The Californian & The New Yorker | J. D. Bentley

The Californian & The New Yorker | J. D. Bentley.

I’m greatly dis­ap­pointed that the web allows medi­oc­rity to be so eas­ily dis­trib­uted, but I should not over­look the fact that it also offers this cheap, world­wide dis­tri­b­u­tion to the thought­ful and the tal­ented. If you work hard to learn a craft and even harder to mas­ter it, if you put great thought into what you say and who you want to say it to, then there’s no bet­ter place to be pub­lished than on a web­site you your­self own.

I wish I could give you a full and accurate account of how many days I think to myself that I should stop publishing anything I write online. That, perhaps, it would be better to pour all of these essays into a book and release a new one whenever I felt I had compiled enough of them.

Or that, despite the overwhelmingly positive feedback and kind regards from readers, no one is actually reading or, even worse, that my words are simply scanned and forgotten. Then there is also the fact that so much of my work is in places I don’t really own or control.

Then, I’m reminded of the fact that my work, no matter the quality, has the privilege to be in the same vast library of data as a writer of J.D. Bentley’s caliber. It is then that I can see few better reasons to press “publish”.

Other People’s Must Reads

I recently put a call out to my friends on Twitter asking for links to the smartest writers they ready regularly. I purposefully put no restrictions on the request in order to promote diversity of subjects, styles, and context. What follows is this list.

I have added all that had an RSS feed to my daily reading list. I’m not sure all will remain but there are at least a few real keepers here and feel already the better for having done this.

They are not in any order and are offered with no further comment then what was in the title bar of their site. If you had suggested one that is not here and I somehow missed, please feel free to let me know.

Also, I know this begs the question about what people I would have added to this list. Not to worry, that is forthcoming soon.

Grandmother Clocks

My Grandmother had a funny thing about clocks. When I was growing up, all of the clocks in her house were set a few minutes ahead. Not a specific amount ahead either. They were random increments ahead. Two minutes on one, five minutes on another, etc. Therefore, you were never really sure exactly what time it was. There was a reason for this.

You see, there is a long held, and too often justified, stereotype about African-Americans in this country. That being, that we are always late. In the Black community it’s referred to as “CP Time” — Colored People’s Time. My Grandmother was not the type to ever allow herself to fall into the trap of proving such a stereotype. Thus, the clocks.

But, one may be compelled not to leave the story there but to ask why it was then that all the clocks were set early instead of exactly on time. Good question. I asked the same thing as a kid barely old enough to tell time. Here is what I learned…

She told me that, as a Black person, despite education, despite abilities, despite accomplishments… Despite the sit-ins, strikes, acts of civil and non-civil disobedience… Despite the hard work of all of those who fought and died, those jailed and bailed to be jailed again… Despite all that was done to grant us our “equality” in the eyes of the law… This equality did not exist in the eyes of man.

In fact, simply because of the color of my skin it meant that being as-good-as was not good enough. Because, that very fact made me less so in a real life comparison with someone who was not so colored. Therefore, just to be considered equal, we had to be better. It was not enough to disprove a stereotype by meeting the standard, we had to exceed it. Therefore, it was not enough to be on-time, we had to be early.

Thanks to this, today all of my clocks are just a little bit ahead.

By how much?

I have no idea.

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