One Year Blog-iversary

Interviewer : Hello Vernon. It’s nice to have you with us today. Thank you for being here.

Vernon : Glad to be here. Honored, honestly.

Interviewer : So, you have neared your one year anniversary of blogging. Tell us how this journey began for you.

Vernon : I can remember it like it was yesterday. My first blog was on December 17th, 2019. It was called Introductions First. I introduced myself, the intent of my personal blog, and went on to talk about how I was going to set things in my life on ‘cruise control’. I was going to officially take my foot off the gas. Little did I know, the journey was only beginning for me. This was going to be a year unlike any other.

Interviewer : Ha ha, yeah! What a year. Right?

Vernon : Tell me about it! My editor wanted me to create a website and post blogs on it so I could get some exposure for the time being. You know – while the turtle makes his way to the finish line. I was sullen about the idea at first and not extremely thrilled, but I trusted his instruction because he is a veteran of the entertainment industry. He had already corrected the grammatical errors of my past ways and flipped the creative switch inside my brain. It was now time to see how long I could make the candle flicker.

The first couple weeks of blogging seemed like homework. Like a chore. I can remember sitting down behind my home keys and thinking, well, how can I entertain the troops this week? That was the wrong mindset for me to have. That is now how this responsibility was meant to be treated.

I had not started advertising future posts on my Instagram page yet. I was reading other people’s articles, and they were adamant on a blogger finding a niche. For me, there was not a niche because I was here to share tidbits of my gift and reveal the magic that I could leave on a reader’s brain.

Interviewer : What happened next?

Vernon : I started cycling inspirational non-fiction posts in between some of my fictional short stories. Then, out of nowhere, something inside my mind and soul started to change. There was a metaphysical transformation. I started to enjoy the adventure that was set before me. I became seriously suspended in my imagination and where it could lead other people.

My mindset went from ‘entertaining the troops’ to ‘I’m ready to discover myself while connecting with my readers’. I wrote about the personal revelations that affected me or the things I thought my readers needed to hear. My perception went through a metamorphosis. I observed the world for what it truly was. That is when ‘my’ moment happened and solidified my soul’s future stance when it came to my personal style. It etched a permanent tattoo on my heart that nobody will ever be able to take away.

Interviewer: Describe what you mean by ‘your’ moment.

Vernon : People started connecting to the words and ideas I was writing. They connected with me through my fiction. Through my non-fiction. Through my writing in general. They were connecting with me through experiences from my past and present and through imaginary situations I created inside my head. I wanted my fiction to feel so real that the reader felt like they had been inserted inside each story.

Until now, people had not been granted a way to connect to my writing style and, all of a sudden, it existed. It was a freshly paved highway. An open door. A personal fireside chat. It was a wireless connection unlike any other. It was an experience not of this world. It continues to be a responsibility that demands the upmost respect and drains every fiber of your soul – but in a fulfilling way. I have never been more tired, but in retrospect I have never been more complete.

Interviewer : What is writing for you?

Vernon : I compare writing to a snorkeler floating around in the safest and most beautiful reef known to man. If you want to dive, you take a breath, kick your feet, and propel your body to the ocean floor. When you come back up and clear the water out of your snorkel, that first breath of oxygen you take – that is writing for me. It is my breath of fresh air.

Interviewer : Interesting. So the newfound attention to your writing further opened your eyes to your abilities and your art because you were able to see how it affected those that came into contact with it?

Vernon : It did! In its own way though. I’m sure it’s different for everyone. For me, this undiscovered territory was something I was not used to. It was something that was missing from my writing life and, now that I had it, it was hard for me to neglect it or let it go. I was nervous about sharing my gift; but when you do and see how others react to it, whether good or bad, you are granted an inherent power that you must contain and feed off of for your next article.

People started messaging me and telling me how my blog posts affected them. They told me how amazing it was and that they couldn’t wait for my next one. For some, my posts made them tear up or cry. For some, it made them reflect on their own life and give them some type of personal consolation. For some, it was something they needed to hear whether they liked it or not. For others, my writing made them feel like they were not alone. I treasure that sensation and always will.

My blog posts changed me while changing the reader at the same time. If writing is on point, genuine, and original – it should do exactly that. There’s an invisible exchange of power between the reader and the writer and, for me, it is one of the strongest drugs in existence.

Interviewer : Any other blog writing facts you’d like to share with the people out there?

Vernon : I think I have readers that, if they know I’m going to post on this certain day at this certain time, they fit me in their schedule and dedicate personal space to what I have prepared. I have also heard of an occurrence when a close relative was talking to one of their friends about my blog post writing style. The friend began to tear up just at the mere mentioning of my fiction and nonfictional posts and told them to tell me how much each one meant to them.

*A couple seconds of silence pass by. Vernon scratches his chin with his thumb.*

These people, these types of readers – I carry them close to my soul and is one of the main reasons why I do what I do. I know that they go to a quiet corner of their house, read, then reflect as they plug in their earbuds. My readers want to be selfish with their dessert, and I am going to let them. Considering how hard the world is and how it wants to squash everyone’s spirits, my readers deserve to have their cake and eat it too.

Interviewer : Wait! Earbuds? I’m confused now.

Vernon : Ha ha! I attach music from my personal playlists to some of my actual blog posts so the reader can enjoy the soundtrack I have chosen for the moment.

If they hate the songs, then hey, that is their prerogative; but if they like them, oh man, the journey connects on an entirely different level other than just reading words. I have tickled their ears then, and that is an entirely different level of intrigue because they have attached a blog post to a song and can carry it with them wherever they go.

I am a music man. What can I say? Always have been!

Interviewer : Do you charge any subscription fees or advertise on your site?

Vernon : No.

Interviewer : Why?

Vernon : Because you cannot put a price on some experiences and what those experiences can bring by the time the last sentence is read.

Interviewer : Can you elaborate on the art of your gift as a writer and the emotions you experience?

Vernon : I can try.

*Vernon closes his eyes for a second.*

When a writer sits down, they must realize that it is only going to be them, their internal joy or afflictions, a blank sheet of electronic paper, and the home keys. Being a writer is a very lonely journey to begin with and continues to be that until it is time to hit the publish button. Even then, that’s not to say that the loneliness just merely disappears and all is forgiven.

Writers, true writers – good writers, do not mind being isolated. In fact, they welcome it and force themselves into social separation in order to listen to the inner demons that lurk inside all of us. Writers do not mind observing the world while keeping their mouth shut. Writers should enjoy their own company, for days on end. Writers should write a scene and carry dialogue in hopes that the reader feeds off of it the way that they see fit.

Any writer who writes a certain way and expects the reader to feel the way that the creator does is simply setting themselves up for a future alphabetical aneurysm. I do not want the reader to feel the way I do. I want the reader to feel the way that their eyes leads their brain leads their body to feel. They deserve to have whatever emotion they are currently experiencing. The writer purposefully puts their subliminal waypoints along the way, but it is up to the reader to make the journey what it is.

Interviewer : Can you give me an example of what you are trying to say?

Vernon : Say I write a hot and saucy romance sequence and layer it perfectly – somebody could read that and their brain may not provide those desired emotions. Some of them could extract humor from the writing because of something they encountered in their past or present life. Some of them could extract anger from the article because of some scene that played out in their past or present. If romance is what they truly seek and find, then so be it – success! Let the adventure begin.

The same goes with fictional characters, whether good or bad, and all the mischief they create or get into. The layers of the onion that must be peeled back, the layers that writers place there for a reason – let the reader do their job in peeling those back one by one because the good ones will. If the reader was not affected by the words, then maybe the writer did a poor job in the arena we know as ‘the creative’.

When writing about death, love, sadness, happiness, remorse, anger – a good writer does his best to be balanced in his structure and let the reader decide how to mix and meld those emotions together. A writer who is determined to ‘make the reader feel this way or that way’ is only setting himself or herself up for future frustration. Generic fiction is like taking an off brand pain reliever – is it going to work or not?

I say just do the work and trust your edits. ‘Go to the edge and back, one word at a time’. Be true to yourself. Be original. Stand behind what you do. If you have to say *explicative*, then say *explicative*. Make your scenes real and twist them in your own unique fashion. That, in itself, is the key to the kingdom.

Interviewer : Wow! Very nice responses! I totally agree with those ideas.

Now the million dollar question : would you care to share any secrets as to how you write, when you write, where you write – any of the steps you take in order to create a meaningful post or fictional story.

*Vernon chuckles. He turns his head, shakes it sarcastically, and grins.

Vernon : Are we being honest here? Ha ha.

Interviewer : Certainly!

Vernon : Then, no. I do not care to share any of my secrets. They do not pay me enough yet. I’ll save them for my future TED conference talks or seminars on creative writing.

Interviewer : I understand.

Vernon : Just kidding. In all seriousness. How can I say these things and pull the rabbit out of the hat while your back is turned?

I do listen to a certain kind of music. I do prepare a special kind of outline and follow it. I will think about my writing throughout the day and while lying in the bed at night. My biggest pet peeve is to make sure no loopholes exist. A writing with loopholes will not hold its meaning over time. Be a hypotheticals or critics worst nightmare.

I will write a post, leave it for a day, go back to it, leave it, go back, and forth, and so on. I never post impulsively. I found that different emotional states can lead you down different paths, and when trying to be an effective writer, how you felt one day should not determine the true nature of your post.

I also write sober. Have been for the past seven years. Other than that, I might have to leave the rest of the story up for grabs until my Oprah interview.

Interviewer : What has been the response to your blog posts – considering your greatest writings remain unpublished?

Vernon : Let’s start on this side of the fence first.

Society enforces us to get as many likes and comments and followers as we possibly can and at whatever cost we can. Right now, I could spend $29.99 and have, say, what, ten thousand followers by the end of the hour? How organic is that? That has never been my mindset nor will it ever be. It helps keep appearances, yes, but at the end of the day, I’m sure there are a couple of people who have an Oscar sitting on their mantle and zero presence on social media.

I also know of people who boast over thirty thousand followers but each post barely tops the two hundred like mark. So, what does that tell you about numbers? How serious are you honestly going to treat that individual?

Everyone’s mindset has started believing this socially accepted lie, and it needs to be addressed.

The thing I aim for is views, returning readers, and visitors. Even if you do not comment or like my writings, as long as you tuned in, read it, and possibly told someone then, hey – you will never know how much that meant to me. I’ll trust mouth to mouth advertising over bots and algorithms any day of the week. I do not underestimate the power of the people out there and the human condition, and I appreciate each view, visitor, and returning reader.

I guess the mind has to wander every now and then just to say sane! Right?

Interviewer : Ha ha, I guess so. That is a true statement! So what would you say you have learned about yourself during the past year?

Vernon : Wow! Let’s see! This past year has been the biggest emotional journey I have been on in the past five years. Okay. How to word this? How to word this?

*Vernon rubs his chin. He thinks for a second while grinning.*

This past year, I have gone from life and current events ending my self employed job of sixteen years (family business kind of scenario), to being unemployed, to being partially employed, to landing a sufficient job – an unlikely job for someone at the age I currently am.

This past year, as a writer, I have learned many lessons and grown into the best wordsmith that I have ever been. I’m still climbing the mountain, but, for some strange reason, I know the peak is up ahead and the view is going to leave me breathless and push me to further greatness and personal growth.

I thought the past year of blogging was going to be more about me showcasing my art to the world and, even though it was, it really turned out to be a chance for me to grow into the writer that I was always meant to be. I dabbled in short fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and free verse slash spoken word writings, and it opened another ocean that I know I’m capable of piloting a boat in. Something tells me that there are some readers out there who wouldn’t mind sailing that ocean with me and be part of my crew.

For fifty weeks out of a fifty-two week year, I have created fifty solid posts. I have been consistent and provided my audience with some form of entertainment so they could willingly lose their self for a mere couple of minutes. The reader’s personal world has been turned upside down and shaken. In my world, we tried to make sense of it.

I needed this year to get my art to a more elevated level. I needed to seek out and manifest the professional that always existed deep inside my soul. I believe I exceeded at doing that. I know I can consistently go week to week with topics that will appeal to a wide range of readers. Heaven help us if I get a movie deal or a chance to work with the behind the screen antics of bringing words to life. Imagine that!

This past year, as a person, I was tested. I passed some of them. Others, I failed. I have seen how little I can live off of. In the process, I have seen how much I truly have when compared to others. I have seen one dream slowly end and lead into another, bigger realm as I continue to discover more about myself.

I entered my first poetry contest and am planning on entering others in the near future. I have had many prayers answered and seen the manifesting of a miracle before my very eyes. My family and friends are healthy for the most part, and we did not lose anyone this past year. I look forward to the next year with great anticipation because I think a lot of cool things are on the horizon!

Interviewer : So, it’s time we get to the inevitable question that we have all been waiting for – what’s next for Vernon?

Vernon : I really don’t know how to answer this without catching some type of flak.

Interviewer : As long as you do not take away our toilet paper, I think we can handle it.

Vernon : Right! Man! Where to begin…

*Vernon nods his head. He scrunches up his lips. He clears his throat. His eyes have a slight haze to them.

Well, I guess I will just go ahead and rip off the band aid. I will not be blogging as much next year because there is a book I need to start, an idea that has not been created by anyone yet. It’s not going to be a long book, possibly six hundred pages or less. I might blog one post a month. Twice if I’m feeling frisky. The website will remain. People can still reference it, and I will be humbled if they do so. Life for me is changing, fast, and I know I need to grow in other areas of my life while progressing to me finally achieving my dream.

Unbeknownst to all of my readers until now, I have been able to take all of my short fiction blog posts from the past year and create my first book of short fiction stories. Included in that will be my poetry as well. This book, name to be determined, will near the three hundred and fifty page mark by the time I am done. I am extremely proud of this accomplishment. My readers were there with me every step of the way, and this is my homage to them. I have nothing but unconditional love for them, and they should know that.

When this collection of short stories is printed and released for sale, they will be able to say that they were there, with me, by my side, during that point in time of my life. I will dedicate the inner sleeve of that book to them. They will see. It’s coming. Honestly! It is. It’s just a matter of when.

Interviewer : Is there anything you would like to say about your current collection of fictional novels you have completed?

Vernon : I have been told not to release any information about them even though they are copyrighted. I already have query letters prepared for each novel. I can say these things though. Ready?

Interviewer : I think I am. Continue! Please!

Vernon : Okay.

I have fourteen fictional novels.

I have talked about Drowning Skylight, part one of my time traveling trilogy, and dedicated an entire blog post to it. The query letter for that book resides there. Drowning Skylight currently stands at 1195 pages. I jazzed up the sequel and illustrated it with original photography taken by me. Part II of the trilogy rests at 409 pages. The conclusion of the trilogy is my homage to the zombie apocalyptic genre and currently sits at 925 pages. The readers are going to be livid with me on how I ended the storyline!

I have a three part novella titled #priVateEye. Each book is a short read, no more than 184 pages each. The story revolves around a set of twin flames that have been separated by a dark force and is illustrated with my original photography.

I have a Southern Gothic book that currently sits at 1093 pages.

I have my homage to the imaginary friend scenario, a book that I think is number one on my personal list, hanging out at 473 pages. My mother will probably disown me after it is published and brought to screen, but someone in this family has to sell a little piece of their soul in order to get her a room at the Cove.

I have a ‘secret themed’ dystopian book smoking a cigar at 682 pages.

I have a christian fiction novel with biblical themes wandering the desert at 399 pages.

I have a heartfelt novel, that takes place inside the same building for the duration of the story, relaxing at 453 pages.

I wrote a misogynistically feminist western, (yeah imagine that), in homage to my father and all the times we watched The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly when I was a kid. It is currently shooting from the hip at 766 pages.

The book that me and my editor will attempt to publish first is called A Story About Her. It is a mind bending road trip and is easily cruising at 1634 pages. I dedicated my first couple of blog posts to the creation of that book. The query letter is attached inside the post. I adapted A Story About Her to a screenplay, and it is 934 pages. I had a blast working on that in my spare time this past summer. It is one of my dreams to be able to sit in the reading room while the actors and actresses read aloud what my mind has imagined for some time now. I will possibly melt if they turn to me and ask for guidance where needed.

Rounding off this list is my new book of short stories – thank you one year of blogging – I salute you, and it will probably be under 375 pages in length.

Without revealing too much concerning my secret workings, I am also preparing a children’s book. The story has already been written. I am working alongside a bright, artistic female who is helping me illustrate it with her hand articulated works of art. She is a freshman at a local high school, and her imagination surpasses mine in some areas.

So, all in all, I try to stay busy. I would like to think that I have enough created works to keep an entertainment company busy for the next twenty years, at least, if not longer.

Interviewer : What’s the most writing you’ve ever done in one year?

Vernon : One year, I was able to write two books, complete them, and proof them, all the while running the family business, keeping two handwritten journals up to date, and maintaining a healthy relationship with my wife.

Interviewer : What if writing was your full time job? What could you do then?

Vernon : The sky’s the limit when it comes to me and my home keys. I say test me and let’s see! I’m really looking forward to being published and being able to adapt my books to screenplays. That gives me a personal high unlike any other.

Interviewer : Have you ever had writer’s block?

Vernon : Haven’t had time to slow down enough to worry about it.

Interviewer : Any advice you’d like to give an aspiring or veteran writer who might be struggling?

Vernon : I know the sayings I am about to quote are somewhat cliche, but they still remain valid. ‘Never let fear decide your fate. Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.’ If writing is easy, you might not be doing something right. ‘The pen is mightier than a sword, but carry a sword just in case.’

No matter where you live, even if it is a cultural death zone, stay strong, believe in the dream, believe in yourself, observe your surroundings, twist the fiction if you need to, and own the words that your fingers type. There is a difference between being romantic, sexy, and perverse. There is a difference between violence and gore. There is a difference between art and graffiti.

Be yourself. Be original. Do not be a cookie cutter. If you want to stick to one genre, do so. I wish you luck. If you want to challenge yourself and make the most out of your time, try switching genres. Trust the journey. Keep your head up no matter what. Have faith in the process. Be patient. Love yourself. Never, ever lose hope. If it is meant for you to accomplish and succeed then you will and nothing will stand in your way.

Interviewer : Any last tricks or surprises before the end of year?

*Vernon scratches his chin, grins, and looks into the camera on his laptop.

Vernon : Something tells me I have one more good story to blog before I disappear into the horizon for a bit. Hey! It’s me! You just never know! If I were predictable, what would the point be to all of this?

Interviewer : Ha ha, I guess so. Again, thank you, Vernon. I wish you the best in all of your endeavors! I hope your dreams come true. I appreciate you taking the time to answer these questions and letting us in on the inner workings of your brain. I’ve enjoyed my time here with you, and I hope we get a chance to talk again in the future after everything takes off.

Vernon : Thank you! My dreams have already come true! It’s just a matter of when they choose to manifest and grow. I appreciate you taking time to conduct this interview, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed speaking with you. The questions were spot on and much needed! Really!

Always remember – no goodbyes here.

Only – until thens!

My almost 8200 views in the past year have come from here.

– Push Play below for Personal Playlist jam –

– Hope you enjoyed my interview – Feel free to share –

Andrew Belle – When the End Comes

Reader Testimonials:

Mr. Durden,

I write to you now, behind my large tiny screen, to tell you I love you. I know very few men of courage and faith as you and I am honored to call you my friend and brother (even though you don’t like mayonnaise, I mean how you gonna have fry sauce without delicious mayonnaise?) Anyways, I enjoyed your article this week, it was raw, true and insightful that made you think about what you believe or don’t believe. Too many people today are sheep of all the wrong color to all the wrong f*cking slaughter for what reason! WE need to lead, WE need to be conscious now, detach from the screens, engage in life, look under the f*cking rock that’s in front of us before we fall. What is it going to take Sir?! Continue on, be noble, be brave, be smart, don’t let the muck of this generation stick to your soles (soul). WE are better than THEY ever imagined, THEY will always undermine and underestimate US. Keep the faith. Write. Write like your dreams and faith depended on it. Don’t stop. EVER.

DCM 4 Life

“I enjoy reading your blog. You share personal experiences with a different perspective or ask a new question. Your style is refreshing and insightful, entertaining and interesting. After reading your blog, I think about it for hours. You are a writer with a story.”

– L.H. –

“I look forward to each post. Every post, I walk away with something… a memory, a laugh, a wow – I can’t believe he said that, lol, a tear, or I want to be better or do better or change something. The posts are heartfelt and genuine. I love it.”

– A.H. –

“I would like to start out by saying that I have known Vernon for many years. And when I say years, I am talking about a time where the only thing I knew about him was how cute I thought he was and how nervous he made me just by being within a 6ft distance (2020 joke) because I was a shy little teenager. Not having the slightest clue how talented he was and how his writing would affect me years down the road.

That being said let’s fast forward ten plus years! That’s about how long it was before we crossed paths again. The universe or God or whatever it may be has a way of making sure that the people you need are in your life and nobody will ever convince me otherwise. So I will stop rambling and cut to the chase…

Vernon’s writing and what it means to me and how it has affected me personally… Let me start by saying, when I read his work I can feel the passion behind it. Every single week I look forward to a new post like I used to wait for a new episode of my favorite show to come out on tv (before you could just binge watch a whole season in one sitting).

I don’t know if it’s just me, but sometimes when I read his work it’s almost like he is reading my mind and writing my thoughts down but making them 1,000 times better than I could have expressed them. Taking fantasies, dreams, fears, etc and putting them into perfect stories for me to read.

Then there’s blogs that make me think about things in a whole different perspective… His work surprises me every week. I can truly say that I get lost in his writing… it’s an escape of sorts for me… no matter what kind of day or week it’s been, I know when I get to sit down and read his work it is my time to immerse myself into his writing, drown out reality, and let his words transport me into whatever world he has set the scene for that week. It is something that I look forward to and something I can connect with.

He is not limited to one style of writing and I think that is yet one more thing that sets him apart. His range is incredible. From thought provoking, to dark, sexy, light hearted, futuristic, and everything in between – I have laughed, cried, and tried to wrap my brain around some of the things that made me go hmm…

Vernon and his writing is like one of the best kept secrets…but I honestly think it’s time for the world to know just how amazing he is. He deserves to be recognized for his remarkable talent.”

– A.D.C –

“I think Vernon’s blogs are scathingly brilliant, and we are witnessing the development of a writing giant in the literature and poetry realms!”

– Alan Brown –

6 Replies to “One Year Blog-iversary”

  1. I am so very proud of you and all that you accomplished over the past year. You have proven week after week how talented and dedicated you are. All of your dreams are going to come true and I can’t wait to see your face light up like a Christmas tree when they do. You have earned it.
    Love you always.

    Liked by 1 person

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