Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Trayvon Martin... Michael Brown... Eric Garner... Tamir Rice... Aiyana Jones...

It's very hard for me to focus right now. Very hard.

It's enough that I have several projects vying for space in my head and I've made changes to how I want to bring a few of them to fruition (Shadowfox is back in, Lupus Moon is back out, Ascension and Darque Marque Comics have been folded back into one entity). It's enough that even those decisions are clouded by my incessant worrying over the commercial viability of each project. But now there's another stressor that's been thrown into the mix...

Anger. Frustration. Rage.

I really don't know which word to use.

With the recent news regarding the Michael Brown/Darren Wilson/Ferguson, MO situation, the outright slaughter of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, the grand jury's decision to not charge the officer who blatantly chocked Eric Garner to death on a New York sidewalk (on video!), and countless other stories that seem to be coming to light at the speed of light, I'm finding it harder and harder to focus on writing whatever whimsical fiction that strikes my fancy at the moment. Instead, I'm more and more angry.

More and more frustrated.

More and more enraged.

I'm not even sure what to do with it. As a writer and one-time amateur filmmaker, the smart money would say that I should funnel my fury through my art - make a statement on how I feel through words or digital video. And I've taken steps in that direction. Over the Thanksgiving weekend, I rewrote scripts for a short film and stage skit, both dealing with issues of Blackness - one internally, one externally. I'm not certain when or if they'll see the light of production, but they're definitely projects I'm motivated to work on in the light of what's been happening to my brothers and sisters.

Then there's the concept for a feature film, which would see me take a character from an stage play I never finished, and re-cast her in a dramatized story about a protest and swelling racial tensions over the death of an unarmed Black man at the hands of a white police officer. I'm even thinking it could be one of those films with parallel storylines, with viewpoints from the police's perspective, as well as that of the victim's family, being explored. I even have a title, lifted from an older treatment for a story dealing with racism I wrote when I was in high school. This idea is really tugging at me, but I only have so much time in the day and I've already got other projects on the table in various advanced states of creation. I also want to make sure that this raging passion isn't just a result of plain rage; something that will subside as my emotion does the same.

At the end of the day, it's a creative battle between my interests as a geek, and my duty to my people. It seems silly to trifle with stories of superheros when now, more than ever in my life, I feel the need to add my voice to the others already protesting and say something substantial, something of worth.

I'm not sure which side will win out. Then again, with greater time management--

Maybe one side doesn't need to.