Wednesday, April 5, 2017

D is for Dare to Share

Discourse on hot trending topics often draws attention to what is being discussed. 

You ever find yourself bedazzled by a topic? So, you put your whole heart into it believing what is being said to be true only to find out that some parts of it are, but not all of it is factual.
It nearly broke my heart when I was driving up to Harlem for a choir rehearsal one evening a few years back, when a friend of mine called me on the phone to tell me that she saw on twitter that Michael Jackson had passed away. Social media seems the way to stay anchored on the current events happening all over the world these days. Or is it?

I remember during childhood playing this game telephone with my friends. The game went like this. The person at the start of the line said a word or phrase into the nearest person’s ear and then that person passes it along until the message is spread down to the end of the line. Though the phrase might have been simple, no two people recapped it the same. And then the last person said something totally out of left field that didn’t even sound similar to what was said when the telephone game started. And then you have the news.



Yeah, I guess people want to focus on what matters and when they see something trending on a topic that is either breaking news, a story of a situation that ignited on the streets of Baltimore or a death of a celebrity, it might stoke the flames of curiosity and cause a person to be drawn in. The story could have started with someone well-known being seen entering a hospital, the story becomes that the same individual got hit by a car and is in critical condition and then the next time the story is recanted, it speaks of the person's death, though that person is very well alive and might have simply walked into the hospital to visit a friend. What’s the source? Facebook. Who said it? TMZ.

I guess like the effects of poetry on a reader, each reader has their own interpretation of what the poet wrote. And like jazz, no two people will ever play the same groove in the same way because everyone expresses themselves in their own free and artistic way, though they might be playing the same song. Is this also the case of so-called “fake news?” Can we actually dive into a social media page and let the trending news topics take the spotlight in our minds? Is news that is shared journalistically, the same?


Oh, here we go, another Donald Trump tweet! A new day and another sad event that happened in the world to make your stomach turn and add to your deluge of doubt is trending. Oh, your favorite artist’s name is a current hashtag trend and you have to ponder its mysteries when they say that the person died. Did they? Information seems to always be there right at your disposal; but how much truth is actually being scampered out? What did the witness of the event actually say? Dare to share? 

If this post interested you, the following books might intrigue your mind as well.










Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate and was not paid to write this post nor will I be compensated for any of the literary components provided here. I will however receive compensation if you should decide to click on the Amazon products listed here and purchase the product. 

Friday, March 17, 2017

Chronicles of an Angry Driver


Chronicles of an Angry Driver 

I remember when I was younger and tried to learn how to ride a bicycle. It seemed interesting back then to balance myself over two wheels; but the fact that it could get me around the block so fast and in such a fun way, I found it fascinating.

Then what was good was destroyed.

I was riding down the block one day, on a day when bicycling on the sidewalks of New York City, was welcomed, I rode around the corner and bumped head on into a person also walking along the sidewalk that I did not see. From then on, that motif of life ended and I lived my life in other patterns, never really bike riding again.

Driving Times

I remember going to take the test to receive my driver’s permit. We all had to take this test to determine our mind-readiness for driving. I got every question right except for one which was about bicycling. I had not known til that day that bicyclists are supposed to obey the traffic laws because I’d never seen a bicyclist do it.


REALLY?

You're driving through a green light and boom, here comes a bicyclist whipping past that you almost hit because they dodged past you as if they were running to catch a train that was about to pull out of the station.

Or, You're in the intersection about to turn left going east bound with another driver also turning left going west bound while other cars going north and south keep moving and a bicyclist coming from east just cuts through the traffic and come in between the two turning left cars almost to have caused a terrible major accident.

Or, You're at a red light and a bus is turning and a young kid looking at his phone while riding to cross the street failed to lift his head to see the bus turn and gets pulled underneath by the bus.


WHAT?


I actually thought about getting on a bike again and moving around NYC. It's great exercise. It can get you around more efficiently then a car.  It keeps you moving. Then I remembered that I am a NYC driver, an angry one at that. It was almost as if the thought just grabbed a travel case and flew right on out of my brain. I can’t seem to erase the residue of all the horror stories I witnessed, almost hitting a  bicyclist who didn’t follow the traffic laws.


WELL...

So if you are going to be a NYC driver, be careful. It is not easy. You are driving with taxi drivers who will skip two lanes and cut you just short of hitting your car just to get a passenger. You are driving with people who feel like 25 mph in ice and snow is too slow, keeps beeping at you and then angrily drives on the oncoming traffic side just to pass you and speed at 50 mph on the city streets. You are driving with people texting and looking at their phones instead of the roads where a bicyclist is riding down a block going in the opposite way of traffic, past a hidden driveway that also hides the bicyclist from the driver’s peripheral; even worse if looking at the phone and failed to see him.



If you are going to be a NYC bicyclist, the roadways are supposed to be shared, not taken for you to decide I’m gonna ride my bike 10 mph in front of a car, though you have a bike lane and not care; because people with road rage will not take it lightly. Be careful of those drivers in a rush to get where they need to be. And when you decide that you do not have to follow the rules of the road, hopefully a driver under the influence, (my six hour class instructor said every three drivers are under the influence), might not be the one to go through a light unconscious of the fact that they are even driving and hit you, now knowing; or because they were texting and didn’t see you.

We can all ride joyfully in the sun’s rays if we keep each other, bicyclists, drivers, pedestrians, in mind. Confidence may be your strength and you may want to flex the new acrobatic tricks you learned to do while pedaling. Leave that for the parks. The major thoroughfares are really not for that. Neither is it for a person cutting every car while going 90MPH on a road where everybody is trying to keep 55 mph at least and not speed. Let’s keep the roads safe.


The melody of the thoroughfares will still linger on. Just a little bit sweeter. Let’s make the driving and riding experiences sweeter for each other. 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Writer is Always Reading . . .Criticism

They say that the writer is always reading and the reader is always writing.  And then you read comments on things you write and sometimes wonder what you did so wrong and it often leaves you discouraged? At least me, anyway. 

I will not be sucked dry by people who make me doubt the things I choose to write about. I will not accept drama served on a plate by those who I support who look at me as if it is a burden because they dislike the fact that just like them, I am on a journey, even if we are not pursuing the same things. I will not allow intruders to enter into my spirit and break me away from my joy because they feel that what I have to offer is not something that interests them.

I too meander through traffic of things that do not benefit my life at all, just because I would want to receive it as effortlessly as I give it. I can’t stop folks from feeling annoyed because I talk about the same thing all the time. You can give a sharp nod of understanding to someone who owns no pets, has no kids, does not really care about toys, Beauty and the Beast, what is on sale at Walmart or baseball bats and still am happy to be exposed to it without feeling as if it is a threat to my day, because I love to read. 

I share my favorite pastime because it is heartwarming for me. I sometimes ache in wanting acceptance. But who doesn’t? I inspire my own faith and hope. But if not me, than who?

You may not realize how hard it is to share what you conceive with the world and hope that it is well received by others, to have ricocheted back in a response, in not so many words, how much of a waste of time it was to do the same thing I do for their journey. But I do it. I sing. I write songs amd I write about my experiences as an entertainer. I am slightly matted into love with the art of it and it gives me deep enjoyment, like a pet lover who loves his dog and shares dog food recipes that I will never feed to a pet that I’ll never have. Yet, I attend to all that is going on because when ideas float freely, you might be inspired by something you saw or read. I don’t wait in open arms to know what great bargains was found at the Dollar Tree, what is going on at a theme park I probably will never visit or about eating the largest hamburger to ever put to a human’s mouth. But I come across it and participate in acknowledging and receiving what it is that is being offered as an unbiased reader because the writer of what is being read, pushed to be their very best and felt that it was something worth sharing.

I write because I love to write. I write because there is a story dying to be written. I write
because it makes me feel human. And I write because that is a part of who I am.

I read because I love to read. I love to jot down ideas. I love to see how someone else phrases something. It is not the topic, it is the writer. It is not the subject, it is the paragraphs. It is not the main idea, it’s the sentences.


This is the life of writing in my opinion. The writer is always reading and the reader is always writing.  

Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Now Moment

Give yourself fully to the adventure of today
(Sarah Young)


1 day = 24 hours = 1440 minutes = 83400 seconds
1 year = 365 days = 8760 hours = 525600 minutes = 3153600 seconds

More times than I can count, I have suffered the blows of everyday life. At the end of many of those days, after spending time worrying, all it gained me was time spent unacknowledged. It’s been my experience where I spent time being over-dramatic over falling during my exodus from my youth and saw my fall as a fatality, with my own blood on the ground, instead of seeing the bright side of the pit stops I made falling forward into new opportunities and successes with the new repertoire of knowledge and skills I gained from falling.


We don’t receive wisdom;
we must discover it for ourselves
after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us
(Marcel Proust).



Over the course of my life, I have had memories of both good and bad reverberate across the decades of my life. But the bad seem to linger forever.


If you have lived 35 years, you have seen
12775 days = 306600 hours = 18396000 minutes = 1103760000 seconds.

Make sure those billions of seconds of life include hope in possibilities, a mustard seed of faith, forgiveness for your past experiences, hurdling over rejection and climbing mountains, moments of pure joy, self-love, familial, neighborly and agape love, seeing and knowing with your own eyes and senses more than just your back and front yard, floating with interest into the day full of new mercies to pursue without running away from truly living it, aroused trust in your abilities, knowing that you are so very, loved and blessed and, with a reason to smile.

He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart
(Psalm 91:4)


The Bible says that God loves is more plentiful than all the grains of sand on the earth combined. One cup of sand has seven billion grains of sand in it. Do you know how tremendous that really is? 

It means that you, the wonderfully, fearfully made is nothing short of extravagant. It means that if you think you have no one on your side, you always have someone in those 525600 minutes, roaring support. Don’t let one day pass by without truly entertaining the joys of the gift of the new set of 24. Be fully present in the moment and enjoy it as much as you were uniquely created to. 

Have a wonderfully blessed weekend!


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Clumsillinia Needs a Remedy




The phrase goes something like this: "talk to the hand 
because the face ain’t listening." 

The saying is true for me today. 
My hand is in need of a really great conversation. 

Why?



I went from soft, inexperienced hand in 2016 to
- Sliced in half while peeling squash
- Deeply Stabbed with a box cutter 
while I was cutting boxes for recycling
-carpel tunnel because I still use a pen and paper to write epics
and lately I have been trying to play the piano more often and I have smaller hands than Gary Coleman.


and then the worst...



- I took a pot out of the oven, and just a few seconds later 
and without even realizing or considering 
how hot the metal would really be, 
I wrapped my hand around its metal handle 
and my hand fried in pain for the rest of the day. 

Is my hand trying to tell me something? I can't afford to hurt it anymore. Maybe my nickname is Clumsillinia and I didn't know it until today. Do I need to practice Ambidextronomy. That is a word; I made it up! It is in the new lexicon, 
The JNote Dictionary: the 2017 edition


So my question is...


Is butter an old wives tale or the real deal? What about vaseline; would it do the same trick? What is a great remedy to prevent all the skin on my hand that was severely burned from peeling?  My writing hand. My typing hand. My right hand hand. 

Any suggestions?

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Cold Turkey

The gleam in my eyes sparkled as I saw an opportunity to bum a loosey off the oncoming smoker. I had this passionate love with Newports and I was not going to let another smoker pass by without giving me one. I had been gripped to the affair with cigarettes from high school and from then it turned into a pack and a half a day romance.


Do you know how many cigarettes that really is? Each pack has 20 in it which means, it took 30 cigarettes to satiate my craving. Thank God it was back then when packs were about $2.25. Whew! 

I started becoming aware that I loved it more than I should, noticing that I needed one every 45 minutes. I strategically planned each break by the cigarette that could satisfy my craving. 

It had this endearing trait, I thought, and it continued to wrap my attention as would a great book. Was it a deep character flaw of mine or was it just one of those things that pasted a smile on my face that made smoking become a part of my daily grind?

Family and friends tried to compel me to think differently about cigarettes, telling me that it was not the thing for me. I was living in a social landscape where I felt as if everyone was against me and my relationship with the stogie. Then I started feeling as if I had to hide our alone time just so I could be around others without them judging me, though the pungent aroma told a different story that I couldn’t lie about. That was when the nuance of emotions that had me clinging to Newports started to loosen its hold on me.

Though I struggled with many attempts to let it go, I just decided I did not want to do it anymore, put the cigarettes down and never went back to it. I think the easiest way to give up something you want to eliminate out of your life is to do it cold turkey. Now when I get around someone who is smoking, over ten years later since I had me last smoke, the aroma of the cigarette turns my stomach.

If you are like me, maybe you struggle with climbing mountains to make that change from smoker to non-smoker; here are some ideas that might help to to contain the urge:

1. Whenever you feel tempted for a stogie which for me was every 45 minutes, have a piece of chewing gum, candy or a snack instead.

2. If you are stressed out at your desk and your relief tends to be a smoke, why not use the time to engage in a conversation with someone in-person or on the phone. Take a walk with you friend if you are used to moving away from your desk since that has been your routine.

3. Don’t focus on the hope of the next cigarette break. Instead, engage in an audio book and focus your mind on that. Might help you to forget if you are listening to something biographical, action-packed or romantic.

Some other things I quit cold turkey are

Alcohol Drinking . . . (I Was Once an alcoholic)
Doubting in my Singing and Songwriting Ability
Believing what Naysayers Think
Allowing Church Folks to Drive Me Away From Church

How about you? Care to share? What had its grip on you that you eliminated out of your life and are thankful for? I tell you; the list-making of things like this, only increases self-love and awareness of how much of a powerful individual you really are. 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

For the Love of Ornette

Interested in hearing some beautiful sounds of jazz? 


Check out  bassist, Jamaaleadeen Tacuma's 

"For the Love of Ornette." 



It is an album of jazz where you can hear nine tunes dedicated to the legendary jazz saxophonist; many of the selections which feature saxophonist Ornette Coleman himself. Also, you can hear New York's own, composer and pianist, Yoichi Uzeki doing his piano magic on this fantastic recording.


Get your copy at Amazon.com here: For the Love of Ornette

Speaking of Yoichi . . . 


By the way, if you missed the wonderful interview between program producer and radio show hos Stephanie Jeannot and Yoichi Uzeki, please feel free to listen to the entire program which has been posted onto Soundcloud. 



It was an awesome hour of cool vibes, music and powerful discussion worth listening to. You can check it out here: https://soundcloud.com/stephanay-jnote/jazz-on-the-jnote-yoichi-uzeki-hour