I wish it was all a dream...the kind you wake up from, recognizing in relief that it never really happened. But, it did happen. That truck in Atlanta. Along with all the losses that came with her. As my current circumstances show. Though, one day, that experience will no longer be something I have to pay for--both literally and figuratively. One day, I will think to myself, "Did any of that really happen?" Because, it will have been so far in my past, that the current consequences will no longer be an active part of my life or my memory. However, being physical, we are all forced to live the tedium of the present, presently. So, the sound of a truck in front of my house is something that still catches my attention.
It's unusual today to see a Ford F-150, let alone hear the familiar rumble of that engine outside of my bedroom window. And yet, that's what drove by my house.
How can I be so sure?
I saw it, that's how. If I wasn't still half asleep, and, it weren't so dark out, I might have even been able to ID the license plate. But, even in the dark, even with sleep still in my eyes, the distinctive Georgia peach reflected back at me.
It's one of those moments where one wonders about those pesky coincidences and the Universe...you know, the same coincidences that don't exist? And, lightning never strikes twice, right??? Tell that to the people who have been hit by lightning more than once. In comic books, those people might have been given cool names, costumes, and become mutant-heroes that help save the world. In real life, sadly, things are a little too real. Like a Georgia license plate on Ford F-150 1,000-miles from Georgia at 4:11am....
Interestingly, lightning cracked in front of me last night. Maybe 100 yards away. I can still feel my hair standing on end, the air was so electrified. I was out with my furry companion, who enjoys going out in things like snow and rain because it means getting dried off with a towel, which in turn means getting special treats. Who says old dogs can't learn new tricks??? My girl is 105 in human-years. But she acts more like 90.
I'd never been that close to lightning before. Have you? I hope not. It was terrifying. I still feel the electricity around me, too. Luckily, the storm was temporary. As I look up at the clear night sky, still in tact as it's yet hours before dawn, I can see twin-shooting stars, undoubtedly late comers of the Lyrids, which peaked last week. I always think of my daughter #Emma when I see the Lyrids. Her birthday would have been around the time when they fall. She came when the Geminids were falling instead, and that was much too soon.
Odd, to mark life not through a man-made calendar, but through the stars--both fixed and falling. When I mentioned seeing the Lyrids to someone last week, she said, "The what?" You see, it's rare for people to look up anymore....
The constant distraction of humans via "smart" technology is to blame. When your phone knows more than you do, how are you not afraid? Perhaps like looking up at the stars, reading actual books, like Isaac Asimov's Robot Dreams, just doesn't happen anymore. That begs the question: Have humans become too complacent to feel alarm at technology having more and more control, making humanity less and less independent? Humanity's relationship with technology is quickly becoming vertical. Codependent. And, that's always unhealthy.
Even if few have read Asimov's famous book, I'm quite sure most have seen the film adaptation starring Will Smith and Bridget Moynahan, silenced smart phones and all. Looking up at anything outside of a movie screen is like meeting someone who doesn't have a tattoo...rare in the 21st century.
Did you know that, if you are reading this--and, you are--you're one of more than 1,000,000 readers from 97(!!!) countries??? I'm not playing. #RealTalk: 97-freakin'-countries (so humbled and grateful!). That has to mean something, doesn't it? I haven't been on a stage in nearly two years; I haven't published a new book in six. Yes, I still publish lots of writing in both books and magazines, but it's not quite the same, is it? Don't worry. New books are coming. My lovely friend, who listens to me each and every day, tells me to forgive myself for the delay in my publishing schedule because I'm still healing. He's right, too. I am.
We both lost more than our fair-share in the last two years, my friend and I. It's no coincidence that we're similar ages, too. The silver lining? Not only has difficulty helped us both live what I call #AwakeLife, it's also an incredible story, isn't it? As a writer, you always write what you know. And boy, do I have some amazing stories to tell you today. My friend has some doozies as well.
Porn stars have stories, too. But the people who watch porn? Probably not. That's why you're watching in the first place. The life you're living doesn't allow for great stories. Or rather, technology doesn't allow for it. It's why video games are so popular. Movies. Television. YouTube. And, we're back to that vertical relationship...humanity may have created technology, but technology now creates "reality" for humanity. I think the egg just hatched a chicken all on its own....
Smart technology actually makes humans less intelligent...just another irony brought to you by the 21st century. Even our language has devolved. Look at the usage of words that were never words, like "bomb-diggity." If you've watched American television, you've heard it before. I just used it the other day to describe my furry companion, and when I did, I realized that I was using a descriptive no one would have understood in the 1970's. Or even 80's. Never mind any decade before that. Watching shows like "Say Yes to the Dress," you hear "bling" and "blingy" all the time in reference to sequins and sparkly beading on wedding gowns (that show is my guilty pleasure...). But "bling" only came into common use after 1996, and only thanks to MTV, which began airing as a network in 1981, after a now-famous countdown followed by the words, "Ladies and Gentleman, Rock and Roll!"
By the way, I'm too young to remember that--believe it or not. I was alive in 1981, but was likely swinging from trees, playing Tarzan, or beating up boys as Zorro, before he became "the gay blade," that is. Not that there's anything wrong with that....
Parody defines the 21st century, but where did the material come from to parody in the first place? The genesis of such things is found at the intersection of living in the present and lightning striking twice...and, it's all happening right here, right now, on this very blog, with over a million witnesses from 97 countries and counting. Do you want to say it, or, shall I???
Ladies and Gentleman, (let's) rock and roll:
Zorro, which means "fox" in Spanish, first appeared in a pulp magazine in 1919. The story was written by Johnston McCulley (1883-1958). McCulley had no less than eight pseudonyms! He started his writing career as a police reporter, just to pay the bills, but produced dozens upon dozens of pulp storylines and fifty different novels. Prolific doesn't even begin to cover it. McCulley is responsible for a veritable ton of great characters, including The Green Ghost, Black Star and The Mongoose, among others--all of which inspired many of the masked heroes people clamber to see in the movies today.
I wonder if the people who play masked heroes on and off screen even know the name Johnston McCulley? I suppose, in 60 years, no one will recognize names like Neal Adams either. Some writer on whatever the next version of a blog will be might refer to Adams in the same way I'm referring to McCulley right now.
I worked with Neal Adams before. He surprised me by joining a comic book panel I was running at Comic Con. I wish I could remember what city we were in, but after three years on tour and upwards of 26 cities in that time, it all kind of blends together. Probably why the setting of my dreams tends to be hotels, airports and conference centers. Used to be schools, too, but it's been a while.
In the event Neal Adams is not known to you, let me just say he is one of the most brilliant minds behind the comic book industry Hollywood has embraced as readily as it did the tales of Johnston McCulley. Adams began his comic book career drawing the comic strip "Ben Casey," as well as doing comics for DC, like Teen Titans, Adams' early work also included freelancing for Marvel on my personal favorite, X-Men. So, you have to understand, when Adams surprised me, it was one of the few moments I was actually speechless. As in, no words were coming out of my mouth. Total shock and awe a la President Bush, minus the Will Ferrell SNL parody that plays in my head every time I think of the phrase "shock and awe," or, the former US President.
It's hard for me to imagine anyone not knowing the name Neal Adams one day, probably as unbelievable as it would have been for Douglas Fairbanks (1883-1939) to imagine anyone not knowing Johnston McCulley. Or, the fact that it was his studio who turned McCulley's pulp character into flesh-and-blood in 1920. Douglas Fairbanks even played the title-role in the film. He and his wife, Mary Pickford (1892-1979), found McCulley's "The Curse of Capistrano," on their honeymoon and decided then to make it their inaugural film.
Look at all that amazing pop culture history, triggered by a single childhood memory, which was in turn triggered by pop culture history, lol. This is why I am the one and only #PopCultureProfessor™.
Isn't that right, Barbara Ann???
*cue Alyson Hannigan's line from American Pie, "What's my name, Bitch?"*
#AwakeLife #TwinFlame Post-script: Douglas Fairbanks was a star of black-and-white movies, but his stardom fell with the advent of "talkies"...that's what movies were called when it was no longer just a "moving picture" because talking was added as well. In fact, Fairbanks is one of the reasons Hollywood has an awards season at all; he was a founding member of The Motion Picture Academy and hosted the very first Oscars in 1929. My synchronicity with Fairbanks goes back to my studies at University of Rochester with Thomas Hahn. Robin Hood was one of my areas of research. Nineteen years later, my daughter would share the same date of death as Fairbanks, #1212--the date is considered a gateway for light, both coming and going. There really are no coincidences in this world....