My Vietnamese coffee on a leisurely day
Welcome to the Go Dog Go Café
Bob Dylan said – people have a hard time accepting anything that overwhelms them.
So when things do overwhelm you, don’t get reckless and don’t be irrational – pick up your pen and write or type. We need to speak it out but our voices may not be loud or firm so we write, and from writing comes the clarity we look for. Clarity gives us power. Power is knowledge.
Power is not violence and senseless acts. Power is using our gifts to change situations for the better, for humanity.
Many violent and senseless things are happening in the world and sometimes they are really close to home and our hearts. Let’s speak up and let our voices be heard. Use our writing to share what we have learnt and as a reminder never to repeat such atrocities and grievances against humanity. Let us use our words powerfully and effectively. Not our fists and weapons.
Let me first share a poem from a favorite poet e.e. Cummings
Humanity i love you (e.e. Cummings)
Humanity i love you
because you would rather black the boots of
success than enquire whose soul dangles from his
watch-chain which would be embarrassing for both
parties and because you
unflinchingly applaud all
songs containing the words country home and
mother when sung at the old howard
Humanity i love you because
when you’re hard up you pawn your
intelligence to buy a drink and when
you’re flush pride keeps
you from the pawn shop and
because you are continually committing
nuisances but more
especially in your own house
Humanity i love you because you
are perpetually putting the secret of
life in your pants and forgetting
it’s there and sitting down
and because you are
forever making poems in the lap
of death Humanity
i hate you
He ends with the line “i hate you” to show you his disgust. This is a cynical poem, using words to show disgust, some people write like this to show their frustration about the world around them they so desperately want to change and see change. They see injustices like Cummings did, seeing richer sections of society abuse the poorer and less fortunate. Or just be indifferent, their indifference encouraging more neglect and abuse.
We write like that when we are disgusted with what’s happening in the world; politics, abuse, discrimination, destruction and marginalization.
But our writing needs to offer a solution too. Suggestion, advice, hope, future steps and not just empty words. Make your words count, you say you have a way with words? Then make it count.
Humanity is selfish. When we are at the top looking down, we crow over our success, forget those in need, sometimes all we do is just write about the weak and miserable, but have you really been there to know their suffering?
Most of us cannot say yes to that question. We are quite cocooned in our safe little worlds. But some do see the injustices and must have our voices heard. Today I want to highlight a few people and posts that have done just that in this café.
You thought you were just hanging out at a cool café? Well this is a living, breathing and evolving entity. Be happy and proud to be here.
Come sit with me!
I started the week reading a delightful piece of flash fiction from our barista Vanessa @saynotoclowns – Her flash fiction had an open ending and it let my imagination make up the ending. It was one I liked for the female lead was the one that brought adventure and colour to the story. Vanessa does this superbly, little vignettes of a tale snipped off a larger fabric, most times coming from a song she has heard. Music does inspire us deeply. Sometimes the stories we write hide some of the reality we cannot speak about freely. We may need to weave a tale that parallels our own realities but never revealing its true source. But we do write from our own experiences and share it and find there are others just like us with those same experiences we thought only unique to us. And that offers the comfort of a bond across the seas and miles that separate us.
And so you must write! Or like Byron said – if I don’t write to empty my mind – I go mad.
We may write about simple things not major events as not everyone of us goes through horrors unimaginable in life to relate to those who do and write about it. Like for example – If the venerable Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh — who has been through horrors I cannot even imagine — can say, “The mind can go in a thousand directions, but on this beautiful path, I walk in peace. With each step, the wind blows. With each step, a flower blooms,”
We too can practice peace in the midst of the upheaval, the anxieties, the self-doubt and self-reprisals.
And our other barista Davy D has set out to do just that in his weekly post Hang out Thursday – this week he takes us to have Coffee with Basho .
Davy D talks about his favourite poet and how reading the poet’s words gave him comfort. He highlights the works of Basho and makes references to world events and urges us to seek peaceful places around us, pockets of peace and tranquility. Davy asks each of us to reconnect with nature and by doing so back to our own humanity and the gentleness of spirit we have forgotten. Not a spirit of animosity, greed, anger or hatred. The spirit of respect for nature and our fellow human. We seem to have lost this in our quest for development and success. And I like Davy’s thought, for everything around us does have a value and a purpose, no matter how small they may seem. Even our everyday experience is valuable.
Our everyday experience is both physical and temporal.
Christine our most illustrious and hardworking barista set out a challenge to use 10 objects in our life to paint an experience. Read Christine’s challenge – originating from her post Asylum that intrigued me. Read some of the responses, see what defines each of us. The differences, the similarities and the parallels. I thought this was an amazing challenge to do, so simple it became philosophical in discussion about the things that define our experience.
One person that responded to the challenge and I would like to mention here is Jerennazuto in his post – “10 objects” – read his collection of both the physical and temporal objects that make up his experience, simple yet profound, relatable yet imaginative.
One person I read who blends the physical and temporal so beautifully in his writing is S Francis our café founder and leader of our community. He inspires us with the books and songs he listens to. His younger self poetry is a must read to see the man develop from the boy while still retaining the innocence and love for life that is so fragile. His tender words as a young man contemplating the balance in the world is worth your time and consideration. Games of the Sandbox is my favourite.
When I read S Francis’s writing I realise that we all need something to believe in and we cannot become more than what we were yesterday without reading or continuing to learn. And I take an excerpt from his recent Song Of The Week post –
“I have just finished reading Alan Lightman’s book The Accidental Universe, a very good and respectful discussion that allows space in the world for both science and faith. He divides the book into seven essays to explain different understandings of the universe from all disciplines of science with a respectful reverence for both the technical and the spiritual aspects of our existence: Accidental, Temporary, Spiritual, Symmetrical, Gargantuan, Lawful, and Disembodied.”
We may be people of science and mathematics but the universe is made up of more than just numbers and formulas, our understanding too should not be so limited but all encompassing. I urge you to spend some time reading S Francis writing to understand the real foundation of this café.
But…..our café is also a fun and happening place! With specials for everyone!
Sangbad kicks off the week on Monday with his very special Guest Posts – I enjoyed this one as it made me think about my kids at that age. Sangbad selects special writers and highlights some of their best stories here. Read Asiya’s – the Clingy Period here. It was hilarious!
Mandibelle has her amazing and in depth interviews lined up every Tuesday, where we will be introduced to new writers and personalities. Check out this week’s interview of a contemporary writer Carolyn Shelton (JoyRoses) and illustrator Jodi from The Creative Life In Between.
We have a new event every Wednesday – Spoken Word Spotlight Night where we will hear Christine speak our poetry. I was so pleased to hear my poem “Soil of Your Seed”. Christine has an amazing voice and gives the words just the right intonation and magical feel. If you would like Christine to highlight a piece of your writing, please contact Go Dog Go through our Contact Form or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Similarly if you would like to be a contributor to our Blackboard Specials use the same contact form or email. This week we read another fine piece from Aurora Phoenix – Dances with Words
Many other things are happening at the café and you need to drop by and check out the menu!
Two new baristas have joined us this week, Alisa and Beth Amanda and I would like to welcome them warmly and look forward to their contributions.
And there are more stories here last week where you can read about coffee and how it connects people and keeps this community together.
Thank you for sitting with me and I look forward to seeing all of you at the CAFÉ!
Love & Hope