It’s time to listen

I normally stay out of serious discussion on the internet. I think it’s mostly a waste of time and energy. But I’ve been reading a lot of stories on the internet this past week about what it’s like being black in America today, and I wanted to make sure that anyone reading this who isn’t white, or wasn’t born in the United States of America, knows that I’m listening.

I grew up believing racism was a thing of the past—which I suppose is evidence enough that I am white. I was surrounded by international students most of my childhood due to my parents’ work and knew more about the tension between China and Taiwan than race tensions in the US. I thought because I loved the different tones of our skin and valued my friends of non-European appearance that everyone did. And since I am, in fact, white, I never saw racism because no one did it to me. It’s taken a long time for me to see the skin colors around me at all much less ponder the different experiences afforded each.

This week’s internet conversation reminds me of the #metoo movement in some ways.

Every woman knows what it’s like to be woman in a man’s world–even if, like me, you largely live in a safe bubble. Men just don’t. Unless they start listening.

Every black person knows what it’s like to be black in a white world. White people just don’t. Unless they start listening.

You can’t know what it’s like for someone who doesn’t look like you.

One of the worst parts of adulthood has been discovering exactly how much racism is still a thing. It’s shocking and appalling, and it’s beyond being watched suspiciously in stores–it extends to dress codes designed to shame them for their spectacular hair. It is hatred, obvious and ugly. And it’s rules no one thought to change once they forgot why they were there.

Most of the time racism feels far away to me, that is my privilege, but in listening to the stories of black friends and acquaintances and total strangers who are now coming forward to share…I’m so sorry…I had no idea…And I’m so sorry I didn’t think to ask about it.

And thanks for spelling out how we can help. I’ve found out about a lot of cool Instagrammers, authors, and artists who I never knew existed before this week. I plan to keep listening.

I’ve put some links in this paragraph, mouse over the words to find them. I encourage you, especially my white readers, to read people’s stories. To listen to them. And to keep listening to them.

Not Your Momma’s History – historical reinactor

Twisted – book on the tangled history of Black Hair

Mulatto Meadows – bringing horses to under privileged communities

Here’s a snapshot of some books by black authors which are now on my TBR list:

I’m happy to have more recommendations! I know this is just a tiny smattering. Let me know in the comments who are your favorite minority voices–in books, art, fashion, science, equestrian sports, especially.

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

Art in a Time of X

I did some sketching on my tablet–it’s been a while. Apparently, i’m better at it than i remember. This looks way better than I remember art on the tablet looking. I’ll have to mess around some more!

The CEO of Tee Public had a great reminder for artists, so I thought I’d share it here:

“Today, you don’t need to be Pablo Picasso and you don’t need to have something poignant to say. But you are an artist. You do have a sword to wield. Can you push through anxiety and find the space to be creative? Can you find your voice and whisper to us, a joke, an idea, or a memory of some better time? “

Adam Schwartz, CEO Tee Public

Read a book, look at art, make art…get out those coloring books, the beads you were going to do something with…If you can’t get outside, you can find solace in art or escape in stories. We’ll do our best to keep you supplied!

*

Let me know what you think in the comments, and if you like, subscribe so you won’t miss any art, incredibly profound musings, or other treasures from the Raven’s Landing!

Connect in every other digital way:

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

Knight with a Red Plume

https://ravenslanding.redbubble.com

I just really like red plumes.

I painted this when I first got masking fluid. I’m still trying to learn how to use it. And putting riders on horses is startlingly difficult. Perhaps because I think I know what it looks like, but the eye and the brain don’t actually communicate as well as I think.

I am trying to push myself to explore composition more and think creatively.

What? Think creatively? In a painting? I know.

i did really enjoy manipulating the masking fluid and brush flicks for the flagging tail. I think there must be Arabian lines in this horse 😉

I’ve always liked Arabians–not just because they are spectacularly gorgeous, but also the legends around them, their endurance, and of course their loyalty. Marguerite Henry’s King of the Wind was also, definitely, instrumental.

Actually, I learned a lot from that book. I read it repeatedly, and the details of how Agaba treated Sham, the care he took to groom and saddle for the comfort of the horse, has definitely influenced how I treat horses. I try to always be kind and respectful when handling a horse. When you do that, they take it much better when you correct them for not being kind and respectful.

This is actually a character from my novel. If you read The River Rebellion on zarecaspian.com you’d know him, Trinh Kegan. His armor should be golden, but artistic liberty dictated bloodstone for this piece.

Let me know what you think in the comments, and if you like, subscribe so you won’t miss any art, incredibly profound musings, or other treasures from the Raven’s Landing!

Connect in every other digital way:

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

What horses teach us

One of my dear friends sent me a page-a-day calendar titled “What horses teach us.” The picture on the front was of some sort of Gypsy Vanner with a spectacular mane and the quote “Great hair is the best revenge.” It made me laugh, and I sort of expected more horse related humor on the calendar itself.

It’s not particularly funny, though. It’s pictures of horses (which are gorgeous) and unrelated wise quotes. I’m enjoying the pictures, and the quotes, but I do wish they were things horses teach us. Because that would be a hysterical calendar.

This of course made start thinking about what horses actually do teach us.

Humility – often, when animals are pictured with virtues, the dog is posed with “Loyalty” the lion with “Courage” and the horse with “Humility.” When I was a kid, I couldn’t figure out why, since horses are also frequently described as proud. Then, I figured it out. Humility is what the horse gives you. It literally doesn’t matter how good you are as a rider and training, you will get dumped in the dirt. It might not happen often, but it is always a possibility. Good riders and trainers know that, and have learned to accept it.

Also, no matter how much experience you have, there is always more to learn. Horses teach you that, too.

PersistenceIt takes practice to clean hooves with a flick of the wrist. It takes practice to feel your diagonals, see the distance, rate the trot, stick the spin…keep at it.

Always look at things from multiple anglesyou have to show new things and places to both sides of the horse–this is because their field of vision is such that there is information their eyes don’t share. This means that you have to show both eyes everything, because Left Side Horse and Right Side Horse have not had the same set of life experiences and need to be trained separately that the log over there will not eat him.

Get back up againIf you don’t, it will only get harder.

Plan, but be flexible. If you have a plan, you are more likely to succeed. But…that said, if something changes you need to be open to changing your plan. If what you’re doing isn’t working, try something different.

Humility. Again. Yes. Because it really does hurt getting dumped on your butt.

I’m sure there’s more.