Love, Poets, and a Sip of Tea

5 10 2016
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“A Literary Review”, 2016, EIC: Jordan Macklin, A Colorado Mesa University Publication

I was sitting around at school in a chair that’s just uncomfortable enough that it reminds me that I have somewhere else to be eventually.  The reds and yellows of the chairs and floor offset the plain white wall that reach up to the white ceiling.  I’m caught off guard by a brightly colored book.  It’s covered in neon paint splashes.  The top half: a pair of eyes stare out into the real world.  The bottom half: the words scrawled across, “The Literary Review”.  Okay, I’ve got a little time to stall before I get back to work.

I crack open this, what I assume to be freshly printed, book.  It’s published by my school and filled with students’ works.  It’s sorted by sections; Fiction, non-fiction, theater, poetry, etc..  A few photographs and drawings filled in between sections.  Poetry was the first section, and as I’m clearly the kind of guy that does things in an organized matter (that’s sarcasm for those who don’t know me), I started there.  I thumbed through the pages.  It was a small collection, but as I stopped and glanced from poem to poem, I saw the same themes in every single one.  Nearly each containing a regret, a lament, or even a loathing for the world they found themselves in.  I find it disheartening that my generation finds itself lost in uncertainty and imperfection.

“I was built to break.
Not to meticulously pick apart,
Not to solve
Scenes as fine-spun as her.”

Fecundity, Shannon Kay Spoon, The Literary Review, 2016

Poetry and stories have always been a form of self-expression;  whether the intent of the the author is to be as such.  I’ve written some depressing stuff before too, and so I get it.  I get that sometimes the only outlet is to write.  However; there is a pattern here that seems impossible to ignore.  Each presumably submitted as their best works, their showcase, the art that they want to be remembered.  Do we prefer to revel in the darkness and din of our own wandering?  have we forgotten the beauty of life and love?20151006_184804

Yesterday, my mother asked me: “How do you know you love her?” I’d prepared for this answer for months with almost certainty that someone would eventually ask.  With skill and precision and with near perfect recital, having been as prepared as I was (once again… sarcasm), I said: “you know, I can’t really explain it.”  My mom has a cherish-able habit of asking me deep personal questions when I’m strapped down into a seat and unable to escape… perhaps I deserve that fate.   But anyway, there I was, unable to give an explainable answer.  I couldn’t describe it.  I know with absolute certainty that it’s true, and will forever remain so; but I couldn’t explain it.

It seems easier for people to explain feelings of angst and uncertainty than it is to explain beauty or joy.  We’ve become accustomed to analyzing suffering and despair.  People have made livings on telling what’s wrong with the picture.  With answers ‘they’re depressed’, ‘they were mentally unstable’, ‘their environment wasn’t allowing them to succeed’ we seem to have been indoctrinated that in order to be happy we must understand why people are not.  We look at our worldly pains and study them, we adapt to them, and in a sick and twisted way, we’ve melded to them.  The idea of ‘expressing ourselves’ often comes out as “this is why I/the world sucks.”

*pauses… sips tea… resets perspective.

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The Irony in my message today is the bleak outlook I may have painted of the matter.  This is anything but true!  I take issue with this, not because “you’re poems suck, and you’re a terrible person,” but because I know that the world we live in is full of good things.  The words we speak or write need not be tainted with negativity, as our ‘outlet’ to feel, but they should rather fill us with hope and longing to improve our condition.

Take joy my friends.  Dance among the stars! Yes, a moment of grief and solitude may be needed, but don’t forget that it is not a life worth living by itself.  Singers: Sing of the summer rain and the flowers of spring.  Dancers: dance with the heart of a warrior, and the grace of an angel.  Painters: imprint on us the bold colors of life.

Poets and writers, a special creed I offer to you: Loose your shackles of bitterness and regret.  Oh scribes of our souls, heed not the warnings of fear and despair.  Adventure forth into the world, peering into the corners of our furthest hopes.  Grow not weary or disheartened.  Seek through mire of hopelessness.  For all can already see what is clearly in front of us.  Seek deeper, wander farther, share with the world what it does not know.  May your works bring wonder and awe to all who see.  Do not find peace in serenity of hopelessness.  Find it instead in the words of the kind, the brave, the virtuous, and the wise.  Be those words.

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Modern social media and the transformation of news reporting. Part 1.

22 01 2015
Calvin and Hobbes Comic Strip, January 22, 2015 on GoComics.com.

Calvin and Hobbes Comic Strip, January 22, 2015 on GoComics.com.

 

Calvin and Hobbes Comic Strip, January 22, 2015 on GoComics.com.


I think it’s time I address a certain opinion of mine.  Bear in mind that this is my own opinion and in no way reflects the opinions of that of the NFL®… wait wrong caveat.  Anyway… moving on.

I’ve had, in recent months, had the opportunity to listen to the radio, a lot more than I had ever expected.  This is greatly due to the general apathy towards plugging in my phone to my cars sound system as I travel to and from work and school.  This has led me to listening to some interesting radio commentary.  Mostly about either news related to the hilariously stupid things people do, to the more serious: seriously grotesquely stupid things people do… which seems to be most news these days.  I know many of you already know my opinions on “shock-news”, and if you don’t: I abhor it (also… I need to put a dictionary in here because I seem to enjoy using unusual words).  The Idea of targeting your audience based on what will shock them into reading your article is ridiculous and I believe that it panders to the uninformed.  However, there is some legitimacy to modern news, as I believe that people should be informed of current events.  Also however, again, I feel like “current events” have become too commonplace as we are now way too connected, and have lost the ability to communicate on a higher level.  Here’s what I mean by this:

Here in the modern age we have become accustomed to the ability to share information so freely that even a passing thought should be shared (i.e. status updates and tweets).  The instantaneous nature of these “updates” leads people to brashly inform their audience without proper thought and care put in.  This also leads to these “shock-news” events I spoke of earlier.  Our senses have been dulled by the over-stimulation of information and we feel the urge to “shock” our senses with new and startling information.  Unfortunately, as I observe this phenomenon from, what I hope to be a far-off distance, I see it seeping into other media forms outside of social networking.  In a way, I wish I could un-invent the internet, and reinstate newspapers, television/radio news, and good ole’ fashioned letters as the formal means of gathering accurate information.

One reason for this is that much like a doctor or a pilot, journalists really are trained in their profession.  I wouldn’t trust an internet source for medical diagnosis (there’s an app for that by the way), so why should I for accurate information on an event?  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read an article of information on (let’s say for fairness sake) “Tublfacetwitagramterist-tube”, about a current event and people always… ALWAYS seem to jump to some conclusion, and within an hour or so, as they collect further information they seem to have to backtrack their statements.  So between preemptive conclusions and trying to shock me into reviewing your article, I’ve grown bitterly disinterested and jaded against news sources in general.  Ironically this observation that I make is based on a “first-pass” view of the situation and may (or may not) be jumping to conclusions.  But I feel that many of you may agree with this viewpoint.

Lastly, before I try and conclude on a high note, I would like to note that it seems like every opinion on every subject needs to be expressed by every individual.  This is, I think, due to, once again, the instantaneous ability to post on social media.  If I may label this phenomena in my own words I would label it as: “unneeded, opinionated sentiment”.  Or in other words: every individual has an opinion of something, even if that opinion is: “I choose to ignore it, as I deem it irrelevant to my current state of being”.  And in this over-saturated culture, we feel the necessity to express every thought and idea in some way or another (mostly through “social media”).   I’m actually rather torn between pushing that “publish” button and deleting this whole post, as I feel like the irony would drive me mad.

The good news is that I see hope for the future of news media.  There are indeed advantages to mass communication through mixed social media.  Such as; the ability to receive feedback (if you filter through the un-needed banter of people’s poorly-structured criticisms and un-reserved opinions) or; the ability ensure that you’re reaching the audience you intend to reach.   I do in-fact value the ability for people to create useful dialog about current events and philosophies of life.  Unfortunately, the anonymity of the World Wide Web, has created an environment for people to express opinions without first, pondering the outcome of their thought.  For as I see it: Thoughts have results.  If you think something, something comes of it.

As I type without regard to maintaining subject matter, I realize that I mentioned earlier about radio programming before I got off on one of my normal social media tangents.  And that is: that radio has very recently adopted this idea of inundation of useless information.  Political opinion talk shows have, for an even longer time, been “hot topics” and although I listen to them rarely myself, when my grandparents play them in my presence I’m almost impressed by their (the radio host’s) disinterest in others’ opinions.  I a little put off by the fact that when people call in they (specifically Rush Limbaugh), rarely let the caller finish their statement, but other than that, I almost admire the idea of: “your opinion is not important anymore”.  It brings to mind that opinions are just that: opinions; and that they don’t necessarily need to be addressed by everyone.

On the same vein, there’s a radio show that I really like to listen to, that’s all about cynicism.  And although I really enjoy it, I’ve realized that they, even on the radio, have a knack for creating this “shock news”.  For example: they like to talk about some “interesting” story about a fat person in Wal-Mart “and you’ll never believe what they did next!”… Or they’ll pander to the “culture stories”, which nowadays, seems to always be about something someone or some animal did, that’s cute.

So now inlays the irony… as I push that publish/post button; I realize that my opinions on opinion-generated news and information are just that: Ironic.  But hopefully, unlike modern mass communication trends, my opinion is not just a fleeting thought posted instantly and anonymously, but rather: well-constructed and meaningful.  With the intent of thoughts bringing about useful results.

That being said, I encourage you, if you have a counter-point to bring up, construct a well thought-out idea and contact me about it.  And before I begin another rant/tangent on the use of “buzz words”, I hope to leave you all with some value garnered from my typographic ramblings.

 

Thank you,

Kyle

 

P.S. If you haven’t notice by now, my choice of words may seem sesquipedalian in nature (sesquipedalian meaning: a person who uses long words).  But I rather enjoy expressing my full use of the English dictionary.  And as such, I see no reason to create content that includes vocabulary of a higher-level education.  It is in no way an intention of seeming smarter than I actually am or making my writing seem somehow more important… it’s just how I choose to write.  If you feel like my choice of words is snobbish, unnecessary or, dare I say, grandiose; please… *sigh* leave your opinion in my inbox, as I would love to have an educated conversation with you about it.  Otherwise I could also suggest expanding your vocabulary, or read something set for a lower reading level.  I would also like to note, lastly, that: No, I didn’t use a thesaurus to replace words at random, and, for the most part, was intentional in my word choice.  Thank you.





Control

15 03 2013

A couple of things I’d like to point out.  First, I have a new-found respect for “most” law enforcement here on the western slope of Colorado.  In Delta, police responded to a student bringing a loaded gun onto a middle-school campus.  The officers solution to preventing future incidents? Parents need to lock their guns.  They did NOT say anything about how people shouldn’t have guns at all.  Mostly, because that would be stupid.  But our government seems to like the idea.  In fact, there’s a “coalition” (of sorts), of Sheriffs here in Colorado standing up for our rights when it counts most.

Now I’m not a “gun nut”.  And although I believe that these new gun legislation’s are the the wrong way to accomplish the goal that they say it will.  There is, as always, a deeper issue.  In my opinion, it comes down to this: We, as a nation, are demanding (either passively, or directly) that our government take care of us.  We want the government to say how much we make a year, who can go to college and who cant, how many bullets we can have for our guns (if it’s a matter of magazine size, I’ll just carry another one).  They’re even dictating, how our children should be educated.

Why then, do we act so surprised when the government tries to control what we do? They see problems, and because nobody else is willing to work on it, they’re putting in laws to try and take care of the problem.  Take the above story for example.  The easiest “blanket” solution, is to just take away guns.  or say: “Adults with children in their household are not allowed to have firearms”.  That would take care of the problem… although it would be probably one of the poorest contrived ideas ever.

There is a thin line, between protecting us from things that we cannot take care of ourselves (like terrorism, school-shootings, and national emergencies).  And whatever laws we put in place, they will still happen.  however, if a burglar tries breaking into my house, I’ll be glad to know that I can take care of the problem.

Another point has to do with the New York rule that, thankfully, got shut down this week about soda cup size.  REALLY!??! they’re logic is that people are fat, and need to be regulated apparently like cattle, at a feed trough.  It’s not the soda’s or the restaurants fault.  Lets just put everyone in a non-offensive, grey, gender neutral jumpsuit, and put them on a regulated regimen of diet and exercise in a government provided propaganda… I mean… “re-education” facility.  The problem with most over-weight people, is that they simply do not care.

It’s come down to this: people only care about themselves.  And when they chase after their own interests they’ll find themselves going in circles.  what are we going to ask the government to control next? our emotions (please reference the movie: Equilibrium)?  who we can or can-not marry (I’ll comment on this at a later time)? Who should or should not live?