Posted in Civil Rights, Dreams, Great Books, Inspiration, Justice

Martin Luther King, Jr.

The words of Martin Luther King, Jr. are as relevant today as they were during the 60s Civil Rights Movement. Here are a few that have inspired me especially since the 2016 election. A call to action is demanded of citizens who recognize a foreign government intervening in our election is nearly as bad as having war break out against Russia.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
– Martin Luther King Jr., I Have a Dream: Writings and Speeches That Changed the World

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
– Martin Luther King Jr.

“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.”
– Martin Luther King Jr., A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches

“There comes a time when silence is betrayal.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.

“People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

“On some positions, cowardice asks the question, is it expedient? And then expedience comes along and asks the question, is it politic? Vanity asks the question, is it popular? Conscience asks the question, is it right?” – Martin Luther King Jr.

“There comes a time when one must take the position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must do it because conscience tells him it is right.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

“We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing-oriented” society to a “person-oriented” society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.” – Martin Luther King

Posted in Authors, Dreams, Great Books, How To, Humor, Writing

Write the Next Great American Novel

imageFor those who have dreamed of writing the next “Great American Novel” here are two tongue-in-cheek offerings which offer tips on getting that checked off your writer’s bucket list.

Jim Berle details  How To write the next Great American Novel
Below are bullet points from his essay.

  • Move out of Brooklyn.
  • Drop out of school.
  • Stop writing at Starbucks.
  • Adultery is passé.
  • Avoid using a child’s POV.
  • Stop wasting time on the Internet.
  • Don’t listen to anyone’s opinions.
  • Stop drinking and doing coke.
  • Enough with the anti-heroes already!
  • Never stop writing.

He concludes with:

“Everything in the world is trying to distract you from getting something on the page. Our own doubts about everything we do is crushing. Don’t let it crush you. No one has any idea what they’re doing. And even J. K. Rowling once lived in her car and her next book will probably be no good anyway. The Great American Novel is inside you, I just know it. Especially if you’re Canadian. Like the David statue in the stone, it’s up to you to release it. And then leave it on a window sill or the M train so I can steal it and take all the credit for it. Even the greatest writers died horrible deaths terribly alone. Try to enjoy it.”

Visit Jim’s web site for the full article. He’s sharp as a tack and funny besides.

From Huntington Post, Ester Bloom offers her two cents worth on the subject. Some suggestions for accomplishing this feat are surprising including:

  • Be a dude, ideally dead.
  • White and privileged is good.
  • Being a drunk is helpful
  • The only acceptable city settings are New York or Chicago.

You can read her article here.

Posted in Authors, Books, Dreams, Great Books, Great Quotes, Life, Pain

Shakespeare’s Hamlet Musing

To be, or not to be, — that is the question: —
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? — To die, to sleep, —
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, — ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep; —
To sleep, perchance to dream: — ay, there’s the rub;

For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;

For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of despis’d love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,

When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would these fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,

But that the dread of something after death, —
The undiscover’d country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns, — puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know naught of?

Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought;
And enterprises of great pith and moment,
With this regard, their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.

Hamlet, Scene I

Posted in Dreams, Hope, Life, Writing

More Thoughts on “Beyond The Lights”

Obviously, this movie spoke to me which is a rare thing given the sort of movies produced these days. It used to be fairly common to watch a movie and afterward have a coffee and a discussion about the experience watching the movie. What did it mean? Did it accomplish what the writers had hoped for? Was the acting good, bad or indifferent? Not so much these days . Movie-making and consuming tend to be a “wham bam, thank you, ma’am” experience. Which explains in part why I have not watched a movie in a theater for nearly a decade. I watch movies via iTunes and Amazon after determining their worthiness of expenditure of my time

Anyway since this blog is more of a journal than blog, (I don’t have much unique inspiration to offer.) my thoughts on a couple songs used in the movie follow.

This review of Beyond The Lights provides context: Beyond The Lights Review

Blackbird

Why you wanna fly Blackbird, you ain’t ever gonna fly
No place bif’ enough for holding all the tears you’re gonna cry
Cos your mama’s name was lonely and your daddy’s name was pain
And they call you little sorrow cos you’ll never love again

So why you wanna fly Blackbird, you ain’t ever gonna fly
You ain’t got no one to hold you, you ain’t got no one to care
If you’d only understand dear nobody wants you anywhere
So why you wanna fly Blackbird, you ain’t ever gonna fly.

— Nina Simone

My notes: For me, the song evokes clear despondency, a hopelessness of living life with no dream for a better or different future, a belief there can be no dream or better life.

At the end of the movie Noni has freed herself from those who stifled who she really is. The final song in the movie is an altogether different song about a freed blackbird. The promise and hope of a life on her own terms.

Lyrics for Blackbird from the movie, Beyond The Lights

ahhh

as i dive in without my wings the speed of light im flying to my endas i fall without my wings

how the last song the blackbird will sing

im free at last, free from you,

free from the past

fredom at last

what is life, other than a cage to me

im free at last, free from you

free from the past’

freedom at last

what is life, other than a cage to me

blackbird,

oh, blackbird

blackbird

oh, blackbird

now i rise as the pheniox escapes from me

through the fire, through the flames

leaving ashes underneath

im free at last, free from you

free from the past’

freedom at last what is life,

other than a cage to me

black bird

oh blackbird

blackbird

sing one last song for me

yeah blackbird

oh black bird

sing one last song for me

Posted in Creativity, Dreams, Hope, Justice

Movie: Beyond The Lights

More on Beyond the Lights

Thoughts about “Beyond the Lights”

I’ve watched the movie five times since I purchased it on iTunes a month ago. The latest viewing was with my bi-racial niece. I really felt it was important for her to see the movie. She informed me that she had wanted to see it since it came out last year. 

Please note: These are my thoughts and feelings about the movie and about our society. They are subjective and not a credo. 

The intent of the screenwriter and director, was to illustrate how women are objectified, hyper-sexualized and ultimately disrespected in the music and movie industry. Consumers of these mediums are also culprits in this objectification. If ignored, how far will this unmitigated disrespect be allowed to permeate society? Do we as a society really want our young women (our children) to believe they will only be accepted and successful by emulating the “musicians” and actors propagating this obscene message? Obscene in the sense that sex is the only denomination by which women can profit.

  
The song, Blackbird, written by Nina Simone, is used as a theme in the movie to underscore Noni Jean’s lot in life. Yes, monetarily she became successful and fame bought the things in life considered signs of success by our society. And yet, she was hollow inside. She was not her own person but a shell under which she portrayed not her own message but that determined by the music industry. Her own mother viewed Noni as a ticket to get out of their poverty-ridden home in Brixton, England. Her mother was Noni’s manager but abdicated her role as Noni’s mother. That in itself wreaked havoc on Noni’s sense of self-worth.

This movie offers a profound message to consider. For me, though, the movie’s music some of which can be purchased on the soundtrack reveal a hopelessness and helplessness that is alarming. Half a century after the Civil Rights Movement secured legislation requiring changes in society to “level the playing field” – equal rights for all – and yet it is obvious it takes more than legislation to bring about true and permanent change.

Racial intolerance, bigotry and hatred are faced everyday by those whose skin color is a genetic factor which cannot be changed. What will it take to allow freedom of choice in education, occupations and dreams and aspirations? An act from God? How to motivate caring Americans who feel helpless to bring about true and meaningful change?

Why does this matter to me? I am of Irish and English descent – my civil rights are mostly “equal” with those of white males. I care as a citizen hoping to bring about positive change in America. I care because my nieces and nephews may likely face racial intolerance. They are bi-racial. Why should skin color or hair color (red for example) or height or disability determine the rights and ability to succeed in this country?