Presentation is Everything!

speghettiThe concept of presentation is hugely important…and can be fun.  We tend to associate “presentation” with personal appearance or more-so, in a business/work-place setting—like a power-point slide to give the consummate professionals something to relate to.  No disrespect to the work-place folks!  I respect and love you all!  The presentation I’m referring to can be applied to home meals prepared for family and friends, festivities, i.e. the holiday season, or one’s birthday party, and more.  How many times have you gone to a restaurant and you find yourself admiring the interior design and scenery, table setting, props, and ambiance—and of course, the food arrangement when dinner is served!  By the way, this fascination can occur subconsciously as well, meaning some folks don’t even realize how impressed they are with a wonderful dinner-presentation when they experience it.   Same scenario:   what about when a restaurant setting is subpar, your food is served on a dirty plate and is under or overcooked, or you find a hair or other debris in it—or your server is unkempt with a bad attitude to boot.  Horrible, right?  Okay…let’s change it up a bit.  For you car lovers, how about kicking it at a massive, well-orchestrated car show, where the sweet, whips—‘whips’ are cars for those of ya’ll who don’t know—are lined up, highly polished, chrome-wheels glistening, hoods-up, and engines rocking aftermarket parts?  Awesome, right?  The point of this whole topic is this if you don’t already get it:  a well-thought out presentation—of ANY kind—is aesthetically pleasing to the eye!  Even a jar of spaghetti sauce and noodles, ground beef, an empty bottle of port wine in a fancy wooden wine box, along with two wine glasses with twisted-napkins protruding form them, and all of this with a large, maroon decorative plate as the back-drop can look enticing–but do marinate your sauce and ground beef overnight, though.  Yes, presentation sets it all off, but the food gots-ta-be good, too, peeples (misspelled for emphasis)!  So, whenever you’re planning a presentation for someone special or any event in general, be creative and have fun with it.   Everything you’ve got should go into your presentation—because presentation IS everything!

Valentine’s Day: Greatly Overrated…or Simply Unappreciated?

fullsizerenderSome argue that Valentine’s Day is overrated.  To put it more succinctly, some feel that you should show your love to your significant other EVERY single day as opposed to settling for only February 14th of every year.  I wholeheartedly agree with the former, but the latter should be an extra-special occasion!  Not to mention, how many people realistically SHOW their love to their significant others, or say “I love you” every single day.  Let me rephrase the latter part of that question:  How many people actually tell their significant others “I love you” every single day WITH ENTHUSIASM!  Listen, I’m not doubting anyone’s sincerity when they utter those three important words to their boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, etc but let’s be honest—routine-is-routine.  Although saying “I love you” to someone is a nice gesture, there comes a time when there’s no magical feeling or alignment of the stars from the deliverer and/or receiver of those words after you’ve been involved with someone for a while.  Know why?  ROUTINE!!!  So…plan in advance for the ONE day of the year to go above-and-beyond and SHOW—with enthusiasm—just how much you love your significant other.  A surprise breakfast in bed followed by dinner and a movie later in the day, a night out on the town and dancing, a stage play (a Tyler Perry play is awesome) or popular musical, live music while gobbling down dessert and sipping on some wine and talking about old times.  My examples are indicative of a few of the things that I would do or have done.  And be forewarned, when you’re talking about old times, talk about the GOOD ones only; when BAD times start seeping into the conversation cut that s**t off cuz it’ll ruin the whole damn night.  Jus’ sayin’.  Sorry to have changed up the tone of this post, but I felt it would be prudent-as-hell to speak from experience (insert clearing of throat here).  Anyway, each to his or her own when it comes to February 14th.  Regardless, I urge you to plan a nice Valentine’s Day event for the one you love.  Trust me, your significant other will truly feel loved—and you’ll be loved (more) by them back because of it.  Valentine’s Day can certainly be considered overrated.  But in most cases?  It’s simply unappreciated.

Intriguing Villains!!

20161019_224635Readers love intriguing villains!  Of course, the word “antagonist” is the colloquial word in the literary arena.  I prefer the former term—it’s a tad more prestigious in my opinion.  Readers need to root and cheer for the good guy/gal, a.k.a. the protagonist, but an awesome villain is necessary to bring out the best—or worst—in them.  Villains should initially seem unstoppable, devoid of any three-dimensional traits.  Somewhere down-the-line though, the cracks in the villain’s armor should begin to show, allowing his/her vulnerabilities to seep through them.  This will give the protagonist through the eyes of the reader hope that all just may be well after-all in the end.  Conjure up any and every villain that you hated—or loved—in books that you’ve read or movies that you’ve seen.  What was it about them that stirred something in you?  Swagger, extreme confidence, a sense of morbid-humor, certain mannerisms, an aura of mystery, recklessness? Sure…as much as readers want to root and cheer for the protagonist, they also want to see them being challenged by a villain they love to hate—or hate to love!

The Path to Success

20161113_232244The path to success, as beautiful as our minds conjure the journey up to be, can be marred by obstacles of life that tend to slow us down—or outright dissuade us—from maintaining the desire to push forward.  Often-times those obstacles come in the form of situations outside of our immediate control, ie “life”—yet we must deal with them and continue onward if we expect to reach our respective measures of success.  If we are honest with ourselves, sometimes it’s simply laziness on our part, doubt or a combination there-of, especially in cases when we feel as though we have not made any strides.  I’m speaking from experience in this particular regard!  Maybe it isn’t laziness after-all, but merely not working hard enough or allowing distractions to slow us down when we’re on the cusp of reaching our level of success.  The worst circumstance one can place themselves in is to surround themselves with those who do not believe in them—the proverbial hater-type obstacle.  Let-it-be-known that haters may be those closest to you, those who consciously tell you directly or indirectly to your face that you’re not going to make it.  Appreciate them!  They should be considered a form of motivation, and not so you can throw your success in their faces when you make it—stay humble!  Of course, there are the slanderous-haters who bash you and ridicule you behind your back.  In either case, stay the course, stay focused!  Whatever your aspirations, whether it’s a promotion, becoming a successful author, singer, obtaining your degree, becoming a better mother/father or person, STAY FOCUSED!  Educate yourself in your respective field/aspiration, cater to your family because they deserve your love and time and you-theirs, work hard, and if you stumble a bit or even fall, do NOT stay down.  It happens!  Pick your a** up, and keep it movin’!!!  And you know what?  It doesn’t end once you’ve crossed over the path to success or becoming a better person.  No way, no how.  At that point—the real challenges begin!!!

Take Time to Make Time

20170103_193833We do not appreciate the fact that loved ones and/or acquaintances reach out to us in times of need.  We often-times find ourselves trying to make time for them.  On the surface, we all view time as seconds, minutes, hours, days, years, decades, and even centuries.  But there are lesser concepts of time that are more important.  They are moments in time in which we should expeditiously give such moments to those who seek it from us.  Whether we realize it or not, folks come to us for our valued input when minor advice is sought or outright dire-straits need to be relayed to us in hopes of acquiring potential subsequent remedies.  Incidentally, it just so happens that some of those moments are in times in which we ourselves are inundated with our own stressful circumstances.  These are the best times to cater to those who seek us out, as it may allow us to have hope in dealing with our own set of circumstances.  Sometimes we are legitimately preoccupied with work or personal situations, and make arrangements to follow-up later with those seeking our time.  Yet, we should be honest with ourselves and ask, “can I put my situation on hold for a moment to help someone else whose need is greater than my own?”.  Essentially, we should be honored that we are loved and respected enough that our family and/or friends take the time to reach out to us in times of need.  So…take time to make time in an effort to offer advice, or simply to bend-an-ear and allow someone to vent.  Moments of your time can make a huge difference to someone else—and to you.      

Reflection of Self

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(**Permission to use this photo was granted by Elaine Harris, and is in no way a “reflection”–pun intended, as I could NOT resist–of this post)

What do you see when you’re all by your lone-some and you look into a mirror?  Your reflection, right?  Well…look beyond the reflection, way past what you see on the surface of that mirror.  Yeah, you see you, but it’s a tad more than that.  When you look into that mirror and see yourself peering back at you, you’re seeing sooooo much more than a mere reflection.  If you’re honest, you’ll see the beautiful side of yourself, and the ugly side, too.  You’ll see trials and tribulations, and successes and failures.   You’ll reminisce about the great decisions you’ve made, and the horrendous ones that you still regret and cannot change, yet dwell on them.  You’ll think about the ones who have hurt you, and the ones you’ve hurt in return with little to no remorse.  While staring at yourself, you’ll think about today, and unconcerned about tomorrow, totally unaware that tomorrow is NOT promised.  You’ll blame someone else for a calamity that may have happened to you, knowing full-well that you-and-you-alone are to blame.  You may even think about those long-dead loved ones–may they rest in peace–that you feel may have rolled over in their graves because of your actions that may have offended them because they love you so much.  My beloved readers, I assure you that I’m in no way placing myself on a pedestal and insinuating that I’m not guilty of the aforementioned considerations.  In fact, I fall within the “guilty-as-charged” statistic as it relates to it all.  But…I have totally accepted who I am and taken responsibility for the things that I have done, and I have learned–and am learning–from my mistakes and outright bad decisions.  So as you’re reflecting on who you are, fret-not on the negative in full understanding that no one is perfect.  Simply move forward and be the best person you can be for yourself, and for those you love (and who love you back!).  Be proud of the reflection staring back at you in the mirror!!!  

     

Characters: The Heart of Your Story

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The best part about story-generation is character-generation.  Well, for me it is anyway! Essentially, writers tend to have their own processes when it comes to conceptual aspects of a story, elements that they have to get out of their heads and onto their computer screen.  Some writers use a detailed outline, others use a chapter breakdown with a few lines describing the elements of scenes that move the story along, and others use the tedious–but effective–index card to correlate and/or connect scenes.  No matter what conceptual method is used , all writers should understand that the heart of the story rests with a key element–CHARACTERS!   Characters, whether pro-or-antagonist, they must be three-dimensional, meaning they should have vulnerabilities and struggle.  Granted, as the protagonist is introduced to the reader, the vulnerabilities should not be forced but revealed as the story unfolds.  Now, the antagonist should have an air of mystique about him/her, a damned-near sense of invincibility and fearlessness, and a dash of recklessness.  Their vulnerabilities can show up later in the story, especially once the reader is fully immersed in the antagonist when the reader is truly rooting for them. Nothing like a reader being invested in the antagonist and seeing his/her foe on the back-foot.  So…as you’re generating those characters, delve deep and get to know them better than you THINK you do.  I guarantee that the characters you create, no matter how complete you think they may be before you start your story, will grow and you’ll learn some things about them that may surprise you–and your readers, too!