Monday, March 31, 2008

Favorite March Moments

1. Dan & I getting better at Regency Dancing (especially the dance from "Emma") at the Pride and Prejudice Ball with friends, in a Regency Dress my Mama made for me
2. Bells, incense and truths spoken from the gut at St. Gregory's of Nyssa with Manka & Anna
3. Afternoon nap on the cliffs overlooking the ocean with my Dan
4. Celebrating Jus & Jason's engagement at Bourbon and Branch
5. Enveloped by Taize, overcome with tears and vision, with my M, A & A
6. Gin & tonics on Scott & Louise's deck on a warm Sunday afternoon
7. Paula West singing gospel & Bob Dylan at the Hotel Nikko (with Dannee)
8. Amanda's brilliant birthday weekend at the Cayucos Beach House - all together for food, drink, bonfires, beach walks, much laughter, joy
9. Crowded beers & the best pizza at Little Star with David & Amanda
10. A fabulous weekend of food, wine, film, fashion, farmer's market, oysters, heart-to-heart outpourings and long walks with my Jessi... let us not forget Bong Su with her & Yvonne! A night of sensual pleasures...
Currently reading : Soul Graffiti: Making a Life in the Way of Jesus - Mark Scandrette

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Reading while ill

Being very sick this month for a few days gave me the chance to plow through a few classics. An enjoyable distraction in the midst of high fevers. Here are some passages I liked:

From "Brideshead Revisited" - Evelyn Waugh
"The languor of Youth - how unique and quintessential it is! How quickly, how irrecoverably, lost! How quickly, how irrecoverably, lost! The zest, the generous affections, the illusions, the despair, all the traditional attributes of Youth - all save this - come and go with us through life; again and again in the riper years we experience, under a new stimulus, what we thought had been finally left behind, the authentic impulse to action, the renewal of power and its concentration on a new object; again and again a new truth is re-rearranged. These things are a part of life itself; but languor - the relaxation of yet unwearied sinews, the mind sequestered and self-regarding, the sun standing still in the heavens and the earth throbbing to our own pulse - that belongs to Youth alone and dies with it."

From "The Portrait of A Lady" - Henry James:
"Most women did with themselves nothing at all; they waited, in attitudes more or less gracefully passive, for a man to come that way and furnish them with a destiny. Isabel's originality was that she gave one an impression of having intentions of her own." (Chapter 7)

"Don't ask yourself so much whether this or that is good for you. Don't question your conscience so much... Keep it for great occasions. Don't try so much to form your character - it's like trying to pull open a tight, tender young rose. Live as you like best, and your character will take care of itself. Most things are good for you: the exceptions are very rare, and a comfortable income's not one of them." (Chapter 21)

"I may not attempt to report in its fullness our young woman's response to the deep appeal to Rome, to analyse her feelings as she trod the pavement of the Forum or to number her pulsations as she crossed the threshold of Saint Peter's. It is enough to say that her impression was such as might have been expected of a person of her freshness and her eagerness. She had always been fond of history, and here was history in the stones of the street and the atoms of the sunshine." (Chapter 27) - a perfect picture of Roma!

"Her [Isabel's] old habit had been to live by enthusiasm, to fall in love with suddenly-perceived possibilities, with the idea of some new adventure. As a younger person she had been used to proceeding from one little exaltation to the other: there were scarcely any dull places between." (Chapter 40)

"[On Isabel's marriage to Osmond]: She had taken all the first steps in the purest confidence, and then she had suddenly found the infinite vista of a multiplied life to be a dark, narrow alley with a dead wall at the end. Instead of leading to the high places of happiness, from which the world would seem to lie below one, so that one could look down with a sense of exaltation and advantage, and judge and choose and pity, it led rather downward and earthward, into realms of restriction and depression where the sound of other lives, easier and freer, was heard as from above... Hadn't he all the appearance of a man living in the open air of the world, indifferent to small considerations, caring only for truth and knowledge and believing that two intelligent people ought to look for them together and, whether they found them or not, find at last some happiness in the search?" (Chapter 42)

From "The Age of Innocence" - Edith Wharton:
"... he [Archer] did not want May to have that kind of innocence, the innocence that seals the mind against imagination and the heart against experience!"
"Archer had reverted to all his old inherited ideas about marriage. It was less trouble to conform with the tradition and treat May exactly as all his friends treated their wives than to try to put into practice the theories with which his untrammeled bachelorhood had dallied. There was no use in trying to emancipate a wife who had not the dimmest notion that she was not free..."
Currently reading : The Portrait of a Lady By Henry James

Thursday, March 20, 2008

My dream last night

fun house maze
back door hallway entrances
to Disney-esque rides
stretched faces
hilarity, noise
eerie state of unreality

within this nightmarish universe
a revolution churns
roaming the elongated hallways
hovering behind the torture
an old book is sighted
illustration of a medieval knight and lady
leading an army

"battle, war, fight"
words sickening to my ears
and to the ears of those
overtaxed by Christendom
glorifying violent victory
"not a battle of flesh and blood,
but of principalities"

this unseen war
lies beneath all aggression
behind every physical fight
behind prostitution,
gossip, torture,
top-heavy corporations,
ridicule, exclusion,
human trafficking,
behind every government in the world
beneath all
lies power, greed, lust,
pride, dominance

behind every seemingly obvious evil
there is the root of that evil
also at the core of every one of us
though we may deny

sick, i am, of all this talk of war,
slaying "the enemy"
killing "them" off
"they" will never be completely removed
governments will remain corrupt
abuse will rage on
we'll still reject one another

until the miracle
of the death of everything
brings life to all

i burn to see the secret revolution arise
not in the form of battle
of blood
of killing
but in facing and slaying our own demons
learning the ever agonizing,
sacrificial way of love

then, only then, can we see a bloodless war won
like the Berlin Wall coming down
Currently watching : Sunset Boulevard

Saturday, March 01, 2008

from Heather King's book

An unexpected book I just picked up free at work before it was released to stores, it has touched me, inconsistent though it was in parts. A few quotes:

Heather King - "Redeemed"
"Books save my life... I know it was because so many people were willing to burn out their lives in front of a page trying to get it right. People whose goal wasn't to sound smarter or more profound than the rest of us, but to show us what it means to be human. People who set out not to sensationalize their pain, but to shed light on ours. People who didn't set themselves above the world, but were part of the world, and loved the world and suffered for it, and made art of their suffering."

"[Christ's teachings are]... a call to come awake... I see I've walked around all these years almost completely unconscious of what drives me: of my deep agitation and unrest, of the perverse ways I sabotage myself. Driving around town like a maniac, never allowing myself enough time, knowing when I should leave but subconsciously finding something to do so I short myself ten minutes, so that for the whole trip I'm in a coma of adrenaline-charged anxiety and rage. Putting of my 'happiness' until such and such happens: when I have a certain amount of money I'll be happy, when I sell a book I'll be happy, when I lose that last 2.38 pounds I'll be happy... I'm bad, I'm guilty, I'm unworthy of love. "

"...the long slow crucifixion of trying to love God with my whole heart, mind, soul and strength, and my neighbor as myself: the hardest, most complex, paradoxical, maddening, stimulating, challenging, inexhaustibly enriching, perpetually unfinished, bound-to-fail, sublime task in the world."

Currently listening : The Trumpet Child By Over the Rhine