Perception Is Reality 29 comments

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.



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.



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.”


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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29 thoughts on “Perception Is Reality

  • Toya

    Boyz n da Hood is one of my all time favorites movies!!!! I can watch it over and over and over. I believe the many messages are so powerful. Having a mini me limits the time I can watch it though! 🙂 Great post
    My recent post Wedding… Another list!!!! lol

  • Hope@ Defining Hope

    I've never read the Da Vinci Code, but I saw half of the movie and was bored. I heard the book was much better and I meant to read it, but never did. You just rekindled my interest. I have seen the movie several times, although not recently. I always cry at the part when Ricky gets shot. I'm feeling like I want to watch it on Netflix now. Great post.
    My recent post My Disney World Highlights

    • BeingAWordsmith

      I was so upset that The Da Vinci Code film was subpar. I couldn't wait for it to come out and could have cried in the theater after the first few scenes. They changed parts of it from the book too.

      There's a great clip on YouTube called The Untold Story Behind the Making of Boyz N The Hood. It's the stars of the film talking about how they were all so green then and had no idea the movie would be so iconic today.
      My recent post Are You Ready For Your Close-Up?

  • Mikaela

    I just finished reading Jennifer Armentrout's 4th Lux series book ~ “Origin” and the ending literally took my breath away. All I could think was, Oh man, stuff's about to get real! I couldn't think anything coherent for a while! Love those books that suck you into their world so completely you forget everything around you. 😉
    My recent post Beyond the Veil: Saved by Fantasy

  • misssrobin

    Great choices. My favorite book is The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. It's such a fabulous examination of human behavior and motivation, with some good versus evil and some snottiness thrown in. It works for me. I also adored The Book Thief. Death is the narrator and adds so much to the story. It's set during the time of the holocaust but is from a different angle than any other book I'd read. It's amazing. There are several others I could choose, but those two are my favorites.

    As for movies, it changes. I would probably choose Dead Poets Society because of the time of my life that I saw it. I was in high school. It was the first movie I saw that was so powerful, that was more than just entertainment. It really said something important. Plus, I really identified with the character whose dad pushes him to be whatever the dad wants and to be perfect. I had a similar relationship with my dad and it caused severe mental health issues for me, just like the character from the movie. I also had teachers that saved me from the darkness of my life, like those boys did. It's just such a great movie.

    This was fun. Thanks for the great idea.

    • BeingAWordsmith

      Check out the post linked up above from Kate at The Lactating Catholic (TLC). She talks about C.S. Lewis' affect on her as well. Dead Poets Society is an awesome movie. Thank you for sharing your experience, Miss Robin.
      My recent post Celebrities Who Need To Go Sit Down Somewhere

  • @TLC_kt

    I did read the Da Vinci Code along with another Catholic friend of mine. It's entertaining but (pout) it really (like really) misrepresents Opus Dei, of which I am a member. This very normal and wonderful order started giving tours after Da Vinci came out to show what they were really about: Catholics who know even the humblest task can be done lovingly and well, which has nothing to do with how it was represented in the book. Just my two cents since I'm lucky to know several members of Opus Dei. 😀 Now I want to see Boyz N the Hood….
    My recent post Mom allows kids to…

  • Kenya G. Johnson

    Wow girl. Now I want to read that book. It'll probably be months before I check back in with you to let you know I read it. I'm listening to one and just about to start reading another. I usually try to have two going at once. A book changing your life is really hard to answer but I read two around 1999ish that really made me think. They are deep – Christian fiction. It's a bumpy start but once you get on a roll they are worth it. This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness was the sequel by Frank Peretti.
    My recent post Man to Man…

  • mocadeaux

    I'm generally too chicken to watch serious or violent movies. But I did love reading The Da Vinci Code! A great book that really made you think! Off to write my post!
    My recent post How It All Started

  • Amy The Breezy Mama

    I am ashamed to admit I haven't read nor seen either one of these because they are classics! However, there are a few movies I saw when I was younger that also opened my eyes to the bad things in this world. I don't believe in completely censoring children and leaving them to grow up in a bubble. I am careful with what my kids see but I don't shield them from everything.

    • BeingAWordsmith

      Yes, kids will become privy to things whether we want them to or not. Some things you want to be able to explain to them before someone else does in the wrong way. My 6 year old is a sponge. I'm always amazed at the things he says and he uses them in just the right context.
      My recent post Celebrities Who Need To Go Sit Down Somewhere

  • BeingAWordsmith

    I appreciate you sharing that, Kenya. I am much more open to reading different types of books than I once was. I read Left To Tell by Immaculee Ilibagiza after someone in my book club chose it for everyone. I am ashamed to say that I had no knowledge of the genocide in Rwanda. Thank goodness someone prompted me to read that book. It opened my eyes to another world.

    I have got to get back to my audio books. I listened to them in the car constantly once upon a time. When I became a WAHM, I was no longer driving as much so that decreased. But that helps me juggle two books also.
    My recent post Batch Processing: Managing Your Time Wisely

    • BeingAWordsmith

      Ha Ha! I enjoyed reading Angels and Demons. Probably like most people, I read it after The Da Vinci Code. I wasn't crazy about the film depiction.
      My recent post Celebrities Who Need To Go Sit Down Somewhere

  • BeingAWordsmith

    Run, Ricky, Run! Ooh that movie. I discussed The Da Vinci Code with my daddy too. His father was the pastor of our church for many years. So I was at church, Sunday School, and VBS always. My daddy told me that he had heard about Jesus' lineage too, but he didn't put any stock in it. I found it quite interesting that he was light-hearted about it, because he thought differently.
    My recent post Are You Ready For Your Close-Up?

  • @beignetmamas

    Oh man, you picked two good ones! I can clearly remember going to the theatre to see Boyz N The Hood when it first came out. I think even now when I watch it, I'm yelling at the screen for Ricky to stop scratching that ticket, pay attention and RUN! __And DaVince Code! I was so happy when that book came out. For real, as an only child, I spent many days in the library and reading all types of stuff. At one point (somewhere around the 6th grade) I actually came across some literature that talked about Jesus being married and having a lineage. My reaction was “Whoever wrote this have lost their mind”, and when I began to tell people what I had read, I was told “You don't need to read stuff like that”. Although it went against everything I had ever been taught in church and Vacation Bible School, the curiosity never went away. When the book came out, it was fascinating to see the public reaction and outrage to it.

  • rxfitnesslady

    I'm sold on the DaVinci Code. Can you believe that I haven't read it. I will suggest it to the book club as the next book, not sure if they've read it. As for the movie, OMG, you already know…it's a classic for me. I LOVE this movie. I cry every time when the mom is yelling oh God after Ricky gets shot. That's interesting about the shooter getting killed in prison. I never think people who play criminals ever really know anything about the streets. Good picks!!! I have linked up boo!

    • BeingAWordsmith

      It is sad about Lloyd Avery II getting killed in prison. I read that he and his younger brother, Che (he was in the movie too) grew up with both parents, in an upper middle class neighborhood, and went to the famous Beverly Hills High School. But both were drawn to the streets. Let me know what you think of The Da Vinci Code when you read it.
      My recent post Are You Ready For Your Close-Up?