“Death wins nothing here,
Continued from PART 1
Rodger told himself in particular that “women rejected” him and therefore deserved punishment while knowing nothing about these anonymous women’s personal realities. And most damning of all, the mental model on which he relied convinced him that destroying life was the only way to conquer life. The possibility that he might discover joy and live peacefully outside his extremely narrow conceptions seems to have never occurred to him.
I had undertaken the completion of Journey through the Power of the Rainbow in the first place partly to help individuals, in general, construct healthier perspectives for looking at and dealing with existence as we know it in the 21st century. Rodger’s deadly rampage was a vicious reminder––not that anybody required one with the civil disruptions in Ukraine and Syria still disturbing the collective peace–– that humanity itself still needs to “get the work done” when it comes to dismantling belief in violence as a solution to disagreements or disappointments.
An Affirmation of Humanity’s Potential
News of the massacre on May 23 shoved communities across the globe even deeper into pits of despair already made fatally toxic by escalating conflicts, the intensification of climate meltdown, and the heartbreak of #BringBackOurGirls. Yet, in one of those strange ironies that no one can ever anticipate, news of Angelou’s death gave the global village a reason to celebrate her astonishingly triumphant life. Hers was the towering example of a mental, spiritual, and literary model that affirmed humanity’s potential to transform the self-consuming shadows of emotional chaos into the healing light of inspired affirmation.
She had spent almost nine decades “getting the work done,” creating a legacy that enhanced rather than diminished people’s capacity for embracing faith in life. In Angelou’s own words, her mission was “not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” Her example had been set as beautifully as a Thanksgiving table covered with a feast of grace large enough to feed an entire neighborhood. It should be easy enough to honor that example simply by enjoying the splendid wonder of its incredible beauty.
4 June, 2014
Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance, first published by Facts On File in 2003 and through Infobase Publishing in 2010, is now available as a Kindle Edition on Amazon and that is big news for a lot of good reasons.
For one, 2013 marks the tenth anniversary of Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance’s publication and a new edition of a new edition of a modern award-winning classic is always a good way to celebrate such occasions.
Secondly, advances in technology proved a powerful component of the Harlem Renaissance just as it has in the contemporary era. During the 1920s and 1930s, important developments took place through the growing radio and the recording industries. Those advances not only allowed African Americans to showcase and preserve the marvels of black music such as jazz, ragtime, and the blues. It gave also them a foothold in an industry that allowed many to earn a living (though just barely for some) and a few to attain wealth.
Another significant development during the period was the growth of the publishing industry in New York City and other urban locales. Without that expansion, the odds of authors such as W.E.B. Du Bois, Claude McKay, and Zora Neale Hurston becoming as well known to readers as they are today would have decreased considerably.
The Kindle story is one of the defining chapters of the digital era. In many ways, it represents the same kind of growth in publishing that the establishment of important literary houses did during the Harlem Renaissance Jazz Age. It has helped make more titles available to more readers while simultaneously increasing opportunities for more authors to publish their books. It has not––and should not––replaced the print industry but it is now an integral part of publishing overall.
The Harlem Renaissance as a whole meant forward movement in regard to the practice of democracy in the United States and astonishing social and political progress for the generations of African Americans who, with substantial cross-cultural assistance, made it happen. A Kindle Edition of Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance means forward movement of different kind: for this specific book and toward the 100th Anniversary of the Harlem Renaissance.
“Sometimes the words came like ecstatic utterances, sometimes like songs whispered from another time, like actual angelic possessions, or like mental files that had been downloaded while I slept and then printed via my pen as soon as I got up.”
I was thoroughly convinced a month ago that by the time World Book Day (April 23) rolled around I would have finished selecting material for my proposed book of quotations. That did not happen and I came close to getting frustrated over it. But I consoled myself with the thought that the next best thing to greeting readers and signing books at an event on World Book Day was working to complete a title already in progress.
My chomping-at-the-bit anxiety was also tamed by the kind of special gifts that almost always turn grown writers into overjoyed hand-clapping babies. One was a corresponding website for the book in progress, which has now been given the title Journey through the Power of the Rainbow. The reasons for the switch are noted on the site. The second reason my disquiet took a back seat to humility was an unexpected new book cover.
Yes, it more than likely was presented to encourage me to move a little faster on the job at hand. But even so, a new book cover for a forthcoming book is the kind of thing that helps give visual form and substance to something that is mostly an abstract idea until it rests in some tangible form within your hands. It also provides additional motivation to keep the flow going and serves to help validate the value of all the long hours spent in solitude to finally get the work done.
Who knows, the pages worked on so diligently during World Book Day 2013 may very well turn into the book that gets frequently signed, discussed, and placed on wish lists at World Book Day 2014.
24 April, 2013
Visions of a Skylark Dressed in Black made its publishing debut in Great Britain in 2006 with a limited release electronic edition. The current U.S. launch marks the first time the title has been made available in multiple formats through widespread distribution channels. The book giveaway on Goodreads is one celebration of that fact and the daily blogs featured on Creative Thinkers International also represent a salute to the book finally making its way to an international audience.
Both the prose and the poetry remain astonishingly relevant in their evocation of humanity struggling to overcome its dependence on the drug of war, adapting to extreme climate change, and holding fast to those qualities, inclinations, and grace that adorn life with moments of breathtaking wonder.
All websites are works in progress because they require routine updates to maintain their relevance and continuously attract interest. But they are also works in progress because the ever-evolving techno-verse constantly forces sites and the individuals who manage them to adapt to the trending flow of technological innovation just to remain functional. Therefore, I’m happy to acknowledge the launch of this new version of Bright Skylark Literary Productions as a fun-filled work in progress. I might also refer to it occasionally as The Weebly Experiment for reasons that are pretty obvious.
Visitors familiar with my work from Creative Thinkers International, PEN American Center, Facebook, Twitter, Red Room or elsewhere (shouldn’t leave AuthorsDen or Goodreads out) know I have quite a few projects shaping up already. One of the biggest, I should mention, is the fifth anniversary celebration at Creative Thinkers International. As the dates of different events approach, I will share more about them in the News and Events sections as well as in this particular space.
This website was initially slated to serve as a support vehicle for only one project; namely, the publication of the first U.S. edition of Visions of a Skylark Dressed in Black. However, as the flexibility and potential so graciously provided by Weebly became more apparent, it seemed a good idea to widen that limited scope and test a few more possibilities.
Taking a hint from social network friends, I’ve included on this site a collection of quotations from my writings. It also features an illustrated bibliography, list of article links, selection of poetry, and the VISIONARY VIBES BLOG, which you are (hopefully) reading right now. Exactly how far I’m going to be able to take all of this is hard to say, but I’m going to give it my best shot and hope to share some very interesting adventures in the process.
Thank you for visiting,
Contemporary award-winning author of classically-styled works in history, poetry, creative nonfiction, speculative fiction, and journalism.