I’m out of here: Friday Fictioneers

PHOTO PROMPT © Na’ama Yehudah

Word Count 100

The taxi was finally here. My bags are packed. I know I am leaving a lot behind, but I need to get out. I can’t live with the violence anymore. The coming home late and pissed, then the shouting, things getting broken. The children asleep, or pretending to be, upstairs. I can’t handle them being afraid anymore.

So I am leaving. He has told me many a time to leave.  He and the children will be better off without me if I was to continue drinking. I left a note. First stop Central, then detox. I WILL be well again.

 

  • Domestic violence is never ok. I wanted to write a story that reflected that, but I wanted to highlight the mostly hidden domestic violence scenario of the man being abused, and the woman being the abuser. This does not discount that mostly it is women who are on the receiving end of that abuse.

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Boats and balloons


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Man and beast

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Lost portraits

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Birds from the lost sketchbook.

A recovered sketchbook revealed some pictures including these birds. My favorite is the emus. I will do this one in acrylics. These are done in watercolour pencils.

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Dragonfly progression picture

I am painting a dragonfly this afternoon but the bloody thing won’t keep still.

Here is a progression pic. Will post the finished product in the next few days

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Literature movements of the twentieth century

preview

The twentieth century saw the rise and fall of Literary groups, as different perspectives on importance had become realised. After the first world war, many groups wanted to distance themselves from the mainstream. Artists and musicians also aligned themselves with literary movements. This essay seeks to summarise these movements or separatist groups and explain why each was unique.

A change in literature really took place during the First World War, with poets either being realistic, showing the true horrors of war, or trying to gloss over the details, promoting the romanticism of fighting for ideals.

The Dadaist movement was a movement where sense and nonsense were both considered of equal value. Kafka told a story of a man becoming a bug in the Metamorphosis. It made no sense of course, however his brilliance was shown in his ability to write nonsensical content. The Dadaist movement used exercises which took words of a known piece of literature or even a newspaper article and rearrange the words to make a nonsense verse. In this way it defined its group and made it unique.

The surrealist movement was a natural progression from the Dada movement. Rather than emphasise sense however, it was aligned with Freud to explore conscious and unconscious states and used exercises which promoted writing without thought, putting pen to paper and letting whatever came out to flow (BRETON et al.). The Surrealists also used collaboration in exercises. This collaboration involved members writing a sentence or phrase following another, without knowing the context of the sentence before. These were amusing for members, but it also helped Andre Breton to define the movement.

Breton was somewhat of a bully and dictator within the movement which he claimed to have founded. He wrote the Surrealist Manifesto, stating what was and was not acceptable to the group. He used this manifesto to exclude members who did not line up with his own ideals. Breton did not like the novel and longer works. It was perhaps socialism and communism which caused rifts within the group to see it dissipate.

The existentialist movement was primarily interested in self, and his own existence or the importance of it. The games, puzzles and exercises which the surrealists used were not active within this group. Paul Satre was far removed from some of the ideas of the surrealist movement. Satre praised the novel and longer works as utilitarian but poems as useless. He did not see the point of writing for writing sake (Elsby).

The Beat Generation arose from the existential movement and protested against the commercialisation of society. Commercialism and consumerism being the focus of the general public following World War Two.  This group came together to discuss ideas in cafes and bookshops and again didn’t really use games, puzzles or exercises to define their group. The beats did not censor themselves or their writings and much of their work was banned in some countries and heavily censored in others. This made it very attractive to younger people who were also rebelling against the society norms.

The beat generation was instrumental in the 60’s hippy movement as it promoted free love, in any form, and the use of mind-altering drugs. The hippy movement also believed in protesting, but their protest was aligned much against violence and war. While this movement was not necessarily considered a literary movement, some very poignant poetry was written in this era, much of which was used for the cross purpose of music and song. Bob Dylan for example was recently given a Nobel prize for literature for his work which encompassed not only his poetry but also his songs.

If one were to investigate the lives of those prominent in literature groups up till this time, one would see not only eccentricity of some members but also a rebellious nature. The use of mind and consciousness altering drugs was prevalent during these eras, and it was only in the early seventies that this attitude changed. Opiates and acid-based narcotics were preferred until this time, whereas from the 70’s drug culture changed to a more organic base, being hemp and marijuana as the drug of choice. In 1970, after John Lennon split from the Beatles, he wrote ‘The dream is over in his song God following the symbolic end of the hippy movement at Altamont and Woodstock.

It was during this time that the Oulipo movement was created. It continues to this day. What made the Oulipo movement different from others, is that they are disciplined far more than previous movements. The movement aligns mathematics with literature forming strict constraints which members of the movement are encouraged to adhere to in their writing (Queneau, and Stump). All members have input into the group monthly, with all members having equal value. Membership of the group is for life. No member can be expelled for differing views, and although members can choose to become non-active, their work is still considered valuable to the group (Roubaud). This group also differs from earlier movements in that they place no value on the use of drugs or mind-altering substances to enhance their writing. The membership of this group is very exclusive, however public readings are given for those who have an interest in their practices.

Each month new constraints are proposed to be adopted by the members. These are mostly a marriage between arithmetic and literature with an example being the N+7 exercise (Roubaud). This asks the coherent to take a known work and replace each noun with the seventh noun following it in a dictionary. Of course, constraints of this kind can be altered or adapted for a particular work or use. The importance is not on the actual code, but the adherence to a mathematical alignment to literature text.

In modern times many literature groups have been birthed. Community groups are common adopting some exercises from earlier groups and creating their own. Fellowships of writers have emerged to offer critiques of unfinished works prior to them being sent to publishers and online groups which promote the use of constraints in style, content and time.

Each writing group has had agendas which have defined their parameters and engaged its members with exercises to enforce them. Each group has sought to separate itself from the mainstream literature circles of the time, thus creating a separatist group. With the coming of a new century, one hopes a new mindset is now in place for groups to be inclusive and welcoming, promoting literature in all forms.

Works cited

BRETON, André Robert et al. Manifestoes Of Surrealism. PDF given as class notes.

Elsby, Charlene. Clio. 46th ed., Purdue University, 2017, p. Introduction to the special issue, “Existentialism and Literature, https://www.academia.edu/39876070/Introduction_to_the_special_issue_Existentialism_and_Literature_. Accessed 9 June 2020.

Queneau, Raymond, and Jordan Stump. Letters, Numbers, Forms. University Of Illinois Press, 2007.

Roubaud, Jacques. The Oulipo And Combinatorial Art. 1991, Accessed 9 June 2020.

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White is NOT a metaphor for power. They just think it is. Black Lives Matter

Revisit: White is a metaphor for power

https://s00156364.wordpress.com/2017/10/08/white-is-a-metaphor-for-power-james-baldwin/

I wrote a post a couple of years ago about James Baldwin, and White is a Metaphor for Power.

The main push for equal rights for ALL MEN and WOMEN in America was during the civil rights movement of the 1960’s. African American people were treated badly before then to say the least. But now, over 50 years later, what has changed?James Baldwin | Who Speaks for the Negro?

It is worse now to be African American, and American in general than ever before in the past. The violence shown to African American people and the prejudice against them has never before been so bad, and that includes the times of the KKK. When the KKK were most prominent, it was after the abolitionist movement and the civil war. Primarily though, the violence then was contained in the southern states. Now it is all over. The violence back then was somewhat primitive. Now, there are all manner of weapons being used, and more African Americans are being killed.

Being any other shade or colour than white in America now, brings fear, insecurity, and anticipated need for recording and retaliation. I have heard men say that when being pulled over, they stop under the brightest street light, so the camera in their car, on their phone, or wherever else can capture the whole thing, in anticipation that they are going to be discriminated against and even violently treated by law enforcement officers.

People are out protesting against this treatment, and what do you think a response should be from the leaders? Certainly not put law enforcement and army and others against them. People should be able to protest peacefully, but they are angry. Rightfully so. Some are so incensed by this treatment, that the protesters themselves get loud and even violent towards those who have caused the problems. The Law enforcement officers need to stand back where the protests are peaceful, and not interfere. I applaud the officers who have knelt with protesters in solidarity with their cause.The George Floyd protests are sparking a surprising debate in ...George Floyd protests live updates | Minneapolis, US riots ...

Lets talk about international conflicts just for a minute. When there is a dispute between two civilized countries, the first step is diplomacy. The next step is sanctions  economical, social and political. It takes a lot of steps before one country feels that the only way to resolve the issue is by violence.

This is not the case internally in the United States. When the first sign of trouble came, the leaders sent the riot squads in, then the army, and now i see there are even people who are without insignia or identification on their uniforms standing against civilians and citizens of the country.US 'vulnerable' to accusations of hypocrisy, as China and Iran ...

The actions of the President and other leaders is deplorable. I saw a contrast of two pictures earlier today. One where President Obama has his sleeves rolled up and is walking with protesters. The other of President Trump, walking alone with riot squad soldiers on either side of him while he goes to a church, not to pray but to get photos taken. You can make your own conclusions.Obama, at Selma Memorial, Says, 'We Know the March Is Not Yet Over ...

What is going to appease the people in this time of crisis? A change in policies and practices of those who have caused such a problem. A public apology from those who are in positions that can change this systemic problem. Not confrontation with violent armed “enemy”.

Now I must talk to the leaders of the protesters. You need to talk diplomatically with the leaders of the police, and if possible, the President. You need to show leadership to save the ones you lead from further harm against people who don’t seem to have any compassion.

I must address the problem of looting. Looting from private citizens, store owners, or publicly listed companies does nothing but hurt your cause. Looters are not part of your protest against injustice, they are opportunistic criminals, who take advantage of the mayhem for personal gain. They do nothing to promote the cause or address the injustice. I don’t expect anyone to turn them in to the police. That would be just stupid, giving up people to be subject to the anticipated abuses. I do however, expect the leaders of the protesters to deal harshly with those who seek personal advantage, stealing and destroying non-public property using your protests as a smokescreen.Luxury stores looted by rioters in the US after George Floyd killing

Again, like my original post on James Baldwin, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King jnr, I tell you I have regrets about my skin colour and what it represents. The narrative needs to be changed. White should not be and never be a metaphor for power. With your current leadership in that country, I say good luck.

But come November you have a choice.  Please choose to exercise your democratic right to vote. Voting is your voice to the leadership that you will not tolerate things as they are.

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The offering: Friday Fictioneers

PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

Word Count 100

I always ate my lunch on the same bench, under the same tree. I watched the dogs catch frisbee and the kids chasing them trying to get it back. There were birds here. One particular bird would swoop down. We had an agreement. He would keep all the other birds away while I ate. I didn’t like begging birds that hovered around your feet for the smallest morsel that fell.  When I finished eating, I would leave the offering. It would be eaten gratefully, and the clever bird would put the paper in the bin while I returned to work.

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Crimson’s Creative Challenge: Taylor’s Cottage

 

There was nothing scary about old Mr Taylor. He was my friend until he died last year. All the other kids used to creep around, wanting a glimpse of the old man. Then once sighted, would run away screaming and laughing.

“Did you see him? I told you he is ugly and scary”.

Yes, he had lumps on his face and hair that grew out of his ears. Yes, he grumbled in response to those who shunned him. But really, he was kind-hearted and lonely. We waved when we saw each other, and if I was alone and had some time, I would sit and listen to how it used to be in the old days.

I found the basement hatch and knew how to open it. I turned my flashlight on in the dark as I ascended the stairs.

“Hello Jake”, said Mr Taylor smiling. “It’s been a while.”

 

Thanks Chrispina for the prompt. I had fun writing this.

Word count 150.

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