How Everybody Runs – Poem


woman running

Did you notice how everybody runs?

I got caught up in it more than once…

These days, tomorrow happens yesterday –

Human-doings excel, but night blends into day.

.

Did you notice how everybody runs?

Where’s the space for friendships,

Or for LOVE and romance?

Did you notice how everybody runs?

.

It’s so easy to get caught in this chase –

We don’t like to lose, so we stay in the race.

Did you notice how everybody runs?

Working, like a dog, to improve their chance…

.

To advance super-fast and burn out in advance,

Not to look into eyes – maybe… merely glance,

Not to feel anymore, not to laugh or dance…

Do you wonder why everybody runs?

My Poetry Collection & Self-Publishing Update…


Love, don't Fear - Book CoverSince publishing “Love, Don’t Fear”, I have learned a few valuable lessons not only about book publishing but also about myself. Previously, of course, I had discovered that I could do with a little more patience – you’ll find the post on this topic right here “If it’s Broke – Fix It”. 🙂 

Back to right now, though… So far, I have received great feedback from “Love, Don’t Fear” readers – thank you! Yet, I have also received some useful suggestions, on how to improve the book, from the pros. I believe that every writer needs an editor, not only because two heads are better than one, but also because of the strong emotional connections we all have with our works. Such being the case, I try to stay open to constructive criticisms.

On that note, yet digressing slightly, I am currently a one-woman band as far as publishing is concerned, but I am writing my first novel which I hope to publish traditionally… If you are a literary agent, open to submissions, and interested in my work, please get in touch. Let’s talk…

Back to “Love, Don’t Fear” – yesterday, the collection turned one. Happy Birthday!!! (note the emotional connection I was talking about) 😄

giphy

I thought this would be a good time for an update/upgrade if you like. Before I share what changes were made exactly, let me reassure those of you who have already purchased and read the book. The changes aren’t very significant. However, if you’d like to receive a FREE updated version, in the form of an e-book, please contact me at monika@monikaribeiro.net .

I decided not to change the book’s edition, because as mentioned – these changes aren’t that significant. Plus, I’ve updated the price too – partially to reflect alterations, but equally to reflect the time passed since the book’s publication.

To cut this long story short, after considering the advice given to me by two trustworthy (traditional and non-traditional) publishers, I have:

  • updated a few titles;
  • changed the order of poems to improve thematic connections; 
  • added two poem descriptions.

I hesitated about the last one because out of the two people who were my advisers – one said: “add descriptions” and the other one said “don’t”. Well, there are 25 poems in the book and only 2 of them have descriptions now. Based on the readers’ feedback, I believe that most of the poems are self-explanatory and relatable. Plus, I don’t want to completely take away the joy of the reader’s own interpretation. What do you think about this one? 

One more change, that I made on my own initiative, was adding a few additional images to enhance book marketing on Instagram, etc. By the way, please do join me on the platform if you haven’t done so yet – @monikaribeiro.writer 😊

So, yes, the book has been around for one year now, but I believe it is ever-green… It deals with relationships, people, emotions that are difficult to express and stories that happen or could happen in real life. This book is about love, life and doing the above without fear… I think that the need to read this type of stories will always be in us. I believe the book is a little bit like wine which gets better with time.

In closing, to complete this “Love, don’t Fear” update, I would like to share some of the words written by those who read and enjoyed it:

“…‘Love, Don’t Fear’ by Monika Ribeiro is such an amazing book – filled with heart-warming and heart-breaking poems… These poems made me feel less alone.”

Angelina, Nanny from Florence – Arizona

“It is a book for someone who feels challenged by their relationship and can’t find the words to express how they feel. You will discover your own truth in the emotions of these poems.”

Joy, Singer-Songwriter from New York

“I found myself in many of them (poems), especially the story of a broken friendship… Smooth language, very beautiful clarity of words, fantastic wisdom…”

Lina, Artist from Ireland

Please grab your copy of “Love, Don’t Fear” HERE if you’re in the US, or HERE if you’re in the UK. Its digital format is available on Amazon worldwide.

Alternatively, if you’ve read the book, please consider sharing your thoughts by e-mail or in the comments below.

Thank you for being here. I appreciate you! 🙂 

Made of Many Worlds – Poem


Girl Hair

I was born, brown-skinned and a black-eyed girl,

Into a blue-eyed spot in this world –

Blessed with black, thick and rather frizzy hair

Where hair tends to be silky, smooth, mostly blond.

.

When I was a girl, maybe twelve years old,

I would lay my head down, on the ironing board

Because a real iron could tame my real hair…

Benefits seemed great… Risks? I didn’t care.

.

Sometimes, I would hurt my neck

While trying to look more like my peers…

My silky, smooth hair would cover the scars,

But couldn’t heal burns inflicted upon my ears.

.

Finally, my strands lost all strength and shine.

Hurt, bridle and broken, they told me the truth:

Silky and smooth was not to be mine

What was, however, was a gift… divine.

.

Some say, I cannot relate to the black woman’s plight.

I’m not brown enough – they say, again and again…

And yet, in the white crowd, my skin’s far from light.

Well, that’s not a loss – it’s actually a gain…

.

Some say I’m neither, but I share both bloodlines

So, I take the liberty to claim Angelou’s lines

“Out of the hats of history’s shame, I rise”

Up from a past that’s rooted in pain, I rise…”

.

There are descent and wicked people, in every place.

As Shakespeare well said, many years ago,

“There’s no art to tell the mind’s construction in the face”.

This line could apply to the subject of race…

.

There’s more that connects than divides us, you see?

I won’t get offended if you disagree…

But, do look beyond the cover, listen to my words –

We live in a world made of many worlds…

.

I live in a world made of many worlds…

Even more come alive in the depths of my mind

I pray that this world, made of many worlds,

Becomes one in the One who is color-blind.

.

Besides, I’m the world that lives within me…

Letter by letter and word by word –

HOW I look at things determines what will be!

My own world gets recreated, every day, by me…

.

I’m no longer looking for my place in this world…

His sweet spot within me is what I’m striving for.

In the midst of it all, still, I have to believe…

That right now and after will surpass before.

.

Conversations with a Clock – Poem


old-man-clock

He lived among waiters. They surrounded him
Waiters on the outside – a waiter within
Waiters for their birthday
Waiters for more money
For the kids to leave home
And rain to stop raining.

Once upon a time, he met a wise Clock
It could speak and so it spoke:
“Tick-tock, tick-tock …
If you teach your heart to be grateful and kind
When your time arrives you will not be blind
Tick-tock, tick-tock …”

This waiter was in a rush –
He kept chasing better times
Hence, his ears were widely shut
He’d much rather skip this chat.

Yet,
Tick-tock, tick-tock …
This clock was determined to talk:
“Your life will not last forever…
You cannot afford to be happy never
Tick-tock, tick-tock …”

That verse had the waiter seriously ticked-off
‘Well, I can! And, yes I will!
Clocks can’t tell me how to live!’

“Tick-tock, tick-tock…”

Quietly replied the clock.

giphy clock

Time waits for no one –
Be it Clock, or be it Man
Tick-tock, tick-tock …

Seconds, minutes, hours, smiles
Running fast before his eyes…
Many wasted, every day…

Always chasing what’s away.

.Without words, yet with each TICK
The clock found him more convinced –
Each day truly was his birthday
And life was a birthday gift.

.

Slow Walking Man – Poem


Man Walking - Poem
‘Man Walking’ – image by Adam Podlecki

This bench of mine is a little far,
Thick fog & the rain keep blinding my eye
Yet, I’ve embarked upon a task –
Observation of that guy…
Walking, in a misty weather
I noticed him take…
Two steps forward, one step back.

He keeps walking though…
Slow, slow, slow…, but steady…
He keeps on… walking…

Oya! Oya! Honestly,
Someone, shoot a film about him –
Series called “Unhappy Feet.”
Same old picture, every day,
Rain drops falling on his head
Every day, the same old way…
This must be the pace of a snail!

He is rude. Never does he say “hello”
He stepped on my toe a few weeks ago!
Yes, I step on his toes – time after time,
But… my feet are smaller than his –
I’m a lady. He’s a man…

Err…

He’s a walking man, actually
While I am a seating lady…
Wasting my time watching him.

Eh?!
Yes, he might have covered but a little ground,
But I’ve just been seating here. I have covered none!

Oya!!!
Within his slow walk I have parked my nose
Focused on his journey rather than my own…

Oya! Oya! Oya, me!
Watch no more…
Girl, move! Move! Quick!

Meaning of “OYA!” – “Hurry up!” (Nigerian)

 

To GET a FREE Poetry E-Book please Click Here

.

Flower Petals Around Her Eyes – Poem


Flower Petals Around Her Eyes.jpg
Croydon Graffiti

She was a beautiful girl

With flower petals around her eyes

Many sad pictures they’ve seen,

This life was born into lies…

.

She was created by love

And had a pure little heart…

Yet, before she turned seventeen,

Her face was far from His art.

.

If the house, she lived in, had eyes and ears

It would hear constant weeping

It would witness her tears.

.

Thus, her soul embraced many a crime

Pictures she saw changed who she was –

No, it wasn’t just time…

.

Just like her mum, she too became wild

She quit school at thirteen

At fourteen, she was carrying a child.

.

She gave birth and her baby away

Since then, she’s been drinking, every single day.

She tried many evils, under the Sun…

And she run, she run – like a wild horse she run.

.

While searching for love and for an escape

She became familiar with the pain of rape.

So, she run even faster, but could not run away

Until… she yielded and started to pray…

.

Only then, she knew she was truly heard.

He sounded unlike the others, who yelled,

Punched her belly and slapped her face…

There was only love within His embrace.

.

Amazing Grace!

It washed her mind and erased her curse.

Now, she was ready to embrace His verse.

She became His child. She was fifty, by then.

.

The world had told her she’s worthless,

and yet… He bought her…

.

His Life was the Price!

They studied wrinkles she had acquired

He focused on petals around her eyes.
.
.
She had nothing to give, but gave Him her all
Now, the world sees art – not a dirty wall.
.
.
.
.

Art of Books – Start Them Young


BL S & IMy kids and I have just visited the British Library for the very first time. Loooved it! Would you agree that there’s beauty in being surrounded by books, books, and… you guessed it… more books?

I was amazed by the King’s Library and the ancient historical treasure Codex Sinaiticus (Sinai Bible) displayed in one of BL’s exhibitions. Reportedly, the latter was produced in the middle of the 4th century and it is the earliest complete manuscript of the New Testament plus the best witness for some books of the Old. Usually, members of the public aren’t allowed to take pictures of it, but if you ask it will be given as the book says… So, I asked and received the permission to take one shot. Thank you, kind BL person! 🙏 Please check it out in My Instagram Highlights “Art of the Book”, if interested. 📸 I was told that people come from all over the world to see the Codex as well as Magna Carta which is another significant part of the same exhibition…

When gazing at the tall glass tower of the King’s Library, my daughter (photographing Anne Frank’s sculpture in the pic above) sighed loudly with her arms wide open as if trying to embrace the volumes. This rather theatrical scene caught the eye of a passer-by stranger who then smiled at me briefly amused by her “ode to the books lookalike”.

sang ode.gif

  • “Amazing, isn’t it?” I said acknowledging the book tower.
  • “Yes, it is” he answered.

That was it! He went on his way and so did we… No one said a word about my book–aficionado’s symbolic, although exaggerated, gesture. Yet, it brought about a brief, memorable moment of connection between us book lovers. 😂 Soon after, another passer-by glanced at my kids aged 6 – 12, smiled at me and said: “It’s good to start them young”.

  • “That is so true.” I replied.

And then, my son dropped a bombshell (in my mind) saying that the library was a great place to hang out… ‘What?!’  the fun-police in me reacted on the inside, ‘we’re here to LEARN – not hang out! You’re here to expand your minds, blah, blah, blaaaaah…’ ‍Thank God, after my brief internal turmoil, it clicked… He just needs to fall in love with the atmosphere… Of course, I want my children to see the library as a great hang out spot (sort of).

It was wonderful to explore knowledge with themphysical books, books on the screen, history, a little bit of art and music from Chopin to strangely sounding noises which resembled mating birds more than anything else. For a few hours, we have walked up and down the national library. By the end of the day, they were gloriously exhausted (no bedtime drama) and enriched at the same time… It was good for mama too.

So, stay calm and keep on turning one another into a book lover… If you’re a parent do start them young. 🤸‍♂️🤹‍♂️🤸‍♀️

And, if you’re into poetry and/or books about relationships please check out my Poetry Collection “Love, Don’t Fear.

.

Taking Happy Mental Pictures of the New Year!


 

Happy Pictures.jpg

We spend so much time reminiscing good old and bad old days… That’s fine… It’s okay to look for motivation or lessons in days gone by. Having said that, why not spend at least the same amount of time visualizing our future…

Once we’ve captured the beautiful picture of what we want to become we should lock it in our memory bank until it comes to pass! Start taking beautiful pics of your future right now, and remember them throughout 2019.

Happy New Year!

Remember your future

When the past is bleak

Remember Tomorrow

When you’ve had a tough week

or a year, even many tough years…

which have left you discouraged and weak

 .

I pray for your strength

When you’re weary and drained

That you focus your mind

On remembering good days

Again, and again, and again…

  .

Just remember your future,

Picture it in your mind

Decide what you want

What it will be like…

  .

Stop remembering your past

Don’t repeat old mistakes

Start remembering your future

Let it find you prepared…

What’s happening in my world of fiction…


… And non-fiction.

We’re coming to the end of the year, so it seems as good a time as any tPK Boadi Collaborationo touch base with you briefly… What have I been up to lately?

Book-wise:

My last poetry collection “Love don’t Fear” is still very much alive and well. I am looking forward to another wonderful “Love don’t Fear” collaboration with an award-winning gospel singer PK Boadi. This should be fun!

Someone has asked me recently if I’m going to write more books… As a matter of fact, I am writing a novel! Drum roll please… Yes, it is happening – slowly, but surely. If you’re a writer, you probably know this feeling when a story is just bugging and begging you to let it out!

This is how I’m feeling right now, hence I’m doing my best to not “abuse the muse” by ignoring the story and denying it the right to be free… Title? The book’s title is “Everywhere and all the time” and I am planning to share some of the excerpts here while I’m still in the process of writing. This should help me motivate myself to get that book finished. So, that’s that when it comes to my books…

Oh, actually, that’s not it. I’ve just received this sweet “Love don’t Fear” review on Facebook. Check it out please & if you haven’t read the collection yet consider doing so… Angelina (Reader)“Love don’t Fear” is a great read and a sweet Christmas gift. It is all about relationships, expressions of love, and better ways of handling conflict – embellished in beautifully written stories. Christmas is about love, but conflict happens when loved ones come together in numbers… even if it’s all neatly edited by the time holiday pictures reach our social media accounts. 🙂 Anyways, primarily, this season is about God coming into the world, and “Love don’t Fear” is a spicy reminder that He is the source of love and the beginning of peace within relationships. Please check it out.

Back to Facebook, genuine connections with people who read my writings are really the main reason why I “love” social media. Angelina (in the pic) lives in Arizona. Whaaat?! I have never been to the USA, and I don’t know if she has ever been to  the UK. I’ve never seen the Grand Canyon, never swam in the Colorado river… 😦 LOL, I don’t even know if you’re allowed to swim in it, but my point is she’s a beautiful Native American woman, and I am Polish… (no, really, I am) and Nigerian. We live on two different continents and yet, we’re connected because of poetry and because of this social media machine…

Well, on the flip-side, I am concerned about the sheer volume of information we give Facebook access to, but that’s a whole ‘nother story for another time… maybe…

Finally, still on the social media note, I’m happy to announce… that I have just hopped on the Instagram train! I know I know… it’s kinda late, and it may not be such a big deal, but I’m having fun, and thought you might want to JOIN ME… Please do if you’re so inclined. 😉

Well, this is what’s happening here.

I hope you are well. Thank you so much for stopping by! Since my next post is likely to come after Christmas I would like to wish you a very merry Christmas right now!

I shall finish this post with a rather appropriate lyric which has been on my mind quite a lot lately – “Joy to the world… Joy to the world…” 🙂  ♥

Winsome Duncan Interview – Part Two


Winsome and IIf you’re an aspiring author, book publisher, creative or budding entrepreneur – you will find valuable tips in my interview with Winsome Duncanan award-winning author, entrepreneur, and poet with over a decade of experience in the book industry.  

Part two stands on its own, however, to gain additional insights please READ PART ONE too. Here, the conversation about writing, self-publishing and creative entrepreneurship continues.

M: Do you think that a writer can be just a writer (these days), or must we learn marketing, business skills, etc.?

W: You can be just a writer and outsource marketing, business tasks, cover designs, etc. but then if a writer is interested in the business they should learn the trade. I went into self-publishing because companies like Random House weren’t taking me on. I’ve got a collage of rejection letters. One day, I’m going to find them again and put them online…

M: Why did you call your publishing company Peaches Publications?

W: …I called it Peaches Publications because life is peachy and sweet. What I mean by that is that you woke up this morning and you’re still alive, you’re not in a hospital bed. This should be reason enough to give thanks. That’s why life is just like a peach (sweet).

M: What do You (Peaches Publications) do?

W: We provide ghost-writingnot everyone is a natural writer. I believe that everybody can write a book, but whether it would be of good quality or not that’s another matter. Ghost-writing helps to smooth the book out. It helps to give it a voice, direction and a narrative that is readable and consistent rather than disjointed.

M: But still true to their story? 

W: Yes, still true to the story, but embellished – descriptions added and so on and so forth. We have quite a few ghost-written books.

We also edit, proof-read, provide critical evaluation. Then, we have marketing and PR (outsourced). We give advice on copyright and do frameworks for people to start on their journey… Many people just need some direction and then, off they go. Finally, we have our special 24-hour formula which helps you get your book written in 24 hours…

M: Just to clarify – we are talking about that first draft – not about a manuscript being ready for publishing (in 24 hours)?

W: The first draft, yes… It can be done. It all depends on how dedicated you are… 

I also work with people who have their books out already, but they need a publisher to help them take things to the next level. Writing a book is therapeutic and cathartic, but the whole idea is to at least recoup the money you spent on it. The average lifetime of a book, in terms of how well it sells, is about 300 copies. Getting to a thousand, two thousand, and more – that’s the challenge.

M: What must a self-published author, supported by Peaches Publications, do to become successful?

W: The contract says what they should do i.e. the homework that I give them; make time for meetings and video calls on Skype… Sometimes, clients come and say, “here’s my book – it’s finished” and I’m like “has it got a contents page, etc.?” The nature of self-publishing is such that people don’t know a lot about the journey, so it’s also my job to teach them and tell them…

It’s now reflected in the agreement that there will be some work for you to do. We need to decide what the book covers will be (with us). You have to fill out the table of contents. Some people include a foreword, some people don’t. It really does depend, but writers must do the work and that can be challenging sometimes.

In the past, we had a twelve week turn around, but now we don’t have strict deadlines because the nature of self-publishing can be slow, and people’s lives get busy. We recommend a deadline and it can be met if writers do what’s requested, but it’s just a recommendation – it can take anywhere from six to twelve months.

M: What do you believe is a good motive to write?

W: When you have a desire in your soul that just won’t leave you. I worked with one woman who had 21 years of poetry in her that had only been written on bits of paper, email, etc. … She cried at her launch. Imagine that, her book was trapped for 21 years! She came, a year ago, to our book publishing workshop…

M: What genres do you work in?

W: The genres we work in are Christian gospel, inspiration and motivation, short stories and autobiographies…

M: What other projects do you want people to know about?

W: Well, I’ve got a sitcom “Keeping up with the Brokers” – we’ll be doing some more work around that this year. It’s on YouTube and Facebook. We want to begin telling a story about a family who go through struggles and hardship, but still through love they survive…

I do want to work with Anthony Joshua (the boxer) … I think his is such an inspirational story. I’d like to at least be a consultant on his story if not the publisher of one of his books. I’ve researched him, and I don’t think there’s a book out there yet…

M: Oh, you research people that you’d like to work with without knowing whether or not they want to publish a book?

W: Yes, I do…

M: So, now, you’re just visualizing?

W: Yes, actually I should put him on my vision board… I should…

M: You’ve done projects with BBC, Eddie Nestor played in your film. You were trained by Les Brown and Andy Harrington, and you’ve received some recognition over the years. It’s interesting to know that you still have the humility to continue learning from people who know more than you.

W: Yes! I will always maintain that even if I am at the top of my game or what’s perceived to be the top of my game. I’m always evaluating myself… I will always have someone mentoring and life-coaching me because I don’t ever want to stop learning. Even Oprah has got mentors, and she’s a billionaire. She’s also on my vision board…

M: What’s your family background? Did they teach you to strive?

W: My parents are from the working-class background. My dad was a hard-working guy and my mum was a house-wife. I learned poverty consciousness from my mum. It was hard at the beginning to ask for money. At the beginning, as an artist, I did stuff for free… My first paid show as Lyrical Healer was at the Soul Food in 2003. I got £50 to stand on the stage for 10 minutes and do poetry… There, a connection was formed, in terms of how I could use my skills, gifts and arts to make money.

My dad is a hard worker who believes in 9 – 5. We argue quite a bit about this because I’m a creative entrepreneur and he keeps telling me to get “a proper job” … I guess he wants stability for me because as you know the nature of self-employment can be up and down. Your clients pay you when they pay you, but it looks like we’re coming into demand… and I know what the direction given to me is…

M: What is your best piece of advice for writers?

W: The first tip is in the title of my workbook – JUST WRITE ITBelieve that you can do it. Go get a nice A4 notebook, a pen and start writing… Let it come out purely – don’t edit the piece as you go along, let the pen just flow (at this stage).

My final piece of advice isif you feel like giving up, rest but keep going – don’t give up! I’ve seen many poets come and go off the stage. They say, “I’m a poet, or a this and a that” and then they disappear into the night! So, if you feel like giving up – rest but keep going. Don’t give up. Stay focused!

M: Is that the advice you’d give to aspiring entrepreneurs and/or to people who want to succeed in business too?

W: Yes, because you’ve got to want to stay in it. I have been in this creative stuff for 19 years. You’ve got to really want it to the extent where you can’t see yourself doing anything else other than what it is you are doing… I want to thank my team. I’m just one person, so I appreciate their support and what they do…

Don’t give up your passion… even if you must get a part time job or a full-time job. Even if you have to leave a full-time job and start from nothing.

Fulfill what’s in your heart. Whatever God has given you to do I urge you to do it!

giphy

To Check out Winsome’s Publishing Company Please Click Here.