My novel is going to be a best seller!

If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him.

                                                         – John F. Kennedy

If your goal is to be the next JK Rowling… writing may not (there is a slight possibility) be right for you.

The Talent: It’s going to be a best seller

Voice of Reason: Now that I think about it, I’ve never even seen you read a book.

I’m not going to emphasize the importance or writing, I’ve done that in enough posts. Nor will I emphasize the importance of writing, because I’ve done that a few times as well, I think. You can check out my old posts in this series here if you want to.

There is something that I want to stress, and that’s the importance of money. As humans we need it, can’t live without it because it ensures life’s necessities: food, water, shelter, clothes and other great stuff. Money is important because it allows us to obtain these things, to continue doing the fun, stupid, pointless, amazing things we as writers do. All money does is mediate, acting as a means to something else. Money’s importance comes from a capitalistic interest in placing an arbitrary value on everything. There’s no reason, really, why a tomato should cost a dollar and a loaf of bread several. There’s no reason why essentials should be marketed to begin with, but that’s another post.

So what does being a millionaire, or a billionaire in Rowling’s case ensure? Even if you are a mildly successful author you’d be able to cover your necessities and guarantee that you continue doing what you love: writing.It’s easy to preach when the audience is a screen, but seriously , two for the money, ten for the art. Your skill as a writer has already been commodified, there’s no need to place added stress on yourself to be an international best seller. No disrespect to those who are of course, or those who desire success, but it shouldn’t be your sole goal.

Don’t compromise your novels, poems, paintings, films or essays solely for the fame or the money. You’ll regret it. At the end of that long, never ending day that is life, you owe authenticity not to your friends, family, job or self; you owe it to your work.

The Oscars made a zombie of me

Today is a good day. Yesterday was a horrible day, and tomorrow may be even worse, but today is good. This past weekend I sat in front of my laptop unable to do anything else expect read, research and write with the occasional snack, nap an excretion. If this writing and research were of my own wishes, I wouldn’t have minded. No, it was for a research assignment that was due 11;59pm on Sunday. Which I guess isn’t too bad because it prohibited me from sitting in front of a television screen like a zombie for hours.

For the MythBusters Zombie Special, airing Thursday, Oct. 17 at ...

Courtesy of DCL

Sitting in front of laptop screen as an active zombie is much better than sitting in front of a television screen like a dead one, hoping for something interesting to happen. Or at least that’s how I justify my sad weekend. And no, I didn’t learn that procrastination is bad, far from it. I’ve been putting off these two assignments for weeks, I knew the pain, frustration and sleepiness were coming.

https://i2.wp.com/www.personal.psu.edu/afr3/blogs/siowfa13/2013/09/21/procrastination.jpg

I disagree. The longer you wait, the easier it is to accept ridiculous excuses for not doing your work. It was so easy to suppress my anxiety.

Stock photo: Handing out candy is a central aspect of American Halloween celebrations, but one woman from Fargo, N.D. has decided to give out much more. (Shutterstock)

Congrats to the winners! The Academy seemed to acknowledge each group somehow. One for you, and for you, and one for you. Oh did I miss you over there? Here you go. You were naughty this year, you don’t get one. Everybody have a sparkly piece of metal, except for Leo? Good. Lovely.

Project ROSE Is Arresting Sex Workers in Arizona to Save Their Souls | VICE United States

This is wrong on so many levels. Please, someone explain to me how this plan was thought through, organized and executed, because I don’t see how in any country this could be allowed to happen.

Culture Foam: Bubbling Up

Project ROSE is a Phoenix city program that arrests sex workers in the name of saving them. In five two-day stings, more than 100 police officers targeted alleged sex workers on the street and online.  They brought them in handcuffs to the Bethany Bible Church. There, the sex workers were forced to meet with prosecutors, detectives, and representatives of Project ROSE, who offered a diversion program to those who qualified. Those who did not may face months or years in jail.

In the Bethany Bible Church, those arrested were not allowed to speak to lawyers. Despite the handcuffs, they were not officially “arrested” at all.

via Project ROSE Is Arresting Sex Workers in Arizona to Save Their Souls | VICE United States.

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Out of mind, out of sight

Why do people assume that a “broken” brain means a “broken” mind, heart and soul?

I can’t speak on behalf of the difficulties that people dealing with mental health issues experience, but I can give my perspective as an observer. Mental health, like Black History Month, is a conversation that doesn’t end with its delegated time. This will hopefully be the first of many posts and discussions to ensue from this topic.

Why is mental health so stigmatized? I don’t mean poor mental health or good mental health, just mental health in general. People are afraid to suggest the topic, it’s like the brussels sprouts of conversations. If you have a problem with your heart, leg, lungs or stomach, you can go and see a doctor with little fear of being judged or looked down upon. Why does that change when we shift to the brain? Why do people assume that a “broken” brain means a “broken” mind, heart and soul? You’d think that something so central and vital to the human body, something so intricate and sensitive, would be approached with openness and impartiality.

Mental health, like one’s sex, colour or sexual orientation is not something rooted in choice. No one wakes up one morning and thinks ” you know what, today feels like a good day to start my depression” or “bipolar disorders are trendy, I’ll try that!” These aren’t garments or fashion pieces picked out of a wardrobe. They are garments one is forced to wear, that societal voices make only more suffocating.

Take sex. Sex deals with the physical difference between men and women. We’ve heard this before (sorry if I’m the first person to tell you this): women have vaginas, men have penises, men tend to be taller than women, women tend to bear babies. Then what society does is distort these differences, taking the physical and moving it into the societal, stereotypical, gendered and political. You have sex and then you have distortions of sex in gender, which is similar to mental health, only the distortions are amplified.

Millions of people are affected by mental health issues. With increased joblessness, stress, engineered hormones, media exploitation and other factors, the “issue” of mental health isn’t going anywhere. There are misconceptions about mental health out there, and I’ll admit, I’m in the process of re-educating myself. I wouldn’t want to be judged by my skin or sex, so it’s only fair that I take that approach with others.

Are you a feminist, sexual rights activist or humanitarian? Do you believe people are more than their skin, hair, sexual partner, situation, upbringing or religion? If you nod yes to any of these, then by default you should also be a mental health activist.

My first…

How did your first time feel? Were you anxious, unable to control your desire? Were you nervous and eager to get the whole thing over with? Did you tell anyone, show off to all your family and friends? Or did you keep the knowledge a secret, as if sharing the experience would take away from the special moment?

Well, for me, it happened at school. I remember restlessly waiting for the bus to pull into campus. As soon as it did I rushed off the bus, apologizing as I hurriedly brushed past people. I made it to the student centre, picked up my university’s newspaper, Excalibur, and flipped through the pages until I found it… my FIRST Publication! I was so giddy, I even thought of redistributing the papers amongst the students that whizzed by. I used any conversation I had that day to unabashedly promote my article.

I know it’s nothing big, but here’s the beginning of the piece. It’s on Black History Month and some of my experiences growing up in Toronto. Feedback is welcome, and don’t hesitate to share your firsts with links to your own publications. We”ll save other firsts for another time.

So, without further adieu or misleading sexual references, here’s my article:

The curly, the coily and the kinky

I dug my fingers into a tangle of thick wires that coiled around and bounced off my hand. This time felt different. My fingers weren’t running through straight, thin strands. I realized for the first time, at the age of 16, that my hair was growing.

For years, I had chemically processed my hair. It had become a regular part of my routine. Every two months, as often as someone may cut their hair, I bought a box covered in smiling black girls with smooth, shiny straight hair, and relaxed mine.

The chemical burns were a naturalized exercise of my youth.

Stiff neck, sore scalp, silky hair: I went through the process without hesitation. I’d shiver when the first glob of white creamy crack tickled my scalp; my mother’s hands were always smooth and precise.

It seemed to be a rite of passage for every black girl to shed her kinks and coils as she entered into adolescence. 

I only knew that something undesirable and unacceptable came out of my scalp and needed to be kempt and suppressed.

The rest of the article can be read here.

I just came back from Jupiter

I didn’t actually come back from Jupiter. I’m sorry if I tricked you into believing this post was about planetary travel. I need some earthly help.

I had a dream that I was standing on my porch with my family. We were all staring at Mars in the night sky. I don’t mean that we were looking off into the distance. There was a red ball in the sky and it grew in size as the blue sky darkened.

Then all the planets appeared, and my dad kept on saying “take a photo, get it centred.” I took some photos with my phone, but my dad kept telling me to take photos, as if I hadn’t taken any at all. Eventually my attention shifted to the massive green ball of Jupiter. Stunned by the planets (which of course we had never seen until now) we remained outside the entire night.

I’m thinking the writing and planetary gods are telling me to write more science fiction. Maybe the point of the dream is that I’m going colour blind. Or maybe I just need a better phone.

Any dream experts out there? I’m more than open to interpretations of this wacky dream.