Line Obsession: "And at last, the wicked queen's spell was broken, and the young woman, whom circumstance and cruelty had trapped in the body of a bird, was released from her cage. The cage door opened and the cuckoo bird fell, fell, fell, until finally her stunted wings opened, and she found that she could fly." - from "The Cuckoo's Flight" by Eliza Makepeace
Hey lovelies! I've been MIA for a couple of weeks, and while this is mostly due to my lack of good prioritization skills ... I'm going to blame it on the heat. Don't get me wrong ... I love where I live. I've moved around enough to know (to hope) that this is the state I want to be in forever and always. It fits me. I'm wild about these mountains. I like the way they surround me and the way they shatter sunsets across the sky. I'm obsessed with the way Fall sets this place on fire. But summer ... ugh. The humidity makes me grouchy and delirious. Somehow, as I've made my way through this yuck-o humid summer, I've been yanked away from blogworld. I have missed you dearly! To add injury to insult, Google is being finicky. Everytime I try to comment back to you on old posts, Google growls and eats my mile-long comment. I think The Goog is aware that I sometimes cheat and use Yahoo as a search engine instead. We're trying to work things out.
As it happens, some very cool bloggy topics have fluttered across my mind in the past two weeks ... I just haven't written about them. And so I've made a list affectionately titled ...
Things I Should Have Blogged About but Didn't
1. I should have blogged about something deep and meaningful ... like summer television shows. No doubt, you know Project Runway is back on Lifetime. Eight seasons in, and I'm still smitten with this show for two reasons in particular:
Uno.) I heart Tim Gunn. I think he seems so talented, distinguished, and kind. Also, I think he's an incredible mentor. I have a theory that teaching is probably the hardest job in the world after parenting. I don't know how teachers teach anything and still leave a classroom sane. I've wondered, in particular, how difficult it would be to teach art. How do you help a student hone in on their unique view point, voice, medium (whatever you're working at) while still helping them improve? How the heck do you teach a subject that is subjective? Just considering these things makes me feel dizzy. Great teachers are fab. I think Tim Gunn is a great teacher.
Dos.) Project Runway always makes me think about all the similarities different creative processes (processi?) have in common. The glorious moment of epiphany. The joy of creation. The mind-suck of trying to edit. The moments of self-doubt. The boot-kick-in-the-face rejection. (Poor Nicholas. How sweet was that guy? I cry too when I get rejected.)
And yet! There is also that glorious, sometimes fleeting, but oh so welcome, moment of victory. There's that moment when you know you are really, truly doing what you love, and you're actually succeeding (sort of), and you're sooooo close to making it even more of a reality in your life. Maybe you finally understand your voice, your view point, your point of reference. Maybe someone you admire sees talent in you (and tells you about it!). Maybe someone makes a connection to what you've made, and then they actually take the time to write and tell you about it. That whole creation process is painful and wonderful and makes for such good TV. Make it work forever, designers!
And then comes Top Chef. I still don't have a favorite (maybe Tiffanie? I like how she's so calm and no-nonsense in the kitchen, don't you?). I don't care for this cast like I did last season, but the show is still fast-paced and fun. I love it when they have 10 minutes total to make a dish and they still manage whip out some classy-amazing concoction full of words I can't even pronounce. I particularly like it when they use "truffle butter," but only because the word sounds so fun when spoken aloud.
(Did you just say "truffle butter" out loud? Doesn't it have a cute ring to it? My niece and nephew aren't allowed to say "crap" so I've tried to stop saying it. "Truffle Butter" was my choice word for awhile, but it ended up not working out so well.)
And then there's my favorite show of the summer - The Next Food Network Star. I am unabashedly Team Aarti. She's engaging and talented and so pretty. I like that she's sweet without being saccharine. I like that she's intelligent without making me feel stupid. I don't particularly enjoy cooking, but when I watch Aarti, I want to learn how. And though I haven't eaten much Indian food, it looks delicious. She makes me want to try more of it. And when asked who she would invite to a dinner party, her answer:
"I have to go with Jesus, too, because he's a great conversationalist and always brings the best wine."
Rocks my face off! I wish we were friends but I'll settle for watching her future Food Network show (and buying every cookbook she ever releases). Aarti Party all the way!
Are you watching anything fun this summer?
2. I could have blogged about the famous actor who was in my city last week. I don't want to post his name, because I don't want to get swamped with spam in the comments, but I shall give you clues:
Clue #1: He didn't make it back to the portkey in time.
Clue #2: He sparkles.
And he was here, in my city, filming new scenes for this movie.
So The Rogue Accountant and I started talking about places an actor might go in this city - where they would stay, where they would eat, what they would do. I love this town all to pieces but I can't imagine it would be much of a draw for swanky Hollywood types. This place is a more understated kind of hip, like some wonderful, little secret the South keeps tucked away in the curve of a mountain.
Still. The Rogue Accountant and I made various predictions about The Big Handsome Movie Star's whereabouts. As it happens, the nightly news pretty much tracked every move the poor guy made. We totally should have made a Bingo game of it because we were spot on. Crazier still, my brother came [-----] that close to an actual sighting. (A fact that means zilch to him but I think it's cool!)
Most every Saturday night, my brother goes to a certain restaurant downtown with his hipster work friends. (Sing with me: sometimes you wanna go - where everybody knows your name!). He's taken me to the same establishment because he believes the chicken fingers are awesome (we're nothing if not classy when it comes to picking eateries) (I also think he takes me because he finds it humorous. The restaurant sells cigars and has a bar, so you have to be 18 to go inside. And I always have to show I.D.) (Confession: now that I'm ebbing ever closer to the big 3-0, I hug people when they ask to see my ID). The Chicken Finger Stogie Emporium (not actual title) was not on my Movie Star Bingo Card because I didn't think celebs liked to chillax at places full of normals. Also, I don't think celebs hang out at eateries that serve chicken fingers. Last Saturday night, my bro was not at The Chicken Finger Stogie Emporium. But do you know who did go? Do you know who chilled at the bar like a normal and chatted with locals? Ugh! It would have been such a fun post if I could have said, "I know someone who saw ..."! Alas.
3. I could blog about this quote from Too Busy Not to Pray by Bill Hybles.
"I fear for too many believers, spiritual discipline turns into a straightjacket experience filled with requirements that squeeze the vitality and spontaneity and adventure right out of faith and life. For these people, Christ no longer brings freedom. Religion becomes a heavy burden. Most people can't live this way for long. Some of those who really work at it develop such a self-righteous attitude that everyone wishes they would fail." (p.43, paperback edition)
The quote hit me square in the heart because, to some degree, I really love tradition. Specifically, I like tradition in the church. As I meander through my 20's, I keep finding myself pulled back toward denominations with more observances, which is very much not the kind of church I wanted to be part of as a college student. I think this is because something about tradition and participation feels very sacred to me (or maybe because I grew up in a denomination without much of that). At the same time, I know (also from experience) how easily all this can become rote, how easy it can be to disengage from a message, from service, from my Bible, from prayer. I don't want my faith to be somebody else's words. I don't want it to be made of meaningless actions. But I also don't want it to become so chummy-chummy that I miss the overwhelming impact of it all. I don't want to cheapen grace in my life. That's a balance I'm always re-learning, it seems. I want to engage with God personally and authentically with my whole heart. But I also want to be more disciplined; I want to know how people pray, and how they worship, and how they live. I like spontaneous but I like order too. Push and pull. Push and pull.
4. I could blog about taking Biscuit for a walk down by the lake. Biscuit loves car rides. She loves to explore. Thus, the lake leaves Biscuit in a perpetual state of tail-wagging. She's also convinced every person we pass wants to be her friend (and really ... who wouldn't want to be Biscuit's friend?). Two kids asked me if they could pet her and, though I warned them she would lick them within an inch of their lives, they decided to take their chances. Have I shown you Biscuit's summer haircut? Please prepare to squeal:
5. I could have blogged about the vase full of flowers I found on my nightstand a few days ago. And how gorgeous they are. And how much they make me smile. Sometimes ambiguity is key though ; )
6. I could have blogged about my most recent Ichiban fortune: Your horizons are about to be broadened considerably. I'm of the firm opinion that Ichiban (my favorite local hibachi eatery) is somewhat magical. The fortunes always come true in some weird (often funny) way. I'm excited, and terrified, to see what "new horizons" might entail. My friend Kristen's fortune read: A dark haired woman will give you a special gift. I'm even more excited to see how her fortune works out. Like any good friend, I'm hopeful this mysterious, dark-haired woman will be mildly crazy.
7. I could have blogged about the fact that Paperdoll is now available on Kindle! Yippie! You tech-savvy types can download it here. (Also, if you're on the sort of budget that requires digging change out from between the couch cushions just so you can afford a Taco Bell run ... you can find some uber-cheap bargain copies of Paperdoll on Amazon right now.) I have some fun Paperdoll related posts planned for September (to celebrate year one!) so stay tuned for that too.
8. I could have blogged about Mumford & Sons. This song makes me want to use lots of !!!'s. "The Cave" begins, and I clap excitedly. "The Cave" ends ... and I push replay again and again. The Rogue Accountant introduced me to Mumford & Sons (no surprise there). FYI: I have almost talked Chase into doing a playlist feature here on the blog. *fingers crossed*
9. I could have blogged about how my ever classy and hilarious writer-friend Jenny B. Jones received two (2!) ACFW nominations. One of the nominations comes for Just Between You and Me, which was one of my most favorite novels released last year (in any genre). I cannot tell you how many times I have 1.) loaned my copy out or 2.) Bought it for people. I get excited about passing it on. If you still haven't read it, but you love smart women's fiction - I can't recommend it enough. I'm kind of jealous you get to read it for the first time. Typically, I have a hard time connecting with Christian fiction. Jen's books, however, are wonderfully real - full of struggles I can relate to, and girls who are smart and modern, and guys who aren't over idealized but still strong. Ugh! Now I want to read the book again ...
10. I could have blogged about playing the stars. The Rogue Accountant and I drove over the mountains a few nights ago.
And the mountains looked kind of dangerous that night,
with the full moon shining down on them.
Like a hundred sleeping dragons, all settled up against the skyline.
We rolled the windows down
(this is a necessity during summer).
We turned Ray LaMontagne's "Be Here Now" up as loud as we possibly could
(without breaking the speakers).
I stretched my fingers long and pretended
that I was tap-tap-tapping against the stars,
as if those stars were some big piano
stretched over the curve of the earth.
I could write about how I think it's sometimes necessary to let yourself go like that: to drive over the mountains, to breathe in the night sky, to play star-strings that tangle back and forth across the universe. Maybe, sometimes, the music needs to consume you. Maybe you should let the wind wrangle your hair a little bit. I could write all these things, but I'm afraid they might come off a little too dreamy (or a little too cliche). I guess some moments are meant to be written about, while others are just better lived.
All the same,
I hope your summer is full of wildflowers
and starlight songs
and sleeping dragons.
Thanks for being so patient with me while I try to get some work done over here. :) I would love to hear about what's new in your world! And for those of you who are back to school this week ... *hugs!*. I hope this is your best year ever :)