Thursday, December 22, 2011

Peace, Joy, and all that good stuff!

Having spent a few days at home with not much to do, I've had the chance to process the past semester a little bit.  I've concluded that there have been mini-miracles and many challenges to my thinking and way of life up to this point.


As if miracles could come in miniature.  The fact that I got by quite well in my courses while being part of a theatre production, working on one acts and films, actually spending time with friends, and sleeping, is a substantial gift - there's nothing that strengthens my dependence on God more than having a 3000 word essay due in the morning.


Flashmob at the Masque
On set at the airport for "They're Only Words, Love"
Arturo Ui
Church has been something changing also: I've been attending the Project, and thinking about how perceptions of Jesus and ways of worship have changed over the past two thousand years.  It's also been interesting learning about Christian art in the Medieval ages, and how the styles and ways of portraying Christ have grown and been influenced by the cultures of the day.  Having been away from them for a while, a good old Lutheran setting two is kind of nice.


Cast from "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along-Blog"
Mom's 50th
Hanging out with friends more has been really really great: the Yellow Door house where I'm living has become a kind of centre for art and random movie nights and sleepovers.  Friends from Arturo Ui and the greater drama community at Concordia have also been a huge encouragement to me this year - walking downtown and meeting Undead people, pretending to be rich Masque attendees (with British accents), going to the art gallery and coffeeshops and Remedy...also been hanging out with Concordia Writer's group!  Amanda and David were convinced I had a secret boyfriend, going out so much!


Sister Time
Christmas at home!
For the next semester: I'm hoping to direct another one act, I'm stage managing for Concordia's production of Harvey, hopefully going to find out what to do with my life...and spending more time for other people too.  It's my last semester! Kind of scary, but also a relief - I think I need a break from school for a while.



May you have a blessed and lovely Christmas with family and friends! <3

Monday, September 12, 2011

Fun and Family Event at Starbucks




As many of you know I've been working at Starbucks this summer, and one of my favourite memories from that crazy time is the Family and Friends' Event we sponsored to support Edmonton's Mosaic Centre.  It was my task to find some live music for the evening of community building, and it fantastic to have Sara Isabel, Rebecca Firlotte, Paul and Simone Klann, as well as our next door business owner, orthadontist Sunni, share some music with us!






Tuesday, August 30, 2011

that time of year that thou and me behold...

It's almost September, it's almost September!  It's sick, I know, and kind of sad that the beginning of school is such cause for celebration.  Maybe it's because I've been working all summer and desperately need a new mundane.  Maybe I'm over memorizing elaborate drink names and am thirsty for some poetry and literature.  Maybe I'm looking forward to seeing everyone.  Maybe I'm just a nerd.

I'll be sad to see this summer go: it really was a full and healthy season, despite cloudy conditions.  I hung out with friends, saw some of the sights, drank a lot of coffee, and was incredibly blessed.  Thanks for my first awesome summer in Edmonton.  Just let me put on my green Chuck Taylors, and I'll be on my way.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Photo Shoot with Jacob Bos

Concordia is a place of opportunity. Random things happen.  Like me being a model.  What the heck.


Joking aside, it was a sweet day - kind of cloudy, with sun running over everything, and the river valley in it's August prime.  I, on the other hand, was nervous.  But Jacob was totally cool, a passionate photographer and artist, as you can see in the way he set up the shots and used the light.  The most vivid part of the experience for me was Jacob pointing out a tree growing out of the side of a bank.  I had always wanted to climb that tree, but always had a reason for passing by and thinking 'another time'. This was that other time, and getting myself out onto it felt prophetic in an every day sort of way.  The 'awkward elbow', as it was named, was me bracing myself so I didn't fall to a bloody end on the beach ten meters below and bust my guitar.  It was completely awesome.


So here are some of the pics, and some of my favourites:







If you'd like to see more of Jacob's work, check out http://www.flickr.com/photos/itsyourphoto/sets/72157627365844631/ or http://itsyourphoto.com/

Saturday, August 13, 2011

When Words Collide - Part Two

Today I learned...(she checks her notes)...a lot of useful and humbling things about writing and the creative process.

At the "Behind Every Great Story is a Romance", our first panel of the day, I learned that even Bleakhouse features romantic elements in all plot threads of Dickens' masterwork.  Without romance, the point of contact with an audience is lost, because none of the characters are vunerable.  None of them are human.  I have often set out to write pieces devoid of romantic tension and all that nonsense, but seriously people, it is nigh IMPOSSIBLE.  Characters, unless they are robots not yet at the stage of conscious thought or self-awareness, are minions of their own attractions and emotions.  Relationships with others are a built-in need of the human soul, and literature should reflect that.

 At the Slush session Virginia O'Dine and Robert J. Sawyer were on the panel.  Anonymous submissions of a page each were read aloud in the sonorous voice of Jack White.  If at any point the panel became bored and raised their hands, the reading would cease, and the two experts would then explain what the piece was lacking.  Think of America's Got Talent but without the buzzers. I, um, also submitted a page to be read aloud.  It was a film noir attempt, rather basic, and nobody cared.  That's okay.  Back to the writing desk...

During the Wilderness Survival session I ate a peanut butter and lime marmalade sandwich.  Did you know that a character who is hiking all day should be consuming 2500-4000 calories?

The Young Adult Science Fiction panel really tuned me into why science fiction is an important genre: it allows for the exploration of often controversial and poignant issues affecting society today under the cover of otherness.  Far off galaxies.  Distopias. Vampires.  They address what it means to be human, and what it means to live in a social environment that is less than perfect.

In Fostering the Creative Proccess, two things came across very clearly for me: we are all dehydrated and we are all CRAZY! Also, people are creative, it's built into our brains: new experiences cause new dendrites to form in our thinking organ, and sameness prunes dendrites away.  Our brain is thirsty for creative, out-of-the-box expression and ideas.

Science Fiction in Academia.  There is a steampunk course at the U of C.  Do you think Concordia would be into that?...steampunk is a hot topic this weekend, it seems like everyone has questions about it, or theories of it's greatness, how it's going to affect culture and literature in the next little while.  I should've brought my goggles today maybe I would've felt smarter.(thank goodness it's only a couple more weeks til school)

I'm afraid I got distracted during the Cross-genre session and drew a picture of a downcast alien in a bar.

Turning History Into Fiction was the session lived up most to what I expected from a panel of seasoned historical fiction writers: good stanch advice about good grammar, good facts, and staying true to historical characters.  I had never thought of putting words in real dead people's mouths as needing almost ethical consideration, though apparently, there is some criticism of the historical fiction writer's craft of filling in the dialogue.

Lastly, E-Book sales on Amazon have increased 300% over the last year, while print sales have decreased 40%.  This is depressing.  I will read print til the day I die, so help me.

Michelle and I also had the opportunity to mingle a bit at the EDGE party room, an interesting end to a most interesting day.



 

Friday, August 12, 2011

When Words Collide - Part One

 Okay, so this is how it went down:

Fresh from the keynote address at the first ever When Words Collide Sci-Fi conference, my friend Michelle and I got into the elevator, headed up to the party room because we heard there were cookies.  A handful of people siphon in after us, and I begin to make conversation a bit, something I do when I'm nervous or there's lots of people around.  And as I become aware of who's standing next to me, I start jabbering more, because, this half bald man in a black shirt with a fancy neck hanger nametag is one of the keynote speakers.  And not only that, he's a published authour named Robert J. Sawyer, who has written some twenty books and won a dozen awards.  He didn't say much.  I was asking Michelle if she'd read Charlie and the Glass Elevator when he got off.  In the hallway, we realized that his book Calculating God was in my bookbag, and why the heck didn't we get him to sign it?!

Sigh...besides that priceless moment, the opening evening of the conference set off sparks.  I've lately been wondering if writing is something I want to pursue anymore (in a music phase at this point in my creative cycling), but events like this, surrounded by talented authours and editors - it's like a resonance.  Michelle and I got to talking about books, and Shakespeare, and writing, and at the party room (there were indeed cookies - that you could write on the icing with edible ink!) we met a few people from Calgary, also editing types.  Saw Brian and Anitta, our friends from EDGE publishing.  And, one of my high points of the night, purchased a copy of TECHNICOLOR ULTRAMALL, a book I've been waiting for since last year!  Yes, geekdom is good, I want a house in the sci-fi village. With automatic doors of course.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Junk








Dude, I found all this awesome junk in the street and Sara and I made it into a mobile.

It began with the top part, the foot of a truck I found in a puddle.  And it all kind of built up from there: a lamp  pull cord, the bottom of a green bottle, a broken key, a random piece of metal perhaps from a bicycle.

The can opener is my favourite.

i have a library card...

I was filled with joy, like I had graduated to another plain of existence, like I truly had been given a passport into Bookland and was unbound from the seedy coat of ownership.  This was bliss - folk music and books of reptiles, poetry.


Book of Mercy by Leonard Cohen
I can't say how much I enjoyed this collection of personal psalms.  They are tied to the Hebrew tradition through form, using the repetition of words as opposed to modern lyrical rhyming structure, though there are internal rhymes in many of the poems.  Poem 8 of book I demonstrates this especially well, the word "fall" the repeated refrain and the theme, God upholding the falling as the "master of the human accident".  Repeated usage of light/ dark, affirmation, chairs, birth, song - a unified work which displays faucet upon faucet of rich feeling and spiritual hunger.  God is not only called the Most High, the "father of mercy", but the "magnet of the falling cherry petals".  Cohen is simply eloquent and raw, his language full of movement and rhythm, his emotional material as varied as the Psalms which influenced this work.


                                "You let me sing, you lifted
me up, you gave my soul a beam to travel on. You
folded your distance back into my heart.  You drew
the tears back to my eyes.  You hid me in the moun-
tain of your word.  You gave the injury a tongue to
heal itself.  You covered my head with my teacher's
care, you bound my arm with my grandfather's
strength.  O beloved speaking, O comfort whispering
in the terror, unspeakable explanation of the smoke
and cruelty, undo the self-conspiracy, let me dare
the boldness of joy." ~ 19, Book of Mercy

Friday, July 29, 2011

a film that makes me all nostalgic

I remember the first time I watched Hamlet.


The movie rental store down the street was one of those local independent shops that lets dogs in and carries all kinds of off-kilter movies, and ours was a store with one extra feature: the Shakespeare rack.  I stood in front of it many times, reading through the titles, looking at the covers of Othello and Macbeth - this was probably in grade ten when my experience of Shakespeare was quite limited - thinking there was something there that I wanted to grasp.


My Dad and my sister are not Shakespeare people.  Not to say they aren't deep or anything, or that they don't appreciate theatre - just, when they look for movies, at least back then, entertainment is number one.  A Shakespearean tragedy just doesn't seem like it would make for a laid back evening.  So, though mentioned a couple of times, off-hand like I didn't care, that maybe Romeo and Juliet would be good, we always went home with a comedy or a glitzy Hollywood musical from the fifties.


One weekend, however, the time-space continuum must have been broken, or Someone else must've seen me standing in front of the Shakespeare rack like a kid at 711 25 cents short for a slurpee, because I came out of that place holding a copy of Zeffirelli's Hamlet.


We maybe got through twenty minutes of it before my Dad switched it off. This would've been highly disappointing if not for the fact that the next day was Saturday, and I was home alone, two perfect conditions for film watching.  And watch Hamlet I did.  I didn't understand some of the words.  I had no idea what Freudian interpretation was.  I was just alone, in a dark basement, watching Shakespeare.  It was one of the defining moments of my life.


This morning I woke up at 6:30 and watched Hamlet for the second time.  I didn't feel the same way I did then, like there were worlds beyond that I couldn't reach but could see, like there was some mystery, some wonderful wordfull mystery - now I see the cues, what they've cut out, and I recognize Helena Bonham Carter.  This is not a bad thing at all.  Because now Hamlet feels familiar, and like something that is still worth discovering.  And to think through it again, though "my wit's diseased", is a truly delicious gift.



Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Funeral and a Wedding

Fiction and poetry: one emphasizes plot/character the other emphasizes language/structure.  Literary fiction is the grey space.  Canadian literary fiction is the depressing grey space.  In my writing class, one asked why literary fiction never ended happily.  The answer is, the end is near, all is lost, humanity is broken, deal with it.

I encountered Agatha Christie in the library today, and she told me that POV is malleable, motivation is the point on which character, plot, and dialogue turn, and never share your suspicions that someone is a murderer, because if you do, you will end up with a hatchet in your back.  She is brilliant, really.  Thank you Dr. Who for your excellent recommendation.  Though I can see things sometimes that bug me as an Englishy person: for example, After the Funeral probably should have opened with the description of the estate before the two lines about the butler.  Some of the POV transitions are awkward, but once Christie gets into someone's head, it's natural as anything.

Oh, to write as myself and not an "unbiased narrator"!  I try too hard to be brilliant and bland at the same time: if a character acts eccentric within reason, I don't think I should have to justify it based on social norms.  People are weird and unexpected, that's what I've observed.

Look Back in Anger reminded me of Streetcar Named Desire.  No "ALLLLLLLLISON!" moments though.  I wonder if Osborne was reacting to Williams, or what. Maybe Wikipedia knows...

Anyways, Elisabeth and Roger are married now! Dawn and I helped out with the planning, it was a big project but the wedding was lovely, so thankful everything came together and that the bride and groom had a good time!  Here's a picture of the wedding party:
Oh and this was our most social guest, the life of the party:

Mildred!  The flowers were arranged by Dawn, so lovely!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Old Beloved Sweaters


If you've spent any amount of time with me, you've most likely at one point seen me wear this knitted evergreen sweater with gold buttons, really baggy-like.  It is my favourite sweater of all time: comfy and colourful.  Ironically, I don't have a picture of myself in this much-loved piece of clothing to post here, but know that it was epic.  Imagine then, how sad it was the day I discovered there were holes in it!  One in the sleeve a friend of mine threatened to rip more (noooo!) and one along the back from hanging it from a hook on the back of my door.

I couldn't throw it away (though my mom had been hinting at the necessity of getting rid of such a fashion blunder from day one) so I did the only thing a child of the 90s would do: I asked Google "what should I do with my old knitted sweater?"  And guess what?  It answered with this page amongst many: 
Inspired! So I set to work, cutting off the sleeves (to be made into stuffed animals?) and saving the front pieces so the back looked like this:

It's quite liberating to cut up clothes! I cut the back in a wide circle, using a beret I have as a guide.  And then I folded the edges to the centre rim, sewing the hem of the sweater around the inside to hide the ragged edges so it looked like this:

Unfortunately, the first time around I sewed the hole too tight for my bulbous head, but the second time...

Fun project and fun way to reuse stuff!  I'm learning more and more that throwing things away just because their worn out is kind of a waste.  Will post pics of the stuffed animal endevour soon!
http://marybnorman.wordpress.com/2011/04/16/old-sweater-transformed/

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Copper Revisited

The elderly man who runs the fresh produce booth at the market says to me "You can do anything you want to do, you just have to want it!"  I think that's my problem: I don't know what I want exactly, what I want to do, what I want to accomplish in life or where I want to end up in five years.  I've never been a planner, or a concrete dreamer - there has been too much else going on in the continual present to worry about the future of a mere career or domestic status.  And if I did make goals, would they not change as God ordains, for "a man may plan his way, but the LORD orders his steps"?  And my tendency to let life happen to me has worked relatively well in the past...

But active participation is something that Jesus calls us to, using words like "come", "go", "get up", "love" - and the lukewarm will be spit out.  Maybe my apathetic heart needs to be microwaved.  The guy who recently predicted the end of times was wrong: May 21st came and went (we saw a sign saying "Happy Judgement Day" posted on a bus shelter with a blue ribbon bereft of a balloon taped to it).  But I agree with my pastor in that we should strive to have the same conviction and passion for the truth as that man had or seemed to have for something that was not true.  Because truth is not relative in my opinion: Jesus proclaims "I am the way, the truth, and the life".  If I'm wanting anything above Jesus, there's a major problem; if I'm not wanting Jesus, that also is a major problem.  What I should want is what God wants, because His will is perfect and He has put His Spirit in us to will and to do.

After my conversation with the elderly man at the market, I've been considering what I want: to write, to encourage others in action as well as words, to create, to hang out with people, be in a band, take my Master's in creative writing, to treat my body better, to be vulnerable with people, reconnect with my family, reassess my convictions.   But ultimately, I hope I can say like Paul that "I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me" (Philippians 3:10-12).

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Morning Dew

Shoot! Haven't posted any music this week! Oh well, never too late for a good ol' Canadian folk song!


We were listening to this program on CBC, and this anti-war song by Bonnie Dobson has quite the story behind it...A beautiful song, a beautiful voice.


Listen to the song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgl0YfJiz80&feature=related


Listen to the CBC documentary: http://www.cbc.ca/radio2/programs/2010/10/this-song-is-your-song-the-story-of-bonnie-dobson-and-morning-dew.html

Friday, April 15, 2011

Marvell-ous!

Came across unfinished drafts of some blog posts I meant to do about a month ago.  Since I am now officially finished all my exams, as a tribute, I post them for your reading pleasure:


PARADISE LOST


I'm always hesitant to read the classical "greats": there's an almost unapproachability - what if I don't like their work? Does that mean I'm uncultured and without artistic taste?


It's different with Shakespeare, Dostoevsky.  To me, they were givens, real enough to relate to, genius enough to be questioned.  But Homer, Ovid, Milton have seemed too solemn in their cracked leather binding, worn and pored over by multiple minds, extolled by thinkers, expounded and expanded on through the works they inspired.


Tonight it was Milton.  Our professor's been teaching Renaissance literature for 23 years, and I think her passion for the works of this multilingual master was the clue I needed in order to commit enough to this epic undertaking.  They say that there's a great epic about every 1000 years: Homer's Odyssey and Illiad, Dante's Divine Comedies, and Milton's Paradise Lost...


MARK TURNER: LITERARY CRITICISM AND ORIGINALITY IN TEXTS (note: "THE ROOM")



When you come across a room in a text, you are coming in contact with a wholly unoriginal concept; we all expect to find rooms in which the characters will move, converse, and struggle because in our own experiences we interact with that environmental space.  And though we may find the dried lavender hanging from a tack pushed into the polka dotted backing of a gilded gold frame a more original construct within the work, it cannot exist in the same capacity without the unoriginal, and indeed more complex, matrix of the room.

The dependence of the original on the unoriginal is an integral concept of Mark Turner's essay "Poetry: Metaphor and the Conceptual Context of Invention".  Turner also explores the use of the conceptual metaphor within texts such as Pilgrim's Progress, The Bible, and...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

reduce, reuse, recycle, and create!

It's been awhile since I've given an art update! Haven't been painting or drawing too much of late, but other projects are finding their way into my creative schedule.

Dawn makes these Treehugger bookmarks which are made of recycled cardboard (you can still tell what kind of cereal the box was for if you look on the back) and fun things, like bits of string and pictures from cards, magazines, or books. Hers look a lot nicer than the ones I made though (:




Sara and Rebecca and I have gotten together a couple times to be creative: one night we designed journal covers.  If you've never custom decorated the cover of a journal or notebook, I highly recommend it, it is so choice. And you have an empty journal at the end in which to write down all your thoughts and shopping lists!

We're planning on having an Altered Journal exchange over the summer, in which everyone has a book which is passed around the group - everyone gets to design a two page spread per book, so at the end you have a lovely collection of art! If you want to join us, let me know!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

oh how nice!

Taking a break from Dostoevsky, I thought I'd share the origin of one of my favorite "words that used to mean something completely different".

"Nice" nowadays is often used to refer to something mildly pleasant or a person who is generally kind; according to the Oxford English Dictionary, however, nice means:





1. A foolish or simple person; a fool.
a1393    Gower Confessio Amantis (Fairf.) v. 4725   Fulofte he faileth of his game That wol with ydel hand reclame His hauk, as many a nyce doth.
a1425 (1400) Chaucer Romaunt Rose 5043   If it be ony fool or nyce, In whom that Shame hath no justice.

 or


 2. More fully Nice biscuit. A thin, sweet biscuit containing coconut and sprinkled with sugar.
1895    Army & Navy Co-op. Soc. Price List 5   Biscuits. Nice.





Isn't that nice?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Post show ----

Hey.  I've been somewhat depressed.  And I think it's a combination of things.


One: The Child, Handel completed its first run.  I didn't realize how much I was enjoying working on the project until it was over.  And it's like this every show I'm part of, only I had forgotten.  The joys of drama.


Two: I've been listening to too much Radiohead and watching too much Lotus Flower dancing.


Three: I live in constant captivity to the expectations of others, especially those of men.


Four: I make too many lists.


People are getting married.  Classes are ending and I still have a capstone paper to finish.  The people I most want to connect with are the ones I avoid.


I'm only writing about this because I actually had peace again today.  Maybe it was the sunny weather, that I carried boxes all the way to church, that I was able to have communion, that my friend preached about the man born blind, that I baked bread, that one of my roommates and I got to walk down to the bridge and actually talk about life.


I want to extend the script for The Child, Handel so that I can submit it to the Tarragon Theatre Playwrighting Competition at the end of April.  Seeing it onstage was definitely a high point of this year, and to have it so well acted was a blessing.


Flowers from One Acts ~ oh thanks Supinas
Maurice, Mildred, and Handel
Opening Night!
Erika can't watch - her hair is being 80fied!










We're having a reading for our short story class Thursday, April 7th in the Concordia library at 4:30pm.  There will be refreshments and awesome writing to be shared by all.  I think I'll read the one about the punks on a bridge...

Friday, April 1, 2011

By Special Request...

A picture of the delicious cupcakes we consumed at Second Cup after One Acts!

Which were amazing, by the way.
I'm still kind of giddy from it all.
There were a complete number of five acts introduced and exited by Erik and Justin, all excellent student directed and performed works.
If you're not busy April 2nd at 7pm, you should check out closing night: Concordia University College of Alberta, pay-what-you-can.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

It's one of those river kids...

Started writing a play...


Don't really know what it's about yet...


There are frogs, and poor royals, and rhubarb pie...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

"Good Lord, this day is eating right through me, I swear"

Ugh, sick, and it's show week, and I have essays to finish, and no motivation.


I'd rather be conversing in a pizza place about ideal things, ethics.  Or learning to listen to The National, breakthrough bands, breakup albums.


Here's something Handel-like:

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Child, Handel



CONCORDIA ONE ACTS:
April 1 and April 2, 2011
7:00pm
Concordia University College of Alberta
Pay what you can


A play I wrote named The Child, Handel (after the above painting by Margaret Isabel Dicksee) will be featured along with a comedy sketch by Kendra and her sister, the dazzling antics of Erik and Justin, and possibly "A Little Priest" sung by Clint and Erika? You'll have to come in order to find out.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

where do we go from here...

Thoughts of the week:

1. Why do I spend so much time worrying about why I'm here when there are so many people to love?
2. Teaching a 400- level class about Marxist theory using chalk pictures was an unparalleled presenting experience.
3. By living in the future, one misses the present; speeding to the end of a vignette is a lamentable waste.
4. Meditation 17, John Donne.  Translation.
5. I wanted to be a musician, a writer, a wall, a punk, a superhero, a plastic, a dirt, a light.  But I'm already something that has one name, no labels.
6. Robot sentience is a subject we had never talked about.
7. Angels and Demons cannot separate me from the love that I have in Christ Jesus.

And I've been addicted to Radiohead this week.  Here's the title track from their album "The Bends":

Sunday, March 13, 2011

**Love God Music**

I have fallen in love. With Taylor.  And since I don't know any boys named Taylor, this doesn't mean I'm going to be dating anytime soon. And goodness no, I speak not of suddenly taking a liking to the music of Taylor Swift. The Taylor I mean is one of the many fine specimens hanging out in your corner music store, the Taylor that melted my heart with the first chord. *sigh*  Never did a guitar resonate so gorgeously as that one.

God answered a prayer today, that was pretty cool.  Something small, but it's nice to know He's listening even when it doesn't feel like it.

And since I'm off Facebook during the week, Musical Thursdays'll become Musical Sundays here:  Week Three - Adele



Wednesday, March 9, 2011

since i'm not feeling particularly angsty at the moment...

This was my altogether medium day:


Woke up at 4:30 - went back to bed.


Woke up at 5:30 - told my ride to the Rock I couldn't go.  Went back to bed.


Woke up at 7:30 - from some whacked out dream involving my mom and my sister and I coming across two of my friends in a restaurant booth.


Concordia - handed in an assignment, hung with friends in Tegler, signed up for early registration, worked in the B&W office


Work - coffee roasting, hot chocolate, drawing chalk pictures with some community kids that came by


Friends! - went to the Wee Book Inn on 118th: they have a cat there? And picked up a mere five classics and a Radiohead album (finally!); also went grocery shopping and talked with the cashier Tina about books


Home - supper, guitar, Facebook, Marxism


And now...?  Don't know.  Tempted to hide from the world in a book for a while.


But here's a picture of my Mission Team! Ye-Yeah!  We're having a coffeehouse 7pm on Friday at Concordia: people'll be sharing their experiences from the trip and there will be musical performances by members of this year's Mission Team!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

This is what I do the night before Mission Trip

Yes, write on my blogpage.  When it comes down to it, I really don't have much else to do.  But I don't really want to talk about that.  And that statement doesn't need to be expounded upon either. But hey! I drew this picture for the Chapel bulletin yesterday.  The commissioning service was encouraging: I'm anxious, and nervous, and scared! My third year on Mission Trip, and I have no idea why God is calling me to go!  He's never made me do these things alone though, for which I am grateful.  Pray for me?


You know, random things are happening again.  I had a nightmare about a white rabbit.  And I'm terribly ill-equipped to be any kind of sentient being.  My thoughts go everywhere, but rarely do they take the time to finish themselves. And that is the most frustrating thing.  I have a friend (I ALWAYS have a friend) who enjoys attacking the thoughtlessness he sees in girls of his acquaintance.  That heads other than my friend's are devoid of intelligent thought.   And then I cringe and think What if he's right? And then I evaluate what I was previously thinking (I need to wash these shoes, This is a terrible day for a picnic, etc) and wonder if I'm under that category.  I fall asleep in class.  The only things I can really follow through with are literature and the Bible.  I really only pick up things from other people, so it's as if I don't really exist as a separate entity.


Goodness. I need to be
packed in tightly, like poetry
and unpacked again, like
a packing crate of music
boxes.  God loves variety.


This is my stated state of current.  I blame all this wordsmashing on a prophet of my acquaintance.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Zerbin Concert!

These guys played at Concordia, and though it was a small crowd, I think they're going to have a good fan base starting up here. I was inspired and delighted by the sound of this Edmonton-based Christian rock band - the sudden stops and the AMAZING drumming were the hooks in my heart, and Zerbin's vocals (though sadly a little too quiet) were the pleasant pull into their solid musical world.

Sara Isabel opened and created some lovely moments, especially in her rendition of Dylan's "Long Black Coat".

And all proceeds went towards the Concordia Mission Trip! Only five more days!  

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A's of Apology

As someone who avoids conflict, denies it, and indeed runs and hides in a little box away from it, this Peacemaker's retreat was a needed refocusing time.  Daryl Becker was leading, an excellent teacher and speaker using the Peacemakers program and humorous video clips to get us thinking about mediation and forgiveness.  There was a SNL skit where a psychologist simply yelled "Stop it!" whenever a lady told him her issues.  Obviously, not the way to help someone through their problems (:  Some great Law/ Gospel stuff too.  We also reviewed the 7 A's of a holistic apology:

1. Address everyone involved
2. Avoid if, and, or but
3. Admit specifically: your sinful attitudes, words, and actions
4. Acknowledge hurt: expressing sorrow for hurting someone
5. Accept the consequences: such as making restitution
6. Alter your behavior: promise to change attitudes and actions
7. Ask for forgiveness and allow for time: depending on the severity of the conflict, the other party may require time to deal with their hurt and consider the apology.

This is really useful way to approach apologies- we used them on CREW all the time, and the As really get you to go over the whole situation and take responsibility for how you contributed to the conflict.  And yes, it leaves you incredibly vulnerable!  But Christ himself was beaten, abused, and killed, and while He hung, reviled and abandoned on the cross, He forgave the people who had done all these things to Him!  He forgives us though we mess up all the time!  And instead of wiping out humanity (resolving conflict-"fixing" the problem) Jesus died so that so that we could be reconciled to Him and live in peace with Him forever.  And we can now offer and accept that forgiveness as well in our own lives, spreading love and ending grudge cycles.

I often forget to see conflict as an opportunity to give God glory, deal with my own sinfulness, strengthen relationships, and minister to those who need to hear God's word of grace and forgiveness in the midst of hardship.  I'm thankful that God used this weekend to remind me of that.

"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." ~Ephesians 4:32

Monday, January 31, 2011

Dostoevsky Mondays

Being behind on my independent study of Dostoevsky's The Adolescent, I have decided that Monday, being our culture's most dreaded day of the week, shall become "study day".  This will not last long, I'm sure; however, free time is killing me right now and I need to have some kind of structure...it helps that we've moved play rehearsal to Monday morning, at least I get that drama high to carry me through.


Finished Bakhtin's The Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics, the staple formalist work of criticism touching on Dostoevsky's work.  Bakhtin focuses on Dostoevsky's use of the idea in a polyphonic world (meaning that the author allows his characters to have thoughts and ultimately ideological viewpoints uncoloured by his own personal standpoint - the events and conversations are not biased towards reaching a didactic end).  An idea in Dostoevsky's artistic vision is indistinguishable from the person carrying that idea - Bakhtin uses the example of Christ as the word/idea in the flesh.  This organic inclusion of so many viewpoints in Dostoevsky's novels lead to the "great dialogues": telling conversations between vastly different, but equally valued, viewpoints.






A quote of interest from Dostoevsky himself:
"It is not enough to define morality as fidelity to one's own convictions.  One must continually pose oneself the question: are my convictions true? Only one verification of them exists - Christ."

Friday, January 28, 2011

Hooray, there is nothing new under the sun

So that story I was ranting about...yeah, she had never even seen Stranger Than Fiction.  Is this proof of the collective social consciousness theory?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Editing Blues and Reds and Greens...

The class I was most looking forward to this semester was Creative Writing: Short Fiction.  So far, it has been a lovely course with literary discussion and reading a plenty.  Also exciting, someone back from when I was 12 happens to be in the same class - reality is stranger than fiction at times. Actually, I think much of the time. Anyways, we got our first batch of manuscripts last Thursday - it's a workshop class, so every week a different group of people submit their short stories for the rest of the class to take home and look over, with the idea that when we reconvene the discussion will be focused on each of the stories; some are afraid people aren't going to be critical enough of their work, but with a cynical satirist, a psychologist, and an outspoken gamer in the group, I don't think that'll be an issue.It has been bliss, looking these stories over.  I really do think editing fiction is one of my callings in life.  It's a safe place to have an opinion, an opinion that matters and is working towards making people better writers and making sure that the fiction getting out there is of solid quality.And then there are stories like this one.  A good friend of mine wrote it.  I had never read their work before, and was looking forward to hearing their literary voice.  But horror of horrors, as I read through, I was reminded more and more of an already extant version of the same story.  Could it be they had, not plagerized, but extensively borrowed from this story? And the character of most interest is thrown away with no explanation.  It made me sad, to say the least.  But, with any kind of creative process, there are up days and down days, and I am of the opinion that this person was writing this the night before and for lack of material tried to write a satirical commentary on the other story that didn't quite come across. Possible, yes. In any case, our class meets tonight to discuss the manuscripts and get a new slew of texts!  I suspect I'll be up late tonight reading them, and getting my own story ready for next week...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Change ~ by Brittni Ann Carey

Downtown drudge - January thaw
young woman, mustard dress, boots
watching pigeons making nests behind billboards


                    A voice asks her for change.


An open face, brogue, work clothes
out of work, and stranded


                             Not enough for bus fare
                             Empties her change purse, silver, copper
                             her free/necessary action enrichens him


               Both go with water in their fingers.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Generic Thought

Blogs are annoying.  Not blogs themselves, perhaps, but the style that always seems to be inherent in them.  Perhaps it is because the audience is so vague, absent almost - at least with articles and books, there's a connection, foldable pages and paper smells.  Maybe not so much anymore.


I don't know why I write, if it really matters.  And I'm not saying that to collect comments.  Here I try to say things that are relevant, maybe inspiring, or simply random.  And all the time, there's a shadow of narcissism that appalls me, a pretentious word structure - can't sift it out.  Because that's how I've been treating this, the online outlet of my failed ambitions.


This needs to become something different, but I don't know what yet... 

Friday, January 14, 2011

Sweeping Realization

I think I came to an important realization today.


I was sweeping up some run away coffee beans.  The roaster is a rich red, the kind of tone that reminds you of childhood wagons and fire trucks, set on a diveted silver floor. The bristles of the broom ran over it, catching the roasted beans and making them jump onto the hardwood and into the dust pan.  I love the smell of coffee.  It fills the shop, my clothes, the empty spaces.  It's something organic, yet fantastic, a yearning for tribal forests and Colombian sunsets.


But, the realization was something I wanted to hold closer and articulate more to test its truth.  I've always been appalled at the thought of passing judgement on others.  Because of this, I often shy away from making definitive statements about people, really looking at their character.  I confuse assumptions with understanding.  But yet, "what a work is man" - complex and only nearly graspable.  I learned long ago that to live in the world, you have to expect the unexpected from people. That way, you're never surprised. 


Understanding is not passing judgement.  It's striving to see something the way it is, truly and deeply.  And truth in its unblemished form is worth pursuing; only in the twistings and perversions of it are we judging others.  Take the plank out of your own eye so you can better see to take the speck out of your brother's eye.  That's what quietly went through my mind today as I was sweeping.