yellow orange brown
leaves gently float float
in a terrific tiny tornado
down on the street street
the leaves they dance
to the music, to the beat beat.
my mind's always a stir stir
the calendar disorganizes
life past and future's a blur blur
the present's a whisper, a ghost
a fading note of clarity
let me be a leaf
on the breeze breeze
and feel my dreams
in these these small hands
God! let me fly away!
and really be alright right here
right here, Lord... Lord, here.
Here's proof that we invest more thought in things than those things rationally merit. When a cake falling brings down your day. When that meeting with someone you respect is awkward, rather than whatever you expected it to be, and you question all that you are. When that one gesture would have made things all better. Sure. We know that cakes often fall, and assuming guilt because of it isn't rational. And we know that there are several things that can make a meeting awkward, least of all your entire life plan. And no gesture is ever the thing you really want, it is all those things that it might symbolize. All those things that you packed into the insignificant act of saying “thank you.”
Despite the obviousness of our irrationality when it comes to expecting too much out of something or seeing greater things than can really fit in such a tiny, tiny package, we still do it. We know it is silly. We know it was only a means to an end and what we are most upset about is that we never got that end.
What do we do to get it? If that one thing that we packed into a smaller thing is so clearly just a symbol, why do we not move past it and get to what we really want? Say if baking that perfect cake represented your competence in the kitchen, plus the ability to make a dessert both your boyfriend and his mother would like, plus silencing his dad's grumbles about “coulda helped out more in the kitchen,” plus the salvation of a bad day, why not see the cake for what it is-- a trickly little pastry, and actually get to those things you actually wanted. Get those kitchen skills, delight your boy, prove your helpfulness, find peace at the end of the day, but store it not all in a cake.
If I were to take my advice, I would stop over-analyzing situations so much. I would be more honest with myself about what I expect from people. I would feel less guilty about things I can't control, like cakes, and perhaps more guilty about the things that are in my power, like keeping my cool and communicating my thoughts and feelings.
Yesterday was a contemplative day, as well as a great finish to the “work week.”
So as to follow the request of a friend, this blog will not be long.
Have I told you that I write articles for a newsletter-turned-journal called “Pop Culture and Faith”? This is my second year to write for it. I'm currently working on a 7-10 page essay about engaging culture as a Christian. I thought it would be simple. It isn't. I've run into so many snags and total messes in this article. It seems muddied and bland. My confidence as a writer has taken a hit. In addition, I am more confused about what I think I believe than ever.
More than anything, I want to make sure that when I am writing about what I believe I am doing just that. I do not want to write what I think I should believe. There are ideas about worldview that I think sound great, but I'm not sure that my heart and mind operate on those ideas. Do I really view the world through the Biblical narrative of Creation, Fall, and Redemption? It is a great idea, but is it my REAL worldview?
How do I know what I really believe? Dr. Naugle said it will show through my words, actions, goals, priorities, etc. I'm just throwing these questions out into the universe right now.
Anyway, road tripping to Austin with Mitch was then getting dinner with Mary and Tiffany was lovely. The Mediterranean festival downtown was also quite interesting. I made a friend! He was three and wore a turtle necklace.
Airplane floating by
floating. Bye bye.
Like a feather
Airplane take me with you
take us with you
take me with you
like a feather
I don't know what I will do.
I don't know who I am.
Where is who I was yesterday?
Where did I go?
Where did I go?
like a feather
My hands are pregnant
with deeds I could do
My face is aged
too early too soon
by and by
Energy I have it
have it here somewhere
I'm not dead, yet.
I'm like a feather
I started tieing a matching ribbon in a bow around my ponytails in the eighth grade, even though that trend began and ended the year prior. Not only was I too late to catch the trend, it didn't even look as cool on me. Some girls just pull off bows better. Even though I persisted in wearing them, and though “friends” told me they “missed” wearing ribbons, I felt dumb for imitating the trend past its expiration date.
Crying is such a natural thing and it is good. I know God's thoughts are higher and more eloquent than this, but I can just imagine him creating mankind and thinking, "They must have some way to shed their excess anxieties and sadness. Some natural catharsis. Some satisfying release when life breaks their heart. Some act that postures them toward repentance and reconciliation. Something that keeps them real."
Today I will go to church at Incarnation, after a brief reading stop at Crooked Tree Coffee House. Alone, I am still great company, but I do wish for Mitch, as well. He enhances every activity. He makes things more beautiful. Yet, for as little wisdom as I do possess, I know for sure that this period of letters, phone calls, and long distances is sweet, sweet indeed. How he reminds me of the steadfastness of the Lord. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Birds bright blue no scarcity
Fowl with wild plummage plum
Doves who speak, no longer dumb
Bewilderment as they synchronize
their kamikaze swooping dives
They fall like bombs upon the ground
Grounded exploding birds abound
A parade of color, spark, glamour
A lulling noise from the clamor
Swiftly swirled across the earth,
Sound of rustling, sound of mirth
Lighting makes a transformation
From birds into a new creation
They become golden autumn leaves
A plethora scattered as they please
Underfoot they crunch like eggshells
Like stained glass and tiny tin bells
Into shards they then shatter
Quickly rejoin; no tear or tatter
Wild dance of crinkle leaves
Fallen premature off trees
Swiftly circling up around
Small cyclone on nearby ground
From the funnel steps a boy
leading lions leading boys
Away they leap into a hill
Then, great wonder! All is still
Is it many? Is it one?
Is this all? Is there none?
I praise God-- epistemic bliss!
Change be not so random as this
According to Victorian ideals, this is when he stumbles upon an innocent and sweet girl who makes him morally better. Eh. Good luck
2) Thoughts and feelings are like sand. They have characteristics of being real, but you cannot hold on to them. Pack them together as hard as you might, and still they evade permanence through the cracks between your fingers.
3) I am in love. Love is all you need.
The woman at the D.I.A, pictured above, in front of a mural by Diego Rivera.
Peggy, my yoga instuctor, picture to come when the next film is developed.
Stephanie Cease, for always living joyfully, while remaining genuine at all times. There she is second from the left, three years ago.
The artist lady at Bible Study and Dostoevsky group. She speaks like rubies and diamonds shine-- beautifully.
My mother. Just look at her. Momma gives me unending encouragement, advice, knowledge, and creative freedom.
Incredibly, there are many, many more beautiful women in my life, but I need to get ready to go now. My friends and I are actually going to this little cafe called The Raven tonight in Port Huron. I'm looking forward to it.
1) I'll be home not next Friday, but the Friday after that. Can you believe that?!
2) There is no night time speed limit here. You go the same speed at night. This is what is posted:
It is pretty neat that big trucks have to go slow. Makes things nice.
3) Whoever first said that the moon is made out of cheese is a really funny guy. Tonight it looked like a strangely cut crescent shaped slice of sharp cheddar.
4) There has been lightning for hours now.
5) It is still IN THE MID-EIGHTIES! Today, at the beach, I never felt hot. Never.
This year I wrap up my baccalaureate at DBU: Major in philosophy, minor in English. I take the GRE sometime soon, one of my first weekends back in Dallas, hopefully. Now even if I'm not planning to go to grad school next fall, but two years from now, do I go ahead and get letters of recommendation? What would they do with them? Maybe not, because I could always have my professors write them to include whatever I end up doing in my time off? Is that right?
Next summer I volunteer with Mary somewhere we can really help people/animals. Possibly South Africa where she has friends doing work with HIV/AIDS clinics. I'm not ready for this to be my last summer of adventure, even though it has been quite challenging to be away for this long.
Next fall I move in with a friend (could this be you?) somewhere in Dallas, work at some kind of preschool, and enroll myself in an Alternative Teacher Certification program. There are approximately twenty programs in the area. I'd like to stay in Dallas so I can keep up with Poetry Night and the groups at the Veritas house. Those are communities that leaving would cause my heart to break a little. Plus, I love my church. And why would I want to miss out on Evan's fabulous parties? Otherwise I'd be up for a move to Austin, and yes, even Waco. I really doubt I could keep up rent plus all my other bills alone, though. I need a roommate. One.
While I am taking my year off from school I can brush up on the philosophers I didn't get to: Hegel, Schopenhauer, Marx, etc., and of course, more Heidegger. I can also do some Rosetta Stone Latin, because I haven't started learning either classical language. I polish up my wriing sample and get letters of recommendation. I apply to MA and Doc philosophy programs at schools A, B, and D.
Fall of 2010 I have my Teaching Certificate, great. I've found a job at a public school and I'm happily teaching, and I'm going to school in the evenings at whichever place was gracious enough to let me in.
I just wanted to get all of this out of my head, and my journal doesn't count because it's an extension of my head. This is for real.
Today I realized that I have four more weeks left up here, when I thought it was three. Truth be told, I was disappointed. Three weeks sounded good.
Water is the most incredible thing because we are so intertwined with it, being mostly composed of it, depending on it for our life and the life of our environment. We draw to it for entertainment, and enjoy the weightlessness of being immersed in it. And then there are hurricanes, monsoons, and tsunami's and we recognize how water has the power to destroy us. Josh just wrote a very nice poem comparing friendship to water.
Though it is many months old (years? hopefully not, cannot remember) Damien Rice's album 9 continues to impress me. From the first time I listened through it and still this evening, it seems to be the most tragic and poignant account of a breakup. He really captures all the little elements that make breakups so devastating. The first track, 9 Crimes, a dialogue, or maybe a two person monologue, of two people struggling to come to grips with their infidelity, guilt, shock, what have you, still chills me. Accidental Babies- brilliant (for what it is). Dogs- charming, at least.
I could go on about all the ways I experience this album and all that it has made me think about, but I will keep it short tonight, except to say that if I ever had to break up along the lines of the story in this album, I think I would just crumple up.
Oh, in case you were wondering, here.
My favorites are Indie, Estrella, and Mriana Triana.
One more thing, football is not that big of a deal up here. What? I know because Robert casually said that he doesn't like to watch it, and I made a big deal out of it before I even knew I had opened my mouth to speak, basically.
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All hail the power of summer-- its slowness, the way it desires to wake up lazily, how malleable each hour seems to be. Though, for most people, whose memories of such sweet summers have long since melted into nostalgia, summer is just a hotter version of every other season. There is just as much work to do. In Texas, the summer heat forces us to dash to the time clock more quickly, just to make the trip quicker from one AC to another. In Michigan, it means that road crews can fix the ice-damaged roadways, build bridges, and construct whatever else the six months of winter prohibited. Someday the workforce might engulf me and steal away my summertime, but now I am trying to realize how good I have it.
I have two weeks (last week and this one) free from employment, roommates, Dallas traffic, the Southern sun. As for the recent scandal in my apartment, I was still relatively free to not live in the midst of it. I am stress-free, and have recently taken up yoga. Still, I've let myself get bored one minute, and lazy the next.
Thoreau said, "As if you could kill time without injuring eternity." A few years ago my inspiring friends and I drank up the words of Thoreau-- a life giving potion awakening us from our adolescent slumber. All my life I treated the idea of eternity like a family member-- someone I spent so much time with and knew familiarly. But, also like a family member, I actually knew so little about it, and took it for granted.
When you're a Christian and have been promised eternity ever since promises held any weight with you, death seems like a mere pause between now and forever. Everything moves slowly, like a perpetual childhood summer. One has time to wait for months, and even years, to see what exactly "God wants" for you. One pretends death can be written off by saying, "Honey, just stick me in any plywood box and plant me in the back," as I've heard my step-dad say in so few words. Time means nothing when you never consider running out of it.
And then, ever so suddenly, death crept up on me, and reminded me of its realness. Almont is a small town. One could walk anyplace in town within minutes. It is enjoyable. A few days ago I just so happened to be driving, which all the time seems to be increasingly wasteful, to the Rite Aid. It is a minute's drive if the stop light catches me.
The windows were down. I just passed for the third time a couple girls walking down the street, wearing fairy wings. Jason Mraz's acoustic "I'm Yours" was playing for the third time that evening. I thought about my film that was sitting in its plastic cylinder in the passenger seat, and the pictures it might hold. Hopefully the dandelions would be sharp and in focus.
I thought about developing my own film and the joy of controlling that process, and being intimate with my photographs, the thrill of really knowing them from conception to birth. And as automatically as swatting a fly I just said told myself no, I can't do that. I wouldn't be very good. Other people do that who have worked on it for a long time. Why should I expend my efforts on someone else's craft?
Of course I didn't say so many sentences, they are all mushed up into a feeling. You know how one word can mean a really large idea? Eh, those are mostly in other languages. But the basic idea is, that is not for me and what does it matter if I don't learn something I'm interested in? Somehow along the way, my idea for what my life should encompass stopped growing with me. Somewhere inside of me there is still a little girl who cannot play sports, and this idea of being completely talentless, and these elementary boundaries stop me from trying something new that I might really, really like.
There is so much out there that I want to know, and not all of it in books. I could still become proficient at a couple languages, teach my body a new rhythm to dance to, work out an illustration style, bend into impossible yoga positions, hanglide, train a dog, organize a charity, sail Mitch and I's boat (that we do not have, yet).
I will die someday, and it isn't just a pause in between now and the rest of eternity. It is the closing of a chapter, the end of my physical mortality. It is the end of my only chance to enjoy this great, great illusion and fill it with the things that seem the most real. It is the greatest divide, the darkening of all we know empirically.
It is not only people who live without faith that wander through life aimlessly. It is the one of the most common and miserable themes of many, many peoples lives, and it is partly because we are generally not attuned to death as we should be. For many people, especially those who cannot hope on our forever, death is too terrible and mysterious to think about. It is easier just to cover it up than to face its despair. And for others, it is too casual of a thing to hold meaning.
Heidegger recommends the life that is attuned (tensed) to death, like a bow that is taut, aimed at its mark. This does not dismiss the fact that what comes after death will be enjoyed, too. It will be glorious. But it does intensify the this life is the only one we get to live in this way, with all the pleasures of watching time go by, and waking in the morning to meet it again. In it we can witness the miracle of passing from ignorance to brilliance, from apathy to passion, from evil to righteousness, from selfish to loving.
Ann Arbor was really
Would it be toooo much to ask to summer in Ann Arbor? Could I teach up here for a year maybe? Where are the fifteen lifetimes that I will need to live all the lives I dream about? In which one could I accept the offer to Aupair in Germany? When do I get to be a professor? A high school teacher? A Waldorf teacher? Man. If I were a cat...
I have now spent two and a half weeks actually working. Two days of this week were freebies, one is tomorrow. Happy Independence Day, America!
One of my favorite times of the day is right before I wake the kids up. I make breakfast-- eggs, french toast, or cereal. All with orange juice, and sometimes bananas for Jacob and I. I like setting out three bowls, plates, napkins, glasses, and sets of silverware. Flipping eggs and french toast is quickly becoming second nature.
Never before have I seen kids who are so entertained by board games. It's heaven for me, though, seriously, because I never tire of them. We've played at least twenty games of Sorry and no less than fifteen games of Uno. We couldn't count the games of Connect Four.
The trees are beautiful-- dark, green, and so very old. The willow trees have impressed me. They are tall and their branches and leaves really extend all the way to the ground, draped like a quilt over the back of an old chair.
I've ventured out, talked to random people, laughed with strangers, talked softly with children. Once an old woman stopped me at Meijer, the big grocery store around here similar to HEB plus, convincing herself through talking to me that she should buy the book which the John Adams HBO special is based on. She delighted me.
Last night I had dinner for one at Victoria's. Chicken and orzo pasta salad. White Bordeaux. I love that word. Bordeaux. I think that is what I'll name my son.
We go to swim lessons. Play dates. Tutoring. Ice cream. The park. It really is cute. We argue, too.
Mitch talks to me at night, and when I can draw conversation out of him during the day on Google Chat. It is sweet of him to spend so much time on our conversations, because I really do need them. I need to hear him, and see how he is doing, but honestly, I just need someone to talk to, as well. The thing is, exam time is coming up for him, which means I can't expect so much time from him for our evening chats. So, dear friend, do you think you could call me sometime? I would really love someone to talk to, in between taking care of my two new loves (Jacob and Kaylin) and exploring small towns like Romeo and Oxford.
"This is such a perfect party band. I mean, it is exactly what should play at every party."
To my reason's defense, Minus The Bear's lyrics all sound similar to the cadence of inebriation in a backyard. The song titles are as impromptu as our ideas of mixed drinks were, and as abstract as the words puffing out of the mouth of smoker-friend-x who is rocking casually on the porch swing. Look 'em up. You'll see.
These nights were warm. It was summer first. Summer and what melted into a lethargic autumn. Our phones were electric as somewhere out in outer-space our satellites signaled that someone's back porch had an availability. Someone's house was saying, "Come ye, under-aged drinkers and take refuge in me." We primped and they purchased. Never me. Someone knew someone behind a liquor counter, you know? Someone always knows. Drifting inside in pairs, groups, alone, we were a stylish ensemble of slouch and straight hair and jeans that had been worn to perfection. Who put in Minus The Bear? Someone did, someone always does. It is perfect party music.
II) Listen. Listen to the dandelions and listen to the pink burning out of the sky. Listen to the golden yellow finch (I know you would like to see) brush its wings up and down. Listen to the gravel-- dirt and rocks under your old, black, rubber tires. Listen to the brakes of your car. Listen to jazz- moving like a wave of neon purple light in and out and around gleaming brass pipes. Listen to the strings buzzing and feathers falling. Listen to my breathing-- it is gentle. Listen to the kids laughing so hard that I want to cry; it's beautiful. It really is. Even if it is about the stupidest thing. The stupidest joke on the whole planet-- completely redeemed by the chortling music notes scampering out of their goofiest grins. Listen to the bug fiddling with your ear. Listen to the shhhcrunch of sheets, pillows, and blanets. Listen to an overture of summer rain showers. Listen to the thunder and the windows shutting and the turquoise breeze, straight off the top of Lake Huron. Listen to bells. Little bells.
II) Our turns were becoming more frequent, a sign that my new home was drawing nearer, pulling us around corners corners corners in order to eventually wrap us up inside its own corners. Dozens of orange streetlights glowed ahead in a shaggy field which was etched with nicely paved streets. It was a houseless neighborhood, the fouled up business venture some entrepreneur had eventually given up on. The sole house was the model home. Weeds were beginning to take over what had been prospective lots and the property had been foreclosed on. Still, at night, the lights shine on. Orange.
For a week or so leading up to my trip to Michigan, friends and family have all attempted to pull some indication of excitement from me. True, I did say that I was excited, but I never really felt it. It isn't like I regretted my decision. NOT AT ALL. It was just that I was never fully possessed by the rush of excitement. I knew to look forward to the the challenge, but my heart wasn't in it, until now.
The older, black, gentleman who sat next to me on our tiny NWA plane does not enjoy flying. "It's a necessity," he said to the back of the seats in front of us, "It isn't something you enjoy."
He mentioned rising oil prices, and the snacks and drinks that aren't free on the plane. (I definitely wouldn't have minded a complimentary vodka tonic. Too bad.) He said, though, that it was just out of the question to drive all over the country now, as he turned the wheel of an invisible steering wheel in front of him. His distant, dark eyes were trained on a dusty road ahead of him, steering a stylish station wagon with a couple cool cats to one coast or another in search of employment or nirvana.
"When you're young like you are, someone just says 'Hey! Let's get in the car and drive here!' Or, it's two in the morning and you decide to just go."
I smiled and shook my head to acknowledge I was guilty of that. It reminded me of some rather inspired nights in the Hill Country. This gentleman was obviously too wise for such inspiration, now. He was seasoned, and wearing a seersucker suit with light blue stripes. He read through the New York Times and a European financial newspaper. Posh.
He did remember to ask me, some time later, if I enjoyed flying. Emphatically, I replied, “I love it.” This was lost on him. I could tell by the way he nodded in the direction of the seats in front of us again. It's too bad, because I was actually fully engaged in the moment, breathless to be up in the air.
Later, as the sun was setting, far away, tucked between horizontal clouds of ember and fuchsia, I could not resist remarking in his direction, “We must be part of someone's sunset!” Unfortunately, his deep wrinkles must have soaked up the sound of my words before they could settle into his hearing aid, because he just “Ummphed,” in reply.
Secret adventure peeking in the sunset, alluding the day by a few stretches of yawning dusk memories, consider hiding somewhere where I might happen upon you this summer. Perhaps behind a sharp blade of blue grass, or under a violet pebble as heavy as the ocean at nighttime. Consider nestling inside a rusty locket, hooked to a charm bracelet spilling out of the mouth of a hot-breathed tiger. Perhaps grow inside of a poisonous mushroom, mistakenly knocked on its head by the unstoppable mighty movement of a charming bare foot running for Frisbees. Perhaps when I stretch my arms in front of my line of vision, grasping the sun in one fist—jumping, reaching for the firm tennis ball barreling toward me, you—new and secret adventure-- will settle into my grip instead.
Did I tell you that most of my life is documented in diary entries, blog posts, and poetry? I, like most minute mortals have always been enamored with my own life, convinced that it is the most important life to me and the one that I am continually propelling through survival. My world revolves around me, like yours revolves around you. Substances and events only exist to me once they have effected me, that is, come across my portal of being. Nothing happens in my awareness without reference to me. Therefore, many day-to-days have been overly cherished in so many cursive letters in a dozen or so journals, both on and off-line. Yet, in being so wrapped up in my experience of living, I've also neglected to record many important parts of my twenty-one years and counting .
Is there ever a year for anyone when something momentous does not happen? It seems like for every year we've accomplished, folded up, and stored away there is a convenient life-change title to paste to the spine of it. Can there really be a life so monotonous and mundane and persistently boring that NOTHING stands over above the rest? Though most things that happen to us are insignificant and wisps of air in light of the enormity of time, especially considering the timelessness of the most real reality, to us there surely stands out one event that resonates the deepest on the harp strings of our finite existence-- one thing that stands itself up in the openness of truth and declares itself-- one thing to remember each year by.
I would like to confess to you today, dear electric diary, that I have developed a habit of "getting through". In the past few years I have experienced a handful of life changes. Nothing extraordinary or bizarre, these things are common to the academic or non-academic hardly-twenty-something. And though I've always most deeply experienced things through reflective writing, my prose has lazily slacked off in my increasing deftness to just get through-- to just transition, get through it, blah-di-blah.
Have I, Sara Triana, become just another drone who looks forward to the weekend? A Friday kind of person? This is a horrible fate, in my opinion, but one that I am not convinced I should resign myself to. It's a possibility, yes, that I could become someone who has so little passion for each new day that I perpetually look toward that false beacon of light and relaxation-- the weekend. Yet, this is merely a matter of attunement, which can be adjusted with a bit of effort and maybe a few more hours of sleep. "Getting through" things is such a cop-out attunement. It is a directedness toward nothing, an easy way to feel as if you are working toward some kind of goal. It is a shallow survivalism with nothing to live for. It is ignorance of purpose. It is apathy to things of essence. I know I don't really have to live like this. I know I have passion and love the adventure, knowledge, and whatever-else that can be dug out of just another every-day.
And yes, deep down, I know that my sloppy worship of God as of late could be a large contributing cause to this lack of reflection and that it can be remedied as quickly as a prayer that escapes with a single breath.
I know that if I want to be able to proudly label my years and feel like I have some influence on the momentous things that happen to me each year, I must tidy up my focus and get some things in order. Praise God that such a thing is possible, and furthermore, rather simple.
I say all these things with the intention to reflect on how I feel about my next adventure: moving to Michigan for the summer to be a nanny. I also intended to reflect on recent events, like finishing most of my major philosophy classes, realizing my academic passion, watching my boyfriend go to law school, and returning to Burnet for a visit. All of those things will have to wait for another day, though, for this post is already extending past the point of interest for most of my dear friends who read this.
But as for Michigan, may the Lord who is kind to me with ever increasing grace, grant the children who will be in my care a summer of learning, fun, creativity, rejuvenation, and love. May he grant their parents peace about the nanny of their children, and a memorable summer. May he grant me passion for teaching, playing, reading, and a simpler life. May he pour out patience, strength, joy, and success to my family, my beloved, and my friends who I will look forward to returning to.
Three cheers for the least idiotic show about marijuana to ever make it to the big time! Before I applaud 2007’s Showtime hit, Weeds, let me offer the most grandiose and sincere disclaimer: I do not in any way, or at any time have I, condoned, encouraged, or agreed with the use of marijuana for recreational purposes by anyone (least of all, myself), ever.
So, to continue with my praise and critique of the series: Hurrah! It is about time someone presented the growing social issue of the rampant use of pot in America, without including the stereotypical laughing stoners and Dude, Where’s My Car?-esque humor.
Jenji Kohan’s drama-comedy, Weeds, is about a suddenly widowed Californian housewife, Nancy Botwin, and the ripple effects in her recovering family and affluent suburban community when she begins to sell weed to keep up the lush lifestyle they are accustomed to. Three seasons have aired already, with a fourth due this summer, if all continues to get back to normal in the T.V. world. I hear those writers are getting feisty again, though.
Nancy Botwin is played by Mary-Louise Parker, whom I have always felt to be most endearing in her role in Fried Green Tomatoes, is the most compelling reason to watch. She delivers an excellent performance in every episode, offering the viewer an immersing look at the complexities of a woman worried by her children’s behavior in response to their father’s death, her own dealing with the tragedy of losing her spouse in the prime of life, the terrifying consequences of getting caught in the world of drugs, and making sure she does not lose herself in the tragic sway of life. She fights to not lose it, and the audience succumbs to her irresistible universality, and fights with her. She is vulnerable, but remains that woman with grit, with determination, with firm resolve, that we all know in our own lives and admire, no matter what level she descends to, because it is that passionately blazing resolve to survive, which is such a pivotal part of the essence of man that when we see it within her we recognize it like the back of our own hand, and desperately want to relate to.
The show is built around the character of Nancy, for good reason. If it were not for her strength of character, and the Nietzschean passion for life she exudes, Weeds would still be interesting, but only as one of those pictures of a world outside of ours that so many secular T.V shows are for Christians. We watch them to spy on the Other, to see what the world’s man is doing. But this show is more than a snapshot of another lifestyle; it is a passionate push to keep fighting in our own lives, to do what it takes, to settle not for resignation when life is painful, but to let one remain completely engaged in life, even if it tears us apart.
Yes, like that, but the cheaper version, like Pei Wei, like If-You-Like----You'll--love---- perfume, a commercial melancholy or a dull trip in a dull city. I saw and I felt. I exxxxxxxxperienced and I reeeeeflected. It could have been my imag-ination, but at least there he was in the probability of his appearance. He kept walking. Toward me to get past me. Big black eyes that I've caught several, several times, now shifted downward to scope out the weevils digging pyramids in the sand between the cracks of the sidewalk. Assuredly, his highness would rather have fallen down the rabbit hole of one of those minute pyramids than look at me. Me. My morning me. My fresh out of the lecture me. My pondering me. My galloping at the University me. and singing to the clover, running down the hill me. That me! Why the pyramids, oh Pharaoh, and not a nod at me? Why the dark of the ocean? The roar of silence? The unbearable stench of the pyramids and not a glance upward?
Hell, for a friendly bit of eye contact that says, "I see you. You are a person and I am a person. We are of the same ripe people." And that is all, a friendly sunbeam.
So offputting and disconcerting and bubblebursting was the ghastly interruption to my gaiety that my imagination shuddered and my hair covered my face to protect me. Perhaps it did not, but what is true, what appeared true, what I felt to be true was that I saw the Pharaoh and I wanted to step right in front of him. "Red light." AND immediately say in a voice that could command pirates on the high seas and sing to stargazers and inhale the adoration of cigarette smokers at a packed out blues-fest, as I manning the mike would say: "You shadow me in darkness and I think you are a gloom cloud. Yes. I think you are. I think you are the form of a gloom cloud. I think every malicious puff in the sky is a copy of a copy of a copy of you and we thought they were bad putting out our picnics and flooding our plains and turning over the seas and shutting us inside with people we hate, but you are worse, the worst, the black horse, the white horse, the red horse, the whore and the horse that she rides in on. You are a gloom cloud and hateful. I do not hate you, but I know you are a stormcloud and you will only ever storm.
The unpersonable should not be taken personally, but as a person, respectable and promising, with faltering potential, I protest that such philandering in my purest impressions on poignant mornings be prohibited.
Goodbye, I will say.
Then I will march onto the tips of the blades of grass and siddle up to the cherry blossoms and I will bury my face in the freshness of the earth and wait for the rain to subside. For certainly, if one kicks at the pile of ants and insults the Queen (God, Save Her), one will surely be smote.
Smote or smitten, at least I was once a kitten.
Tree bellowed! The moon barely grimaced, too old to show its apathy at the whining of the tree. Trees always whine, too passionate not to.
It nailed me! It really did. My eyes ran through the entire list and again, and again I sighed and thought that’s me. That’s me. Dang. Me. Me. Me.
I felt exposed and typical—a feeling no one, me included, likes to experience. We think we are each special, and then here comes Mister Satirical Blogger to shoot our authenticity out of the water.
A couple weeks ago, I was referred to stuffwhitepeoplelike.com by a friend, a white friend, who thinks the site is endlessly witty. He checks it everyday for updates. It is witty, no doubt. This humorous new blog is ragingly popular. Rumors have been running for the past few days about a $350,000 deal that the author of the website was offered to make a book of the same name. The Canadian blogger behind the site says that the essence of the blog is a scientific study of white people and the things that they enjoy. Hardly. Though I’m not on the up-and-up about the scientific community and its breaking news, I feel confident that the idea of this blog being scientific is as satirical as the content.
The blog has almost one hundred entries so far. One gets churned out every other day or so. The topics are decently well-written and hip-- Whole Foods, Not Having a TV, Gondry films, and T-shirts are a few. Posts range from things white people like to wear, like shorts on the first warmish day after winter, to things they like to do, like raising multi-lingual children or going to law school, to objects and people groups that they value and covet, like Asians girls and vintage anything.
Right off the bat, after having read a handful of posts or having scanned the full list, one realizes that this blog does not “study” all white people, at all. It primarily exposes typical young, upper-middle-class white people, the kind of people who care about things like organic cotton clothing, or getting graduate degrees in the arts for no efficient reason, the kind of people who would read this blog… and check it everyday.
Is it racist? That is the easiest question to raise about SWPL. And the easiest answer? No.
The blog, though written with an utter disdain for the consumerism and pseudo-intellectualism exhibited by this group of people, which is revealed in the praise of the topic-of-the-day and the bit of faux-advice about how to talk to white people about said topic in order to get in good with them, reveals a culture rather than spreads hate. It is a semi-outside look into their current obsessions. It hints at what these things mean about white people, but never casts an absolute judgment on them. For all of its eye-rolling, and the eye-rolling it causes its greater community of readers, it is thought-provoking. It causes one to reconsider the lifestyle choices one has made, through the eyes of someone less conditioned to think that those were necessary and important choices. Is organic worth the extra money? Is the good execution of an elaborate dinner party a matter of life and death? Are lawyers really a necessity for everyone?
In the wake of the increase of the conversation about race, much has been speculated about SWPL.com and its contributions to the discussion, and its effect on the way race is perceived. Little will be added to those ideas in this review, suffice to say that putting white people at the brunt of a type of joke usually aimed at minorities is only as fulfilling as the level at which the content is taken as humor. Extending the meaning to overly-transcendent levels is ridiculous and a waste of time. The content is not hateful to white, nor hateful to other ethnicities by way of drawing a contrast. There is not anything inherently racist about the blog, nor is it intended to follow in Senator Obama’s recent footsteps of showing whites to be in similar shoes as other minorities—whether by revealing their immigration hardships, or putting them at the mercy of a punch line, a place almost every other people group has been relegated to at some time or another.
The bottom and most simple line is that it is entertaining to consider how alike most young, Caucasian people with money are, when what it appears that they most want, is to be unique. We all push forward through life with a deepening understanding of our own capability to reason and hope that all of the choices we make separate us from the unreasoned paths of life that we could have been on. Realizing that one’s life is, to put it plainly, common, and that one can easily be typified into a group is startling, but beneficial. After a long consideration of this blog and a few laughs, the man who benefits from it the most will be the reflective man, who realizes with humility that he cannot escape his culture, and that his struggle to do so only intertwines him with his culture more and more deeply. Maybe that is not so bad. It can’t be if it’s inevitable. We cannot separate ourselves from the world we are born into. We work with it, laugh about it, and get on with our living.
The class is for "Inquirer's". Many might wonder what business I have Inquiring into Christianity, having been a believer for quite sometime. However, it is imperative to remind myself in true humility that I know nothing. What I thought I knew is little.
So tonight we learned about the Church-- universal, historic, and Anglican. Father Olver gave a fascinating lecture and at one point, speaking about the Roman Catholic belief in the transubstantiation in the Eucharist, he reminded of how much of the Church's logic was birthed out of Aristotle's metaphysics.
I departed from listening for awhile as I considered Aristotle, and how much I enjoy musing over his metaphysics, especially about how he emphasizes that every being is constantly moving, rushing, racing toward its telos, its final end. This fits so dynamically with Christianity, though I was reluctant to admit it. During my philosophy work at Austin Community College, I learned to have a great skepticism for how the Church has grafted Aristotle into their theology, as if A wrote it for them. Anyway, it does fit dynamically in with the telos of the Church, at least as far as we understand it. Consider how we pass through life with hope only in the final celebration at the end, when we are united together with our Lord. Consider our obsession with knowing God's purpose for our lives, or what potential he has laid into our essence. There are so many connections, most that I am unaware of for lack of study and concentration.
While I was happily pondering away, I realized that maybe one reason that I think that the two make so much sense together is that I was taught to read the Bible by the Christian culture that I was raised in that draws much of its foundational logic from Aristotle, and even recently I was persuaded that much of the New Testament, especially Paul's contributions, were all influenced by Aristotelian logic.
God! I just get so flummoxed when I begin to see all of my understanding about everything that I think I know as cultural conditioning! This is when I felt the squelching of the quagmire and my soul cried out, longing to know more, and purely.
No sucker when it comes to quicksand, though, I feel like I have returned to the stable shores of confidence in my ability to know. I realize that there is no way that I, nor the Church, nor the writers of the letters and books of the Bible can get away from our culture. We cannot be unconditioned. We cannot live in vacuums and void and think purely about anything. We cannot simply turn out the lights and begin at a Cartesian square one in our consciousness. There is no clean slate.
I cannot help my conditioning, but it can help me-- to relate to others, to understand much of what I experience. It gives me the power and tools to reflect. It gives me analogies by which to learn. It gives me patterns to mimic.
Surely God has made this a part of how we know what we know. Surely understanding our cultural influences and resting in our subjective cultural conditioning is a benefit that allows us to actually know him more, even when it seems that this convoluted way of knowing keeps me from knowing him and knowing what I know, at all.
They are full, with so much work to do. So many apples to pick, notes to take, lessons to teach, songs to sing, games to make up, and kids to corral! Ahhh! I go to class, work two jobs, cook dinner, and try to do some school work. When that lazy Monday morning dawnlight streams into Katie and I's sleepy little room, I am pretty apprehensive about the coming day. It looms so long and rush-rush! I have no time in-between class, Brain Train, and La Petite. I look at the apple orchard and even though all the beautiful fruit pulls down on the limbs so charmingly, looking so plump and fresh, the work ahead of me always feels daunting. Do I really have to grab all of the ripe ones? Could I cut corners and skip a few? No. No, not at all. We have a responsibility to every day that we are given to not squander it, to not cheat it, to not stain it.
I do not always feel that way, especially when my first, or even my second, alarm goes off. However, I feel really good when I am driving home after work. The sun is setting in gloomy indigo or a sultry crimson. The wind blows in through the open windows of my little car, and National Public Radio is gently telling me about what has gone on in the world that day. The day is over and I just think, "Sara. You did it. You made it through the day and you did a good job. Congratulations. You did it." It is not cheesy. It's happy, and I remind myself to smile, and I do, and then the day is good. It was good all day, and at this time, I remember it.
On Thursday I turn 21 years old. I can't believe it. I am proud of my life, so far.
Mitch and I last weekend when he surprised me at the Paideia Conference!
On grey-skied days
when birds sing subdued
and flowers lament
When I'm apart from all
and stones groan in the path
on days mothers retreat
on pillows in the dark
When children sigh
and bitter is sweet
On heart-heavy days
when I am the island
and spiders rest from weaving
When he looks down
and longs for his little girl
----to come home
----to pick up the phone
----to send word
When what comes up the road is dust
and the rain grounds us
On brooding days in March
when my heart trembles
and sings like the cello
----Solace finds me
and I am home.
I want to know more so that I will be a better wife, enabling my husband to enjoy his life and worship God.
I want to know more so that I might be an excellent mother, providing my children with the education and creativity to enjoy their lives more and worship God.
Making friends, in a town where all high school graduates leave if they know what's good for them, was difficult. The friends that I did acquire eventually were all in high school, so they were only accessible in the evenings and on weekends. A girl can only study at the local coffee shop, the riverbanks of the park and under mimosa trees for so many hours of the day without requiring some other activity.
I began to schedule matinees into my schedule a couple times a month. The nearest movie theater was in the next town over, so I would make a day of it; trips to the next town were not to be taken lightly, for it was an unfathomable fifteen miles away across the beautiful purple and green hillside.
It never crossed my mind that going to the movies alone was a lonely business, until I began to see that reaction across people's faces when I answered that yes, in fact, I had gone to such-and-such movie alone. Even now, living in Dallas, home of the "Think big. Live large." motto, and amongst so many friends, associates, and family members, I find myself thinking quite small, and I catch most of my movies by myself. I LOVE it this way. Please believe me, I haven’t become a snob against seeing movies in the company of other friends. Rather, I enjoy both modes of participation. Whereas most people can only go if accompanied, I am gifted with the love of going both by myself, and with other people, so I get... more enjoyment. Perhaps that sounds prideful, but it is as innocent as gleefully pumping one's fist in the air at the discovery of money in the pocket of one's jeans.
The number one benefit of going alone: focus. With no one on either side of me, I direct all my intellectual and emotional energies on the art form at the front. Here I can audibly react based solely on the merit on the film, i.e. my laughs and groans are not brought forth to express anything to my friend, but instead they overflow out when I just cannot keep quiet about what’s on screen.
The second-most benefit is the understanding that participation in the fine arts as a viewer need not be a merely social experience, rather it can be an experience completely intellectual and spiritual: the act of immersing oneself in the makings of others for purely educational and self-beneficial reasons. So that I might go, so that I might know! To be free of small talk, social obligation, and polite interactions and to be released into the organic and personal musings of the solo-flight into the art of cinema! This is what I love about these adventures as a 1-ticket-for type of girl!
This winter I have gladly taken several study breaks to the local theaters. Since January I have viewed Juno, 27 Dresses, No Country for Old Men, and In Bruges, in theaters, on my own. And you, dear reader, will be the one to hear what I thought about each one, since I took no one along with me to muse with afterward. Bear with this lover of good movies, but ignorant student of film. While I cannot give you the opinions of a weathered student of cinematography, I do offer you the reviews of a meager lover of goodness, truth, and beauty.
Juno- 4 of 5 STARS! This was an entrancing and tempting film to fall in love with. The soundtrack begs to whisk you away into the arms of indie lovers. The plot of a teenage girl getting pregnant in her ambiguous relationship with the sweet, aloof boy-next-door isn't novel, but the story is still so fascinating that this glimpse into "oh-so-that's-what-its-like" comes across as new, fresh, and totally original, despite that unmarried girls have been getting knocked up for thousands of years for strange reasons. This movie is very funny. Be warned- the protagonist, Juno, has a knack for rendering the most simple things as cataclysmic-ly humorous, so much so that one might want to drop all intonation from one's voice, part one's hair down the middle, and acquire a strange Northern accent and cynicism to all things sweet, in an attempt to adopt her charming sense of humor, speech patterns, and perspective. Every character in this movie has a refreshing sense of depth. Clichés were not dropped. Eyes were not rolled. From a pop-culture standpoint, this film is just cool. There is no getting around it. That aside, at its barebones, Juno offers a look at the state of the human condition that is both sobering and encouraging. Here we have the cynical teenage girl with a shaky moral ground upon which she makes life-changing decisions, the dynamics of the American step-family, and the tension between spouses over the desirability of becoming parents, and the state of young love in a nothing-is-sacred culture. I enjoyed it so much! I would definitely pay seven bucks to go see it again, and probably bring a friend along next time.
27 Dresses- 2 of 5 STARS. Two words: seen it.
No Country for Old Men- 5 of 5 STARS. I do not know how to properly evaluate this movie. No Country, a Coen brothers movie, and an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s novel of the same name, is mind-blowing. The wide screen shots of the dusty Texas towns and deserts gave me an overwhelming sense of being with the characters in the middle of nowhere, far away from help, sanity, culture, and safety. The idea of a killer who is so detached from the world that he kills people for coin tosses and money was haunting. This film successfully diagnoses the modern fall from goodness and grace into evil. By the end of the movie, which, quite appropriately, has no resolution, I felt like my soul had been stolen. Its quiet terror completely slew me. Hoorah for any visual art that can so transport one into another world and so thoroughly devastate one mentally and spiritually. Go see this movie alone to fully experience it.
In Bruges- 4 of 5 STARS. Caution: this movie is bad, bad, bad. “Bad” as in what your grandmother says when she slaps your aunt’s knee, laughing, and says, “You are so bad!” In all seriousness, before one goes to see this movie, be warned that it uses very vulgar humor. It is black comedy in every sense of the term. This is not to see that it is a bad movie. Heavens! I gave it 4 STARS! I laughed so hard all throughout the movie. What is funny is not so much what is said, but the ridiculousness of the patterns of thought displayed by the two hit men hiding out in Bruge (rhymes with rouge), a little town in Belgium. What makes this film so great, besides the hilarity, is how it matches the funny moments with equally serious content. It has all of the benefits of tragedy (which it is), with the seasonings of a well-developed comedy (which it also is). I do not know what Aristotle would have thought of the two genres being cemented together, but I really enjoyed it.