The Collective


So the last few weeks months years have been hard on a lot of people. To be blunt, many of you who are used to being on the winning side of issues have lost. Repeatedly.

This has been hard for you to take. On top of that, some of you have learned some disappointing things about people you thought you knew.

Well, I have two things to say about this: First, as a person of color, I can tell you it’s not the end of the world. POC have been disappointed by our government and people we thought we knew since we’ve been here. But we’re still here and we’re still fighting. As a woman, I make the same statement.

My second thought: I think we’re at a point where things could change if we’re willing to take a step back, put our personal biases and opinions to the side and look at the bigger picture.

Instead of separate groups fighting individually, we need to be one huge force.

People who kneel. People in pussy hats. People who fly the rainbow flag. People who are in the thick of the immigration fight or battling the opioid epidemic…

All of us.

At some point, we’re going to have to come together as a collective. The issues might be different, but the foe is the same: We’re fighting the power. Until those of us who are being oppressed in one way or another come together with one voice, we’re just going to keep spinning our wheels. Sure the power might give us an inch or two once in a while to make us think we’re making progress, but in actuality, we’re not getting anywhere fast.

And for those of you who say, “Yeah, we’ve tried that, but when causes group together the meaning of the causes lose their impact,” you are missing the point. Do you know why the impact was lost? Three words:

Divide and Conquer

And here’s three more:

Separate but Equal.

Individual causes stood side-by-side, yes. But they still fought their battles separately. And this allowed the people with the power to whisper in each group leader’s ear that the other groups really didn’t care about their issue, they were just using their platform, resources, etc. So the leaders of each group turned on each other.

Separate but equal and divide and conquer. The oldest tricks in the book and we fall for them both time and time again.

So, one more time for the latecomers, and a bit louder for the people in the back:

WE NEED TO WORK TOGETHER. We need to quit with the crazy, “Well you should have been with us when it didn’t directly affect you,” nonsense and join forces. And for emphasis, more examples:

Did you join the #MeToo movement, even if you weren’t personally involved or directly affected?

Did you kneel even if you weren’t a target of police brutality?

Are you voicing your concern about how immigrants (legal or otherwise) are being treated in this country? Or are being denied entry?

How about the LGBTQ+ community, the homeless, veterans or the mentally ill?

The opioid crisis?

If you’re not front and center on every last one of these issues, I don’t see how you can shoot down the idea of all these groups banding together. Matter of fact, I think you and your opinion should take several seats.

This is all about power, folks. The ones who have it don’t want to relinquish it. It’s obvious that the balance of power is not equal and it’s just as obvious that each group taking a turn on the scale isn’t enough weight to tip the balance in anyone’s favor.

But if we all stand on the scale…that would be the tipping point.

Anyway, those are my thoughts. Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments.

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I Don’t Like Music in Major Keys


So last night I was writing and listening to music. One of my favorite songs, “Shatter Me” by Lindsey Stirling and Lzzy Hale came on. I decided to share the chorus as a Facebook status because I happen to think it’s great:

“Somebody shine a light
I’m frozen by the fear in me
Somebody make me feel alive
And shatter me
So cut me from the line
Dizzy, spinning endlessly
Somebody make me feel alive
And shatter me!”

Here’s a link to the video for the song.

The next song came on and I continued with my work. When I checked my Facebook later, there were several “sad” smileys on the post.

I was confused. I wasn’t sad. I was in a perfectly fine mood. But since the lyrics were conceivably sad, then I guess people thought I was sad too.

Nope. What is means is that I’m not a fan of happy songs or music in major keys.

Okay, so there are some exceptions. “Happy Birthday.” Some Christmas carols. A couple of classical pieces.

But for the most part, I am all about sad music in minor* keys.

Not sure how or why it started, but I’ve always had a thing for seemingly sad-sounding music. The first song I remember singing along to aloud is “Two Outta Three Ain’t Bad” by Meat Loaf. The next? “Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd. I was 8 and 10, respectively. There were others, I’m sure, but I have clear memories of both of those songs.

Then came Metal.

I think there’s a rule that no metal song can be composed in a major key. And I’m okay with that. Imagine “Alone Again” in a major key. Or “Fade to Black.” Or any Queensryche song (Promised Land and back).  Even 5FDP would sound ridiculous in a major key.

There is just something about music in a minor key that makes me feel…I don’t know…alive I guess.

I also tend to find solace, peace and enjoyment in songs that have seemingly dark subjects. Take “A Tout Le Monde” by Megadeth. The gist of the song is a guy’s farewell to his friends. Whether he dies or just goes away has been debated for years, but either way, he’s gone and he leaving final words for his friends and family. My love for this song knows no bounds. the aforementioned “Fade to Black” has the same effect on me (though admittedly, my attachment to that song is connected to a friend who passed away way too soon. But it still brings me solace and makes me feel better).

But it’s not just metal, though it is my genre of choice most of the time. As I type this, I’m listening to rap. T.I.’s “Big S*it Poppin'” to be precise. Awesome song. Minor key.

If I’m listening to music, you can almost guarantee that the songs on my playlist are in a minor key. Take my current playlist:

Spotify1Spotify2Spotify3Spotify4

30 songs, all minor key.

Not sure what it says about my overall mental state, but I greatly enjoy the playlist.

So am I alone in this? Anyone else out here prefer minor keys over major keys? Anyone prefer major keys over minor keys? Feel free to explain in the comments.

I’m going back to my depressing music so I can be happy. “Bartender” by Lady Antebellum just came on. Okay so technically it’s in D major, but its relative key is B minor, so it still counts.

*I’m aware that several of the songs I’ve mentioned are actually in major keys (A, C, D and G mostly). But they’re played in relative minor keys (the minor keys in the scale are emphasized the most) so they sound like minor keys.

 

 

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I Finally Did It…


I’ve been blogging for fun for YEARS. I’ve been a writer for money for even longer. But today is the first time I’ve ever launched a blog…just for writing.

And by that, I mean this is the first blog I’ve had that was about writing and only writing.

I’ve always had a “coverall” blog, one that I used for everything; personal, writing, you name it. This blog was the closest I came to a “writer” blog. It has writer in its name and I dedicated pages for my resume and writing clips. And for a good while, it was good enough.

But now I think it’s time my writing and personal blogs were separate entities. Those of you who have been around for a bit know I’m not particularly shy about my opinions. If you need reminders, look here, here, here and here for examples. But I also know that some of my opinions might turn off potential clients, especially if they think that’s all I write about. So, I decided that clients will get access to my writing blog, aka KAFrancis, Writer, a site chock full of writing samples, updates on my writing work, etc. It’s clean, it’s polished, it’s professional and it’s as uncontroversial as I can make it and still have my personality shine through. Because even though I’m creating a relatively neutral territory for my work, I’m still not going to take certain kinds of work or work with a certain kind of person. Yes, money is money and it’s all green, but some is dirtier than others.

This also means that since clients will no longer be referred to this blog, I can say whatever the eff I want. Sure, there’s a chance someone tries to screw me over and sends a potential client to this blog, but hey, it is what it is. I want a forum where I can say what  I want and I’ve never been afraid of the repercussions of my statements.

Anyway, just wanted to give those of you who follow my writing career a heads up that that info has moved.

 

 

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Big announcement about my future! *not clickbait*


LOL…I’ve always wanted to do a headline like that.

But seriously, I think I have figured out what I want to do.

There are a lot of problems in this world, and a lot of people need help with a lot of things.

I am going to help them.

There’s a reason I started teaching…and there’s a reason I got an advanced degree in Adult Education.

There’s a reason that I honed my copy writing and product description writing skills.

And there’s a reason I keep coming back to this Valley, when it would make way more sense for me to live elsewhere.

Finally I think my actual purpose has been revealed to me. And I am *stoked*!

I think I have found a way to be a real resource and help to the people in the Ohio Valley.

But that’s all I can say for now. All I can say is…

Watch this Space

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$92 Million


22 military vets commit suicide each day. That’s one soldier every 65 minutes.

23,000 active military members access SNAP to help feed their families.

Over 40,000 veterans are homeless on any given night.

The White House and Congress are headbutting over how to fund the new Veterans’ bill, with the WH wanting cuts to come from other places in the budget, excluding defense.

So, to summarize, we have vets killing themselves because they can’t get the mental health assistance they need, vets sleeping on the street because, mental health issues and poverty, and some who are still serving don’t make enough to feed their families without government assistance.

But we do have $92 million to throw a parade to stoke and stroke the ego of a man who did everything possible to avoid serving. According to what is being reported, $50 million is for personnel and equipment being used in the parade. The other $42 million is going toward security.

Yeah, I’m sure it’s going to cost a pretty penny to sweep the streets of the homeless that are living along the parade route. I wonder how many are vets with mental health issues?

How many marching in the parade will go home to meals prepared with the help of SNAP benefits?

But yes, by all means, let’s have a parade. We don’t have anything better to do with that money.

My father, who served in Korea for over 2 years and then served an additional 31 years in the Army and National Guard is fond of pointing to his dog tags and saying, “I am the property of the United States government.”

Ladies and Gentlemen, you need to take better care of your stuff.

chain-2-1424348

 

 

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Remember Your Worth!


Hiya!

This post is for my writer friends, but I think anyone could benefit from the reminder I’m about to layeth upon thee.

Yeah, I’m in one of *those* moods. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Anyway. Here’s a little story:

I was looking through job ads looking for new gigs. Cuz, you know when you freelance there is no such thing as too many eggs or too many baskets, no matter how pretty the eggs and baskets you already have happen to be.

I warned you: mood.

Also, this house needs stuff. I need stuff. The kids need stuff. In other words, I need to be buried in work so I can do what I need to do in this thing called life.

I found a couple of decent (foreshadowing kids!) possibilities so I started the tedious process of writing the cover letter, tweaking my resume and gathering my clips for requested writing samples. As I as was putting together the first app, I paused.

All of my sample clips paid a minimum of, we’ll say just south of three digits. But the gigs I had deemed decent paid a fraction of that.

Why in the hell was I going after gigs that paid less than the samples I was submitting to get the gig? 

No! If my samples were worth $100 (for example), then I should be using them to get gigs that pay AT LEAST THE SAME AMOUNT. Yes, I screamed that. And yes, I am screaming it to you.

This isn’t about knowing your worth. Just like mine, your writing samples and clips can tell you that much. This is about remembering and respecting your worth. Now, granted I do still need more work, but I refuse to go backward. So, I scrapped those gigs and now I’m on the lookout for better-paying ones, because I know I deserve better.

So my advice to anyone reading this: If you make X amount, then your next job, gig, whatever should pay X + more. Equal if you have to, but never ever less.

Anyway, that’s my story and advice for the day. Go forth and progress. 🙂

abundance achievement bank banknotes

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

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Miss Me With That


I was going to do a big ‘ol set up and gently ease y’all into this topic, but nah. I’m too old, too tired and quite frankly too ticked to extend that courtesy right now, so I’m going to jump right in:

Y’all* need to miss me with this “Oh, you understand that mindset, you must be like that or agree with it”…

Nonsense. (Not the word I wanted to use.) It’s both asinine and insulting. I’m going to start with asinine because it’s easier to explain.

The fact that I understand how people whose views you find distasteful, disgusting and even horrifying doesn’t mean (and I really cannot believe I have to actually say this) I agree with those views. It just means I took the time to try and figure out WHY these people hold these views. I’ve said this a dozen times, but what the hell, let me make it a baker’s dozen: You can’t fight what you don’t understand and you can’t win a game if you don’t know the rules.

Oh…I said baker’s dozen…must mean I agree that bakers can discriminate.

I can’t even…

Sigh. Anyway.

When a person goes to medical school it’s because that person wants to learn how the human body works and what it looks like when said body is malfunctioning so they can fix it. Mechanics learn about engines and other parts of vehicles for the same reason. It’s why stylists go to cosmetology school. Teachers get education degrees. Accountants study and take the CPA exam. Writers study English and grammar. The point is to learn about the subjects so we can…say it with me…UNDERSTAND.

You can’t help solve a problem if you don’t understand the problem. You can’t help people see things differently if you can’t see what they see, or understand why they it. Posting on social media how horrible you feel about how things are and that you “just don’t understand how or why people can be like this” without trying to find the answer is just words. Empty gestures. Close to meaningless and just short of useless. Are you willing to do the work to get to the point of understanding? If you aren’t, then I politely ask that you take several seats and let those of us who did the work DO the work.

As for the insulting part, do you know why I learned to try and understand why and how people think they way they do? Do you think I woke one Tuesday morning and decided , “Hey today would be a great day to learn how racists, incels, and homophobes tick. Let me head to the library!”

Uh, nah, bro.

I learned because for most of my life I’ve had to quickly determine if the person walking toward me means to harm me or is just being friendly. I’ve had to quickly decide whether the house/bar/ store I just walked into was safe for people like me or not. And I’ve had to decide whether or not a person was actually my friend or was trying to set me up for something horrible later. So, if my having this understanding and ability to see things and people for what and who they are bothers you that much…

You can miss me with that too.keep-calm-and-miss-me-with-your-bull

*Y’all = “some of y’all” in this instance, but that phrase would have ruined the flow.

 

 

 

 

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So I’m Still…


trying to figure all this out. LOL

I get asked a lot of questions.

What’s your favorite color?*

Who’s your favorite band?**

Do you prefer Pepsi or Coke?***

Why do you always wear bandanas?****

For the most part, I just answer the question and keep it pushin’. But there’s one question that makes me cringe when dread whenever it’s asked because I never know how to answer it.

What do you do for a living?

UUUUUUGGGGGGGGHHHHHHH!

Now you might be wondering, “Kim, why is this question so hard? Surely you know how you make a living!”

Well, yeah, of course, I do. But explaining it to people…

UUUUUUUGGGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!

So, why is answering this question so difficult? Let me show you:

Person: Hi, Normal Person, what do you do for a living?

Normal Person: I’m an accountant.

Person: Oh, cool.

—————————————-

Person: Hi Another Normal Person, what do you do for a living?

Another Normal Person: I’m an attorney.

Person: Oh, okay. Cool.

———————————————————-

Person: Hi Yet Another Normal Person, what do you do for a living?

Yet Another Normal Person: I’m a teacher/ mechanic/stylist/Walmart Greeter’

Person: Very good.

———————————————————-

Person: So, Kim, what do you do for a living?

Me: Do I tell them I’m a writer? If I say I’m a writer, which kind do I tell them? Copywriter? Articles? My books? Do I tell them I’m a mystery shopper? A former teacher turned craft pro? A YouTuber? What? WHHHAAAAATTTT?!?

Person: You DO know what you do, right?

Me: <laughing nervously> Of course I do! I’m an animal anesthesiologist.

No, I’ve never actually told anyone that, but I’ve been sorely tempted. It would be easier for me to fake my way through that conversation than to explain how one person has five different professions (with countless subsets). Because that’s just not normal.

Yeah, I know, neither am I, but that’s not what we’re talking about right now.

Or is it?

Sometimes, and especially when I have my planner sitting in front of me, I wonder why and how I manage to juggle all this. Some days are better than others, but for the most part, I manage it. (I’m kinda taking a break from YouTube at the moment until I can upgrade my equipment or at least settle on a place to film on a regular basis.) I guess I am not a one job/career kinda person. I’ve got too many interests and way too short an attention span to just do one job every day for the rest of my life. I thrive on trying to write blog posts and articles, complete mystery shops, and still have enough time to get my items made so I can sell them (and donate part of the proceeds to charity). I’m no longer in an actual classroom anymore, but writing, YouTube, and even mystery shopping to an extent help to educate people. I cannot imagine my life without all of these things in it.

So, instead of fighting the steering wheel, I’m going to turn into the skid. The next time someone asks:

Someone: Hey, Kim, what do you do for a living? I’m going to respond with:

I’m an unconventional educator who uses words, videos and covert operations to inform the masses. Oh and I make and sell stuff.

Then while they’re unpacking all that, I’ll run away.

*Red

**Too many to choose.

***Coke

****Stay tuned…

perfect ball of yarn

 

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My Return to the Beginning of the End of the Start


Hi everyone,

They say the first step to conquering a problem is admitting you have one.

I’m floundering.

There I said it.

I have spent the last couple of years going through the motions. I’m all of the things I said I wanted to be, but low-level and or barely. I’m kinda tired of being a “kinda” writer. I’m tired of being a “sorta” jewelry/accessory designer and creator. I’m tired of “kinda” dating, being “sorta” social…

This ish is getting old. No, it’s been old, I’m just owning up to it.

I thought posting videos on YouTube was the answer, but all it really did was illuminate the fact that I had NO IDEA where I wanted my life to go. I want the platform to mean something, to stand for something. I want to use my channel to ultimately help those who need it.

But damn if I can figure out how to get there.

So, I’m starting over. No “sorta” or “kinda,” just “.”.

However, I’m not sure where THE beginning is. If I take it ALLLL the way back, I caught the craft and writing bug practically at the same time. I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was 10, and I first discovered crafts were cool that same year as well.

I honed my writing and I know that my passions lie in personal essays and How-to/Help topics. Anything that helps someone is fair game. Craft wise, I lean toward crochet, chainmaille and Native American loom beadwork. I do other crafts as well, but these are the ones I always have supplies on hand for projects when the mood strikes.

As a weird aside, I include commentary on political and social issues a form of helping people. We’ll never get along without an open dialogue and free communication.

So, to summarize:

I’m a crafty writer who enjoys helping people via crafts and social commentary via YouTube.

A video of my making scarves with beaded uplifting quotes for everyone coming soon!

I kid…I kid.

Sorta.

I do want to figure out a way to combine all these interests. So, maybe I’ll record (a how-to?) me making a craft item that ties directly into a social issue I want to discuss, sell it and donate part of the proceeds to a charity.

Huh…

That just might work. What do you think? Let me know!

Anyway, this is my attempt to figure out my life and help others at the same time. Think it could work? Think it has a fighting chance? Again, let me know.

 

 

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So…About These New Ideas…


I’ve been hinting at these new plans and ideas I had about my career, so I figured I’d let you all in on the secret.

Those of you who are friends with me on Facebook might remember that I said I was thinking about starting a vlog about my dating experiences. The idea was met with high praise.

Well…

I’m gonna do it. I’m going to start a channel on YouTube called Unapologetically Mocha. In case that sounds familiar, that’s also the name of my Instagram page. It will also soon be an active Twitter account and a Facebook page.

Yeah, I’m going big with this one.

Provided I work up the nerve to post a video.

Those of you who know me realize that I hate Hate HATE how I look in photos. Well that goes double when it comes to video. I just think I look goofy.

But…

I truly have a lot I want to say and I really think video is the perfect format for it, so I’m taking the advice from a book that I recently read How to Be a Bawse: I’m going to step out of my comfort zone. It’s the only way I’m going to accomplish what I want to achieve.

Sidenote: Read this book. It’s awesome. Lilly is awesome. I’ve watched her videos a ridiculous number of times.

Back to my plan.

I’m writing the script for my first video now. I’m picking out my outfit. I’m deciding what to do with my hair. I might even get a manicure.

Yeah, it’s THAT serious. 🙂

But once I get past the first two or three videos, I’m gonna need help from you guys. I need ideas. What do you want to see? Anything in particular you want me to talk about? Keep in mind, this won’t be just about dating…

Have you ever been in the middle of a conversation via email, text, or Facebook and while you’re typing out a lengthy reply you realize, “This would be so much easier if I just picked up the phone?” Well, consider my vlog that phone call. I’m going to talk about my dating adventures plenty. But I’ll also rant about other things….think of my vlog as an extension of my Facebook page. Same content, just in video format.

Anyway, I just wanted to *finally* let you in on what I was planning. Like I said, I’m writing the script now, so watch this space and my Facebook page for the launch date.

I hope you come with my on this new adventure. I haven’t been this excited about a new venture in a long time. And seriously, if you have ideas about what something you want to see, let me know, either as a comment here or on my Facebook page.

Chat soon! 🙂

 

 

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