Friday, August 26, 2016

T-Shirt Revelations by C. Kevin Thompson

C. Kevin Thompson

As an assistant principal at a middle school, I see a lot of what is deemed “fashion.” Much of it comes in pithy sayings, cartoonish figures, and sparkling letters. Rarely are all three of those combined, though. But they say a lot about us, nevertheless.

One shirt showed a slice of bacon and a cracked egg lying in the street with crime scene tape around it. Standing at the tape was a chicken and a pig. The pig says to the chicken, “Oh no! That looks like Harry.” To which the chicken replies, “Yeah. I think that’s Mildred with him.” My guess was, this kid’s a goof. Likes to laugh. Probably a class clown. Will be the next Gary Larson.

Another shirt said, “Sister for sale. Will trade for old Nintendo games.” This kid suffers from sibling rivalry. And he knows what causes sibling rivalry. Having more than one kid. Lack of empathy. Familial ties aren’t important. Will probably be the next Lex Luthor. 

Still another shirt said, “I give 100%: 32% to homework; 23% to chores; 18% to cleaning my room; 12% to playing outside; 24% to math.” A lack of effort is implied (how each part is broken down). This is coupled with a lack of mathematical skills (Did you do the math?). Yet, a feeling of accomplishment is also implied (He gave 100%!). This kid will be a politician. No probably about it.

People read into things. Including what they read. T-shirts are like paintings, some convey a strong meaning most people get. Others are more “abstract.” The wearer of the t-shirt is like the painter. We who see the art judge the artist.

As authors, our art is our writing. Whether it be fiction or non-fiction, it conveys a persona all its own. And like paintings, it seems we can get about as many interpretations as there are readers. Comes with the territory of Art.

However, our words on a page do convey something about us. Something beyond the usual stigmas, like knowing we are Christian authors by the topics or words chosen (or not chosen!). From a literary standpoint, the revelations garnered about us from our writing start with issues like, the story’s merit, the author’s effort in putting it together, the author’s ability to command the English language (if English is your primary), and more.

When you read an author you’ve never read before, what questions go through your mind? When you start researching that author, what things are you looking for as a reader? The answers to those questions go beyond the words on the page, just like my questions went beyond the words on those t-shirts. What drives a girl to wear a shirt that says, “I’m awesome!” Besides the face value, snap judgments one could make, what really made that child snatch that shirt off the rack and spend $20? What caused that author to write the way he did? Use that imagery? Use that setting? Develop those characters? Pick that topic? Arrange the book the way he did? Associate with those organizations?

But always remember, it was your words on the page that started the whole snowball downhill in the first place. The better they are, the deeper the reader wishes to get to know you. Good writing creates deeper literary friendships.

When I entered the administrative ranks, I vowed to never forget what it was like to be a classroom teacher. I’ve had many teachers tell me how much they appreciate that. They see my efforts “on the page” via my conversations with them, my respect for them and what they do, my incessant efforts to help them in any way I can. As authors, we can never forget what it’s like to be a reader, either. We all have certain authors we love. And those authors used “tricks of the trade” to make our job of reading some much easier and enjoyable.

How deep can you make your literary friendships go?

A Clandestine Mission.
A Cryptic Message.
A Chaste Promise.

Blake Meyer dreamed of a peaceful end to a dutiful career with the FBI. Married now, his life was taking him in a new direction—a desk job. He would be an analyst. Ride it out until retirement. Be safe so he could enjoy his grandchildren some day.

But when a notable member of the IRA is murdered in a London flat, Blake’s secretive past propels him into the middle of a vindictive, international scheme so hellish and horrific, it will take everything Blake possesses—all of it—to save the United States from the most diabolical terrorist attack to date.

C. KEVIN THOMPSON is an ordained minister with a B.A. In Bible (Houghton College, Houghton, NY), an M.A. in Christian Studies (Wesley Biblical Seminary, Jackson, MS), and an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership (National-Louis University, Wheeling, IL). He presently works as an assistant principal in a middle school. He also has several years of experience as an administrator at the high school level.

A former Language Arts teacher, Kevin decided to put his money where his mouth was and write, fiction mostly. Now, years later, Kevin is a member of the Christian Authors Network (CAN), American Christian Fictions Writers (ACFW), and Word Weavers International. He is the Chapter President of Word Weavers-Lake County (FL), and his published works include two award-winning novels, The Serpent’s Grasp (Winner of the 2013 Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference Selah Award for First Fiction) is scheduled for reprint with Hallway Publishing, Spring 2017. Kevin’s second book, 30 Days Hath Revenge - A Blake Meyer Thriller: Book 1, is also scheduled for reprint this fall, with Book 2 due out later in the year. Kevin also has had articles appear in The Wesleyan Advocate, The Preacher, Vista, The Des Moines Register and The Ocala Star-Banner.

Kevin is a huge fan of the TV series 24, The Blacklist, Blue Bloods, and Criminal Minds, loves anything to do with Star Trek, and is a Sherlock Holmes fanatic, too.

Kevin’s Writer’s Blog:
Facebook: C. Kevin Thompson – Author Fan Page
Twitter: @CKevinThompson
Goodreads: C. Kevin Thompson