Thursday, June 25, 2009

Nothing Other than Me. Just Me. But, Hey, that’s Enough!


                                  Love Yourself Logo 200

          If you know me at all or know anyone like me, then you’re probably well familiar with what I’m about to say.  It’s no secret I’ve been having a tough time lately.  There’s been circumstance after circumstance thrown at me that just keeps overwhelming me.  It’s got me wondering how much I can control in my life and how much is left to chance that I can’t control.  Often, I’ve been thinking about I how come across to the world around me  to the people in my life who love and care about me whether it’s friends, family, or people I run into whom I’ve never met.  What do they think of me?  Do they know the real me?  Did I show them all of me?  If so, did they like the real me?  There’s a lot on my mind right now, but I’m Scott Harrison Odom, nothing more and nothing else.  I’m me and just me.  I can’t be something I’m not.  I can’t live my life to please others or chase a life for money.  Lately, I’ve been seeing that the night really is just darkest before the dawn.  To be honest at 23, I didn’t think I’d live this long.  But, now that I’m here, I’ve got one life for who knows how long and from now on as you are my witness, I’m going to try my hardest to be happy with myself and take pride in who I am.  I haven’t had a moments peace in a while, because I can’t accept who I am.  But, that changes today.  I challenge all of you who feel like I do to change like I do or help another if they need to change.

         Life really isn’t what I expected.  Don’t get me wrong, but I’ve always felt deep in my heart that I’m meant for something more than this.  Something greater has to be out there for me.  To live a normal life scares me more than the roughest death.  I guess when you think about it, it’s a good thing that I think so highly of myself and want to live a full life.  But, it’s almost like I’ve set impossible standards for myself.  At the moment, I’m a writer (doing everything, if it involves words, I’m probably doing it), an aspiring boxer, an aspiring actor/director, and I really could keep going.  But, these are the things that make me happy.  I honestly couldn’t imagine doing anything else.  I’ve given myself options over the years by graduating from two institutions of higher learning.  But, at the same time, I’ve picked fields that are very difficult to get into.  I don’t really have that support system when I come.  My parents don’t really talk to me anymore.  My mom is too preoccupied with her marriage to her new husband, and my dad’s not really treated me the same since I graduated last May.  I’m an adult and should be treated like one, but I still look to them for guidance.  The girlfriend thing continues to be a hindrance to me.  I look for that special girlfriend, but they don’t seem to look for me.  Maybe, there is something wrong with me.  Maybe, I have a problem I can’t see.  Maybe I’m too sensitive.  Too nice.  Too loving.  Whatever it is, I can’t figure it out.  It doesn’t help that my Dad has bugged me about being alone.  It hurts to have to deal with this stress. 

          This next part may seem kind of confusing or strange to you, but I’ll try to explain it clearly.  When I was younger, I had the privilege of being naive as do most young kids.  The world is what they see in front of them.  They don’t have stress, well most don’t.  I’m sure some are out there trying desperately to survive from lack of food.  But, for the most part, their minds haven’t developed yet. I miss that actually.  Sometimes, I wish I could be ignorant or something like that.  Because, I find myself battling my consciousness, and it always seems to get the better of me.   But, it’s like when I graduated from high school and went on to college and finished it, it’s like my mind was opened.  Do you remember the story of Adam and Eve eating from the tree of the Garden of Good and Evil?  Well, it resembles that.   I carry the weight of the world on my shoulders.  Everyone’s problem is mine, because I choose to make it so.  But, also, have you ever felt so insignificant that when you see other people living out their lives, you feel guilty or sad even?  I don’t know why I feel that way, but I do.  It hits me hard with women for some reason.  When I see women living out their lives it makes me sad for some reason.  Maybe, there’s something wrong with me.  Maybe, I’m a basket case.  Maybe.  It’s like that with celebrities too.  Sometimes, I think well you know why are these people famous?  Some of them are terrible actors, actresses, or sports figures, but at the same time, I guess they are paid millions, because people can relate to them.  Now, I don’t have some strange obsession with them by any means.  I don’t.  It just makes me sad to see them get to switch lives so often, while I’m stuck with one and one alone.  I’m nothing but Scott Harrison Odom.  Just me.  Is that enough?  

            Maybe, I’m dwelling in the negative.  I’ll be the first to admit that.  Every time you think negatively and dwell on the negative thoughts, you train your brain to follow a pattern.  Before you know it, you’ll have negative thoughts by default.  Everything will be a 100x worse than it really is, because you make it that way with your mental response.  Sometimes, I just get pushed over the edge, and it really is hard to find one good thing besides the necessities in life (which I’m very grateful to have by the way).  I thank the Lord that I don’t have to wander the streets hungry and dirty.  As I’ve been having trouble with women, I’ve searched for help, and one of the things that I came across was they are attracted to men who have a lot of self confidence.  Men who think the best things in life are for them.  I’d love to be here.  I can even say I’m here, but I’m not.  I think I’m close.  But, I can’t tell you how many times, I see a beautiful girl who I think may be interested in me, but I turn around, because I think she’s out of my league.  I’ve doomed myself before I’ve even struck out, because women are like X-Ray machines.  They can see right through you most of the time and can spot the bull.  So, don’t even try to be something you’re not.  Also, if you think they aren’t good enough for you, then they’ll think that too.  So, I’ve struck out so many times before I even got to the plate.  Sucks, doesn’t it?  So, I’ve been working on me a lot.  Trying to improve my attitude, my outlook on life, my self confidence, my appearance, my clothing, everything without losing who I am in the process and what makes me me.  I’m not doing this to change for women or for any one in particular.  But, I recently had long hair and a beard and that was a symbol of the new me.  An act to demonstrate letting the writer in me go free.  I cut them off, because it was time to part with them.  But, nevertheless, the writer is awakened and living now.  I’m working on myself for me and me alone.  Why not give myself the best life I can possibly have while I’m here on this earth?  So, even if I do all these things to me, I will be a new person, but I’ll still be Scott Harrison Odom.  Is nothing other than me enough?  Just me.  Am I enough?  These are the things I think about almost daily.  But, I’m working on loving myself more and accepting who I am to be at peace with myself.  Are you?

I challenge you to read this.  I will.  And I’d like to leave you with a quote by Lucille Ball which states, “Love yourself first and everything falls into line.”

        Click Me:   How to Love Yourself  : Click Me

There’s one more thing, I’d like to share, and I wish I can take credit for this quote, but I can’t, the author is at the end:

“I am Me. In all the world, there is no one else exactly like me. Everything that comes out of me is authentically mine, because I alone chose it — I own everything about me: my body, my feelings, my mouth, my voice, all my actions, whether they be to others or myself. I own my fantasies, my dreams, my hopes, my fears. I own my triumphs and successes, all my failures and mistakes.

Because I own all of me, I can become intimately acquainted with me. By so doing, I can love me and be friendly with all my parts. I know there are aspects about myself that puzzle me, and other aspects that I do not know — but as long as I am friendly and loving to myself, I can courageously and hopefully look for solutions to the puzzles and ways to find out more about me.

However I look and sound, whatever I say and do, and whatever I think and feel at a given moment in time is authentically me. If later some parts of how I looked, sounded, thought, and felt turn out to be unfitting, I can discard that which is unfitting, keep the rest, and invent something new for that which I discarded. I can see, hear, feel, think, say, and do. I have the tools to survive, to be close to others, to be productive, and to make sense and order out of the world of people and things outside of me.

I own me, and therefore, I can engineer me. I am me, and I am Okay.”
Denis2005 Virginia Satir quotes (American Phychologist and Educator, 1916-1988)

Let’s go change the world and be happy with who we are!


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Be Brave. Live.

         If you’re reading my blog right now, then you’re more than familiar with how difficult life is.  Sometimes just going from getting up in the morning and opening your eyes to closing your eyes and laying your head down at night is very difficult.  There are those days when nothing goes right at all.  You feel all alone in the world, and everything goes down the toilet.  In some cases, this can go on for a while.  I was reminded today how hard life is and how difficult it is just to live.  I commend all of you who are living right now, because it’s tough.  Anyways, I write this to you with a humble heart, a wandering mind, and a depressed feeling.  Sometimes, this feeling seems permanent, but we all must be brave.  I must be brave.  We must choose life, and we must live well. 

          One of the hardest things to do in this world is to find love and to hold onto it.  The older you get, the harder this is to deal with.  Men and women certainly think differently on the topic of love and it doesn’t help that they are both from two differently planets in Mars and Venus theoretically speaking.  But, in all honesty, it is very hard to go through life without having someone to hold and to share it with.  In addition, you know having a relationship that doesn’t give you what you need doesn’t help either.  I have a friend who is going through a difficult relationship right now.  She’s willing to put a lot into a relationship, but the guy she is dating isn’t.  And I see the pain it causes her.  Whereas, someone like myself desires to find the right woman but just can’t seem to find her.  Is she out there?  Will I ever find her?  Why do I keep looking if it causes me pain?  These are questions I wrack my head over.  I honestly know why I keep looking, because my life doesn’t feel complete without her, but at the same time, I’ve tried to convince myself I don’t need to find her and I’m fine by myself.  It never works.  I long to have someone to hold at night, to talk to, to laugh with, to cry with, to talk about movies, to hold my hand, to hug, to smile.  I mean you just can’t do this by yourself.  And, most people judge me or judge others in general that they don’t take the time to see this sensitive side, so I go on my way lonely and it hurts.  It bothers me when I hear things women say like chivalry is dead, or there are no decent guys, because the pattern I see goes something like this:  Beautiful women date or fall for jerks, bad boys, or guys with money all who treat them badly.  Nice, sensitive guys fall for them and they end up hurting.  I’ll be the first to admit as a guy it’s very hard not to be shallow at times.  On behalf of my sex, I apologize.  Because, there have to be women out there that are tired of the games, tired of the drama, and who feel like I do.  You’re not alone.  But, sometimes it feels like we are.  Like, someone people like us are in a box and just can’t ever get out. 

          Another problem I’ve run into recently is the problem of insecurity and self worth.  How does one measure self worth and what they can offer the world?  Is it through their job?  Their hobbies?  Their interests?  Today’s society would tell us it is probably the amount of money you have in your bank account, the power you have in your job, and the woman who is on you arm.  When you choose to show individualism and go against these common stereotyped things, then you feel like crap, because everything around you is different.  Same thing with women and the models they see on television.  When did stick figures become the it thing for body types?  I don’t understand that, because men like women who eat - - women who can eat like us and who don’t complain about calories or fat.  You know it’s so easy to look for self worth in other people.  To find favor in their eyes and seek validation from them.  The problem is the world is a cruel place.  People can hurt you if you let them, and they often times will.  But, the desire to be with others is what makes us human, so there lies the dilemma.  Nobody wants to be a hermit.  Nobody wants to deny the pleasure of friendship or companionship because they’ll get hurt.  Human relationships are important to all of us whether we admit it.  Lately, it seems like what’s the point.  Eventually, we’re all let down.  No matter how good of a friend, son, husband, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, brother sister you are, you’ll be let down eventually.  We shouldn’t stop trying to be good to one another, but remember, there are many of us out there who are hurting because of this.  

          Finally, the problem that seems to be bothering the most is the problem of being stuck in one place.  Let me explain what I mean by this.  Have you ever wondered why human beings are limited to the earth?  Have you ever wondered why we can’t fly?  Why we can’t teleport?  Why we can’t hover through the clouds and appear in another place at our own will?  This bothers me a lot.  It’s happened to me recently.  I just feel like there is so much in this world that I’d like to experience before I die, and it’s just not enough time, not enough resources, etc.  I think that life would be so much easier if I were able to have this gift.  Another thing too, it would help so much with finding the right girl.  There are close to seven billion people in the world, and sometimes, I just feel like wouldn’t it be nice to meet them.  I mean most of us are so preoccupied with a life in one area that we miss out on others and getting to know other people.  I mean there are fifty something states in the U.S. and millions of people, but most of us don’t take the time to get to know the people in the next state let alone next door to us.  For me, it goes beyond just saying well, I’m a fan of his or hers, or I’d like to meet him or her.  I’m saying it’d just be nice to be able to get to know people easier all over the world.  The internet helps, but there is only so much it can do.  It’s mediated conversation at best.  I really prefer face to face conversation.  I’m 23 years old right now, and I’ve been having the hardest time trying to decide where to be, but I’ve finally decided on three areas, which has taken over 2 years to decide.  L.A. will always be home to me, but recently, I’ve been thinking about living in Tennessee for a while.  I think it’s absolutely beautiful, and it’s got a lot of musical history and some good people to meet who live there.  I’m a song writer, so I’d be in good company.  In any event, do you ever wonder what your life would be like if you went somewhere else?  I do.  Maybe, someone will invent some sort of teleporting device or something in the future who can solve this problem. 

        We all have problems.  Some are easier to deal with than others.  But, one thing is for sure.  They aren’t easy, and if they were, they wouldn’t be called problems.  Mine have been causing me stress and pain lately and have pushed me over the edge.  I’ve had trouble finding meaning in them and finding meaning in myself.  I’m sure as I write this, there are people dealing with much bigger problems, and my heart goes out to you.  In no way do I want to get into who has a bigger problem match, but I just think that we all have things in our lives to deal with.  We all hurt at one point or another like the R.E.M. song states.  We must not succumb to the pain.  We must be strong and fight through the pain.  We must choose life.  We must keep breathing.  We must press on and fight the good fight of life.  You and I must do this.  For yourself and for those that you love you.  For, if we don’t fight through the bad times, when are we ever going to get to the good times?  I know they’re coming.  Let’s take charge of our life and be brave.  When they get here, just remember to make sure to cherish those good times.  They are what get you through the bad times like right now. 

Monday, June 22, 2009

Accomplishment Is Mine



         Today, I started thinking about how rewarding it would feel to complete something you started at one point but just never finished. So, it's no secret that I'm a writer and that I’m juggling multiple projects, and so, I’ve had a project that is going really well, but for some reason, I’ve just put on the back burner. I started it today and decided it was time to come back to it, so I did. And, I like to remind you that it doesn’t have to be just a professional project you are doing, but it can also be something as small as rekindling an old friendship which I also did today. When you do this, I whole – heartedly believe that you will feel as accomplished as I feel right now, and if you feel a fraction of what I feel right now, then maybe just maybe, you’ll have a great day and be on the path to a better you.

        How many of you have ever started that great New Year’s Resolution only to stop after the New Year is over? How many of you have had the desire to do something but aren’t doing it? If these describe you, the please learn from my example and start doing what you love to do or are putting off today. We aren’t guaranteed another breath, so make the most of your time here on earth. Everyone has a unique gift and talent, and whether you know or not, you can do great things in this world. I feel accomplished for all the things I’m doing. And I’d love for all of you to experience this feeling and to share it with those closest to you and those and the world.

         So, rekindling an old friendship was something I wasn’t expecting today but nevertheless was rewarding. In many ways over time, people can remain the same and people can change. I talked to an old friend who I haven’t talked to in about two years. Our lives have certainly gone in different directions, but you know, it feels really good inside to have reached out to her and to have rekindled this old friendship. People may change, but the bond you had may always be there, or at least there to be strengthened again.

         So, this project I’m working on that was put on the back burner is the first of a four part novel series. And, I forgot how much I enjoy writing about these characters. To breathe life into a world and into characters is something so amazing that I’ll never stop doing. It brings so much joy and so much reward to me. As a writer and an artist, you have a natural desire to share your work with the world, but I’m at the point right now, where I just feel accomplished for even having the courage to do what I love to do. I’m surrounded by people and things that tell me I must not forget about the business side of my work, and I haven’t. But, it’s easy to lose sight of the business aspect when you get such pleasure and joy from doing what you love. There truly is no greater feeling, and it really makes you respect the idea of chasing your dreams and what makes you happy rather than simply chasing money. Time flies by when I write, and I love every minute. So, this is my hope for all of you. I hope that all of you can take my example and find what you truly love to do and do it. We all have passions and what better thing to do than to make your dreams and passions a reality.

         In closing, I’d like to say that things come up in our daily lives that make cause us to be stressed, overwhelmed, and pressured. We feel like there isn’t enough time in the day to do something. We must prioritize our time to accomplish the things that are most relevant to get done now. But, we must not forget to do those things we’ve been putting off or put on the back burner. Simply crossing a hurdle that you’ve been putting off can bring a new, fresh perspective not only to it but to your life as well. I challenge all of you to reach out and do something you’ve put on the backburner or rekindle an old friendship. Maybe, you won’t be as happy as I am right, but maybe, just maybe if you experience any accomplished feeling like I do right now, then you’ll be well on your way. After all, hard work and dedication brings us feelings of great accomplishment. And what better way to do that, then seizing the day and doing something to make yourself proud!



                           Blog Written on Monday, June 22, 2009

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Road We Travel



          Today I started thinking about the road each of us travels.  We are all part of the human race, but each one us has a different path, a different destiny, a different purpose.  Sometimes, our paths cross with others, and sometimes not.  Whatever your particular path or road you travel, I’d like to take a minute and remind you that we all travel the road of life.  Most of us are so lonely that all we need is one person to reach out and show they care.  When did our world become so busy that a family no longer has time to sit down and eat dinner together?  Why is it that kids never talk to their parents anymore?  Why are we all so apprehensive of each other?  When did this become acceptable?  Maybe the answers to these questions should look no further than in the mirror with myself included. 

           There are times myself when I fall victim to being busy or completely preoccupied in my own life that I neglect others in my life.  Recently, my step sister was in the hospital for drinking too much.  When I discovered the news on the phone, it came as a shock, because until that point, I had no clue that she had a drinking problem.   One of my other step sisters was kind enough to pleasantly point out that our family should take a deeper interest in each other’s lives from now on.  I told her that it wasn’t anything personal.  I was just so preoccupied with my own dealings that I completely forgot about the people around me – the world around me.  While, I don’t condone drinking too much, and while it’s certainly everyone’s responsibility to make your own decisions, the over drinking was more than likely a cry for help and a cry for being lonely.  It’s easy to stand back and judge someone and see their problems for what they are.  But, when you experience that problem or put yourself in their shoes, you being to understand why they have problems.  While my step sister starts to clean up her life, hopefully more people will reach out to her and show her the world doesn’t have to be such a lonely place. 

            While, certainly the present, economic conditions we live in play a pivotal role, I would like to take a moment to delve at two of the biggest problems we face in our daily lives on the roads we travel which are loneliness and ignorance.    While I have briefly described the point of loneliness, I haven’t delved into the root of that.  You’re probably thinking well, it’s just simply being lonely or feeling lonely.  But, it’s much deeper than that, and really for a large percentage of the world’s population, we experience this every day.  Loneliness can take several forms.  It can range from having little to no friends, no significant other, or even no one who can relate to you.  The old adage suggests if you have one good friend that you can count on through everything, then you’re doing well.  I won’t assume that all of you have that, but for those of you that do, congratulations, for you are part of the small majority.  And, if you are lucky enough to have a significant other than you’re part of even a smaller majority.  This seems to be a bigger problem.  Because, so many men and women feel their lives aren’t complete due to not having that loving relationship in their lives.  Although, certain things seem to suggest that it’s harder for men to be with women, for the men that strictly want to get into women’s pants, make it hard for the men who want a lasting relationship.  In any event, why is it not as simple as just meeting a woman at a coffee shop and talking to her and developing a lasting connection?  Why do so many people play games to avoid their fear of connections?   Why do women fall for the bad guys who treat them badly?  Why do some people never find true love?  Well, if you’ve got the answers to these questions, then please tell me, because I certainly don’t.  How do we confront these problems and solve them?  The answer seems to lie in we need to be open to connecting to other people whether it’s romantically, friendly, professionally, or any way. 

         Another issue seems to be the one of ignorance.  We see this mostly in today’s society through racism manifested in feelings of superiority  for one’s own race or hatred towards another.  This seems to have been a problem for decades that has arguably gotten better.  For, things like the Civil Rights Movement and groups like the Black Panther Party, improvements have been made.  We still have a long way to go.  This is a prime example of people taking different roads in their life.  A white man compared to a black man will undoubtedly experience a different path in life, but still travel down the road of life.  Most of us can’t look past the color of skin to see the person for who they are.  Now, there are several gray areas like the idea of interracial marriages and relationships, organizational membership, etc.  So, I’m not going to speak on those topics, for everyone probably has an opinion on each of those topics.  But, I am going to suggest does it really matter what color skin people have if they can do something outstanding.  Spike Lee is a very talented filmmaker.  Does it matter if he’s black?  Not to me.  For, we all have something to excel at. 

           Now, please understand my intent here.   One of the hardest things about living is to feel alienated from the world around you.  A common misconception is that we choose to alienate ourselves, but I don’t think it’s that simple.  There are factors in our lives which prohibit us from truly connecting to the world around us whether it’s our daily lives, other’s lives, or the mediated messages we see and hear.  Another famous adage tells us that there are six billion people in the world and sometimes all you need is one.  Fear of never having anyone to relate to, being alone, or never being understood truly paralyzes us into a deepened core of terror.  Just because a person looks okay on the outside doesn’t mean they aren’t struggling on the inside.  So, am I suggesting that we must change everything about ourselves and this world to make this happen?  By no means.  Although, I think the world can always change.  What I am suggesting is that we should stop and revaluate our lives and determine what it is we’re chasing and what it is we are doing.  Is money as important as making a difference in someone else’s life?  You don’t have to be someone’s deep friend or lover to make a difference.  Sometimes, all you have to do is try to understand them and show them you care. 



                                          -- Scott Harrison Odom --

                            -- Written on Saturday, June 20, 2009 --

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Rantings of a Disgruntled Citizen

             Today, I thought, I'd share something that's on the tips of everyone's tongues, but very few seem to do anything about it.  I'm talking about the economy.  Today's economy is a joke.  Really and truely, a complete joke.  Never before have we faced such a devastating landscape in terms of unemployment and financial disaster since the Great Depression.  How did we get here?  Well, different people will tell you different things, but probably the biggest reason we are here is people defaulting on their mortgages and filing bankruptcy.  Another problem we face is the problem of immigration, and the country's mixed reaction on letting them stay and do the work that no one else wants to do.  Well, we conveinently seem to forget or neglect (I'm not sure, because I can't speak for the ignorant supporters of immigration) that they pump money out of our economy and give it to the people in different countries.  While it may help foragers scrounging for food, clothing, and the means to survive, it does very little to help our country's economy.  In any event, this is not the question we should be asking.  We should be asking, why are we still here and what is being done about it?  The economy is hurting everyone from Joe laborer to Sue businesswoman.  Whether people make more isn't the issue -- one way or another we are all suffering.  But, the group facing the biggest problem and crisis right now is recent college graduates -- a group that spends anywhere between 2 - 4 years on higher learning to secure a job and (a decent one at that) after they graduate.  College graduates can't find work right now.  I can rant for myself all I want, but I'm okay at the moment.  But, honestly who knows how long any of us will be okay?  With the unemployment rate at 17% for young, college graduates, this is absolutely ridiculous, and no one seems to pay any attention to it.  All those in authority seem to care about is Joe Laborer.  While Joe Laborer and small business may be the backbone of our economy, without college grads and the labor they provide, it stands to reason, the economy will falter more so than anything we saw in the Great Depression.  Consider that if this trend continues, and college graduates continue not to be able to find work, then how long before young adults just quit going to college altogether?  Those in authority should be held accountable for this and it's time that the new generation of the workforce take it back.  

                 Ever since we were young, we were told that hard work equals success and to make it in this world, you must work extremely hard.  The only problem with that we all face growing competition from others just like us.  What is the point of a college degree anymore if everyone has one?  It does do what it did 20 years ago and separate an elite section of the workforce anymore.   The thing it should prove is that the holder spent 2 - 4 years of their life demonstrating to future employers that they deserve serious consideration for that job.  But, employers today don't even care really.  Experience.  Experience.  Experience.  This is the number one thing that drives whether or not you get the job not education.  Okay, great.  So, what does that mean for Suzy or John college graduate?  Well, between the binge drinking, frat parties, and 3 AM food runs during the course of college, you had better had a significant background of jobs and experience related to your field albeit internships, jobs, or co-ops, anything.  Otherwise, simply coasting through college relying on a degree isn't going to get you very far.  It is not my intention to downplay a degree.  That's not what I am doing here.  I am the proud holder of 2 degrees, and I cherish them for the education I have received and the opportunities they have brought about.  But, what I am saying is that education + experience = desired job.  Or, this is what we are told as college students.  Well, those of us who listen.  One way or another we finally listen, whether it is to those professors who care enough to tell us or when we get rejected from a potential job.  One way another we finally listen.  

              So, what does this mean for Suzy or John college graduate that has experience?  Well, rember the formula, education + experience = desired job?  Well, there is also another thing that fits into that category that seems to be beneficial to only a small section of today's college grads.  I am referring to none other than networking.  Ah, yes the either dreaded or loved word.  To network is to know people and to reach out to them in time of need.  If they know of a job, then they can help.  In some cases, they can even be in positions of authority and can hire you just because they know you, or simply point you to whomever can hire you.  I've networked.  To some extent or another we probably all have.  The only problem with that is, the people who network on a daily basis are more likely to get their desired job.  The rest of us whom network find it more difficult, because we either a.) network with the small people we know, b.) fail to get hired to those jobs we've discovered through networking, c.) use up all of our options, or d.) annoy the people we know from networking too much.  So, remember that formula?  Education + experience = desired job?  Let's now change that too Education + experience + networking = desired job.  

            Okay, so now that we've covered that, I want to spend a moment covering "desired" job versus a job to pay the bills.  In today's economy, simply getting a job is difficult.  Whether it's flipping burgers or becoming the next CEO.  They are few and far between, and the competition is getting fiercer as the number of jobs remains constant but the number of applicants rises with the population growing.  So, as a college graduate, you rely on the education you received the past four years to give you a certain skill.  On most job applications or during interviews, employers will want to know what skill set separates you from other applications.  Essentially, why should we hire and what can you do differently to excel at this job to earn us the most money?  So, the problem becomes if we as college graduates can't make a living and land the "desired" job using the acquired skill set that we paid anywhere from generally 40,000 to 100,000 dollars to get, then we have a problem.   Getting a job simply to pay the bills is something most everyone has had to do at one point or another in their lives, but what is the point of wasting 4 years of one's life acquiring a skill if you're never gonna use it?  Well, you might say, you can use it in one's individual pursuits, and while I can see that, some of us may never own our business or be put in these situations.  So, what does that group of people do?  Simply waste that money we spent acquiring it?  

               Throughout the history of the United States, there have been groups of people who have struggled with this problem.  For a while it was women.  Women are still struggling in the workforce to gain the same rights as men.  Over the years, the gap has slowly narrowed, but there is still not the same equality.  African American men have struggled to gain the same opportunities due to racist attitudes and feelings of superiority in certain businesses.  But, now as we face this milestone in World History, it only seems fitting that young adults shall face this problem.  Now, let's examine what these groups to change that.  Well, certainly, H. Newton and the Black Panthers come to mind.  If you're not familiar with them, they used guns and stood their ground to gain attention from the U.S. government to act in favor of giving African Americans better employment opportunities.  I highly recommend you look them up and study what they did to gain equality.  Female pioneers have certainly paved the way for women's rights.  The image that comes to mind is the image of Rosie the Riveeter.  This was substantial for women's rights, because during war, women assumed and proved they could handle a man's job.  So, what can the young generation do to combat this problem?  

              Taking back the economy for the present and future leaders of tomorrow is no small task.  But, I ask all of you to think about how many people you know who have just graduated college and are still unemployed.  Don't be surprised if that number skyrockets over the coming months.  We're facing real problems.  With an ingorant government, we need to take matters into our own hands just as the groups above did.  In no way am I condoning breaking the law.  But, what I am saying is that we live in a democracy.  As citizens, it is our right and authority to question the government and those in positions of leadership, when they fail to deliver opportunities to essentially survive.  Remember, food costs money.  If we can't get a job, we can't eat.  So, if this action takes drastic means to acheive that purpose, I'm okay with that.  I just don't want it to be suggested, I'm condoning breaking the law.  I'd like to make that point clear.  I challenge all of you to consider this and for all of us to unite and to make our voice heard.  If we can acheive half the publicity that the African Americans did during the Civil Rights Movement, or women did during the World Wars, then we'd be doing well.  It doesn't take one of us.  It takes all of us.  I'm gonna do my part.  Will you please join me and do your part?  

                                                  -- Scott Harrison Odom -- 

                                  -- Blog Written on Thursday, June 17, 2009 --

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Day in the Life

          I wanted to give everyone a taste of what it's like to live the life of a writer -- a starving one at that.  First, let me explain the expression "starving writer".  Technically, it means that you are actually starving, but really in this phrase, writers don't live the normal 9 - 5 lifestyle.  Some people are desk people, corporate tycoons if you will.  Others are more visual, creative, and see things, stories, and ideas in their heads.  Neither one is better than the others, but generally, there is more stability with a desk job, and that is what is meant here.  There isn't the stability with writing.  I've written several screenplays, started on a novel (which is on the back burner for now), several poems, and am working on several ideas.  At any moment, these could take off and make money, or they could remain on the screen in front of me or on the paper I, my friends, and colleagues hold in our hands.  In any event, some writers may tell you they get into writing for the money, because it can be a very lucrative event.  But, others will tell you they do it for the love of it, and money doesn't enter our psyche.  This is the category I fall under.  I see people chasing money whether it's friends, strangers, or colleagues, and it makes no sense to me.  Sure you can look around and see prices soaring.  But, ask yourself a question, are you really happy chasing money?  Would you do your job for free?  Because I would, and until I make some serious bank writing, I will always do this.  Therefore, I have no problem being known as a "starving writer".  If you're in the industry, you're more than familiar with this term anyways.  But, I just wanted to explain it in layman's terms.  

          So, a typical day for me and for most writers will be to spend anywhere from four to six hours writing.  This is very common.  The time period varies drastically.  Ideally, I have a very specific time and place where I write either at Borders or the Public Library.  I don't like to write at home, for there are too many distractions.  My ideal time to write is in the afternoon.  I can wake up in the morning, experience the day and gather my thoughts, and start.  Some writers like to immediately start in the morning.  Others like to do it while most people sleep.  Whatever time we choose to write isn't as important as what flows from our pens or what appears on the screen on our computers in front of us.  

         Now,  the best part about being a writer is creation.  Creating stories, visions, and ideas that come from your brain and the great Lord above is the reason I'm a writer.  If this part wasn't fun, then I'd seriously consider another profession.  But, consider Ron Howard's quote.  I'm paraphrasing a little bit I think.  I believe I saw this in the movie theater when I was waiting for a movie to start -- movie quotes, I think AMC calls them.  He says, "I want to make movies that capture people's imaginations -- in their hearts and in their minds."  That's a powerful quote, because I feel the same way.  It's the reason I didn't get into this profession for money.  If you can bring a smile to a person's face, tears to someone's eyes, entertainment, joy, etc. then an artist's job is done.  Whether we want to admit it or not.  Writers are artists as much as a director, painter, singer, or designer.  The key idea here is to help people experience "Katharsis".  And for all of you theater majors like me (well I minored in theater actually), but you know what I'm talking about.  We want to give the intended audience an emotional release somehow.  Let me give you an example.  Recently, I saw the film "Up" in the theater.  I absolutely loved the film.  I think it should win Best Picture at the time of this writing.  I have yet to see Public Enemies, which I think if the previews are indication will be a major contender.  In any event, Up definitely captured my imganation.  Never in a long time as one person on a message board claimed, "have I felt like a kid".  When I read that, I totally agreed.  I cried, I laughed, and I smiled.  Most people don't even know this film is that powerful.  They see it is animated, and think well, this is just a kid's movie.  While it made me feel like a kid, I certainly think there is something here for everyone.  I highly recommend this film.  This is an example of an emotional release or "Katharsis" as Aristotle refers to it.  I salute the writers, because it is very hard to make me care so much for fictional characters as I did in this film.  They definitely have talent and I look forward to theirs and Pixars future work.  

           The other common thing that seems to be addressed in an addition to what we hope to accomplish is what makes a great story.  Well, great writing certainly involves "Katharsis" as I highlighted above, but there is so much more to that.  At the heart of any great story is conflict.  Conflict between an antagonist and protagonist.  While writing takes many forms especially for me, I'm strictly referencing narrative here.  This intrigues me here, because conflict is essentially the foundation of the human condition.  We learn so much about ourselves through it and without conflict in our lives, we'd be nothing more than robots -- robots that just wander aimlessly because we never get the feeling of succeeding.  I'm here to tell you that good conflict is not easy to write.  One of my screenwriting teachers put it this way and again I'm paraphrasing, "Basically, you have one guy (the Protagonist) who is trying to get from Point A to Point B and enter the other guy (the Antagonist) who messes with them and prevents them from getting there."  While Aristotle is actually the main originator of this in the Poetics, it still rings as true during Aristotle's times as it does today.  I challenge all of you reading this to go see a film in the theater and find the main conflict in the film.  Remember, about ninety - nine percent of the time there will be conflict like I've detailed.  But, it's difficult for a few primary reasons.  First, the characters have to be extremely complex and have to have a major character arch for the great stories.  What I mean by this is, each character needs to have a clear goal.  But, it doesn't stop there.  We need to have pathos for them.  We need to understand them and be able to relate to them if they are the protagonist, and if they are the antagonist, we need to clearly identify the opposition between them and the protagonist.  They need a strong character arch by the end of the narrative.  So, the events that happen to them need to lead them to changing or thinking differently.  As you might imagine, this can get difficult.  

          Of course, there are other types of writing, I'm dabbling in such as poetry and songwriting.  There is a girl, I'm kind of dating right now, and she is the inspiration for my poems and songs right now.  So, in between scripting and writing novels, I'm writing these poems and songs.  The subject of them is love.  And love is such a cool thing.  To not experience it is to not live.  We're created to love.  And to express this magical feeling with words and visuaally is so much fun and so fulfilling.  As a man, I hope that somehow, she knows how special she is to me.  I tell her all the time, but at the same time, I hope when I tell her that I wrote her six poems already with more on the way that she appreciates it and it makes her feel special.  She inspires me and I told her that too.  But, it's just so much fun to express my feelings for her into words.  

          Other than that, I have the intention to start writing plays.  I just haven't sat down and started writing one.  But, at the heart of drama are plays.  Shakespeare's plays are amazing, and he's certainly lived on through them.  If I could be half as successful writing them as he would, then I'd be doing well.  Again, for me it's not the movie, but sharing the blood, sweat, and tears of your soul with the world.  And, for me that's what it's all about it.  It makes the hungry days, long writing sessions, and hand cramps all worth it.                                  

         Whether it's that special girl of mine smiling or it's a person I've never met who reads my writing and it inspires them or brings them joy or entertainment, then that's my goal.  We live in a time that is unlike any other.  There is so much going on in our world.  The economic meltdown of a crisis, gas prices soaring, an African American President, celebrities essentially more powerful than ever before, 2012 roaring at us just as Y2K did.  There are endless things that are happening today.  Never before with so much at our fingertips, and life moving so fast, has it been so easy to lose yourself and feel so insignificant and to lose sight of your goal.  If you take anything away from this blog, please know that we all have a special purpose in this world, and the things that are happening in this world today are strictly that, just things.  We can all use the gifts that God gave us.  He blessed me with visual thinking and a passion for writing.  So, I plan to use it, and I love every minute of it.  You all can use yours too.  You don't have to spend money doing it.  The best things in life are free and fun.  Check this out, blogging is writing, and I'm doing so more writing.  Imagine that.  Reach out and make a difference in someone else's life through your gift.  I'll leave you with a great quote I wrote a while back: 

         "A writer is but made of flesh and blood and can and will die.  But, good writing created from a talented writer can live on forever and influence generations to come.  So, write because you love it, but write to help and influence both here and now, in addition to future generations be the best they can be.  Through your writing, change the world."  

                                                  -- Scott Harrison Odom --

                              -- Quote Written on Monday, April 13, 2009 -- 

                             -- Blog Written on June 17, 2009 at 8:25 p.m. --