Saturday, December 22, 2007


I'm going to have to mothball my blog. Life is good. I'm looking forward to some very exciting developments, but not writing-writing, so off I go.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Wrestling with this ...

OK ... Does God want us to "wrestle" with Him?
I've been in chuches where the feel is ... subdued. (Not so Wild at Heart.) Everyone murmurs reverent hellos, sits stock still, takes copious sermon notes.
Then, I experience God-as-lion with his paw suddenly, squarely on my life -- terrifying. Whatever it was, it impressed on me His holiness and sovereignty.
However, I still see Job "calling God out," and David's crying out, and Jacob actualy wrestling, physically, with God's representative, at least.

When I was a wee lass, my dad asked me, if there was a hole all the way through earth and a person fell in, would he go all the way to China? Yes, Dad. Duh! (Roll eyes.)
And my kung-fu teacher ... Sifu couldn't walk by without setting up for some sort of attack. Which was scary, because he was there to teach, which meant he was going to hit me. But ... he was there to teach. And he always had "twinkling" eyes under his fiercely knitted brows.

But I love and respect my dad who had the power to, in the later years, withhold car keys. And I respected sifu, of course, who had the ability to break my elbow.
So ... to wrestle with God? To vigorously, energetically, "engage" Him? To say, for instance, "Hey! I've sorrowed overmuch! It's 99.9% because of something I did/might still do, but ... can I have some relief?? Hey!" (Though I have no right to ask.)

Then, to sense Him step back, consider, raise eyebrows (twinkle eyes?), and say, "You think you can 'go' with me?"
I actually had this conversation with Him yesterday, and was led straight to James (in the Message) where it says, "You ask, but you know you have no right to ask because you ask selfishly."
"I know. I've been extremely selfish. But I'm trying my best. Can I get some relief?" :)
"A miracle? And even more grace??"

Friday, December 07, 2007

Saturday morning, the chirp of a bird

I don't know how to write this without it being all ephemeral, non-specific and non-concrete -- basically, horrible writing. (Probably why Jesus used parables, and the mystics warned us not to describe the Tao. They were concerned for our writing style.)

Blogging might help crystalize some thoughts, though. So, here goes.

I finished 3 books on Thanksgiving: Truth in Comedy by Del Close and Charna Halpern (on improv comedy), Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott (on writing) and Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell (Christianity). All, freakishly, about the same thing: authenticity and ... I have no idea what to call it. I'll call it "Sumatra," because it's a sensation similar to good coffee (multiplied by infinity).

I do that nervous thinking, which is just sorting every conceivable thought into some pile or other, compartmentalizing EVERYTHING. So, this might be painfully obvious, and just my personal process of making things simple again but ...

"Authenticity" in art was an earlier epiphany.

In writing, you should say what's "true" to you (and true fairly broadly, even if it's leprechan cowboys rounding up a unicorn herd). Hemingway sought "one true thing" when he wrote, and I think fiction's "authenticity" gives it its power. Apparently, comedy's authenticity gives it power (Mark Twain said comedy plays close to the "big hot fire" that is truth), and the authenticity in a Christian life ...

The two art books, at least, were about getting into this "place" where you can sense that authenticity ("be still ..."), and then to joyously/energetically pursue it ("... with all your might"). Ahhh ... the Sumatra.

The fresh component for me, here, is "Sumatra's" similarity to love, as I know it, as a Christian.

It's fearless. A few months ago, I came across this sage improv master -- white beard, tortoise-rimmed glasses, Nazi officer’s uniform, the whole nine yards (we were in the Sound of Music) -- who told me: “Don’t judge it,” and “You can make no mistakes.” That was revolutionary.

Next, Sumatra involves all of you. Continously authentic. Spontaneously, harmoniously authentic -- all your facets/facilities working in concert toward an aim, which, for me, ultimately, would be desiring God. (That's what I want my chief desire to be.) While, at the same time, someday, creating powerful art. (I don't know which book in particular, maybe improv, impressed this on me; maybe it's some residual Zen thinking?)

And it's joyous*. Anne Lamott most-blatantly compared writing to love (my words). You do it because you just DO it, and you're pleased, ultimately, just to do it. Even if you never get published. (Heaven forbid.)

*Joy or rage? Passion? Something of that intensity, vibrancy ... I will call this new nebulous idea Ethiopian Harrar.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

It's Wednesday Again, and I'm in the Coffee House

Writing, but not writing what I should be writing, so I should just go home.
With the pseudonym "Tangeline," my life should be much more exciting.