When I was 26, I got a job, which I thought would take me all the way to retirement. It was /is a great job, and for most people, it would be enough. I’m a truck driver with a job that allows me to be home every day, off on weekends, with full benefits, and six weeks of vacation. Most people would be content with a steady, consistent career, but as I’ve come to realize in my forty-eight years on this planet, I am not most people.
When I published my first book ‘The Colors of My Mind’ eight years ago, I thought my career as a truck driver would be short-lived after its release. Since then, I’ve published six more books, been in at least twenty anthologies, and four magazines. I was even featured on the cover of a magazine two years ago. Writing is my passion, and I’m pretty good at my craft, but until the world discovers me (or at least a small part of it), I’ll be on the highways every night pulling 80,000 pounds on twin trailers.
I write stories, novels, submit them, sign contracts, and I keep grinding. Three years ago, I became so inundated in all of my writing processes; I was smart enough to hire a personal assistant, my cousin Tasha Morris. She wasn’t very experienced in the areas I needed her for, but I wasn’t all that seasoned myself. A certain spark occurs when two driven, creative people begin to whisper daydreams, ideas, and plans to each other. When something magical like that happens, the fork in the road is suddenly right in front of you… and the path veers in a direction never previously thought of, and every step down the new path is an exploration of new things.
I firmly believe a room inside each person’s soul contains every ingredient that person needs to be a better version of themselves. Picture a pantry with containers labeled ‘courage’ or ‘creativity’ or ‘fortitude,’ and I’m willing to bet there are no lights on in most people’s inner pantry, and the containers have a layer of dust from not being touched or used.
When Tasha and I started discussing our dreams and ideas, the containers in my pantry had only been handled, never taken completely off of the shelf to explore. Looking back, it seems as if I turned on the lights, then went and got myself a chair, so I could be comfortable while exploring the depths of my ideas and qualities. Diving into myself, I realized there was enough within me to stop being scared of moving forward.
Two years ago, we hatched the idea of turning my short stories into e-stories, and eventually, short films. The idea of forming a company went hand-in-glove with that, and we set out to create a company that would give us and others the space to be as creative as possible. Our vision was to have a multi-layered company that would provide us with the freedom to create books, stories, films, and maybe a magazine. We did all we needed to do, and we came up with a name for our company, Binamu Media Group. ‘Binamu’ means cousin in Swahili.
With long telephone conversations and in-person meetings, we developed a blueprint for what we wanted to make happen. We convinced another cousin, Byron Woulard, to be a partner, and then, last March, we incorporated our company, or rather companies. Binamu Media Group, Voices from the Bleachers Publications, and Binamu Film. We were ready to launch in a big way… and then the pandemic happened.
Sigh. Since there was no chance of us going back, we pushed forward, despite the challenges that came with the pandemic and quarantine. We knew filming would be almost impossible, so we put it on the back burner. We focused on the publishing company, Voices from the Bleachers. In 2020, we released two e-stories, ‘Grandma’s Roses’ and ‘Branches and Leaves,’ plus a collection of dark, short stories ‘In the Pale Moonlight’ (available in print and e-book) and a collection of sports essays titled ‘Voices from the Bleachers: Volume One.’ That’s pretty good for a start-up company, and we ended the year owing money to no one.
Tasha and I have also collaborated on a few other businesses, and right now, the future looks rosy, but the present is so busy for both of us… I fear I need to hire a personal assistant. Maybe Tasha does too. Life these days is pretty exciting as we’ve signed new writers, planned our next moves, and are swimming in the freedom of being the captains of our ship. I’m not expecting to be an overnight millionaire, but in the words of my cousin/uncle Larry Parson, “As long as you made a dollar, it was worth it.” Truer words were never spoken.
I can’t imagine how my life would be right now if I had not explored the pantry of my soul and discovered the essence and qualities which make me unique. Sometimes all a dream needs to be kick-started are two simple words; What if?
Marlon S. Hayes
CEO of Binamu Media Group
CEO of Voices from the Bleachers Publications
CEO of Delicious Escape Publications
Check us out and follow us on Facebook (all of the above), and you can find our products on Amazon, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, and other sellers of e-books. I am a writer, father, author, son, poet, mentor, essayist, and traveler. I’m a Chicago native, currently searching for the warmth of another sun…