Writer, Christian, bibliophile, musician, generalist.

 

MCXCV- I’m (to-, Fickle, and Running

1. I’m (to-
day)reading through e.e. cummings’
col-
-lected poems. After having
red
~400 of them

it whole completely
is a parent that the
grand are grander than the least grand.

Cummings lived
at such a crazymixedupexperimental
toime oi saiz in histooree
it’s harD to reMEMber
he was creating
p
o
E
t
R
y

at the sametime as suchlike grandgood
luminaries
as W.H.  Auden and T.S.Eliot.

His work is sametime brilli!ant„insa?ne„and (mar)ginally dismissable.
Accessible to les élèves au lycée,
et puis.

i,

(on a wishbed of silent red roses)

2. It has seemed lately like I have had a lot going, and yet at the same time, still not a lot.

3. It’s been more of a struggle to get myself running this week, but I’m getting there. 6 miles this morning felt difficult at the beginning, but got much easier as I ran. Even to the point where I was able to sprint for the last leg with no problems.

MCXCIV- Gunshots, Summer Storms, Games, and Music

1. I think I need to re-familiarize myself with what gunshots actually sound like. I pretty frequently hear loud bangs all throughout the night that sound like gunshots, but it doesn’t seem possible that they are all indeed gunshots.

Then again, I live in Chicago. And 6 shots were fired yesterday about 4 blocks from my apartment. But hey, that’s better than right outside, right?

2. There are few things than hearing summer storms blow in as one is laying in bed.

3. Playing nerdy games with my girlfriend is an excellent way to spend an evening. Wikipedia searches are great. Essentially, you pick two random things and try to create a chain of hyperlinks connecting them.

4. I love playing music at Redeemer. We rocked out today, and glorified God while doing it. I can ask for no better thing.

MCXCIII- Weekend, Weather, and Wunning

1. I need a weekend from my weekend. Either that, or it was a horrible idea to eat syrup on my eggs this morning and that’s why I’ve felt like crap ever since.

2. I could honestly not ask for better weather over the past week. This is my ideal. I needed my air conditioner badly earlier this week, but now I’ve been putting off installing it.

I think I’m once again growing accustomed to not having central air. Such as southern problem, but still. I grew up with it, and I know my mom regards it as one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century, but I think I need to be able to live without.

3. I need to run sometime soon. I ran a bunch yesterday, obviously, but today and likely tomorrow are slightly void thereof. I completely get the whole runner’s high thing.

MCXCII- Time, Oliver Sacks, and a Half-Marathon

1. This would be a great weekend for there to suddenly be 26 hours in a day. I’m feeling some pressure, here.

More time in general might be nice.

2. Began reading The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat today. Good so far. I’m impressed by the way Sacks’ treatment of these disorders includes the psychological as well as the neurological/pathological factors as well.

3. I ran 13.25 miles today in 2:07:00, averaging a pace of 9:35/mi. I’m pretty satisfied with myself. I think that was just about all I could do today, though. Not sure I could have gone a step farther. But that’s how I felt about 10 miles about three weeks ago, too.

MCXCI- Poems, The Jesus Sutras, Books, Auden, and Sleep

1. I think I have an entire collection of poems at this point, the subject of which are all “I haven’t written anything why haven’t I written anything the only way to fix this fact is to just write something”. Any you know, about halfway through writing them, I usually feel like I am finding my voice once more.

I don’t write now like I used to. Time slips away more easily right now than it ever has in my entire life. And I know it’s because I’m unbelievably happy. Which I have come to terms with. It’s strange: the reluctance to abandon my brooding loneliness after having taken solace in it for so long. But happiness does indeed feel like a better approach to life. I think the combination of finding someone like Anne, losing weight, and having a job I care about (even if it doesn’t seem to care about me) have all come together to create this azure cloud of happiness (to borrow some divine imagery from the ancient Chinese).

But I digress.

I think I need to place more of an emphasis on writing.

Reddit is slowly killing me. John Fowles, in a novella forgotten to my memory [The Ebony Tower?], repeatedly uses the phrase, “Il faut couper a la racine.” It must be cut off at the root. My mind is so fluid that many times when I have free time I could be devoting to writing or other productive activity, it flows into the path of least resistance, which is usually Reddit. Don’t get me wrong, Reddit has productive possibilities; I am merely bad at using it, so it’s using me.

I just miss writing, and in a different way than I miss other hobbies when they are removed from me. I need this release.

So I think that’s resolved?

2. The Jesus Sutras proved to be an interesting book. There was a little bit too much narrative in a couple of departments from what I thought would be a mostly historical/theological tome. But there was one section that proved to be quite beautiful and worth a read. I don’t think it’s doctrinal or properly dogmatic, but Jingjing, the writer of the stone sutra, interprets Jesus’ sermon on the mount in a couple of interesting ways. One way is through the “Ten Laws of Observing the World”. An example:

"The first way of observing the world
Is to notice how people grow old and sick.
No one escapes this. It’s like being a traveler—
He will stay wherever he can lie down for a night
He doesn’t care too much whether the bed and food are the best
And so it is between us and our bodies.
Once we go we leave all this behind—
No one here gets out alive.”

We can’t know whether Jesus said anything like this directly, but it does seem to be some sort of wisdom.

This book was an interesting process/experience. I wish it were a bit more scholarly; I think that’s more what I expected out of it. But the author got in the way of his information.

I’d say 3/5 stars.

3. I need to start rating the books I read so I can remember that part of it better. I have quite an easy time in remembering the virtue of a particular book, but not always specifically, and almost never from a negative angle. Except for On the Road, which I am decidedly against.

4. This is an extraordinary article on W.H. Auden.

I thought this quote was particularly interesting, regarding Auden’s thoughts on Kierkegaard:

"like all heretics, conscious or unconscious, he is a monodist, who can hear with particular acuteness one theme in the New Testament — in his case, the theme of suffering and self-sacrifice — but is deaf to its rich polyphony… . The Passion of Christ was to Kierkegaard’s taste, the Nativity and Epiphany were not."

I think that most people are monodist, actually. But I hope to seek that rich polyphony.

5. I need to be up early tomorrow, and I am still awake far to late.

MCXC- They’re Trying to Build a Prison, Arabian Nights, and Books

1. There has been a lot of critique and discussion lately surrounding the American penal system, and for good reason. It’s hailed by many as a form of modern-day slavery and studies point to the futility of long-term lockup without rehabilitation. It’s the rehabilitation that’s the biggest shame to be missing out on. It’s easier to lock people up and put them where we don’t have to look at them than it is to help them. I’ve been feeling very convicted lately to do something to help this. I’m not sure what I would do, but I’d like to think I could do something.

One of the things that scares me most is solitary confinement. Being alone for extended periods of time is said to be the worst thing for human beings psychologically. I heard an account on WBEZ tonight where many people in solitary feel like they’re being watched or haunted. Like there’s some kind of presence in the room with them. That’s terrifying. Our longing for contact is so strong that we create people out of thin air.

2. Warner Brothers just signed on to produce 7 Arabian Nights films. That puts me beyond excited. I think it’s about time those get a real big screen treatment.

3. I read Naomi Mitchison’s Travel Light today and wasn’t disappointed in it. It’s very well-written and thought-out. Makes me want to read more Norse mythology.

I should really read more mythology in general.

I think next month’s reading task will include reading The Odyssey and Ulysses concurrently. I’m kind of excited.

Current total for 2014, as of July 23: 64 books, 19,249 pages.

MCLXXXIX- Too Warm, Gandalf, and Time

1. I am not meant for warm climates. Especially ones without central air as a regular occurrence. That, I would say, is the #1 drawback of having moved.

I think it will be good that we are in a mild winter.

Also, I should probably install my air conditioner, rather than just having it sit on the window sill. I think it will probably be much better once I seal it up.

I don’t think I’ll be able to stay awake for long.

2. Gandalf’s final line in The Return of the King is a killer.

"Go in peace! I will not say do not weep: for not all tears are an evil."

Pretty well a surefire way to instant waterworks.

3. Time is slipping by so quickly! It’s nearly August. Nearly unbelievable.

MCLXXXVIII- Food Moving, LotR: RotK, Restlessness, and a Cheeseburger

1. My life is currently full of people on the move, myself included. I really need to get moving over with, but I am lacking in motivation to do so.

I think one piece of motivation could be the fact that I am currently hungry and haven’t got any food in my apartment to eat right now. That should probably change tomorrow.

2. Return of the King is beautiful, action packed, and hard to put down. I’m so close to the end, I just want to knock it all out.

3. I feel very restless lately, but in a far different way than I used to. It used to be that my restlessness would stem from not knowing what to do next and trying to scramble to do something significant.

But right now, my restlessness stems from knowing exactly what it is I’m going to do, but trying to get myself to move slowly and carefully in order to do whatever it is well. Now is the time for plans, and good ones. I know what the end result is, but the number of paths to take to get there are many.

I have rarely been so sure about anything in my life.

4. I would really like a cheeseburger right now. Weird late night craving.

Someday I hope to read this and say, “Oh, remember that time I really wanted a cheeseburger?”

MCLXXXVII- Moving, Finger, and Bed

1. I am tired of moving. I still have stuff at my old place, but I have less and less a desire to do anything about it. I probably should have just moved everything at once. I think it would help if I had all of my space open for me to use.

2. My finger is healing nicely, but I keep poking things. This needs to not happen.

3. Tonight’s post is a bit too observational for my taste, but I am exhausted, so it’s bed time.

Tchüss.

MCLXXXVI- Bosworth, Money, Decisions, and My 2¢ on Thor/Captain America

1. This is the first post I am writing from my awesome new room on Bosworth. My girlfriend, my brother, and one of my new roommates helped me make quick work of my belongings in a U-Haul cargo van. 2 trips. Made quick work thereof. As it turns out, I don’t really have that much stuff. I have enough, too much even, but not that much. It all pretty well fits in my new room. I’m pretty jazzed.

It’s also very nice to once again live in a rectangular space. My room at my old place was a trapezoid. It was weird. I made it work, though.

2. My bank account has been crazy this summer. So many ups and downs. In a good way, I think.

3. My life has become a series of intense decisions. I’ve come to the realization that no matter what kind of affirmation I seek from anyone else, in the end, I am the only one who can make the decisions in my life. Which is kind of scary in a way. I think I’ve relied pretty heavily over the years on good advice from people I love and respect. I’ve always followed my gut, but as I get older, the stakes get higher.

I feel as though seemingly wandering blindly through the dark might be a part of adulthood.

4. So. Lady Thor. Black Cap. You’re probably wondering what I think. Or not, who cares.

Point is, it’s a publicity stunt. Do I want a prominent female superhero? Heck yes. Major superheroes representing any and all people groups? Absolutely. Do I think it’s a good idea for Marvel to swap out genders and races of long-established superheroes? Maybe, but for different reasons. I feel like Marvel is doing this to continue their advertisement of, “Look how much more progressive we are than DC”. Good job Marvel, it’s working.

I think they’ll be able to tell some extremely interesting stories, but in the end, I don’t think they’ll be able to turn superheroes this significant into mantles, rather than individuals. In the end, Captain America will be tied to Steve Rogers, and Thor will be tied to…well…Thor. I think they were on to something much better when they debuted Kamala Khan as the new Ms. Marvel. Ms. Marvel is a title; different people have come and gone under that moniker. But Cap always comes back to Rogers, and Thor is just Thor. Sure Beta Ray Bill picked up Mjolnir. So did a lot of people. And yeah, Thor was a frog for a spell (haha, get it?), but the point is, they all revert to the original.

The bigger problem for me deals with the recent unoriginality of media. Nobody is taking risks anymore. With all of the sequels, reboots, prequels, etc., people are going for things that will make money, rather than things that are culture-creating. And sure, there’s a lot to be said for that. People want to make as much money as they can. But that sucks from an artistic angle. If Marvel really wanted to be progressive, they would give somebody like Kelly Sue DeConnick or G. WIllow Wilson a headline title. Or bring in great nerds like Donald Glover to pen some books; I think he’d do every bit as well as Kevin Smith does writing Batman. These would be moves worth talking about. But gender/race swapping superheroes that have been around since the 40s/60s? Media-fodder.

We need new art. Steve Rogers discovering the Internet was funny, but that’s been played out. I’d love to see a platinum age of comics. I’d love to see the industry change in significant ways. I think we are still enough at the cusp of this age of digital comics that innovation just begging to be let loose.

But anyway…until then, I’ll be sitting over here in the corner reading these indie comics and obscure graphic novels I love so much….

MCLXXXV- To Do, 8mi, and Normalcy

1. To do tomorrow:

- move
- move some more
- contiunte moving

2. Another easy 8-mile run today.

3. I am ready for some normalcy to return to my life in the coming week. Routines are good, and I thrive on them.

MCLXXXIV- Junk, Finger, and Taizé

1. I have put a bit too much junk in my body over the last two days. Delicious junk, but still. I’m feeling the effects. A nice long run is in the works for tomorrow.

I feel greasy.

2. Day 2, finger injury: still bleeding when I accidentally poke things, which happens far more often than I’d like.

3. Taizé service tonight in Oak Park. I’m realizing I don’t spend nearly enough time in silent prayer, which I hope to change sooner, rather than later.

MCLXXXIII- Bloody Pickles, Russians, and Moving

1. My typing tonight is considerably clunkier and more time-intensive than usual due to the fact that I am now missing the tip top of my right index finger. It was a tragic pickle-making accident today with a mandolin slicer. I probably should have paid more attention to what I was doing, though.

It bled for something like 2 hours, though! I thought it’d never stop. It’s actually still bleeding right now, if only a little. I lost a lot of blood today. It would probably be better if I stopped accidentally poking things.

But those were some good pickles. They went great with the homemade smashed burgers, fries, and even made-from-scratch ketchup my lovely girlfriend and I made this evening. We’re working on making our own condiments, and it has been a success so far. That ketchup is tasty. And simple! Just tomato paste, vinegar, sugar, and some spices.

2. I hadn’t realized how much Russian song Hvorostovsky had recorded until just now. By pretty well every major composer, too. Man, he sings well. A little muscular, but the bravado! An exciting sound.

3. More and more of my belongings are being transported to the new place! I think I’ll be ready to get over there when the time comes. Which is good, because that time is Saturday.

MCLXXXII- Hooloovoo, Open Mic, No Time!, and Writing

1. One of the big news stories from this week is about how scientists have been developing the darkest black known to man, which only allows .035% of light to escape. That’s pretty black.

Really, I think we’re just one step closer to Hooloovoo, a hyper-intelligent shade of the color blue.

2. My buddy Zach and I (a part of The Local Historians) played a really neat open mic night at this place called The Uncommon Ground tonight. I thought we played pretty well, and got some great feedback.

I think it’s going to be fun to continue to go to those in the future.

3. There don’t seem to be enough hours in the day! I need more time.

4. I’m trying really hard to be motivated about writing here, but I’ve just got so many exciting things going on in other parts of my life that they’re all I can think about!

MCLXXXI- 11mi., Awkwardness, $, and 196.7

1. 11 miles today.

And it was relatively easy. In fact, even the last mile felt great. I think I’m on the fast track to success. Especially considering I ran 11 miles this week faster than I ran 10 miles last week. That was pretty cool. I never expect myself to do better than 10:00 miles as a rule, but most of the time, that happens anyway.

It’s strange to think that 6 months ago it was a real struggle to run for 20 minutes in one stretch, but now I can pretty well run for 2 hours and not be any worse for the wear.

It did start pouring rain when I was 9 miles in. That was less than pleasant. But I think it actually might have kicked me into overdrive and helped me run better for the last 2 miles.

Again, I could have gone farther today, but I didn’t. Self control.

2. I don’t know why, but it’s always really awkward to run into people I know in out-of-context places. I never feel quite right saying hi, no matter how much I feel I’d like to.

3. I need to figure out a way to spend less money. My budgeting skills are doing fine; I’m staying well within my means, but I feel like I could be doing things a little bit better.

4. 196.7