For Storytellers Here Are Some Answers To Questions You May Want To Think About #WritingCommunity

So this is weird. I mean yes, still have stalkers still have abusers, still have all the bad things, but today I sent two kittens off to brand new homes and it just feels like a not-so-crappy day. This happens every once in a while, and when you’re dealing with PTSD it can actually be scarier to be happy than it can be to be sad.

Today I decided to write some notes on storytelling, by answering some of the shadow questions I get – which I only label as such because I don’t know what the fuck else to call the voices in my head telling me that I’m not good enough to give advice on storytelling. It’s the same kind of shit that all storytellers hear, I’m just using it for content because I don’t want to talk about rape today. So here goes!

How Do You Recognize Your Privilege As A Public Storyteller?

I utterly recognize my privilege to share my story in ways that others will never understand or experience. Because of location, creed, nationality, size, relationship status, and government control, lots of folks never get to share their stories. They never get to talk about the horrors they’ve faced or the nightmares they’ve survived and so that’s why we coloured girls who blog, vlog and make podcasts are so important.

Never before have Black and coloured women in general, been so vocal about their experiences, never before have we been so outwardly loud and obnoxiously proud of the things that make us flawed and interesting and weird, majickal and powerful.

There’s been a lot of talk about the amount of white privilege that Anne Frank has and honestly I can’t think of a more stupid argument for what that poor girl and her family went through. “Well, she was white so it was easier for her,” um…really? She and her entire family were hunted like dogs for years…so no it probably wasn’t as great as you think it was.

The thing about white privilege is that too many people assume that ALL white people have white privilege, and that’s only true to a very minute degree.

No white people don’t get lynched, and no they don’t have to deal with being called names that we do, BUT they still have to turn their backs on everything they have ever known – friends, family and loved ones – sometimes, to defend OUR rights, and we don’t take into consideration some of the true heartbreaking stories of white people who ACTUALLY died trying to support Black folk, women and #LGBTQ2S+ – let’s not forget that Harvey Milk was the FIRST politician – of any race – to be openly gay in the USA.

A white man who led the gay rights movement in San Francisco, and a man whose family STILL fights for the rights of all people of all races to be openly proud of themselves, no matter where they come from.

But we don’t tell those stories as Black people because we constantly think that it’s “either” Black, OR, Asian, OR Jewish, OR OR OR. But it doesn’t have to be and never was, supposed to be this way.

We as storytellers have a responsibility to make sure that we tell OUR stories and maybe that means sharing our platforms, but maybe it means realizing that a job is a job, and a calling is something entirely different.

I used to very much want to be a journalist until I realized that journalists do the stupidest shit ever to get the story. They go to war zones, they stand in -30 degree weather, and I don’t give a fuck how great your teeth look if you get hit by a fucking car, STOP WORKING you fucking idiot.

What Frustrates You Most About This Planet?

Every alien film on this planet is about aliens coming to take over the earth. The only films that I’ve seen where aliens genuinely come to earth to help are Arrival and Independence Day 3, which let’s be honest who thought we’d get to three? Really?

Andrew Keagan’s break-out role is trying to convince some girl to have sex before the world ends, and then in our world becomes an “enlightened guru“? Little too much of the kool-aid for me. HOWEVER, the reason that I love these two particular films is that we’ve been wondering for centuries if there are aliens out there, and how advanced they might be.

Of course, there are the techgoofs who want to get their hands on alien technology, then there are the freaks who just want to bang an alien, but then there are the rest of us who want to hear their stories.

We want to know where they came from and what they had to do to survive to get where we are. There are very few directors who can take an alien story and put it on screen in a way that I as a fan can believe. Do I think that aliens might come to destroy us all? Pfft, we’re doing just fine at that in our own reality.

I think it’s more likely if aliens do ever show up, it’ll be to see where we’re at in our process of evolution and to educate us on their ways. I think the worst that will happen is that humans will do what humans always do, which is attack first and ask questions later. (Told you so.)

When Are You Going To Put Down Real Roots?

Hah Never. There’s this thing that writers do, where we travel through space and time in our minds, and no matter where we are, we are always really where we want to be, which is usually with the story. The story is all that matters to me. Not how I became the Loud Mouth Brown Girl, that story has been told. Gang and cult rape, torture, brandings, gangs, etc. Everyone knows that story, it’s moving on and finding new stories to tell that keep me going.

Right now this blog is mostly about mental health and healing from trauma, but in a year it could just as easily shift to make-up and fashion, or music and the WWE, but it’ll never be a place where i ever have to pretend to be something that I am not, and when people say “when are you going to settle down?” what they mean is when are you going to fit in. That’s never going to happen. I’ve been with the cool people, the popular people, the political people, the gang people, the punks, goths, the weirdos, I’ve seen you all and honestly you’re all pretty fucking annoying. I know that I am NOT perfect by any stretch, but at least I’m real. At least I don’t have to hide anymore.

I’ve been rich, I’ve been poor, and I don’t really care for either, both are filled with bullshit. I’ll take what comes and see where I get when I get where I’m going.

What Is Your Favorite Accent?

When I went to the USA for the first time at like eighteen or something, I was asked where my accent was, because of Canadian. Canadians do not have accents in the western part of Canada, at all. We sound just as American as America, only you know, less obviously racist.

Some of us – most of us in the west speak Stonereeze, our vocals are lazy as fuck, but that’s not an accent, that’s just because we’re high. MY favourite accent is whatever accent people speak in. I’ve heard English, Scottish, Irish, Jamaican, French, Greek, I’ve heard a lot of East Indian accents those are very very pretty, Iranian is also beautiful as well as Egyptian, some are lighter than others, others sound a little thicker.

I really like wandering through Vancouver and hearing all the different dialects, something I learned from my friend from HS. Vancouver has people from all over the place, talking millions of miles a minute, and it’s fun to hear the way their voices sound, the one annoying thing though is that there are so many voices sometimes my brain gets lost, hence the CONSTANT need for music.

Favourite State

Hawaii! I fucking LOVE hope openly hateful you are to people who stole your land and culture, and not because they’re white but because you remember your history and I LOVE that. I love the Pele story which I will only tell when I finally visit your great nation, and I am so excited for that day. I love everything about the people and how much you respect the land, the sea, and the air.

The dances are absolutely beautiful and the language that the movement of dance is just something that I can’t even begin to tell you sweeps literal souls around the earth. I am super excited for the day LMBG travels there to meet y’all.

Favourite Actress

My favourite actresses are people whose names I genuinely don’t know, and it’s not that I want it to stay that way, but it’s largely because there are just so damned many of you.

The ability to take what a writer has put on a page, and turn that into something that fundamentally alters what was written into what can be seen and heard is a gift that I am really glad I’m learning. I used to loathe Gal Gadot because of where she comes from and it took a really – REALLY – a long time for me to really look at the politics of her homeland, vs the politics of all the other places around the world.

Studying world politics when you aren’t in a formal school program is really, REALLY fucking difficult and it takes as much dedication as reading the bible or Quaran, it takes really looking at the way people used to be, seeing how they are now, and finding the minute connections that bring us all together.

To be able to put that on screen, with the help of the camera and crew is sooo fucking cool. It’s definitely NOT something I ever want to do, but it’s really cool to have a dream about something you’d like to see someone write or draw and then see it on tv. I will say if I never dream about the fucking Hunger Games again it’ll be too soon. Sweet Christ that was a fucking nightmare come to life.

Trans actors in particular who are allowed to play openly trans characters are absolutely fascinating to me. To be your TRUE self on camera, “I’m trans, and I’m playing a trans/lesbian/gay/bi/Black/etc” character, is just so fucking cool and I want to see more of that.

Favourite Comic Book

I used to read Betty and Veronica a LOT and then like all the girls in my community I became one of the insipid idiots constantly chasing boys instead of dreams. My favourite comic book of all time was the one where Captain America meets Falcon because that was the first time I had a “vision,” of my future. I’ve been running from that future ever fucking since because it was also the same day something truly awful happened to my younger self.

It’s a creepy vision of me falling down the stairs and breaking my neck, it’s one of the first times I ever truly believe I saw Death, and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the first time. I’ve never told that story before, but in comic books in general, getting lost in the storytelling, the character development helped me deal with that really terrifying experience.

I was about six or seven at a time and my family was going through a lot. So to pick just 1 comic book when there are gazillions out there is an unfair question, which is why I tell you WHY I love comic books instead. They foster the idea that anyone can be a hero, that any human can go through extraordinary experiences that turn them into a hero. Or at least give them the choice of being a hero.

Growing up I wasn’t allowed to read the comic books I wanted to, because the superhero books were for boys, (bitch please since when has any boy in my life been a hero?), so I watched the cartoons instead. HeMan, She-Ra, Transformers, Ghostbusters, (a personal favourite forever in every variation,)

Favourite Films

To Wong Foo Thanks For Everything Julie Newmar!

Every human on earth should watch this film. You have all these macho actors who said repeatedly they felt more like themselves on that set than ever before, and we’re so used to seeing them as “the big bad guy,” but here they are in dresses, skirts and thongs, and celebrating their crossdressing acting with pride and joy. I love this film. It is a master class in what film is supposed to be.

Wesley Snipes played Blade, repeatedly and with each one only got more violent, angrier, and more dangerous, and yet you see this film and you forget completely that he’s played Blade. That’s beautiful.

Patrick Swayze went from big and bad to soft and gentle from one film to the next, that’s phenomenal and it’s something that today’s actors don’t do quite as easily.

Ready Player One

I like this film because it brings to life the idea that there is a whole world that we can’t see in behind the computer screen and yes lots of movies do that but this one is just more fun. It’s only slightly political, and it’s mostly about science and fairness. It’s about taking care of your internet time and the world in behind it while creating a story of lost love and friendship with adventure and laughter. Plus who doesn’t love a golden egg story?

Almost any Ryan Reynolds Film

Ryan Reynold’s films just make the world make sense to my brain. I can look at anything from The Adam Project to DeadPool to even Green Lantern and I just get it, it feels like that’s the world inside my brain, and I appreciate that he’s able to take all the junk of a 2-year-old and turn it into something older humans can comprehend.

I like the film version of DeadPool because it feels more true to the name and the humour is very “Vancouver” based which I appreciate, since the films are made here.

Ryan Reynolds is one of those actors who never lets you forget he’s Ryan Reynolds, but the way that he acts on screen gives you the opportunity to see all different sides of him. I call him Sad Eyes all the time because in every film even when he’s laughing he looks sad, but I think that speaks more to the fact that he has so many stories inside of him, yet to be told. So definitely excited to see more from him.

Columbiana

I love this film so much, so beautifully much I am obsessed with it. Zoe Saldana as an actress came out of absolutely nowhere and every film she’s done has been absolutely phenomenally amazing. It’s not because she’s mixed race or Black or Latino or whatever her genetic makeup is because I don’t know, it’s because she puts EVERYTHING into her role.

I Love this film because it’s about a little Brown girl who escapes a Columbian mob and grows up to remind every single one of them that she didn’t forget what they did to her family. She grows up lethal and even though she spends a lot of time alone in this film, there are moments where she goes from being a “super angry bitch trying to murder all the things,” to a “woman who just wants to feel a connection.”

She’s all about family in this film, and she reminds the audience that brown and Black women are not to be messed with. The young girl actress was just soo fucking cool. She did a lot of her own stunts and had to because of her size, and she just kicked ass playing a girl bent on freedom. Love it.

Avatar

No not the Asian version which was a fucking disaster in 3D, and so offensive that it turned me off from the Anime completely, I’m talking about James Cameron and the brilliance of the Navi.

Nations of people fighting off colonizers before those colonizers had the chance to destroy everything that existed before they got there. And yes I know a lot of people complain that he didn’t write his own language, but I actually quite like the idea of imagining that the Navi once existed on earth and that rather than OUR language being theirs, THEIR language is all that remains of them on our earth.

I’ve had dreams of the Navi visiting here, and that was really weird, because like, they’re really tall, but I’ve also had dreams that I was Navi, I don’t know if that’s the world I’d pick given a choice, I’d miss computers WAY too much, to be honest with you, BUT I love the idea of the film and I’m really looking forward to the next set, and yes Zack Snyder’s film was STILL too long.

Film, TV, Comic Book Book, Etc – Pick One

No.

My least favourite author of all time is also my favourite. Nora Roberts is just…awful, and I’ll explain exactly why. She has an amazing series under her alter ego named JD Robb, and that series is COMPLETELY different than anything she’s ever written before.

It’s sci-fi-romance, with a bit of a majickal element, as well as murder and whodunit, and then more romance, with weird quirky characters that I wish I’ll be alive to see on screen because the entire series is so cool. It starts with Hot Ice which is based in the 90s I believe, and then the next book in the start of the JD Robb series is Naked in Death and yes I had to look that up.

I love these books because Eve is a bit of a pain in the ass, stubborn and frustrating, but ALWAYS fights for the innocent, and Roarke her lover turned husband ends up fighting crime right beside her, often without necessarily following “all” the rules.

The creepiest book of them all is The Icove Agenda which is about a creepy doctor making clones and inserting them into politics and other powerful communities. Creepy because it probably is or has happened, and sooo engaging and beautifully written. Yes a white author, I don’t give a fuck, one of my favourites, and a woman who actually taught me to be a better writer.

That being said PLEASE pick up the 3 Keys Trilogy and The 3 Sisters one as well, those are actually transformative when it comes to how stories are told. Yes, they are similar, but they are also very very different, and if you want to be a writer, BOTH of these series are absolutely essential reading material.

Kim Harrison and The Hallows Series.

Faeries, Witches, Vampires, Demons, Werewolves, weird WEIRD sex, other worlds, Gods, Angels, it literally has EVERYTHING and the entire story feeds on the foundation that tomatoes that were genetically altered changed the entire world.

I now eat tomatoes in spite, because a character died and I am STILL pissed about it, which Mrs. Harrison knows because I have told her AT length on social media, to which she has always replied with laughter and the words “stay pissed.”

I shall thank you very much. I’ll also keep reading because these books are SO fucking sexy that they are actually BETTER than sex. (Nope, not a joke.)

Hope you enjoyed this absolute waste of my time while I procrastinate from cleaning my house, thanks for reading and feel free to send more. I’ll only answer the not-idiotic ones.

Sending all my love,

Devon J Hall