Category Archives: Post A Day

Planner: Daily Prompt: In Good Faith

Storm clouds hang over most of my past. Things were never easy for me the way they seemed to be for other people. I was always a step behind in areas that I felt were too important for me not to excel in, such as making friends with people who don’t steal from you/lie to you/mentally torture you/abandon you. In other areas I just seemed to lack motivation, and I think the increased lack of motivation I’ve felt in new things I take on has come from a lack of faith in myself and in the belief that “God has a plan for you”.

See, if someone’s got a plan for me, I want to look over the blueprints and see what exactly is going to happen. I can’t do that though, so in the need to know everything that is going to happen in my life before it happens, I became a Planner. I’m talking not only planning when I will move again, but the furniture for this amount of square feet versus that amount of sq ft. Excessive right? That unit, that couch, that lamp might not be available 11 months from now, yet all of it is bookmarked away in a folder. And that is just living space plans. The amount of time and energy I spend agonizing over the future instead of taking care of today is a little scary.

I can’t control everything, I can’t predict my future, but if I remember to have a little faith that if I make the best out of today, then perhaps tomorrow won’t be so bad, maybe I can make it alright.

Daily Prompt: In Good Faith.

Art is still Art: Daily Prompt: Art Appreciation

Daily Prompt: Art Appreciation.

 

I don’t think you need to agree with the artists lifestyle or politics to appreciate their art. A piece of art is still a piece of art whether you personally like it or agree with it. Many people will buy works of literary art even though they were written by someone they don’t agree with just because they don’t agree with them: they want to know how other people think. I think it really comes down to the individual. Me for example, have read books or essays by people I didn’t agree with but a good 98% of those works I checked out from the library instead of purchasing. For me, actually buying a print or a book is reserved for the ones that I know I will want to revisit. I have rarely ever re-read something I didn’t agree with (that wasn’t an assignment), and when I did it was for further analysis.

Curious Stranger

I was 11 or 12 years old. It was my first summer camp, not a sleep-away camp just a theater camp at the local field house. I hated it, public speaking made me want to keel over but my mom made me do it. I guess she wanted me to find some courage and confidence.

Some of us were sitting under a tree, I was sitting on the perimeter of the group trying desperately to be included when suddenly he appeared. I looked up at the shadow cast across us to see a boy the likes of which I’d never seen before. The others seemed to know him and greeted him, but their conversation escaped me because we were locked in eye contact.

His eyes were a hazel brown, like his skin, but his hair was super fine and curly implying mixed heritage. It was also dyed bright yellow and tied back in a bushy pony tail. I had never seen such an individual. His clothes didn’t look like they came from Kohls, like mine did, he’d probably done the unthinkable (to me) and picked them out himself at the mall.

It was the most intense minute of so of my life, yet no one else seemed to notice. He occasionally flicked his eyes over to the girl who was addressing him, but for the most part we were locked in eye contact. When they stopped talking, he walked away and I never saw him again that summer.

I thought about him sometimes afterward, he was so different than anyone else I had ever met. Even more artsy than the theater geeks in training. But fate granted me a chance to be courageous next summer during art camp. I spotted a hazel boy with deep red curly hair in a bushy pony tail making his way to the fountain. I tried to time my descent from the top of the hill with his progress from the baseball diamonds, but alas, he got his water and left before I could reach the fountain. I should have started walking sooner, but I was never good at calculating distances. I should have called out to him, but I wasn’t good at maintaining a courageous front.

Desensitized and Detached

*Edited/clarified statement in blue bold.

 

Does watching violent movies inspire violence in the real world? – Daily Prompt

The prevalence of violence in today’s movies has desensitized a number of people to blood and gore, but has in no way truly inspired real world violence, rather it has made violence something to be expected. Violence in movies falls under two large categories: violent acts meant as a ‘gross-out’ or ‘scream factor’ and those meant as comedic effect. The prevalence of the former category is what many critics of society use as a scapegoat for criminal acts in lieu of demanding people take responsibility for their thoughts and actions.

The Dark Knight Rises, The Town, Criminal Minds, Call of Duty. All of these movies, shows, and video games have been blamed as the reason for recent violent crimes. The flaw in the argument that watching The Town will make you gather some friends and rob a couple armored trucks, shooting anyone who gets in the way, is that it does not take in to account two things. The first being that people robbed banks and armored trucks before the movie came out (in fact the movie was inspired by actual criminal activity from the town’s real-life residents), and the second being that there is no point in any movie or video game when the action is paused and the actor faces the camera to say ‘Now you do this just like I did’.  People who have the kind of darkness inside them from which violent acts are born are going to do something bad regardless of what shoot-em-up movie is playing in theaters.

What is really at play is the growing desensitizing of the masses to violence. It’s on the movie screen, it’s on the news, it’s happening across the street and now you have to call 911. People have become detached from reality in the sense that they don’t feel what they’re watching. Severed limbs are cause for cheers and critiques of what shade of red the fake blood was compared to other movies. People forget to keep in mind that these are bad things when it is happening on screen; and when it happens in real life most of those people will comment along the lines of ‘That sort of thing happens all the time now’. There is no more outrage when something terrible happens, it has become the norm. That is not to say that witnessed violence is never met with sadness or outrage, but that hearing about something that happened in another neighborhood, city, or state has less of an emotional impact on the person watching the news (assuming the victims are strangers). In my opinion, the ongoing violence of the past ~10 years or so has made some people come to expect to hear about something bad happening on the news at 9: we’ve become detached from the belief or expectation for a ‘civilized society’ or ‘industrial nation’ to be humane, some people going so far as to force themselves to become emotionally numb to cope with the violence.

It is important not to forget that despite this detachment or ‘what can you do?’ attitude a lot of people have towards violence, certainly does not make violence acceptable. The danger is when violent movies or other media is used as a scapegoat. At the end of the day, unless some Liam Neeson character was holding a gun to your head the entire day, everything you did that day was your choice. People choose to be nice or to be cruel and society needs to hold people accountable for the impulses they choose to act on. Could a violent film give someone an idea of a way to harm someone? Sure, but the person chooses to then harm someone in the same manner. As long as someone is living in contact with society, they are going to be influenced by something. It is how individuals react to those influences that matters. One person can see a film about an abused woman and decide to campaign against domestic violence. Another person might view the movie and think that because it happened in a movie, that justifies them doing the same thing in their own home. The latter simply shouldn’t be the case, but this is not a perfect world.

When it comes down to it, do violent movies have an influence on people? Certainly, but they do not force people to be violent. Violence is a choice born out of an evil mindset or in some cases a mental illness that inhibits the person from distinguishing right from wrong or simply controlling their impulses. To blame a violent movie for real world violence is to say to people that they are not responsible for their own decisions, and cannot think for themselves.

I got over that bug months ago, but thank you

My cell phone rings. It’s not a number in my contacts but the area code tells me it might be a real person, not a bill collector. I’ve got a good 10 more seconds to answer.

*Awkward pause*

“Hello?”

“Um, Ariel?”

“Yes….”

“This is Nora*” 

“Oh…” Why the hell are you calling me?

“It’s been awhile *nervous laugh* but I thought about you today, and I wondered how you’ve been.”

I wonder who’s listening in on speaker

“I’ve been goo-great. I’ve been really great….and you?”

“Good, good and that’s good to hear!”

“Mmhmm”

“I just wanted to say, I’m sorry I wasn’t there when I should have been. I saw something the other day that really made me think about what happened before, and I really should have been there for you. I should have spoken up for you.”

*shocked silence*

“Thank you, Nora. That’s-wow, thank you.”

—————–

*Nora is not her real name.

Also, Nora in this story represents many people, people who will probably never call. But all the same, it is comforting to think that in the time since, they have learned what it means to be a friend to someone through thick and thin.

Old Couple in a doctors office with a multitude of forms

They come out of the office and walk up to the receptionist, from the waiting room we are all privy to the old man’s demands that his wife ‘just sign at the bottom!’. They bicker a little in an accent that makes you think of cartoons and shows where the country of origin is never specified, just that they come from ‘the old country’.

She wants everything specified and asks they mousy-haired middle-aged receptionist to questions about what everything is. The husband says ‘madam can you please just tell her to sign’ but the receptionist is not having an liabilities today. The man grumbles and shuffles but page by page the wife and the receptionist make sure everything is correct and where it should be. He pleads with them to hurry because he doesn’t like driving after 4pm and it is already nearing 3:55.

Her husband shuffles out the door into the waiting room, letting it shut behind him. He gets to the middle of the small room, stops, looks behind him and sees that his wife has not yet followed him. He walks back to the door, waits until he sees her, holds the door open for her so she can pass through on her walker, and  then does the same for the main door.