Monday, August 24, 2009

On Work and Writing

Time drags slowly. Sitting in this office chair, listening to Radiohead, the Flaming Lips, Modest Mouse, MGMT, the Shins. Waiting for an email from CIS. Checking facebook for the hundredth time.

My calendar is quite organized, my emails all in their respective folders. My to-do lists are pinned up on these fabric boards, my pens all face the same direction. And still the clock is so slow.

This dreariness of waiting, the slow snooziness of time this afternoon reminds me of times in DH 150, waiting for Chem 1100 to get out. Those were long afternoons, inspiring many yawns, sighs, and random scrawlings of prose across my 'notes.'

My hands are going numb as the air conditioning floods our floor. It's a perfect, sunny, seventy-three degrees outside, but without a window, with only fluorescent lights casting their glow, I somehow feel like it's winter. I need a hat and a pea coat and some really cute boots.

Taking advantage of these empty hours, the words start to flow. Revisions, deletions, additions. Sometimes, I think I'm not cut out to write novels; it is such a challenge to keep the idea going for that long. Short stories work out easier. I have too many characters in my head, and when I start a new novel, I desperately try to shove them all together, with short lived results most of the time. So, for now, I'm sticking to shorter projects.

Setting is hard; if I don't plan out what the location of my characters is exactly in my head, I tend to get disoriented so easily. Most of the time, therefore, I steal a location from my life. Like my grandparents' old farm house: this is where Todd and Sarah run about now...

He stood, holding his arm, looking at her.

She took one step forward, and motioned with her arm. “Come on.”
At her gesture, he hesitantly walked after her. She pulled the door open another foot, allowing the boy to pass through into the snow ahead of her. She closed the door fully, without a slam.

The young man gasped as the winter wind attacked him. Hugging his arms around his chest, he watched her desperately. She set a quick pace back toward the house, glancing back just
enough to see him following behind in her peripheral vision.
Reaching the back porch, she stomped against the wooden planks, dislodging snow from her boots. Opening the outer screen door, the hinges squeaked painfully. She winced as the high pitched squeal radiated in her ears. When she glanced backwards at the youth, though, he seemed not to have noticed.

He followed her into the mud room, and stood dripping on the rug just inside the door. His thin clothing was soaking, sticking to his body; his hair sent droplets of melting snow down his face.
“Wait here,” she said, after she had relieved herself of her boots and coat. Abandoning the bleeding and shivering young man, she took to the stairs, ascending into rooms largely untouched.

Reaching the second floor, she caught her breath for a moment, leaning on one arm braced against the wall. Two plush orange chairs stared at her from across the room, book-stuffed shelves lining the walls behind. She turned to her left, grasping the cool metal of a doorknob, and pushed open the bedroom door.Topher’s room was perfectly tidy, contrary to how it had been while he was alive. She crossed to the dresser, attempting to blind herself to anything in the room beside her goal. Tugging open multiple drawers, she pulled out a pair of long underwear, jeans, a t-shirt, a plaid shirt with buttons down the front, thick socks. Gathering the clothes into a bundle against her chest, she closed the drawers carefully, perfectly, and left the room just the same as it had been before her intruding.

Friday, August 21, 2009

On Beauty

There are few things I love more than fall in Seattle. While the calendar still reads August, the weather plainly screams Autumn and I could not be more thankful.

Stepping out my front door, I took a huge whiff, a smile sneaking across my face: it smells like rain. Clouds coat the sky, and the temperature is perfect to be wandering around campus in long pants and long sleeves.

With the weather aching of fall, I want fall events. Cue the start of school... in a month. Thirty-two days will pass quickly, won't they?

I rest assured they will if I fill them with the beauty that was yesterday:

Babysitting John and Grant, walking to the beach, laughing lots, stopping at the bakery, singing Potter Puppet Pals, reading choose-your-own-adventure books aloud, playing Don't Break the Ice!, and so many other tiny things that just make me smile.

And after a beautiful (but exhausting) eight hours with the twins, to relax with Ben and a good movie:

Pretending we were star gazing on my living room floor.
Endless fits of giggles.
Tickle attacks.
And priceless embraces.

I love the awkwardness, quirkyness, weirdness that we both possess. Our silly times together are amazing.

With an empty September calendar before me, the rest of summer promises some good times and surprises before the utter comfort of school descends once again.

Monday, August 17, 2009

On Growing Up

I am fearful of change, of an uncertain future.

Suddenly, my childhood is fading fast with trips to the airport, whispers of engagements.

How we have jumped from being children to adults without transition...

The beauty of drawing with sidewalk chalk, of stargazing, of playing board games, of reading children's books is thankfully not yet drowned in this growing up nonsense.
I still feel seven-years-old most of the time as the months left in my teenage years dwindle.
When does that inner child die? When do making up nicknames and running around acting like dinosaurs become less hilarious? Where there is a country separating you?
Within Jesus' call for us to have faith like children, is He also not pleading with us to retain the eyes of children? To see the world about us shrouded in lenses of joy and innocence? To love like children, quickly and without fear? To laugh like children, boundless and without end?

Whispers of Your graciousness and faithfulness abound.

Friday, August 14, 2009

On Absolute Peace

It smells like smoke: campfire, cigarette, flare, pot. And the ocean, salty breeze too cool when too far from the fire pit. So many conversations flit about, running into and on top of one another. Dirty sand stains bare feet black.

In the midst of all of this: tranquility.

Her head against his chest,
he breathing in the scent of her hair,
kissing the top of her head,
his arm fitting perfectly around her shoulders,
fingers playing and entwining with one another.

Absolute peace.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

On His Greatness

You know... God is great. "But the basic reality of God is plain enough. Open your eyes and there it is!" (Romans 1:19, the Message). There is no way I can go through a moment of my life without thanking God for the beauty that is surrounding me. And that is a joy. I love being aware of God, thinking of Him first in everything that happens to me.

This summer, these last few months, even this whole last year has been an incredible blessing. I think back on last summer, the relief it was to be out of that tiny, brainwashed world. The walks, the writing, the time spent with friends as I watched them, one by one, scatter across the country. Nerves started to creep into my stomach as I would lay awake at night, unable to imagine the changes in store for my life in late September.

But college came and God was great. A journal entry from the last day of orientation weekend: "I am increasingly happy at this point in time. Increasingly. It is a beautiful moment. I have this amazing sense of fulfillment and peace, and am so thankful to God. I feel like I've finally found this place where I'm supposed to be. And it is amazing. I don't think I've ever had this feeling before."

God gave me such a sense of security: I'd found a home, and I knew it after three days of being there. Another entry, from halfway through October: "If, once upon a time, you found this place where you found yourself effortlessly happy, comfortable, peaceful, and safe, but knew you could only stay for four years, what would you do to savor those years, those months, those weeks, those days, those hours, those minutes, those seconds?
Open up your arms and embrace the whole world, loving everyone you see. Smile and laugh because life is small and God is clever. Trust that everything will come out perfectly as it must and there's nothing you can do to ruin it.
I cannot lose my grace because I was not the one who gained it. Ah, to be free of all pressure.
God is good."

Blessed assurance...

It's incredible the way God knows us all so uniquely and cares for us so well. He is amazing.

I know it's easy to be hopeful and joyful when everything in your life is seamless, but my life is not without it's share of seams. But God created us, and He knows what we need, and He will always be there providing enough. Sometimes more, but sometimes just enough.

I am beautifully in love with life, and with my God the Creator of all.

"Oh come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
For the Lord is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth;
the heights of the mountains are his also.
The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.

Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
For he is our God.
and we are the people of his pasture,
and the sheep of his hand.
Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts..."
Psalm 95:1-8

Saturday, August 1, 2009

On Joy

What a joy this life is.

In the passenger seat, watching two old men in a convertible nod their heads in unison to music, hearing a motocyclist pull a wheely in the far left lane and speed off, feeling much cooler than he was in actuality.

Sun streaming, in the company of people I love so freaking much. Trader Joe's and canoes and Blue Angels and splashing and Quelf.

I cannot put voice to the assurance I have that our joy is God's joy.