It’s Such a Sad, Sad Day for Liars!

  Liar! Too strong? Are fibber, embellisher, or senior-moment mishap better tags?  I’m no fan of Bill O’Reilly, but please Lord, don’t let someone dial-up on me something I said thirty years ago. However, I must admit, I fell (not just felt) mesmerized by Mr. O’Reilly’s stern facial expression, name calling, and staunch rebuttal of the corrective accounts, made. Watching it had me shaking in my boots for that Mother Jones reporter.  Ooh, Lordy, I thought, O’Reilly’s gonna kick his butt!

It’s something to be said for that tactic. And let’s face it; we’ve seen others do it. To deny in such a vile and affirmative way until the listener almost forgets the subject matter at-hand, and surmises that the accusation must, most definitely, carry no merit. It had to have been a booboo—c ase closed (and on to fresher headlines). And that’s how I felt after hearing Mr. O’Reilly’s rebuttal—until I read the story that started out with —

NEW YORK (AP) – CBS News on Monday released video from four stories it aired about the Falklands War in 1982, all part of a dispute involving Fox News Channel host Bill O’Reilly and his subsequent statements about covering the war.

None of the stories mentions O’Reilly, then a young CBS reporter, or makes any specific reference to a CBS crew member being hurt.

I watched a video report, too. That’s it/That’s all. Because, afraid for myself, I’ll just let the above Associated Press story hang in the air. I ain’t throwing no stones.

Well folks, here’s Lesson 1a: To the big wigs, who may feel so important and/or so far-up-the-ladder that nothing can touch them—they need to respect this digital era we’re living in. So, too, the little guys and gals like me. Guess what Lesson 1 is.

As for me, I loved being a journalist, wearing what I wrote, reported on [using a tape recorder], and that (i.e., my work) which made its way to print like grateful badges of honor. I counted what I did as a privilege. (And, no, that didn’t make me flawless. It caused me to be careful.) Now, I love being a novelist, letting my creative license compose me as imaginative and literary, not as a liar. Still, I know I need to be careful and respectful, period. Any accounted booboos made during my life journey (a journey, ongoing) have only accounted me (thus far) as human, not hurting or disrespectful. If that’s someone’s account, I apologize.

I remember once, shortly after I had read the Terry McMillan novel, titled, Disappearing Acts, I found myself gabbing with a group of girlfriends about love relationships. (I’m lying. I’ve never had a group of girlfriends.) And I said (something like), “Yeah, I know this girl who had a boyfriend who did…” Neck-rolling deep into the responses of Ahh-huhs, What’s-that-you-say, and the I-wish-some %$@^# would try that mess on me, I realized that I did not know some girl who had a boyfriend who did… It was actually a scenario happening to the very lifelike characters inside McMillan’s book that I was recalling. Dern it!

“Oh Lordy!” my innards screamed in the midst (that’s right, my innards screamed) as I could figure out no face-saving no way to exit the story. Because after all, I’m sure I must have been making a valid point (Hot and Crankin’)—about something.

Sadly folks, my memory recalls-not, how I handled my dilemma. But I’m almost positive that I did not ‘fess up. Also, I’m sure I could dial up some worse lie-scenarios in my life. Examples like—“Are you going to the cookout?” My response: “Oh Yeah,” which was my code for, “Hell no.” And—“How does this dress look on me?” My response: “Fine. It looks just fine,” when I was spineless or, perhaps, didn’t care, and I didn’t say, “It’s too tight.” Someone did that to me, one time. And when I partook of the after-pics, in which, I looked hideous, I was devastated. Although, I’m sure I would not have listened to the truth in real-time, that person and I are no longer friends. (I’m lying. We’re still friends.)

Okay, now that we’ve established how, I can’t be trusted (though on the big scheme of things, I’m striving to be), I’m prayerful about it because truth is an ongoing soapbox to climb. And that’s the soapbox, upon which we want to stand. Stripped down, we’re still clothed by our reputations, built.

One last question: How accomplished in life does one have to be, not to feel as though he or she has to uptick and/or manufacture more? I don’t know the answer to that, either.Dream Seeker, Literary

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A Cherished Compliment—Weird, But Wonderful!

Living the Dream at Busboys and Poets 10.20.13   The other day, I was doing my thing—Prison Ministry. I’m in jail two Fridays a month, conducting Bible study, which means for me, a myriad of things. So I made it through the pat-down, the Sally Port, and the steel door to the classroom, bolted, with me inside. I sat there preparing in prayer, and awaiting those, whom I affectionately call my girls.  On this particular day, I could see that the ages of the ladies ranged from early twenties to at least mid-sixties. It’s also important to note that I had spied some new faces. The ladies rushed in with a buoyant buzz about them—like they had been conversing amongst themselves and the subject had been left suspended in the air. Mind you, I ascertained this observation in delighted hindsight. As they scurried in, passed out Bibles and claimed their seats, one young woman announced to the others, “Yeah, I told you. She’s just like us!” Her statement caused her to stand and swish her arms in a swag move.  Shocked, my gaze fixed on her like a statue’s. My mouth reflexed an opened smile. My innards mused joyful. Some in the room nodded their affirmation.  In real-time, I began to realize that her statement was a continuation of a prior conversation to which I had not been privy. That’s also when the hindsight began to wash clear. Okay, lemme go deep.

You see, they had all read my novella, The Prison Plumb Line. My novella and my novels are included in the detention center’s library. Some major reading had been going on, and a behind-the-bars debate had ensued. Folklore—if I may be so humbly bold as to use such a word in reference to something that I composed—a bit of folklore was crowning. Okay, I’ll take it down a notch—a rumor had arisen. Rumor had it that the author of The Prison Plumb Line (me), had indeed served prison time, had pulled herself together, and post-incarceration, she had penned and published her story!

Usually, whether or not I’m conducting a Bible study or a writing workshop behind bars, for men or women, as they parade in, it’s customary for me to say, “We’re on holy ground.” It sets the tone before we proceed (even if what we discuss is edgy) and it sets things straight because God is holy, and the written word can serve up blessings and empowerment—if you learn to work it right. That’s my thought, anyway. But on this day, I held back my declaration. I decided, instead, to take in the debate that was being lobbed back-and-forth across the table. Some said that in the novella, I was the main character, Evie. She journeys her way through her jail sentence, her struggle to survive, and through the internal enlightenment that eventually guides her to miracles. Others in the room declared that I was the Church Lady character—one of the vessels, God uses to push the process.

Well, after a while (and before a fight broke out), I clarified, but also, I affirmed. “Wait,” I said, throwing up both hands, using them to cosign, “I am just like you! Because though I have not lived through your particular experience of incarceration, many times, such fate has lingered near.” I went on to explain how at times, I have been unlovable, misunderstood, mistreated/abused, weak and uncertain in my flesh, and in turmoil. I have been both, unfairly and fairly accused and criticized. I have been mean, mad, frustrated, and way too often, I have been powerless. Also, sadly, my mind and heart have been imprisoned. I have been on the ground floor needing to push the button pointing to the not-giving-up mode. However, through it all, whether or not I realized it, I have always been loved. “It’s the same truth for you,” I said. “Today, I am grateful.” I continued my assertion to them, “I’m here, and my love for you inspired me to write this book.” Their looks on me fell nourishing.  I continued, “I know you love me because you read the pages of my heart, and saw me as being a part of you.” I think that’s the biggest compliment a writer can receive.

As a mere volunteer trying hard to live God’s Word in John 13:34-35 (it talks about loving one another), I pray to become purposeful at it. For two or three hours, we pass back-and-forth, the Word of God, enlighten, impact, and uplift as best we know how. In the midst, I might also shoot the Holy Ghost breeze, up-in-there, or share pivotals of my personal testimony—accrued back-in-the-day. I might share a mainstream film, a documentary or colorful prose—all thought-provoking—to hone in on a God-inspired point. Next week, I’m bringing them Get On Up, the James Brown story. You figure out why.

Have a Happy Valentine’s Day, Lovers!

But remember—lasting love can shine through in many ways!!!!!!!

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God Used Books to Save My Life—in more ways than one!!! Ouch, I feel like I’ve been hit by a School Bus—Because I was!

Hit by a School Bus      So, on my way home from a meeting at my church, I stopped at DSW to purchase a pair of purple pumps to wear to an upcoming event dedicated to Domestic Violence Awareness Month (I had a pretty good DSW coupon, BTW). The Life Journeys Writers Club, Inc. (LJWC) hosted a Relationship Forum/Book Launch for one of its authors. Though all that is dear to my heart, it’s no longer the new news!

     My new news is the week-long revelation and renewed thankfulness for still being above ground living in my passion for the Literary Arts—whether or not all I can do is sit, think and revel in it!

I was on my way home, that afternoon, when a school bus crashed into the back of my car. The impact knocked me out of my shoes, and sent me off the road into a farmer’s crop of something (sorry, I was a NYC kid), trying to avoid oncoming traffic. Reportedly, heard-tell, the Medley Mobile will not survive the crash. However, Charles County’s Finest—EMTs, The Fire Department and The Sheriff’s Department are the best!!!!

And so, last Thursday, I was comforted by those around me, and transported by ambulance to the hospital. This Thursday, I’m here, reaching out to you. That’s a Blessing, and another chance to be wholly focused on what I love doing—writing and encouraging others to do the same! It’s about safe and effective, validating and lasting, and empowering Literary Creative Expression!

[This is just speculation/my opinion as well as the shared opinions of a few others; and if it helps others to rethink deceiving opportunities to drive and multi-task, well then, okay!] It’s allegedly suspected that the bus driver might have been…

Hey Writers—Books Can Save Lives! The Sheriff commented that my book crate (also a casualty) probably kept my trunk from landing in the front seat. The trunk did, however, travel to the back seat And thank God that the LJWC Banner survived. I didn’t find that out until a day or two later when my husband found the vehicle cemetery housing our car’s cadaver.  But, God is good—I have a second book crate at home.

Heartfelt, I thank God because all that could have happened did not happen (such as the loss of life) to anyone in the vicinity of the crash.

Well, darn it, though (a.k.a. $#&^$@#), I will not be wearing my purple pumps for a while, yet, they do look nice in my closet. Oh, and, I’ve been given a second chance for donning, too.

Rock on, Domestic Violence Awareness Month—You, and me (of course, I humbly include myself, heavily adorned in respect due to the dire need for DVA) are still needed in this world to make a difference!  What about YOU!

Remember: Life is Precious — Exercising your Passion, in the Tangible, is Promised to no one. So The Time Is Now!

www.prisonplumbline.com // www.lifejourneyswritersclub.com

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The Best is Yet to Come!

So the other day, I spied a greeting card that proudly proclaimed, The Best is Yet to Come!  Immediately, and without a doubt, I knew it was talking to me. The rack of greeting cards stood intimate with my mind’s eye. Standing in the Post Office line, I grabbed the card and whipped it open. I couldn’t wait to delight myself with its innards.

The inside quipped a joke aboutPrisonplumbline play flyer2_Nov. 10, 2014 aging. Seriously, It’s fun going downhill! Happy Birthday.

But, I totally missed the funny about getting older (of which, I’m doing, rapidly, every day). Instead, my mind perceived the card’s innards as mentoring—proclaiming to me that from this day on, moving up (in the world) was going to be as easy as rolling downhill. And I also happened to miss the fact that it was a birthday card. Yep, I was riding in my lane, looking for love in all the unconventional places. Damn the world, and life’s little funnies. Prisonplumbline play flyer 1 11.10.14

By the time I got to the register, I had two of the cards in my hand, eager to get a little inspiration for me, and give a little inspiration to a writer-friend. At present, I’ve got sixty writer-friends, all members of the Life Journeys Writers Club, Inc. (and counting)—and then there’s the actors, and the director of The Prison Plumb Line, the Play. They are off-the-hook great and giving, and we’re gettin’ ready to soar—as well as uplift!

Back to the card incident: After a night’s rugged sleep, ’cause I’m always tossing and turning inside new ideas, I reread, and discovered the card’s little joke. But to heck with that (Heck wasn’t my actual word). Prior to, I had decided to frame and mount the card’s message, it’s message to me, on my wall, The Best is Yet to Come!  “And doggone it, that’s what I’m gonna do,” I said…to the TV. The Today Show was on, Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee, the Fourth Hour. They were saying something about, What’s Your Story. That’s my story: The Best is Yet to Come!  Oh yeah, that’s ALL ME! Is it YOU, too?

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Honoring The Fallen, And The Forgotten Fallen on This Memorial Day

 

Cherish, Honor and Live Your Dreams, positive

Your time on earth is precious: Love and respect to the best of your ability — And Life — go for it!

….Cherish the precious time spent with family and friends. 

Honor the Fallen, who sacrificed the ultimate in the name of America and hope of Freedom, 

And vow to never forget those history has forgotten.

     My beloved uncle, U.S. Marine Warren Tomlin received a Purple Heart for saving the lives of women and children hiding in a tiny village under attack. He came home from Vietnam, wounded, and the walking dead. He came home — minus fanfare — to a country he loved, but (amid the doom of racism) did not love or respect him. 

     Upon my grandfather’s death, Warren Tomlin was charged to carry on the family name. He was a handsome, towering, thick, muscle-cut teddy bear who was playful and cuddly to us; but could easily make you fear for your life, if he thought that anyone of us (especially his mother, sisters or nieces) were in danger. However, Warren Tomlin struggled to become a productive citizen — until he took his life and our family name to his grave. His name, and the names of countless others, should be etched on The Wall

     I loved my family’s time of being a military family, active duty. My husband is retired Navy. My son is a U.S. Marine, who served in the Middle East and met some challenges. Because of that, there are eerie similarities between my uncle and my son (for us, it’s the elephant in the room). He is safe and in Maryland, and I never end a conversation with him without saying, “I love you,” something I felt, but failed to say the last time I saw my uncle alive. And I fervently pray, every day, that I never have to write a story with the above ending about him. 

Blessings to you all on this Memorial Day,

Yvonne