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Responsibility

March 22, 2017

reonsobilityThis particular message has been in me for several, several days!

“You are responsible for you…no one else…you!”

No one owes you and me anything! Period!

You HAVE to work for it. You HAVE to trust and believe that you have been created and called into something bigger than you…that you are here for a purpose that’s larger.

I believe…again, I personally…that God has called me into something so much larger than myself.

As a Christian, I am responsible for how I behave in front of people and for the message of the Gospel to be shared.

As a writer, I’m responsible for telling a story.

As an artist, I’m responsible for conveying a message that people can grasp and understand!

As a man, I’m responsible for taking care of business and operating in love for my significant other and for my fellow man. Even then, that’s not ALL the responsibilities I have as just a man!

We ALL have responsibilities!

But, there are many who choose to not take on the burdens of living and growing up. There are many who choose to not take responsibility for their actions.

It’s MUCH easier to blame everyone else…to make excuses….to declare that somehow you are being held back and nothing good can happen for you and to you.

But, it’s harder to take responsibility.

It’s a challenge to take responsibility and own up to your mistakes…the consequences seem to be higher the more you take on responsibility.

But, sooner or later, if you really, really want more out of life, you have to take on responsibilities and carry the weight of that experience.

The good news is you don’t have to carry that weight alone!

 

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19 and 32

So, for fun, I thought it would be kind of neat to write a short-story of me interacting with my 13-year-old self. Needless to say, I didn’t have too much trouble putting it together. 

Ken (age 32): Just wait till you get to be my age!

Ken(age 13):  You mean I actually survive till my 30’s?

Ken 32:  Of course you do! What makes you say that.

Ken 13:  You forget, I’m in middle school….in Dallas.

Ken 32:  Relax! It can’t be that bad.

Ken 13:  You DO have bad memory then. I’m  itchy…smelly…and constantly feel awkward.

Ken 32:  It’s called puberty! You’ll get pass it.

Ken 13:  That and the fact I didn’t shower today.

Ken 32:  HA! Gross.

Ken 13:  Well it’s not like it’s a habit. It’s been a long day. Anyway, do I grow up to be a Meteorologist or what!?

Ken 32:  Well, let me put it this way…..no.

Ken 13:  WHAT!?!?

Ken 32:  But you do get to work in media. And you’ll be a minister. Oh, and you’ll be a cartoonist.

Ken 13:  Hmm…well, gotta have a back-up! Wait, hold on….I’ve got so many questions.

Ken 32:  I bet…

Ken 13:  I preach!? And I actually create cartoons and stuff!?

Ken 32:  Yep

Ken 13:  I preach….and I’m a….

Ken 32:  A cartoonist…yes. And a writer… And you’re gonna do other media stuff. Oh, and you’ll get married in your early 30’s to an amazing women.

Ken 13:  WHAT!?!? How in the world did I go from THIS to THAT!?!?

Ken 32:  Jesus…a whole, whole, whole lot of Jesus. And you were faithful. You worked hard. You grew up. You matured. You changed. And you didn’t give up. You kept going.

Ken 13: (pauses and looks away) ……. So I actually become somebody.

Ken 32:  You already are. Just be yourself.

Ken 13:  I keep hearing that….but I hear ya.

(a pause between both)

Ken 13:  That means you know….uh….my deepest….personal thoughts….correct?

Ken 32:  Yep. But, don’t worry, you’ll get past that stuff too. Get prepared to see a counselor or two.

(13 year old self sighs)

Ken 13:  So I figured.

Ken 32:  Surprised!? Concerned?! Maybe anxious!?

Ken 13:  Actually, no…..now I’m curious. Looking forward to the future now.

Ken 32:  To the future!

Ken 13:  To the future!

(Ken 13 and Ken 32 pop open a can of Dr. Pepper at the same time)

 

 

Tribute to Dallas 1All day Friday, I did everything I could to hold back tears as they weld up. 5 police officers the night before were killed in Dallas during a peaceful protest against the shooting of black men by police officers.

I was sitting at home when it happened, expecting the watch a regular 9pm newscast on our local Fox station and then go on about my life and get things done before bed.

A 9pm broadcast turned into multiple hours of a surreal experience that was unfolding before me just 20 minutes away.

The journalist in me scrolled through multiple news sites and reporting agencies on my phone. While many reported the facts, others capitalized on the propaganda and on the fears of others who have opposing opinions about the news of the day…the shooting in Dallas…the shooting of black men by police officers…black lives matter…and injustice as a whole.

It was all too much!

Something continued to stir in me later that Friday as I listened to Gospel music and spent time in continual prayer.

I felt a tug at my heart to do something.

So, I began to draw.

The second that I was finished with my latest comic strip, and posted the strip online, I fell completely apart. I could no longer hold back.

I cried for lost lives…for the state of our country…for the fact that many of us as American citizens claim to get it, but show little or no empathy and are so blind, we refuse to step up and try to understand.

Once I was done…what was emotional turned into something inspirational…a deep call to action that went even further than cartooning.

It was a pull and tug that was hard to describe. It was like I knew what I had to do, knowing that it could cause me trouble, knowing it could generate disdain, knowing that even though my voice was one of many it was still a voice that had not yet cried out in the wilderness.

I had to speak up! I had to write!

It was time for me as a Christian, a writer, a cartoonist, a black man, a man, period, to stand up and speak life and peace into the chaos of our time.

I love writing fiction and I love writing the kind of literary works that get people to think, laugh, love and live. But now, the responsibility sinks in to do much more writing than I actually have.

Not everyone will understand. And that’s okay. I’ll pray for them. For those willing to try too, I applaud them and pray for them. And for those who don’t care, my prayers are for you too.

Silence is no longer an option. Silence hurts people, creates division and builds up a sense of empathy and carelessness because as long as it isn’t me and mine, I’m good with whatever happens.

Silence is the passive man’s voice.

Silence is an affront to those who stood before us and died for us. It is also an affront to the men and women of law enforcement who seek to do more good than harm. We must all choose to be a part of a much larger solution.

But first, before you jump in, you must acknowledge there’s a problem!

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This is why I draw cartoons! 

This is why I’m doing this Kickstarter campaign!

This is my why right here! In fact, it is one of my many why’s…but let me focus on this one for a moment.

I remember drawing when I had free time in class. I would copy what I saw in my science books and even create side-stories and little comic strips based on what I learned (special note: I was obsessed with nuclear physics and meteorology).

But when I look at this photo taken of me when I spoke to a group of kids at my old Elementary school in Dallas, I am quickly reminded of my why. I am reminded of the little boy or little girl whose going through real struggles as a kid. I’m reminded of the story that is not always told from the perspective of the child. I am reminded of the fact that they need adults to guide them, lead them, to understand them and teach them.

They need to know that being a nerd…a cartoon fan…a good person…is not over-rated and can later translate into something deeper and greater than themselves.

And, believe it or not, they want that as much as any good, concerned adult does.