The PBS Blog Podcast Ep 5 – Freedom and Responsibility

In today’s episode, we are talking about the responsibility end of freedom.

Freedom has been turned into a scapegoat that many of us have used to justify our beef with structure. Anything that requires us to act in a way that is disciplined, civil or logical we stray from under the guise of having the freedom to choose.

But choices are not without consequences.

We are adults and have long had the freedom to do as we choose. But as there’s a lot going on in the world today, we must remember that our actions and thoughts are not without a certain level of responsibility. Whether we are talking about writing and books or life in general, our freedom is not as free as it seems on the surface.

Today, I want to encourage you to be more disciplined in all areas of your life. More disciplined spiritually, mentally, and physically. Let’s take responsibility for the lives we live.

Don’t forget to subscribe for notification of future episodes.

Ep 5 – Freedom and Responsibility

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Movie Night Friday – After Earth

Welcome back to Movie Night Friday. Doggie, say hi.

The Dog EC Hired to Help Host Movie Night Friday.

I know what you’re thinking “That movie was whack”. Which is exactly why we are reviewing it today! This movie has so many messages it’s not even funny. And as a box office disappointment worldwide, I am sure that many of us missed them.

About.

From Wikipedia:

In the 21st century, an environmental cataclysm forces the human race to abandon Earth and to settle on a new world, Nova Prime. One thousand years later, the Ranger Corps, a peacekeeping organization commanded by General Cypher Raige (Will Smith), comes into conflict with the S’krell, alien creatures who intend to conquer Nova Prime. Their secret weapons are the Ursas, large predatory creatures that hunt by “sensing” fear. The Rangers struggle against the Ursas until Cypher learns how to completely suppress his fear, a technique called “ghosting”. After teaching this technique to the other Rangers, he leads the Ranger Corps to victory. Meanwhile, Cypher’s son Kitai Raige (Jaden Smith) blames himself for the death of his sister Senshi (Zoë Kravitz) at the hands of an Ursa. Kitai trains to become a Ranger like Cypher, but his application is rejected due to his recklessness. Kitai’s mother Faia (Sophie Okonedo) convinces Cypher to take Kitai on his last voyage before retirement.

The movie gets going after their spaceship crashes due to an asteroid shower. The crash kills everyone on board except for Cypher and Kitai but Cypher’s leg is broken. It is then up to Kitai to move across the dangerous planet to where the other part of the ship landed to retrieve the instrument that will allow them to access the help they need. The planet is dangerous and filled with animals and aliens that kill humans. Welcome to earth.

As stated, there’s a lot in this movie but I am drafting this late and so I’m kinda tired. Buuutt, I like you. (Kinda …lol)  So I still managed to choose five of the key lessons that stuck out to me:

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#1. You’re Not Ready

In the beginning of the movie, Kitai is rejected from being a ranger which makes him upset. However, sometimes we think we’re ready for something that we have no idea we’re not ready for. We can feel ready but without the experience of enduring the necessary hardships it takes to get to that level, we will not actually be ready. Without falling and getting back up babies do not learn to walk. Kitai is a baby and still has a lot of fear in his heart.

#2. Fear is not real

This leads me to the next, most prominent message. The most popular quote from the movie:

“You have to remember, fear is not real. The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things that do not at present and may not ever exist. That is near insanity. Do not misunderstand me. Danger is very real, but fear is a choice.”

Cypher explains this to Kitai after explaining how he Ghost for the first time and even though it’s a movie, I do believe it is true. We choose to be afraid and we choose what fear makes us do. Danger is real and it is only foolish not to prepare for danger but the act of being afraid is something we choose to do. Why? Because we limit ourselves to physical limitations but faith? Faith is limitless and where there is faith, there is no fear. Where there is fear, there is no faith. The two cannot coexist.

#3. Ghosting

Speaking of fear, one of the dominant messages in the movie, the thing that Kitai set out to perfect is Ghosting. It is when the soldiers can rid themselves of fear. When this happens, the aliens cannot see them, thus they Ghost. This gives them an upper hand and they can now defeat the enemy. Throughout the movie Kitai’s goal is to be like his dad and Cypher is known for Ghosting. It is what makes him strong. (There’s another part to this. Masking his emotions makes Cypher stronger but it also makes him weak in a way because by coming across emotionless and cold he is unable to connect emotionally with his son).

To fight your demons, you must rid yourself of the fear of them because fear is the power they have over you. I remember watching Nightmare on Elmstreet. At the end, Nancy turned her back on Freddy and he disappeared. Once she let go of her fear of him, he could not exist. Maya Angelou said the greatest of all virtues is courage because you can’t practice anything consistently without courage. Fear will always hold you back.

#4. Your Father Knows Your Heart / Leads, Guides You

One powerful scene is when Kitai lied about his number of breathing elements. Since humans are no longer in tuned with the earth, the air has changed and can kill them so they have to take breathing fluids. Long story short, while Cypher can’t accompany Kiati on his mission because of his leg, he can see him, monitor him and guide him along the way. Kitai can’t see his father physically but he’s there watching over him. Anywho, Cypher asks Kitai how many breathing fluids he has left and he lies about it. When he lies the heart monitor goes off. Cypher asks him to repeat his answer. His father knows he’s lying. The message is that a father (Like YAH our father, the creator) knows our hearts. He also watches over us and guides us. Even though we cannot physically see him, he’s there.

#5. Endure Trial

Once Kitai spent time in an environment that tested his faith and forced him to move passed the fear, by the end of the movie he was actually ready to be a ranger. Not that he wanted to after what he and his father had been through but in essence he was ready. When you ask for strength be ready to receive it. It is not something that will fall into your lap “Wilily Nilly”. It is something that comes only as a result of overcoming. Truth is, Kitai couldn’t be made Ranger at the beginning because he had never been through anything. (By the end Cypher also learns to be vulnerable with his son).

You see, the reason many people disliked this movie is because the movie itself is spiritual and packed with symbolism when most people just want to be entertained. Not only did Will and Jaden carry the entire movie but they did so well.

Movie Trailer

Next week, I will speak about the TV show Underground and why I love it. Stay tuned!

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HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!

 

The Message

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Social Media has become a glossed over, cloudy place. It is filled with fake persona’s and instant celebrities. People post pictures of their cash and checks on Instagram for instance (something you’ll never see Bill Gates do. Let’s be real, people who make real money are quite about it. Big boys hit hard but move silent) and weigh their worth against the backdrop of numbers and likes. Instead of focusing on the message we have focused instead on the computer screen and have invested instead, not in the voice, but in the marketing and promotional schemes of so called professionals who get rich off the backs of those of us too lazy to be ourselves. Research is all fine and good but what it boils down to is a nice balance between research, advice, and your overall message and the people who care about what you have to say. If you rely too much on research and professional input then you just may miss the message.

A message doesn’t have to mean a religious message. If you have a voice, which we all do, then you have a message. We can define a message as:

“a communication containing some information, news, advice, request, or the like, sent by messenger, telephone, email, or other means.”

When someone writes a book they are sending a message out into the world. It doesn’t really matter what the book is about, every book has a message because every book has a voice. And just like every person with a voice, we all have different sounds and calls to action. Sometimes, we get so into the online aspect of writing that we forget about how important the message is. It is not the marketing plans that will bring readers to you. Though they surely help, ultimately its your message. It’s your voice. Do you have one? That is what will determine your readership.

“Focus on what makes you different, what makes you unique. Being true to yourself is a cliche for a reason — it works. People don’t want to connect with something fake. They want to feel understood and heard, and the only way you do that is honestly and authentically. The last thing you want is to showcase to the world a shadow of your true self.” – Curiouser Editor

What do you want to say to the world? Why does it mater? Why is it different than what the previous person has already said? The sky is blue. Why is the sky blue? Why is it important for us to know that the sky is blue? Is the sky blue?

People who agree with you will flock to you because you sing in a key similar to their own. They are the people who actually want to read your books and who will in turn support your work. The only way to do this, as Curiouser Editing has stated, is to showcase your real self in your writing but not just in your writing, in your overall social media presence.

What Langston Hughes Taught Me About Writing

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Langston Hughes, Google Images

What known historically famous writers, like Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston, have taught me is that writing (far as fiction, / non-fiction, poetry, novelist type writing), is not about making money. Before you throw your stones at the computer screens listen carefully: You can surely make money, but writing is not about making money, if you can understand that. Though I write for a “living” I can honestly say, with my integrity intact, that I have written not one book and not one poem with the intent to make money. I don’t think any writer sits back and says, “Self, lets’ get this best seller on out the way shall we?” Personally, I write because I love doing it and I publish because I love sharing it. But, how did Langston Hughes help me to understand this?

For those of you who are not already familiar, Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston are two of the biggest names in literary history. Just mention The Harlem Renaissance and their names are the first to come to mind. When you look into the lives that they lived however, you see two interesting facts: a). Both were very famous b). Both were very broke.

You wouldn’t know it from the looks of it. Not the way their names are plastered into history books. Not their quotes and faces and the people they’ve known. In fact, to the untrained eye one may come to think these people were rich. Yes, just like any “successful” Traditional or Self-Publisher always before the face of the people. The truth is that Langston Hughes had many side jobs throughout his career that made him money. This included many speaking engagements, teaching, traveling the world, and even working as a bus boy at the Wardman Park Hotel in Washington. Hughes attended Lincoln University but that was because he couldn’t raise the scholarship money to attend Howard. In addition, both Hughes and Zora worked closely under Charlotte Manson, their rich white patron (she was also a big racist but that’s another story) who paid them for the work they published (she also dictated the works they could / could not publish). They also worked closely, most especially Hughes, with Carl Van Vechten (infamous for his book “Nigger Heaven”) who got him lots of work.

I do not say this to discourage anyone from being an author. I say this to say that there is a passion and a drive to writing a book that has nothing to do with royalties and books sales. This is what the promotion and hard work is all about, or at least mine is.  Writing and promoting books that people want to read. There were times where Langston Hughes could barely pay his rent and yet he still managed to know pretty much everyone there was to know during the Harlem Renaissance and the era to which he lived in general. This is a man who was surrounded by millionaires and billionaires on a regular, not because he necessarily  made the same kind of money but because of the way that his work changed people who were drawn to his message. This is what it’s all about: Changing lives. This is also why the Traditional-Indie argument is so stupid right now. It doesn’t matter how you publish the book and whether or not you’re “making it rain”. What matters is whether or not your book has a voice. If it does, then the people will gather to hear you sing.