Saying that racism is over in America (or even the world, for that matter) always will get you a hearty laugh from me. I’m white, yes, but not blind. I see color. I see what happens when you’re the wrong color in the wrong place. 2014 should have been a wake up call for those who were on the fence, and with them the rest should have been pulled over to greater realization. However, a great many people still suffer from privilege goggles. They believe that if they don’t see it happening, then there is no problem. The problem with this elitist thinking is that those in the privileged class WILL NOT see it happening. That’s part of being privileged. All those ugly things are kept well away from you, and you get to benefit from the double standard (jobs, income level, safety, housing, goods and services…the list goes on). If you can’t see how the population is dispersed, when was the last time that you noticed an affluent neighborhood boasting multiple people or families of color in their ranks? Aside from the token family, the cities that have diversity at upper incomes are few. Most live in lower income areas, ending up there by legacy. It’s all well and good to tell someone to pull themselves up by the bootstraps, but let’s get over that saying. You can’t pull yourself up when there is nothing to grab onto, not even boots that might have straps. The saying is tired and elitist–and insensitive. It expresses the speakers ignorance of the real issues at work behind economic inequality. The opportunities simply are not there for underprivileged families and every day the programs that were put in place for them are being cancelled because voters refuse to fund them, but are okay with giving millionaires subsidies for their companies (which are poisoning the land, air and water around them).
What I find to be the most telling proof of racism’s existence is the actions that people take around racially charged issues. Take for instance the shootings of African American teenagers and adults (even children). In reaction to the poor public safety service that a community has been given by police, the people have a right to come together and demand higher quality. Yes? I would think we can all agree on that. However, when the people of Missouri town banded together to make a change, the police responded a la DiBlasio…they turned their backs on the public they swore to serve. They dared to elect a black mayor. Oh, the humanity! They didn’t even get to replacing elected law enforcement officials, just the mayor. If this reaction doesn’t scream racism, I don’t know what does. Read more….
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What would you do if you won the lottery?
Welcome to my blog, from P.j. MacLayne‘s Blog.
First thing I’d do, assuming this is the big one? I’d pay my graduate student loan and start shopping for a house. Oh, god, How I want a house and stop renting! I can see it, the yellow siding and white trim, a cheery bright garden where my dog can frolic in the sunshine. MAGDRL would finally let me adopt that Great Dane! I could open a whole kennel for rescue Danes! My heart is overwhelmed with the joy that would bring me. Just thinking about it, I smile with gratitude.
The next thing I’d do, once I figured out how much to get the house–invest some money in some safe growth perspectives. Not all of it, but I figure, I’m going to need that egg to grow if I’m going to accomplish my goals which will be literally at my finger tips. Those goals include having enough to retire immediately, continue to own that new house I am buying, healthcare and care and maintenance for my dogs and self. Not to mention all the money for that garden! But the biggest goal, I want to create a school in Upstate New York geared to the performing arts. I would start with film and theater, and eventually grow it to include movement and dance, some avant garde, writing would be at the heart of it all–Of course there would be investors, but the burden of the majority of that initial investment would be totally be on me. At least, that has been how all my endeavors play out.
With those things in the works, I’d start to make plans for donating to my top charities, which you can find here. They are a must. I cannot see gaining that much and not sharing it with the things that mean the most to me. There is so much healing that needs to take place in the world and that healing is best done by those who look for nothing in return, at least not for themselves. I fully expect others to benefit from the windfall that I hand over to them. Even if they were ungrateful, I wouldn’t care, because I would know that I had done the right thing. Nothing else is needed in that transaction. The charities that I support do great work, necessary work. They can be as blasé as they want! But, I think they’d be ecstatic to see that money, and not at all casual. But, please, no public recognition, cause I totally have stage fright and I get easily embarrassed–don’t make me talk about myself–or pat myself on the back. I just–I can’t manage that with the grace I see so many celebrities have. There is always going to be someone saying I’m so full of myself, I guess, so I shouldn’t really mind.
Once those things were set in motion, I’d do something that I’ve wanted to do for a very long time. I’d go here: And, I’d cry. I’d cry because I was so goddam grateful and happy and relieved and finally, at long long last doing the things that I want to do and making a difference in the world, and then I would breath–breath deep and long breathes. I’d close my eyes for a moment and just be there, in that moment. Opening my eyes, I’d calmly smile on my good fortune. And, I would relish that this was no dream but my reality.
Then, I’d march my butt over to Barefoot films, which happens to be in the same city and offer them money in exchange of helping me produce my book into a film. I’d forgo my salary, asking them to reinvest it into their other projects or my project. And if they took up my offer, I’d take the rest of my time in Germany to enjoy the sites and relax and reflect and be free. That is until they called me up for revisions on my script, and I had to get back to work.
Then, I will come home, and find a great adoption agency and adopt a little girl. By this time, I’ll have already had a biological child, so it’s time to open my home to a second child, one who is in need of parents and already here. Where from? Oh, lord, there are so many places that children need to be rescued from, but I have always had my eye on China. I want to save a girl from slavery, just because she had the balls to be born female and poor. My money and my heart can step in the way for more than one, so maybe I will. Why not? I am needed and willing.
Did I mention I retired from my day job? Well, then. I’m going to need a sweet set up in that new house for cranking out books in style. I’ll be replacing my out of date laptop, upgrading my desktop, getting some graphics electronics, and a shelves and a desk and lighting and a light table and…Scott D…what else do I need? Oh, BTW, here’s a few hundred grand to expand your business, thanks for everything you do, buddy. From the covers to the time, and the jokes. (Put some of that away for the girls.)…back to my office, I’m going to need new photo equipment and lighting equipment. Art supplies. Lots and lots of new pens! I love me some new pens! And one comfy chair for behind the desk. One stool for the work tables. A couch from the 60s, and some chairs, a table, library and cognac bar. I think that will pretty much set me up for how I visualize that my space should be. (Make sure that’s a wood floor boys, I like to scoot around in the chair. Keurig…
….Where else did you expect?
I haven’t even gotten to this yet….
Dare I mention the Maserati?
I will also, of course, have a van for the kids and Danes…
Hop on over to see what Zeecé Lugo would do if she won the lottery….
Zeecé Lugo was born in Puerto Rico and grew up in Brooklyn. She joined the Air Force and saw the world. She got a degree in English literature from Saginaw Valley in Michigan and then became a science teacher at Miami-Dade. Figure that one out! She now lives surrounded by mountains in a Caribbean island with her fifteen-year-old little dog, Wicked. She stays away from the news, pushy people, and up to recently, social networking. She is finally doing what she always wanted to do; she reads, she enjoys the views surrounding her home, and she writes. Her first novel, Daniel’s Fork, is available as a FREE DOWNLOAD here. A Time for Love (a novella sequel) and Edge of The World (short story) are also available at major eBook sellers. She is currently at work on her next novels. Zeecé Lugo is her writing name.
Zeecé has always loved reading. Her early loves were Agatha Christie, Victoria Holt, Dorothy Eden, Issac Asimov, Ursula K. Leguin, and other such writers that are now out of fashion. Tolkien is a love that came back into fashion. Below are links to indie novels that you can download, many of them for FREE, and that she herself has enjoyed and recommends. This links will take you to downloads for most popular formats including Kindle and ePub, at Smashwords.
Born and raised among the rolling hills of western Pennsylvania, P.J. MacLayne still finds inspiration for her books in that landscapes. She is a computer geek by day and a writer by night who currently lives in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. When she’s not in front of a computer screen, she might be found exploring the back roads of the nearby national forests and parks.
The opportunity to mention this brief op-ed by one of my favorite writers has come up a few times in the past few weeks. I want to share it, because…Toni Morrison ((sigh)) is sublime. During the course of my undergraduate studies, I was introduced to Morrison’s work (Beloved) and have been enchanted by her as a writer ever since. We writers seek out models on which to frame who we are. There are so few women out there successfully making a career—that we hear of—and squashed under the grandeur of male writers. I could totally use that as an excuse, but I refuse to buy into excuses as I turn 40 years old this year. It’s taken me two of those decades to eek out my small niche. I’m still carving it, and will be doing so until I pass on to…whatever there is.
The title of the piece attracted me, but I gratefully knew that face in the picture as it went down my newsfeed. Glee. Her appearance has been heartwarming to me, part of her charm. I am in love with how people look, their differences and similarities, as unique as snowflakes. Diversity makes me excited. So, I guess it’s a no-brainer that I am drawn to writers who are not white males…but the truth is, I love them too. Morrison’s work is memorable, and thus her face became memorable and charming and heartwarming to me, because it reminds me of college, of Beloved and the shock to the core, of a woman being published and taught in literature spaces. She reminds me of me, regardless of her background, ethnicity, economic status, or anything else. She is what I hope for.
The piece she wrote for The Nation’s anniversary echoed a theme that other writers and I had been mulling: Writing through Crisis. What is crisis? Well, it’s whatever has you flagged as you try to push through your day. It can be large or small, but it’s yours, and your feelings about it being a crisis are entirely valid. Just like the arts are subjective, so are our reactions to the world in which we live. For instance, my two decades struggling for a place in the publishing world, and how I dreamed and how I cried, how I was certain I was over it and how I was certain this would kill me. There isn’t a place for self-pity in most situations. Self-pity is the language of fear. Though depression determined to take me down before I could accomplish my goals, I spoke back to it, eventually, without fear and moved forward. I did not let fear, crisis, stall me. Every day, I think, I must be ready for the next leg of this journey. I cannot be caught unprepared. You’ll only get one shot at a time, and those shots will be few and far between. No place for self-pity and no room for fear.
♦ Virtual Blog Tour ♦
Goddess Fish Productions Presents
Book Tour – OP-DEC: Operation Deceit
(Click the blog name to visit the article.)
March 16: Rogue’s Angels
March 16: CBY Book Club
March 17: Long and Short Reviews
March 18: The Cerebral Writer
March 19: Writers and Authors
March 20: Brooke Blogs
March 23: Sharing Links and Wisdom
March 24: Room With Books
March 25: Straight from the Library
March 25: Welcome to My World of Dreams
March 26: Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews
March 26: FictionZeal
March 27: Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews
Op-Dec: Operation Deceit by K. Williams
2nd Edition, Booktrope Publishing
→ Heads up! ←
K. Williams will be awarding a grand prize of a paperback of OP-DEC: Operation Deceit (US only) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour and 10 digital copies to the runners up.