Thursday, December 31, 2009

On Control and Answers

My heart did a quiet cartwheel within my chest.

I like that sentence.  And I miss that feeling.

In the past few minutes, I think I've realized that one of the things I like most about writing, beyond playing with words and meeting new characters and figuring out fresh and raw ways to say things, is control.  I mean, I never want to be a writer who strips all liberty from characters; they are free to make their own decisions, which are sometimes quite surprising to me (don't even get me started on that one). 

But, even when they are in the middle of an argment or something huge is coming down the road to eat them or whatever is happening, I know these people.  Their minds make sense (as much as anyone's mind can), and being able to see inside their brains, hear their voices as they scream out their very serious opinions that sometimes conflict with one another, is enlightening.  I love to see how they dance around each other, learning about their differences, learning what they will and won't compromise, learning, learning, learning.  It's a fascinating business.

But it makes living in a world of reality frustrating.  I can't see into your mind.  I don't know your whole past, family situation, emotional status, immediate struggles.  I only have me; my own understanding, my own stability in that moment.  But I want to understand you just as entirely deeply as I understand (or think I understand) those characters. 

But life doesn't work that way.

Plainly, I am a control freak.  I try to hide it as craftily as I can, behind walls of indecisiveness and silence and patience (ha!), but not having control over what is going on is one of the most frustratng things I have ever encountered.

Why is your sense of time so different from mine?  Why do our priorities vary so much?  Why isn't this funny to you?  Why are you spending your life doing that?  How can you be so insensitive about that?  And so on.

People are confusing.  I want to split open their minds and disect what makes us all do the crazy things we do.  I want answers to questions that go unanswered.  And will remain unanswerable.

This has been my struggle over sleepless, tear-saturated nights sitting cross-legged on my mattress with all the blankets shoved to the floor.  What the hell am I doing?  Where am I going?  Where do You want me to go?  What if I make these carefully formulated plans and then they changed because they aren't Your will and my heart is broken?  I know what will happen will be greater than I can ever imagine, but can You please give me one tiny clue so I don't start going in the complete wrong direction?  Please?

And the elusive answer to every question circling and spiraling in my mind arrived in the form of a half sheet of cardstock in my Christmas stocking while sitting in the blue chair in Grandpa's living room on Boxing Day.  The family verse for the year 2010 is this:

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.  -Psalm 119:105

Simply, God gives us enough to live right now.  And that's all that's promised.  This verse is like the saying about how your headlights only light a hundred feet in front of you, but you can drive home the entire way like that.

And while this answer isn't the one I want, not a solution to everything I'm questioning handed to me easily on a platter, it is the answer I need.  A reminder that God is here for us now, giving us the strength and understanding we need for each step as it is being taken.  We aren't programmed to understand more than that; that's why He is God and we are not.  And if I try very hard to focus my attentions and worries and strivings for answers and the here and now, and the path being lit for me by Him, I can live more intentionally.

I'm sorry if I try to control you.  I'm just trying to understand.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

On Missing You

Home.  It feels more like the Christmas season than last year, even though we don't have snow.  I love wandering around our town, buying Christmas presents, seeing lights.  I just baked cookies, and finished reading the seventh Harry Potter whilst listening to Christmas music.  It was a beautiful moment in my life.

But I miss lots of things.

I miss my boyfriend.
I miss my roommate.
I miss my two great friends who live down the hall.
I miss my sister.

I miss watching Friends instead of studying.
I miss listening to good music and watching people walk by outside the window.
I miss the bustle of bodies walking up and down the hallway, even when fifth was unceremoniously noisy.

I miss Chapel and group and my job (a little surprisingly).
I miss Dr. Neinhuis's lectures and Dr. Long's slide shows.
I miss throwing my keys out the window.
I miss wearing onesies with friends.

I miss you.  A lot.

Come home soon.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

On Break

Me at Starbucks, trying to write my paper on Twelfth Night.  Not being able to focus enough.  I know what I want to write on [The characters are stuck in their social positions; Only those with higher social status end up happy; Those with lower social status keep each other in their places by exploitation and indulgence], but the words, phrases, sentences sprint away as fast as they possibly can.

And I am left with these words.  Useless?
Everyone’s moving, talking,
Caffeine making its way through all of our blood streams;
Foreign languages echo,
Norton open on my lap,
Lines of Shakespeare on thin tissue like pages, annotated
With blue ink in my hand,
Last work of the quarter
Before complete relaxation can over take each moment
During which I’m awake.
That would be my brain,
And the frost which coated my car this morning, un-gloved
Hands freezing, numbing.
Purple and black plastic
Against the windshield of the car, frost coming off in sheets,
Making way for vision.
As in, that kid is really
Tall! I wonder if he plays basketball. Reminds me of when
SPU’s team came to
Distance from school
Seems immense, when my heart has been split up and sent
To various locations
Trying to force focus:
Once this paper’s finished, then the editing (joy!) can begin,
Discovery once more:
Too many distractions,
Taking the form of people, and thoughts of tiny planes flying
High above the Atlantic;

Sunday, December 6, 2009

On Finals

Ok, I'm in the library.  And don't even want to think about the fact that all of my finals are tomorrow.  Because it makes me feel like I'm going to die.  But in twenty-four hours all of this will be over, and I will be so, so, so excited and completely brain dead.  It'll be great.  And then I'll have two days of doing nothing/writing a paper.  And then home.
How quickly this quarter has gone by.  So much has happened. 
And I could not be more thankful to my God for the blessed people with whom He has surrounded me.  They are my favorites.
Lastly, I really couldn't focus in UFND on Friday: restlessness overtook my thoughts.  So I wrote this little disjointed poem.  And thought I'd share it:

Last day of class:
Heavy eyelids; restless limbs.
One paper down, one to go.
One class left, one test to take.
A three final day;
Three dearest ones on jet planes...
Home to a quiet house,
An empty room;
Don't leave me alone here, loves,
In my archaic town,
Twinkling with lights.
Nothing will ever be the same.
Each moment is ending,
Slipping through the gaps
In my fingers
Like sand.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

On Half a Year

How to celebrate six months in style:
Ice skating.
Carousel riding.
Foutain touching.
Downtown wandering.

Being together.

On Giving Thanks

My dear friend Kirsty tagged me in this the other day.  She's basically the coolest person ever, and anyone interested in writing or being awesome should read her blog.  Because she's great.  And has an agent.  And I secretly want her life sometimes.

rules: list ten things you are thankful for, five of which must be writing-related.

1. Church: it's pretty much my favorite.  I love being in this big room, so filled with the Spirit of God, surrounded by people I know, people I recognize, and complete strangers.  Knowing that we've all had such different lives, but we're still all here, eager to worship the same great God is inspiring to me.

2. Rain: I love my city for so many reasons, but one of them must be the weather.  I love rain: it's cold, it's fresh, it smells good, it makes everything feel like new, it's beautiful.  And the sun is really just too hot.  Give me a fifty degree day with rain, and I'll be happy for always.

3. SPU: I adore this place.  I am so thankful that God tipped the scales to keep me here in Seattle, instead of jetting off all the way to Spokane (I mean, that's practically in another state...).  I've grown more here than I ever thought could be possible, and met some of the greatest people who I've ever come into contact with.

4. Walks: Within these moments outdoors, staring up at the sky, my sanity is found.

5: Pie:  Hey, it's not that random; Thanksgiving just happened, and pie is great.  There are so many different varities, and you can eat it with whip cream, or ice cream, or coffee, or plain.  It's always a good time for pie.  I think this is a very valid thing to be thankful for.

6: My Creative Writing Group:  Starting junior year of high school, Joey, Clarissa, Bekah, Alex, and I have been sharing life and sharing writing together.  Even though we only meet up about twice a year, being able to talk about writing in conjecture with life is such a blessing.

7. Eighth Grade English: Combine classical music with creative writing prompts at the start of class, and you get a happy Anna.  My most favorite prompts were the ones with the black and white illustrations that had the opening line of a story, and you had to write the rest.  It was in that year, it was in that class, when this whole insanity started.

8. NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month is the reason I have two completed novels.  A crazy, word filled thirty days.  It's self imposed torture and so much fun at the same time.  And my project this year (just finished on Sunday night, exactly fifty thousand words) forced me to dive into the Bible, and into my own mind.  I loved writing these scenes.  This was the first time that I really came into contact with God through my writing: it was no longer just a way to worship, but I way to learn and to grow in the Word, and in my understanding of who God is.  Thanks Nano: you're great.

9: Ali Morgan: Writing parties, pretzels, ranting about characters with dirty mouths, swapping ideas, keeping each other motivated, pep talks, inumerable cups of tea, walking to and from small group, laughter.  Love.

10. Books: Ok, this one might seem a little bit vague and impersonal, but seriously: I love books.  I've loved them since before I could read.  Take me into a bookstore, and I can be lost in bliss for hours.  It is through these bound pages that authors reveal the world.  It's through these playful words on paper that I've met Heathcliff, Ponyboy, Hand, and Harry Potter.  I am blown away by the messages writers have to say, and reading their words only makes me want to write more; to throw out these thoughts onto paper, to see if (just maybe) there's something important enough to be shared.