Wednesday, February 24, 2010

On Blessings

All of my life,
In every season,
You are still God:
I have a reason to sing.
I have a reason to worship.
God is so good.  In the midst of super pressurized head, losing the ability to sleep through the night, registering nightmares, end of the quarter stresses, uncertainty about just about everything, He blesses immensely.

Yesterday was such a long day, and then class last night was incredibly sobering.  That room on the third floor of Demaray, usually filled with lively discussion, was silent.  A time for lament.  We need the church, because reconciliation cannot be lived entirely on our own.  But the church is broken.  We focus so much on how the church can serve us, how we can learn, how we can worship best, instead of coming to church in order to encounter God in a way that excludes no one.

The church is the most racially segragated institute in America.  How are we supposed to fix this?

Walking away with a heavy heart to stop at the C Store to buy some juice, God reminded me that He is still God in the midst of overwhelming questioning about the state of our church.  He meets us where we are, therefore the church doesn't have to.  He lifts us up, and reminds us of his goodness in so many ways.

In words spoken into my life from Lara.
In the promise of coffee with Dave.
In talking with Andrew as we climbed back to Hill.
In the freshness of meeting a potential new friend.
In a real life talk of how to build frienships while building that friendship even stronger.

Jesus is near.  Glory is here.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

On Surveying

I wasn't going to post this, because I feel like not a real writer sometimes.  But Kirsty did this, and it looked fun, and I was bored at work even though I was supposed to be studying for psychology.  So yes.
[Here's a random picture of my cat.]
1) What’s the last thing you wrote? What’s the first thing you wrote that you still have?
Last thing I completed was CONFESSIONS OF A SODOMITE.  Technically, though, I scrawled about half a page of prose on the bottom of my ucor notes last Wednesday, sparking an idea for a new WIP.

I still have stories from fifth grade.  Kurt and Annie, who were aliens on Saturn, running around with the austronaunts who came (the austronaunts were convieninetly only like twenty years old; that seemed plenty old enough when I was eleven).  That was an epic story.  It even had an illustration.  I was awesome.

2) Write poetry?

Never super seriously.  I mean, for class of course, and occasionally my thoughts get stuck in iambic pentamenter.  And sometimes I really like playing with words and rhymes and rhythm.  But most of the time, my 'poetry' is just stream-of-consciousness prose with abnormal line breaks.  I.  Am.  A.  Poser.  Poet.

3) Angsty poetry?

Hello junior high...

4) Favorite genre of writing?

Fiction: that realistic type.  Also, mythological inspired fairy tales (that one's new...).

5) Most annoying character you’ve ever created?

Annoying?  Trying to think.  Topher turned out to be pretty annoying in EXODUS.  Brian was obnoxious-sauce in WINDED (he didn't last long after I started to get annoyed with him). 

Now that I'm thinking about it, I don't really write characters that annoy me.  When people annoy me, it's because I'm being impatient, and choose to dehumanize them in my laziness instead of taking the time to love them.  If a character is annoying, they have a reason for being annoying.  I know their backstory, I know their family life, I know why they're annoying, and therefore they aren't annoying to me (but maybe to my characters) because I love them.

6) Best plot you’ve ever created?

What is this plot you speak of?  Probably EXODUS.  Or yet untitled WIP: I kind of really like my idea for that one.

7) Coolest plot twist you’ve ever created?

The end of CHILDREN OF WRATH.  Didn't see that one coming, did you Claire?

8 ) How often do you get writer’s block?

I don't get writer's block.  I get laziness-procrastinate-way-too-much-time-on-the-internet-slash-emailing-people-instead-of-writing-unless-it's-November.  Very seldom do I say, "I want to write," sit down on the chair, open a Word document, and just stare at it.  I get writer's block before the writing part.  It's more like focus block.  Or care enough to actually be productive right now block.

I guess there are moments during NaNoWriMo when I'm not sure where to go.  Or I just sit scrolling up and down through the pages for minutes [hours], hesitant to get the words out because inner editor has awoken with a vengeance.

9) Write fan fiction?

Just that once.
Yeah, I was bored this summer.

10) Do you type or write by hand?

Almost always typing.  But when I'm in class, instead of taking notes or listening to lecture or watching the super interesting video clip you decided to play, it comes out handwritten.  I don't really have a preference.  Typing is faster, easier to fix things, and allows for more play.  Handwritten forces you to be semi-sure about the words you're laying down, but it seems more solid, more tangiable, gives you a chance to actually feel the words as they come out, and you have something to wave around and say "I wrote this" when you're done. But there is a lot more pressure to write chronologically.  Which I don't do.  Hardly ever.

11) Do you save everything you write?


12) Do you ever go back to an idea after you’ve abandoned it?

Occasionally, for fun.  I've never picked up an abandoned idea and kept going with it, though I have thought about finishing abandoned projects more than is probably healthy.  They're still saved.  Maybe eventually.

13) What’s your favorite thing you’ve ever written?

CONFESSIONS OF A SODOMITE.  Also, my short story for Imaginative Writing last spring quarter: I really had fun with that project.  Here's a sample.

14) What’s everyone else’s favorite story you’ve written?

Not sure anyone has read enough of my writing to have a favorite.  I don't know.  Victor?  Clarissa?  Anyone have an opinion?

15) Ever written romance or angsty teen drama?


Shut up, ok?  It was my first try at Nano...

16) What’s your favorite setting for your characters?

I love the castle in EXODUS, and the woods, and the shore, and the sea...

Also, in my short story from Imaginative Writing I stole the setting from my grandparent's old farm.  And I love that place with everything I am.

17) How many writing projects are you working on right now?

Um, negative four.

No, I need to be editting up CONFESSIONS in order to see whether or not it's better in chronological order sans the frame narrative, or the way it is.  And I want to play with my idea for the slave narrative/fairy tale that I brainstormed in UCOR.

18) Have you ever won an award for your writing?

I got a scholarship...  Whoohoo.  Oh and I got an honorable mention in the annual writing competition in my town.  Yeah, Edmonds!

19) What are your five favorite words?

Inculcate, reconcile, writhing, betwixt, snuggle.

20) What character have you created that is most like yourself?

Rachel from PART OF THE CURE.  But secretly, I'm a lot like Matt too from CONFESSIONS.

21) Where do you get your ideas for your characters?

People around me.

Sort of.

I see people, and make up lives for them.  And then I change the people I had orignally seen, so they aren't actually like the people at all.

Or I like your stupid hats in Lit class so I steal them and your name for a main character.

I take little things from different people and different things I've read and mold them all together along with a lot of myself.  And we get characters.

22) Do you ever write based on your dreams?

No.  But sometimes my writing is prophetic.  As was one of my dreams a couple weeks ago.  Does that count for anything?

23) Do you favor happy endings?

Not if they're contrived.  I'd rather have a sad ending than a happy ending that feels fake.  I'm not scared of sad things happening.  Sad things allow you to see who people really are in the ways they react.

24) Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?

Yes.  But I suck [hard] at spelling.  People think that's weird.

25) Does music help you write?

Yes.  It helps the words come out more beautifully.

26) Quote something you’ve written. Whatever pops in your head.

Naomi stepped into the doorway of Solomon’s room. She stopped, staring; the curtains were flung open, sunlight streaming in. Solomon stood before the window, gazing out. He was stretching his wings, spreading them to their full extent, tips brushing the walls, muscles on his back rippling. The sun surrounded him, making the tips of his hair, and the edges of his feathers shine gold. Naomi sucked in her breath; Solomon heard her and turned, saw her standing in his doorway. His eyes were shining. He crossed to his bureau, pulling a black shirt over his head, mussing his hair. He leaned back against the dresser, crossing his arms over his chest.

“I just came for your tray,” she said. His eyes flittered over to where it still lay on his beside table, now empty. She took two steps into his room, before pausing, turning back to him. “Are you feeling better?” He nodded once. “Good,” she said, while hastily picking up the tray, “That’s good.” She made to leave him alone but he grasped her arm.

“Did I hear you scream last night?”

“No,” she said quickly, unable to tear her gaze from his. “Well, yes, but I was just dreaming. It’s fine. I’m fine.” She forcibly closed her mouth. His black eyes, so black, shone. “I should go,” she said.

“Wait, I’ll come with you.” He took the tray from her hands, and walked out the door, leaving her trailing behind.

She paused, smiled slightly and overtook him on the stairs, tugging the tray from his hands, “I believe this is my job.”

He smirked, “I suppose it is. However, I am supposed to be a gentleman.” As they ventured down a few more stairs, Solomon tried to take the tray again, but Naomi curled her fingers around the edges. He tugged, not getting the tray, only pulling her closer. He laughed, an incredible sound, warming her heart, echoing around the empty entrance hall. They continued to struggle into the kitchen. They burst through the door, both laughing. Martha looked up from behind the stove, mouth shut tight. Silence echoed around the kitchen for a moment; Solomon coughed, stepping away from Naomi, relinquishing the tray. He nodded awkwardly at Martha, and backed out of the room.

Um, guys with wings trump sparkly creepers.  That's all.
PS: Ali Morgan, I think you should get a blog.

Monday, February 15, 2010

On Escape

24 hours.  Holly and Jessica and Anna run away for Valentine's day.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

On God and Love (you know, the usual)

In small group on Thursday, someone mentioned the 'wedding passage' of Scipture (1 Corinthians 13), and how since God is love, we can replace love with God in this passage.  It's a beautiful illustration of the very character of God, and takes some of the cliche out of these verses.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not God, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging symbol.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith that can move mountains, but have not God, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not God, I gain nothing.

God is patient, God is kind.  He does not envy, He does not boast, He is not proud.  He is not rude, He is not self-seeking, He is not easily angered, He keeps no record of wrongs.  He always protects, always truss, always hopes, always perseveres.

God never fails.  But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfection dissappears.  When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.  When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.  Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.  Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and God.  But the greatest of these is God.
I really like this.

One other thing:  In Reconciliation on Tuesday, we were talking about communion and otherness and the article I mentioned in my last post.  One of the most powerful points brought up is that the Trinity is our ultimate example of unity.  The three persons of God are so different and distinct from one another, but they are completely unified with each other.  Our professor illustrated it as three people locked in an embrace of love so strong it can never be broken.  In this they are completely unified, but do not in any way lose their distinctiveness.  In one sense, it is their differences that lead to unity.  Distictiveness is necessary for communion.

How do we take this and apply it in a world where difference leads to division?
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a sense of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Romans 15:5-6

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

On Communion and Otherness

The eschatological dimension, on the other hand, of the presence and activity of the Spirit, affects deeply the identity of the other: it is not on the basis of one's past of present that we should identify and accept him or her, but on the basis of one's future.  And since the future lies only in the hands of God, our approach to the other must be free from passing judgment on him.  Every "other" is in the Spirit a potential saint, even if he appears to have been or continues to be a sinner.
Everyone in the Spirit is a potential saint.  And we should accept everyone on the basis of their future, which is only in the hands of God.  I can't express how much this is on my heart.

How do we live in a way that is blind to past and present wrongs, in full assurance of the power of the Spirit to transform lives?  How do we empty ourselves, subject our will to God, move to meet the other - our neighbor - when our lives are splintered?  How do we get past fear and "love the other not only in spite of his or her being different from us but because they are different from us"?  How do "we live in freedom as love and in love as freedom"?

These thoughts are too big, and I feel like I've been run over by a freight train.  I want to understand, but these ideas seem just out of grasp.  I have innumberable questions, and questions about those questions, and questions about potential answers, and further potential questions.



Be still.

The biggest challenge, obstacle, wall to be clambered over gracelessly that I'm encountering is to choose joy.  Sure, it's a beautiful revelation that joy is not an emotion, but an attitude, a lifestyle to be lived in the darkest of times.  But... how do we go about choosing joy?  What does joy look like?

I see it in the relationships between roommates, like Jill and Em, like Megan and Taylor.  I hear it in laughter echoing down the hall, from Kate and Lauren and Rachael.  I experience it in the strength of embraces, from Jessica and Brian and Chris.

But in the empty moments, in the quiet hours, in the lonely days...

How can I be joyful and sad at the same time?

Choose to build bridges in order to be a witness.
Choose to accept others based on their potential for goodness.
Choose to love without bounds or hesitation.
Choose joy.

This is the article (a different edition) from which the above quotations come.