Sunday, September 30, 2007

Carnival of Faith

Warning: This post will have a Science Fiction/Fantasy feel, not only because I live and breath the genre but also because for the subject matter works quite well within the genre.

When I was a kid. I did religion, Christianity, Baptist Christianity to be exact. I loved Church! We sang songs, we played games and we learned about Jesus and his unconditional love for the masses, the down-trodden the Meek. Jesus was described as an all encompassing compassionate Activist. He went out into his community-The World and he performed Good Works. Not just Good Works for the noble, learned and washed mind you; but the forsaken, the forgotten, the supposed "worthless" and "degenerated".

When I was a kid I thought I would grow up in this world were Christians would be like Christ--giving to those most in need. I was a Child indeed. Reading deeper the contradictions left people who looked me like between a rock (Iraq) and a hard place. Slavery was justified depending on the pigment of the oppressed. Colonization was (win-win); women were either servants or whores. Since I am black, colonized and female, I figured I better find a faith that didn’t tell me that turning the cheek was more noble than defending and protecting me and mine. I think that Christianity has done us a terrible dis-service in many respects.

Blind faith is far too dangerous to a community threatening to collapse in on itself. I hear a lot of saying phrases like “I’m just gonna give it to God”. It bothers me because I can't see the pro-active aspect in this kind of faith.

See for me that is the trick of Christianity. It beats the have-nots into submission with a permanence that ensures enduring colonization. *I hear the whisper in my ear*

"turn that cheek sister so I can score that one as well and while I'm at I might slap the 2 below your waist--Amen"

Perhaps if a faith wasn’t forced on us as a way to further control us my views would be different. I don’t know but as of this moment, I see a lot of us hiding behind this idea of a great white savior who will ride in and smite our oppressors who have a suspicious resemblance to him.

A religion that offers the follower the opportunity to make their own miracles would be more ideal for our community.

A faith that demands that we invest in our life on earth in a way that builds true pride rather than humbles would be more ideal. We don’t need a faith that offers the gift of total supplication and humility, two ideals that I associate with shame.

How better to keep a slave a slave? Tell them that God wants it, hell God needs it. Replace their home, their language and slay their Gods, permanently and take up the throne for yourself. "Bow down?"

I would like to think that we could take a negative and make it a positive but rape of faith is Corruption of the soul and I would be lying if I said that I believed completely that this kind of violation could transmogrify into something other than what was intended. Certainly some of the tenets are absolutely useful but I wonder----

Our forced Exodus from our home leads us right to the great entrance to cultural confusion and wretched displacement. Then came the Commandments which started with a Doozy

"I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery;" He wasnt talking about us right here, now was he?

1."you shall have no other gods before me". And so It begins...

2. "You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth." Okay our ancestors are artists, craftsmen, woodworkers, sculptors---cease and desist and begin the symbiosis. Not a trace of your former life will be tolerated.
3. "
I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me." I wonder how often this was read.heard before a lynching or cross burning or rape?

Okay so they aint all bad but hell once you start like this, the rest is blood-red gravy...

I mean we shouldn't steal, kill, lie, disrespect our parents, fine but really I feel like I could have gotten that message without the whip hand Boss. The added bonus is that it all discourages digging into the past to retrieve parts of ourselves. Leaves us with that "middle of nowhere" feel that paints us with the bullseye.

Okay to be fair I have dealt ONLY with Christianity in America certainly no religion is the perfect faith but within the very narrow confines of this post I can not say that I feel that Christianity is the ideal faith for Black Americans.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Sci-Fi Breathes Liquid Ice Into the Sovergein

So I sat down to write and without thinking hit play on the remote for the cd player. Just like that, I dropped like hot liquid through the veil and the words echoed in my head....

Come to me
Run to me
Do and be done with me
(Cold, Cold, Cold)
Don't I exist for you
Don't I still live for you
(Cold, Cold, Cold)--
(Annie Lennox)

Here we go...
When I heard these words last where was I? Who was I with? Not these words from Annie but from some place deep inside myself. When was the last time I loved way too hard and it was way too good? You know what I mean. You wake up and you want to leave your bed, your head, your skin---you are an out of body experience waiting to happen. They know it. Good. That's what you think to yourself...know it! Know it you whisper on twilight winds to them---they can hear it--
"I am coming
, I'm cold, cold, cold" outside of the rays of your twisted Sun.
I know You want offerings, loyal subjects, multitudes. Good. I will lead the throng, just
"do and be done with me"---you hear that?
Have your way and leave me heaving in gulps of thick, love stank air in a heap at your feet....
I think that maybe if I were a superheroine in some way I would demand servitude from a thousand lovers a day like the Goddesses of folklore.

A "true", "ego-driven to the bone"-"jet black"-"buck naked" Warrior Queen with my own Sparti-esque minions who father my nations of demi-gods.
We. Lay.Waste. to all in our path, not in our power. We. wreck. shop.
Blue-black flesh in Sister-Moon's light---Hell yeah. I lounge on the backs panthers and am fed the fresh flesh of fruits and the beating hearts of virgin sacrifices.
Can you see her yet?
She can see you...
How solitary would my existence be? Who is my match...she wonders.
The Sable Sovereign would need a match to check her balance if you get my meaning... She has been chasing him. Fighting battles in his name, for his cause. She has behaved. For Him.

Dying is easy its living that scares me to death
I could be so content hearing the sound of your breath...
(annie Lennox)

He is young and proud, he has never sank to his knee in supplication. He has bowed to no woman....
Not yet.
He is naive and he is rabbit run, the lioness hunts and will take home a prize.
I write and write until the phone rings...the spell is broken and my IRE is HIGH! who would dare disturb the Quee....oh wait...I climb out of my head into reality. I've got work to prepare for. The Sovereign retires and lends me the use of my body for a day of toil....a small price to pay for the honor to serve her tomorrow after work (LOL)!

I told you! Sci-Fi is Life! Here is the song by Annie Lennox that I reference. The first 42 seconds are annoying to me but listen to the words of this song and the delivery of the lines by Lennox. You can almost taste that feeling---Damn!
See you soon...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Kravitz and the Sci-Fi two-step

First the mundane:
Well folks, so ends another day for me. I wrote for 2 hours today (I usually only write for an hour). For some reason each time I looked it seemed that no time had passed and so I began my hour anew until I finally looked at a clock and noticed that my day was getting away from me. I still had write a one page paper on some element of International Human Rights and a response paper to The Marriage question in Jane Eyre. I located said article and snapped out the page in about 15 minutes. The same with Jane Eyre, it seems as though I belched and the page was written.
Hm, I wonder what that says about me. Nah, no I don't. I stopped at Half Priced books looking for a book by Nalo Hopkinson called "The Little Brown Girl In The Ring" to buy for my niece (my copy looks pretty bad with all my notes and such) but instead found a copy of another book by Hopkinson called "Midnight Robber".
I had not read it and so I grabbed it along with a copy of Steven Barnes' Firedance, and Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 (there is something about this book that keeps me reading it, getting rid of it, buying it again, reading it and get the gist). The Hopkinson book has me hooked so far and I will give you a review upon completion. Although I am reading a few other titles at the same time (I know, I know but ask around and you will see that a lot of folks do this, especially the writers I know)
Now Hopkinson and Barnes are both black science fiction writers in case there was anyone in the known world who is unaware so if you care to read some sci-fi in Indigo I recommend both of these fellows. Bradbury, well everyone who knows sci-fi knows about his work and so.....

Now for the good stuff:
Okay so I was listening to Lenny Kravitz and noticed that when "Are You Gonna Go My Way" came on I felt more of myself as I typed. Maybe It was the driving drum beat and the bass-line(the sister drummer puts it down as always!). It made me think immediately of time when I felt pressure. Not the kind you see in movies of the "cut the red wire!" variety but that good stuff. You know, that "we gonna do this or not" kinda pressure about something you have already done in your head a million times with no provocation. Yeah...that right there. It's in the opening lines---his propaganda---the charmer---silver tongue, tell me something good!

"I was born
long ago,
I am the chosen, I'm the ONE!
I have come,
to save the day
and I wont leave until I'm done!"(Lenny Kravitz)

I can see this person, majestic. The power holds you in thrall. You can't wait to follow. That is what I get out of some writers words. I can see A Savior in their words. I want to be led and so I am. This is how I start every sentence I sit down to write. I listen or read words by writers (could be song writers, poets, fiction writers any writer really) and think, would I go his/her way? I see the landscape, the people, I can smell the space. I am a loyal subject, command me and I will obey but you better be the real deal. You don't wanna know what happens to false Gods, now do you?

That is writing! The genre doesn't matter (I have a soft spot for sci-fi but whatever). Grab us and take us in, feed us, clothe us, tame us. Yes I am very dramatic but I can't really help that and so you get the task of wading waist deep in the quagmire of my melodrama, no worries though. It aint quicksand and you are sure to emerge on the other end intact.

I think I will put in a little Annie Lennox see where I end up!
(my favorite songs by Annie are "Cold" and "Why"--dont worry we will talk about this later).

Monday, September 24, 2007

The More Things Change-Afterthoughts on the Jena Protest

First I'd like to holla at my new writing partner! Can you believe it T! We are really gonna do this! I keep falling into serendipity it seems. First I find the means to correct my cash flow situation that nearly wrecked me this summer and now, well now it seems that I am to really realize my goals. I thought that I had a partner and it/they fell through but then BAM! I found the perfect compliment to my writing level AND may have even found a musical group with which to work some things out with! The best thing about all of this is that the writing partner can draw, I found an artist which really puts me ahead of the game! This is dizzying and wonderful and I deserve it (I have worked hard and sacrificed and learned so much)
Release your inner albatross and soar folks.
This will end up being about science fiction--never fear.
I have had a lot of changes occur this year. I learned some hard lessons. Honestly I wouldn't do anything different except keep up with myself better.
My faith in charity was shaken but that was my fault.
How many of us do this?
We expect more than a situation can offer. We make up excuses as to why we can't do better or why the situation isn't better.
Our thought process has to change before anything external can be transformed.
I have read on a number of blogs that the Jena 6 march and protest were of little consequence because once everyone leaves the tiny town then the blacks there will be back to square 1. Now mind you one of the blogs was written by a lady I admire much who just getting her rant on in reference to a bunch of other things (Keep ranting for the sisterhood iniquitous 1! We love it and we love you!)
But then there are the pseudo-conscious of us who use every opportunity to inject apathy and negativity where there should be the fostering of hope.
I don't know what upsets me more, this consensus of some people that we should just stop being heard because (fill in the blanks) or the idea that just because something has always been then it always will be.
I considered the source of the words I read and some of the bloggers are habitually well-informed and made parallel points as to why they had this feeling, others where full of what they have always been full of. Negativity disguised as consciousness.
This kind of thing angers me.
How is a movement started?
How does one mount a revolution?
The answer is this: You Start some where! You don't rest on your laurels with your bullhorn full of bull preaching apathy and defeatism!
I read a science fiction piece once (you knew I would bring it back to writing didn't you?) where the antagonist constantly got licks in on the protagonist and there was of course the obligatory peanut gallery weighing in on how the protagonist should have known he could not win and how mis-guided he was to think that things might change based on some small gesture on his part. The problem is that the protagonist fed off this poison and in the end it was this that finally felled him NOT the moves made by the antagonist.
The protest in Jena DID do something. It was a beacon to a young black child there who might have thought that he/she was alone in the world. That the world was Jena and not vast and wide and hers/his for the conquering. The protest said "You matter. Even when we are gone we know that you are here and to US you do indeed matter!"
When the shit hits the fan I want someone on my side who will do Something, Anything to let me know that I am not alone. I want someone , even when all seems lost and hopeless, to Man-Up if can't do it for myself!
I have heard it said a million times that it is the little things. The Jena protest was not little, not to me anyway, but it apparently was to some and to them I say, think of a time when you were down and out and just needed something small, a nod from a passerby, a smile from a child, a call from an acquaintance out of the blue with well-wishes or a couple of bucks in pocket. That small thing likely made all the difference.
That protest, a s fruitless as some surmise it was an avalanche of awareness to the next generation of young activists all over the world and more importantly in Jena, Louisiana.
We have to do better, that is true but damn we have to do something!

We are at war. Period. Gear up and dig in! To whom much is given much is expected! Gear up and dig in! Start somewhere!
Think outside yourself, just this once. We need everyone!

Excerpt From Untitled Short Story and Life

Science Fiction writing captures the spirit of the black experience in a modern world for me. Our struggles are epic and our warriors are mothers, fathers, brothers and lovers. There is no "other" savior born of woman who will/should take up our banner and ride into battle on our behalf. We are makers of our own communities and destiny.-----excerpt below

I am Eritrea and I live in this place. I do not sleep because I am on watch. I keep the hours of the so-called Beast. I am a Nocturne. The music of body plays best when the sun sets. There are many like me who know that in darkness there is knowledge. Knowledge of all things hidden and necessary. It is why we are under constant threat. Languages have been corrupted to taint sable thought but we know better. So I and others like me watch and prepare. We will not wait to be baited and assaulted. Never again, never like before---

It was serene and comfortable but under some hidden threat that only a handful of us knew about. I stood there, surveying our hallowed grounds. This place is the home of our mothers and fathers. They labored under the molten sun that beats down on us still. They built our race under the glittering jewel of a Moon that casts is brilliant light on the shining ebonies paired in love this night and all others. They peopled the earth with the strong of mind and body. They knew what we have since forgotten. They were and we are, Parents, lovers, keepers of the earth, Warriors. If we remain sleeping and charmed all that will remain are our shallow and surface gifts that others ape and contort. Our Proud History of adornment has already become spectacle and caricature. We have become a marketing campaign while we duck and dodge as moving targets still. Have we overcome?

We are the stewards of this place and have the great responsibility of protecting the multitude of this land whether they have asked us for our help or not. There is a poison seeping in and taking hold. We are a young nation and the deception has been welcomed as a saving grace. The few of us know of this lie of the masses. We know that there is no magic in this soulless messenger. But our people, our trusting, creative and beautiful people are charmed and stunned by these conjurers of nothing. These purveyors of smoke and mirrors. We are full of Snake Oil.

The wise handful had seen this tainted spell work before. It had charmed us out of our stability, sank holes into our soul and dredged the sterling strong golden blood from our core. We were left hollow in their wake. This could not happen again. We will not allow it.

We have knowledge of some enigmatic source that is inherent in everyone but cultivated to the fullest in but a few.

There is no choice and no second thought. We are to stand and make a noise against that which would shake the foundations of a society that is already in the toddler stages of development.

Early one warm dusty morning WE, equipped with our faith, our staff and the clothes on our backs left our home toward the mouth of the beast. We would fell this monster or die trying. It is the least of what we owe the Most of us....

Friday, September 21, 2007

Alternate Universe and Various Worlds

I was thinking a while ago about alternate worlds. Not necessarily of the parallel or outer-space type, just the various little worlds we find ourselves in daily.
There the work world, our home world and then our social world. How we mend and blend or keep separate these worlds really fascinates me.

At work I am basically as I am only I keep the profanity at a minimum and I use better grammar. That is to say I don't use a lot of slang or colloquialisms, it is work after all.
At home I use my most basic skill set of grammar and I don't watch what I say so as not to offend people. I nurse my wounds and vent my frustrations. I give license to my venoms, and short comings, I cry and scream and love hard in this world. It is the realist and surrealist of all my worlds. It is vast and has uncharted territories and regions filled with dark mysteries and naked, raw, bleeding truths. This place is blessed and cursed. I need it but at times I don't want it. It knows me.
In social settings I turn on the charm and wit. I talk of upbeat things and never let rain clouds cloud the fun. I am "On" as they say in the entertainment business.
This balance is a science. It is a delicate operation that many of us perform constantly and with finesse. It is unique and common all at once. In this skin there is always an awareness of other worlds and my place in them. To pretend that there is no difference is to negate an aspect of existence. The challenge to create balance can be draining, the art of achieving fulfillment can be precarious. The variables are always there and ever changing.
We are science. We are poetry. We are creativity. We ARE.
This is why I love science fiction and science fact. We are woven in automatically. How well we work our magic is a marvel.
Later Friends, I have an actual business meeting. WOW!

p.s. you can say alot of things about me but I am not a user nor a fake and when I wake up I stay awake. I have stayed true and I could get really tacky......but unlike some I actually keep my word.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

What is Science Fiction?

Hello friends and neighbors!
I was talking with a fellow lover of the Science fiction genre and while be both love it we tended to disagree on exactly what is science fiction these days. I think that anything that has a scientific modification which can include (biology, technology or any earth alteration) while my friend feels as if only your post apocalyptic, genetic mutation due to chemical warfare sorta thing hits the mark more readily.
Now I used to be of the mind that sci-fi meant outer space period. But I have learned a lot about releasing my antiquated notions of War of the Worlds and Star Trek and Star Wars ideas about my favorite genre. Honestly I don't particularly like sci-fi that occurs in outer space, employing all manner of warp speed and the beeming up or down of the Space Cowboys. It just hits me with the sterility factor. Everything is so very sterile and manufactured but still has humans as its subjects and participants. This simply doesn't work for me.
I tend to think that much of your supernatural novels might find a home in Sci-Fi and with that in mind a great many Black authors could find their work read by a more diverse readership.
When I read Morrison's Beloved I thought wow, what a great read and the supernatural element really works well with the story. It was a bit in the tradition of The Goophered Grapevine (it is a short story written by Charles Chestnutt--please tell me you have read this!--review to come in the next post!).
The story centers around an ex-slave who tells a prospective buyer of the plantation he once worked about the entities that support and protect the place. I wont get too deep because I want you read it and I am going to discuss it in the next post I think. But that tale is a good example of what I believe sci-fi to include. An otherworldliness sort of quality. Like Beloved it went beyond the reliance of "science" per se to tell the tale but the element was there and was a part of the story. And here is where the idea of "good" science fiction comes into play. The tale should be able to live and breathe without the element of science fiction. It should have meaning and life without the aid of high-tech gadgets and genetic engineering. I say this because unless you are righting only about machines, the story contains a human force be it survival, love, birth, death ect. You dont need gadgets to talk about love but if you can weave a tale using them in conjunction with that very human emotion well then voila, you have me hooked from start to finish! I got a little off track but hey, the subject is so exciting that I couldn't help it!

Well that is all for now friends!
P.S. Read The Goophered Grapevine! It is brilliant! And if you havent read Beloved then SHAME on you! The book is far better than the movie because honestly you need your OWN imagination and mind to catch on to the puzzle of the book. It just didnt translate well to me in the movie!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Everything's Negotiable!

You know I have been thinking about changes in one's lifestyle and how we might change our lot by making everyday changes that we never thought we would. Okay, so that sounds a little convoluted and vague but hear me or rather read me out.
I want something so so different from what I have right now. And honestly up until now I had this idea that somethings in my life were simply non-negotiable. This is not the case. Like with Science fiction writing (you knew I was gonna dump this in there somewhere didn't ya?) everything doesn't necessarily depend on something else. The real twist on the genre is that NOTHING is non-negotiable. You can have communities where no one communicates verbally or where lower animals talk incessantly to their owners, or heck where children are kept based on whether or not they can see 3 dimensions at birth or not (I don't know how anyone would know it but heck its sci-fi and no rules are sometimes the rule).
I try and try to shift my thinking but only to the extent that my so-called mainstays, well stay. This isn't the way to go about it at all I think. Perhaps I should apply my writing life to my other lives or rather maybe they all should have a meet and greet and whole new conglomerate should surface? I mean I am making progress but not to my satisfaction (and really that is my goal, satisfaction). I don't necessarily want science fiction/fantasy existence but I do want less stops in place. I want a more negotiable sorta life. A life where I can decided that I don't have to do A before B can happen, maybe since I am staring M in the face I can just take a bite out of that first an then cruise up on previous or subsequent letters.
You know what I mean?
Funny but while thinking about this I thought about a song I used to like by a group whose name I can't remember called Semi Charmed Kinda Life. The sentiment isnt literal but I get what the guy's getting at ya know. I get it. Oh and the group is Third Eye Blind

Later days and just cause you haven't seen it doesn't mean it isn't there!
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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Read A Mutha Effin Book?

Hey y'all!
So I was cruising the web when I ran up on this video that pokes fun at the BET society so many of us covet and enjoy only the gents who made this threw an actual necessary message behind all of the beats and bling....Some have beef with it but I find it creative and effective, not to mention necessary....check it out!

and here is the commentary that followed, I have my own issues with the so-called interviewer.

I think that the message is apt and the venue is on point!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Speech Sounds is Excellent for starters

Okay so I love Science Fiction and it is really interesting to find other black science fiction writers. Of course my favorite writer is Octavia Butler and I have read all she has written at least once but generally more than once. My favorite collection of stories by any author living and/or past is Bloodchild and Other Stories by guess who---the one and only Octavia Butler.

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The absolute best story---in my opinion---is called Speech Sounds. It is an amazing commentary on human connection and power of verbal and non-verbal communication. I dont wanna go on and on about it because I know that you cant wait to run out and check the collection out for yourself.
Black Nerds Rule!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Excerpt From "Noah"

They waited patiently for permission to board. Noah stepped onto the bus and paused at the driver to be cleared before proceeding to a seat. She sat in the second seat to the drivers right before the great windshield, just close enough to see the hypnotic markers lining the road but just far enough out of earshot of the driver. She would not have to endure endless prattle sparking flashes of scenes from his less than mediocre experiences and forcing her to work for free no less. Technically public transport was supposed to be quiet unless there was a special dispensation allowed for a family vacation or pleasure trip of some sort. It was forbidden to have random and unregulated discussions during regular workday movements. The drivers were typically exempt from this rule if they were members of the Highers or special pets to Highers--those from one of the Waves who had completely thrown themselves on the mercy of the now ruling class.

Noah shifted in her seat when an elderly woman squeezed her ample body in next to her and pressed her right hip too firmly into the left side of Noah's body. Noah hid her disdain and continued to blindly stare out of the front window.
"Hot day," the woman said much to close to Noah's cheek.
Rather than answering Noah shifted in her seat and continued to stare forward. This was customary when one wished not to engage. One simply did not engage. Then silence would once again settle in.
"I said, hot day," the woman said again to Noah's cheek. This time she left a trace of spittle on her skin, a tell tale sign of an interloper from a lower level. Noah pretended not to notice and discreetly pressed the button to the right of her seat. Within moments the bus was crowded with Techs.
"Bitch!" The woman yelled and swung at Noah but missed as a couple of brawny Techs restrained her and led her unwillingly off of the bus." You could have spared a few visions!" I just wanted to remember them for a moment. Before all of this!" The woman shouted obscenities and thrashed violently to get out of the hold the Techs had on her. She was unsuccessful.

A Fresh Start

Hey everyone! The Sable Feminist has left the building and the Sable Eklektic is now in the house. This blog's focus is all creativity and my ushering in of my new fits as a writer and publisher!
I'm ready folks! Are You?