To disregard the sanctity of human life

As a culture endorsing people whom  would place a knife to another man’s throat with the intention to cut off his head for the expressed reason to put fear into their perceived enemy’s hearts and minds. What can be said of that culture that has not been said of our Western culture?

We are at a huge remove from what’s latently possible. We reside where we have placed our values. Everyone should be assigned this task to explore where you stand in relation to ISIS. Let each person struggle to find words to express what they feel. Beyond revulsion and labeling them as evil, most of us would come up short as to explaining this historical phenomenon. I know there are books that would do justice to explaining the injustices that these jihadist have experienced via or western dominance. But before you look elsewhere for some plausible reason behind their motivation to upturn our world, first begin to take note of your own thoughts.

On a side note, I read that in a a Palestinian refuge camp that it took years to find justification for the building of a public gathering plaza because it raised all sorts of red flags about the permanency of the camp and giving up the dream of return.

The plaza was built and this below is a reported exchange from the New York Times.

In the square the other day, Suhaib, a 12-year-old boy playing while his mother sat with her friends, puffed out his chest and said, “This is not a plaza for women; it is for men.” A group of girls playing with him laughed. “This is my place, too,” said Ganat, a 12-year-old girl who towered over Suhaib.

“We all play together,” she said.

I take heart from reading such stories. It makes the world not so scary. How we treat woman, children is cultural and the seed for all change will come from women being allowed more freedom. And we have to look only at the high percentage of females that will be raped on American college campuses as the fall school schedule begins to see that we have our own home grown issues.

As a child, I read about historic men/women whom made a difference but also I remembering viewing in the 70’s on the nightly ABC news Palestinian children throwing rocks at the Israeli soldiers. I have no answers but I do feel that the larger conflicts in the world could be pacified by some real move on the the parts of these two people in conflict. Solve the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and we gain allies towards peaceful resolution. But short of Israel leaving the occupied territories, the cause seems hopeless. And if they did leave what guarantees of an abiding peace could be sampled. No, Peace begins with the public space where little girls take the right to be in a public space and to voice their views. These little girls will grow to be the brokers of peace.

Feel a need to sharpen your rhetorical skills

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Take a look-see into the contents of other blogger’s post. I mean really read what they have to say and with deliberate intent comment, take note of where they are going and maybe try to align yourself with their thoughts.

And like Saint-Exupéry, assign yourself reconnaissance mission to collect intelligence on other blogger’s movements.

To add a comment is to risk public scrutiny. But the comment section is where you have a chance to push yourselves. And dot your I’s you must edit.

When we know others will read we tend to be more on edge; where looking down can cause you to fall; instead focus on your message, its import but also on its delivery.

Not sure where these how to post come from, it seems part of blogging wherein we want to instruct; most of the post you see are how to’s but just as well that is not true. Anything but pull out those stories that wont write themselves; those stories that have titles and first paragraphs but require that I believe enough in myself to trust that they will shape themselves if I just keep funneling my attention into their core. For example, my story A House Divided has a new quality that has came about because I have acknowledged to myself that I am one of those type guys that lacks real knowledge say about the name of things like trees and flowers and I thought OK, lets work with this limitation, your character will just reflect that kind of person who is more feely and less cerebral. You cannot write what you don’t know without wasting time trying to find precise words when the better idea would be just to learn to write in your vernacular.

Product is important, but more important is the process. Writing involves you to wonder what it feels like to have someone else think and act according to the dictates of your sentences. Imagine empty space and see what happens when you place an imaginary stepping stone upon this open space, now put another and another and you have the background ready for someone to make that first step. All this occurs upon the imagined fabric of the page in front of you. Each sentence feeds the next.

It’s a myth that writing is reserved for genius. Writing should be within the scope of possibility for every human being. It is our birthright. But just as well everybody is not cut out to sequester themselves away from others to write imaginary things. See, writing has always been about me wanting to feel less dumb than many people wanted to lead me to believe. I have never had a mind to keep facts and add to that childhood behavioral problems that kept school officials always pointing out how bad I was.

Writing is existential to my existence much like the exoskeleton of a cockroach. An alter ego has emerged to enlighten the troubled child as to the facts of life. First fact: we are not inherently bad or good. Saying good job is no different than admonishing a child. Both actions make a child look out side of themselves for affirmation. This child grows to be an adult. Fact two: shame comes from an outside party whereas the adult learns to feel mature guilt; when guilty take responsibility of your actions. Shame burns holes inside your being where horrifying thoughts can burrow. True vitality comes from profound self acceptance. Truly Jesus exampled this profound self acceptance. He took to heart what he picked up along the way as he traveled to the east where he must have encounter Buddhist monks. The old testament was about following the laws; whereas the new testament promised salvation through faith. Why discount Jesus because his message has been used for derogatory purposes? Jesus is all right with me and I don’t fully prescribe to one faith.

And I am not a spiritualist. Someone spiritual, no though you could say someone in constant awe.

 

 

 

To Whom do you Write

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Or is it for whom?

Just like there is a freedom from and freedom to, there is likewise other such prepositional constructions.

But having briefly thought about it bloggers write for bloggers.

This is my third year blogging and what a love/hate relationship it has been. You either grow through the pain of not being one of the highly commercial success writers and just settle down and just write what you can. I have been fortunate, no trolls have been vindictive. Though there has been dissenting points of view. If a writer makes it past the first year without disintegrating their blog, then they actually may have a chance to further their however inchoate agenda.

Agendas vary, there are photographer bloggers, fashion, news; then there are those of us whom aspire to write.

We are the sensitive ones whom wear their emotions on their sleeves. We blog because we saw it as an opportunity to write, but not just write but to write within the sphere of other writers. Bloggers ultimately write for other bloggers because that’s what we do is write so that we can put out a piece to be pass out among our peers much like of old writers populated cafes.

Blogging for me has been much like a writer’s work shop with each day an opportunity in executing mini-lessons like choosing a seed idea, a small moment that can be expanded upon for the sake of writing. Writers either falter at this juncture or they see that ideas can be a movable feast in that they must at any given point sit down and write. In the beginning, I spent a lot blogging space bemoaning the fact that I had nothing to write about and without knowing it this very fact became the genesis of larger pieces with the idea further heightened that we don’t think and then write, we write to think. If you have a problem writing it is probably more a thinking problem. And the irony is the only way to improve your thinking is to put it under the magnifying glass of something you have wrote and by default your writing is stepped up a notch because of your willingness to write.

And blogging actually abets internal thinking wherein we speak to ourselves, we voice our inner dialogue and we identify our position. By doing so we hold ourselves accountable. To write is to sort through the rubbish of your thoughts and to pick those gems that can corroborate your thoughts. A sentence is just a thought encapsulated so that others may more easily digest your meaning.

 

 

Putin Reportedly Says Russia Could ‘Take Kiev in 2 Weeks’

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No ambiguity there.

I have been awaiting some such bold declaration, but hoping it would be otherwise.

He has hid his hand so far, why show it now as if in tandem with this new video of the beheading of another American by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria ISIS.

I have yet to form a new picture as to what are the new boundaries of the world. But some how it seems that Putin has grand ambitions, as if might were right.

In some way, his choices put him in alignment with ISIS. By default they are forming a unifying Axis alliance both coupled by their opposition to the Western world; their goals are the breaking the hegemony of plutocratic-capitalist Western powers.

It reminds me of Stephen King’s The Stand, where everyone falls in step having to decide  between two rising factions.

But ultimately, it seems Obama is more at fault for allowing the Syrian war to continue. For the last two years, I have been reading about the atrocities of that war and we ask what could we have done; by default we did nothing which gave rise to these seasoned soldiers now ready to bring the fight to us. The complexity is baffling, this fight for this new world order where Russia regains it imperialistic mantle along with ISIS wanting to establish a monotheistic world wherein adolescent minded males rules the world like a boy’s locker room.

How to place America’s past actions that reflect badly on us with the higher aspirations of what it means to be an American; the word itself is inclusive and by its nature a plurality. The best example of what we are capable of  is Edward Snowden whom said not only do I believe in something, I believe in it enough that I’m willing to set my own life on fire and burn it to the ground.

At our best we are a self-correcting nation.

When I go to the beach, I love the diversity. I see Muslim families, families from India, African Americans, Albanians and every other sort of person that makes America their home. We are a multicultural family however sometimes  something hard and cruel and vicious comes to the surface as evidenced in Ferguson, Missouri that found Michael Brown lying for those four hours on the street. We can face this down if we are willing to see through the bitterness and hatred visible behind it and growing out of it. Let is serve notice that our work has only just begun.

What’s at issue is by default we have devised a world of the haves and the have nots; there are people disfranchised merely by where they are born, marginalized by birth into generational poverty. People that suffer that terrible apathy called hopelessness. People made to fight others because they fear for their own family members. When I read about the eleven story apartment building in Gaza that was told to be evacuated only to be razed to the ground. These Palestinians now without all the things we take for granted; sure they got away with their lives but now they must regroup and rejoin with others whom share a deepening hatred of Israel. I wish I could put forth some viable solution, but I know it rest with those whom give their support for Hamas when they could just as well support another faction that may more easily lend itself towards reconciliation. I keep watching films that dramatize the Israeli/Palestinian conflict wanting so much to feel each side so that I may be neutral but in the end I support both their wishes for autonomy.

They say that miracles as such do not matter. The only thing that matters is their source and that miracles occur naturally as expressions of love. And finally, miracles are everyone’s rights, but purification is necessary first. That begins our work today to purify our own thoughts, to lay to rest our natural inclination to hate, to find fault. Instead, see that miracles can free us from fear.

I await the miraculous.

 

 

 

Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac

image.tmdb.org 2014-8-29 8 2 37I have finally finished watching Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac, having years before watched horrified his early film Breaking the Waves. All that I can remember feeling then was nausea, much the same feeling I associate with his film Dogville. But this present film is more self-conscious, more stylized. It taunts the viewer with its shifting view points. I could almost imagine that Charlotte Gainsbourg spoke her own words in response to Seligman’s scripted lines.

In my search to understand what I had seen, better yet felt from his films, I discovered that his film genera is drama films that have real life characters dealing with dramatic themes such as alcoholism, drug addiction, infidelity, moral dilemmas, racial prejudiced. religious intolerance, sexuality, poverty, class division, violence against woman and corruption. As would be writers, pick your theme if it hasn’t are ready picked you. In a grand art house way he has seemingly included all these themes into one movie.

By turns his main protagonist, the ultimate antihero, Joe, as played by Charlotte Gainsbourg, is put into conflict with herself, society and finally- man.

Her savior and guide into her past is Seligman (Stellan Skarsgard), a stale pedantic whom actually levitates the story by way of his cultural allusions.

We sit down to watch the film, not at all knowing where we are being taken. Suspended belief is induced by the mesmerizing affect of the flash backs; we willingly allow the story to unfold because we find it beautiful. Switching forward, the most beautiful as well, the most horrifying scenes is the one in which the abandoned toddler awakens by the twisting lights of the snow plower cutting  a swath through the snow bound streets, the boy following the lights and then becoming attuned to the falling snow. Emotionally we are tied to this scene because also a similar story was played out in Trier’s film the Antichrist. This latter is a visual example, but on the level of story telling what is more beautiful than her father leading the child through the woods while telling her mythological tree stories, not just any stories but a story that runs through the whole film. Such beauty is usually reserved for films by Terrence Malick.

If the film seems too much, as in what it has decided not to leave out, that is the very quality that uplifts the film. Truth can be uglified only when we try to reduce it to something more conventional. A good example would be what happened to a Block Buster Video version heavily edited of Abel Ferrara’s Bad Lieutenant. Astonished, even appalled, would venture to say deeply displeased because I sat with a friend whom I had told about the amazement of this film and what we saw was something stripped of its cottontail beauty which was partly brought to life by its shocking value. At the time, in the early 90’s, the only other film that had a similar shock value was Tarantino‘s Reservoir Dogs. Both came out the same year; both brought movies to a new art house level: spawning the independent film movement (I have no way to back up that latter claim, it’s maybe a hyperbolic causality of my gross leaps to impress without actuality doing my homework)

To write more I would have to first provide a spoiler alert, only read forward if you have concluded the film.

The ending is what actually redeems this film from being sentimental, preventing us from harping back to the idea of it being merely for entertainment; granted we were entertained. But actually we  are witness to the culminating point where a Joe realizes whom she will be at the conclusion of her life; all this transpired through the telling her story along side Seligman whom peppers her story with insight; ultimately, the movie is a dialectic brought to a synthesis.

Which makes a demand on us viewers: we must read about his manifesto for a new cinematic movement which was called Dogme 95.

There is a quickening in Joe in that very last scene where she decides not to be ruled by her sexuality, making it a vow, her reason d’etre to be that one in a million whom succeed, that could only be endorse by a corresponding action.

His closing words, you whom have let a thousand men fuck you,

It is not to us to judge her actions, the movie itself is amoral . It will be Joe’s task to keep to her new coda. We sense another story evolving, now she is a murderer; to stop one thing we become something else.

 

False Alarm

I started writing some days ago on a story, stopped, started again. Too much distance now between what I wrote and how I now feel about the story. Cold-trailing it anyway, I sit and want to move the story more towards first person narration.

To really walk on bare feet towards what is in front of the person that is our guide.

It is really difficult to truly write a story because I have no story. I have this desire to write, to do what I read others do and I harbor this idea that what keeps me from doing likewise is simply not understanding my craft. I possess imagination but how to put it to work, how to make it do my bidding? There is the over-soul of who I am; no one is entitled to be as shallow as what it appears to mean by indication of my inability to imagine a story from A to Z. How is that some minds possess this marvelous capacity? Maybe falsely, more than likely I suffer from delusions of grandeur.

But I do have a story, it’s just in the wash of my brain, it lurks, it surfaces, I feel it swollen like a bruised lip. It’s like I am a woman whom must carry an embryo to term without knowing what I am carrying.

Is it rather too that it is this mind that wants to separate from the union, that finds solace in sitting zazen.

But it seems more a pack I have made with myself, and true to my word, it seems I must pursue this vainglorious path.

Writing is more meaningful when I am tied into the internet, it’s like when you are present, those few seating ringside, you keep me accountable to some higher order thinking, whereas left to my own devise I may beg, borrow and steal but with you present, I wont stand for anything less than exactitude.  What? This latter sentence is just one of those sentences that peter out; put your mouth to and it may come to life.

At this half-way point, I feel more assured of my future as a writer because in getting over my initial trepidation, this feeling too frighten to go on, I am now turned around and ready to look back at my new story titled Dialog. To write one has to be motivated based on some form of pleasure; why else write if it is not pleasurable, no? Or do you write to avoid pain, the pain of living alone with whom you have become. We all solidify after a certain age. The question becomes how to break through.

To go forward as a writer you have to chuckle at what a mess you have made of pass attempts to write a story

Or pull out your hair in anguish.

Having just read the closing page 69 of my story Tocksin, I see clearly every rookie mistake: http://tocksin.wordpress.com/2012/10/21/page-69-tocksin-sally-is-washing-the-blood-from-joes-clothes-she-is-bent-over-a-wash-tub/

Do I fall on my sword, swear off ever writing, both options would probably spare future generations the infamy of having been exposed to bad writing. My writing is so very bad that its very badness is its only redeemable quality. I would not be so bold as to say I am unique but do believe I am of a type, that there are more people like me but just as well like you. Granted we are individual, but what it comes down to is variations on a theme.

Wouldn’t we all want someone to explain our predicament, to point at the vectors of our flaws. To put another way someone to explain who we are but not so much who but what in that what is the meaning of how we write; what does it say about who we are; what does it indicate? other than the obvious idiocy.

In some way because of my learning disabilities, or better yet in spite of them, I have evolved into a tattered human being. Here I sit and the keys have never seem so quiet as if they portend sound rather than ticking of letters. Writing to me is much like music, that coming from a person unmusically inclined. This departure from my point throws more wood to burn me at my self-imposed funeral stake. That is the point, having discovered no discernible talent that could help demonstrate my genius, I hit upon the idea of writing solely because it seemed doable. And also by way of extension, the next step for someone whom reads constantly. But not writing like you think, but writing to find out who I am. Some people writing is only a way to put down into words poems in their heads; whereas, for me- writing has been my life ring. There I was floundering on the sea of life (i.e overused metaphor), not knowing my place in the world and along comes a book put into my hand by my father Grapes of Wrath. I took off with the Joad family, identifying with their plight and later when I read black literature, the likes of  Ralph Ellison and Richard Wright, I found myself less alone.

But the kicker was when I read that impressionism was not limited to painting, that there were writers whom were considered writing in the impressionistic vein. One such writer was Ford Madox Ford whom I could not say how he demonstrates this supposed feat, but I took what I wanted from the statement and said to myself I could give an impression, that would be possible because I know I can’t write like Rembrandt paints but I could render an impression of the events that were surrounding me. I started out with a mechanical type writer believing that to be a writer one simply wrote. In the beginning it was mainly a catalog of my woes, a recording of my conflicts with others. Over time, I started believing I could write a story. Of course it begins with a boy and a girl and so on up till now I have circled back to cataloging my woes and  to the recording of my conflicts with myself and others.