Star Trek Into Darkness is by all means a great film in a wonderfully vast and diverse universe marred by the outcry against the “Whitewashing,” of certain iconic characters (One iconic character).

Like many science fiction writers, Gene Roddenberry and his team created a character with all of the great advantages that evolution had to offer humans. The result was a man given the impressive sounding name of Khan Noonien Singh. And like a great many science fiction characters, the description fit a man of color. Ricardo Montalbán brought the character to life first in Space Seed and most popularly in The Wrath of Khan.

The casting of Benedict Cumberbatch into the fold of Khan isn’t an issue of the character’s ethnicity. Khan has no ethnicity. Nor is it an issue of his being classified as Sikh, thanks to his very telling last name.Sikhism is a religion in Northern India, practiced almost exclusively by the people in Punjab. I would know, I grew up in a Sikh family. Actively practiced the religion for many years. My grandfathers were both Singhs. Singh is a title given to you when you take vows to follow the faith. When you become a warrior for god. It preaches goodness and kindness, giving when you can, protecting those that need to be protected.

It is also one of the most inclusive religions. At least on paper. Anyone can become a Sikh, anyone can become a Singh. Or not. Sikhism is all about finding your way to the one true being. And because the aim is to return from where you came, it is held that all people have a different path. Be it Sikhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, ect. You make your own way to the same central place, with your own guide.So a man with Cumberbatch’s face can be called Khan Noonien Singh.

It is disappointing on a different grounds.

As a child, seeing a man of color on the screen with the name Khan Noonien Singh was a godsend. He was incredible, intelligent, different. In a time when everyone that looked like me played a bumbling terrorist, Khan was evil incarnate. And that was okay. Because he was a villain you identified with. He was(is) a badass. IN SPACE.

I’m not angry that the character is now portrayed by Cumberbatch. Hell, I’m even a member of the CumberCollective, he’s phenomenal. But he doesn’t look like me. I will root for the character, because I love villains (my heroes are just good villains), but I won’t want to be him. If I was a child watching this character, I wouldn’t be inspired. That is the issue.

So no, it isn’t wrong, but it’s disappointing and I will get over it.

This isn’t about ‘whitewashing.’ It is about how we present the world, how we see the future, and what we want to inspire in people.

Khan Noonien Singh influenced the type of person I am in some ways. Not quite so powerfully as Ursula LeGuin’s red skinned, Ged from EarthSea. He and characters like him, helped make me the type of writer I am. Not afraid to make a woman of color my main character.

Rumination 9

Young Adult or New Adult?
I don’t know? Maybe? What qualifies as Young Adult? What makes your character too old for it? And what is New Adult? How is it different from Young Adult, how is different from just regular Adult?

What is my book? All of the major characters are over 19. Does that disqualify it from Young Adult? But it’s not quite adult either. Though I might be going on stereotype there. Does the fact that it’s science fiction change anything?

See, I understand the concept of the query letter and I understand what I’m supposed to write in it, but I don’t know anything about the marketing or the audience. The audience is me, I think.

All I’ve ever been is a writer; it’s strange to think that isn’t enough. No one tells you how to be a writer. If a kid says they want to be a doctor, all of the adults they tell them everything that goes into being that. When a kid says they want to be an author, they get a “good luck.”

It’s something you can’t teach.

So why are so many of us consumed by it?

Rumination 8

I don’t know how other writers get ideas for their books/tv shows/movies/comics; I realized some time ago, that I don’t really care. Why? Because their methods are not mine, they only work for them.
No one can teach you how to write. Sure, you can learn the turns of phrase, proper syntax, those devices that made English boring. Devices many writers won’t admit that we weren’t aware we were using. A writer is separated by their ideas. Everything else becomes important after they get that idea.
My ideas come to me like aches. It tears through my psyche, leaving behind a ravaged mind that would give a great deal to live in that world. A world that hadn’t existed hours ago.
These ideas only come once or twice in a decade.
But the pain it brings is almost enough to sink me into a depression. Almost.
The fact that I can write all of it down saves me. If I couldn’t write, I don’t know how I would deal with the instant feeling of not belonging. Not belonging to the world, being in a nightmare: going to sleep and expecting to wake up in the world my mind invented.
But everyday I wake up in this place. Everyday in the same place.
When another writer can make me feel that way about their world, it only showcases their talent. And every time I read something by them, I go to sleep wanting to wake up in their imagined place. But I never do.
It’s why I write, to go to those worlds in the daylight.

Rumination 7

Have you ever noticed the thoughts that invade your mind, when you should be doing other things? Such interesting thoughts… that forsake you when they would be helpful.

Rumination 6

Nothing to report as of late. It’s been over four weeks. I can safely assume that all queries have been rejected.
See how the world goes on? Deep depression and anxiety to acceptance. The same cycle. How much one “yes” would have changed. Given me a true hope I haven’t felt in so long.
But “yes” is simply half the hurtle, they may demand more of you and still, rejection. No, you must convince them through the last page. Have them hang on every word.
So much research and revision to do.
I have things I should be doing; I can’t find heart in them now. But, now is the time to act.
I must write something in the nature of my heroes. Something that impresses at 18 and 88. The same detail must be given to every word, sentence, paragraph, page, and chapter.
It’s a difficult task, as those that merit doing are wont to be.

Rumination 5

The worst time to make a decision is during the evening.
During the day we can occupy our minds and avoid the inevitable yes or no. But in the evening there isn’t nearly enough time to tire ourselves out and fall asleep with a clear head.
In the morning we can busy ourselves with the rest of the day, and by the time we hit out beds we’re out cold.
In the evening, we ease ourselves into bed, worried about responses and the opinions of others. We toss and turn, not really letting our minds come to terms with the decisions that we’ve made. Our minds race through thousands of impossible scenarios a second, and our dreams are littered with self doubt.
As someone that is learning from experience, always make your more difficult decisions during the day, so you can sleep at night.

A Plea for the Shipbuilders

For thousands of years, we have looked to the heavens for guidance, revelation, and understanding. Within the past 100 years we grasped our legacies. Taken the wisdom of our ancestors and touched the heavens. Discovered answers to questions millennia in the making and begun to craft even more.
Now we stand on the shores of the cosmic ocean, the frames of our ships being constructed in the harbor, and we quit. We stop the shipbuilders and tell them that it is impossible to complete what they’ve begun; when they can see that their efforts are not in vain! They yearn to continue, beg you to reconsider, but you don’t have their vision. All you see are the bare bones of the ship, you can’t see how it will protect them from the ravages of the sea. You don’t have their knowledge, their passion; you crush their hopes, and your future.
Never in our history have we been so hostile to exploration. Never have we let our leaders dictate where our exploration ends. Now, with our backs turned, they slash away at our tomorrows.
Science is being attacked, the backbone of society is being removed. Will we ignore it?
The United States’ space program is being decimated with steady persistent budget cuts. Cuts to a budget that hasn’t demanded more than it’s fair share in it’s half century history.
At this rate, we will never return to the moon, or ever stand in the dried river beds of Mars; not if we systematically destroy the engines through which we touch the stars.
Children don’t want to be Astronauts just because they see a photograph in a book, but because they see a Human Being launch himself into the unknown.
I saw a man hold the Earth in his hand. So small we seemed. So insignificant our differences, and all I wanted to do was see more.
I want to see the Sun form the surface of one of Jupiter’s moons. I want to stand on the red surface of Mars. I want to travel beyond our galaxy in a spacecraft of ambassadors from Earth.
Let me dream that one day I might. Let me know that my chance to stand on the moon will not die because we are too afraid to do what is necessary.
Don’t halt a millennia of questions. Let the shipbuilder finish his work.


Sometimes you forget.
Not important things, just aesthetic properties of yourself.
I was born into a Indian family in Yonkers, New York, early one February morning. It’s never really weighed on me before, but suddenly I see how much it weighs on the people I meet. The first thing they see isn’t the image of me that I have in my mind, but an Indian woman, that probably doesn’t know English. In fact, until age 5, I didn’t.
My entire life, my English skills have been tested, my speech patterns, my writing habits. I progressed meteorically, but it wasn’t enough. By age 6 I was fluent in all Punjabi, Hindi, and English. I was in a special education class for only 6 months of my educational career. Only removed when the teacher said it was holding me back. After first grade, I never received any special treatment.
But imagine my surprise when I learned that the state of California’s educational board had required my teachers to send in a writing sample until my senior year of High School.
By then I was already on the path to becoming a full fledged writer, I had first drafts of 13 different novels under my belt and no idea I was lacking in any sort of way.
I wasn’t; but because of a six month stay in special education I was “looked after.”
Really? I had kids in my class that needed actual help and I was the one they concerned themselves with? And why English samples? Why not the catapult my Physics partner and I designed senior year? Or Math tests?
Was I special just because of who I was born to? So will my siblings and I live with the “stigma” for the rest of our lives?

Rumination 4

So, I got the Blogger app for my iPod Touch. This is me using it, so I don’t feel bad about not using it.

BRIGHT SIDE! New blog post. Yeah!!!

Rumination 3

Writers willingly confine themselves to an enclosed space for a dedicated amount of time every day, and then torture themselves by writing even if they have nothing to write. But they enjoy it.
The real fear comes when they have to present that work to you. The public. There they are judged on everything. From execution to their names. To push something that personal out into the world takes a special type of courage that only a few people have. I’m not sure I have that type of courage; so I rationalize it.
Even if people hate my book now, it will become a cult classic in twenty years, like every other hated book.

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