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Sunday, November 9, 2014

Transcendence

Lovely word and fascinating movie. All of us have ideas about what would make the world a better place. I do but I shape them more around what I can do to make the world a better place. I thought the most interesting thing about the movie was the ways it embodied the word.  A state of transcendence is described as the state of going beyond limits, exceeding confines, becoming more than what you were ever meant to be.  The movie was about life beyond death, and life beyond death reshaping life as it is irrevocably.

The irony about it is that the entire time the main character was trying to attain what they already had.  In many ways I think we as humans endeavor to do the same thing. We fight our confines just to attain what we already have. We all seek some form of liberation from our humanity. We limit who we interact with, who we allow ourselves to be seen as, we limit all things that push away from the downfalls of humanity. However it is the downfalls of humanity that spark the most vibrant and amazing aspects of being human.

Some of us do this by procreation. This belief that somehow creating new people will cement our transcendence. The irony is no one remembers the parents of a great human being. We rarely recognize the brilliance of a human when they are alive and demonstrating it. We often have other words for them. Anarchist, rebel, criminal.  It just depends on who is doing the naming in most situations.

Others do this through labor.  Work plain and simple. But the lure and the ultimate lie of this is that work has permanence. And in a way it does until someone else's work comes along to shatter it. In those situations all that can be done is to try and use work to facilitate well being.  When all is said and done legacy is a lie. Its a myth we tell ourselves to deal with what can be seen as an unfair lack of time bound in our human forms.

Its ironic that in many ways I believe our short lives are our only true gift. I believe the purity of who we can be and what we can accomplish are only possible because of the frailty of life. The things we fight for, live for, and die for define the sanctity of our existence. We move through this life this existence with hardly a clue as to what is needed or expected of us. We leave our callings to belonging and love.  We make connections and declaration based on tribal and regional affiliations. We find and discover things that bring us hope, beauty and joy. Some of us even deny ourselves the pleasure because of the fear of loss. Not ever understanding that the only thing lost is the moment.


We move through this space and seem not to understand that simple fact. We define what is important. We verify what brings us hope and joy. We dictate what love is and where it is spent. Now is the essence of humanity. Now is the world as it is. Now is the only truth.

What I always seek is to sing the song in every key.  Sometimes my notes are happy, sometimes my notes are sad. At times I wail and at times I moan.  From time to time I rise like the coming tide and crash like the coast ashore. I crest and hold for days, I swell and drop, I burrow and shriek, I cry in joy and in pain. Its in those notes in that phrase, in that bar, octet, reprise symphony is life. All that it can be, all that it shouldn't be all that it is and all that it is not. The point is not to control, regulate or build.  Those are distractions from your song. The point is to live and life can only be lived in one way now.

True transcendence is freedom from ideas that hobble, thoughts that condemn, habits that contain.  Transcendence is viewing hurt and pain as notes in the harmony of the concerto. Its viewing joy and happiness as the underlying melody that's always playing whether you hear it or not. Its in the rhythm of your beating heart. The lulling hum of your breathes.  The harmony of your flowing blood. The buzz of life singing around you.
 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

What is W.A.R.M.? Feminism at its finest

The red light turned on, and the teleprompter started. Sandra took a deep breath and followed.
“Thanks Clarice.” She flashed her television smile, all teeth and no warmth.  “I’d like to welcome you to Sandra’s Social.  On this our first episode I’d like to tackle the one social topic that we all have an opinion on.”  Automatically Sandra switched sides to face Camera 2 via instructions from the teleprompter.  “Everyone has participated in the old argument of man vs. woman at some point and time in their lives.  Mars and Venus has become a catch phrase signifying the social acceptance of men and women being as different as night and day.  Are men and women destined to be on different social planes for eternity?  Will there ever be true equality? Will men actually start calling the morning after?” She threw in a fake laugh for good measure.  “For you ladies who are sick and tired of status quo, I have a special guest for you.”  
She consulted her notes, and then presented her face to the camera again.  “Unbeknownst to the Metroplex there is a contingent of women who have decided to take social evolution into their own hands as my special guest Michelle Gardner will explain.”  
Sandra stood as Michelle walked onto the set, obviously done up by the same hair and make-up girl, but pulling it off much better than Sandra in a crisp smart looking dark blue Versace pants suit with matching Dolce & Gabbana pumps. Looked like Brenda took someone shopping.  They shook hands briefly, and Sandra sat behind her desk while Michelle took a seat next to her.
“How are you Michelle?” Sandra opened warmly.
“I’m well Dr. Dalianas,” Michelle answered in a slightly wavering voice.
“Please Sandra.”  They give each other fake smiles, and Sandra leaned onto her desk to give Michelle a curious look.  “Tell me about W.A.R.M.”
Taking the cue Michelle smiled. “Well Sandra,” she crossed her legs.  “W.A.R.M. stands for Women Assisting in the Reclamation of Man.  I’m a sociology major at SMU.  My studies have predominantly focused on women and minority groups.  Well a year ago a friend of mine and myself, after reading your book, “Dealing with the Socially Naïve Mind”, decided that we could in fact generate a social evolution.  I think Janice Parker said it best.  ‘Change doesn’t initiate itself; change is a product of rebellious thoughts that spur rebellious actions.  When this starts the only action to counter it is a reaction, the very thing it needs to grow.  Thus it is a wave that cannot be stopped, a tide that will spend itself in its own time.’
Sandra nodded appearing detached. “I’ve read that book, Man’s Social Rejection of Change I believe it’s called.”
“Very good reading.”  Michelle canted her head, and smiled even broader.  “But back to W.A.R.M..  The basic function of W.A.R.M. is to bridge the gaps between men and women by retraining men to understand the new woman.  It’s not the fault of men really.  Our generation has undergone very revolutionary transformations in our societal structure.  We stand on a precipice, and we can either climb down safely or jump.  You just have to consider the facts. Women’s equality didn’t have a voice that was actually heard until the 1920’s. That was less than 100 years ago.  There are people still alive that recall in detail the acts that transpired to see to this, most of us are direct products of the very society affected the most by this.  The basis of W.A.R.M. will be immediate and local.  The US is liberal enough to actually enact the beginning stages.  Women who were ready for this change have socially adapted to this quickly, not all but a majority have.  Extensive research shows that the faction that loses the most power in social change always adapts the slowest.  So there is a proper acclimation period that must be recognized.  What my group does is try to ease the period for men. Even speed up the process by putting them directly in contact with the new socially reformed woman.”
“Sorry to interrupt, but this sounds a little assuming.”  Sandra paused dramatically. “Why would men need assistance in this period of acclimation? Shouldn’t you just let nature take its course?”
“True Sandra, but in this cause we have to recognize that nature demands that men and women learn from each other.  We are not saying that nature will not handle this, or even that it’s unable to proceed without our help.  Our intention is to aide.  This is a learning process for both sides.  Women need to learn how to tell the difference between a pre-equality man and a post-equality man.”
“So there is a difference. Not all men need assistance.”  Sandra looked avidly towards the camera then back at Michelle.
“Some men have successfully made the transition, while others are dragging their feet in favor of older ways.  
“What is your opinion of making the,” she formed cliché quotes with her fingers, “transition?”
“I’m glad you asked Sandra.”  Michelle uncrossed and recrossed her legs the other way, as Sandra had instructed her to do when going into a long tirade.  “It’s simple, a man has successfully had the transition when he can look at a woman and not see only a means to sate his sexual desires. When he can hold actual conversations with her, and respect her opinions. When he doesn’t divide chores by gender, but based on likes and dislikes.”  She looked directly into the camera. “When he can look into a women’s eyes and know, not just say it, but know that he is looking at his equal.”
“Some people would argue that what you speak of is a type of manipulation. What about those people who are perfectly happy with the way things are?”
“They don’t have to participate.  We still live in a democracy where our rights and freedoms are upheld by our nation’s very constitution.  W.A.R.M. is by choice like everything should be.”
“Some would say that your W.A.R.M. is a highly volatile feminist group. A sort of man-hating faction that won’t accept what we have before us in our society.”
“I do understand that there will most likely be opposition and anti-W.A.R.M.ists as it were.  I also understand that we could be perceived as a fascist militant faction trying to set its own agenda into play.  That couldn’t be farther from the truth Sandra.”  Michelle canted her head slightly with a smile.  “The truth is that the women of W.A.R.M. are merely trying to aid male and female relations.  We are trying to help assure that relationships of all kinds benefit from the teachings.  It is an understanding we are reaching for, not a separation.”
“The women of W.A.R.M.,” Sandra let the phrase hang for a moment, then continued, “Would a man be allowed to join W.A.R.M.?”
“Of course, we would be hypocritical if we did not allow equal membership.  The name W.A.R.M. is merely that, a catchy name meant to garner attention.  This group is open to support from all sources.”
“Could you outline some of W.A.R.M.’s objectives and goals?  I find myself very curious as to the actual scale and scope this project intends to attain.”
“Well W.A.R.M. would like to begin here in the state of Texas with the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex.  Meetings will be instated in various locations as an introductory course, an initiation of sorts.  The initial meeting will be free, and only serves as an informative Q&A session for potential W.A.R.M.ists.  After this there will be literature provided, and then anti-misogyny courses would start where potential W.A.R.M.ists would be taught to teach others, thus expanding the base of meetings to outside the Metroplex moving into the surrounding states, and hopefully nationwide by the end of a 5 year cycle.”
“What is the benefit of the reclamation of man?”  Sandra winked at the camera.  “I know a lot of women who enjoy men as they are.”
“I enjoy men as much as the next woman.  I question the motives of women that don’t want a change, and I warn men against those women who would prefer things to remain.  Most likely it is because a man that doesn’t consider a woman an equal is easy prey for women who enjoy that type of sport.”  Michelle laughed lowly, “But that’s another subject, and another group.”
The ladies threw their heads back and laughed together.
“No, the benefit is more tangible than that. You lessen the truly tragic cases, and   instances where men believe and feel like they are even expected to visit violence and sexual aggression onto the women in their lives.  Have you ever been in a battered women’s shelter Sandra?”
Sandra sobered immediately.  “Yes I have.”
“So have I.  For those watching that haven’t, you should educate yourself in what inequality of the sexes has done to some lives.”  She looked pointedly into the camera again.  “I concede that in most of those cases you have troubled minds and people that, whether inequality were an issue or not, would’ve found someone to hurt.  I’m saying, why make it so easy for them.  Most of those women concede to being considered pieces of property.  The men thought it their right sometimes to even think for the women.  
There are still a large number of countries in the world where women are less valuable than cattle.  Just because we are Americans does not make us oblivious to this.  The next time you are online go to a thesaurus, and put in the word woman, and be as appalled as I was at the large number of derogatory, demeaning, and most upsetting, inanimate words that are associated with being this gender.  All of this thinking is a crippling misogynistic malady that holds our society firmly in its grasp.  We are at a very crucial point where we can decide to change this, or to simply endure.  Myself and the ladies of W.A.R.M. have made our choice.”
The shot closed in on Sandra who was nodding approvingly with pride at Michelle.  She glanced up with a look of surprise on her face, smiled, and then immediately placed her impassive façade up again. 
“Thank you Michelle.  You have given myself, and my audience much to ponder.”



Sandra's Social Book 1 of The W.A.R.M. Front series
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads

Monday, November 3, 2014

Missing Love Stories

When I write it is often a plea or has a correlation to desires I possess in my day to day life. I write the world I'd like to see as opposed to the one I live in. Very simple method displacement. I take the reality that bothers me and I replace it with a viable beautiful one.  So of course my genre is romance. I find the world in my sight to be painfully devoid of true romance, honest passion and selfless love.  So I write about it. I pair up people and give them hell and let them figure out where they stand, what they want, and what they need.

Love Alchemy
A couple of years ago I decided I wanted to change the world. So I began mapping my Sci-Fi series which will be called loosely and subject to change Genesis 2020.  I'm giving humanity a spiritual reboot of sorts. This series features a changing of the guards as mortals will attain immortality in some instances, some will be the earth mothers and fathers of a new generation of humans, and many will be there to see to it all.

One of the books that I began features a couple that I feel like expresses the most conflicting dynamic in American culture. The male is a white, southern, high powered movie producer.  The woman a mixed race poor artist. I met Colan and Fiona in a dreamscape. They were hiding in a place that I seldom find myself in yet have made the most wonderful discoveries there. I call it my space of truth. They contacted me and wanted to tell me their story. It’s a good one, and they knew that someone like me would understand.

When you live life as an American, especially a dark female American from a poor southern family there are many aspects of life from your childhood that you were never included in or invited to. Somewhere along the way you have to either conform to low expectations or refuse the whole damn thing.  I chose the latter. To this day I cannot place my finger on how or why because I've never really seen much that was different than what is portrayed on television, in movies, or magazines like everyone else. I chalk it up to my mother's unending faith in me to be who I needed to be and not settle for who others wanted me to be.

Classic Romance Novel Cover
I say this because media is what it is. In my recollection the 80s where overrun by respectability politics and racial caricatures. But that was for everyone, white, black, red, yellow, male, female, teenagers, and children. Everyone had a prescribed formula. It wasn't till the late 90s early 2000s that characters became deeply complex people. All accept for women and minorities. So not even close to everyone. As a dark woman I've always taken those images with a grain of salt as I much preferred getting lost in a book as opposed to an unrealistic impersonation of who I was supposed to be. The irony is that you tell yourself it’s not that bad. You actually try to accept some of it as truth because the alternative is too much to bear, which is the evidence of others denying you and those like you the very basic staples of humanity.

One night I was shown how bad it was. I was dreaming with Colan.  He showed me a place that he would like for American film and cinema to get to now that he's head over heels for our lovely Fiona. You'll get to read the fit Fiona put him in for the first book of the 9 set series called Life Goes On sometime next year. It wasn't just a breaking in spiritual realization as much as it was an epiphany of a lifetime of strategic and collaborative brain washing.  As an artist Fiona forced Colan to see the things she could see and to replace the images he often associated with grace, beauty, love and valor with an image hardly ever associated with it in mainstream media. His open eyes became mine.

See how gorgeous we all are: http://humanae.tumblr.com/
For years I thought the portrayals of dark skinned people both men and women where as fair as possible and this instance destroyed that thought. I told myself it would be nearly impossible to reproduce the vivid imagery of that understanding in the written word. How can I show what I saw? The scene was resplendent. A scene of love and courage, the beauty of it pouring from the two souls. The scene was shot close, mostly faces of the man and the woman. They were exchanged plateaus of love and affection. She glowed in the scene.  Her lovely brown skin showing all the colors hidden there within. No brown is just brown, it’s a sea of shades of yellow, red, bronze, beige, slightly bruised peaches and chocolate milk. Papaya and carrots, beets and butternut squash.  His skin reflecting a myriad of colors as well. They stared into each other's eyes intently with purpose and grace. Love pouring true. She was going to leave, trying to leave because it’s what she thought he needed. The heroine, constantly by his side and pulling him though his darkness. He's grateful, complete and fulfilled from the journey. Through shared pain and shared grace they had found that point, that moment of divine grace within each other.

Up!
At no time did the scene reposition to show her breasts. The language used was vernacular English, no so called 'black' speak.  The man and woman were on equal footing. The lighting just so to give the ethereal nature of the connection. No body shots at all, this was an intellectual meeting of the minds and a stunning interaction of the soul. It was saying nothing but everything in Lost in Translation, it was the unveiling of the art room in 50 First Dates, it was "Thanks for the Adventure" in Up.  It was every instance of pure beautiful perfect love I've ever seen that made me cry and yearn for a love like that which now I saw, never had previously contained a single dark face.

Black Love
When I woke the image of it blazed brightly in my mind. Complete, perfect and beautiful and I knew in that moment that I had never seen it.  It wasn't part of my lexicon as a lover of romance. There was not a single movie I could recall where the scene had been built so painstakingly and so beautifully. Never for someone who was dark. Our love is always relegated to giving in and giving up like Jason's Lyric, or Love Jones. Sent to the seediest place, over sexualized, over stimulated and then tainted with tragedy.  Calm acceptance in the face of insurmountable odds like Monster's Ball. Happy endings need not apply because they are happy enough.  But not only that, those moments of true blissful acceptance and love are lost, never viewed or portrayed as something you would die for. Our moments of triumph always involve being given the opportunity to excel, still not quite human, but good enough in some matters of social change and of course feats of athletic excellence. But a love story. A true story of love between people of color that involves nothing more than a heartfelt desire to create the most perfect moment even if all others are lost is beyond us. Not seen, built and not given. Those stories of true love are found as standalone testimonies of dark women learning to accept and love themselves, implying that the rest of the world is not capable. We are too foreign, too unrecognizable as lovable beings to hope for anything more.

Romantic Movies
The loss I felt at that realization was one of the most profound moments in my life. As a woman who is encased and dependent on love, it never struck me that the reason why it always seemed like such an unsolvable mysterious fairytale was more than just inexperience. It’s an internalized attitude of love not being an available commodity for those like me. Love was contingent to acceptance, something that is usually not a part of the American experience for anyone regardless of background, yet even more so for those of the other variety. So the outliners of love became obvious points of acceptance. Perhaps love can overcome the racial issues in a relationship, the cultural calamities, even the religious bias. But love, for the sake of love was not a possibility. As a person of color you must be exemplary and perhaps someone will forgive your background enough to develop a passing acceptance and affection for you and this includes other people of color.


How it Can Feel
The stunning truth of what I had been shown all my life crippled me for hours. I cried as if everything beautiful and precious in this world had been stolen from me.  I cried as if all faith and hope was lost. I cried for the crime committed to so many like me. I cried for my femininity which suffers blows of lack of love constantly as I blame my figure, my not so perfect face, my hair length for lack of love. I cried for my darkness that rendered me unlovable for more of the population than I would like to know. Mostly I cried for my humanity because of all the things lost with the realization that love was not something portrayed as something I was fully capable of that was the one that denied me all I've ever wanted in life.

Love, the ability to feel it, give it and receive it is an inalienable human concept. Personhood of other animals is usually determined by the ability to attain complex thought and love. You will find that they are not mutually exclusive as we equate complex thought without emotion as an inanimate function. Emotions, and not just any emotions, but love specifically is the high bar for being human. Being willing to risk all for love, to survive for love, to overcome for love. In many ways none is more human than romantic love. The inexplicable pull and tug to a complete stranger for no comprehensible reason shows the extraordinary capacity of humanity and life. To be denied that, in any form is tantamount to death. Stolen then are the chances to redeem the glory of all life holds that is sublime and precious.

Who Love is For
When people are cut out of stunning and moving instances it not only cripples the people who are not being portrayed. It equally cripples the people who are, who are being told that love comes in shades of beige, blonde, maybe redhead or brunette. That love has a certain figure and form. Being told that love exists within confined spaces determined by socioeconomic and religious guidelines. Those being told that what they may feel for someone who is not of this character mold must not be real because its outside of the lines where love lives.


I came to the understanding years ago as my marriage fell apart and birthed my path as an author that I was, still am, and will always be a love based creature. As love left my life I had to create new ways to pull it back in. I cannot live without love. I craft for joy and I create for passion. I reach out for love, always reaching out for love. I will always write of love and the beauty it brings to this place. I'll write of the lives it has changed.  I'll write of the healing it has done. And I will write it with faces that we never get to see experiencing these amazing events with hope in my heart that those days will end one day and love will be truly available and visible for all.

Love Alchemy from http://www.tellurideinside.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/osho-wake-up-dangerous-love.jpg

Classic Romance Novel Cover from http://www.respiring-thoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/lady-of-winter-_bg_042.jpg

Up! from http://fictioncalling.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/up__married_life_by_symphonikaa-d59vz42.jpg

Who Love is For from http://www.quotes-for-love.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/401886_530695336968353_341075957_n.jpg

How It Can Feel from http://www.christineduvivier.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/website-24.jpg