Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 My year in Review

As 2011 comes to an end I find myself reminiscing about the events that have made this year so interesting and memorable. This has been the first year that I’ve truly felt as if I’m an adult, facing all the challenges and roadblocks head-on. Since the beginning of the year, I have done some pretty extraordinary things and I think that this upcoming year will be even better.
2011 has been the first year in about 20 that I have not been in school. Not being in enrolled in school is sort of a bitter sweet feeling as I can do things on my accord and concentrate on other projects, but there is still a part of me that yearns to return to school. I don’t necessarily know if it’s because school is somewhat of a safety net for me, because it’s what everyone else wants me to do, or simply because I like the thrill of receiving an education. After this year’s hiatus I do believe that 2012 will find me inside the classroom once again as either way there is still a lot I can learn to help polish my craft. 
As far as my craft goes 2011 will always be marked as the year I became a published author. On February 2 I published my first book Coming To Terms under my professional name Anton Maurice. The entire experience has been an eye-opener and I can’t say anything bad about the experience, but I will say that a lot of work and determination goes into everything you do. My advice to all writers who are thinking about self-publishing is to just do it! It’s the best way to get good and honest feedback about your work. Also get used to criticism, good and bad, it only helps you in the end.
I’m still not through with my first book as I’m always hustling to try and gain a publishing contract but until that happens I’m working on a second book that I hope to evolve into a series of books along with a potential television script. Hopefully, all my projects will come together in the New Year.
Though it may sound like it, 2011 wasn’t all just work I did find time to relax and enjoy myself with two major trips: One to Miami for Sizzle and the second to Cancun, Mexico. Sizzle was quite an experience, I wouldn’t call it a pride event, but it was definitely an eye opener seeing all the different variations of black gay men from across the world. I made a lot of new friends and also got a glimpse at what being caught up in “the lifestyle” can do to a person. Maybe next year I will return, but after eight-plus hours inside a car, I know that next time I’ll be flying.
Cancun was a totally different type of trip as it wasn’t gay orientated like the trip to Miami. Regardless this was the better trip of the two as I got to experience an entirely different culture. Once my friends and I landed in Mexico I must say I experienced culture shock from the realization that for the first time being an American meant to be a minority. It wasn’t about race, as I felt as if race really didn’t matter, everyone was equal to one another.
The New Year is quickly approaching and I’m anxious to see what the year will hold. My aspirations for the New Year are simple as I just want to continue to grow as a person and prosper with my profession. I started two new projects one which is my blog, which you are currently reading, and the other is a group of writers on Facebook. The group consists of bloggers, poets, musicians, published authors and everything else in between. We’ve gotten a lot of projects done and hopefully the New Year will bring new members and more creativity. My blog will continue to be an outlet for my thoughts and creativity. It’s a mixture of different things like myself and I like to think that I will provide writing for everyone to read.
 Well not trying to ramble just felt that this would be a good opportunity to look back at my personal accomplishments and set the stage for what is to come in the New Year. 2011, it’s been real.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Meanings vs Impressions

I’m sure a lot of people have heard the story the black college student and his Confederate flag, but for those of you who haven’t let me catch you up on what you’ve missed:
Byron Thomas is a freshman at the University of South Carolina Beaufort who in an attempt of self-expression hung the Confederate Flag inside his dorm room. Initially the school, who became concerned after student complaints, notified Thomas that he could not hang the flag as it went against conduct codes; Something Thomas didn’t take well.

Fortunately the school has permitted Thomas to keep his flag but the debate still persists, is the Confederate flag a symbol of Racism or has it become something more??? 
“It symbolized SLAVERY not pride, the south wanted to keep slaves and the economic advantage the gave them over the north, the dirty truth is that the CIVIL WAR was fought about money not people, and there is no pride in that, it is plain class warfare!!!!
As someone from South Carolina I just want to point out that the Confederate flag is something commonly seen throughout the state, especially where I'm from. His belief and impression of the flag is exactly what had the flag flying over our State House for so long. I know what the Flag stands/stood for to some people, but I also know that anyone can form their own impression of something.
As Blacks I believe we, some of us, have perfected the art of taking something negative and derogatory and transforming it into something positive. I'm not saying that I'm going out to purchase a Confederate flag, but I do can't knock him for his choice. 
The issue of the symbolism of the Confederate flag depends upon the person. Thomas sees it as Southern Pride and to a certain extent and can be attributed to that but also let’s not forget that the flag was raised as a symbol of unity in the fight to uphold the institution of slavery; a rejection of unity and advancement as people. Are people ultra sensitive about the flag, yes! Should they be? Well like impressions that should be left up to the individual.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Preference VS Closed Minded

It really has been a while since I have written anything.  So much has been going on but that’s a topic for another time. Now it’s time to get back on track. In one of the various groups that I am in all types of debates and arguments occur, usually following a thought provoking conversation.
Why is it that if a person says they wouldn't date/have sex w/ an HIV+ guy they are seen as being "close minded"?
I had to admit this was a pretty interesting question so why not dive right in? I responded ‘I don't find it being close minded I just consider it being limited. Anyone who would turn down a person who is sweet, loving, successful and everything else you could ask for in a mate definitely is cheating himself out of love.
I stand by my position believing that love is so hard to come by and so many people dream about having it and craving it that no one should ever reject it. But then I had to think about what was truly being said. Why is it that having a strong preference for or against something is something that can be called closed minded? I guess in a sense closed minded is the equivalent of not being open to all things/chances so I understand that aspect. People have preferences against obese individuals, members of different races and religions so why is it such an insult not to want to date a HIV+ person?
Is it that homosexuals have fallen into the mindset of believing the stigma that having HIV is a death sentence? It seems some have but for all the wrong reasons:
“Well, the chances are that most men have dated someone that was HIV+ and didn't know it or had sex with someone that was. So if you'd do it not knowing, why would it change knowing that he was?
“People have the right not to want to have sex with a person who discloses their HIV status and that is the reason for disclosing to give the other person a choice I would never be upset with a person who didn't want to have sex with me it's their choice.”
“...Me personally, I think that it is naive and closed minded!! My reason: I wanna know who all asks the guy before you suck his dick, before you bend over or bend dey ass over or before you go to that sex party or have a 3some, before you meet them off BGC, A4A, tagged, grindr, and ask to have sex with them do you ask if THEY ARE HONESTLY ask yourself that question before I get all types of response..the majority will say no...YEs its a choice to not have sex with someone who is and trust me it is a scary feeling but how can you possibly say you have a choice when half the time you don't know if you are taking the chance to come in contact with someone who really is? I mean seriously, some dudes kill me when they say oh, nah I'm not fucking him or letting him fuck me cause he told me he POZ...dumb ass be happy he told yo ass he was instead of lying #grownmanstatus(get on it) sn: I am HIV NEGATIVE!!!
I stand by my position in believing everyone deserves to be loved regardless of any barrier. My final thoughts on the situation are that it is closed minded, but more importantly we only feel so negative towards it because of the dark connotation attached to it.