Life After Love

When I was college, I got the opportunity to act as a man named David Keaton in a stage production of  “The Exonerated.” The play was about real people who had been wrongfully convicted of various crimes and sentenced to death. It followed accounts of circumstances leading up to the indictment and conviction, life in prison, and life after release (and in some cases their deaths).

Despite my various opinions about the US Criminal Justice System, today’s piece will focus on something very different and perhaps seasonally appropriate: Love. You see, in the last few months, I’ve become enamored with a show on NPR called Snap Judgment. Their latest episode entitled, Joy and Pain, follows the various ups and downs of people in relationships. One of the segments on the episode featured the story of Sunny Jacobs, whose story was also told in the play. She and her husband, Jesse Tafero, were sentenced to death for the murders of Officer Phillip Black and Donald Irwin. Jesse was executed after fifteen years in jail, and Sunny was released two years later.

The thing about acting in a play like “The Exonerated,” is that you rarely forget the experience. I have always found the lives of Jesse Tafero and Sunny Jacobs particularly endearing because of their strength, devotion and love for each other over those years in prison. They shared the kind of spiritual bond that fairy tales and love songs are written about. Understanding how deep their love and compassion was for each other made it that much more painful to learn that Jesse was wrongfully executed.

Losing someone you love is no easy thing. I had always wondered how  Sunny must have felt in the days, months, and years after Jesse’s death. Over the years, I’ve heard many stories about people who have been exonerated and didn’t fare well afterwards. I’m glad that Sunny’s doing alright. Her character always seemed pretty strong and resolute. I guess that’s why I burst into tears as she told the part of her story that I was familiar with. I’m especially glad that she found love again. This time, it’s with an Irishman named Peter Pringle, who had also been exonerated in Ireland.

The experience of “The Exonerated,” and in particular, the story of Sunny and Jesse, taught me a lot about finding love, joy, and happiness even life’s darkest moments. There’s plenty of darkness in the world, but there’s also an equal, if not, grater amount of beauty to it. I don’t know if I will ever have the kind of deep bond that Sunny and Jesse shared with someone of my own. I’m not certain that I would ever love again if lost the person I shared that kind of bond with. However, if Sunny’s life is any indication, then it’s certainly a possibility.

Peace, Love, Many Blessings

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How Stars Are Made In The Disney Universe

I grew up a bit of a Disney nerd. Seriously, my obsession with Disney goes far deeper than I care to share, but suffice it to say that when I lived with my aunt in Nigeria, we had quite a few of the Disney classics on both VHS and DVD. In any case,  I started thinking about a lot of the great songs and moments in many of Disney’s films and a mind blowing thought occurred to me.
Remember the scene below where Timon explains where the stars come from in Lion King? (See below)

In the scene, he says that the stars are just fireflies that get trapped in the sky at night. I didn’t think much of it at first, until I remembered the death of Raymond the firefly in the last 2D princess movie that the Disney company ever made, “The Frog Princess.” In case, you don’t have time to watch the whole scene, skip to about 2:45, which is near the end of Ray’s funeral procession.

Hopefully, I’m not the first person who noticed this, but yeah. Timon was absolutely right!!!!!

Aside: I’ve been meaning to post about this for a while, but I forgot because life happens. In retrospect, I think finding out that James Earl Jones and Madge Sinclair played the King and Queen in both “Coming to America” and “The Lion King” had something to do with why I suddenly remembered this.

Okay, now that my nerd moment is over, you can get back to your regularly scheduled lives.

Gallery

Sometimes You Have to Play

I wish I had Leanne Cole’s eye for capturing a scene. These photos are amazing

Leanne Cole PHOTOGRAPHY

After doing the post yesterday on Mark Simms I found myself inspired by his black and white images and the touch of colour in them.  I have been sitting on the images that I took up in the Mallee, thinking about what I could with them, then I thought maybe I should try making them black and white and adding a touch of colour.

LeanneCole-woomelang-20140125-7295-bwI played around with the highlights and the colours in the images.  It was an interesting thing to do.  I don’t do a lot of black and white. I have struggled with the idea of doing black and white, as I don’t always know which images to use.  I don’t believe every image is better in monotones, but some can be.

It would be easy to just convert them, but I wanted more control than that.  I have the Nik software silver efex, and was going…

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Love Song For the Moon

It seemed like everyone saw it coming except for me

The great cataclysm that brought your being into my world

At once, the neighbors cheered violently

As we fully enthralled in the raucous passion of that moment

Dance around each other like gyroscopes in a ring

We knew right then and there

That we were made for each other

Perhaps deep down we guessed we were made by each other

In the very way these cosmic things come together and come undone

So it was and so it has been

 

Mother Gaia once told me

That only those in the seat

Know where the pins prick the hardest

Our friends never see it

But darling we both know that we are drifting apart

 

I can’t make you twirl the way you did when we younger

And with each day, your iridescence grows fainter

I only ever see one side of you anymore

And you don’t stir my waves of passion the way you once did

 

My love

There is no denying that the years have been hard on us

We’ve been bruised and battered by many things

But alas, we are still here

Still standing side by side

And I will stay

As close you’ll keep me

And I will dance

For as long as our song shall play

I wrote the preceding piece back in April of last year. I got the idea from an episode of Radiolab in which Jad Abumrad was talking about the moon drifting away from the earth  over time. Being as this is the lead up to Valentine’s Day, I figured it was a perfect time to post it.

Peace, Love, Many Blessings

The Realm of Possibility

An amusing thing happened to me this afternoon. I was lying down in the park near my apartment doing some light reading. A group of kids (3 girls and 1 boy) were playing nearby. After what appears to be a rather fulfilling round of leap frog, the kids all went to sit under a magnolia tree and listened as the boy and his sister told the others about their grandparents, Papa and Mia, who were somewhere in the park.

A few minutes later, one of the girls walked up to me and said, “Excuse me, are you their grandpa?”

I chuckled a little. This was certainly not the turn of events that I was expecting. She was blissfully unaware of two characteristics that I possessed, which would have been obvious to any adult. The first, being that I’m not old enough to be a grandfather and until that moment, I didn’t think I looked it. Perhaps more importantly, this little blonde-haired white girl didn’t notice the difference between the color of my skin and that of her budding raconteur friends (or her own for that matter).

So in my head, I’m debating how to handle the situation. Do I bring up our color differential or our insufficient age differential as the reason that I wasn’t the grandfather of her friends?

Smiling, I asked, “Do I look old enough to be a grandfather?”
She thought for moment. “No,” she said sheepishly.
Still smiling, I respond, “No, I’m not their grandfather.”
She says okay and runs off to continue playing with her friends.

When you’re a kid, there’s very little that’s outside the realm of possibility and many things are equally probable. For that little girl, the things that mattered were the fact that I was a male who was significantly older than she was, and I was laying down in the general direction of where Papa was said to have been.

The thing is, family isn’t just made up of people who share one’s skin color. Families come in all shapes, colors, and sizes. As interracial adoption and relationships become more normal, that little girl’s question becomes all the more plausible. I would venture to say that the question may even be prescient of the world she may mature in. However, none of that changes the fact that 24 is still too young to be a grandfather.

To the little girl in the park: with the exception of one detail, the realm of possibility is still quite infinite. I hope it continues to stay that way for you and all the other children in the world.

#TheKidsNeedToKnow @IamKidPresident

Growing up is many things. Most of the time, it’s fun, but there are a few moments when it isn’t. I can’t say that I have mastered this whole “growing up” thing, but the following is what I have learned so far

1. Laugh often. It’s easiest way to feel rich (and the best part is it’s free).
2. The world is a truly beautiful place, but sometimes, it can be scary. Go on adventures anyway.
3. Memories sometimes fade away, so make plenty of new ones.
4. Everything has to end sometime. Remember this especially when you are having a bad day.
5. Don’t be in such a rush to grow up. Enjoy being a kid while it lasts. (Trust me on this one.)

Good luck 🙂

Review: Albatross By Marc Cogman (@MarcMCogman)

It’s a Sunday afternoon and you’ve got nothing but time. Out of the blue, someone you haven’t seen a few years shows up at your door step. He asks you to go on a ride with him. Where to? You’re not quite sure. For what purpose? You don’t quite know.  Thus to your journey through Albatross begins.

It’s been a few years since I’ve heard from Marc Cogman. Back when I first heard about his music, I said I knew very little about him.  True to form, Cogman is still a bit of mystery man traveling many roads and occasionally stopping by occasionally to leave a gem at your door.

Albatross begins with a resounding manifesto to the life of a struggling musician, “I left Los Angeles, that cloud of dust/ Knowing I won’t live a day unless I beg or busk/ So if I stop singing now, you better check my Pulse.” From there, he takes you through an incredible journey of a man in search of something. Along the way, he finds love, he finds loss, he finds struggle and heartache. Though you’re never quite sure what it was he hoped to find when this journey began, you’re satisfied know that in the end, found home.

This album is not quite as melancholic as his previous project, Anthems, but it’s every bit as introspective. Cogman comes in with his raspy vocals and new folksy vibe that occasionally borders on rockabilly. To put it another way, the album sounds like Dave Matthews if he had been raised by Johnny Cash.

Unfortunately for you all, Albatross doesn’t come out until February 25. But in the meantime, you can catch up on the magic of Cogman.