"We younger Negro artists who create now intend to express our individual dark-skinned selves without fear or shame. If white people are pleased we are glad. If they are not, it doesn’t matter. We know we are beautiful. And ugly too. If colored people are pleased we are glad. If they are not, their displeasure doesn’t matter either. We build our temples for tomorrow, strong as we know how, and we stand on top of the mountain, free within ourselves."
So the above - a basic, quickly-scribbled comic script - was on my mind a few hours ago, and I scribbled it out in part because I wanted touyarambles to see it. Not because it’d be great work or anything (although I think it would be, I dare say). But because it’s something that has been on my mind, and I think I’ve ideally captured one of the things I think he’d say.
Thoughts about this, in brief:
- Once upon a time, if I can share this, Touya and I toyed with the idea of a webcomic. It didn’t work out how he wanted, and as a result never came to fruition, and that was totally my fault. In part, in hindsight, that was because I didn’t know where to start. I had this screwed-up notion in my head that if I just started with a good punchline in the first strip, eventually it would just organically cascade into a well-developed story. Which is not how I write anything else, so why the hell did I make that mistake here?
- So I tried figuring out what it would have had to be about, long after we had already agreed that it probably was never going to happen again no matter how badly we wanted it. And I wanted all the characters we imagined to have some central theme of some sort, some general interpersonal conflict that represented itself in different ways for each of them, that they wrestled with both solo and as a team, and that their attempts brought them closer together and closer to an answer, even if they hadn’t exactly solved all of their problems.
- Randomly, that notion came to mind today:
adulthood. Responsibility. Identity. Purpose. Desire. Drive. Combating the fear of failure, staving off debilitating self-doubt, loving oneself wholly and unashamedly. Because adulthood is hard. If we could all just curl up in bed for months without consequence, we probably would. Sometimes we hate the work we make for ourselves, and sometimes we hate the others we make work for. Sometimes we just want to be kids again. Sometimes we don’t know what to do about something people just expect you to be able to figure out once you’re over eighteen. Sometimes you find yourself in a mess you wouldn’t have even imagined in high school. And worst of all, you eventually kind of realize that all you want is the same no matter what age you are - to be appreciated. And you feel like that’s hard work to pull off. There are no ‘do you like me? y/n’ checkboxes for adulthood.
I like that, I think. Trying to talk about the kinds of fears we have about the responsibilities of adulthood.
Not like that’s something we can tinker with now. I don’t think we have the time. I wish we did. We have other, just as awesome things in store, though - things I have no intention of screwing up.
But I guess I’m really sharing this with Touya for two reasons:
- hey Touya I’m sorry I fucked up and I know I’ve probably killed this idea dead but I think I finally figured out what I wanted to do with it; and
- hey. Touya. This thing here - about making something worthwhile, about being proud of what I make, about sharing it with people I love - is something I learned in part from you. And I value that lesson a lot. Thanks.
1. If it feels wrong, don’t do it.
2. Say “exactly” what you mean.
3. Don’t be a people pleaser.
4. Trust your instincts.
5. Never speak badly about yourself.
6. Never give up on your dreams.
7. Don’t be afraid to say “no”.
8. Don’t be afraid to say “yes”.
9. Resist the need to always have control.
10. Stay away from drama and negativity – as much as possible.
Source: Lessons Learned in Life
"At 19, I read a sentence that re-terraformed my head: “The level of matter in the universe has been constant since the Big Bang.”
In all the aeons we have lost nothing, we have gained nothing - not a speck, not a grain, not a breath. The universe is simply a sealed, twisting kaleidoscope that has reordered itself a trillion trillion trillion times over.
Each baby, then, is a unique collision - a cocktail, a remix - of all that has come before: made from molecules of Napoleon and stardust and comets and whale tooth; colloidal mercury and Cleopatra’s breath: and with the same darkness that is between the stars between, and inside, our own atoms.
When you know this, you suddenly see the crowded top deck of the bus, in the rain, as a miracle: this collection of people is by way of a starburst constellation. Families are bright, irregular-shaped nebulae. Finding a person you love is like galaxies colliding. We are all peculiar, unrepeatable, perambulating micro-universes - we have never been before and we will never be again. Oh God, the sheer exuberant, unlikely face of our existences. The honour of being alive. They will never be able to make you again. Don’t you dare waste a second of it thinking something better will happen when it ends. Don’t you dare."
Mark Twain — master of epistolary snark, unsuspected poet, cheeky adviser of little girls — followed a simple but rigorous routine:
'He would go to the study in the morning after a hearty breakfast and stay there until dinner at about 5:00. Since he skipped lunch, and since his family would not venture near the study — they would blow a horn if they needed him — he could usually work uninterruptedly for several hours. … After dinner, Twain would read his day’s work to the assembled family. He liked to have an audience, and his evening performances almost always won their approval. On Sundays, Twain skipped work to relax with his wife and children, read, and daydream in some shady spot on the farm. Whether or not he was working, he smoked cigars constantly.'"
Starting a conversation to get to know someone or breaking an awkward silence can be very stressful. To start a conversation when you have nothing to talk about, use these guidelines.
1. Introduce yourself if necessary. If you don’t know the person, breaking the ice is very simple: look approachable, tell the new person your name, offer your hand to shake, and smile.
2. Comment on the location or occasion. Look around and see if there is anything worth pointing out. Examples of location or occasion comments include: “This is a gorgeous room!”, or “Great dog!”
3. Ask an open-ended question. Most people love to talk about themselves, and open questions can help with this. These require an explanation for an answer rather than just a simple yes or no. Open questions tend to begin with who, when, what, why, where, and how.
4. Keep the conversation going with small talk. This keeps the conversation light and simple, and helps to establish similarities.
5. Synchronize. Once the other person has started talking, follow his or her cues to keep the conversation going smoothly. Use active listening to reflect what they’re saying and, perhaps, feeling.
6. Helpful techniques and cues to convey your interest include: Say the other person’s name from time to time; give encouraging feedback (by nodding, saying “ah-ha”, “wow’, “oh” “That’s amazing!”, etc.); keep your body language open and welcoming; and make comfortable, genuine eye contact with the person.
7. Be aware of your internal monologue. When you suddenly feel that you’re not able to engage in conversation with someone else, it’s likely that you’re saying negative things to yourself. For example, you may be worrying that you’re boring, not good enough, too unimportant, intruding, wasting their time, and so on. Try to keep in mind that everyone has these self-doubts from time to time.
8. Respond thoughtfully to someone who remains awkward or uncomfortable. If he or she appears withdrawn and uninterested, don’t persist for too long. Try a bit more, and then make the decision to move on and talk to somebody else. Also, be careful not to ask too many questions as they may feel shy discussing themselves.
"Don’t worry about being original, she said dismissively. Yes, everything’s been written, but also, the thing you want to write, before you wrote it, was impossible to write. Otherwise it would already exist. You writing it makes it possible."
Alexander Chen reminisces about studying with the inimitable Annie Dillard, who echoes Mark Twain’s contention that “all ideas are second-hand, consciously and unconsciously drawn from a million outside sources,” Alexander Graham Bell’s assertion that "our most original compositions are composed exclusively of expressions derived from others,” and young Virginia Woolf’s observation that "all the Arts … imitate as far as they can the one great truth that all can see.”