I used to get a lump in my throat when I watched or read something that I felt was really well done. The lump formed in my throat not out of jealousy that someone else had written or created it. I’m not so narcissistic that I think only I could/should have written it. The lump formed because someone created something and saw it through so that their story was created and told and I was creating nothing and telling no stories. I didn’t write or create even though I have known that I had stories to tell since I was 11 or 12. (I really didn’t write much creatively on a consistent basis until 2018.)
In this blog post, I talk more about this phenomenon of the lump in my throat changing and why I think that happened.
Recently I watched the movie “One Night in Miami” (on Amazon Prime) and finished watching it with no lump in my throat. Not because it wasn’t good (it really was, see my review below). I think for the first time in my 41 years my little writer soul feels like I’m not sitting on my laurels and am finally writing and actively going after my creative pursuits.
This is a roundabout way to introduce my monthly writing update. While I don’t have a word count for my memoir since I haven’t worked on it in a while (and I kind of stopped sharing word counts a while ago because I feel my memoir will really change once I edit it so any word count wouldn’t be reflective of the finished product). While I am not actively writing my memoir I am still writing. I am working on children’s books starring my pup Selby. I have been drawing them too as a fun new hobby. It’s been a fun way for me to be creative without spending too much time on computers or devices. My Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) brain is very sensitive to computer and device time. That’s why this blog didn’t go up on a usual Thursday. I was attempting to teach myself how to do some illustration on the computer (for the image I created above) and I overdid it on online/computer/device time. Yet I’m glad I did it because I think I am going to create a little graphic memoir using Adobe Sketch (the illustration program I used) to help jog my creative juices and get me producing content for my memoir again. Now that I know how to use the program using it again will be faster and easier.
I will say that once I realized that I no longer get a lump in my throat following viewing or reading something I find creatively inspiring I started to wonder exactly why. Before 2018 my creativity was sorely underutilized. Then in 2018, I started this blog to chronicle writing a new short story a month for a year (12 Months of Stories). Then I started my memoir in July 2019 (for Camp NaNoWriMo) and wrote a bulk of it then and I have been blogging almost weekly since. In 2020 I started #CreativityForDays to encourage creativity every day of the year. Now in 2021 I have changed that to the Daily Doodle (I discuss below). All the while I have been getting involved in the graphic design and social media for an organization I volunteer for. That also allows me to be creative.
Basically, when I said a while ago that the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) caused my brain to reboot like a computer, and a blank Word document popped up just waiting to be filled with words, I truly meant it. I have been writing my brain injury story and I am so glad I can now say that. It’s unfortunate that it took a brain injury to get me to focus on writing, but now that I have that experience the desire to write and share my story is there like never before.
Monthly Feature: Movie Review (Pop Culture Recommendation)
While my monthly feature this week is supposed to be a writing update, I am instead going to give a movie review since this whole post has basically been a writing update.
The movie I am reviewing is “One Night in Miami” (now available to stream on Amazon Prime Video). This movie is being talked about as an Oscar contender and I first mentioned it in this blog when I mentioned Oscar movie contenders (in this post). I wanted to start making our way (I watch all these movies with my parents who I now live with) through the list starting with movies that are offered on platforms we subscribe to (Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, etc.). It was challenging just picking one, but we watched “One Night in Miami” first. It’s a fictionalized take on a night in 1964 when Malcolm X, Sam Cooke, Muhammad Ali (then Cassius Clay), and Jim Brown all spent time together. The movie was adapted from a play of the same name by Kemp Powers. Powers adapted the screenplay and Regina King directed it. I love movies like this that really feature dialogue and acting. And since this is adapted from a play it’s a lot of characters talking in a room. This allows the acting and writing to shine and I usually end the movie with a talent crush on someone. The portrayal of Malcolm X by Kingsley Ben-Adir was riveting and Ben-Adir is my talent crush for this movie. I was unfamiliar with him but he is a British actor on the come-up (read this article about him).
All four actors were riveting. Leslie Odom Jr. plays Sam Cooke. Odom Jr. is known for originating a role on Broadway’s smash hit “Hamilton.” Before my TBI left me with a severe hearing loss and inability to listen/hear/process music, I enjoyed the music of 1960s singing sensation, Sam Cooke. Watching the movie with closed captions (as I always need to do now) allowed me to follow along to the lyrics of the songs I knew which helped me not to be sad that I was missing the music. There is a scene where Malcolm X plays the Bob Dylan song “Blowin’ in the Wind” on a record for Sam Cooke to ask him why a white man is writing something that could speak to their struggles with race. This is the scene that prompted me to realize that I didn’t have the lump in my throat that I usually get when viewing masterful creative works. Sam Cooke talked of being jealous when he heard the song and I realized I wasn’t jealous of the creativity needed to create “One Night in Miami” because I was and am creating.
I will say that I enjoyed this movie. It wasn’t until researching it that I saw a statement used that made me think. In an article about Kingsley Ben-Adir he references struggling with taking roles that heavily deal with racial issues, etc. “Dramas about social justice have their place but we need to do normal stuff too. You need people seamlessly existing in drama, without drawing attention to what colour they are” Kingsley Ben-Adir said in this interview. To that point, it would be nice for Oscar movies to be about the life of characters that just happen to be Black or minorities. As it is, most Oscar-buzzed movies with minority characters are about race and “One Night in Miami” is certainly about race.
#CreativityForDays becomes the Daily Doodle
In 2020 I did #CreativityForDays to encourage myself to create daily. In 2021 I have started something similar but different called the “Daily Doodle.” Each day I draw something in a page of this journal I found in one of my drawers. So far most of the doodles are of Selby (because obviously, I am obsessed and she’s fun to draw). However, in recent days I have started to draw a picture related to what’s happening that day so it operates more like a visual journal/diary. Again, the idea behind the Daily Doodle is similar to the idea behind #CreativityForDays- creativity in any form jogs the memory and gets the creative juices flowing to get me to write creatively. Because even though I play an artist in my “Daily Doodle” journal and sometimes on this blog, I am truly not an aspiring artist but an aspiring writer who is still trying to gather the ambition and fortitude to finish my memoir and just keep writing.