Life Lived Well

-It is not our differences that xenophobes fear, but our similarities, which truly gives them pause.

S. Owens

There are a lot of people suffering around the world, because of xenophobia. We all know that this heading breaks down into racism, sexism, homophobia and let us not forget; my religion is better than you religion. But usually the driving force behind these bigoted points of view are elitism. The thought that I’m better than you just because. I think all of this is born of man ingrained fear of death, and the fear of what comes after, that drives the few to step on the neck of the many. All in pursuit of the key to their mortality. Regardless of when we die, and regardless of what uncertainties lie there after, if we can express love and care for one another, then it will always be a life well lived.

Happy Father’s Day Everyone!

On Mother’s Day, I promised I would do a post for Father’s Day.  I try hard to keep my promises.

Parenting is hard.  Any parent knows this.  Any child who grows up to one day be a parent, realizes this.  Mothers and fathers share hardships, but they also have hardship unique to their stations, in life, as a mother or a father.

Fatherhood is hard.  Fatherhood is hard, because inherently, especially in the US, being male can be hard.  The expectations placed on males to be a “man” in this society can work against what it takes to be a good father.

Parenting in general requires the right balance of sternness and gentility, and I can tell you from experience that that is a hard tight rope to cross.  But the “stigma” of being a man in America says you should be hard, tough, take no one’s shit, and let nothing get to you, ever.  I know that many are working to change this, but that sentiment is sadly woven into the fabric of this country.

To me, it seems hard to be a loving, nurturing father and be a hard as nails “man” at the same time.  This stigma of what a man should be relates directly to how boys are treated, as they are raised.  Girls are treated delicately, little princesses to be catered to, but boys, they are supposed to take a licking and keep on ticking, no matter what.  No matter what the licking is; whether, emotional, social, physical, mental.  Damn man, that’s too much to ask of anyone.  Men are not supposed to be vulnerable; they’re not supposed to feel pain, it’s viewed as weakness, softness, feminine.  All that is bullshit.

I hope to have a son one day, so that my mate and I can raise him differently.  So that he can decide what kind of man he will be, and thus, what kind of father he will be, if he ever decides to be one.

My time with my own father was brief.  My parents divorced when I was young and he died not too many years later.  My memories are few; many good, most not so good.  If he had not had to deal with the struggles of being a “man”, as defined by society, maybe things would have been different.

Fathers’ are humans, just like mothers.  But they do not get heavily doted on, or get the cute crafts for father’s day.  And deep down, in their heart of hearts, most fathers’ would absolutely love them.  I know my mate does.

Fatherhood is hard.  It requires a firm hand and a soft touch.  Unfortunately, many boys who become men, fully receive the firm hand but never the soft touch and therefore, they never master it.  I ask that for all those who read this, for all those who are able to reach out and embrace their own fathers, give them that soft touch and I believe that you will receive it in return.

Happy Father’s Day everyone.

 

A Haven Amidst Perdition – New Novel

In the 1940s, tv was not a common thing, especially if you were poor and black in the deep South. When you could no longer go to school, your options are limited. Even had to keep house from sun up to sundown. Her only escapes were the few remaining books, teenage curiosity and a little music in her heart.

As circumstances unfold, day time curiosities become after sundown realities; teaching her that the night time is always the right time; and the consequences that follow will lead to life beginning, spirits broken and futures stolen.

My debut novel, “A Haven Amidst Perdition.” Available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Outskirts Press.

Available in ebook and paperback.

https://www.amazon.com/Haven-Amidst-Perdition-Sidra-Owens/dp/147878668X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1494604537&sr=8-1&keywords=a+haven+amidst+perdition

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-haven-amidst-perdition-sidra-owens/1126303853?ean=9781478786689

https://outskirtspress.com/sidraowens

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

First chapter as read by myself available on YouTube: keyword search – A Haven Amidst Perdition

-If you have enjoyed my commentary or my short stories, then please check out my youtube channel, The Wicked Orchard; where you can listen to me read my short stories

-And don’t forget to check out Comparative Reasoning here on wordpress for written commentary on a whole hosts of topics.

-If you’d rather listen than read, definitely check out Comparative Reasoning on youtube, where you’ll hear of earful of social, economic and political commentary.

 

 

#ahavenamidstperdition
#thewickedorchard
#sidraowens
#comparativereasoning
#thenighttimeistherighttime

Invisible Shades of Brown

Before I begin, I want to preface this by saying that I am speaking from my own point of view and my own observations.  There will be many who agree with what I point out, and some that will not.  But that is how conversations work. Opposing ideas provide an opportunity for growth.  If we all agreed with each other on everything, then that would most likely mean that we are not individuals, but carbon copies of a very faded original.

Culturally and socially, there have been an assortment of complaints about the lack of African-American imagery in media.  When compared to the vast array of televisions shows and movies produced in the United States on a yearly basis, anyone would be hard pressed to find two handfuls of African-American characters, who are not side notes; who represent an authority figure or who carries the entire program on their shoulders.

Some might say, well, there’s Scandal and a few others that are holding strong, what’s the fuss about?

The fuss is… That it is 2017, and some believe that the banner of equality between the races should be flying much higher than it is.  In truth, the quest for unity, despite, gender, creed or color, seems to be getting lost among the weeds.  We are more divided than we ever have been and the crevice between us is steadily expanding.

At this point, everyone is riddled with distrust, on the border of loathing, and no one is willing to take a risk; not politically, not socially; not culturally; not even for mindless entertainment.

Let me give a tiny speck of my background to express what I mean.  I love to read.  I have loved to read since the fifth grade, when I spent 4.25 on my very own paperback; a Nancy Drew mystery.  From that point forward, I consumed anything that caught my interest and it never mattered who the author was or what they looked like.  I have evolved to the point where I write books, not just read them, and I still read books the same way.  Most authors are going to write from their own point of view, pulling from their own backgrounds and experiences, which is understandable.  But they also have the power to search, research, imagine and conjure up things way beyond their scope and our collective realities.  Unfortunately readers are not always that diverse.  They will read the fantastical as long as the hero and villains are something they have never seen before, or if they look just like them.

That leaves 12.5% of this country in quite the conundrum.  They are open to explore and enjoy anything produced by the majority, but that patronage is not reciprocated.  Even though, African-American authors, artists, and film makers are creating from their own points of view, the sheer fact that they are representing and expressing the many facets of the black experience, means that they will be immediately alienated by the majority, no matter how universal the content may be.

 

For some, they may not be consciously aware of what they are doing; preferring to use personal tastes as a scapegoat.

Example:  Those types of books are just not my cup of tea.

Truth:  They’ve never ever even given “those” types of books a fair chance.

Example:  A bookstore lists in their criteria that any self-published book must be vetted to insure that it is suited towards their clientele.

Truth:  Bookstores are about discovery.  Put the book out there and let your clientele discern was is and is not suited for them.

 

Where does that leave us?  It is difficult enough to be picked up by a traditional publishing house; and then if you choose to bear the burden and publish it yourself, you are derided for it, and if your happen to be in that 12.5%, then you are relatively invisible.   A wealth of creativity bound and cloistered due to unconscious fear of the other.  We are all more alike that anyone realizes; one must take a chance and see what comes of it.

There once was a time that African-American’s could take solace in their local black owned bookstore; to find the gems they otherwise would not discover anywhere else.  But with the expansive horizon of technology and the internet laying ahead of us, brick and mortar businesses like the local black owned bookstore, have become a thing of the past; less than 100 remaining in our fair United States.  Even your non-multinational books store, on the many corners, of many a main street are suffering due to technology, but for some bookstores, this makes them more exclusive rather than more universal.

Sometimes taking a chance on the other is not a bad thing; neither is it wrong, nor a cause for concern; it’s an opportunity for people to pick up a book, view a work of art or sit down to a movie, and realize that there are many lessons to be learned from the experiences of those who are various shades of brown.  Seeing the beauty in our differences will reveal the truths of our sameness.

For those who are like myself and value a good story because of the story, and not the preconceived notion that the characters are just like me; I applaud you and I appreciate your love of the long held tradition of storytelling.  Share it, teach it, pass it forward.

No matter what color I am, or what color my characters are, I write for everyone, and I want all the world to enjoy my stories and feel as deeply for my characters as I do.

 

 

-If you have enjoyed my commentary or my short stories, then please check out my youtube channel, The Wicked Orchard; where you can listen to me read my short stories

-And don’t forget to check out Comparative Reasoning here on wordpress for written commentary on a whole hosts of topics.

-If you’d rather listen than read, definitely check out Comparative Reasoning on youtube, where you’ll hear of earful of social, economic and political commentary.

 

Please take the opportunity to check out my debut novel, A Haven Amidst Perdition.   It is available at the links below:

https://www.amazon.com/Haven-Amidst-Perdition-Sidra-Owens/dp/147878668X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1494604537&sr=8-1&keywords=a+haven+amidst+perdition

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-haven-amidst-perdition-sidra-owens/1126303853?ean=9781478786689

https://outskirtspress.com/sidraowens

Mother’s Day… Re-imagined.

For most of you, and for your parents and your grandparents, mother’s day has always been around.  It’s not a religious holiday or a pagan holiday, and it started out with the best of intentions.  One woman wanted to pay homage to one mother, he own mother, hence the spelling, mother’s day, not mothers day.  But of course, like many things in this country and society, it was bastardized and wrapped in pretty packages, covered in flowers, cards and trips to golden coral.

If you want to know the sad truth behind it, check out this link:

http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/happy-mother-day-cruel-history-innocent-holiday-article-1.3160422

But this all leads to a conversation that I have had with my boyfriend many times; when it comes to holidays, there is no rule or law that says we have to celebrate for the reason that it was initiated, or for the reason that it is currently known for.

This may seem silly and naïve to some, but I think you can remake and re-imagine any holiday the way you see fit, as long as it make you happy and doesn’t harm anyone else.

There are greek and roman festivals thought to be in celebration of mothers, like mother’s day; and they have been celebrated for thousands of years.

I guess what I am trying to say is, do not give in to the commercialism, but instead, revel in the spirit of the day.  Yes, it can be a day of thanks, but more than that, it can be a day of quiet reflection.  A time for children of a cognitive age to reflect on the all the times mom made them happy, made them sad, lifted them up, disciplined them, and comforted their broken hearts.  Not all mothers are ideal, and not all mothers are cut out for parenting, but I think optimistically, 90% of mothers do the best they can, especially since we are operating without a net.

The relationship between mother and child, son or daughter, is not an easy one.  It will always be a direct clash between independence and guidance.  Hopefully, on days like this, we children can stop a moment and say, I understand what you’ve been getting at mom, and I know that you tried.

Anyway, I’m rambling.  Of course, I’m a mom and a child, with powerful and intricate dynamics on both sides of the coin; dynamics that I can never explain in words; the emotions are just too numerous and run to deep.

So for all of you, who can hold your mom in your arms, and for all of those, who can only hold her in your memories, Happy Mother’s Day.  May a smile and a tear warm your heart today.

 

PS:  Don’t feel left out daddies.  Believe me, I will give you your due on Father’s Day.  I think that would be fair.

 

 

Introducing “A Haven Amidst Perdition.”

For those of you who follow my blog, first of all, let me say thank you for doing so.  And second of all, you ‘may’ have noticed that I have not been posting as much as I once did.  I have given explanations and occasional update informing you all that I was in the process of publishing my first book.  In comparison to some many other heartfelt ventures, this one has proceeded fairly smoothly.  There were four tedious rounds of editing, even though, I have read and edited this novel countless times, much to my dismay.  And after few, brief internal struggles and some out of pocket expense, my first novel has been published and is available for purchase.

Presenting “A Haven Amidst Perdition.”

A Haven Amidst Perdition

I am so thankful to all those who have supported me through words and deeds (donations).  But more than that, I have encountered so many who appreciate my writing and have been pushing for this, maybe for far longer than I have.  Thanks Sedrik for all of your suggestions, and listening and re-listening to me tell this tale to you, over and over again. (Yes, the repetition of that statement is on purpose.)

For all of you, who have enjoyed reading my prose and my points of view on various topics, I hope that you may find it in your heart (and your wallet) to take the time to indulge in this read, and grow to love the characters as much as I do.

Of course, it is available via Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, as well as Outskirts Press, and these links will be listed below for your convenience.

And once again, thank you to all for your kind words and encouragement!

https://www.amazon.com/Haven-Amidst-Perdition-Sidra-Owens/dp/147878668X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1494604537&sr=8-1&keywords=a+haven+amidst+perdition

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-haven-amidst-perdition-sidra-owens/1126303853?ean=9781478786689

https://outskirtspress.com/sidraowens

 

-If you have enjoyed my commentary or my short stories, then please check out my youtube channel, The Wicked Orchard; where you can listen to me read my short stories

-And don’t forget to check out Comparative Reasoning here on wordpress for written commentary on a whole hosts of topics.

-If you’d rather listen than read, definitely check out Comparative Reasoning on youtube, where you’ll hear of earful of social, economic and political commentary.

 

Breathe

Days pass, one at a time.

Steps are taken, one at a time.

Breaths inhaled, one at a time.

Why must thoughts come in battalions?

Why must we be overrun with the desire for frivolities that drive us to distraction?

Feverish wants consume our days and seep into our nightly dreams.

What joy could be had if a thought were like a breath?

A source of rejuvenation.

Full and complete.  Nourishing.

Revitalizing.

Instead of scooping out an endless cavernous hole of ambitions unfulfilled.

Each thought taken like each breath.

Explored from beginning to end, complete in its entirety.

We can close the gate of cognition;

Allowing the battalion to enter single file;

One day at a time;

One step at a time;

One breath at a time.

 

 

Breathe

Days pass, one at a time.

Steps are taken, one at a time.

Breaths inhaled, one at a time.

Why must thoughts come in battalions?

Why must we be overrun with the desire for frivolities that drive us to distraction?

Feverish wants consume our days and seep into our nightly dreams.

What joy could be had if a thought were like a breath?

A source of rejuvenation.

Full and complete.  Nourishing.

Revitalizing.

Instead of scooping out an endless cavernous hole of ambitions unfulfilled.

Each thought taken like each breath.

Explored from beginning to end, complete in its entirety.

We can close the gate of cognition;

Allowing the battalion to enter single file;

One day at a time;

One step at a time;

One breath at a time.

 

 

We Are All Animals!

We Are All Animals!

Humans, as a whole, like to think that they are one step above every other species on the planet.  Or many more steps than that to be honest.  And that just isn’t true.  We are animals, like frogs, dogs, cats, bats and the millions of other creatures that exist on this planet.

For my first point, all animals in the animal kingdom are prone deception.  I was discussing this point with my mate yesterday.  Our daughter is in the stage of life, where she has figured out that lying may get her out of trouble or it may get her what she wants.  Much to our benefit, she is bad at lying, so it easy to catch her and keep her accountable for her behavior and decisions.  This stage of life is true of all children, and I very much believe that it is up to parents to instill, honesty and accountability, so that there are not a bunch of lying ass adults running around in 10-20 years.

Another example of animal dishonesty is the Cuckoo Bird.  They are brood parasites.  They find another bird’s nest, full of eggs and lays its own egg in it.  So that when the nests owner returns it hatches its own eggs and the cuckoo’s egg.  When the Cuckoo egg hatches, the bird is usually significantly larger and taking up all of the resources from the other baby birds, who are where they are supposed to be.

There are other bird species, where the female will accept a slew of gifts, during mating season, from male birds that she knows she won’t give a shot, too.  But why not get free food from everyone and mate with the only stud bird flying around.

Lions and other predators have to creep, sneakily to ambush, warthogs or gazelles or any other prey animals.

And prey animals will alert other prey animals to the activity of predators, infringing on another common rule of life, which is to mind one’s own business.

The point that I am finally coming around to is that unfortunately dishonesty and deception is just par for the course for us Earthlings, but fighting against that, is the one thing that makes humans stand out from the rest of the animal kingdom.  It doesn’t make us better, but it does put us in a place where it does not have to be a dog eat dog world.

Follow the golden rule! (Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you; for those of you who don’t know it.

Be honest.  Be accountable.  Set the example for those around you and may your nest be filled with all of your own eggs in return.

 

Welcome Spring!

Welcome Spring!

If you can see the image above, you may agree that it epitomizes the transition from winter to spring, or at least it used to.  This transition is far muddier than it used to be due to climate change.  For the entirety of the winter, our temperatures have been fluctuating from fall temps to spring temps to bitter cold and cycling randomly since before the arrival of winter.

So, in the context of the image above, the rabbit would get close to leaping into the vernal warmth and joy of the coming season, but lady spring would yawn, blink her eyes a little and then doze back off into sleep.

Since the ‘official’ start of a calendar spring kicked ofk yesterday, maybe she’ll snap awake and stretch out her arms, bringing bees, birds, beauty, pollen and storms, with as much wonder and suffering as one season can muster.

This time of year is also another opportunity to implement change.  It has been just over three months since the change of the new year, and maybe your resolutions have failed.  If you are not want to believe that change can come any day, then you can view spring as that next opportunity to do it better for the rest of the year.

Here’s to blooming, beauty and change!