JOHN T. WILLS
LEGACY – A New Season
By John T. Wills
It’s been several years since “Just a Season” and it’s time to move on. Generations have come and gone, life is bearable after all, and hope lives in a little boy and in a man who almost lost all hope. “Legacy – A New Season” is the long awaited saga to the epic novel “Just a Season” that will take you on an awe inspiring journey through the African American Diaspora, as told by a loving grandfather to his grandson in the oral African tradition at a time when America changed forever.
I am honored to have been chosen to channel such an epic saga. With that said, I am reminded of a powerful statement once made during a sermon by my childhood pastor – Reverend Cole. He said, “Unless and until you suffer enough pain, then and only then, will you reach deep inside and feel the breath that God has breathed into your soul coming eye to eye with your destiny”. I’ve pondered that profound statement my entire life and it continues to deeply impact my life.
Comes now, this proud grandfather empowers his young grandson with the knowledge of the African American struggle and that history, which is the greatest story ever told. And this child learns a mighty lesson, which is blessed are those who believe and have not seen which is tomorrow and tomorrow holds their “Legacy and A New Season”.
And now the saga continues…
If you were to reexamine the time in which you’ve lived, you will come to know that the reason we live is to die. The question then becomes what happens between the years of one’s birth and death. This is without question a quandary that each of us will face. In the novel “Just a Season”, I referred to this specific period of earthly existence as the dash that will be placed on our final marker between the beginning and end dates of life’s journey. This period of time can only be characterized as a journey because this tiny little dash represents the whole of a person’s life.
It’s been said, there are no words that have not been spoken and there are no stories that have never been told, but there are some you will not forget. Just a Seasonis that story. It chronicles what has been called a contemporary “Roots” with a reviewer saying “this is the stuff movies are made of… I have not read anything that so succinctly chronicles an African American story.” Another reviewer said, “Not since The Color Purple have I read a book that evoked such emotions… transports the reader directly into the life and struggles of the main characters…”
It could very well be because I’ve lost my son that I have come to embrace this message so profoundly. There have been a number of reflections from those early days at Friendly Church that continue to touch my spirit. Specifically: “Why Jesus wept?” As the story goes, Jesus was so moved as he witnessed the pain of Mary and Martha weeping for the loss of his dear friend, Lazarus, that he also wept. Today, I understand that emotion because I have felt such pain. This might explain why I was chosen as the vehicle to share such a powerful story that will surely live far beyond the season I’ve been given.
Just a Season is a historical narrative that begins with a grief-stricken father visiting the gravesite of his beloved son who was killed in a tragic automobile accident – a dreadful moment no loving parent should ever have to face. The main character, John Wells, asks himself a philosophical question as he views his late son’s final marker. “If the tiny dash placed on my marker were to tell my life’s story, what would it say?”
What emerged from the pages is a legacy of true benevolence and grace that I believe is destined to be become a literary classic. This luminous story is a riveting portrait into the life of an African American man who, in the midst of pain and loss, journeys back in time to reexamine all the important people, events, circumstances, and intellectual fervor that contributed to the richness of his life. Moreover, the main character relives all of the significant events affecting the African-American Diaspora, over a fifty-year period, providing a perspective of reality to the unfolding history.
As the story ends, as if in the blink of an eye, John reflects upon his life’s journey realizing the irony that we come into the world crying while all around us are smiling. Then, we leave the world smiling while everybody around us weeps. This thought causes him to recall another powerful sermon Reverend Cole gave explaining this phenomenon in the simplest of terms. The Good Reverend said, “This period of existence that we call life in the final analysis is Just a Season.” Then with a deep sigh realizing that the story must end, as stories do, he leaves the cemetery slowly walking past his loved ones resting for eternity; pausing briefly to look back in the direction of his son’s resting place and says, “I will always love you.”
As he nears the crest of the hill walking into the abyss of time, he pauses at his grandfather’s resting place, seemingly unable to take the next step. With tears flowing down his face, he gently touches the headstone of his grandfather and quietly asks him “to look after my son”. At that moment, he fondly recalls the last thing his grandfather said; “life is not just a race you run. It is a relay. It is now your responsibility to pass the baton.” Somehow, John finds the strength to look toward the heavens and say softly that “I have to be Granddaddy now. I just hope my grandson will love me as much as I loved you. More importantly, I must make sure that he tells his grandchildren about me.”
It’s been several years since this epiphany led me to tell the story of this man’s epic journey that many have wondered if it was a true story, miracle, a blessing or simply a fairy tale. I will only say that “Just a Season” is a must-read story that reflects the audacity of hope, pain, and struggle of a people. It will most assuredly touch every emotion as you travel through time, as you relive a life through the eyes of an African American man living in America.
At the story’s end, John sorrowfully leaves the cemetery at Friendly Church that day feeling as if God has forsaken him. But his conviction is strong in faith and he knows that faith is the instrument to believe true what is not seen. With all the strength within, he refuses to drown in his tears; rather he is committed to swim in his blessings knowing that God has not forsaken him because the wonders of life spoke loudly. Blessed are those who believe and have not seen which is tomorrow and tomorrow holds his “Legacy and A New Season”…
JUST A SEASON
Just a Season is the predecessor to Legacy – A New Season. It is a luminous story into the life of a man who, in the midst of pain and loss, journeys back in time to reexamine all the important people, circumstances, and intellectual fervor that contributed to the richness of his life. It is a must read novel that will cause you to see the world through new eyes.
This fictional narrative begins with a grief-stricken father visiting the gravesite of his beloved son who was killed in a tragic accident; a moment that he and no other loving parent should ever have to face. As he sadly gazes at his son’s headstone and reads what is inscribed there, the dates 1981 – 2001 bring about an illuminating discovery.
The tiny dash that separates the years of one’s birth and death represents the whole of a person’s life. If this tiny dash were to tell his life’s story, what would it say? In “Just a Season”, the dash of this man’s life is revealed and what emerges from the pages of this book is a legacy of true benevolence and grace. This is not a story you will read, it is a story that you will live as you travel in time through this man’s eyes as he vividly relives his legacy. It’s the journey of a lifetime that lives on…
Praise for “JUST A SEASON”“Thank you for your example of tenderness and discipline in what I know is a story of love, delicately shared with readers in a way that says, this life, though brief, is significant. So hold it in highest regard for “the dash” is our legacy to love ones, indeed to the world, which we are blessed to share, albeit, for Just a Season.” Excellent! Sistah Joy, Poet, Cable TV Host “… You feel as if you somehow become an invisible character in the unfolding of this epic narration.” Silver Rae Fox, Actress, Model, Radio Personality “… this is the stuff movies are made of… not since “Roots” have I read anything that so succinctly chronicles an African American story.” Amazing! Cheryl, Avid Reader “Wills pulls you in from the very first page… Just a Season is a heart-wrenching story about growing up and believing in yourself.” Cheryl Hayes, APOOO Book Club “Not since The Color Purple have I read a book that evoked such emotions. John T. Wills possesses the ability to transport the reader directly into the life and struggles of his main characters story. Tonja Covington “JUST A SEASON is laced with thought-provoking commentary on the Vietnam War, the assassinations of the 1960s, the migration of crack cocaine into inner-city neighborhoods, and a myriad of other ills that have rocked America. This is a very good piece intertwined with several history lessons spanning many decades.” Dawn Reeves, RAWSISTAZ Book Club “John T. Wills particulars each notion so eloquently that you feel that you’re actually right there with him… this is an inflicting history lesson that I believe all African American males should experience.” JUST A SEASON is a pivotal read. Carmen, OOSA ONLINE BOOK CLUB “From the first page you are transported into John’s world as if you are there and are experiencing it with him. I thoroughly enjoyed “Just a Season”. Mia L. Haynes “Just a Season is a work of love, respect and honor… A book filled with the wonder of life, and the pain and growth encountered in living it.” Outstanding! Ron Watson, Editor, New Book Reviews.Org
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THOUGHT PROVOKING PERSPECTIVES is a powerful blog designed as a potent source of empowering knowledge to broaden the information base with those who share my passion for the written word. I firmly believe education is the single most important ingredient necessary to neutralize those forces that breed poverty and despair.
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Mr. Wills has earned a Master’s and Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. He’s been a professor at Sojourner-Douglass College (HBC), Past Board Member of the Bowie State University Foundation, President of JT Wills Consulting, Past Vice President of the MD/DC Minority Supplier Development Council, Producer of the John T. Wills Book Tree Radio Show, author of “Just a Season” and “Legacy – A New Season”, a Journalist by way of the Washington Examiner and a blogging, supporter of several community organizations, a volunteer, a strong advocate for literacy empowerment and friend to many.
Mr. Wills is a profoundly powerful and empowering speaker who is an expert on the African American Diaspora. For speaking engagements contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
In Loving Memory Of My Son – Rashad Ali Wills
Miss Me – But Let Me Go
When I have come to the end of the road
and the sun has set for me.
I want no rites in a gloom filled room.
Why cry for a soul set free.
Miss me a little, but not for long
and not with your head bowed low.
Remember all the good times we shared.
Miss me but let me go.
For this journey we all must take
and each must go alone. I’ll be alright Dad.
It’s all part of God’s plan and
just a step on the road home.
When you are missing me and your heart is pained.
Go to the friends we know
and bury your sorrows in doing so.
I will be waiting for you.
Miss me but let me go.