Reflecting and Remembering Robin


Remembering Robin While I can feel good about one anniversary this month, there is another that still doesn’t even seem real.

A year ago, I was partaking in a random tradition of Potbelly with two of my closest friends. The vibe was pleasant, but tired. We had experienced a long weekend together of wedding celebrations and it was time to go back to our “regular schedules.” One turned to me as I was pulling out my chair to sit down, and said… “Robin Williams is dead.”

I couldn’t focus on much beyond that. All I said was what? And she reiterated, while my other friend said that it was sad and mentioned things she liked him in. I tried to block it out because I didn’t want to dwell on it or become emotional around them, after all he’s just some celebrity comedian, I had never met.

When I finally got home, I looked into it because rumors happen so often, but sure enough it was true. And I lost it. Please Keep Reading

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How Long Ago…


“How Long ago did we lose the art of making our dreams solid?” -Giorgio Manganelli
(Found in an excerpt from Experiment With India)

Swirls



Swirls
in hues of coolness
Beneath the core the shades blaze
A day to remark on appreciation
Four more to continue unchanged
Years to address our issues
Deniers treat concerns as abstraction
Seeing what they want to see
Consequences are realities happening
Whether we are actively…
Doing or passive

 

 

A little something I came up with before Earth Day, in my region, draws to a close.

What’s The Smallest Check You’ve Ever Received?



It may seem like a ridiculous question in the age of direct deposits, but there are situations you won’t have that convenient option. Like the one thing everyone loves to be summoned for, jury duty. I have to say I was in no hurry to cash my measly $6.00, because it felt a little embarrassing. At the same time it’s like hey, money is money no matter how small the amount. And this check was a sort of compensation for honorably participating in the judicial process. Something I would be willing to do again, just hopefully not any time soon (plus construction in the downtown area is madness).
The attitude or belief that money is money is still something I hold on to…well maybe to a lesser extent after today, when I received an even smaller (yes, less than six dollars) check in the mail. I had completely forgotten about the possibility of even receiving one. So, when it appeared in my mailbox, not knowing how much could be contained, my eyes lit up. I won’t go into the specifics, but the amount was laughable and that’s what I did when my eyes scanned across to it. I still appreciate it of course, but I think I’m going to have to pair this one with some larger deposited funds, otherwise the trip to the bank will end up costing me more.

Now, I’m asking others to have a laugh and share “what’s the smallest check you’ve received” and how did you feel about it?

Discovering Stromae and Learning Languages


Buzzfeed featured this brilliantly crafted commentary on social media from Stromae, “Carmen.”


My significant other found the video on Facebook and thinking I would like the song, shared it with me. I enjoyed not only the music, but the full package of artwork and theme. Seeing it was written and directed by French animator and comic writer Sylvain Chomet (known largely for animated films: The Illusionist and The Triplets of Belleville) was a bonus, and won more points with me. “Carmen” piqued both our interests in Stromae, but I became distracted and didn’t look further. My SO did and before I knew it, linked me to another song this time, “Tous Les Mêmes.” This video served as the catalyst for me diving into his work as well as background. I assumed he was French, from both of these songs, but learned Stromae (a stage name) is instead Belgian and a lovely blend of Flemish and Rwandan that latter proving to be significant in how he approaches his music. I soon realized I didn’t know much about Belgium or how strong of a French presence it has. For whatever reasons, when I thought of the country, I thought German or Dutch and almost never French.
After my latest reading endeavor, this felt a little less happy coincidence and more dancing in the realm of uncanny, as if both the reading and my listening to his music were fate.

While “Carmen” is fantastic, my favorite song of Stromae’s is actually this one, “Papaoutai”


As it turns out, we both lost our fathers at young ages, anything touching on the relationship of father and child usually speaks to me. The video is done in such an illustrative fashion that those without French fluency, or any French understanding can still get an idea of what the song is about. I love the combination and all the videos I’ve watched so far use different styles of short film in the telling of stories. It’s refreshing to see someone in a more popular genres of music being an artist and not just an entertainer which has become so common in the United States. A few articles mentioned that scientists have gone into researching the decline of Pop Music over the years and it’s not just in our imaginations.  The genre has actually been dumbing down. I assume physical record sells have also declined resulting in a stronger push for record companies to make that money. Leaving us with commercialism and repetition over talent and artistry. Fortunately, not everyone interested in making music is behind the cheapening of it and continue to treat it as a craft.

I haven’t analyzed Stromae’s lyrical content, yet. But even if he didn’t have the most in depth lyrics, he’s singing in French (and quite possibly bits of other languages). By him doing this, English speaking listeners such as myself, or others who don’t know French can pick up pieces subconsciously. Many songs have catchy hooks, that are clear and repeated and it presents the language in a more interesting way. Since French happens to be one of the languages I’m learning, I plan to make a conscious effort of looking up his lyrics while listening to the songs and focusing on natural pronunciations. If I want to be really ambitious, I can work on translating them into English myself instead of shortcuts. This article highlights eight tips for learning language through songs and music. Even though it specifies English, most of the tips make sense and should be applicable to learning others.

So, while social media poses threats of doom and gloom if we let ourselves get too absorbed, it still has productive uses. Like introducing me to an array of artists I might not have discovered any time soon. And by being open to this discovery, much like reading, I can get sucked into new worlds giving me the opportunity to learn about myself and others along the way.

Currently Reading: Danzy Senna


L.A. Lanier

https://igcdn-photos-c-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xfa1/t51.2885-15/11007866_734440263321218_1803698160_n.jpg © L.A. Lanier via Instagram

The debut novel Caucasia by Danzy Senna caught my eye at a clearance sale event. I was unfamiliar with her name, but read some of what was on the back cover and decided to hold on to it. Seeing a work that isn’t a text-book covering matters of race by having biracial main characters or those of mixed ethnicities has been rare for me. Not that I have thoroughly researched, but I guess the fact I believe I would have to research in order to find more works and writers touching on the subject reiterates my point.

I’ve noticed that lately diversity/inclusive reading and writing is encouraged more and more. A concept I consider a good thing (as long as it avoids tokenism, which I’ll save for another time). But from my view, when discussing minority groups* the emphasis tends to be specifically in reference…

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A Day


I look forward to the day that the plural of ethnicity, ethnicities is not met with a red squiggle line.
“Ethnic groups” is often not the wording I want to use.