PRIME TIME DISCUSSION

If there is one thing that I have learned about over the last few weeks, it is that being a good person does not always equate to being a (financially) successful person. Which is not to say that there isn’t room in the world for more good people, but rather to qualify that the world as we know it may not be in a good place.

Recently, I heard a talk by Cory Doctorow, who is a brilliant guy and very engaged in the world as we know it. The key point that really stuck with me through his talk was this: There is no good or bad in the world, there is only people with leverage and people without leverage. This was backed up by a slew of examples, that included major businesses like Amazon, YouTube, and so on, where the simple number of people using these platforms outweighs any individual power. Think about it. Amazon literally said “oh hey, lets make a day called Amazon Prime Day” and it exploded. That’s a business with leverage that is more powerful than many governments.

And I’m not trying to say that Amazon is all bad or anything. I mean, I use it, my family loves it, and they have done a lot for the various communities, which has allowed many groups to be successful that otherwise never would have been. But it is a bit concerning to me that one business can hold so much power. Especially since they are not transparent. Now, I don’t know that a business should be entirely transparent, just as I don’t know that we as individuals should be. I mean, I certainly don’t wish to be monitored 24/7. That would make me paranoid and probably cause an early death. But at the same time, it frightens me that one of these businesses could be lobbying for changes that damage the core of our values, without us even realizing it. In some cases, it might be that they simply have to not get in the way.

For example, there are plenty of businesses that stood to gain by having Donald Trump elected, but with his unpopular choice of words, they could very easily back Hillary Clinton and publically donate to her campaign, thereby saving face. At worst, she wins and they are on good footing with her because of how much they contributed. At best, Trump gets elected, and suddenly all these regulations, like, I don’t know, the Paris Agreement, go away, and these groups get to maximize their profit by not sticking to emissions standards. Just a hypothetical. But likely one that did occur.

Regardless, it is always good to be keeping an eye out for what is going on in the world, and to see when the number match the public representation a company presents (and when they don’t).

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BEDTIME STORY PART 3

To preface this, here are links to Part One and Part Two. Enjoy!

 

The next night we sat down and jumped straight back into our story. Lizzie’s wide eyes looked on me with excitement and wonder as I recounted the events from the previous night.

“…and so that monstrous looking entity bellowed ‘who dares to disturbed my slumber.’ Are we all caught up?”

“Yup,” Lizzie said, drifting into silence.

“Ok. So this ancient creature stands before you. It’s blinking yellow eyes trained on the light from your lantern. It looks almost like a human, yet its skin has the distinct texture of solidified mud.

‘My name is Ashoka, I am of the river,’ you call out. You’ve lied, though you are unsure why. Something in the air gives you pause.

‘Ashoka?’ the beast speaks every syllable with a slow, meandering pause, as if tasting each in turn, ‘human, you would do better not to lie to me.’

‘What are you?’ Your voice presses on, with a determination, ignoring its question.

‘Me?’ the beast sounds almost taken aback, ‘if you are not careful, I will be your reckoning.’ The hint of a smile pulls at the eyes of the beast, its face remains neutral. That is, if you could call such a sight neutral.

‘Speak, or never speak again,’ you announce, with quite a bit more confidence than you feel. You pass the lantern to your right hand, and draw your sword. The silver edge glows bronze against your lantern, yet with the palest hint of blue from the light of the beast.

‘You think you can damage me with this?’ the beast laughs, it’s a pained, guttural laugh, with such disdain, ‘what do you call your precious sword?’

‘This is Elendall, forged from the same fires as Durendall.’

‘Elendall.’ The beast’s voice breaths in a ghost like whisper, then, more loudly, it boasts ‘let me show you how feeble your mighty sword is.’ The beast’s arm raises slowly. You step back, wary as the hand extend closer to you, though it stops a short ten feet from you. It’s boney brown fingers glow red against the light of your lantern. The beast speaks an unknown word, sharp, clear, and steely. It sounds like ‘El-Dah,’ though it is so raspy and ancient you cannot say for sure.

Suddenly, Elendall begins to shiver. It looks like a gong, vibrating furiously after being struck. The shaking runs though your arm, until at last you cannot hold the sword any longer. Your eyes dart between the sword and the beast. The beast closes its hand into a fist, and you watch your shivering sword change. The silver blade shifts, to a burnt, angry brown, then to a molten, fiery red. The surface began to morph and twist, and little bursts of smoke began to roll off it. The once hard edges of the blade melt onto the ground into a puddle; bubbling, popping, and hissing as the molten turns from red to orange, with the hilt laying listlessly on the earth. Then, as if possessed, the liquid begins to move, rising into the air, and forming a sphere of molten. Waves of its heat scorch your face, but you stare, transfixed, at the sphere before you, unable to turn away. Then, the sphere suddenly shifts back through the color spectrum, until it sits before you as a pale blue ball.

‘Open your hand,’ the beast commands. Without thinking, you oblige. The sphere moves above your extended palm, then drops suddenly into your hand.” I stopped talking and sat in silence.

“Wha—come on!” Lizzies protested, “you can’t stop there!”

“It’s late Liz.” I brought my hand to my forehead.

“But what is—”

“Liz.” I said, in a tone more harsh than I’d intended. I could feel the fatigue against my eyes. Liz shrunk back in her bed, her expression hurt. I took a deep breath, “sorry Liz. I’m just tired. I’ll tell you more tomorrow.” Silence. She had turned away from me. I stood there for a moment, then walked to her doorway. I said a horse goodnight on my way out, then shut the door behind me.

——

 

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TALKING ABOUT DREAMS

Hello everyone,

 

Today seems like a good day to talk about dreams. If you haven’t noticed, I quite like using dreams as a reference point for my poems. I never have really discussed this with anyone before, so I figured why not give it a shot today?

Dreams are an awesome, beautiful concept—fall asleep for a little while and have your brain entertain you. The irony for me is that I very rarely if ever remember my dreams. When I do, it is in the way most people remember them—fragmented images and broken strings of plot, often blurry around the edges. Yet after twenty-two years of life, I can place what makes a dream so “dreamy” with some amount of ease. The vivid colors, the strangely familiar faces…and so on.

After seeing Get Out, the thriller film about a black man meeting his white girlfriend’s family (can’t say more than that, you should all go see the film), I think I can also talk about what makes nightmares so terrifying. At least some of them. One recurring one that I hear about is the nightmare where people have lost their voice. Often times, a loved one is in the distance, and something bad is about to happen to them. They call out—only to feel their voice catch in their throat. Try as they might, nothing happens, and they usually wake up in a cold sweat.

The movie took this idea a step farther, showing the conscious mind as trapped inside the subconscious in a “sunken place,” and it’s the core of every nightmare—the feeling of being powerless to do anything. Immobilized, silenced, and trapped. Not a place I would ever want to be. Personally, I think this is typically why I am glad when I cannot remember a dream—because even in dreams we seem to lack some amount of control, don’t we? In A Stroke of Red Ink, a poem I wrote fairly recently, I wrote about a dream that I had. Despite having pleasant factors to it, I still lacked control. Another dream that I remember fondly, is simply about walking through a void of ever changing color. It shifted and morphed, from wispy pinks to grassy greens, all through the color spectrum. I could almost smell the lush of flowers. Yet there was something unsettling about it—the fact that I was at the mercy of these colors. In an instant, they could have changed to a grotesque, bloody red, and suddenly I would have been in a hellish nightmare scape.

I think this is what makes lucid dreaming so appealing to people. All this power, this unchained imagination, reined in and harnessed, is empowering. Can you imagine waving a hand and watching the whole world change in front of you? The wind against your skin as you fly away? Can you imagine the person of your fantasies finally bending to your desires? It’s…well, it’s every person’s dream. What are your experiences with dreaming? Is it about power and control? Let me know!

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