Hi!

So I’ve kind of been neglecting this blog because somehow the last time I updated wordpress I broke stuff in the template and I haven’t been motivated to fix it.

In fact, I’ve been pretty unmotivated in the blogging/writing department all year. I think a lot of it has to do with just how much things have changed and I sort of don’t really know how to fit in. I feel like a lot of my friends have moved on to bigger and better things and I’m sort of in the same place I always was. And I’m not even gonna lie, a certain recent sale really grated. In fact, having to be quiet about so much stuff over the last couple of years has been hard.

And then today I was looking at graphics for something completely unrelated and I got to thinking about how much I want to update my blogger template and then I was chatting with a friend and I realized that I’d love to just give it a whole new look. Now suddenly I feel like I desperately need a new look to my blog and that it will help me ~leave behind the old and start new.

And all of this is really irrelevant to your lives, but it was a huge revelation to me. I don’t know why I’m always so slow to change.

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Happy New Year!

Everyone! I will write more when I get home, I have things to write about after all! 🙂 Meanwhile, I hope you have a wonderful New Year’s celebration.

Aside

I was listening to Nichole Nordeman the other day and wondering what happened to her. I found out she wrote a CD about the Bible this year! So I looked it up on Spotify and was depressed to discover it was boring and horribly uninspired sounding.

Her first two albums are still my favorite. It’s hard to believe she went from such gorgeous and deeply moving songs like “River God” and “Small Enough” to the blandness of her music now.

I guess it’s as good a reason as any to disappear though. Sometimes you have something worth saying, sometimes the life you are living requires you to dig down deep and create and produce something resembling art out of your experiences and questions. Once those go away, it can be hard to keep finding something to say. I think that’s why some novelists write so little, making a career out of storytelling seems like a daunting task. Some writers have one story to tell others have many things to write.

Fatigue

I have these things…you know issues that I care about and have argued a thousand times and today I realized that in a way I just don’t care. I mean you eventually cross this point where you can’t be bothered to really listen anymore, it’s just easier to classify people and things into whatever they’re spouting at you then to even try to dialogue. And there’s this part of me that wonders if most times I’m just making a big deal out of something that doesn’t even matter.

Like whether or not YA should be taken seriously or if the ending is as important as the journey. Is there an objective standard to measure greatness? Boys and girls and gender and women being president and people of faith being cool and the Help.

I’m just so tired and sometimes I wonder if I just consciously seek out the opposing opinion and go against the grain to feel…I don’t know relevant? Alive? Like I exist?

But then I think, I know I’m not alone because sometimes I’ll read something and realize that person gets it in a way they can express or I’ll hear someone say something that feels deep down true. I know the problem is that trying to exist in the tension will always be exhausting. Really listening will never not take enormous amounts of energy. Seeing past differences will be increasingly difficult in a world that highlights them. Always considering the full humanity of another is never simple.

Maybe I just need to talk less and listen more, I don’t know. I mean does it really matter if at the end of the day YA books are regarded as “great literature”? What really matters, I reckon is that the people who need to read them read them.

Music that gives me Hope

I need Christian music in my life.

There’s a part of me that wants to rebel against even writing that but it’s the truth. I think I need it in the same way I need books that grapple with faith, and more often than not those books end up getting called Christian fiction.

I am a person of Christian faith. It’s the faith I was raised in, and while I’ve had periods in my life when I was farther away from it than others, the truth is that I’m happiest and most at peace when I am at peace with being a Christian, or at peace with God, so to say. Therefore, I like to see the very real struggles and hopes of my faith reflected in the art I choose to engage with.

Life is difficult and it doesn’t turn out the way we want it to. Sometimes it feels overwhelmingly mundane and then suddenly something terrible happens that tears into the fabric of our ordered worlds and makes us desperate to grasp onto the mundane as much as we can. It’s so full of hurt, disappointment, and pain. The moments when we feel joy can be so fleeting–you know those moments when you hurt in a way that feels good and right because your heart cannot contain its happiness.

I’m a pretty melancholy person and prone to depression. I have to fight against meaningless addictions of my mind all the time by which I mean becoming consumed with thinking about one thing that has no impact on my actual life, but isn’t harmful either, in and of itself. Blogging might be a good example of this.

Sometimes, music is the only thing that can coax me out the darkness. In the same way that music sometimes becomes a friend in the low places, it also can be a light out. A gentle voice reminding me.

Unfortunately there’s such a limited amount of Christian music that really moves me. Obviously, you all know I love Andrew Peterson. I also really like Shane and Shane for the times when I need be gently reminded that there’s something more. There’s some emotional depth to their music I connect with even though I think that their lyrics don’t always quite deliver. Jeremy Casella is a more recent addition. And Fernando Ortega.

One of my favorites is actually the old hymn, This is My Father’s World, which for some reason makes me teary almost every time. It’s so sweet and full of hope. And this week, it was this song, “Take Heart My Friend.” It’s funny because it kind of sounds like a typical CCM song, yet it is exactly what I need to hear sometimes. It’s the only truth I really need to know…I can take heart because God is with me still, just as He always been. It’s the one real promise I have–not that life will turn out beautifully, not that I’ll know happiness or worldly success..but that I’ll never be alone.

I’ve included both songs below…because they gave me hope this week, a feeling I almost sometimes prefer to kill:

PS I have no idea what happened with my theme. 😦 When I upgraded I lost some of the formatting so I had to switch themes for the time being. When I’m feeling ambitious, I’ll do more with this blog.

Still Alive

Well hello there…just dusting off this blog a bit.

It’s been a long spring, where I’ve been struggling with feeling down which is never good for me. It’s led to abandoning all of the activities I usually enjoy and now I’m finally getting back into the swing of things, though I’m not exactly sure why or how. 🙂

My life in random bits of nothingness:

  • My brother is getting married in July which is awesome! I’m so glad he’s happy. It’s my one vacation of the year, so I’m looking forward to the change of scenery like you wouldn’t believe. There’s a lot I like about living in SoCal, but I think the actual environment/scenery is really bad for my soul and creative spirit.
  • I’ve been listening to Tori Amos’s From the Choirgirl Hotel a lot recently which brings back so many memories. It’s one of my favorite albums of hers and I have no idea if that’s a popular opinion or not since I don’t really talk to a lot of other fans, but it’s really great to drive to and think to. My relationship to music is kind of weird, I like stuff that I connect to emotionally on a music level and can also daydream to and that’s kind of hard to explain sometimes. For example, I am listening to this CD I haven’t listened to in years and suddenly I’m listening to it nonstop again. I mean, what? Does anyone else do this?
  • I haven’t been to the theater in months! I wanted to go see Something Borrowed since it’s based on one of my favorite books, but a friend of mine told me it’s nowhere near as good (shocker) as the book and they minimize the cheating. Sorry but THAT’S THE WHOLE POINT of the story. To show how right cheating can feel even when everything screams it’s wrong. I guess books just get away with a kind of honesty that movies made for entertainment can’t.
  • I’m looking forward to the return of The Closer this summer but also kind of dreading its return because it means it will be over soon. It’s probably the last procedural show I watch and that’s because it’s so well written, so very well written and acted and I love Brenda’s characterization.
  • I need music recommendations! Sad, wistful, pretty stuff! Or folksy stuff. Good poetic lyrics, please.

What’s up with all of you?

The Time to Make Up Your Mind About People is Never

Recently I watched The Philadelphia Story for the first time because Gossip Girl has been drawing from it this season. (For a show called Gossip Girl the writing is amazingly pretentious about its overarching themes–the episode to episode writing is not usually so good, though) There are a lot of older classic movies I’ve never seen, don’t judge me.

There were many things I really liked about it, namely Jimmy Stewart (whom I adore) and Katherine Hepburn and the witty dialogue that made me laugh quite a bit. I didn’t particularly like all of the implications of the film for my show, and in my opinion it’s horrendously sexist (but I do recognize it is from a different time), but I loved this line…”the time to make up your mind about people is never.”

Last year was a really hard year for me in terms of relationships. I was let down in many different relationships–I discovered that some friendships I thought were real were mere stepping stones for others and I felt written off by still others. Feeling cast aside and discarded, judged and labeled by people you’ve loved and laughed with is really one of the worst feelings in the world, I think. Friendship can be so hard and when that trust is broken, when what lies beneath what you thought you’ve built is revealed, its very hard not to be finished, to not let the lens of my own perspective become the definition.

Renay, someone who unknowingly is constantly teaching me, wrote the most gorgeous thing at the end of the year that so perfectly summed up the struggle I had last year. A struggle I suspect will continue throughout my life.

There is no such thing as universal popularity. Someone will always dislike you for ridiculous, ridiculous things, and there’s no way to change their mind or change their story of you. You will have one story to those people, and most of them aren’t naturally re-readers, so therefore they will never open the book of you again. It cannot be your job to force them to read the book of you again at a different time, or age, or maturity level. All you can do is set it on their shelf and let it be. Maybe they’ll re-read it and maybe they won’t, but instead of obsessing about the people that let the book of you collect dust, go out and share a copy with people inclined to pick it up and cherish it and dog ear pages and give copies to their friends, people who will open it late at night or early in the morning, hoping for the feeling of warmth that comes with all friendships that are worth keeping.

The thing I always wonder about myself, though, is do I make up my mind too early? And if I’ve made up my mind about someone than I guess have.

I’ve been reading What Good is God? by Philip Yancey (and I’m so behind–sorry Faith and Fiction friends!) As always, I love his gentle voice and the way he manages to invite readers in for questioning while also encouraging us. In a chapter about some time he spent with former sex workers, he talks about the mystery of a person. Again, this is such a good reminder for me. I find it hard to constantly live in the tension of staying open minded to people and making decisions drawn on past experience. When talking about nested dolls he writes, “It occurred to me later that each one of us, like the nested dolls, contains multiple selves, making us a mysterious combination of good and evil, wisdom and folly, reason and instinct.” We are not one of us just any one thing no matter how much our minds demand categorizations be made. We all have our own degree of mystery, capable of great love, great kindness, great cruelty.

I can think of times when I’ve formed my judgment about someone, only to later be moved when I see them differently…for the better or worse. Sometimes I fear our society makes up its mind too quickly. We judge by political affiliation, we judge by religious association, by gender, race, sexual orientation, class, blog platform, and more. We shove people into our own understanding of who they should be by these things, discounting the mysterious fullness of their personhood. The time to make up your mind about people is….never.