On Brotherhood

These last few, what has it been? days? weeks? is it a month yet? I’ve been wide awake, even when I don’t want to be. It’s been hard to relax, hard to lay down and keep my eyes closed. Because someone’s living it, someone’s talking about it, and someone’s denying the world that imposes on me exists.

We think that strength comes from not caring what other people think. I don’t see how that’s true. We were created to be relational beings, even if we don’t all execute that in the same way. I’m not sure what the stoicism that says I’m not upset or I don’t mind what other people say or think would gain me. What kind of person would it make me, if that were true? More than that, why is the expectation that it could be true?

I am a socialized being (albeit an intentionally re-educated one, by the grace of God which I mean quite literally). I’m an American, and I’m Black. I’ve gotten messages all my life as to the value system of the culture into which I was born. I don’t say this to absolve any other country of their scarred history, but to say that because of ours, the answer to our questions and our issues and our homegrown terror must take them into account. If I’ve been told all my life – on every conscious level and whether I agree with it or not – that the White American voice is required for all manner of validation, shall I be held wholly responsible then for dismantling all of the privilege that is therein implied, denying its destructive impact and cultural capital, by simply denying that a single voice does harm when it’s declaring injustice to be a lie,  accusing us of “attacking western civilization”, saying that “white people are being demonized” (because there is no way for someone to be wrong without being undone entirely…) or any of the willfully blind and unapologetic other things being said? On my own, I should just be the bigger person when someone tries to rewrite the definition of racism, which – if I can be – somehow means it won’t feel the least bit deflating? I won’t be discouraged or disappointed or further disillusioned, not ever or least only by admission long after the fact?

But if these are your countrymen, and that means anything, why wouldn’t I be? It *isn’t* enough for *me* to know the truth. People who look like me were the enslaved and then the segregated and then the scorned and mocked and antagonized and still the oppressed, but I should today in 2014 because ostensibly time heals all wounds brush off that so many people still refuse to acknowledge the truth? Why would I want to do that? How would that not grieve me?

I don’t *want* to live in a world where everyone looks like me or sounds like me or only knows the things that I know. I don’t want to go our separate ways, stick to our “own” kind, because where and when did that ever work? And, because it matters to me, how does that please God?

It does bothers me that you don’t get it. It just doesn’t change my mind. It doesn’t make me think maybe I’ve got it wrong. It doesn’t mean I’ll let myself be shut up, even when I don’t want to have this conversation all over again, even when I’m tired of having my heart race waiting for the other shoe to drop, waiting to be completely disregarded. I’ll never stop knowing what I know about you, about me, about us, about respectability politics and the fact that anyone would find murder justified whether a boy had stolen cigars or not. I’ll never stop knowing that criminalization and oppression and self-loathing and crime are related, even if you don’t know. I’ll never stop knowing how – before I can show my talents – I must first disprove a prejudice.

I just know it should bother you, too.

You Bed Not Flake It Up

[Dear brain – really? TLC lyrics as soon as I woke up this morning? You are cruisin’ for a bruisin’, friend.]

Here’s how this works. I have a fleeting moment of “I’m gonna blog about that tomorrow” and then – as she is wont to do – my brain waits until I lie down to go to sleep (or in my case, when my eyes are burning and I have no choice but to close them) and begins writing the post. Right there. Laptop closed, head on pillow, scribbling in my brain – against my will. And I commonly have this reaction.

….
That was me, defiantly ignoring the writing going on in my head. And also secretly (secret from my brain, don’t tell her) trying to memorize it. So in the bright light of today, have I remembered those witty phrases? NOPE. Because I’m an idiot. So I am forced to bring this post to you in list form, forgoing all attempts to showcase my quality.

Whoops. Now I’m thinking of Faramir.

(1) So, first things first. I need someone to diagnose this once and for all. (As in, do you do this – which means I’m normal – or do you not do this – which of course means I’m dumb.)

Most of the time when I stop reading a book it’s because said book has failed me. BAD BOOK! It doesn’t always mean the writing itself didn’t hold up, but usually. Sometimes, in rarer circumstances, it’s the main character. He or she no longer has my loyalty, probably because I can see the author in the character’s place and the latter’s being made to behave in a way I feel serves the book but isn’t honest. As in, the character’s been sacrificed for the needs of the book. And that means I’ve lost that lovin’ feelin’.

Sorry.

And so anyway. There’s another reason I put down a book. (This is the only part to which you really needed to pay attention.) On now three occasions, I’ve put down a book… because I love it too much.

Not nice, guys.

To date, I have put aside: A Mercy by Toni Morrison, Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, and – presently – Speaker For The Dead by Orson Scott Card. ToMo has a new new book out and I still haven’t gone back to A Mercy but I assume I will have to have the next one on hand before I will. Invisible Man all but destroyed me (with its beauty and precision) but I returned to it and am better for it – if I wasn’t able to write for several weeks after finishing it. Because please. Why. It is the singular book that made me go – no other books need be published forever amen.

This doesn’t mean I don’t love other books and wanna marry them over here and over there and in the sky and on a cloud. (There should be another explanatory picture here but let’s try to wrap this up.) Instead, I liken the experience of having to stop reading something to the way a film can be overstimulating. Except in the case of films, it’s not just the movie, it’s the music, it’s everything. It’s sensory overload. It’s overwhelming. Makes me feel anxious. (This is probably diagnosable too but quick, look over there!) And the thing about the overstimulating film? It doesn’t mean the movie’s “good” or “bad”. It’s an entirely separate quality that is sometimes irrational. I’m going to list a couple movies that have at one point or another been too overstimulating. Moulin Rouge – surprise, surprise, Baz Luhrman is on a list of films that made me feel like Ned Flanders in Las Vegas.

Flanders. Entering Las Vegas.
You’re welcome.

Happy Feet. My sister and nephew-son used to watch this constantly and I couldn’t even stand overhearing it. Couldn’t handle it. (Wait, maybe this is all Nicole Kidman’s doing!)

Tron: Legacy. This one’s a no-brainer. Daft Punk (DAFT.PUNK.) and The Grid. And this is actually the only movie of these three that I really like and wanted to not have rapid heartbeat so I could watch it properly. So I watched it a ton and now it feels normal.

Stop looking at me like that.

And so Speaker For The Dead. It’s too good. It’s overwhelmingly too good. It’s better than Ender’s Game. And I’m not even gonna duck because I KNEW I was gonna wanna read SFTD before I ever read Ender’s Game (which is AMAZING and you have to know that to be able to put this conversation in the proper perspective. It is THE science fiction novel. Period. And then I read Speaker.) In fact, I read an essay by the author that explained how Speaker was the story he wanted to expand and to do it, he went back and wrote Ender’s Game and I could read it out of order but NO. My husband would not allow it. Said nothing compared to Ender’s Game. And until I started Speaker, I believed him. Have mercy….I believed him.

In summation. Take that, brain, I wrote it all by myself. (Wait…) Well, I wrote it when I felt like it not when you tried to force me. And without tooting my own horn? Pretty sure I nailed it.

 

Oh wait, the list…

It’s 3am I Must Be Lonely

It’s that special time of night when you’re really irritated you finished the pringles four hours ago.

I’m experiencing anxiety about having to face a hairdresser. Is there a non-rude way of saying I didn’t pay for a lecture?

I know not everyone was required to use Mavis Beacon as a child but I wanna stab teacup yorkies when I have to watch someone type using fewer than eight fingers minimum. Think of it like playing the piano and put your whole freakin’ hand down please.

I’ve never liked the sound of Rob Thomas’ voice.

I’m purposely getting all the “bad” stuff out, yes. That’s your new purpose. And that’s all I got for now so. Toods.

That Is WELL Shameful!

What. The title has nothing to do with the blog post. The blog post hasn’t even been written yet, but I’m sure it doesn’t. Otherwise I’d know what I was gonna blog about. ::GASP:: Maybe the title *does* have to do with the post – in that it’s shameful I’ve no idea what to write. Mystery solved, g’night, folks!

I’m going to tell you guys an alarming truth. ::deep breath:: I…don’t tell you guys everything. I sometimes wish I did or could – especially about what I write or what I’m doing on the business end of it, but alas. It’s like we have this huge public community for the purpose of the industry community but then because of that purpose, we can’t be too public. If you follow. And believe me, there’s loads I’d be talking about – mostly things I’ve witnessed or researched. O_O This is too cryptic to be interesting, isn’t it.

One of the silliest things Brits say is “leg it” as opposed to “run”. Now, I mean silly in the most affectionate way, but honestly can we think about this? (And before you get all offended, yes, people in other countries do make note of what my countrymen say that differs from their own lingo. It’s the way of the world and we like it.) Is running the only thing one does with one’s legs? Because otherwise, it really makes no sense. That’d be like saying “lip it” for talking, as though one doesn’t use one’s mouth to breathe or kiss or eat… I guess it’s not as bad as calling dish detergent “washing up liquid” but. It’s close.

There, that was something, right? How’m I doin’ on time? Wrap it up? Keep talking?

And no, I’m not back in the UK. Still here in Montreal. Still love it. Haven’t gone out much in the last week, to be fair, but I’m relatively sure I still love it. Though I’d love to travel somewhere off the continent. Like soon. Soon, soon. Le sigh.

That thought I had before I had kids – you know, the one where I was pretty sure I’d think even my own flesh and blood gnarly if he got all snagglepussed and lost his teeth…like normally happens? Yeah, turns out I was wrong about that one, too. (Like I was wrong about kids not being any fun once they hit six years old.) He is, legitimately, a backwater baby now. One front tooth gone, the other doing its best to turn sideways while it dangles and refuses to just eject gracefully. Bottom teeth coming in sideways to shove the others out… that’ll correct itself maybe, yeah? I’m sure braces are fun. My sisters made it look … interesting. Bah. I’m sure he’ll be fine.

::spit bubbles::

Some ‘tard left a briefcase at the office of a literary agent in Los Angeles, in which he’d apparently left an unsolicited manuscript. Naturally, the bomb squad blew it up. Because – and I say this as a native Californian – …what did you expect. Drama. I’m gonna be honest: I’m actually pretty proud of my home for being dedicated to staying Hollywood. Even when we’re just keeping someone from realizing his dream of joining Hollywood. We keeps it epic, y’all. Ish is hilarious. So, in summary: don’t be a newb and send unsolicited material, let alone leave it unattended in a harmless briefcase.

Ramble ramble ramble. Oh wait, the sun’s coming up.

Do NOT Go In There!

Today, in things I enjoyed – otherwise known as “spit bubbles ensue: the laziest blog post evar?” – ….

OH. O_O Sorry ’bout that. Wandered off for a bit.

Nobody could not not love that.

Cake Wrecks is one of my favorite websites to forget about for like two weeks and then remember as I sit in my bed after midnight, snorting back laughter so as not to wake my husband. Aside from the hilarious wrecks, their brand of humor just matches me. (Click me. Read me. Love me.) I’ve yet to submit the story of how – two hours before my reception – the hosting venue called and let me know that my cake hadn’t yet been delivered and did I want to call the bakery. Problem being, of course, that it was their bakery what were responsible for the makification. O_O Sorry ’bout that. And don’t even get me started on the story of how they then set out a placeholder cake which, while properly decorated on the outside, was some abomination I had not requested. So after taking pictures, they proceeded to serve cake from a now-prepared-but-not-decorated proper cake in the galley.

I now feel guilty for telling that story and feel obligated to say that The Sterling Hotel was gorgeous and the Bridal Suite was smacktacular. It’s been nine years and they’ve changed hands so I don’t think they’ll care but IAMAWOMANOFMYWORD. And I have no idea what that means. But I totes am.

::spit bubbles:: As promised. SEE!

Why I Write What I Write

Round and about I’ve seen people asking variations of “why do you write what you write”… which is not to say that’s not the first or perhaps second thing people ask anyway. Yes, I guess “what do you write” comes first. And I don’t think on the surface the answers to the first and second question seem to have much in common.

Anyway, tonight (this morning) I’ve been thinking about it. What I write and why. Working my way into the thought from the end, I guess, in that I was talking with a twitter-friend about tragedy. (For anyone who questions the wonderfulness of social networks, I will give you myspace to do with as you please but I am keeping Facebook and Twitter as invaluable.) When I think of all of my work, I guess the theme is tragedy. Which isn’t to say that all of the stories are tragedies, and maybe all work has this in common because how can you capture even a snapshot of someone’s life and have it be devoid of tragedy. For me, it isn’t necessarily having the tragedy be in the present – but having the tragedy, its aftermath be present.

The question that connects everything I’ve written (with the possible exception of that time I pretty much plagiarized Anne Of Green Gables when I was in the fifth grade) – well, it’s more a concept. It’s not as linear as a question. It’s an attempt at painting a picture from the inside out. It’s the moment after you know. Whatever the tragedy entails – death, divorce, betrayal, failure. I’d say death is the most painful but we don’t live by comparison, do we, so if there is a sufficient loss of hope, that’s all it takes. Betrayal feels like death if there’s no hope left.

Whoever she is (usually a she, anyway) – what does she do, if she does anything. How does she respond to the fact that she still can; what are the recognizable pieces of her chaos and how do I make it recognizable. How does an individual person respond to our shared unintentional – defiant – resilience?

Which I guess makes Cora the most like me.

The reason the question (why do you write) used to bug me is because I guess I was thinking about the act of writing. I write because I love to write. Duh. Why else. And I wouldn’t say I write because I want to know the answer to the above concept in a myriad variations, but I suppose I investigate it through my writing because my writing is how I make things linear, how I succeed at it. I guess I wouldn’t keep doing it if it weren’t successful. 🙂  Journaling, essay, novel or script writing. I find the beginning of the string and untangle. In my head it looks like something that is simultaneously a needle and a pen and the ink is the end of chaos. …But it’s also 3:50 in the morning. “These are the jokes, kid.”

What do I write. I write about someone, always from the perspective of a premise that begins at tragedy, processing or not processing. It’s really easy to lose sight of plot, I’m being entirely honest. But only so many people read that kind of literature so only so many people will be encouraged or comforted or validated through it, which is why that’s not something I’ll overlook. And the funny thing is that sentence up there – it doesn’t determine genre or tone or lightness. I wrote a contemporary YA (mostly romance because I was boy crazy) starting from the same concept. And it was fun-loving!

Proof:

“Remember how alive with pleasure they said we were?”

I think that’s enough. But now we know. This is what happens when I don’t write about the nonsensical. #whoops

The Adventures of Cortex and Thalamus

So, I get it. You all prefer guest posts to inane ramblings. Ingrates.

You’ll never guess, but I was awake until like 5 in the morning. That, like, never happens. In Neverland. With me, it’s constant. ANYWAY, this time it was because my brain is trying too hard to be an eccentric. This is basically what happened.

Cortex: Night, Thalamus. See you in lucid dreamland.

Thalamus: Awesome, gimme like twenty minutes.

Cortex: No problem. <pause> Just gonna. Wind it on down, muhself. <stretching>

Thalamus: <Opens one eye> Kay.

Cortex: <Forces yawn> Man, I’m tired.

Thalamus: Mmm.

Cortex: Seriously. This is gonna feel so. good. <pause> To just let it all unwind, I mean. Man. I’m looking forward to it. <pause> You know?

Thalamus: <Silence>

Cortex: <Elbows Thalamus> You know?

Thalamus: <Agitated> What?

Cortex: You know?

Thalamus: <Increasingly agitated> Do I know what?!

Cortex: How good sleep would feel right now.

Thalamus: <Narrows eyes>

Cortex: <Pause> Night.

<<Three minutes later>>

Thalamus: What the hell is happening.

Cortex: <Otherwise engaged>

Thalamus: What the hell is going on?!

Cortex: <Offers popcorn> Want some?

Thalamus: What is this?

Cortex: Oh, this? <motions to projection> This is what that world we created for that last book would look like after the end of that book.

Thalamus: <Wild eyed> Why?

Cortex: Huh? <met with Thalamus’ crazed expression> No, you’re right, I’ll turn it off. Tomorrow. We’ll talk about it tomorrow. <fumbling around> I’ll just…

Thalamus: Cortex!

Cortex: I’m trying! <repeatedly hitting button> It won’t turn off!

Thalamus: <Snatches remote> Move!

<Many failed attempts to halt projection.>

Thalamus: <Fumes, refusing to look at Cortex>

Cortex: We should probably just get up and write it all down, huh.

Aaaaand scene.

25912363_s

Except, y’know, a pretty black girl.

HAWTHORNE.

Man. It was bad and I had just watched a Canadian cop show. O_O Do you even know what that means?! (Canadians, if you’ve watched American television, you can’t get upset. It’s just the truth.)

TNT knows drama. And it knows stereotypes. And it also knows it wants a piece of that Lifetime pie. So, they’re pretty deep in the strong female lead lineup. The Closer. (No.) Saving Grace. (Yes.) Now they just need some diversity. And entrez, the wife of America’s sweetheart. She’s not been too busy since The Matrix. Her hair’s longer so she doesn’t look quite so tiny. And her somewhat chiseled features – and no, Ana, I’m not talking about the cheekbone implants you can’t stop talking about – put her on the right side of beautiful, well past the tiny tooth Closer character (whose name I can’t remember cuz I watched one full episode and audibly concluded, “nope”) and the rode-hard-put-back-wet lady who’s a touch too raw – meaning I super don’t believe the guy would honestly be into her tendon-y arms and general meth head style – and yes I know her name but don’t they also call her by her Christian name which is something other than Grace, too?

Where. Did we go just then.

Okay, so Hawthorne. Right. She’s rounding out the TNT Girl Power line-up. I’m so over hard-on-the-outside-but-don’t-you-dare-accuse-her-of-not-caring-but-only-certain-people-will-get-to-see-her-cry-among-whom-inevitably-will-be-the-love-interest-because-duh-a-guy-won’t-actually-fall-for-a-stone-cold-watch-yo-mouth. Far over it. I’ve crossed the border. And torched the passport. Let that bleeding pony carcass decay in peace, yo.

Okay, that’s not what this is about. Let me just come clean here. It’s 7:21 in the morning and I haven’t gone to sleep yet. I wanted to, believe me. But you know brains and electric currents and junk. But that doesn’t mean Hawthorne wasn’t bad when I watched it like ten hours ago. It just means I’m well off the reservation by now. This is what we – in the bizz – call: the scenic route.

Mkay. So I figured I could go down the list of hard-eye-roll-meets-super-side-eye elements – not the least of which is her overly teenage daughter. Please. Don’t. Be so clever and cynical and I’m trying not to wring your neck and you’re not helping. Over it. Some teens are just dumb. Or ugly. Or annoying. Or quiet. Or sensible. They’re not all the way they all are on television. But I figured instead (oh, hey, did you make it down here from the first clause of the beginning of the paragraph? cool.) I’d just explain the scene that really sealed the deal.

Hawthorne solves problems. She thinks outside of the box. (Wretched vomiting.) She’s “something else”. I kid you not. Both shows I watched today, some guy looked at the woman in awe, head cocked slightly askew, lips pulled to one side, slightly agape and said those words. Gag me with a spork. Anyway, so she just has to make room in ICU but there are no. more. beds. And you know how it gets in hospitals, right? Am I right?!!? So, she’s talkin’ to some nobody and behind her, a staff someone-or-other comes out of a storage closet and she trails off mid-sentence.

We pretty much figured out what she’s thinking. But TNT wants to be sure.

She runs down the hallway, gives us a moment to read the STORAGE CLOSET sign. Opens the door. In the shot from inside the room, we see her standing just outside the door. She tips her head to one side, slowly brings her hands to her hips – oh, did I mention her head is cocked slightly askew?!

We’re relatively certain what she’s thinking. But TNT wants to be sure.

She steps into the room, looks slowly from side to side. There’s random – but tidy and not at all dusty – knickerknack throughout. Storage racks. Boxes. Whatever. She moves a box needlessly from a stack on her left to a stack on her right. She crosses her arms in front of her chest.

We’re really freaking sure what’s she thinking.

But TNT won’t take “I GOT IT” for an answer.

She leans down – this scene has officially gone on longer than many of the awkwardly paced scenes in that cop show – shuffles something or other around in front of her and reveals an electrical outlet. She erects herself, possibly raising an eyebrow or at least drawing her lips into a smug smirk before sighing. (God, I almost think it would’ve been better to just go head and let her bite her bottom lip here, guys.) “Bingo”, she says, or something equally shoot-me-in-the-head-worthy and finally, finally it starts to fade to black.

And I am now dumber for having seen it.

Fin.

This Is Your Brain On Frenglish

Today I had a lovely time with two francophone friends – one right after the other. The first is from Cameroon by way of Paris, the second is from a town half-an-hour outside of Montreal. Lovely time was had with both but I am assuming these get-togethers have something to do with the fact that I fell asleep around 8 or so and woke up around 11 with my brain correcting its French. O_O Really? I realize that by all accounts I should be bilingual and I realize that my French is so tragic that it has even decimated the accent of my youth … but conjugating whilst one sleeps is just obnoxious. I think also the fact that I speak in Translated English when I’m with francophone friends doesn’t help because even my English is then a problem for my brain. *collapse*

And I also shall blame them for the strange tummy ache/quease… which is more likely caused by buttery croissants, my husband’s chocolate peanut butter desserts and/or the garlicy shrimp… but whatever.

This sucks.

In other news, I had a lovely breakthrough in my series bible and have (albeit leisurely) been finishing the outlines for the “last” two episodes. I’m quite happy to have (a mon avis) steered it away from the focus I think would be the naturally assumed genre and am making clear my actual vision. Still love it, still wish I could talk more about it, still can’t.

Ce n’est pas un problème unique, je suppose.

Say Goodbye To Fergus

At least when my brain wants to practice French, I can sit up, write a couple of notes in an attempt to appease it, realize that now I’m fully the opposite of tired and finish editing a novel. Which brings us to the fact that it’s now 5:29am. And see, this likes to happen when I have morning plans the next day. Soooo aside from that women’s breakfast not being on the menu anymore (heh. breakfast. menu.) – I’m hoping to at least do any of the other desired activities.

Flerg.

In other news, I heart Catherine Tate. And I can’t stop thinking about my favorite Aga Saga sketch.

Aaaand I think I’ll post an Elaine Figgis sketch later, because I heart.