Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Writing on writing

I'm writing about writing. Things are getting a mite meta in here. If someone comments on this post, writing about my writing on writing, we may create some sort of meta-singularity...

I mentioned in my last post that over the last few months I've felt an urge/inspiration to write (which I, in typical form, found a way to ignore and forget and cold shoulder until it dissipated). For a long time, I've had this little nagging desire to write something. To create. To build something of substance out of nothing but ideas and words. This desire was initially sparked by my incredible high school English teacher, Mrs. Smith, the first person I can recall ever encouraging me to write and telling me I had any talent or skill for the task.

For the longest time, I've wanted to write something, likely a novel, but I can never come up with an idea big enough upon which to build said novel. I stumble upon little nuggets of ideas-scenes or phrases or lines of dialogue, but I'm still working on uncovering the heart of this imagined novel, the critical mass that I can develop into a complete work. Spoiler alert- In all likelihood, there will be zombies.

Throughout college and seminary the spark to write was there, but it was constantly drenched by a flood of papers and tests and classes and studying. I loved my field of study, but it was definitely writing-centric, leaving little free time or motivation to do so for fun. After putting together a 15 page paper, finishing just under the deadline, the last thing I wanted to do was sit down to churn out more words on pages. Now that I've been out of school for more than 4 years, I've certainly had the time to write, and even more so over the last 4+ months, but I don't have the motivation that I used to.

What happened to that urge to write?

Where did it go?

I have no clue.

So, in the interest of trying to find it, I'm trying to be more intentional about forcing myself to write. Just write. Sitting down and blogging, or adding to a couple of things I have in the works, writing song lyrics, or grabbing a pen and putting whatever inane thought comes to mind down on paper. Just doing anything to get stuff from my mind out into something tangible/visible. Maybe that act of discipline will kick start the muse I silenced.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A list of stuff that has happened.

Since my last post...

Found out we were moving.
Started job hunting.
Applied for numerous (read roughly 30+) jobs.
Was unsuccessful at achieving sustainable employment.
Video gamed. A lot.
Considered becoming a writer.
Lost brief motivation at becoming a writer.
Regained motivation for becoming a writer. Work in progess.
Presided over first wedding.
Bridge Day (highlight of last 6 months).
Rethought (and rethinking) entire vocation/calling/career path.
Began to investigate further educational options.
Moped (As in "moped around the house," not "rode on a moped").
Raged against the machine.

At this point, I don't know where things are headed, but prospects are slim. Look for more posting to commence, as I clearly have nothing else going on.

(Not at) Peace...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

One of the best gifts I've ever received...

In case you live under a rock and missed it, Valentine's Day was two days ago. Aside from being a commercial monstrosity of a holiday, it is a day to celebrate love in all its many forms. Traditionally, gifts are exchanged, flowers given, candy bought, etc. Normally guys that are not idiots are giving these gifts to their significant others. As a non-idiot, I had gifts for Jill, and since Tuesdays are the one day a week we have off together, we were fortunate enough to spend the entire day together, so we went out for a lunch date and a movie.

Surprisingly, Jill had a gift for me. And it was one of the coolest gifts I've ever received. She gave me a box, decorated with a few pictures of us, and filled with little slips of paper. Upon each slip was written something that she loved about me (or our relationship together). Simple, sincere and wonderful. For those of you who know Jill, you know that she is not the most sentimental person ever (and I say that only because it amplifies the expression the meaning of this present), but this was truly a gift given with great thought, care and love. Incredibly heartwarming.

I've decided to read one slip a day. The first one was about our shared loved of soft pretzels, which are ridiculously delicious. Yesterday's was about how I let Jill have the remote [This isn't out of magnanimity on my part- Jill simply won't watch most of the stuff I like, so if we're going to watch TV together, it's usually something that makes me want to punch myself in the eye (love you, dear!)].

Today's was about how much she loves my hope for a better world.

After two rather light-hearted things, this one hit me powerfully. I do love soft pretzels, and I do generally let her control the remote, but the fact that I do hope for a better world is kind of at the core of who I, on my best days, consider myself to be. And I really want to thank her for reminding me of this fact.

I don't get overly "religious" on this blog often. For those of you who might read this blog regularly but don't care for Christians/Christianity (because you're tired of obnoxious Bible-thumpers who want to shove it down your throat, or because you find it irrelevant or illogical or just simply something you can't buy into), I hope you won't skip out now, because I think what I'm about to say might still resonate with you.

I do hope for a better world. Hope is a powerful thing. It is central to how I understand Christianity, and my role as a follower of Jesus. Anyone can look around today and see that things are broken, skewed, screwed up; choose your word of choice here. Our situation is untenable long term. We have people starving to death while billionaires wipe their butts with hundred dollar bills. We have religious leaders building cults based on fear, guilt, hate. We have politicians bought and paid for by corporations. Our society has become so fractured and argumentative that we can't even talk to each other constructively. We cannot disagree civilly, in any arena. Instead we yell platitudes at each other, talking points (or even scripture passages?) lobbed back and forth at increasingly louder volumes in an attempt to destroy the other. We have corrupt political systems, destructive economic systems, and manipulative religious systems (including many versions of Christianity, admittedly).

This is broken.

This is foolish.

This is demoralizing.

But this is not the end.

What is is not what has to be. We don't have to live like this. We don't have to live in a broken system. I don't claim to have all the answers, a plan to solve all of this. I know better than that. But I know that we have the capacity for change. We have the ability to fix this. My understanding of how to fix it is drawn in large part from the teaching and example of Jesus, but I'm guessing that the staunchest atheist one might meet  could arrive at similar conclusions without drawing from the same wisdom.

It starts with hope.

Hope for something better. For a world where there is enough for everyone's needs. Where people have fresh water, food in their stomachs, roofs over their heads. Where people are valued for their unique gifts, personalities, passions.   Where we can actually stand to be in the same room with people with whom we disagree. Where people from diverse backgrounds, races, political parties can coexist. Where people can feel whole and loved.

I don't know about you, but that starts to sound a little like the Kingdom about which Jesus spoke. The Kingdom he prayed to see here on earth. The Kingdom.

One of my favorite bands of all time, Five Iron Frenzy, has recently decided to get back together, and they released a song called "It Was A Dark And Stormy Night." Part of the song says "I've been waiting, in halfhearted sleep, for a promise I half meant to keep. Just for hoping that hope still flies, wipe the sleep out of our sleeping eyes. And hope still flies.."

I'm hoping that we will wake from our halfhearted sleep. That we will wake and see that there is hope for something brighter, something better.What is is not what has to be.

I hope.

Grace and Peace...

PS: If you want to hear more Five Iron or learn more about the band, as well as download "It Was A Dark And Stormy Night" for free, check out Five Iron Frenzy.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Cover Songs I Want To Hear

At work today I was listening to lots of cover songs via Spotify. It got me thinking of covers I would like to see. There is an art form to a good cover. The best covers reinterpret a song in an entirely new way, bringing something new to a song, giving it a new life without destroying the song in the process. I have a special affinity for cross-genre covers.

Possibly my favorite cover is Mat Weddle (of the band Obadiah Parker)'s cover of Outkast's "Hey Ya." Google it if you've never heard it. The original song has a lot of heart to it that can get lost in the original. Weddle manages to pull the emotional center of that song into the light with his "guy and a guitar" sound. Pretty impressive.

I've been thinking of other covers that I want to hear.

Bluegrass covers:
Muse - "Knights of Cydonia"
Daft Punk - "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger"

Another one that could be fun: country cover of LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem"