A Late July Update

So no, in regards to my last post, we haven’t found a suitable place of worship just yet. I’m still not ready to give up, but with all the violence and BS happening around the World, I can feel my heart getting hard. I don’t want to be a bitter person. I talked to my dad last week about letting go of grudges and regrets, something I’ve been able to (mostly) do through meditative practices. He relayed he has always had trouble with it. For me, I saw it as intentionally defeating my ego and eliminating wasteful, unproductive habits and beliefs. We all program our brains differently, whether with intent or by accident. I decided I didn’t want to be mad at people who were jerks to me or constantly relive experiences where I failed to rise to the occasion. It surely won’t help me live in the present or be happy, and I think I’ve learned all there was from those experiences, so I discarded that junk like a holey old pair o’ drawers.

My first chapbook, Dravet Syndrome Blues, is written. I’m letting the poems air out and settle for a few days, then I’ll scrutinize them with red pen in hand, and revise. They won’t be too reworked- I want them to be not only GOOD, but an encapsulation of my current influences, experiences, and ability as a writer. I’ve solicited a little feedback, which has been helpful, but I have to just go or I will talk myself out of it. I’m working on layout and design at the moment. Design is not my strong suit, but that’s okay. I haven’t produced a physical product in forever (16 years or so), and I’m excited.

Speaking of books, I finally got around to reading Cormac McCarthy’s “All the pretty horses.” What a fantastic story, and McCarthy is able to write stark, laconic cowboy prose interspersed with flourished, descriptive passages in a way which is totally natural, without an air of contrivance.He’s not trying too hard-he’s just really that good. He is a living master.

Albuquerque is still magical.

I start work next week. I’m looking forward to it, but also not. I have enjoyed having little stress and no routine, but I am a person who very much needs a rigid routine. It will be a good addition to my life.

In addition to routine, I discovered that I also like taking risks and having adventures.  I’m writing this from a hotel room outside Denver. We drove 6.5 hours here so Lindsay and the oldest kid could go see Sufjan Stevens. It wasn’t a bad drive, but prior to realizing that our lives were finite and we were in charge of the character of our lives, I don’t know we would have done this. I want awesome experiences. I don’t hate road trips like I once did, and don’t get tired driving for more than 45 minutes, as growing up on an island is prone to induce.

So things aren’t perfect. I still hold on to old crap sometimes, and sometimes I’m grumpy and snap at the kids. Sometimes I don’t sleep well, and have learned there’s no wisdom in saying “I’ve never gotten sunburn on the tops of my feet”. Still, I think I’m in a good place, literally and figuratively. Seizures, and the threat thereof, are constantly lurking, and I never thought I could feel so dried up by someone else’s condition, but this in my normal. We have abundant moments, and are making stuff happen. I’ll take it.

 

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On Fleek

       Okay, so “on fleek” is dumb. It’s also dated; this is a year-old article about mainstream appropriation of Black slang (no mention is made of the origin) via the internet, which is more than a year after I first encountered it. Here’s the rub- the article’s examples, in which the slang words are used are not their native environment-are the whitest things I’ve ever read that weren’t on a bag of Sun Chips.

I have another word to add: Columbusing, which emerged after Miley Cyrus’s twerking incident.

       Black culture has always been appropriated in America as the de-facto source of cool (even the source of the word “cool”), strip-mined like Sierra Leone. With the globalized internet, this can happen at a distance-white cool-seekers no longer have to go to”bad” (Black) neighborhoods to learn hep jazz slang-and with speed and reach unparalleled in human existence. One can simply follow a few social media users and open the Pandora’s box of Black Twitter.
        It’s not to say I haven’t personally done the exact same thing-I read Damon Young, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Chauncey DeVega, and Shaun King regularly, because I want to hear other people’s experiences.  I know this partial list of writers is problematic: they’re all heterosexual males, which means it’s about as diverse a list as the editorial staff of The Huffington Post, who have important voices, if not at times culturally homogenized. I try to read good writers of various backgrounds, and occasionally this may stem from unconscious tokenism.
I’m a non-white person who spends most of their time in majority-white spaces: working in STEM, coffee shops, thrift stores. I’m trying to see outside my cultural bubble. By consulting broader perspectives, I hope I can broaden my perspective.
Still doe, my blog stay on fleek.