A compilation of thoughts

It is important to go into conversations, especially arguments, listening to what the other person has to say before you think about your response. If both people go into the dialogue without listening to the other, how will anything ever be accomplished by that dialogue?

 

In much of Western culture, children are taught from a very young age that participation by speaking up is important, and a lot of weight is put on how much they speak. While this is a good thing regarding standing for yourself and your opinions, I think that it sometimes falls short in that it creates an environment where children (and people in general) often feel pressured to speak up and voice their opinions and thoughts. This can in turn create a situation in which the person may not know and/or realize that it is okay not to speak up, and that their voice does not have to be at the forefront every single time.

 

What if our society was set up so that it was okay not to say something, or it would be okay to take time to reflect on what was said before responding?

 

It is my feeling that it would become instinct to come to a conversation with the intent of listening and learning from the other person first and foremost. I think conversations would go further and be more productive than when we are just preparing our next response/ next thought while the other person is still talking.

 

-The Black-eyed Sue

The Arts Now

The best nights are without a doubt when the humans go out to tombolas and previews for young actors’ new plays and musicals. It’s not just the gourmet food they bring home from the caterers (that an old dog like myself probably shouldn’t be eating). It’s how they are when they come home; they are positively glowing. For them, these shows are glimpses into the lives they would have given anything to lead. The protagonists that they watch are charismatic and confident and all of their problems and mistakes resolve. These characters in these shows have lives full of joy. I remember back when my humans first adopted me. We were as poor as dirt they always said. They probably shouldn’t have taken on another mouth to feed, but they needed a bright spot in their lives. It was always their dream to start a coffee shop and boarding house for struggling actors to have a safe haven because that’s what they themselves were. I remember their talks from when I was still a puppy way back in 2017. They were so scared because support for the arts was few and far between. They couldn’t book, even after what seemed like millions of auditions. It seemed like there were fewer and fewer jobs to be found. And then came the blackouts. The grid was failing because the coal supply had been almost entirely used up. The whole country would lose power for two weeks at a time. This lack of electricity brought the downfall of entertainment by technology. No longer could you stream hours of a show for days on end–you were too busy trying to save your battery for when you would really need it. Out of this vacuum of entertainment, the performing arts began their steady rise. The whole country fell in love with thespians. After months of lobbying, the government finally passed a law that said for those making the minimum wage, service hours and material money could be used interchangeably. That’s when the arts really became a part of everyone’s lives, rich or as poor as dirt. My humans could see the shows they could have only dreamed of before. Money is still tight, but it’s getting better. I don’t mind the long nights alone when they are performing until the early mornings, because I know it fills them with incredible joy. They’ve even been able to put aside money for the coffee shop. The arts are making dreams come true. Now the arts are for everyone, even an old dog listening to his human’s conversations after a night broadway bound.

No Longer

IMG_0755No longer will I be the person I am today.
No longer will I solely judge people on the way they look.
On how they dress,
On how they talk.
No longer will I see someone walking down the street, a perfect stranger, and immediately make assumptions.
Based off the way they stand,
Or the color of their hair.
No longer will I glare at people who I have yet to know.
I will take the time to know them,
I will be supportive.
No longer will I be unaccepting of others.
Of people who are different than me,
Of people who are the same as me.
No longer will I be rude and disrespectful.
To those who do not think the same way I do,
To those who have different views than me.
No longer will I shame others.
In any instance, ever.
No longer will I be the person I am today.

The Unwritten story

The world was blown away with what is coming to be known as “the greatest horror story ever written”. This literary masterpiece takes the reader on a terrific and at the same time terrible journey of the world that almost was. It is hard to imagine now, in a world where buildings are splashed with color and paintings hang in every room, accompanied by ever-expanding libraries filled to the brim with fantastical stories. However, In a World Without Art, takes us back to a time when things weren’t always like this. Arts options were being taken out of schools and the public, while most still had creative minds and souls, were being forced into an ever-narrowing space of what “art” really was. The novel takes this one step further, creating a world in which no art exists at all. The concepts presented are unfathomable, and really make the reader stop and think to themselves, “Oh, I didn’t know that could be art.” It presents a world where there are no creators, only thinkers and doers. A world where meaning has been stripped from so much of the world that the people living in it no longer know what they are missing. Critics are calling this book a, “manual for remembering how to really live,” and I, for one, agree.

-The Black-eyed Sue

Feelings on a Canvas

Art has been a way to express feeling that can’t always be explined. We have developed a world where everyone has a very diverse way of thinking about different topics but with media on the rise, it’s getting harder to:

  1. Find your own voice
  2. Create your own opinions
  3. Express your own opinions

It’s 2026 in a small town in Vermont and a youg girl by the name of Henrietta Malcolm makes a name for herself as an artist working towards change. The message behind her pieces has only began to be prominent since the beginning of 9th grade. Malcolm was never really interested in the news and she focused her art on things she was more interested in like animals or unique flowers. This took a turn when she started high school and was pushed in an environment where she had to have an opinion about everything that was going on in the world. She had to be on this side or that one and she wanted nothing to do with it. People always asked her questions on things happening in the world and whether she thought they were right or wrong but she never had an answer for them. She educated herself on several current events; trying to figure out what all the fuss was about and why these topics were enraging, humoring, or saddening her classmates when she came to an epiphany. We all have different opinions about the state the world is currently in but instead of fighting about who’s right or wrong, why don’t we just express how we are feeling in a more… beautiful way? Take out the violence in your inner thoughts and replace them with creativity. Malcolm had a great idea and she was ready to take it to the public.

Malcolm started by talking with her classmates and asking them questions about different topics that were popular during the time but instead of asking them for their opinions on the topincs, she asked them to describe how they made them feel. She told them to describe the colors they would associate to the feeling, the shapes, the brush strokes. She told them to explain in great detail an image that most accuratley embodies your feeling on the subject and allow her to capture it on a canvas. Malcolm charged nothing when taking this out to the streets of Vermont; drawig the thoughts people had about their presidents, racism, the school system, their bullies, war, famine, TV shows, the internet, ice cream, etc. She captured their thoughts on these different subjects and the results were astounding.

Malcolm’s principal helped to open a showcase for all of the work which was open to the whole town. Even the Mayor came to see the art and get a piece on his own thoughts about his job and the work force. The mayor gave Malcolm’s school $5,000 to make this cause national; to help people interpret their feeling in the form of art.

Note: Of course I couldn’t get a story about Malcolm’s incredible work without getting one of my own. I had her draw my feelings about writing for The Daily Optimists, the piece is shown below. See what you can get from the piece about my feelings!

download (4)

RED Oddity

December 25, 2099

In a future that works for everyone the date is set on Christmas. Holidays were very tricky and religion was always a topic of discussion in the news. Those were the days where people would stereotype actions, assumptions and how someone would dress. Nowadays we all live together. We appriciate the difference in views and are able to have discussions that can involve everyone and make people’s opinions heard. We are considerate of the different views and values we all hold but do not condone hate. We are a society that thrives on caring for eachother and we support our communities which can hold different customs and religions.

Criminal Garden

2/27/2067

Technology has come far. When I was young they polluted the earth with fossil fuel and coal. Now we use clean energy like solar and wind in order to power our electronics. The witches help too. Not the kind from television shows, but the Wiccan religion kind. Cleansing the energy of the world has been a large task. There is also a revolution in communication. We used to have the issue of false anonymity creating a generation of people who were not social in person, but were very open online.

Privacy online was just that; an illusion. Sending nudes was common among the young people, even though it was illegal. Then one day, bots came.

They condemned unsafe criminals to the The Web, an underground cyberprison. There criminals had the chance to get in touch with creative outlets through hands on work such as photography, instrument study, or tending to a garden. It was a fitting consequence for those who have strayed from their origin, the earth.

Melania Trump Saves Us All

WASHINGTON (in the future that is getting to the point of working for everyone, albeit slowly) The President of the United States has fallen into a medically induced coma, suspected to be brought on by none other than his ex-wife, Melania Trump.

Those alive in 2016 remember the election: Donald Trump v. Hillary Clinton. In that year, the world watched in fascination and in horror as his supporters rose. When it came time for the 2020 election, they had garnered so much power, they were able to pull off one of the largest ever instances of voter suppression in democratic history. Those who tried to vote against Trump were gunned down mercilessly. Change was prevented at any cost.

But this does not hold a candle to the 2024 election, or rather the lack thereof. Through a series of carefully worded unchangeable executive orders co-authored by Steve Bannon and Mike Pence, Trump was able to block anyone else from entering the election, effectively turning the U.S. from the first ever democracy to one of the most brutal dictatorships.

In his eighteen years in office, Trump has cut the rights of anyone who wasn’t a straight, cis, white male to almost nothing. His almost two decades of power have seen more change than any other power figure in American history had seen. These changes ranged from the closing of all schools except those approved by Devose, the complete melting of the arctic coupled by some of the worse air pollution in the world, and countless wars and drafts. Also in those years, Melania Trump disappeared, presumed dead, possibly murdered, by many. The one thing that stayed constant in these long eighteen years, was the President’s vigilance on his favourite platform: Twitter.

The U.S. found it laughable when he was first elected in 2016, and Melania declared her mission as First Lady would be putting an end to cyber bullying. After all, the country’s largest cyber bully was her very husband. But it appears, though it took a while, she was serious. Deadly so.

Exactly one week ago, Nordstroms issued a press release stating that the company had been bought for an exorbitant fee: “an amount only possible to obtain from government embezzling or something of the sort” (Walling for Nordstroms) and were under the new management of a woman going by M. Knavs (Knavs is, of course, Melania’s original last name before changing it to Knauss and later Trump).

Security footage from three days later from the Gold House shows a woman of Melania’s stature and build breaking and entering into Mr. Trump’s bedroom corners at about 3:30 AM. The trespasser then injects him with a mysterious red substance from a syringe before slipping back out undetected, due to the lack of security.

A few hours ago, Mr. Trump took to his national live broadcast for his weekly rally speech to the nation. It was then that whatever was in the syringe took hold, and just a few minutes into consoling the country about the devastating effects of the cost of The Wall, Donald Trump dropped to his knees, wheezing, before passing out. He has not since woken up.

Before the cameras were shut down, a woman from the crew took to the broadcast. In a heavy Slovenian accent, identical to Melania’s the country heard

“Donald is asleep now, and his return will not be soon. I, due to marital arrangements that were never cleared, am technically next in line for the throne, however, I will instead hand this weighty title on to my dear friend and comrade, Bernie Sanders who has the training needed to be a successful president. After his four-year term is up, there shall be another election. America is a democracy once more. Through first-hand experience, I am aware of the inhumanity Donald has unleashed upon this broken nation, hurting all in his path, fans or otherwise. As Secretary of Humanity, my first call to action–healing this gaping wound. The money that has been going to the wars will now be directed toward providing free psycotherapy and aid to all who need it, as I hereby declare a state of peace between the U.S. and all other nations. I understand that Donald has done a lot of horrible things to this country and a lot of time and hard work will be needed to be able to fix it, however, I believe we can undo this hatred through the advocation and practice of love. This time, we really do have a chance at ‘making America great again’. So onward, fellow citizens, to a better tomorrow where we truly are the United States of America.”

Education

What is education?

  1. The process of receiving or giving systematic instruction.
  2. An enlightening experience

As a young person, I did not have a concrete personal definition of education. I went to school because I was supposed to, not because of passion, or because I felt the need to explore history and math. As I grew I met new people and came into new educational environments. Some teachers were better than others; I learned to enjoy math in my junior year of high school. I have come to an understanding about my own education, as well as the education of others recently. You learn from your surroundings, its the difference between “book smart” and “street smart”. If district systems can come together and provide equal funding for all people, no matter their origin or financial standing, children and adults can enrich their minds at the same time. School should be a place of safety. Physical and emotional safety. Let students respectfully speak their minds. Share ideas and explain concepts to one another, a mutual give/give relationship is much more constructive than give/take. Learn truly, do not just memorize for a test.

Race

Dear Jonathan,

I can feel the discomfort crawl under my skin like the aftermath of a bad dream. Speaking about race used to come easy when I was young, but I have found that it has become progressively more difficult as I have aged. I feel tears of joy warm my face as they seep from my eyes. A proclamation has been made official in regard to years and years of police brutality toward people of color. Children have changed their faces as times have changed, caramels forming from the mixture of acceptance.The new policy states that any government official recorded or witnessed abusing or killing any person, no matter their color, will be brought before a panel of diverse judges of character chosen by local enforcement. There the police officer will have his or her legal fate decided. It is a step in the right direction, but I fear it may turn dark, my love. While you have been away people have become more feral. I fear that the power of the people, all colors, will bring murder upon law officials as revenge for decades of unjustified killings. Things are looking up, but please return soon.

Love, Jeffery