Having the Patience to Teach

This morning, I was discussing the power of the web with my Intermediate students.

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One of my students mentioned that I must be so frustrated with them, because they don’t listen to my instruction. I was surprised, and asked the student if they felt I was frustrated. Their answer was an emphatic, NO. I laughed and told them that as a teacher, I feel it is my responsibility to respect their opinions and beliefs. One of my other students chimed in, adding that they felt my students need to listen to what I am saying.

Rather than agreeing with that student, I brought up another point.

I mentioned that as a teacher, my personal feeling is to listen to my students before I consider seeking out another path for them. Set me give two examples of learning from students as a teacher.

My first example was a student that I had as a Gateway instructor.

My student was 93 years young.

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Her memory was still sharp, as she could look at a face and place a name with that face. Apparently, she was the one person in the family who remembered names to faces, all the way back to the Civil War. She wanted to learn how to use her computer to scan old family photos (some of which were fading to white), that were disintegrating from age in her garage. She was going to be my sole student for the day, her family dropped her off in my classroom while I was preparing my presentation board for the class. They told me that she had never seen a computer. I reassured them that she would be fine and went back to finish up my work.

I remember glancing up to see her peer at the computer, get up and look at the rear of the computer. My last glance was seeing her return to her seat. Not a moment later, I heard a faint tapping from her area. Tap, tap, tap. I looked over for a moment to see her sitting quietly at her desk, so I went back to work. Tap, tap, tap. I looked around, my curiosity piqued, when I noticed movement going on from underneath her desk. There, to my surprise was the mouse which had been “stationed” on a mouse pad on her desk now on the floor, her foot pressing on the mouse was the sound of the tapping.

“No, wait,” I said, as I motioned for her to rise up, so that I could return the mouse back to its position on the desk. Later, as I told the story to my manager, he laughed, telling me that she must have thought the computer worked like a sewing machine. My lesson? We are comfortable with the technology that we grow up with. When technology changes, it makes no difference to us…we expect the new technology to work just like the old technology used to. Therefore, if the new technology does not work like what we are comfortable with, we become uncomfortable using the new technology.

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My second lesson was with another student, an 8 year-old girl. She was with a large group that day, so I remember becoming a bit flustered. She would do what I asked everyone to do, but then would take off with the mouse on her own, (as if she were thinking, “Ooh! What’s this?”) I would cover something else and her mouse would move somewhere else again, as if to say, “ooh! What’s that?” In my eyes then, I felt she was my worst student, but she seemed to learn more than anyone else in the room. I realized then, that the best way to learn is to have fun. If a teacher is good enough to impart passion about what they are teaching, it makes learning fun. It also makes it easier to remember what you have learned.

So, I have related what I have learned from my teachers. I have had countless great teachers as a teacher.

What I tell my students is that I look forward to every class. Every student is unique, possessing their own set of problems for me to resolve.

There is no patience for me to lose, since I expect to learn from them.

WordPress and Plugins

Plugins, plugins, plugins.

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If you are working with WordPress, it’s a good bet that you have a number of plugins installed into your website. If you’re not working with WordPress, or you just don’t know about WordPress, a plugin is an add-on that you can include to your site. a plugin can be for any kind of use you can think of. It could be a database that you want to include with your site. There are plugins that allow you to sell from your site. There are plugins that offer security for your site. The list of plugins and uses are endless. At the time of this writing, there are 42,391 plugins for WordPress.

I personally feel that plugins constitute the “working” part of your website.

20151105_165219When you initially create a WordPress website, you have to install what is known as a theme. If you need to wrap your head around what I am talking about, think of your computer.

WordPress would be the Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) of your computer.

(We are talking bare bones here, folks). Like your computer, it is a part of your site that you really don’t see much of. WordPress itself, is an intricacy of your site that requires a lot of programming knowledge.

The theme is the foundation of your site.

The theme is akin to your Operating System…so imagine Windows or OS X. The theme starts as a template that you can modify or customize.

The plugin is the enhancement to the site.

So, analogous to the computer, picture the software applications that you add to your own computer. Just like software, some plugins are free, some are not so free.

Of course, there are a few things you want to remember.

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WordPress itself, is constantly being improved (just like Windows or OS X). Many of the improvements made to WordPress may affect the plugins that you have installed into your site. So, just like the problems that you might have with a Windows-based computer, if your software is not updated to match the new operating system that you are using, it may not work right on your computer. And like old software that is no longer compatible with your operating system, old plugins that are no longer compatible with WordPress can cause crashes to your site, the same as old software in Windows can cause that “blue screen of death”.

I find myself constantly refining my plugins.

Speed and ease of use is critical to 5Artz. Therefore, I am always refining what plugins I am featuring on the site. I am constantly testing what I am installing as well. My objective for the 5Artz site is to ensure that all the best tools I can offer for our members are incorporated into the site. Eventually, we may need to go to something else, or even have our website recreated from the ground up. For now though, we are using WordPress and WordPress plugins, extending the functionality and value of 5Artz to its members.

 

 

My latest videos to the 5Artz site

My latest videos are being added to the 5Artz site. Just a few more to go…

Update:

I just found out that the video that I had created for the Musician’s page was copied from one of Disney’s latest releases. That will not do. The purpose of 5Artz is not to support plagiarism of any kind, but to feature new, original material.

This video will be featured on the Musicians page until I create or receive an original with permission of its owner.

This video will be added to the Performing Artist/Voice Over page.

The Importance of Reading and Writing

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A colleague and I recently discussed a disturbing trend that we noticed.

Many people we meet are out of work. They tell us one thing: “I need to work, NOW.” Although we are able to place many of them, there are some who find getting work a daunting task. We have discovered more and more of our customers have problems using computers to copy and paste into a resume template. The problem most often is not the ability to use the computer. Though we do, in fact, have people walk in the door not knowing how to use a mouse. The problem has been in comprehending how to use the template we provide.

We have examined the process we use to produce a resume.

We are finding that the issue is an inability to read. As a teacher of computer use, I find this trend disturbing.

Average prose, document and quantative literacy scores of adults: 1992 and 2003

To conform to today’s culture, one must align themselves with technology. As the call for artisans with skills in physical areas wanes, while the demand for multi-skilled technological artisans with is rising. If one is going to be successful in the general marketplace, one needs some kind of technical skill, or at least ability to learn quickly. If one cannot read, or lacks the necessary skills to learn on their own, the world looms more like a mountain to climb, rather than an oyster to be picked. The disparagement is that with such a huge database of knowledge at their fingertips, many people who do not possess these skills are sadly out of touch with our world today, and feeling displaced.

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There are so many sites on the web to help anyone with reading problems. People have created YouTube videos at no cost to anyone.

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Since I know of these sites, one can guess what I tell students who have reading problems. Some of them avail themselves of the information, some do not. All of my students, feel that they need to work now. They do not have time to teach themselves how to read because they need to put food on the table. You may wonder how these people survived as adults. The answer is that many relied on other skills that they possessed. Some worked in construction, others in more physical professions. When I was attending college classes to earn my Masters Degree in Education, I remember one of my classmates was incapable of writing a finished paper. Yet, this classmate felt confident of becoming a physical education teacher. Any successful teacher will tell you that one must continually perfect their teaching skills and understand that meticulous attention to data collection in the form of testing, evaluation and standardization is critical to maintaining student progress.

I’m not going to bash teachers. Marred with political and professional roadblocks, the job of any teacher is difficult. I believe that the person who is unable to read or write, successful in skirting the system and hired as a teacher, could adversely affect students by demonstrations of unwillingness to improve themselves as a teacher.

We should all be learning.

Keeping records of students is not enough. It is a teacher’s job to continue to learn, approach the web every day, to read the latest news, sports, entertainment and technological advances.

Dr. Michio Kaku has become one of my favorite authors.  I follow sites such as: Kickstarter and Indiegogo religiously to see the cool stuff that people are creating. I visit the trending section of YouTube daily to see what is new, consult with LinkedIn daily to see what is being posted. Everything I am involved in is about keeping up with current events. At night, I devote at least half an hour to reading the classics. Literature, i.e: Maugham, Orwell, Chaucer or Shakespeare.

So, how can we as a culture stop this trend toward lack of reading ability?

The answer is simple. If you are a parent, read to your child. If you do not know how to read, get a book, one that is donated and make the effort. If you are making the effort to read to your child and cannot, you will find that your mere effort to read will most likely spur your child to develop and read to you. If you are an adult with reading or comprehension problems, I have provided links to several sources in this post. If you are unable to follow any of those links, your local school system or college should have programs in place to help you achieve your reading goals.

Developing feelings of foreboding and fear

I have reached a point in my story, where I want to elicit a feeling of foreboding, perhaps even fear from my reader. How can I do it? How can I bring out that feeling? Some authors or writers might suggest that I am using a foreshadowing technique. All creative writers who want to introduce some kind of conflict within the boundaries of their story approach this differently. I for example, am one of those writers who would rather slap you in the face with that fear or foreboding.

My answer to resolve this dilemma (for now), is to blatantly slap you in the face with an emotional tag that states, “Look! My character is in fear!” Sometimes, allowing the character to feel and speak a bit can give you a resulting chill down your back.

*               *             *

Pyridee shivered. Her voice a bare whisper.

“I’ve a feeling that this place just waits for bad dreams to give life to spirits that haunt the path before us.”

Rosenet looked to her, his eyes rolling a bit as he snorted and whinnied.

“By the Gods, I’ve had the same feeling since we entered this tunnel,” the pitch of the unicorn’s voice echoing among craggy walls.

Humbalt had the same feeling as the unicorn…as if they were being watched…something slipping past them again and again. Dark whispers seemed to echo from the walls of the cave as the four progressed further and further into the endless depths.

*               *             *

Notice how I am using positive words like “progress” that rail against a prevailing stronger negative prose. The use of an ellipsis can also bring about feelings of hesitation or doubt, adding to the effect.

*               *             *

“Things are finally beginning to look…”

A cracking sound interrupted Pyridee from the right—a dim shadow that seemed to waver to the left. Rosenet’s neck hairs rose a bit, as fright crept into his bones, leaving a shiver that coursed through his body.

*               *             *

This break in the tone of my characters now allows me to introduce a new character into the story. Now, in my story, I have one major protagonist, named “Sahame”. However, I am interspersing each chapter with what I call a sub-protagonist, a character to challenge my group.

*               *             *

“Heh! Heh! Heh!”

A chuckle issued forth from the shadow, a grim raspy sort of sound, more akin to Egarot’s rumble.

“Welcome to the Land of Eternal Night,” the voice grated ruefully.

“Where the blind lead the blind and nothing seems right.”

“W-well, wh-who are you?”

Humbalt’s voice quavered with fear, the syllables barely a discernable whimper.

“I am the king of all you cannot see,” the voice grated.

“Those who fear me, call me Golendor. And those who revere me know that I am the Lord of Loneil-Aveness.”

A form emerged from the shadows. Small, yet rangy and tough, the group looked upon the withered silhouette of a dwarf.

“Who are you, daring to break the boundaries of my domain?”

The dwarf stepped forward a bit closer into the light.

“We only seek a way around the walls of fire to the east, the desert to the west, and the high mountains of glass to the north.”

Egarot’s voice grated as roughly as the dwarf, the griffon craning his head forward a bit, straining to make out the minute features of the dwarf’s face.

“We are passers-by, nothing more. We only seek shelter from the evil magic of Sahame.”

A chuckle welled up from deep within Golendor’s throat.

“Sahame, eh?” he said with mirth.

“And how long has he been chasing the four of you? I understood that his only prize was you, unicorn. Your kind has been his bane for what seems…ever.”

Pyridee gave Rosenet a quick prod in his side.

“He only took interest in us the past few moons,” she replied.

Golendor’s eyes seemed to light with glee.

“You know, the last unicorn he chased had a price on his head…one that many would consider worthy of the opportunity to hand it over to Sahame. Why should this time not be so different?”

Pyridee stepped between Golendor and Rosenet.

“We do not know why Sahame pursues us, Lord Golendor. All we ask is to rest this night, and leave when day breaks.”

Golendor brought his full form in view.

“Have ye not noticed lass?” he rumbled. “

Dawn does not break here in Loneil-Aveness; only the dark awaits any who venture forth here. It would take a misstep from one of you in one of these caverns to fall to your doom.”

Pyridee took a moment to look more closely at the dwarf while he spoke. His face was neither smudged nor dirty like most dwarves she’d seen in the past. He was dressed in elfin-blue, looking more like an elf of the land of faerie. But strangely, his head was too big for its frame. Puzzlement now entered her mind. What kind of creature was Golendor?

“Very well, good travelers,” he rasped.

“I will shelter you from the unseen horrors this night as you ask. But what I demand in return is that you dine with us in my great banquet hall. It is but a small penance to pay in return for my offer of hospitality.”

Pyridee did not know what it was about the dwarf, but there was something about him that she just did not trust. Feeling Egarot’s head brushing her waistcoat, she felt glad that the griffon was next to her.

*               *             *

Here is where I will break from the new character introduction to bounce back to the feeling of foreboding and fear that I introduced in the beginning of my chapter. I have now given you something to fear. Nothing bad has happened to my characters yet. But you are feeling that there is something inherently wrong, something inherently dark and dangerous about this new character. My last step in my process is to close up the introduction with…a cliffhanger.

*               *             *

Something felt very wrong. Pyridee could not deduce what the problem was, but could feel that there was something amiss, a kind of feeling down in the pit of her gut, a wariness that refused to leave her. Even knowing that Egarot was next to her, she felt that he was in fact, not next to her. She felt alone…very alone.

Making a book come alive

In my continuing pledge to pick up the reins of my work, I decided to share some age-old techniques that can help your characters tell your story. When I originally wrote the story, I used what is known as a “stream of consciousness” style of writing. In other words, I did not use the rules of grammar:

actors“Because we probably would be wandering these caves until we died of hunger,” Egarot replied.  “Have you not noticed that no matter which way we turn, we either head into a passage that ends in a rock wall, or a direction that never ends?  It is obvious that we are lost.”  Rosenet turned to face Egarot.  “But you said that you had been here before,” he whinnied.  “Yes,” Egarot replied.  “But I do not remember these caves running so deep within the mountains.  It was a short walk that led to a desert on the other side.” Humbalt turned to the griffon.  “A desert? The tunnels led from a desert out to another desert?”  The griffon laughed.  “There was a small area, sparse with trees and a large pool of water.  I did not know if it would still be there, but I could smell water somewhere before I entered the cave.  Let us press forward, my nose still tells me there is water nearby.”  Too tired to argue with the griffon, Humbalt turned around and pressed forward, his eyes straining in the darkness ahead. They had been traveling for what seemed like days, every smoothed wall beginning to look the same as the next when they found the lighted cave.

  *          *          *

So, to allow my characters to better tell the story, I will separate the voice of each character by portraying an action with their voice while minimizing redundancy in the prose:

“Because we probably would be wandering these caves until we died of hunger,” Egarot replied.

“Have you not noticed that no matter which way we turn, we either head into a passage that ends in a rock wall, or a direction that never ends?  It is obvious that we are lost.”

Rosenet whinnied, turning to face Egarot.

“But you said that you had been here before.”

“Yes,” Egarot looked ahead.

“But I do not remember these caves running so deep within the mountains.  It was a short walk that led to a desert on the other side.”

Humbalt turned to the griffon.

“A desert? The tunnels led from a desert out to another desert?”

The griffon laughed.

“There was a small area, sparse with trees and a large pool of water.  I did not know if it would still be there, but I could smell water somewhere before I entered the cave.  Let us press forward, my nose still tells me there is water nearby.”

Too tired to argue with the griffon, the group turned around and pressed forward, their eyes straining in the darkness ahead. They had been traveling for what seemed like days, every smoothed wall beginning to look the same as the next when they found the lighted cave.

  *          *          *

Now what I have is no longer a clump of words, but the makings of a story. By separating action from the voice, I am allowing my characters to tell the tale.

Fighting the Good Fight

Update: This is a post that I had drafted 2 years ago. I decided to update the post, since she has survived her ordeal.

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Lessons Learned: If cancer strikes you or your family, understand that regardless of what you may read on the web, the chances of survival continue to improve for us all. Yes, people still succumb to the disease, but hope, prayer and a good positive attitude can’t hurt.

We live in Las Vegas, Nevada. My wife received treatment from our cancer center network, here in Las Vegas. I’ll admit that I was skeptical. Everything I was reading about her condition stated that her chances were not good. We had a great physician, well-known specialists in Nevada and with their help, she pulled through.

8.dont-give-up-dont-ever-give-upThere is nothing more painful and fearful than facing the possibility of losing someone so dear to you to cancer. But it is important for you not to give up…ever. You must be the island that they depend on. You must be their cheerleader. No matter how glum your world may seem, no matter how dark the path, you must light the way with cheerfulness, a positive outlook and confidence that they will be a survivor. No matter if you truly believe it or not. Do not allow any negative thoughts to enter your relationship. As long as they are with you, there is no need to suffer. There is only time to fight the good fight.

5 years is the end goal for us.

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5 years of no cancer showing up in her body. We have cleared our first year since the treatment, 2 years since the initial diagnosis. We have some scares every now and then…a blood test showing tumor markers. Then it is back to conducting scans just to make sure. The result comes back clear. We and the doctor breathe a sigh of relief…the blood test must be an aberrant result.

So, we live life normally again.

We go back every few months for her checkup, and I get to breathe easier, comfortable in the knowledge that my wife is here with me. All is right with the world, until the next blood test. Yes, we could face a recurrence of cancer, but it has not happened.

When you are dealing with the insidious, you cannot bend, you cannot break.

You have no choice, but to arm yourself with open eyes, open heart and hope.

*              *              *

Back in February 2014, I took my wife into the emergency room for back pains that she was suffering.

The pain was so intense, that she was crying uncontrollably.  After an X-Ray and an MRI scan, the ER doctor came into the ward, and told us that her blood sugar was 380, and she was suffering from diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).  Then the doctor let the hammer down on us. She went on to say that there were tumors all over her abdominal cavity.

My wife was stunned.

She works in the oncology ward of a major hospital here where we live, and knew a heck of a lot more than I did about what the doctor had just told us.

We didn’t know what to say.

My wife, being herself, cursed her ex-husband, stating “Why couldn’t this happen to him?”

During our stay in the hospital, we were told that we needed to see a gyn-oncology (or gyn-onc) specialist to evaluate my wife’s condition. We agreed to it, scheduling her for a biopsy of the

On May 12, 2014 I was told that my wife has Stage IV Endometrial cancer.

This was after an operation, performed by one of the best gynecologists in the state of Nevada.

Since then, I have been conducting my own research.

I have found that the survival rate of stage IV Endometrial cancer is grim. I have also found that cancer can spread to the bones.

I am very worried at this point, that I might lose the very person who means everything in the world to me. My love, my life, the woman who changed me.

 

Reviewing Old Chapters: The Process of Editing

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  I have started the ever-tedious process of going through my old chapters before creating any new material. I highly recommend this technique to anyone who is creating any new material.

So far, I have found paragraph errors, single line errors and a few errors in punctuation. It is critical that you ensure whatever you are writing is grammatically ready for press. There is no excuse for laziness, when composing anything for sale.

I have also been glancing furtively at my use of language in my story. I’m pleased with the exchanges between the characters at times, but I do find certain areas where the conversation between them gets lost at times. Conversation is an important part of any book. Always remember that your characters are the ones telling the story, not you.

Lastly, save copies. Save, save, save. Redundancy is the key to success.

5Artz, A New Website for the Millenium

We have become a world culture that perceives it has no leisure time.

Out of Print” is a documentary produced by Morton Denn and directed by Vivienne Roumani. If you have not seen it, I highly recommend watching it. The film highlights my fears and those of many writers in the world. I think I can feel pretty safe in saying that there are probably a large number of writers and others (musicians, photographers, artists, voice over professionals) who are afraid that the ability of anyone to make a living creatively has been jeopardized by the expectations of anything in writing being free of charge on the world wide web.

It is my opinion that there are very creative artists who want to earn a living creatively.

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The look of the new 5Artz website


5Artz will be an online website featuring a store and mobile app that promotes what used to be known as the “short piece” or short story. For writers, short stories were compact creations of prose that elicited an emotion of one kind or another. Creating compact prose has become an art form, generally recognized in the form of an award.

Regretfully, many new writers do not even know these awards exist.

Perhaps the truest form of an award for a writer would be the willingness of a perfect stranger to purchase what they have created, demonstrating that their work has merit, or value. The recognition that a new writer could receive would be that the words they are creating are so valuable, that someone is willing to pay for their work.

The mission of 5Artz is to promote new creative talent via a mobile app.

Part of my therapy in getting my life back to where it should be, getting my stories out for all to enjoy, will be in sharing this blog on and about 5Artz, the site I am attempting to create for all creative souls in the world.

As a creative artist, I know how many other people have been sidetracked by the rigors of life.

There are people who have hobbies that will never see the light of day. They want to make a living doing what they love doing the most. I am talking about writing their heart out, baring their soul in visual expressions, painting pictures with light, expressing their highs and lows in life with song, or dramatically expressing themselves as other people, other characters in worlds we have not comprehended yet. The dream of 5Artz is to allow not “A”-listers, but “B”-listers, “C”-listers even you would consider “F”-listers to take a chance on themselves and learn how to become creative professionals and sell their work via phone app to a growing group of buyers, namely commuters.

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A graphic illustration of many new creative artists today.

There nothing like the site I am creating.

At the time of this writing, there are probably thousands of existing websites for hopeful artists to perfect their respective crafts, which  are fantastic places to visit. I highly recommend visiting all of them. 5Artz will be a site that compliments, not competes with existing websites for creative talent on the web. What I am creating is a site that capitalizes on the business that I learned as a novice writer so many years ago, and as a person who participated in online games. I believe there are features we can introduce from online gaming sites which could be incorporated into a creative site. A site dedicated to the democratization and freedom of creative expression, rather than something that fills a more conservative void; censored by the site owner.

The vision I would like to introduce is a community-run website that supports creativity of individual members, policed by its members and is self-sufficient.

In order to be self-sufficient, it cannot be a free site. It must have some way of supporting itself in order to add more tools, provide mentors and bolster its mobile app to survive. It will cost $3.99 per member each month to satisfy this need. Like the gaming world, as the demands of members become more intense to accommodate rising professional needs, we will create higher tiered memberships, which will feature better, more expensive tools.

 

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A visual concept of the 5Artz mission – courtesy of http://www.Istockphoto.com.

The site will grow with its members.

Members will vote on any new additions to the site. If members feel that something is not needed, it will not be added. Therefore, the website will be community-run, all monies collected in member fees used to pay for staffing, upgrades, tools and maintenance. In short, the more members the site attracts, the more tools will be added to the site.

5Artz will feature short pieces of work.

Each member will agree (in writing) to sell their finished short pieces for no more than $1.00 (USD). Why no more than the price I just quoted? Because I feel that in this day and age, the general populace find that purchasing something new and creative for $1.00 or less is more than equitable. The price is adequate, and can introduce the world to new talent, regardless of age, race, creed or gender.

So, if I’m only selling for $1.00 (USD) or less, how would I make money?

5Artz members will have a choice of selling their work through a free mobile app (that can be created with security options). The really cool idea about selling via a free mobile app is that members could be the very people marketing the free app. You can answer this hypothetical question. So, if we have 100,000 members, even 10,000 members pushing this app on their respective Facebook  pages or other social media websites, could we conceivably get people to download and use the app?

Yes, we could.

Word-of-mouth travels rather quickly, so imagine the app being downloaded by 1,000,000 (that’s 1 million folks) people. If you are a member and able to capture just 1% (one percent) of those users every month, how much are you earning as a creative individual? Let’s do the math: 1,000,000 x 1% equals 10,000 (if you can’t figure this out, I have provided you with a link). So, can you survive on the possibility of earning $10,000.00 (USD) per month as a creative artist? The beauty of this equation is that if you are an enterprising individual, you would create salable material every month that links to the previous short piece you created (this works for musicians, photographers, artists and voice over professionals), also working in something that leaves your new fan to salivate over your next piece the coming month. Create 12 pieces over a year, and a writer has the makings of a book, an artist or photographer; the makings for a portfolio, the musician the songs to create an album and the voice over artist, enough material for either a play or movie.

Short work is already gaining popularity.

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The marriage of pen and keyboard.

Flash fiction has become a popular form of prose writing. It is quick, terse and conforms to the average needs of today’s mobile culture. Many times however, it is free. 5Artz is being created as a hopeful link between those who wish to develop a career creatively. The website will focus on a short story for a writer, one visual panel for an artist, one photograph for a photographer, one song for a musician or one short 5-minute audio piece for a voice over professional. The beauty of 5Artz is that the writer can have the freedom to express themselves in whatever method they choose.

A community that works together: 5Artz.

The 5Artz community (members) will have the opportunity to work with them, and those of us running the site will have the opportunity to ensure that the written work is placed in the correct genre (I will ensure that adult-rated material is placed in the proper adult-rated slots). I have worked for (and will continue to work for) Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Inc. and learned a valuable life lesson from my mentors.

NEVER CENSOR contributed work.

I will make it clear right now, that 5Artz will NEVER censor any contributed work. That work includes political, religious or work that may seem offensive to certain groups. It will however, be placed in specific categories, so that you the buyer, know what the work is about, so that you can make a sound buying decision before you make the purchase. Our work will be categorized in alphabetical order, with the community members and 5Artz staff creating new categories as they are needed. Work will then be reorganized as needs arise.

Any changes made to the 5Artz website will be known to the community.

All modifications to the site will be voted on by the community as much as possible. There may be certain changes that are necessary, but the objective of the 5Artz staff will be to ensure that the site is not only beautifully aesthetic, but simple and functional.

Gavel from Everystockphoto
A community staffed with legal professionals

Perhaps the greatest challenge for the website will be legal problems or fears regarding breaches of security or intellectual property disputes. All members will agree to mediation regarding intellectual property rights and problems that could arise from disputed claims of trademark or copyright infringement. 5Artz will employ a legal staff and mediators to work with members in resolving these issues through a support link.

5Artz will be the first creative website to house voice chat capability.

Imagine being able to collaborate with other people (creative artists) in projects where your finished product pays you both equally. The cool thing is that you were able to work out your collaboration verbally. The site would have a collaboration link set up, with online tools for you to create, develop, modify and finally submit salable, polished work for the mobile app for sale.

I have laid out my basic skeleton for the site.

We already have members on our original website: The Forum for Creative Innovation, and have already decided to eventually move the site and members over to the 5Artz site. We have not decided whether or not we will maintain the site yet, but it is something we will eventually kick around with our 5Artz community. In the meantime, we hope that you enjoy our short videos that we will be presenting for our initial crowdfunding campaign to raise awareness and hopefully recruit new members for the site.

 

Time to Start the New Year Correctly…

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I have been too long, not writing to this blog and this trend stops now.

When I started this blog, it was an attempt to record what events in my life contributed to ideas for books that I was working on. Those books are still not done, interrupted by my wife’s cancer, my teaching and my efforts to create an innovate website, now known as 5Artz. I am also guilty of playing online games.

I have concluded that I am allowing minor and major diversions of my life to prevent me from using my singular talent: writing. That will stop…now.

Therefore, I will digress for a moment to 1973.

clearmicI was 17 years young. I was a disc jockey on KOLY…part of a high school radio club. I very opinionated on the air, I dreamed of a future world filled with flying cars, space travel, rock and roll music, interspersed with an occasional adventure or two. NO ONE could tell me that I was wrong about anything.

Fast forward to our present day.

Rock and roll music is here to stay. Flying cars are still in development; maybe this will be our year. I did the adventuring thing in the U.S. Navy for 20 years, travelling everywhere in the world except Europe and space travel is still a pipe dream of a select few. I am very humbled when it comes to personal opinion, discovering that my opinion may not necessarily be right. But I have, on occasion, been correct in my summation about certain personalities and/or events to occur.

cropped-cropped-sundaybest.jpgDoing the math, I have just figured out that I am 59 years old.

Cathleen Teague and DadI am approaching the magic 60-year old mark. I’m pretty lucky as 60 year-old men go. I have all my hair, no dentures, very few wrinkles and can still get it up. (Yes ladies, men even think about the ability to act out “procreation techniques” at my age…) I am battling the ever-increasing fight with flab and weight, pondering whether I should visit one of those companies that advertises “new male treatments” to shed what I have been accumulating for the past 20-odd years.

In short, I have become lazy in my personal life.

Classroom1When I teach a class, my world changes. Lately, I have not been teaching as much as I would like. As a result, I have attempted to replace my world with other pastimes. The worst of those replacements have been online games. Online gaming has become a way for many of us to cope with changes in our environment. We use those games as a bucket list to replace feelings of boredom or not accomplishing our real world dreams. What I have allowed the online games to do, is to replace my dreams of becoming a published author. That method of escape changes as of today.

A year ago I lost the most valuable piece of technology to me.

My hard drive crashed. On that hard drive was a major story that I had been working on since 1987. Please understand that I have plenty of backup copies of my story, but what I lost was a finalized, salable copy, polished  with the help of my mentor, Bill Guthrie. The copies that I possess are all prior to my work with Bill. When I lost that hard drive, all of my hopes in finalizing the work died with it.

I am guilty of allowing myself to give up.

I am freely admitting that I allowed myself to give up my quest to become a published writer. That feeling will now be destroyed, by me. I know better. I know that allowing a setback of any kind is not in the vocabulary of any entrepreneurial spirit. I proved to myself long ago, that I have that spirit, and will soldier on, like I have been doing for the past 59 years.

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For the next year, I will be working to complete the book and get it published.

If you are interested in how my stories were started, you will be able to access my old posts to this weblog to discover where many of my characters came from in real life.