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Quiet mornings around here are actually “quiet” mornings as I live in an apartment. This apartment is one building with only four units owned by a couple who live in California. They are stunt people in their 30’s. My age.

The couple who live above me have two daughters and, it seems, various step children. Their day (every single one of them including weekends) starts roughly at 6am with the stomping of children, the running of dogs, the doing of laundry and the vacuuming of floors. There are some days I feel slightly less gracious about it than others.

Today it’s alright. I got up early myself to do some chores and arrange some things, so I figure we’ll all just make noise together.

In January I’m going to start working on a book. Just typing that is mildly horrifying to me only because, well. I don’t want to be one of those people who says, “Oh, I’m writing a book” and then it either never comes to be or  it’s cheesy or something. I have no idea if it will be a good book, I have no idea if anything will come of it, I have no idea if anyone will take me seriously when I say, ” I’m writing a book”. I honestly have no idea if I even have any business writing a book.  What I do know is that its something I’ve wanted to do since I was a little girl,     … actually, it’s something I’ve believed would do since I was a little girl. There was never just the wanting to, there was always the certainty that eventually it would happen.  What I also know for the first time in my life is exactly what I want to write and how I want to write it. In the past when I’ve thought of taking on a project like this it’s always gone fuzzy in my mind at some point because it could never quite take shape. This time I can see it with razor sharp clarity and it’s leaking out of me in ways I can hardly contain.

Good sign I think.

Anyway. I’m going to be doing that and I’m not expecting it to be earth shattering, ground-breaking, amazingness. But as a dear friend encouraged, “Everyone must start somewhere. Everyone must have a first so that you eventually get to your best.”

“A spirit… The undulating and silent well, And rippling rivulet, and evening gloom,
Now deepening the dark shades, for speech assuming,
Held commune with him; as if he and it were all that was.”
– Phantastes, George Macdonald

Finished The Bone Season, it was one of the best things I’ve read since Discovery of Witches. Now on to Phantastes!

robot20alone“I’m a phoenix in the water
A fish that’s learnt to fly
And I’ve always been a daughter
But feathers are meant for the sky
So I’m wishing, wishing further
For the excitement to arrive
It’s just I’d rather be causing the chaos
Than laying at the sharp end of this knife”

There are things I have to carry now and some days that’s easier than others.  Today’s one of the harder days and it feels like all of the things that used comfort me feel far away. I’m lucky because these hard days are far out number by the good days.

What I need now is a good book, a long sleep, and some quiet dreams.

Speaking of dreams, I had a really weird one last night that involved being married to a prince, which, alone, sounds like something I would really enjoy. I didn’t, though. He was kind of a mean prince, and apparently I had been forced to marry him. Ick. Crossing fingers for better dreams tonight.

photo (7)Tonight I went to dinner with my Dad and then into Barns & Noble.  I really love hanging out with my dad, especially in the middle of meeting new man friends, or at least trying to and not getting too far. Spending time with Dad reminds me that there are decent men, somewhere, and that they don’t have to be perfect, just perfect for me.

Being around my Dad is so easy, we eat dinner, we talked about random things, we make observations about the people around us and it’s just comforting.

In our after-dinner-wandering through B&N we hung out for some time in the “Christian Living” section of the store. We found the book about interpreting dreams (which somehow isn’t really about interpreting dreams at all) and both started snickering at the titles of chapters, but especially when I noticed that nightmares and dirty dreaming had been rolled into one chapter. As if they naturally just go arm-in-arm.

Maybe for some people they do, I don’t know. It was fun though and I enjoyed the time with my Daddy-O.

… Which sounds better than, “I’m sick, yo.” And that was my first title choice, but because I’m watching photo (4)Love Actually and listening to all the british accents so you get the above instead.

I don’t do sick very well.

Fortunately I have everything I need to ensure a restful evening. It’s cloudy and it was raining a little earlier. I have chicken noodle soup, bananas, and lots of fluids and books. Books are important at this stage, very important.

If I don’t have books to entertain me I’ll start to think about all of the things that frustrated this week, and more. Movies aren’t enough of a distraction… I’m watching a movie and writing this.  Books keep my mind much busier and I like that.

Meanwhile, for reasons unknown to me, for the last 45 minutes my neighbors have been pounding on the floor. I cannot for the life of me figure out what in the world they are doing.  I would love it if they would stop now though.

And Yeah. That’s a whole bunch of bananas on my bed.

I miss knowing summer as a youth.

It was so nice to wake up the first day of summer knowing that my time was not tied up in anything, that there was plenty of space for time outside and time to read. I would get excited about lining books up and buzzing through them.

Now I don’t line books up, I stack them, which might not seem so different for some, but to me there’s something specifically adult about a stack of books. They sit next to my bedside table (and in my kindle, for in my mind they are stacked there too) and wait for me to have time and energy to get through them. I remember times when I read until late in the night because I couldn’t stop myself, I was so eager to get to finish, to know what the end of the book knew. Now I pick up a book before bed and read until my eyes wont stay open anymore (which is usually an embarrassingly short amount of time).

Knowing summer as an adult means I catch myself standing in the big windows at work, looking out and people in their appropriately summer clothes, running here and there shopping, or coming in to buy things to travel with on their vacations, and wishing I was one of those people.

Anyway, I’m managing to do quite a bit of reading right now, even with all of the frustrations of being an adult in the summer time.

Right now I’m reading through The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis for what is probably the fourth time, it’s possible I’ve read it more than that. It’s by far my favorite work of fiction by Lewis. I’m not going to say that every time I read it I learn something new from it, because that’s not true. Every time I read it I come to the  same startling realization that I have forgotten the astounding truths reflected in the story. That somehow, even though they are revolutionary to the soul, I’ve  allowed them to slip away.

One of the most significant of these forgetfulnesses is a story in the book about a man with a red lizard on his shoulder. You’ll forgive me if you aren’t familiar with all the details of the book, you should go and read it, it’s not long. The reader and main character come upon a ghostly man in a struggle with a bright spirit. The ghostly man has a little red lizard on his shoulder that the bright spirit has told him he must allow the spirit to kill in order to become solid and journey to the mountain. The ghost is torn as the lizard whispers in his ear about their attachment and how much allowing the spirit, who’s hands burned with light, to kill him would hurt the ghost and eventually saying that if the spirit killed him, the ghost-man would also die. The ghost struggles, the lizard is so small, he’s been his companion for a long time, and seems not to be a harm. But somehow it seems that at the same time the man knows that the lizard, innocent as he may seem, is sucking the life out of him, and after much struggle eventually gives in, whatever it may cost him, and allows the bright spirit to kill the lizard.

This is the point in the story that I always forget, or misremember, and it’s the most important part.

My mind wants this story to end with the slain lizard revealing it’s true nature as a vicious dragon. It makes sense doesn’t it? Those small things that we become so accustomed to that we fail to see how they have grown and are killing us slowly, but which God can see for what they really are.

But then there you have it… the glimpse of the secret of what our great God can see, which C.S. Lewis was blessed with the ability to recognize and articulate in beautiful ways. The story does not end the way my mind expects it should…

” Have I your permission?” said the Angel to the Ghost

‘I know it will kill me.’

‘It wont. But supposing it did?’

‘You’re right. It would be better to be dead than to live with this creature.’

‘Then may I?’

‘Damn and blast you! Go on, can’t you? Get it over. Do what you like, ‘ bellowed the Ghost: but ended whimpering, ‘God help me. God help me.’

Next moment the Ghost gave a scream of agony such as I never heard on Earth. The Burning One closed his crimson grip on the reptile: twisted it, while it bit and writhed, and the flung it, broken-backed, on the turf.

‘Ow! That’s done for me,’ gasped the Ghost, reeling backwards.

For a moment I could make out nothing distinctly. Then I saw, between me and the nearest bush, unmistakably solid but growing every moment solider, the upper arm and the shoulder of a man. Then, brighter still and stronger, the legs and hands. The neck and golden head materialized while I watched, and if my attention had not wavered I should have seen the actual completing of a man- an immense man, naked, not much smaller than the Angel. What distracted me was the fact that at the same moment something seemed to be happening to the Lizard. At first I thought the operation had failed. So far from dying, the creature was still struggling and even growing bigger as it struggled. And as it grew it changed.  It’s hinder parts grew rounder. The tail, still flickering, became a tail of hair that flickered between huge and glossy buttocks. Suddenly I started back, rubbing my eyes. What stood before me was the greatest stallion I have ever seen, silvery white but with mane and tail of gold. It was smooth and shining, rippled with swells of flesh and muscle, whinneying and stamping with its hoofs. At each stamp the land shook and the trees dindled.

The new-made man turned and clapped the new horse’s neck. It nosed his bright body. Horse and master breathed each into the other’s nostrils. The man turned from it, flung himself at the feet of the Burning One, and embraced them. When he rose I thought his face shone with tears, but it may have been only the liquid love and brightness (one cannot distinguish them in that country) which flowed from him. I had not long to think about it. In joyous haste the young man leaped upon the hours’s back. Turning in his seat he waved farewell, the nudged the stallion with his heels. They were off before I knew well what was happening. There was riding if you like! I came out as quickly as i could from among the bushes to follow them with my eyes; but already they were only like a shooting star far off on the green plain, and soon among the foothills of the mountains. Then, still like a star, I saw them winding up, scaling what seemed impossible steeps, and quicker every moment, till near the dim brow of the landscape, so high that i must strain my neck to see them, they vanished, bright themselves, into the rose-brightness of that everlasting morning.

The truth that is here in this ending weighed against the ending my mind always expects is devastating.

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“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”
— C.S. Lewis

The Hunger Games- Book 1 of 3

At almost 30-years-old I’ve apparently become a fan of teen fiction. I blame this partially on the last couple years difficulties and an extraordinary need to preoccupy my mind with much simpler things.

Twilight, of course, started the movement for me. What else, right? Don’t give me attitude about it either. I’m not saying it’s a masterpiece, but that I find peace in reading it, which is of a great deal more importance to me. It’s unrealistic, horribly edited, teaches young girls to expect things from men that they will likely never find in “real life”, and it’s indulgent… so I indulge.

Fortunately with The Hunger Games, written by Susanne Collins,  I don’t have to offer excuses for why an intelligent adult would bother with it. It’s a compelling story and decently written… maybe even better than decently. Keep in mind that the writing style is simple given that it’s audience is young (not that that’s required, simply understandable). I believe if The Hunger Games were written for an adult audience that the writing might be a bit heartier, and possibly more gory.

I realize I’m not giving away any of the plot, at all, but that you can find out for yourself. If you’re in the mood for a bit of good story telling, check it out.

I finished Dear John yesterday. It’s the only Nicholas Sparks book I’ve ever read. I’ve seen others on the best sellers isle at the book store before, and they’ve always given me a moment’s pause, but a voice deep down in there somewhere would caution me not to pick them up, and now I understand why.

I had a vague idea that some of the things he’d written were sad, but I wasn’t getting the full picture. I never saw or read The Notebook… mostly because I thought it was kind of weird how the girls I knew talked about it like it was some sort of revelation, but again that sense of danger would kick in and I avoided it. Plus, if I’m being totally honest, there was no one cute enough to catch my attention in the film, so I never really had the motivation to see it, certainly not to take the time to read it.

I never would have read A Walk To Remember, but when the film came out I was going through my boy band phase, so all of my celebrity crushes at the time were the thug-polished type.

Shane West

Shane West (featured to the right), thought not actually in a boy band, definitely fit into that pretty-bad-boy category. Don’t be fooled by the I’m-a-bad-ass-grimace/smirk, or the pseudo-stubble going in this picture, Shane West is pretty and so I was more than willing to see A Walk To Remember when it came out.

I went in blind on that one… I had no idea what the plot was, and it ended up being tragic and sappy, but it wasn’t the saddest thing I’d ever seen, and the acting was bad so, again I failed to pay enough attention to what was fueling that voice inside my head telling me to stay far away anything Nicholas Sparks had touched.

Now we get to Dear John. I’ve seen the trailer for it a dozen times. Once again I’ve found myself drawn, not because the story seemed compelling, but because of a celebrity crush… and the fact that I really like the song that they play during the trailer.

With age my tastes have changed, but as this picture clearly exemplifies,  I still have a weakness for the clean, roguish types. Channing Tatum (whose name should have been Tatum Channing because it sounds more like a real name), plays John, and thus caused me to be just curious enough to want to know what the story of Dear John was all about.

I can’t say exactly how it happened that I decided to read the book, other than I just wanted something easy to read and light, and that voice I mentioned before had warned me to at least prepare myself by reading before paying to see the film. So I went to half priced books and bought it. I jumped right in and knew, before finishing the first page of the prologue that I was going to regret it. I knew it the same way I knew, a chapter into She’s Come Undone, that it was going to be the worst book I had ever read, and it was a chunk of my life and time I would never get back. But just like with She’s Come Undone, I forged ahead anyway, because I can’t stand the thought of starting a book and not finishing it.

I’m sure that many of you are Sparks fans, and so I wont go into too much detail trying to tear the book limb from limb. I will admit that I though his writing style was rather weak. I found myself counting the number of times he would use a particular word, which is just down right annoying. And then, in my opinion, the narrative didn’t fit John’s character at all, but alas, it is what it is. What I really want to comment on is Mr. Sparks taste for wanting to put a knife in his readers hearts and then twisting it about 5 times.

I mentioned to a friend at work that I was reading Dear John and she warned me that it was going to be bad and when I questioned why Nicholas Sparks seems to only write that kind of heart-wrenching stuff, her response was, “because we love it.”

Do we love it? Really? I mean, I’m the girliest girlie girl who ever existed, but I like my unrealistic happy endings. Sure I like the occasional tear-jerker, but I like it coupled with romance and warm-and-fuzzies and people not dying after all, or finding someone new to love. I don’t know… maybe I just don’t get it, but one thing is for sure. I will never read another Nicholas Sparks book again.

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