At Night... by The Black Lex Luthor

Notoriously difficult is the writing process. Developing ideas for stories though, it can come quite effortlessly. I have about a dozen ideas for short stories and novels that are sitting on my Google Drive just waiting to be interpreted, re-written, analyzed and expounded. Time is not always at hand, though, and I find myself writing at night when I usually have a more creative mindset.

The night fuels my imagination. Probably because of its inherent connection to dreams. To the unknown. To fear. All these factors grant me the possibility of creating something fantastic.  Fascinating and even overwhelming, I find. And when I sit there at the table long enough, the words flood my pages.

Creating anything, comes with sacrifice.  Time, sleep, relationships…something must be relinquished to touch unreality properly.  At night, usually the most I sacrifice is time and sleep. I have no willingness to sacrifice my relationships anymore.  It’s not something I would do, anymore.

Let It Burn (The Price of Freedom) by The Black Lex Luthor

Pain is the price of freedom.

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Spirituality is present when you are ready to pay that price for freeing yourself of your pain. When you are comfortable with the pain, and can allow it to pass through you.  It will hurt.  It will burn you and may even send you reeling. But it is better to allow that pain to come and express itself fully, with you aware that it is there, than to push it away from you and never acknowledge it.

Imagine that your mother is dying, but you don’t know it.  You have no idea. But your sister, with whom you have a horrible relationship, has called to tell you.  Now, you love your mother but you loathe your sister.  So, you see her calling but you decide not to answer because you want to punish her still, for something she did so long ago that you can’t remember.  She keeps calling and leaving messages but you don’t even listen to them. You block her from your phone because she won’t stop. 

A few days pass and finally another family member calls and says that your mother has died.  You are hurt and sad and frustrated that you didn’t know. They tell you that your sister has tried to call you several times but couldn’t reach you. You then feel ashamed that you let your old grudge get in the way of the love you had for your mother.  You’re mad and distraught that she died before you got a chance to say goodbye, just because you were stubborn.

If you would have just allowed your sister that call, you could have embraced all the pain that you would have felt anyway and still had a chance to talk to your mother before she died.  In your avoidance, you caused even more pain to yourself.

We have to allow our pain its due.  We cannot hide from it because it will fester into something even more painful.  It’s like cancer when left untreated, except it doesn’t kill you physically.  It provides a more heinous result: mental and spiritual anguish.  This kind of torture is something that haunts a life and grasps hold of all that is good, ruining relationships and stunting your spiritual growth.

Let it burn now.  In my struggles I was just like this. I pushed things away that hurt me, or even those that I thought would hurt me.  I refused to listen to my friends and family that told me I was wrong.  I even allowed my pain to subvert the health of my relationship, nearly destroying my marriage.  The pain I caused my wife, God help me, was nearly irreparable.  But when I finally started to embrace that pain and see what I had done to her, only then was I able to heal our relationship and myself.  It was so painful hearing that I’d caused her so much pain, that eventually I had to go to therapy.  It was so bad at times I just fought with her about it, refusing to acknowledge her very valid concerns. My need for control was out of control, if you understand what I’m saying. 

I wanted to avoid what I had done. I needed to maintain the picture of someone who did things for valid reasons.  I wanted to justify my bad behavior.  All of it was just a vehicle for hiding from myself, fearing that exposing my true problems would make me a pariah of sorts.  But in my weakness, God makes me strong.  I was made whole by just yielding to that pain.

We are all broken individuals, struggling through life, trying to make it work.  Not one of us is truly special.  We are just people, trying to be loved by people.  People with pain and scars and misdeeds.  Human.  Don’t avoid who you are because you’re afraid of what someone else will think. 

Let that pain burn through you and be cleansed like iron in fire.

The Bird Revelation (Spoiler Alert) by The Black Lex Luthor

Mark 8:36 King James Version (KJV)

36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

 

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I hope everyone had a good holiday. It was quite relaxing for me, and I spent a lot of time with the fam at home playing video games, watching movies and just enjoying my wife.

Now, my wife and I like to watch movies together, usually we can agree on some rom-com or mildy violent drama. This particular night, we ended up watching the final two Dave Chappelle specials on Netflix: Equanimity and The Bird Revelation. Initially I thought that both names described one special, but it was actually two different venues, with The Bird Revelation being filmed in secret at The Comedy Store in LA.

Now, Dave is hilarious. Both specials hit home with topics that we grappled with throughout 2017, like Trump, the me-too sexual misconduct allegations and trans-sexuals. Dave is unapologetic, but he does offer his sympathies about how he makes people feel about what he says. Good stuff, you should really check it out when you have time.

That being said, I want to discuss The Bird Revelation for a moment. Dave is very candid here towards the end of the special and paints this somewhat cryptic analogy using the last few bits of the book "Pimp" by Iceberg Slim (I need to read this, but I already got it locked in on my Hoopla app). I say somewhat cryptic because once he lays down the last line of the special, you should know what he meant by the whole thing. You should get the analogy.

So, spoiler alert. If you plan on watching it, come back and read this later.

You good? Ok. So, Dave talks about the term, "mileage on a ho". In street terms, this means how much a hooker can turn tricks before she officially goes crazy. Too much mileage means the ho will end up being useless to herself or anyone else. Anyway, Iceberg Slim is about to let his Bottom Bitch (his best and most profitable ho) go because she's at the end of her mileage. But, he convinces her to turn one last trick. This last trick has her drugging a client and stealing a briefcase of money.

Now, in the midst of it, the deed is done but the client ends up overdosing. The chick calls Iceberg to tell him she needs help. Doesn't know what to do. Iceberg says he'll help her, but lets her know that he has no part in it because she's the one that gave him the drugs. still, he'll help her get out of it. He calls one of his contacts to get the body out. Pays him from the case of money. Pays a doctor, too.

But, after all of that, he tells her that she owes him. That she will need to work off that money he just spent to get her out of trouble. Even knowing she's at the end of her rope, she ends up tricking for him for a few more months.

And he says that's why he went to Africa. Do you get it now? Once he said that I was immediately hit with an "AHA!" I just stared for a second like I'd been hit with the greatest revelation ever. It was just so on point. Basically, Dave said that he realized that Comedy Central was trying to pimp him. He was their "Bottom Bitch". Even though they knew he couldn't do that damn show forever, they tried to game him by throwing a bunch of money at him. But all that would do is make him compromise himself in a way that he was not willing. Not only was it insulting to him, but it shook him to his core in a way that he really needed to get away and think about his life and what he wanted.

Dave is really good at what he does. Really damn good. Probably the greatest comedian ever. But he wasn't going to be pimped. And I get that. What's really sad is that most of these Hollywood types don't even know they're being pimped.  But Hollywood is the greatest hustler there ever was, and most don't know the difference between freedom or chains.

Being good at what you do means calling your own shots and knowing when enough is enough. And Dave knew it was over.

Ask yourself, what do you do in your life that makes you compromise yourself in a way that causes you stress? Do you go on with a job that grates on your soul just so you can get a paycheck? Recently one of my good friends decided he had worked his pointless gig enough and he needed to go back to school. But I knew that he'd had enough way before then. I knew he'd gotten all he could out of that job and it would do nothing for him anymore. It was time to go. I knew that years ago. I just wish he had known. But everyone gets their wake up call when they need it, I suppose.

God's wisdom will guide those that are open to it.

 

Insight from Mr. Robot by The Black Lex Luthor

Started watching Mr. Robot, again. 2nd Season.

Interesting watching Elliot wrestle with this other part of himself, trying to hold it back,
to obstruct the tidal wave of electronic disaster he wishes to unleash upon the world. 

And he realizes it's futile.

How amazingly human that is, to struggle against insurmountable odds. David and Goliath
rewound and replayed with today's pristine standards.

Brutal.

What is to be left, if we choose to give up? Are we just hopeless, hapless Ronin, roaming the
countryside, hoping to be given a purpose again?

Elliot needs purpose, or else his life is just a struggle of pushing a part of himself so far
down that he smothers it. Or, maybe that's just it. That's what life is for some of us.
Starving our madness until we are deemed sane.

Is that human? All human?

His struggle against the inevitable intrigues me. As well as this esoteric portion of inner
turmoil, where we come to these glorious epiphanies about life because of what we endure. 

Because it's fascinating to see the cauldron bubbling from inside. And, most importantly, it's good for my writing.

The Light by The Black Lex Luthor

The light doesn't exist because of darkness. Maybe that's it. It's possible the light is just around. Just there because it is good. Existing for its sake alone. Darkness is REALLY just the absence of light, not the opposite of it.

Maybe that's what writing is for me...for my mind's sake, it exists if only for me to make sense of the senseless. To persist with a blind man's stick, inching about tap, tap, tapping the fuck away so as not to be lost. And for it to be absent, presents an emptiness that is frustrating and evil and heart-aching above all else.

It solves problems. Keeps the program running like it should. Tap, fucking tap. Grants meaning. Tap, tap, tap.

There would be a hole that couldn't be filled, I suppose. God likes to make jokes, and I think the big "Marcelle joke" is that writing will be something I yearn for, for all my years but I'll never find success with it.

Still, the light, though. There's nothing like reading the words aloud and hearing the power slide off each syllable like oil from a piston. It's magnetic and intoxicating and exhilarating. It's everything to me like basketball was everything to Jordan, I guess. 

That me, however, cannot be defined by anything like writing. As a human, I'm much too complex. Complexity aside, I accept it as my personal superpower. I just have to learn how to use it effectively. I'm like that Smallville Superman: the most powerful being on the planet and it took him 10 damn seasons to finally fly.

Mediocrity by The Black Lex Luthor

Maybe we all need to be ok with being mediocre at something.
We all can't be geniuses at everything and anything.

Recently, I came across this guy, whom will remain nameless, that was ecstatic that he'd published his own book. Yeah, I've done it. Twice now. And they are, reasonably average at best and at worst, blaring horns of resounding mediocrity. Testaments to my own self-aggrandizement. 

And also, labors of love.

So, his labor of love, if it was that, was a terrible read.  From the beginning, it was hard to read. It started out with sentence fragments and over-explained situations, taking us stutter-step through the main character's waking moments. 

As much as it was hard to read for me, I can only imagine that someone with better skills would find my best work hard to read for them. I can only guess.

Anyway, as delusional as that guy was, I can't be one to deny my own delusions. I suppose I think I'm a better writer than I actually am, with more potential than the law allows. That I'm good at something, without putting my all into it for more than a decade. I haven't suffered enough to be a good writer. To even say I'm a writer, maybe I'm subconsciously hoping that I'll receive some validation that has weight.

It's possible that the delusions persist as a human condition. Just to help us reach our pinnacle, if there is one. 
 

Scratching Its Way Out by The Black Lex Luthor

I've been working on a few short stories, hunting and pecking in my head, piecing them out inch by inch. It's great to see how much I've grown, writing. I've also been doing some Critter critiques on Critters.org.  This has helped the most because I can see just how much other writers struggle with how to express themselves. How to push out a head full of dreams on paper is a daunting errand. Some won't make it to the finish, but I intend to overcome all obstacles.

I think that immersing myself in my loves and joys has given me so much hope! My wonderful wife, lovely and sometimes frustrating children and various horror and sci-fi stories that I'm reading lend so much to my progress. I'm glad of that, for sure, as the days are dreary without them.

These short stories may be nothing. So what. Who cares if they don't hit the mark of commercial success? All I know is that I have to write them. That's all that I feel, the need to create, scratching its way out of my mind.

Writing again by The Black Lex Luthor

I shudder to think of a life much less than I have or could, noting the great difficulty with which I gathered myself to this place. I'm horrible at finishing things that require great focus, or at least I was, and I feel as if my body can't hold it all together. It's as if I'm that old bear you had as a kid, tattered and dirty thing, tufts of cotton pouring out at torn seams, dreadfully misused but immensely loved. Ugh. Everything hurts.

Let me just say I have not yet withered into a heap. I'm not that pile of leaves in the back yard waiting to be bagged up and tossed with the yard waste. I'm still standing! I'm still strong. I believe in me and I'm working towards something better. Something epic. I need to create my legend. NEED. It will take so much work, but I'm no longer afraid.

I've been listening to different podcasts that are exemplary and basically have deified the genre for me, that I am singularly sold on the idea of writing. Podcasts like Psuedopod, Starship Sofa, Lightspeed, Nightmare Magazine and No Sleep are my mainstays. They've basically jump started my fascination with fiction once again. The hooks are in so good they've drawn blood. I'm excited.

I'm excited that I'm passionate about these stories in my head. I've also joined Critters.org in order to get some much needed feedback and critique on these burgeoning ideas. 

We'll see what the future holds. But if there's anything I've learned in the last few weeks, the future is mine to shape. It's all up to me. If I fail in this, it's my fault. Yet, who's to say that could be considered failure?

 

Mitigation of Creating by The Black Lex Luthor


Disquiet looms in my being as I think of such glorious
possibilities of art and creation. Not because I'm overjoyed at
what I could create with these ideas of mine, but because of what
happens when I try. It's because of the feeling of worthlessness
that comes when a piece is created. The questions of its value
persist in my head, stark stabs in my psyche that cripple my
momentum. I'm stunned into inaction again.

Today I took a look at the works of James Rosenquist, a
revisitation of a trip made to the Grand Rapids art musuem. His
works, such as Rinsi and Strawberry Sunglasses, are remarkable
testaments to creation, but more importantly they are examples of
what I could do. Things that I should emulate. I like how he tends
to juxtapose several images that are seemingly unrelated, creating
a cohesive, fluid composition. 

 

I tend to get reflective in these moments, and I thought on what I
learned in High School from my art teacher, James Maguire. He is a
great artist and draftsman, and taught me how to really draw.
Later he gave me a foundation with the elements and principles of
design, which I continue to reference. 

So, if I can get even a smidgen of what I have learned into a
piece that is as powerful as Rosenquist's, maybe I can get
somewhere. But it has to start with WORK, not pity. These little
momements of sorrow tend to do nothing but cast doubt on my
future, when I should care about NOW. Andy Warhol once said "Don’t
think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide
if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they
are deciding, make more art." This is good advice. The greatest
advice.

Conversely, there is Rosenquist's take on being an artist: "I
think being an artist is having courage to be original. It's hard
to describe, because many great artists, including Picasso, have
all been influenced by the great master paintings, Spanish
paintings, whatever. Their art has looked like them, they've been
influenced by them, and then finally, they leap, they take off.
And then they become themselves. Then it looks like they just came
out of nowhere." 

And that is where I am. At a crossroads. At mitigation with these
two ideas, while not exactly in opposition, that are terribly
difficult to attain.

I Never Expected to be Great by The Black Lex Luthor

I never expected to be great. It wasn’t something that I was taught. I was more or less left to my own devices in my childhood, progressing merely by the strength of my own intelligence and not truly through the encouragement or the emboldening of my personage. I didn’t know how to be anything that was beyond my world, but I did know that I was different than those around me in my family and in my neighborhood. I was an outcast for this fact, amongst others. Such as being taller than most of my peers. I didn’t really belong at all. This need to belong can really define your values as you grow, and if there is nothing positive inserted within this desire, it can lead to a more destructive path.

What is belonging, anyway? Is it just a way to show that you are in solidarity with a certain group? Early on, when I was about 7 or 8 years old, I can remember being set apart from my cousins on my father’s side of the family. I can remember being told that I spoke “proper” English. Not really sure if this denoted a negative or positive in their mind at the time, but the separation lingered.  It was something that I could not adjust, really, because being so young I didn’t know what it meant. The way I pronounced my words, in retrospect, came from the difference in school districts we attended. I was attending a mostly White school district whereas my cousins attended a predominantly Black one. Even today, my speech is markedly different, even though I use slang regularly.  

In high school, I began to understand that I was not just Black or smart or athletic.  I was all of these things and dared belong in all of the areas afforded me.  Participation in sports made me a well-known person, although I was not necessarily a remarkable athlete. My problem was that I didn’t know which area to devote myself to as far as being smart or being an athlete. I didn’t have the push from my parents or the encouragement to be better, all that I was told was that I need to go to college, and that my mother couldn’t pay for it. So, that became my goal.  Not that college would make a path for me to be great, but to attend in and of itself was great. For if I finished, as my mother pointed out, I would be the first to have graduated from college in my immediate family.

I cannot stress how important it is to inspire children to be the best of themselves. Most times, I had no clue what was going on around me. When I was up to take the ACT, I was not prepared in the least, and as a result, received a really low score.  Low enough, in fact, that it made me think that something was really wrong with me. That I wasn’t really smart enough. That I had been lied to all those years.  But, what it really came down to was the failure of my parents to prepare me for what I must do. I was set adrift in the sea of life without a functioning paddle. Without a real support system. Without goals. Intentions. Anything could have helped. Truly, this is why White people do so much better in these instances, because their families are usually abreast of the situation and know exactly what to expect. They have likely already procured resources to assist their children. They often have savings set up. Black people, unfortunately, lag far behind in this area.

Today, I still suffer from the failures of my adolescence. Since I was smart, I often did not study or put forth effort that surpassed my peers. My “just enough” was sufficient to pass my classes with mostly high marks. Essentially, I skated through high school. I never had trouble with any courses, really. Even math. Most of my time was spend talking to girls, playing sports or just being an unruly teenager. I had no account of what it meant to be anything to anyone, because there was no one to emulate. By the end of my senior year, I had decided to take the ASVAB test. I scored so high that I was recruited heavily by the Marines. I actually enlisted and was able to ship out to basic training. The only thing that stopped me was a relatively unknown loophole that allowed for enlisted men who have received scholarships to void their contract. A week before I was to ship out, I received an academic and art scholarship from an obscure school called MacMurray College out of Jacksonville, IL.

Maybe I should have gone. Maybe the choice I made was the best. I no longer speculate because I still love how it all has played out. The main thing I want people to understand is that to be great takes an entire support system. It takes a family that knows what is going on and what is needed to accomplish your goal. It takes making a plan and setting goals, mapping out a determined path for your life well before you are thrust into the adult world. Black people don’t always benefit from this point of view because we aren’t knowledgeable for the most part. We often have lofty dreams that aren’t grounded in reality or lazily participate in the education of our most loved and adored investments: our children. If they are truly the future, then we must allow them to be great by motivating them to be more than we could ever be. This can only be accomplished by communicating to them the importance of setting goals, planning for the future and admonishing them of complancency.

We Are Worthy by The Black Lex Luthor

 

Black People,

We are worthy, to progress under our own momentum and stride. Yet, with the culture that we have, as it continues to spiral into nonsense and depravity, we welcome nothing but the same. Our progress is hindered, under a collapse of morality and the elevation of this silly victim mentality that has encapsulated the whole of Black and African-American life. Hidden in plain sight are individuals that only derail our case for legitimate understanding in this country. These are the cowards that will make apologies for our issues as if we are invalid, poor beggars without any agency. Fools that sell us short for fame and applause and pity, whilst we suffer to no end, victims of our own blind rage.

People like DL Hughley will have you believe that we are witnessing a sort of racist uprising of Whites in this country, where their deceptive and covert motives scurry forth in the night like vipers hoping to poison any unsuspecting Black person.  Best stay “woke”. But those “woke” individuals are simply sliding into dream states, nodding off as they are taken by another venomous coward: the pro-Black. Make no mistake, there are still racists that exist in every nook and cranny, every crevice, and the covert representation likely undermines the overt.  However, does this mean that we turn the advances that we have made into middling sticks and straw and throw them in the fire, to be burned in the fires of revenge we will feel is our due?

We set these fires, languishing on the destruction, hoping that it will be a beacon to resonate with those that share our struggle. We see this everywhere, individuals promoting Blackness through their own forum but they want you to donate some money to their cause. Under this guise they achieve some stardom and prominence as advocates for Blacks but do nothing but talk, less they be found out as the wanton and crass hypocrites they are so pronounced against. The foremost example being Dr. Umar Johnson’s failure to utilize the funds he procured from Blacks to create a school for other disenfranchised Blacks. And the wall of fire continues to consume everything. We are due more than these culture vampires. We’re worthy of more.

The foolish prattling of Tariq Nasheed, a petty individual that loves his Black skin but has the nerve to shame another Black man by making a puppet of him and calling it “Crispy”, which, for most Blacks, is a well-known pejorative for a dark-skinned person. How awful that his hypocrisy highlights the hypocrisy of us all, for he really is a totem for the Black conglomerate in the US. A long-time hustler, misogynist and self-evaluated “player”, Nasheed has made his money at the expense of our own foolishness. Sadly, his accomplishments are worthy of applause since they have allowed some of us to grasp a greater scope of the issue of Blacks in this country.

We are worthy to announce ourselves as great, even though we continue to perpetuate certain stereotypes that bleed into the social framework that is visible for others. We are treated as “retarded children” of the world, as our outbursts and anger and racism towards others goes vehemently unchecked, so much so that a Black female CNN correspondent can laugh and deride an entire racial majority of this country by saying “oh, poor White people”, while everyone looks on, afraid to say anything. It’s as if they are thinking, “Oh, don’t mind her. She doesn’t know what she’s saying. It’s just a mood she’s in. It will pass. Don’t think too poor of her. Look at all she’s had to endure.” This attitude, this muted condescension makes me want to throw up. We should be treated as equals. Ironically, the equality we beg for, we have thrown away in return for the ability to publicly embarrass ourselves and shame others without admonishment.

We cannot bridge the gap between what is good for Blacks and what is good for the country, because we are the raving, kicking screaming children in the room. We don’t want to talk, nor can we, because we’ve become so emotional that any idea or proposed plan comes out as a pitiful tirade aimed at those in power. People such as T.I., noted drug dealer and multiple felon, stoke the fires of dissention even more by telling us all that there is an agenda in the Trump administration, so any Black person going to speak with him should be met with scorn and derision. Wait, we shouldn’t have a seat at the table at all? We don’t deserve to air our grievances to the leader of this nation? Sentiments such as this only hurt our community. Yet, as my pastor has said on many occasions, “Hurting people, hurt people.” Blacks are really suffering and hurting, but I think it is a self-inflicted wound, a sore that has been picked until it has bled again. Since white people put it there in the first place, they get all the backlash, while, if we’d just try to heal, it would likely get better. And the healing begins with us. White people can say they’re sorry all day and give us a band-aid, but ultimately we have to take it and put it on.

Our worth is covered up, locked in chains, boxed up and inside a prison. We have waded through the muck and mire in order to rescue this worth, through pain, blood and sweat in this country. Here, we stand at the door, key in the lock, but we won’t open it for fear of what could be waiting. We don’t want to uncover this worth, which has sat for decades, dusty and immobile.  Maybe we are the racial equivalent of Dorian Gray, thriving outwardly, beautiful and wonderful, but afraid to look at our own image, for fear it will destroy us.  Maybe in that room, what is bound up is our potential, shining as a mirror, which we must look upon in order to see the truth.  And the truth, my dear people, is that we are simply scared to confront the one thing that truly has us running, cowering in fear: ourselves.

The Stormlight Archive, Part 2 by The Black Lex Luthor

Revisiting the the epic saga of the Stormlight Archive, I'm generally impressed with several things that Sanderson does to compel the reader.

He builds the story, the world, if you will, upon the struggle of dark and light. We enter the story upon the back of a new war with an old face, and are instantly transported to the anguish and hardships that it has wrought. Much like Tolkein and Herbert before him, Sanderson is a master at weaving a story with people and places that are unique and breathable, where each character is glowing with life and personality.

Kaladin, as I stated in a previous post, is the most compelling thus far, likely because he is the focus of most of the book, and because of him being a slave.  Now, he is not just a slave to his master Lighteyes, but a slave to his code of honor.  This is ultimately what draws his honorspren, Syl, to his aid and what allows her to grant him the great power to ride the winds of the storm.

I think we find that struggle of any sort, builds character. It opens the mind to ideas and abilities that might have remained dormant otherwise. We are reminded each day, whether it be in the media or in our own lives, that life is precious and often very difficult.  However, we as human beings seem to take it for granted. We have great suicide rates, abortion rates and ridiculous wars that work to polarize us, pushing us to oppose each other in a way that feeds our core values.

Much like Kaladin, I find myself having to take a stand. I have to look within myself and become something more than just a man...and to do such, takes an idea, an action and a commitment.

The Stormlight Archive by The Black Lex Luthor

I just got through reading The first 2 books of The Stormlight Archive. Was not disappointed! Superb storyline, very carefully crafted characters and epic scenery that just pulls you into the mythos of this fantasy world. It ignited my imagination in ways not felt since reading Dune. I'm itching for the sequel, Oathbringer, due out next year.

Most importantly it left me with some incredibly illuminating ideas about honor, brotherhood and even God. Also, what it means, as a man, to be broken, and how that shapes your decisions afterwards. Kaladin, one of the protagonists, has the most captivating backstory, in my opinion, having gone from being a surgeon's apprentice, to a soldier, to a slave and finding redemption while serving those that he had sworn to never trust again. 

Riveting. In so many ways Brandon Sanderson digs into the humanity of his characters, showing them weak and vulnerable and flawed. This, of course, granted them an inherent strength regarded in the pain they felt and experienced.  

In the next few days I will comment on some important revelations this work has granted me.

Focus Your Energies by The Black Lex Luthor

Don’t create for anyone but yourself, for within yourself is the satisfaction you desire. How can one hope to please everyone? That's right! You can't. And since you can't, you shouldn't fret with people that don't understand your vision. Just ignore anything that isn't constructive. 

Be persistent and focus your energies on what you want to achieve. Splitting your mind amongst many different things will prevent you from mastery. Resistance will become your tomb. Resistance is a tomb, by the way.

On your epitaph is nothing you can ever read. So, die for yourself as well. Life is one shot. Don't get lost in the idea that you could die before you achieve anything of merit. Seems as if we are more enthralled by novelty, and less by actual skill. But God is interested in devotion. He wants to know if you'll honor the gift that was given to you, or will you squander it, wasted like orange juice on your kitchen floor.

The Witching Hours by The Black Lex Luthor

"There is one simple thing wrong with you. You think you have plenty of time." - Don Juan Matus

There are witching hours each day. The hours, speculated between 12am and 2am, that supernatural activity is most prevalent. Pagan mysticism. These hours are also said to be prohibited for any Catholic worship. But I ask you, do you put limits on your worship? Are there limits to the work that you will do, especially when it needs to be done?

Hours that ask questions and we delay the answer. We delay because we fear work. We fear the hard answers. We are the bird that cannot learn to fly, for it has never left the cage.

BUT THE CAGE WAS NEVER LOCKED!

Just try the fucking door and you will be able to walk free. Is this too much for the average person? Must be, because there are only a few that can escape the illusion of lack that blinds the world. Charles Bukowski was a staunch proponent of work, because he understood that hard work sets apart the powerful and the mundane. Michael Jordan. Salvador Dali. I could name hundreds.

Man doesn't truly want freedom. True freedom, means WAR. A war within the self that means challenge and frustration. It could mean uprooting everything that you thought. All that you believe. Sleepless nights. Poverty. Disdain.

We cannot be boxed in when work must be done. So the witching hours will see work as well, and you will defy the tenets of restraint and age old codes of performance. You will be free.

 

I Look for Motivation by The Black Lex Luthor

Determination. Tenacity. Patience. Devotion.

They are what is missing from these days. Beyond the joy I feel from my family and the blessing they bestow, God has gifted me with a yearning for completeness. A need to be whole. In my mind I reach for such a desire with gusto, but I am denied because my devotion is lacking. I no longer feel devoted to myself.

This is an angle I never foresaw, and it leaves me bewildered. There's an aching in my mind that I cannot reach, like an itch in the narrow of my back. But, I still seek out an answer.

I read constantly. I look for motivation. For words. Ideas. Thoughts. And I am always missing something. Something. I think if I did find something, somehow I might not know how to utilize it. More than likely, it’s a matter of will, and I’m just too weak right now to accomplish it. That’s the hard and honest answer. The simplest. K.I.S.S. method and all that.

Either way, it won’t stop me from searching. I guess that’s the beauty of it all. The persistence of the journey and the surprises that avail you as you go.

I wish you fortune and blessing in whatever journey you face.

 

A Wonderful Day by The Black Lex Luthor

Got up this morning, thinking, that death, the inescapable monolith of the unknown, could be but a hair's width away from me.  It looms, unpredictably swaying, casting various shadows that lend to misdirected ideas and unhurried dreams.

Today, though, is likely not my day. 

However, I think we as human beings, suffer from the idea that we have enough time.  That time is actually on our side. That we might make it all count for something before the final curtain closes on that last scene, the audience gripped in awe and anticipation for the climax. But no one sees the bow. We never hear the applause.

We want it all, don't we? The big high-five and the gold medal.  The fame. The money. The fucking cheers. 

Pushing the covers away, I slide out of bed.  My wife is still sleeping, worn out from our baby girl's night calls.  As if on cue, I hear her through the baby monitor. On the screen I see she's tossing her head, lightly, side to side, before she succumbs to rest again. Thirteen pounds of beautiful.

I wonder if my wife feels the pains of her years as I do? I wonder if she thinks of life getting better and better? What if we each don't realize our greatest ambitions?

Questions for another time I suppose. 

My feet on the floor already, I stand up, and I hear the pops in my knees before I feel them. It's gonna be a wonderful day.

 

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Sugar Addiction: 5 Quick Steps Down the Road to Freedom by The Black Lex Luthor


The struggle to liberate yourself from any addiction, seems to lie within the strength of your will power. What is most puzzling is that the Bible tells us how there is a way that a man knows, but that is not the way. The more I think on this and as I attempt to conquer this thing with my own strength, I am waking to the fact that this will take more than just me.  Sugar addiction is rooted deep in the physiology, and it is even harder to escape because so many food products are laced with it. It's hard to win a battle when the game is rigged against you.

There are some things that have helped me find small victories each day.

1. Write down or record what you eat.  I use my Fitbit app to record my eating habits and it helps because you are more cognizant of what is going into your body. Jenny Craig is also great for recording what you eat.

2. Talk about that which you're struggling.  I record small videos of myself as a reminder for how I feel during my most weakened times, where my will power is at a low.  This really helps to fortify myself for the next day or the rest of the remaining day.  It's also comforting to express the pains of the process.

3. Get an accountability partner.  My wife is pretty much my go to person with this whole sugar liberation thing. I let her know that I don't need any sugar and she makes sure that I don't have any or sneak anything.

4. Be forgiving.  Don't be down on yourself if you fail. Just get back into the driver's seat and continue towards your destination.  This isn't an easy process nor will you win every battle.  The goal is to win the war.

5. Stay prayerful.  Make sure to place these desires in your prayer time.  Making your goals known to God is important because he paves the way for your victory.  Have faith, and continue forward despite any fears.

These are just some of my weapons in this war on sugar. There is a link below for additional support from some real experts.  Good luck and God speed!

Sugar Addiction Support

Daily Devotional: You Lack Nothing by The Black Lex Luthor

Philippians 4:19
19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Even in my suffering, my own "first world problems", I reach out for the comfort of Christ.  I am, by no stretch of the imagination, perfect. I stumble.  I fall. But I also know how to get back to my feet.  If there is an experience of lack in my mind, it is only a temporary vapor, dissipating in an instant.  

There is truly nothing that we lack.  As the Bible says, even as God supplies the animals with all they need, how much more will he do for us, his most cherished and beloved on this planet?  In our problems, it is hard to see the forest for the trees therein, and we get caught up in the future of what could happen instead of being concerned about the very moment.  

The Bible instructs us to not be concerned about the issues of tomorrow, for tomorrow has enough issues of its own.  We should not be worried about what will happen, but more concerned about what is going within us and within the moment.  

Have you ever sat down to meditate on God, in complete solitude?  Did you notice how peaceful it is to feel the moment and live within it?  Reading the Word will do this if you allow it.  Everything that you need is there; all the answers you seek are at your fingertips.  He will give you all that you need, if you just come to him and ask.

Praise God for his love and mercy. 

Be blessed.