Most professional creative artists are familiar with the challenge of having to sometimes divide their inspired energies between remaining focused on one area of productivity while occasionally, simultaneously, completing work in another. It was that kind of cognitive agility that allowed the music of Michael Jackson’s Xscape album compilation to reconfirm his genius in 2014, five years after his death in 2009.
It was also that kind of determined flexibility which allowed this author to remain on track with research for current literary works in progress while also publishing more articles, essays, poems, books, and blog posts throughout 2014 than previously realized. Their titles and headlines confront some of 2014’s most compelling issues, any number of which is likely to continue challenging humanity in 2015. They include the “Bring Back Our Girls” social media campaign, guerrilla decontextualization, the impact of Stand Your Ground laws on race relations in America, the cultural impact of poetry, and war and terrorism across the globe.
One important part of the reason for the sustained output was the motivation provided by invitations from administrators on LinkedIn to contribute to their Pulse News platform, which often features the work of LinkedIn “Influencers.” Responding to every invite was not possible but the infectious inspiration of certain topics proved too powerful to resist.
The List below
On top of the above, invitations to contribute poetry to the new Black Gold Anthology and to Poetry Life & Times prompted the fine-tuning of several previously-unpublished poems taken from two books of poetry, including a volume of New & Selected Works, currently in progress. So, in the course of constructing a Timeline Table of Contents for the Year 2014 going into 2015, the list below is what it looks like up to this point. For articles published in multiple segments, only the first parts are listed. Also, please note that in a few special cases some articles were republished in extended formats and these will be indicated with a second link:
Timeline Table of Contents for 2014 Going into 2015
The reference to Michael Jackson at the beginning of this article was not arbitrary. He once famously wrote and sang these words: “Every day create your history/ Every page you turn you’re writing your legacy.”
One interpretation of the classic lyric is that Jackson is suggesting an individual should live his or her daily life with the mindful intention of making a positive contribution to humanity. Another is that one should literally document specific aspects of his existence to avoid the pitfalls of guerrilla decontextualization. Both concepts are worth considering when leaving the old year behind and entering the new because both can provide tools of insight and clarity that help make it possible to identify past mistakes and do a lot better in the days ahead.
My AuthorsDen colleague Ronald Hull commented recently that I seem to have successfully managed the art of literary social media network hobnobbing (my descriptive language, not the impressively cerebral Ron’s). The compassionate behind-the-scenes team that helps me remain connected knows it has more to do with their willingness to lend an indispensable helping hand than with any techno-savvy or social-media wizardry on my part. Also, for me, it’s more like visiting diverse friends and associates in different virtual neighborhoods when time allows.
The team, however, can only do so much and some issues have to be dealt with through as much direct engagement as possible. Two big examples are the upgrade at Creative Thinkers International that has been in progress since the beginning of 2014 and the lamentable shutdown of Red Room back in July. The CTI upgrade is largely a matter of working with and adjusting to rollouts provided by the Ning/Glam Media Network. As many Ningians and members of various social networks have discovered, adapting to those rollouts can be a very tricky dance (Check out The Splendidly Revitalized Colors of Change ).
Endings & Beginnings
The Red Room shutdown was unexpected and has proven challenging for reasons that are more than sentimental. Blurbs for posts shared on Red Room were automatically shared as status updates on several Facebook profiles as well, so that distribution outlet has been lost (See The Saving Grace of an Old School Strategy and Impulse ).
There were also more links connected to books, articles, stories, poems, videos, and photographs scattered around the web than I could begin to count or think about removing on my own. They had accumulated, after all, over a period of nearly 7 years and were then rendered dysfunctional in less than a week.
Making the LinkedIn Connection
There is, however, that old saying which goes, “When one door closes another opens.” Sometimes even 2 or 3 new doors open. Just as Red Room said goodbye, LinkedIn issued an invitation for me to publish blogs alongside some of the world’s leading organization and industry strategists (A recent share Let’s Fix It 7 Steps to Help Replace Legislated Fear with Informed Compassion ).
Because I have become so accustomed to posting works of a definitive literary or journalistic nature, I was uncertain about how effective such a move might be. In the end, the challenge was one I could not resist and to date I have shared just over half a dozen posts on LinkedIn that combine advocacy for the creative arts with entrepreneurial, social, and political concerns. In addition, I also found myself living up to my pledge to support the Charter for Compassion organization in ways I had not previously anticipated. (Like this Creative Flexibility and Annihilated Lives )
I think that upon signing the charter at the beginning of 2014, I might have presumed that the signature, a few retweets of Charter statements, and some shared links were as far as my involvement would go. Thankfully I was wrong. As the world began to realize the full magnitude of threats posed by groups such as Boko Haram and ISIS, as well as by domestic violence and homegrown terrorism, the Charter provided me with an extended platform to address such issues.
On top of all the above, there was also the launch of the blog Tao of the Rainbow, about which I will share more in that specific space.
The year 2014 thus far has meant negotiating a lot of important exchanges. Determining exactly how influential or significant those changes are may have to wait until 2015 gets underway. For now, the only thing I can say for certain is that at least a few more very interesting developments are on the way, which is generally about how things tend to go in my world.
© Oct 25, 2014
Contemporary award-winning author of classically-styled works in history, poetry, creative nonfiction, speculative fiction, and journalism.