Everything has a cost, the universe is resolved in this. And so it is too with our very own lives; for each action a price; for each decision, a consequence; for each path, a toll. Even for the very air we breathe a star had to die to produce the elements and complex molecules needed carry on the chain of life.
Every aspect of our lives carries a price. Seeking an education costs leisure time. Not pursuing an education costs one future opportunities. Having children will costs resources. Not having children will carry the expense of not knowing what could have been and will with certainty break a chain which had remained unbroken since the dawn of creation.
Thus, it is from this perspective that I have written Sacrifices. Yes, it is an adventure story, but it is also a study in properties of sacrifice. Here we define sacrifice as the act of one yielding for the sake of another. To offer up a piece of your existence back to the universe to reflect back that which was freely given. In my book Sacrifices, each of the central characters are faced with the choice to offer up their own unique sacrifice for the sake of the others. In some cases the sacrifices are overt, while others remain hidden for years or are never revealed. And yet each cause has an effect. The lives of these four sisters mirror the evolution of the civil rights struggle, but their story shares commonness with any tale of sacrifice. Ageless and descended from melding of angels and humans each of these ladies could have easily opted to live lives of opulence and ease. But in the end each chose to heed the spirit within despite the cost. And while these instances are often transformative for the beneficiary, they are always so for the one offering the sacrifice.
But you need not look to works of fiction to find such heroes. The one who endures the job he or she knows is killing their body and spirit for the sake of their loved ones is heroic. And so are the countless number of mothers who have sacrificed their own happiness, for the well being of their children. And even the writer who shares a bit of themselves within every word they write. They too have a place in this ageless story. Be mindful too, that sacrifice does not always reference a taking on things. In fact, it can be argued that the more typical sacrifice is that of self denial, be it leaving a little in the pot for someone else or something as simple as turning away from temptation. In the end, sacrifice is really about taking your place in line when called.
And so it is, and every shall be until time is no more, when the properties of light and mass are merely a memory of the eternal, as our spirits look back at this very moment and smile.
GOP we need you, or a facsimile thereof. I’m a Democrat, but I realize that single party rule would not be a healthy thing for our union. We need an opposition party, but it won’t be you, unless you change. So, what’s wrong?
Groupthink: Election night demonstrated to anyone who has completed Psy-101 and has listened to even an hour of Talk Radio, that the right in this country is suffering from a sever case of groupthink. Leading up to election day, every major conservative talk show host (with the exception of Neil Boortz) across the country was predicting an easy victory for Mitt Romney, despite the fact that every major independent polling service (with one exception), predicted re-election for President Obama. So, how did this happen? It happened because of your intolerance to diversity of thought. By having such narrow guidelines for who is a “real conservatives”, you forced those with varying perspectives out of the conversation, leaving behind only those of a single mind. Such isolation of thought, is the antithesis of truth. And the real irony of it, is that many conservative talk shows host accused progressives of thinking with their emotions, when in reality it was those on the right, who let their desires warp the reality around them. This close mindedness to math, science and reality that seems so pervasive in conservative movement (that’s how it looks from the outside looking in) is very concerning to moderates and progressives. You need to fix this, if you want to stay relevant in national elections. Speaking of which…
The Extremist: Your alliance with the Tea Party serves you well in local elections but the positions they force republicans to take will preclude the party from winning a national election. Even in a year of arguably optimal conditions, you were swept in all the swing states. And perhaps worse, representatives to congress must now align themselves with the whims on an unyielding collection of voters who seem more interested in making a statement than governing. To be clear, there are extremist on the Progressive side too, but we don’t let them set policy for the party. See, as the name suggests, progressives are open to discussing policy with one another, without drawing some line in the sand or booting people out who disagree with us on a particular issue. Actually, after this defeat, you actually have a grand opportunity to reduce the influence of the Tea Party in the GOP. Between the Tea Party and the Neo-Cons the GOP gives every appearance of being the American Taliban. Now, I know for a fact that most of your members don’t want to take this country back to the 1950’s, but policies you campaigned on this last election season sure gave that impression.
Single Issue Litmus Test: Get rid of them.
Conservative Media: Like the military industrial complex, conservative media is now wagging the dog. This may be your biggest dilemma. They ampliphi whatever you are, you best and your worst. They were greased the slope into the groupthink mentioned above. And they will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. We can only hope the lack of intellectual honesty, will drive them prominence. We have the same issue on our side of the aisle, but again as the name infers, most progressives aren’t ditto heads. perhaps on principal, but not on policy anyway.
Voter Suppression: Really? No, REALLY? We need an opposition party in this country, but if you keep on this Bull Connor foolishness, I (and several other million folks) will make it my personal mission see that it’s not you and I will work diligently to see that your party never holds the reigns of power again. There is no going back. Try me.
The Party of No: You’re gonna have to come up with a plan, a real plan, one that makes sense on paper. Simply saying that you’re going to cut taxes, increase military spending and pay for it all by growing the economy, is like going to a Mercedes dealer and telling the manager that you’ll pay him when you get your promotion. It excited the base, to poo-poo on everything, but the rest of us want to hear something constructive. Speaking of “Poo-poo”…
Red State, Blue & Black State: Regarding all this succession talk, you do realize that with the notable exception of Texas, pretty much all of the “Red” states in this country are subsidized by the “Blue” states? That is most of the Red States get more money from the Federal Government than they pay back into it. This if these states were to secede from the wish to maintain the same level of service (I’m sure they have to chip in something to national commitments like the armed forces), these states would have to raise taxes, well beyond what they’re paying today. That’s called irony. On a possibly related note, the 10 states with the high percentage of college graduates all voted for President Obama. And 9 of the 10 least educated states voted for Governor Romney. I’m just saying…
Know Nothings: You do realize that this disdain for things you don’t personally understand, is not an intelligent way to lead one’s life, much less run a party? Global warming is real. The world is running out of oil, so we have to do something, like invest in finding new sources. And math is really useful, as you found out in this past election.
So, these are my tips to you if you want remain our loyal opposition. But if you don’t, I’m sure we’ll find someone who will. Hello, Libertarians.
You know you’re in fall, when you begin to see the leaves fall around you. And though your hue may still be green, you know that there is a gust of wind coming with your name on it, that will carry your body to ground and your spirit to air. Will it be on a sunny day, or during a storm, we cannot say…and yet, it will be. Thus, all the more precious are these days on the tree of life. #lovewhileyoucan.
How do you see the economic future of the world and of your country?
I pose this question, because I firmly believe that we are at a crossroads and each of must think seriously and logically about what the future may hold so that we can plan accordingly. As is often said, a failure to plan, is a plan for failure.
So, are my two cents regarding where we’re headed. Long term the World economy will be fine, but short-term, we’re in for some pain.
Europe: The European Union, the grand experiment that it is, is in choppy water and doesn’t appear to be headed for calm seas anytime soon. And the bad news is that breaking up the EU and taking off a single currency might make things worse for inventors even if it actually helps the situation in the long run. That’s because the markets hate uncertainty, and speculation of doom will run rampant if they are forced to part ways.
East Asia: China’s rapid expansion was not and is not sustainable, so there was bound to be some pull back. Japan, like the US, will suffer, but will continue to keep its head above water because of the productivity of its workers (Only in the US and Japan, do workers, unforced (child labor & extremely poor laborers) work so many hours and take so little time off (Although, in Japan its cultural, and it may have been that way too in the US before, US workers seem to be working scared these days). Australia will be fine. Stable government, plenty of room for expansion, attracts lots of outside money, a young populace and folks want to move there.
South Asia: Pakistan is a mess and may not even exist 5 years from now. I see India as a mixed bag. The expansion of technology isn’t going to stop anytime soon, and India is at the center of that boom. unfortunately, I don’t see the markets of India keeping pace with the pace setters in IT, and I see much of the capital they earn moving offshore in the years to come (5 to 10). Meaning that college educated Indians will continue to make marked gains, but I don’t see much of it trickling down to the masses.
- South America: Natural resources abound and many of the economies are early in the growth stage, like India and China were 10 years ago. Because of the global economic slow down, exports may suffer, but look for SA countries to boom between 2017 and 2027, even Venezuela.
- Africa: There will be winners and losers. Within the next 10 years, educated folks will refrain from referring to Africa collectively when speaking about its economies. Countries like Botswana, South Africa and Nigeria will be seen fully as the global stars of Africa. Unfortunately, there is still not enough internal capital and political will, to avoid the severe influence of outside investors (China, US and EU countries). But I do believe, and it just a belief at this point, that the “stars” of Africa will step up their investment in their neighboring African countries some time in the next 10 to 12 years. Political and social unrest will continue to plague north africa. I don’t see an end to it. In fact, if theocracy does continue to spread there, I see those countries actually going backwards. A mini-dark ages, if you will.
-North America: Canada is a lot like Australia, except that they appear to be much more tightly bound to the US and Economies. That’s not good and may, in my mind, cause some bumps and bruises along the way as the countries of west, hopefully work their way out of their current mess. Mexico’s fortunes roll with the US and South America. I do see the becoming less dependent on their citizens working abroad sending money home to float their economy, but they will, in my eyes remain the western version of India for some time to come. The United States of America (how shall I say this?) is not so united. We’re like a ship sinking in shallow water, with plenty of life boats. But we’re all gonna drown if these fools don’t get themselves together. Everyone in Washington (well, almost everyone, we got a lot folks elected the last time around who are a little suspect) knows that in the short-term we have got stimulate the economy and in long-term cut entitlements. Meaning that the central government needs to spend money (preferably building infrastructure like bridges and power grids) and we need have too many retirees coming unto the books and not enough workers to support them (thank you baby boom). Any economist, worth his salt knows this. They also knows that this cutting taxes in a time of was is crazy. Who does that? Check your history books, countries typically raise taxes to pay for wars. But we are our own worst enemy, or shall I say our fear and political system is. So many people in fear that someone is going to take something from them are easy targets for self-centered politicians and oligarchs to take advantage of. And the declaration of personhood for corporations hasn’t made this any better.
But here’s the kicker. We all see the flatten of the world. This will continue. But the next wave I see is the lowering of boarders, making it easier for workers to move back and forth between countries (physically or virtually). If the suits have their way, this is the future. The Romney’s of the world (i.e. Those with capital to invest that 99.9998% of you will never see) truly believe that protecting markets is just delaying the natural selection process between economies. I’m sure if Romney is elected, visas granted to in demand jobs will go up. I also see tax breaks for companies sending jobs overseas (it’s called “developing markets) to continue or increase. Of course, as Elizabeth Warren points out, the taxes paid by the workers of this country or any country paid to educate your employees, to pave the roads on which your trucks could run, to run the electric cables to your plants and to protect your boarders so that you might conduct business in peace. But the point of this post is not make a value judgement one way or another, but to simply suggest how we might respond to this changing world.
So, if things play out like I think they will, keeping your skill set global may be the best investment you can make. Secondly, you must be flexible. If you have a skill set that is in demand globally, then you have to be prepared to use it. Consider, how the middle east attracts engineers, they pay them very well there. And how the US attracts the best doctors in the world, we pay them well (well, at least we did comparably). So, if you don’t have a passport, get one. The next realization, is that the US will continue to be destination for wealth earned around the world. Rich folks will continue to buy property here (NYC, SF, Hawaii and the list will grow), because they know that compared to the rest of world, their money is safe here. We have the strongest military by far (almost in a paranoid, psychotic way…but that points back to our fear issues) and we take care of our rich folks (we sell the dream and everyone plays the game). Now, I say these things knowing that I and my personal safety benefit too, in the powers that be keeping the masses fat and happy. Meaning, people take to the streets and riot when they’ve got nothing to lose and nothing to keep them entertained. Our subsidized food sources and mass media are the modern-day version of Rome’s bread and circus. Keep the people fed and entertained and you too can rule for a thousand years. So, the point here is, that I suggest for my US folks, is to think on how to benefit from the US remaining a haven for financial winners from around the world to stuff their cash? Another thing to consider, is that the US worker is the first or second most productive worker in the world (along with Japan), so I firmly expect that whatever global economic meltdown that may be coming, we will see the US weather it better than most other countries. That’s because we work ourselved to death around here.
So, what do you see? How do you see society evolving to adapt to the growing global economy and the interconnectedness of us all? You comments are welcome.
When I was a child speculative fiction taught me to dream with my eyes open and to let go of my life, if only for twenty minutes at a time. To lose myself in the pages of a comic book, were welcome breaks from the “real world”. But in reading the comics like the Justice League or Actions Comics, I found a whole new world. A world, while fraught with villains and dangers, was a much more fair world, where the good guys always won in the end. Growing up in the 1960’s, a decade of war, assassinations and racial discrimination, speculative fiction was a welcome alternative reality.
My brothers and I would create our own heroes and act out stories that I made up. Without even knowing it, I’d taken on the role of Game Master for our after school activities. I would dream all day long about the adventures and story lines we would act out after school. In fact, my daydreaming sometimes got in the way of me doing my class work.
I can remember going into character to act out some of the roles, such as speaking like a baby for two of our all so original characters, Amazing Baby and Super Baby. Thankfully, I’ve forgotten some of the more embarrassing roles I played. But I do remember the feeling of dreaming as we acted out the scenes. We became those heroes.
As I got a little older, I began to weave speculative fiction into every creative writing assignment I got. In the sixth grade we were asked to write a short story. Well, of course my story had to be out there, literally. I don’t recall the whole story, but I do recall that in the final scene my hero escaped from Titan, a moon of Jupiter, just as it was exploding and he had to use his ion engines to avoid the gobs of matter being flung from the dying world beneath him. My English teacher was quite impressed. I was more impressed that she could actually read my handwriting.
I think speculative fiction taught me many other lessons as well. Those stories helped to reinforce in me a never quit attitude. Those stories also helped to teach me, that sometimes you have to walk alone in life to do what’s right. But perhaps the most important thing speculative fiction gave me was a sense of wonder. And though many things have changed throughout the years, that sense of wonder has remained with me and it is truly a wonderful thing.
Note: Please consider joining me at:
State of Black Science Fiction Youth Symposium, which takes place in Atlanta, GA on May 5, 2012.
This exciting symposium brings together a group of Black authors of speculative fiction – in conjunction with the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History – who will host the day-long event, which spotlights science fiction and fantasy as a signature intersection of science, history, technology, and humanistic studies. This symposium will serve as the blueprint for a national conference.
The symposium will feature scholarly panel discussions involving authors and artists of African descent who will showcase their involvement in their respective genres and subgenres of fantasy and science fiction across various media, as it relates to issues of cultural, scientific and technical development.
The symposium will also feature a writers’ workshop, a presentation by young writers from African-Centered schools throughout Atlanta Metro and readings by authors L.M. Davis, Milton Davis, Alan Jones, Alicia McCalla, Wendy Raven McNair, Balogun Ojetade and moderator Ed Hall.
The schedule is as follows:
11:00 am – 1:00 pm: Youth Speculative Fiction Writers’ Workshop
1:00 pm – 2:30 pm: Youth Presentation
2:30 pm – 3:00 pm: Lunch
3:00 pm – 4:30 pm: State of Black Science Fiction 2012 Presentation
4:30 pm – 5:30 pm: Artist and Author Meet-and-Greet and Book Signing
Check out my fellow writers and read what speculative fiction has taught them:
Ed Hall – Alabama escapee Ed Hall writes journalism, poetry, and fiction. He serves as host of Eyedrum’s monthly literary forum, Writers Exchange, and as an organizer of Eyedrum’s annual Experimental Writers Asylum (which is part of the Decatur Book Festival). His work has appeared in Newsweek, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Code Z: Black Visual Culture Now, and the Dictionary of Literary Biography. He plans to have his first novel, a sf-pionage story for young adults, come out soon.
L.M. Davis – L. M. Davis, Author–began her love affair with fantasy in the second grade. Her first novel, Interlopers: A Shifters Novel, was released in 2010, and the follow-up Posers: A Shifters Novel will be released this spring. For more information visit her blog http://shiftersseries.wordpress.com/ or her website www.shiftersnovelseries.com.
Alan Jones – Alan Jones, a native Atlantan, former columnist for the Atlanta Tribune and Wall Street Consultant, writes a brand of science fiction suitable for both adults and young adults. His brand of science fiction blends fanciful characters and scenarios with generous doses of philosophy and social commentary. His book, To Wrestle with Darkness, is available on Amazon, at Barnes & Noble and most major retailers. Visit Alan at http://wrestlewithdarkness.ning.com/profile/Alan.
Alicia McCalla – Alicia McCalla is a native of Detroit, Michigan who currently resides in Metro Atlanta, Georgia. She writes for both young adults and adults with her brand of multicultural science fiction, urban fantasy, romance and futurism. Her debut novel, Breaking Free is available in print and for immediate download on Amazon and other booksellers. The Breaking Free theme song, Keep Moving, created by Asante McCalla is available for immediate download on itunes and Amazon. Visit her at: www.aliciamccalla.com
Balogun Ojetade – Author of the bestselling “Afrikan Martial Arts: Discovering the Warrior Within” (non-fiction), “Moses: The Chronicles of Harriet Tubman” (Steampunk) and “Redeemer” (science fiction); and screenwriter, director and producer of the feature film, “A Single Link” (martial arts drama). Visit him: http://chroniclesofharriet.wordpress.com/
Wendy Raven McNair – is a wife, mother, artist and author of the Young Adult novels, Asleep and Awake. Visit her athttp://wendyravenmcnair.com/page19.php.
Milton Davis – Milton Davis is owner/publisher of MVmedia, LLC . As an author he specializes in science fiction and fantasy and is the author of Meji Book One, Meji Book Two and Changa’s Safari. He is also co-editor of Griots: A Sword and Soul Anthology. Visit him: http://www.mvmediaatl.com and www.wagadu.ning.com.