Is this the part where you laugh?
I'm entirely unsure...
Bi-weekly antics, week of 11/09
Hello, good people of the internet.
How are you? I hope you’re well.
I’ve been thinking a lot about a particularly odd, though (assumedly) common moment between friends.
You know when somebody you like or love wants to show you something? And this something lives within a video but you don’t know where in the video? So the whole time that you watch said video, you overreact the every slightly unique moment because you have no idea which moment is the moment. Do you do this?
And then, you inevitably end up laughing too hard or grimacing too much at a thing that has nothing to do with “the moment”, and they tell you, “Not that.” And so you keep watching the video, waiting and trying not to overreact again.
And in this overreaction you find yourself not really experiencing the thing at all, but rather, accidentally performing some pantomimed experience. And…
Am I alone in this? This funny, uncomfortable moment rooted in an honest attempt to show someone you care? Is this just anxiety in motion? Overthinking, overreacting, because you care sometimes maybe…too much? Perhaps some things don’t require this much energy…But alas.
I wasn’t sure what to write about this week. Not because of any sort of writer’s block but actually maybe an opposite thing? I have too much I want to say, and I’m not quite sure how much, or in what ways, I want to say it.
So instead of doing too much, which you’ll find I’m wont to do… Here’s a very short list of a few things I’ve consumed over the past couple weeks that have inspired or galvanized me in some way.
Maybe they’ll be special for you, too.
The Descendants (2022) follows descendants of the survivors of the Clotilda, the last ship to carry enslaved Africans to the United States in 1860 (nearly 50 years after it was illegal to do so).
In the early 1930s, anthropologist, journalist and writer Zora Neale Hurston documented the accounts of the last survivor of Clotilda, Cudjo Lewis, in a book called Barracoon: The Story of the Last Black Cargo.
The book wasn’t published until 2018. 20gatdamn18.
Suffice to say, this documentary shook me to my core. I was disgusted several times watching it, viscerally so.
But I was also so wonderfully inspired and proud of so many of the descendents interviewed in this film, who’ve carried on telling their ancestor’s stories with the faith that one day, the truth would come out.
This is a story of survival and resistance. I think everyone should watch it, but not just watch it — feel it. As best you can. We’re long overdue for the sort of healing this film proposes.
Confessions of a Reluctant Gatekeeper
I’ve been thinking a lot about artistic gatekeepers lately. Like, a lot. As a writer who’s constantly forging a path that doesn’t require gatekeeper’s approval, and as a lover of art who often questions the authority of gatekeepers to claim what is good and not good art…I’m constantly baffled by them.
And so, to find this essay, about an actual literary gatekeeper who recognizes the complicated responsibility and realities of said gatekeeping, is so, so refreshing.
Tyler James Williams’ chat with Sway
Ya’ll already know I love a good interview.
I also love Tyler James Williams, or, the persona that is Tyler James Williams because as you’ll find in this interview, he’s right to say that we, his supporters, don’t actually know him. And that’s okay!
He explore the idea of being and feeling seen, versus simply being looked at. The difference emphasized by those who know his persona and those who truly know him.
I think in the social media age a lot of us might be able to relate to this idea, the digital persona we present, versus the “you” only people close experience. I’d love to see more conversations about this, and how much healthier we can all be when we accept that there is a difference.
Subscribe to JASPER for free bi-weekly posts, fresh in your inbox every other Wednesday.
Talk to ya’ll soon. ✌🏿