Remember that time I wrote for American Gods, the epic Starz show based on the Neil Gaiman novel? The premiere date has finally been set, and lovable nerds and mythology buffs and religious scholars all across the globe lept simultaneously into the air. Given that each episode has the scope of a movie, it took longer than anticipated to make, but its finally HERRRREEEE! Starz / April 30th. I can’t wait to watch. BELIEVE (In Gods, in that ominous White Buffalo, in me when I say, this show is going to be the best kind of weird, and in my episode, Kristen Chenoweth plays the Easter Goddess, so just….wait for THAT.)
If you had told child-me who spent each Sunday in these pews, stuffed into a dress, trying to pay attention, that one day my church would have Facebook and instagram accounts and also free WI-FI, I woulda said WHAT IS WIFI AND WHAT IS INSTAGRAM AND WHAT IS FACEBOOK AND I DO NOT KNOW YOU WHY ARE YOU TALKING TO ME BUT WHILE WE’RE HERE DO YOU HAPPEN TO HAVE ANY SEASONAL LITTLE DEBBIE SNACK CAKES ON YOU? NO? OKAY MOVE ALONG THEN.
Today, on White Girl with Blog, I spent some time this morning reading through some of MLK’s best quotes, just to hang out with his memory for a few minutes, acknowledge all that he did. Inspirational quotes that are memes waiting to happen are only a PALTRY SLIVER of what he contributed and made happen, but I will leave a few favorites here, all the same. They transcend issues of race and tap into even larger questions about humanity. WE BASICALLY NEED EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THEM APPROXIMATELY RIGHT NOW.
“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”
“Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.”
“That old law about ‘an eye for an eye’ leaves everybody blind. The time is always right to do the right thing.”
“Intelligence plus character–that is the goal of true education.”
“I have decided to stick to love … Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
No one really knows why they are alive until they know what they’d die for.”
“People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.”
To those who are joyous today, I understand that you are frustrated, disenfranchised, desperate for work, for a change that feels real, trying to feed your families, clinging to what you’ve been taught is right, if not a little ignorant as to how to actually change your circumstances. I am, too. I understand the way the government works just about as much as a I get how cars run or electricity happens. I do not have a brain for understanding complex systems. I have a creative, empathic brain that loves humans, good ones and bad ones too, that is constantly questioning why they do what they do. I have built a whole life, and livelihood, around these questions. This sort of brain that God gave me is exactly why I hope that you 1.) get the life that you want for you and your family, and the means with which to give them that life and 2.) that you do so WITHOUT condoning sexual assault of women, without apathy and anger towards those who don’t love exactly like you do, who aren’t from exactly where you’re from. Obama said it this morning. We’re Americans before we’re Republicans or Democrats. But even before that, we are people.
I’m going to look at this picture of my friend Stephen playing an angel welcoming this lovely Grandma based on two of my own into heaven until my eyes turn to clouds and float right out of my head.
We should all read this article in today’s NYT about the women who are involved with ISIS. I have been fascinated by the young, educated, world in front of them british teens who packed up and shipped off to Syria to be brides to suicide bombers — I’ve been wanting to write a play about them, and while I believe that a writer should writer whatever they’re pulled to — I feel like this story is far more complex than I could ever fathom, and I could never truly do their head spaces justice. For one, I was sort of projecting onto these young women a loneliness, a longing to Matter. But this article provides a slightly different glimpse: women who were born / raised in Raqqa, who, not even two years ago, were studying English Lit, swimming in bikinis with their friends. When ISIS took over the city, a lot of them felt like they had no choice but to join the ‘morality police’ and marry fighters, for their own safety and that of their families. A lot them actually fell in love with their husbands. A lot of them wept when their husbands subsequently blew themselves up. A lot were forced to marry yet another soon to be suicide bomber just one month later. Some fled. Some are still trapped in Syria. I like maybe all of America am on a quest to understand ISIS, not just the stereotypes and the assumptions, but what is actually going on in the heads of it’s members. Comprehending how women function in ISIS is PARAMOUNT. Without the women, where are the men? Is the part of them that’s still human and empathetic protected somehow in their women?
I’m sure I’m not the first person to make this link, but ISIS and its members are like bed bugs, primal and blood thirsty and unpredictable and Everywhere. I had them forever ago in Brooklyn. They took a year and three stupidly expensive cleaning sessions to kill. I threw away my bed. I lost sleep. I stayed awake and afraid. If I nodded off I jerked up when my own hand touched my leg. I took everything soft I had and ran it through blistering heat. I shook out each of my books and suffocated them in bags. A man in full body plastic came and sprayed every corner of my room. And still, they lived. The bugs hid in the tiniest of cracks, wanting only blood. If ISIS members are so willing to die, because for them, life AFTER this is so much more glorious — how are we ever to stop them? If there are even a few left, they live. The idea survives. How do we stop them? Do we have to trick them or convince them into subsisting off of something else? Would it ever be possible to change their minds? What’s stronger, their humanity or their faith?
I don’t know if I believe* in signs from the universe, but I just sliced into what appears to be a flawless avocado, like so perfect it’s a cartoon of itself, so today will proceed perfectly, symmetrically, flawlessly, yes? YES? RIGHT, AVOCADO? RIGHT?!
I’ve been reading some Old Norse poems from the Elder Edda, YOU KNOW, LIKE YOU DO. My favorite so far are from Sayings of the High One, which is basically an advice column penned by Odin the God of War and also star of American Gods him very self. He’s gruff, practical, amicable, and definitely thinks you should eat before you hang out with friends so that you’re not starving.
Some personal favorites:
A stupid man stays awake all night pondering his problems; he’s worn out when morning comes and whatever was, still is.
Moderately wise a man should be — don’t wish for too much wisdom; a man’s heart is seldom happy if he is truly wise.
….NO WAIT ACTUALLY I JUST CHANGED MY MIND.