“Did you hear about Kaleb Nowater? Maybe his name was Kevin. I’m not sure, but it was a K name for certain. Come to find out, he was sexually assaulted by a worker at that children’s group home. By whom? It was ol’ what’s his face. I forget, but he likes to surround himself with those wannabe artists. Anyway, they fired him because they caught him sleeping during overnight shifts in that poor boy’s room. Awful. And imagine all those artists who just look the other way. I wonder if they know. More so, I wonder if they care more about their reputation than a child getting harmed. Just makes me sick to my stomach thinking about it. Who makes sexual advances on a teenage boy with emotional and psychological issues?”

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If you’re getting silenced, or an attempted silence, as an artist/writer this is a sign you’re doing something right.  The ACLU has extensive documentation about the rights of artists to speak our minds and advocate for communities.  Intimidation tactics from white supremacists didn’t stop me from writing my first novel, UNSETTLED BETWEEN, and they won’t stop me from writing my “ICW” novel.  Power hungry racists will always fear artists. We have a power they’ll never have: the ability to move audiences to connect with a deeper sense of their own humanity.

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There I am, like you, and so many writers, sitting at my computer and starting a new writing project.  I’m drawing up characters because this story has been running through mind for years and it’s finally ready to go onto a page.  Since I already have a working idea of who my main character is and her antagonist, I now need to weigh her against Karpman’s drama triangle.  What is her good, bad, and ugly?  This is how I’ve drawn multidimensional characters for over 10 years.  But then two other creative forms changed my approach:  Evolutionary astrology and Stanislavski’s method acting.

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#WritersLife was the first thought I had when I woke.  But I couldn’t shake the deep depression taking control of me.  I felt an immense sadness.  It felt like I was so inadequate that I didn’t matter to anyone.  My life was so pointless and meaningless that no one would ever want to connect with me enough to care about my life.  My mind kept circling around about how shitty a human being I was and how it didn’t matter what I thought or felt.  My chest was heavy, shoulders sunken, and I could feel the length of my jaw pulling downward.  I had little energy.  Just enough to zombie through the last two days.

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Someone tells you, “There’s nobody on that piece of land,” and you’re invited to stake a claim to it, build a home, move your family, and grow crops.  Start a new life for yourself.  That was the narrative fed to early European settlers and is commonly referred to as “The Pristine Myth,” meaning the wilderness is untouched and open for the taking.  Then you arrive and find that not only are there people, but they’ve been there for thousands of years.  I’m going to ask you one question:  Has modern day academia created the same siphon?

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What to do with a great idea?  Let’s sit down and map out a novel.  Writing in the dark is a popular way of writing short stories.  We get an idea.  We pull out the laptop.  We write until everything is on the page.  As we write, we don’t know where the story will lead and this suspense and feeling of surprise keeps us writing, it builds adrenaline, and keeps us guessing as we finish a story.  But there may need to be a different approach when it comes to a 25 chapter novel.

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Metaphorically #DVpit becomes water.  Likewise, I could say Twitter is some type of container–a canteen maybe–something tethered to your belt.  Whether you’ve been slinging a sledge hammer to break rocks or ripping callouses off your hands for grip on a climb, you’re exhausted and you could use a drink.  What you need is opportunity and energy to keep climbing, to keep breaking those rocks.

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Often we spend so much time looking down at our phones we forget to look up.  I catch myself looking at the stars at night and the moving clouds in the day, realizing I’m watching them like I had when I was kid.  Those were days before Reasor’s Grocery Store in Tahlequah moved from Choctaw Street to Muskogee Avenue, and back when there was a drive-in theater outside my aunt’s house on the southside of Lawton.  Back then, we never looked down.

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I’ve been promoting my writing on my Twitter account for a few months now.  Slowly but surely I’m getting more and more engagement and I’m nearing the cusp of 9K followers, and hoping to hit the 10K plus realm within a week or so.  One of my followers, and now a tried a true fan, read through each of my short stories and came up with an interesting descriptor of my writing:  hyperlocal.

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Let’s say you’re in the office and you’re telling a story about someone.  First you talk about what the person did. Maybe it’s something juicy, like a secret infidelity with a prison inmate, or maybe it’s something subtle, like they moved away from home.  Then you go on to tell about something more recent, like, “Just the other day she was caught using her work phone to talk to this guy in prison.”  This is the offbeat writing technique of the first person peripheral.

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