Saturday, May 29, 2010

Flying Solo

The realm of imagination is an interesting place to dwell. I don't call it day dreams because I know that I'm creating the stories in my head and that they belong only within my imagination. After all, they only work there. Perhaps some of those imaginings could be true, but more often than not they would not survive in reality. I spent the majority of my day traveling through the airport within this realm of my own creation. Sure, I functioned in reality but my brain was stuck in the fantastic.

Rolling through the airport with my carry-on suitcase and my laptop bag, I could imagine that I was some celebrity going to a high end conference in Milan, Italy, or that I was headed to London. I conducted myself with poise sometimes pretending that I was a famous author off to research a story in the amazon of South America. My imagination ran wild. After all, I had no companion to pull me into the present.

My first flight, I was sandwiched between two snoring middle-aged men. It made for some good conversation. It's unfortunate that I didn't try to join in with their chorus. During my two hour layover in Wisconsin, I met a boy with a hip but geeky look that decided to leave his heart with me for safe keeping before he left for San Francisco. He decided this without having noticed me or talking to me. There was a young couple who must have been eloping to Akimiski Island (which is a place and is not just made up in my mind) and were throwing their disgruntled parents off their trail by first heading to Colorado. As I sat observing these people, a blonde bombshell with an outfit that would raise eyebrows or gain male appreciation clicked her way across the terminal to sit gracefully in a vacant seat. I am convinced that she was headed to Las Vegas to meet her rich lover.

As we loaded the airplane which by the way had a cougar painted across the tail, I was very focused on maneuvering my way through the crush of people. A small voice cut through my surreal world and chirped, "I like your necklace!" I looked down to see a small girl with a pink bow sitting on her head looking up at me with a grin. My aloof world's invisible barrier had just voluntarily crumbled as a smile grew on my own face to mirror hers. For the entire flight, I watched as these three little girls with halos of ethereal blonde hair systematically wrapped every passenger around their little pinkies. Within the space of two hours, I found myself playing peek-a-boo with the youngest over the seat and making the most laughable faces to amuse this small passenger.

This begins the epoch of my summer with Kingdom Building Ministries. I am now comfortably stretched out across the hotel bed on my stomach typing this as I try to adjust to the two hour time difference which isn't so incredibly horrible. It's just odd. From the window, I can see faint outlines of mountains and I just gorged myself on possibly the best hotel continental breakfast ever. I imagine the next couple of days shall be defined by introductions of all types.

Friday, May 28, 2010

uncertainty, heat, water

preparing to travel = complete chaos of mind

i can deal with disorganized rooms and cluttered space. When i prepare to travel, my brains spins and i find an inability to focus on one thing for more than two seconds. i feel as though my brain is trying to expand and consume the world. i fear leaving something behind. i fear the uncertainty ahead. i loathe fear. i'm a disorganized mess of agonized thinking.

the heat doesn't help.

this is the moment where one stands on the ledge of a deep abyss of water. one knows that the water is deep enough to dive, but one cannot see through the dark depth. fear claws at one's throat and one's heart does an african dance within one's ribcage. it takes one foot to propel the entirety of one's body careening through the air and then the cool unknown waters reach up to meet one's flying body. the unknown becomes known.

i need a drink.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

accomplices in friendship

Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive. ~Anäis Nin

Friendship isn't a big thing - it's a million little things. ~Author Unknown
- i have a friend who takes time to do a million little things for me whether it be cooking something, leaving a note, sharing earrings, giving me a hug.

Only your real friends will tell you when your face is dirty. ~Sicilian Proverb
- you know those times that you get food stuck in your teeth and you discover it later in the bathroom mirror and you've realized that you had been flirting or just smiling at another person and they didn't tell you about that small but noticeable food particle in your teeth? I hate that.

In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit. ~Albert Schweitzer
- i had forgotten who i was meant to be until i spent a weekend with one of my heart's sisters. this woman inspired me to live truly again.

If a friend is in trouble, don't annoy him by asking if there is anything you can do. Think up something appropriate and do it. ~Edgar Watson Howe
- pet-peeve: "are you mad at me?" never ask me that. if i'm mad all the world will know.

You can always tell a real friend: when you've made a fool of yourself he doesn't feel you've done a permanent job. ~Laurence J. Peter
- i make a mess of myself. yet, still, i find that my friends stay closer to me and they say the sweetest things.

The most I can do for my friend is simply be his friend. ~Henry David Thoreau
- This has been the hardest lesson for me to learn this year. I realized that I needed to stop worrying about my friend's lives and just live with them and rejoice with their laughter and hug them when tears stream down their faces.

A loyal friend laughs at your jokes when they're not so good, and sympathizes with your problems when they're not so bad. ~Arnold H. Glasgow
- The greatest blessing that i have in my friends is that they are willing to listen to me prattle about nothing, everything, and anything. They listen to the creakings of my brain and still continue being my friend even after.

Strangers are just friends waiting to happen. ~Rod McKuen
- to think that there was a time that we were strangers is unfathomable to me because i feel as though my heart has known your heart for eternity and beyond.

A good friend is a connection to life - a tie to the past, a road to the future, the key to sanity in a totally insane world. ~Lois Wyse

Friday, May 21, 2010

Old at Heart

Everyone is the age of their heart. ~Guatemalan Proverb

In light of this Guatemalan Proverb, I have come to the conclusion that I am actually very old at heart. I have long been coming to this conclusion. Perhaps it was the facebook quiz that proclaimed to know my true age or the fact that I have always been told that I seem older than I am. I may not have the wrinkles to support the old age idea, but I definitely think my heart is old.

1. Facebook quiz said that I was 80-something.
2. I move slowly and talk slowly (according to some middle schoolers).
3. Gladly, I would spend hours reading in a comfy chair.
4. 40s style clothing is more my style than anything modern
5. I have great conversations with old people.
6. Gray hair – I have it. (well, only a few hairs, but still)
7. I type with correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation almost always.
8. Give me swing dancing or ballroom any day to this crap that kids do these days
9. My digestion is not as good as it used to be (I can’t eat my daily aluminum can anymore).
10. Naïve of the current evils of the world.

I am old at heart. I shall not shy away from the truth. I am the child who you see driving down the street listening to classical music. People compliment me on my 40s style. There cannot be any doubt about it. Yet, with this small wrinkle of knowledge on my forehead, I have followed the advice of another quote.
It's important to have a twinkle in your wrinkle. ~Author Unknown

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

a discovering...

On these summer days, I have absolutely nothing to do. It is not from want that I have nothing to do, but simply circumstances that bring me to this place. Therefore, you find me making a general nuisance of myself at the library where I order as many books as I can sometimes nearing numbers such as 50 or 60 books. My family finds me to be rather daft. I, on the other hand, find this freedom to be absolutely divine.

My choices daily are limited. I can read, watch a movie, listen to music, sing, play the piano, write my own literature, or just dream. It is amazing that one would tire of any of these occupations, but occasionally, I do. Those are the minutes where I intensely miss my consuming social life at school. Those minutes do not last long, though. I revel in this freedom even though I may seemingly be accomplishing anything of material worth.

This prose stems from the termination of a novel. It was a slip of a book by Barbara Quick called A Golden Web. It's story line is classically one of my favorites. Namely, a girl although naturally banned by society of learning who endeavors to take the world by guise. Inevitably, I know this story line like the back of my hand. Even before I had truly gotten more than halfway through I had already known the ending. As I said, it was a classic story line (or maybe overused).

While reading through the author's end notes, I made a couple of discoveries about myself. My favorite type of literature to read has always been historical fiction. Yet, I have never considered writing my own historical fiction because of the time and effort put in to research something so large. However, I have always excelled at research papers. I enjoy researching subjects that intrigue me. Therefore, why have I never considered writing historical fiction? Now, I have no idea if I shall ever write a novel. It takes determination, motivation,desire, inspiration, and patience. I am uncertain how many of these characteristics I have, but I am very willing to try.

My best learning about the past has always come in the form of a historical fiction novel. Of course the present holds its own intrigue, but there is something so very captivating about the stories that have been lost to us with the deaths of their bearers. Stories of other times and other places are extremely special to me. Perhaps this is why I wander cemeteries as though I live there...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Motorcycle Diaries

If you have ever had a chance to spend a spring afternoon with me, you’ll immediately figure out some of the goals that I have set for my life. I have a passion for travel, other cultures, and peoples. I want to see the entire world. It may seem like a lofty goal, but I have been challenged with the thought that dreams need to be big. Small dreams may be attainable, but there is nothing to truly challenge. Have big dreams and take little steps to get to those big dreams. I love writing. I keep a journal. I would really love to drive a motorcycle. This all leads to the fact that I choose the movies that I watch with my interests in mind or the interests of the people with whom I may be watching the movie. Recently, I watched the movie The Motorcycle Diaries.

The Motorcycle Diaries is a film version of a trip that Che Guevara took in his youth across South America. His restlessness for wandering the continent is relatable. They were curious about the world around them. Both of the young men were studying sciences in different forms to possibly be doctors in the future. Although circumstances of their lives had already formed them in many ways, their journey indelibly marked them forever. Their journey is mostly spent penniless. Yet, they learn of the temperament of people across their continent. The two friends are very different. Che aptly states, “This isn’t a tale of heroics, nor is it merely some kind of cynical account; it isn’t meant to be, at least. It’s a chunk of two lives running parallel for a while, with common aspirations and similar dreams.”

Throughout the movie, these young men deal with the cruel realities of the world first hand. They see people thrown off their land by the government and forced to work in the mines with no sustenance. In each of these different situations, Che and his friend are called subtly to aid the people that they see. The men began the journey for adventure. They end the journey with an entirely different view upon the world. Growth occurred. With growth comes the necessity of acting upon the new knowledge or fighting to fall back to the blissful ignorance known before.

In my opinion, The Motorcycle Diaries is full of merit solely in the fact that it embraces the reality of life. There was nothing airbrushed or perfected in this movie. It illustrated the harsh existence of the world. The main characters were real with faults and problems. One built with an integrity that seemed to be a fault of its own and the other with a tongue so silver that no one would catch it for what it was. Although there was no obvious climax and turning point throughout the movie, there is a subtle change within each of the main characters that cries out for a more defined ending to the movie. This movie was refreshing in its complete lack of Hollywood glitter. Life is a series of events that slowly but steadily influence one’s perspective on the world.

This movie had it all. After all, it had my motorcycle. There was thinking (I may not have mentioned it before, but I am definitely a sucker for a good thinking and introspective movie). I absolutely adore the South American culture. Of course, there were adventures and I got to travel across the continent with these Argentinean boys. It was an adventure. Perhaps it’s not something one would watch a million times over, it definitely contains gems of truth that could be harvested in one viewing. However, it does make me want to buy a motorcycle and go cycling across the USA.

Friday, May 14, 2010

off with her head

“OFF WITH HER HEAD!!!!” screamed the Queen of Hearts. I sat hypnotized in front of the television. Although the movie was very odd indeed, it captivated my child mind. I sympathized with Alice and I wondered at all the wonders of Wonderland. Now, being a 20 year old with an avid curiousity of the world, I found that Alice in Wonderland was being shown again by Disney. Thoroughly enchanted with the idea, I exclaimed probably aloud within the viewing of a preview in the middle of the theater, “I WANT to see THAT movie.” After all, I have a small adoration for Anne Hathaway and Johnny Depp holds a special place in my heart for effortlessly stealing all the hearts of my high school girl friends (I’m still unsure of how he managed that. Actually, I think it may have been his cheekbones.).

The day finally came that I got to see Alice in Wonderland 3D. It’s an intriguing movie with a dynamic cast and an excellent display of costume design and make up. The plot is familiar and follows the “true” plot of the book loosely. Movies do not necessarily have to follow book plots religiously, but I do believe that the plot variations should still keep the main theme of the original story. Disney’s 3D version is unique with its multiple story lines that are all tied together by Alice. She is like a gateway to both worlds. Alice is unique and odd in both worlds and called upon to freely make her own decisions even if it does mean deviating from the norm.

The story of Alice in Wonderland is a classic story that the world so eagerly draws to. It is a coming of age story. It requires the protagonist, Alice, to grow. She has the choice to stay right where she has always been in corset and lace stockings or to leave those behind completely and adventure. We viewers adore the stories of heroines overcoming the odds and victorious winning over horrible challenges. In these movies, we become these characters and live vicariously through them to win their victories and ultimately our own as well.

Disney outdid themselves in my humble opinion. This childhood story and video came to life in a way that seems completely appropriate. These larger than life characters were even better in human and Tim-Burton-form. They took on a personable characteristic. The Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) was phenomenal with a heart that no one could foretell. Admittedly, I was most intrigued by his makeup. Yet, I don’t think that is all a bad thing. Some of the other characters that were particularly intriguing to me were probably the Queen of Hearts’ inner circle. They all had interesting abnormalities such as overly large ears, a witch nose, a quintuple chin, and a huge middle. Although these were revealed to be fake during the movie, it gave the viewer an odd perspective of each of these specific characters more obvious faults.

As my friend and I (I still with the 3D glasses shading my eyes) exited the movie theater, she asked me, “What was your favorite character?” I asked for a couple of moments to think where I rambled on a bit about the Mad Hatter and the inner circle of the queen with their mix matched body parts. Then, it dawned on me. My favorite would continue to be the Cheshire Cat. Surely, his grin is creepy, but he is mysterious. He is neither bad nor altogether good. He comes and he goes. The Cheshire Cat has a record of scaring small children. Yet since childhood, he has been my favorite. He aids Alice in her discovery of herself. I doubt that I would watch this movie many times over, but I definitely found it to be food for thought.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

عشق, αγάπη, אהבה, amor, любовь

Live, Laugh, Love.

This phrase is blasted across our society like some American motto that is coupled with the American dream. We desire to live to the fullest, to love romantically and deeply, and to laugh long and hard. After all, laughter expands a person’s life and love. These three fall together effortlessly. As much as all of these are desired, one rises above the others. Love.

Take a moment, pick up a movie, and pop it into the DVD player. Most likely, the protagonist will have a love interest within the first five minutes of the movie. Grab a book and a coffee, and then delve into that book. Within moments, the main character will have introduced their crush or lover. Flip the radio on to the nearest music station, listen to the words. Most likely, the music artist is crooning about a desire for love or a lover. The need for love permeates our culture - not just any type of love, but deep fulfilling romantic love.

At, there are over twenty definitions for the word “love.” The first fourteen definitions of love focus on ‘love’ as a noun. The rest view ‘love’ through the lens of a verb. Although these definitions consider ‘love’ as an affection for other human beings, most of the definitions suggest romantic love. Some of the definitions offer the idea of the relationship of a parent and a child. Yet, the main focus is summed up in the verb definition with the phrase “making love.”

Love is connected with the idea of sex and of ‘the one.’ It is also used flippantly in conversations when love is exclaimed for a specific tissue brand or a hang nail. Love, so widely used and so frequently emblazoned across t-shirts, greatly lacks the depth that it suggests. This love that the American culture is so familiar with is only a shallow imitation of what ‘true love’ was meant to be.

“What is love?” Nevershoutnever sings. It’s a question that floats in the subliminal regions of the brains of culture. People point to their parents, to Mother Teresa, and to different celebrities. They find examples of love, but are they true examples? Nevershoutnever says it best at the end of the song, “What is love? See, I don’t know anymore; I used to look up to that love.”

The question of love has been a reoccurring one. In a sonnet by Hartley Coleridge, he questions, “Is love a fancy or a feeling?” It seems that no one knows what love is exactly. Yet, Coleridge answers himself with, “No. It is immortal as immaculate truth.” Love is truth so says Coleridge. However, people fall in and out of love with a speed that could out do a cheetah in a race. They explain their fall out of love with “oh, it must not have been true love.” Therefore, how can love be an immortal as immaculate truth?

There are many songs about love. One that is belted out by deep voiced Italian men is “That’s Amore” by Dean Martin. He sings, “When the moon hits you eye like a big pizza pie, that's amore. When the world seems to shine like you've had too much wine,
that's amore.” Love is compared with pizza pies and a drunken stupor. No wonder our generation is so confused. Love has to be some sort of tangible feeling of sublime rapture. Yet, the resounding question is still ‘what is love?’

“Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love does not want what it does not have. Love does not strut, does not have a swelled head, does not force itself on others, is not always "me first," does not fly off the handle, does not keep score of the sins of others, does not revel when others grovel. Love takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, puts up with anything, trusts always, continually looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. Now, that’s amore. That’s love.

This concise collection of sentences seems to be the best interpretation of what love is and is not. Perhaps true immortal as immaculate love is not definable, but this generation’s view of love should be challenged. True love has become detrimentally tangled in the ideas of prince charmings, glass slippers, and fairy godmothers. Love is more than sexual attraction and damsels in distress. It has to be.

Our generation searches for true love. In our true love, we are looking for something that fits the picture of Dean Martin’s song. It is a fancy and it is a feeling. Yet, Coleridge suggests that “love is immortal as immaculate truth.” This type of love transcends feeling and fancy. It is a truth. Love that is true extends to more than just one romantic interest. True love encapsulates family, friends, homeless, children, old people, cats, fish, etc. This type of love cannot be found in a human being but in one’s own heart. True love oozes from within.

So live, laugh, and love. But, the greatest of these is love because love never fails.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Anomalies Abound

We’re all the same.

What a downer. That might seem a little harsh, but consider, everyone is always saying how everyone is unique. Let me take you back to a time in high school, a marching band of about 180 students were sweating on the football field in the summer heat. We stood in some grotesque formation with the sun glinting off the instruments clutched in front of us. The drum major clothed in her colored tank top and shorts yelled across the field, “Do you THINK you are SPECIAL??? Because you AREN’T!!!” The band stood at attention and no one budged as the band director verbally berated us. It’s a moment emblazoned in my mind.

It has long been a thought of mine that we are all terribly striving to be different. Girls dress gaudily to draw the attention of boys (Girls have been doing this since the beginning of time). Boys work out to grab the attention of the girls (When have boys not shown off to grab attention of girls?). We are in love with ourselves (Narcissism). Perhaps if we girls shock the world with a dress that happens to double as a fish net, we’ll win world acclaim (or perhaps we’ll become the laughing stock). I cannot even try to speak for the boys (those esoteric weirdos). Have you ever considered that perhaps in all of our striving to be different – to be special – that we have really just completely fallen into the same mold as everyone else on the planet?

We’re scared silly.

In the movie Strictly Ballroom, Scott Hastings battles fear. As Fran says, “A life lived in fear is a life half lived.” In the movie, the dance federation fears change and creative innovation of the dance steps that Scott creates. Fear rules our lives whether we see it or not. We fear what people think of us. Girls are afraid that boys won’t notice their fish net gowns (in fact, the boys look right through it). Boys are worried about their lack of muscle tone or some other inability. We are so self-
focused that we would never notice that we are being ruled by fear.

A life lived in fear is a life half lived.

Why do we as people struggle so to be different? Yet, in the same moment, we fear things that are different from us. We’d prefer to be ‘the same, but different.’ Can we have such a safe difference? We are afraid of slipping into the darkness of the curtain instead of beaming in the spotlight. Why can we not accept the fact that we are the same in our fears? There is nothing new under the sun. It has all been seen or done before or dreamed of before.

A professor of mine went to an art museum with his daughter. As he stood in front of a very abstract modern art piece that to an untrained or even trained eye was just a canvas with splotches of paint on it, he said to his daughter, “I could have done that.” She replied, “But you didn’t.”

First of all, know that we are all the same. Secondly, do not live in fear. Thirdly, anomalies abound. Fourthly, sit down some evening and watch Strictly Ballroom.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Borrowed Quiet

In a borrowed apartment with second hand smoke wafting in through the window, I am all alone. The quiet could be unending, but sometimes I interrupt its music with songs that boom from speakers. I know that the quiet has stories to tell. Yet, people don’t seem to see that and they desperately fear the quiet. It petrifies them. Never has this been understandable to myself. In the quiet, I can commune with my thoughts. I see things that I would never have seen before.

In the cool of evening with a ramen-filled belly, I went on a walk with my book bag slung across my shoulder. I was accompanied by me, myself, I, and quiet. My ipod was in my bag, but I could just not see the good in shutting out the music of the night. On the bridge where I stopped for long minutes to gaze at the water, many people drove past me, walked by me, ran by me, and rode bikes by me. Perhaps they saw me or perhaps they did not. I cannot really know. Yet, I saw them.

Once when I was sitting upon a rock along the path musing upon the navy blue glitterings of the river, a couple strolled down the lit path hand in hand. They were young. They loved the stars in the sky and the stars in each other’s eyes. I thought they were beautiful with the moon painting highlights in their hair and illuminating their skin. I loved the deep rumble of the man’s voice and giggling response of the beauty beside him. I am not sure what makes me so kindly inclined towards this particular couple perhaps it was because I was comfortable in my own skin and perfectly happy with my rock. As the couple passed by me, they stopped momentarily to stare at some bright speck in the sky and slightly disagree about whether or not it was a planet or a star. I watched them as though I was hypnotized or perhaps watching a movie. As they continued on their stroll, he leaned in for a kiss – just at that moment something writhed in the water of the river nearby causing a noisy disturbance. It stopped the kiss from landing and woke me from my spell. The man’s reaction caused me to chuckle to myself.

The next couple of minutes were spent in muffled giggles and chuckles on my part.

What would you think of this self-same girl sitting on a bench in the middle of a Japanese Garden with a Dr. Seuss book opened on her lap? If you were at the riverwalk at dusk, you might have had the option of forming a first hand opinion. In one of my moments of ponder-ation, I sat down on a wooden bench framed by two full trees. As the light faded, the flowers about me glowed like the magic homes of fairies and the lollipops of dandy lion flower seeds sparkled like mystical wands. I pulled Oh, The Places You Will Go! from my bag and began to read aloud. All nature seemed to listen. It hung on my every word. The quiet was the best audience that I had ever had and even a small rabbit leapt closer. The rabbit startled the quiet, but we soon settled again to the book.

You know, I am a rather ridiculous person. And I think the riverwalk is a rather magical place. For real, I believe that I enter a whole other world when I am walking on those paths.