“There are no easy solutions in marriage. People get stronger and better with the work they put into it.” — Wayne”
Robert & Agatha Goudeau – Married 39 Years – Anniversary: June 18, 1977
“We made a lot of mistakes along the way.” — Robert
A Statement like the one above is just one of many such examples of what couples have said that helps them have a successful marriage as I interviewed them for my current book: Always & Forever, Love: African American Success Stories of Marriages 20+ Years Strong. Acknowledging past and current mistakes and improving or correcting them have helped couples like Robert & Agatha weather the storms that sometime brew in marriages on the journey to “Til Death Do Us Part.”
Happy 39th Wedding Anniversary Robert & Agatha Goudeau!!!
Otis & Kwei Quartey holding the others book(s).
Kwei Quartey is a crime fiction writer and physician living in Pasadena, California. Having practiced medicine for more than 20 years while simultaneously working as a writer, he has attained noteworthy achievements in both fields. Dr. Quartey balances the two professions by dedicating the early morning hours to writing before beginning a day in his clinic.
Kwei, being Ghanaian uses Ghana as background for his writing as he does in Gold Of Our Fathers. Listening to him speak of Ghana reminded me of my visits there riding my bike all over the city. I found being in Ghana conducive to writing as I was inspired to write about the different sights, sounds, smells and people of the place to maybe use in writings of my own. Kwei, having grown up there (Accra, Ghana) has a wealth of knowledge to draw from although he lives here in the States. He visits Ghana regularly to research material for his next writing projects.
Kwei’s book Gold of Our Fathers and my book Always & Forever, Love: African American Success Stories of Marriages 20+ Years Strong are available at Eso Won BookStore.
When children are the byproduct of marriage there is so much more at stake than just the happiness and longevity of the husband and wife. Watch this clip of Jordan Williams and Brandon Iverson with their fathers’ Floyd Williams and Spencer Iverson on a local Atlanta TV show as they talk about their business and where they learned to create businesses.
Floyd WIlliams, husband to Carla Williams are the couple on the cover of my upcoming book: “Always & Forever, Love” African American Success Stories of Marriages 20+ Years Strong. He and Carla have been happily married for 30 years. Spencer and his wife have been happily married almost 20 years and the results of their successful marriages show through their children.
You’ll hear both Jordan and Brandon talk about how they watched their fathers run their own businesses as they were growing up. This is what’s possible in our children’s lives when they are raised in a loving environment.
William & Melanie Wilkerson will celebrate 25 years of marriage on December 22, 2015
William said in their interview for the upcoming book “Always & Forever, Love” African American Success Stories of Marriages 20+ Years Strong — “In a marriage, kids will be a challenge. Money will be a challenge. Life will be a challenge, and any number of other things, but you got to remember that the love you felt from the outset is the love that will sustain you throughout the course of your relationship. You have to remind yourself of that love on a daily basis. Let your spouse know that you love them on a daily basis.” Read the remainder of their story along with 50 other couples who are continuing their vows “til due they part” by ordering a pre-published copy at PayPal.
Willie & Cynthia Anderson – Decatur, Georgia Married 36 Years – Anniversary: August 11, 1979
“Living with my wife is a work in progress from day to day, and I love her more and more for each of those days!” —Will
Jim & Mary Beth Heglund – Northridge, California Married 53 Years – Anniversary: August 11, 1962
The Heglunds’ built a friendship that started in their preteens and it is still growing and lasting through their 53 years of marriage. Mary Beth says, “Marriage means security, and having a good friend.”
Walter & Thelma Pratt – Austell, Georgia Married 62 Years – Anniversary: August 1, 1952
Walter & Thelma Pratt were married 62 years before Thelma Pratt Passed. They both agreed that farming had been one of the best things they’ve done together that’s helped maintain their marriage since they met.
“Working together makes our marriage successful.” — Thelma
John & Verla Saylor – Long Beach, California Married 46 Years – Anniversary: July 29, 1969
“We’ve had more fun than most millionaires…” —John
Robert & Marlene Sherins – Pacific Palisades, California Married 53 Years – Anniversary: July 21, 1962
“I always thought marriage should last for a lifetime…” —Marlene
La Grande & Sonja Mason Los Angeles, California Married 43 Years Anniversary July 8, 1972
“A perfect marriage only exists on T.V., and it only last for 30 minutes to an hour.” –La Grande
Robert & Rosie Davis – Monroeville, Alabama Married 43 Years – Anniversary: July 1, 1972
“Marriage has to be a joint effort, and you should strive to do it together.” —Mrs. Davis
The new book on African American “Successful Marriages” is coming, order your pre-published copy @ “Always & Forever, Love” African American Success Stories of Marriages of Marriages 20+ Years Strong by ordering your copy today!
“Marriage is probably the biggest transition anyone will go through in their lives.” —Rohn
The new book on African American “Successful Marriages” is coming, order your pre-published copy @ “Always & Forever, Love” African American Success Stories of Marriages of Marriages 20+ Years Strong by ordering your copy today
Things learned on the road to becoming a Published Author
I’ve always been fascinated with writers and the way they are able through their formulation of words take the reader on a journey accompanied only by their imagination.
It has been my desire to write a book for many years. I realize my grasp of the art of writing is not at the level of a Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, or Ralph Ellison, but never the less becoming a published author was a great desire.
I’ve learned that …if I had known what it really takes to get a table-top book from the idea stage to holding a physical book in my hands I probably would not have attempted such a project alone.
…the process of completing a book is an ongoing test of your mental fortitude, patience, perseverance and sanity.
… you must see the project finished each and every day you’re working on it.
…there will be days when you don’t want to interview, write, or photograph anyone that has anything to do with the book.
…things always come up to slow you down, discourage you, or test your dedication.
…there is no time for ANYTHING else!
…you must think about the book each and everyday before during and after it’s completed.
…I was a control freak, wanting to control each and every aspect of the process because everything mattered.
…there will be things you realize you could have and will do differently next time.
…real friends are always there to help and say something positive (when you start to lose it).
…kids are great at reminding you that you haven’t finished yet by asking, (are you finished with your book yet??? Why does it take soooo loooong?)
…people will think it’s a great idea (because you’re doing it, not them)
…you must brainwash yourself to think that as soon as you finish everyone will want to have a least 5 copies of your book (even though we know better).
…being on the road and living out of the back of your truck (loaded with enough equipment to build a house and photograph it when done) can be a very lonely place.
… as you travel, snow storms don’t make exceptions for would be published authors!
…all printing is expensive, but in order to get it done right you gotta spend the money.
…there is never enough money to make the project happen!
…once the book is finished, the real work begins, now it has to be sold, and since no one knows who you are you; you’re totally on your own! Since you are an unknown author (a nobody) no distributor wants to take your book, and you only have 1 book to market.
…marketing and selling your book are constant thoughts after you get boxes and boxes of books in your garage.
… you always have to have (at least 5) copies of your book with you or very close by, for that sale you manage to talk someone into.
I set out to learn what it takes for couples to remain in a committed, lasting relationship, while happy and in love. (Oh, and publish a book also)
…at the end of the day, as I hold a completed book in my hands, I can say it was all worth it; and as a result, I’ve already began the torturous process all over again!
If you’d like to see the end result of these past three years of work visit: http://alwaysandforeverlove.org or go to Amazon.com
Robert & Agatha Goudeau – Menifee, California Married 38 Years – Anniversary: June 18, 1977
“The Lord has blessed and honored our dreams and wishes of how we wanted our life and marriage to be.” —Agatha
Read about this couple’s “Successful Marriage” in the soon to be released book: “Always & Forever, Love” African American Success Stories of Marriages of Marriages 20+ Years Strong by ordering your copy today!
1:15 A.M. August 26, 2011 I had just finished baking a batch of chocolate chip cookies. I got the kids out of bed (they weren’t sleep), they could smell the cookies in the oven. I let them try a couple, had them brush their teeth again, and back to bed.
Now that I’ve finished writing my first book I can do things like bake cookies as opposed to always feeling as if I can do nothing but write and work. It’s such a relief to be finished as It’s taken three years of my life. I not only wrote but I had to work too of all things. (I’m sure most other people involved in writing projects have to work also so working while writing is not something that only I had to do.)
Never the less, driving cross country to finish photographing couples I had already interviewed, staying months because I worked while away from home, having my transmission on my truck give me problems, having it repaired and losing my fifth gear in Northern Texas, while on my way to Albuquerque, New Mexico to photograph a couple there and fretting about whether I’d break down along side of the road. Despite that and many more occurrences during those three years it’s still a great feeling to be done, at least with that part of the project. Now, after the book comes back from the printer I will attack the marketing end of the project.
Doing this book I’ve learned a few things about the process of writing and how I actually write as opposed to how I’d like to write. From the start, I didn’t know how long this book would take to complete, so I didn’t have a concrete deadline. My main concern was to interview and photograph 50 couples of different ethnic groups with not more than half of them being African American since I know more African American couples and people than any other ethnicity. This was my small attempt to broaden my circle. Doing this I found marriage to be the same for all the races. After we make a good choice in our mates it’s a matter of getting to know them as they get to know us, while building a life and or family together without pissing each other off too much.
I learned that attempting to write while I have too much on my mind does not work well. I thought I would be able to write each evening after coming home from work. That couldn’t have been further from the truth. There were times when I would sit and stare at the computer screen or I’d listen to recorded interviews attempting to make notes, wake up after the interview had finished with nothing on the page that make sense. I also learned there are times that writing seemed as natural as breathing while other times it seemed as if I just could not create an intelligent sentence. When words flowed from my mind through my fingers onto the screen it was the best feeling imaginable. There were a few moments when I actually felt as if I was a writer.
Starting out I attempted to gauge how long each interview should be in order to have enough information to put together a representation of each couples’ marriage with it’s ups and downs. I soon realized each couple and their story was different, both in facts, and also in the length of their interviews.
My mother and father-in-law have been married 50 years and you’d think they would have a lot to say, but their interview lasted 15 minutes. Willie and Eliza James had been married 73 years, their interview was lengthy, but a lot of that interview was about my father because Willie and he grew up together and those memories were as fresh in his mind as if he had recently lived them. He nor his wife Eliza had much to say in the way of details of about their life together for so many years. That’s a nice way to be especially since you can only remember life being good during your 100 plus years of life in times that were challenging for most black folk.
I soon learned that there is no set length of time each couple had to fill in order to get the right bit of information to write their article. Some of the stories came very easy, others came together by listening to the interview over and over again.
In the beginning I thought each couple would require an hour of photography, an hour of interviewing and an hour of writing. That myth was busted pretty quickly as I soon found I may do the interview one day or one month, then come back to do the photography a day later, a month later, or in the case of a few couples in Atlanta, a year later. In those situations I had to work with the couples in regards to their time and lack there of. I also literally had to work with some couples with their time and dates. I scheduled a photo session with a couple in Atlanta for a Saturday only to find that they were not going to be together that Sat. I was at their house waiting with only one of them. I had to move some things around for the following day to photograph them. Before the second appointment I didn’t go to their house before I knew they were both there.
In the case of Floyd & Carla Williams, in Atlanta; they were the first couple I interviewed for the book, but I didn’t photograph them until the very last time I was in Atlanta before the book was to be completed. On more than one trip there after I interviewed them I was staying at their house. We were busy doing everything else possible and was not able to get to the photography for the book.
I had to reschedule Gavin & Marquita Curry shoot at least 4 times. The first time we met to shoot we went to the beach but upon arrival the wind was blowing Marquita’s hair was all over the place. The next several times we rescheduled the wind was blowing just as hard. On the fourth attempt I decided to photograph them at the park across the street from their house. I ran electricity from their house to the park for my lights. The weather was o.k. on this particular day, not much wind, but one of my lights stopped working just as I was about to start shooting. I was able to get what I thought was a very good photograph of them together on the grass in the park. My reason for photographing them in the park was to keep from having to drive to the beach and get turned away by the blowing wind.
One of the next few couples I photographed, Randal and Cindy Linde definitely wanted to be photographed at the beach. We had to reschedule a few times because of their work schedules, sometimes she was working on the weekends, sometimes he was. When we finally rescheduled I decided we were going to go through with it no matter what. The wind was blowing something fierce once again. I didn’t have a good feeling as I drove to the beach from my house since I could see the trees being blown by a heavy wind. A funny thing happened as I got closer to the beach. I was about three blocks from the beach when I looked around me to gauge the power of the wind when I saw the palm trees were not moving. Upon arriving at the beach there was no wind. As I walked from the street (street level is higher than the beach itself) down to the beach there was no wind at all. This turned out to be a great shoot. The sun was sidelighting the side of their faces and their hair. I used my SB-800 flash on a bracket for fill flash and was able to shoot all the images I needed in about a half an hour or so.
From the beginning I decided that I was not going to go overboard with the photography for this book. I had planned to get the best photograph of each couple without shooting hundreds of frames. In my days of advertising, commercial and editorial photography we shot hundreds of images of a particular pose, or location. Since I would have to edit all the images I shoot I decided I would only shoot until I got the image I thought would be great for the book. I shot only one to three poses and only shot up to 60 frames or less. Usually the hero shot was in the very beginning or right in the middle. Sometimes I shot a few frames to get the couple a little loosened up and comfortable in front of the camera.
I also decided that I wanted each couple to have their attention and eyes on the camera. Their full engagement with the camera and each other would (hopefully) pass through the lens to the viewer. Whether all that happened will be determined by you the viewer.