Growing up in Brooklyn New York in Fort Greene Housing Developments I really didn’t take into consideration the history of where I lived. St. Michaels St. Edwards Church was where my family worshiped. It was the only catholic church in Fort Greene Brooklyn. This magnificent Romanesque revival church is shaped like a Greek cross, with two 80-foot towers at the front of the church. When the el-train line closed on Myrtle Avenue in 1969 one of the metal support pillars became the alter at the church. In 2010 the church closed.
Up the block from St. Michael’s St. Edwards Church stood the Raymond Street Jail. I remember the jail as a little child. The jailhouse was erected at the foot of Fort Greene Park and when you walked passed it inmates would holler to you from the windows. The jail was built in 1838 and it had a medical fortress look to it. Through this young girl’s eyes, it always looked dark and spooky. It certainly stood out in total contrast to the housing developments that surrounded it. The jail closed on July 20, 1963.
It amazes me how much I remember as I get older. Sometimes I miss Brooklyn but I know it’s not the same as it was when I was younger. I guess what I miss most of all is the nostalgia.
Have you ever wanted to go back to your old neighborhood?
When I stood in the hallway of my building in Brooklyn, I could smell the sweet scents from the neighborhood factories. There was Drakes Bakery on Clinton Avenue where they made snack cake products such as Devil Dogs, Coffee Cakes, Ring Dings and Yodels. The bakery is now the Benjamin Bannxer Academy for Community Development, charter school, named after the 18th century African American astronomer, surveyor, mathematician and almanac writer, who helped lay out the city of Washington D.C.
Then there was Sweet ‘n Low Packing Corporation on Cumberland Street. Sweet’ n Low is a brand of artificial sweetener made primarily from granulated saccharin and was packaged in small pink packets. The five-story plant closed after sixty years.
My neighborhood was historic in many ways. We also had the Brooklyn Navy Yard which served as America’s premier naval shipbuilding facility for 165 years. I remember hearing the loud horns when the ships would be coming into port. They were huge! The yard was decommissioned in 1966. It is now home to Steiner Studios. Steiner Studios is the largest film and television production studio complex in the United States outside Hollywood. It is founded by David Steiner a New Jersey real estate developer.
Then we had Commodore Barry Park Brooklyn’s oldest park. It is named after Commodore Barry, who founded the adjacent Brooklyn Navy Yard. This is where we picnic and played. It was just across the street from my apartment building, so with an adult, I could go to the park and play.
While I was growing up I didn’t realize the significance of Brooklyn or it’s creation. The building that I lived in Raymond V. Ingersoll apartments was named after the borough president of Brooklyn Raymond Ingersoll who was also the Brooklyn Parks Commissioner in 1917. The SS Raymond V. Ingersoll was a liberty ship built during World War II and was named also after the borough president. I would think you would have to have an extraordinary character to have building developments and a ship named after you.
I started writing my memoir in 2012 and to this date I am still writing and revising. My book starts out with my life growing up in Brooklyn. I grew up in the Raymond V. Ingersoll Housing Development in Fort Greene Brooklyn. I was surrounded by history.
The school I attended, Public School 67, was at one time originally known as the “Colored School” and was the first school to serve blacks in Brooklyn in the 19th century. This is where the neighborhood children would play stoop ball, Kings and Queens and hot peas and butter games. When you got older this was where you told your friends to meet you when you were going roller skating. This was also the stoop you sat on in the summer evening to chat with friends. This was where you shared your dreams or watch the people pass by.
The elevated El-train opened above Myrtle Avenue in 1888 in 1969 the train line was removed. The train line ran uptown to Broadway and downtown to Jay Street. The El-train was a dark green structure with yellow straw seats. The fans were loud and swirled around hot air even in the winter months. The light bulbs were uncovered, and the metal hand-holders squeaked whenever someone held on to them. The train fare was one dime. I enjoyed riding the train with my moms. I loved to travel and still do.
Beyond my block was Fort Greene Park (the first park in Brooklyn) with its poised Prison Ship Martyrs Monument. A memorial to the more than 11,500 American prisoners of war who died in captivity aboard sixteen British prison ships during the American Revolutionary War. They are buried in the crypt underneath this monument.
I would walk the one-hundred steps to the monument and sit beneath it and take in the spectacular views of Manhattan. This is where I saw the development of the twin towers back in the 1970’s. The park now has tennis and basketballs courts, as well as, yearly concerts.
It was Sheryl Mays http://www.rising-and-shining.com, best selling author, international speaker and tv host, who mentioned she completed the Jack Canfield’s business course. I ordered the book and have started reading it and completing the exercises. The book, for me, is a road map to achieving success in the fields I am pursuing. Of course my current goal is to be a published author with international recognition. Currently, I am working on my purpose. Jack writes ” Once you know what your life purpose is, you can organize all of your activities around it. Everything you do should be an expression of your purpose. If an activity didn’t align with your purpose, you wouldn’t work on it. Period.” Once I complete this written exercise I’ll have a clearer vision of what I want to do and where I want to go in life.
What’s your life’s purpose? What goals are you working on? Please feel free to share.
Harry Ransom Center The University of Texas at Austin now has movie posters in their digital collection. They are FREE to download. Use the “search box” in the right hand corner and type in “movie posters.” have fun!
Today I was listening to Rha Goddess, author of the book The Calling: 3 Fundamental Shifts To Stay True, Get Paid and Do Good. She was being interviewed by Tami Simon on Insights at the Edge podcast.
What caught may attention was when she talked about the economy of love. Here is a excerpt from the podcast transcript:
“For me, it’s that I really am contributing to economies that are life-giving—economies where more people can thrive and prosper. Economies that carry dignity and honor and respect at the center. I talk about this in the course, the economy of love, the economy of truth, and the economy of we. In the economy of love, it is about this new level of generosity that is sourced from something different than obligation and pressure. The way that sometimes we give even when it is painful or we neglect ourselves in order to show up in a particular kind of way. It’s an economy of scarcity that invites this obligatory giving as a way to prove you’re a good person, that is painful. We have a lot of people who are putting themselves last.
We see this a lot in indigenous cultures. We see this a lot in communities of color. We see this a lot in the culture of women and the way often that we define it. That’s not the only place but it’s more prominently, right? I think we all have a piece of this where we give in ways that hurt. In the economy of love, it says that I’m sourced by something different. I’m really tapped into a more prosperous supply. When I’m giving from that place, from a well-sourced and a well-resourced place, I can be more generous. The giving contributes to my expansion as opposed to my contraction. In the economy of truth, I’m accountable and responsible for the choices and the decisions that I make and the impact that they have on me and others. I’m willing to own where I’m a part of the solution and where I’m a part of the problem. I’m willing to be actively engaged around moving to places that enable me to be more a part of the solution than a part of the problem.
In the economy of we, it’s a story of us. It’s the fact that we are not on an island unto ourselves. We have seven billion neighbors that we share space and air and water and energy with. How are we going to do this together so that I’m not interested in economy that’s rooted in how do I obliterate you or how do I dominate you or how do I subjugate you? But I’m glad they’re rooted in an economy of how do I expand you, how I contribute to you, how I uplift you, how do we work in ways that make the pipe bigger, how do we work in ways that make the world better and that we all had to hand in and an active role to play in doing that. We’re excited to be about the business of collaborating to be able to do that.”
After listening to the interview I thought of what ways can my writing contribute to society in a love economy. Lots to think about. Do you have any thoughts?
I”m reading author Anne Lamott’s book “Hallelujah Anyway” where she writes about rediscovering mercy. I’m using author Jim Kwik’s technique of reading 20 pages everyday. I like her humor and human approach to writing. Of course the book is filled with stunning ah-ha moments.
I’ve been working on my memoir “Baby, You Have To Go Beyond The Block: Advice My Mother Gave Me While Growing Up” since January 2020. There were times I had to put it aside and just take a break. Then there were times I didn’t know what to do next in the writing process. But, through it all I kept believing that I would write and book.
I often reread books that have inspired me. One such book is Dr. Frederick Eikerenkoetter “Science Of Living Study Guide” in his chapter “Four Steps To Get What You Want” here is one of his steps:
“Belief is mental acceptance. When you believe something, you mentally accept it for yourself. In order to accomplish your goals and achieve your good purposes, you have to believe, you have to mentally accept what you want. Do not be discouraged by those around you who tell you that you cannot accomplish your goals. Remember that the world is full of wonders that people said couldn’t be done. Believe in the Infinite Goodness, the Infinite Power of God in you. When you believe, you can achieve any and every goal you set for yourself. When you believe in yourself you become UNSTOPPABLE.”
These words have been my motivation. I keep moving forward in my quest to be a published author. I see my memoir as a teaching manual. I’ve got beg dreams for myself and I won’t edit them down just because I’m a bit exhausted.
Stephanie Newell is the author of “How To Write Your First Book: A Blueprint For Fiction & Non-Fiction Writers.” Her book is a good road map for first time writers. She simply states facts and tips about writing, self-publishing, marketing and launching your first book and much more. As you probably already know, writing a book is a business and having a book budget is essential.
Being a first time writer can be intense. Ms. Newell gives you hacks that you can use to make the writing process more productive. Stephanie stresses that one thing that is important is to have patience and faith. It will take time to write your book, do research and create a following. My motto is, no matter what, keep writing!
In July 2020 I became a member of Hay House Writer’s Community after participating in their free 7-Day Writer’s Challenge. As a beginner writer I learned the importance of having a weekly writing schedule. When COVID-19 arrived on our shores, a writing schedule wasn’t necessary since I had all the time to write. Hay House has four pathways from beginner writers to those “ready to publish.” I won’t be renewing my membership in July because I’ve completed all pathways. I now have a manuscript ready for proofreading and an editor.
At this stage finances are playing a major factor in my writing decisions. Even though I started a book budget last year there are many expenses I did not anticipate. For the remainder of the year I will be diligentlly saving for the last stages of my book journey. In the meantime I’ll be working on my social media platforms. The saying is “you have to promote your book as you write our book.” I’m creating a Youtube Channel “Going Beyond The Block” https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2E1JIOOmVptqPkZl3UP74A. I will be uploading videos of me giving beginner writers tips and interviews. The channel will be started in September.
I’m still reading blogs and newsletters digesting beginner writer’s tips. I hope you will continue with me on this writing journey. My memoir, Baby, You Have To Go Beyond The Block: Advice My Mother Gave Me While Growing Up, will be completed by 2022. I have set this timeline as my goal.
Please feel free to share any tips you might have and don’t forget to subscribe to my Youtube Channel.