Ciahnan is the author of two novels, the award-winning A Lifetime of Men (Propertius Press, 2020), and the critically acclaimed Blood at the Root (Atmosphere Press, 2021). He holds Masters degrees from the University of Chicago and Stony Brook University, and a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University at Buffalo. Both his creative work and his scholarly research explore systemic inequality and the ways in which discourse on race and gender shape the horizons of individual and social life.
INCLUDED IN THIS EPISODE (But not limited to):
· A Look Into “Blood At The Root”
· Critical Race Theory
· How Homeless Veterans Are Represented
· Respect For Women
· The Implications Of Work/Life Balance
· The Black Wall Street/Tulsa Race Massacre
· Race Wars Between Blacks & Hispanics
· Ciahnan’s Philanthropy
· Advice For Aspiring Writers
CONNECT WITH CIAHNAN:
CONNECT WITH DE’VANNON:
· Pray Away Documentary (NETFLIX)
o TRAILER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tk_CqGVfxEs
· OverviewBible (Jeffrey Kranz)
· Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed (Documentary)
· Leaving Hillsong Podcast With Tanya Levin
· Upwork: https://www.upwork.com
· FreeUp: https://freeup.net
VETERAN’S SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS
· Disabled American Veterans (DAV): https://www.dav.org
· American Legion: https://www.legion.org
· What The World Needs Now (Dionne Warwick): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfHAs9cdTqg
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You’re listening to the sex drugs and Jesus podcast, where we discuss whatever the fuck we want to! And yes, we can put sex and drugs and Jesus all in the same bed and still be all right at the end of the day. My name is De’Vannon and I’ll be interviewing guests from every corner of this world as we dig into topics that are too risqué for the morning show, as we strive to help you understand what’s really going on in your life.
There is nothing off the table and we’ve got a lot to talk about. So let’s dive right into this episode.
De’Vannon: Blood at the root is a coming of age take on critical race theory among other poignant issues. And Ciahnan Darrell is the amazing individual who has brought this great word to us. Please join us as we discuss how Canaan’s contributions to literature are influenced by racism, respect for homeless veterans, respect for women, and so much more.
Canan is an author with a huge heart and at the center of his heart and [00:01:00] his work
is the spirit. Of this quote from James Baldwin, which says that not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced. Let’s face some tough shit together.
Hello, are you delicious? Delectable delights out there and welcome back to the Sex Drugs in Jesus podcast. My name is Devon, and I’m your host, and I have with me the very, very soulful and intuitive Darrel. He’s an author and a writer, and a a scholar on many fronts. How are you today, my friend?
Ciahnan: I’m doing well.
I’m excited to be here and you know, ready to really get into it, you know, the depth of things. Mm-hmm. .
De’Vannon: So we, we, we shall go meaningfully deep today. [00:02:00] Okay. Now you’ve got two books that we’re, we’re gonna talk about Blood at the Root. Your first one was called A Lifetime of Men. Can you give us just like a little synopsis of what that one was about?
A lifetime of men? Yeah. I’d love to thank you.
Ciahnan: It’s about three generations of women fighting against a society that wants to take their autonomy away from them, that wants to tell them how they can live, how they can dress, how they can talk. The first one is contemp with the Great Depression, and then it goes on to the present.
Just the inspiration real quick for this was the fact that I grew up, I was raised by women you know, my aunts, my grandmother, and my mother, they’re all very strong, all very intelligent. And so I knew no different. And then I went away to college and I heard the word feminists and I like, I didn’t really know it.
I’d heard it, but I didn’t know what it meant. So I. And someone said, well, it’s someone who believes all these d [00:03:00] derogatory things about women that I was scandalized. Like, they better not say that around my grandmother. She’ll cut ’em . You know, I was, you know, I, I was lucky. I was blessed to have these women in my life, and so I guess, You know, part of the, the subject matter of the book is a tribute to them.
De’Vannon: You know what? There’s nothing wrong with that. I was raised by like three women too. Cuz God knows the men in my life. I did not want to be like, you know, like pretty much every male in my family either hits women. or cheat son or like, or a combination of the two. And so I think the Lord really did me a mercy by letting me be the gay one , you know, who was more drawn to the females.
You know, I would rather this life than to be like they are on any fucking day of the week. So that gave you that view, you know, from the, from the female perspective. Now the book, blood at the Root. talks a lot [00:04:00] about like racial issues and things like that, so people watching and listening, you know you know, as you know, as you’ve stated in like, different research I’ve done might go, what does white boy know about that?
You know, . But I’m gonna tell y’all, I’m gonna tell y’all from, from my days in the Air Force to my days on the streets selling dope in Houston, Texas, there are a lot of white boys out there. Who are very, very soulful and really, really feel what’s going the struggles of like ethnic people. I’m not talking about like white guilt.
I’m talking about like they just identify with more of a diversity of racists than you might. Think the type of guys I used to hang out with didn’t hang out with really white people. They would rather hang out with, with the folk and things like that, and I appreciate. The sympathizers and the empathizes and the [00:05:00] diversity.
God has given us some, all the way back in the slave days, not every white person was pro-slavery. You know, we had the defectors that would come and help the black people and stuff like that. And so I believe it’s a way of God balancing things out. If someone’s more proponent of the universe, you could say it’s the universe bringing.
Or whatever the fuck. And so give us like, like a brief over like rundown of blood at the root and what it means to you.
Ciahnan: Okay. Well, I, I have studied critical race theory and my dissertation was on racialized and gendered violence in South Africa. So at least the, the, the bones of the theory are familiar to me.
When it comes to BLI at the. I think it’s important to say that it began not in a desire to say what race is cause that’s not my place. It began by looking at this society in which I live and seeing all these false narratives [00:06:00] and, excuse me, their narratives that crushed people, that denigrated them that them and James Baldwin was writing about this, you know, in, in the fifties and sixties and he basically said, you.
How dare you try and reduce me to my suffering. How dare you try and reduce me to. You know, to my the racism I’ve experienced. And so what I did is I looked at these narratives and I tried to pick out false narratives, and then I don’t think with a story you can disprove it because it’s a story, it doesn’t follow a logical argument.
But what you can do is you can tell other stories, stories that like, take, you know, take. The pin and prick the balloons of, of those those stories, stories to problematize them so that you’re not getting that collapse collapsing of all black people into one identity or you’re not getting that collapsing of all women into [00:07:00] subordinates, to victims to play things of men.
And so what I tried to do, part of the reason I have 33 different characters in here is cuz I didn’t want anybody to be able to point to one. And say this is what he believes. Because this isn’t about belief beyond the fact that I think that what is is sick. I think that the narratives that we as a society have internalized and project, you know, onto ourselves are sick.
So, you know, again, the idea is, is to just make it impossible to take these dominant narratives, these violent narratives, and take them as gospel.
De’Vannon: Hmm. Well that’s the gospel right there. Have I ever heard it y’all? Hallelujah. Tabernacle and praise. And so like, like the man said, yo, the book is broken down in the 33.
Is there, like, you might call ’em like little short stories and things like that and, and there’s like humor drizzled, I would say throughout [00:08:00] these these. Excerpts or little snippets called Giggle House, which I think are meant to like maybe lighten the mood as you’re going through it, but they can get a little dark too.
I, this is a very dark read . It’s dark and I’m here for the darkness. Especially as we get this close to Halloween. So delicious. But you know, the darkness though is true. You know, it’s not, You know, it’s like fictional, but it’s also, it’s a lot of truth to it too. And so you mentioned how Mr. Baldon was talking about not being reduced to his struggles.
So I’m gonna cut right over to my favorite story, the one that stood out to me, which in within the book is called Voices. Okay. Okay, so I’m gonna read a little excerpt if I may. Actually, I have several excerpts that I, that I might read. I’m channeling my inner Bugs Bunny right now. So this first, this first Ex from Voices, it says, He drank when he [00:09:00] could malt liquor or skunked beer or ethyl alcohol until he blacked out.
He smoked or ate or snorted or shot whatever drugs he came across with communal pins or razor blades or jagged edged light bulbs. Turned crack pipes bent on annihilation if possible, oblivion at a minimum. This story here was talking about a homeless person. Who, but I like abandoned his family. I wanna know how, how were you able to tap into this sort of reality?
Because the writing speaks like somebody who was homeless before. Have you been homeless before?
Ciahnan: No, but I, I I worked as a chaplain in a VA hospital. and over 50% of the country’s homeless population are veterans. So I would get a lot of people that would come in and it was the most heartbreaking thing [00:10:00] because there’s a limit.
I think it was 60 days, it might’ve only been 30. So you get these people who are hooked on drugs. You know, out of their mind, their body’s crashing. They come to the VA hospital, they get in the alcohol program. They get to have three meals a day in a warm place to sleep for, you know, the 30 to 60 days.
And then they go right back out and the cycle starts again. And I say this not, I’m not trying to judge them. I’m just trying to say, watching them. , they took so much pain upon themselves. And some, some soldiers were more transparent and others were less transparent about the reasons why they, they were living the way they did.
But, you know, what it all come, came down to is that, you know, they didn’t have in anyone in their life, To love them. And I know love sounds like such a hokey word, but you know, I, I, I think when you’re not talking necessarily about the hearts and flowers love, but you’re talking about that, okay, I’m [00:11:00] gonna look you in the eye.
I’m gonna listen and let you tell me who you are and what you need, and then I’m going to respond to you. And you know, either they don’t have family or they’ve sort of, Broken the family’s hearts. So many times the family has cut them off. Mm-hmm. , when it comes to the doctors and nurses, it’s not like they don’t care, but they’re trying to carry a massive caseload and they just don’t have the time to sit down and hold people’s hands as much as they’d like to.
So, you know, I listen to a lot of stories from such people men and women you know, some stories that, that I’ll never tell not because. I guess because I want to think that in some way, even though I’m not a Christian, I wanna believe that those moments were sacred. I wanna believe that when we sat down and I allowed them to say what they wanted to say and listen with them, listen to them, I think it actually made a difference.
So anyway, that’s, that’s how I had insight. [00:12:00] Into that. I also and this is me being bold and doing what I know is right as uncomfortable. It’s, I’m I’m very significantly bipolar. And so when you see the voices and the bifurcation, the tri, what that is, it’s pulling together the gross statistics about former servicemen, veterans.
being homeless, and then the percentage of the homeless that are mentally ill is massive too, because Ronald Reagan said in the eighties, you know what, we’re gonna eliminate all federal care for, for, you know, the mentally ill overnight. And he, he doubled the homeless population. So there’s a lot of drawn together, a lot of anger, a lot of betrayal and.
You know, I think there’s so many different ways to read a scene. I think I wrote it one way because I am bipolar, but for me, the guy left his family cuz he didn’t want to expose them to what was coming. And, and you know, [00:13:00] that’s significant I think, I hope because I think there are a lot of people who deal with that.
And I think there are a lot of people who don’t know from day to day whether their presence in somebody else’s life is positive or. And I mean, I can tell you, you know, sometimes I struggle with that, that question, but the idea for me of walking away from people that I love as my wife and son is just.
Devastating. So when I was writing that, I was trying to put myself in the head space of somebody who felt so hopeless, who had so little access to the care they need, the therapists they need, the drugs they need that they thought the the best thing they could do for, for their family is to walk away.
So yeah, I No, I’ve, I’ve lived a pretty sheltered life in some ways, but I’ve, through various decisions I’ve made and jobs I’ve taken, whatever, have run into some [00:14:00] well, a, a wide variety of people with very different experiences, and it, it’s something that I’m grateful for and, but it’s also something that’s tremendously humbling because I can’t understand.
What they went through. I can only listen. And really and blood it the root. That’s what I’m, I was trying to do, is just listen, listen to the things our society says and talk, you know, interact with them. Let me, let me give you one more example and I’ll shut up and let, let you. How the floor again, sorry.
So the way this book works is by inversion distortion manipulation, but there’s also celebration in there. And so it’s not meant to be unrelentingly. You know, dark and horrible, but there’s a lot of dark and horrible in there. But anyway, one of the perversions that’s in there is the, the Latin name of the billionaires company stands for stands for it translated as someone [00:15:00] who has been elected to have to accumulate limitless wealth or limitless, limitless profit.
And I think that sort of, Sort of, you know, just encapsulates a lot, a lot of what makes our country so sick is it we teach people to pursue things that aren’t gonna make them happy, that aren’t gonna fulfill them. We have people who save. Family is the most important thing, working 60 hours a week. And we have this idea of, of limitless profit, limitless income, but it literally can’t work out.
And I won’t go into the technical details of derivatives and whatnot, but let’s just say that in the eighties there were about I wanna say eight eight billion worth of derivatives out there. There’s over 700 now. So a derivative is essentially a made up A made up financial product and, and it just goes to show that our house is a house of [00:16:00] cards.
We’re, and we’re telling our people, we’re gearing our people to this unlimited consumerism. So we’re, we’re, as a society telling them to do things, basing around based their lives around something that can’t happen. You know, something, something that, that is an illusion. . And so that’s one of the things in, in making that the name of the, the corporation, I wanted to kind of point to.
The fact is like thi this is, this is perverse, you know, we are all of us for the most part, directing our energies towards things that A, we don’t need, and B, they’re not going to solve the problems that society has anyway. You have to pick up .
De’Vannon: No, you know what? I like my show to be cathartic, you know, for, for my guests.
And I could tell this is this, this is some shit you need to say. So I’m, I’m just gonna let you go ahead and get it off your chest. And so [00:17:00] couple of things here. So, You know, you know, plenty of people in the military, you know, we go in there and we just don’t come out the same, you know, whether you went over to a war or not.
And so I appreciate that that aspect of it. Now, you, you, you mentioned like if you were being nice and talking to these people and you said, even though I’m not a Christian, why did, so do you equate like some sort of. A valor or some sort of characteristic of niceness to Christianity, and yet you disassociate yourself with that.
Why did you specify that you’re not a Christian, but you feel like you were still doing a good
Ciahnan: thing? I guess the reason I specify that is cuz I grew up evangelical. Oh, okay. went to seminary and I got ordained. I did that whole thing. Oh. And so, like it or not, those are the words and images [00:18:00] that are in my head.
Like when I search for, you know, when I, when I search for something that has the power of what I’m trying to say, it often falls back on that kinda language. Now I left. Basically cuz I didn’t feel like I could in good conscience continue in the church. As far as you know, any anger or residual hurt I, I really I really try to.
To let go of anger and who, who doesn’t. Right? But I’m very much, I, I wouldn’t say I’m a Buddhist, but that’s the practice that I follow. The precepts, you know, the meditation, the, you know, what have you. And one of the things that Buddha teaches is that, you know, the future is in your imagination, the past of your memory.
The only thing [00:19:00] that’s real. Is right here, right now. Now, I’m not saying take that in a hippie dippy, you know, live in the moment type thing. But what I am saying is that I don’t wanna reach for something that is gonna be like poisoned to me. I don’t wanna reach for something that is going to make me angrier than I already am.
So I guess the, the reason I was trying to say I’m not a Christian, but I had that experience was just, To take advantage of that, that imagery, but also to say that when I’m talking about this interaction, when I’m talking about its power, it’s not what you hear about in church for the most point. I don’t mean angels or Jesus or, or God or anything.
What I mean, and, and I guess the closest thing I would, the definition I would, I would give of God at this point in my life is to say that God is what happens when two people are present for each other. So in listening to the person, it wasn’t just being nice. It was like, you know, especially street people, how many people stop and have a conversation with [00:20:00] ’em?
You know, you hear all , all the debate about, well, what should a homeless person be able to spend their, you know, food stamps on or whatever. They’re not treated like human beings. And I know most homeless don’t have food stamps, but you know what I mean. And so for me to just say, you know what, I’m gonna give myself to.
For, you know, for this time. I think it, it is a tremendous gift. And, and you know, it’s not just homeless people, I don’t think, I think everybody wants to, to be heard. Mm-hmm. . You know, I think anytime somebody pays attention to another person, that person is gonna feel valued to a greater or lesser extent.
That person is gonna feel like they’ve been invested in you know, You could be doing any, any number of other things but you’re here talking to me or more appropriately listening to me
De’Vannon: so you know of. [00:21:00] So, you know, something that that stands out to me about you is that you took the time to write this, and this book is really all about, you know, disadvantaged people, marginalized people, people who haven’t been heard, people who are reduced to their negative circumstances and things like that.
And, you know, you could have walked by, you know, or nothing like, you know, you didn’t have to even, you know, stop and do this. So I’d like you to give yourself a hell of a lot more credit , you know, than what you. Do, because writing a book is AAN undertaking. You know, people might say, oh, I’m gonna write that book, girl, or whatever.
Most people won’t like actually sitting down and do it. You’ve done it twice now, and both times you did it for the sake of giving voice to people other than yourself. And so, I don’t refer to myself as a Christian either because the word has become corrupt and I don’t need a word to define my faith anyway.
Jesus himself [00:22:00] technically wasn’t a Christian. That’s something that people came up with after the fact, and so I’m actually, I’m actually about to release a free book that’s just gonna be on my website called don’t Call Me a Christian, and it’s gonna get into like my my views on the fuckery that has become of the church.
And you’re right, the, the sort of love you’re showing is not found in churches, not, not typically. And so, I appreciate the vegan food that they have down at the Buddhist temples. You know, I’ve been to the lawns here. It’s always great to go hang out with other ball bitches, such as my . I, I, I don’t feel alone when I’m there.
And so so y’all, he mentioned, Ken mentioned Mr. Fairchild, like the billionaire from the book. So when the book opens Fairchild’s kid. Has decided that he’s going to make a video like sacrificing himself in a [00:23:00] way. He’s g he’s like getting his ass kicked and beaten. He’s like walking on broken glass and he hadn’t eaten in 22 days and all of this, you know, is going on and he’s videoing this and broadcasting this as if to a tone for all the like race racist sins of his forefathers and stuff like that.
And so you see this echoed throughout the stories through. The book there is the appearance of like, you know, like Hispanic people and, you know, middle Eastern people. I think you really covered like the gamut on a lot of different eth ethnicities here, sir. I mean, I am impressed. Thank you, .
Ciahnan: I’ll, I’ll tell you the first scene that you mention, I’ve been, I’ve been accused of being a racist against whites.
Because, because I wrote it. Fuck it. Yeah. To me, to me, with a book that. It doesn’t have a traditional structure. There’s very obviously something going [00:24:00] on here that isn’t normal, so if you wanna just blow through it, that’s fine. I, you know, there’s many ways to read, but don’t blow through it and then go and write a review and say these insane things.
That first scene with Christopher Fairchild being led. That’s an inversion of the historical reality, one of the biggest slave markets in the country. Ut used to be in New York City on the corner of Wall and Pearl. So what, what do we assume with, with wall Street? It, it’s like this symbol of American wealth, right?
So you have this scene that people are objecting to and calling me anti-white . And it’s like the history isn’t hard to find. You can read it for. My point is not to be anti-white or pro-black or anything like that. My point is to say we are telling ourselves this story. We’re not telling ourselves these stories as the case may be.
And guess what? They’re real. We need to face them. We are destroying [00:25:00] ourselves by making these lies, this center, center of our social life in the country. You know, that opening scene is super. And just so all your listeners know, I’m not a psycho. I did not get off writing that there’s tons of violence in there, but guess what?
Sit down and talk with some people who’ve lived in certain places or escape certain places or whatnot. It’s a violent fucking life. Sorry, I didn’t mean to say that, but, and, and people like. It just is insane to me. They so hate being uncomfortable, even for 10 seconds, that they’re gonna completely reject this scene and not sit with it.
And you know, I know I sound like a pissed off writer, and I guess I’m letting myself express that a little more than I
De’Vannon: should today. Let it out. Let it out. .
Ciahnan: I mean, the reality is, is we need to, we need not just to talk to each other, but we need to listen to each other. We need to listen to what’s happened.[00:26:00]
You know, it’s probably cliche at this point but James Baldwin, he said, not everything we face can be changed, but nothing can be changed until we face it. And I think that at the heart of all this, the, the heart of this project is, This sort of almost petition on my part. It’s like, what if we gave honesty a chance?
What if we sat down and acknowledged what had happened? You know, what would that do to our society? Now I’ve been really frustrated by people going on and on about Black, black Lives Matter recently, cuz they completely misrepresented in so many ways. They’re also acting like the American public has attention span that’s going to last more than 18 months.
You know, in this stuff it just goes further and further from, from memory. And so these people are convincing themselves that this is a great threat. Their, well, their way of life in their [00:27:00] rights are, they’re not even trying to walk reality. And, you know, I just, it, it, I don’t know. I keep tripping over my own words, but I, I guess what I want people to see is that, you know, there’s a liberation in truth.
You know, it’ll be uncomfortable for a while, maybe for a very long time. But wholeness is the point, right? We wanna be healthy, we wanna be there for each other. We don’t wanna be at war with each other. We want to understand each other to a certain extent when we talk. And and that’s only gonna happen if you’re willing to do the work required to uncover the actual.
Of this country. I mean, I don’t know how many people are aware that the, the, we bombed bla Black Wall Street into non nonexistent. We say that, well, you know, black people have never had wealth. Actually no. We just bomb the shit out of ’em every time they get it, you know? And I lived in Chicago for a while and one of the things they [00:28:00] had theirs, you know, they have these sort of neighborhood stores.
The idea being that if you’re black, you give your mind to another black person, not to some. Billionaire who owns a corporation. Well, guess what? Those stories were put out of business, and it wasn’t because of anything that those, the proprietors were doing. It was because the powers that be recognized, the threat that equality posed to their bullshit narratives and to the power predicated.
It, it, I, I don’t know why. Maybe it shouldn’t, but it does bother me sometimes that that. Enjoyed such privilege and so maybe there is a, a mona of guilt or anything here, but I really think that where most of where I’m coming from is just disbelief that amidst all this darkness, there can be celebration, there can be triumph.
It won’t ever be final, cuz we’ll always be imperfect, sinful to use the Christian phrase, but, [00:29:00]We don’t even know because we’re not even willing to try to, with, with the levels of joy and wholeness and health that, that are available to us that we could have in our lives.
De’Vannon: So y’all, what, what what, what Ken is talking about when he says like the Black Wall Street you might wanna look it up. This is the the Tulsa race massacres back in in 1921. And I’m just gonna put that out there and y’all can go and research it. Man, I feel like you talk like, like a.
Like a minister, like a, like a preacher. Not the fake ones, not the rapey ones. Like , like, like, like the act, right. Hallelu. Like the actual real ones that I, you know, and I remember listening to whenever I did go to church, they had a certain [00:30:00] anointing and like the spirit of God, like was truly, truly, truly with them and they were.
You know, and like different, and therefore I can see that you’re cold, like, like by God, I can see that you’re cold. And I believe that that is what has given you your perspective. Because when the Lord puts his puts, puts that stamp on our forehead like that, it changes us. It changes the way we look at the world.
It changes the way the world perceives us. You’re somebody who has been set apart. By Christ. And so what I appreciate about the openness of Jesus Christ is that you don’t have to go to church, find him like you don’t have to. These things, all these religions and stuff that people have created, the 50 million versions of the Bible, well, well, 50 million versions of Christianity and all of that unnecessary.
All you need to do is be sincere. in your relationship with him and you, you carry that sincerity heavily. And thank you. And I, and I respect that you’re a, [00:31:00] a practicing Buddhist now, but I, I still, I, I, I feel, I feel that, I feel that spirit on you, bruh. And so cuz your first book in this one here, they both sound.
It is like, it’s like, it’s like written ministry because y’all preaching and carrying the gospel. It’s not just standing in a fucking pool pit wearing a suit that is so last season, you know, now you reach people. It’s, it’s just reaching people in whatever way you can be that YouTube books. Podcast setting down at a coffee table, talking to somebody, preaching the gospel or carrying the message of Jesus Christ is not relegated to televangelist in four goddamn walls.
God is not limited to that. Now, you had you had. Dropped an F Bond, you said Fuck seem to be quite comfortable with that. But I just wanna remind you, , this is, this is the sex drugs in Jesus podcast where we discuss whatever the fuck we want to, and [00:32:00] so you and I, and I know where you’re coming from, you still have those like re maybe like religious restraints and stuff and you, but I’m just gonna let you know again that you were free on this show,
Thank you. So now. I have in my head who I think your book is for. And when you were writing this and when you finished it, and I want this is going beyond that, that boring old question, you know, who is your ideal reader? Mm-hmm. , this, this, this dark, this dark stuff right here. Doesn’t really, this is different.
And I also wanted to tell you about those, the negative reviews, because I get those. We have to remember that people like Amazon and different book retailers don’t make their, the people who read and review things go through mental health tests or anything . So literally anybody can go on there and say anything and remember the devil.
The devil will try to attack you whenever you’re going to [00:33:00] do good. And this is a very good thing that you’re trying to do. People have called me entitled after reading my memoir. You know, they, they, they, they, they took away from it that I was entitled . So, and I just had to like, okay, we’re just gonna like, let that one go.
And so, What kind of change would you like to see this book make in the world? Who did you personally write this for? Why? Who do you want to read this? Is it white people? Is it what? Like who is it? I don’t know.
Ciahnan: I think I think it just one. People who read it, who will think about it. I don’t think it, it’s sort of a call to arms and the way that some, some other things are like marching orders.
But I, I do hope that people will look, look at this and look at some of the stories and be like, you know, start, like, getting in their head and, and, and asking theirself why, why does it seem different or why does it seem weird? I, I would like them to see [00:34:00] and most people haven’t commented it. I dunno if they see it or not, but I would like them to.
The spots where joy crops up the spots where healing crops up. One of my favorite chapters in there, I is you know, Mary the Mary section, and it’s these two church going people father kicks. The the son out of the house because he is gay, even though he doesn’t want to, even though he’s like crying as he’s doing it and like tries to distract his wife so he can slip a ton of money into his son’s pocket.
And, you know, that’s, that’s so much pain and, and. And whatnot. And then you, they go ahead and, and after limited reconciliation, they lose him to aids. And so all this unrelenting pain and like the worst kind of pain, the deepest pain, and at the. That chapter, this woman and her husband before they passed, he [00:35:00] passed away, were able to reconcile.
They were able to be together to name their mistakes and find love in the love that carried them. And the, the chapter ends with Mary writing a letter to Fairchild his, to his father, saying, you know, whatever he did, however bad it was. Love is the. Trust me. We mess this up and don’t do it. You know, all you need is love.
And so on the one hand, like I intentionally chose that hokey all you need is love. But I did that because here’s a woman who’s been through Helen back, who’s lost every person that mattered to her. and she’s okay. She found a way to interact with her husband and her son, even though they’re both gone.
She’s found a way to look at the garden that he made for her and, and to Dr. Derive joy from that. And so here’s this woman. Who suffered so much and she’s discovering these [00:36:00] blessings and then she reaches out to another person. And that’s the big thing there. That’s what I want to, that’s the theory that I wanna test that love cannot but extend itself.
So I’ve heard some, somewhere along the way, I think it was Richard of Saint Victory, he was a theologian and he said that the reason there is the Holy Spirit is because when there’s love, it can’t. Go outward and create something new. So, you know, is that chapter key to understanding the whole book?
No, but it’s definitely raising a possibility that maybe we have something right available to us that we don’t take advantage of, that we don’t know. You know, and, and one of the things, and, and this was important to me, is that these people, I wanted them to have, I wanted them to be sinful, especially the father, so that, that love, it wasn’t just coming to Miss Perfect.
It wasn’t to j just coming to somebody who’d earned it. It was love [00:37:00] and coming and it changed things. You know, so I think, I think what I would like people to do is maybe just read the chapters and ask themselves if there’s anything in. That resonates with them deeply or anything in there that, that jars with some of the stories that they’ve been told.
De’Vannon: So yeah. Well, something that jars, thank you for that breakdown with my friend. And I’m gonna read me another X. So, because this here jarred with me and And this here is a good example of kind of like how the comedy can be mixed with this seriousness here. And so I’m gonna read now. So it says, y’all hear about the new drug they coming out with?
Yeah. It’s a dick pill. They’re calling it black guaranteed to double your dong and a New York minute. There’s a lot of New York references y’all, because this store is based in New York City. So now before you, why [00:38:00] people? And he’s spelling it. W Y P I P o, which I think is hilarious. I don’t know if there’s a reason, but I really, really love it.
So now, before you, why people hiding in the corner get too excited? You should know that it has some pretty serious side effects. Cab drivers, employers, and loan providers won’t be able to see you no more cops in your vicinity are gonna hallucinate automatic weapons and hot damn. If you won’t be drawing the Tyler Perry.
Drinking water at room temperature and baby bougie teas, like a moth to a motherfucking flame.
And then I’m gonna add to that. Piggybacking off of the hallucinating automatic weapons and take it a bit more serious. There’s another excerpt that says we interrupt this broadcast for a breaking news special report. We have unconfirmed reports coming in at a standoff between a man and the St. George Police has ended without casualties.
[00:39:00] While we have yet to ascertain the alleged gunman gunman’s identity, eyewitnesses describe him as a thin, clean shaven Caucasian male, approximately six feet tall of the military haircut. We can also now confirm that police have recovered. HK four 17, a two 20 inch sniper rifle from the crime scene leading the speculation that they may have apprehended the courthouse gunmen while ballistics have yet to be run.
Authorities believe the rounds that killed Stacey Harrison and Terrace Green will match the rifle. Talk to me about both of those excerpts in just how relevant this is. Right.
Ciahnan: Well see, the first one I was a little conflicted about early because it’s, it’s a play on a racist joke. Obviously, you know, dick pill, black side effects can’t spell or swim.
I, so, I, I didn’t mean, I hope that doesn’t offend you, but that’s the, that’s the joke. . And so I was trying to [00:40:00] flip that. Mm-hmm. so that, you know, we’re no longer gonna be shitting all over black people with Punch China. This joke, we’re gonna be pointing, pointing a lens in society. You know, it is also very hard for a white person to know what.
To what extent it’s helpful to talk about these shootings. You know, the there’s there’s been so many. Yeah. And you know, people at Ferguson were railing like it never happened before. It’s like, you guys, do you have any memory? We had race Rios in the late eighties. You know, America gets really interest interested in.
Every 30 or 40 years. And it’s usually just to remind African American people that, you know, if they step outta line, boom. I decided to use it just because it had become so ubiquitous. I’m not saying that any of the [00:41:00] lives that were taken deserved it or anything, but there was one in particular that just devastated me.
Tamir Rice, a 12 year old kid. I. Oh my God. Like I, I, I don’t, I can’t explain that. I mean, I, I’ve heard all kinds of, you know psychiatric explanations about people seeing what they’re taught to see. And so therefore the, you know, the training, the police gett, which is like for Armageddon they see a threat no matter whether or not one exists.
So maybe that’s the case, but my son’s nine and. A nine year old, a 12 year old’s gonna be a little bit older, but he’s four six or four 10. You can’t mistake a child, a pre ascent child for an adult, you just can’t. And, and, and that to me says again that there’s some narrative buried deep in our psyche as a certain that allows [00:42:00] this, that authorizes this.
You know, and, and, and. Obama when he said that that his son would’ve looked like Trayvon. Like that, that, I mean, it was so right. So perfect. He got slammed for it as we knew he would. But it, it needs to get that kind of real for more people. You know, but before things are gonna happen
De’Vannon: I could see this book here.
Used for like open mic nights, you know, in different poetry rooms. I could see this being used on like group Zoom discussions and stuff like that. It’s very provocative and the way that it’s broken down is good talking points to bring up a lot of things, you know? I could see this in colleges and universities, you know, and, and things like that.
And, . It just, it’s, [00:43:00] it’s, it’s a, it’s, and it’s, there’s things like almost 300 pages too, so it’s not like, it’s like It’s, it’s, it’s, it’s like a good whole lot of content. This is very, very high value to me. I cannot wait to leave you quite a delicious review. Thank you. I’m gonna read my final excerpt because it gives me an excuse to speak a little bit of Espanol.
Okay. Nice. And also highlights these, you know, the, the race wars that I have witnessed personally between like, And Hispanic people, which I thought was the damn thing when I was in Southern California and a recruiter for the, for the Air Force and some of my high schools, the blacks and the Hispanics were fighting while the white people were standing there looking at them.
And I was like, y’all have got this completely fucked up. And so to again, he says who else we got here tonight? I see a bunch of brothers and sisters. [00:44:00] Ss I know my people. Have had beef with your people. Perro, the enemy of my enemy
rights. Laquanda is an 87 year old swartz swallowing lesbian from Detroit. Jose is a 17 year old digital overlord from Moka. She loves to doco. His mama once drilled him with his shoe at 30 yards. What brought them together? White people,
Ciahnan: I I had a review that one they got left and like his big nasty, you know, the, like, the worst thing he said is, you know what? And that comedy is not funny. Funny to.
I am glad it, it resonated with
De’Vannon: you, . Yeah. If, if only we could just let the good people come in there and review us there. [00:45:00] I went on someone else’s show and we were talking about like Jesus and Dick and fucking, and whatever, and somebody messaged her and she, and they were like fearing, you know, for her soul.
You know, it was gonna go, it was like quite dramatic, you know? But there’s all kinds of minds in this world. But what, what do you have to say to this whole war between like black people and Hispanic people? Which is I felt like was at the heart of this. Yeah, no, I
Ciahnan: It kicked off while I was in Chicago, or at least escalated.
And I think what you have is, is something that you can find. In just about every totalitarian society. And what I mean by that is, say I, I’m sitting pretty, I’m a white person. Life is good for me. I got these black people. I gotta keep them under control. They outnumber me by tons. So what am I gonna do?
Well, I’m gonna, I’m gonna create a third group or help a third. Achieve some kind of [00:46:00]success, some kind of wealth, some kind of, you know, toehold, and then they’re gonna turn on each other. And it’s not an accident. It, it’s, it’s manufactured. It’s facilitated. And I mean, it’s, it’s most obvious, I guess, in South Africa where they, they basically took a small group of the the, the black folk there and some Indians.
And allowed them to achieve middle class. And suddenly those black folk and Indians are voting for the Apartheid government and helping them keep the Black South Africans down. And, and I really think that what’s, what happens here is sort of to a variety of that.
De’Vannon: Yeah, the only thing I have to say to that is, oh hell now.
That’s all I could say. That’s all I could say. So I read where you [00:47:00] donate 10% of the profits from your books to charity, and so I was wondering which charities and why, and then is this 10% like a tithing thing or what did you come up with that number from?
Ciahnan: So I came up with a number just cuz it was a nice round number.
An independent author like me is like, I don’t make any money. I haven’t sold that many books honestly. But that said what little money I do get, if I could take that and put it on something that’s support. You know, a project that I’m trying to, to help or support in my book, then that’s you know, that’s a really good feeling.
A way of, I think speaking putting my money where my mouth is, if you will. Girls Inc. Is the one that the charity that a lifetime of men donates to. And basically what that is, is a program that through mentorship science, technology, engineering, medi. [00:48:00] Just went right outta me. Sorry. Medicine.
Create creates women who will be more likely to success and succeed in the future. It’s, it’s a program targeted at young girls, teenage girls. So mathematics, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The other one blood at the root supports rock your world. Which is a organization that I just absolutely love because what they’re doing is they’re trying to teach the next gen generation of artists how to use their art as activism, how to use their art to affect the world.
And so I actually had a interview with them. I spoke to their class and accidentally dropped an F bomb, and I haven’t heard that from them yet, . But I still love what they’re doing and great people great people.
De’Vannon: I think you’re a great person. Keon. . [00:49:00] He has oh, you’re welcome. He has an you said your name’s from Ireland.
Ciahnan: yeah. GA ish, but yeah,
De’Vannon: Ireland gay. I think it’s a sexy ass name. . So and so, how long were you in the military?
Ciahnan: I was in Roxy from 2001 to 2004, and then I was in the Army national Guard from 2006 to 2011. I never got sent anywhere. I mostly worked as an acting chaplain because the The battalion that I was part of didn’t have a chaplain assigned to it.
It was for the most part pretty wonderful for me cuz I got to help a lot of people. I didn’t have a whole lot of oversight. So I didn’t feel the hierarchy. Too intensely. No. There, there’s some pretty hard parts though too. [00:50:00] Human beings aren’t meant to kill each other. They just aren’t. And when, once they have, you know, they come back, like you said, differently.
You know, you see some guys who a thousand yards stare. You know, after that just seemed sort of vacant or, you know, one guy I knew stabbed his wife obviously that wasn’t who he bet at, at all up to that point. Doesn’t forgive what he did, but, you know, I think, I think when you go and you have certain experiences, it changes you.
But I did have, this is kind of funny. I did have a guy sign up for a wedding retreat, or excuse me, couples retreat that I was that I was organizing, and he put down one wife’s name. In another wife’s number turned out he was married to two women at the same time. And [00:51:00] dealing with that, that was fun.
I finally said uh, this is above my grade. , just move it up
De’Vannon: the ladder. And I’m assuming these, this was not a polyamorous situation. No. No, that’s important. They could have, they could have had all the fun three ways every night. Come on. Hell yeah. . So . Well, thank you. Thank, thank you so much for your service.
I appreciate that. Thank you. You too. Immensely. Oh, absolutely. I can’t say I do it again, but you know, I did what I did and so it’s done now, so. Okay. So then my so then just as we get ready to close, and I thank you so much for your time for somebody else who might want to use writing in this way.
Or any kind of closing words you have at all, whether it’s that or whatever, just for the world in general. Cause this is a very specific type of [00:52:00] polarizing writing that I’ve never seen before. And so if somebody’s inspired to do this, what would you say to them? All
Ciahnan: right. Two things. The first is sort of procedural, I guess.
Whenever you have violence and you use the word provocative whenever you have a a book that that is violent or provocative, you always have to weigh and it it’s this really difficult, difficult calculus because. You risk on the one hand seeming like you’re just going in for a pornography of violence, trying to be shocking.
And then you lose your ability to communicate. On the other hand, if you get it right, who knows exactly what that means, but then that violence will re lead them to further questions. And one of the things that I have found I is Is that it’s, it’s can be very [00:53:00] difficult to, to get people to read books that ask questions that, that that demand answers, that require that you not just take your first impression and have that be it.
And the final thing I, I wanna say, and this is I think more important if you wanna. And you want to write specifically to have some kind of impact on the world, the first thing you need to do is read tremendously, read widely. There’s so much, much out there, so many different circumstances and perspectives.
And what that’ll do is it will not just give you information, but it’ll give you a sense of the conversations that are already going on. So you’re not trying to reinvent the wheel. And what that writing or that reading will give you time to do too is get yourself to the point. And this is, this is the most important thing I can say to any aspiring writer.[00:54:00]
Get yourself to the point where you can be your own source of affirmation. If you are writing. To get compliments from other people. If you are writing to get a book deal, if you are writing to make money, the odds are you’re gonna fail and that failure compounds and then you internalize it. I have to fight that against money against that myself sometimes more successfully than others, and I’ve seen it in so many others.
Do not. For, you know, for, for other people according to other people’s standards. Read tremendously. Write for yourself. Figure out who you are and what you’re doing, and once you’re armed with that background knowledge, the knowledge of your identity and what specifically it is that you want to do. Then you can step out into the world, then you can step out into trying to get published and whatnot, and you could step out with the confidence that comes from knowing who you are, from knowing you know your stuff [00:55:00] and from knowing exactly what it is you wanna accomplish.
I think a lot of writers rush things, cuz everybody wants to be published and I wanna be published. And, and what ends up happening is a tremendous amount of rejection and some of it you can learn from. Some of it is really useful. I’ve had some, some rejection and even a negative re review of, of blood that I felt was tremendously helpful.
But you’ll be ready to deal with that, to process that. You’ll be ready to take it and learn from it if you do the work ahead of
De’Vannon: time. You preaching now. Thank you so much Canon for coming on the show today. Y’all’s website is kenan darryl.com. I’m gonna put this in the showy notes as I always do.
He’s on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn. Again, his first book is called A Lifetime of Men, and the second one, it’s called Blood at the Root. Both of those are at his website, ken dorell.com. [00:56:00] Thank you so much my friend. It was, Pleasure speaking with you today. You
Ciahnan: as well really, really appreciate the opportunity and it was just a fun conversation. .
De’Vannon: Thank you all so much for taking time to listen to the Sex Drugs and Jesus podcast. It really means everything to me. Look, if you love the show, you can find more information and resources at sexdrugsandjesus.com or wherever you listen to your podcast. Feel free to reach out to me directly at DeVannon@SexDrugsAndJesus.com and on Twitter and Facebook as well.
My name is De’Vannon, and it’s been wonderful being your host today. And just remember that everything is gonna be all right.