The Cito.FAME.Us open mic event last week featured a special screening of Through The Walls: A San Quentin Film, a documentary produced by Change it Up media about how inmates in San Quentin prison were (and are continuing to) use music to overcome loss and create change. POISE, a rapper and activist, presented the documentary and discussed his own time in prison and his work with music and activism. He explained that documentary was made in secret, using one of the rooms the inmates were allowed to practice and perform in.
The documentary follows a specific group within the prison that is attempting to not only change their own lives, but pledging to work to change the communities they grew up in once they leave prison. Part of the philosophy is that as much as music is a reflection of the world, music also has a powerful effect on the world — so the group is attempting to write positive lyrics that share the truth of the prison life they’ve lived and of the world as they see it, as opposed to feeding the fantasy of being a gangster, and hopefully affect change.
Through the Walls is still in progress — the plan is to extend 45 minute version shared at Cito into a feature length documentary. I hope it gets some traction, because it’s a great film. I think the movie could be an interesting tool in classrooms, where it could be shown in order to spark discussion with students. You can check out the trailer for Through the Walls behind the cut.
What I’m Reading
I’m about halfway through Gateway by Frederik Pohl. One of the fascinating things about the story is that it’s based around technology left behind by an ancient alien race. The society, long since gone, left behind only the equipment and ships, which humanity doesn’t fully understand — but that they still use to send prospectors out into the universe and back as a gamble to find something useful.
Working slowly through Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott to give myself to ponder the different concepts and sections.
What I’m Writing
Although I didn’t actually get any words written or edited, I still felt rather productive this week as I got some important administrative stuff done that I’ve been meaning to do for a while (involving organization and tax prep and so on). This was in addition to going on a rampage of de cluttering and cleaning — which also isn’t writing, but does make me feel more focused and ready to face some actual writing.
Goals for the Week:
- Work on that short story or one of the poetry collection projects
“I just tried to do what seemed realistic to me within the boundaries of science-fiction and fantasy. They really are supposed to be about people. It’s fiction. It’s not a textbook, yet for decades, for reasons that I don’t fully understand, there was this weird aversion to good sociology and focusing on good characterization and people acting like real people. It was all supposed to be about the science,” says N.K. Jemisin in an interview, following the announcement that she has won a Hugo for her fantastic novel The Fifth Season.