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Harlemville.blog vs. Harlemville novel

One of the same, but separate.

Creating the blog is all about building a damn fan base. Harlemville, the novel is all about ambitions I desired navigating life as a teen.

The blog mention events or happenings relevant to an influential time period in my life. Its mission is to explore my writing process in crafting Harlemville, and to provide insight into the writing process for new writer’s. It can be hard to start writing, especially the first sentence, more particularly, developing a storyline and persevere through procrastination, self-doubt with purpose. My intentions is to provide hope for new writers. Our writings don’t have to sound like Shakespeare. Our goal is to simply tell an entertaining story, not try an sell a million copies of our writings. That argument is up for debate.

Harlemville is no way an autobiography.

Episodes of my experiences, like the idea of creating an organized crime family with my day one crew. My thirst of knowledge through reading. Picturing how my first girlfriend was going to look. These elements. I made part of the Harlemville world, attributes of a main character, Jitorius Black. The plot then ventures out to stories I heard around the smoke cypher back in my youth. Truth and tall tales, let the reader distinguish.

But simply, Writing flows from what we know. We create a world we would like to see, if not, then we imagine a world and place created in our mind. Partially created by the, ‘what if factor‘, My favorite writers prompt.

Writer’s write, Farewell til forever…

Ahmad C. Wakanda

What a difference a Borough makes, growing up hood. It’s all about where ya from!

Prior to colonization, Native Americans occupied the lands before the colonizer’s claims of discovering North America.

An honorable mention so we never forget civilized life flourished prior to colonization of North America early 1600’s.

The five boroughs comprising of New York City did not exist as we know them today. This is not a lesson in History, but is the ambience of my novel, Harlemville, which is inspired by my New York upbringing.

From then til now.

The time I remember growing up in the Bronx, in the 1970’s is my second recollection. My first vague memories of young was Harlem, With my mom and dad, always crowds of people. After picking my mothers brain, she was surprised I remembered that time. My pops, a revolutionary, he knew Angela and Malcolm and as my mother put it, he was a soldier for the cause. Changed his government name to reflect that, and as me being my mom’s last child, he named me Ahmad.

1970’s Bronx

I’m seeing burnt out buildings. Hollowed out shells indicative of a war zone. I witnessed my project’s Vietnam Veterans, the ones drafted into a war, not their own, thousands of miles in jungle terrain return home strung out, drinking cheap wine and nodding in the hallways of a project building. Today, with hindsight I could picture their only peace being that in those poppy fields to escape the colonizers whims.

They loved us as kids, and tried to set us straight. Don’t smoke and drink and stay in school. A message told to us, too early, we were still running the project playing Manhunt, Kick-the-can and Run, Catch & Kiss.

I was a true snot nose Bronx kid, running the projects for the first half of that decade,

Brooklyn is on deck, on the map for certain. A personal homage to the borough that birthed my dad. Once the fourth largest city, this is a borough with plenty of character. It’s beauty will give you a false sense of pleasantness, til nightfall. If you don’t know the terrain it’s possible you could land your ass in trouble. It’s rough side was truly that. This is one borough I did not care to visit, with the exception of the World’s famous Coney Island. An annual tradition was to head out there on Easter, the gang of us decked out on the F train to the last stop.

You can walk along the Brooklyn into South Manhattan. On a starry night you can fall in love all over again the view is everything. I can do Brooklyn, it’s peace, just don’t be at the wrong place in them bricks, they will get you!

Staten Island

All I know of the suburban borough is Wu-tang Clan, and the place where the old school mobsters built their mansions. A quick hop to New Jersey over the Verrazano bridge, it is an Island. The Staten Island ferry terminal was the only reason why I ever ventured. A free ride on a ferry with a panoramic view of New York Harbor and a hint of the Statue of Liberty.

Queens

Our suburban borough, filled with houses the further east you traveled. Not the inner city for certain, this is where the city worker’s flocked when they bought their first house.

The city mobsters lived there, where they still laid down their grind. Again, at night don’t get caught out in Howard Beach.

Manhattan

My favorite borough. This is where the money is. Every other borough knows, Manhattan. This is possibly the only borough where the whole of New York City meets, and that includes the suburbs.

The original Vice City, the crossroads of the world is 42nd Street, We played hooky and watched 3 movies for 75 cents at 9:am. Kung Fu flicks galore, pretty certain Wu-tang picked their name because of it.

Hustlers, con games and prostitutes, a real Hell’s Kitchen, before Disney took over the block, Now known as the Capital of the World.

Uptown via the legendary A train, you’ll find soulful Harlem. Not a borough but a city unto itself. A lost period of Black prominence where a utopia existed,

Mid-1970’s Harlem

What a place! Shit was like a block party on the block’s. 133rd Street, 123rd…112th Street man so many people hanging out, mulling around, product moving – I was around cats ahead of their time. I admit. I gained a new perspective for life, it was no longer about mediocre, it was about getting it, fast lane, compared to where I ‘m from my n the Bronx, Harlem was ahead of its time.

New Harlem

After gentrification. Everyone new it was going to arrive. We forgot about the one dollar brownstones for sale. A lottery, all you had to do was guarantee to fix them up. Well we never saw the buyers or a neighborhood hanger until gentrification was official. A former president Bill Clinton opened an office on 125th Street, after that it was on. If you visit Harlem today, it appears to be an extension of 96th Street, sidewalk cafes included. Oh yeah, and those one dollar brownstones, worth over a million plus dollars today.

Back to the Bronx

The true definition of inner city, the whole damn borough was poor, except for Riverdale, whom always excluded themselves from Bronx memberships.

Writer’s Write…., Farewell til forever…

Ahmad C. Wakanda

The Crew concept- Harlemville

Crew – A group of individuals banded together for a common cause and mission.

As a youngin, I always loved the idea of a group of friends with one common interest and loyalty toward one another- if one fell off, we all picked him up to make a seamless transition to cover their participation. Trust beyond question. An individual unit of many. Necessary attributes for continued success within the crew model.

Greed and self -interest are not Crew values.

I can recall a proposal to my boys as kids growing up . It wasn’t called a proposal at the time, we were all around thirteen years old. The streets had called us and we were bringing home money and everyday when we went out to hustle- not to give anyone the wrong impression, but it wasn’t thousands not even hundreds, but at thirteen years old, sixty dollars in 1974 was everything- my suggestion was to pool our funds everyday we hit the streets. 10 dollars each person. Quickly the idea crumbled when not one of us out the seven could agree on either of us trustworthy to hold the loot. We did not trust one another, but still days ones til today. I look back on that time and wished the concept would have worked. Was I looking for a crutch, or was my proposal genuine? I was serious. But never argued the point. That was my first lesson.

Life is an individual effort

I learned the hard way, but yet the concept of team continues to burn in my soul. My projects and endeavors start with me, and most of the time when I do incorporate other individuals out of necessity, I continually find myself acquiring a new skill learned from that one individual. What I’m discovering is every human has their own agenda. And if it doesn’t revolve around making dollars, then it don’t make sense. Now what does this rhetoric have to do with writing a blog regarding my first novel, Harlemville?

It’s the idea of loyalty, the art of watching out for another, living as one. What I saw on the blocks of Harlem growing up. I witnessed crews going further as a whole, than an individual standing alone. That’s my belief today and I stand by that. So I incorporated that concept into the Harlemville novel.

The Black Republicans, a private invitation membership only organization, incorporating crews into their fold. This organization made up of individuals are the central figure driving the Harlemville story. The violation of the organization’s mission statements set forth events propelling the story forward.

Harlemville, not a biography or a story based on real events, but a work of fiction born of some of my experiences, in which some episodes are exaggerated, is a story based on the belief systems of the writer.

As I continue to write weekly for the Harlemville.blog the central theme I’m working on conveying to readers all start and end with my concepts of what I perceived. Early editions was about me penning my first novel, then I subtlety delved into my soul for the meaning. And this as writers provides us with direction-purpose to continue writing our stories to its conclusions.

Writer’s write…, Farewell til forever.

Ahmad C. Wakanda…

Harlemville – Five Elements of Hip-Hop, How bout Six?

Let me take you to 1977, I’ve been teenaging for a couple of years now, kick-the-can, hot peas and butter is phasing out of my daily activities. Junior High School freshman cooling with my boys, learning know to rap to girls. My vices and lusts are in the beginning stage so things are a little awkward. My barber – I chose – is in Harlem, not the local Bronx barber, Roy’s who probably gave every kid in Bronx River projects their first cut. The guy will drink, talk and cuss while cutting your hair. Sometimes you can escape a miss.

I discovered how to smoke weed, earned money using my wits, and dipped in my older brother’s weed stash. Learned how to inhale cigarettes by finding butts with the white on it. Occasionally, a clip of weed, and money. After a hot Saturday breaking night, at the break of dawn on Sunday morning the hunt was on in the Big Park. That year a citi-wide Blackout had us all wilding, solidifying my adolescence.

The Five Elements (Confirmed by the masses)

Fast forward to 1978, on my way to cop smoke from Mapes Avenue I was dazzled by the brilliance of my favorite graffiti artists. Comet & Blade’s artistic top to bottom tags was a beautiful sight when the #2 train hit the curb at West Farms Square.

The walk to Mapes Avenue was well worth it, rolling twenty loose bambu joints per nickel bag. Parlaying the profits led to copping bundles of Red Devil for sale from my 112th street-Harlem connect.

My hustle game kicked up another notch, when my slumming partners met a Brooklyn God named Understanding, our 14k hitter on the slum side at Union Square Park. My gear improved before the fashionable Karl Kani hit the scene. Clyde suede Pumas and mock necks, flare legged Lee’s and leather bombers were my attire. Then the phenomena hit like clock work fusing the elements, providing a lane putting Hip-Hop into play.

The First Hint

Music blared. Not just any music from a record player with a speaker out the window, but funky beats played on Technic brand turntables with removable needle cartridges, that moved your body against its will. A wild adventure was beginning, touching every New York City borough and its inner city youth would be the driving force.

From the first floor of 1595, to the back of the Bronx River neighborhood center, Dj Afrika Bambaataa kicked new beats to our eardrums. What we did not know, was, that we were caught in the grips of the birth of a global phenomenon, the most lucrative musical genre in the history of music, Rap, aka Hip-Hop.

The movement was subtle at first, Dj’s were spinning, each cornering various sections of the Bronx borough. Parties sprung every weekend, T-Connection, 123, The PAL, Monroe and the Classic, at the Home of the Gods, *the birthplace of Hip Hop, Bronx River projects. Emcees accompanied Dj’s. The beats were so captivating some youth were compelled to demonstrate extraordinary dance moves in tune. Bboy’s were born. At every party, enclosed by a circle of fans Bboy crews were breakdancing wildly for clout.

Sweat suits were their attire, a loose fitting stylish fashion allowing for unrestricted movement became associated with the Hip Hop of early.

Historically, the five elements listed in boldface are inclusive to Hip-Hop. But, unfortunately or fortunately, depends on your stance on the matter, like most sub-cultures, drugs discretely played its part.

The Sixth Element (Lets debate)

Marijuana smoke drifted like morning fog. In every bathroom at the early Hip-Hop spots, a drug bazaar existed.

I hustled during the week, to prepare for the weekend. Where there are people, there is money to be made. We hustled Red Devil at the parties drinking quarts before the start. Nothing like having a buzz on, and listening to beats banging out ridiculously loud sound systems.

Everyone had on their flyest gear, listening, dancing or hustling product. Shit, some emcees were buzzed out.

Legitimately, if were speaking of attributes that make up the culture of Hip-Hop, It then, hustling plays its part. It exists. The influence is felt today with most rappers claiming to be trapping. Jewelry dripping with diamonds, custom made. Designer threads. All the hustlers I know wore fine clothes. Today it’s designer this or that. Wads of cash. Hustling is a cash business. Rap artists of today have no problem showing cash. The hustling influence is present. What are most rappers lyrics about today?

Jus tryna make a point!

Writer’s write…, Farewell till forever…

Ahmad C. Wakanda

*sidebar(Kool Herc is globally recognized with that honor)

Depends on what side of the Bronx you grew up on!!

Harlemville Dreamin

My apologies for truncating last week’s blog. My time maxed out, still no excuse not to fulfill an obligation. Moving on. Truth be told, I’ve become fixated on the time spent crafting Harlemville, I’m speaking of 10 years of elapsed time learning and crafting. It’s an emotional adventure filled with peaks and valleys.

I lived in NYC when I first started writing Harlemville. Atlanta during most my rewrites, and now Scranton for the conclusion. Time was at a minimum, and most of it was not well spent on crafting, and now the what ifs are kicking in, and I’m kicking them out, knowing I should have finished three volumes by now.

Enough of that, I’m where I’m supposed to be. One has to live life, while pursuing dreams. Remember moderation is very important for one’s soul. Whatever endeavor, goes for food, work, leisure or your indulgences.

Getting back to the basics. Any beginning writers subscribed to Harlemville blog, your feedback is key. Not to confuse, Im’ma continuing writing this blog if no one subscribed. So again I announce, the first 25 followers receive a complementary ebook of Harlemville upon publication in December.

I learned to share in pre-school and it has carried over to adulthood. It’s my spirit.

I mention time to time I’m working on building a damn fan base. I’m dead ass serious with that. But one thing I learned about the universe leasing this earthly space for a half century thus far, you will get your just deserves, be they good or bad.

Now I just preached moderation. I have to inform myself that unfortunately to hit deadline; focus on. Self-editing 30 chapters prior to handing the Harlemville manuscript to an editor. At least a chapter a day is scheduled. So my program, three of the four days I’m off work, when my youngest is in school. Doable. Also I need to tighten the conclusion of Harlemville. This needs to be complete to hit October 20th deadline.

Below are a pix of the original journals I wanted on the front cover, but as I did not own the stock photo that would have been a case of infringement.

Why the journals?

These are the objects that motivate a plot for Harlemville. There can still be a story without them, but they provide reasons for my characters to have conflict. The journals push the action. As in most terrific stories, there must be a reason for your characters motivations. Harlemville. – technically about the life and stories of Hustlers, it made sense to have the journal contain information pertaining to compounds for narcotics manufacturing and all the underlying reasons for my characters actions revolve around the journals.

Next week:

I believe Hustler’s played a part in the What’s your take? Chime in.

Topic will be highly debatable. I wholeheartedly believe Hustling is a part of the evolution of Hip Hop, even still today., making it the 6th element of Hip Hop: Dj’s, Mc’s, Bboy’s, Graffiti artist’s, Fashion and Hustler’s.

My argument (pro) in detail, tune in and follow the Harlemville.blog.

Writer’s write…, Farewell till forever….

ACW….

Harlemville-Retreat….

Wow, thanks everyone, huge response for Harlemville plot reveal, the positive reactions are very much appreciated and extremely encouraging.

All states will be officially back to school, after Labor Day. I know for me, it’s been a working effort, with one daughter starting her freshman year on campus, and the youngest kindergarten. I’ve been spread out, forgetting commitments and doing more thinking than writing. Not good, a forced break is what I call it. I lost some writing time, and for that September is reserved for writing. My write time will swap out to daytime mainly. Real life has taken over. Adjustments have to be made.

I’m ashamed to say, but I have not made a full commitment to write. When I say that I mean that’s all I do. Don’t get me wrong, writing is what I do. I know one thing , It’s a must Harlemville manuscript completes by deadline October 2019, then the editing process will start. So September is read, rewrite and self edit, then a proofer.

*****

Told y’all. My apologies for an incomplete blog. Things were so hectic on my part, never paid any mind to Sunday. That’s truth for you.

Writers write…., Farewell til forever…

The Harlemville Blog – Part 2

I’d like to inform you, Harlemville is not your typical Urban Lit novel, ie. The exotic car, big bootie scantily clad chicks and shirtless males with a glock stuck in a waist. Those book covers do sell, but the storylines always remain the same. I needed more substance, essentially I wanted a story readers could sink their teeth into, so the formula for Harlemville maintains the elements of the streets, in an earlier time frame.

My readers demographics remembers music out in the parks. Heard the stories and knew the names of the Hustlers the streets paid handsomely. British Walkers, Playboys and Sharkskin slacks. AJLester’s, need I go on? Time when police shot warning shots in the air, or tripped your running ass up with the night stick cause they wasn’t gonna chase you. That era. When a 32oz and a tray bag lit up a small crew. I think you get my drift, and if you don’t then read Harlemville to understand the era your parents or grandparents lived.

Had to reveal the cover art for Harlemville I’m too hype to shroud Harlemville in secrecy. Besides, I need my damn fan base, so another teaser will have to do. Out of the 15 or so cover designs in the mix, Including my first cover designed on the strength of my ppl, @roadie_empire (check it below).

The chosen design (top) was developed using a freelancer on the Fiverr App. The back drop is too dark to notice in the top image, but it is a cityscape, gritty and dark capturing the essence of Harlemville’s theme. The split screen was my idea, the stock photos of the journals are the objects that set off the conflict in the Harlemville novel.

The second image (top right) are mathematical formulas displaying the collegiate caliber of the journals containing chemical formulas used to create a variation of designer drugs.

Today I am granting a surprise that will sure to please. A hint was dropped a couple of blogs ago, about releasing a synopsis of sorts. I did have a theme for this week’s blog, but most of the time when writing your sub-conscious takes over an all sorts of amazing things happen, like a sneak peak into the world of Harlemville. Enjoy!

A synopsis of sorts:

Rawley Ballor, founder of the Black Republicans, an organization created to monopolize the Vice District, and surrounding drug zones of top sellers under one clique. Schooled in the way of old Italians as a youngin, now merging the knowledge of the street’s underworlds and academia after obtaining a Masters Degree in Chemistry, to monopolize drug production and distribution in Harlem.

Rules, regulations and formulas are described in three journals, nicknamed, The Drug Game Bible. Membership into the Black Republican’s is by invitation only every five years and all big time Harlem drug dealers want in.

Fatboy and Dee, founders of the Enterprise crew are nominated. A low-key crew raking in thousands a day selling tin-foiled dimes of coke in front a building. To become members all they have to do is raise half a million initiation fee.

A message from Big Cuban, a protege of Bolito, a former associate of Rawley’s when he ran the streets, hits up Fatboy. Steal the journals and your initiation fee is guaranteed in cash, amongst bonus and perks. Fatboy recruits, Squirrel, the Enterprise’s top earner with a penchant for coming up short on money. Deal accepted.

With the main journal in his possession, Big Cuban deciphers a formula creating an addictive, off the market narcotic. The pills sales are assigned to Squirrel. He recruits his smoke dealer Jitt Black, a young project kid with a need and want of a new pair of sneakers, anxious to work the pills out in Union Square Park, and leave the loose joint sales behind. Successful high sales for Jitt Black leads to a meeting with Fatboy. With a proposal for Jitt Black. (Set up Squirrel, and takeover the operations for self) testing his loyalties to pull him further into uncharted territory.

Rumors abound all lead back to one man. Did the order come from Rawley Ballor?

Jitt Black loyal to Squirrel or the Enterprise?

A sneak peak for ya ass. The tense plot drama don’t end there. More characters, more storylines support the main plot branching out to increase the tension.

Harlemville is a three book series, part of the Black Republicans Saga.

A must read, written by a new author, ten years in the making.

I think I said to much, don’t want to upset the publisher.

Writer’s Write…, Farewell til forever…

Ahmad C. Wakanda