Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Day 17: Book You've Read That Changed Your Views On Something

"When you want something, all the Universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." - Paulo Coelho


The Autobiography of Malcolm X is the single most powerful book I've ever read up until this point of my life. To say it changed my views would be the Understatement of All Understatements. Not only did those 460 pages written by Alex Haley transform my conception of a thing, it pretty much became the bar by which all other views are raised, as far as I'm concerned.

Brother Malcolm was a "G," and that's putting it mildly. Also, his life isn't just a book. It was a full-fledged movement by any means necessary.

That said, and as far as inspiration goes, Paulo Coelho's inspiring read The Alchemist stands to be mentioned in the same breath. Just as Malcolm X refused to be placed inside of society and whomever else's box, Santiago - the main character in Coelho's masterpiece, has a dream that eventually forces him to step outside of the box, and breathe.

Live.

Unless cowardly, everyone experiences moments in our respective lives where we'd been inclined to do as much. Thing is - at times, following your heart can be somewhat tricky and contradict "going for what you know." Your mind, basically. The Alchemist touches upon that sentiment perfectly as Santiago sets out to achieve his dream, while learning about life, love and wisdom along the way.

The universe apparently placed something in Santiago's heart which manifested itself via recurring dreams. Although humble and open-minded, the young boy eventually decides to stop playing it safe in life and take the risk. It isn't easy though, as there are moments amid the journey where he contemplates giving up and turning around. Surprisingly, or not surprisingly, fate intervenes each time help Santiago eventually achieve the dream.

Coelho wrote The Alchemist in only two weeks. The story was already written in his soul, he explained.

Days 15, 16: Something You Could Not Live Without and Something You Could Live Without

"I'm a movement by myself. But I'm a force when we're together." - Fabolous

There are a few things in life I could not live without or - should I  say - would hate to live without: oxygen, Sun, my faith in Jehovah, peace of mind, hope, vision, real money, hustle, good company, good food, good music, good books, hot water, cold water, passion, unconditional love, good pussy, sleep, sports, freedom, AC, remote controls, skittles, and so forth. All of which are fairly obvious things.  For the most part, they are. Though, during the course of every day life, there is yet another thing not as clear as the others. But nearly impossible to go without over a period of 24 hours...

Laughter. 

In all things good in life, there's a fair amount of laughter involved. Think about it. 

Something I could live without? Blocked calls. Nothing good has ever become of a blocked call.


Friday, April 18, 2014

Day 13: Band Or Artist That Has Gotten You Through Some Tough Days (Write A Letter)

"It's real now." - Tupac Shakur

Pac,

Well you're dead, now. 

Finally murdered.

Although somehow I don't think you're too upset with the fact, seeing as how nearly everyone who followed your music understood that you were damn near obsessed with dying. You wished death. But why? You had much to live for. To the day, I wonder the true significance of your existence had you recognized the power of your tongue, being. It's a shame. And hard to believe you - someone who possessed the talent to awaken the spirits of so many of our people, struggled so hard with yours. But I guess that's how it is when you're young, black, not giving a fuck, and never really understanding society nor your place within society. Like we were, it seems. Which is probably the reason why we identified with your music the way we did. The way we still do. I recall the day I heard Soulja's Story and how completely blown away it left me. 

You had the gift. 

But what really did you expect?

Day 14: Hero That Let You Down

"It's time to fight back, that's what Huey said. Two shots in the dark, now Huey's dead." - Tupac Shakur



Huey P. Newton.

Dr. Huey P. Newton.

Activist, radical theorist, co-founder and charismatic leader of the Black Panther Party, founded in response to political brutality and economic strife in the black community. One of the most important political thinkers in the struggle for civil rights. Largely responsible for Oakland-based programs in the 60s and 70s that fed the hungry, taught the youth and discouraged drug abuse. Overcame repression, survived gunshots, imprisonment, and other highly-publicized confrontations with police, government officials...

Only to be murdered on a drug-ridden street corner, by a black man nonetheless, after apparently stealing some fucking crack cocaine. 

You have to be kidding me.



Days 11, 12: Something People Always Seem to Compliment You On and Something You Never Get Compliments On

"It's almost night out, so turn your lights on." - Lupe Fiasco

In the song I'm Beamin', rap artist Lupe Fiasco says, "You see I hood a lot and yeah I nerd some. Hood's where the heart is. Nerd's where the words from. Don't represent either, because I merge 'em." 

I merged them.

This sentiment and all it entails perfectly describes my spirit, energy. In fact, I'm often complimented on how I possess both book and street smarts. I received the former from my educated mom and the latter from my inner-city dad. Add this to the fact that I learned "Old Earth" or that which is referred as common sense from my dad's mom, and it's clear to all that I am The Gray Area. And when I'm on my square: I mean, really and truly positioned at an angle where I fathom the entire 360 degrees - I hardly miss a thing. If stationed too far left or right, I'd probably develop contempt for the other like so many in our black and white society.

The gray area is an intermediate one of the -nth degree, and therefore not clearly one thing or the other. It teaches me to view life differently or more differently. Viewing life differently forces me to think differently which, for whatever reasons, offends many as I'm known to speak my mind the majority of time. Come to think of it, speaking my mind isn't necessarily the problem. We all do this. But telling it like it is - is. While I'm sure there are plenty who honestly don't mind such revolved thought, there are just as many who cannot accept opinions threatening to their own apparently self-righteous indignation. 


Too fearful to allow themselves to color outside of the lines? Too afraid to inner scope? As it turns out, I've told it like it is for so long that I don't even remember like it was.

So it's like I do get compliments on my sonic view, but then again, not hardly.