Poem: Bare Knuckle Chalkboard Punches

This poem is for anyone who has ever been a teacher or been taught, who has ever been through the American education system and emerged alive. This poem is for you. Enjoy.

I read this poem last Wednesday at Sit-a-Spell Cafe which is located on Broad Street in Augusta. They hold an open mic every other Wednesday. and soon, I’ll be MC-ing. More on that later! For now, I hope you enjoy my work. Still working on getting an agent for my novel and publishing that book of poetry.

All of that news is uber exciting! I hope you enjoy the poem; please comment below.

Sometimes, I get very passionate while reading.
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“Just Chilling” Is Not Chill, Bro

It’s cool to be chill. You know man: chiiill. Just chill out. What? You’re making terrible grades and you can’t get into any college? Chill out, dude. Your parents are kicking you out? Chill out. Your apartment is on fire? Chill, man, chill.

Teenagers are infamous chillaxers, even going to the lengths to list “chilling” and “chillaxing” as their topic hobbies on The Facebook. Well, everyone needs a little downtime, some time to relieve stress from our busy schedule. But when “chilling” becomes your primary function, well then, we have a serious problem.

Here’s my shtick with “just chilling”: with such a messed up, exploitative world full of suffering, maybe all that free time should be used for something good. Tonight, a recent college grad told me, “You’re much more productive than I was in high school. I mean, I mostly just chilled and smoked weed.”

Well, maybe it’s never too early to begin my professional career. It’s never too early to start changing the world. Teenagers like me can make a difference everyday. So, maybe “just chilling” isn’t what we should be glorifying. We should be praising the kid who began “Hoops for Hope” which uses basketball free throws to build medical centers in Zimbabwe right now. THAT is pretty freakin’ cool if you ask me.

Even young, don’t tell me you can’t make a difference. Don’t tell me your life can’t mean something great. Recently, at a poetry open mic, I told people about my plans for Young Artists for Change. It’s a non-profit organization I’ll blog more about later. Here’s a cool video to watch, in order to get a better idea of what we’re doing:

If you’re in the Aiken area, please come to the informational meeting on Thursday, August 11th at 3:00 at the Aiken County Library. It’s meant to make a change.

What I’m trying to say is, don’t waste time. Next time someone says, “Be chill,” sock them in the FACE! Because with all of the crazy, horrible things happening in the world and with us being the most-spoiled nation, we cannot waste time. We cannot let such hot issues boil over while we simply “chill” So, I say, let’s stop chilling. I mean that, completely. Full-heart to stop “chillaxing” or any deviation.

By just chilling, we miss out on an important part of the human condition: compassion.

Because while we’re busy chilling, others are dying. And suffering. And maybe we were born in America for a reason. Where you are right now, you can make a difference. So hey, join the fight. Don’t spend this next year “chilling” in your downtime. Try to help cool down the entire earth– don’t focus solely on your own chill zone.

Also, check out the Young Artists for Change Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Young-Artists-for-Change/169993989739233

Book of Poetry

I have talked before about self-publishing, but now it may become a reality. Only, with a book of poetry. Never heard my poetry before? Well, geez, here’s a prime example of it right here on my blog: https://derekberry.wordpress.com/2011/07/25/poem-skinny-dipping-with-strangers/

Well, in other news, I want to make a chapbook of poetry AND make the same chapbook into an e-book to sell online. Which means you can enjoy my poetry online. Not to MENTION, with every e-book or physical copy sold, you’ll get a code to access the MP3’s of me READING the poetry. And if there’s anything better than reading my poetry, it’s listening to me performing it. Yeah, I know, I’m excited too. Only, the chapbook is still in the developmental stage and I need YOUR help.

I’d like your feedback on what to call my book, likely named after one of my poems or otherwise. So, please vote and help me out. Also, if you have any cool ideas for a title yourself (it might help to check out some of my poetry), give your own ideas in the comment section below.

Check out some more poetry here, more to come: https://derekberry.wordpress.com/category/poems/

Writer’s Angst: Self-Published E-books

Here’s another common ailment of writers which I currently suffer under. ANGST! Toward publishers, the reading public, and indeed, agents. Why?

Well, this sort of angst forms in the hearts of every writer who is again and again rejected. Publishing is certainly a wonky battleground right now- bullets zip through manuscript pages and query letters flutter into pools of dirty blood.

Here’s the thing: I’m starting to get the hang of marketing. I think I might understand a wee bit about it, because I’ve been blogging. And my view count approaches 1000, and every day this blog receives more views. Exciting, right?

So in the midst of writing query letters, reading back through my novel to edit more for the hell of it… some people (my family, mostly) have the gall to ask, “Why not self publish?”

Of course, I am born-bred to believe that self-published books, uploaded e-books are invariably horrible. There is such a terrible stigma behind these sorts of books that I cringe every time someone suggests I do it.

Then, I considered it. Wait! Derek, you’re a product of the 21st century, fairly apt at social networking. Hell, you spend most of your time “social networking.” Well, Derek, what if we DO self-publish? As an e-book on Amazon? You wouldn’t need an agent, you could do whatever you’d like to do with your novel. Total control. You know plenty of talented artists. Enlist their help for cover design. Derek, we may have stumbled upon a small miracle.

And the truth is… when I first started writing, I would never have considered self-publishing. But now, e-books seem like the future. It seems that perhaps for a new, unknown author, it could be cheapest way to get published, to get my name out there, make money. Because of the really dark and taboo subject material of Word Salad, it may be better if I do. Every agent says: “Writing is great. Don’t think I can sell something this… um… extreme.”

And well, where does something extreme belong? Maybe… the internet!

Tell me what you think of self-publishing, then go read the synopsis of my book: https://derekberry.wordpress.com/about-the-book-word-salad/

For say, $3.99, would you buy it for your e-reader? Or for your computer or Ipod? What would you do?

Self-publishing used to seem like it would be a defeat, but maybe in it’s own way, it could be an actual victory.