Duck in the Red Boots an Aunty Marsha Book

Unlike other little ducklings, Duck is quite particular about staying clean. His determination to do just that lands him in quite a pickle every day nevertheless he stands firm for what he believes. This story is a cute reminder that children are people too. They have their own character which when nurtured produces confidence.

www.marshagomes.com

Duck did not like getting his feet dirty at all, at all, at all.

He loved to swim with the other ducklings, but he did not like walking out of the water through the mud. Duck loved flying high in the sky above the trees, but he did not like landing on the dirty ground.

Somehow no matter how hard Duck tried, his feet got dirty every day.One day Duck noticed his feet never touched the ground once he was swimming. So he decided to swim all day long and never come out. Duck swam and swam and swam. He swam up and down the pond. He did the backstroke. He paddled, and he splashed his friends with his wings. The other ducklings rested but not Duck.

I am not going to get my feet dirty today! he quacked

Duck 1The hours passed. One by one the other duckling went home until Duck was all alone in the pond. The water got colder and colder and colder. Duck felt wet and tired. His bill shivered. The feathers stood on his head stood up. As the sky grew dark, he felt lonely and afraid.

“I better fly home,” Duck encouraged himself. “Mom and Dad will be worried about me.”

But his wings were too wet and too cold to fly. Finally, Duck gave in. He took a deep breath and marched right out of the pond, through the icky sticky mud. Squish, Squish, Squish, Slop, Slop, Slop. The mud stuck to his feet. It tingled all over his webbed-toes. Slop, Squish, Slop, Squish, Squoosh, Slop, Squoosh, Slop, Squoosh, Squoosh!

Duck mumbled and grumbled all the way home where his mother gave him a warm bath, and his father made his favorite water grass tea.

The next day, Duck decided he would fly with his friends instead. As Duck flew, he noticed his feet did not get dirty while he was up in the sky.

So guess what? Duck decided to fly and fly and fly and never come down. He flew up and down. He flew high and low. He flew in circles and turned somersaults too. Swoosh, Swoosh, Swoosh! Duck’s wings felt so light in the air. The other ducklings stopped for a rest, but not Duck. He did not want to land on the dirty ground. So he flew, and he flew, and he flew. Duck’s wings got very, very, very tired. They moved more and more slowly, but Duck kept on flying. Then something happened! Duck dropped right out of the sky!

SPLAT!

Into icky, sticky, gooey, wooey mud! Duck got up slowly. His feet were very muddy. His wings were very muddy. His head was very muddy. Duck’s whole body was very, very, very muddy!

Duck was horrified. Once gain Duck mumbled and grumbled all the way home. Duck’s father scrubbed his feathers clean and his mother made his favorite water grass tea. Duck went to his room and vowed to never go outside again.

Day by day Duck’s friends tried to get him to play outside since no one wanted to stay indoors all day when outside was nice and sunny. So Duck was left to play all alone. Soon it was Duck’s birthday. His parents invited all his friends for a party in their backyard. They hoped Duck would go out and play.

On the morning of Duck’s birthday, it rained and rained and rained. Duck looked through his bedroom window sadly. It was so muddy outside. Duck’s birthday party was ruined so he went back to bed.

Later Duck’s grandparents arrived with a special gift.

“Little Duck, why are you still in bed?” grandma quacked as she sat to comfort him.

“Why so sad on your birthday?” quacked grandpa.

Duck 2

Duck just moaned and rolled over in his bed.

“Maybe opening a present will make you feel better,” grandpa suggested. Grandpa pulled a giant yellow box from behind his back and handed it to Duck.

Duck loved presents. He could not resist opening it. Guess what it was? The most beautiful pair of red boots ever!

Duck put them on and ran outside.

Duck flew and he landed. Plop! No more dusty feet. Duck went swimming and his new boots went too. Glop, Glop, Glop, Squish, Squeak, Squirk! The boots sang as he ran out of the water. No more muddy feet! No more icky toes!

“Wow, now you look like the happiest Duck in the world!” called grandpa.

Later that day when everyone came to the party, Duck marched up and down in his new red boots. He was very happy. From that day on, Duck was known as the Duck in the Red Boots.

Duck 3

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Caribbean Books

CBF.33072When I was a little girl I read about far away princess and Christmas in snow. I read about riding horses to school and picking blue berries in the wood. In my books children sang pleasant little rhymes about edelweiss and wore boots made of fur.

I often longed to read about bathing in the rain; about being afraid of the tied up crabs on market day or even feeding your goats before school. The immense and spectacular joy of the mango season is something every child should know about and I was sure Caribbean beaches were just as magical as snow.

My name is Marsha Gomes-Mckie and I am an author and the founder of Caribbean Books Foundation, an online platform that connects the Caribbean and it’s Diaspora through literature. Over the last two years I’ve built a catalog of Caribbean books both traditionally published and self published in all genres. During this time I have been pleasantly surprised to find out that these amazing books do exist.

These books are in souvenir shops, they are in craft fairs, and they are in community book shops.  Hard working authors aren’t waiting to be found anymore they have been taking their books to the community. The problem is they don’t have the distribution power to reach you and me, the way the American and English titles do.

Caribbean Books Foundation will like to change that. I will like to work with Caribbean publishers and authors to distribute fiction titles easily throughout the Caribbean by launching a Caribbean Book Club. This Book Club will distribute a wide range of titles to schools, bookstores and libraries: our own distribution by us for us.

Keep following us on Facebook at Caribbean Books Foundation for updates and our soon to be launched Newsletter on our website www.caribbeanbooks.org.

Feel free to reach out to support our efforts.

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Marsha Mckie – mgomesmckie@gmail.com

Tips 28 surefire ways from the (SCBWI) to keep your book on the radar.

Regardless of how well a book is written, critical praise doesn’t always translate into sales, and often even well-reviewed books disappear, out-of-print within a couple of years. No matter how much publicity and support your publisher offers, you are the best advocate for your book, and there are actions you can take to prolong its life in print.

Perhaps you’re about to publish a first book and have no idea what to expect. Maybe you’re a seasoned pro looking for new ideas on promoting your books.

  1. Begin laying the groundwork for your book promotion six months before your book is published. Write a press release, and e-mail it to newspapers and TV stations closer to the publication date along with a review or two if you have them. If newspapers have a lifestyle editor or a Sunday team reach out to them as well. Keep contacts of reporters and remember to invite them to signings and other events.
  2. Find a public relations ally. If you can’t hire one then barter. Find a friend or a student and you offer to edit their stories and novels for free (forever) in exchange for helping you do publicity. This may sound extreme, but book publicity can be grueling work and it helps so much to have a friend with a sense of humor who “gets it.”
  3. Use the internet, search engines are your friend. Read up as much as you can and look at comments and reviews to find tips about sites you should be reading up on. Check out writing groups and ask for assistance or information on who can help you with your publishing journey.
  4. Make flyers and/or bookmarks. Start with 100 copies. You can leave stacks in bookstores, restaurants and libraries or hand them out on school visits. Always be prepared with something to hand out.
  5. Set up a website where parents and children can write to you and learn more about the world of the book and what you do as an author. Peruse other author sites to give you ideas.
  6. Update your website regularly. Offer creative writing ideas, story prompts and giveaways.
  7. Send out e-mail blasts as often as you feel comfortable, but don’t overdo it; three or four times a year is a good rule of thumb, and only if there are real updates. Be wary of e-mailing in bulk too often.
  8. Create your Facebook page long before the book is due. Post funny saying as well as other books so that you will have a following when your book is finally out that you can interact with. Don’t wait.
  9. Use Goodreads and Booklikes giveaway feature. Readers all over the world will add your book to their shelf hoping they will win a copy.
  10. Join a fiction writers or picture book listserv or online group. There is Goodreads Lovers of Diversity and Folklore Group, Facebook Groups Caribbean Writers, SCBWI Caribbean Chapters and SocaMom Book Club, follow the Anansesem Ezine, Caribbean Books Foundation and other Caribbean Blogs. Look for blogs about the world of children’s literature. There are many great children’s and YA book blogs. Clicking on one will lead you to many more. Children’s and young adult book bloggers are the ones who keep your books alive, ask them to feature you. Thank them. Send them your books to review, but only devote a little time each day to these blogs; you want to be protective of your writing time.
  11. Create your own book tour by visiting literary festivals. Stay with friends and family and make yourself available to promote your book with copies on hand. Rent the cheapest rental car and purchase airline tickets through inexpensive online travel sites.
  12. Visit bookstores before your book comes out—six months is a good rule of thumb. Set up e-mail correspondence with the store manager, or the person in charge of scheduling their author visits or promotions. Over the next few months, set up dates for the book signings/writing workshops. If you just have a handful of giveaways, make photocopies or send a pdf to select book reviewers. This especially works well for regional newspapers or magazines. Smaller papers do a great job of author profiles and reviews if you let them know in time.
  13. E-mail bookstores with your information (book, website, jacket quotes) and follow up those e-mails with store-visits or phone calls. Explain how you are able to offer short writing workshops for kids instead of just traditional readings. Hint: Be upbeat and professional even when clerks can and will be indifferent. You will find the ones who get you, and as for the ones who don’t, move on with grace. Try to focus on the independent bookstores because they are the ones who will hand-sell your book and may have a small sitting are for you to interact with the children.
  14. Set up writing workshops for children in schools, libraries, and bookstores. Lead a guaranteed audience of children in writing their own stories and poems. Make sure art supplies are on hand so the kids can illustrate their creations, and offer to publish any stories that they e-mail you in a special section of your blog or website. The fee for attendance? Have the bookstore require the purchase of one of your books to participate in the writing workshop. Talk to the parents and teachers who attend. Networking can lead to “artist-in-residencies” at schools and more school visits. Keep writing workshops high-energy: MORE participation. Get kids excited through sincere praise, and encouragement, and then up on their feet to read their poems or stories. With older kids and teen groups, smaller circles work best.
  15. Consider having a reading/book signing at a place other than a bookstore. Go to a pizza parlour, a fast food restaurant with a children’s area, a tea house or some other nontraditional place. A friend’s backyard or your own if you like. An independent bookseller will love to sell books, and you’ll be able to woo more friends into coming and bringing their friends. If you have children, your children can run around and celebrate too. Hire or sponsor an up and coming musician for the gig and let them give out their cards or CD’s.
  16. Do as many free writing workshops as you feel you can at first. Do them for foster children, children in juvenile hall, children who are differently-abled – children who don’t have a chance to meet with writers. Publish their stories on your blog if they want you to do so.
  17. Pitch workshops or classes to your Library, Universities or a school near you. It’s free advertising for you and your book and your class. You also get to meet wonderful students in your workshop.
  18. Set up a six- or ten-week writing workshop at a local library for teens or adults wanting to write children’s stories. You will be able to charge, of course, and the bookstore will advertise the class and your book on its website and in its newsletter.
  19. Go support other authors. Show up at their signings and readings and buy their books. Host them in interviews on your website or blog, or simply mention their books in a short review. We’re all in this together, and the more we can reach out and support each other, the more we’ll get back.
  20. Send your press release to your old school, high school, or college. Offer to meet with students from your alma mater to talk to them about writing.
  21. Write an essay for your alumni magazine about writing for kids, or about how you became a writer. You’ll get readers; universities like to hear about their graduates and their adventures. If a rural library asks you to donate books, say yes. Say yes as much as you can. Just do it. If you can’t do it all the time, that’s okay, but say yes whenever possible.
  22. Write an essay/op. ed. piece for a newspaper with a large readership. This will get your name out to more readers.
  23. Record your book at your local Braille Institute, if you have one and offer to do a workshop at its summer reading program. You’ll meet amazing kids who are budding storytellers.
  24. Go to events. Go to SCBWI events or book festivals on your own dime at least once if you have a book coming out. If they cannot offer you a signing during the festival go and meet people. It’s worth it. You will make connections you cannot make e-mailing from home. Tight budget? Stay with friends and family to save money, or contact the SCBWI regional advisor in your area to see if a nearby member might have a guest room available.
  25. Find a local chapter of the SCBWIand offer to do a workshop on setting, plot, voice or anything else.
  26. Write thank-you notes to everyone: librarians, teachers, booksellers. Be appreciative. Don’t whine. Say “thank you.”
  27. Get a GPS navigation device. It really helps out there on the road. Remember, the more you give of yourself as an author, the more you will connect with your readers at every level.
  28. Keep writing. The more books you market the easier it becomes. Keep, keeping on. Give yourself a break and time to be alone to write and just be, so you can gather the stamina needed to get out there again.

The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, a non-profit organization, is one of the largest existing organizations for writers and illustrators. It is the only professional organization specifically for those individuals writing and illustrating for children and young adults in the fields of children’s literature, magazines, film, television, and multimedia.  Its mission is to support the creation and availability of quality children’s books around the world.

We accomplish this by fostering a vibrant community of individuals who bring books for young readers to the public including writers, illustrators, translators, editors, publishers, agents, librarians, educators, booksellers, bloggers, enthusiasts and others. We provide education and support for these individuals and the community through our awards, grants, programs and events. We strive to increase the quality and quantity of children’s books in the marketplace, and act as a consolidated voice for writers and illustrators of children’s books worldwide. Membership in the SCBWI is open to anyone with an active interest in children’s literature from picture books to young adult novels. We welcome aspiring and published writers and illustrators, librarians, educators, artists, students, dramatists, musicians, filmmakers, and others. A passion for children’s literature is our #1 criterion.

In the Caribbean there are two regions Caribbean North and Caribbean South visit the website at www.scbwi.org for more information.

Marsha Gomes-Mckie, Regional Advisor, Caribbean South, SCBWI (Adapted from SCBWI’s tips.

Review of Kidnap

I ran across the Halle Berry movie Kidnap on the #Firestick that i wanted to see for a while but life kept getting in the way.  Let me tell you how it went. Yes, why didn’t she take her son with her when she got the call. Why wasn’t her eyes on him, all the time, she was close enough to see him but she turned around. It’s a dumb mistake but we know he has to be kidnapped so i let it go.  I’m quarter way through the show and it’s not what i expected. The initial chase is weird, why didn’t she run over these people when she got a chance.  Why didn’t she ram the vehicle early on, on the highway.

Geezanages, i’m screaming “the kidnappers just got out their car and walked towards yours and they are still alive.”

Ok, so the show is kidnap, i remind myself again so i know most of the show he has to be kidnapped but i am halfway through now, wanting to switch it off until the mama rage kicks in. I love the mama rage which stays true until the end. #mamarage

kidnap

I would watch it again, not for a while though but it passed my show-meter.  #HalleBerry gave a realistic performance, the writing drags a bit but it ends well.  Every mother i know will go the distance #mamarage, it’s hard to watch a child being kidnapped on film, to even live it in your imagination breaks your heart.

Overall it was a good watch.

 

 

 

Out of Mind

Today, like many times before i was asked a question. What do you think about a certain person? Instead of not commenting or commenting i simply replied, i don’t think about that person. 

Simple, truthful yet powerful to me.

I am not sure what the other person got out of it but i felt liberated and satisfied that in that moment i calmly put a person that i may have grumbled about in the past where they belonged – out of mind. 

So many bad situations are fueled in life by us thinking about it too much. So today, I ask you to take the time to clear your mind and give things that love you a priority.

Things like writing!

Have you written lately? Let’s build that muscle in 2018. 

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WIN a free membership: SCBWI Caribbean South

The Caribbean South chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) is giving away two free annual memberships.

All you have to do is submit an unpublished children’s manuscript from any of the islands listed below that speaks about your island’s folklore or draw your very own ‘Tanti Merle’ from Paul Keens Douglas “Tanti at the Oval.”

The Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators is a professional information and networking society of over 19,000 authors, agents, editors and illustrators world wide. Based in Los Angeles, the SCBWI is the largest of its kind and has chapters in 200 regions. Our membership package is an invaluable tool for aspiring and professional writers and artists. It includes indispensable ‘how to’ articles and a directory of publishers in the field. One of the best things about SCBWI membership is the networking opportunity it presents to gain fruitful contacts the world over.

The Caribbean South chapter was launched in Trinidad in September 2005 and serves the following islands Anguilla, Saint Maarten, St Barbs, Saba, Barbuda, St Kitts and Nevis, Antigua, Guadeloupe, Montserrat, Dominica, Martinique, St Lucia, Barbados, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Guyana, Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire, Tortuga and Trinidad and Tobago (and everything in-between)

The competition is open to non-members and members alike, and all work submitted remain the property of the author or illustrator.

The deadline to submit is November 1, 2017. 

SCBWI-2017-Competition

For further information and membership details visit http://www.scbwi.org.

 

Marsha Gomes-Mckie, Regional Advisor , Caribbean South

info@marshagomes.com

 

Book of the Day resumes in 2017

book-of-the-day

Caribbean Books Foundation’s Book of the Day promotional book feature resumes in 2017. It will run from the 1st January to 30 November 2017. 

Books from the online catalog are chosen randomly and by genre to fill this feature and are usually set a month in advance.

Authors who join the online catalog at http://www.caribbeanbooks.org are also welcomed to request a date to be featured if the date correspondence with a book launch or book giveaway.

Caribbean Books Foundation is an international platform that connects the Caribbean Community and its Diaspora through its literature.

 

 

 

 

No longer a hobby…

A year ago I went to a fashion show; each designer had at least twelve pieces of clothing. They each got their fifteen minutes on the catwalk and wowed. Models came out in style, designers bowed with their collection and they were ready to take orders. I sat there and imagined the catwalk full of authors with their books on show.

How many of us have one published book to walk down the catwalk proudly with?  How many of us have five to twenty works of writing to exhibit? At that time I had only one, that was properly edited and really public ready. I had a number of finished-to-edit and unfinished manuscripts with too many potential stories. I imagined my models on the catwalk with only one finished dress. The rest of my collection would be missing buttons or bottoms (endings). All the sides wouldn’t be sewn up; some would be hung together with pins.  I winched as I sat there thinking about my wild and crazy fashion show. Unlike a designer my product couldn’t be reviewed in fifteen minutes but all artists have one thing in common. They have to complete their work before they can show it and sell it.

Not one of those designers came to the show with one dress because it didn’t matter how dynamic that one dress was, it meant one sale while a collection meant multiple orders. An art gallery has the same mind-set. One glorious painting at the middle of the gallery you would never see. There is certain power in numbers: numbers to attract different tastes, numbers to widen the profit margin and numbers to establish a brand.

As a writer my brand is my books but I realized I wasn’t writing enough.

I know that writing isn’t a race and a fashion designer and artist isn’t a writer but the principle of sales is universal. If you have one product in a certain market, there is a point of saturation for that one dress/book. Soon your fans will look to see what else you have on the market. If you have a collection it is very likely they will buy another dress/piece if they loved the first but if you have nothing else to offer they move on.

That is the year I made up my mind to treat my writing as a business and stop calling it a hobby.

I stopped looking at one book and started to plan for the collection. I’ve known a number of authors who have published one book and the marketing work they did could have definitely covered five books at the same time. I placed my manuscripts in categories, I gave myself a monthly target of words and I made time to write even if it meant missing sleep and socializing.  When I print I want to have a very diverse book launch, nevertheless I have been publishing e-books as I go along.

One year later I have two distinct genres, the first is paranormal/folklore fantasy fiction which I write under the pen M. Mckie and children books which I write under Aunty Marsha Books. My collection is not yet complete but I like what I see and I build on it every day. My target is three books per year after the first launch (2017) in each category. I will also like to explore the young adult genre, contemporary romance and more magical realism in the future.

Feel free to follow me on Facebook, Book likes and Goodreads for occasional giveaways and new releases.

My website is http://www.marshagomes.com.

Barbadian Author launches Bridgeland

MEDIA RELEASE
Barbadian author launches self-published Bridgeland: Volume One graphic novel

July 29, 2015/Bridgetown, Barbados

Bridgeland. Marc Gibson

Barbadian author and film-maker, Marc R. D. Gibson, celebrates the print release of his self-published first graphic novel, Bridgeland: Volume One.

The intimate event held at the Old Spirit Bond in early July was well attended by various members of the local literary and arts community, fellow authors and film-makers, as well as a number of governmental representatives including Director (Ag) of the Commission for Pan African Affairs, Dr. Deryck Murray, and Cultural Industries Development Consultant, Andrea King.

With interior illustrations by Tristan Roach and cover art by Cherise Ward, Bridgeland: Volume One tells the first part of a gripping and suspense-filled saga set in contemporary Barbados that poses the question ‘How far would you go for family?’ The original story follows two teenage brothers from an underprivileged background after they execute a half-baked plan to burgle a wealthy home that goes tragically wrong.

Gibson stated that even though time-line for the pet project, from conception to present, spanned a decade; he was pleased by his accomplishment, adding that the milestone was not only a representation of his effort, but the support and encouragement he received from Bridgeland’s many supporters.

According to Gibson, since the launch the response to his graphic novel has been outstanding. He admitted that he took sincere delight in delivering signed copies to persons who were unable to attend the launch. “I’ve been working and talking about Bridgeland for a long time. My sheer determination and dedication was something that some people personally told me got them interested in it,” the author commented.

Gibson added there have been some unexpected developments. “When I learned that the Governor of the Central Bank (Dr. DeLisle Worrell) wanted a copy of my graphic novel, I was flabbergasted!” Gibson explained that the twists continued. Instead of a brief signing and quick photo op, he instead enjoyed an almost 90-minute, intimate conversation that began with his and the Governor’s mutual love for the media of graphic novels and comic books, and extended through an eclectic range of topics.

Gibson stated that he had a number of things up next on his slate, including completing Bridgeland: Volume Two, penning a memoir about life with a rare condition, and wrapping up production on the crime/drama web-series Strongarm for the Blazer Base Network.

Bridgeland: Volume One has been available on http://www.chattelhousebooks.com in e-book format since November 2014 and will be available in print at Chattel House Books in Sky Mall, Haggatt Hall, St. Michael, Barbados in August this year.

Bridgeland Vol 1 Launch1

Author and film-maker Marc R. D. Gibson signs a Bridgeland poster for a fan.
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Bridgeland: Volume One author Marc R. D. Gibson is all smiles with Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados, Dr. DeLisle Worrell after he received his signed copy of the graphic novel.

The Final Frontier, Suicide

Human beings have been faced in times past with two immutable random facts, we have no power over when we are born and we have no power over the stroke of death. The first remains immutable, without consideration to #abortion and the second has caused much controversy because man has decided to claim death on his own terms.

I’ve imagined being in pre-embryonic stage and being shown the world’s timeline. A voice says, “choose when you wish to be born.” If I was given that choice I would skip the wars, slavery, Hitler, large earthquakes and hurricanes.   If given the choice some periods in our history would remain unpopulated so I accept the randomness of birth. I accept some children will be born to Ebola with little hope of lasting a week; some will be born to royalty, to be pampered and spoiled, some rich, some very poor and most to average ‘Joes’ all over the world.  I accept it because I haven’t been able to figure out a more logical solution to the selection of births and it has been proven that persons from the most humble beginnings can excel. Whether by force, spirituality, grace, sheer determination or dumb luck, there is an obvious leveling of the playing field that the universe offers to those who dare it.  

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So the first immutable fact has never weighed heavy on my mind. The second however keeps me in a quandary.  Death makes us equal, we must all face it and there is no getting away from it.

When I was younger I found an old book in my school library which spoke of a brave man. A general, who was considered a military genius and extraordinary battle strategist: He was described as a man of all men, powerful, fearless and strong, a leader who men died for willingly, yet Hannibal #Barca died at his own hand.  The question of suicide had long been a non-issue in my pubescent world because everyone knows if you kill yourself you won’t go to heaven. Didn’t Hannibal #Barca know that? Not only did this man kill himself but he planned it methodically. He carried a vial of poison on his person for years and no one said to him. “Hey, you need to wait for the Romans to kill you, you can’t kill yourself dude. It’s just not done.” It would take me years to figure out each era has its own rules and Hannibal Barca in his time was considered a revolutionary hero would refused to be captured by his arch enemies and died a heroes death, much like most men in battle who fell on their sword instead of being taken alive. So did that mean that there were didn’t levels of suicide? Were some types of suicide accepted while others are not?

At some point in time someone very high up, I assume someone very religious or very Kingly said, these bloody people keep killing themselves out instead of paying their taxes, let’s make it a rule that if you commit suicide you won’t go to heaven. Ahhhhhha! Deliberate socialization around an aforementioned premise to affect a conditioned response – grow old and pay your taxes diligently. Okay, maybe it was meant to be more caring response. Hoping persons understood the value of life because life is a gift and it should be cherished.

I always say a gift is given but it is also accepted, it’s has to be mutual giving and taking for the gift to be remain a gift. If there is any force or bullying, it becomes a curse. So suicide becomes that state of mind where you don’t want the gift anymore. #freedomofchoice is a hell of a thing; most people including me would say freedom of choice is a good thing but… There is always a ‘but’, because there are one or two things that we would rather dictate. Women should be free to vote: girls should be free to go to school regardless of where they were born;  everyone should be free to marry whoever they want; all men should be free to live wherever they want; abortion is a freedom, but freedom stops at suicide. No one says a person should be free to take their own life; it’s akin to self violence. Man fights his self and wins, but dies. #PaulWalker died in a car crash last year and #RobinWilliams committed suicide this year, the stroke of death came differently but the end result was the same.

Is it death that we fear or is it the stroke of death? There seems to be acceptable versions of the end that we who are alive can live with until our time comes. The dead don’t worry about death, they’ve already faced it. It is the living who ponders on it, bends it and shapes it until it is something that makes us comfortable with the concept.

I personally feel persons who are diagnosed with life-threatening diseases and are given e.g. two months to live should also be given a death pill as an option. Put your house in order, buy your own casket, invite persons to your funeral, hear all the good things before you go and then go to sleep and never get up. Actually, I may go even further and say if you reach a certain age the pill should be a gift like pension. You keep your options open. It seems to be a fitting end for a life well spent. You ride off in the sunset on your terms, with a smile on your face. No one looks forward to death, but seeing that it is inevitable anyway, why not plan for it? Why not claim it as a life event? The way we plan weddings and birthdays; you saved to buy a house, why not get the nicest casket on the block, engrave your name on it and make sure it’s painted in your favorite color. You can even paint it yourself, give it that personal touched. Not to mention the cemetery plot, I would like to be close to the road under a tree. How about you?

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We face death so cowardly, weren’t we expecting it?

Today we get to wait on cancer to us strip under ninety pounds, killing us slowly while we support the medical profession. Then there’s the big ones’ like Ebola, Malaria and all the other deadly strains you can catch. If that doesn’t get you then there’s the weather hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and tornadoes, we are all fair game when it comes to the weather. Then there’s the sophisticated death that entails a drug overdose or a yachting accident. The most lethal for me would be the drunk driver on the cell phone, who smashes your car, throws you out of it and leaves you dying on the highway; it’s a fatal combination usually not for the driver himself but for everyone he hits. Let’s not forget the fool who doesn’t want to work his way up and enters your home on a random Saturday night; who robs, rapes and kills for the price of a second hand bicycle. If you are not white then your potential death list gets longer depending on where you live because it will include law enforcement officers and crossing someone’s territory with a grin. Not to mention if you are a woman, not covering your head or eating with a fork in some countries have reported to bring deadly wrath. My recent favorite remains you are on your way to a Conference to help end the deathly epidemic of AIDs and some idiot shoots your plane down and your body lands in some field on the ten o’clock news. No one is afraid of death by sharks, snakes or lions anymore and growing old looks like a luxury most of us wouldn’t reach.

So if you have had the pleasure of that luxury why not plan for it, celebrate the fact that you unlike so many other people have a chance to die your way.  Death is still the most uncomfortable conversation in the room and it’s because we don’t really want to die. We don’t want our loves ones to die. It’s such a bitch. Yes, you can admit it and the grim reaper isn’t going to haunt you for thinking it. I do not wish to die and even more than that I do not wish to die by some random circumstance that does not speak to the wonderful person that I am.  

Nevertheless, I am quite sure I’m not getting out of this life alive and wishful thinking will only get me thus far.

With so many possibilities for death, why consider suicide especially if you are already old. Robin William’s suicide was a surprise not so much because of the death but his age. You assume if someone has lived that long they have overcame enough to deal with anything and you take their depression for granted. I think there should be a special category called “creative depression.” When you ask your mind to do a balancing act everyday with different characters and voices, there’s comes a time when your heart internalizes it and it becomes real to you, in such a passionate way that you can’t be human and not be affected. I have also noticed the best comedians have moments of pure insights into humanity and I can’t say if that’s good or bad. They can go full circle from humor to dread. It should be classified as more than depression because it really is. When you reach a certain age you need grandchildren or an orphanage to entertain. You give of yourself and in-turn they keep your mind active and distracted, but I digress.

The universe is full of unanswered questions and most of them suck.           

The question is what do you do when you feel like it’s your time to go and you want to go but the parameters of civilization does not allow it. Your family won’t talk about it, your religion forbids it and everyone starts giving you labels; “depressed,” “crazy.”

Well I hope you have at least one person you can turn to and I am sure that one person will give you the incentive to live on. I think death by self should only be contemplated if you are a happy man. There should be no remorse or regret. It shouldn’t be a dreary end but a party which celebrates all that you were, all that you brought to the world. Everyone who hears your story should say, “I’m so happy for him.” That’s the test of most things whether you can see your individuality in the choices you make and inspire others. Everything else is slow death.

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M. Mckie

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