Safe Spaces.

I think that it’s especially important in this day and age that we need to create safe spaces for us to think, create, and grow. We live in a world that expects us to act a certain way, believe a certain way, and generally live in a certain way that often pulls us in opposite directions and pulls us apart, piece by piece. The world is not kind to those of us who try to let out our true selves and sometimes we are destroyed by the immobility of an unforgiving world.

A few years ago, when I was in college, I took a class by a wonderful teacher who taught writing and creativity. In this particular class, he created a safe place for us to open up our thoughts, delve into often painful places, and open up to our thoughts and dreams. This was the first time that I felt truly comfortable in sharing my thoughts and my creativity without being ridiculed for writing what I did and talking about what was on my mind. This was important for me to realize that my writing matter, that my voice in the creative world was not only important for me to participate in, but to offer as a unique perspective to those who needed to hear and view it without realizing that they needed to hear it.

Not all of us have the opportunity to have a class that I was able to have. That’s why I think it’s important for all of us to create a safe space in which to blossom into. I don’t think you really need to create a blog or even write in a journal, but I think it’s important to set time aside each day (or each week if you’re busy) to allow yourself to enjoy that which makes you happy. A couple years ago, I went for hikes and walks a couple times or more each week. For me, walking allowed me to push away everything that crowded into my mind and focus on the beauty of nature around me. I took pictures, noticed brilliant flowers, and uncovered secrets of darkened rocks. By the end of the summer, I found myself tired of the walks, but they had served their purposed: I had allowed intense emotional feeling to grow and expand to the sky and beyond.

Maybe you like to paint. Go paint. Maybe you like to write down what’s frustrating you that day. Go ahead and write. Maybe you like to get lost in a novel. Go ahead and lose yourself. But we need that safe space to discover and grow without the fear of hurt and betrayal.

10 Amazing Documentaries You Should Watch Right Now.

I think I made a post before about how I’ve become more interested in documentaries. To me, documentaries can be (and often are) better than fictionalized shows you see in the movies or on television. I don’t know if they’re actually “amazing” but I found them very interesting.

  1. Abraham and Mary Lincoln: A House Divided. The story of Abraham and Mary Lincoln’s marriage from before and during the Civil War. Very intriguing dynamic, especially with Mary Lincoln.
  2. Stealing Lincoln’s Body. This studies how obsessed the United States became with Lincoln, even in death, to the point of trying to steal his body and moving it around the country.
  3. Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer. This was a spine chilling documentary. If you’ve ever seen Monster with Charlize Theron and Christina Ricci, you’ll know that a woman named Aileen went around the country murdering men as revenge for the abusers in her past and bringing her girlfriend along. This documentary is about the real Aileen and boy is it scary.
  4. Of Dolls and Murder. Explores a collection of dollhouse crime scenes created in the 1930’s and ’40’s as well as exploring our obsession with murder.
  5. The Short Life of Anne Frank. Only an hour long, but very powerful, gives a brief biography of the most famous Holocaust victim.
  6. Secrets of Stonehenge. Explores the mysteries of Stonehenge and uses historians and archaeologists to try and figure out the real reason why it was built.
  7. Killer Legends. A couple of indie filmmakers explore famous legends and real life stories that could have inspired these legends. When a Stranger Calls and killer clowns amongst them.
  8. Cropsey. Made by the same people who wrote Killer Legends, this film takes a look at an urban legend on Staten Island, New York about a supposed escaped mental patient who hides out in the abandoned asylum and kills people and young children.
  9. Tales From the Royal Bedchamber. This was actually pretty interesting, about how the royal bedchamber was where people came to grant favors from the King and how the royal bed evolved over time.
  10. Finding Your Roots. I don’t if you could call this a “documentary” per say, but I love this show because it focuses on three different famous people each episode and traces their roots back and tells their stories. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is pretty awesome and has a good voice.

I’ll stop it here. If I find that this is popular, I’ll write a follow up to this post.

Some Things I’ve Discovered I Like.

Isn’t it a great feeling to discover that you like certain things that you didn’t know you liked previously? Or maybe you thought you hated something only discovered that you liked it? In the last few months or so, I’ve made some discoveries about things that I didn’t realize that I liked before. Most of them I didn’t really have an opinion on; I just needed to discover them. So here’s a list of things that I now enjoy:

  1. YouTube. I know its been out for about ten years now and I’ve even used it on previous occasions for school or mere happenstance. Even when I got wireless two years ago, I didn’t use it much, mainly because I have older computers that doesn’t play it so smoothly. But ever since I discovered that I can play YouTube on my Nook, I’ve been watching more videos recently, particularly those of gamers. It’s really fun, until I come across a YouTube video that makes me nauseous due to its graphics or shaky cam. But its still fun.
  2. Jumping rope. I don’t know, I just re-discovered this, so I’ve been jumping rope downstairs occasionally and it makes me feel like I’m actually burning calories while having fun. At least till it gets warm again and I can go for walks again.
  3. Coloring. I got a Coloring for Grownups book for Christmas this past year and I discovered how much I enjoy it. I especially like coloring when I’m watching t.v. because I can’t sit still to watch movies or television for very long (thus why I don’t watch a lot of movies). But now I have something to do while I’m watching the brain cell killer and feel like I’m actually productive.
  4. Orange chicken. I think I liked orange chicken before, but I just never ate it as much. The last couple of times my mom and I’ve been to the mall area, we’ve eaten orange chicken from the mall food court and they make some pretty yummy stuff.
  5. Journaling. This I’ve done on a fairly regular basis before, but I kind of stopped doing it for a while and now I’m trying to get back into it again and I’m realizing how much I like it and can’t remember why I stopped before.

I’m sure this list will only continue to grow as I go on. I might even have to make another list. What are some things that you realized you enjoyed doing (or eating)?

The Art of Moving Foreword

It’s been a week since David Bowie’s death due to cancer. Since then, many more tragedies in the art world has occurred. Death is a terrible thing to witness; it makes you realize that even those we see as gods are mere mortals. How do we move on without forgetting their legacy? We can’t dwell on their deaths, as it will only make us ill and depressed. Instead, we embrace their immortality with what they had contributed and maybe even use their influences to create art in our own lives. We’ll never exactly mimic the art that has gone before, but maybe we can see a little bit of them in the work that we do for ourselves and future generations.
This is why we make art, is it not? We see what has gone before; we admire the steps these giants have taken so that we have it easier to have our own art accepted and then we take their lessons and push it even further. To be content with the status quo of art would probably disappoint David Bowie. To never realize our passions, to be afraid of them and never, ever chase them would depress Alan Rickman.
 I’ve always been timid of my own art. I’ve never pushed it foreword because I never thought I could make it happen. I don’t want to be like millions of others who never give my art a chance just because I fear rejection. I’m sure people like David Bowie had their own fears, but they had to courage to set it aside, move foreword, and move well beyond our expectations.
I hope this year I will find myself in my art again and never lose it among the thorns of doubt. I hope you won’t either.

 

Let’s Dance: Favorite David Bowie Songs

So this week everyone has been posting their favorite David Bowie songs. With such an artist who has continually pumped out albums since the 1970’s, there is a long discography to choose from. Earlier this week I posted a small in memoriam post and mentioned that Modern Love was one of my all time favorite songs by the man. In today’s post, I want to make a list of my favorite Bowie songs, because after all, how can you have just one favorite song by him? This is by no means an extensive list and nothing less than my own opinion, so if I don’t list one of your favorite songs listed under my favorite songs, then I’m sorry. That’s the great thing about life: each one of us is an individual with individual preferences. But please, by all means, comment below and let me know if you like any of the songs that I’ve listed or have some of your own favorites.

  1. Modern Love
  2. Golden Years
  3. Under Pressure
  4. Sound and Vision
  5. Dancing in the Street
  6. Young Americans
  7. Let’s Dance
  8. Absolute Beginners
  9. Fashion
  10. Fame
  11. Changes
  12. Rebel Rebel

Fame Isn’t Everything, Is It?

Alan RickmanI’ll always remember Alan Rickman as Professor Snape. With a book as grand as the Harry Potter series, one can expect that not everything is going to go as completely as you imagined it, but I had no qualms about Alan Rickman. Throughout the series, Rickman made Snape to exactly how I imagined him to be. The voice, the hair, the looks, the everything. He truly brought such a complex character into something solid and real. I also loved him in Sweeney Todd. A dark musical with complex characters, he really knew how to be despicable.

He was a unique man, interesting. I think his voice was his signature. How many have a deep, gravely voice such as his. When I saw him in another movie, I knew it was him instantly because of his voice.

Alan Rickman, when I’m 80 years old, I’ll still be watching you perform and I’ll still be amazed at how perfect you portrayed the characters of my imagination and my grandchildren will ask me “After all this time?” and I will say “Always.” Thank you for bringing such memorable characters to life. I hope you’ll be making stardust with Bowie tonight.

David Bowie, Where Do We Go From Here?

david bowie rolling stone
Photo Credit: Rolling Stone

It’s hard to imagine that an artist as great as David Bowie has died and will no longer contribute new material to the art he loved. Even though I only discovered him about five years ago, I found his work to be brilliant and edgy singer. Who other than Bowie himself have the ability to entertain, shock and push us far to the edge of the artistic universe? He did it because he could, he did it because no one else would. Even if I can connect to only a few of his songs, I appreciate how he changed the face of music through his voice and image.

I’ve been struggling to find the words to describe how I feel about his death all day today. Even though I felt extremely sad when Robin Williams died, Bowie’s death seems even more close to home. He died after a struggle with cancer. I, too, have family member who went through two different cancer treatments (thankfully she’s still alive, but I know how debilitating a cancer diagnosis is). I also had a parent pass away not too long ago at the age of 64 and I feel so much for his wife and children. It doesn’t matter how old the kids are or how famous the loved one is, losing a parent is a horrible thing.

young bowie
Photo Credit: Rolling Stone

What I like the most about Bowie is that he seemed so down to earth. From the interviews I’ve seen of him, especially in his later years, he had a good sense of humor and truly wanted to connect to those who talked to him and spent time with him. My respect for celebrities who act like real people and treat their fans respectfully goes sky high. I also loved that he followed his passion and lived life on the edge without regard to how others thought of him. I want to be able to do that with my own art and passions.

Bowie
“I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.”

My only regret is that I didn’t discover him sooner. I wish I could have seen him in a concert. I wish I could have met him and talked to him about art and music. I know millions of people are mourning for him and the artist that he was, but my heart and thoughts go to his wife Iman, his young daughter and older son and any other family member who lost a great man in their lives.

I couldn’t fall asleep last night. It was a struggle to get myself to get any kind of sleep. Even though I didn’t know he was passing away from this world at the time, maybe I somehow knew that another star was passing into the sky. And from what I know, others had a hard time sleeping as well, either because they heard the news overnight or not. Who can ever know.

I’ll end this post with my personal favorite song by David Bowie, Modern Love because it so adequately expresses my feelings about love (strangely enough):