Archive for the ‘ declarations ’ Category

((( Voice )))

Hearing my voice on the radio today was quite the surreal experience.  It is said (perhaps only by me) that each person is a 1000 pieces at any given moment: who you are this second is who you were the next and no two seconds are alike.  Patterns emerge, and shapes form as recurring points in a given plane.  But really, people are the most elastic things on the planet.

What I sounded like recycled through my cell phone, the GA cell tower, the AT&T satellite, the host’s phone, the recording software, the editing software, the computer’s audio output, the radio website audio platform, and back through my own computer speakers was so other than myself.  But at the same time, me.  I was struck with how powerful my voice is.  It survived that harrowing journey!  And came out fresh and alive—like a person.

reflections on my self in Spring 2009Sometimes when my parakeets chatter too loudly.  When the commuter traffic drowns my gabbing.  When the stereo pulse absorbs my harmonies.  Sometimes in those moments I feel the strength in my voice rise to the occasion, and sometimes in those moments I feel its existence as intimately as the tree that falls in the forest that nobody hears.

But what’s absolutely, utterly glorious about the human voice is that it never really dies.  It is always amplified—reverberating through the plastic and metal universe we’ve built around our fragile bodies—and it reaches into your soul and says ” I am.”

There is nothing more comforting and ‘couraging than talking to yourself.

Friends with Books

My poor friends—–I am beginning to discover some similarities to how I treat my books and how I treat my friends.  And I hope for my friends’ sake that I get a better handle on things, haha.

I am currently “in the middle” of six books:

Children of Hurin by Tolkien

Children of Hurin by Tolkien

I lied. I finished this one last Thursday. But oh! it’s so good! I forget how large a scale our lives actually fill. Tolkien always inspires me to remember (like Dustin Hoffman insists in I Heart Huckabees) that we are all part of “The Blanket.”

Atonement by Ian McEwan

Atonement by Ian McEwan

I’ve been reading this book since my junior year of college. I insist on finishing it before I’ll let myself see the film. But at this rate…perhaps I’d better bow my head and run to Blockbuster really quick.

The Green Ride by Britain

The Green Ride by Britain

This is my homework from one of my best friends. She discovered that only recently had I discovered what a mage is. Now begins my true fantasy / sci-fi education.

Yossel by Kubert

Yossel by Kubert

In preparation for helping edit the upcoming graphic novel by Meet Justice—which will be one of the first in the nation to deal exclusively with the topic of human trafficking—I am immersing myself in the genre. It’s undoing me from the inside out.

A Moveable Feast by Hemingway

A Moveable Feast by Hemingway

One of my dear friends and fellow English majors is reading this along with me. Damn, I’d forgotten how much I love Hemingway! And here, he doesn’t disappoint as he recounts his Parisian days with the liquid drops of lucid prose that far out perform my own poetic impulses.

Naked Economics by Wheelan

Naked Economics by Wheelan

I find an ironic connection between the balance in my bank account and my interest in this book. Right now, my bank account and I aren’t on speaking terms. Poor Wheelan has been relegated to the out-of-reach corner of my bedside table…

And so I rest my case: many friends, no time, sketchy consistency. To all of you—books and people alike—I beg your pardon.

Going After the Players

Yesterday a friend sent me an intriguing article about Yale University’s disciplinary action against a fraternity promulgating a “hostile sexual environment on campus” for women.  I won’t bother summarizing it for you, since a quick scan of the actual article will probably prove more useful.  But what I emailed to my friend in my thank-you response was:

It really encourages me that the symbol of white male status in America (Yale) has taken such a clear and extreme stand against their entitlement mentality (“No means yes”) on behalf of women. This kind of cultural shift is paramount to addressing the root of exploitation.

In that moment, I was so proud of Yale.  I was proud of it for making a big deal out of something that most people might consider innocuous—chanting at a fraternity meeting.  I was proud of it for erring on the side of the severe instead of the side of the lenient when dealing with an issue of sexual threat.  I was proud of it for publishing its disciplinary action—that I found out about it from the NYTimes!

With{out} Make-up

With{out} Make-up

As a woman, I have noticed in my own life that I permit (without reason) certain jokes and advances of sexual hostility in men.  Why should I laugh when a man I hardly know jokes about sitting me on his lap because there are no more seats available in the room?  Why should I accept the tight squeeze in greeting from men that haven’t earned the right (interpersonally) to put their arm around my waist instead of extending a handshake?  Why should I smile along with the group’s plans to get a free drink if I wink at the bartender?  Each one of these scenarios rests on the fact that I as a woman am expected to say “yes” when I want to say “no.”  That I as a woman should be comfortable with being a physical object instead of a moving force.  That I as a woman must learn how to do these things to “make my way in the world.”  And not only I as a woman—-men are also expected to play this game of objectification.

Women are “born knowing” how to play the game, and as such any “skill” they accrue is uncredited.  But the excerpt below is from a blog article on being a better bartender, and it showcases the expected behavior of objectification especially well because it is an action guide from one man to another man (or woman).

Some people think that there is only a certain type of person that has the confidence to talk to the opposite sex, and to talk to them in “that special way”. This isn’t necessarily true when it comes to the drinkslingers of the world – we all have to be at least a little outgoing or we wouldn’t have got the job in the first place!I love to make a girl feel special when she’s at the bar, because hey – she might give you her number. A good way to get into the habit is to have an “alter ego”, someone that is’t accountable for their actions by the light of day. You see this all the time when girls do the Hooters for Shooters, to give you an idea of what I’m talking about. So there’s Me when I’m doing the laundry, walking around the city, and writing for your entertainment, and then there’s Bartender Me, when I’m the cheeky sonovabitch that isn’t afraid to ask for a kiss as payment for that round of shots! A bartender is able to get away with a little more than a “normal” guy at the bar; you shouldn’t be afraid to take this opportunity to flex your flirting muscles! Practice your wink, look into your customer’s eyes (no matter which gender, it implies trust and confidence) – provided it isn’t sleazy, it can speak volumes. [italics mine]

With{out} Glamour

With{out} Glamour

I added the italics because I want you to see the schism that is forced into society, down to the deepest level of an individual psyche.  The schism is between behaving as a person (agent of action) and an object (to be used by another person).  Of course, there are levels of gratification, use and abuse that move back and forth.  The bartender gets better tips when he performs the part of a sexy Romeo; and the customer gets the pleasure of using said sexy Romeo in their own private narrative of conquest.  But beyond the momentary utility of being an object, the act of objectifying either another person (“No means yes”) or yourself (“No means yes”) ultimately divides us from our Selves (agency) and confuses our sense of personal integrity (wholeness).

I don’t want to split myself into parts.  I didn’t audition for the role that our culture has cast for me.  So, in short: thank you, Yale.  And thank you to all the other men and women in America who let our “yes” be yes and our “no” be no.

Brains or Brawn?

What a bum deal: Brains or Brawn.  Why does it always have to have the “or” in it?  Why can’t it be both?

my current brain food: Naked Economics, by Charles Wheelan

my current brain food: Naked Economics, by Charles Wheelan

Life example #1 (and the only, since it’s the inspiration for this impetuous post):

I started exercising again this week.  As you may be aware from previous posts, I have a rather tumultuous (yet intriguing and inspiring) relationship with exercise.  I love it; and I loathe it.  It costs me too much.  Most of all, it costs me time.  So, here I stand again: the hour I spent exercising (and the time it takes to shower after, etc, etc) meant that by this evening, I hadn’t blogged yet as planned by my inquisitive Brain.  And my Brawn is sore from a few too many ambitious arrangements with the Bow Flex resistance system.

So, like all good bloggers who are simply sticking to their guns and refusing to be silent even if it means picking something stupid and personal to post about, I decided to rant a little bit about the injustice of the dichotomy, Brains + Brawn.

Bow Flex is sexist: this is the only picture of a woman I found on Google

Bow Flex is sexist: this is the only picture of a woman I found on Google

They both feed each other, Brains and Brawn.  Like a kiss and a squeeze, you can’t have one without the other.  Endorphins make you happy enough to face the abstract world of speculative thought.  And thinking about something More than yourself makes it worth living every moment to the fullest—-even in the dial-pocked face of the treadmill.  So why always the give and take?  Isn’t there enough space in 24 hours for both B&B to get their quality time with you?

Apparently not.

They are too demanding.

So, who do YOU love most?

W.W.W. / Master Strategy (2)

Welcome to the working world! (Master Strategy 2)

This wasn’t in our course on Saturday, but I feel this week I have turned an important corner: the transition to the “working world.” Yes, I held jobs during college and have been juggling two jobs since November, but more important that actually getting the paycheck, I’m “getting” work.

I started my new schedule today: five days a week, 10 – 6. It’s quite a moment of realization—-not in the cheesy “epiphany” sense but in the “actualization” sense. I have been feeling lots of tension about my jobs since I started, and I couldn’t figure out why. These jobs were awesome! I was getting to do many of the things that I loved (even though some important portions were missing, I found other places to satisfy my inclinations). I had great hours and good (enough) pay. So why was I always stressed and frustrated and driving my family mad with my complaining?

Permission to be a working adult. That’s what I was missing. I felt tore between the carefree, shore-up-other-people’s-dreams days of college and the down-to-earth reality of being gone 9 hours a day, exhausted at the end, and saving up money. Now, I haven’t neglected the things I love, just reorganized them so that I can establish a realistic rhythm.

For the first time in my life, I will be working 5 days in a row every week, no Spring Break in sight.

*deep breath*

Yes.
I can do this.
Not only can I do this: I want to do this.
I am doing it.
Right now.

Rhythm, Joie de Vivre, by Robert Delaunay

Rhythm, Joie de Vivre, by Robert Delaunay

Job Application (1)

I understand where he’s coming from, my dad.  His job has been to provide for me and train me in the ways of self-preservation.  Not cheap psychological coping mechanisms, but the preservation of my body, soul, and spirit by the earning of money and applying of money to material needs.  Seeing his brilliant, confusing liberal arts daughter (he’s an engineer), move back into his generous home after earning a degree at a top university must have been a bit of a shock.

Don’t get me wrong: he likes having me home.  I order Chinese for everyone on Friday nights.  But apart from the pleasure of my company, I’m sure he’s a little nervous to see me coming and going through his back door still.  He’s taken to asking: “What jobs have you applied for lately?”

We won’t mention that I currently hold two “part-time” jobs that require full-time hours (i.e. I’m in management in both).

But today I applied for a job, one that I hope I will get and be glad to have gotten.  I’d like to be an editor one day (I tell myself in my moments of grandeur).  A connection I wisely cultivated sent me the call for applications she’d received from her lofty position as a paid filmmaker.  I have this habit of signing onto my email account five minutes after she sends these types of emails, leaving me wondering if the great Cosmos and His sidekick have made a delicious pass at my faith.  I submitted my new resume before the next (fateful) five minutes had passed.

how my heart hangs in the balance

how my heart hangs in the balance

The climax of this rising action remains to be seen, but be assured, dear reader, you shall know all in due time.

Work as You Are

Unicorn (photo by Sarah Scotland)

Unicorn (photo by Sarah Scotland)

This week I made drastic cuts in my schedule.  I stripped away things that long held together the center of my world.  I am trying to embrace my Self–the Self that needs at least 9 hours of sleep, 1 hour of reading, 2 hours of talking with family, and 30 minutes of caring for my pets.

I don’t want to feel guilty about work any more.  Guilty about the way that I avoid it, sleep in, cut it short, or ignore it because I’m tired, uninspired, and lazy.

This isn’t who I am.

I love to work—and work hard.  I am inspired.  And I rarely let things simply fall to the ground.  So I’m doing a new thing—working as I am.

The Epic in Us

 

 

the longing to be epic

the longing to be epic: we are on the stage already

Oh there is something in us that longs to be epic.  You can see it in the way we live and move and have our being.  Even driving down the road feels epic to us with the right movie soundtrack playing from the iPod deck.  we long for what we do to be important, to take energy and give energy, to have a pulse.

I want to be epic.  I want to be epic but I long for my bed and I ache for my home.  Faithfulness is epic, but when the little things come I want to pass them by and distract my pain while I wait for something bigger.

But my life here and now is the something bigger. There isn’t anything else coming because there doesn’t need to be anything else coming.  I am in the movie.  I am the script.  I live the plot and I love the moments.  My new hypothesis is that everyone’s life is a movie but some haven’t been distributed yet.

Life is busy when you teach.

Since my last post, I have visited Panama City Beach, started my year teaching sixth and seventh grade, worked a film shoot in Alpharetta, spent days cutting logos at the uniform store, and generally lived the life of someone wanting and trying and succeeding at being really busy.

But life is really good, and I am finding that staying busy can keep you focused.  I have learned oh so much in the past several days, and I have plans to continue learning even more.  My newest ideas:

  • get re-certified in adult and pediatric CPR and first aid
  • find and read a book on personal and film production accounting and business operations
  • acquire a commercial driver’s license
  • start paying off principal on my student loans
  • edit some old footage and start on some fresh projects
  • compile all my data and back it up on a second harddrive

Yeah.

That’s about it for now, but that will probably keep me busy til Christmas.

I still want to think big thoughts, though, and I’ve got some ideas rolling around in the back of my mind.  When I get a moment, I’ll sit and detail them for you.  But for now, it’s on to the next thing.  I’ll add “writing” to my list.

the iMAC(s) experience

It could eat my face.

It could eat my face

I stared at it for five full minutes before I had the courage to turn it on.  I thought it would eat my face off it was so huge.  My 27″ iMAC.  Wow.

Mom said that it says “I am doing film.”  And finally, I realized that everything I have saved for in my whole life—barring my season of consecration and my piano, which feed my spirit—everything else, has gone into this moment:

I can make movies now!!

I have moving art before me and connected to me.  My body has extended itself into beautiful pieces of metal and plastic, and I can create living moments.  Living moments.  Living.

Amen.