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3.30.2009

While we're basking in the freedom of religious ranting, I had a thought this morning while pinning my hair back. I was thinking about how I've only finished half a chapter in two weeks and how that's really pathetic, because it's all due to my own procrastination and worse - earnest distractions rooted in wastefulness. Even a certain fear of the honesty of my novel - fictional honesty about me.

I thought about how I've made a completed rough draft of the book into my Lenten goal. (I know, Lent isn't about goals, but I am being honest about what I promised - I wanted to vow, but I didn't. I was afraid, and so I aimed.) There was the thought about Lent, and then zing like a wink of an eye, there was this thought: the devil doesn't want you to finish your novel.

Now let me be clear, I don't spend a lot of time worrying about the devil. I believe he exists as surely as I believe in hell and all its other angels. I have been in that strange place where you know there are spirits and you are afraid you can't tell the good ones from the bad, they are grappling so hard around you. But I don't really feel like the devil has much to do with me. I do a fine job of sinning all on my own; he need take no trouble over my temptation. I am wrong about this, of course. I've been learning in the last few years that the work of the darker spirits has little to do with our own sins and much more to do with using those sins as wedges between us and God. I have a very overworked guilt complex. Much of this has to do with the enormous load of guilt I've earned by sucking really bad as a human. But I have Jesus, you know. And he took that guilt and did something bloody and destructive with it, so it's not my burden anymore. We know this. It's the business of the Cross.

But I still keep sinning in new ways and old, and here's where the little demons come in, the ones I didn't know were scratching at my shoulders until very recently. They hang on my back like the burden I gave away, and they convince me that my shame should keep me from the throne of grace. It's the stupidest logic imaginable. What's the point of grace if we avoid it because of our shame? Grace is for our shame. Thrones are for approaching. So what if I'm crawling on my face weeping. At least I'm there.

The devil has made a hefty business of shaming me away from my Maker. It seems an obvious thing, now that I've made writing a book some kind of an act of faith, that he would turn that into another issue of, 'You're so faithless, you should stay in your solitude and avoid both the book and your Jesus.' Stupid, stupid logic. And so insidiously effective. Of course, I am guilty of procrastination and distraction and fear, but Jesus walked the sod so we would come to him with guilt in hand - and not wait for the sting of it to fade into forgetfulness.

3.29.2009

a few hours later, and i'm wishing i hadn't posted that rant earlier. it's not like i have some new observation. it's just me being bothered.
Here's something I don't understand: Why do people judge Christians for being hypocrites? That's like saying, 'How dare you be call yourself a Christian and still be human!' I don't understand why people say 'I like your Christ, but I don't like your Christians.' Well, neither do I much of the time. Since when does faith have to do with liking things? Since when does loving people depending on their consistency? Granted, I've always been a Christian and I've never doubted my faith. I've always looked at the inconsistencies of Christians the same way I look at the inconsistencies of human beings. As humanness. But if your criticism of Christians is really a disagreement over their perspectives on sexuality or politics, then please don't confuse that with Christians being un-Christlike. I'm not saying they are Christlike - but I'd be making myself the hypocrite by judging them according to my own self-righteous notions.

3.28.2009

googling prayers before sleep...

And now as we lay down to sleep, O Master, grant us repose both of body and of soul, and keep us from the dark passions of the night. Subdue Thou the assaults of passions. Quench the fiery darts of the Wicked One which are thrown insidiously at us; calm the commotions of our flesh and put away all thoughts about worldly and material things as we go to sleep. Grant us, O god, a watchful mind, chaste thoughts, a sober heart, and a gentle sleep, free from all the fantasies of Satan. And raise us up again at the hour of prayer, established in Thy commandments and holding steadfast within ourselves the remembrance of Thy judgments. Give us the words of Thy glorification all night long, that we may praise, bless, and glorify Thy most honorable and magnificent name, O Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

3.27.2009

Maybe I'll just start blogging little snippets of where I'm going and what I'm doing. That sounds more like twitter, of course, but... well, deal with it.

Heading to LA today with the sister to drop off a report to the homeless bureau or whatever it is. My real part in all of this is to make frequent stops along the way at dress stores (like Anthropologie!!!) to find something pretty and unnecessary to wear to the upcoming nuptials of friends Jennifer and Michael.

Last night I dreamed about my cat. I shrunk her somehow so that she fit in the palm of my hand, and then I dressed her in miniature priestly stoles. She was full of wonder at the enormity of the world, till she discovered she had wings. Then she just took off in a frenzy, and I had to chase her around the parking lot while she flew into bushes and under cars. I finally got a hold of her to turn her back, but the magic failed to work the other way. Instead of returning her to normal size cat, she turned into a very tall blond adolescent girl. She was not happy about this, but I couldn't change her again. When I woke up, I was relieved to find cat, normal of size, curled on my feet. I told her about the dream, but she wasn't interested.

3.25.2009

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am so beyond excited. Scarlet just read this for storytime this morning while I set up a bookfair. The kids were nearly jumping out of their seats. And now a movie!!! Wah!!!

3.19.2009

I'm going to the desert!!! For a night and a day!!!

This means I will not be at work. (good)
This means I will be seeing wonderful beautiful friends. (very good)
This means I will be driving the freeways at night. (ugly)

3.15.2009

Give me something real
for we are broken and breaking still
and Oprah and Phil
and all the President's men
can't begin to heal us again.

The dead cannot resurrect themselves -
a curse! a curse!
for it is the One Necessary Thing!

(Praise be to the God of my salvation
who, though he shared his bread with sinners,
also beat the dust with angels.
He alone among the humans
could live and die and live again -
one resurrection
to drag us all
out of the dirt
and into the ever-glory
of the rising Son.)
I'll be listening to this tomorrow.

3.12.2009

I'm writing a novel for lent, and I am very far behind. I knew this would happen. It's for the best, I'm sure. I'll pound out some crappy filler chapters at the end, then edit them later. But at least it'll get done. Maybe. Yes.

There's something about concentrated writing that makes all my other forms of communication go to pot. This morning I had an 'epiphany' regarding the final scene - it seemed so important at the time, but looking back it doesn't seem to amount to much beyond a single character's facial expression while standing over a basement. Anyway, it sent me into a frenzy of research, buzzing through home remodeling books during the hour before my store opened. They told me nothing useful. I made the mistake of asking coworkers about furnaces and basement doors. They wanted to know why.

Me: 'Well, let's say a character needs this fire and an opening because for symbolic reasons, but it's not really symbolism 'cause that's too obvious. I more want to imply certain connection, relations, between the fire and stuff. I mean, you're not supposed to build a story around an idea, I mean, around an ideal or like a belief or I mean, you know, like something you're trying to say. But maybe I'll do it anyway and make it work.'

Dan: 'I have absolutely no idea what you're trying to say.'

I wonder why that is.

Maybe that's the real reason I haven't blogged in the last week. Because I can't properly communicate in the human way. Okay, so I might buy that excuse if I was actually writing as much as I should be for a person planning on finishing a novel in a matter of weeks.

Grr....

In the meantime, I am reading Fear and Trembling by Kierkegaard. This was the source of the epiphany, actually, 'cause he goes on about Abraham in the most gorgeous and emo way (I think I have a crush on Kierkegaard, actually), describing the moment of anguish on Mount Moriah. And it absolutely relates to the end of my novel, only I didn't know it would relate 'cause I had never made the connection between Abraham and Jack's father until this morning. And then the final scene played itself out before me like a film (which begs the question, why am I writing a novel?) and it occurs to me that since no one knows anything about the end of the novel, this paragraph is going to be another one of those 'I have absolutely no idea what you're trying to say' things.

Told you it goes to pot.

3.05.2009

self-referral

It continues to fascinate me that the majority of traffic to this blog has occurred because of a single post made over a year ago. Okay, so that link takes you to the whole month's archive of posts. But that's exactly what google would give you, too, if you did an image search for 'Rupert Penry-Jones Persuasion' and clicked on the photo from my blog. You'd have to scroll through the whole of December, through my random thoughts on Being John Malkovich and Bella (whoever thought those two movies should be mentioned in the same blog post? What was I on?) just to find that sexy black-and-white portrait of the fellow.

You're wondering why I bring this up. You're thinking, 'come on, Molly. There can't be that many people in the world searching for Rupert Penry-Jones Persuasion and picking that particular photo to dwell upon.' Well let me tell you, it happens at least once a week. From all parts of the globe! From China to Argentina! I kid you not! These are people using google in a different language. You know, a language other than English. Crazy, huh?

Should I mention that I got that photo from a google image search in the first place?

Some of you are wondering what 'Rupert Penry-Jones Persuasion' even means. That just goes to show you didn't follow the link. And you know nothing about recent Victorian film adaptations. Shame on you.

As for the rest of you, if you are a regular reader who has come to me via this popular post (I highly doubt there are any hangers-on left, but who knows?) feel free to use the comment feature to wax eloquent on your relationship with Mr. Penry-Jones, or lack thereof. I am very curious.

sidenote: I also find it interesting that I've stopped capitalizing the word 'google' - like it's somehow become a part of nature, absented from corporate identity.

3.04.2009

they're at it again.

The last and best adaptation of Jane Eyre to film happened three years ago. And it took another year to be released in our land of milk and honey. So we really should get at least seven more years before another adaptation comes out. Or five. Please. Really, it's rare to get more than one in a decade - especially by the same film company.

So I am hoping this is just some sick joke. For the obvious reason that it's far too soon to mar the awesome depictions by Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens. And for the even more obvious reason that Ellen Page has no business anywhere near a Bronte. Back off, woman.

3.01.2009

rambles: loving less

so there's this song that plays at work by a certain james morrison and famous accompaniment in which he sings about how he loves the inevitable beloved 'a little less than before.' his justification goes something like 'you just can't help what you can't help. you can't fix what's not been fixed.' his lyrics are a bit more poetic, but not by much. it's catchy, though, so it took me a while to realize that he was singing 'i'm dumping you, hope you don't mind, but it was unavoidable.'

now i've never really been dumped - for obvious and uninteresting reasons - so i suppose it's not my business to comment on the process. but this is just something i don't understand. i am trying to think of a case in which i learned to love someone less as i got to know them better. there have been times when i have thought well of someone, learned more about them, and then thought less of them. but that was mostly an issue of me having false understanding and then gaining new insight. i don't think i've ever fallen out of love - romantically or platonically - except by divine intervention (and i mean that absolutely literally). so i get it if it's about having your illusions conquered by reality. but that's not falling out of love - that's realizing you were loving an illusion. i just don't understand getting tired of someone, having a change of heart in the wrong direction, two-timing your own affections. i don't get it.

i'm not saying this because it's a present and relevant issue for me. i'm not venting; i'm rambling. i just keep hearing the song and wonder what he's talking about. because knowing a person better generally tends to make me love them more, even (and usually especially if) i learn about their failings, their flaws, their major f*** ups. this has been true for family and friends. even crushes that have faded - they usually fade into a better, healthier appreciation of a person - a love that has nothing to do with that yearning for affirmation and affection that defines 'liking'. i do not understand love with condition, with a deadline, with boundaries. it's just not love, then, is it?

maybe it's because i don't get bored with people. i get annoyed alright. you know, when you've been with the same person for days and days and weeks and you just need a break? i get that. i get the need for space. for reprieve. but that's not the same as getting bored with someone. that's getting too close to see them properly. that's when you need to step back and get yourself out of the way for a bit. so you can remember them again. know them again. what is this loss of love? what is this fading? i don't believe in it.
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