I wonder. Because when it comes to conversations like these, I try to imagine what the opposing voice would say. So then I ask, which is worse? Physical or emotional abuse? Because you know how victims like to make a competition out of who has it worse. While it’s true that physical abuse can lead to emotional abuse, for it to get to that point, in my opinion, it’s relatively rare these days without the police getting involved to arrest the physical abuser.
And the thing is, when I talk about this with women to get their perspective, I’m not sure most women know what’s going on beneath the surface. It’s either that, or straight up difficult for them to believe it. How the emotional abuse, especially the denial of emotional abuse, really have made men more reluctant to get involved in relationships. Think about it. It’s the same for those who have been in physically abused relationships. When the right person comes along, the abused will still have doubts and fear.
And if women aren’t aware of those doubts and fear, I truly believe it will lead to their own decline of self-esteem, thinking men aren’t interested in them because they aren’t beautiful or interesting, which is far from the case. And then you hear crap like “man up” from those who were fortunate enough not to experience said abuse. These are strange times indeed.
Ever since I was a teenager, I’ve always taken the idea of marriage seriously. I don’t care what society thinks. I don’t care what the current trends are. In my world, with my life, marriage is sacred. So I’m patient. I’ll wait forever if I have to in order to make sure that the woman I say “I do” to is once and for all time.
It’s not just because I take my vows seriously. It’s not just because it’s a vow made before God. Those things are important, but oddly enough, the most important thing to me when it comes to the concept of marriage is that I fully intend on bringing children into this world. In my eyes, all children are innocent. They are brought into this world, through no fault of their own, but by the actions of two individuals.
On March 15th 2008, my older brother called me while I was in the middle of delivering pizzas to tell me he had proposed to his girlfriend Nandi. On May 9th 2009, my older brother married his fiancé Nandi. And on November 20th, 2017, I learned that my older brother and his wife are expecting their first child. That was yesterday.
I can’t express how happy I am. It’s my dream to do what he’s done. It’s not just what he’s done, it’s how he’s done it. Anyone with the proper anatomy can have children. Just anyone can get rich or become famous. Right now, we live in a world where it seems everyone’s doing it the wrong way. They’re getting rich for the wrong reasons, famous for horrible things.
What I’m about to say might strike some people the wrong way, but I believe it’s not said enough. Because I’ve heard once too many times about how my mother and father aren’t grandparents yet. They say it in jest, I’m sure. They probably think its no big deal to point it out, but it is to me. It’s a very big deal.
The following is one of my favorite exchanges from my unpublished young adult fiction manuscript “The Knights With No Lords”. Here we find the 17-year-old Morgan sulking in the shadows as her secret love cavorts with the other lads down in the courtyard below. Morgan’s older sisters, Elaine and Morgaus take notice. I hope you like it.
“You must be happy. To have your friend back.”
“Elaine, if your wenches are with you, please send them away. I’m not in the mood,” Morgan said without turning her head to look.
Elaine nodded to her ladies, Annaleise, Giselle, and Fierva. Clicked tongues and appalled gasps rattled out as the ladies stormed off. Elaine and all her heavenly shine nudged against her shadowy sister.
“Why so dark and gloomy? Honestly, did you run this through coal? Where did you get this cloak?” Elaine scoffed as she picked at the fleece.
“Don’t you worry. I like it. Darkness suits me. Tis better this way,” Morgan said in soft apathy.
“I can’t help but worry, Morgana. You were gloomy when he was away and now that he’s back you’re even more lethargic. Sometimes I think you like being misread; the effort people put into figuring you out can be flattering. I used to be like that. Then I grew up,” Elaine said as her gaze settled on the shimmering fountain below.
Surprisingly, Morgan didn’t retaliate against Elaine’s incendiary remarks. That’s mostly because Morgan wasn’t listening. For close to three minutes the sisters stood gazing upon the oasis in silence, and then, Morgan proposed the following question.
“Do you ever feel burdened? To be born a woman?”
“Honestly! Where is this coming from?” Elaine said.
Morgan groaned heavily as she nestled her lips into the arm of her fleece and grumbled, “Just answer the question before I bite you.”
“No! I don’t feel burdened. I love being a woman. I like being pampered and fawned by big hairy warlords and gallant knights. I’d rather be spoiled and confined to a palace than hunting and trudging about in the wilderness. Getting all sweaty, never knowing when you have to run or hide. Honestly, it all sounds absolutely horrid. Don’t tell me that’s what you desire?” Elaine said.
Morgan scoffed into the pit of her elbow as she continued leaning on the stone railing. Elaine smiled and whimpered as if she was staring at a puppy that struggled to climb steps. She reached over and combed her fingers through Morgan’s long curly brown hair.
“Oh, Morgan! Do tell me what’s on your mind. I can’t bear to see you this way.”
Morgan’s purple eyes swept from Elaine to the fountain, then back to Elaine. She really didn’t want to waste her breath but at the same time, she had to admit that she was genuinely touched by Elaine’s concern. Morgan finally stood up straight and stretched her back against the colonnade column. With a heavy sigh, she put a hand on her hip, let her head slouch back, and unloaded.
“This entire court owes me an apology. Especially King Mark and that ghost in a shell, Tristan. If it wasn’t for me, Gawain would still be out there answering to the beck and whim of Iseult and her dogs and we’d never be in a position to bargain with the Hibernians. All of this was made possible by me. ‘You were right, Morgan. Thank you, Morgan.’ I get nothing! Honestly, I am so sick of having to subject myself to all of these stupid men. I swear, Elaine! There’s only so much I can take. I feel it in the depths of my soul.”
“I’m telling you, chained deep within my heart there is a fiery dragon who always furious. She’s screaming. She’s crying out loud! She’s begging to be set free and I’m doing my very best to hold her back but it hurts! It burns! It’s only a matter of time before she breaks the chains and devours my soul. She’ll replace it! She’ll replace my soul. She will replace me with… myself.” Morgan ended in sorrow.
Elaine stared in a complete loss of words. She didn’t know if she should hug her or simply tell her everything would be all right. She had half a mind to bring her down to the clerics.
“Oh, to be young again…”
Elaine and Morgan turned to see Queen Morgaus approaching with a bowl full of dates.
“I remember feeling the same anxiety when father told me I’d be adopting three young sons. They weren’t even babies but toddlers, and Saxons no less. Our father, the honorable Duke Gorlois forced it upon me without my consent and without warning. I was shattered. Remember? But then I laid my eyes on the boys, Gawain, Gaheris, and Agravain and oh how my heart melted.”
“Morgaus, please! If the boys were anything like Pellinore we would’ve found you at the bottom of the tower from having cast yourself from a window,” Morgan protested.
Elaine chuckled so hard she almost choked on a date.
“Perhaps,” Morgaus replied. “But who knows what the future holds? Why does one peer into prophesies of disaster when you’re surrounded by prosperity?”
“Because love is an illusion. Moreover, it’s not guaranteed that everyone will get it. That’s why love is cruel, extremely cruel. Love is ephemeral. It is the very definition of pain. Ask yourself, what good is love when all it does is wrench at your chest and bring you endless heartache?” Morgan argued.
“Because it also brings you bliss, my little raven. Love is a euphoria that makes you light on your feet and uplifted in spirit. It is complete and everlasting happiness in every sense of the phrase.” Morgaus answered.
Morgan rolled her eyes and crossed her arms.
“Oh? Did Morgaus win this debate? Yet again?” Elaine chuckled.
Morgan shook her head and gradually, her gaze found its way back to Gawain down by the fountain.
Morgaus leaned closer and whispered softly, “Yes, love can keep you up at all hours of the moon. It can conjure heat and trepidation that’s usually followed by a stimulating sensation of pleasure that carries you into ecstasy. I’m not lying. The feeling, you’ll never forget it. You’ll long for it worse than castaways thirsting for water in the scorching heat. It’s a catharsis that washes away all doubt and loneliness, forever reminding you that you are indeed a treasure.”
As Morgaus spoke, she continued to inch closer and closer to Morgan. Her voice became softer and softer and once she finished, she gave Morgan a quick lick on the ear. Elaine and Morgaus laughed as Morgan recoiled so hard that the back of her head hit the column.
“Gross! You snake!” Morgan snapped.
“My goodness. I’m sorry!” Morgaus laughed.
“You’re living in a dream world! Both of you!” Morgan said, aggressively wiping her ear as if a gnat had flown into it.
“Yes, yes. The world is cruel and everyone hates you. Sure, Morgan. I can’t tell you what to do. But I see now, you know exactly what I’m talking about.” Morgaus said as she bounced her eyebrows.
“Oh? Has someone captured the heart of our little crow?” Elaine asked.
“Honestly, Elaine. How can you be so dense?” Morgaus teased. “It’s obvious who she’s in love with. But it’s complicated, isn’t it? Traditions and a wicked twist of fate stand in the way Morgan being joined with her paramour. So what will she do, I wonder.”
“I’m not afraid of breaking tradition. I could care less what people think of me.” Morgan insisted.
“Clearly,” Elaine noted, poking at the fleece.
“Unfortunately, my paramour, as you put it, is probably the most pious person I’ve ever met. It’s so damn frustrating it makes my teeth rattle. I swear it would be so much easier if he had but an ounce of villainy in him. A scoundrel like Pellinore,” Morgan mumbled.
Morgaus scoffed. “I don’t know about all that. If good girls fall for the bad guys, whom do you think the bad girls fall for? Truth be told, I think it’s his shining sense of virtue that you’re drawn to. He is everything that you are not. You can’t explain the valor that dominates his heart and it’s irritating, sure. However, I think a simpleton like Pellinore who you could figure out in a single afternoon would truly drive you to quaff cyanide. Your paramour, his restraint, his strength, the respect he shows others even when he’s shaking with rage…I think you admire all that. You admire those who have what you lack and I think that’s absolutely precious.”
Morgan listened as she watched Gawain captivate those around him. Her heart softened. Morgaus’s words had penetrated her hardened exterior and found all the optimism hidden beneath piles of angst and planned failure.
“Wait!” Elaine exclaimed in her epiphany. “Are you talking about Gawain?”
But after growing up and reading the bible from cover to cover, I’ve come to realize that I didn’t hate organized religions. What I hated was the fact that I never felt like I fit in with any of them. But that’s not anyone’s fault. This post isn’t about my inability to fit in. It’s about something else.
Too many times, I’ve seen individuals, intellectual individuals tout Jesus Christ as a wonderful man with awesome and amazing teachings. Then, these same individuals would go on to discredit and doubt the apostles that followed in the rest of the New Testament. Primarily, the likes of Paul, John, Peter, and Timothy.
Two nights ago, I watched a feminist named Naomi Wolf compare Jesus Christ to a social justice warrior. She mentioned how he stood up against the strict conservatives of the day and befriended individuals of all walks of life. Then, just a few sentences later, she says how she doesn’t like Paul because Paul claimed women shouldn’t preach.
It’s around the 18 minute mark
Last week, I watched a spoken word video by Jefferson Bethke called “Why I Hate Religion, but Love Jesus.” In the video, Jefferson claims that Jesus was given by God, but religion was invented by man.
Here’s the thing…first off. I see a benefit to having points of view like Naomi Wolf and Jefferson Bethke. As I told one of my buddies, I think it’s at least cool that these individuals are using their words, their art to reach others and get them involved in learning about God. And hopefully, if the individual truly does pick up the Bible and read it through and through, they’ll come to learn, as I have, that there’s more to it than their cherry-picking/misleading messages.
My first point is something I’ve been told by my betters years ago. It’s the general statement of, “you can’t pick and choose what you want from the Bible and discard the rest.” The only problem I had was that it was never efficiently explained why. And when you’re talking to someone with limited faith, you really have to use logic to reach them. Hitting them with Bible verses when they already doubt the scriptures’ credibility is about as pointless as splashing them when they’re already wet. So allow me to take a stab at it.
Try to wrap your brain around this, I mean, really just think about it. If you’re one of those who likes what Jesus preached, how can you deny the words of his Apostles when everything you know about Jesus was written by his Apostles? Jesus didn’t write the Gospel of Matthew, Mark, John, or Luke himself. Man did.
Which brings me to Jefferson’s logic about how Jesus was from God, but religions were invented by man. If my logic in the last paragraph holds water, then Jefferson’s statement is debunked. More importantly, there’s numerous examples in the Old Testament where God encourages the people to worship as a congregation, the word “assembly” is used abundantly.
Thus, when Jesus commanded his Apostles to go and tell the world about him, it’s only natural that they’d create congregations, essentially establishing the church. That’s why you have the letters to Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, the Thessalonians and Colossians. I won’t lie. In today’s current PC society, those letters teaching people how they should live life would be considered outrageous.
But if you do consider them outrageous, it is my opinion that your heart is exposed. And you’re not alone. That’s alright. No one’s perfect, but accepting your own flaws is the first step to change. I’ll give you an example. Last night in re-reading 2 Samuel, there’s the story of Joab. A general named Abner killed Joab’s little brother. And after King David made peace with Abner, Joab more or less stalked Abner down and murdered him. King David then cursed Joab’s for his actions.
When I read that, I felt conflicted. I definitely understand Joab’s feelings and if I was in his shoes, I’d probably do the same thing (I’m protective of my brothers). But really, those feelings of revenge is an exposure of wickedness in my own heart. Something I need to work on. And by the grace of God I hope I do improve.
I know that when you look at Christianity with a broad lens, it’s like staring at a field blanketed with snow. If there’s but one piece of charcoal on the field above the snow, it’s glaring. It stands out. If there’s charcoal sprinkled all over the field, it’s easy to assume that the field is covered with charcoal, when really a majority of it is still snow.
If you really believed in Jesus and what he taught, then you should appreciate and smile upon them. Why? Because they’re doing exactly as Christ commanded them. To mock them, to insult them, to belittle them is to belittle the teachings of Christ.
More importantly, this nonsense about comparing Christ to social justice warriors…Aside from the fact that his main purpose was to teach repentance and reliance on God, Jesus Christ most endearing quality was that he was self-sacrificing. From what I’ve seen that quality is quite lost upon the SJWs.
Too many times, I’ve seen people bend and manipulate Christ’s teachings to conform to their lives, instead of people conforming themselves to Christ’s teachings. I’ve been hit with the “Well, Jesus hung out with prostitutes and sinners!” or “God made me and God is perfect. So I’m fine the way I am.”
Jesus gave the perfect explanation that so many tend to leave off. Jesus illustrated that its similar to physicians going to visit the sick people. Why would a physician need to visit the healthy ones? He kept company with sinners to help them. And as far as “God making no mistakes”. You’re right. He doesn’t. We’re the ones who constantly err almost on a daily basis. We’re the ones who are imperfect. Jesus Christ, his disciples, his followers, the congregations and religions established in his name, I firmly believe with all of my heart that a majority of them are here to help.
Last weekend, I watched a documentary about the history of Blood and Crips in America. Between that documentary and the scores of scorned females posting comments on Derrick Jaxn’s facebook page that are super critical of today’s Black Men, I had to post this video because it offers a different perspective that’s not exactly the most popular.
He’s talking about his personal experience. But I think it’s interesting to think about.
“The Literary Tempest and Combative Seas” A Stage in the Sky Update by Rock Kitaro Date January 23, 2017
DNA ft. Suzanne Vega – “Tom’s Diner – Long Version”
If this is your first time here allow me to introduce myself. My name is Rock Kitaro. I’m an author specializing in the themes of revenge, rivalry, and rebellion. However, I’m thinking about adding romance to that list because “love” is almost always the main source of motivation for my characters. They just don’t know it. Neither do I.
I haven’t reached my goal of signing with a traditional publishing house yet, but I will. And when I make the best-sellers list you can look back on this piece as a proof of perseverance. I hope it encourages others who are coming up to plan on running the marathon, don’t quit after the sprint.
Allow me to begin by saying that the reason why I’ve exercised restraint in posting so much this past year was because I thought it would be prudent to say as little as possible. Ever since I was 23, I’ve committed myself to succeeding as an author in the publishing industry.
I’ve sacrificed weekends, holidays, vacations, money, and heart-felt relationships to get this far and I don’t want to ruin it by shooting myself in the foot. I thought that being an artist meant freedom and liberty through self-expression, but that’s a problem if your opinions aren’t welcomed by those whom you need to progress in this industry.
It’d be one thing if I was a non-fiction writer in which my platform was built upon provocative opinions as if that’s exactly what you were going to pay for with my books. However, I am a fiction novelist. I have to present myself to agents and publishers as someone worthy of investment. Allow me to explain.
“Success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan” – popularized by John F. Kennedy
They say that silence is a sign of consent. I don’t think so. I believe that a wise man knows when to exercise patience, bide his time, and strike when the time is right. At present, the scene is chaotic. The waters are rough. Those who sail these seas are bound to get lost, stranded, or shipwrecked. Some have made it though. Some because they had head start. Others, because they don’t mind riding the waves created by the first adventures. And there are those who have emerged because they’re that damn good, far better than myself. Like, Roshani Chokshi. Her writing is ridiculously beautiful. And that’s alright. That’s okay.
With so many every day bravely joining the fray, I can’t help but wonder if my patience is really a sign of cowardice. As I get older I see my peers entering the next stages of their life while I continue on this road I’ve been traveling for seven long arduous years. Then, I think of the scene from HBO’s “Rome” where a young Octavian says, “The graveyard is full of middling swordsman. Best not to a swordsman at all than a middling swordsman.”
When I started self-publishing in 2011, I had no idea what I was up against. I didn’t think of trends or what was in-demand for the market. I simply wrote what I wanted in my own voice with the hopes that others would like it too. I had no idea about the highly selective nature of agents or publishers. I assumed that if you created a great, original story and show them something new, you’re in.
I won’t go so far as to say I was naïve, but I will say there’s more to it than that. It appears that after the success of books-turned-movies franchises like “The Hunger Games,” “Twilight,” and the “Maze Runner” everyone and their mothers have flocked to the publishing industry with the next best idea.
In 2012, when I self-published“The Three Kings of Ybor,”my e-books were just seven of 300,000 published that year on Amazon Kindle. I predict the number has only increased over the years as Hollywood continues to blast trailers that start with that deep husky voice saying, “Based on the best-selling novel.”
This isn’t a complaint. To realize what you’re up against and state it clearly shouldn’t be considered complaining. It makes things difficult but not impossible. In fact, it only makes the reward of success that much sweeter. If Lord Byron’s climb to success was but a hill on the beach, then mines will be to the top of Mount Everest. And beneath my feet will be the millions of books published by those shipwrecked, stranded, and lost.
But still…just as one wouldn’t climb Everest in the middle of winter, it’s best not to join the arena when destruction and obscurity is certain and swift. Until then its best that I build my ships, fortify its defenses and stock up for a voyage in which I might not reach land for many years. And build, I have.
By the end of 2015, I finished my flagship masterpiece called, “The Pierce Syndicate.” I promoted it to Literary Agents for a just a little over a month. This isn’t nearly enough time for me to call it a viable campaign, but something happened to me.
I confess, I became doubtful. Not because my story wasn’t ridiculously awesome but because “The Pierce Syndicate” is a huge project, well over 46 chapters and separated in two volumes. I put myself in the shoes of an editor at a traditional publishing house and asked “why would I take a chance on such a big project from a new author?”
The answer is, I wouldn’t. Not without recommendation. Especially these days where the entertainment industry leans heavily towards pop culture, an area I don’t like to be associated with.
Thankfully, God took pity on me. In the depths of my doubt, I honestly feel that the greatest creator noticed me standing alone under that single lamppost in the night’s freezing rain. He saw me look up to the sky and ask him, “What should I do?”
I think he smiled. Because in the span of a three-day weekend I dreamt of a new story in its complete entirety. I couldn’t believe it. The entire story, beginning, middle, and end just hit me like an epiphany. If that’s not a blessing, I don’t know what is.
In February of 2016 I set about writing “The Slave Quarters,” a crime mystery featuring my characterCloud Beaudry and his bundle of sunshine, the conniving ghost Maggie. I’m afraid of writing the plot here because it’s never been done and I don’t it to be stolen. But the coolest thing about this story isn’t even the plot. It’s the first-person narrative in which you’re put in the shoes of a very manipulative (for a good cause), misanthropic detective who’s chalk full of hidden agendas and ulterior motives. I think that’s what makes him so human though. Because I believe almost everyone has ulterior motives. The only difference between Cloud Beaudry and most people is that he’s aware of it. It’s very entertaining, just wait and see.
The “Slave Quarters” took me only three months to write from beginning to end and it was the coolest thing about 2016 by far. I enjoyed it so much. I’ve never been on a cruise. I’ve never been to Disney World. But if I had to pick between a cruise, Disney World, or spending three months writing that book, I’d gladly choose writing the book. Because I am able to travel through time and space. I smell, hear, and see things that don’t exist, that haven’t happened. My ability is that good. Articulating it is always what I have room to improve on.
By July 2016, I started querying it to Literary Agents. This was a campaign that lasted from July till the end of October. And while I know this is a process that every author has to go through, it wasn’t enough for me. The period of July through October is four months. To spend four months of my life just mailing query letters and receiving rejection after rejection (which is to be expected) would drive me insane. I needed to keep creating, keep writing, keep building more ships! I needed more cowbell!
Thus…by the end of July and after reading the “wish-list” of over 100 literary agents who clearly want strong female protagonists or stories centered around women as the main character, I revisited a dream project that I conceived back in 2009. Lol, again, this is an original story that hasn’t been done and the last thing I want is for someone to read this and steal my characters, thus ruining a genre that I’m hoping to resurrect.
I will say that the title is called “The Knights With No Lords”. The main character is a strong female protagonist, but if you know me, then you know I’m a practitioner of the Byronic model. My characters struggle with a sense of what’s right and wrong, mainly because their dark selfish desires are obstructed by the knowledge of what’s good and decent.
I confess, “The Knights With No Lords,” is probably the toughest project I’ve ever worked on because the female lead is seventeen. I already told you about my imagination. Sometimes I have to go places I don’t want to go in order to write emotional dialogue that feels true. When it comes to the romance, I drew on my own personal experiences. While frustrating, it’s also funny as hell. There’s always some virtue or personal conflict preventing me from being with the woman I want. Again, not pleasant, but still entertaining nonetheless. It’s led to thoughts like this:
“If good girls fall for the bad guys, then who do the bad girls fall for?”
I’ve presented that question to a friend of mine and he said, “nope. The bad girls still fall for the bad guys.”
Haha, I don’t know. Either way, “The Knights With No Lords” explores the idea. I’ve finished it just before Christmas and I’m now in the process of editing it. I’ve even enlisted one of my closest friends to help on that endeavor. By April, I plan to have it copyrighted to start sending it to query agents.
We’ll see if my female protagonist is good enough to win the hearts of those agents. And I do feel a little sad in saying that. Part of me acknowledges that I wrote this book for agents more so than the reader. But maybe that’s what I needed to do all along. Either way, I won’t stop building my ships. My android and thumbdrive is full of premises and projects just screaming to be developed. It’s all a matter of patience, diligence, and perseverance.
That’s the main thing I wanted to share with you. I haven’t been posting on this website in a long while because, as you can see, I’ve been a busy man. And I know there are producers and agents who would say, “But still. You gotta keep giving people something. You have to keep your online presence known.”
And to that point I won’t say I that disagree…but more so I just have a greater deal of self-respect for my work. I’ve come a long way from launching vessels that wind up lost at sea. Twitter and Facebook may have been a viable marketing platform in the past, but now it’s
oversaturated with peddlers of their products.
If you tout your own work it doesn’t have the same strength as someone else saying on their feed, “You gotta check out this author!”
In my seven-year journey I’ve been through the trials and errors. I’ve marketed myself through social media for at least two years and you need money to advertise and draw customers to your books. You really do have to spend money to make money and I’ve racked up a debt. I’ve done crowd-funding campaigns. I’ve reached out to my family and friends. I’ve contributed to other blogs, supported other authors, and made myself a part of writer communities.
Again, these aren’t complaints. Football players practice in the sweltering heat to prepare for Sunday. Olympians train and sacrifice so much just for one summer to reach gold. Singers and actors exercise discipline and practice for their roles. If you make up your mind to do something and fully commit yourself to it, you’re going to have to work hard and it won’t happen overnight unless of course you know someone or wore born into money.
There have been so many times I’ve thought about quitting. The pressures of life, commercialism, societal expectations, familial responsibilities, devotion to God, intimate relationships, and the tense corporate ladder that I’m expected to climb. It’s like they’re all a bunch of Apaches firing arrows at me as I ride my steed with no cover in sight.
If you were to ask why am I trying so hard…because there are a multitude of authors who have succeeded and maintained healthy relationships with spouses, children, and cool circle of friends. They’ve attained that proverbial balance that people keep telling me about. So why can’t I?
The easy answer is that I’m just different. I wrote another article about that so I won’t get into it. I will tell you there’s a quote from Pres. Theo Roosevelt that resonates deeply with me. He wrote: “Dark care rarely sits behind the rider whose pace is fast enough.”
Pres. Roosevelt wrote this after his first wife and his mother died in the same night. To cope with the pain, he ventured into the Wild West and kept himself busy with the rigors of frontier life.
I dare not compare my pain to Roosevelt, but there is pain in my heart. That’s why I can’t even go on vacation for more than three days before the angst surfaces. I wonder if this is the case with other workaholics. For me, keeping my mind focused on a story or project keeps my mind from wondering about old flames. It’s morphine to regret, loneliness, and despair.
I recently told one of my exes, someone who’s still one of my best friends, that I see her face everyday. I know that sounds creepy by today’s standards, but she understood and was touched. And I wasn’t lying. When I think about my exes, or enemies, or failures and embarrassment, the emotions rush over as if it’s happening all over again.
Oddly enough, this doesn’t work so well with the positives for some strange reason. For the positives, I have to seek in the real world what I’ve done and remind myself of how far I’ve come, or those who do support and love me. I’m not sure why I’m like this. But it doesn’t matter.
At this point, I’d like to point out that I’m not a miserable person. In spite of all the pitiful sad stuff I just told you, I really do like the man I’ve become. I’m tall, strong, caring, and generous. The few friends who have stuck with me over the years, I treat like jewelry because they are rare and extremely valuable. I laugh at just about everything and I have a strong relationship with Jehovah our heavenly father. I started reading the bible from start to finish about a year and a half ago and I’ve just started 1st Timothy.
Also! I’ve taken up boxing. It’s tough but I enjoy it. If you scroll down, you’ll read one of my essays about how I used to weigh 378lbs. Now I’m down to 215. I can run, jump, and fight like a son of a gun. So don’t pity me. I have my scars just like everyone else but I wear them like a champion! Not to mention, God’s blessed me with the ability to turn my negatives into a positives. Even when I step into the boxing gym, depleted and fatigued from the work-out the night before, all I need to is think about certain group of people and I’m Mike Tyson in his prime if only for an hour.
It’s like my life is a steamroller. To keep going I have to chuck coal into the furnace. With all the times I’ve stumbled and fallen down, my fuel supply if infinite. I have no doubt that I really am going to live life till the wheels fall off. But still…I plan to live life my way, seeking first the kingdom of God. We can’t all be party animals and thrill-seekers. Not all men are in it for the thrill of the chase. Some of us like to stay put and build.
There’s one other subject I’d like to discuss. It’s about Facebook and I’m sure I’m not alone in saying what I’m about to say.
Facebook has become a platform of pictures and political correctness. In 2016, I’ve posted hundreds of thought-provoking questions and theories that get little to no interaction. But let someone post a picture of their vacation, their material things, their visage (as if we forgot what they looked like yesterday) then people flocked to that with likes and comments.
People say, “You shouldn’t expect praise or likes or…”
All of that’s bullshit. Why post anything if not with the hopes that someone in this expanded universe would see it? There’s nothing wrong with admitting you hope people will like what you put out, and what’s worse than people not liking it, is people completely ignoring it. And as an artist, I refuse to rehash old gems once I’m published as if I just thought of something new, when in reality, I’ve had it for years. For that matter, I’ve decided on my 30th birthday to stop posting on Facebook. I’ve decided to stop scrolling down Facebook to see what my friends and family are up to. And dude, I’m telling you…it’s done wonders for my health.
If you try it, you’ll find yourself washed with that nostalgic freedom, to a magical time where you only found out what people were up to when they friggin told you. Ignorance is a bliss! A magical bliss where you can walk to work and smile at other humans without worrying how they feel about some stupid current event/fad/trend/movement.
It really was one of the best decisions of my life and I’m lovin every minute of it. So while everyone is riled up on a daily basis about what’s going on in Washington DC, New York, or Los Angeles, I sand down the rails of my ships and check the hulls for leaks. I smile knowing that I’m drawing closer to God and wait patiently till the day that I cast off.
“But Rock. What if that day never comes? What if the seas stay rough and only continue to get worse? Don’t you think you’re wasting time? You’re going to waste your life waiting forever. There will never be a perfect time. You need to just go for it!”
I smirk, wipe the sweat from my forehead, and peer outward to those dark stormy clouds.
“You might be right. Knowing me, at some point, I am going to say fuck it and just go for it. Maybe I am wasting time building all these ships that might never see the open seas. My ambition isn’t so dulled that I’m contempt with having these magnificent pieces linger away despite the immense pleasure I’ve derived in constructing them. I guess that’s what you should look out for.”
“In the thick of the chaos as ships become tangled with ships, and cannons blare, and the torrential downpour becomes so heavy that you can barely see the light of day, look out that you’re not caught in the way of my formidable fleet. At least you’ll be able to hear me coming. I have a tendency to laugh out loud when I’m scared out of my mind.”
I confess. Sometimes when I start a new chapter, an overwhelming fear grips me and prevents me from moving forward. I know people get tired of me talking about being a writer, as if I’m bragging about some gift that no one else possesses. But it’s more than that. It’s like setting sail across the Atlantic at a time when people still believed that there was an end to the world. It’s like crawling to a tunnel to get to the other side with no light to guide you.
It’s that kind of fear. Today, I literally stared at a blank page for over half an hour. I know what I wanted to say, what I wanted to convey, but how? Sometimes I think I get so bombarded with my predecessors and this obsession to surpass them that I think it erodes my own God given ability. My own voice. My brutal honest, that incorrigible honesty that lands me in more trouble than I care to recall.
I can’t say that it’s all courage and bravery, because even when I finish the chapter, the fear still lingers. But it’s different. It’s no longer a debilitating fear, but an exhilarating one. It’s about commitment. There’s no aborting it when your life or livelihood is on the line. You have to see it through to completion. You have to follow your path or at the very least go as far as you can without knocking on death’s front doors. And since the fear isn’t going away, you just learn to embrace it like a comrade or companion.
I guess what I’m trying to say is…that without this fear, none of what I’m doing would be fun.
Straw Man Tactics – Facebook Arguments That Have Nothing to do With Your Point
By Rock Kitaro
July 12, 2016
How many times have you taken the time to post your honest thoughts on a subject, any subject, only to have someone debate you and make points to an argument that has very little to do with your original position? It’s like someone shouting, “CHECK MATE!,” laughing and seal-clapping all proud of themselves while you sit back and seethe, wondering whether or not you should remind the person that you’re playing checkers, not chess.
This is called the Straw Man tactic. I’m seeing this a lot in online debates, so its time for a little exposure.
The Straw Man tactic is a fallacy in which someone appears to have shot down an opponent’s argument, while its actually refuting an issue not proposed by the opponent. It fails to address or disprove the original proposition even though it “appears” to be the same issue.
For example if I were to say, “If you feel like you don’t have a place in this world, keep your chin up and build your place in it. Suicide isn’t the answer.”
And then “Betty” responds with, “Clinical depression is a serious issue. It can’t be controlled or fixed with medicine or religion. We never know what people who suffer with depression go through on a daily basis so we have no right to judge them from committing suicide.”
This is a Straw Man tactic. Anyone reading her post could nod their heads, thinking “she’s right. Clinical depression is a serious issue.”
But the thing is, my original post made no mention of clinical depression. I never said that clinical depression can be controlled or fixed with medicine or religion. Nor did I say anything remotely judgmental about those who have committed suicide so the issues “Betty” points out disproves arguments that I never made.
Furthermore, it distracts from my original message about keeping your chin up and refrain from committing suicide which is fairly positive and uplifting, to promote a message about clinical depression and how sometimes suicide may be acceptable. (which is quite grim, to be honest. Seriously, stay away from my future children).
Another example could be, if you were to read my provided example and say, “your example isn’t a good example because some could say that ‘not feeling like you have a place in this world’ is a sign of depression in which Betty is right to stress her point.”
This too is a form of a Straw Man tactic. It’s the “selective form” referred to as the Weak Man tactic. It’s when people selectively focus on any hasty generalization you make as a way disprove your entire argument, when really its just the generalization that’s interpreted as flawed.
“So Rock. What are you saying? No one should oppose your arguments?”
Not at all. I acknowledge that I have no control over what you say or do.
I’m only pointing out a trend practiced by way too many. I think there’s too many people entering debates and discussions with closed minds, ready to project their thoughts but refusing to hear or attempt to understand the other side. Especially if the opinion is based on faith or empirical experience. Because they don’t want to believe or lack the comprehension to put themselves in the other’s shoes, they lash out with clichés and recycled arguments that have very little to do with the main topic.
America Needs a New Movement – One that Puts God First
July 8th 2016
By Rock Kitaro
We all know what Black Lives Matters means. We know/knew what their intentions were. But I don’t think it’s working. It’s bringing more attention to a problem, sure, but what about the solution? I fear that it’s digging up an old enemy, old resentment. If it continues on, we won’t progress. We’ll only slip back to a way of time where everyone dreaded walking down the streets the old South. All lives matter. This is the message that should shine through, but the glaring fact that so many choose to ignore is that the very name of the movement, in of itself, is “racist”.
Why? Because there’s the emphasis on Blacks. And no matter how much you try to steer your motives or intentions into the area of positive, the movement was doomed from the start. Tell me…what’s the difference between someone shouting “Black Lives Matter” and “White Power” to the ears of the uneducated? Tell me…if you feel that a majority of Americans are sufficiently educated, would there be a need for a movement in the first place?
The problem with today’s Politically Correct society is that it’s not equal across the board. Some things are okay to talk about while others are deemed offensive and thus has no place for a platform. I believe this is a grave mistake. The PC society is stifling a voice of growing dissent. This voice is severely underrepresented in the media because the media knows that it’ll take away their precious headlines to draw in web traffic and receive money from advertisement.
I’m talking about the Christian voice. The heart of a true American patriot is Christianity. Christianity is being removed from schools, from the workplace, from politics. It’s being removed for the forefront of our lives when one of the core beliefs is that we should be putting “God First.”
It means that God should guide our ways in all things. But our Christian voice is being stamped out. It’s a voice that’s being stamped out in all arenas of today’s society and that, my friends, is a scary thought. Just go and read the book of Jeremiah and you’ll see the exact same ethos thriving in an immoral and corrupt Jerusalem just before the Babylonians invaded.
Regardless what anybody says, what anybody wants to believe, America was founded on Christian principles. And I get it. The racists in the old south were mostly Christians, so why should we follow that mold?
The answer to that is because we are living in the future. We know what they did was wrong, so now its up to us to end the cycle instead of perpetrating it. Otherwise, we’ll become no better than those in the Middle East in a revolving cycle of hate and revenge in which no one has the courage or the strength to simply forgive and let peace flourish.
I used to think that the Israelites were so foolish to disobey God after they had witnessed with their own two eyes the miracles and supernatural destruction God put on display. I told myself that the Israelites had an advantage as to why their faith should be stronger than ours because we haven’t seen such phenomenon. But I’m beginning to change my view.
Unlike the Israelites who’s civilization was relatively new with very little precedence to go on, We, Us, All of us living in the here and now have the gift of the Bible. We have a time machine that allows us to peer into the past and see what happened and why? But the Bible is being neglected. It’s collecting dust while we stupidly cry on our hands and knees wondering why all the bad things in the world is happening.
If you’re wondering why God is allowing so much wickedness and harm to litter this planet, I’ll tell you its because God is patient. He is incredibly patient and I admire and love him for that. I well know what it means to be rebellious and caught up in following my own path, thinking my way was right and everyone who followed the good book was a fool using it as a tool to live their lives. But God was patient with me. After years of my wondering alone and aggravated by how stupid I felt everyone was, I opened the Bible, to the very first page and started reading.
Everything began to make sense. The hatred. The genocides. The bombings. The preying. The greed. The corruption. The immorality. The self-interest. The hardships. The pain. The suffering.
All of it is foretold in the Bible. It’s exactly what God and his prophets warned what would happen if we neglect his word and turn our backs on him.
EVERYTHING the media and your friends and family are telling you about how all of us are equal in the eyes of God is wrong. And it wasn’t until I started reading the Bible that I found that out.
If you turn your back on God, he will turn his back on you. If you ignore his commandments, he will ignore your prayers. Unless you turn away from what is bad and learn to fear him again, you will perish.
I know…who the hell do I think I am to be telling you this. My name is Rock Kitaro. I’m not some ordained minister. I don’t have any theocratic certificates or qualifications under my belt. All I am is an ordinary man from the outside looking in. A pragmatist, an objective and open mind who’s dabbled in many religions, many philosophies, but never abandoned the word of the true God. And when it comes to my boldness in talking to you…its because I’m doing as the Bible commanded. I’m using it as my sword and my shield.
Don’t take my word for it. Just start reading on your own and you’ll see. Your eyes will be opened and everything will start to make sense. If you must, because in your heart you know you’re a bit lazy, and you want to take baby steps which is fine, just jump into the book of Jeremiah. You’ll see how quickly everything in the news sounds unnervingly familiar.
For instance, you may have noticed how today’s society is talking about shame and how it’s taboo to “fat-shame, body-shame, slut-shame,” etcetera. But what if I told you that a little shame is actually good. It’s that voice inside of your head telling you that what you’re doing is wrong, and you need to change. Perhaps its cynical for me to think you’ll even consider the notion.
Only because Jeremiah Chapter 6 verses 13-15 talks about the people don’t feel shame for the detestable things they’ve done. They don’t even know how to feel humiliation, so they will fall among the fallen.
As far as the messages of assurances from the horrible oxymorons like “gay pastors” and Liberal priests who preach tolerance and acceptance of an unclean, immoral society, Jeremiah Chapter 23 verse 16 and 17 warns us. He says:
“Do not listen to the words of the prophets who are prophesying to you. They are deluding you. The vision they speak is from their own heart and not from the mouth of God. They are saying again and again to those respecting Him, God has said you will enjoy peace. And to everyone who follows his own stubborn heart, they say no calamity will come upon you.”
That was back then during Jeremiah’s time over 2,000 years ago. I wonder if we have spiritual leaders today telling us its okay to indulge ourselves in sins and “its okay, we will still have peace”.
Even after tragedy strikes, we have leaders and presidents telling us, “We will pray for the victims.”
Am I the only one thinking to myself, “What good will that do if you’re not following God’s word? Who are you praying to? And more importantly, if God has no place in today’s politics, the classrooms, the workplace, why should he come now when us children have fallen and scraped our knee after disrespecting him, mocking him, tearing down his followers, and using every label in the book to shut them up.”
I believe this country needs a new movement. A movement accepting of all race, but not all lifestyles. Anyone who wants to join this movement must shed themselves of their sins. They need to stop trying to conform Christ’s teachings to fit their personalities, but conform their personality to Christ’s teachings.
This is a movement of logic and wisdom. A logic that will ignore stupid arguments that make no sense or are irrelevant to the topic at hand. A wisdom that remembers to put God first, remembering Job 28, verse 28 “The fear of God is wisdom. To turn away from badness is understanding”.
This movement, I’m talking about…we can’t let in people motivated by self-interest. Those seeking fame and the power to influence others for their own impure ideals. This movement needs to be intelligent, its members walking with class and dignity. It’s a movement of gentlemen and ladies where we show respect even to our enemies and know when to leave the arena because it’s pointless for us to stay.
We have to be a shining example of civility. Lead by example. Dress with pride and bottle our anger, our rage, for a private outlet. We have to stand together and refrain from taking rash actions that will bring ruin to our brethren. We have to think as a community, and not individuals.
“Rock. Why don’t you start this movement?”
It’s a nagging question I keep hearing in my head.
The answer is, “I just might.”
But before I do anything like that, I want to finish reading the Bible through to completion. My views and opinions may adjust based on what I learn. I’m in the middle of Jeremiah and I haven’t even gotten to the significance of Jesus Christ’s teachings. I was shown 1st Corinthians Chapter 6 verses 9-11 by a friend last night and that made me smirk.
You guys…God’s waiting for you to repent. The reason why so many good people on this earth are suffering and enduring is because God’s patiently waiting for the wicked to turn away from their wickedness and come back to him. The door to Noah’s Ark is not yet closed. There is still time to jump on board before the deluge. If you take anything from this little essay, I hope that’s the message you take with you.
An Obvious Flaw with Democracy – A Romanticist Point of View Date- Jan 21st 2016 By Rock Kitaro
NOTE – Stage in the Sky is not a political blog, nor does Rock Kitaro pretend to be an expert in political science. These are just the opinions of a Romanticist philosopher based on what’s observed.
As much as I try, I cannot ignore the news. Its so obvious, the agenda of each news outlet. Fox News absolutely hates Hillary Clinton. CNN abhors Trump while putting Clinton on a pedal stool. And the general public supports Trump behind closed doors, according to his polls, while the popular opinion seems to be in favor of Bernie Sanders. Feel the Bern, they say.
America is divided, as it’s always been. Only in times of a common enemy do we stand together like our favorite heroes. Some examples of this are The American Revolution after the oppression of Great Britain, WWII after Pearl Harbor, and most recently the Iraq War after 9/11. But on social issues, economic issues, and issues relating to nationalism and religion…we differ.
And that’s alright. Such is a democracy and its good that everyone’s coming up with their own opinions…or do they?
This election, like the last one, touts a certain presidential candidate as a racist, bigot, who hates specific groups of people the same way they said Mitt Romney was launching a war on women.
What I believe is happening is that the news, Hollywood, and everyone in a position to influence a following are culprits with perpetrating a narrative, a conclusion, or in some cases a fiction in which the masses mindlessly swallow it up and regurgitate. Just today, I was checking my facebook messages when, in the side scroll, I see Kerry Washington and a number of celebrities calling for people to “Stop Hate Dump Trump.” Of course when I clicked on the link to see if Washington or the other celebrities had a solution by supporting another candidate other than Trump, there was none to be found.
This is a problem when it comes to Democracy…
The problem with Ms. Kerry Washington’s campaign is the same problem I had with Samuel L Jackson’s commercials in the 2012 elections where he shouted “Wake Up” in favor of voting against Romney. I believe these are forms of manipulation or propaganda, quite similar to the popular kids in school promoting some fad and calling others lame if they don’t jump on board.
It would be one thing if the general public took their campaigns for what it is, that being their own personal opinion. However, in our society, people are afraid to be alone. If there isn’t a “popular” celebrity promoting an opposing opinion to the likes of Ms. Washington’s…people may feel like they’re alone on an island in their own thoughts. So they abandon those thoughts and join in with the crowd just like that.
Another problem with democracy is that in today’s society, you’ll be hard pressed to find people who both love democracy and have a strong sense of national pride. It may be just me, but I get the feeling that people these days care very little about the collective community, but focus more about themselves as an individual when they choose to vote.
Well Rock…People have a right to their opinion. Democracy succeeds because people have a right to let their opinions be known. If you don’t like Democracy…what system of government would you propose? Are you a communist? Gasps! Are you a communist, Rock?
Hahaha. No. I’m not a communist. To be honest, I don’t know much about any alternative types of government. So you know what I’m going to do? EDUCATE MYSELF! It’s as I always say, the best part about being alive is self-improvement. Thus, I adjusted my glasses, drank some ice water, turned on some Nujubes, and dove into research.
First thing I wanted know was whether or not I’m alone in thinking there’s something wrong with the picture of Democracy. My friends at Wikipedia helped me out. Yes, I used Wikipedia. Give me alternative resources and I’ll take consideration to amend my thoughts because unlike many, I adjust my views based on what I learn. Here are some excerpts I found.
“The 20th-century Italian thinkers Vilfredo Pareto and Gaetano Mosca (independently) argued that democracy was illusory, and served only to mask the reality of elite rule. Indeed, they argued that elite oligarchy is the unbendable law of human nature, due largely to the apathy and division of the masses (as opposed to the drive, initiative and unity of the elites), and that democratic institutions would do no more than shift the exercise of power from oppression to manipulation.”
Hmm…Manipulation. You don’t say.
In the essay “Federalist No. 10” by James Madison, he contended that republics “were superior to democracies because republics safeguarded against the tyranny of the majority.” After Shay’s Rebellion in 1787, Madison openly argued that government ought to “protect the minority of the opulent against the majority” and that unchecked, democratic communities were subject to “the turbulency and weakness of unruly passions”.
While I agree with James Madison’s essay, because it in fact has come to fruition the way citizens vote for representatives who then vote for laws, it seems to be human nature for people to come together to create a majority…you know. Like a gang. Not to mention, senators and congressmen can keep running till their heart’s content. It may just be the folly of congregations that this will always be the case. A popular and unpopular…
I just came across an opposition to Madison’s article that I’d like to share with you. According to Garry Willis’s “Explaining America” he argued that Madison’s framework does not necessarily enhance the protections of minorities or ensure the common good. Instead, Wills claims: “Minorities can make use of dispersed and staggered governmental machinery to clog, delay, slow down, hamper, and obstruct the majority. What Madison prevents is not faction, but action. What he protects is not the common good but delay as such”.
I can’t retort Willis’s thoughts on the matter, however, I will say that I failed to come across a solution. It sounded as if Willis’s position was just to shoot down Madison’s idea without offering a solution himself. Maybe he has offered a solution and I just couldn’t find it. If he didn’t, I hate that. Yeah, I get that pointing out flaws in an idea can help stave off from bigger problems the solution has the potential to create…but give us your grand idea as well. Bring something to the table. Again, it brings me back to Ms Kerry Washington’s campaign of “Don’t vote for Trump” while at the same time refraining from publicizing who to vote for in his stead. I wonder what campaign they’ll come up for Cruz if he gets the Republican nomination, but I digress.
Also, I want to point out that when I say “Majority,” I’m not necessarily talking about a race as I’ve found on many articles that broached the subject. For me, the majority refers to popular opinion and the mob mentality that seems to dominate our airways, social media, and cultural census.
It brings me back to a facebook post where I asked if it’s true that “There is no right or wrong, only popular opinion.” People responded that it’s not true. They said there is a right and wrong and its defined by the Bible. The problem is that more and more it seems like the majority of America is turning away from religion and the word of the Bible.
Thus, one could argue that Christians are increasingly becoming the “Minority”. Of course, I could be wrong. It could be that the United States is still dominated by Christians who have been dubbed, I think pejoratively, “The Silent Majority” or simply “Conservative Christians.”
Finally, I’d like to bring Plato to the forefront as I’ve come across and article in which he lists the top five forms of government from best to worst. It goes
In Plato’s Aristocratic State Plato idealizes is composed of three caste-like parts: t
The ruling class, made up of the aforementioned philosophers-kings (who are otherwise identified as having souls of gold);
The auxiliaries of the ruling caste, made up of soldiers (whose souls are made up of silver), and whose job in the state is to force on the majority the order established by the philosophers. T
The majority of the people (souls of either bronze or iron), who in contrast to the first two classes are allowed to own property and produce goods for themselves, but are also obliged to sustain with their own activities their rulers’ — who are forbidden from owning property in order to preclude that the policies they undertake be tainted by personal interests.
Essentially it stresses the importance of education, for leaders to be selfless and upright individuals. Two qualities, you’d be hard press to identify in our politicians today.
Plato states that “Wealth, fame, and power are just shadows of the Good and provide only hollow and fleeting satisfaction. It is only the knowledge of the Good in itself that gives man enduring and real happiness. Thus, the philosopher who is exposed to metaphysical contemplation is not tempted to abuse his power in his pursuit of material goods, and his state policies are therefore dedicated to establishing only the Good in the state, not his personal interests.”
When talking about democracy, Plato goes on to say, “Oligarchy then degenerates into democracy where freedom is the supreme good but freedom is also slavery. The democratic man is the son of the oligarchic man. Unlike his father, the democratic man is consumed with unnecessary desires. Plato describes necessary desires as desires that we have out of instinct or desires that we have in order to survive.
Unnecessary desires are desires we can teach ourselves to resist such as the desire for riches. The democratic man takes great interest in all the things he can buy with his money. He does whatever he wants whenever he wants to do it. His life has no order or priority.”
I’ll end my essay on that note. I really like the idea of Plato’s Aristocracy, but at the same time, something tells me there’s more to it than what I just read. My thoughts are not cemented and I’m open to discussion if you have any thoughts on the matter. I suppose I mainly wrote this essay to convey my frustrations of living in a society where the media’s manipulation is so freaking obvious…and when I read the comments on published articles, it feels like the manipulation is only obvious to me.
That’s a dangerous sentiment with deep-thinkers such as myself. Because my interpretation of “crazy” is exactly that, when reason and logic only makes sense to yourself.