Haikus from Traffic

Brake Light

Blinky red asses
Off and on the grey freeway,
Little metal ‘flys

Super Car

Idle, unable, still-
Power now waits motionless:
All twelve horses wait

Fork

When is a boulevard
actually an avenue
to the road on which
a street becomes
the lane I shortcut
via the back alley?

Maybe I should
perform a u-turn?
What I mean is:
why are the signs
never clear until after
you’ve driven down
the parkway to brake
on the driveway?

Hang on…

is it left or right?

I need some clear directions
because I haven’t a thru
notion how to unfold
the GPS and ask Siri
which route leads to
life’s interstate highway.

Or perhaps I’ll just
stay on the service road?

Actually, I’ve paid the tolls
I’ve heard were due
and (now that I’m able)
I’ll cruise along the freeway
and hopefully I’ll not miss
my exit to what’s next.

Shiver My Timbers

I shiver my timbers
In the sudden warmth of March
Lockstep
Towards the twelfth dread
Another spin around the drain
maelstrom’s fire scorching space

I fancy myself piratical
adrift, now making sail
Heaving to galactic destiny
Shanghaied
The siren sings of emancipation
Unlocking the depths

Yo oh heave ho
Haul anchors away
Into scarlet skies at night
Spinning yarns that couldn’t be told
Jones’ bones are allowed to speak
Dead man no more

Not all treasure
Is silvers of steel drenched
In blood
Pulled from beating hearts
Salty breezes sweep
Hearts high on sea swells

Pop Culture Crisis

In reviewing my feeds this afternoon, I saw a headline that caught my eye: “Kevin Feige Finally Responds to Martin Scorsese”.

I must admit I rolled my eyes and sighed.

I’ve been meaning to write about pop culture and fandom and loving things for awhile now, and I guess there is no better time.

Scorsese has crafted many highly acclaimed films. Feige has helped to craft a universe of films that is only growing bigger. Scorsese criticized Feige’s films and thus we are here, inciting discussion and vitriol the world over.

The issue is larger than two filmmakers having words about the cinematic merit of the films they have had a part in bringing to the world.

This goes back to 2017 as many fans were incredibly vocal about their dislike of The Last Jedi. This itself was shades of 1999 when millions of fans were loudly disappointed in The Phantom Menace, the first Star Wars film since Return of the Jedi.

Perhaps this is much older than that. However, rather than divert into the history of culture critique, I’d rather make a simple point:

You are allowed, when it comes to pop culture, to love what you love and not love what you do not love.

Another person who isn’t into what you love does not threaten your enjoyment.

My words are not all that matter here, so I’d like to quote a few others that have insight into this discussion.

“I always tell people that conventions are so wonderful, because you’ll be surrounded by people who love the same things you love, the way you love them. But that’s not entirely correct. You’re also surrounded by people who love things you don’t even know about, but you love your respective things in the same way, so you get to love your thing enthusiastically, completely, unironically, without fear of judgement.

It’s not about what you love. it’s about how you love it.

There’s going to be a thing in your life that you love, and I don’t know what it’s going to be… It doesn’t matter what it is. The way you love it, and the way that you find other people who love it the way you do is what makes being a nerd being awesome.

Don’t ever let anybody tell you that that thing that you love, is a thing that you can’t love.

You find the things that you love, and you love them the most that you can.” – Wil Wheaton Star Trek

We all are going to love different things. We are different people, and what appeals to you may not appeal to me. I love Star Wars. I don’t really care for Final Fantasy. I love baseball. Basketball? Not so much.

“I personally think that everyone is a nerd. That’s kind of one of the things we’ve been trying to do…to me, “nerd” really just means passionate. You can be a sports nerd. You can be super into basketball. Well, guess what? You’re nerdy about basketball. You can be nerdy about cars. You can be nerdy about design. You can be nerdy about all kinds of different things.” – Zachary Levi Chuck, Shazam

Levi is right on. We are all nerdy about something. Doctor Who, engines, sports, Star Wars, crochet…whatever. That isn’t the important thing. What’s important is how you love it: with passion!

“Friendly reminder: we’re all here to have fun and talk about the stuff we love. Tempers can run high when we get passionate, but let’s all remember that at the end of the day, even when we disagree, we love stuff. That’s what makes us fans. Let’s try to be kind to one another.” – @letstalkgrayson on Twitter

We love stuff. We all do. So why not encourage each other in our lives, even if the what is different. I can encourage you to love basketball because I love baseball. I understand what it means to cheer on a team, to wear a jersey, to live and die by the scoreboard.

I can be excited hearing about how you enjoy Harry Potter and what House you are in, not because I am into Harry Potter, but because I know all about Star Wars and the Empire, the Jedi, the Wookiees and on and on.

And while we are here, it must be said: you do not own what you love. The creators do not owe you what you love. You can be disappointed in a thing you love, but don’t exercise that disappointment against those that create the thing.

That way leads to toxic fandom, in which some spew hate and negativity instead of encouragement and love. In which some seek to destroy what they loved and hinder others in their love. And that isn’t good for anyone.

Creators are simply doing their best to create what they would love to see in the world. Rian Johnson did not set out to create a controversial Star Wars film. Kevin Feige did not set out to create the best cinema of all time. They seek to entertain, to create, to play in a particular universe and add to it in a positive and unique way.

And that is ok.

I didn’t care for Spider-Man: Far From Home. I didn’t think it was perfect. But you know what? It doesn’t have to be.

“Stop expecting movies/TV to be perfect. Yes, sometimes you see a thing that checks all the boxes. But stop requiring that. Entertainment is meant to be entertaining, not solve all your issues.” – David Blue Stargate: Universe

When I go to see the latest Marvel film, or whatever, in my heart I simply want to be entertained. I want to escape my world and live in another for as long as it lasts. That is why I love pop culture to begin with. It gives me great stories to escape into. Anything else is just icing on the cake, and that is no lie.

Love what you love. Encourage others to enjoy what they enjoy. And don’t let it damage your calm if someone else has different tastes. It’s love that brings us together. Focus on that love.

And maybe, just maybe, we can make this a better world for all who live in it. This is our shared universe, so let’s make it the best we can.

So say we all!

Telling Stories

All my life I’ve been telling stories.

I remember when I was a little kid, playing with LEGO. I didn’t even own any proper minifigures yet, so I made my own. Being a huge fan of Star Trek and Star Wars, I built my own X-Wing and bridge of the USS Enterprise. I then populated them with my brick-built people.

I didn’t build the ships to have the ships, I built the ships for my LEGO people. I built so that they would be able to travel on adventures. I built to tell the story of those adventures.

These days, all grown old, it is no different. I have all the LEGO I can build with, and many minifigures. But I still am trying to tell the story of each tiny character.

I started to collect 3.75″ Star Wars action figures about 10 years ago. Using primarily two stormtroopers, I took well over 100 photos telling the stories of Kyle and his brother Kyyle.

Today I have several Black Series 6″ troopers and want to once again embark on adventures with them and tell the stories of these new troopers.

My next foray into the world of telling stories is with puppetry.

Once, again, as a child, I was part of a puppet team. I had a wonderful crocodile puppet and did several shows with him. I even wrote, produced, and performed my own puppet show with a monkey puppet that I got for a birthday one year. (I still have that puppet in a closet somewhere.)

Those were simple hand puppets, and made for children. Now I want to get into full size hand puppets, the kind with rods controlling the arms. Eventually I would like to build my own puppet. Until I am able to do that, I thought I would buy one, so that I could learn the craft.

Regardless if LEGO, action figures, or puppets, I just want to tell stories. I have written many short stories, and will continue to do so as inspiration strikes, but I also love real live performance with gesticulating fur and ping pong ball eyes. Something about bringing that to life excites me in a way that LEGO and stormtroopers do not.

For now, though, that remains a dream until I can save enough money to buy my first large size puppet. I have picked one out on Amazon that I would like. I just need to be able to afford him. (If you would like to help with that, you can send me an email to see how.)

No matter what, I will be telling stories. But I cannot wait until I can use a puppet! I even have a name all picked out…

By the Wayside

I am writing this using the WordPress app for iOS. I want to see what the experience is like versus writing on my laptop. Any difficulties should be attributed to that, if you please.

I haven’t written here since March, aside from the two poems I just published. My blog is titled “down the dusty road” but it seems to have fallen by the wayside.

I used to write a lot, as you can see if you explore my archives. Lately, at least for the few years since I was regularly writing, I’ve been in a funk. I think that no one cares what I have to say; I think that no one is listening.

For me, that can be a creativity killer.

To break out of the funk is simple: write. That’s why I am trying out the iOS app. To see if I can make it simpler for me to send my thoughts into the world. Welcome to my experiment.

I am a huge fan of Adam Savage, the maker and former Mythbuster. He is constantly talking about making, about adding something where nothing was yet. My writing is like that: I am crafting content where none was before.

And I’ve missed it greatly. I know that something has been lacking in my life. Depression sometimes knocks me down; life gets busy (I got married this summer!); and days slip by. But here is my promise to myself: I will keep going. I will write. I will create. I cannot control who, if anyone, stops by, but it must be for me that I make. To fill my creative voids. To fulfill my urge to make.

My part is simple: make. Your part is simple: read or don’t. Ignore or engage. Appreciate or not. I hope you read, engage, and appreciate. I hope I can add positively to your experience. But that is not in my power to control, nor should it be. All I have to decide is what to do with the whatever I’ve been given, to quote Gandalf.

So no more creativity killer.

No more wondering if anyone is listening or that no one cares. I make to make. I write to write. If you read, then great!

Thank you.

If you do read my blog, if you do find this in the wilds of cyberspace, leave a comment or email me and let me know. I’d love to hear from you.

**(by the way, the experiment was a success! Typing long form on the iOS app is damn easy and satisfying. Knowing that I can take this anywhere and write anytime is a huge boost. Here’s to ya, WordPress app developers! And thanks.)