Thursday, December 11, 2008

Lifeboat Theology

Last night I was in a mood to reread some Don Miller (the author of Blue Like Jazz). He tells a story in Searching for God Knows What about a time in grammar school, when his teacher gave the class a "values classification" assignment. The teacher told the class to imagine themselves in a lifeboat populated with a lawyer, a nurse, a handicapped child, etc. The boat was sinking with the weight of all the people, and the class had to come together to choose one person to throw out so they wouldn’t sink. Debate ensued, debate over the value of human life, debate over who should live and who should die--in a grammar school class.

If, today, I were forced to defend my right to stay in the boat, my resume would look just good enough to keep me in the mediocre middle of the line. I’m relatively intelligent, relatively good looking, and relatively socially competent. That is, the lifeboat says I am okay relative to a lot of other people around me. That position should give me some relief, but it doesn't. Life in the lifeboat likes to remind me that I'm always on the edge. One wrong word and I’ll be rejected. One missed opportunity and I’ll fall behind. One false step and I'll be damned to hell. That's lifeboat theology at its best.

Christians embrace lifeboat theology just as firmly as everyone else. We just have a different set of credentials. The Christian lifeboat blesses both the suffering servants and the former rebels with good testimonies of their taste of hell. I never ran off the deep end, so my credentials in the Christian lifeboat are pretty much they same as they are for the regular one, mediocre. I’m not bad enough to be loved that extra dose and not good enough to be sainted.

Miller goes on to point out that we lifeboat dwellers all fight in some manner for the right to stay in. Lifeboat theology insists that our rights are the most important things in the world--the right to be loved, the right to be wanted, the right to be pampered, the right to be seen as capable, the right to feel sorry for ourselves, the right to be right. The lifeboat tells me that with my mediocre credentials I have the right to be seen, to be noticed. I am just good enough that I should have an audience, and if I don't then I'm slipping in line. Our rights "prove" we are valuable, and if someone offends them, intentionally or not, we freak out. We know we were made for glory, but we also know we are always close to the edge of shame.

Vikki, (my fellow TriMu) likes to quote Napoleon: "Glory is fleeting, Obscurity is forever." If you look at life from the lifeboat it's a very pithy statement. But it's not true. The lifeboat sounds so right, so true, because we all live there, but Miller says it’s all fake. True life doesn't have a lifeboat at all. True theology doesn't either. God clothes us in his eternal glory despite our feeble attempts to wrap ourselves up in our rights. The Bible says God sees our efforts as filthy rags that leave us naked and exposed to the elements. Our attempts to make glory for ourselves all end in obscurity. In that way, Napoleon was right. But only in the lifeboat. And the God of the universe hates lifeboats, because he is Life. He is True. He is the Way to eternal glory. He is the ocean.

I try very, very hard to agree with Don Miller and get out of the boat. But I like to live in the safe places deep in the bowels of the lifeboat. Every once in a great while, though, I'll dip my toes over the edge, still holding onto my rights with a white-knuckle grip. The water is warm. The boat rocks in a wave. I freak out and dive back in, stroking my vanity with blog entries and new clothes and a winning smile perfected for my bathroom mirror. I pray someone notices that I’m valuable and moves me to a safer place in line. I pray no one notices I’m a failure and throws me out. I pray this to the god of the lifeboat while the God of the universe sends another wave to shake me up again.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Redecorating Your Brain

(Cross posted on The Modern Mythmakers)

With the successful completion of yet another NaNoWriMo by all the members of the TriMu, I thought this entry would be appropriate. Someone recently asked me "How do you go about writing a story?" and you know if you ask a novelist a question like that, you get . . . well, you get a novel.


The idea flies into my brain. It's shiny and cool to the touch. It glows with an inner light that fascinates me. I find myself staring blankly at it while I should be doing real-world things like working or sleeping or driving.

The idea begins to redecorate my brain. It asks to be taken on a tour of my mind, so it can steal furniture from other rooms. It also likes to travel with me and steal from the rest of my life. Feeling insecure at work? Great! Let's put that in the character portraits. Listening to an interesting accent? That will go well in the conversation nook. Reading the story of Jacob's ladder to heaven? Fantastic! Let's make that into a lovely metaphor for the coffee table.

Soon the idea has filled its room in my brain so full we can't see each other through all the stuff. The idea suddenly discovers something. It is claustrophobic.

There is a frenzy to organize. We go through all the idea's junk, trying to find patterns in the piles and piles of objects it has collected. I try to take notes, to categorize, to plot out a diagram of the room as it should look. I write on post-its, 3x5 cards, spreadsheets, but the lists are just as messy as the room itself.

"That's it!" I say. "Let's just start working and see what happens."

The process moves slowly, and my friendly idea refuses to help. All it does is sit there looking sulky. It doesn't shine. It doesn't glow. Every day it begins to look more and more like the proverbial pebble in the proverbial shoe. I match feats with Psyche's mythic moving of the sand pile one grain at a time.

Finally I make the room appear a bit more like a room, and less like an overflowing storage unit. There are picture frames on the wall, empty, but on the wall. I place two mismatched chairs in the corner for a conversation nook. I find the coffee table--no metaphor, though. Where is that blasted metaphor?

Giving up seems like the best option. My brain's a disaster. That stupid idea stole all the best parts of me and jumbled them all up. The idea itself has lost all its luster. I wonder if it was ever shiny at all. The story room is worse than ever. At least the piles of junk held more potential than this. What a waste of time.

I leave the room. Pulling the door shut behind me, I say a soft goodbye to my idea. Then I see it. On the floor, by my shoe. My idea, all dull and tarnished, is carrying the metaphor. The idea holds the metaphor up to the light of the blinking fluorescent bulb. They melt together. They merge. The hallway fills with light as my idea shines again--brighter than before.

Smiling, I pick it up and go back into the room. We have work to do.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Bard Queen - Part 3

The doors opened to a dank hallway that smelled strongly of moldy socks. One of the dingy yellow florescent lights flickered from a bad connection. A tilted direction sign in front of the elevator showed a faded left arrow and the words "Incantation Technology."

Office Wench raced through the halls. The air seemed lighter in the dungeons, but she was still panting when she reached the Helpdesk. Reception Witch didn't look up when Office Wench gripped the edge of the desk and asked, "I need to see the Sage."

"The who?"

"The Sage. He's from Truth. I need his help to..." Office Wench stopped when Reception Witch glared at her over purple-rimmed reading glasses. "To look at my Mail Merge Magic. It's not working right."

"The Sage, huh?" She tapped a button on her phone, "Brown Noser, you know of any IT Guy called the Sage?"

"That's the crack pot in D875. He's a real piece of work! Always got his head in the clouds!"

Office Wench didn't stop to listen to the platitudes Brown Noser was venting. She knocked an IT Guy and his stack of laptops into the wall as she passed. Finally she reached the door to D875. She pushed open the door.

Office Wench expected the Sage's office to be filled with a glowing green haze and flashes of purple light. But instead, she found a clean, well-lit room with the lightest scent of vanilla latte.

"Hello." The Sage sat upright in his chair. "May I help you?"

Office Wench stared at her shoes. "Um, I need some help getting my Mail Merge right."

He backed away from his desk and stood."Sure, what's the problem?"

Office Wench looked up as he walked toward her. His deep brown eyes held her gaze firmly.

"I want to go to Truth."

He smiled. "You are already in it."

Office Wench glanced around the room. It was true that the air felt a little fresher, a little lighter, in the room, but she couldn't see how this could be Truth.

"Not just here. We are all in Truth." Office Wench furrowed her brow and he continued, "Reality is only a country, Truth is the world. You need to get your head out of the clouds."

Office Wench moved for the door. "I should have known."

He grabbed her arm. "Wait. Listen to me. The clouds in Reality are what keep you here. The air is thick with enchantments. Wicked spells that keep you trapped inside your slavery, trapped inside your own head. Getting your head out of the clouds is exactly what you need to do. Then you will see Truth all around you."

Office Wench stared at his hand gripping her elbow. "How?"

"You have to remember." He looked wildly around the room. "You have to remember who you are. Let me see..." He walked over to a wall of bookshelves. "Have a seat. I need to find the right spell."

Office Wench positioned herself on the edge of the Sage's vinyl couch. He rifled through several books before carrying one as thick as a dictionary back to the couch. He sat next to her, their knees almost touching.

"All right. Close your eyes."

Office Wench obeyed. But as soon as she did a feeling came over her that Brown Noser or Reception Witch would burst through the open door at any moment and send her back to her cube. Why was she here? Why humiliate herself in front of this crazy dude with the deep eyes? She should go back.

"Repeat after me, 'Once upon a time...'"

Office Wench stood and moved toward the door. Her heart pulsed rapidly against her lungs.

"You have to fight it!" The Sage stood with her. "Reality is still in your lungs. You have to resist it."

"I'm not like you. I'm not strong!"

"Do you think that I don't feel it? That I don't gasp as my lungs close with the heaviness and despair. I'm as much a slave to Reality as you are. But I fight with everything that is in me to remember who I am."

Office Wench stood very still, her head hung low.

"You have to fight it, or you will never find freedom."

She lifted her eyes to his. "Once..." The haze before her seemed to melt in curling wisps before her breath. "Upon a time." She could see his clear, bright smile before her. No fog separated them now. "I was royalty. I was a story-weaver. My life was lived to speak counter-spells into the haze. My life was lived to free the slaves of Reality. I am a Bard Queen. "


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Bard Queen - Part 2

Office Wench stopped by Keyer of Edits's cube on her way to her own. "It was just like you said. She didn't leave the office."

He squinted at her. "Huh?"

"Data Entry. She never made it to Truth."

"What's all this about?" A booming voice called through the haze behind her.

Office Wench stiffened. She hadn't noticed Boss Man coming their way.

"So, how is everything?" He put strong emphasis on the last word and made a half wink with his left eye. Boss Man positioned himself well within Office Wench's personal space. The scent of his pastrami sandwich hung in the air, staining the haze with a tinge of puce. "Is everything all right?"

Office Wench held up her mug. "I was just getting coffee before I..."

"Good, good, good." Boss man slapped his left hand with a thick stack of papers. "You know, our office brings out the best in its slaves. All our employees are loyal and dedicated to the company. They may have discontented slaves in other divisions, but I know for a fact, there aren't any here. Slaves here take their jobs seriously because the company takes their jobs seriously." He glared at her through another half-wink. "I know you're going to be with us for a long time."

Office Wench nodded. " Sir, I was just going to..."

"Good, good, good. I want you to type this." He slapped her full mug with a stack of yellow legal paper, spilling scalding coffee down her leg. "And when you're done with that I want you to find the addresses for all these slaves." He slapped it again with a stack of white computer paper, pouring the rest on her chest. "And when you're done with that I want you to mix it all together," He swirled the air in front of her nose with a stubby forefinger. "And do that Mail Merge Magic you're so well known for." He winked for real this time and stalked off, leaving the soggy papers on Keyer of Edits desk.

Office Wench turned on the spot and walked the other direction.

Keyer of Edits called after her, "Hey, I'm not going to do the Mail Merge for you! That's not my magic!"

Office Wench almost ran to the bank of elevators. Her lungs burned with the effort just to drag the semi-solid oxygen into her lungs.

She slapped the down button. Several slaves trudged past while she waited, but no one looked up. Finally, the elevator halted on her floor and opened. Data Entry Maiden stood in the doorway.

"Where is the Sage?" Office Wench asked.

"What?" She blinked several times as if to clear the fog from her eyes. "Oh, he's in the dungeons. That's all I know."

"Where in the dungeons?"

She shrugged her shoulders.

"I thought you talked to him about Truth."

"Get your head out of the clouds."

Office Wench pushed her way into the elevator. She remembered hearing that the IT guys were kept in one of the lowest levels of the dungeon, so she slapped D8 with her palm and watched the doors close.

Data Entry Maiden still spouted platitudes. "Reality is all there is. Suck it up and deal."


To be continued....

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Bard Queen - Part 1

(Cross Posted on the Modern Myth Makers)

"Reality hates me"
- Kalayna Price

Once upon a time, a young slavegirl lived in a faraway land called Reality. This slavegirl, like all the slaves of Reality was known only by her function - Office Wench. If she had a name, she did not know it. Office Wench lived a normal life in Reality. She picked at her Real food, slept fitfully in her Real bed, and trudged to her Real job every morning.

One day, while Office Wench crouched over her keyboard, she overheard an argument in the next cubicle.

"You should come with me," said a voice Office Wench recognized as Data Entry Maiden. "We'll all suffocate here if we stay any longer."

"Stop talking like a baby," said Office Wench's neighbor, the Keyer of Edits. "There is nowhere else to go."

"I can't take another day in this place." Data Entry Maiden lowered her voice to a whisper, forcing Office Wench to press her ear against the padded wall to hear. "I leave tomorrow morning, meet me at the water cooler at 9 a.m."

The Keyer of Edits laughed. "You won't make it out of the office. Get your head out of the clouds."

This last statement was a favorite phrase of the slaves of Reality, for there were lots of clouds to get one's head stuck in. Reality was an odd country. The people walked with their gazes fixed to the ground straight in front of them. Therefore, they could see only what was right there, in full view.

If their gaze ever crept upward, they saw nothing, for the entire land was covered in a haze that floated just above the ground. The fog was thick and still and windless. Walking through Reality felt like walking through vaporous rock. Nothing stirred Real air.

The well acclimated often bragged about how "Real air is heavy. Only the strong truly appreciate it's full weight." Then they would throw out their chests and swallow huge gulps of the stuff, choking all the while.

Office Wench went to fetch water at 9 the next morning, as she did every morning. Data Entry Maiden stood in front of the water cooler rocking back and forth on her heels, a rucksack over her arm.

"Where are you going?" asked Office Wench.

Data Entry Maiden glanced back and forth down the halls before answering, "To find Truth."
"But everyone knows that Reality is all there is."

"That's not what the Sage says." Data Entry Maiden turned her back on Office Wench.

"The what?"

"The Sage who lives in the dungeons. He is from Truth, and he says there is a way to get there."

"Did he tell you the way?"

"Like I need some crazy IT Guy telling me what to do!" She muscled her rucksack higher on her shoulder and walked past Office Wench. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have somewhere to be."

Office Wench could not focus on her keyboard that day. She kept imagining Data Entry Maiden walking out of the fog, finding Truth. But the next morning, Office Wench was disappointed. For there, in her padded cell, sat Data Entry Maiden curled over her keyboard.

"What happened to Truth?" asked Office Wench.

"Get your head out of the clouds!" Data Entry Maiden said without lifting her eyes.


Continued in Part 2

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Into the Commons

C.S. Lewis, in his book, The Four Loves, describes the birth of friendship as sounding something like this, "What? You too? I thought I was the only one." When we find a common way of thinking, a common emphasis for our lives, Lewis says the love of friendship, or phileo, blossoms. Lewis goes on to write, "Lovers seek for privacy. Friends find this solitude about them, this barrier between them and the herd, whether they want it or not." To enter the commons with a friend necessitates a separation from the rest of society not for the sake of separation, but in order to seek out the shared thought. Often, when I'm with my writer friends (the Modern Myth Makers), one of us will stop the conversation and say something like, "I wonder what people would think if they heard us discussing the after effects of a ninja raid on Greenwich Village in the early 1930s."As writers of fiction, we see things differently from the rest of the herd, and our common thoughts make us friends.

If I lived in Sydney, Australia, I think I would be friends with singer/songwriter Brooke Fraser. My brother, Dave (The We Love You Project), gave me a copy of her CD, "Albertine," two weeks ago, and I had Lewis's classic friend reaction of "What? You Too?" Her lyrics speak my heart's cries better than anything I could write about them. Sometimes it takes someone else speaking what we dare not for us to have the courage to admit, "Yeah, that's me." Here is a glimpse of my journey into the commons with Brooke.

It's getting tougher to be single with every passing day. I've been waiting 26 years for the love of the right man, for eros, and I'll keep waiting. It's a firm choice. But being settled in a choice, even one between you and the God of all flesh, doesn't make the wait painless. Some days, my mind and heart and body all start screaming at once. I found a friend in Brooke's song, "Love where is your fire?" In it, she sings, "I've been sitting here smoking away / Making signals with sticks and odd ends and bits, but still there's no sign of a flame / Impostors have been passing, offering a good-feeling glow / But I'm holding out for what you are about - an inferno that burns to the bone / Some urge me to be temperate, but lukewarm will never do." I've struggled with discouragement in this area over the last few months. It seems that everywhere I look, the world urges me to temper my hopes, to either cave to my desire or kill it. Neither is an option. Brooke's song encourages me to admit that yes, I burn, but I'm going to use that longing to somehow glorify the One who put this fire in me in the first place. My will rests in God's Will and I will not moderate that choice.

Which brings me to my next favorite song on Brooke's album, "Faithful." Dave told me this was his theme song right now, but he'll have to wait in line. It's been my theme for my whole life, I just didn't have the right set of words until now. The song is about a different kind of longing than a desire for eros. "Faithful" is about a spirit-longing for union with the Father of the universe. It is about having faith that God is, "and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him" (Heb. 11:6). The chorus says the hardest words I have ever had to tell God, "When I can't feel you, I have learned to reach out just the same / When I can't hear you, I know you still hear every word I pray / And I want you more than I want to live another day / And as I wait for you maybe I'm made more faithful." I have to live this song every day. I have always in a way dared Jesus to step into my life in a tangible way, to prove he loves me by finding me where I'm hiding and giving me a huge hug. But I have reached a point where even when it feels like I'm only embracing air, I will embrace air anyway, because that is all I can do. He is God, I want Him, and I remind myself that He chose me first. But the desire seems like all I have.

My new friend, Brooke, also brings me back to the truth that all these unfulfilled desires are in fact my surest hope. In "The C.S. Lewis Song," Brooke quotes my favorite author (another thing we seem to have in common): "If I find in myself desires nothing in this world can satisfy, I can only conclude that I was not made for here / If the flesh that I fight is at best only light and momentary, then of course, I'll feel nude when to where I'm destined I'm compared /... I will sigh and with all creation grown as I wait for hope to come for me." This idea that unfulfilled longings somehow hint at the existence and nature of heaven is a strong theme in the writings of Lewis. And this beautiful reminder from Brooke gives me reason to hold on to my desires. I must make another choice then. I must choose to long for life as it should be, while all the time recognizing my desires can never come to fulfillment in this broken world, nor should they.

What I would really love now that I have broken this vessel and poured out my deep soul, is that someone would read this and respond, "What? You too?" We can walk the commons together. But if you don't feel that right now, don't worry. We can still be friends based on other thoughts, like finding ninjas in Greenwich Villiage. :)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Obsess much?

My friends (the Modern Myth Makers actually) came over for a visit last week. In the course of the evening, I gave them a "home tour" of my room (I had just cleaned it, so I needed to show off the miracle). They took one look around and asked "Where is all your stuff?" It's strange how that phrase has stuck with me. It's true, I don't collect things (no book obsession if you can believe it). It might be because my family moved a lot when I was growing up and I got used to having enough. Some overly pious (stupid) person will probably say that I am somehow a better person to be so detached from material possessions. I think it's because I just don't like to spend money.

Similarly, I don't really have any consuming hobbies or activities either. For example, writers are supposed to have to write. It's something so deeply necessary to their existence that they are not alive without it. Notice I use the word "they" and not "I." Truth be told, I'm pretty sure I could live just fine without ever writing a novel. This begs the question, "Am I really a writer?" But I don't even care about the answer to that one anymore either. My question has for some time been "Do I have any passion or am I just living asleep?"

I envy passionate people. I love to listen to someone describe something they really love -- whether it be a new song they heard, a new book idea they are working on, or a piece of art glass they bought in Venice. Watching their eyes light up is a beautiful thing. I, on the other hand, always adopted other people's passions and obsessions when I was growing up. It has only been in the last few years that I have tried to find my own. I'm still looking. I know several things that I am good at, some that I am very good at and even enjoy to a degree. However, there is no consuming passion in my life. I truly seem more passionate about the idea of being passionate than I am about anything in particular. It's like being in love with being in love rather than with a living, breathing human being.

That last sentence implies that I have been playing around in the safe world of concepts and ideas without venturing into the reality of life. Maybe so, maybe not. I have pushed it many times and stepped out to try to use the "gifts" God has given me, to write that novel, to go to grad school, to make a movie. To get off my duff and do something with my life. Hey, even in this infant blog I have already made grand statements of the writing I will force myself to do. But my attempts at drumming up passion for passion's sake have all ended in disillusionment. Does that mean I should keep trying, keep fighting, keep pushing? I don't know.

I wish (and have prayed) that God would give me some clear purpose to move toward, but he doesn't. Instead, He keeps pestering me to choose to respect people at work even when they do something that annoys me. I try to drum up some grand passion for a cause and he reminds me to forgive my Dad for saying something stupid when I was hormonal. I beg him to help me write the great novel, but he keeps dragging me over to sit with him under the trees and listen to the wind. I keep asking be in love, and God keeps sending me the living, breathing human being.

I know, I know, I'll shut up now and get myself a hobby. Knitting sounds good.

Friday, July 4, 2008

A Riddle

I come once a moon, not always at full.
Sick as I make you, you're not really ill.
I attack all the ladies and torture their men.
Oft' as I leave you, I come back again.
I don't take the pregnant, the young or the old.
Warped as I make you, you will soon unfold.
I ruin your week and make you feel lazy.
Mad as I make you, you's not really crazy.

What am I?
Leave your guesses on the comment page.

Surviving the Day Job

(cross posted on Modern Myth Makers)

There is no money in the arts. I discovered that fact a long time ago. Knowing such truth though -- like being an artist -- does nothing to pay the bills. Therefore, creative souls usually end up indenturing themselves to a day job of some form. The lucky few will find jobs that feed their creativity, but most of us spend our 40 something hours a week cultivating a cube farm. Others find themselves hunched up in front of a cramped desk in a closed room, whose windows give a grand view of the hallway. We live our lives surrounded by dirty-grey walls and lumpy, commercial-grade Berber carpet. The day job begins to overtake our personalities and sap our creativity. We feel trapped. Here are a few simple suggestions to help you remind yourself that yes, you are a human, not a secretary (or a business analyst).

Say it with a smile
You can get away with venting a lot spleen if you make a joke out of it. Emotional outbursts that might frighten the calmest cube dweller can be fully vented if accompanied by a grin. In fact, the more severe the outburst, the more willing your audience will be to allow it, because they will think you are exaggerating for their amusement. For example, you can tell your coworkers that the light from your monitor is burning a hole in your corneas. This may be true, but no one will notice if you laugh while you say it. Or, you can inform your boss that you will not live through the project she has assigned you (to make your complaint even more acceptable, describe the mode of your impending death in all it's gory detail), and if you season your woes with a pleasant lilt to your voice, she will not feel it necessary to fire you.

Embrace your gremlins
For the past three months, I have been working on three massive data entry projects for my boss. Two of the projects are copying books of data in order to save my boss's boss money by not buying the electronic copies from the people who compiled the books in the first place. I have learned through this process of time-altering boredom to enjoy the database gremlins who visit me every day. Don't get me wrong, I don't enjoy the databases themselves. That would be creative suicide. No, I enjoy the gremlins. They have such interesting personalities. There's Fred, Ned, Gred, Jed, and Alphonso. At first, I was kind of weirded out by the giant vacuum cleaners with which they suck my soul, but now I have come to appreciate the grems for their great senses of humor. Gred likes to stick the vacuum hose up his fat nostril and suck his head inside out. It makes a great party trick. Playing with the gremlins in your head makes the day just fly by.

Take notes
Office workers are amusing creatures. They have intense emotional connections to the strangest objects. I have witnessed the extremes during my time haunting offices -- It varies from wild cursing over a paper jammed in the copier to wild elation over the arrival of purple highlighters. I understand that no one likes a paper jam and purple highlighters are admittedly very cool, but the often violent reactions they engender can be food for survival of the creative soul. You get that many people trying to work together on mostly mundane and meaningless tasks and exciting stuff is bound to happen. When it does, write it down. You'll be able to look back and laugh about it when you finally quit your day job.

Got any more ideas for day job survival?

Monday, June 9, 2008

Angsty Poetry

Every time I try to write poetry, it ends up full of middle-school angst (maybe that's why I write YA fiction...) . Here's one attempt I came across while cleaning up my computer. I don't remember when I wrote it, but it was definitely post-college even though it sounds pre-highschool. I had a lot of fun playing with the line breaks, though.

Sleeping with shoes

Look at me, I’m
I live in molecular purgatory.
I see you, laughing. I want to join
In the fun, but I can’t
Breathe color into my veins.
I kick and scream. I grab your arm. I plead
For you to notice and come and
Take me away.
But you don’t. Look at me, I’m
I delve deep into shadowed places where only
Dust bunnies live. I hide under
The bed. I sleep with the shoes
In my closet.
I watch and pray. I hold my breath. I wait
For you to notice and come and
Take me away.
But you don’t. Look at me, I’m
But I will change that. I will
Tattoo your name on my transparent flesh. I will
Recreate my atomic structure. I will laugh too
Loud, cry too little, and hope that someday
You’ll finally take notice and come and
Take me away.
But you won’t look at me.
I’m invisible.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Narnian at the Con

As I wrote last month, I sewed a costume for the Chronicles of Narnia Premiere. The movie was great, but I was one of only two people at the theatre who dressed up. I felt a little out of place, even though it was fun -- especially when Susan came out in my outfit.

After the movie, I didn't think I would have any more reasons to wear my Susan costume before Halloween, but last weekend, my Tri Mu buddies and I went to Con Carolinas - the local sci-fi/fantasy conference. In the midst of Klingons, Storm Troopers, Pirates, and various cloaked medieval-types I looked pretty normal dressed as a Narnian. It was a blast, wandering among nerds of all shapes, sizes, ages, and obsessions.

My friend Vikki, wore my dryad costume from the first Narnia movie. She looked beautiful and got a ton of complements because she was actually unique among the all the uniqueness. There were plenty of knights and renaissance dresses, but no other dryads.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Trying again

I've hit a writing slump over the past few months. For a while it was just because I was burned out from a fiasco with school, then it was because I was stressing about starting a new job. Lately the reason has less to do with external as with internal stresses. I have been terrified to put fingers to keyboard. I am nervous that nothing good will ever come from my brain, much less my heart, ever again.

But I can't rest in not writing either. I read a book recently about C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkein(see my "Inklings" blog on Modern Myth Makers). Here's a quote that struck me as a kick in the pants to get me writing again. It's from C.S. Lewis novel, The Screwtape Letters which is a series of letters from a senior demon advising his trainee on ways to tempt humans and fight the "Enemy," or God:

"The Enemy allows this disappointment to occur on the threshold of every human endeavour. It occurs when the boy who has been enchanted in the nursery by Stories from the Odyssey buckles down to really learning Greek. It occurs when lovers have got married and begin the real task of learning to live together. In every department of life it marks the transition from dreaming aspiration to laborious doing. The Enemy takes this risk because he has a curious fantasy of making all these disgusting little human vermin into what He calls His "free" lovers and servants -- "sons" is the word He uses.... Desiring their freedom, He refuses to carry them, by their mere affections and habits, to any of the goals which he sets before them.... And therein lies our opportunity. But also therein lies our danger. If once they get through this initial dryness successfullly, they become much less dependent on emotion and therefore much harder to tempt."

So I'm going to try again, regardless of the twisting in the pit of my stomach. It won't be comfortable, but then not writing is not comfortable either.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Narnian Trees

I've been working on a costume for the new Prince Caspian movie for about four months now. I'm going for an approximation of Susan Pevensie in her battle armour.

I taught myself to knit so I could make a "chain maille" facimile. I taught myself how to sew boning and linings and interfacings and zippers and stuff (note to self - sometimes the patterns that look simple are not) so I could make the red dress and a (p)leather cuirass (molded body armour). I will not, however, be learning archery, mostly because I can't actually take weaponry into the theatre.

I am obsessed. I admit it. I think I love the costume making even more than I will like the movie. Don't get me wrong, I love the Chronicles of Narnia, but that's the point -- the movie can never be as good as the book.

I made a costume (less sewing and more draping fabric) for the premiere of the last movie - The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. I was a dryad... or was it naiad? I always get them confused. Wiki interruption: "Dryads are tree nymphs in Greek mythology," "the Naiads ... were a type of nymph who presided over fountains, wells, springs, streams, and brooks." So definitely dryad.

I grant you, I looked a bit upside down for a tree, but I got around that by saying I was the spirit of a weeping willow.

Yes, my friends, I dressed myself as a tree. Not like a grade schooler with a giant cardboard cut-out that flops forward and backward in the wind from the airconditioning vent -- no I bought yards of loose green fabric, and layered it over my brown pants and shirt like a toga. I covered it with silk leaves (I felt like a Weta Workshop person while I stitched my leaves on one at a time). And I even bobby-pinned leaves to my hair. It was great fun.
This year, I am going for a more human (and possibly repurposable) costume by dressing as Susan, but you never know, there are merpeople in Dawn Treader.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Switchfoot in Narnia

Here is a link to the new Switchfoot song "This Is Home," inspired by Prince Caspian. It will play over the final credit of the new movie coming out on May 16th.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Poetry from J.R.R. Tolkien

"The heart of man is not compound of lies,
but draws some wisdom from the only Wise,
and still recalls him. Though now long estranged,
man is not wholly lost nor wholly changed.
Dis-graced he may be, yet is not dethroned,
and keeps the rags of lordship once he owned,
his world-dominion by creative act:
not his to worship the great Artefact,
man, sub-creator, the refracted light
through whom is splintered from a single White
to many hues, and endlessly combined
in living shapes that move from mind to mind."

-- Mythopoeia, by J.R.R. Tolkien

Monday, April 28, 2008

The best way to listen to Mariah Carey

Here's a fine rendition of "Without You" (a song by by Mariah Carey).

We have Bulgarian Idol to thank for bringing us this rising star.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Feeling Bloggish

This idea of blogging has always seemed odd to me. This webpage is available to the tens of millions of internet users; however, I am sitting at my computer, venting spleen, without actually responding to or expecting a response from breathing human beings. An open diary of sorts. I've never kept a private diary, so I'm not sure what to write. We'll see what comes of it.