Friday, December 3, 2010
Day 3 Holiday Special with R M Green
BIO – Michele Green, aka RM GREEN
Born in New York City and raised in Brooklyn, NY and Roosevelt LI, NY, she began writing about 20+ years ago and wrote primarily short stories for young adults. These stories depicted social ills that bothered her, such as homelessness, HIV and domestic abuse for starters. She attempted to get her stories published, but after about 200 attempts with no promises in sight, became discouraged and quit writing for about 14 years.
When her grandmother died in February, 2006, the lesson her death seemed to be teaching her is that if you have a dream, you had better realize it now before it is too late. She always had a dream of publishing a novel, but the first thing she did was pen a poem to her grandmother, 'MY HEART'S SONG, through tears of grief. That poem opened the floodgates to her writing career. And she's been going strong ever since.
In August 2007, she produced her first book, an anthology called 'THE PASSION WITHIN', with five other writer friends, and she formed her own publishing company, SAFE HAVEN PUBLISHING COMPANY, primarily to learn about the publishing business and to produce her own works. In April, 2008, she opened the company to accept outside authors and has now realized her dream of being an author and publisher. Her first novel, 'EVERYBODY PLAYZ THA FOOL', was finally released in October, 2010 and her next project, 'SHE COULD HEAR THE SILENCE' is scheduled to be released by the company in 2011. She also edited the book, 'A JOURNEY TO WELLNESS: A Series of Collective Thoughts' by Debra D. Griffin, a book which chronicles Ms. Griffin's fight against breast cancer in words and pictures in 2007.
Also in August, 2007, she began broadcasting her own radio show, AUTHOR SPEAK, where she interviews authors about their lives, passions, inspiration to write, and their projects. You can find the archives or tune in live to her program at www.blogtalkradio.com/authorspeak .
Ms. Green, now divorced, resides in Beaufort, SC and is raising her three beautiful daughters.
And here is an interview that Cendrine Marrouat did on me earlier this year for her show...
Cendrine Marrouat: Hello Michele, tell us a little about you. What do you do?
Michele Green: Hi Cendrine! Well, first and foremost I am a child of God! I am also the mother of three beautiful daughters, an author, poet and publisher - I began SAFE HAVEN PUBLISHING back in 2007. I host an internet radio show called AUTHOR SPEAK every Sunday evening at 9:00 PM Eastern time, where I interview mainly authors, poets and spoken word artists, I run a service called RM Greenhouse Services Corp., where authors, poets & spoken word artists can find needed services such as publishers, editors, illustrators book cover art & the like, and I work part time outside the home repairing and selling computers. I suppose you can call me one of those 'computer geeks'! LOL...
CM: As the owner of a publishing house and an author, what would you say are the main challenges you encounter on a daily basis?
MG: TIME!! Finding the time to do what I need to do is my basic challenge. Being divorced, I do all this on my own, but I must say that I am blessed with wondeful children who understand, and help me by helping around the house, being well-mannered and all of them are pretty good students as well. I have one daughter who has had straight A's since first grade (she is in the eighth grade now) and I am really hoping she can get a scholarship to attend college this way. The other two are A/B students, so I know I am blessed!
CM: Would you like to tell us about your book, The Passion Within? Why did you write it and where can it be purchased?
MG:Well, 'THE PASSION WITHIN' came about as I discovered a new-found love - poetry. I have always liked poetry, but had never thought of writing any myself, so I didn't - and to a degree I still don't - consider myself as much of a poet as I am an author. I didn't even begin to write poetry seriously until my grandmother passed away just weeks before her 95th birthday in February, 2006 - which meant I had had her all my life and she was my rock. I wrote my first REAL poem to her through my tears, to help relieve myself of some of my grief and put on paper what she meant to me. And I have been writing poetry ever since, and have had a few poems published in online publications. I was also in the midst of writing TWO novels, but I decided to get my poems and a few book excerpts together and publish them to 'test the waters' so to speak. So I got a few of my friends, whose poetry I also admired, to come together with me on this anthology so that I could learn the publishing business from the inside out and publish my own volumes of work. I had previously shopped for a publisher for my novels, and was NOT impressed by the way the bigger publishing houses did business, even though I had gotten many rejections i was not sure I even WANTED to go through a large publishing house because it seemed like everyone would be making money off my work - except ME!! I would be getting the SMALLEST piece of the pie even though it was MY WORK being published! Since I wanted to use some of the proceeds from my work to benefit domestic violence victims and shelters, that was NOT going to work, hence SAFE HAVEN PUBLISHING was born! My pen name is RM Green, and it can be purchased online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Waldenbooks, Books-A-Million, and you can request it at your favorite bookstore. ISBN #978-0-6151-5561-6.
CM: Now, let’s talk about your show. Author Speak is a very high-quality Blog Talk Radio broadcast that does not only promote authors; it also deals with very important causes, such as cancer and domestic violence. You give a voice to many, and it is highly inspiring. Could you tell us why you created this show? And why do you focus on such topics?
MG: Thank you so much for the compliment on the show! I basically created the show for three reasons, mainly to give a voice to relatively unknown authors, poets and spoken word artists, and help give them more exposure where they can get the word out on their projects. I also began it as a challenge to myself to make myself more comfortable speaking to people in general (I am naturally a shy and passive person), as well as have another way to educate people about a cause I care very deeply about, domestic abuse, of which I was a victim, and help eradicate this phenomenon from this society, as well as breast cancer.
CM: Let’s focus on a topic about which you often talk during shows: domestic abuse. Your testimony is always a humbling experience for me. Would you share it with readers?
MG: Yes... in a nutshell, I was in an abusive relationship for 4 1/2 years. It all started out as a whirlwind romance. I was recently divorced, and in retrospect I was quite vulnerable and feeling like a failure because my marriage had just ended. My abuser and I were both in the banking industry and I met him at a function that we both attended for training purposes. Long story short, he asked me out on a date and we ended up being an item. At the time I was living with two girlfriends in a brownstone apartment in Brooklyn, NY. He wined me and dined me and swept me off my feet, but my friends didn't like him much because he was constantly calling me and coming over, practically smothering me. About two months later, I moved out and the abuse slowly began, first by name calling, then gradually it escalated to verbal, emotional, then slapping, hitting and worse. By the time it bagan, he convinced me that I 'caused' him to do these things to me, so the treatment I got was always 'my fault'. During the time we were together, I have been beaten, thrown down a flight of stairs, stabbed in the breast with a screwdriver, raped, locked away in a room for hours at a time against my will with no way to eat or go to the bathroom, deprived of sleep for days, and had no access to my own money, among other things. The least little thing would set him off, and I walked on eggshells the entire relationship, trying to please him, and have him show me some love. I was so stressed out that when I became pregnant (twice) I lost the babies - and of course he blamed me for that, and my treatment became worse. Toward the end, I had confronted him and asked him to keep his hands off me or else I was leaving. He told me at that time, 'If I can't have you, then NO ONE will have you...', and I knew exactly what that meant. My love for him began to turn to hate, and I literally sat next to him one day as he slept with a knife in my hand, dreaming what it would be like to be FREE of him. I went to bed with the knife under my pillow, and if he had tried to do something that night, I know I would have killed him. Instead, I plotted to leave secretly on my next payday... beat him to the bank, withdrew my paycheck and headed to South Carolina, where I still reside today.
CM: What helped you to go through all that?
MG:It was GOD - pure and simple. I prayed, and to escape I read voraciously, worked extremely hard and I began writing short stories to relieve my pain and stress. I had attempted to become a 'writer' during this time, and entered many contests and attempted to get published... all to no avail. But journaling and writing did help me get through it, and this is where I found that God had given me a gift... but I had stopped writing when I left him to start my life over again, and having failed at getting published somewhere I abandoned the idea of being an author at that time, over 17 years ago. 14 years passed, then in February, 2006, my grandmother - the woman who raised me - passed away, and I began writing again; first a poem to her, to help relieve my grief of losing the best friend I had in the world. And I have been writing ever since.
CM: What advice would you give to a victim of domestic abuse?
MG: My advice to ANYONE suffering any type of abuse to LEAVE the relationship as soon as they are able. The abuse WILL NOT get better, only worse, and if they stay in it too long - their abuser may kill THEM, or they may be in a position where they end up killing their abuser, which in many cases costs th-em THEIR lives - in jail. And that their abusers are not worth their lives!! Find a shelter near them and call for help, or to find help in their area they can call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), or the TTY 1-800-787-3224. It could save their life!
CM: I have noticed that we mostly talk about women being battered. Why, in your opinion, do we barely mention men?
MG: It is estimated that over 4,000,000 women and 875,000 men are abused annually, and YES, men make up about 15-20% of those being abused. But men are ashamed to admit that a woman is abusing them, for fear of ridicule from other men (and women!) in this society - but it is a REAL issue. In general, men abuse women physically much more than the other way around, but it DOES happen - and women can also abuse men emotionally, verbally and even use the law against these men in some cases. Also, there are no abuse shelters out there for men, but if a shelter sees that a man is indeed in distress they CAN make arrangements to help them find alternate shelter to get them out of their abusive situations. But we must not forget that while we are most often talking about intimate partners when we speak of domestic abuse, this is an umbrella term that ALSO includes child abuse (including teen dating abuse - moms, be aware of your daughters!) as well as elder abuse. We can't forget about these segments of society that are the innocent and most helpless of abuse victims, as they often have no way of protecting themselves from the abuse at all.
CM: I have noticed that domestic abuse is still taboo for a lot of White women who have been victims themselves. Society tends to blame them no matter what the outcome is. Would you say that it is the same thing in the Black community? And what, do you think, causes it?
MG:Actually, domestic abuse knows NO COLOR, SOCIO-ECONOMIC STATUS, RELIGION OR SEXUAL ORIENTATION. It exists on all levels of this society unfortunately. Victims most often blame themselves, and there is definitely the dynamic of the 'battered woman syndrome' at play here - there is a REAL domestic abuse cycle... The 'Honeymoon phase', where either the abuse has not yet started, or it has erupted, been forgiven by the victim, and everything is fine... for awhile, then the abuse begins again; the ABUSE phase, where the victim is attacked, and they end up in the RECOVERY stage - either in the home where they suffer the aftereffects alone, in the hospital or they actually leave the home and go to a shelter or elsewhere to escape. Then right back to the 'Honeymoon Phase', where the victim is being wooed to either come back if the victim has left, or to not leave the abuser, with promises of never doing it again, and so on. A never-ending cycle... Society tends to see the abused as somehow 'bringing it on themselves' as most people who know the abuser on the outside as usually charming, hardworking and loyal 'family man' or 'upstanding citizen' in the community, and the victim themselves often feel as if they are to blame because teh ABUSER tells them so much even THEY begin to believe it - and that is what they portray to most outsiders. Usually only family and close friends know what is really going on - and the abuser almost always cuts off their victim's support system of family and friends so that they CAN be abusive toward their victim without fear or threat - and this leaves the victim's family & friends feel helpless to do something to help. Most end up cutting the victim off themselves because they cannot bear to watch their loved one go through the abuse and not be able to do something. But I URGE ALL FAMILY & FRIENDS of victims to NOT do this, as they could be cutting off the only lifeline the victim has to escape when they ARE finally ready to move on. If the victim feels they have NOWHERE TO GO, they often end up staying - until the abuser literally KILLS them. I have know SEVEN women who have DIED because they did NOT leave their abuser. We must understand that most victims who are SUCCESSFUL at leaving he relationship leaves an average of SEVEN TIMES before they leave for good - should they survive. I left FIVE times before I left for the SIXTH and final time - for good!
CM: I also find that children and the elderly are really disregarded, especially the last group. According to you, what are the main reasons?
MG: Well, unlike spousal or intimate partner victims, the common problem that children and the elderly face is that they have NO CHOICE to leave and must be subject to the abuse once it is inflicted upon them. That is why others always have to intervene in order to get them help- and the intervention must be continuous and persistent to produce results at times. It may seem unfair, but law enforcement does not want to trample on the rights of the ABUSER in some instances because if they do, the abuser will walk away from the incident scott-free without having paid for their misbehavior. And someties the abusers THEMSELVES ARE law enforcement, r are able to influence law enforcement to be on their side as opposed to the victims. These victims have no voice unless someone speaks up for them. That is the main and troubling difference.
CM: Now, what can we do, as individuals, to change the situation? Is it an issue that we can solve overnight?
MG: I wish I could say that this would and can be eradicated overnight. Figuratively it CAN be a reality, however we all know the world does not work that way. The best thing that I can advise people is to give the abused an OUT – keep in touch and keep your eyes open for any sign of abuse, and listen to the victims if they need advice or help. If they are elderly, look for bruises, changes in behavior, and outright pleas for help – and this goes for ALL victims. DO NOT ABANDON THEM, whatever you do. YOU could be the only person who is able to help them or whom they can confide to – but always make sure you are doing so in safest way possible for THEM, and that they WANT and NEED your help. In some instance, you may SEE they need help, so offer it. But if they refuse, continue to be there for them should they need it. This could be the difference between life and death for them!
CM: Is there something that you would like to add? And, what effect do you think your particular testimony today will have?
MG: I just want to reiterate that MEN are also abused, and most shelters will help them as well, even though they cannot STAY there, often they have volunteers and places like hotels and boarding houses and rental homes people offer to house them so they can be free of abuse too. I have heard men complain that there are women out there who wrongly accuse men of doing things to them that were not done, and there ARE women who attempt to use the system to railroad innocent men, but they are the RARITY, and not the majority, and these women are usually quickly found out and dealt with by the shelters and agencies involved. If they are not dealt with, this makes it HARDER for those women who were legitimately abused to get the help they deserve and need.
CM: Thank you, Michele, for sharing your experience and wisdom with us. It was a pleasure and an honour to interview you.
MG: No, Thank YOU so much Cendrine, for giving me the opportunity to speak on a subject that I hold so dear to my heart. It was a pleasure and honor to be interviewed by you! May God Bless you, and may you have continued success on your literary journey!
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