On the topic of skin color

I recently read an article where a black mother wants to inform her child’s white friends that they should be aware of how black people experience racism so that they can help their friends to combat it.

I have struggled with this article for a while.  Oh, and I’m white – I think I should disclose that, although I long for a time when that won’t matter one way or the other.

I completely understand why this mother wrote the article. Completely. My issue is not with the article itself; my issue is that I don’t want to tell my children that black children may be treated differently.

Why? Because ANY visual difference in a person may lead them to be treated differently and I don’t want them to linger on that specific physical trait. Glasses, skin color, disabilities, deformations, etc. I don’t want it limited to just, “Langston is black and so for perfectly stupid reasons, some close-minded morons may decide that he looks scary in a hoodie. So, stand up for him if that happens.”

In reality, I want my children to stand up for ANYONE who experiences wrongful accusations or unfair treatment for any visual characteristics. I don’t think that I want to call out black specifically. I am hoping that the world gets past it so I don’t want to call attention to it. Does that make sense?

When my kids were first noticing that our neighbors had darker skin, I would help them refer to the neighbors visually. Like “the lady with the long hair” but with skin color since they were small and wanted to point it out.  I would say “did they have light skin or dark skin?”. To me, this was the most accurate depiction of every race of a person. From my mother’s side of the family with olive skin “kind of light” to my kids with light skin and reddish hair. To the kids from school from Sri Lanka with dark skin. They’re not “black” as we know it in society, but their skin is just as dark.

So what happened? School. In school they taught history and everything referred to blacks and whites. That’s just not accurate enough for me. I’m still trying with the light vs. dark skin – we’ll see how it goes.

In the meantime, I’m happy to report that my oldest son stood up for his geeky friend to some bullies. It’s kind of a visual identifier if you think about it – given that he dresses differently and carries himself in a less-confident posture.

I just think that NOTICING physical traits are part of life and we should not call attention to any in particular as part of the education of our young before it happens.  To prepare them for what what small-minded people may think or say might work against us. We may unwittingly skew the perception of our children by making them look at their own friends differently than they have before. It’s OUR burden to bear that we know what happened (and are horrified by) from so many years ago. I think that separating that visual trait from other noticeable traits is how we got into this mess in the first place.

Vaccines and Politics

I’m a little torn up today. When it comes to social media, at times I feel perfectly overwhelmed that so much is broken, it’s impossible to effectively address anything.

Today, my thoughts are on vaccines and politics.  It’s funny to me that vaccines have become the third forbidden “casual conversation” topic.

So, what am I thinking about vaccines?  Here’s what I’m thinking:

In my mind, vaccines are a necessary evil. Let’s say that they don’t contain preservatives and remove that argument about mercury. Let’s say for this conversation that they are just dead viruses or the like that teach our immune system to protect itself against that illness.

Because our bodies must manifest everything they ingest, my first thought is that we can no longer treat vaccines with this “one size fits all” approach. Our bodies process them differently for a thousand reasons. Why do we insist on just injecting the same thing for all?

I once had my then 4-year old son’s titers tested for Tdap. He was protected for 27 lifetimes. And that was WITHOUT the recommended booster.

Can’t we do better? When I ask this question (as well as the preservative one) I get answers centered around how unfeasible alternative possibilities are due to cost. I’m just very tired of that answer.  I just can’t accept that. Calling all millennials in medical school – keep an open mind, friends, we need a better way. Quite often, I wish I’d gone to medical school.

Here’s the second thing I’m thinking: If our bodies manifest things and based on my son’s 27 lifetime protection, why isn’t it possible that our immune system is OVER reacting to protect itself and we develop auto-immune issues (allergies, for example) as well as other issues.  I think it’s incredibly possible.

Allergies are more severe than ever, particularly in our very-vaccinated children. So, if we can’t (conveniently) remove the vaccines, what can we do? I’m going to try the ALCAT test and see how that goes. I think that it’s possible that we’ve also manifested a more subtle issue and that is food intolerances.  they’re not as notorious as actual allergies, but make us subtly miserable – digestive, skin, even behavioral.  I’m anxious to find out. Hoping to have the testing done next week.

On Trump

Oh, the dreaded topic of politics.  But, here we go.

My Dad sent me an email that uses an analogy about raccoons to discuss how necessary a man like Donald Trump is.  Now, I was initially a fan of trump until he started talking about his plans – I have to state that.

In this email, you come home from vacation for 2 weeks and you have an infestation of raccoons in your basement. You want them gone so you call a guy who is available immediately and he stinks and so forth but you don’t care because you want the raccoons gone.

This was my response:

Hi Dad,

I would never get mad for reading a perspective that might change mine.  I think politics in our country is a terrible disaster and largely responsible for the state of the country.  To me, politicians are like unions: they were necessary once, but now they’re just causing problems.
However, just like my aunt wants one pill to feel better and fix all her woes – in my opinion there is no “fix”.  This is the result of layers and layers of bad decisions over decades and I don’t think putting a bully with a one track mind in a position of power will fix it.  In fact, I think his ego will get the better of him and diplomacy will be forgotten.
I hope I’m wrong.  I really do.
I’ve been reading some stuff from Noam Chomsky.  Check him out if you have time.
xoxo

Excerpt from Constant Pull – Book One

I was running. It was coming after me again. I was always running but I was far too slow. I kept trying to look at my legs to figure out why I ran so slow, but by the time I would see my feet, I forgot why I was looking at them.

I didn’t know what I ran from this time, but I felt the overwhelming urge to stop and find out. A weaker part of me began to argue. No matter; I abruptly came to a stop. The ground was canary yellow and glittered in odd ways that indicated several light sources. The atmosphere was foggy and seemed to echo but I couldn’t hear much of anything. I just knew that if I spoke, it would echo.

Something was coming. It was coming on my left. I felt a scowl move across my face just in case it was something unpleasant, I felt more prepared. I turned to my left to face it.

A pink convertible formed out of nothing and drove up to where I stood. I took a couple steps back and noticed a California plate on the front of the car. A statuesque blond woman in a black and white halter top stared in my direction. She had bouffant hair in a floral handkerchief tied beneath her chin and she wore big sunglasses and dark red lips. Her expression didn’t match her car or her accessories. She was very solemn-concerned almost. She took her sunglasses off to show me her thick, ink-lined upper lash line and I heard loud whispers from all around me. It was distracting. I realized it was her mouth that moved, but I couldn’t understand anything she said. I tried to reply, “I can’t hear you”-but something jumbled came out instead. She held up her hand as if to tell me not to talk. She seemed to understand what I had been saying and repeated herself in the same loud, echoey whisper. I noticed her handkerchief was now affected by a breeze that slowly became stronger. She held her hand on the knot that held it in place and didn’t divert her sincere brown eyes from mine. I was too easily distracted. I noticed a small pink glitter in the air in front of me, floating. I stared at it.

A dream. The ground, the air with glitter. It was my tell; I knew it now-I was dreaming. Now, I was very curious about what this woman wanted to tell me. I crawled on the hood of the car with a great deal of effort. I peered over the windshield.

I clearly said, “I don’t know what you’re saying.” I must have said it in actuality because I felt myself pull hard from the dream for a moment almost to waking. The woman became immediately frustrated. She jammed her sunglasses back on her face and threw the car in reverse. Panic welled in me as I realized I was still on the hood. Why had I gotten up there anyway?  I decided that I was going to fly away. I moved from my knees to my feet and pushed off hard. I always flew away if I knew I was dreaming.

Flying in my dreams was not easy. It was a constant struggle for altitude. I’d dip just as quickly as I’d rise. I flew around for a while in this constant pattern of dips and rising.

I woke up with a start and took a minute to clear my head. There was a gentle knock at my door.

“You can come in gramps.” I said, sitting up and running my fingers through my hair.

“You OK, hon?” he said opening the door. “Heard ya talking.” My Grampa was standing in the hall with his coffee cup in hand. He looked cute in his faded royal blue sweatshirt and baggy jeans. His hair was about the same length as his beard and almost entirely gray.

“I’m OK, just a weird dream. Did you have breakfast yet?” I asked him.

“Few hours ago.”  He said with a phlegmy laugh and a cough. “I’m headed down for some more coffee though. Gonna tinker in the garage for a bit. Little bit to clean up.” My Grampa was in the habit of waking up at 5am no matter what day of the week it was.

“OK, be down in a few.” I said.

San Francisco Book Review of Constant Pull

Constant Pull
By Avery Kirk

Star Rating: 5 out of 5

Amelia (Mel) Harper is plagued with dreams, ever since the loss of her parents in a boating accident. Longing for interpretations to the vivid images that make her toss and turn at night, she finds solace in confiding her nightmares to a mysterious older gentleman named Harry, who only communicates to her through written messages. Although he offers good counsel, Mel’s problems are suddenly compounded by other perplexing situations, especially a call from a travel agency seeking confirmation to travel plans for two that she neither booked, nor paid for. When she decides to ask her best friend, Kevin, if he’d go with her and he accepts the invitation, Kevin is unaware of the background to this trip, as well as Mel’s hidden agenda – her sense that she is suppose to be there for something much more than a nice vacation. True to her instincts, what unfolds is a situation that is not only totally unexpected, but also metaphysically mind boggling.

In her debut novel, Kirk has produced a tale replete with unique characters that embody sturdy personality traits, in particular Mel — the lead protagonist. Written in first-person narrative, Mel recounts what takes place after her parents’ demise. Her life is pretty much centered on her work and her familial, platonic, and mysterious relationships that she has with her grandpa, Kevin, and Harry, respectively. Kirk keeps the plot crisp and flowing by slowly building suspense through Mel’s evolving dreams and the cryptic signs she discovers along the way, which are juxtaposed by her tight-knit relationships and by incorporating dangling closures to chapters that don’t immediately resolve in subsequent chapters.

//Constant Pull// may be earmarked as contemporary fiction; however, it leans more toward a thriller. Kirk has shrewdly integrated non stereotypical anticipation with the possibility of impending romance. Book one, which concludes with a riveting cliffhanger, will definitely leave readers yearning for the next in a brilliantly prospective series.

Interview!

Constant Pull is the first book in a series that is about a young woman, Mel, who has had a rough few years after losing her parents. Just as she seems to be coasting a bit, she finds some unusual dreams have her edgy and wondering if she’s supposed to be paying attention.  Strange things begin to happen to her that all point to a specific place.

Sounds a little spooky. Is this a horror novel?
I think it best fits under Contemporary Fiction.

OK. Tell us more.
Mel confides in a man named Harry whose identity is unknown.  She is hesitant to tell anyone else except for her closest friend, Kevin, for fear that they will think she’s insane.

The relationship between Kevin and Mel is developed in this book and Mel’s first trip to find out what all the signs meant.  The reader is left with questions that are left unanswered until the series continues.

We love – and hate – cliffhangers. Tell us who this series is aimed at.
Readers who like a strong female lead.  Probably women in the 20-45 age range.

I think it’s also for people who have a more modern view on male/female relationships.  Kevin and Mel are in a platonic relationship although it may evolve.  That is a question that is left unanswered!

We still don’t know a lot about Mel. Tell us if she’s been modelled after anyone you know, perhaps yourself?
Not a ton.  I’m actually in another character!  Mel does have strengths in personality traits that I don’t possess at all.  She’s far more bold than I am and isn’t easily embarrassed.  She’s the type of person who feels the fear but decides to go forward anyway.

That’s interesting. Seems like most authors make themselves the main character. Tell us a little more about yourself.
I work for a corporation in a relatively soul-sucking environment.  I now work with process optimization but I had formerly been a technical writer for the corporation for several years and would laugh when they described my writing as a little too colloquial.  I finally got the chance to write something decidedly non-technical.

Have you written anything else that we can read? – and we don’t mean technical manuals!
Not yet!  I’m working on the second book in the series now.

How easily do new storylines come to you? If we give you four random words – Man, Woman, Airport, Darkness – can you give us a brief storyline? 
It was their first real house. They usually slept in complete darkness because their only light source was from a candle they carried that burnt out well before morning. They heard the sound of another plane flying overhead as they glanced out the window at the airport across the street. The sound of the planes had grown to be a warm and reassuring reminder of their freedom and all the new possibility in their lives. The man and woman slept in the same bedroom, but in different makeshift beds as they were brother and sister. This had been their home for the last few weeks, ever since they were freed from their home country where life was far more unfair than it should ever have to be. Now they spent their days searching for their parents from this meager home that they loved – not for what it was, but for what it represented.

 

http://www.indieauthorland.com/archives/7165

Controversial?

I wonder if this will be controversial if I mention my opinion on this.  I guess since I’m open to the influence of other people’s opinions, I’m ok with any controversy.

Here goes:  I think as long as we have groups, societies, and organizations based on a gender or race specific qualifier, we will constantly crave equality that we won’t be able to achieve.

I love charities, organizations, causes, and groups.  I have favorites such as Project Night Night and the Empowerment plan.  To me, need or support of any type should not be limited to a group where the defining factor for whether or not you qualify for help is something that can be determined visually.

In other words, I want to focus on people who need help with education rather than “Women in Education”. I think that basing help or support for a group based on a visual identifier (race, gender) is something that will perpetually hold us in a state of divide.  

If we’re talking about a donation to a museum – that is a totally different topic – and a place where I feel that kind of judgement belongs.  But if we’re talking about humans affected by something that warrants a discussion about monetary help or other donations – we should not separate that need by the types of people.  

I think as we evolve, our charities and forms of support should be focused on the need rather than the visual characteristics of the people with that need.  It could be argued that those visual identifiers are how they were separated by the small-minded people who excluded them in the first place, putting them in a position of need.  Why should we keep them same thought process?

 

Charities I mentioned if you’re curious: 

http://www.empowermentplan.org/ 

http://projectnightnight.org/

 

All things to be passionate about are subjective

It’s interesting how strongly we rely on emotion to drive us in certain times; yet we just as equally don’t trust those same emotions to help us choose in other times.

I am led by logic.  I admit it.  I prefer being logic based because it helps me when I have to decide stuff.  And, I have to decide stuff quite often.  That doesn’t mean that logic is the first thing to slap me in the face when I’m faced with a decision.  It’s almost always an emotion that I feel.  I just wait before I reply or decide.  It’s been quite a long time that I’ve spent building that up as a skill.  It’s the difference between being reactionary and ….well, not being reactionary.

I have a passion for photography and I had a studio at one point.  It made me aware that not all people are going to like what I create.  And that is Okay; it would be perfectly overwhelming if everyone loved what you create.  It would also be just plain odd.

I think when you create something you love – anything really – you have to decide if you’re willing to hear other opinions on your creation.  That is not easy.  But, when you find that loyal crowd who you’ve really spoken to in a personal way through your creation, I think it really makes an impact on you.  Knowing that you helped make someone happy or allowed them to see your perspective for an instant is really what makes sharing your creation worthwhile.

Maybe it’s not that I’m “led” by logic but that I am comfortable relying on it more.  My emotional/passionate side changes its mind too darn often and judges too quickly based on how something makes me feel.  As I write, I find that it is almost completely opposite.  I rely 100% on emotion rather than logic.  Maybe that’s part of why I enjoy it so much.

Speaking of sharing something …..I recently did an interview for an author website.  It asked me to write a storyline based on four words:  Man, Woman, Airport, Darkness .  I had way too much fun doing this.  I was surprised how quickly I formed an image in my head and found a little story.

Here it is:

It was their first real house. They usually slept in complete darkness because their only light source was from a candle they carried that burnt out well before morning. They heard the sound of another plane flying overhead as they glanced out the window at the airport across the street. The sound of the planes had grown to be a warm and reassuring reminder of their freedom and all the new possibility in their lives. The man and woman slept in the same bedroom, but in different makeshift beds as they were brother and sister. This had been their home for the last few weeks, ever since they were freed from their home country where life was far more unfair than it should ever have to be. Now they spent their days searching for their parents from this meager home that they loved – not for what it was, but for what it represented.

Honestly

As I type the word ‘honestly’ I tend to think of Austin Powers.  Since I’ve decided to be honest, I must admit that I didn’t love Austin Powers.  It was me and like six other people in Michigan who didn’t like it.

I recently published a the first book in my Constant Pull series.  I hate to admit how many hours (including this one) that I spent writing that book while my four year old climbed all over me.  Yet, it had to be done.  I realized in one heart stopping moment that I’d spent a lifetime ignoring all the signs that I loved to write.  Can you imagine?  When I looked back at some of the signs, I felt just plain dumb.

I started writing Constant Pull when I was pregnant with that same four-year-old.  The idea just struck me one day.  I sat admiring Jean Luc Picard as Star Trek TNG played quietly on the television and came up with a string of What Ifs that wouldn’t soon leave me.  The coolest part of those What Ifs was that they had children of their own.

Writing is a peculiar thing to me.  It’s a little world that I made and only I know exactly what I meant for it to look like.  Coming from a technical career, this is crazy cool.  My favorite part is hearing what other people think it should look like.  Creativity proliferates.