Wednesday, May 27, 2009

it's a tough world for english majors...

My primary workplace complaint is that there is no [even moderately] acceptable place for sun and books to converge on my lunch hour. I could walk a block and sit outside the pizza place, but that would require the expenditure of unhad funds and the intake of unjustifiable foods.

Today I resorted to crouching [unprofessionally] behind my car in the parking lot - balanced precariously on a curb far too narrow for sitting – and scarfing forty pages.

Tomorrow I might bring a lawn chair.

Friday, May 08, 2009


What do you think about things?

Right now I'm obsessed with objects and what they mean.

This is why I'm drawn to people's bookshelves rather than a facebook app of their current reads. It's why I dislike shopping online and plan on Garage Saleing away my summer.

I do not speak for myself. My stuff says more about me than I'd like to admit. I am in a season of acquirement.

i am not brave
i am not brave
i am not brave

Thursday, April 02, 2009

[un]comfort zones...

Public speaking, bungee jumping, spontaneous roadtrips, cliff diving, running marathons, blind dates...there are so many ideas for spicing up life. But I've been challenged this year to get outside the box in a whole new way:

What if being outside your comfort zone involves less externally frightening action, and more inner development? Is the latest thrill just another way for me to avoid my heart and the growth that desperately needs to happen there? To dig into loneliness, fear, and the simply unlovable and unavoidable parts of my personality rather than keeping them stuffed in my "comfort zone?"

What would it look like to live my daily life in that state of mind? Not some sort of weird trance or extreme activity, but "outside of my comfort zone" as in the opposite of being busy/distracted/thrill seeking? I've been slowly working through what will probably be a constantly-reread-book, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality. And, wow. Talk about challenging. If you have a case of Spring Spiritual Plateau, check it out. You probably won't agree with everything, but you should be okay with that by now.

I love this description of worship from Pearl, which is my "almost committed, but not quite to the fb relationship stage" church.

"Many aspects of our worship are counter-cultural: silence, penitence, disciplined waiting, re-centered observance of holidays. By these impositions, our worship does not conform to our cultural or personal preferences. Instead we are asked to conform to its rhythm. In this we remember our place as strangers on this earth and in this place. When we don’t “feel like it” or struggle with doubts, the corporate directedness (sit, stand, say this, etc.) and cycle of the Church calendar can provide a framework for exercising what little faith we may have, reinforced by the greater Body of believers – those sitting next to us, as well as those who’ve gone before us. In this way we engage in spiritual calisthenics, submitting ourselves to the shaping work of corporate spiritual exercise."

Worship is an excellent reminder that we aren't called to be confined by our expectations and preferences, but transformed by another force entirely.

Want to come with me some Sunday?

Update: If you have a few minutes, I love this guy's writing and appreciate his humor and generosity towards the churches he visits. I don't think I've ever been this open to God's work in my heart in unfamiliar/easily-criticized settings. Once again, I don't agree with everything, but it's super interesting. What do you think he'd say about your church?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Last night, Millicent and I held in a "who is reading the crappiest novel" contest, and despite my triumphant entry, I lost.

She is reading Dan Brown's first novel, and I was only reading...

But wait, here's the backstory:

In celebration of my upcoming 1 year English Graduversary, I decided to reflect on all of the great literature I have absorbed during my oh-so-extensive reading life. Then I went to Powell's, was overwhelmed by my lifelong task of education, and got kind of bookdepressed. I ended up diving into too many at once, feverishly pulling books off the library hold shelf and sinking my teeth into their spines. Nafisi, Updike, Shapton, Lewis, Baker... Oh yeah, I'm reading!

And then I hit a mental wall.

Which lead me to do something stupid.

I decided to read something popular [see popculture lecture by whalen, david, phd]. A book saturated with words like "dazzle" [used as a verb], "smoulder" and "godlike" [adjectives], as well as excessive sentences containing both "cold" and "marble." That's right, I decided to read Twilight.

Despite the dirty looks from my mother and the rest of humanity, I'm okay admitting it because I can't say I'm enjoying it in the least. Next time I'm looking to put myself awkwardly in the middle of some TMI teenage lust, I think I'll just go hang out at my local high school. Or maybe the Honours Lounge at my alma mater.

I did actually get sort of into the 3rd 4th of the book last night [evil tracking vampires are more entertaining than good lovesick ones], but I know better. Maybe that's what education really is - the ability to distinguish between great literature and passing fad books, while still occasionally reading both. It's like the fact that I can whip up a delicious healthy dinner in no time, but every once in a while, it's still fun to get french fries.

Also, right now I can make a lot of cheesy vampire jokes.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I stood at the edge of the world on windtorn legs and thoughtless toes and breathed in sharp air as the orange sun dragged all of the Pacific into itself.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

some giant -- striding -- love...

On Oscar's love for Ana:
"The only thing that came close was how he felt about his books; only the combined love he had for everything he'd read and everything he hoped to write came even close" [Diaz 45].

See? When I say I love you more than books, it means something.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


My old cogitating friend Nick Baker suggests, "Once you decide on a profession, you riffle back through your past to find early random indications of a leaning toward your chosen interest and you nurture them into a false prominence..." [u and i, 99]

As much as I love my office, I can't say that I have always desired to be an Administrative Assistant. Grocery Bagger, Horse Trainer, Librarian, Teacher, and Movie Director, yes. Perhaps all of them indicate a desire to apply order to chaos, to help develop an intricate structure out of lowly beginnings.

For Baker and I, this nurturing is relentlessly circular. We are Thinkers and Orderers and Creators [one of us more skilled and well-paid, naturally], therefore we think about Thinking, we order the Order, and we create more Creators [or at least, he writes books and i encourage more appreciative readers]. If he were something other than a self-aware and self-depreciating writer, would he even consider the false or real search through the lumber of his mind for evidence of long-standing childhood card-cataloging? He thinks about falsely making connections within the Two Roads Diverged and ends up making real connections. Unending layers!

I love the playful edge to his prosal wanderings. His deep awareness of the light, floating bits of existence constantly feeds my own neuroses. In fact, he has enflamed my desire to study something I'll never actually learn simply to experience the joyous act of manipulating knowledge in its physical form:

"Above the single candy-stripe of the magenta line I wrote down the quotation, as well as I remembered it; below, on the blue pin-striping, was the source, if I knew it, and the date and time I made the card, and what number it was in the total sequence, and any other notes I felt called on to make. I saw myself...flipping through them at high speed in spare moments, like a language student studying for a final; laying them all out side by side on the rug and playing some sort of game of concentration with them. I very much wanted them to become dog-eared. I wanted to get good at wristily doubling the rubber band around them when I had finished with them for the day. But I half knew at the outset that they would prove less useful than the initial pleasure of filling them out would lead me to expect..." [u and i 99-100].

Ahhh, there's nothing like the smell of introspective abstraction. Gotta get me some notecards, notecards.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

words of love...

Happy Valentine's Day, all my former faithful blog reader loves!

You know it's been too long when you can barely remember your if this is actually your regular posting font, or just something that looks similar.

I haven't made any formal statement of blogger-FAILdom, but I also can't act like I'll be posting from now on. Like so many things in adult life, this too is uncertain and slightly frightening [while freeing, of course].

I have been tweeting frequently these days, which fits into my schedule better because it only requires a thought transfer of 140 characters, not anything worthwhile or longish like a blog.

Until soon [or possibly never again,] I'll leave you with an Emily Dickinson poem full of epigraphs to unwritten classics. It was used in a sculpture/textile exhibit I saw at the Lesley Dill exhibit in the Hunter Art Museum in Chattanooga, Tennessee yesterday. I am completely captivated by the idea of "Some striding -- Giant -- Love --."


A single Screw of Flesh
is all that pins the Soul
That stands for Deity, to Mine,
Upon my side the Veil -

Once witnessed of the Gauze --
Its name is put away
As far from mine, as if no plight
Had printed yesterday,

In tender -- solemn Alphabet,
My eyes just turned to see,
When it was smuggled by my sight
Into Eternity --

More Hands -- to hold -- These are but Two --
One more new-mailed Nerve
Just granted, for the Peril's sake --
Some striding -- Giant -- Love --

So greater than the Gods can show
They sink before the Clay,
That not for all their Heaven can boast
Will let its Keepsake -- go

Friday, January 09, 2009

i have no idea...

Good thing it's Friday!

Our resident crazy tenant just called today and severely harassed me about something totally out of my control. I have no idea what to do, but I kind of wanted to say something impolite and go cry.

She has also lied to three people, including myself, about some papers she was supposed to receive on NEXT MONDAY, saying that I promised it to her yesterday, or that Nicole promised to her last week [both completely untrue, and everyone here knows it]. She constantly makes up stuff like this and calls multiple times a day. She doles out threats like they're government bailouts, then is super syrupy and flattering if you do exactly what she wants when she wants. She tells people in the office that other people in the office "never" return her calls. She got out of a lease [read: LEGAL CONTRACT] with the old building owners because she said she saw a ghost. She regularly harasses my boss about wanting a job with our company. At least we all know she's insane so everyone kind of ignores her, but it's been the first truly difficult thing about my job.

What do you do when grownups lie?

Thursday, January 08, 2009

fur n boots...

NYE Festivities