Trending Now – Beware of the Pop in Pop Culture

by Allie Owens Crockett

If there is one thing my dad taught me about the world in my early years, it was to beware of fads. According to Urban Dictionary a fad is a thing that becomes very popular in a short amount of time, and then is forgotten at about the same speed. In other words, a craze or a trend. They come to pass.

Don’t get me wrong not all fads mean trouble. For instance, I like lots of “green” fads. These are movements having to do with caring for the environment, clean eating, and cleaning with safer products in our homes and around our children. Here’s the catch–the quicker we are to associate ourselves as “we”, the quicker we are to fall under the category of “bandwagon-ers.” This is what I believe my father wished to stress.

Let’s talk sports. Most of us have a favorite team. We paint our faces, we parade to work, our flag’s great colors flitting in the wind. We assemble for the sake of consuming large amounts of food and drink – yelling and jumping in front of a screen.

SONY DSCEspecially here–in the great state of Kentucky–where Basketball was born (just a joke!). But really, Cats and Cards fans make quite a crowd. With this being said, I recently discovered my best friend of 15+ years, and rival Cardinal snob is a complete and total fanatic fraud! On a trip to the gym, she confessed her fan-hood had been passed down. Her family roots for UofL. Why shouldn’t she?

I giggled to myself, because I believe as a young child I chose to (be) a Kentucky Wildcat and was largely associated with liking the color blue better than red. Of course, I made no mention of this to her. I offer this as a funny example of how easy it is to get roped-in with something we would otherwise have no organic pull toward or preference about. I think fads work this way.

When I consider our media-driven society and the sway it has on this generation, I am reminded of my days as Pre-K teacher. It is my belief that children are just as amazingly unique, as they are remarkably alike. In a more positive light, what’s popular or common among this age group can be ideal for prepping them for the years ahead.

file6301307532195When I was in school, the term peer pressure had some unfavorable implications. But I have found that this kind of peer pressure can be a very useful tool in the context of a classroom. Most people send their children to preschool for the socialization, but also to acquire new skills as well as learn what is acceptable behavior in a classroom setting.  It is “popular” for children this age to be grump-a-lumps when they first arrive to school, and to cry for their parents. It is “popular” for children this age to be easily redirected to a new activity once they realize all is well and their classmates are having fun. The more time little people spend in this new environment, the easier it becomes for them to sit quietly, follow simple instructions, and feel quite confident with the security that structure provides.

Even as adults, we are all only children at heart. I believe knowing when to lead and when to follow are two essential elements to living a purposeful life.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens….A time to be silent and a time to speak. Ecclesiastes 3:1,7

And as flashy and high-tech as things become, there really is nothing new under the sun.

Until next time,

Allie

Did you know–every time you leave a comment on one of our posts, you are automatically entered in our quarterly drawings for a gift certificate? –Plus–Complete the prompt below for an extra entry in our quarterly drawings! Submit your completed writing prompt via Comments…

Writing Prompt: Let this photo prompt a story! Write a sentence or two or three. Who is she? Why is she here? What is she thinking?

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This Grateful Score: A Poem of Thankful Prompts

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(Photo source:
aesthetic–pleasures
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Clarity
The blanketing warmth of
Grace and Mercy
That silent darkness that proceeds
The newness of day
I’m thankful
Infinite potential rises
Every morning along with the sun

For the working together of nature
Intricate, intimate
Organic harmony
The blending of peoples
The sharing of stories
And the spreading of legacy
For others to follow
Like a trail that starts here
And stops wherever we leave off

I relish understanding
Beginnings and endings
The bliss of engagement
Like violent laughter
And soft rain at dusk
The to-and-fro
The roaring crescendo
These are the “musts”
Of Life’s symphony

It’s the mountains and valleys
We sometimes abhor
But we cannot afford to miss our cues
In this grateful score

And all the tears
Like distant prayers
Though unspoken
Aren’t unheard
Only God knows
The weight of glory
A story that none but the angels
Have overheard

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Thoughts on Self Publishing with Ethan Bethune

Here to talk today about self-publishing at Writing Prompts, I’d like to introduce my friend Ethan Bethune. He is a captivating poet, photographer, and he aspires to publish his first book at the start of the year.

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As children we kept journals. We wrote essays for things like 9/11. But I never thought I’d fall in love with writing. Now I write poetry, essays, and short stories. Some for my younger brother and sister, who are special needs children.

Now onto the self-publishing bit. 15 years ago it probably had a lot of stigma around it. I don’t know for sure, but I do know that if you self published, it was pretty obvious because your book was the one that looked like a government food label. And it screamed that you had important things to say, but no one would listen.

But today I will probably be using this indie publishing. It just makes sense. I’ve talked to publishing companies or houses. They on a good day, only ask for your college tuition or left lung…mere Micro fees.

With self publishing, I get so many options that still allow me to have control, or outsource the ones I don’t like ( such as cover design, editing, book binding, etc.).

The biggest thing is it’s affordable. Because it’s printed on demand while being available online as well, and still purchasable globally anywhere from Canada, to our cousins across the pond, to the girl next door on her way to Barnes and Noble.

So for me it just makes sense. I mean, my first book of essays and poetry titled Bleeding Ink is not the easiest thing to get published. I will likely also publish an era series I’ve been posting on my website, titled lettres-de-guerre, War letters, just because it’s hit so well.

With social media as a marketing platform, writing should be fun. I’ve watched artists self publish. And their books were unavailable on Amazon, but using Twitter and all forms of networking to push their book, they’ve sold thousands of copies.

15 years ago? Not the case. I know self publishing or being any kind of indie artist can be overwhelming, but the important thing I think, is that we make good art, regardless of what form we use. So just make things. Because people will read it. These are the stories we leave behind not only for our children, but for everyone.

For more of me, just checkout Regarding Samuel | A writers blog.

They Say The People Could Fly : African American Folktales

The young woman lifted one foot in the air. Then the other. She flew
clumsily at first, with the child now held tightly in her arms.
Then she felt the magic…
No one dared speak about it. Couldn’t believe it.
But it was, because they that was there saw that it was

                                                                        ~The People Could Fly
                                                                         told by Virginia Hamilton

IMG_0272-003As many here at Writing Prompts have discussed several aspects of mythology and folklore, I have to say my favorite aspect is the way we can learn from the past. Mythology and Folklore make us wonder. Did this really happen? Did these people actually exist? Some of these stories cause us to feel uncomfortable. In a memorizing way, these stories showcase humanity and divinity, and both through the scope of vulnerability.

I was an avid Reading Rainbow fan as a kid. I envisioned myself being one of the children on the show and often rigged my parents camcorder to film myself introducing my favorite books. I remember one episode stood out to mephoto. It was startling and equally intriguing. It was the broadcast on Black History. Stories like Follow the Drinking Gourd, explored African American History and introduced difficult subjects like slavery, through beautiful art and song.

The story called Follow the Drinking Gourd, is actually a map in song form; a coded way for fugitive slaves to follow the Underground Railroad to freedom. I was mystified by The People Could Fly, a tale of slaves that took to the skies, magically leaving their chains behind to fly all the way home to Africa.

Stories like these help us remember where those before us have been and what they felt. A glimpse into their hopes and fears. Observing folklore is like embracing our histories. It can give a sense of where we are in space and time. Through the knowledge passed down through folk stories, we can come to view the world with brand new eyes. Like old souls.

Everyone of us is given the power to transcend the hardships of our present, and transform our future, instead of allowing history to go on repeating it’s mountainous sorrows. I sincerely believe that wherever one finds himself in life, a kosher perspective on where you’ve come from, only paints a brighter picture of hope for the future. ❤ Read my poem Blended Respect

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Mythology and Folklore: Amused with Muses

Hap177fattp61to418t22j91p9our50_47397ppy Labor Day, ya’ll ! This month here at Writing Prompts, we are writing about Mythology and Folklore. Quite an exciting topic, wouldn’t you say? I think it’s partly because although Mythology contains the word “myth”, its connotation gives voice to unknown mysteries and inner longings to know about ancient civilizations. Why? Not just because old stuff is cool, but because sifting through history and what we can pull from the culture, philosophy, and traditions of past societies, helps us make sense of our own.

3875279530_7a72cc6f21_oWhen I was in 7th grade, I was introduced to Homer’s The Odyssey. The tales of brave Odysseus strummed new chords of my girlish imagination. Do you recall the first time you encountered a one-eyed Cyclops? I can remember being mystified by a love-sick Calypso. Countless terrible beasts of land and of sea, brought me daring new stimuli with which to associate the word “adventure”.

Isn’t it funny what we latch on to? I wasn’t so much interested in the stories of the gods, as to me, none of the tales could hold a candle to the God who sits on the throne of my heart. But one thing was for certain, I was mesmerized by the muses. The Mosasi were goddesses in their own right. The experts might challenge me on this. At any rate, I was intrigued because they were once thought to be the bearers of inspiration. Calliope, Clio, Erato, Euterpe, Polyhymnia, Melpomene, Terpsichore, Thalia, and Urania; these nine daughters of Zeus were said to be lords over the arts.

When our class took the exam on all we could remember about Odysseus and his journey, I am proud to announce that I passed with flying colors! By that time in my life, I had also learned what it took for me to get in “creative mode,” which I soon discovered could also be referred to as “unleashing my inner muse.”4031749500_1469e2d930_o

I recently watched a TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, share her thoughts on what these muses have to do with our creativity. Gilbert comes from the stance that there is far too much pressure placed on artists to conceive perfection in their work. She discusses the great tragedy behind relying solely upon ones creative genius, as many artists often meet their demise under this great weight. This idea of divine support, relieves not only fears of failure and rejection, but also obliterates any shred of arrogance.  Do you employ some inner muse to accomplish your greatest work? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Until next time,

<3AOC

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