Monthly Archives: May 2023

Extraordinary Storytelling

My extended family invited me to go with them to see Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3. Though I didn’t voice this to them, this movie—among the plethora available—was not on my must-see list. On other occasions of wanting to be with family, I’ve seen similar blockbusters, but I’ve never been invested enough in the movies to retain who did what and what happened from one film to the next.

Perhaps you are a serious fan of superhero movies and will understand why our discussion following the movie was animated and seriously enlightening. I say enlightening because before seeing the movie and being part of the subsequent discussion, I didn’t think that it was about storytelling. I mistakenly assumed that this and other similar movies were all about shocking actions and comedic interludes. Intrigued by what I was hearing in the follow-up discussion, I left the conversation with suppositions and questions.

Storytelling, in whatever form, entertains, interprets, teaches, and stimulates the imagination to create possibilities that often need the space of the multiverse to be realized. Whether the heroes are in the form of humans, animals, or the inanimate, the throughline is wanting to do the right thing despite the improbability of success. The heroes believe and have faith that good will win out over evil.  

In one sense, these very loud and extraordinarily violent superhero films are like fantastical nightmares. But what is a nightmare? Might they be our way of being in the multiverse grappling with evil and fighting for what we believe in?

These movies and our fantastical nightmares may free us from ordinary planes of consciousness in order to help us gain insights through extraordinary ways of imagining what else there may be out there in the multiverse.

What Will Charles III’s Reign Bring?

King Charles III on Coronation Chair. (Licensed under the United Kingdom Open Government Licence v3.0.)
King Charles III on Coronation Chair. (Licensed under the United Kingdom Open Government Licence v3.0.)

While Charles III became king of the United Kingdom upon the death of his mother on September 8, 2022, the world just watched his coronation last week. Though he is a new king, Charles III is a veteran of the monarchy, with there being no doubt that he will have less time actually in his current role than the time it took to get there. The question is how he will he use the precious time that he has.

What will be the legacy of Charles III? Will he simply be remembered as the oldest person to become King of England, having been heir apparent for the longest time of any previous monarch, or will he shape the English monarchy according to his philosophy about humanity and the natural world we’re privileged to inhabit?

King Charles III is a 21st-century monarch. His interests in climate change, architecture, and sustainable farming that seemed ahead of their time when he first expressed interest in them are now priorities for other leaders. He created the Prince’s Trust to provide opportunity for those who seek it, including financial support for education, training programs, and professional advancement for youth and young adults who because they lacked financial means were at risk of becoming casualties of society. 

While living in the shadow of Queen Elizabeth II, times changed—and with them, Britain’s role in the world and in Europe. As many of us learned from the televised versions of the royal family and British monarchy, King Charles will have little-to-no coercive power to shape the country according to his philosophy and vision. He is in the unenviable position of finally attaining his place in the sun as king, while having less freedom to speak out about the causes that he championed as Prince of Wales. As a monarch that possesses no executive or political power, he in many ways must continue to live in the shadows.

Some say that his smoothest path might be as a transitional or think tank monarch where he can convene bodies of people to put forward 21st-century ideas while being careful not to be too provocative.

The world will be watching.

Journal entry: Monday, June 19, 2000

At the Holiday Inn in Philadelphia
Left the Stage Neck Inn at 1:00 p.m. yesterday
Driver of the car to take me to airport is a moonlighting very petite teacher
Alas, no help with heavy luggage

Arrived at Portland Maine airport
Stood in line 45 minutes waiting for delayed plane
Missed connection to Philly
Stood in line for over an hour to get later flight at 7:00 p.m.
7:00 p.m. flight rescheduled for departure at 10:30 p.m.
Flight finally cancelled

Stood in line for an hour and a half to get voucher for room at Holiday Inn
Told to pick up luggage at Carousel C
Waited an hour and a half at Carousel C
Informed that luggage went to BWI

Called the Holiday Inn for shuttle
Went outside to wait
My purse was missing
Made mad run for all the places I had been
Purse not anywhere
Went to service area
They kept my purse thinking it belonged to personnel
What a relief!

I believe that all of these delays and this scare about my purse were warnings to slow down, be more deliberate, take care of what’s absolutely necessary, and stop feeling compelled to make every scene, to respond to every bell. I’m going to miss the trip to Region III in Orlando because my connecting flight in Baltimore is boarding now, and I’m still in room 554 at the Holiday Inn in Philly.

Beginning now, I’m just going to relax into this situation and take care of some work that I would not otherwise have had time to do. I’m happy to have a moment to take stock, to look at what I’m doing to determine my way forward.

Orange Mound Park

“I grew up in Orange Mound in the 1950s, and I lived right across the street from a park, which had a great swimming pool, a great recreation program and that’s where we went to have fun because every day all I had to do was walk across the street. I could either swim, I could play softball, I could play volleyball, I could do any of these things every day of the week except Saturday and Sunday.”

No, this was not my experience. I found this story narrative online as part of the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service’s Museum on Main Street program designed to provide “access to the Smithsonian for small-town America.“

Orange Mound, six miles from Memphis city center, is purported to be one of the first subdivisions built specifically for Black people. Created in 1890, it is said to be second only to Harlem in having the largest concentration of Black people in the United States. 

My own experience must have been in the very early 1950s, and I’m sure that there was only one park in Orange Mound. That park was across the street from the cabstand where my Daddy had a taxi. On the days that I was with him, when I wasn’t in the little shack that housed the telephone and operator to receive calls requesting a taxi, I would be at the park across the street. Having never seen another park, I didn’t know that our park with its two sets of swings side by side, one glistening sliding board, a big pool, and a little pool was pitiful compared to the parks just a few miles away.

I recall the creaking noise the swings made that created a rhythm that matched the velocity of my swinging.  I remember that when I reached my legs back under the swing and pushed myself off, I couldn’t go very high. But if someone was giving me a push, I could eventually swing so high that the chains that I held onto on both sides of the swing would buckle.

This was both a thrill and a fright for me. I would scream “higher, higher, higher!” When my sight line was just about to skim the top of the cross bar, I would get scared and want to slow down. I would stretch my legs straight out in front and lean back pulling the chains to slow down. Always careful not to let my shoes drag in the dusty grooves at the foot of the swing,

I would disembark smiling, laughing, happy. Skipping to the side of Carnes Avenue, I would look both ways before crossing the street and return to the little shack where I would wait for my Daddy to return from a trip.