30 September, 2009

fabric of spirit

Living in the Shoebox is a little bit like camping. Our walls have the thickness of cork board. Whatever temperature it is outside, that's the temperature it's going to be in here. I woke up this morning and I thought my toes were frozen together. Although my nightgown did have the weight of a handkerchief, I'm still going to be investing in some woolen socks and a space heater.

A male cardinal and a dump truck in the Newman parking lot woke us up this morning. I'd rather it were just the cardinal.

I find it hard to believe that tomorrow starts October. I feel like I should know more things now than I do. I think of Denver, too, and begin to miss it a little.

"It could be that God has not absconded but spread, as our vision and understanding of the universe have spread, to a fabric of spirit and sense so grand and subtle, so powerful in a new way, that we can only feel blindly of its hem. In making the thick darkness a swaddling band for the sea, God 'set bars and doors' and said, 'Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further.' But have we come even that far? Have we rowed out to the thick darkness, or are we all playing pinochle in the bottom of the boat?" -- Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Annie Dillard

27 September, 2009

in this condition

This Danish woman is my favorite photographer on Flickr. I want to own a print of everything she's done and put them on every wall.

I wasn't able to go to Vintage this morning, so I listened to Tyler's opening sermon for the summer series on Mark, "Wholly God, Holy Human." He began by returning to Eden. "They had this glorious opportunity," he said, "to see God's eyeballs." It was "a magical place where bacon and papaya grew on the same trees."

"There can be no doubt, I thought, pushing aside the newspaper, that our mean lives, unsightly as they are, put on splendour and have meaning only under the eyes of love." The Waves, Woolf

26 September, 2009


Kelsey told me in a message that the big oak tree in our front yard was cut down because a branch fell and nearly struck a woman and her baby. She said there is a great hole where it once was. I feel guilty, because my first thought was not of the woman, but of how much I'll miss that tree.

19 September, 2009

a little room

Up in a Room of My Own, watching the crowds wander back from today's football game. Sky threatens rain. Drinking some black tea, polished off a muffin (I made some more, this time with chocolate). Watching an officer give a motorcycle a parking ticket. My latest reading, "Moments of Being," came in the mail yesterday and I kicked off this afternoon with beginning "22 Hyde Park Gate." It's about to get disturbing.

I also started "The Adventures of Augie March" by Saul Bellow because Fionn Regan told me to, but I'm struggling. Bellow's style is throwing me off.

Not that I'm planning on trying or anything, but it's still good to know what would happen if you printed the Internet.

I want to write again, but nothing comes very easily anymore. I may have already exhausted all my best ideas. I was inspired by the dinner scene in To the Lighthouse, but I can't seem to say anything worthwhile about it. I talked to Angela and Rachel about writing yesterday and they were reassurring in separate directions.

Going home for fall break will be perfect. I go through rhythmic bursts of pining for our home in Davidson.

I can't say how much I love these four lines:

And now good-morrow to our waking souls
Which watch not one another out of fear;
For love all love of other sights controls,
And makes one little room, an everywhere.
-- John Donne

12 September, 2009

pleased to dwell

I had such a beautiful morning yesterday. I woke up and walked to Open Eye to meet two of the coolest UNC grads, Christa and Elisabeth, and we laughed and talked. I felt so privileged to have been invited to meet with them; I hope to resemble them even slightly once I graduate. After our fair trade coffee and tea (it's Carrboro; what do you expect?), we went to the farmers' market to buy flowers.
With a bright bouquet in my hands, I walked to Aveda and (finally!) got my hair cut by a kind, almost-graduate from their school. For some reason, I always feel more reassurred when the person cutting my hair has a lot of tattoos and piercings. I don't know why, but I trust them more.
I came back home and made banana-cranberry bran muffins for my magazine writing class (we have to make something that the kitchen-ignorant college boy could make and then write about it). I think they turned out decently well. Baking is such a deeply cleansing, satsifying thing.

On the value of walking: Christa and I talked about this briefly (when Elisabeth ducked out to speak to the fiancee in his native tongue) this morning. Along with baking, it is also a deeply cleansing, satisfying thing. I feel like walking unties things in my head. I used to begrudge long walks and reconsider dinner plans if they were too far down Franklin, but not anymore. Something about living in Tokyo and Denver changed that. (Diane was such a huge proponent of walking in Japan because she was a budget stickler. "No matter what the bus or train costs," she'd tell me as I rolled my eyes, "your legs are always free.") I am happy to walk anywhere--for 20 minutes, for an hour, whatever. I'm not sure if I'll still feel this way once the air begins to freeze, but it's so unbelievably pleasant right now. That graceful transition from summer to fall.

Last night, we had dinner at the Steddum's to celebrate Chris's 21st birthday and recognize the great void in our life now that Catherine is in Benin. Dinner was excellent and the company even more so. I love being there. And I know my mom would love their house; it has such a peaceful aesthetic.
"But beauty was not everything. Beauty had this penalty--it came too readily, came too completely. It stilled life--froze it." To the Lighthouse, Woolf
Thanks to Windy and her garage, I now have a room of my own, in the line of Woolf's essay. It's a tiny white room upstairs in the house and I have a little desk and a chair that overlook the street. I come up here to work on my thesis reading and write things. The room makes me feel oddly grown-up and European. (Do Europeans all feel more grown-up? It's odd, I've never been to Europe or been a grown-up. My perceptions, rather, of these feelings.)

Rediscovered song of the week: "Oh, Sister," by Andrew Bird

Guion convinced me to give Regina Spektor another shot. I listened to her almost non-stop freshman year and she quickly wore out. He saw her perform in Ireland, however, and told me to try her new album, "Far." And I admit that it's nice to return to Regina. She's not doing anything very differently, but it's still good. "Laughing With" isn't revolutionary or anything, but it's kind of amazing. And I've been thinking a lot about its spiritual ramifications. Guion usually directs most of my musical habits, it's fair to say. The past week, along with Regina, I've been listening exclusively to Radiohead, Jens Lekman and Neutral Milk Hotel.
Some mornings I really like going to church alone. This was one of those mornings. I hadn't realized how much I had missed Vintage until the first song began to play. And the calm, the stillness washes up on the shore of my heart and I realize there's no where else I should be in this suspended moment. We started a new series today, "The Gospel Uncut," and Tyler's message was shattering. I feel--finally--like there is nothing else I need right now than to know the gospel. Right now, I don't need New Testament Greek or hermeneutics or predestination or "spiritual" tasks enacted out of mild guilt. I just need the elemental things. The gospel. "You're dead, Jesus is bigger than your death, and He's giving you life," Tyler said. "That's the gospel." The simple and yet inexhaustibly deep truth of Jesus. The fullness of God is pleased to dwell in Him.

04 September, 2009

it was a delight when it came

I realized this morning, walking long distances for our (actually super-fun) costume design group project, that I am very happy.

Possible causes for happiness:

- Not having Friday classes
- This weather
- Reuniting with my favorite people
- Woolf is in my life again. First on the thesis docket: "To the Lighthouse"
- My house is great
- I get to see Guion tomorrow
- Burt's Bees papaya lip tint
- Reading Isaiah 58 every morning (a collective effort with my sisters)
- Bringing the 365 project back. I didn't realize that I'd kind of missed it
- Discovering Pandora
- Learning the ebb and flow at UNC Press

I mean, really, how can my life be anything but incandescently happy when I get to read this kind of stuff all day?

"They came there regularly every evening drawn by some need. It was as if the water floated off and set sailing thoughts which had grown stagnant on dry land, and gave to their bodies even some sort of physical relief. First, the pulse of colour flooded the bay with blue, and the heart expanded with it and the body swam, only the next instant to be checked and chilled by the prickly blackness on the ruffled waves. Then, up behind the great black rock, almost every evening spurted irregularly, so that one had to watch for it and it was a delight when it came, a fountain of white water; and then, while one waited for that, one watched, on the pale semicircular beach, wave after wave shedding again and again smoothly, a film of mother of pearl." (Woolf, "To the Lighthouse")

Happy Labor Day weekend, lovers!

01 September, 2009

endless alarm

Oh, right, blogging! I'll think about this later. I am re-immersed in the rattle and hum of casual college madness and can't seem to do anything with much focus or skill.

In the meantime, my super-wonderful housemate Courtney, aka CoCo Granopia, has started a blog of her own and it's sincerely rad.

The beach was just the best, everything I hoped it would be. Coming back to reality hits you like a hammer, though, after three days of sunshine, surf and bliss.

I can't sleep past 8 in this shoebox because of the eternal construction that goes on right behind us at the Newman Center. It sounds like there is a bulldozer in my bedroom. And the mind-numbing "beep beep beep" of a dump truck in reverse! The worst sound ever. It's like an alarm that you can never turn off.

"We need to all be prepared for genocide," Emily told us last night at her first social justice group meeting. "It could happen here." We weren't sure whether to laugh or to take her very, very seriously.

I feel happy and confused. I had a great, long dinner with Jonathan last night at Med Deli and he made this perfect analogy to my current state. It's some trope Hitchcock used in his films to create a vertigo effect, when the camera zooms in on a face in such a way that the focus seems to be moving forward but the background seems to be falling away. Progression and regression all at once. "And so it's intentionally disorienting," he said. "Kind of what you're feeling now."

One of the Clef Hangers is singing in Italian on his back porch right now and I want to punch him in the mouth.

Catherine needs to come home from Benin. Life without her here is not widely enjoyable.