Category Archives: blogging

Temporary Fixes

When we’re not getting our needs met the human tendency is to search for a temporary fix. I’m not saying everyone does it, but the majority do. We substitute one thing for another.

We fantasize, run and chase what we believe will fulfill or satisfy us. If you are an artistic person, with a vivid imagination, you will come up with a lot of creative ways.

Courtesy of Creative Commons ~ Bewitched by Paula Ferrary

We tend to build a fortress of lies, believing if we get this one thing, it will be the answer to our happiness.

What I’ve discovered from various and random conversations how dissatisfied people are. Whether it is with their jobs, careers, families and marriages; people are unhappy.

No wonder romance novels, movies and love songs do so well. Deep within us is a longing to be loved. I believe it is deeper than being loved. There is this inner yearning for a real connection. Who doesn’t want a love story with a happy ending?

Unfortunately, there aren’t many happy endings. People are walking around with broken hearts, relationships and marriages. People are losing hope, and settling for temporary fixes to assuage their wounds.

I see a bunch of lonely, disconnected people walking around, having sex, and nothing more. They claim this is all they want, which I can understand. I’ve entertained this kind of thinking, only to realize how empty it is.

There are single people looking at married couples, and secretly envying them, but what they fail to realize is that they are only watching a snapshot in time. Granted, there are those few exceptions of happily ever after couples who still hold hands and kiss at eighty, but they’re rare.

So, for those who are single and dreamingly looking at married couples, thinking they’re blissful; relationships require work. But instead of working, they want easy, they want temporary fixes. They buy into cheap fantasies to fill the void. Hollywood does a good job in feeding us a *feel good* dream, and who doesn’t want to feel good?

However, what feels good, may not necessarily be what is best for us. What we think we need, may not be what want and what we want, may not be what we need.

There are many in dead end marriages who cheat on their spouses thinking that’s the answer in alleviating their misery. Unfortunately, those who do, come out more empty than when they went in.

The answer is not another person, job or thing. People, jobs and things aren’t going to fulfill you because they are only temporary. You must focus on you.

Value who you are and know your worth. Don’t settle for breadcrumbs, when you deserve the main course. Don’t lessen your standards to meet someone else’s expectations. Don’t betray yourself in the midst of trying to please others. Get to know who you are and what you want. When you love, embrace and accept yourself for who you are, you won’t feel the necessity to chase after temporary fixes.

Do you chase after temporary fixes? What has been your experience?

Guest Post: “Black Lives Matter” by Author Dutch

This is between you and me Black sisters, so lean in. Stop coddling Black men. I know your motherly instincts and your womanly proclivities make you want to bring, confront and care. I know you want to support him, but trust me on this, it’s time for tough love.

Challenge the Black man’s manhood. Not in regard to yourself, as his woman or the woman in his life, respect that, but what I say is challenge him on what he is doing in the community or for his community? Put your hand on your collective hip, look the Black man in his eye and say “stand your ass up and fight, stop marching in circles and lead us somewhere!”

If you beautiful Black sisters would say, “I know my man is not going to let nobody hold him back, because if you are going to protect me, what I need with you?”

Do you know what would happen?

Have you ever been to the club and a sister screaming on her man like, “I know you ain’t going to let him talk to me like that!” No matter how big the man or the fight in him, if he is any kind of man, somebody is getting knocked out. That is what will happen, but in a meaningful, constructive sense. Force him to use the brain and body he has to get his people to a better standing. Whisper in his collective ear “win” and watch that Rocky music anthem light up in his eyes. But, if you keep mourning his death, justify his weakness and coddle his insecurities, then he will forever remain your baby… are we clear?

Boko Haram is using little black girls as human bombs. The press is calling them, “suicide bombers.” They are not doing this of their own will or their own accord or based on their beliefs. It is murder. If they resist, they are tortured and killed. The same little girls the First Lady marched and tweeted about are now being strapped to explosives and blown to bits. Where is the outrage about this? Where is our outrage about this? Do you have children? Could you imagine your ten year old daughter being strapped with dynamite and then her being nothing but a mist? If that doesn’t move you to tears or to anger or to action, then you are only human in appearance.

Black lives mattering is not limited to the United States. Globally, the treatment of Blacks is not on the up and up.

To the Black Muslim Brothers, I am calling all Black Muslim Brothers, Sunni, Shia, Nation of Islam, Moor or Five Percenters, your Nigerian daughters are being slaughtered in the name of Islam. When are we, as Muslims going to hold the International community accountable for their silence in the face of such horrors?

If Syrian is a tragedy and Palestine a tragedy, then Nigeria is the very face of evil. When are we going to stand up and call Boko Haram a coward, disgusting and a bitch for hiding behind children in the name of Islam?! When? Because if you don’t, if you remain silent, then you are a coward and disgusting also. Straight like that. Black lives matter? Really? Show me. Save those babies if you don’t there is nothing Black about you, but you are sick at heart!

Hailing from Newark, New Jersey, Kwame Teague is the award winning, critically acclaimed, and Essence #1 bestselling author of the street classic Dutch trilogy. His other novels include Above The Law, the Dynasty trilogy, ? (pronounced Que), The Adventures of Ghetto Sam and the Glory of My Demise and Thug Politics under the pseudonym Dutch. With a passion for writing, Kwame is hard at work on his next novel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Follow Your Passion

Not everything in life is about money. Yes, we need money, I’m not saying we shouldn’t work or be responsible. What I am saying is when we truly follow our passion, money isn’t the motivation, purpose is.

Courtesy of Creative Commons

My wise father once said, do what you love and the money will follow. His passion is cooking, singing and people. If you see my father, you see me. I probably would have followed in his footsteps and taken over his restaurant, if I wasn’t passionate about the arts. I was good in the restaurant business because I love food and people. Yet, the restaurant business wasn’t for me.

My passion was the arts. I spent hours listening to the radio growing up. My mother bought me my first phonograph at the age of seven. I had 45’s and I would listen to them over and over. I would take walks from my house to Sam Goody on Queens Boulevard, where I was introduced to musicians like Al Di Meola, who is a radical guitarist and ahead of his time.

I didn’t realize I had a singing voice until two musical directors from a play I was in, told me I had a beautiful voice. I thought they were just being nice, until my peers started to tell me the same thing. It was then that I started taking singing seriously and found a coach.

In the midst of this, I loved to dance (still do). My mother was a professional dancer, so I started dancing as soon as I learned to walk. But, in order to get into the top clubs in Manhattan, I needed a fake ID. So me and my friends took a trip to 42nd Street and got ourselves some. It was then that I started frequenting clubs like, the Palladium, Red Parrot, Copacabana, Limelight, Tunnel, and much more.

Yes, music is a passion of mine. But so is reading and writing. I started reading books and keeping a journal as a kid. I devoured books and poured my feelings out on to the page. I also started dabbling in poetry, by the time I reached High School, I submitted my poems to the school newspaper and they made it to the front page. I also drew, so I would draw something that would coincide with my poems which was a plus.

But sadly, for years, I didn’t think I was a “writer”. I knew I was an actress, singer, dancer, and artist, but for some reason, I never thought I was a writer. This discovery happened later in life, when I read Jeff Goins book, You Are A Writer.

If you are not sure what your passion or purpose is, I highly recommend reading his other book, The Art of Work. Jeff is a good friend, colleague and mentor of mine. I have watched him do some amazing things over the years. He is inspiration to me. If you don’t follow his blog, I recommend that you do. I have learned so much from him.

If you don’t know what your passion is, you won’t know what your purpose is either, because passion and purpose go hand in hand. I encourage you to explore and discover what your passion and purpose is, because once you do, you will feel fulfilled.

Are you struggling with knowing your passion or finding your purpose? If so, let’s discuss it in the comment section below.

An Open Letter To the Industry from Kwame Teague (Author Dutch)

I’m not one to publicly disclose my personal associations. However, I thought it imperative to make an introduction prior to publishing this open letter. I have been in contact with Kwame for quite some time now and we have become close friends. I’ve been able to benefit from his brilliant mind and visionary concepts, especially when it comes to the urban literature industry. I have come to respect him a great deal. I truly believe and am in support with what he is presenting in his open letter. I hope you do too.

 

A Letter to the Industry by Kwame Teague

To my brother and sisters of Urban Lit,

I salute  you, I salute us. Here’s to our tenacity, our drive, our passion, our hunger, our HUSTLE. Together we have taken this street lit to another level. In just over ten years, we’ve created a MULTI MILLION dollar industry… for everyone else, but ourselves.

Take it from someone who was here from the beginning, day one, one of the first born so to speak. Like Hip Hop started in the basement, we started in the trunk, car trunks, selling our joints hand to hand until we created a buzz, and this buzz blew! Before you knew it, everywhere you looked, someone was reading a street joint.

But then the majors heard about us, the big publishing houses, the MAINSTREAM, and they cut checks, big checks, six figure checks, and we thought we had it made, we thought we had arrived.

But there was a catch.

You see, the majors didn’t step in because they were feelin’ our vibe. They saw us as a THREAT. We were upstart independents, making the game bend for us. We had proved we didn’t need them. We had our own publishers, our own distributors, our own blooming industry, and they said, “We have to stop this!

It wasn’t racism, it wasn’t a conspiracy, it was just good ol’ American business. Because those six figure checks weren’t for book deals. No. They were buying our shelf space, our real estate! They signed the best sellers, took the space, then fell back. Genius. Now, of course, we didn’t see it then, some of us still won’t see it now, but just because we can’t see the sun rise over China, doesn’t mean it won’t shine.

We got played.

But, the question is… Where do we go from here?

Now… this part of this letter isn’t for my brothers or sisters of urban lit, it’s for my brothers and sisters of like minds. The Gods and Goddesses who know how to create, and once awakened, we never sleep again. If this is above your head, I still love you, but run along, this is grown folk bizness.

Again, where do we go from here?

I don’t have all the answers, but we do. We need to come together A.S.A.P., combine forces, let go of the petty jealousies and squabbles and figure out how to get the millions back that we created! Because if we don’t, we’re going to die a slow death by a thousand cuts or suffocate because our one market has become a gas chamber. We must come together. The milk industry did it. The movie industry did it. The mainstream publishers did it. Why can’t we?

If you feel like I feel and think like I think, then hit me: Kwame J. Teague #0401897 P.O. Box 600 Nashville, NC 27856 or email me at dutchthegame @ gmail.com. Let’s form a voltran and take back our millions!

I love y’all.

Peace.

At A Crossroad

Have you ever found yourself sitting back and evaluating your life? Well, this year has been one of those for me, as I find myself at a crossroad.

Courtesy of Creative Commons

Crossroads aren’t necessarily a bad thing. Yes, they make us feel uncomfortable and force us to face the unknown. But, none of us knows what lies ahead, life is one big leap of faith anyway.

Growing pains never feel good, neither does facing the truth about yourself and the choices you’ve made that have lead you to where you are today.

Let’s face it, we all want easy, simple, and less complicated. However, life will never hand us a box of chocolate covered strawberries neatly tied with a bow on top. I’ve learned that things will get messy before they get better.

So what do you do in the meantime?

For one, don’t run. Running won’t solve anything. Sit with your feelings, look at it for what it is, analyze why you are where you are, and if there is something you can do differently not to repeat the same pattern.

Second, get help. It’s okay to seek counseling when life feels overwhelming. Some people may not admit it to you, but everyone goes through rough patches in life. None of us are exempt from difficult or hard times.

I can’t tell you how much the rooms have helped me throughout my life. It’s a gift when you are afforded the opportunity to learn about yourself and receive unbiased support.

Pain is a signal, a sign for you to pay closer attention. Be brave and courageous. Face it. Delve into those areas that hurt the most. Don’t be afraid. You’ll be surprised at what you discover, and how free you’ll feel as a result.

Do you find yourself at a crossroad today? If so, how are you coping or dealing with it. Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Are you coming to the online event of the year?

The Self-Publishing Success Summit starts MONDAY — are you going?

Here’s the scoop, in case you missed it:

Over the past few months, my friend Chandler Bolt gathered 35+ world-famous authors & entrepreneurs for a one-time-only online event.

And you can get in for free:

https://xe172.isrefer.com/go/spss/pilar/

The list of speakers keeps growing.

So far it’s Brian Tracy, Jeff Goins, Joanna Penn, Michael Port, Hal Elrod, Russell Brunson, Ryan Deiss, Joseph Michael, James Clear, Pat Flynn, Charlie Hoehn, Ty Cohen, Nick Loper, Jaime Tardy, Hollis Carter, and over 20 more top entrepreneurs and bestselling authors.

If you want to become a bestselling author — and use your book to build your brand, following, or 6-figure business — you don’t want to miss this.

But get your ticket fast.

Because after the event, the only way to catch these speakers is to buy the All-Access Priority Pass — which costs $297.

So hurry and get your free ticket now (takes 10 seconds).

https://xe172.isrefer.com/go/spss/pilar/

Pilar Arsenec

P.S. I can only hold your spot for a few more days, so get your ticket now.

https://xe172.isrefer.com/go/spss/pilar/

This Quiet Madness

Have you ever wanted to give up? You look around you and everything looks grey? A sense of hopelessness envelopes you, that you can’t seem to shake it off?

Courtesy of Creative Commons

Well, you are not alone. Throughout my life, I have struggled with the torment composed of invisible scars. I’ve danced to the same tune more times than I care to admit.

It’s a combination of hopelessness, worthlessness and despair rolled into one. Unless someone goes through it, they won’t understand. So it’s like you are walking through life, on the outside looking in. Disconnected, disoriented, and in a bubble.

I get it, I do. You wonder when you will ever feel “normal”? Whatever normal is. You try hard to mask the gnawing pain with a smile. Sometimes someone will *see* and a wave of shame will come over you. Pushing you to hide, avoid and isolate even more.

This quiet madness is as real as real can be. No one knows how you truly feel or what you are going through. These invisible whips and chains torture you daily.

The incessant voices inside your head telling you, you don’t matter. You are worthless, you have no value, and you are failure.

Yes, yes… I know all too well what this is about. I’m living it right now.

Are you surprised? Don’t be. Most people don’t know the road I’ve been on, or the suffering and pain I’ve endured.

These invisible scars are hidden from the naked eye, but this silent disability is alive and well. It frames my life, and experiences.

I long for the day where I can truly be free. I envision the day where I can fly. Where I won’t be subjected to people’s opinions, or criticisms. Where I can be me and accepted and loved unconditionally for who I am without judgment. Or perhaps reach the point, where it won’t matter anymore.

This journey of mine has been a long and hard one. There have been times I have wanted to give up. But as hard as it is, by the grace of God, I continue on. I am grateful for the praying friends God has graciously placed in my life who know of my internal struggle.

I am writing this post today for those of you who may be struggling too. Depression and anxiety are real. It’s considered a disability. Please join me in trying not to beat yourself up. Know that you are not alone, that God is with you and somehow, someway, you will heal and overcome. Be encouraged even in the midst of the storm. God promised to never leave or forsake you. I’m gripping on to that word for dear life. I hope you will too.

If you are struggling, please let me know in the comment section below. You are not alone. Let’s pray for one another. There is power in prayer and community.

God’s Promises

It was about three years ago when I attended a Christian Writer’s Conference. I took a class taught by Cindy Sproles about how to write devotionals. I took many classes, but this particular class stood out for me the most. I guess it’s because Cindy is an amazing woman of God, and she taught with such love. She was also the one who introduced me to the concept of writing devotions using God’s promises.

Courtesy of Creative Commons

She told us to get “Our Daily Bread Promise Box“, which contains 240 promises from the Word of God. Cindy said for us to use this as an exercise and practice writing devotions.

I admit, I haven’t done this for a while, but this morning something tugged at me to go look in the box. I nearly cried because it read, “All things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” Matthew 21:22.

This Scripture is particular encouraging to me right now because this year has been challenging for me. With all the struggles I’ve been faced with, I kind of lost my way for a bit. But in the past couple of months, the Lord has wooed me back. I also have some amazing Godly friends who earnestly pray for me (you know who you are, thank you).

Last Friday, I had a spiritual breakthrough. I began the day with a meaningful telephone conversation with a friend of mine. It was deep and fruitful. We talked about the power of prayer. I don’t know why, but that conversation sparked something in me.

Then in the evening, I met up with a sister in Christ for dinner. She’s known me for years and has witnessed many chapters in my life. We hadn’t seen each other in over 2 years. But we always manage to pick up where we left off as if no time passed. God used her to remind me of who I am in Christ and all of His promises upon my life.

It was as if I had amnesia and forgot… but as she spoke, memories flooded back, reminding me of everything God has done throughout my life. Miracle upon miracle. I felt something break, and a peace come over me. A peace and assurance that I haven’t felt in quite some time.

I say all this to say, that no matter what you are facing or going through right now, no matter how deep the pain, no matter how lost you feel. God is with you, He is by your side, and He promises to never leave you or forsake you. I am a witness. So be encouraged today.

Please let me know how I can pray for you today. Leave your prayer requests in the comment section below.

Fakes, Frauds & Opportunists

I haven’t been in the urban genre circle for long. But in my short time, I’ve had certain people tell me to be careful, because not everyone in this business is your friend.

Courtesy of Creative Commons

What’s interesting is that these same people, who I believed had my best interest in mind and had my back, were the very ones who stabbed it.

It is a sad shame when people portray an image of themselves, only to find out they were frauds.

Some people come into your life with an agenda and that is, to use and exploit you. I call them opportunists. They study and watch you from the sidelines, to figure out what you can do to help them. They seek and prey upon good, selfless and giving people.

They will say anything to get you to do what they want, until they’ve exhausted their use of you. As soon as they believe you have nothing left to give or offer them, they no longer have any interest in you. They will act as if you never existed.

They are manipulators, schemers and users who only care about themselves. They are out for themselves and what they can get, even if it’s at your expense. They will use their words masterfully to convince and deceive you with their lies and deception.

They will smile to your face, but speak negatively about you behind your back. Thereby, turning others against you in the process.

This is what I’ve experienced recently, and it was a hard, painful, costly, but valuable lesson for me to learn. One of which opened my eyes to the reality that people aren’t always what they seem, appear or what you would like to believe. They put on a good front and hide behind their mask.

You are probably wondering how I wound up in the urban genre circle? Well, I’ve always enjoyed watching mafia and gangster movies since I was a teenager. I never knew about this genre until about approximately nine months ago. I enjoy the raw, real, grittiness of the writing.

I am not familiar with the streets or the game… this isn’t the world I was raised in or grew up around. I guess because of that, it always intrigued and fascinated me. But never did I fathom that I would fall prey or victim to it in the process of helping others.

What is the solution going forward? I’m not quite sure, but for one, I’m definitely going to be more careful and not be so trusting. Trust and respect is earned, not freely given. But, I am the type of person who genuinely seeks and wants to see the good in people, until they betray me. I’m not interested in being chewed up and spit out by the people in this business. I don’t want to become heartless or ruthless as a result of getting burned by selfish people. All I’m interested in is reading, reviewing books and promoting authors who I believe craft unique plots, interesting characters and, are great writers. That’s it.

All that other “stuff” doesn’t interest me. So I humbly request that those with their personal agendas stay as far away from me as possible, because I’m not in this genre or business to be used, abused or exploited by anyone who wishes to utilize my gifts and talents for their benefit. I’m a professional and I take my work and time seriously.

Have you had a similar experience?  How did you go about handling it?

The Art of Disguise

Sometimes I think life is one big masquerade. Everyone is playing a different character and acting out their prospective roles. Some have mastered the art of disguise better than others.

Courtesy of Creative Commons

Some people are good at projecting an image, by dressing a certain way, splashing on cologne, wearing designer sun glasses, and driving nice cars.

They look successful on the outside; flashing their pearly whites evidenced by their barrage of selfies on social media.

However, nothing can disguise a tormented soul, a troubled mind, a broken heart, or the scars of an abusive past. The perpetual pain they live with day after day, hoping, longing and praying for it to go away.

They don’t want their secret being known. So they disguise their pain and shame for fear of being found out. They want to maintain their image by appearing to have it all together.

Those preserving their image, are the ones that are the loneliest and most isolated and disconnected because they avoid, hide, mask and disguise their pain, instead of facing it.

If they would risk being vulnerable, they would be surprised to see they are not alone, and that many walking around are in the same predicament.

Life has a way of bringing us to a point where the truth reveals itself, no matter how much you try to hide behind make up, jewelry, clothes or perfume.

You can only hide for so long, before the stench of what is shattered and broken inside manifests. It’s best to address it and heal from that which is provoking you to adopt the art of disguise before it wreaks havoc upon your life.

Are you hiding behind a mask, or an image you want to portray to everyone around you? Are you playing a role, but hurting inside? Let’s talk about it in the comment section below.

Why Affairs Happen

You see it all around you, in commercials, advertisements, billboards, movies and books. Everyone is looking for love.

Courtesy of Creative Commons

We search here, there and everywhere for the “one”, the one who will complete us, and finish our sentences.

I am one of those people who searched for love her entire life, only to find myself in jacked up situations. Instead of finding love, I got a whole bunch of other stuff I didn’t want.

What is it that we long for? What is it that we want? This proverbial love we all desire, seems elusive and out of reach.

You would think that when you get married this tug or yearning would go away, but it doesn’t.

Why do you think romance novels do so well? Most of the readers are married women. This should tell you something.

You meet someone, you fall in love, you get married, you have children and then all of a sudden, you wake up to find… where did the love go?

I don’t know about you, but when I look back over the course of my life and the various relationships I’ve had, I see the same pattern repeat itself.

In the beginning, everything is fresh, new, and exciting. Slowly, but surely, the excitement dwindles down to nothing and you are left with the usual monotony.

This is when affairs happen. But, what people fail to realize is that affairs are never a solution, they only complicate matters, and destroy lives.

Think about it a minute… you are in a miserable marriage, you meet someone and connect with them, you start messing around to get what you think you need, only to find out that what you need doesn’t come packaged in a human being.

No, unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. There is no quick fix solution in filling the void and emptiness you feel.

I’m not religious, so I won’t ever preach to you, but I can tell you this… God is the only one who can get into the crevices of our hearts and give us the love we long for.  No human being will ever be able to do it because we are broken and imperfect.

In the short term, you may think you are getting your needs met or your desires fulfilled, but in time, the illusion lifts and you see the truth for what it is. Affairs become routine and monotonous too, so instead of having one problem, you’ll have two.

So if you are contemplating a quick fix to your misery, do yourself a favor and think twice before indulging.

Have you ever contemplated having an affair? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.