Posted in Stuff No One Talks About

Avoiding Publishing Scams and Gaining a New Website

Dear Lovelies,

Do you ever grow bored and tired of your mundane weekend routine of bingeing Netflix, ordering pizza and drinking copious amounts of beer, all while wondering where your life went wrong? Well, do I have a solution for you! Here is an unique way to have an unusual but effective weekend (only extended if you don’t have to work on Monday like I did this week)!

(Almost) Fall for a Publishing Scam

Over the weekend, actually, on Monday of last week, I received an email from Z Publishing House telling me that they had found my website online and wanted me to submit some work for publication, specifically in their “America’s Emerging Writers” series. Needless to say, as a writer who has two publications to my name, I was super excited! I jumped with sheer enthusiasm at the chance of possible publication because it meant more readers would hold my writings in their hands. Who wouldn’t want that?

There was one major problem I found with this:

According to their Copyright Policy, no royalties are sent to the authors. Instead, authors “will have the option to join Company’s affiliate program” which is described as “not mandatory to join,” but the only way any authors published in their anthologies get paid is through commissions by a third-party site. In other words, you don’t get paid for your writing unless you sell the book in which your writing appeared.

Now, I know some publications don’t pay for publication while others do. When I got published for the first time, I didn’t get paid, so it’s not that big of a deal to me that Z Publishing House doesn’t offer royalties, but to offer payment on the grounds of “sell our books” just seems wrong somehow. Stay far away from this and similar websites.

One Exciting Payoff: Owning My Content

Before I realized that the somehow larger-than-life opportunity was nothing more than a plot aimed at naive writers, I heavily pondered over one requirement: those who wanted to submit were not able to do so if their work was owned from a third-party; they had to fully own their content.

As a writer, owning your content is vital to creativity. I don’t know about you, but when I was using my old server, knowing that they could, at any time and with no reason, shut my blog down filled me with anxiety and it is this that pushed me to make a change.

I will be the first to admit that I am not the most tech-savvy person out there. I was intimidated while migrating my blog from WordPress.com to my own self-hosted blog because I thought I had to learn code. Thankfully, that was not the case. I got very little sleep this past weekend because I was both frustrated and excited because of this new endeavor. Once I realized I didn’t need coding expertise to have a great website, that took a lot of stress off my body.

Getting Thrown Out of my Comfort Zone

Between work, mini naps, and Broadway jam sessions featuring Rent, Hamilton, Be More Chill, and Dear Evan Hansen, it took me three and a half days to perfect the look of my website. From playing around with templates and customizations to figuring out if I wanted a static page or not, it took a lot out of me mentally, but I couldn’t be happier with the results. There were so many times I wanted to quit and get my refund back, but I am proud of myself for sticking with it, even though it was difficult and I pulled out some of my hair during this process. 🙂

This whole ordeal took me out of my comfort zone, but it stretched me at the same time. I want to hear from you guys. Have you ever experienced something that took you out of your comfort zone? How did you handle it?

Posted in Stuff No One Talks About

New Website!

Dear Lovelies,

I have exciting news: I have a new website!! I migrated to the self-hosted WordPress after extreme deliberation and I couldn’t be happier. I want to invite you guys to continue to support me by subscribing to my new home: http://www.wanderintruth.com.

Same great content, just a different style.

It’s imperative that you, my lovely readers, subscribe to my blog at the new website because I’ll be redirecting this website to the new one, which means I won’t have access here anymore. If you don’t subscribe, that’s bad news for you because you won’t be able to keep up with my shenanigans and awesome writing. You wouldn’t want to do that, would you? Of course not!  🙂

Thank you guys for all of your continued support and encouragement. I appreciate you more than I can say. Onward to the next adventure!

 

Posted in Stuff No One Talks About

Eating Spinach is the Closest I’ll Get to Collard Greens

For dinner Tuesday night, I made a grilled cheese sandwich using Swiss instead of cheddar cheese because I wanted to taste something different. In the middle of my cooking I thought, “What else can go with this?” and opened the fridge to find glorious spinach calling to me from the second drawer. So I grabbed it and threw it on the hot pan to sauté after my golden Swiss sandwich was done. I seasoned it well with garlic powder, a blend of other spices, and hot sauce. It was when I was drenching my power-green mass in liquid heat that the title popped into my head.

My mother, who grew up in South Florida, is an anomaly. She doesn’t eat most soul food cuisine which baffles me because how does someone, especially a Black woman, not like bacon, greens, pork chops, or red velvet cake?!

So, because the only time I eat greens is when I’m over my grandma’s house, spinach is a substitute. Don’t get me wrong, I love spinach (otherwise I wouldn’t have eaten it) but on those days when I’m craving greens, it just doesn’t suffice, no matter how much hot sauce I put in it.

There’s something about soul food that’s just… mhm. So good! I don’t know if it’s the culture of the Black community or the conversations that happen in and around the kitchen while all the scents and sounds of cornbread baking in the oven, wings sizzling in hot oil, and the pungent odor of chitlings mesh together in a familiar, beautiful tango, but the whole ordeal is incredible.

In the meantime, I’ll gnaw on my spinach until I can satisfy my cravings for collard greens and a community full of home.

Posted in Stuff No One Talks About

Why “God Loves Me” Isn’t Enough to Sustain Christianity

During a conversation I had with a friend last week, she expressed to me that she was doubting several things regarding spirituality and Christianity, as a religion, and what value it had to her personally. She told me that she no longer wanted anything to do with the Church, as her congregants are full of gossiping, rumor-spreading, self-centered people who instead of giving grace and being a safe space for those who need it, spend most of their time bringing down communities of others they consider sinful and morally corrupt instead of noticing and rectifying their own transgressions against the Savior. I patiently sat with her, listening and praying all the while. I know where she is. I denounced God and turned my back on Him for similar and different reasons, and I never expected to come back, but God is merciful. Nonetheless, I digress.

I’m paraphrasing but this is essentially what she told me: “Jesus loves me. That’s all I need. Screw the church and all the religious people in it. Nobody wants to talk about the crusades and the Inquisition, all of which happened in the name of God. No, all they want to do is bash the LGBT community and control women’s sexuality and victim blame sexual abuse victims.” That is a mouthful, certainly a lot to take in. For the sake of this blog post, I’m only going to focus on the bolded portion of text.

Relationship vs. Religion

My heart grieves for my friend, not just because of our relationship and not even because I’ve been where she’s been, but because her statement echoes through the hearts of many people I know, and thousands of those I don’t. A regular statement I hear concerning Christianity is that it is “a relationship not a religion.” That description makes me chuckle. I recently read an article that explained, from a non-Christian point of view, how ridiculous that statement is. The writer states, “It’s perfectly understandable, in my opinion, to find good things in the teachings of Jesus Christ… But to base your life on the teachings of Jesus as they are portrayed in the Bible–a religious text–and claim that you are not religious, is disingenuous and demonstrably false.” I agree with his assessment. Historically, Christianity is classified, primarily, not as a relationship but as a religion, and a radical one at that. It is only its followers who, after having been open to radical, personal change by the historical Messiah, deem it a continuous, life-giving relationship.

The Nature of God

My friend’s statement made me question the nature of God. Jesus loves me. His love covers a multitude of sins and He offers grace and mercy boundlessly. That’s enough, right? All I need to do is believe in God and His love for me and I can do whatever I want (whether it’s in His will or not) and still be saved, right? Awesome!

Slow down there, dude. By definition, the above describes a nominal Christian. That is, one who is a Christian in name only but not in lifestyle. Maybe I’m wrong; I could be. Did I miss something? It’s possible. A vast majority of American Christians are on this “God is love” train but God is more than that, isn’t He? Does He not correct? Or is He only here for our convenience to save us from the consequences of our sin? Is He not just, righteous, and holy?  And are we not compelled to lay prostrate before Him, asking Holy Spirit to forgive, cleanse, change, and break us if need be, because of His nature? Again, did I miss something? 

The same God who sent His Beloved to die for the world is the same God who is often classified as a sadist murderer for killing not just nations of people He didn’t like, but in some cases, members of his own anointed nation just for keeping some gold and robes to themselves after winning the battle of Jericho! Does this picture of God in the Old Testament negate the loving, willing-to-die portrait of the Son we find in the New Testament? No, of course not. God’s nature has not changed from Genesis to Revelation; from the Medieval period to now, His nature has remained the same.

Ok, so Where Does That Leave Me?

I know by now you’re probably wondering, “What’s the point, Dylan?” I’m glad you asked. The point is to bridge the gap of relevancy between the ancient Script and today’s reality. Is the mere knowledge of God’s love enough to be sustainable for a real, genuine relationship in a marketplace full of ideologies and theories? No, it’s not. Even Satan and his demons are aware that God loves all and look where they ended up! The knowledge that God loves you is not going to provide you with financial wealth or send your perfect spouse to your door. In my case, it did not automatically stop the panic attack I had to fight through for half of church on Sunday. Mere knowledge of a thing does absolutely nothing. It is only heart knowledge, true inner change that cannot be replicated by anyone but the sovereign God, that produces action, hope, peace, and lasting transformation.

Posted in Stuff No One Talks About

The Art of Sexual Grooming

Step 1:
Befriend someone and study her
like scientists examine microscopic organisms
beneath the ocean’s surface.
Learn her likes, dislikes, if she hates her parents and why.

Step 2:
After learning that she’s a loner looking for simple companionship,
start eroding her carefully constructed walls,
break down bricks with warm hugs, a soft hand on her back,
and promises of forever friendship.

Step 3:
Teach her about her body.
Educate her on what it can really do,
the things her mother and school never taught her
because they were “dirty.”
She’ll thank you later.

Step 4:
The first time you put your tongue in her mouth,
she will recoil, but don’t worry.
Persistence is key.

Step 5:
The first, and only, time she is drunk around you,
she will be suicidal and threaten to go to her room downstairs
to cut and bleed to death.
Do not get her help.
Instead, carry her to your room,
and when she starts to thrash about, seeking reprieve in death,
hold her down, grab her wrist (but not too hard),
and introduce her to your manhood.
When she is startled and traumatized enough to be calm,
to stop seeking hope in permanent silence,
remove her hand, sit her upright, and make her orgasm.
Even though she cannot consent,
you’ll think yourself a hero
for preventing her from prematurely dying.

Step 6:
When you force her into the shower
and arouse her against her will,
she will tell you “No.”
Do not stop until she says it two more times.
She’ll see the monster you truly are
but, of course, by then, it’ll be too late.
You’ve got her wrapped around your entire hand.
Congratulations.

~

An Additional Step:
Make her miss you.
She’ll be free of you one day, but not today.
Today, you still affect her.
She will message you on Facebook on an unsuspecting night,
and find you the same way she left you.
There’s no explanation for what she did,
except you groomed her too damn well.

Four years later, and she still feels its effects.
She blocked you afterwards but she still knows by heart
your boa constrictor ways.
She still sees your face in the shadows of her bedroom,
still feel your hands wrongfully claiming her,
but is comforted by the memory of cocoon hugs and tickle fights,
of meals shared and belly-aching laughter
when the world became too much,
which is bat-shit crazy,
but you did your job well.
What else is there to say?