I introduce to you…

character, inspiration, life, movie review, movies, racism

I would like to acquaint you with a very moving film today. This film does not hold a place in my top favourites because it is heart-warming, or funny, or clever, but because it is disturbing, and real, and historical. “Mississippi Burning” was released in 1988, and stars Willem Dafoe and Gene Hackman.

miss

The basic synopses is this: In 1964, in Jessup County, Mississippi, three civil rights activists (one black boy and two white boys) disappear. FBI agent Ward (Dafoe) and Mr. Anderson (Hackman) are recruited to find the missing boys. They quickly discover that the Sheriff department is corrupt and racism is alive and well. KKK members abound. They run up against many obstacles created by their members and uncover more and more frightening acts. Once they find the bodies of the three activists, they go after every guilty member of the KKK and fight to bring them to justice.

“Mississippi Burning” opens with a shot of two water fountains, each labeled “white” and “colored.” Next, a burning inferno of a church is shown. Immediately, the stage is set. You know exactly what this film is going to be about. Dafoe and Hackman’s opening scene is them driving down the highway. Hackman is leafing through the case file and pulls a KKK song from the pages He begins singing, and the lyrics alone tell you exactly what the KKK believe and what they are going to be up against before anything even happens.

What I love about this film is that it bothers you, it makes you feel uncomfortable. Which is what should happen, you shouldn’t feel nothing while watching heinous acts of racism. They achieve this in a number of ways. The first would be the language. The people of Jessup County hold no qualms about speaking exactly how they feel black people. Of course the “N” word is tossed around more than a baseball in a game of catch between father and son. Other derogatory words are used, and it’s the brazenness of these words that help to make you feel uncomfortable. The film also depicts horrific scenes of abuse, lynchings, destruction of homes and churches, and inhumane treatment.

The biggest question that comes to my mind while watching this film, is why? I wonder why these people feel they are right in terrorizing and murdering black people. Why they feel they are doing a service. Why they think black people don’t belong in Mississippi.

Religion is pointed out as the cause for them hating black people. They mention some scripture that says that blacks are bad and they should not exist with white people. Dafoe’s character asked at one point, as he held a beaten and bloody black youth, “Where does all this hate come from?” Hackman didn’t have an answer for him. It is mentioned that the people of Jessup County are God fearing Christians, and that is why they won’t tolerate black people like the rest of America.

I find their reasoning confused, because if black people exist, wouldn’t that mean that this God they worship, created them? Wouldn’t that mean that he meant them to be here? I feel that hate is an ugly snake that twists around your brain until there is no justification you can give for doing something awful other than simply because you hate them.

Racism is not something you are born with, it is something that you are taught. This statement was reflected in the film at a KKK rally, where it showed innocent toddlers and children, held by their parents, listening to the evil words of the clan leader. This was a representation, to me, that racism is passed down. It showed the next generation of racists, and what will happen over and over.

The film also shows the vicious cycle that keeps the racism alive. Blacks would be attacked, but they refused to press charges, because they believed it would do more harm than good. With do consequences, the KKK were free to prowl.

Something I found very interesting was that even though KKK members thought they were doing the right thing, they refused to say they were involved in anything in front of cameras and interviewers. Privately though, they would admit their guilt to Hackman because he could do nothing about it. The members held the attitude that not a single court in Mississippi would convict them for their actions. When three members of the KKK were identified by a black boy for attacking his family, they are given suspended sentences. The judge gives the excuse that the reason they acted out was because of the outsiders who have stirred up the County. I’ll admit, watching that scene, I wanted to jump up and shout “You’ve got to be kidding me!”

Much of the music in the film is Gospel. This gave the film a small town religious vibe. It also created a heart breaking juxtaposition between the God that both the whites and blacks worship, and the unspeakable acts committed.

I always feel immeasurably moved after watching “Mississippi Burning,” often finding my eyes beginning to water. It make you wonder how people can become so misguided and regard one group of human’s lives worth nothing. The lack of empathy or any sense of remorse for the abuse and murder is what bothers me the most. They believed they were doing the right thing. Which is wrong on so many levels. If anything, I hope watching this film will be uncomfortable and difficult for you too, because if we aren’t distressed by racism, then I fear for our children’s future.

-Collins

Excerpt from my story titled “Traffic”

character, death, excerpt, excerpt of the day, life, sad, writing

Like a greyhound off the starting line, Dory shoots past me before I have time to grab him. He hurtles down the street, and in a matter of seconds, collides with Kale. They go down in a heap, rolling and shouting. Christian is bowled over and lands on his hands and knees, the umbrella landing a few feet away.

“You bastard! You slept with my girlfriend!” Dory yells as he sits on Kale’s chest, pounding into his face.

I run to them, catching sight of people’s shocked expressions in the café window. “Stop!” I plead.

Christian looks agitated as he stands and grabs the back of Dory’s sweater. “It’s not worth it,” he says sharply.

I come to a stop and kneel down beside Kale. His lip is split and the rain mixes with the blood, creating a read waterfall down his chin. “Kale, just get out of here before—“

His eyes flash angrily and he pushes me away, “Get away from me.”

I hear a yelp from Christian and in a second Dory is back on Kale. Kale throws a punch and Dory’s head snaps to the side with the impact. He recovers quickly and grabs Kale by the jacket, hauling him to his feet.

Christian jumps in again between them. His nose his streaming blood. Dory must have got him when he was trying to free himself. “Cut it out,” he shouts this time, pushing Dory back a step. “You’re better than this.” Dory’s face is a mask of rage as he tries to get past Christian a second time. Dory is as loyal as it gets, if you go after someone he cares about, you can guarantee he’ll come after you.

Kale’s face turns into an amused grin as he wipes away blood. “It’s better you hear it from me now, you know, before you guys get really serious.”

“Shut up Kale!” I bark. I can’t believe Kale continues to egg Dory on. Does he want his ass kicked?

Kale smirks in response and turns to go. Dory gets around Christian by elbowing him in the ribs. I run to Christian as he doubles over, the wind knocked out of him. At the same time Dory grabs Kale arm and Kale spins around landing a punch to Dory’s stomach. He grabs his sweater and thrusts Dory to the side. He stumbles forward and into the street. Into the street right into traffic.

Before I can react, before I have time to scream, Dory looks up just in time to strike the windshield of a red SUV. His body flies up and over the vehicle, landing with a sickening crack on the cement. He doesn’t move again.

In a matter of seconds all hell breaks loose. People are screaming and yelling around me, running to where Dory lays motionless. Cars are honking their horns. Christian lifts his head and sees what I’m seeing. I look over Christian to watch Kale’s face pale before he turns and darts away across the street. Tears mingle with the raindrops hitting my cheeks and I choke back a sob.

I wonder if Lena will feel bad about cheating on Dory with his friend. I wonder if she will know he died protecting her reputation, one that she tarnished herself. I wonder if she’ll know he died for nothing.

I sit on the curb with Christian’s arm around me until somewhere in the distance, sirens sound.

-Collins

Connor Holden has OCD.

character, life, mentalillness, OCD, snippet, story, writing

So, often times Collins and I go off on our own and explore our own stories and characters. Generally, whilst we still work together. Let’s just say the amount of characters I have screaming to get out is pretty impressive. I’d like to share a snippet of a character who really wanted out. This is going to be a tough journey for me to get into words, but I’m up to Connor’s challenge.

“One. Two. Three. Four.”
No…It doesn’t feel right.
“One. Two.”
DAMMIT.
I’m pacing my bedroom. My palms clenched, sweat beading down my forehead, my dark hair falling into my eyes. I want to go out there. I want to walk down those stairs, sit on the couch with my family and welcome the new neighbours. But first, I need to get to seven. If I don’t get to seven, I’m going to have to start again. Let’s hope I get to seven.

-Turner

my poem titled “Stars”

inspiration, life, poem, poetry, writing

The desolate moon danced across the midnight sky
Creating waves to ripple across the Milky Way
He grinned at the stars and saluted the nebulas
The moon loved his journey, the one he made every night
He listened to celestial symphonies emanating from far away galaxies
His cratered face crinkled up at the corners, he hummed along with the melodies
But though he witnessed all this wondrous beauty, he waited for the one thing that made every journey truly worth while
The sun
The most glorious gal the moon had ever laid eyes on
He tingled with glee as he drew closer to the mountains, and the sun’s rays touched his face
Somehow the sun made his journey a little less vacant
And like a phoenix rising from the ashes, the sun rose, high above the horizon
She grew brighter and brighter, blotting out all the dark night sky with rays of her own
The moon descended in awe below the peaks, the sun beamed
And for one second, night and day touched

-Collins

my short titled “Jagged”

character, life, sad, short story, story, writing

Her face contorted into jagged lines of pain. Red liquid dripped from the knife clutched in her hand by her abdomen. The same knife she plunged into herself not a moment earlier. She wrapped her other arm around her stomach as the knife clattered to the tile floor. She soon followed, crumpling like paper to the ground.

I rushed to her, my face still painted with horror. As she drew sharp breathes I cradled her body to my chest. I glanced down and gently moved her hand from the wound, her crimson blood flowed from the gash like a river, and I knew she would not make it.

Her eyes fluttered, and between waves of pain she whispered “Don’t worry about me now… I did this for you. Be happy.”
Shock must have colored my features because she repeated her words again, “Don’t worry, be happy.” She moved her hand to my face, cupping her palm against my cheek.

She jerked suddenly, her eyes rolling back. The pool of red was large now, circling my knees. A gurgle escaped her lips, and I knew only moments, maybe seconds were all she had left, so I held her closer.

I could feel her heart beat slowing, calming until it just quivered.

With one last thud, her heart stopped, her movements stilled and her hand dropped from my cheek. I knew the only person I loved was gone.

-Collins

quote of the day

evan almighty, inspiration, life, motivational, movies, quote, quote of the day

“Let me ask you something. If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If he prayed for courage, does God give him courage, or does he give him opportunities to be courageous? If someone prayed for the family to be closer, do you think God zaps them with warm fuzzy feelings, or does he give them opportunities to love each other?”

– God in ” Evan Almighty”

Though I myself am not a religious person, nor I believe in “God”, this quote still resonates with me. I always feel as if the universe gives us circumstances and situations for a reason. Everything happens for a reason. It does not make sense for the universe to just give me courage, but the universe sure as hell will put me into a situation where I can choose to be courageous. In this way, we can learn to grow through our own thoughts and experiences. Going through these situations make us stronger and better prepared for next time.

The same goes with anything. If someone just hands something to you, and you didn’t have to work for it, you will not cherish it nearly as much as if you had toiled to achieve it. Keep in mind that anything worth anything, will require a great amount of work.

-Collins

my poem titled “Dandelion Seeds”

inspiration, life, poem, poetry, writing

dande

I went to the library one day to look for answers
But they told me all the manuals on life had been checked out
I stood there unsure, rocking back on my heels
How am I supposed to get through this thing called life? I asked
The librarian had no answer for me

I wandered outside, not knowing where to go
Shouldn’t life have a definite direction?
I feel confused
I never know where to go, I am always unsure
Is this normal?

I find myself floating, like dandelion seeds, the breeze taking me in endless directions
Always undecided, while the people around me trudge forward with directions in mind
I fall behind them, asking, “How do you know?”
They never have an answer for me
So I drift in the river of life, letting currents spin me around and around

Shouldn’t I have a concrete destination in mind?
Everyone else does
I feel lost, stagnant in my indecision
They all swim ahead, while I wade in the deep end, not wanting to get out of the pool just yet
Why rush? Then again, why not?

-Collins

My poem titled “You were whole once”

advice, inpiration, life, motivational, personal, poem, poetry, writing

You were whole once

When you were born

Before judgement wrapped around you like a serpent

And squeezed out all the contentedness you had

You were whole once

When you were a child

Before that girl in school called you names

And shattered your self confidence

You were whole once

When you were a teenager

Before your father pointed out that acne on your face

And crushed the love you thought was safe

You were whole once

But that was so long ago you can’t remember when it was

You remember each time you were knocked down

You somehow found the strength to get back up

Even though it felt impossible

And you thought that you deserved so much more, After all

You were whole once

-Collins