23 October, 2008

dress yourself for work

Now it is cold.

Lately, I feel spiritually messy. As if my soul needs to have a yard sale. As if I can't figure out which way is God's and which way is the Rest of the World's. It is not so much the loss of faith as it is the loss of direction. I need to pray more. I always feel better when I do. I like what God tells lazy spiritual pilgrims like myself in Jeremiah: "But you, dress yourself for work; arise." Be ready for action; be not concerned with the haziness of your spirit. Rather, chase Me. I am clear. I am direct. I am not a poached egg.

Angela Tchou's cartoons have been bringing me considerable happiness lately. I like being in class with her every day; she liberally applies snark and wit to almost every conceivable topic: corn syrup, John McCain, The N&O, China. Endless fun!

One of the most beautiful feelings in the world is writing a good English paper.

The Sound and the Fury! Wooh! William Faulkner, CALM DOWN!

Sat in Bull's Head today and drafted my good English paper (on "The Waste Land," as you may have guessed from my last post) and watched people when the thoughts weren't coming. There was an old man who looked like actor James Cromwell (you know, the old farmer in "Babe") and he was carrying a bright yellow bike helmet. He sat in the sun and tore strips out of The New York Times. I don't know what he was looking for, but I hope he found it. There was a boy with his hand on his throat who stared out the window, almost without blinking, for ten minutes. And a girl, reading a novel, with the stem of a white daisy across her coffee lid. The boy with the economics textbook and the unpleasantly juicy cough. The other old man in suit and tie who was intently reading the dust jacket to a book.

And all of this is just to say that I like watching ordinary people do ordinary things. As Philip Larkin said, "I like to read about people who have never done anything spectacular." So do I. And I like to write about them too. I have no talent for plot, for inventing characters on quests, for concocting a dazzling mystery or a gripping climax. I am not Francine Rivers and I am not Dan Brown and no, I am not J.R.R. Tolkien and I do not wish to be. Rather, I like writing about people in kitchens, walking to the store, smoothing their hair with an automatic sweep, curling their fingers around pens. Because of this, I know no one will read such things, but this is my fate. And I am happy with it.

I've been thinking about light lately. And how a photographer's responsibility is to look at light all the time. To track the movements of light and predict how it will change. I like that. But every time I look at K. Barge's photos from Spain and elsewhere in Europe, my camera lust flares up again. I want to do the whole photography thing well one day.

Now it is time to gripe with Emily. A fundamentally strong and mysterious woman, she. I love her very much. And tonight I love her especially when her mouth gets away from her and no one really knows what she means. Like abortion sandcastles in the quad.

You, me, and all the kings and queens
Buried in the junkyard
And every time the herald cherubs sing
We rattle with the car parts
I was born to lie here patiently
Be dragged on by the black star
And you were told to glow majestically
And love until your hands bleed
-- Page France, "Junkyard"

1 comment:

A Tchou said...

I left you a thank you present on my blog ;) thanks for the sweet note, and yes, I will go to church with you