What you’re willing to die for, should be the same as what you’re willing to live for. Death is inevitable. Not in a depressing way but we all know it’s coming. What’s unknown, though? Your greatness? The impact your writing will have? How much you will change with your mere existence? Those are all unknowns and they always will be. One of my favorite songs from Eminem’s Music to Be Murdered By -Side B album is his song titled Higher. Here’s a line
All I know is every time I think I hit my ceiling I go higher than I’ve ever fuckin’ been
That’s something worth thinking about. For a long time, I knew my daughter was the only thing in this life worth dying for. I said that religiously. But I was killing myself. I had destructive thoughts. While I did enjoy fitness, I still wasn’t taking in enough calories so it was taking a toll on my mental health. My digestion went downhill. My emotions went downhill which had an impact on my relationship and ability to make proper decisions for the future of my daughter.
Then it hit one day. Okay, you’d die for your baby and your mom but what are you willing to stay alive for? Life is fuckin hard as shit. So hard in fact that living in a healthy way is the best most precious gift I could ever give to myself and my daughter.
That shift in mindset changed my entire perspective on why I’m alive and how I should be thinking about my purpose, my motivations, my disciplines, and my relationships.
So yes, how did you die, but it also means (and more importantly) How did you live?
How Did You Die?
Did you tackle that trouble that came your way With a resolute heart and cheerful? Or hide your face from the light of day With a craven soul and fearful?
Oh, a trouble’s a ton, or a trouble’s an ounce, Or a trouble is what you make it, And it isn’t the fact that you’re hurt that counts, But only how did you take it?
You are beaten to earth? Well, well, what’s that! Come up with a smiling face. It’s nothing against you to fall down flat, But to lie there-that’s disgrace.
The harder you’re thrown, why the higher you bounce Be proud of your blackened eye! It isn’t the fact that you’re licked that counts; It’s how did you fight-and why?
And though you be done to the death, what then? If you battled the best you could, If you played your part in the world of men, Why, the Critic will call it good.
Death comes with a crawl, or comes with a pounce, And whether he’s slow or spry, It isn’t the fact that you’re dead that counts, But only how did you die?
For the Conscious Reader 150 Black Authors organized into genre.
“Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign. But stories can also be used to empower, and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people. But stories can also repair that broken dignity.” ― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
I’ve explained in my previous posts, (here, and here) that I’m going to be more intentional about the books I read. So I wanted to take the time to share my journey with you guys. I’ve begun this journey by google searching “books by black authors.”
Please note: This is only the beginning, I intend to network and connect with lesser known authors as well. Moving on.
I want to read books from individuals whose voices need to be heard and understood, in order create social change. I want to keep a forward momentum on all of our efforts. I do believe that right the internet is a great place to create social change. It can allow people to search up topics without judgement. We just have to make the topics visible to everyone. Also, I have learned mostly as an author, that reading books helps me to notice similarities I have with the others, whether it be the author or the characters. I love that feeling when I’m reading and I’m like “Oh, they thought of that too!”
Ok, I won’t make you wait any longer, here is the list of lists of black authors from reliable sources.
This is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. She is an award winning author from Nigeria. She speaks in this Ted talk (which is now one of the most viewed Ted talks of all time) about how we need to be careful of the single story.
Without saying too much, I find it so commendable and inspiring of her to admit that she fell into the same flaw as the people who frustrated her most. She fell for the flaw of believing the single story.
When it comes to stories, I’d never refuse a good book that was handed to me. I read books from outside of my culture regularly. But then I thought about it and the truth is, I only read them because of school or because someone well read suggested them to me. I haven’t intentionally searched for reads outside of what’s suggested to me. Which naturally leads me into the world of dominant culture.
This talk was eye opening for many reasons, but most of all, that it is time I began to intentionally search for stories outside of American and European pop culture. Then I want to listen to what is missing from the stories I’ve already been told. I want to do this because I don’t want to limit myself from learning to accept that humans, in every walk of life, are my equal.
I’m trying to find new places and communities on the web. I don’t usually venture out, but lately I’ve been in a search of active communities with lots of friendly connections.
I’ve signed up for Twitch because growing up, I loved watching my brother and his friends play video games. Plus, a friend I made on Instagram goes live on there so that was a great motivator to get me signed up and look around. I’m new to it, so I’m still trying to find more gamers I’m interested in following. Right now, I follow two people.
Eivlya-She’s currently playing through the entire Legend of Zelda series. and ItsKingKhaos– He’s quoted saying, “I’m not the best gamer but I have the best time gaming. I started the SWEATY GANG to make friends and build a community of people motivated to chase their dreams.” He’s welcoming and fun to watch.
I’m under Jaynepress. I’m still learning so bear with me.
I signed up for TikTok mostly because GaryVee suggested it for entrepreneurs. I’m kinda overwhelmed by all the buttons, but I’ll figure it out. It is fun to watch fitness videos to get ideas for workouts. I still have to find other videos I’d be interested in. On other platforms, I mostly watch educational, informative, or even motivational videos. So that’s probably what I’ll be searching for on there in terms of community. I haven’t found people I’m excited to follow just yet.
I’m just barely on LinkedIn but frankly, that site makes me feel like shit. Not sure what I’m going to do on there. I’ll slowly rebuild it, maybe, I don’t know.
My favorite writing communities.
I’m always looking for writing communities with pretty active members. I like WordPress communities that fall under certain hashtags, but it isn’t as active as it used to be. My favorite hashtags on WordPress are #creativewriting, #darkpoetry,#blogger, #art, #prose, #poetry, #anxiety, and #depression.
I really likeInstagram and Twitter right now for writing communities. Their #amwriting community on both platforms has blown up since Nanowrimo mingled with covid, but it’s gets pretty active in November anyways.
Nanowrimo is an amazing community for writers! I have some pretty close friends I’ve made from connecting on Nanowrimo. It’s National Novel Writing Month and it’s every year in November. It’s like a game where you write a novel in a month. Very fun with so much support and education for writers of all levels.
Also there’s a couple groups on Facebook that are pretty awesome for writers. You can go in these groups and ask questions and answer questions. Some let you share your page to increase your following. Very fun.
I have actually been struggling with finding a good community on Medium. Community wise these are the platforms I really enjoy Genius in a Bottle, Know Thyself, Heal Thyself and The Intoxicating Unhinged Mind. I think their community members are pretty active and supportive. I just feel like this platform doesn’t allow a lot of connection which is why I always add my other platforms on the bottom of my posts.
Please feel free to connect with me on other platforms to message and chat about writing. I always try my best to follow back.
Also what are your favorite communities in general? Share generously. 😀 We are all craving connection out here.
Advice from a symbolist poet on how to love a symbolist poet.
These days more and more symbolist poets are stepping out and showing their true colors. Some of you may have had a loved one step into the world of symbolist poetry and feel as though you have lost touch. Some of you might have found a symbolist poet you’re interested in on your timeline. I’m here to let you know, there’s a sliver of hope when it comes to connecting with the symbolist poet of your dreams.
When you’re outside of the symbolist community, it can feel overwhelming. You might even feel like you have to compete with other symbolists who seem to know exactly what to say to your symbolist poet. Those damn poets, they are good with both words and emotions, but let me tell you, there is hope. There is a way to connect with your poet. There is more than one way to cultivate a strong connection with your poet and I’m here to share these ways with you.
First things first, since I am a female poet, this will be advice on how to connect with a female poet. I’m not a man, so I’m not sure I could write an honest piece on how to connect with a male symbolist poet.
Let’s get started, shall we?
Know that you are worthy enough for her.
Symbolist poets study humans down to the nitty gritty. They learn to feel everything because if they didn’t, they would not grow as poets. So, the first way to cultivate a strong connection with your poet, is to know that you are valuable and you are enough. Yes, poets like beautiful things, but what they appreciate more is honest things. If you’re trying to connect with your poet while having a false sense of self, she will know. Your best bet is to know you’re worthy with or without her so she doesn’t feel you’re being fraudulent right off the bat.
Charles Bukowski isn’t popular among writers because he’s an asshole who slept around. Ok that might have something to do with it, but mostly he’s popular among writers because he told the truth. As a writer, he was open and honest about all of his feelings. He wrote about how bad he felt for the shitty things he did. He wrote about how empty he felt at times. As a writer, Bukowski was an open book. He was open even about something as small as the shame he felt after road rage. Don’t confuse a poet’s love for Buk’s honesty, with the idea of craving a rockstar boyfriend. This can be applied to any poet really. So the point is, just be honest about everything. Poets crave to hear you be honest about what you’re feeling.
Learn how to use your honesty.
Ok, so this is where honesty can get tricky. Some people think you should always be honest. Some people think you should not tell your wife when she looks fat. I’m here to say, you’ve got to learn how to use your honesty. Chances are, this symbolist poet already knows the truth. Chances are she values your opinion. So how can you learn to use your honesty? If you feel like you’re telling her the truth just to prove that you will, that’s not honesty. Being honest with your poet takes a lot of being honest with yourself. Self-acceptance is required in order to learn how to be honest with your poet.
If your poet is into you or has already committed to you, it is vital that you learn to accept yourself for who you are. Even if you are courting a poet, when you don’t accept yourself, your lack of acceptance can come out toward her in underhanded remarks. You may not even notice that you’re doing it. Be aware of the parts of you that you’re ashamed of and then love those parts. Do this over and over again, so you don’t unintentionally hurt your poet.
Give snacks as gifts.
Don’t ever underestimate the power of snacks. Learn her snacks. Know her snacks. Gift her with her most loved snacks. Trust me on this one.
Show up. Keep doing it for her. Do it when she’s sad. Do it when she’s happy and everything is going great for her. Show up when she doesn’t need you at all. Just show up. This will cultivate a sense of trust. Symbolist poets have an interesting understanding of the human condition. They understand the strong desires inbred in our DNA. The chance of you abandoning them are always high in a symbolist poet’s mind because that’s reality. I’m not saying they have abandonment issues but they are always prepared to be abandoned. Prove them wrong.
Listen to her.
They have thoughts running through their minds on vast levels on a regular basis. They are recalling and connecting poetry, poets, images, movies, history, occult knowledge, mysteries of the universe, serial killers, astrology, what time they should post, a lecture they heard ten years ago, last time they showered, ok you get it. So let them get a few things off their chest by listening to them ramble, so they can move on with their lives.
Let her love you.
This one is not easy. It sounds really easy. Who doesn’t want to be loved, right? Symbolist poets love entirely. They have and are always learning to accept all parts of themselves. They are constantly learning and relearning themselves so, the way they love you is going to be some of the most pure love you’ll ever receive. They aren’t perfect by any means. But chances are, they’ve already taken notes on your body language, on your choice of words, on your interests and dreams and can pretty much love you exactly where you are. It’s going to feel real weird. It’s going to feel almost unreal, like when people just give away good quality free shit. With free shit there’s always a catch, but with symbolist poets, this isn’t the case. Self acceptance is required in order to grow as a symbolist poet and self acceptance is the root of unconditional love. They are always working on self acceptance. So, if you’re questioning whether your symbolist poet will always love you, you can stop questioning, because she will always love you. Soak up her love while following the guidelines above, and you’re golden.
Now chances are, you could do all of these things right to a T, but if she’s not interested, and voices that to you, your best option is to respect her and let her be. Letting a symbolist poet go when she asks is one of the most divine acts of love and she will respect you far more for it.
If all else fails,
become a symbolist poet yourself. You know what they say, “If you can’t beat em, join em.”
Thanks for reading, Your humble symbolist poet, Saschia Johnson
I understand the frustration that comes with wanting to write. I understand that sometimes things don’t feel right. That frustration can cause a spiral. It can cause negative reactions but as conscious writers, it’s important that we focus this energy into our art and creativity. Use it in the story.
But first, encouragement! Because I know how that frustration can really bring you down.
You are a creative. You have boundless creative ideas that flow from the crown of your head to the tips of your toes. You bleed new ideas. You sweat stories that remain for centuries. You are here to listen, to observe, and to learn then to write it down. That may seem like an easy task, but it isn’t. Conscious writing is complex and layered and universel in ways that others will never understand, but they’ll want to. They will never know what you sacrificed to find these words. They will never know a lot of things you’ve gone through, and that’s ok. You know. I understand. So, let’s get back to writing.
Frustration is no fun
I envision tossing my computer on a regular basis. It sits between my heart and my stomach and bubbles over my entire body. If this feeling comes up with something I’m not committed to, I just walk away. But when it’s something I’m committed to (like writing), the tears well up and I push to adjust. It took time to learn to stay put even when I’m frustrated. But over time, I’ve learned a few techniques that help me use my frustration as an advantage rather than a hindrance.
What to Do With Our Frustration?
First things first. Figure out where the frustration is coming from. In the Harvard Gazette article titled Soothing Advice for Mad America, Dr. David H. Rosmarin explains that during the pandemic, frustrations are heightened and people are reacting with more anger than usual. Instead of reacting in anger, he suggests that we voice what really worries us about the things that make us angry. He suggested that,
we grow in our emotional strength when we admit and acknowledge [our] weakness.
So, the first thing to do is find the root to your frustration. What is frustrating you? What are you not getting that you wish or need to have? How can we fill this gap?
The second thing to do. Use your struggles to connect with other writers. Admit you’re struggling to writers. We are story machines, but it isn’t always easy and it’s important to admit that. In the same article mentioned above, Dr. Rosmarin said,
As attachment theory teaches us, what we really need is not to be strong, but to be close and connected to the people around us.
Connecting with like minds in a respectful manner is important me all the time. More important than I often admit. So, when I’m struggling I like to reach out for support. I appreciate the small group of people who have supported me through my struggles. Connecting with them mean more to me than the story
The third thing to do. Use what you have. Now that you’ve gotten to the bottom of your frustration, use that in your story. Use it in a poem. Use it as an idea for your next book. Journal about it.
This routine is what separates you from other writers. This is what makes you conscious and aware of who you are. I think the most challenging part of these tips for me is getting to the bottom of my frustrations. Figuring out where it is all coming from, but in the end it’s always worth it.