Hey Everyone! I hope you enjoy this first trailer for my Twistir novel. I had a bunch of fun making it and got to work with a group of very talented people. Special shout out to Jahdai Pickett for his cinematography and editing skills!
Book 2: INFIRNO is due out in March 2014 !! I’m very excited about it. So stay tuned for that and other news.
Some things are brewing on the TV/Film front, another poetry installment is in the works, and I’m learning everyday in the highest of spirits. So who knows what could happen..?
On Friday, 1.25.13, I had the pleasure of being invited to Career Day at the KIPP Empower Academy in Los Angeles, where I spoke to four kindergarten classrooms about being a writer.
I must admit, I was a little nervous at first. What to say, what words NOT to use, sit down or stand up, and should I use any props…? All had me a little on edge. Sounds easy to some, I’m sure, but my strengths tend to be better suited for a slightly older audience (teens).
Regardless, I was up for the challenge.
As soon as I walked into the first class, the thing that caught my attention – other than those bright young faces, excited to see a new visitor – were the navy Blue t-shirts with a Golden “UC BERKELEY” written across the front. This made me smile, of course, it being my alma mater. I suddenly felt more relaxed.
After being introduced and starting my spiel about writing, reading, and the importance of education, I only messed up one time. Well, one BIG time. It was the moment I would’ve normally said to a teen audience, something like, “So, any of you guys into Vampire Diaries? Hunger Games? Harry Potter? Monsters in general? What’s the last thriller/scary movie you watched with friends? Cabin in the Woods?” or something relatable like that…
But instead, for about 10 seconds, I remained silent, looking for the appropriate thing to say – or NOT to say. I didn’t want the young minds going home and telling their parents, “Pierce Minor talked to us about MONSTERS, and we got really, really scared.” So I kept it light and engaging, asking them instead about their favorite animals rather than bringing up werewolves and the like. Many of them seemed to side with my favorite animal, the dolphin, and grew even more excited when I mentioned my forthcoming books, The Dolphin Prince, and The Dolphin Princess – two separate books about members of a lost underwater family (and appropriate for their age level, I might add). I’ve never seen a group of kids more excited about animals, as a matter of fact.
Needless to say, things were looking up as the presentation came to a close. A few of the kids even had thoughtful questions to ask about the process of book publishing. It was a success! And the other three classes went great too, also in collegiate t-shirts – UC Santa Barbara, CSUN, and UC Davis, respectively.
This was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had in a long, long time. And I can’t wait to do more school visits. Kudos to KIPP Empower Academy for doing a GREAT job teaching our children and prepping them practically and mentally – even this early – for post secondary education. I hope there’s constant improvement in early childhood education, in general, and I hope there are more KIPP schools around by the time my own children are in need of quality scholastics. And I can’t believe how well-behaved and spirited these kids were. Thank you Mrs. Turner, Ms. Cienfuegos, Ms. Mathis, and Ms. Gallo for having me! I wish I had more teachers like this when I was growing up. It’s very impressive, what they’re doing over there. I mean, I really feel like there’s hope for the future generations! GO KIPP!!
So I learned a lot from this visit, the most important being… regardless of who you are today, and where you haven’t gotten yet, please take the time when you can to give back in some way. It’ll be worth the time, I promise. And if kids are involved, you’ll leave with a renewed responsibility to your community – a new lease on life that will outlive any recognition, award or superficial status.
I sure did.
For more information on KIPP schools in Los Angeles, please visit www.kippla.org
Since this is my blog – still haven’t gotten used to it – I guess I’ll talk about the part of the writing process that was most interesting for me this time around… giving birth.
I just finished the first draft of my second novel, INFIRNO. It feels great to have completed another project with such passion. But I guess it’s also bittersweet. When you’re so invested in a story, it’s hard to just put it aside. Infirno is the sequel to my first novel, TWISTIR, so I’ve been with these three main characters for a little over two years now. I think I’m finally beginning to understand why J.K. Rowling was depressed when she finished the Harry Potter series.
Sidenote: As I take a long break before further revising Infirno, I must get Twistir ready for publication. It’s due out next year and has to be in great condition. (For reading, of course.) It took me a long time (years) of screenwriting, and now novel writing to appreciate the re-writing PROCESS. Don’t let anyone sell you on the dream (lies) of getting everything perfect right away, especially on the first try – even on the second or third. EVERY book takes a lot of writing, RE-WRITING, revising, and editing before it’s ready to hit the streets. So for all of my fellow writers out there, my advice is to write, write, write… then leave the writing alone. FOR A WHILE. Trust me, you need this time AND space to “un-marry” everything you’ve done. It’ll make your re-writing, editing, and life a lot easier.
Ok, back to the baby talk. I’m no woman, and I have no children of my own, but finishing a novel, to me, is the closest I’ll probably ever get to childbirth. (not including being there to support my wife)
It’s crazy how different I feel after completing Infirno, versus Twistir. They’re sort of like the kids I don’t have – I love them equally, but different. When I wrote the first draft of Twistir last year, I was like a scared first-time parent… reading all the popular books about parenting, buying the best gadgets, and making extra space around the house by throwing away everything I didn’t use enough. Essentially, I was super extra careful with EVERYTHING. And no matter how annoying I became, every friend was an overly happy enabler. They just smiled and said, “Aw, how cool!” (Thanks guys, lol) Ironically, this parental OCD played well into the psyche of my teenage narrator, Ennis, who can be a very internal and calculated young man, yet he wishes to be more edgy and carefree like the other character, Elias Cruz. There’s a bit of closeted envy there. Nonetheless, I had a great time with Ennis and his journey in the Twistir book. And like a first-time parent, I gave him all of the attention he needed, and then some.
Conversely, Infirno – the brother book – was the inevitable second child and was treated with the same amount of love, but totally different. The environment was more relaxed, for starters. And since his narrator, Elias, has a “react first” attitude, it played into a slightly differently style of writing for me. Overall, he – the book as child – was coming out no matter what I chose to stress about, and I had been through it once before, so the process felt a bit more organic. The story unfolded nicely as the characters did an easier job of communicating on the page. At times, I even felt like I was just some guy who was blessed to write everything down and steal all the credit. The process was downright fun. The only downside was a mild to medium case of postpartum depression as I neared the final chapter.
Yeah, I know it sounds a little weird, but after seeing my sister deliver my niece and nephew, childbirth is the closest life experience I can relate to the finishing of my first two novels. It was painful and prideful, scary but necessary, and in the end made me feel exhausted, excited, sad, and I suppose, complete – for now. I feel like I’ve sort of lived for someone else. It’s hard to nail down all the emotions right now, but it’s like they’ve both been a part of me, just waiting to get out – like they’ve been there all long.
I wonder what writing the third and fourth books in the series will feel like.
Until next time, keep giving birth to your dreams! Even when it hurts. Especially when it hurts.
The last couple of months have been a roller coaster of creative madness. I started writing the sequel (INFIRNO) to my first novel (TWISTIR, unreleased), I’ve been slowly revising the script that is likely to be the blueprint to my first feature film as DIRECTOR, and in addition to my job as a Quality Control Tester for many Blu-Ray and DVD titles, I’ve been training to teach California teenagers how to drive. Needless to say, time has been scarce. I’m really surprised that I actually read four new books, and finished my long-awaited Harry Potter Marathon (Films 1 through 7 Part 1). And yes, I was there at the midnight showing last Thursday for HP 7 Part 2. Right now, I’m even trying to fit in this blog right before heading out of the door to a film screening. See? Madness.
In addition to staying busy, “good” busy, there are many things that I have to be thankful for, and I try to never take any of them for granted, but today I’m going to talk about LESSONS. We never know exactly where they will come from, but it’s good to be on the look-out for them, or at least open to the possibilities. Even if a new road looks strange and bleak, remember that the lesson is often found at the end. Embrace it first by beginning the journey.
Here is one of my own.
A couple of months ago, a friend/co-worker of mine returned from a trip to Brazil. She came bearing small gifts in the form of Brazilian Luck Bracelets. When she offered me one, my first instinct was to accept it, of course. Like any kid, I only hoped that I got to choose the color. She pulled out the long red bracelet from the small plastic bag of many and began to tie it around my left wrist, knot after knot until it was more than secure in its new home. “That’s a strong set of knots,” I said. “How long before it falls off?” She gave me a discerning look, and replied, “I’m not gonna lie to you. It could take a while.” I almost immediately regretted the decision to participate. I didn’t want the thing on my wrist for any more than a few days, let alone week or two. I looked around and noticed that one of my other co-workers and my supervisor had both accepted their own knotted gifts and seemed to be ok with it. “Ok, fine,” I thought to myself. “If it’s supposed to grant a wish, or bring good luck, I’ll stick to it. If nothing else, I’ll get a good conversation out of it. Maybe it’ll be a good ice breaker for me and the future mother of my children… who knows?”
Fast forward to today, mid July 2011. This bracelet sits right where it first landed on my left wrist. For over 2 months, it’s been through every shower, hand-washing, watch-twitching, behind-the-wheel driving, and food preparation that I’ve done. It doesn’t even look the same. The first week or two was the worst. I was extremely annoyed. I wanted out. The red cloth was itchy and bothersome. Then one day in the shower, I almost gave up and ripped it off. Why not? My co-worker’s? Gone. Supervisor’s? Gone. They couldn’t stand the itching, either, so they gave up. I had been the most resistant at first, but it also seemed that I was the last person to stick to the journey. Right before I violently snatched the red bracelet off, and let it hit my bathroom floor, something else snapped inside of me.
This bracelet, this burden… it was mine to bear. I asked for it. Whether I knew or not at the time, I wanted it. And the more I thought about my situation and the status of my hopes and dreams, this little nylon-cotton annoyance was a huge reminder to me that I could never give up so easily, so soon. I had to keep fighting, and hold on to my mission, even when it was unbearable – especially when it seemed impossible.
I also just happened to be at a low point that week, where I began to question why I had chosen such an uncertain path. All the stress, and good grades, and college, and organizational/business experience… all of it led me… here??! “YES,” I had to reinforce positively within myself. “It all led me HERE.” I’m not wealthy and well traveled (yet) but it could be a hell of a lot worse. A LOT WORSE. I actually love what I do, and not many people can say that with confidence. And I get to do it everyday, no matter who’s around. My wishes could be just around the corner, or far away in the future. Either way, I’m doing just fine.
All in all, I’m glad I took on this tiny, yet meaningful project, and until the little red levee breaks, and all of my creativity floods out into the world, I’ll be here. Remaining steadfast. Holding on.
p.s. – I’m very proud of my brother Anthony Hylick and his new book… “Plan B Sucks: Work on Your Dreams, Not Your Boss’s”
Tomorrow, Thursday, January 27, 2011 is my 29th birthday.
This year, instead of the usual party attitude and wasteful spending, I want to really make my birthday count. More than anything tomorrow, I would love to make a difference in someone’s life. Therefore, in the early morning, I will be doing community service in Los Angeles.
On this special day for me, all I ask of you is one thing: DO SOMETHING GOOD to HELP another person. I urge you to step outside of your comfort zone, whatever that may be, and try to really make it count. Bonus points if you can do one thing for someone that can never be repaid. If you succeed with this, you will walk away feeling better than you ever have before.
Thank you for reading and doing your little part to make the world a better place.
Peace Love and Blessings,
P.S.- Community Service goes down at 8:15am, 2301 Bellevue Ave., LA, CA 90026 in case you are in LA and would like to join me. We’ll be loading the FOOD TRUCK for families in need.
The Food Truck is a community outreach that delivers bagged groceries to over 32 different low-income neighborhoods feeding over 50,000 people every month in Los Angeles.
Many families living in these neighborhoods have to choose between rent and food. We are able to alleviate one choice by personally bagging and handing out groceries along with communicating a positive message with each family in line.
So, it’s been a very, very long road thus far. I’m nowhere near where I want to be, but I’m working hard at it everyday. This is my first blog post, ever, in life, so please bear with me. I was actually nervous about blogging, until I spoke to a friend. She told me to just say what’s on my mind and write about the process. That was comforting, so thanks Alicia!
Today marks the official release date of my first published book, THE INTERSECTION: a poetik journey, and I couldn’t be more excited! The pre-release went very well, and I’m proud to have some of the most amazing people in the world supporting me. SERIOUSLY, I can’t thank ALL OF YOU enough!!
It’s interesting how a person can be so insecure about something they’ve worked so hard and passionately at producing. I mean, I love the book, and like most poetry, most of it was written for me, but there’s that little tiny voice in the corner of my brain screaming “it’s not good enough” or “it’s not ready yet” or my favorite, “Are you crazy, Pierce? NO ONE’S GOING TO BUY YOUR BOOK!” I guess everyone has those little voices inside of them. The important thing is to keep fighting… And supporting ourselves with positive people who help us to win these battles. If you get a chance to grab a copy of the book, I hope you become inspired to make your life the BEST of whatever you want it to be. But pay close attention… because I don’t have all of the answers, and neither do my guest authors. But what we can ALL do, is face this journey together. Aside from sex, color, income, region, and a huge load of other barriers, we’re all the same. Universally, WE ARE ALL THE SAME.
So at some point today, after feeling EXTREMELY overwhelmed by the love and support from all of you wonderful folks out there, I got inspired. I sat down, grabbed my pen, and this poem poured out of me. It’s untitled, but I want to dedicate it to all of the people who continue to show me love.
In my thankfulness,
And restless bliss,
Love breeds happiness.
I’m bestowed a kiss.
To you and you, I’d never dismiss
It’s because of this, my smile’s amidst
The treasures that, never quite fall flat
And your welcome mat, I’ll always come back.
Thank Heavens for, your love so pure
Taking nothing more. My home, your door.
The snakes have venom. You found a cure.
Clouds of anti-wrong, just glee galore.
I thank you.
My abundance is you.
My positivity is you.
I’m made brand new
Never used and blue
I am JUST, because.
I’m because of you.
(that’s the end of it)
So there it is. I hope you enjoyed it. Share it this holiday season with someone you care about. In fact, share The Intersection: a poetic journey. There’s a LOT of heart and soul put into that project. And I promise, it won’t bore you. Lol. But seriously, go grab it.
As far as other things go, everything is happening in due time. I just finished my first novel, TWISTIR, which I am crazily excited about! It will hopefully be available next year, so stay tuned. It’s the first thriller in a series of 4, about three teenagers with special abilities who come into themselves, the real world, and their new families, for the first time. I’ll make an effort to blog about the process, hoping that I get into the hang of this blogging thing. There are other projects brewing into existence that I can’t talk about just yet, but please look forward to seeing my work on the small and big screens as well.
If you’ve read this entire blog, I definitely appreciate your time. Feel free to comment. And please share my work with others. THANK YOU.
Til next time,