Saturday, March 29, 2014

Spoilers: a Storyteller's Nightmare

Credit: Brian0918
Recently, I was shocked to discover that one of my most beloved Lit. professors reads the last page of a book first!  I know for some of you, this may be a matter of course, but I have never been able to bring myself to practice this reading habit, and think I never will.  But my opinion on whether or not this is "ethical" (literarily speaking, of course) is not the point of this post.

After recovering from the shock of the moment, I had somewhat of a writing revelation!

Over the past year or so, my writing tastes have changed.  As a younger student, I was happy to write anything.  I enjoyed piecing together words for almost any kind of assignment: argumentative papers, reports, reviews, stories, poems, speeches, etc.  But more recently, I have enjoyed writing research-based prose less and less.  My professor's comment today made me realize why.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Misunderstanding: the Plight of Suffering

"He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him.  He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.  Like one from whom people hide their faces He was despised, and we held Him low in esteem.  Surely He took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered Him punished by God, stricken by Him, and afflicted.  But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed."  (Isaiah 53:2b-5)
People have an eye for the beautiful, a taste for the delicious, a feel for the comfortable.  These abilities are gifts from the personal storehouse of a good Creator.

We tend to frown on pain and suffering.  We label and file them under "bad."  We don't like them in our own lives, and we tend to think less favourably of people who experience them.  We think these people
are "stricken by God."  This seems logical.

Artist: Meister des Rabula-Evangeliums
But  then what of Jesus?  He suffered not only one of the most painful methods of execution, but also the countless cuts, scrapes, and heartbreaks of human existence.  How can we reconcile our dislike of suffering with the fact of Jesus' first-born-and-beloved-of-God status?

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Writing is...

Artist: Henriette Brown
...not the way my thoughts are
absorbed into my blood stream,
travel the length of my inner
down to my finger tips,
where they utterly possess
whatever helpless writing
implement my fingers grasp,
forcing their way in and emerging,
to my surprise,
not as blood,
but as ink.

At least, writing is so much more than only that.

It is meditating - embrace the perfect storm inside.  
Don't take cover.
Stand on the hilltop, arms spread wide, 
laughing with the thunder and lightning 
while the wind and rain dance all around.

It is searching - get lost in a book.  
Get so far lost, 
it is difficult to find a way out 
from between the musty, yellowed sheets.

It is dreaming - fall asleep mid sentence.  
Be not where the body is.  
Be flying in the sky above or walking in the earth below.  
Even be someone else.

Mere scribbling.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Queen of Grasshoppers

Artist: Vincent Van Gogh
A hot sun looks down
on grass baking in his gaze.
He sees me, queen of grasshoppers,
enter my court.

The crowd parts,
beating their wings, a fanfare,
making way before my feet -
thin, bare, and golden brown.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

John Ruskin on the Novel

"The best romance becomes dangerous, if, by its excitement, it renders the ordinary course of life uninteresting, and increases the morbid thirst for useless acquaintance with scenes in which we shall never be called upon to act." 

- John Rushkin, Sesame and Lilies 

If you are a writer or reader, what do you think about Rushkin's claim?  Do you agree/disagree? 
How then should we write (/read)?