To Live

Arundhati Roy

To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty…. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget.” ― Arundhati Roy

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Excitement

unnamedThis picture is so me right now! The excitement of writing a book. The point where you can think of nothing else but it. Way before the technicalities, the editing, the book cover design, formatting, marketing, promotion and all of the important stuff you will eventually get to. But not now. Now is the most important time, the moment of taking this energy by the reins and using it fully. Don’t wait until the thrill is gone and floating somewhere in outer space, do it now. Yes, now, write. Always write when you feel the urge to, it means something powerful is about to emerge. So it is at this moment that I fill my heart with the excitement of finishing the sequel to Stella, a short story that is not yet available even though the continuation is in my head yearning to jump from my frontal lobe and onto the page. I can hardly keep still these days, my mind too cluttered by the chit chatter of people in my head. The not yet visible personalities of characters hoping to acquire personalities before the next stage of their existence. Even though many of them are miserable because I do after all control their world. It is for me to speak their flesh into existence and fill their mind with lives they have never lived. To give them careers they have only dreamed of. But I will not leave them desolate. Instead I breathe intellect into the nostrils of characters so that they are not merely walking stick men, but they are people too. They live in places made of brick and mortar, smell the scent of cheese pizza while walking down a Chicago street, and intersect their toes into the Mississippi dirt. Their experiences then are not make-believe; their choices have actually been made before in some distant biography of people I do not know. And their faces are inscribed from my memory bank. I’ve seen this nose before and that attitude is as close as a High School friend. These people do not know it yet, but their shoes are lined with the imprint of humanity already. If I could, I may just foresee the manifestation of their existence in a mother, in a stranger, or some place outside of my world. Have my pen to cough up people with British accents and women who speak with a Somali tongue. Who knows, I may find them on television, catch them waiting for the bus, or greet the main character in the check-out line of the grocery store.

False Leaders & Mentors

Speaking of Black History Month, there’s a desperate need for fresh leadership within our community. A lot of people look to figures like Al Sharpton and Benjamin Crump as leaders but the truth is that men like this are leading a lot of you astray. These men do nothing for black people except manipulate situations and line their pockets. While it is true that young black men are murdered, the aftermath of these kinds of events is sadder. Not only are black men murdered, but afterward your leaders come in and the objective of the situation is altered. Trayvon Martins parents are rich from their son’s death. Al Sharpton took them under his wing and collected garbage cans filled with money and Mike Brown’s parents are well on their way. There is nothing fake or conspiracy theory about the deaths of these men this is conspiracy fact, but it is the aftermath that is manipulated. For what reason does a mother need a lawyer when her son is murdered? She needs a lawyer only when she is told to sue for civil rights transgressions. Meanwhile, your human rights are continually violated and your leaders do nothing about it. The saddest thing about the deaths that continue to pile alongside the streets of black communities is oddly not the deaths themselves. The saddest thing about it is the can of whitewash the leaders of these people hold in their pockets, prepared to spill deception at the first sight of blood. How long will we continue to give birth to death still lying on the bed of Sharpton’s dream?