Thursday, April 28, 2011


Butt-kicking awesomeness from Evey, telling it like it is. This one was a 'boo-yeah' moment.

“You are right. There ARE some people who are better than others. But it isn’t because of where they were born. It is their actions that raise and lower men. And judging by your actions, you are one of the lowest pieces of filth to plague this world. Hang me, if you must. Add one more crime to your conscience.”


Thursday, April 21, 2011

My Imaginary Boyfriend is Better Than Yours

That was the title of a book we found today. It was funny. But also true. I have some really fantastic imaginary men in my life.

There's much more to Isaiah Wolff than this, but it's a tiny little example of why I'd marry him if he were real.

“Always to the point,” he said through his laughter.

“Yes, well, I don’t see a lot of purpose in extra words.”

“Most of the time I agree.” he replied.

“Most of the time?”

“Yes. I don’t like lies and deception, and manipulation.”

“Of course not.” She started, but she cut herself off. She wanted to know more about how he thought of things, and here was a chance.

“No, I don’t. I like straightforward honesty. But there are some things that are better with more words. Like... oh, never mind.”

“Oh, come on. Like what?”

“You’ll probably think this is weird.”

“I won’t. I promise.” She said, now very curious.

“Well, like poetry. Nature, life, love...” He paused, and glanced up at her for a moment before continuing. “Those things don’t need more words, but they deserve them. Saying ‘I love you’ to someone is fine, if you mean it. But if you really do love them, why not say it over and over? Make the saying of it as beautiful as the feeling itself?”

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Twas Brillig, and the slithy toves...

I remember once thinking about a way to describe art as something better than just "art". And then it came to me.

Art is visual poetry.

It's true. It's poetry for the eyes. Something that isn't strictly necessary, as with food or sleep. Something that everyone understands differently. Something that makes you feel the whole "deeper meaning of life, the universe, and everything". It does the same thing to your soul through pictures and objects that poems do through words.

And music is audible poetry.

Or at least it should be. Not everything that claims musicality can really, honestly qualify. But when it's good, it's GOOD. Few things are as powerful as music. Poetry for the ears.

All people have different needs. They understand things very differently from every other person. Some love art, but hate poems. Some love poems, but don't care about music. It comes in all different forms. But deep down, we all have one thing in common: we all need poetry.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Catch a Tail by the Tiger

Eventually, the sting of rejection gives way to a satisfying numbness.

Although that might have had more to do with Ben and Jerry than with developing calluses over a wound. But we can pretend it's both.

The truth is, though, that this is the way of things. The more times you get stabbed in the face by the figurative sword of life, the less you can feel each blow, until you hardly notice them. You move on to bigger and better things, and when you look back you wonder why those stings were ever a big deal.

That may sound bad. And it can be. Some people stop feeling anything at all. But others flourish. There is exactly one thing that makes the difference, and it isn't birthplace, circumstance, or luck. One word: attitude.

Not everyone realizes it, but attitude is 100% your choice. It is not something that just happens.

But no one likes to hurt. What's the purpose of doing something, if you have to come out of it with a vicious stab wound?

Well, that's sort of the point. A whiny, pampered brat, who is given everything a person could ever want, will never be anything more than what they started as. A whiny, pampered brat. They never have a reason to change, so instead, they stagnate.

Change is painful, sometimes. Growth is never easy. But think of where we might be if we never improved.

Walking was good enough. Why bother learning to ride a horse? Or inventing a carriage for the horse to pull? Or a car to replace the horse and carriage? It seemed so insignificant at the time. So I can ride a horse instead of walking. Big deal. But if that first person had never said "I can do better" we'd never have flown to the moon. Or discovered the oddities of the ocean depths. Or even found a whole new continent on the other side of the world.

Fruit and some campfire barbecue was good enough. Why bother mixing foods together? Or cooking them in different ways? Or changing the nature of certain raw product? It may have seemed spectacularly unimportant at the time, but if that first person had never wondered "What would happen if..." we'd never have eaten chocolate. Or savory stew. Or even bread.

If the first painter had been too afraid of what people might think, they'd never have smeared a bunch of color on those stone walls. And we'd never have art. If the first singer had been too scared to make those funny sounds in front of people, we'd never have music.

Life is a gigantic helping of trial, filled with quite a lot of error. But without the error, we have no success.

As Gobo Fraggle says, we must "Catch a tail by the tiger! Take the horns by the bull!"

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The War Between the States

Today marks 150 years since the civil war began.

I'm not advocating that we celebrate or anything. It was a magnificently bloody war that could have been prevented several times over if certain people in power had done things a bit differently. Buchanan among them. As wikipedia so aptly puts it, "his efforts alienated both sides" which ultimately resulted in the secession of the southern states.

However, as awful a situation as it was, it remains one of the most integral parts of American history, and bears thinking about. It is especially applicable to those of us who call Virginia our home. Half of the war took place in Virginia.

We can see that many states were affected. Georgia hosted 27 battles. Tennessee, 38. Missouri, 27. North Carolina 20. Etc, etc. There was even an occasional battle as far west as Colorado. none of them even come close to Virginia. 123 battles just in VA. (That is to say, not counting West Virginia, since it split away at the time of secession.)

It was also difficult time in our history because we were not fighting a common enemy. We were fighting ourselves. Brother against brother.

That's the most tragic part.

I used to think I knew exactly where I’d be if I lived during the civil war. When I was 7 and 8 things were so clear cut. All we really learned about it as a Utah resident was that slavery caused it and slavery was wrong. I was union all the way, and proud to say so.

In fact, I was outwardly disgusted with the fact that anyone joined the southern army in the first place. The honest view of a child with an incomplete education.

And then I moved to VA. My values didn’t change. Neither did my beliefs. But my home did. Virginia is more my home than Utah ever was, even though I lived about the same amount of time in both. And now the question is different. It isn't to enslave, or not to enslave. It is Politics or Homeland. Where would I be?
There is so much more involved than just slavery. The civil war was as much about state government vs. Federal as it ever was about slavery. It was as much about leaving one part of the world to live how they wanted to as it was about slavery.

If the united states was bodily invaded by another country that claimed we weren’t living right, would we defend ourselves?

Of course we would, and it would have very little to do with whether or not we were right in our governmental choices.

The problem of the civil war was not so very different. Even if you firmly believed in the politics of the north, would you, or could you, take up a musket against your land and your people? Perfectly upright and respectable men could not. Robert E. Lee among them.

I used to think he was an idiot for that. But now I understand. The war has since been made a lot more personal for me. If it became necessary to choose between loyalty to my home, or loyalty to a political cause, which would I pick? Without being immersed in the political debates of the time, I can't honestly say what I would do.

I don't claim to know a lot about the state vs. federal government debate, and I don't claim to have a legitimate opinion on the right to secede or not. I honestly do believe that slavery would have eventually been abolished without the war. It was in Britain, and 60 years earlier. So I don't know how much good the war really did.

But it still happened. And living in a world where it did happen, where would I have been? What side would I have taken?

Friday, April 8, 2011

A Re-post of a Re-post

Yes, this is, in fact, a many times re-posted article. But it's just that awesome.

An article by Rosemarie Urquico:

Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes. She has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.

Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she finds the book she wants. You see the weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a second hand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow.

She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.

Buy her another cup of coffee.

Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.

It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas and for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.

She has to give it a shot somehow.

Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.

Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who read understand that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.

Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilightseries.

If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.

You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.

You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.

Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.

Or better yet, date a girl who writes.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Peace in the Midst of War

I have discovered, in the course of starting this new blog, that I just can't write poetically as myself. Whether it's because I can't take myself seriously when I do, or because I have an odd case of writer's block, I just don't seem to have the knack for it as me.

Everything even remotely serious, poetic, or eloquent comes when I am writing as someone else. And, for the moment, I don't have a character to hide behind. So until I find a new one, I present another journal entry from the story I mentioned last time:

"Today, in the middle of the turmoil that I’ve found myself suddenly part of, I discovered peace. Real peace. Not simply an absence of war and conflict, for indeed there was no shortage of that.

"This night I looked up at the stars. I pondered the vastness of the Universe. The glory of majestic trees, their leaves changing beautifully. The simplicity of a tiny wildflower. The intense complexity of the human body.

"The indescribable beauty and grandeur of everything that surrounded me took hold of my soul. It gripped me in a deeper way than I have ever experienced before. I was filled with love. The love of a father to a child. I felt my worries melt away. I have been asking for a very long time for God, if there is one, to reveal himself to me, and I can not help but feel that this is His answer: That He already has...that everything speaks His name."