Living The Revolution

I apologize for being away from this site for a few weeks, but honestly, things have been hectic lately, and some of that isn’t such a bad thing, but I’ll be updating you on a few more things as the week progresses, but today, I want to put the focus on a big project that’s been finished for a while, almost a month actually. Now, when I say finished, it’s not really finished, but again, that’s not such a bad thing, and I’ll explain as I go on.

When I started this freelancing thing full-time, I knew I’d be going in a lot of different directions, especially at the start. I search for the right websites and jobs to tackle, and some I love doing, some I like doing, and some I absolutely despise, and those are the ones that you don’t ever see. This is where I’m writing product descriptions and researching for other people and menial tasks that aren’t that riveting to discuss. It’s not ideal, but people pay money for that. Am I going to throw those updates on here or on my other website? No, because there’s certainly no point to doing that right now. The people that need to see it are the ones that see it, but I’m not going to waste your day with that. Most of you probably didn’t even know I was doing things like that until right now. No, it’s not overly interesting work, but I knew going into this that I’d have to do some things like that at the start until things take off for me, and things are starting to move in the right direction, but this is the reality of where I’m at right now. I’m sure some of you may think that just because I work from home and write some sports articles or some entertainment articles and things of that nature and get paid a little money for it, I must be living the dream. No, it’s not at that point yet, and it may never be, but overall, I am enjoying what I do, and as I said before, I’ll bring you some more updates as the week goes on. I didn’t even intend to write this much on that subject today, but I wanted you to be aware that I am doing some different things than what I had intended, and this particular project I took on was an absolute blast.

This website is both an experiment and “in progress.” A much published and recognized author, Cinda is pleased to have the opportunity to branch out in new directions.

As to poetry, “Planting” was included in the national PBS Special “Grow Old Along With Me” (Maryland Public Broadcasting/Leonardo’s Children), featuring Richard Kylie and Julie Harris. Her work—poetry, short stories, memoirs– has been included in many anthologies, including the more than six-million-copies-sold best seller,When I Am An Old Woman, I Shall Wear Purple. Both published and unpublished work are included on the website—but much is published and credited on the Credits Page. All is finished and has often been included in juried works, public presentations, workshops, and more will be added as collections are printed and in demand.

As an author, Cinda has received awards and grants from many, including the Peoria Area Arts Council/Illinois Arts Council, Lannan Foundation, Writers Live at the Library/Lila Wallace Reader’s Digest Fund, Writer’s Digest, among many others. She received her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona in Tucson, and her B.A. in English from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.

Now living with her husband and animal friends in Peoria, Cinda Thompson is a native of far Southern Illinois, whose ancestors immigrated from Kentucky, Tennessee, and beyond. She has taught all age groups, and worked for years in the textbook publishing industry. Cinda has held many “lesser jobs.” She came of age when becoming “a hippie” was the norm, and civil rights, as well as the war in Vietnam, wasthe biggest issue on “the table.” This was true locally and nationally.

A family history rich in coal mining, union organizing, as well as the student revolution and feminism inform Cinda’s work, as does the changing life of the family. She is interested in the lives of women and men, the power of relationships, and the spiritual journey of each individual. Cinda believes that the personal is political and vice-versa.

Namaste.

This is the “About” page for Living the Revolution, a website dedicated to the writing of Cinda Thompson. She is an extremely talented award-winning author and poet. She also happens to be my aunt.

Nearly a year ago, I helped her start her own blog, Diabetes: A Life Sentence?, which chronicles her 50+ year journey as a Type 1 diabetic. In starting this blog, she hoped to raise awareness about this terrible disease by writing on her experiences over the years. When she came to me to help her get this things started, I was happy to help out. It’s not the easiest thing in the world to create a website, and at this point, I’d only created this website, but I wanted to help. I knew she would bring some amazing insight and I wanted to be a part of it. She laid out what she wanted and soon after, type1ct.com went live. Since its inception, the site has done quite well, and I still stay involved with it, getting the new posts out when she’s ready to put out some new material.

It was a few months later that I created another website for myself, LukeNorris.net, which is my professional website that not only serves as a place where people looking for writing services can go to find out about what it is I can do for them, but it also serves as sort of a house for my body of work, my own personal cloud if you will. Every single thing I’ve ever written is on that site in the “Recent Work” section, including all of the pieces I’ve written for this site. Well, Cinda seemed to love that concept, and came to me with a new idea. She’s been writing for decades and decades, but has never really had a “web presence” as she puts it, and was looking to expand her reach, so we got to work.

Having designed a few websites now, I took a lot of time thinking about how I wanted this to look. I’ll be honest, Cinda is not a fancy person, so I wanted something simple, but I also wanted it to look elegant. This didn’t need to be flashy at all, so I tinkered around a bit, but finally ended up with the look you’ll see on the website, and I’m really happy with how it turned out. I added a few pictures, and a sidebar with a little “About the Author” kind of thing, but the real content is inside. Sure, you can have a nice-looking website, but if the material isn’t there, then you have nothing. Obviously, this is where the heart of the website is. Off and on, I spent nearly a month adding the content that Cinda has spent years and years creating. From her beautiful poetry to her wonderful short stories to her powerful memoirs, we sat side by side going over each and every piece together, and it was absolutely amazing.

From a technical standpoint, this really was a lot of work. It’s not just copy and paste and you’re done. The spacing has to be just right. The look has to be just right. The font has to be just right. There’s a lot that goes into something like this, and I spent a lot of time putting this together, but she seems to be pleased with it. From a personal standpoint, it was an extremely rewarding experience. Did I get paid to do this? Of course I did. Things like this are what I do to put food on the table for my children and a roof over their head. Did she get a family discount? Of course she did. But that’s not even the point here. For one, I found that putting together something like this is just one more thing that I’ve found that I enjoy doing. We started with nothing and now there’s this amazing place to go to read some outstanding pieces of writing. Beyond even that, I got to spend time with her as we edited and published these things together. I got to read some work of hers that I didn’t even know existed until recently, and I can’t stress enough how great her writing is. By doing this, I realize that I’ve got some work to do to get on her level, but I’m so honored to know that she thought enough of me to put this project in my hands. Somebody that was featured in an anthology that sold millions of copies is asking my opinion on her work, and that kind of experience has no monetary value whatsoever. We have different styles, but at the end of the day, we are both writers, and I’m truly lucky to have her to learn from.

With all of that being said, the real point here is to go and check out the website. Once again, it’s called Living the Revolution, and you can find it at www.cindathompsonwriting.com. If you’re a real reader, then you will absolutely love what you find there. I’ve always been a big fan of poetry, and I can attest that it is fantastic. The memoirs are truly outstanding, and the short stories are written about the real things in life. As you read these things, you’ll understand what I’m talking about, and trust me, all you’ll want to do at the end of each piece is start the next one, and after a lot of time and effort, you can now do that with just a simple click.

 

 

Look What I Found

If you read The 2015 State of The Luke Norris Address, then you know that I’ve decided to devote my time and energy to really give this writing thing a shot. I can’t begin to express the gratitude I feel towards those of you who have sent along your kind words and support. Throughout these first few weeks since making the decision, I’ve gone back and forth on whether or not this is the right thing to do, but I recently came across something that let me know that it truly is.

I only had one copy of the first book I was ever published in back in 2003, which I signed and gave to my mother. In a recent visit, I picked it up to take a look at it, which I hadn’t done in a long time. Next to my poem, “Divinity“, I read the quote I gave to the publisher to stand next to my work. This is what I wrote twelve years ago:

“My feelings and opinions may be different than everybody else’s, but they certainly are mine and writing is a way to convey them to the world. From love to hate to happiness to sadness, I’ll write about anything as long as I feel it’s important to me. It may be a million to one shot for me to make it with this, but that doesn’t stop me from writing because simply put, I love to do it. Maybe it’s just my opinion, but when you love something that much, you don’t just give up.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself. Wait, what? Anyway, reading this only reaffirmed that I’m making the right choice. I let my passion slip away once and I won’t let that happen again. With that being said, I’ve got some big news coming later in the week. Stay tuned, folks. You’re about to see a lot more of me.

 

‘Twas The Night I Wrote A Letter To Santa

LukeSanta

‘Twas the night before Christmas, as I sat in my house

Writing a letter to Santa, this is how it came out:

Dear Santa, I know that you’re busy, but I just need a minute

First, I don’t want to know a world that doesn’t have you in it.

The rosy cheeks, the cherry nose, the merry dimples

Take me back to a time when life was so simple.

So full of joy, that bowl full of jelly,

” But Santa’s not real” is what they continue to tell me.

But I’ll always believe, maybe that’s just me

I suppose this is when I tell you what I need.

I don’t really need presents, but this is the thing

What I really want are things you can’t bring.

I want to stop being sad every time my kids go,

I want to forgive myself for the things no one knows.

I want to forget some of the things that I’ve seen,

From tears to a last breath and things in between.

I don’t want pity, and I don’t want to be too sappy

But all that I want is for people to be happy.

I think I’ve been a good boy, and believe me when I say

That’s all people want at the end of the day.

But please don’t think that I don’t have it good,

I’ve got people that love me, as everybody should.

I’ve got bills that are paid, a roof and a floor,

I’ve got a job and a car, and oh so much more.

But some people don’t, and this is what I ask,

Can you take care of them, is that an easy enough task?

There’s people that I know that deserve so much more,

Whether it’s love or just a break, is that so much to ask for?

I know it’s not your job to provide these things,

But maybe some hope is what you could bring

To those who need you, because overall, I don’t,

And to those who tell me to stop believing, I won’t.

So as my daughters sleep in their beds tonight, go ahead and pass us by,

I’ll take care of things down here, just go to those who cry.

I raise my glass to you, good sir, as you ride with such delight,

Merry Christmas to all, here’s to the good life.

 

 

 

 

Divinity

I was thinking today that 2013 is the 10th anniversary of my first publication. It was a poem that I wrote that got published in a poetry collection in 2003. Some of you have read it, but most haven’t. Hope you enjoy it.

DIVINITY

I think sometimes and I don’t understand
The belief simply known as God’s divine plan.
The span of eternity already foreseen
Each person a destiny, but what does that mean?
Because I look sometimes and I just don’t see
How divine it is to sleep in the street
Or to feel the pain, anguish and hurt
As a loved one is lowered into the dirt.
I listen sometimes to the cries and the screams
Of the children that suffer and just when it seems
That the pain is over and the agony slain
We lose again, through planning He gains.
Parents and children, this plan includes all
He even steals heroes as trade centers fall.
How far will it go? Does He even exist?
Do prayers really matter? Does the plan ever miss?
What if this plan of so-called divinity
Is the thing that created all of this sin in me?
If you wake up tomorrow, cherish your time
For your turn might be next, isn’t that divine?