FAWM (February Album Writing Month) happens every year. I’ve been participating in it since 2011.
During 2012’s FAWM, I was charged up hearing about the insanity going on in the world – attacks on women’s rights and bodies, and attacks starting on the immigrant population (at the time, it was specifically hispanics). And I put all of that into the concept album The Raygun Girls. I’m very proud of that album. I love just about every song on there. To me, it feels like a complete album.
So, as FAWM starts to get closer, I start to think about what am I going to do this year. I like the songs on Ghost 15. I think they are all great songs, but they don’t feel like they fit cohesively into a thought, a pattern (I like patterns), into an album. They are all great singles, but I come from a generation where bands made albums.
I’m trying to figure out how to put together a bunch of songs that I feel would be an album. At the same time, I’m getting frustrated reading about people not wanting any type of gun violence data to be collected, about people wanting to carry their guns to the grocery store, and about how most of these people are white.
And, for the first time, I’m getting scared. I’m hispanic with very dark brown skin. I’ve never felt like I’ve ever been treated differently, or that I’ve ever had any racial comments thrown at me. But, now that there are random attacks on brown skinned people because they are thought to be Muslim…. and that people are being urged to carry their concealed weapons everywhere… I’m scared. Not just for my safety, but for my very dark brown skinned child as well.
And don’t tell me, well then you should carry a gun.
That’s not how it works. Because I live in reality with logic, not in movie land where John Wayne and Clint Eastwood are perfect marksmen under pressure, and no bullet ricochets and hits innocent people, where they’re always right about who their shooting at.
And, you might not be a racist person. You might be a very ethical, patient, non-judgmental person who would never shoot first and ask questions later… but what about the person you don’t know?
I’m 6’8″ with earrings and tattoos. I wear a leather jacket and sunglasses most of the time. And most people tell me that I always look angry. So, what is to stop you, who have a concealed weapon, or one that you’re carrying out in the open, from thinking that when I am putting my hand into my pocket to take out my cellphone, that I am not reaching for a gun… and what is to keep you, who are so afraid of an ISIS attack here on US soil (even though most attacks here have actually been from US citizens who are white), from being really pissed one day and thinking that I’m about to do wrong?
I, who have never even gotten a speeding ticket, and born and raised in NY; I, who graduated from Columbia University, on a partial scholarship, who take care of two daughters, and who works with children at a community center; I am in more danger of being shot by a white person, than by being injured in a car accident because people want to carry around their guns everywhere, and don’t want to make it more difficult for those with criminal records, or mentally challenged, or those with domestic disturbance rap sheets – people don’t want to make it more difficult for them to get guns.
This is what’s on my mind, and this is what will greatly influence my writing this year.