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Take a Break

  I had one of my readers unsubscribe from my mailing list the other day. This was someone who found me over social media and became a heavy supporter of all of my writing. So I reached out to ask them why they decided to leave.

“I just need a break,” was the answer.

It was that simple. Just needed a break. They went on to say that they still very much supported me, and would catch back up with me in due time. But they really just needed a break from social media, emails, and other things happening in the digital world so many of us call home.

And I had no hard feelings. As much as I love most of the engagement on social media and online overall, I get it. It’s a lot. And it’s non-stop. Literally non-stop. Between the emails, notifications, and endless stream of content from whatever platforms you prefer, it seems like an infinite wave of information.

So just take a break. Regardless of if you do it during the holidays or not, take a break. Stop looking at life through a screen for a little while and see what happens.

And I’m not saying go away on vacation or anything that extreme. Limit the smartphone to phone calls and text messages. Limit the laptop to only what has to get done. With the way we consume pretty much everything right now, it could make a real difference in how you function day to day.

Being a writer, I know I need to take breaks. I write about real life stuff, and so if I’m not aware, not observing, not being present, my writing suffers. And while the irony of this post isn't lost on me, I really do hope everyone reading this finds some time to step away for a little bit. 

#HistoryOrNothing

Read my novella "Thoughts of a Fractured Soul," 

Living My Life

I realized my last two posts have been somewhat gloomy. I'm actually not that sad of a person, but everyone has their moments I guess. The last few weeks have been so much more exciting and has helped me realize how blessed I truly am. My goal since I first started writing "Thoughts of a Fractured Soul" was to touch as many people as possible and inspire readers with my gift as a writer. It's been just under six months since my novel has been out and the journey has already been unbelievable. Most recently I've been working with members of the school board - TDSB, TCDSB, and YRDSB  teachers, department heads, curriculum leaders, principals - all who have been incredibly enthusiastic about bringing my novel, it's themes and my personal story to students within their districts. It's emotional for me to see how open they have been about not only welcoming my proposals, but going out of their way to encourage even further connections among their peers.

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I was also interviewed by a student at York University as an "interesting person" for their Professional Writing class. What I thought would be a casual interview forced me to think about my entire journey as a writer, start to end, from the first days of struggling to find my voice, to the very first edit (which was terrible), to finding and selecting the right publisher, to finally seeing the book in print and having people actually purchase it.

The next 6 months are shaping up to be special and I'm itching for the moment to walk into a classroom and see every student holding a copy of "Thoughts of a Fractured Soul." My own soul is full as I reflect on the benefit of being able to live my dream every single day. I only wish that everyone can experience the joy of having their dreams fulfilled.

Till next time...

 

 

 

Chit Chat Turned Powerful

morning-393623_640How often can you say you've truly been moved by the words of another person. I mean truly moved to action, to change, to commit, to be a better person. I recently had one of those moments with a friend of mine through a relatively brief conversation. After some small talk in which I joked about being jealous of her living in warm weather Vancouver while we Torontonians wait in fear for another brutal Winter fighting through ice storms, we got into a deeper discussion about something that I struggle with mightily, and that's acceptance.

Acceptance really is a big deal for me because I really don't know how to get there. Something about the concept seems conciliatory, like I'm settling for something when I know there's so much more for me to do.

"But Kern, I'm not telling you to give up on any of your aspirations, all I'm saying is accept who you are now and appreciate all that you have accomplished thus far. And not just in your writing career, but look at the person you've become, look at the daughter you've helped raise, look at the life you've carved for yourself despite being a teenage parent and a high school dropout. Once you accept all of those victories, you'll elevate your mind to a different level of understanding that will guide you to the future success that you crave so badly."

Finding My Way

Acceptance...the word suddenly didn't parallel mediocrity or failure, or settling for less than what I hope to achieve. Suddenly acceptance became liberating and freed me from the uncompromising burden of not being happy until I reach some intended point of "success" that would supposedly allow my happiness to kick in. That is no longer the case. Instead, I would accept and celebrate all of my victories and be happy throughout the entire journey.boy-185195_640

I am fortunate in that I am able to wake up every day and do what I love to do. I am able to use my voice through my way with words to share thoughts, stories, points of views and life lessons with people who are connected through similar perspectives. I am not an angry person nor am I ungrateful. But it took that conversation for me to accept that it's OK to be happy without feeling guilty; OK to feel proud of my achievements so far even though I'm nowhere near where I aim to be. That conversation brought a feeling of calm over me I haven't felt since writing the first page of my novel so many years ago.

But I am thankful for those few moments. Sometimes that's all it takes to change your life. And I'm not saying that I am a completely different person today since having that conversation, but I am better than I was yesterday and I will be better tomorrow. And when tomorrow comes I will welcome it not with the fear that days are passing too fast for me to grab hold, instead I will accept that it is another chance for me to do fulfill my calling and inspire others with my words. What more can I really ask for....

Ultraviolence

Sometimes I wonder how this even makes sense. If you know me personally, you know that I am half obsessed half addicted to Lana Del Rey's music. The connection was instant and grows deeper as her catalogue of music expands. It's difficult to explain, but listening to her music engages me in the same way as reading John Milton's Paradise Lost. I relate to her perspectives just as strongly as I do with Kendrick Lamar's Good Kid Mad City. And although I listen to Lana Del Rey mostly when I'm alone (I played one of her songs to my cousin once who asked if this was opera), the emotional connection I feel to her music is powerful.

But why should this be surprising? If there is one thing social media has taught us is that we share commonalities that extend beyond borders or oceans, race or culture, gender or sexual orientation. It shows that as unique as we all are, we are more similar in ways that cause someone like me to relate completely to songs like "Sad Girl," or "Money, Power, Glory."

This is the power of art, the power of expression. The fact that the writing of a 17th Century poet moves me in the same way as a 21st century singer speaks to that power.

And we all want it. Any artist, writer, rapper, rocker, dancer who puts their expression on display does so in hopes of transcending any obstacles, including time, and touch their audience in ways that impacts them deeply on some level.

For me, I hope to accomplish this through the written word. To use my gift of writing to touch people who I otherwise would never be able to reach. It's a tall task but one that motivates me every time my fingers touch the keyboard.

My goal in a nutshell is to inspire and to impress.

So I ask, how do express yourself? What are your goals when putting your expression on display? Is it completely self-serving or do you hope to be understood?

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"Thoughts of a Fractured Soul" available in print and e-book format at www.kerncarter.com

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