“Rainbows introduce us to reflections
of different beautiful possibilities
so we never forget that pain and grief
are not the final options in life.“
Measuring the success of a given year by the percentage of profits gained or lost is a sensible enough practice for many individuals and an essential one for various organizations. However, I decided going into 2014 that I wanted to commit time throughout the year to finding ways that creatively honored the concept of mutually-empowering and life-enhancing partnerships. The goal was to combine as much as possible measures of social responsibility with different types of creative endeavors.
Why such an intensely-focused approach? Because the still-straggling uncertainty of the economy, the domestic gun violence that broke America’s collectively-beating heart nearly every other week, and rising waves of conflict on the global front made it far too easy to succumb to such dispositions as cynicism, nihilism, and actions motivated by anything other than an ethical perspective.
Since partnerships, or relationships, by definition require interaction with more than just oneself, not every effort was as successful as I might have hoped. Certainly not all would top a list of favorite #My2014Moments even when proving what some might describe as “profitable.” Still, others resulted in beneficial reconnections with previous colleagues and some produced thrilling adventures in formerly unexplored territories.
5 Memorable Moments
1. Taking a Stand for Compassion: Toward the end of the year 2013 I promised to sign the Charter for Compassion on the first day of 2014. That affirmation so far has not impressed groups such as ISIL, Boko Haram, the Taliban, or Al-Qaida to revise their habits of employing guerrilla decontextualization to misrepresent a major religion and justify heinous actions against noncombatant civilians. It did, though, prompt me to write three of my stronger articles in 2014 on the world’s attempts to reconcile chaos with sanity:
- Mothers Daughters and Slavery Make Disturbing Holiday News in 2014
Creative Flexibility and Annihilated Lives
Let’s Fix It: 7 Steps to Help Replace Legislated Fear with Informed Compassion
To check out the full list please click this link:
How Creativity and Social Responsibility Inspired 5 Memorable Moments in 2014
“The systematic looting of language can be recognized by the tendency of its users to forgo its nuanced, complex, mid-wifery properties for menace and subjugation. Oppressive language does more than represent violence; it is violence…”~Toni Morrison, 1993 Nobel Lecture in Literature
(This segment of Creative Flexibility and Annihilated Lives is published in partnership with Voices Compassion Education.)
Like many authors I dive headlong almost every day into a torrential flow of words sparkling with possibilities. I then work to extract from that linguistic flow a collective of sounds, imagery, ideas, and entire compositions capable of offering relevant reflections of the world experienced both inside and outside my own head. Such a mindful exercise in disciplined creative passion tends to focus my thoughts more on striking a balance between the unyielding clarity of prose and the seductive allusiveness of poetry than on the demands of managing a public image.
Because I give myself so wholly to the furious embrace of language on a regular basis, I rarely classify myself as a specific kind of writer. It is usually editors or readers who decide on my behalf whether I am more welcome in their world as an essayist, fiction-writer, historian, poet, or another breed of fever-driven scribbler. They provide the context in which a meeting of our minds may occur and share notes on specific facets of what it means to be in this world.
The differences between the various literary forms are obvious enough but it is not unusual for one genre, during a heated word-session, to flow at will into another. It happens much the way a dancing couple or individual might boogy-bounce nonstop from one song to the next––the
rhythm calls and the soul answers.
Please continue reading the essay with poem by Aberjhani by clicking this link:
Creative Flexibility and Annihilated Lives (essay with poem) (article) by Aberjhani on AuthorsDen.
At the heart of Creative Thinkers International’s operational philosophy has always been a core belief in the ability of positive creativity to help inspire nonviolent conflict resolution. This is not a romantic notion; it is a crucial alternative.
The blood-and-bone-splattering spectacles of war have come to command most news headlines in the modern world. The maniacal brutality that was 9/11 engraved in the world’s collective consciousness themes and realities intensified by perpetual chaos, terror, and death. It is a chilling prospect, and yet an observable phenomenon, that humanity at this point in history too often defines itself by how efficiently it destroys itself.
Love, it seems, is valued most when violence or disease threaten to annihilate the life that would serve as a channel for it. Men and women discover the deeper nature and beauty of their characters by exposing them to man-made insanities that threaten not only human beings, but the nonhuman forest-, ocean-, jungle-, and mountain-dwelling species that also call the Earth home. Such an inclination is not one that supports notions of sustainable communities or advances based on peace rather than war.
That very dangerous realization is an extremely important one to note. The reason is because the natural and social forces that combine to compose what some call “the human story” are developing in such a way that, like it or not, more and more people you may once have thought of as strangers or foreigners are now becoming neighbors, co-workers, classmates, bosses, employees, and in-laws. Between extreme weather events and more prolonged climate transformations, plus cross-cultural merging caused by man-made atrocities and inter-cultural interactions facilitated by advances in technology, the boundaries that once defined notions of community are dissolving as steadily as shelves of ice breaking off the Antarctic.
Please enjoy the full post by Aberjhani by clicking this link:
Creative Thinkers International and 21st Century Notions of Community – Bright Skylark Literary Productions.
For those so inclined, it was and is natural in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing to share prayers and thoughts for healing on behalf of victims and their families. Many have conditioned themselves to respond in such a manner partly because it is within their power to do so and partly because they hope others would feel moved in the same way toward them if they were the ones whose bodies and sanity had been shattered so brutally.
Victims, after all, within the context of terrorism––whether homegrown or imported––are much like newborn innocents simply because they have not signed up for a war. In this particular case, they had simply stepped out into the light of day intending to honor, preserve, and celebrate a long-standing tradition. Some might argue (and in fact some do) that America, like much of the rest of the world, should have become accustomed to such atrocities by now. But the greatest defeat of all would be to embrace mayhem as an acceptable norm.
Or is it possible denizens of the world have already done exactly that? The U.S. Senate’s choice to reject legislation requiring background checks and other gun control measures for those purchasing firearms would certainly imply that is the case. They are fully aware of what is likely to occur in the absence of such checks and yet they refuse, even as the memory of the Sandy Hook massacre remains fresh in so many minds, to apply them.
The Brothers Tsarnaev
As right and natural as it may be to turn one’s hearts toward the wounded and murdered, it is also necessary to pray and hope on behalf of those who have come to believe so fervently that violence is the only solution to their perceived grievances with the world. This is not to say that those such as the young brothers Tsarnaev, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar, as well as others responsible for heinous crimes should be “spared the full weight of justice,” as Barack Obama put it.
But it is to say that faith in destruction as a means of expressing dedication to life can only intensify a kind of insanity of which humanity is obligated to heal itself. The only remaining option is to live in a state of perpetual preparation––mentally, physically, and spiritually––as individuals and as nations for the next round of carnage induced by broken-souled human beings.
For the full article by Aberjhani please click this link:
Staging a pre-emptive strike on the mind of terror – National African-American Art | Examiner.com.
Before the hours of insanity and annihilation that changed world history on September 11, 2001, the month of September was noted by members of my family primarily as the birth month for at least a half dozen individuals. It remained, of course, their month after 9/11, but the shadow of that event tends to lessen the glow of birthday candles and soften the volume of songs and laughter. Especially for those born on the actual day.
Two years later, the greater impact of 9/11 was just beginning to unfold as the Iraq and Afghanistan wars upgraded to levels of mega-destruction no one could have fully anticipated. At the same time, Facts On File published my Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance (with Sandra L. West). That the encyclopedia was my first major book published by a major company added–for me personally–greater emotional balance to the month of September.
Several boxes of Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance greeted me when I walked through the door on September 5, 2003. They represented years of research, writing, and sustained determination that had been much like training for a literary decathlon. This year, 2008, I feel blessed to have witnessed the encyclopedia’s impact as it went on to win awards, receive a recommendation as one of ESSENCE Magazine’s recommended holiday gift items, and Black Book Reviews’ “Recommended Titles for the Home Library.” Moreover, it became a highly valued resource for students of the era at every level and helped to launch a publishing frenzy on related subjects, thus documenting the great era more thoroughly than ever before.
The sixth anniversary of 9/11 stirred within me a need to generate something that might help to generate a positive counter-balance to the event’s crippling catastrophic malice; and in an effort to do exactly that, I established Creative Thinkers International on September 10, 2007. If 9/11 had come to stand as an indelible symbol for heinous criminality and disregard for life, I hoped that CTI for however many might come to stand as both a symbol for and a function of positive creativity. Two years later later, this community of teachers, scientists, artists, authors, philosophers, ministers, poets, and everyday people from around the world has moved almost 400 members closer to achieving its goal.
Just like the dance group Chic sang some years ago, “We all want good times,” but living in the New Millennium we’ve learned they sometimes have to be squeezed out of the bad.