Saturday, September 8, 2012
Not owning a fly swatter, and unable to think of any other way of removing the problem, I soon chose to ignore him, keeping my hallway door open in the hopes that he would find his way out into the hall and not return.
But he stayed, all afternoon I heard him buzzing against my windows. And suddenly I found that my heart had begun to reach out to the helpless little creature. You see, I have three floor length windows in my room and through those windows could be seen a sunny world filled with lush trees and grass. The fly could see where he belonged, he could see it, but for some reason he could not reach it. I heard his frustrated buzzing and the desperate way in which he threw himself against the panes of glass again and again. Every once in a while he would take a break from his endeavors and fly around my head as if he was begging for my assistance. I would get up and open the door that led out to the porch, but my movement would startle him and he would resume his fruitless attack against the window pane.
After the sun went down I found him buzzing around one of the small lamps in my room. I took the lamp and held it outside the door leading into the hallway, he followed the light of course and once he was out I quickly closed the door behind him. At that point I thought that was the end of it, that he would find his way out the front door and that would be the end of it.
But the next day, today, the fly returned to my room. Again I heard him desperately trying to find a way to break through the invisible barrier that barred him from his world. Only today his buzzing was less forceful, broken up with moments of silence. I could tell he was getting tired, and I knew that if he didn't find a way out he would die in here.
At one point I saw the fly crawling around on my floor, I decided to try and capture the him. So I got a glass and a piece of card, I thought i would trap him under the glass, slide the card under, and then I could free him into the wild. But while the fly was obviously tired, he wasn't tired enough to let me get anywhere near him, and all my efforts seemed only to spur him on in trying to get out of my windows, which let light in but was not going to let anything out. I tried opening the porch door for him and attempted to waft him outside, but I think all that only served to scare the poor, tired creature further.
I really felt sorry for the little guy by this time. He had made his way into a world in which he didn't belong. And by the time he realized his mistake it was too late.
We are not unlike this fly sometimes. We wander away from where we need to be, and when we try to get back to where we belong we cannot seem to get there. So often we can see where we need to be so clearly, but these invisible barriers get in our way. And little do we know that doors have opened up behind us, little do we know that there are forces trying to help us out, if only we would stay still, if only we would stop and look around, face our fears. Sometimes we have to fly into the darkness to truly make it back into the sunlight.
The buzzing has finally stopped completely. I want to believe that at some point he finally followed me out the door and is buzzing around outside, free. This is what I want to believe, but part of me knows that when I inspect my windowsills or look behind my dresser, I will find him, my little fly with large wings and red eyes, wasted away by his futile efforts.
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
I think the problem is that I don't know what people talk about in those situations. Sure there are the questions you ask a person upon first meeting them: How was your day? Did you do anything interesting? etc. but that only goes so far and honestly it is usually pretty boring stuff. So what do people talk about? I know guys (and some girls) like to talk about sports, and that is great, I get that. While I may know nothing about most sporting events, it is something people are excited about, something they truly enjoy, I get that.
The thing is, I like listening to people talk about their passions, I get excited for them, but most of the chatter that I hear at social events are not about people's passions, at least I don't think so.
I force myself to go to these sorts of gatherings because I know I have much to learn from them. And I often find myself sitting in the midst of these groups of people trying to figure it all out and usually failing. There is no pattern that I can discern, it is just little conversations none of which consist of very much, but all together take up an evening. But how do you have these little conversations, that is what i can't seem to figure out.
I am not saying that every conversation has to be profound, far from it. I have conversations about nothing all the time, but they only seem to happen with certain people, and I enjoy them, I don't even understand the stuff I hear at these parties.
There are times at parties that I feel so alien to what is going on that I start to feel as if I am some sort of physicist or mathematician trying to solve some deep scientific mystery.
Monday, August 27, 2012
Of course the anxiety is always there, and the uncertainty can't be helped. What really happens is that there are times when I forget, when I am distracted enough not to worry.
This is not something serious, in fact, I don't think what I experience is in any way unique. We are far more similar than we give ourselves credit for, we're just all to afraid to express those fears to each other. Thank goodness too, can you imagine a world where everyone always spoke open and honestly about their deep fears and anxieties? It is not just out of personal protection that we don't discuss these sorts of things too often, we are politely refraining from burdening our neighbor with our problems.
For me these anxieties are in large part school related. This is my last year of Seminary and for the life of me I cannot remember where I let those other two years get off to. And here it is the final act of a play that has been remarkably similar to so many other plays I have been in, it is uncanny really. Only difference now is that I know how this story goes, but I am still looking for that plot twist, that surprise ending.
Damn, I am maudlin tonight.
Saturday, July 28, 2012
Saturday, July 14, 2012
Friday, July 13, 2012
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Okay, so I failed again.
I tried, over and over again I sat down to write, but a mixture of stress and other psychological factors kept getting in the way, and writing for even 20 minutes was just too much. I have been a dry well lately; more than usual that is, and as much as I would like to deny it, I need help. One of the reasons I want to do this 'project' (I guess it can be called a project) is because I do find it difficult to articulate myself, particularly in writing. Also, I think it will be useful to exercise my writing skills for the sake of sermons, and of course just general creative stretching is good for the soul. But what is a girl to do when she can barely form a single sentence while staring at a blank screen? The dreaded prompts. I so very much did not want to tie myself to a predetermined set of prompts, but I suppose some of us just need training wheels at first. I am no stranger to God cutting back my pride, it happens all the time. So if prompts are what I need - then prompts are what I need. So I looked, and honestly the internet has little to offer and the writing prompt books in the bookstore were not much better.
But after a while I did find this: http://www.creativewritingprompts.com/# They are okay, and they will do.
So I will start at the beginning and use these. Hopefully writing will come more easily long before I get through all of these prompts.
Saturday, June 23, 2012
Friday, June 22, 2012
Thursday, June 21, 2012
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Monday, April 30, 2012
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Taking a step back I realize just how varied my day can be as a seminarian. This morning started out with Ethics where we talked about the nature of Christianity in relation to Just War. This was interesting not necessarily because of the subject matter (which was interesting, but kind of beside the point) but because I got to examine what happens when a realist and a post-modern thinker try to have a conversation. The realist is just that, empiricism is everything, and there is no room for ambiguities or paradoxes. While facts are important for the post-modernist, the way in which those facts are talked about is much looser, leaving room for hyperbole, absurdity, and humor. Paradoxes and ambiguities are not only allowed but expected. There is no need to go into detail about the conversation but let me just say that this was my major contribution to the argument: http://trextrying.tumblr.com/post/21277804071/t-rex-trying-to-flip-a-pancake-trextrying
After that Chapel,
After that Lunch,
After that reading on a bench.
For no particular reason, at least none that I care to go into, my day got a bit rocky, which contributed to a major moment of vulnerability where I told a classmate about some pretty deep insecurities that I have not ever really shared with anyone. I am still processing how I feel about this.
Anyway, I went on from there to my next class which consists of me, two other students, and my professor. We are reading through Catherine Pickstock's book After Writing. Not the easiest book in the world to read, by the way. I had this weird moment where I started commenting about something I actually know nothing about, and the professor responded by reading a passage of the book, which actually sounded like gobbledygook to me, she then turned to me and said "is that what you mean?"
To which I start babbling, and everyone is staring, so I keep talking hoping to God someone will interrupt me, but no they don't. Eventually I stop, the class ends, and we leave.
I am told that I actually gave the impression of being knowledgeable. I wonder if Dr. Sonderegger bought it.
Fast forward to the evening where I went to watch a one woman show about Eunice Kennedy Shriver that was written and performed by a high school parishioner from my field ed. site (the church I attend while in seminary). She did a fantastic job, and I was impressed by how much these high school kids in Arlington, VA are overachievers.
I then spent the evening hanging out with other seminarians and having very deep, very theologically relevant conversations about which student/faculty member would be which Star Wars character. I somehow ended up with Darth Maul. Sure the guy gets cut in half in the middle of what is arguably the worst of the Star Wars movies, but he did have some Kung-fu badassness going on...
maybe I can trade up and be Grand Moff Tarkin instead.
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
And the past with an equal mind.
At the moment which is not of action or inaction
You can receive this: 'on whatever sphere of being
The mind of a man may be intent
At the time of death' - that is the one action
(And the time of death is every moment)
Which shall fructify in the lives of others:
And do not think of the fruit of action.
Sunday, April 15, 2012
Monday, April 9, 2012
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Finally, after several hours of work she stands in the middle of a room that has been cleaned. She stares at the clutter free desk, the dresser with jewelry boxes and small leather bound books, placed in a way that is aesthetically pleasing and yet not contrived, she looks at her perfectly made bed, and she feels calm. She does not want to move. She wishes she could just leave it as it is, never pull the chair out or open a drawer. Everything is so perfectly ordered, to move would be to risk disorder, confusion, anxiety about the unknown. But she knows that she must move; she knows that disorder must be risked for anything great to be realized. It seems as if for her to do anything she must accept the eventuality of chaos. But in that moment standing in her ordered apartment the chaos is pushed back, if only for a second, and potential is realized.
Sunday, March 4, 2012
Saturday, March 3, 2012
Thursday, March 1, 2012
But we weren't there for them, we were there for the main act. We were there to see The Monkees.
By 1986 I had seen most, if not all, of The Monkees television show. I loved it. It was weird and absurd and colorful, and I may not have understood half the jokes that were being made but it was filled with dream logic and it made sense to me. As a side note my tastes have changed very little in this regard.
Now I know that everyone's favorite Monkee was either Davy Jones or Micky Dolenz, and while I loved both of them dearly, my favorite was without a doubt Peter Tork. I know of course that his character was a bit of a dummy, but there was something kind and sweet about him.
So, the concert. When The Monkees theme started playing I had no trouble screaming and dancing to the music. What I remember most about the concert is, of course, Peter talking about being the quiet one, and then singing an awesome song and playing the guitar (I think he took the lead on 'For Pete's Sake', but I can't be certain). It was an amazing experience and a great first concert for a 9 year old.
I wish I could say it was all great. The next day I went to school tired and wearing a Monkees t-shirt. This led to me being tormented and made to feel guilty by Mrs. Eegan for having had fun. To be fair, she hated me and it was, I believe, her mission as an emissary from hell to make my life as unbearable as possible. She was certainly good at her job, but still, she cannot take away the awesomeness of that evening. And I only wish my highly selective memory did not in fact include her.
So there it is, The Monkees. It is sad that Davy Jones has passed, but I feel so blessed that I got to be influenced by that band and their show. The more I think about it, the more I think they are the reason I like such strange stuff, them and 'The Electric Company.' But that is a different memory all together.
Monday, February 27, 2012
Thursday, February 23, 2012
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
A while back I came across this quote from Ira Glass about creativity:
“What nobody tells people who are beginners — and I really wish someone had told this to me . . . is that all of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, and it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not.
But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn't have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story.
It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I've ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You've just gotta fight your way through.”
I let it simmer for a while in the back of my brain. Every now and then I would think about this quote and know it to be true, but I wouldn't do anything about it.
This January I went back to Los Angeles and I had a conversation with a good friend who told me about this writing project she has been doing. She writes every day for at least 20 minutes. She can write more if she likes but she only commits to 20 minutes a day. I was intrigued. I could do that, I could write for 20 minutes a day, and who knows, maybe something will happen.
I decided to do it as a Lenten discipline, which means from now through April 7th I will write something everyday. This is not meant to be a journal and it could be really bad, in fact I know that on multiple occasions it probably will be. And it might get really personal. This is a chance I will have to take. This exercise wont work if it doesn't test me on both a creative and spiritual level.
Spiritual you say? How can doing something like this test you spiritually? Well, I had a very heartfelt conversation with a friend yesterday and he made the observation that perhaps the cross that perhaps for some of us the cross we are supposed to take up is one of the heart. That is to say, the world has a tendency to break your heart, and for some of us the instinctive reaction to this is to put up walls against further hurt or rejection. But the spirit cannot grow and be fruitful when the heart is locked away for safe keeping.
So I will write, and in this way I hope to coax my heart out of its hiding place and see what it has to offer.