Perception Is Reality

I just have to say THANK YOU first and foremost. Monday’s start to the September Sapphire Even Day Blog Challenge was a success! The interest from bloggers, readers, and personal friends has been very positive. If you missed Monday’s prompt due to the Labor Day holiday or just because, you can still link up your Debut post here. I am so blessed to share my love of writing with so many people. I appreciate you all and I look forward to connecting with everyone as I promised that I would.

For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required…-Luke 12:48 (KJV)

 

On to today’s writing prompt…

I talk a lot about my long standing love for books and movies. Some great and some not so great. How many times have you heard the question, “What book changed your life?” or “What movie changed your life?” I am always at a loss when I hear those questions. I’ve read many books and seen many movies, but none that changed my life. However, there is one book that affected me like no other and several movies that affected me like no other.

 

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The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown was the hottest book on the shelves approximately 10 years ago. My close friend Margaret and I had just started a wine book club together in Detroit around that time. When we suggested Brown’s book, along with a few others to vote on as our next read, The Da Vinci Code won hands down.

The book was a new release and the buzz around it was huge. I was so excited to read it. The image you see above is an exact replica of the hardcover edition that I purchased. Thriller fiction/suspense/mystery novels are my favorite types of books to read. (The e-book that I’m writing is in that same genre.)

During this time, Hubby had to travel to Cleveland for work every weekend. I always went with him and hung out at the hotel or walked to the mall nearby. With the 3 hour ride from Detroit there and back, I was able to dive into this book. I thoroughly enjoyed the twists, turns, and puzzle solving that took Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveu all over Europe.

I can remember the exact moment when The Da Vinci Code rocked me to my core. Again, this book was brand new so “the big reveal” in it was not widely known or talked about then. I won’t spill the beans and spoil it for you, in case you have not read it. I remember sitting in a chair in the hotel room in Cleveland alone, and I read the passage with “the big reveal”. I immediately slammed the book shut and threw it on the bed. I was blown away. Words on paper, black ink on white pulp, had provoked a physical reaction from me. My mind went to a million different places. I began to question beliefs and ideas rooted in faith and family that I had possessed since I was a child. I literally was thinking, “Was I lied to?”, “Is that true?”, “Does everyone in the world know this but me?”

I was confused and I was frightened. I thought about “the big reveal” for days. I talked to Margaret to get her thoughts on it. I had not resumed reading the book, but I was sure she had already completed it. She had to remind me that the book was a work of fiction. She reeled me back in, so I could finish reading it. Someone had to tell me that it was just a book. I was so far gone in the story. That’s what Dan Brown did to me. That’s the power of writing.

 

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Movies take me to places that I can only travel to in my mind. That’s why my favorite movie experience is in the theater. Sitting in a dark room with a large screen projecting stories is bliss for me. Boyz N The Hood, directed by John Singleton, was a big hit even before it was released in the U.S. in 1991. I was 18 at the time. My aunt, who is 6 years older than me, was my constant companion when movies came out. This one was no exception.

I had an inkling of what the Boyz N The Hood plot was, but nothing prepared me for what I saw. I was a naive young girl, who had never been on an airplane, didn’t have my drivers license yet, and had only traveled by car to nearby states along the Gulf Coast. I had no clue about the violence of black on black crime in South Central Los Angeles. This was my first glimpse of what was happening there. Sure, I had seen Colors with Robert Duvall and Sean Penn a couple years earlier. But this was different. This wasn’t just about gang violence. This was also about young black males getting caught up in the tragedy surrounding their neighborhood. Innocent bystanders, college-bound youth, and fatherless adolescents with no guidance. I cringed at the vividness of it all as it played out on the screen before me. My heart beat fast the entire time and I was afraid of what crime would be depicted in each upcoming scene. I knew that it wasn’t just a movie. It was a representation of what was really going on in that part of California. And in many other urban areas. I cry every time I watch that epic scene of Ricky being carried home and placed on his mother’s plastic-covered couch.

SN: Lloyd Avery II (pictured, above), who portrayed the infamous shooter in that scene, was murdered in prison while serving time in connection with a double murder. Two other male co-stars have died tragically as well. All three men landed several acting roles after the success of Boyz N The Hood.

“Either they don’t know, don’t show, or don’t care about what’s going on in the hood.”
-Doughboy

 

Have you ever had a jarring physical reaction to a book or movie?
Have you read The Da Vinci Code?
Have you seen Boyz N The Hood?

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