She paces toward the bathroom. Her loafer slippers drag against the floorboards to the beat of the music. The bedroom is cool but the rest of the house is a thousand degrees. “It’s never ok to hurt someone, not physically or any other way.”
Hell wouldn’t have a bedroom to cool off in, she’s lucky. She’s a lucky girl to have such pleasures in this life. The clock on wall ticks but she can’t hear it even when she gets in its face. She feels her chest begin to sweat.
Back to the bedroom.
The house is full of her acceptance. A beautiful house on a U with a ghost-black gate around it. No trespassers. No hate from the outside coming in, just a community of names. Everyone knows names.
When I first started writing, I wanted to hide behind my creations. I wanted to be an anonymous figure that created something powerful. For me, there was a sense of humility in creating a profound piece of art while living in secret without all the reviews and rewards. Living a private life, hidden from the world is something I do treasure. So this seemed like a marvelous path. But there’s a problem with this mindset. First, let’s talk about our new beginnings.
“Who am I?”
One of the most important questions we can ask ourselves as artists. This really is the bedrock of our creations. This is where writing is transformed from mimicry to individual and original works. Okay, now that we’ve clarified our foundation, let’s keep moving forward. What accompanies our who?
With our “who” we are led to our why? Like, why are we writing? Then we are led to our what? What are we doing about our why and our who? For clarity, this might be what your why looks like: I am the representation of a strong woman who perseveres as a writer to show others the gifts and tools writing can provide.
Ok, let’s just say you know your why, how are you acting on that? Not in your art, in your life. What are you actively doing to pass on this mindset? So what I’m saying is, you are what you do. Not what you’ve done but what you do presently. The monotony, the unexpected, the things you say yes to are all who you are. This isn’t to create a sense of unforgiveness or shame but to bring awareness to your actions as a conscious writer.
I am [insert your action] because [insert why].
When you begin to explore your who, the goal is, or should be, to become aware of both your internal and your external until you overcome the gap. Freud would say making the unconscious conscious. Whatever you label it, this exploration has no end. Closing the gap between the two isn’t to reach a fixed state. It should be understood as a constant “production of presence.” According to Gabriele Guercio in Art as Existence; Hanna Arendt, a twentieth-century great thinker, argues,
for a view of the the human condition in which everyone’s insertion in the world must be understood as a ‘second birth,’ singularity revealed via praxis. This birth ‘is not the beginning of something but of somebody, who is a beginner himself.’ It occurs when one stops belonging merely to a natural species and asserts one’s own initiative.
We are a species of new beginnings. The initial “insertion into the world” (what Arendt would like us to call second-birth,) is what some call self-actualization. Part of the second birth is accepting that we aren’t a fixed state. Which means your “who” and your “what” can evolve and change as the gap between the two closes. And as it closes you become fully embodied in your who. What a beautiful thing it can be to become an unpredictable and unique individual. Someone with their own initiative who doesn’t just go with the flow of things.
This is why my mindset shifted from hiding behind my art. I realized that my becoming is part of my novel writing. This becoming and unbecoming is what is going to make my art art. I show up with my flaws, and my mistakes, and my manic days, and my downward spirals because my awareness of all these details is going to close the gap. It’s going to insert my humanity into the world with all my “beginner” showing. It is now my intention to allow my life to compliment my art. I want to mirror something other than the outside world, I want to mirror myself.
The quotes in this article were taken from Art as Existence by Gabriele Guercio.
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
Her hair weaved with precious flowers, her skin glowing from bathing in the hidden waters. Her eyes set upon her woodsman. Her heart as pure as a heart could be; she walks toward the town.
Some of the enemies who survived the war were on their way by foot to return to their king. They, with bitter and tired hearts, noticed her emerge from the woods.
In their bitterness they raped and beat the divine woman to death. Her glow dimmed. Her hair cut short with flowers scattered about. The fathers grieved the loss of their daughter. They begged Hades to do something.
Hades, who felt for the girl once again, sent the soldier who found her body.
He was immediately stricken with grief and wailed at the sight of her battered body The birds gathered and mourned the loss of their dear friend.
He buried her in the king’s garden. The birds of the forest moved their nests to be once again in her presence. The flowers she picked and weaved into her hair were dropped as seedlings from the birds wings. And in her honor, Hades turned the waters to flow toward her.
The knight vowed from that day on never to leave such an innocent being’s side again A day of celebration was organized by the knight a memorial to the divine woman of the woods
Because of him, the kingdoms to come would celebrate a day in the garden forever more.
One day, a king’s knight entered the woods. He fell upon the divine beauty who had invested herself in the woodsman.
“What are you doing living in these woods? Where are your clothes?” He asked.
Now, the fathers below heard the knight’s words fall upon her and they begged Hades to blind her from his questioning.
But Hades felt she had been hidden long enough and refused their pleas.
“Naked?” She asked; “If there was something I needed my skilled woodsman would have brought it to me.”
He replied, “Your woodsman hasn’t warned you what could come if you lived out here naked with no protection? Do you know our enemy is coming? They will be charging these woods soon.”
“Enemy? I know no such thing. My woodsman will bring me what I need.” She returned to her birds and flowers and wines and chocolates.
He stayed with her, remaining hidden.
While they were in the woods the enemy fell upon the woodsman’s town. He, his wife, and family were slaughtered. After the massacre of that town the army took stance and defeated them.
The divine woman awaits her woodsman, unaware of his slaughter.
“It has been three days, your woodsman has not returned. What will you do?”
The fathers below cried out to Hades “Please Hades send him away. Don’t arouse her curiosity anymore. Allow her to remain in the woods till she rests in peace.”
Hades with the view of history behind his eyes concedes to their wishes. The knight is summoned by honored servants to return to the dying king’s bedside.
The divine woman, who the woodsman never named in order to keep her secret, knew that her woodsman was safe. In her bliss, she assumed her woodsman was awaiting her to join him. So she began her journey out of the woods.
The fathers below watched on in horror as their daughter, ignorant and naked, wandered toward the massacred town. They begged Hades once again, “Please keep her in the woods, please send the soldier back to her.”
Hades said “It is you who have kept your daughter in darkness. It is you who begged me to rid her protection. Now, you will see the weight of your desires.
The divine woman with no name stepped out of the woods.
This is part two of a three part series. Thanks for reading.