To Black History Month with Love...

Me and Omar Tyree at the Harlem Book Festival

Me and Omar Tyree at the Harlem Book Festival

TO BLACK HISTORY MONTH WITH LOVE...

Today is the first day of Black History Month, which is not only for African Americans, but for ALL Americans. Because, we stand on the shoulders of those who have come before us... and African Americans have been instrumental is building the continuous foundation on which this country stands. Not just with our blood, sweat and tears, but also with our innovations in practically every area of society.

As someone who never dreamed of becoming a writer, I realize that my ability to write and my opportunity to publish has come because of the writers who paved the way before me. I can still remember being a child reading Langston Hughes words in Mother to Son, "Well son, I'll tell you: Life for me ain't been no crystal stair..."

A MOMENT IN HISTORY...

As I stand here as the author of this Speedsuit Powers Trilogy (which I was afraid to write - thanks to my wife for telling me 'You can do this!), doing my best to impact this generation with something positive, I have to say THANK YOU to the writer who personally helped me get started on this path as an Author: Omar Tyree.

Omar Tyree came to visit my alma mater, Bethune-Cookman University (then College) in 1995 as part of a Communications conference. He had just self-published his first book, Battlezone. He wasn't the only panelist present that day. Others represented television, radio and newspaper. But something about Omar's presentation set a blaze in me and uncovered a passion for writing which I never knew existed! I suddenly had an insatiable thirst to find out everything about becoming an author.

At the end of his presentation, I was the last student to receive his book. He said with a smile, "You were that brother who was asking me all of those questions." He then signed his name on the title page and added these words, "Keep Asking Questions!"

I will never forget this day, when the unimaginable dream of me being an author was kindled within my chest. But I didn't know what to do with it. Two weeks later, I felt God 'tap me on the shoulder' and say, "I want you to write a book." Now, over 20 years later, here I am, a writer/author who has self-published 5 books (so far).

THE POWER OF HISTORY

The older I become, the more I realize the value of learning about history; not just where I come from, but what has been done, what obstacles have been overcome, and even what failures have been made. These lessons have the ability to help forge a bright future for anyone who will heed them.

So, as we begin Black History Month, I say THANK YOU to ALL of the writers/authors who have come before me, the writers I've read and the many I have yet to encounter. THANK YOU to the writers/authors who are my contemporaries, seeking to share great stories with the world. THANK YOU for sharing your heart, imagination, experience, critical mind and talent with the world in an effort to inspire, motivate and educate us to strive for greatness and significance in life.

THANK YOU for uncovering the truth - that we can have something worthwhile to say. This Speedsuit Powers Trilogy stands in the 'marketplace of ideas' and is presented to the world because of the legacy you have created.

Allen Paul Weaver III
Author, Speedsuit Powers Trilogy
Wednesday February 1, 2017

STEAM POWER GENERATION

Are you a part of the STEAM Generation? Steam power may seem antiquated to many of us today, but during the Industrial Revolution (17th-18th century) the steam engine was a "game-changer" which gave rise to many new types of innovation. Utilizing the steam engine to power various forms of transportation (like buggies, trains and ships), large scale machinery and other aspects of society became the new normal. Eventually, new technologies eclipsed the steam engine, but steam - even today - continues to be a foundation on which we stand.

STEAM is making a comeback! In fact, as new technological advances emerge it is more apparent that steam is here to stay! The question is: Have you harnessed YOUR S.T.E.A.M. Power? By S.T.E.A.M., I am now referring to: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics.

You may be thinking, wait... Don't you mean S.T.E.M.? This acronym and the field of study it represents has, in recent years, expanded due in part to the realization that ART serves a critical function. Art helps us visualize our S.T.E.M. ideas. Think about it: who has ever gone after any pursuit without using at least one of the many forms of artistic expression to craft the nature of their endeavor? It is this "crafted story" which helps provide meaning, context and direction to what we desire to accomplish in life.

For example, between 1899 and 1903 the Wright Brothers used writing and drawing (Art) as they put S.T.E.M. to work in order to unlock the secrets of heavier-than-air human flight and create the world's first successful airplane.

Another example are Disney Imagineers. Have you heard of them? They are most famous for using various forms of Art to conceptualize their S.T.E.M. processes in order to invent amazing theme park attractions for Walt Disney World Inc.

In fact, every life pursuit - from transportation and filmmaking, to medicine and music (and all in between) use some form of Art to help bring vision into reality. Art, it turns out, serves as the "glue" which interconnects all S.T.E.M. pursuits.

So, in this day and age, S.T.E.A.M. is more important than ever! Those who put their "STEAM POWER" to work will help change the course of history and write a new narrative on what is possible. And here's the great thing about S.T.E.A.M... there is room for everyone to be involved. You can be from the suburbs or the 'hood. You can go to a great school or an underperforming one. You can be rich or in poverty. Ultimately, "STEAM POWER" isn't about the physical resources you have or don't have. It is about the internal perspective you posses on the inside. If you have imagination and determination, you are a part of the S.T.E.A.M. Generation!

Take Curtis Powers (the main character in my Speedsuit Powers Trilogy) for example. Without giving away too much of Book One's storyline... Curtis realizes at the start of 9th grade that he has a problem - he's being bullied by Treyshawn Jinkins. But he's not sure what to do about his dilemma until his mother and science teacher make unrelated comments which unknowingly present him with the "seeds" for an idea. Curtis takes the idea and uses S.T.E.A.M. to take it from theory to practical solution. You can learn to do the same thing too. YOU CAN create positive solutions for the problems you encounter. And who knows where these solutions will lead you!

Whether you are interested in robotics, drawing, physics, geometry, cooking, fashion, writing, dancing, medicine, sports, architecture, filmmaking or a host of other adventures, you have a connection to S.T.E.A.M.. 

You HAVE power! So, get to work putting it into action! Start by declaring, "I am part of the S.T.E.A.M. Generation!" Write it down and put it on your wall so you can see it every day and reinforce its truth in your mind. The next thing you can do is read the Speedsuit Powers Trilogy and see how S.T.E.A.M. plays a part in the journeys of all the characters and ultimately... how it can be integral in your life as well. Then, you can do a Google search on S.T.E.A.M. or talk to your science teacher or librarian so you can learn more about it. 

Finally, as you develop your skill-set, don't be afraid to pursue new areas which may lead to the discovery of new talents and open doors for new possibilities. And know, as you run this journey called Life that YOU ARE a part of the S.T.E.A.M. Generation! So, Run Your Dreams! Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics are yours to command.

-Allen Paul Weaver III-

 

7 STEPS TO RUN YOUR DREAMS

HOW TO RUN?

Whenever I get the opportunity to share with groups about the themes and creative process for my Speedsuit Powers story, one question almost always arises: "Allen, how can I pursue my own dreams?"

Do you need help to run your dreams? We all have dreams - even if we haven't fully discovered them or are too afraid to share them. For many of us our dream seems so monumental we would rather sit on the couch "dreaming and wishing," instead of rising up and engaging in the pursuit of the dream. Believe me, I know. You have a reason (or several) for sitting on the couch. You may be afraid. You don't know where to start. Whatever your reason, keep reading.

RUNNING SPEEDSUIT POWERS...

Running is a major component of the Speedsuit Powers Trilogy. Not only is it something Curtis has always wanted to do as a kid (but couldn't do because of his asthma), but it also serves as a metaphor for life. All Curtis wants to do is "run his dreams," but in Book One, Treyshawn gets in the way. And in Book Two & Three, others get in the way. In fact, everyone major character in this Trilogy is trying to run their dreams, but encounters some type of internal/external opposition.

I used to minimize and downplay the fact that I am an author. One day a person emphatically replied, "Do you realize how many people dream of doing something but never do it? What you have accomplished is huge!" This person said I had "broken through the barriers" and was now on the other side of my dream... walking in it. So, I've taken the time to look back over my own journey in order to provide an answer to the question: "How can you pursue your own dreams?"

SEVEN STEPS TO RUN!

Below, you will find 7 STEPS you can take to pursue your own dreams. If you follow this blueprint, the likelihood of you reaching your dream will dramatically increase! Are you ready to go? So, what does it take to Run Your Dreams?

STEP ONE: Break your dream down into manageable chunks. Spend time thinking through all of the components of your dream. Research it. Find out what it requires: How much schooling? How much of a financial investment? Where are the best places to learn what you need to know? Who is already doing what you desire to do? Write down each aspect in as much detail as you can. Categorize it! Put a timeline to the achievement of each step. There's a process to achieving a dream and it starts with getting a good look at what you desire and breaking it down into manageable chunks.

STEP TWO: Realize no one can run your dreams but you. You can be inspired by someone else to think your dream is possible. You can be motivated by someone else to start pursuing your dream. You can be educated by someone else about how your dream works. But only YOU can Run Your Dream. You have to decide if you want to be a spectator or a participator in your dream! Do not expect any other person to do more for your dream than you are willing to do. For example: if you want to write a book, you can look at the blank pages all day, but the book will not write itself. You have to write it. People can help guide you and help open doors of opportunity for you, but you are the one who will have to run in the direction of your dream.

STEP THREE: Do the work. There's a reason why Nike's "Just Do It!" pushes so many people to take action in their lives. Sometimes we do more talking and dreaming than we do working. Talking and dreaming about the dream can help us stay focused and can provide us with some much needed accountability from others. But nothing replaces work. As much as you are waiting on Destiny, Destiny is waiting on you. God will do His part, but there is a part for you to do. Your part is to focus on developing the skills that are required to carry out the dream that lives within you and to be diligent in the work. Diligence means you are consistent in your work - even when you don't feel like it - because you have a goal you want to accomplish.

STEP FOUR: Use your opposition to make you better. YOU WILL ENCOUNTER OPPOSITION TO YOUR DREAM! It's just the way life works. People are going to get in the way of what you are trying to do. Situations and circumstances are going to get in your way. YOU are going to get in your way. (YOU meaning your fears, preconceived notions, ego, bad habits, pride, and biases). When you encounter opposition, do not allow it to make you bitter; determine to use it to make you better. Learn from opposition. What truth does it present? Sometimes your greatest criticism can be a doorway to your greatest opportunity. Don't get bitter... get better.

STEP FIVE: Build a team to help you move forward. No one - no matter how successful they are - is "self made." No one really pulls themselves up by their own bootstraps. Don't believe me? Just put on a pair of boots, lay on the floor and pull on the straps. It doesn't work. As the saying goes, "No man is an island unto himself." Now, we need to do the work. But at some point, we will need help from others. Find people you can trust, who believe in you and the direction you are trying to go; people who will tell you the truth and not just what you want to hear. Surround yourself with key people who work hard in their own endeavors and want to see you succeed in life. Get a mentor. Also realize as much as you receive from "your team," you have to give back as well.

STEP SIX: Stay away from DreamKillers! Now this is more about your internal disposition than it is about any external opposition you may face. There are plenty of people who had prime opportunities but failed miserably due to their negative internal disposition (stinkin' thinking). And there are also those who faced tremendous odds that would crush others, yet because of their internal fortitude and depth of character, they were able to endure and overcome adversity. So, stay away from DreamKillers. Sometimes they may be other people who are jealous or envious of the direction you are trying to go. Stay away from them at all cost because they will suck the life out of you! Meanwhile, be mindful of your own internal DreamKillers. Here's a short list: Laziness. Stupidity. Ignorance. Pessimism. Victim mentality. Fear/Anxiety/Doubt.

STEP SEVEN: Realize that "Delay is just another word for Preparation." You think you are ready. You've prepared (or so you think) and then the BIG OPPORTUNITY falls through or is pushed back. You become sad and discouraged because things are not happening according to your plans and timetable... When this happens, sadness and frustration is natural, but DON'T STAY IN THAT MINDSET! You have 5 minutes to sulk and then you've got to get right back to work before you get caught in a rut. You see, a delay can be a gift from God. Perhaps you are going in a direction you shouldn't be going and you need to tweak things a bit. Maybe you're moving too fast and are about to miss a critical element that's necessary for your success. Maybe you are not as ready as you think you are, and the "big opportunity" would swallow you whole and spit out your bones! When you encounter a Delay - regroup! This is the time to "dive deep" in your preparation (character building, skill-set development, communication skills, etc.) so when the right opportunity comes, you'll be ready. Remember, "Delay is just another word for Preparation."

If you put these SEVEN STEPS to work in your life, you will increase the likelihood of you reaching your dream destination. Even if you find yourself at a different endpoint, you will be further along than if you merely stayed on the couch of your life and daydreamed all day. So, grab your Mach-1 Speedsuit and start running! I can't wait to see how far you can go!

You can RUN YOUR DREAMS!

-Allen Paul Weaver III, Author - Speedsuit Powers Trilogy

Can Everybody Win?

Can everybody win? This is a question which was presented by my Conflict Resolution professor in seminary back in 1999. And this question has lingered with me ever since. As a result, it is one of the questions I have chosen to tackle in my Speedsuit Powers Trilogy. We live in a society structured on the premise that there must be winners and losers, the strong and the weak, the smart and the... not so smart. Not only is this dichotomy maintained, it is also encouraged in most facets of life (sports, politics, policing, etc...). Somehow the notion persist which states: "my greatness or feeling of self-worth" means I must do what I can to "push you down and demean you."

Isn't this the heart of bullying? In order for one person to feel good about him or herself, he or she finds someone else to break down. We see this play out in our schools every day, where bullies make life miserable for the bullied and the bystanders often watch in fearful silence. But if you go beneath the surface of this scenario of "winners and losers" you will discover that everybody loses. The bullied student loses. The bully loses. The bystanders lose. Each group loses a piece of themselves - of their humanity.

Can everybody win? Is there a way where the bullied, the bully and the bystander can win? I believe there is, and it begins with each group being able to truly "see" themselves in the other. And as you read through the Speedsuit Powers Trilogy, you will see this reality demonstrated in a practical way. Most stories that deal with bullying only focus on the victim. Speedsuit Powers presents a story that peels back the layers on both the victim and the aggressor and paints a picture where both can learn to get along.

So, how does SPT address bullying within the context of the broad story it presents? Book 1 deals with physical and mental school bullying at the high school level. Book 2 branches into high school and college while introducing the social media aspects of bullying (and the dire consequences), as well as the concept of institutional bullying (where systems of governance actually favor the bully and further victimizes the bullied). Book 3 continues the theme of bullying at the institutional and national level.

While my Speedsuit Powers Trilogy seeks to tell a great story while addressing school bullying (and a host of other themes), at its core is the question: Can everybody win?  It is my hope, as you read this story, you will see that we each can foster our own greatness while helping to develop the greatness which exists inside of those around us - whether they be friends or enemies. Can everybody win? Yes... We can.

I'm Glad You Stopped By!

Welcome! I'm glad you stopped by. Do you want to know more about the Speedsuit Powers Trilogy? Then you came to the right place! This journal will be used to share my thoughts on 'All things Speedsuit Powers.' You'll also be able to get a sense of SPT and the growing world - beyond the trilogy - that I am creating. Let's see what future possibilities await. - Allen Paul Weaver III

A JOURNEY OF A THOUSAND MILES...

I never thought this SPT journey would span almost 14 years from its first inception! But here we are. The concept for the story came to me around 2002. Book One released December 2009. SPEEDSUIT, my independent film screenplay adaption of Book One released February 2012. Book Two released June 2015. Book Three is slated to launch October 2016. Yes, this growing adventure has been a lesson in persistence. (smile)

Why am I doing this? Besides my love for great stories, my goal is to inspire, motivate and educate readers towards greatness. As an area of initial focus, I am working with individuals and groups to help make SPT a recognized and celebrated brand within African American communities.

You may be asking, what was my motivation for creating SPT? Here's a bit of history...

BEHIND THE SPEEDSUIT

I created Speedsuit Powers to inspire youth with the wonder and joy of ‘possibility thinking.’ This was something I experienced during my childhood through books, comics, television shows and films. As a youth director for 5 years (2000-2005), I worked with inner city teens in the South Bronx. Many were trapped in their world of “6 blocks.” Everything they knew and cared about was in their “hood” and when I talked with them about having a bright future, some of them didn’t think it was possible. This resonated with me because mentally, I had been in that place—even though I grew up in the suburbs. 

I attempted suicide in July 1992—a month after graduating from high school. I was dealing with low self-esteem and hated who I was: my skin color, the sound of my voice, my glasses, being skinny. Over the years, adults would tell me, “you are going to have a bright future.” But I didn’t think I had a future at all. 

Yet, as I look back over my youth, there were times when encouragement came—sometimes at church, other times in conversations with mentors and often when I watched a movie or television show. It was movies like The Karate Kid (original), The Last Starfighter, Star Wars, Back to the Future, Goonies and The Rocketeer and television shows like Different Strokes, What’s Happening, Knight Rider and The Cosby Show, which helped me to cope with tough situations. While these programs didn’t completely clear up my issues, they did help me survive day to day. 

Readers of this Speedsuit Powers story repeatedly say, “This story would make a great film or a television series.” I believe that compelling stories help people to strive for a better life. Often our dreams meet our ‘reality’ and because we don’t possess the tools to navigate, build and persevere, we let our dreams die. This Speedsuit Powers Trilogy is one such story that can inspire, motivate and educate people towards their highest potential. I would like to see this story expand from the written page to a full, immersive audio/visual experience that can impact this ‘sight and sound’ generation. 

So, enjoy getting engrossed in the pages of SPT. Enjoy the artwork on this website. Enjoy the independent film, Speedsuit. And if you love this trilogy, let me know and help spread the word to everyone in your sphere of influence! And look forward to the day when SPT is either a television series or a trilogy of major motion pictures.

-Allen Paul Weaver III-