Searching for Inspiration

I’m a longhand kind of writer. I love the feel of a pen in my hand, watching my thoughts manifest into ink as it sinks into the paper. The sound of the stroke of the ballpoint that swooshes, and leaves behind a trail words that sum up the feelings and observations of the moment thrills me.

Ever on the quest to digitize my analog life, I’m planning to publish my first e-book near the end of the month. It’s an essay with pictures, or a pictorial essay, if that’s a more marketable term, about my experience during the L.A. Riots, 25 years ago. The other day I was stressed out over formatting the photos, so I left the house with journal in hand and decided to go the beach.

I know that when I get inspired to go the beach, it’s a time for cleansing. Whenever a major change is coming along, I feel I have to count my blessings and clear my thoughts. I wanted to free my mind of the anxiety I was feeling from the pressures of perfection and just write something… anything. I found out that thoughts never come in any specific order unless you force them. They are as random as the waves hitting the shore, yet they do so with an expectant frequency. Here’s a random thought that hit the shores of my mind…

I’m at war with myself again. Trying to regain the sense of reality I sought in my youth. The ways of the world have had their way with me far too long. I felt alone in my quest before, but I’m more alone being a part of the crowd. It’s not easy journeying internally and finding the blocks that bar the way to true freedom, the freedom to live a life in love with myself. The freedom to be fearless in the face of adversity, to take the high road, takes more courage than lying to myself saying I just can’t take it anymore. I am stronger than the weakest perceptions I create, which tell me that this is as far as I’ll ever go. I’ve got to take chances. I’ve got to win this battle…

Someone recently told me that you have to fight for your right to write. I forced myself to come out here just to write this, even though I had no idea that this is what would come out of me. I always feel like these moments of reflection come too late to make any difference, but I’m grateful because it’s like taking a huge stretch before a workout. Here, in this moment, anything can happen, and if I write about it, it must be important, I think, because randomness can inevitably have meaning. Four more motorcycles just zoomed by.  A red Lamborghini. Another motorcycle, no two. A man holding a fake hand in one hand and a fat cigar in the other crosses the street. An airplane disappears into the clouds. What’s the meaning? It happened.

Now, I’m breathing easier.

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Power To The People

I told you I had some news in my last post. The news is that I’ve been asked to go to Europe to represent a film! I never imagined the idea of just packing up and going to Europe unless I had a legitimate and creative reason to go, and here it is. My dream country to visit is France. I want to experience what the Harlem Renaissance writers felt when they went there. I took French in high school and college, but most of it is forgotten because I didn’t have a practice partner. I’d probably be fluent in Spanish if I took as many classes and spoke to every Spanish speaking person in Los Angeles that I encountered living my life here.

The film 41st & Central: The Untold Story Of The LA Black Panthers is being screened in Stockholm and Berlin. I don’t speak Swedish, but I do have German ancestors on both sides of my family, so this trip would be a homecoming too. I won’t have time to go to Hamburg to check the emigration records, but at least I’ll have the chance to make contacts in the country to come back when it’s time. Being there to represent the film is more relevant to what’s going on right now, right now.

2017 marks the 25th anniversary of the LA Riots. Some of the conditions that led to this uprising existed during the rise and fall of the Black Panther Party in Los Angeles: high unemployment and police repression. In these divided times, it’s so important to look back on the history of what causes these divisions and how far we’ve come in our healing. Will we have to deal with the same issues again under our new president, or can we find answers so that we will not have to repeat such a brutal cycle?

This trip is important to me as a survivor of the riots because it’s a chance to see what the Black Experience in LA looks like from a Euopean standpoint and offer my insights and information to their inquiries. The experience woud be great to share in the photo book I plan to publish about the LA Riots in 2017. I’ve started a GoFundMe page to assist with the expenses for the trip, so please donate to the cause and/or pass this information on to someone you know who supports these kinds of efforts.

Hospitalized – Do

I’m still recovering from what seemed like the worst case of indigestion in the history of my life. Only two other times have I been in an emergency room with stomach cramps, but did I heed those warnings? No. I continued to eat good food to my heart’s content.

Mind you though, when I’m at home, I eat a very balanced diet. I cook most of my meals when I have the time, but too much of a good thing is what I get whenever I’m working. For 10 years, I’ve been working in the film industry in all sorts of capacities, but the one constant has always been on the menu is the food. I ain’t got’ lie… we are well fed on set or on stage or on location. A fed crew is a happy crew, and the better you feed them, the happier they are.

Hence my situation with that turkey burger. The food truck is in no way to blame for my decision. I will go back as soon as I feel better so that I can fully enjoy what my nose and tastebuds perceived to be a delightful experience. (Did I mention that the servers were appealing to the eyes as well? Who would’ve thought that ordering a turkey burger could be such a sensory experience?) No. It wasn’t that which caused the churning in my stomach at midnight. In my past experiences, this feeling was caused by me simply overeating, I thought, and the one bite I allowed myself to chew and swallow was the over in my eating on that day.

Sharp, painful cramp in my lower abdomen. “I gotta shit,” my body told me. “No shit” would have been my witty, internal reply, but the exclamation turned out… to be my current situation! Nothing was working out in the back end, but this pain made me so want it to work out, and work out fast. I had a job to go to in the morning and I needed to go back to sleep.

I tried all my old remedies, starting with the most basic: baking soda and water, peppermint & ginger tea. That gave some relief by emptying my stomach of the one bite and whatever else I ate earlier that hadn’t made it past full digestion, but the lower stomach pain was unyielding. I then went to my Chinese remedy that has cured any stomach I’ve ever encountered, but at 4AM I was still the object of pain’s affliction…

(To be continued.)

Life as an Artist

Most of my posts have been fairly long, but this one will be short.

I will let this picture speak for me this evening because it speaks a thousand words.

Thanks to everyone who has supported my blog. Your clicks and shares mean a lot to me. And thank you to those who have reached out and told me that my words have inspired them. Tell a friend… you ignite my passion and warm my soul!

Morning habits

Like a lot of people, I have trouble getting out of my bed in the morning and doing the things that stimulate my body and mind. I’ve got the soul part down though; I’ll get up to pray and then get back in bed to meditate on what I should be doing next. My bed is a notorious motivational killer.

Exercise is great in the morning. It gets the blood flowing, and your heart gets a nice jump start for the day. It’s similar to warming up the car after it’s been resting all night. All the juices get to flow to the vital parts, and when they’re all happy, VROOM! The same applies to writing. I can’t tell you how many writing warm-up exercises I’ve learned over the past couple of years, and I learned that they are certainly useful. They definitely get the brain juices gushing, and a certain sense of satisfaction takes over as I see what started out as pointless scribbling become the basis for something deeper to develop over time, or the output of a bunch of junk that was cluttering the creative compartments of my cranium.

My problem is sticking to a routine. I do freelance work, and every week holds a new series of tasks and destinations for me to schedule around my life. Add to this the distraction of social media apps, readily available to prolong bed time by allowing me to scroll, swipe and tag things that appeal to my senses of righteousness, humor and attraction, and there created is a formula for complacency.

There is no excuse for merely thinking about getting out of the bed. I need to round out the nourishment that my body and spirit needs to exist optimally. Every opportunity missed is an opportunity to build upon what could be a healthy, lifelong habit. My mentors and doctor can’t be wrong. Well I guess they could be, but after all, I have put faith in these people to tell me what’s good for me because I chose them to do just that. All I have to do now is follow their advice. Simple, right? Yes, but I am one who needs to be pushed. I had a trainer, but now I can’t afford one. I used to write in my journal everyday, but some days it just seems pointless to write.

This blog has a purpose. I meditate about this blog when I’m lying on my ultra premium pillow top mattress. I struggle with topics and what I want to share, but today meditation turned into action. I pushed myself, and it feels great. This is one less thing that I need to stop beating myself in the head for not doing. The next thing is finding that push to get on the bike or taking a hike around the neighborhood, but as for now my cranium needs to enjoy some of the oxygen that’s coming in after this long exercise. Peace to you all, and get out of bed!

Launching

I’ve been talking about doing this for the longest time and now here it is. This isn’t my first blog though. I had a brief stint on Blogger for a while and I found out the hard way that I wasn’t ready to put my thoughts out on prime time Internet, when a psychologist tried to repair a rift in an old wound that opened up between me and an ex-girlfriend after she had read one of my posts. I had to shut it down.

Three years later, I am compelled to bring life as I live it to the screen once again. I want to thank Antioch University’s MFA Creative Writing Program for giving me the heart to write once again. Wait…I take that back. Going to Antioch got me back into the habit of writing again. I lost the heart to write ten years ago, after another ex-girlfriend read my journal. She read all the things I wrote about how angry I was about her calling me excessively and somehow always figuring out my email passwords and pager codes. Did she have reason to be snooping? Of course she had her suspicions, but all her fears of me cheating stem back to the woman I started seeing after one of our breakups, and of course there is more to that story than I care to get in to right now, but anyone who keeps a journal knows the feeling of violation when our thoughts are read by the uninvited. I stopped writing altogether. There were some rotten stakes in our dilemma, and I couldn’t risk sharing my soul on the surface of the page, as I’d done most everyday since I started journaling in 1983. Five long years after she’d left the picture, my most trusted companion sat abandoned in the bottom of a box packed after she and I split.

I need to make this relationship right again. I need to write again. I need to get that passion to write reworked into a frenzy, and I need a million ideas to come flying out of the whirlwind of words that I once used, and I want again to become acquainted with the feeling of power that those distinct elements of language induce.

I was blessed enough to have been able to use my word force to contribute to the excellent journalism of hip hop during the Golden Era. I used the pen name Loupy D for a dozen years to sign off on all the interviews, record, book and DVD reviews, and other commentary I wrote for independent and national magazines from 1991 to 2003. Before the Internet took over, we read magazines and newspapers to be informed. The title of my blog – Loupy D in the 21st Century – is purposed to bring my analog insistence into this digital existence and see what it do. Life is interesting again, and I feel like I need to share it with everybody. I invite you to comment, share and just come say hello. There’s a lot more to come. I don’t know what the next day might bring, but I’ll do my best to keep it interesting and keep you coming back…I promise you!