Pain and Creativity

As an artist, I have found that through the years, my art has changed. As a lot of artists do,  I have always created art to represent what I am going through in my life. When I was younger, it reflected passions, family, and conflicts. But, after my spine injury, I noticed that it grew more dark. The underlying feelings of uncertainty about life were still present, but it also reflected the physical pain that I now endured. In a way, that made the emotions I was feeling about the world more intense.

But, it also took my creativity to a new level. One that I may not have been able to reach, if not for my constant struggles. Along with added frustrations, I found that it some how drove my will to fight harder to express those feelings. To also bring to life everything that I think, and experience along this journey.

I some how feel a sense of urgency to leave my mark on this world. Maybe it takes pain in our lives to truly motivate us. I’m not sure, but I know that I want to push my art to the edge of the cliff! I want to break boundaries and conventions. I want the other artists that express their pain through their art, no matter what medium, to know that I relate to them.

It’s almost as if I have this instinct to survive through my art. I believe that it keeps me going. I know that I will create, no matter what, until I can’t create anymore. In a way, I feel lucky that I can still draw, write, and think. Although, it causes more pain. I guess I compare it to a double-edged sword. When I get recognition, it’s bitter sweet.

I recently slipped on ice, and broke my ankle. I will have surgery this week. It was my stupidity, and I have come to terms with that. But, I somehow feel that even though this will create more problems for me, it might force me to stay in one place, and create more. I mean, what else can I do?

So, in my life time, I have learned that pain changes you. I have learned that in a way, pain makes you stronger. I have learned that pain can fuel your creativity. I have learned that everyone experiences pain in one way or another. I have learned that when bad things happen, it makes me anxious to express myself, for good or bad. I have learned that life is one big story, and that you cannot possibly know what is on the next page. In a way, that is really exciting to me. I don’t know how my story will end, but looking at it so far, I have learned that it is not boring.

-KJ

 

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China’s Dog Eating Festivals

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Every June; during the Summer Solstice, there is a city in the southern area of China called, Yulin that celebrates the season by torturing, killing, selling, and eating dog meat. The practice of eating dogs in China, Korea, Thailand, and other countries is probably 400 or 500 years old. But, the festival in Yulin is only about six years old.

The people of these countries say that eating dog meat wards off the heat of the summer months. It would seem that this is more of a superstitious belief, rather than a physiological one, or maybe it is just an excuse to eat dogs. Over the last few years, there has been much media attention given to this event. Last year, protesters battled with vendors to try and stop the barbaric practice. One local, retired teacher gained fame while trying to buy and rescue many dogs. The only problem is, that although she loves them, and is trying to make a difference, she doesn’t have the means to properly house, and care for so many animals.

But, after reading so many statistics, I believe that these so-called festivals will be a thing of the past. Because of a bombardment of social media outcries, and actual participation by many animal rights groups, the number of dogs that have been killed went from about  10,000 in 2013, to 1,000 last year. And, although Yulin officials have not yet cancelled the event, they have pulled away from the idea of the festival bringing in tourist revenue by promising to crack down on hygiene, sanitation, and killing the dogs in public view. Also, it is believed that officials are banned from consuming dog meat. I think that what was once thought to be a way to boost their economy turned into an embarrassment for their country.

When it comes to animals, I am very passionate. It doesn’t take much to get into a hating frenzy against groups of people. But, just to clarify; not all Chinese condone eating dogs and cats. Many are repulsed and feel that China needs to come into the modern age of thinking. In fact, it is believed that the first protests were originally organized by local people. Every culture has some ancient, barbaric custom that should be put to rest because we should have grown intellectually, and spiritually over the centuries. I don’t know if we, as a collective species on this planet will ever get to that point. But, I believe that our time here should be spent trying to better things. We need to celebrate this beautiful world, rather than destroy it.

 

My Thoughts About Terrorism and Our Children

Growing up in suburban America in the late sixties, and seventies, I felt fairly safe. As the terror was spinning and growing in the world around us, my friends and I ,  were untouched,  for the most part.

I was two when President Kennedy was killed, so I don’t remember it. I have faint memories of watching  Apollo 11 land on the moon in the summer of 1969,  on our small black and white television set. I was seven. But, the next year,  when the Kent shootings occurred, I must have been shielded, because I don’t have any memories of it. Even in 1975,  when the Vietnam War ended, at thirteen, I remember being happy, but no big deal.  I just wasn’t affected.

Aside from my time with my friends,  which provided a wonderful distraction to reality,  my world consisted of a lot of internal conflicts within my family.  Perhaps,  that is why I am so passionate about what happens my world,  not just my personal world.  Because if you really think about it,  what happens in our world,  affects our personal world! We are global citizens, and should step outside our own existential existence, and contribute towards a peaceful change.

Now for a minute,  imagine being a child of seven,  or eight,  trying to live your life,  and only knowing death, and destruction at every turn.  Every time you go outside,  you are in critical danger of dying.  The children of Palestine have endured this for sixty years.  They have watched the devastation of their homes, families, and lives on a daily basis. As well as war torn Sudan, that has been in a state of emergency since 2003.  Or most recently,  Syria.  We have seen Syrians fleeing their native land to Europe in record numbers.  Some have thought, the largest refugee crisis since WWII.  Syrian children watching their families,  and friends being killed by bombs, or drowning after abandoning their bombed out towns. As a caring human being,  I only have to look into their eyes, to see their pain.  But, I cannot really feel it.  I have not experienced what they have.  I have seen images, but have not experienced being in a war zone.  Or, the panic of having to risk my life to survive.  I can only sympathize.

We felt the closest to this during and after the 9/11 attacks.  The uncertainty, panic, and devastation was felt all across this country.  But, mainly by those that were effected personally. My children knew what was happening because of our age of social media.  I am thankful that we did not live in one of the areas where the attacks occurred.  But,  I made sure to involve my kids,  and try to make it real for them,  so that they will understand the severity of the dangers of this world that they live in.

But,  as I was shielded by my parents to the cruelties of our western society,  I feel that our children don’t appreciate what is happening in our world.  I think that now more than ever,  our children are shielded from the real dangers that people are facing globally, and that they will face. One would think that because we now live in a very communicative world, they would be aware.  But,  for so many of the children growing up in this age of global  dissemination of information,  they are still so isolated.

They are isolated because of media influences, the quick action to violence brought about by racism, fueled by ignorance.  Over indulgence of materialism,  and constant,  accepted forms of corruption, greed, and discrimination that we see everyday in the social media platforms has desensitized them to what is real,  and important if we are ever to attain peace for our planet.

It is sad to think that we would have to be in the midst of a war zone to feel for our fellow human beings.  And, it is so contradictory that so many of poor America or Europe sides with the elite.  If anything,  children that grow up without a lot of advantages should be more sympathetic to the plight of children that live in countries torn apart by terrorism.

As a parent,  I see what is being taught to children,  in our schools and what is projected by the media.  And,  I worry.  I worry that if we keep going in this direction,  our future generations will never know peace,  will never have empathy for other living beings,  and will ultimately be the destruction of our very existence.

If people are only enraged by the terrorism that touches us personally, there is something wrong!  We should be enraged by any act of terrorism, anywhere.  We need to become united globally.  We need to care about all humans on our planet.  We need to see black and white,  good and evil….because when it comes to a single life,  there can be no gray area.

-KJ

 

 

 

 

The Conjuring Movies…..

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

After Almost Four Decades, The Warrens Are Still Creeping Us Out!

By

KJ Williams

After the Amityville craze of the seventies, we have come a long way into the modern age. And though, we can’t live without our cell phones, computers, fast cars, and amazing electronics, it seems apparent that one thing hasn’t changed in almost half a century, we still love a good ghost story!

Like so many horror fans, I am looking forward to the next installment of the Conjuring series. I have followed the careers of Ed, and Lorraine Warren since the early Nineties. Reading most of their published works, and any interviews I can find since the evolution of You Tube, I have been fascinated with their story. Ed was a self-proclaimed Demonologist. And, Lorraine is a Psychic Medium.

Although Ed has since passed, and Lorraine is now in her late eighties, their story is still being told, and the mystery of things paranormal continues to intrigue us.

The case of the Perron family haunting, in Rhode Island in 1971 gave birth to books, and in 2013, a movie.

I enjoyed “The Conjuring”, even though, after doing some research, I came to question it’s truthfulness. Apparently, since the movie came out, the oldest child, Andrea, has profited from it with a trilogy of books, entitled; “House of Darkness, House of Light”, and has since had a falling out with the current owners of the home. The claims that numerous people committed suicide in the house, have not been validated. And, it seems the writers, and director have been accused of embellishing the story quite a bit.

But, aside from all of that, it’s real scary fun. I mean, there have been countless witnesses that the whole Amityville story was fabricated, but every time a new movie comes out, like the Halloween, Freddie, Friday the 13th franchise’s, the dedicated fans head out to see it.

The Warrens have always maintained that the events really did happen. So, it really doesn’t matter to me, as I said, we all love a good ghost story. Also, having experienced paranormal events myself, I feel a connection to these stories.

According to the latest Hollywood news, the sequel, “The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist, has already started filming, and is scheduled to be released on June 10th 2016, almost three years after the first movie.

James Wan is director, and the Hayes brothers, Chad and Carey, have written this one as well. Also, Vera Farmiga, and Patrick Wilson will reprise their roles as Ed and Lorraine Warren.

The sequel is about a case that they investigated in London, England from 1977 to 1979. It involved the haunting, and possession of a house, and eleven year old, Janet Hodgson as the main focus. Like the Perron family haunting, there were claims surrounding the incident that it was a publicity stunt, concocted by the Hodgson children. I did some research on it, and some people claim that the daughter, Janet, enjoyed the media attention, thus embellished the stories that she, and her siblings were experiencing.

What ever the case with these stories, it’s creepy fun. And, who doesn’t love a good ghost story, especially around Halloween?

Well, I guess some people don’t…..sorry people!! Ha ha ha!

So, check out The Conjuring, and The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist…..if you dare!!

Let me know what you think!!

Michael Jackson Lives On, and On

The Thought Of The Day Is:

Michael Jackson Lives On, and On

By

KJ Williams

In 1991, I watched Natalie Cole sing a duet with her late, great father, Nat King Cole. As the sweet words, and music of “Unforgettable” seemed to stop time, we caught a glimpse of what it would be like seeing Natalie sing with him, as an adult.

She did sing with her father when she was a child, but was only fifteen when he died.

Natalie was on a stage looking up at a video of her dad, and then we could see a split screen, which made us feel like Nat was alive, and actually singing with his talented daughter. I remember thinking, how amazing it was that with modern technology, someone could actually sing with a person that had passed.

But in 2012, technology took it one step further. The world watched as the then deceased, “Tupac Shakur” took the stage with his Death Row brothers, Snoop Dogg, and Dr. Dre at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

This was the first time a hologram was used in front of a live audience in a concert format. The virtual performance met with mixed feelings. Some people thought it was the greatest, and a fitting tribute. While others felt as if the dead had been desecrated some how. It is believed that it cost $400,000 to create the hologram of the murdered rapper.

And then in 2014, we watched as Michael Jackson took the stage at the Billboard Music Awards, after having left this world five years previous.

There have been times when music has been produced posthumously, as with MJ’s album, “This Is It”, followed by the 2013 release of “Xscape”. I was elated to have new music from one of my favorite artists, that I thought ended on June 25th, 2009.

But, when I watched the, “Slave to the Rhythm” hologram number, I was more than disturbed.

The first thing that bothered me about it was, Ludacris announcing, “Live from the MGM Grand….Michael Jackson!” It was a very surreal moment.

As wonderful as it would be for us to see our favorite performers living, breathing, dancing, and singing again, I can only wonder what Michael’s children must be feeling. Although, it took six months to make, his face looked strange at times, almost animated, which made it feel more wrong.

I guess that the family members that gave permission can argue that they are trying to keep their loved one’s music alive. But, I feel that the monetary gain must have played a part. Other wise, why not let them rest in peace?

In life, Michael was constantly trying to find peace. It’s a shame that even in death he can’t find it.

The T.V. Show: Cryptid: The Swamp Beast

My Blog-9/29/2015

The Word Of The Day Is:

The T.V. Show: Cryptid: The Swamp Beast

on The History Channel

Last night, I checked out the show, Cryptid: The Swamp Beast, on the History channel. Now, I’m down for anything paranormal, and I couldn’t find any other show that I wanted to watch. So, I came upon this reality show that looked pretty interesting. From the information on my cable channel, it aired on 5/14.

I’ve gotta say, I loved it! I was drawn into the action from the beginning. The only problem that I have is, after it was over, I’m wondering if it was staged or real. According to the History Channel website, it is fiction, based on eyewitness accounts. They use “dramatizations” to tell the story.

A special team, working with the P.D. in the bayou of Louisiana, works to discover possible Cryptids, based on witnesses testimonies, footprints, and other evidence. A Cryptid is a creature that hasn’t been scientifically identified, such as; Bigfoot, Skunk Ape, Lochness Monster, Chupacabra, etc…..

The team consists of three guys, and one girl, all locals, I believe, and experts in their field.

They seemed to know the ins, and outs of the swamp land.

The excitement was instantaneous. And, before I knew it, I was hanging off the couch, and yelling at the t.v.!! lol

Using actors, as well as locals that wanted to be on the show, it enforces the belief in the strange folklore of Louisiana, such as the Rougarou, that the local people fear.

The Rougarou is a creature that can shape shift as well as possess a person. It has a lot of people in the Bayou scared. They feel very strongly about it.

It is an old Cajun tale that has been retold down through the genereations. Sometimes used to make children behave. The creature resembles a werewolf with red, glowing eyes. Similar to the Skunk Ape!

Okay, now I just scared myself!! Ha ha ha ha!

Especially before bed!! lol

So, if you want to watch an exciting show, that I for one believed to be real, and kept me watching the whole marathon, well into the night,

check out: Cryptid: Swamp Beast!!