Despite all the benefits which modern technology has made possible for humanity to enjoy in the 21st century, many have observed that in some ways on certain days we seem to be taking more steps backward than forward. News reports and film documentaries contrasting volatile social and political conditions in the United States during the 1960s, for example, often point out similarities between the two eras when it comes to racial oppression and gender inequality.
At the same time, various present-day technological triumphs are undeniable. One of the greatest is that of the telephone, which has evolved from a shoe-box-sized two-piece device used solely for voice communication to a single hand-held unit capable of functioning as a camera or miniature computer.
Riding the Bus with Man-Boy and Shaniquananda: And Then Not
The sixth story in Dreams of the Immortal City Savannah, titled "Riding the Bus with Man-Boy and Shaniquananda: And Then Not." It presents readers with a partly-humorous and somewhat serious study of how well we are learning (or not learning) different lessons taught by history when it comes to personal behavior in public places and how technology impacts such behavior. This is the synopsis for it:
"It is not news that technology and innovation continue to impact our personal and public lives in unexpected ways. How that observation plays out proves a matter of some concern when a passenger compares riding the public bus system in Savannah both prior to the opening of a new transportation hub in 2013 and afterwards. In addition, the narrator ponders what it must feel like for a group of elderly African-American women, who decades ago fought for the right to sit at the front of the bus, to listen to Black Millennials Shaniquananda and Man-boy seated further back loudly discussing on cell phones intimate details of their sex lives."
Interestingly, this story was inspired in part by Luther E. Vann's great painting, "Christ Listening to Stereo," featured in the book ELEMENTAL, the Power of Illuminated Love. For that painting, Vann sought to capture the essence of a young couple on a bus in New York City. Armed with headphones, they shut out surrounding distractions and appeared immersed in a world of private tranquility, thus the title of the painting. It makes for a strong study in contrasts when set beside "Riding the Bus with Man-Boy and Shaniquananda."
C2019 Harlem Renaissance Centennial
The month of April, with flowers blooming after a frozen winter and people enjoying outdoor weddings and other activities, tends to be a favorite time for many. It is a special month for Dreams of the Immortal City Savannah because two of the principal figures in the book, civil rights advocate Vanda Trappio Patton and metaphysical artist Luther E. Vann, both passed away two years apart on April 6.
April 2019 will mark the first anniversary of Patton’s death and the third of Vann’s. Both were former members of the onlineCreative Thinkers International Initiative.
Trees Down Everywhere
In addition to being one of three individuals to whom Dreams of the Immortal City is dedicated, Ms. Patton is also a central figure in “Trees Down Everywhere,” the third story in DREAMS. In the story, readers meet her as elderly matriarch reluctant to leave her historic Victorian home even though Hurricane Matthew is moving steadily toward Southeast Georgia and threatening a direct hit against Savannah. This is a brief synopsis of the story:
“Following announcements of life-threatening hurricanes likely to directly strike Savannah, residents and tourists alike have often commented on how fortunate the ‘immortal city’ has been to defy these predictions. However, though nearly all agree it could have been much worse than it turned out to be, with Hurricane Matthew the luck ran out in 2016. Throughout the night when Matthew hits, the narrator struggles to prevent a friend’s house from flooding and the next day walks through city parks photographing uprooted trees. In addition, he shares what it was like to experience the psychic pressure of dealing with the hurricane while simultaneously…”
Ms. Patton’s choice and how it impacts all involved (including her recently-deceased son Moses Trappio III) makes for a compelling narrative to which many hurricane survivors around the world can relate. Her story is also one of the primary examples of how and why Dreams of the Immortal City Savannah is proving appealing as regional and world literature.
NEXT: The Month of April and Dreams of the Immortal City Savannah (part 2)
100th Anniversary of the Harlem Renaissance
About the Author:
A passionate reader, committed writer, artist, photographer, dedicated practitioner of mindfulness, hurricane survivor, maker of poems, believer in the value of compassion, historian, award-winner, journalist, adherent of beauty, and student of wisdom.