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Thursday, December 28, 2006


On a Sunday nearly two years ago, I sat in service day dreaming about all the ways you could use poetry in worship. Lo and behold, this summer,while sitting at a Mosaic leadership meeting someone handed me a new ministry with poetry and theater combined. They called it Spoken Word and they told me to lead it, dream big, and basically do whatever I wanted with it. It's astounding. I feel puny, but psyched too.

My mind has been spinning with many ideas. Right now, I'm working on my second Spoken Word project. It will involve dance and poetry. It sounds REALLY cheesy, right? I mean, it's almost enough to make me stand up, adjust my barret, and start snapping, but when I mentioned this idea to the leader of the dance team, she said, "Cool." And I was given four very talented writers who said, "Sounds good."

I feel like I told someone that I wanted to drive to Arizona, and they gave me five Feraris to get there. I have these amazingly talented people to work with to execute my idea.

In light of this fantastic opportunity, something very strange has taken over. Procrastination. I mean, I have everything I need. And yet, I panic everytime I sit down to work on it. I check myspace. I twiddle my thumbs. I listen to music. I pound on the piano for a while. I doodle drawings. I sit at the computer, staring at my writer's rough drafts waiting in my inbox. I walk away and leave the poems for one or two days before I finally get up the courage to read what they've written.

It's not that they're bad. Far from it. I'm working with Ferari's, people! This should be easy, right? I should be revving up everyday to tackle these projects and watch my daydreams come true. So why on earth do I freeze up like a popsicle on a winter day?

Tune in on January 7th for the results. My success or failure as a leader will be podcasted to 18,000 people at :-/

Monday, December 25, 2006

The Beginning of Desire

It's Christmas and everyone's thinking about the birth of Christ, but I've been thinking about the birth of all babies, and how much fun it would be to have a baby of our own this Christmas. Most of the time, I don't think about babies, but it's a strange mood that descends on me when I'm at my mom and dad's house. I think maternal hormones cloak the air around here. Also, this is the first Christmas without my sister, Annie, and it's been a little lonely.

Today it's just four adults celebrating. It's been sweet, but I have to admit it would be fun if there were kids involved. I've decided that kids make the Yule tide exciting. It's the way they zip through halls, run things over, ask to open presents, cause messes, and generally add more electricity to the air. With adults, it's just not as thrilling. Gone are the days of anticipation. Now it's more about the Christmas dinner for me: the delicious ham, mashed potatoes, cranberry jello salad, and soft rolls. Pleeeaaase!

For that reason I have spent this week thinking about the birth of our family. Hasn't happened yet, but I wonder how I'll feel in a week, when I'm back in our apartment, tending to my regular routine. Until now, the desire for kids has come and gone the way I come and go from mom and dad's house. I really love the rhythm of our married life. We're young, unattached, and mobile. But is this how women start wanting families? Sitting around a Christmas tree with three other adults? Is this the beginning of desire?

Monday, December 18, 2006

A slightly nuerotic rant about grades and Cameron Diaz

Are you ready for it? Here comes a ramble.

I have just finished my grades for the semester. Its official, the holidays can begin. It was a fairly good semester. Although, as I was calculating my students' grades I kept thinking, "What am I doing? I'm not a real teacher." Maybe these "not-a-real-teacher" thoughts will go away the more comfortable I get with assigning grades to students' work.

When you think about it, grades are ridiculous. The idea that you can qualify some one's talent, work, and effort astonishes me. It has no bearing on reality, but these poor students live their lives based on what "grade" they're getting. They rely on that little letter to tell them something about who they are. Anyway, I've now turned my students into letters and sent them off to the registrar's office.

Even though I've felt like a fake teacher most of the semester, I've had a lot of fun. There are nice things, like the notes a few of my students slipped me as they walked away from the final. One girl said she'd added English as a minor because of my class. Another guy said he didn't know writing could be so much fun. These things are rewarding, but then I also remember the annoyed look on four of my students' faces. They dismissed me when I tried to talk to them about thesis, transitions, and MLA formatting. The funny thing is, in college, I know I was one of the latter, not the former, students.

So here we are at the end of the semester and I am ready to kick back and slouch through the holidays. I plan on going to my parent's house, thinking about NOTHING, and watching romantic comedies for the next ten days. Really, this seems like cheating after coming from corporate life. Last Christmas I worked the week between Christmas and New Year's. Having all this time off, with no work to worry about is surreal, but I guess that's part of the joy of teaching - the holidays.

I watched "The Holiday" this Saturday, and I do not plan on giving you an in depth review. I will just say this: it was bad. I still had a good time, but Cameron Diaz was obnoxious, the story-line was disjointed, and the romance was really awkward.

I worry that I'm loosing my taste in movies. I'm worried what it says about me that I'd rather watch "Happy Feet" over "Apocalypto." I think this means that I'm turning into a mindless movie-goer. Although, after watching "The Holiday" I'm ready for someone to tell me a good story. Actors, and visual side-effects aside. I just want the characters to be believable, I want there to be a natural arc, and for the climax to rise and fall with authenticity.

However, I think I've forgotten what the rise and fall of a climax should look like, especially in my writing. Really I think I've forgotten how to write. I just got rejected for a second time from the Rock & Sling. Bellingham Review said "no" this week too. Suddenly I look at my work and think, "Holy Cow? Is this really bad?" I can't tell what's good anymore. I'm plagued by a mild panic that I've somehow lost my edge since getting my degree. I mean just look what my blog has degenerated to. Silly posts with ramblings about grades and Cameron Diaz.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Kind of cool. My essay "Santa Ana" got accepted into issue ten of Zinkzine. You can check it out here.

Some of you may remember an earlier version of this short essay as a post I did for my blog a long time ago. It's cool to see how things come around.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Birthday Rich

My grandmother used to say over and over again that she was the richest woman in the world. She was a farmer's wife who wore polyester dresses, and thick stockings. "I'm richer than the Queen of England," she'd retort!
"Why, grandma?"
"Because I'm rich with children and grandchildren." It was love that made her life rich, and this year for my birthday I have felt so rich! Thank you to everyone who sent me cards, e-mails, took me out, bought me coffee, and celebrated with me. I have felt so blessed this year by the the people in my life who care for me.

Saturday night, we celebrated my birthday at Macaroni Grill. We had arranged for only twelve people. I was delighted when nearly 20 showed up! They had to move us out to the patio.

The guys got into a juicy conversation.

Blowing out the candle.