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Sunday, April 23, 2006


Next Sunday, I'll be performing at Mosaic's Beverly Hills and Mayan services with four other writers. We were asked to pick a word from the phrase "I Will Stand Against (the) Wind" and write a 30-45 second preformance piece based on that word. We'll preform it along with video footage and music. Total experiment, and since things are sort of fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants at Mosaic, I'm not totally sure it's going to happen. But I'm excited none-the-less.
If you live in LA, you should check us out! Just click here for times and locations. (While the website says there's no Mayan service, there actually is. It's just not at the Mayan this week. Instead, go to the Pasadena service location (William Carey University Campus) at 5P.)

If you don't live in LA, you should be able to see the preformance podcasted from the website.

But if none of the above works, here's what I wrote. It's only a small small sliver of the over all performance, but just in case you're interested~


easy enough to fit in the palm of one hand
will is a small word
made by the whuah of your lips
caught in the curve of your tongue
finished with the gentle tap against the back of your teeth ~ will

is gone as soon as you’ve said it
sunk in the throat like a weather-worn stone
slipped out before the first hard letter of the next word

is the start of a question: you?
the heart of an action: stand
the beat of resistance: against

this smooth word, slick word, firm word is
small enough to work your future like a lever
strong enough to change the direction of your mind

I Will

move my body
tip my weight forward
balance on the axis of

Saturday, April 15, 2006


The moment my phone rang in the middle of the Passion of the Christ, I thought my heart would stop. It was two years ago, in the theater, when The Passion had just opened. You can imagine how mortified I was as I curled over in my seat thrashing through my purse to silence that blasted ringing! If I remember correctly, it went off while Jim Caviezel was dragging the cross up to Golgatha, his bloody feet pulling over the cobblestones, his mother Mary poised, tears streaking down her dirty cheeks in slow motion.

I remember those shots like works of art, reminiscent of Rembrant with their brown and gold tones and the angle of Jesus' body. It was in the midst of these gorgeous shots that my ringtone beep bop be duh be dohed its way into the cavarness theater and then tumbled along to a salsa beat. That year I gave up movies for Lent.

I have been thinking about Lent at the end of this Holy Week. I've been thinking about Good Friday and this dark Saturday that rests between death and Easter. What is it about? I ask myself, imagining the questions of friends. Why do you give things up? And the answer that comes from the back of my mind is: it's about disruption. It's about breaking the chaos of our lives that has settled into routine. It's about reaching backwards, brushing past thousands of years of tradition.

I imagine Lent is discomfort for the purpose of shaking free. For the ability to hold the scope of pain and sacrifice, time and worship in a single moment of no.

Monday, April 03, 2006

From the Back Seat

I spent the evening with Billy Collins and Mary Chapin Carpenter yesterday! This is how it went:

Annie and I walk into the beautiful UCLA auditorium - arches soaring above our heads. We sit at the very back of the balcony, elbow to elbow, knee to chair. Soon the lights dim and Billy, Mary, and her fellow guitarist walk onto the stage. They are wearing different shades of gray - all in jeans, as if we have arrived in their living room for a cozy concert of word and music.

Mary picks up her guitar and strums for a moment. I wrote this song about my very first date with my current husband. My current and only husband. The crowd chuckles. He's the best one I've ever had! We laugh. And the moment she begins to sing, I feel my body shiver then unwind. The way you do when someone runs their fingers through your hair. She finishes the song and introduces another.

This will show you I'm the shallowest person on the face of the planet, Mary says dropping her hands over her guitar. But the first time I ever met my husband I said out loud in the car - Please God, let him have hair. Slowly she turns her head from Billy (who is bald) to her fellow guitarist (who is bald). The crowd erupts in laughter.

She grins and continues, Which was terrible because some of the most brilliant, talented, sexiest men are bald and I'm standing between two of them. She stretches her arms out and points to the men on either side. The auditorium thunders with applause.

The evening weaves on in braided strands of poem and song. Billy finishes a poem about the ghost of dog put to sleep, come back to talk to his owners. I never liked you, the dog says. You scratched me in all the wrong places.

I know why you like dogs. Billy says over his shoulder to Mary. It's because they have lots of hair isn't it?

We are enjoying this evening. This quiet show of guitar and words, strings lifting and winding, strumming then descending on our ears. We're lapping up the images sprung from Billy's mind. He is twisting the world and turning it back on itself. His father sits up in his grave to look disapprovingly at Billy. His mother rolls over and tells him to lay back down.

In the end, it was a delightful evening. Entertainment that makes you want to go home and immerse yourself in art, support those in the business of expression, and keep their craft alive. I encourage all of you, no matter where you are, to discover the corners of creativity in your community. Adopt an artist! Their words will be your friends. Their chords your sweethearts.