I don’t know what spark fizzled out of the darkness of consciousness to inspire me to write this. Looking at the first pages of this book and comparing them to the most recent ones, I seemed depressed back then. Stuck in neutral with nowhere to go in the box that was created for me. This white-walled box-shaped apartment at times seemed like a prison itself. Yet I found freedom in empty notebooks, music, and occasional episodes of Star Trek.
I was tired of living a lie. Tired of making up future career plans when people asked where I was going. Tired of living the way people thought I should live. Tired of not being in control. Tired sharing inspirational advice and not fully living it myself. Tired of being misunderstood.
And then there was the ominous fear of death: the Great Equalizer among us all. What if I died tomorrow? Would I want to be known as that black guy who taught English for a year in Ryugasaki? A Temple grad with a bright future whose plans were cut too short? Ambiguous, lifeless descriptions of a dead man. If anything happened, people needed to know the real me.
These ideas were swirling about in my head around this time and culminated in a briefly voiced, “Fuck it.” At which point the thoughts became alive in my neurons, converted into electrical sparks that traveled down my shoulder, into my arm, through my left hand muscles. Potential energy became kinetic and the pen flowed along, leaving behind trails of ink in its wake. I had just begun a Journey that I could not turn away from.
I wanted to take a trip back to Memory. Invoking Mnemosyne all along the way so that she might help me recall events as clearly as possible. “Who the hell am I?” was the question that guided my writing. I wanted to figure out those major events, people, and places that played a role in shaping me. Who I was then is not who I am today. I needed to understand how that transformation occurred over time.
With each chapter I opened a door into a past version of me. Each writing exercise I found out more about Eric Christopher Malcolm Burton. I found out that he’s passionate about a lot of different things, as many of us are. I learned that his passions often pulled him in different directions, and at the end of the day he sometimes didn’t know what the hell he wanted to do with his life. But when I completed this journey I realized: above all the passions—from Hip-Hop, to Latin, and far out Outer Space stuff—he was and will always be a Storyteller.
I am obsessed with the story of things. As Shakespeare sees his life as a stage, I really believe my life is one epic journey of being. And I truly believe we all are the Hero’s and Heroine’s of our own story. I have so many stories inside of me to share. Had I not picked up a blank notebook and started writing this over a year ago I think I’d still be in that lost state of mind. Unsure, detached, lost…I wrote my way out of my own blue funk. And I’m gonna keep on writing until I can no longer hold a pen in my hand. (And if that happens, I hoped they’ll have some voice command notebook thing by then)
Why Quasar? Besides this being a rap name I thought up while fried at Wendy’s, it means so much more for me. Quasars are the most brightest phenomena in the known Universe. Yet at their core, are the darkest known places in the known Universe: supermassive black holes. The most extreme of polar opposites, existing together in perfectly catastrophic harmony.
I won’t go into too much detail about this, but physically, I see all people as Quasars. Melanin comes from the Greek word meaning black or dark. The melanin in our bodies absorbs light photons daily. The more we are exposed to light, the higher the likelihood of melanogenesis to occur, a.k.a. tanning. We are all physically filled with light. And the ones among us with the most light seemed to be the darkest, by external appearance.
Quasars light up the Universe. Metaphorically, they represent all our spectrums of light and then the unknown possibilities of existence within us. I don’t see this phenomena from a dualistic perspective. It’s not the struggle of light vs. dark. It’s light coexisting with possibility. That’s all a black hole is: another possible reality. We all have that space inside our heart. An urge to do the seemingly impossible; to do what your fellow humans may not be able to accept or understand. (Fuck ‘em.) Be a Quasar. Let your light shine brighter than two billion Suns. Show them the potential possibilities of your own Existence.