This is about the fourth time I've read The Greater Trumps, and I find it actually more confusing now than I did the first few times I read it. I think I'm just having trouble focusing, and it doesn't help that I'm supposed to be coming up with conversational prompts regarding the book. Sybil, what are you trying to say? What is your creed? Nancy, what is plaguing your wondering heart? Joanna, what's the deal with these Egyptian gods?

Confusing or not, I still love Williams' words. Here are a few bits and pieces for your own love:

'...more and more securely the working of that Fate which was Love possessed her. For it was fatal in its nature; rich and austere at once, giving death and life in the same moment, restoring beyond belief all the things it took away - except the individual will.'
p. 144 (This one I have scribbled inside my Bible. It sort of sums up Sybil's place in the book, that strange power that only she possesses fully.)

'She never said anything about it, nor, as a consequence, did anybody else; it being a certain rule in this world that what is not made of vivid personal importance will cease to be of social interest. The shoemaker's conversation therefore rightly returns to leather.'
p. 72

'What on earth were they doing, singing about the mystery of love in church?'
p. 122

'Her father was different too. He seemed no more the absurd, slightly despicable, affected and pompous and irritating elderly man whom she had known; all that was unimportant. He walked alone, a genie from some other world, demanding of her something which she had not troubled to give. If she would not find out what it was, it was no good blaming him for the failure of their proper relation. She, she only was to blame; the sin lay in her heart whenever that heart set itself against any other.'
p. 126


Amanda left last week. My book group moved on to the next novel. I got a cold. We moved from the house to the apartment so the termites could die for a few days. My tire blew (yes, that was a week ago), so I've been driving on a spare which is apparently also flat. Dad's fixing that now... while I'm sucking the hours away with Law and Order SVU for hours on end. I haven't watched TV in a few months (minus the obvious and usual NCIS every Tuesday night since the season started back up again), so it's been a little odd. Let me tell you, Mariska Hargitay is severely awesome. Rather a superhero, actually. Kind of not really human. Anyway, none of this is important - it's just what's been happening during the silence. Real life is in between, of course. Sweating up and down the apartment stairs, finding the necklaces Amanda left behind on a hook in the bathroom, staring down awkward situations in Portfolio, selecting only my favorite clothes for the three-day hiatus in the apartment, avoiding people, meeting them head-on, feeling antsy to do anything, feeling too lethargic to move.



Something happens in the waters of baptism.
Something happens when the Eucharist falls down our throats.
We don't know what because we are Protestants,
and the spirit of the age makes us slow.

But the man who gives mercy avoids our ignorance.
He doesn't wait for awareness to send Spirit.
If we do not know in the halls of our churches,
if we fail to approach the cup with care and with fear,

still - he will deign to show us in the shades of a forest
or between the bright folds of the ocean's surface.

Because his delight is in our briefest moments,
He will give up his own man for us.
He will give a god in exchange for our lives.


A thoughtful article on blogging, inappropriately posted here on the blog. It begs the question: which am I - the bully, the sophist, or the clown?



I'm too tired to have any coherent thoughts, but it's been a few days since I've written anything, and even more since I've written anything about my day-to-day life. Today I went to a baptism after church with a few friends. It was a backyard affair. You know, the jacuzzi types where everyone standing in the crisp autumn air half-envies the baptizers for getting to lounge in the spa. Someone got stung by a bee.

They were the words-of-wisdom types. I really love those people, though I know I'll never be one of them. I'm alright with that. Not that I don't understand them, and not that I've never felt led to share a word, picture, idea that God has given me with someone... but there's a kind of community in which it becomes the predominant practice of their gatherings of faith to interact in that way. And that just isn't gonna be me. At least, I highly doubt it. It's like driving past a familiar street knowing you'll never make it down that way, but you recognize that it's got a really nice view. Something like that.

A while afterward, we went to Crystal Cove. There's something about that place that's just good for the soul. Also good for photography. Carissa's camera's loaded with beachy shots of all of us. I think we may have even taken a few of her just before the battery died. Home to no-bakes that wouldn't set and Catch Phrase at the living room window. There are lots of reasons to like that game, but the main one has to be watching it played by siblings and close friends. When they leap up and shout, 'oh! Oh! that time!! with the ferris wheel!' and the other one goes, 'penguin feet!!!' like it's the most certain and clear-headed association in the world. The eeriest games are with Stuart and Spencer. I'm pretty sure I remember a time when Stuart just glanced up from the word, without having said a thing, and Spencer blurted it out like a genie. The very word. Straight from one man's brain to the other. Creepy. Fabulous.

Now it's bedtime. This has been more than fourteen hours of straight socialization, and I admit to being a bit exhausted. It's more than I've had in a very, very long time. But it was good.



Thinking about The Greater Trumps (which I'll be rereading in the next few weeks), The Place of the Lion, and That Hideous Strength (not by Williams, but written in his style for his honor) and the significance of the single house outside the city where everything comes to a head. It should have been obvious, I suppose, but I hadn't thought the phrase 'outside the city' until I came upon some old college notes remarking on the importance of the city as a place of interdependence and coinherence. Picturing Anthony riding through the city on his flaming horse, then the car carrying Lothair out of the city and his daughter's strange vision... to a house on a hill, or in a valley, or between the trees, where the Fool dances or the fire rages or the beasts of the earth and the birds of the air flock with graven insistence. It always comes to a head outside the city.


not laughing at this

everyone has to live their own story. but oh, how i would like a scene or two in this one. even if i only sit in the background.

laughing at this...

When Christianity first entered the world, there were no professors or assistant professors whatever--then it was a paradox for all. It can be assumed that in the present generation every tenth person is an assistant professor; consequently it is a paradox for only nine out of ten. And when the fullness of time finally comes, that matchless future, when a generation of assistant professors, male and female, will live on the earth--then Christianity will have ceased to be a paradox.

- Kierkegaard, from Concluding Unscientific Postscript to Philosophical Fragments


This is appalling. After all the acclaim Little Dorrit received?? Do they need a larger fanbase, 'cause I'll find them one!!! What on earth???!??!?!?! (breathe. just breathe..)


Sound What?

Yesterday I went with my sister to view an exhibit of sound sculptures in the art district of downtown Long Beach. If you read the phrase 'sound sculpture' and cock your head in confusion and misunderstanding, you've found the right response. Neither art nor reason had much to do with the display of noise along Broadway and Linden. I was reminded of the chapter in The Phantom Tollbooth entitled Dischord and Dynne. Dischord thinks he has a rather good business going selling bottles of cacophony. From what I could tell of the 'artists' downtown yesterday, he would have done good business indeed had he set up shop on the corner there, opening his doors and calling it art.

In their defense, I'm sure many of them had reasons for their displays. But there's a difference between a display of intentional racket and Art. Now you will ask me what art is. You will expect me to offer a thorough and concise definition. Well, I can't do it. I can only offer that small assertion, as the judge said of pornography, that I may not be able to define it to the satisfaction of a court of law, but I certainly know it when I see it.

In this case, I suppose, when I hear it. Either way, I know what it is not. I felt rather ashamed of myself, strolling those streets. I cannot describe to you how pretentious I felt, casting judgment on the pretension of those artists. I couldn't help thinking of the half hour I spent with Chaeli in the lower rooms of the Vatican museum, staring at the crucifix by Cantatore, realizing that it is possible for contemporary art to be good. More than good - brilliant. Restorative. It is possible for art to change you, to make you more whole, to sanctify. If the sound sculptures of yesterday were actually works of art - which I do not take as a given - they were certainly not the sort of art that makes you more human.

The best part of the evening was when we discovered a small garden hidden away between the tall buildings and the speakers pulsing static at passersby. It was, incidentally, rather quiet in the garden - apart from the voices of people. There was basil, and tomatoes on the ground, and a quickly rotting pumpkin. Candles were scattered throughout, and there was even a small picnic table for the knowing romantics. It was hidden, green, and full of life. We were better people in there, I think. There is, perhaps, hope for the world - if not for art.

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