Another Black American Killed

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Tyre King, Age 13, Shot and Killed by Police in Columbus, Ohio

I am sick to my stomach and my heart hurts thinking about the numerous, appalling, and senseless killings of innocent black adults and children. I fear for my youngest brother’s life, if he were to ever visit or come back to live in the States. I would tell him to never hold a toy gun in his hands. I fear for his side of the family, whom I consider my own. I fear for my friends. I fear for the children who won’t get to live out their lives or the ones who grow up without their parents or siblings – murdered on the street for no good reason.

Institutionalized racism is so very real and racism in general is very much alive today. I’ve experienced it myself. However, it is nowhere near as prominent as it is in the African American community, which has faced and continues to face so much untold hardship. When will we progress past our differences and evolve past this reptilian fear of all that is unlike ourselves? It’s 2016 — 52 years after public segregation in America was abolished and 151 years since the end of slavery, and people are still losing their lives and being treated like sub-humans because of what they look like (and don’t even get me started on the zealotry and prejudice against the Muslim-American community).

I love this country, I love my freedoms, and I love and respect my friends, family and countrymen that fight to keep us safe. I don’t believe sitting during the national anthem is an issue of respect for your country when your heart is hurting for the innocent dead bodies on the street. It’s an issue much bigger, and something that not everyone will understand if you and the generations in your family before you have not experienced roadblocks, barriers, judgments, and subtle differences in how you are treated and spoken to and supported in the community by both regular people and by systems and institutions ALL throughout your life. Everyone can seek to understand, however, and look outside of themselves and what they know and what they grew up with. There is an entire world outside of your own bubble, outside of your own race, religion, country, beliefs, sexual orientations and social class, and it will always be that way. Always. Anyone who is disappointed in the ongoing deplorable treatment of their own kind has every right to exercise their freedom of speech to say so, and if it starts a conversation about the real problems that face America, that is wonderful.

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On Writer’s Block and Unhindered Genius

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I was reading an article about writer’s block and facing the blank page. It was several articles, actually, on Brain Pickings, a blog that I’ve come to really love.

I watched a video in the article which had eight different writers explaining what staring down the blank page meant to them. One writer’s thoughts struck me. American fiction writer Phillipp Meyer said that the blank page doesn’t exist. What exists instead is our insecurity – our insecurities that what we write won’t match our ideal or our insecurities that the conditions in which we want to write are just or right yet. There is no blank page. There is no writers block.

I don’t think “writer’s block” actually exists. It’s basically insecurity — it’s your own internal critic turned up to a higher level than it’s supposed to be at that moment, because when you’re starting a work — when the page is blank, when the canvas is open — your critic has to be turned down to zero… The point is actually to get stuff on paper, just to allow yourself to kind of flow. It is only by writing that you’ll discover characters, ideas, things like this. (Philipp Meyer)

So how do you overcome this self-perceived writer’s block? Just start writing. Write whatever is in your head and keep writing.

As a writer, your job is to write. Anything else, absolutely anything that keeps you from doing this one action, is a hindrance. No worrying. No fucking around, no doting, no twiddling your thumbs. Stop trying to be perfect (you’re not perfect and you will never be). In fact, “perfect” doesn’t exist.

You have to be willing to shovel out crap. That’s why I always think my past writing is embarrassing. Because it is! But guess what? I wrote more back then than I do now. That was back when I could tell everyone I was a writer during those awkward ice breakers and not feel like a sham.

You have to be willing to write like shit. You have to be that unhindered genius: that wide-eyed, curious child that doesn’t know any better and just keeps taking in information and putting out creation, without any of the anxieties and worries that plague us as adults. It reminds me of another Brain Pickings article I read on the genius of childhood.

I look back at the things I did when I was younger and I’m amazed. In high school, I auditioned for a play by singing up on stage and performing a monologue! I rode all sorts of death-defying roller coasters at the theme park King’s Island with fear in my heart but I pushed through it anyway. I even talked to all sorts of people and made all sorts of friends.

Where did that courage go? Or is it a blindness or ignorance to what bad could happen? Is it healthy and safe to have that? Is that where the genius of childhood lies? How can we tap into that again?

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How Many More Unmotivated Saturdays?

Dear Unmotivated Me,

It’s Saturday. It’s been approximately 318 Saturdays since you wanted to start and maintain a blog. Even more since you wanted to write that novel. Don’t forget the 104 Saturdays since you truly wanted to dedicate your life to getting out, exploring, and getting healthy. Aren’t you tired constantly fooling yourself with promises to be a better you when you can’t even remember the first time you’ve said that to yourself? “Tomorrow, I will.” It was years ago. How old are you now? Why do you not feel the sense of urgency here?

“Death is always on the way, but the fact that you don’t know when it will arrive seems to take away from the finiteness of life. It’s that terrible precision that we hate so much. But because we don’t know, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens a certain number of times, and a very small number, really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon that’s so deeply a part of your being that you can’t even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more. Perhaps not even. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.” (Paul Bowles in “The Sheltering Sky”)

It does seem limitless. Tomorrow does seem easy to come by. How can we overcome feeling like we have all the time in the world?

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