The Freedom to Write

I hope all is well, dear readers, because this is a very special day. It was one of those days where I woke up this morning feeling blessed z - vetto be a novelist, blessed to have amazing fans like you all, and blessed to be able to pursue whatever, ridiculous, mind-numbingly outlandish idea that courses into my head and I decide to turn into a novel.

Seriously, life couldn’t be better. I have a great family. My friends are impossible to beat. God is constantly providing me with any provision I could need and giving me things I don’t deserve.  I even have  a great dog, although he’s on my list after trying to pull a fast one on me this morning (just email me if you want the whole story). I have amazing scholarships allowing me to go to a top-50 private university for an exceptional rate. My “job” is getting paid for doing what I have dreamed of doing my whole life. How insainocrazily cool is that? I am a fiction novelist – a professional liar – and I want to continue this until the day that I die. And then there are the side-jobs: The Tulsa World, substitute teaching, the eBay business. I couldn’t imagine a better life.

But the real question is this: have I done anything to deserve what I have? Have I accomplished enough that I should walk around like the world owes me? Did I earn this blessed life? Have I achieved enough to be qualified?

The answer to all of those questions, dear readers, is no. I have done NOTHING to earn any of the blessings of my life. Nada. Zilch. Zero. In fact, it has nothing to do at with what I have done, but instead everything to do with the sacrifices made by countless brave men and women. You see, today is November 11th (unless, of course, you are among that unimaginably small percent of the American population that doesn’t check my blog EVERY day of the year and you are reading this late), and that means today is Veterans Day! This is a day dedicated to the heroes of our country – the people that make what I do possible. No matter how many novel-worthy ideas I have, or how many friends I can make, or what dream university I want to attend, none of that would matter one tiny little bit if it wasn’t for the heroic men and women fighting for the freedom of this country.

So Veterans, this one’s to you. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. I mean it. I know that I am blessed, but more importantly, I know that I am blessed because of the daily sacrifices that each and every one of you make. You are the people who make living this life possible, and I am eternally grateful for all that you do. May God protect you as you strive to keep this country grand.

Readers, no matter what day of the year it is, if you see a veteran, please shake their hand. Give them a hug. Tell them they are appreciated. They sacrifice so much for us that we can never repay them, but we can at least show them we love them.

Thanks to all.

– Jesse Haynes

The Cost of a Dollar

I have a great idea! I’m going to take two completely separate ideas and mash them together in an attempt to give them some sort of cohesion and make a point. AKA this is my Greek philosopher impersonation.

So anyway, happy November! One month left and then we will be changing to another calendrical year. How exciting! With November comes three things that I care about: the NBA season starts to gain momentum, it is epilepsy awareness month… and Thanksgiving. As much as I’d like to blog about LeBron, I’m going to write about the latter of the two.

And now I’m going to talk about rap. Love it or hate it, rap is a very expressive form of art. I will be the first to admit that I don’t like many rappers, and I definitely don’t like explicit rap, but lately I listened to a song that really got me thkendrick-lamar-press-2015-black-and-white-billboard-650inking. The song is by Kendrick Lamar, entitled “How Much a Dollar Costs.” The point of the song is Kendrick, who is a rich and influential rapper, encounters a homeless man begging him for a dollar. Kendrick, who has a religious background, acts contrary to how he knows he should (even when the beggar asks if Kendrick has recently “opened up Exodus 14”, which offers a lesson on humility). He continually asks himself “how much a dollar cost” throughout the song, pondering the true value of money. When confronted with the beggar he becomes angry, claiming, “Crumbs and pennies, I need all of mine,” and that “Every nickel is mine to keep.” Basically, Kendrick completely snaps on the poor beggar.

The homeless man then quickly pulls a 180 on Kendrick, making a statement about how people should treat one another. He reveals that in face he is actually God in disguise, alluding to another parable of the Bible. He answers, “You’re lookin’ at the Messiah, the son of Jehovah, the higher power, The choir that spoke the word, the Holy Spirit, the nerve of Nazareth, and I’ll tell you just how much a dollar cost: The price of having a spot in Heaven. Embrace your loss, I am God.”

So the point of the song is that earthly wealth is never more important the eternal salvation, and people should always be thankful for what they have and willing to share if they have enough. Kendrick demonstrates that the figurative cost of a dollar can be much more expensive than the actual value of the dollar, and it is a very impactful song.

So, all of that being said, let me conclude: As Thanksgiving approaches, a time to express our gratitude for the things we have in our life, pay special attention to how blessed we truly are. Remember the priorities in your life and why they are important to you. Feel free to leave commentary/feedback on my post below. Keep pressing on, my friends.

– Jesse Haynes