When It all Comes Together

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The hardest thing about being an artist is to still remain motivated when there's no one patting you on the back. The thing about friends is they always pat you on the back whether you deserve patting or a kick in the butt. In my life I have had one friend like that. The lessons I learned from him have guided my life.


Our friendship was marred by numerous misunderstandings and rivalries, because he was my best friend's dad, and I got put through the ringer because they had all the stuff and all I had was me. My family was not respected. I went to learn from a person who didn't respect my family because my family didn't deserve respect.


My family was a mess of passive-aggressive, bullshit accolades, sexual improprieties, constant fighting, poor barrier structure for individual growth and accountability, but brilliant repartee and great parties full of incredible minds to learn from. It was a much more stimulating place intellectually than the staid security of my friend's house. I was fortunate to be able to straddle both. The instability of a system can make it a wonderful forum for ad hoc adaptability. That's me, the master of ad hoc adaptability. I had to be.


My friend gave me stability, or as much as was possible. He gave me a foundation. He made me a warrior when my family is mostly quislings. Not my Mom. She's a warrior, and I'm now proud to call her my friend. No one had it easy in my family.


You know when people are stealing from you, right? You know when you see the connections happening, but you're stuck because is what you know proof? Do you have to catch them in the act? Different people will tell you different things. So I know my work, my writing has been stolen and yesterday on NPR I hear the premise for some new young adult novel by some Nigerian woman from Harvard, and it's a complete rip off of Marko, turned into a woman, a black woman, taken to some, mythical, African kingdom to tell her tale, not because it makes sense, but because the audience that can be most easily manipulated by these messages is a black audience, and it's all done so politically correctly for a young-adult audience who are eager for heroes who look like them, but behave like the white men who really were the heroes of the past.


They weren't black people, not in western culture, our historical culture, whether you like it or not. There was no black Hamilton and no reason for one to be created except to cater to childish notions of fairness. Hamilton's story is fine for someone of any color. If we're going to be colorblind, why not just tell the truth? Or women. No. They couldn't be Alexander the great and let's not rewrite history to give people a false perspective. Let's show an accurate portrait of history and learn from it. Let's not have the hero be something they couldn't be just because it pleases some fantasy notion of groups that feel history has betrayed them. Men are the great warriors because war was created by men to test manly strength. Yes, women can shoot a gun, an arrow, a cannon, a missile, but in hand-to-hand combat, in raw savagery, we men have you licked. It's how we're wired. How our hormones drive us, for now.


Let's not be concerned with rewriting history. Let's write the future. You want a great woman hero, write the story of Catherine the Great and let her have her thing for horses, if it's found to be true, because what I've learned is that some women just need that kind of action. Let's not just be colorblind, let's be gender blind, and sex blind in our pursuit of historical truth. Let's be language blind and use the real words like nigger, and fuck, and shit, the real words people use in their daily lives to express things they have raw emotion about. Let's grow up and do raw, not dumb down and be dull for Disney.


So I went on my Facebook page where I'm writing my novel, Making Noyes, and I put there the chapter from 1994 where I learn about my magic hands, a trait all of the short Noyes throughout history, men and women, have shared. It just wrote itself and reads beautifully, a perfect intro into the madness I grew up in. A madness I have grown to love as a place to explore my history honestly and with fiction displays of magic, a magic that I have in spades thanks to a friend.    


mark henry smith Added Mar 10, 2018 - 1:35pm
I feel a beautiful relationship about to happen as spring approaches and day-light savings comes back tonight. 
The Burghal Hidage Added Mar 10, 2018 - 1:59pm
Marko! You are on to something brilliant, my friend. They have a ribbon, pin, banner, hashtag, whatever for every damned stupid thing one could imagine! So, with that in mind picture this: What about a Master of ad hoc Adaptability cape! Huh, huh? C'mon...admit it! You love the idea!
The Burghal Hidage Added Mar 10, 2018 - 1:59pm
Maybe a hat?
Pardero Added Mar 10, 2018 - 2:05pm
I don't disagree with you. It could be that these fantasy stories and false narratives serve a useful purpose. Everyone must be able to take some pride in what they are.
Sub-Saharan Africa failed to invent the wheel or celestial navigation. A preposterous fantasy such as The Black Panther, could instill some pride in young black people. I have never met an admirable person that didn't take pride in what they were. Those, that despise what they are and where they came from, have little to offer society. 
If your ripped off story can inspire a single young black person to perservere and be the most they can be, it seems that it would be a fine legacy for you, even if you can only enjoy it vicariously.
I think it matters not if a young person is inspired by a real person or a fantasy figure.
The Burghal Hidage Added Mar 10, 2018 - 2:10pm
Careful steering young people towards fantasy figures! That can get you locked up in 49 states, Nevada being the exception of course
The Burghal Hidage Added Mar 10, 2018 - 2:12pm
Another good one Marko. Like your voice :)
Pardero Added Mar 10, 2018 - 2:17pm
I differ with you only by degree in the use of epithets and profanity.
Sometimes, they are the perfect choice to be pictuesque or a punchline. The funniest comment, I have ever read on any blog, used well timed profanity in a perfect setting, to create a hilarious and believable anecdote.
Overused words lose their power. I am a great believer in civil and polite discourse. Sometimes, an emotional or deeply held belief can overcome a desire to be civil. In the written word, the delay should be sufficient for editing unless leaving purposely as a literary device.
One little nitpick:
The Three Musketeers by Alexander Dumas was immensely influential on me partly because of my age when I read it. My understanding is that he had substantial Sub-Saharan ancestry. 
Pardero Added Mar 10, 2018 - 3:05pm
The Burghal Hidage,
That is hilarious!
wsucram15 Added Mar 11, 2018 - 10:28am
Spring always renews something..it just does.  MHS..you write some really honest stuff.
The Burghal Hidage Added Mar 11, 2018 - 10:35am
He does, doesn't he? always cathartic :)
mark henry smith Added Mar 11, 2018 - 2:07pm
Thanks all,
My problem with fantasy is that it doesn't work in the real world. That's the real message of the story, right? The story of Christ? That's a fantasy story that inspires people to be what? Guilty conscience? Easy to manipulate?
Belief is great, but belief in the wrong things leads to terrible actions.
So please permit me to deconstruct. Words are never the problem. How words are interpreted is. Who decides what words are appropriate? Why do they choose those words? Every choice is a political and drives an agenda for social control. The most mature choice is to allow people to say what they feel with words they connect with. The most mature choice is to allow people to feel and express anger and resentment with inappropriate words. The most mature choice is to promote more, not less language. I never heard a painter say, I can paint a better picture with fewer colors, or a critic say, he used too many colors in his painting.
I'm gonna say it. The media treats black people like children, catering to their most childish and dependent ideas. And the reason is that there is a group of powerful people who want to create infantile thinking in groups they hope to control. They're very good at it. Creating logical disconnects in rhetoric, such as African American. It's just about the worst thing you could be identifying yourself as if you're an American. It's like telling the world you don't belong here. Black American. White American. Red American. Yellow American. Those are real, physical traits that still keep you in America. That black people were sold an identity crisis is evidence of how good the message doctors are and how gullible black people have become. Yeah, you were slaves, get over it. The Jews were slaves. We're all slaves to debt. Get over it and get to work on the future.
And the same bullshit is happening with women and the me too movement. The language is being trimmed to make it "acceptable," when it's the economics of the system that needs trimming. You want to stop sexual harassment? Make women more economically viable without having to sell their sexual assets. It's not often that you hear of a rich bitch being raped, right? It's women who put themselves in situations where they need male approval to get something.
And now we have this gun thing. And rather than think outside the box of ammo, just like 9/11, we get the same morons arguing that all we need is more. More screening, more guns, more security, more bullying intervention so kids don't fight. Do you actually know what studies show? It's the kids who fight, learn how to fight physically and verbally, feel confident in their inner power to express themselves who are less likely to do horrendous things. It's the angry kids who have no outlet for their anger who explode. It's the kids who play games where there is no expression of anything real who become automatons of isolation.
So let's not fool ourselves and try to convince gullible kids that black people invented science and white people stole it from them. That in Africa they were just a few generations away from paradise. The black tribes in Africa fought terrible battles amongst themselves and a the slave trade was a result of their warfare and then became a business with it's own economic motivations that whites, blacks, Muslims, Christians, and Buddhists exploited. Women will never be equal to men and that's great because IMO they're already better, just disadvantaged. And kids need to be talked to honestly to get them to grow up healthy, not lied to about silly ideas of how history created our present reality.
So yeah, I believe in God, but God is nine beings in one mind; woman, man, black, white, red, yellow, ectomorph, endomorph, mesomorph, and exchanging identities constantly to stay mindful.
Thanks again. Loved the comments. Made me think.          
Frosty Wooldridge Added Mar 11, 2018 - 9:59pm
Artists suffer the wrath of god and apathy! Whether Van Gogh or every little artist from every little town in every little berg around the globe!  In the end, you must stroke the brush for your own pat on the back, your own 'atta boy' and your own sense of creativity.  Only .1 percent of artists make it big either by name or money.  Enjoy the ride! It's a creative one.  I've labored with my artistic craft for 50 years with NO reward, other than the knowledge that I'm fabulously creative person compared to no one.  
mark henry smith Added Mar 12, 2018 - 12:22pm
Excellent advice, Frosty. The hardest thing about art is building an audience and turning it into a business that can provide you with a sustainable living. And once your work's been stolen by powerful players, how to make them pay.
I never liked making alliances. I've always been a lone wolf, just doing my thing in all except relative obscurity. I tried various ways of breaking out, but never found the right avenue. Social media is a Godsend for me.
The twenty novels are all completed in various stages, and each day they don't get published I work to improve them, like today, let's start the novel with something that will knock the audience dead, not any explanation, just right there, in it from the start, Making Noyes as Marko finds his power. Then we can go back and reconstruct how the whole tale developed. And I will give it to someone who has the power to help me, because what I've learned in these forty years of serious writing, is that the chances of a lone wolf becoming a big deal hover somewhere between slim and none.
To make it happen, you have to be clever, and be more interesting than the last guy, just like in a relationship with a woman. I'm more ware on both accounts. 
mark henry smith Added Mar 12, 2018 - 12:24pm
Should be more aware, but hardware still works.
Autumn Cote Added Mar 12, 2018 - 1:50pm
Please note, it's against the rules to post more than one article within a 48-hour period.  
mark henry smith Added Mar 13, 2018 - 12:19pm
I may have come in just under the 48 hrs. requirement. Sorry. This next one will definitely not strain the issue. Thanks Autumn.