These photos were taken at the National Veterans Art Museum (NVAM) Veteran Art Summit, held in Chicago May 3 - 5, 2019. As part of the inaugural NVAM Triennial, the Art Summit brought some 50 veteran artists from around the country together to share art, ideas, participate in hands-on workshops, and celebrate the growing community. This text was Edited by Kevin Basl.
Keep the Candles Lit
DEATH INVESTIGATIONS, 1970-NOW
Christian Williams, a media and lifestyles coach, goes by CWill Inspire online. He creates inspirational long form videos and discussions on various digital platforms about branding and building self-confidence. With this exclusive lesson on self-transformation, Christian discusses one of the life shaping traumas he shared with neighbors in Mattapan.
The Boston Police reported 56 homicides committed in 2018. Perform a simple math calculation and that's almost 1 billion dollars ($966,000,000) drained from our local community's economy. Could you imagine living in a community suffering almost a billion dollars in losses?
Each post on this site is an evolving creative work of collective memory and citizen journalism. These posts start small, linking to what’s been established already through the public record. This is not official. This is not professional. It’s not authorized or encouraged. It just exists due to the odd compulsions of its contributors.
Like anyone who speaks for a long period of time, you should be skeptical of my stories. I’m not trying to deceive you, but my perspective can get wack.
Every once in awhile I get to be a token of white privilege, absorbing a retort: “We just got out of a movie, and you coming out here like, yeah, mind your business you Mensa ass racist.” I’m just a doorman. You’re blocking the doorway, and this is my business.
If we’re going to debate war like we can actually define and establish a functional peace, we need good terms.
Old men (one saying goes) are repositories of bad ideas. I feel myself entering a new stage in life, and I feel old. I’m not. I still have a good 60 years of kicking to do, if I’m as lucky as Granddad.
Having bought the domain Snowflake.Media to sell my art and thinking, I must grapple with this revelation: Snowflake used to be a term for whites who opposed the abolition of slavery circa 1860.
I’m not a computer program, but I like using computers to create stories and poetry. Snowflake Media is my content creation service.
I’ve always been a delicate white boy who can’t take the heat. Now I’ve melted enough to be used to it. I’ve learned to let it happen, to steam up and form again in another place at another time.
Every story needs a time, a place and momentum. In the Black Odyssey Boston, Ulysses’ journey takes 13 years and it is set between the Gulf of Mexico and Boston (originally Harlem). The momentum for this fable comes as Ulysses confronts his inner conflicts and journeys through his family history.
Identity inspired mayhem makes up some terrifying media. The last century of the last millenium is full of examples of absurd violence against people based on where they live and how they’ve placed their loyalties. Religious, political, ethnic, sexual identities put us at odds as often as they bring us together. Divided into tribes, it’s easy to forget our common humanity.
All posts here are works in progress, and subject to updates and corrections without notice. Comments pointing out errors or value judgments are encouraged and will not be deleted. Please comment with information and insights that propel this conversation forward.
The Night Rambles On
JOURNALS OF FACT, FICTION AND FANTASY
“You gotta get into gold stocks, gold is gonna go ballistic.”
Here’s the preface to my novella.
On Reddit recently I noticed a meme featuring the image of a certain hedge fund billionaire alongside a quote that suggested we all should work 100 hours a week. That’s about 15 hours a day, and patently insane. It’s childishly optimistic. . . . What is work anyway?
Is this effort another horrible tick, a sickness, a compulsion that I can’t escape? In writing, I exercise my demons. To what end? I guess that why is not as important as how. How ought I conduct myself as I drag this mortal coil?
The first seven days of boot camp are called P-Days for Processing. This is when the paperwork begins in earnest. They review your drug test and so forth, and cuts begin. All throughout the navy, the cutting of the fat is relentless and cruel.
The RDCs herded us through the steaming spray, yelling “move, move, move; you get two minutes; in and out, in and out; soap up; rinse off; brush those teeth.”
My Chief wrote in my separation Eval that I left "to write the next great American novel,” and just like that he put my dreams in a vice grip.
I could draw this narrative out to the length of a month, a year, even a short human lifetime. But this is what happened yesterday. For a third time this year after work I puttered around downtown for three hours until the recruiting stations opened.
Consider the man who finds his way into warm hospital beds and/or jail cells every winter by being a danger to himself and others. His psychiatrist calls his incoherent outbursts, misdemeanors and refusal to take his insulin an elaborate con.
Mattapan is a place of raw, wrought and convoluted identity. I know my origins are an abstract combination of Germanic, Celtic and Roman. I descend from migrants and settlers. If you believe the government, by zip code my parents settled in Dorchester, Mattapan adjacent. If you believe Google Maps, I grew up in Mattapan. . . . Mattapan is a word of uncertain origin, with a meaning appropriated from the Algonquin natives.
Tarek Mehanna went to Yemen in 2004 to study the “true meaning of the Jihad.” When he came back he started writing horrifying things online. He’s an Arabic translator, so his work is often esoteric. He was no Anwar Awlaki, communications master, but like Awlaki blogging put Tarek’s life on ice.
If the government is right, Tarek Mehanna might be dead now, if he really did plan to kill Americans abroad. If not, Mehanna’s 17.5 year jail sentence (essentially for blogging) not only damaged the First Amendment along with the credibility of American justice, but his prosecution created a martyr.
Footage for your Feed
Moving Texts, images and Audio
Original media concepts for artists, craftsman and entrepreneurs are not for sale at this time.