For me, it was about finding a community of women and writers. It was also a push to consistently write, despite circumstances. If you need more convincing about why you should take this course, just watch the video.
On a cozy, snowy Saturday afternoon, I had the privilege of gathering with some of the very special women who make up the building legacy of Digging Deep, Facing Self. In between getting to know each other and writing poems together, we came together to let the world know why the experience of taking the Digging Deep, Facing Self course with Caits Meissner is magical.
For me, it was about finding a community of women and writers. It was also a push to consistently write, despite circumstances. If you need more convincing about why you should take this course, just watch the video.
Hello Write Queeners,
July, July...oh July was a lovely month!
It began with my 27th birthday on the 2nd. For some reason, I felt like this was going be the year of things happening. I've been right so far. Though my life still has some major hiccups, I have been experiencing a lot of great things (or at least have learned some really great lessons).
I've been taking a course called Digging Deep, Facing Self. Led by Caits Meissner, it is a 30 day intensive online writing course designed to uplift, heal and transform women into their boldest selves.
With this course, I have felt a tremendous shift in how I approach my writing. I have ventured into topics that I can only talk about with those really close to me and even ones I haven't been able to mention. The group's support has been heartwarming. I love being in a community setting and knowing that there was a group of ladies out there willing to listen. It wasn't just about writing. It was about healing, growing, and learning.
These women have grown so dear to me. Even days after the end of the course, we are still communing within our super secret space and catching up with exercises, talking about what's next and talking about how we feel about this journey. Some of us have added each other on our favorite social networks and are continuing the bond.
I feel honored to have been a part of this group. I hope that we do keep in touch and watch each other grow because you are only as strong as your backbone and it never hurts to add more love and strength to it!
Amazing things have happened to me while taking this course, from getting the chance to speak to one of my poetry idols, Sonia Sanchez to being including in our anthology A Thing of Beauty Painted By Words.
There are two pieces from most of the ladies in our group and let me tell you, it's a wonderful read (not just because I am a part of this group). It showcases a vast range of emotions, especially bravery because for some, this was a new and frightening experience. I am proud to be included and proud of each woman I've worked with. Go click on the cover and take a look. It's FREE! Please share it with everyone you know. This is a group that needs to be read.
A funny thing about this is that there is a major typo on one of my pieces. I look like a skipping record as two of my haiku are repeated in a series of nine (but I promise there is a III and IV). I read it this morning as I was looking through the anthology and I busted out laughing on the train. It will be fixed tonight though, so go and take a look at our special typo edition hehe!
You must take this course in the fall if you are looking for a new experience in writing and facing self. Find out more about the course on Caits' website: http://www.caitsmeissner.com/course/
Other exciting news in The Write Queen's world: I am going to have a couple of poems included in another anthology, coming out some time towards the end of summer or in the fall. It's called Skeletons and it is edited by the lovely Shannon Lynette of Lady Chaos Press.
I also reunited with someone who has always been a great inspiration and help to my writing. I am a little anxious to see where this relationship will go this time.
I am a little anxious for August too! I hope that the good vibes of July continue this month.
Till next time loves, stay inspired!
P.S. I am running a little fundraising campaign to help offset costs for submitting my manuscripts to contests and small presses. These things can get a little pricey when you are paying bills (especially dental, my goodness I do not like my mouth these days), helping parents, and investing in your freelance projects at the same time.
I feel weird asking because the territory of donation is new to me. I'm used to giving if I can, not asking so if you can please spare me the awkwardness and donate towards my campaign, it would be greatly appreciated. Anything helps, even if it is a dollar.
You can go to my Go Fund Me site at: http://www.gofundme.com/publishme to donate.
And I am working on something special to give to everyone who donates, so please don't think you will come away from this empty handed! I give, I have to. I don't feel right taking without giving back. Stay tuned!
as you tick tock with expectations, let me warn you - this is not the place
you want to be.
we both know that if you are filled with innocence, it would be the color of brown, an earthly shade with a dark past.
if you are filled with gender, it would be phallic and tender, with no true way to protect it from harm.
our daughters are put through the ringer and can be molded into pillars despite tragedy,
but our little boys are expected to come out fighting with no mercy; the casualties swept up into a pile of statistics.
a man is a man in the eyes of a man, despite mothers who try to hold on to their little boys every time the street lights came on.
those little boys are always thrown into the path of men, who don't remember what it's like to have scrapped knees kissed by their mothers.
they only remember their first encounters with manhood and how they were told not to cry
where childhood was dropped on the ground like a bag of skittles, spilling fast into a battle of survival of the fittest
pieces of rainbows spinning aimlessly on the pavement, coloring a war unwarranted.
experience will teach the power hungry how to quiet their demons by suddenly making a mother bend over in pain,
feeling her womb drain out of life as she waits for her baby to come.
when she gets that phone call, that visit to her door, her womb becomes devoid of stars. nights suddenly become her worst enemy.
i do not want you to feel that kind of pain womb.
i'll quietly wait for this world to learn what it's like to give birth and to see death before your time,
because i do not want you to tremble at the thought of bringing a son into this world, where a bag of skittles is considered a threat.
please forgive me for letting you tick on.
There are many writers and artists that I admire. Each one inspires me to be bigger and better One of my all-time favorite writers who I would love to be when I grow up (in a writer's sense of course) is Miss Erica "RivaFlowz" Buddington. Her writing knocks the wind out of your heart. It's that powerful. Every time she posts a link from rivaflowz.com on my Facebook wall, I know I'm in for a good read.
Through her blog posts, Riva has helped me see what it really means to be a writer in their 20's, typing away at a keyboard to get to their dreams. Now she needs some help. Riva has the opportunity to go to Callaloo Writing Workshop AND get her book edited by a great editor. She is currently fundraising at Indiegogo. Whether it's by spreading the word or contributing to her fund, I am asking my readers (I know you guys are out there somewhere!) to help out. I'm already doing both because I believe in her dream as much as I believe in my own. If I can't take my opportunities yet, I want to help someone else take theirs. So without further ado, here are the links that will help her get closer to her dream:
Help RivaFlowz Get to Callalloo.
(Her blog post about the campaign)
Help RivaFlowz Get Free Verse Edited and go to Callaloo Writing Workshop!
(Her Indiegogo page)
Share on it Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, whatever you may have. If you have a blog, do a write up about it. Share this blog post if you want. Just SPREAD THE WORD pretty please, my Write Queeners. If you can contribute, even better.
As she always does, Riva has opened up my eyes to something else: Indiegogo. I think I will be looking into starting my own fundraiser for my projects ;)
Have a great Sunday Write Queeners!
And Riva - I hope this helps!
During the aftermath of Sandy, there is a great deal of information being thrown around all over the place.
The Write Queen blog would like to make things easier for everyone and give you a guide/page of links of need to know information.
If anyone has anything to add, please leave a comment below. More importantly, share this post!
P.S. I am trying to keep most of the links posted in their mobile versions for those who only have their phone as a source of information. If you need a desktop version, go to the sites via your computer (by the way if you can go on a computer, you are doing better than a lot of people so please help in distributing information).
NYC and Government agencies:
NYC's site: http://www.nyc.gov
NYC Severe Weather site: http://www.nyc.gov/html/oem/html/nycsevereweather/weather_home.shtml
NY State's site with information from the governor: http://www.governor.ny.gov/
The storm resources page: http://www.governor.ny.gov/storm-resources
General information on hurricanes: http://www.ready.gov/hurricanes?qt-view__field_tabs_view__default__166=2
FEMA and Hurricane Sandy:
Google Crisis Map: http://www.google.org/crisismap/2012-sandy-nyc
MTA's general site: http://www.mta.info
Current map of working transportation: http://project.wnyc.org/mtatiles/embed.html
Transit Tracker to let you know of rules during this time:
Food and Water: http://www.nyc.gov/html/misc/html/2012/foodandwater.html
Dry Ice: https://attachments.sendwordnow.com/Attachments.aspx?token=517c7db5-94f8-48e0-9ecf-339b54f13711
NYC Hurricane Shelters: http://www.nyc.gov/html/misc/html/2012/hurricane_shelters.html
Red Cross Shelters:
Mayor's Fund: http://www.nyc.gov/html/fund/html/home/home.shtml
Red Cross: http://www.redcross.org/hurricane-sandy?scode=RSG00000E017&subcode=paiddonationsbrand&gclid=CPucsNzmsLMCFdKd4Aod4lYAKA
Request For Donations (Thank you Jamise Jones for this info!)
Please note - donations will be accepted from 10:00am thru 6:00pm daily (until further notice).
These supplies, while collected in Queens, will be distributed to ALL affected areas citywide.
At this time please do not bring donations to your local police facility, while much appreciated we need to ensure an efficient rapid distribution. Right now this central location is the most effective method as we continually adjust to the shifting conditions.
Resort World Casino (Former Aqueduct Racetrack)
110-00 Rockaway Blvd ; Jamaica, NY 11420
Next to JFK airport - Enter from 109th Street & Rockaway Blvd
Uniformed NYPD Community Affairs officers in marked vehicles will be present in the parking lot to accept these much needed donations.
We are seeking donations of the following items (or similar):
Food - Canned goods; Non-perishable food items; Individual snacks (chips, cookies, fruit snacks, granola bars, pudding); Canned Milk; Bottled Water
Shopping List - Paper products (facial tissue, toilet paper, paper towels); Baby care products (diapers, formula, wipes) Trash bags; Aluminum foil, plastic wrap and sandwich bags; Cleaning products (bleach, sponges, dishwashing liquid); Bath and bedroom items (towels, sheets and pillow cases); Personal care products (deodorant, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, conditioner; feminine hygiene products); FLASH LIGHTS and BATTERIES; BACKPACKS.
Clothing - All types of clothing for all ages and genders, particularly clothing for the approaching colder weather.
Any questions can be directed to the Community Affairs Bureau at 646-610-5323 or via email at email@example.com
*Store owners, or other large businesses interested in bulk donations should contact the above number to coordinate logistics.
Con Ed's Storm Central: http://apps.coned.com/stormcenter_external/m.htm
Additional information on outages at: http://www.governor.ny.gov/
Report Storm Damage:
To have the NYC marathon is an insult to all of those in distress after Sandy.
I see Facebook pages popping up and unless you take the time to read them sir, I know that you are still going to go through with this. Hell even if you saw all of the comments, you would still do it.
That's not what a mayor does.
Your people are suffering. I am fortunate enough to be okay, but I know people who are not.
Resuming school on Monday? Great! So what are you going to do for the kids whose schools were damaged in the Rockaways? What is the plan for schools in lower Manhattan if you cannot restore power by then? Are kids going to be penalized for not coming to school next week because they don't know when they are going back to their homes? I would like to know that.
And Staten Island...what are you going to do for them? People are needed everywhere yes, but do you have a plan to get people to Staten Island to help. We can't exactly walk there.
Saying, "We are doing the best we can." is not easing anyone's mind, especially when the next minute, you are saying that the marathon will go on!
If I had the chance to talk to you, I would ask every question in this entry and more. If you cannot come up with a good answer for these questions, then guess what...you shouldn't be having this marathon!
Please use the common sense that the good Lord gave you (but is obviously hidden in the shadows of preparing for a marathon that should be postponed!).
Sometimes it takes a single note. Sometimes it takes an encouraging word. Whatever it is, something takes you back to a place where your past will help define your future. During Hurricane Sandy (all is well here, don't worry!), when I had nothing to do, no Internet, work, or any place to go, I did things I haven't done in years. I read a book in a day. I played numbers on Facebook where I got reminders of how people view me, especially people who remember my writing. And when I made the decision to work on my next manuscript, I found songs that I used to listen to when I would be up to the wee hours of the morning editing and writing.
I found a lifeline to the passion.
For the last two years since I've graduated from college, I've been up and running. Real life came crashing down. While I've worked on my writing in the beginning and accomplished things beyond my expectations...life has gotten in the way. Lately, I felt I was losing myself. I was going to put it in a different way, but that sounds perfect as I write it.
I've been losing myself. In the most important way. Forgetting that every decision I made before I graduated was for the sake of writing. That I am writing.
Christina is writing and writing is Christina.
Other people know it and tell me all the time. I stopped believing them.
Now I remember. The times in the past year where I have had all of these mini revelations have lead to the big one. It's why I'm up after four hours of sleep and blogging. It's why I'm going to actually continue to work on the next manuscript after posting this. I've been blessed with time (no work while subways and electricity aren't working in Manhattan) and a push from the past. Taking advantage!
Want to hear the song that caused this wonderful revelation? Follow this link: http://open.spotify.com/track/7AEhFs2UwiKQstZ7SuE4H4
In the meantime, I hope all those that have been affected by Sandy are doing well. My heart goes out to those who have been going through a hard time or have lost their lives in this disaster. I thank god that my loved ones, friends, and myself are still well.
Be blessed everyone!
The Write Queen
Ten years ago, I was 15. I remember having a headache that day. I remember sitting with the boy I was sort of seeing in the auditorium that morning and complaining of not feeling well. Our school day went on the same, except there was no transportation to get home. The day was so hazy that I can't tell you for sure what class I was in when it happened. I think it was either second or third period, possibly gym. I do remember the class I got the confirmation, when it wasn't a rumor anymore, 7th period English. You may think that is a long time in between to not know, but my high school was a split session school. I went to school from 7AM to 12PM. A lot can happen in 5 hours.
I walked home with one of my friends. She wore a scarf (what I called it at the time, from the lack of knowing, what she called it when she was with her friends) on her head. Throughout our high school years, I watched that scarf come off in school often. Though her taking it off was out of rebellion for freedom in her own life, I wonder if sometimes if it was for the fear of being stereotyped as many people who held the beliefs of that cloth were.
It never matter to me. A person is a person, except those who do evil deeds. Even with that belief, I do believe that even those who are evil are human. Something happened along the way that are beyond the average person. I feel sad that evil lived in those people who caused 9/11 and those who have ever committed evil acts and continue to do so. They will never know the goodness of the world.
My dad had went into the city that day. I was scared. When he finally called and said he was okay, I was so relieved. He wasn't near the devastation, it was just harder for him to get home. God Bless those who didn't make it home that day. God Bless those who did.
From Lefferts and Rockaway Blvds, you were able to see the slight image of Twin Towers. Now there is nothing.
A month before 9/11, I was in the city. I walked by the Twin Towers for the first time. We didn't stop to look, but I kept looking up and turning back in awe of the buildings. If I only knew.
It is the morning of the ten year anniversary and I am watching the ceremony. Before today, I had no feelings about it one way or another. Of course I have sadness, compassion, and remembrance. Of course the city is the last place I would go today and I'm staying away from subways. Anything else is game because you can't live in total fear. That's what the terrorists wanted, our complete fear. And I, for one, do not like to let the bad guys win. I will always have a slight one as we all do, but to break down into complete fear every 9/11 would be a dishonor to everyone who has died because of this.
In terms of being emotional, I wasn't until I sat down and watched the names being read. The names of strangers who loss their lives in such a senseless way has non-stop tears rolling down my face. Watching the faces of those who directly loss so much in the span of a couple of hours in one day makes my heart ache.
The saddest thing is to watch children trace the names of people they will never see again. Some of them never got to know those names in this living, breathing life. I can't stand it, it hurts to see people kiss the names of people they will never see again. It hurts that those names even have to be there.
I can't believe that my peers and friends were 15 and 14 ten years ago. We are now women and men, who grew up into adults in a post 9/11 world. We watched a war, seen economic downfall, been through our own insignificant problems. We have witness over tragedies, personal and beyond us. But we have also found love, made children, and tried to make a difference in our own lives and the lives of others. We wake up everyday, alive. The best thing we can do for the victims of 9/11 is to live life because they didn't get the chance to. To not waste our lives because as we saw ten years ago, it can all be over in a second.
In unrelated loss, I want to say I miss you and I love you to my Tio Raymond, whose 3 year anniversary was earlier in the week, to my grandmother Iris whose birthday would have been two days ago, and to each of my grandfathers, their anniversaries are coming up in October. Their deaths are the closest I can feel to the pain that the 9/11 families feel today. May God bless your souls and the souls of those loss ten years ago today.
A four-alarm fire broke out at an apartment building in the Prospect Heights section of Brooklyn early Saturday morning. The fire destroyed the building as well as damaged several buildings in the area. The apartment building of Mahogany L. Browne and Jive Poetic was one of them. The family is alright and is safely staying at a hotel, but the cost of staying at a hotel and replacing many of their possessions is beyond normal. They really need your help. I am asking my readers to considering helping out in anyway they can, whether it's donating through this donation page on PoetCD.com or sending contributions to Rachel McKibbens (firstname.lastname@example.org) via PayPal who is accepting donations on their behalf. Physical donations of food, toiletries, clothing, etc. are also appreciated and you should contact them via their websites, social networking sites, etc. You can also help by buying books and CDs by Mahogany and Jive. And as always, a kind word, a message, or a prayer is a great way of showing love and support. I am sending much love and prayers their way, as well as a small donation on pay day.
Imagine being a 12-year-old girl. You are on the path of becoming a young woman right? You're in middle school, your body is changing, and things like romance, hanging out with friends and the future (as in high school and possibly what you want to be when you grow up) are constantly on your mind. That's all a 12-year-old girl should have to worry about. Everything else will fall into place as time goes on and you continue with school and learning the lessons of life.
For example, 12-year-old me. Boys were always on my mind. I was in 7th grade. I was a smart kid so I was in the smart classes. I hung out with my friends in the pizzeria that was two doors away from me. I was always safe and even though I knew kids that experimented with things like smoking, drugs, liquor and sex, I wasn't doing that at 12. School kept me busy and I had adults in my life who were able to provide for my basic needs. Because I had something so simple, I was able to go on to do other things in my life.
By 13, I was writing poetry. In high school, I was in an honors program, in the National Honors Society, and graduated 19th in my class. I went on to get an Associates in Music Production, usually being one of three or four girls in a classroom full of guys. After that, I got a Bachelors in Journalism. While finishing up school, I have been developing this blog and the website. My poetry has been published in literary magazines and websites. Whatever hardships I am going through now as an adult, I at least have an education and small accomplishments to back me up. No kids (not yet at least), in a normal, healthy relationship, and I am disease free. I'm about to turn 25.
But what if I had been a 12-year-old girl in another country and culture? What if I didn't have a family that could support my basic needs nor afford to send me to school? How would my life have turned out? Below is a video from the website, The Girl Effect. In this video, they give you a little insight on what can happen to a 12-year-old girl. Watch it, I promise it is definitely worth the three minutes.
As someone living in a country in a city or town where your 12-year-old girls are treated like 12-year-old girls, can you imagine that? But look at what can happen if you invest in her. I know that results of that shows in the United States everyday, where girls are given that chance to grow into healthy and productive women. SO imagine in a place where your every breath is a fight for survival. It means their whole lifetime. It means the lifetime of their children and the next generation after that. Check out this video that lists some more stats on investing in a girl.
And then I DARE YOU to look at this fact sheet from The Girl Effect.
Does some of that scare you? I know it scares me. Imagine if you were this mother and daugther in the next video.
According to the website, they do not know where she is now. Who knows what kind of life she is living as you read this. But it doesn't have to be this way. The Girl Effect helps spread awareness on how girls in other countries are living and how we can help them. There are stories from girls who made a difference in their lives, as well as their families and communities. Below are videos from Anita and Sanchita, young women who have done better for themselves and everyone else.
For the price of my cell phone bill (which I can barely afford), Sanchita got a cow which brought in extra income for her family. She became an asset. These girls became much more than what was expected of them. If you took the time to look at the videos and read the fact sheet, you see that their families and communities weren't expecting much. With a cause like The Girl Effect, girls around the world can help improve their lives and their communities. So what am I asking? Several things that lead to one thing: awareness.
Organizations like The Girl Effect cannot thrive without awareness. These girls cannot thrive without awareness. So spread awareness. Share this blog post with people on Facebook and Twitter. If you have your own blog, write your own blog post. Share the The Girl Effect (thegirleffect.org) link with anyone and everyone. Share the YouTube videos. Make a donation if you are financially able to. Hold a fundraiser or an auction. Create a group at your school about The Girl Effect. Just please do something. This is what this blog post is about. Spreading awareness and doing something. Help continue that.
I was once a 12-year-old girl. One day, I might have a 12-year-old girl. My friends will have 12-year-old girls in ten years or less. I know that we will do everything in our power for our girls. Can we please do something for someone else's 12-year-old girl?
Christina D. Rodriguez
A Latinx poet and entrepreneur who blogs about poetry, music, writing, and life.
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