Tag Archives: perspective

Some thoughts on violence

Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars. ~Khalil Gibran

I don’t often comment on events in the U.S. on my blog, but the recent events in Boston have been making me think. My heart goes out to the victims and their families. I hope that the city of Boston is able to recover and move forward.

What worries me is the ongoing blame of Muslim people. I wish everyone could find a way to get along. Racism, classism, sexism and intolerance of religion divide us when we’re all so gloriously human. These divisions keep us from being the best of humanity. To the Muslim Americans out there, stay safe, and I hope you’re ok. And to Muslims across the world, not all Americans are afraid/ hateful of your religion.

Another worry and frustration I have is the casual idea that mental illness inherently causes violence. When in reality “mental illness” is a broad umbrella that includes diverse issues from anxiety to depression and bi-polar to schizophrenia. Have you ever seen the diagnostic manual that therapists/ psychiatrists use? It is huge and for good reason, there are many ways that the human brain can deviate from normal.

Most people with mental illness are not violent. Most people with normal brain chemistry are not violent. For example, people with schizophrenia are more likely to commit suicide than they are to commit violence with others. Here is some information from NIMH:

Are people with schizophrenia violent?

People with schizophrenia are not usually violent. In fact, most violent crimes are not committed by people with schizophrenia.7 However, some symptoms are associated with violence, such as delusions of persecution. Substance abuse may also increase the chance a person will become violent.8 If a person with schizophrenia becomes violent, the violence is usually directed at family members and tends to take place at home.

The risk of violence among people with schizophrenia is small. But people with the illness attempt suicide much more often than others. About 10 percent (especially young adult males) die by suicide.9,10 It is hard to predict which people with schizophrenia are prone to suicide. If you know someone who talks about or attempts suicide, help him or her find professional help right away.

People with schizophrenia are not usually violent.

I don’t have specific studies to back me up, but I am going to extrapolate here and say that most people with mental illness are not violent. And I would also venture to say that it is wrong to say that because one person in a group does something wrong to say that all people in a group are that way.

For example, I do not believe, that all Muslims are terrorists. Because that is a ridiculous assumption. Muslims are all human. There are good people and bad people as well as people in the middle. In any group of humans, there are violent people, kind people, and mediocre people. In the end we’re all just human.

Why do we feel the need to demonize one group or another when violence happens? That violence was created by the choices of the people who committed that act. It was not committed by an entire group of people at once.

I hope we can all follow Mr. Rogers’s excellent advice and look for the helpers. The people who stepped up and made a difference when atrocity shook us all.

© K. Klein 2013

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I am a feminist writer

Feminism and feminist are loaded terms and have many disparate meanings and associations. So here is a brief definition of what I mean when I say feminist:

  • Everyone should be treated equally regardless of their race, gender, class, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, etc. (I know I forgot a few, identities, sorry.)
  • When I say equal, I don’t mean that everyone should be treated the same because people are different. And it is awesome that we are all not the same. Sameness is boring.
  • What I do mean when I say equal is that everyone should have equal access to the same opportunities. For example: access to education, healthcare, healthy food, and safe places.
  • P.S. I don’t hate men. And will laugh if you use the phrase feminazi seriously in a sentence and promptly stop listening to anything you have to say.

So why is this important or even worthwhile to discuss? Well, I am a feminist and I see the world through that perspective. It affects my writing – partially because it brings into focus topics that I am interested in exploring and addressing – both here on this blog as well as in my novels and short fiction.

©K. Klein 2012

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Intention

What is an intention? An intention is not a goal. A goal is something that you measure and check off when you have completed it. An intention is a conscious gesture to align your mind, heart, imagination, and body with whatever act you’re about to begin. You attach yourself to your goal’s outcomes and assess your success accordingly. You let go of an intention’s outcome and let go of notions of success altogether. Goals guide business; intentions guide soul.

~By Jeff Davis from pg. 4-5 The Journey from the Center to the Page

What am I doing yoga for? I practice yoga to calm myself. I practice yoga to sweat and unwind the knots in both my mind and my muscles. When I step on the mat I try to set an internal intention. Why am I here today? The answer usually centers on my emotional state. Often I am combating my anxiety; trying to see the world from a new perspective.

Yoga does wonderful things for allowing my brain to relax and let go. Jeff Davis brings together yoga and writing in his book, which I quoted above. I often go into writing with goals. For example, I want to finish my rewrite by October 31; I need to hit at least 75,000 words. However, I don’t think I have ever set a writing intention. I am not sure what it would be.

Reading this book has sparked the question in my mind: what do I write for? Or perhaps even: why write? The latter is easier to answer than the former. Why write: because I cannot stop. (Not for lack of trying earlier in my life). Writing allows me to be a happier person; I write to revel in the flow and the joy of writing. However, the first question, I do not know the answer too. I shall have to think and reflect on it.

Davis goes on to say:

“An intention plants a seed, a suggestion that may manifest during that writing session or may not manifest until two weeks or a year later” (p5).

At this moment, I do not know what my writing intention is or what it will be. But I certainly have some food for thought. Do you set an intention before walking on the yoga mat? Do you set an intention before a writing session?

©K. Klein 2012

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My love affair with books

There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.
Ray Bradbury

There is not a time that I can remember being unable to read. My grandmother told me that this is because my family would always read to me. My love affair with books started in her two-flat apartment with two or three (possibly more) bookshelves double and triple stacked with books.

Books are my refuge when the world becomes too hard to bear. They allow me to escape into another person’s head; to experience the world from a new point of view. Books also allow me to experience worlds beyond my own. Books open up the possibility of magic or faster than light travel or other technology beyond what we imagine is possible today. I love being able to dive into a place I’d never be able to go otherwise, through my books.

Why do you read? When did you discover your love of books?

©K. Klein 2012

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