Terence Crutcher Shooting: Tulsa County District Attorney Charges Officer Shelby With Manslaughter
This summer our writing group met with a skeleton crew, as people were traveling and busy so we had a dinner to celebrate and to reconnect. These guys are so amazing. I don’t think they understand how much their presence and encouragement on all things, not just writing leaves such an impression on me. They are supportive and critical all in the same breath. They force me to work, to think and to challenge myself in ways I didn’t know possible. The end of this month we all registered for another writing class which is how we originally met. A novel writing class which is just whew…nerve wracking to say the least. There are 2 of the 5 of us who are well on their way to a complete novel. One who has a full completed piece and we are encouraging him to submit his work for publication. No one can really understand how hard it is to put your work your for critique, especially when for most of us, the things we do write are so very personal. It’s like someone attacking your baby…..like Eykah Badu says. I am artist and I’m sensitive about my shit!
The work itself is the reward though. And knowing that people connect to what you are writing trumps it all. The challenge this month is to submit a finished piece of fiction…a short story to a competition. So here it goes.
I am exhausted but effervescent. I met with my writing group last night at Souvlaki GR in Columbus Circle. We usually meet once a month, and we have been keeping with our commitment to do so but the summer brings traveling and all summer long we were missing at least or more member. This was an opportunity for us to all meet. We ate, we drank, and we talked. We are taking another writing class at Gotham Writers in a few weeks. We met in a Gotham class, fiction writing I and now we have decided to take novel writing II. Now, none of us took novel writing I and so we are all a bit apprehensive but excited in the same breath. I have had this idea of writing this novel, the idea has been in my head for the longest and my first class in Gotham I had to decide between novel writing and fiction writing and decided to go with fiction writing. The ultimate goal (which I am flinging into the atmosphere/blogosphere) is to write a novel. It’s such an undertaking but the formal structure of a class will allow me the chance to focus more on the novel structure. Afterward, I walked down towards Times Square and felt so positive about meeting with my group and the upcoming class and the space I am in. It felt hella good. I got on the train and started writing a new story that I had fermenting in my brain for a few weeks now. So I have 2 stories on the mill.
I have to say the past week or so, I have been writing and jotting things down my brain has been on a creative overload. I am chalking up to the moon and mercury’s retrograde period. I have been writing but doing a lot of reflecting and things are just manifesting around me in a way that is surprising and almost a little creepy If I am being more specific, I have been extremely emotional and writing from a place of pure emotion has made the things I have been working on lately just vibrant. I can feel the emotion when I read it back. I had 2 of the girls in my writing group read a few things and they were like wow. I usually dread retrograde periods because I can be so impulsive and all over the place but surprisingly I have been able to focus my energies into my work which is soooo nice. I am again looking forward to the class but of course I know that once the work starts to pile up that will be short-lived .
This past weekend I caught a marathon of the MTV show Catfish. For those who aren’t familiar – Catfish is a term that refers to someone misrepresenting themselves online and having another person believe they are something they are not. Basically being lied to and strung along by a stranger. To be catfished means it’s being doing to you and to catfish someone means that you are lying to them. So it goes a little something like this. Boy meets girl. Girl is beautiful. They exchange pleasantries and then begin to speak, exchanging pics for a varied period of time. Boy wants to video talk with girl. Girl says her phone/computer/laptop/Skype doesn’t work and never works…for three years. But they keep in touch sending pictures and becoming each other’s support systems through the good, bad and ugly times in each other’s lives. They profess their love for each other but are still unsure if who they are speaking to is actually “physically” the person they say they are. Then they call Nev and he comes and does detective work and finds out BOY/GIRL is either not the person in the pic OR is the person in the pic but is in involved in a relationship. Got it? Good.
I watched a few episodes and I found myself entranced and during a couple of them, and I don’t want to come across mean or anything I laughed so hard my stomach hurt. But I got to thinking about the catfish phenomenon and what it says about our society as a whole. When the internet first came out, my parents AOL and we all had our own profiles. My friend and I bored and curious which are never a good combination, used to get online and go into chatrooms to chat with people from all over the world. The internet made the world a smaller more accessible place. Suddenly you could interact with people from all over the world. But often and I am slightly ashamed to admit this (Kinda) but we catfished people. We created alternate personas, created crazy stories about who we were and yes we even stole pictures and sent them professing we were the people in those pictures. We were in H.S. so dont judge too hard. While it wasnt a constant activity of ours we eventually abandoned it, as maintaining that level of a lie was too time consuming. I did in later years meet people who I met in person and actually became lifelong friends with. Even met a boyfriend or two. So I am slightly confused as to how in 2016 people are being catfished. With the invention of Face Time, Skype, video talking apps, smartphones and laptops etc we can actually see people and and have them verify who they are. So again it baffles me that people can go 3/4/5 years never skyping with a person they claim to be in love with. It seems a bit crazy. But on a deeper level it says volumes about our society and the deep need people have to feel a connection to someone even a phantom voice coming from the ether. But on a deeper level it also speaks to our superficial need to be loved but not just anyone, by the right type of person as well.
There is a certain psychology about catfishing; it speaks to the advantage of beauty. None of the people who were catfishing selected a picture unless it was of someone they thought was universally attractive. Physically they were specimens that they KNEW would grab hold of anyone’s attention and that was why that person selected to use that image to represent themselves. A few of them verbalized it, without actually saying it verbatim. They didn’t feel they themselves were attractive enough for someone to love them or to grab hold of another person’s attention and hold it. They knew that that face would get them the attention they wanted. On the flip side, there were people who because this person they felt they were speaking to was so attractive, they went the distance. Ignoring all common sense for the infinitesimal hope that that image they saw was ACTUALLY the person they were speaking to and what it jackpot it would be. There was a time before everyone had images of themselves saved in their smart phone when you had to describe how you looked or had to scan in a grainy image to prove you were who you said you were. But more than that, you could actually have a conversation with someone that was real. Sometimes sitting behind a computer screen, people are bold. They allow themselves to BE the person they always wanted to be, without physical judgment and have someone call them attractive or beautiful if they aren’t. To actually talk to someone and get to KNOW them from the inside and not be distracted by the outside. Nothing wrong with that. Beauty does not dictate some level of superiority. Alternately, you could very well be that attractive person who doesn’t want to be deemed vapid or conceited because of your beauty and use the internet get away from that pigeonhole. OR you could be a vainglorious person who sees an image of a beauty and is determined to capture their heart ignoring all sense and sensibility. In catfish, I saw so many proclamations of love and longevity, but when the person did not turn out to be who their picture indicated them to be, professions of love flew out the window. The anger at being lied to outranked the shining personality and giddiness expressed beforehand. So if it was love, what happened to it? Where did it go? Are we only in love with an illusion and not the reality? If a person stated everything they said was true, the only thing not real was the photograph — what is the issue? Perhaps it was embarrassment that caused them to leave the situation alone or perhaps I am too much of a romantic but love is a term we use too frequently and can disintegrate with shallow disappointments. But the fraudulent representations can leave a bitter taste and promote people being closed off, not trusting that people are who they say they are. We are already so guarded, that catfish further drives us away from the best parts of meeting people online. But caution is necessary, especially when we are professing love to a person who is unknown. I just cant see continuing on a “relationship” with someone who you haven’t spoken to,haven’t met, and is shady about revealing who they are. But if you are open about WHO you are and allow someone else to be genuine as well, we could possibly discover that there are beautiful people around who us, we we have probably been ignoring because they aren’t as attractive as we require, which is sad.
I am writing this post at the apex of the full August Moon. A sturgeon moon, this one is a special one. Rare. And above all else beautiful. It ushers in a period where the harvest is full, ripe and ready; fruit heavy in its abundance. This is the time for self-reflection and introspection. I have been journaling as of late, jotting my thoughts down and I want to share them. It seemed like ages ago, I had a blog called Slow Metamorphosis. An ode to the changes I was going through at that time. It was the time that I decided to cut my hair off and embrace my natural hair without a relaxer. I had tried it a few times before but it didn’t stick. I discovered a community of people who were doing the same things on a site that I am not even sure exists anymore called Nappturality.com. The site taught me about my own hair, which crazy as it seems up to that point, I didn’t even know what it even looked like. I cut my hair off, panicked, braid it up and then finally sat in the barber’s chair and buzzed it and started from scratch. I was….. scared and excited. I fotki’d and blogged and shared with women that I didn’t know and now I look around and everyone is natural. Almost but it’s definitely the takeover and I love it. It’s all a journey isn’t it?
I have been taking stock of my own personal journey. This past year has been a trying one. I suffered some major upsets in my life. I have recounted things over and over in my head. Trying to dissect meaning and to garner information from some of the things that I have happened. There will perhaps always be missing pieces to the puzzle but the only thing I know through and through is me. And where I am. I have to look at myself and I am pleased with the person I am and the person I am becoming. I am strong. I am renewed and more confident in myself. I have learned to trust my own voice, my own spirit, the precision of my own intuition and the power that comes with tending to One. There is magic in solitude and separation. I embrace it all because solitude is transformative. It brings you back to your purest essence.
I could wax poetic about life and its meaning but I don’t know. None of us can say we do. We all want the sweetness of life, the things that make us happy and content but there will be peaks and valleys, his and los. The most precious stone was once a piece of carbon enduring endless amounts of pressure before it transformed into a diamond beautiful, rare and perfect. Job exclaimed after the trails in his life that he came through the fire and was found to be pure gold. A metaphor so simple and yet so profound. We will find that if we compare ourselves before and after any tumultuous time in our lives we emerge stronger. Hardships make us strong, they force us to tap into the parts of ourselves that being comfortable makes us forget. But the beauty is, it reveals that all the things we need to succeed and to shine and be pure gold are already inside of us. For some it takes a lifetime to really learn that; what we search for are the things in this world are elusive and abundant, they are intangible having no real ability to be quantified and qualified they just are. Here’s to holding elusive pleasures in the palm of your hands.