My auto-biography: Bullied Nearly To Death; Loving My Life!
Many of you have heard me mention, for a seemingly never ending period of time, that I was writing a book. To be honest, there were more than a few times when I doubted I would ever finish writing my story, but here I am… and here it comes!
The writing portion is completed and it is with my publisher now. We have completed the tedious editing stage and are only a few steps away from the official publication date. For your information, these are the last few steps:
When the book is released for purchase, look for the above picture on the cover.
I'll tell you all the story behind the picture in a future blog post.
Keep watching my website, www.shuntersmith.com for updates and notifications!
It took a long time to complete my auto-biography – a little over a decade. Family life, time spent working at different jobs over the years and collecting, recalling, discussing, and organizing all the details required patience, understanding and concentration. Putting all that information into a chronological order and writing the story in an understandable and entertaining manner presented a challenge that, at times, seemed daunting and almost impossible. I also had to overcome my lifelong struggle with dyslexia and the occasional depression issues to create a coherent story that is packed with emotions and filled with information.
While researching publishers I learned they were surprised to hear I had written over 180,000 words for an auto-biography. I was told, “It is always difficult for us to accept auto-bio manuscripts. We tell writers they need a minimum of 20,000 words, but most can’t come up with that many to describe their lives.”
That was not a problem for me!
The original working title of my book was “My Life”, however I realized an unintentional theme threaded throughout the pages. Bullying was a topic that threatened my younger years and haunted me well into adulthood. Having been bullied, I had attempted suicides, so I reworked the story to a more concentrated version (closer to the 100,000 word count publishers asked to target) and also created a new title “Bullied Nearly To Death; Loving My Life!”
I now have a completed story that defines my life as best I recall it. When it is officially released for purchase, my readers will learn how I struggled through being bullied while also experiencing exciting opportunities. That the constant effects of being bullied dragged me to the deepest depths of despair yet I was also blessed with opportunities along the way that would lift me to emotional highs of happiness and joy. I was a desperate person who contemplated revenge and suicidal thoughts, but I then found a reason – a mission – to use my experiences in a positive manner. Through my auto-biography and live appearances, I look forward to helping others understand how negatives can be positives, how to respond to hate with kindness, and what anyone can do to control stress, conquer fear, and manage adversity.
I look forward to sharing other stories with you that were not included in my book as I post a new blog every week. My target day to release my latest entry is on Monday evenings, but don’t be surprised if I’m a bit late on my self-identified deadline. I assure you that many of my posts will make you smile, others may make you cry, but all of them should be entertaining.
Until next week…I bid you all good health, good spirits and good times!
S. Hunter Smith
What is “Patriotism” and how do you express it?
That is a question that I have often asked myself. I look around at homes in nearly every neighborhood and see American flags proudly displayed. They are flown high on poles that reach up into the sky pointing to the Heavens above. Some are displayed on shorter poles set at a slight angle; the flag is draped below and seems to bow to those who pass by. The image of this, in my mind, makes me remember the soldiers who fought, with their last breath, for our freedom on the many fields of war. Is the act of displaying a flag Patriotism?
Yes, it is patriotic to fly a flag, but anyone can hang a flag. Maybe Patriotism is being a soldier, but what about those of us who chose not to, or could not, become a soldier? Are they any less patriotic?
Patriotism is not a physical item that can be held up high and shown to others. It is not a flag, an eagle, or even a copy of our Declaration of Independence or Constitution. These are all symbols that represent a free America, but they do not represent what Patriotism truly is.
So, what is Patriotism?
Patriotism is spiritual, much like having faith in God. You believe God is there and that he will hear your prayers, but you cannot see or touch God, in a literal and physical manner, as you can see and touch your child. The spirit of God is within all of us just the same as Patriotism.
A believer in God devotes their love, support and loyalty to following the Ten Commandments, brought down the mountain by Moses. They will defend the word of God, praise and worship him and carry his words with them through everything they do or say. Is Patriotism any different?
Today there was a news story about a young 11 year old lady. Her name is Harper Gruzins and I believe she is a Patriot. She has a talent that she shares, with the permission and guidance of her parents, Karlis and Kelli, to anyone who will listen to her beautiful voice. The news story tells us that Miss Harper is being criticized for her performance of the American National Anthem at a Major League Soccer Game. Listening to her performance, and watching the faces of those in attendance it is clear she had great difficulty singing the song clearly and well. As it turns out, she has successfully sung it beautifully at other events. As she stated later to FoxNews.com, ““It wasn’t my best performance because I couldn’t hear myself and the blow horns got me off key. But God allowed this to happen, so I know it’s what he wants."
That, my friends, is Patriotism!
Harper Gruzins, with a deep devotion of faith in God, stood in front of thousands of people and belted out our National Anthem. Most honest Americans will admit that they wouldn’t ever try doing the same. She admits it wasn’t her best performance, but she didn’t quit and walk off, instead she displayed the same courage that a soldier would do on the battlefield when face to face with the enemy. She pressed on, word by word, note by note, to the bitter yet strong end. Harpers loyalty toward our nation, her devoted love of our country, and her faith in knowing that she is just an instrument by stating, “God allowed this to happen” is Patriotism.
Patriotism is faith, it is support, it is loyalty, and it is love for and defense of one’s own country. Patriotism is felt in the heart and then displayed through our words, our voices and our actions, much the same as our faith in God.
Do not criticize Harper Gruzins for standing up proudly to show her love for America, instead congratulate her for her bravery and for being a Patriot!
Watch Harper Gruzins beautifully sing the National Anthem here:
Inspiration for my poems and stories come from a variety of places. Sometimes it is a comment heard or read, or I may hear a song that calms or stirs my emotions. Many of the ideas come from looking at a picture or viewing a piece of art. There are few moments that go by through may day when I don't imagine how something I see or hear might be inspirational enough to be a poem or a story.
Today was no exception. I woke up late this morning, my wife had already left for work, and seconds after I opened my eyes I thought about how much I would miss her if she never came home again. I know that is a thought that happens often to many people around the world, but somehow it felt that I was the only person thinking it at that moment in time. This led me to imagine what we might do and where we would go if we won the lottery. An odd way of thinking, first I miss her then I think about what I would do if I was still with her and we had unlimited funds.
Lucky for me my wife is healthy and will make it home safely tonight as she always does. As far as the lottery goes, I have yet to hit the jackpot, but one can dream!
So, the day went on and I had a few other thoughts of what to write about. It was just about three o'clock when I was reading some of my Facebook friends posts, and there it was. A woman named Kathy (I won't tell you her last name for her privacy) wrote a post and I noticed that she changed her icon. Immediately I sent her a message asking if she knew who the artist was who painted the piece she had used as her icon. Soon, with help of another person who read my question on her post, and Kathy herself, I had my answer.
The artist and I are not followers of the same religion, but it is clear that he, an artist using paint, and I, an artist with the written word, do share a similar love of country and of God. We both use our talents to praise God and to emphasize our political beliefs as well. He and I equally share in the opinion that we are shackled with the chains of oppression, but among us are those who have the keys to rise and shed the chains for us all. We can wallow in the misery or together rise to our feet and demand our rights and freedoms be returned to us and our posterity.
Both of us have people who love what we have to offer, but we also have those who choose to disagree with us in not so uncertain terms. We welcome the compliments of many and even though we disagree with them, we respect the freedom of those who choose to argue with our opinions and beliefs.
This is America, the land of the free and the brave, and the talented. My evaluation of Jon McNaughton's website and his comments on his Facebook page were all I had to determine who this man is. As I allowed my eyes to wander from one beautiful piece of artwork to the next and by reading his comments, I determined that we are the same in so many ways which brought me to write this entry.
Please take a moment to visit Jon's website. Look at the work he is doing. He is a very talented and spiritual man who, through his art, tells a story that is touching and powerful.
What are we to think following any tragedy, is it anger or forgiveness?
Here is what I think…
We should have an awareness of humanity, that we are all created equal. That within each of us we have the ability to hurt, the compassion to care, and the power to forgive one another.
Will discussions of Gun Control, finger pointing toward the Tea Party and the Occupy Movement, and Political Gamesmanship arise in the aftermath of yet another high profile crime?
Absolutely, but as freedom loving Americans, we must hold true to the fact that we are all equal in Gods eyes.
We know not who may be the next victim, or the next perpetrator.
We know not if a simple, "Hello, can I give you a hug", said to a stranger, will be the key to saving another persons’ life.
What we do as individuals today, tomorrow, next week or on Election Day will not change what we know to be true.
The color of our skin, the life we choose to live or any other differences we have does not change the fact that we are all human.
We all live, we all die, and we all bleed red; all of us are collectively humanity; humanity is equal!
I know, frequent visitors are probably thinking, "When will he update his page?".
WAIT NO LONGER!!!
As you have likely noticed, the site looks different. More attractive and with a Patriotic feel. This more closely reflects my interest and dedication to the country I love, America! Along with the visual changes, I have provided more details about the various forms of writing I offer to the readers. More of my poetry and other items will soon be added. WAIT! I have more news!
Over the past few months I have been writing alot while also making new contacts. This has led to the opportunity to join a group of artists including musicians, writers and visual artists who all have one thing in common. Go to www.BigDawgMusicMafia.com to learn more! While you are there search for my page and also check out my new friends: Madison Rising and Lisa Mei Norton!
Well, that's it for now! Tune in again, there is sure to be more to enjoy!
S. Hunter Smith
Yes, I have been busy writing more short stories and continuing to work on a full length book (tentatively entitled: The Code).
I have also begun working part-time for a major home improvement company. Well, I need to make money somehow until this writing thing works out.
You may have noticed that I added a new tab 'Personalized Stories'. Please visit that page and read the samples I posted. Also, a description is provided to explain what 'Personalized Stories' are and how you can get one written about you too!
I have to cut this short so I will be back soon with another update.
Today I confirmed plans with a bank location for an upcoming charity event. I will be helping to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis research on March 26th from 9am to 2pm. If you are available, please come to the Reisterstown, MD BB&T Bank location to meet me. The bank is located off Reisterstown Rd. at Cherry Valley Rd.
I will be offering personalized short stories for a $5 donation (per story) to the research fund. Also I will have autographed copies of "My Favorite Founding Father" on hand for purchase (a portion of which goes to the research fund as well).