get a 'thank you.'  I think I wrote about that once.

That isn't what gets me down exclusively.  Like anything, when you give and people take, they will often take like dipping a bucket of water into a well...but like any well, if it isn't replenished, it runs dry.

Writing is my life.  It always has been, but finding the time to write for my own enjoyment has proven to be problematic.  So what do you do?  You try to find the time, but the when you work full time and try to keep your work/business life in proper balance with your home life, you wind up prioritizing and oftentimes, it's yourself that you may put on the backburner.

I'm still learning to adjust to what I want versus what I'm settling for.  Sometimes, I wonder how much I love writing for me.  I ask myself that question from time to time.  And the only answer I can give myself is "Yes, I do love writing for me.  I love it a great deal."

"But maybe...not enough."

~ J.L. Whitehead

Monday, June 24, 2013

Article written on The Examiner

How much do our emotions come into play with the Martin/Zimmerman Trial?

Do you believe this image?

Emotions don’t know logic.  It only knows feelings and at times those feelings can become so intense that it overwhelms all of the other senses combined.  As I read the article regarding the inadmissibility of the testimony given by experts that would conclude who was heard screaming on the 911 tapes in the Trayvon Martin murder trial, all I could do was sadly shake my head.  But it’s not for the reason that you think.
Or this one?
I knew that this was going to be a highly charged case when it came to trial.  I knew that the sensationalism surrounding this case would drive wedges between the races as cases like this has a tendency to do.  And as I read the comments of the people that were weighing in thus far, once again, I couldn’t help but shake my head in sadness.
Do you believe this image?
We would be having a completely different conversation if George Zimmerman had been black or Trayvon Martin had been white.  If this had been a black on black crime or a white on white crime, emotions wouldn’t be nearly as high.  Perhaps the comments that I had read wouldn’t have been as derogatory.
Or this one?
And as I read the comments, one thing became crystal clear.  It almost seemed as if people weren’t necessarily defending Trayvon Martin or George Zimmerman as much as they were defending their own race.  At least it reads that way from where I am sitting.
I am sure that on some rudimentary level, black people are tired of having their men and boys portrayed as thugs just as much as white people are tired of hearing how much they have discriminated against the black race.

To read the article in its entirety, click on the link below:

~ J.L. Whitehead 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Article written on "The Examiner" How to cope with a bad boss?

They say that hindsight is 20/20; that perhaps the clearest view of a situation or circumstance is when you are no longer in it.  I suppose, in many ways that is correct because when you are in a situation that is disconcerting or upsetting to you, your emotions have a tendency to amplify whatever the  particular negatives of what the experience may be.

Over the course of my lifetime, I’ve held my fair share of jobs and left the majority of them on my own my terms.  I’ve come to realize that every situation is different as is the associated personalities that accompany them.  I’ve experienced both good and bad bosses; and I am happy to say that the good experiences outweigh the bad by far.  However, with that being said, it is the bad experiences that we have a tendency to remember first when you make your trip back through your employment memory lane.  You may wonder what you could have done differently if you felt that you had no choice but to submit a letter of resignation.  And if indeed this is the case, the answer is nothing.  On the other hand, if you left because you absolutely hated the job itself, the company or your immediate supervisor, there are things that you may want to consider before you schedule yourself for your exit interview.

Recently, I left a job because of a bad boss.  It wasn’t the job, the company or the people I worked with.  It was my boss, plain and simple.  But looking back at the situation, I realize the mistakes I made and vow not to make them in my new position.  Here are some of the pitfalls that placed me in a bad light and could possibly help you if you find yourself in the unfortunate position of not being a valued employee in your supervisor’s eyes.

1.      Do the job expected of you.  It sounds simple enough, but it may be challenging if you’ve gone through a detailed training period and then find yourself thrust into a chaotic environment.  A training class scenario is theory.  The job itself is the actuality.  Sometimes theory and actuality are close, and sometimes they are as different as night and day.  A good boss will know this and will make attempts to guide you through the difficult period as much as they are humanly able.  A bad boss will expect you to get the work done and will not want to hear about issues that may prevent you from doing the job to the best of your ability.
To read the article in it's entirety, click on the link below:

~ J.L. Whitehead