scaramucci1 style2

on the ash heap of my history

This is fucking shit.
A major catastrophe [for me].
I’m not a fucking paranoid schizophrenic, not a paranoiac.
Give me understanding, time, a day…something.
Hint.
Explain.

They won’t do it.
They’re trying to resist me,
     and fuck, it’s going to work.
Honeymoon period || cock-blocked.
The lie detector starts—if you want something,
Ask.

I want to get on track.
Succeed.
I’m not trying to suck my own cock.
I’m a straight shooter.

Crazy nailed me.

But…
What I’m going to do is, I’m going to eliminate and start over.
I haven’t protected anybody.

Fuck it all.

I resign to defeat.


1Anthony Scaramucci is the shortest serving White House communications director, managing only 10 tumultuous days under Donald Trump. The above piece uses only his words, as quoted by Ryan Lizza in his article in The New Yorker, Anthony Scaramucci Called Me to Unload About White House Leakers, Reince Priebus, and Steve Bannon. (source: http://www.newyorker.com/news/ryan-lizza/anthony-scaramucci-called-me-to-unload-about-white-house-leakers-reince-priebus-and-steve-bannon)

2Other than word sourcing, the piece has nothing to do with Scaramucci…it’s about something significant in my life, but not politically connected.

freedom of expression

“According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, freedom of expression is the right of every individual to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

Writing has, for as long as I remember, been a central part of my life. I don’t know what I’d do without it – expressing my feelings and ideas, working through difficult situations (both good and bad), creating, innovating, documenting.

Reading is the same. Knowing I’ve access to anything at any time, and curling up in a chair to devour the written word – this has sustained me for 38+ years. Times when I literally had nothing else, I always had a book.

What happened to the media on Friday places everything at risk. Plenty of others have written important pieces decrying the White House’s decision to exclude media outlets they view as overly critical of Trump. The implications are enormous – suddenly, it’s not okay to express yourself in America any longer. Now, only good news can be allowed. News this new regime approves.

Whether you support the people running this mess of a country or not, you should be sorely vexed. Freedom of the press, freedom of expression, these are two of the hallmarks of any nation that could even begin to call itself free. Suppressing the media means more than just distorting the news (which now we must contend with as a people in a way never before – distortion pressed openly by a regime scared of both people and expression), it means that suppression of free expression in general is quickly on its way.

What happens now to other forms of expression – visual arts, literature, music, film? We see what’s happening to our freedom to demonstrate – 18 states are trying to suppress and criminalize peaceful protests staged by citizens. The White House is attacking protestors with ridiculous accusations and vitriol. This is yet another strike against a free nation. We are sliding swiftly down a slope toward totalitarianism.

Freedom of expression is under attack – what are we, as a citizenry, going to do?

I feel like we’re living in the fictionalized past of another nation – McCarthy-esque, complete with book burnings (bannings), friends turning against friends, families destroying each other, media used to subjugate the populace. What’s happening right under our noses, before our very eyes?

Will my children be able to walk the streets in peaceful demonstration against the acts of their government, as guaranteed by the First Amendment? (“…the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances…”)

Will they have access to honest and researched reporting about what’s happening in their own nation and around the world?

Will they have the freedom to read whatever they choose? Watch movies? Listen to music?

Or will we all stand back and watch as our liberty is taken, our rights trampled, and our country slips into tyranny and oppression?

– my random thoughts on this wonderful day –

IMG_9255#WomensMarchJXN

10:55am Kate, Lily, and I are in the car headed downtown. The excitement is palpable – we’re nervous, happy, and determined. We’ll be meeting an old friend of Kate’s with her daughter there, and hopefully many hundreds of fellow marchers.

11:12am I sit in the back seat and wonder if there will be people present protesting the March. I’m also thinking about the very real possibility that we see free speech come under attack from the new administration. I’m worried…

11:36am Parked at the corner of Yazoo and West. Walking to the March.

IMG_927212:45pm There was a picture at noon of all marchers on the capital steps. We then heard 2 dynamic speakers, and MARCHED! We stood in front of the governor’s mansion a while and chanted and sang…I’m not sure how many people are here, but it felt like a large crowd, excited and energized to have our voices heard. Now we’re back to the capital steps and listening to additional speakers.

1:15pm We called it quits for this march. I was feeling a little pitiful, plus we had 2 kids who seemed about ready to go as well.

It’s was a great protest, for my first time doing it! Kate and I agree that we’ll definitely be looking for the next one to participate in.

TEDxJackson 2015 – Reflections

photo (1)I was fortunate to attend the TEDx event in Jackson, MS this past week, and several people asked me about my ‘take-away’ from this year’s event. I decided to put together a few reflections here, both to share my experience and to help organize my own thoughts.

The theme of this event was “Liftoff” – with the stated program of “insightful talks full of ideas for propelling our city, our state, and our world to new heights.”

My take-aways from events like this tend to be quite personal. Yes, many of the talks addressed wider topics like city planning and even space exploration, but I typically process information through the prism of my own life. Whether I’m hearing a talk or reading a novel (or even listening to music), my perspective is the same – how do I relate to this? how do I learn from this? how do I apply this to my life? how can this make me better/more fulfilled? what do I want from what I’m taking in?

My biggest take-away, as a compilation of the day – stop wasting your talents and your life. Stop being complacent. Stop simply accepting what you’re handed, and instead seek something better. Seek what you want, what you dream, what you know can be achieved. Stop wasting time. Stop wasting life.

It was a struggle, in my reflections, to hear myself pulling out these thoughts. If I need to stop doing certain things, then it means I have already been doing them. Damn. And if there are things I need to start, then (obviously) it means I’ve ignored these things in past. Damn.

The men and women I listened to on Thursday had one common trait that floated to the surface for me (though they certainly shared much more) – they chased the life they wanted. They chased what they believed to be important. They accepted no substitute. Many of them sought lives and situations they could use to help others, but they applied themselves unwaveringly to achieving their goals. Of course, I knew this already, but I found my time listening to these particular people and their stories hugely inspiring.

A few other things I wrote down during the day:

  • Literature takes us away, but most importantly it brings us home again, settles us…literature works as both escape and empathy. (from comments by the author Katy Simpson Smith)
  • Music is the perfect construct for 21st century learning, since learning music is always experiental. New experiences in life create new neuropathways in the brain – students today literally think differently than those of the past. (from comments by the musician and educator Dr. Robert Blaine)
  • “When an old person dies, a library burns down.” (quoted by the photojournalist, writer, and teacher Alysia Burton Steele, author of Delta Jewels)
  • Think wrong, break the status quo, and you can do something unique and important. (from comments by designer and entrepreneur John Bielenburg)

Once the videos from this event are posted, I plan to share a few of my favorites with some additional thoughts. And I can’t wait to go back next year!