Play it As it Lays, Harvey Weinstein, and False Progressive Values

Joan Didion in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park during the writing of her article “Slouching Towards Bethlehem” in April 1967.

O n October 5th, 2017, Hollywood changed. Harvey Weinstein, one of the industry’s most powerful men, was the center of an examination executed by The New York Times. They revealed sexual assault allegations against Mr. Weinstein, spanning nearly three decades.

Mainstream interrogation of power has been the last decade’s theme. These inquiries used to be conspiracy theories, underground murmurs of vituperations. Instead, today, we watched with open eyes how too much privilege creates self-indulgence.

Liberal Hollywood contains a kind of dictatorship of good intentions, a social contract where actual and irreconcilable disagreement is taboo, a climate rife with an irony…


Stop Falling In Love to Learn How to Love

Eros is sexual or passionate love, and most akin to the modern construct of romantic love. In Greek myth, it is a form of madness brought about by one of Cupid’s arrows. The arrow breaches us and we “fall” in love, as did Paris with Helen, leading to the downfall of Troy and much of the assembled Greek army.

When I was in 3rd grade, I fell in love with my neighbor Sydney. I left flowers and romantic notes on her doorstep after we shared three conversations. My heart fluttered when I thought about Sydney, my gut dropping whenever we were around each other. It was true love, reminiscent of Simba and Nala in The Lion King.

I remember Sydney from the neck up. She doesn’t feel real, though, fluttering at the nexus point between my fantasy and reality. Her skin was pale, her black hair thin. …


How to get the best out of your writing

Photo by Jaredd Craig on Unsplash

I t’s a challenge to keep readers engaged these days. Attention spans have shrunk, needing stories to get to the point. With that in mind, writers have to master pace.

Pacing affects your writing’s mood, helps develop ideas and themes, and allows your readers to connect to the author through the narrative.

Good writing is musical. The elements that contribute to pace merge to make an appealing song. Imagine if a song played the same key repeatedly.

Mastering the sound of sentences is key to pacing.


Unraveling America’s Color-Blind Complexity

When Shenandoah’s Lewis Mountain first welcomed visitors in 1936, Virginia was a “Jim Crow” state, its laws requiring segregation of the races. This created a dilemma for the National Park Service and the Department of the Interior. As managers scrambled to provide lodging, campgrounds, and other amenities, Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes prodded them about their plans for Black visitors.

“And so the word white,” Langston Hughes writes, “comes to be unconsciously a symbol of all virtues. It holds for the children beauty, morality, and money.”

These words, written nearly 100 years ago, establishes an American perspective that hasn’t vanished. In 1926, the poet Langston Hughes wrote the essay, The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain,” a beautiful declaration critiquing America’s relationship to the Black voice.

The essay’s center is Hughes’s theory of an anonymous African-American poet’s wish to be respected as a “poet” as opposed to a “Negro poet,” and Hughes decoding that poet’s emotion as a more profound…


How We’ve Misunderstood Societal Change

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

I n 1971, Gil Scott-Heron released a poem where he popularized the phrase, “the revolution will not be televised.” Accompanied by congas, bongo drums, and flutes, Heron’s phrase has since become an immortal saying within the Black Power movement, having not lost social relevance in 50 years.

Heron’s poem was penned as a response to another piece, “When the Revolution Comes,” written by The Last Poets. The Last Poets’s poem starts: “When the revolution comes, some of us will probably catch it on TV.” Frankly, the Last Poets are saying; change will be visible from the safety of American homes…


Yes, You Read That Right.

Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton is an American politician, diplomat, lawyer, writer, and public speaker. She served as First Lady of the United States from 1993 to 2001, as a United States senator from New York from 2001 to 2009, and as the 67th United States secretary of state from 2009 until 2013.

Who is Hillary Rodham Clinton, really? The image of Hillary Clinton has been lost in a hodgepodge of words like cold, calculating, and dishonest. She’s become polarizing. Without question, Mrs.Clinton has lived a rocky political life, but if that life was mined and used as a storyline for Netflix’s House of Cards we would be hooked from the opening credits to the series finale.

Her entertaining life isn’t what makes her one of the greatest Americans we’ve ever seen. It’s her continuous service to the United States that solidifies her status. In every iteration of her political career, she’s tried…


A Case Against Portrayals of Cannibalism in the Black Community

El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, better known as Malcolm X, was an American Muslim minister and human rights activist who was a popular figure during the civil rights movement

On February 21st, 1965, Malcolm X was murdered in cold blood at the Audubon Ballroom. While preparing to speak, a commotion broke out in the Harlem auditorium:

“N****, get your hand outta my pocket!”

A man yelled eight rows back from the stage.

As chaos spread, Malcolm remained composed. “Now, now, brothers, break it up,” he said, “Be cool, be calm.” Suddenly, a burly man charged the stage, blasting him with a 12-gauge sawed-off shotgun.

Malcolm got hit square in the chest, knocking him back. He fell into a pair of chairs behind him before landing on the stage’s floor…


The Connection Between Youth, Symbols, and Revolution

Greta Thunberg was named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year in 2019.

In his address, “Citizen In the Republic,” President Theodore Roosevelt reflects on civic virtue. He champions the courage it takes to fight for a cause instead of criticizing from the sidelines.

President Roosevelt said: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.”

When I read his speech, I see a man projecting his words toward the future of activism.

At sixteen-years-old, Greta Thunberg has entered the arena…


Dreams are the most powerful resources we ignore.

The world of literature is vast. So much so that in the wide tide of literary exploits, authors are forgotten about by the simple passage of time. I’m afraid that many tellers of great stories, whose ability to create unique worlds should be lauded and respected, may go unremembered.

Time isn’t intentionally cruel. It tries to treat every writer the same.

I fear my own mortality as a writer, which is why I pay homage to my predecessors, in the hopes that one day some young teller of tales will pay me a similar tribute.

Writing is an act of…


The older I get, the more secrets I learn. The veil is being removed everyday, reminding me of when I was an eager, young truth-seeker.

At 15 years old, I was fascinated by something called alchemy. I combed the Internet to find more about it after learning about the Philosopher’s Stone, a compound which can change into anything on the planet (nerdy, I know). The stone was rumored to grant wishes.

For those who are unaware, alchemy is regarded as a precursor to modern day chemistry. Alchemy dealt with the transmutation of matter from one state to another.

Accompanied with…

Rais Tuluka

I write for my future children.

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