Here we are in June already and I am celebrating my sixth year in North Carolina. Boy, time goes by quickly. There is still much for me to do and I look forward to the changes that I intend to accomplish in the coming months.
There are multiple celebrations in June, family, friends and others that when I look at my Face Book page there is always a reminder of someone’s birthday. CONGRATULATIONS to all you June people. It is nice to celebrate a birthday in warm weather. So much to do and plan such an event when the weather is warm.
When you take on the task of writing a blog, it’s all about an association with the use of words. We speak a language regardless of the language we speak, but it’s all about word usage and how we use them to express ourselves to others. Here is an example.
Two words that express the involvement with others is significant other. The dictionary explains that expression in two meanings; ‘significant’ being ” sufficiently great or important to be worthy of attention; and ‘other’ “used to refer to a person or thing that is different or distinct from one already mentioned or known about”. That term is used currently by people that purposely describe their relationships with another person. That expression seems to be commonly used by people who are in a romantic association with one another, but it does not have to be used in that manner at all. It could encompass any kind of relationship be it an association with a person in an academic association with each other or a business associate that is significant to that business relationship. I am not a student of the use of words and language but I found this expression interesting because it is one that is used often, especially when discussions are made regarding orientation issues.
I was stunned and saddened by the news of Vice-President, Joe Biden’s son, Beau Biden, who died of cancer this month. Apparently, this young man, at age 46, who was Deleware’s Attorney-General had a great future ahead of him, and was considered a highly respected, fine, and outstanding person by all who knew him. A comment I heard made by someone asked the question, “Why do people of this sort pass away and all of the ones who fail to make any contribution to society except for their despair and anger continue to live long lives?” There are those among us who fall in that category and we all have had discussions about what they are offering society with their mean-spirited attitudes and disrespect for their fellow man. I guess that is something we will never understand. But, it is worth noting.
I recently joined a group, Black Art In America, http://blackartinamerica.com, because I agreed with their mission of discussing many forms of Black art and history. The website is quite interesting and I intend to follow it up with many readings. Not sure about agreeing with all the articles as of yet, but I believe it’s a necessary site worth exploring. I thank one of my colleagues who forwarded the information to me originally and I intend to pass it on to you who are interested in this subject.
I am reading a continuing article about the history of jazz in the past and currently as jazz progresses to be part of our future.
For many decades, especially in our last century, the word jazz conjures up many diverse images and in the early 20th Century it became associated with the emergence of Black artists and performers, especially with Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, two of the most important and early practitioners of the music and sensational performers whose diverse and creative sources were important to the development of the music. Their creative abilities continued until many years after they were no longer part of the development they created.
I wish to state that jazz is not dead and the word may have many roads it has traveled, but it will stand the tests of time as it has for many decades. We may find new ways to play it and create it, but changing the word jazz has been discussed many times over, but it does not change what it is and what it continues to be; an improvisational, creative music that continues to grow and mutate into an opportunity for those who are creating it and performing it.
Here’s an example. In the late 1930’s a young man, Billy Strayhorn, met with Duke Ellington and composed one of the masterpieces of his young career, Take The ‘A’ Train. Designed to give him directions to find Ellington in Harlem, it became a performing and musical statement with the Ellington Orchestra and became it’s theme song. What transpired over decades was the development of that one song over many in the Ellington Songbook. It not only became an instrumental performance piece but a vocal one as well, especially as performed by Ella Fitzgerald and later by Betty Roche in a new arrangement.
This masterpiece is what jazz is all about. The opportunity to create a musical piece that changes over time with its improvisational ability to make a statement and create the ability of the material to reach an audience that appreciates the changes that time creates at the moment. Another example of this song is the on-the-spot performance of the Ellington Orchestra and Oscar Peterson at the piano with the Duke as he gives Oscar the opportunity to perform this monumental piece of music to a live audience. This is pure creativity that speaks to the music that the word ‘jazz’ expresses, improvisational content that no other word possesses. I look forward to discuss this topic in future postings and I delight in getting a response from those who are willing to respond.
Finis Earlier in the blog I discussed the words significant other and my comment was “I am not a student of the use of words and language but I found this expression interesting because it is one that is used often, especially when discussions are made regarding orientation issues.” I recently had an office visit with a person in the medical profession and during that visit we discussed some current social media issues and one involved a person that had a sex change that was currently the main topic of the news. This medical assistant went on to voice her opinion strongly to me in disapproval and went on to tell me that she had a family member, a cousin, that was getting married to his same sex partner and while they had her blessings she disapproved of their wedding. What was apparent to me was that while she discussed this situation to me she was somewhat conflicted. On the one hand she made references to marriage should be between a man and a woman, and in the eyes of God she disagreed with them, but she however commented that she did give them her blessings. I asked her politely, since this was not a heated interaction between us, did she plan to attend the wedding even though she did not agree with the marriage. She told me that she could not attend because she was working, but on the other hand she would have attended. She seemed to also agree with the possibilities that she would attend and join in the festivities of having food and drink to celebrate. So, I told her at least she was kind enough to help them celebrate what was obviously a situation she was unhappy about.
I thought about this person who had opinions that no doubt were in conflict with her personal judgement about relationships among people. It is ok to agree or disagree with things we do not understand. As long as we do not agree or disagree violently it is ok to voice opinions about subjects that effect us personally or politically. However, it does offer the opportunity to investigate and learn about others who do not live and participate in situations that we do not feel comfortable for ourselves. Too often, many people stay in their own comfort zone and are unable to at least consider what the opposite side of the opinion may look like.
At the start of each month as I begin to write a new addition of my blog, sometimes I really don’t have any idea about what subjects I will discuss with my readers and what the end of the month will tell what those comments will be as part of my dialogue.
Well, the current FaceBook entries are full of comments that stirred up some sprightly discussion about teaching sex in a Virginia school to 8th graders. WOW!!! And did that ever get a lot of comments, pro and con. This isn’t the first time over many years that this discussion about teaching sex to children reared its ugly head. It is not brand new, because as each group of new parents begin to think about talking about sex to their children as they reach early age or any age for that matter, it becomes a subject of controversy. It is controversial because all people have different ideas about the subject of sex, not only sexual education but sex discussion in general. The comment on FaceBook from an article that was presented went in detail about the subjects being taught and I can understand how that must have upset many of the parents. I will refrain from leading you to the thorny details, but maybe the educators deemed it reasonable to bring these details out in the open without clearly investigating what the reaction of parents would be especially for those who have opinions based on many facets of sex education and their own, say, religious beliefs.
We are now in the 21st Century, and because times are really changing as we continue to understand and investigate what life is really about in these times, it is difficult to fathom what is the right or wrong thing to do about what we see, read and things we hear about and how it effects our children, and not to mention, many adults as well. There surely is a time for everything, and even though there are those who prefer not to discuss such things to their children or even to have a discussion among themselves as adults that is their prerogative. However, on the other hand, there will come a time for some who may not want to discuss such things but to have it fall in their lap and they will have to face the facts as they are presented to them even though they might not wish to take part in the discussion.
First, my condolences to the people in Charleston, SC. May those who were victims of this tragic event, R.I. P. As I write this entry in my blog post, it is just a few days after the tragic incident in Charleston, SC. Sometimes as I ponder to write something about a tragic event like this, I try to decide how I can approach it in a positive sense rather than writing something that offers a point of view that causes others to be in pain or be disillusioned about the event. Also, there is another position to take as well, and that is to ignore the tragedy and move on to something more passive as the subject to write about. Well, what is the purpose of such a blog as mine? Is it just a senseless piece of incoherent, meaningless statements that passes off as news or general information that has no bearing or meaningful knowledge to offer to those who read it? I don’t think so.
When such an event takes place, I decide what I intend to say and convey to others who are thinking about the event as well, and how they may be handling it in a personal manner. There are a lot of people in pain that will carry this tragic event in their hearts and minds for the rest of their lives. It may be locked in some part of the brain as time passes or stay up front in their minds every single day for the rest of their lives but it will still be there to haunt them. As we deal with this tragedy individually, we pray for the victims of this senseless event, but, we should pray for the perpetrator as well. Because he, too, is a victim. As information emerges bit by bit, we will find out what personality traits this young man had and how it formed his opinions on why he took on this tragic event as he did. He left schooling in the ninth grade and never returned. That is when, most likely, he was just a freshman in high school. What was his family situation like to allow him to do that? How did he change from a likable student in his early years to dealing with drug use and possession and a person who was a loner and unable to join in with his peer group? Now, at twenty-one years old he becomes radicalized in believing that other ethnic groups are his enemy.
Someone, like this young man, finds himself in a place that he really does not understand and is open to all kinds of situations that either develops him in a positive way or in a negative way. When you are away from your peers and unable to being involved in social and educational circumstances, there is a part of you that allows you to be open to radical involvement with others, and most likely, to those people who contribute to you those ideas and ideals. I suspect that this young man is a victim of what others with negative opinions concerning other ethnic groups, government, society, and all the hatred of a society that does not include them and their way of thinking, regardless of what that would entail. He believed that Black people were raping his White woman, that Blacks were planning to take his country way from him, all the signs of the extreme, radical right that we read about all the time. This young man is the victim of all that and it no doubt will come out when this comes to trial. He was led to believe it, and no doubt he was most likely led by others who probably did not have the guts to do what he did, but found someone, like him, to do the dirty deed.
An important note: Before I sign off this month, I have to make a note about the comments I have received this month regarding an increased interest in blog writing. I really try to help with general questions, but I don’t have all the answers regarding the subject. I write my blog every month and each time I write it is a learning process.
There are other resources regarding writing a blog and for creative writing as well. Of course, there are writing courses that give you additional information, not only about writing a blog in particular but writing assignments that will help you improve your writing skills. Good luck is all I have to tell you.