Favorite lines/Listening To: My heroes have a heart to lose their lives out on a limb. And all I remember thinking is that I wanna be like them. - from the song Crazy by Gnarles Barkley (and redone by Ray Lamontagne. Swoon.)
Currently Drinking: A tall non-fat caramel macchiato. Its like they taste even better on rainy days.*
Greetings swamp mates :) I can't decide what to write about today.
I could write about how I'm so buying a People magazine this week. The Saved by the Bell cast is on the cover! I'm so excited! I'm so excited! I'm so ... so ... scared...
I could write about how the space station and space shuttle were visible from earth this weekend. Did you see them?! It was crazy bright and moved fast and steady over the sky. (I read that it moves thousands of miles an hour... much like the traffic at my exit). I saw it twice. Freaked out both times. I can't believe I'm looking at a space station. And a shuttle (docked to the space station). I can't believe there are people in space, on a space station, looking down at the world while I'm looking up at them.
I could write about the Volkswagon Van I saw parked at the college near my house. But why write when I can show you a picture?
I could write about perfect advertising. I have a picture for this too. There is major construction going on at my interstate exit. To that end, there are porta-potties at various points. One porta-potty (how do you spell that word? My checker tells me ever variation is wrong! I'll go with the hyphen.) is located near a gas station. Beside the porta-potty, there is an ad from Quiznos:
Can you see the red sign? It reads: "Try our Toasty Torpedoes!" Heh.
If you were hoping for adult humor, you won't find it on today's blog. Just FYI.
At least I didn't make this item #2.
I could write about how I'm afraid the trailer for Where the Wild Things Are will be better than the movie. This is pretty hard to live up to, no? (The song is Wake Up by Arcadia Fire, just in case you were as curious as I was. Thanks, bro!)
The crowd in my Harry Potter theater on opening night went wild for the Wild Things trailer. Cheers and applause all the way around. Some trailers are so well done. Slight tangent: This trailer makes me think of short films in general. Last year, I watched a collection of short films about Paris. Some were cool. Some were annoying. There was one in particular I liked and I still find myself thinking of it pretty often. When I think of it, I think about how cool it is that a film lasting five minutes(ish) impacted me the way it did. I think good short films are like good children's books. What seems like a very short, simple story can become something profound in the hands of a capable arteest. It really is an art-form all it's own.
I could write about one of my favorite bands, Alathea. The band consists of two East Tennessee girls (woot!) named Mandee and Cristi. They play folk-rock music that will blow you away. Mandee writes most (if not all) of their songs and I've typed out the lyrics many times and pasted them inside my journals. Not only are the lyrics gorgeous (the girl won a song-writing award named after some John Lennon bloke), the music is incredible. If there is an instrument you can think of associated with folk or bluegrass they can probably play it (or will probably try). :) But this is what I love most: you can tell they love what they do. There's nothing gimmicky about their music. They sing about faith sometimes, but do it without sounding preachy or cliche. They're very indy (without being remotely pretentious).
On the positive side, that means they don't have the restraints a label sometimes brings with it. They aren't just trying to crank out hits; they're making good music, taking some risks, trying new sounds. On the negative, publicity is a bit harder to come by. Sometimes shows are hard to book and albums are hard to make. Their answer? They started calling their fans their "record execs" :) Once they get so many pre-orders for an album, they're able to make it. And they're hoping to make one this fall. I know it's risky to pre-order an album of music you've never heard, but trust when I say this music will break your heart in a good way. You can download some of their past work on iTunes (my recommendations are "O Love" and "Broken Down"). Here's another sample:
Back in ye days of olde when I worked as a youth intern, I planned a girl's conference called Bliss. I wanted to book a band, and I loved Alathea, but I knew a band that awesome would never come for what I we could afford. I emailed anyway and heard back from Vicki, who books the band. And guess what? They came for way less than they usually come for because they loved the concept of the event. They knew the audience wouldn't be big (we had like 20 girls ... that's it). But they came and played a full concert and made all twenty girls feel like the coolest VIP guests ever. On top of that, they were such genuinely kind people. I've worked with "Christian" bands full of divas, who demand red Skittles and bottled water from the south of France stocked in their dressing room. I was part of an event once where a worship band was super stuck up. They acted very different on stage than in person, which stunk. The Alathea girls aren't haughty like that (even though they didn't get paid nearly as much as those other twirps). They showed up in a pick-up truck (with their dog, Thumper :). Their friend Ted drove down from Kentucky to play banjo with them. I've never seen a band that talented who was also that laid back. So. If you like folk-rock, singer/songwriter stuff, please consider pre-ordereing their album so they can keep making music. You'll be supporting some incredible artists. :)
I could write about Steve's fantastic blog about his trip to Cambodia. His blog has long been one of my favorites and his posts about Cambodia always get me. Even if you don't have time to read the whole thing, you should check out his pictures.
I could write about art. Which would just make me want to write about you cute people. A few years ago, a Brio reader named Evie Guerra sent me a drawing she did based on a column I wrote. The column was about trying too hard to be some version of perfect, and the sinking sinky awful feeling that comes when I (inevitably) screw up. I was thinking through the idea of a super-hero and how I measure "weakness" and "strength" in myself. The lesson I learned, that I was writing about, was that His grace is sufficient. And that my relationship with God is, thankfully, not performance based. I think it's a hard concept to grasp because so many "loves" are so conditional. Anyway. Evie drew Super Girl flying through the air saying "Thanks Natalie!". It is fantastic. Totally framed it. It's on my wall as we speak. I would show you a picture but my blog is being cranky :) Trust when I say it is amazing. Last time I talked to Evie, she was pursuing a career in animation. Her stuff is unbelievable.
She's not the only one who has the ability to blow my mind with her creative superpowers :)
I'm so impressed by the talent you people exhibit. This swamp is a veritable artists colony. Jimmy has a new film up that is spectacular (what does the process of grieving have to do with growing up and gold fish? You must watch to see. Actually, that might not be your interpretation ... but it's worth watching. Take dramamine beforehand). Kristen sews gorgeous wallets and (maybe?) sells them on Etsy (I kid you not, I saw Lucky Brand wallets in the mall last night for upwards of $60. They are not nearly as cute as these!). RileyTea is a writer and graphic designer. Her work has a lovely whimsical fairy-tale vibe to it. So pretty.
I read about how much some of you love music, and the practice you put into making your music rock. I read about the novels you invest massive chunks of time to write. And about the classes you're taking, and teaching, and planning. Even if you don't like to make things, the way you see the world is enough to make me flip out. Enough to make me happy in that special sparkly way only beautiful art can. Thank you so much for sharing your art with the world (and with me:). I know how hard it is to put something so close to you out there, knowing other people will most likely criticize it (and they so will ... sometimes thoughtfully, sometimes just because they're having a nasty day). I think sharing what you make is one of the most amazing, liberating feelings ever, and also the most terrifying. Go you.***
Alas. Since I can't decide what to write about, I'll get back to work. Hope you're having a good week so far :)
*The spell-checker almost changed macchiato to machete. That would have been awesome :) Delicious machetes ...
**If you have any art displayed online anywhere, don't hesitate to drop some linkage in the comment section! I would love to see it! Or "take a gander at it" as my granny would say.
Writing "linkage" made me think of the musical "Hairspray." Now I'll have those songs stuck in my head all day ...