Bacon – It’s what’s for Christmas

I told myself I wouldn’t do this.

I said I’d simply let Christmas pass from my blog without acknowledgement.  Just pretend it didn’t exist since the only Christmas topics I could think of were gripes.   Like self-righteous gripes about the commercialization of Christmas.  Christianly gripes about Christ being excised from X-mas.  Right-wing gripes about politically correct “happy holidays” and our overly sensitive culture of watered down non-offensive bullcrap everything (Happy Hanukkah, and quit being pansies, you pansies).  Sentimental gripes about how we’re forgetting the “true meaning” of Christmas.  Anxious gripes about gift pressure: who to include, what to get and how I really can’t afford to buy gifts this year anyway (aren’t hugs enough?).  Uncomprehending gripes about why generation after generation takes great pains to perpetuate the lie of Santa Claus to their spongy children.  Academic gripes about how December 25th isn’t even Jesus’s real birthday, the date of which scholars guesstimate to be in a totally different season (that makes for a moving read on the eve of Christmas Eve.  Not.).

But no, this Scrooge isn’t going to write about any of those things.  Instead, I will write about bacon.


What’s bacon got to do with Christmas? This year, for me, pretty much everything.

It started as any ordinary day.  I woke up before the birds, wrote a compelling dissertation on the inherent philosophical contradictions of Stephen Hawking’s The Grand Design, arrived at work fifteen minutes early, proceeded to do my job with commitment and vigor, was profusely thanked for my efforts, and then someone approached me at the coffee machine to tell me I have a really nice butt.  You know, the usual.  After work, I drove blissfully home without once getting irritated.  Still, you know, the usual.  Walking through the door at home, I was greeted by my aunt and uncle and was pleasantly surprised to see my wonderful cousins greeting me as well.  Beside them sitting motionless, wide-eyed, mouth agape, was something unusual.

It was the trophy of a white elephant my aunt and uncle had attended, and although it did not belong to me, it had on me an inexplicable, magnetic pull.  And those eyes – those glossy eyes drew me into the depths of its unconventional, yet comforting soul.  We all squeezed the “press me” button over and over, and every time its mechanically animated mouth announced a care-free, confident “I’m Bacon.”

As the night drew to a close and it was time to go to bed, I kind of just…took him with me.  I didn’t plan on giving him back.  (I asked the owners a couple days later, of course, and they were fine with it.  Which is all the more reason why I should have him, because I would care if someone stole him like that).  Cuddling with Bacon, I began to doze.  Suddenly, this year’s winter didn’t seem so bad.  We had just met, and already Bacon had a way of making me feel like everything was going to be alright.

The message on his tag could not be truer: “Soft and snuggly with big giant eyes, My First Bacon is both friendly and reliable, just like actual bacon.  Squeeze him and he says, ‘I’m Bacon!,’ no matter what the situation, reminding children that whatever happens in life, they should be true to themselves and always be proud of who they are.”  Now, compare that message with songs we sing about Satan Santa: “Oooh you better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout I’m telling you why, Santa Claus is comiiiing to toooown!”  What a compassionless jerk! He wants us to stuff all our negative emotions before he shows up to grace us mortals with his jolly presence/ts!   But Bacon?  Bacon is safe with my full spectrum of crap, pouting and tears and all.  He is SO much better than Santa Claus. And hey, he’s red and white, too!  How seasonal!

I know all of this seems like a sarcastic dramatization, but it isn’t.  It really isn’t.  I don’t know what it is!  I’m emotionally attached!  I LOVE this thing.  I’m a full-grown woman (vertically) and I sleep with it! SLEEP with it! Some people have teddy bears.  Or cats, or dogs, or ducks, or some other type of stuffed animal.  Some have traded them for pillows in an attempt to be more grown up (don’t lie to me – you didn’t really want to throw Fluffy away and that pillow doesn’t do anything for you).  Me?  I have Bacon.  I’m neither too cool for him nor do I think we need “help.”  We have a connection, and that’s important to have with people things.  Just thinking about squeezing his button in the middle of the night makes me giggle inside.  And out.

“I’m Bacon.”

So simple.  So true.  So Bacon.  It’s what’s for Christmas.

Have a merry one, everybody <3.

I’m feeling accomplished.  I wrote a Christmas post and didn’t fall into the trap of the oh-so common Christmastime gripes (yet I still squeezed most of them in in a casually-mention-but-don’t-dwell-on type of way.  Like how in a conversation with your mother she might passingly point out one of your personal failings.  It’s sneaky, so you’re not sure whether to retort or stick with the main subject.).

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Temporarily Aligned Under Noon

Here it is!  The published piece with line-breaks (almost) exactly where I want them!

Temporarily Aligned Under Noon
Toni Nichole Sanderson
September, 2011

Two after noon o’ clock and the vessels are pouring polite bits of something
to fill in moments of nothing
with faces commanded aright,
accompanied by conscious laughs,
or sighs, depending.
None of the pouring affects, not even slightly is let.
Sincerely cannot connect as such:

A touch of discomfort,
yet so accustomed as to make it comfortable
there in the foyer where the pair of men stood.

good morning.”
“It is Mike, actually.”
“Yes, you are.  I’m Alan.”
“Ah, my apologies.”
“Afternoon, more like.”
“Morning’s already passed.”
“I see.  Both hands amassed below the twelve, as are we.  Now that I am oriented in time, might I ask how you are,
in addition to correct?”
“Fine.  Yourself?”
“Fine as well.“

For either party, neither embarrassment from mistaken identities
nor affronts taken from lack of inflection upon inquiring of possible afflictions.
Between chit and chat, a coffee sip caffeinated Mike’s mustache;
kept and saturated an upper lip.
His company oblivious to any obligation to say anything.
He will glance in a mirror eventually,
perchance wipe it clean accidentally
and unwittingly save his face.
A drop dripped back in the cup, absolved.
See?  It has already begun
to resolve itself.

“The new decor is very nice.”
“Quite.  This commercial flooring will hide the children’s spills,
especially of the deep red variety,
very nicely.”
“I meant the paint a story below.  You seen?”
“No, I have yet been shown, but it is good too, I bet.”

Truthfully, he did see and, honestly, didn’t really think it so.
It just never occurred he might share his fastidious eye
and careful hands that could have lent their talent,
provided for its betterment.
But no matter.
He invented himself an inflamed appendix of more use disposed of, as to not spread infection.
Supposed an unsaid acceptance of the distance,
remaining restrained when an instance of proposition was upon his tongue;
reacting, in fact, in exception when weariness, cheerfulness, and all telling sentiments
required retraction.
Those softer parts of the heart
withheld, though not fiercely,
only quietly tucked away;
laid down and leather-bound between gold-trimmed pages
right before entering stain-glass doors,
and so ensure offenses cannot be exchanged or betrayal provided for.

“Whatever happened to that older gentleman
who was in clockwork attendance this decade past,
whose fair wife escaped him, and name apparently evades me?”
“I believe we crossed paths,
but not recently.”
“Was it Blair?”
“Calvin, I think.”

It was Jacob.
He united six months ago with a more favorable climate
to await the termination his of prognosis.

“Did you hear about that tragedy yesterday?
Isn’t it saddening?”
“Yes.  Very impressing.  I never did comprehend those who settle
where annual plane winds send houses and cattle places outside of Kansas anymore.
I hope all will be well for them,
as it is for us.”
“I meant the Lone Star state.  It’s up in flames, you know.”
“Oh, then let us hope all will be well for them also,
as it is for us.”

After a bit more hub and bub,
the drifting converse led minds to wander
and ponder the television din of their respective dens.
Imaginations swerved to sieve through programming expectations
that could be recorded, stored up for a more leisurely midday,
but due to volition’s loss to conjure new discussion
they thus left one another with nowhere to be,
no errand or chore of import to say “busy.”
For distractions their interaction expired;
turned each with symmetry:
a drawn breath,
about face,
and suspire.

While that unevent transpired,
disconnect of another version occurred.
Not diffidence.  Not indifference.
Not diversion.
It was

A trace of disharmony
yet so crafted as to make it harmonious—
the question of attire arose
there in the aisle where the pair of women stood.

“Claire, how are you?”
“Good, thanks.”

“I’ll want to know where you came about that blouse.”
“This one?  That I’m wearing?”
“No, the one beneath.  Yes, that one. What other presently traces your nape?

it was given to me by
an old friend.”
“Are you certain it wasn’t procured at such-and-such a place?”
“I’m sure; an old friend insisted I take it on account she thought I wore it better.”
“You may not be able to find another.  Look, your right side.  There appears a stain.”

To the bystander, it seems superfluous to ask for clarification on the identification of that shirt
Perhaps Brenda asks in feign, its wearer thought, at first —
Being the benefactor, the inquirer ought to have known from whence it came —
until it dawned her eyes broadcast nothing pretending.
Given the past,
her forgetfulness came as no surprise
and after “ums”
Claire felt no purpose in apprizing her of an accurate memory.
So she responded with the same empty air appending Brenda’s face,and the same blankness attached to the item donned; its shades of marbled jade
disassociated from its origins and affections doffed from its hems at last.

“A stain? Where?  It must have been a trick of off lighting.”
“You might glance again below your arm, in plain view.”
“Any chance it was a strange shadow?”
“No, I see it unchanging as you move.   It is a sickly sulfur hue.”
“Well, I don’t see anything.”
“Mustard, you think?”
“I don’t like the stuff and I haven’t had any lately.”
“Oh, but this blot of yours, it is truly unsightly.”
“I still don’t see it, not even slightly.”
“Then you are not seeing, at least not rightly.  I have a hunch that this home remed—”
“Listen, enough.  I think that would be truly unnecessary.”

They spoke politely as could be through clenched teeth
amidst the tension in this trifle thing that irked each at each.
Undercurrents of strife in their speech foreign from remembrance of an earlier day,
way back when,
when their markers ticked together.
The hour sped alongside the minute, as they’d talk.
Or perhaps the clock froze, instead, preserving its stirrings that all might be said
because above themselves they did not make out its tocks,
or heard whether it whirred or fled.
Nonetheless, opportunity arose to interpret amiss—
though one would guess precedent proof enough to dismiss it—
a miscommune here led to miscommune there;
soon enough were misunderstandings of this, that, and this.
They slowly chose not to give out benefits of doubt;
enmity cowered amity, and lies reality,
and thereby no longer espied the spotlessness imputed unto their counterpersons.

“Nice day after those April showers brought May showers.”
“The weather, of course!
A regular thing to palaver with its seasonal wavers and overall dependability to always be.”
“It’s an influence worth mentioning, I think, especially in this instance.”
“Has its persistence pulled you under itself?“
“I’m not entirely over it, but I’m well.”
“You’re a little under it, yet not ill?”
“It’s not a sickness, per se.  This time of year reminds me of an anniversary I thought I forgot”
But it precipitates it will soon be hot; summertime is almost official.”
“True, but I still hate thinking about milestones I’ve missed;
It had just been making me feel——
you’re right, summertime is almost official.”

Ceased, desisted and in keeping things superficial,
Claire knew better than to make a mess out of her shoulder
any longer.
Aware her listener would have refused effusions, anyway,
she exchanged her shoulder for a pillow:
Absorbent, armless.       Unable to throw away
or embrace.
A handkerchief waved with circumvent of subject,
and from her hand displaced
while her audience stepped aside, allowed it to float by,
followed it to the floor, and lifted it upon its landing;
the need to give or receive sympathy stowed out of heart until a safer day
comes on clouds with fire the world over, not just in Texas.
Tissue returned civilly to its rightful owner:

“You dropped this.”
“Thank you.”

Topics too personal encroached upon safeguards;
familiar fears approached and began to unwind
synchronized gears grinding in each mind,
and found within their analogue cogs a pretext to exit.
Both relieved to speak of excuses to excuse themselves
until the next habitual reconvene:

“It was great catching up, Brenda, but I’m afraid I have a lot to do.”
“I understand.  I have also accrued a bottleneck on my agenda:
a meeting to attend, a rain check to tender, and a project to see through.”
“Have a nice week.”
“You too.  And I’ll be sure to find a removal recipe for you.

Around these scenes the Spirit heaved a heavy grief;
at unity that did not labor to pursue sincerity and peace,
and so easily painted streaks of disfavor.
Its accord was shallow rapport,
disparate from the mandate “weep with those who weep
and mourn with those who mourn.”
Dispassion of Mike and Alan discarded the plea to act as varied cords of a single instrument
unsevered and cause together feel each discouraged sting
and, as one, be buoyant strains strumming along if heartstrings purred
with gladness.
Purpose of Claire’s and Brenda’s was missed upon forgone mending,
so these saints went marching in triumphant futility
when they did not bear with and bear up, coalesce to buttress,
believe the best, find some sense of forgiveness.

Neither is it light nor life
when the disheartened do not unite.
It is void of love and sight
that we have joys, but they are not collective.
We have sorrows, but they are solitary.
“We” is merely for proximity
because while we are here, still we are not together.
And our apartness is not counted among those friendless sorrows.
Remember, we have no affect.
Only temporarily aligned under noon
like those rigid hands on a schedule,
lists to do,
and we come around again to pass, not stop, by.

Special thanks to my good friend, Tawna, whose feedback helped polish the final version. ❤

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Flaunting the Talent at SLCC

After taking the time to read through and look at all of the writers’ and artists’ contributions to Salt Lake Community College’s Folio publication, I’m amazed at the talent of so many of my fellow students, and I’m grateful to be able to get to know some of them through what they’ve produced.  This is my chance to brag on my favorites.

Don’t tell anyone, but I’ve resorted to Facebook stalking some of these people in hopes of finding more.


A Hipster Conversation About A Recently Deceased Author
–By Brian Walker

Yeah, the author died before he could finish it
the way he had intended.
But yeah,

it’s still good and yeah,
the reviews are great.  And yeah,
we’ll see another edition with “lost” portions
(and you know there’s a reason they were lost)

dug up by his ex or son or someone,
and without a doubt it’ll betray his vision.  But anyway,
have you read his first one?

I got my copy signed in ’99.
He did a reading at the book shop downtown
and there were only like

ten other people.  Yeah,
he was so ahead of his time

and yeah,

he’s sure to be imitated once his style catches on, once it
falls into the hands of the mainstream.
By then we’ll be saying he sold out
(posthumously, somehow.)

But yeah.  I’ve read it.


By Ashley Jessop

This is my favorite piece of artwork.  Somehow I think I know exactly what Ashley meant by it.  All too well.  It reminds me of a more darkened style of Maurice Sendak, author an illustrator of Where the Wild Things Are.  Wonderful.



–by Kat Zimmerman

Romance/broken romance stories/poetry aren’t interesting to me most of the time, but I thought Kat did a great job of intertwining the internet lingo with the chronology of events.  I also liked some of the unique internal rhymes.

we met on the waves of
the world wide web
fellow surfers looking for the ultimate ride
and instead
we found each other
two lost souls, unconnected and unplugged
until the electric currents
sparked, jolted
into life
friendship so deep and so true
that we traverse the continent
To:    see a smile;
hear a laugh;
parked our boards and picked up phones
with connections hardwired deep
spanning long summer days and crammed,
hurried finals, weddings, divorces
cc: could haves; should haves; maybe nots
online with each other 24/7
until the final day we both
user has: logged off


by Jessica Meckley

The green just pops and she nailed the angle of this shot.  You can feel the vines reaching, reaching!


By Samuel Smith

I’ve got a crush on this guy’s voice.  Raspy pretty manly mmmhmm.

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“Published”! And Stuff

Alright, so I’m finally a published poet!

Except I can’t say “finally” since this is the first time I’ve ever attempted to put myself out there.  And I can’t use the term “published” in its traditional sense because it’s an online version of SLCC’s literary magazine (the internet isn’t exactly a prestigious place to have a presence).  I’m not even sure “poet” fits.  It carries too many stereotypes, most of which I don’t find particularly appealing.  You know the ones I’m talking about: aloof, self-focused, temperamental, mood-disordered poets.  Always lost in their own cavernous depths and finding profound meaning in things such as a plastic bag being swept across the freeway, at one instance suspended, slow-motion motionless, then violently yanked in the wake of speeding vehicles(…whoa). Most people can’t relate, and poets find the lack of understanding frustrating.  Sometimes in an elitist sort of way.

I’m a little bummed that my piece didn’t make it into the print version.  But it makes sense considering the editors crammed 60 different pieces of writing/art into only 90 pages.  Had mine been selected it would have taken up at least, oh, 10-12 of those 5″x8″ 14pt font pages.  They probably didn’t print it due to limited real estate and a desire to represent as much diverse talent as possible.  This is what I’m telling myself.

It was still exciting to go to the website ( and find my name on the list.  The giddiness was short-lived, however, upon discovering the INCORRECTLY TRANSCRIBED LINE BREAKS!  To most, this doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, but when every word, nuance, punctuation, line break, and indent is meticulously and purposefully placed, I feel that to so misrepresent an original work, for anyone, not just myself, is just plain negligent.  And this phenomenon was not isolated to my poem only, but reading through the printed version, all I could do is wince and scrunch my brow at the too-prevalent typos.  Informal correspondence is one thing, but for this perfectionistically detail-obsessed English major, to see mistakes in a publication actually hurts.

One of my favorite quotes is from writer Oscar Wilde: “I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma.  In the afternoon, I put it back again.”  I love that because when I read it I think, “Dude, that’s exactly what I do!  I’m not alone!”  Knowing at how scrupulously and intentionally many writers include or exclude the tiniest bits of information, it’s all the more important to me that those details be retained with utmost care.

What’s funny about the line-breaks being messed up in my poem is that back in August, I wrote the following status on FB: “I think they had it right back when they used amply wide, long scrolls because if there is anything irksome in this world it is an untimely line-break.”  Yup.  The difference between words being on the same line or a flow of thought staying on the same page and being separated is huge to me.  To have that disrupted is akin to being misread, and that’s frustrating.

Okay, so all of this grumbling about line-breaks and representing work perfectly and being understood isn’t helping me stay out of that “poet” stereotype.  It also makes me sound ungrateful for the hours upon hours of work that went into putting this edition of Folio together.  I should be more mindful of the overwhelming flood of entries and the amount of deliberation it took to pare down and organize.  (The fact that what I wrote made it past the judges is something to be happy about in itself.) The control-freak in me just wishes it could be a part of that process.

Further, this experience is helping me think more about what I might want to do when I grow up (grow up! HA!).  With my eye for detail and ability to rearrange, include, exclude, expand, and condense for concise coherence, I think I would make a fastidious, and therefore excellent, editor.

“What do you do, Nichole?”
“I’m an editor.”

I like the sound of that.

This page’s banner is original artwork by Brian Bo, found as the feature image of

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Daniel Song

Does life ever throw things at you that leave you asking, “Why in the world do I have to go through this crap?!”

Me too!

Daniel Song
July, November 2011
Nichole Sanderson

I glanced down one day to find ropes about my wrists
And said, Savior, what is this?
Looked up again to doors unopened on every side
I run frantic, myself beside
To find the walls closing in all the exits sealed
Bowed down to the floor reduced to tears
Helpless and overwhelmed with fear
My God my God what is happening?
My God my God what is happening?

Stifled and gasping on the plumes
God, I can’t breathe in these fumes
My heart’s failing from the heat
The flames surround I cannot see
It’s too much, Lord, please deliver me
I’m on my knees
On my knees
Please set me free

Searching in my past I’m confused
How did I get here?
What did I do?
Yet in the pain Your voice breaks through
Be still my child I’m here with you
Not just here but in you too
I know it hurts, I know it stings
But because of this I will do great things

I ask myself what I believe
Your Word oh Lord or the fire in front of me
You’ve never failed before, how could You now?
This is not beyond You it’s what You’ve allowed
So because of who You are
I’ll trust there’s something more
and even if You tarry if You wait
‘Til my final breath and to the world it’s too late
By and by I’ll be safe
In Your arms finally be safe

It’s not the way I would choose
I’d prefer not to need so much faith
But You’re seeing me through
Seeing me through
And that’s how You’ll make me new

So whether You rescue me from, beginning to end, or by
I’ll fix my eyes to be chained in liberty
Locked in grace
A captive hope
Beholding Your face
Prisoner to the deliverer
In Your consuming fire completely set ablaze
Out of harm’s way though the infernos rage

Standing now bonds burned away
Far and gone are all my weights
Gone and gone is everything fake
And what do you know
On me there is no scent of smoke
No scent of smoke
In Your presence purified and whole

Lamentations 3:16-24

“He has made my teeth grind on gravel,
and made me cower in ashes;
my soul is bereft of peace,
I have forgotten what happiness is;
so I say, ‘Gone is my glory, and my expectation from the Lord.’
Remember my affliction and my bitterness, the wormwood and the gall!
My soul continually thinks of it and is bowed down within me.

But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
His mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is Thy faithfulness.
‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul,
‘therefore I will hope in Him.‘”

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For the Fun of It

Hey kids!

School, life, and the evil necessity of work are taking up quite a bit of time, but I do plan on posting the fourth and finalpart of the Shores series soon enough.   In the meantime, here is something I re-discovered a few weeks ago that had me cracking up.   I wrote it when I was nineteen – and holy cow, I used to be hilarious!  Enjoy <3.


Hola! My name is Nichole…and I’m an alcoholic.

Only joking.

Seriously, though, my name is Nichole. Okay, fine, my name isn’t Nichole. It is, rather, my middle name, so that should be worth something, right? Wrong. Considering the fact that everyone calls me by my middle name rather than my first name, it’s worth a heck of a lot more than merely something. Hey, don’t start thinking that I think “Nichole” is worth everything, either, because I don’t. I’m not that full of myself right now.

Now, on to less tedious things. I work at a place called Old Farm. I also work at another place that’s in the same place as Old Farm. It’s called Wayland Station in Old Farm. And within the next month or two I’ll be expanding to yet another place that’s in the same place as Old Farm, too (but not in the same place as Wayland Station), that is called Lexington Village in Old Farm. It almost sounds complicated, but it’s actually quite simple.

Think of it this way: Old Farm is like a country. Within that country exist different states. There are three states within Old Farm, but we’ll only worry about the previously mentioned two. I have nothing to do with the third, and it is therefore unimportant in a profile about me; this is MYspace. Old Farm has an establishment of rules and regulations that all of the “states” must federally abide by, and the states can make no rules that infringe upon or nullify the ones laid out by Old Farm. The three sections are also able to make their own rules and decisions via their board members, who act as the legislature. So something could be prohibited in Lexington Village while that same thing could be allowed in Wayland Station. Allow me to elaborate with an example. Let’s say that it is against the rules to walk your dog without a leash regardless of where you are in Old Farm (and it is). If you get caught in that “country” with your leashless dog, then prepare for a severe scolding and demands to leash. Case closed.

Let’s say, however, that in Wayland Station it was decided by their board to outlaw using those leashed dogs as BB gun target practice because Nichole Sanderson and her posse of like-minded residential homies just won’t stop shooting at them. Being the obedient, law-abiding citizens that we are, we’d have to stop shooting the dogs in Wayland Station. Of course we would be very despondent about the whole situation; there are many more great vantage points in Wayland Station than in the other two places. Large trees, rooftops, watchtowers, and a variety of great hiding places with clear lines of vision abound there. So, dejected, we take our business over to Lexington Village and the problem is, for the most part, solved. Though Lexington Village is not as abundantly stocked with good stakeout locations, crap shooting ground is better than no shooting ground. And let’s look at the bright side: with all of the sneaking from bush to bush, running from building to building, and sprinting away like a chicken with its head cut off once discovered lurking in the shadows by angry, cane-wielding paranoid-schizophrenic old people, the entire troop would get into top physical condition within a matter of weeks.

So, by now you must be thinking something along the lines of “the stuff about countries, states, rules, and dog-o-cide is fantastic, Nichole, but what the FETCH is this place!?” Well, I’ll tell you. It’s a community of condominiums. Lexington Village and Wayland Station are, anyway. The third one that I mentioned earlier but did not name due to my lack of affiliation with it is a…well, I won’t tell you. I have nothing to do with it, and therefore it’s irrelevant on an “About Me” section on MYspace.

Old Farm was built in the 1970s or so. It’s an old place. A lot of people I talk to think it’s a retirement community, but it isn’t. Most of the residents are just old because they’ve lived there for so long, and it’s usually old people who can afford that kind of stuff anyways. That’s fine with me, though, since a lot of them are starting to become senile, and that provides me with some entertaining stories. From the old people I have acquired such stories as the one about that one lady who didn’t let go of my hand for at least 20-30 seconds after I had already established that the handshake was over by fully releasing my grip. Awkward.

A notable characteristic of Old Farm, aside from its old people, is its landscape. It has its own mini-lake and pond with ducks, a gravel pathway you can walk on that goes throughout the property, a small stream runs through it [but a river doesn’t run through it (HA, do you get it? If you don’t know who Norman Maclean is, then don’t worry about it. If you knew who he was then I’m sure you would have at least chuckled a little bit. If you do know who Norman Maclean is and didn’t chuckle even a little bit, then screw you*. I thought it was funny.)], plenty of grassy open space, and large, mature trees that provide just the right amount of shade. (Wow, just writing this is making me feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside. Mmmm, fuzz.) It’s hard to find that kind of loveliness in more recently built communities. Nowadays all most builders care about is maximizing profit, which requires minimizing free space and the expenses that it takes to maintain what’s left.

But then again, I suppose it’s a good thing to be packed like sardines because not everyone is able to afford living in a community like Old Farm. With more features come higher fees. But then again, I do recall being a part of a conversation a while back involving the former manager of Old Farm. There was a slight controversy among the residents towards the end of 2007 over an announcement that fees were increasing at the beginning of 2008. She said that she had done some research into other communities and found that Old Farm usually either had a lower fee rate or the difference was insignificant. Hmmm…I don’t know. Oh well, I don’t care enough to think about it much further than that.

Moving on. I bet you have yet another question about my job that goes along the lines of “the stuff about working in a condominium community is fantastic, Nichole, but what the FETCH do you do there!?” Well, I’ll tell you. I’m a “maintenance technician.”

Before I elaborate, however, I would like to give an information update. Remember how earlier I said “And within the next month or two I’ll be expanding to yet another place that’s in the same place as Old Farm…that is called Lexington Village in Old Farm”? Well, forget it. It’s probably not happening now. I would explain why, but I’m far too lazy. Let’s just say that the Lexington Village people are noobs* at life even though a lot of them have existed longer than 98% of the world’s population.

If you’re wondering why I even mentioned working at Lexington Village if I’m not actually going to be working there, it’s because I’m writing this thing in chunks. I think I started the whole “About Me” section circa a month or two ago; I add to it whenever the mood strikes. The mood has stricken me, obviously, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this.

Anyways, back to your question, “the stuff about working in a condominium community is fantastic, Nichole, but what the FETCH do you do there!?” Well, I’ll tell you. I do a lot of things.

Before I elaborate, however, I would like to quickly give my thoughts on a topic of a slightly different note: children. This is my modification of William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” 3/1 that, I think, sums up my mixed feelings quite well:

To bear, or not to bear: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The stretch marks and stress of outrageous pregnancy,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing prevent them?  To halt: to foil;
No fruit; and by a halt to say we end
The back-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To halt, to foil;
To foil: perchance to live, ay, there’s the rub;
For in that foil of fruitlessness what life may come
When we have shuffled off this maternal coil
Must give us pause: there’s the respect
That makes calamity of so infertile life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of vanity,
The unproductive’s waste, the desolate woman’s grief
The pangs of unknown love, the memory’s regret
The audacity of independence and the sorrows
That the patient merit of the unwilling takes,
When she herself might her gain make
With an open view? Who would babies bear,
To grunt and sweat atop a foreign birthbed,
But that the dread of something worse than death,
The lonely country from whose menopause
No traveler returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those bundles we have
Than go to others that we know too well of?
Thus fear does make mums of us all;
And thus the native hue of autonomy
Is sicklied o’er with the dreadful cast of thought,
And enterprises of great vigor and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of liberty.

So, as you can see, I am troubled by the question of babies. Not other people having babies, of course, because I have nothing against other peoples’ babies. Other peoples’ babies are just dandy (except that they freak me out). This is more a personal matter; the issue of whether or not I will choose to have babies. But alas, I feel that to further express my serious concerns on this subject would be an endeavor far too revealing of my inner struggles. So I will make light of the matter in order to avoid any more self-disclosure.

If you take a gander at my “pics” you will notice that I have a habit of naming inanimate things. The things that I name are objects of common use, like ladders, gloves, and golf carts. I don’t know how I got into naming things; it’s just something that I do. And it’s not as if I sit around and ponder over what to name something, the name usually just sort of pops out of me without much effort or forethought. I use a few of ladders named Borris, Norris, and Morris, a right glove named Warren the Second, a leaf-blower named RAWR, and so on.

The other day I had a radical and rather profound revelation: If I had kids, I could give them whatever the heck name I felt like giving them! Puck, Howard, Gunther, Ulga, Steve, etc. The possibilities are endless!

Well, now I’m remembering that an unavoidable attachment comes with babies: men. If I had a baby, my theoretical husband might pose a serious threat to my namings. He may disagree. He may argue. He may protest. Hmmm…that sucks. In order to successfully carry out my plans I might need to get rid of the middle man in some sort of anthropomorphic act mimicking that of the black widow (Not literally. What kind of freak do you think I am? Some kind of freaking cannibal freak?! No! That’s gross.). It’s so crazy that it just might work!

Well, now I’m remembering that an unavoidable attachment comes with murder: police. With police come investigations and questionings and searches and paperwork and lawsuits and suspects and witnesses and forensics and all that kind of crap. I would need one heck of an alibi. That’s way too much work. Screw it*. I can’t have kids. At 19 this is a problem I hardly need to be thinking about anyway.

Now, back to your ever-arising question of “the stuff about working in a condominium community is fantastic, Nichole, but what the FETCH do you do there!?” Well, I’ll tell you. I do a lot of things as a “maintenance technician.” Some of those things are periodic, others are more sporadic, and the rest I’ve only done once or twice. Here’s a fun yet tragically incomplete list:

–Sweep, dust, and vacuum the 20 “ashford” buildings. This is probably the most dreaded part of my job since it takes about 45-60 minutes to clean one building. My manager tried to console me with “at least it’s only once a month!” If I had less self-control I would have said, “And so is my freaking period!” But I only responded with a polite smile and nod and “yeh.”

–Pack on RAWR, the leaf blower, and clear out the dust/leaves from the ashford garages. I find this very fun.

–Dust and disinfect equipment in the community center’s exercise room. I don’t mind doing this since I use the exercise room. It brings me great comfort to know that everything is being sanitized the way it should. This morning as I was running on the treadmill some old, saggy, sweaty, shirtless man behind me was using the weight machines. I know because the wall in front of me is basically a huge mirror. I saw everything. More than I wanted to see, really. But it was kind of comical. I laughed on the inside.

–Mondays and Fridays to throw people’s trash into dumpsters as one of my managers drives the tractor and the other manager joins me in the trash-throwing. It sounds like a crappy job and people tease us about doing it, but in truth it’s pretty fun. Sometimes it sucks, though, like the time a bag ripped open that had a bunch of rotting Spanish rice in it. As I was sweeping it up with a little piece of cardboard some rice flicked into my face…it was gross. I also hate it when I’m trying to blaze through a particular dumpster and I absentmindedly notice that someone threw something away that smells rather lovely. Immediately after I realize that I was enjoying the scent emanating from the dumpster, I feel ashamed. Garbage is supposed to stink. So, I run away from my true feelings and tell myself, “No, Nichole, it doesn’t smell nice. It’s garbage and it’s disgusting and it stinks!”

–Go on a spree of destroying spiders and their webs on all 50 buildings. Cruel, yet satisfying in a weird, serial killer sort of way.

–Check for and replace burnt out light bulbs. With over 1,000 light bulbs throughout the buildings and property, it’s inevitable that one of them is out somewhere.

–Vacuum tennis courts 1 and 2 during the winter, as they are covered by a freakishly large bubble that is fittingly named The Bubble. Tennis courts don’t seem to be huge, but when you’ve walked back and forth, back and forth, and back and forth again and again for an entire hour in order to clear away all of the “tennis fuzz” twice a week, they suddenly become ominous planes of green misery.

–Pack on RAWR to clear off the debris from tennis courts 3 and 4, as well as 1 and 2 when they’re in unbubbled season. Also very fun.

–Empty trash cans located throughout the property, including those set apart for dog poo. It doesn’t stink at all when I stop breathing.

–Not to go off on a tangent or anything, but I have been getting some flack about the “alcoholic beverage” in my default picture. Somehow people are getting the impression that I drink. If you take a gander at the smoke/drink thing it says no/no. That is merely an empty can that I found on the ground. I’m underage, and I only break the law when I’m driving. The speed limit’s only a suggestion, people.

–Trim trees/bushes/other plant life that doesn’t require any professional experience, know-how, or tools. I like this. I do a lot of it. I also like to climb the tree that I’m trimming if it’s necessary. My managers don’t like that, though. They even give me specific directions before I go to trim the tree and say, “Nichole…don’t climb the tree.” They think that I’m some sort of reckless teenager who has no fear of falling and breaking their self on the cold, unforgiving concrete below. The truth is, I’m a skilled, athletic youngin’ who is very in tune with her coordination and abilities. That’s why I’m not afraid of falling and breaking myself on the cold, unforgiving concrete below. It just won’t happen.

–I made a flower bed once. It looks really, really good, methinks.

–Discard dead animals IE: birds, ducks, mice, raccoons, etc. They won’t let me give them a proper burial. Something about the sight of funerals upsetting the older folk.

–I got to fill in a long, huge ditch that I didn’t even dig once. It was dug to put electrical wire en route to power some new lamp posts. Yay! Shovel!

–Go out into the duck-poo-polluted pond in a leaking boat using a shovel (Yay! Shovel!) to paddle. The oars broke. It wasn’t me, though. Promise <3. I was out there with my manager trying to fish out the algae that was developing into a thick, green layer of Hulk-looking fur over the pond’s surface. He didn’t like it as much as I did. He’s heavier than me and all of the water settles to his end of the boat, causing Shoes Soggy with Nasty Water Syndrome. Sucks for him.

–Go out into the duck-poo-polluted pond in a leaking boat using a shovel to paddle because the oars broke—again. There is a control box to the pond’s fountain that is mounted on an island out there. The big tree that it was attached to was dead and extremely rotted out. It happened to fall down during a wind storm, smashing the wooden box that surrounded the control box. Surprisingly, the fountain stopped working at that point. We went out there to assess the situation. It wasn’t too bad. The control box was still in one piece and only had one wire get disconnected.

–Go out into the duck-poo-polluted pond in a leaking boat using a shovel to paddle because the oars broke—yet again. This time we were trying to figure out why one of the pond’s aerators stopped working. As it turns out, that thick, green, Hulk-fur algae stuff that had been growing in the water in the time the fountain was out of commission was clogging the hose. Frickin’ algae. Because there were four different aerators attached to four different hoses that were attached to an air compressor on the island (right next to the control box), it really sucked finding out which hose led us to the clogged aerator. There were no bubbles to guide us: it was frickin’ clogged. So, from shore we were to pick a hose and pull at it, leading the boat along to its aerator. All fine and dandy, right? Sure thing, except for the part where that old rotted tree that fell over happened to fall right into the water where we needed to get to the hoses.

So, we marched onto the island from the back-side with a saw and pruners to clear the way. Since some of the limbs were too far out for us to trim off, my manager decided that it would be a good idea for me to climb onto an adjacent tree that was growing out over the water, parallel to the ground, and have me saw off a few limbs from there (OH, but it’s okay if I climb this deadly tree of death?!) Given the tree’s relatively small circumference, its two inch long thorns jutting out all over the place, the impression of a forewarning from the fallen tree right next to it, the water in which I could drown if my feet got stuck in the muck at the bottom, the mass of wild rose bushes that I would fall into if I fell in the direction of dry land, and the extremely awkward angles at which I would be contorting my body, I was a little bit apprehensive about being an obedient employee. I did it anyways. I have scars to prove it, too.

Once we cleared the way, all we had to do was pick a hose and pull at it, leading the boat along to its aerator. All fine and dandy, right? Sure thing, except for the part where the hoses had been resting on the bottom of the duck-poo-polluted, thick-green-Hulk-fur aglae-stuff-infested, decomposing-plant-life-filled nasty goo-ness. Those hoses were slimily disgusting smelly things! And guess what happened? The first one we followed: led us in the wrong direction. The second one we followed: led us in the wrong direction. The third one we followed: led us in the wrong direction. The fourth one we followed: LED US IN THE WRONG DIRECTION! Can you befreakinglieve that!? When they laid the hose down for the one we were shooting for, they must have taken it over to the other three, had an epiphanous moment in which they suddenly realized that you don’t need that many so close together, turned around, and put it all the freaking way to the other end of the pond! Frickin’ duh! It was a fun day, though, so no complaints.

The list I just gave is only partial. I do a lot more different things. It’s very unpredictable; my managers make it up as I go. It’s very difficult to tell people what I do, because if I just say “maintenance,” they expect me to explain. I’m too lazy for that. And if I say “maintenance technician” in order to at least appear a bit more high class, the down side is the “technician” part. There’s nothing technical about my job; “technician” just sounds cool. That means I have to be careful about who I say “maintenance technician” to instead of just “maintenance.” I can’t let certain people start expecting more than what I can deliver, you know? That’s too much pressure, and I don’t want to go around disappointing anyone with my true incompetence.



*screw you [skrōō yōō] -verb phrase Slang
A semi-vulgar phrase used in a variety of situations such as in response to an insult, an obvious lack of interest in something that the sayer finds amusing, or a command that one does not wish to obey.
Also used as a command itself, requesting that the sayee of the “screw you” remove their self from the 10 foot radius surrounding the sayer. Given the nature of “screw you’s” other use (as response to a command that one does not wish to obey), this second use for “screw you” should be used with caution. If not used carefully, one could easily find their self in an endless loop of “screw yous” with the original sayee and thus become a sayee as well.

Note: When I say “screw you,” I don’t mean it to be truly vulgar. Most of the time I’m just jesting, so don’t take offense. Really, I don’t mean it rudely. If I were serious, I could definitely come up with something a heckofalot more base than “screw you,” trust me. Plus, I love you. I would never say anything to hurt you. You’re near and dear to me because you obviously care about me enough to read this thing all the way through if you’ve gone this far, and I doubt many people take the time to read more than the first few paragraphs. They probably look at it and immediately just say “screw it*!” So I am really grateful for your willingness find out what it is that I have to say, however useless this information may be. Thanks. <3.

*noob [nōōb]-noun pl. noobs Slang
A term derived from online video games that is often confused with newb or newbie, but rather than meaning “new to the game” as the those do, noob refers to people who have played the game for an extended period of time but are still really crappy at it and troublesome to other players.
People characterized by an outward appearance of common and practical sense, but, upon closer inspection, attitudes and behaviors that are stubborn, selfish, and impractical manifest themselves copiously. These behaviors cause them to lack the most important skill of all: teamwork.

*screw it [skrōō ĭt] -verb phrase Slang
A semi-vulgar phrase used when one encounters a task they do not wish to complete because it seems too wearisome, daunting, boring, frustrating, troubling, or time-consuming. It has close ties with “screw you” in that one will often distance their self from the 10 foot radius around the task the sayer has deemed “it.”

Posted in For the Fun of It | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Letters through the Radio: Finding Company on the Shores, Pt. III

By now you may be thinking, “Nichole, you’ve gone through two parts of this shindig and you still haven’t even mentioned a friggin’ radio.”

Well, hold your horses, I’m about to.

But first, let’s talk about sacrifice.  I know, it’s a scary word.  The two serpenty “s” and “c” fricatives combined with the “c” stop consonant is rarely a positive sounding combination. (Sorry, phonology technicalities.  Really, though, I just wanted to use the term “fricative” because it’s my new favorite word for the time being.  It just sounds great.  Fffffricative.)  I haven’t met anyone who enjoys the word’s definition, either.   For most, it has one of two meanings:  The first is that a sacrifice is something offered for expiation or propitiation.  That’s not what we’re talking about right now, though, so put the axe down and please don’t slaughter a calf.   The second meaning that comes to mind is that of a giving up of something.  That is what we’re talking about, but we cheat ourselves if we stop there because it is only half of the definition. (my most favoritest website in the whole World Wide Web world) defines it as “the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim.” It is not loss only, but willful loss for the promise that there will be a return of something greater.

At various points along Much-Afraid’s expedition she was to build an altar and sacrifice something on it, whatever was timely for the specific situation.  One sacrifice was titled Acceptance-with-Joy, surrendering the need for everything to be smooth as butter because, like grains are beaten again and again until they’re ready to make the finest bread, so we need difficulty as a sort of “beating” for refinement.   At another altar was Bearing-the-Cost, aka forgiveness, on which she put the right of judgment and the hardening of her heart.  There was an altar for her dread of future trials and where the Shepherd might take her next, too, where she released her own will.  She progressively gave Him more and more, each altar a physical representation of a change in her heart that said, “With this, too, I will trust you. I know you’ll give me something better in return.”   The Shepherd never failed to meet her where she was at these altars, always answering her call and assuring her no matter how small or great the need.

She knew in advance what the very last sacrifice was to be.  The Shepherd explained that human love needed to go on the altar, and she was reminded of it a few times along the journey.  She just didn’t know when, where, or how until the path stopped dead at the edge of a yawning chasm that cut off all further progress.  There was no avoiding it.  The only way to go was down, so she flung herself into the misty pit.  Once she landed and gathered herself, she said: “This is the place.  This is where I am to make my offering.”  She knelt down and prayed, “My Lord…will you come to me now and help me to make my burnt offering as you have commanded me?”

She called.

He did not come.

She waited.

He did not come.

What.  The.  Crap.

Why now, of all times, when she is sacrificing this desire for human love, comfort, and company does He withhold His own love, comfort, and company!? Oh my gosh!  It’s just too much!

I felt her ache, and I wept with her.  Alright, fine, I cried my eyes out.  To the outsider (by that I mean to the one who hasn’t experienced Jesus in a profoundly intimate way) it probably seems a silly thing to get upset about.  What’s the deal?   He’s just some shepherd she got to know in her home town who befriended her and helped her out here and there with troubles he told her to go through in the first place.  There isn’t even a spicy romance happening in here!  Now, you could understand the tragedy in Bella and Edward’s (“Twilight” characters.  No, I don’t read the series. I actually had to Google their names to be sure) potential lost love.  Edward is Bella’s LIFE, without him she will DIE, or worse, live a NORMAL life without werewolves or  a bloodthirsty posse of vampires trying to KILL her.  If she doesn’t get to reunite with her beloved, sparkly (dead serious, the vampires sparkle) Edward she just might faint into hopeless oblivion (please, gag me with a dog-poo shoe).

But baby, oh baby, falling in love with God the most consecrated and holy romance there ever was, is, and could be.  Unlike Edward, worth living and dying for, I tell you that.   He’s not an austere, unknowable figure high in the sky, and following Him is so much more meaningful than scrupulous obedience to a set of THOU SHALT NOTs.  Loving God, and being loved by Him, is 100% relationship.  It can’t be understood by anyone who’s never been there, and it doesn’t even make much sense to those who are there when we try to analyze it.  It’s an unexplainable thing that “though we have not seen Him, we love him” (I Peter 1:8).   While there is a void in the absence of physical company, there is an eternal and infinite void in the absence of Him, our true Lover.

I’ve been calling.  I’ve been waiting.  My Lover has not come, and it fills me overwhelming sadness.  It is too much for words, this deep, dark void from whose depths effuse long rivers of sorrow.  Sorrow that cannot be quieted, that refuses to find relief while the Shepherd is yet afar.   Its pangs call out inconsolably from the core of your being, and there is no consolation, no comfort, no balm apart from God Himself.  It needs no serious dwelling or rumination to be discovered, only that when the daily noise and distractions cease, from the silence it naturally echoes out of an empty chasm that reverberates with the yearning to be filled again.  It is longing at its deepest measure, pining down to its very definition.   Tears cannot exhaust its strength, and time cannot diminish its pain.

Much-Afraid couldn’t tear the human love out of her own heart, so she asked a by-standing priest to tie her down and help, lest she run or fail.  She completed the sacrifice, and with that I finished reading for the night.   It was getting late, and I had to sleep.  I got ready for bed, and as I gazed at the ceiling with my hands overlapped behind my head, I thought about this human love in my own life.  Family wasn’t much of a source with the suicide of my deeply troubled and physically abusive dad, crap step-“father” of 14 BLISSFUL years whom I used to call “the guy who lives in my mom’s house,”  and mom who continually chooses the guy who lives in her house over me and my brothers and have never been able to have a serious conversation with anyhow.   Nor was she interested in my every day, only that the house was impeccably clean.  We didn’t eat together.  Or do anything together.  To avoid the steady harassment of fighting words and unpredictable violence, I eventually reclused to my room.  Having practically raised and taught myself, I carried that with me into adulthood.   Miss Independent right here.

Though I did finally have a period of about three years of really great relationships a few years ago, now all I could think about were the array of distant, fading friendships.  Disparate friendships akin to mere acquaintance.  Strained friendships.  Shattered friendships.  The seeming impossibility of creating new friendships.  God doesn’t feel super plutonic or Lover-ly right now.  These Shores suck.

The next morning while getting ready for work, my deliberations churned as if there were no interruption of sleep.  I’m tired of doing things on my own.  I want to assuage this ache with something I can see, to call someone, to hang out with someone, to just be with someone who totally gets me and what I’m going through.   Names and faces come to mind, but our schedules or life stages just don’t fit.  I’d be bold-faced lying if I said fear didn’t play a part.  I worry of being an intrusion or appearing necessitous.  I’m terrified of being known and then cast aside because I’m not found worth the time.  I don’t want to ruin what relationships I already have by making messes on people’s shoulders, either.  I feel stuck and I fear not finding a real and mutual connection.  And if I don’t find that connection?  Is God going to ask me to do as Much-Afraid on that mountainside?  Build an altar?  Let it go?  How can I let go of human love when I can’t even feel His?  If I sacrifice that desire in order to go deeper into the desire of Him, will my Shepherd finally come?   When will I be able to find Him?  Will I be able to find Him? Is this all even worth it?

This slew of thoughts continued to muddle my mind as I hurriedly stepped across the lawn to my car.  I sighed, pushed life aside, put on my public face and tried to muster up the energy for yet another busy, ordinary day.  In one fluid motion, I inserted the key into the ignition and turned.  Without one second of hesitation, these words came through my radio (see, I told you!):

I climbed a mountain, built an altar
Looked out as far as I could see
And every day I’m getting older
I’m running out of dreams
I’m running out of dreams

But Your love
Your love
The only the thing that matters is Your love
Your love is all I have to give
Your love is enough to light up the darkness
It’s Your love

Your love
all I ever needed is Your love

You’re the hope in the morning
You’re the light when the night is falling
You’re the song when my heart is singing
It’s Your love
You’re the eyes to the blind man
You’re the feet to the lame men walking
You’re the sound of the people singing
It’s Your love

Your love
Your love
The only the thing that matters is Your love
Your love is all I have to give
Your love is enough to light up the darkness
It’s Your love

Your love
all I ever needed is Your love
(Your Love by Brandon Heath)

Then, no DJ, no advertisement, no break.  Just this:

Slowly fading away
You’re lost and so afraid
Where is the hope in a world so cold?
Looking for a distant light
Someone who can save a life
Living in fear that no one will hear your cries

I am with you
I will carry you through it all
I won’t leave you
I will catch you
When you feel like letting go
‘Cause you’re not
You’re not alone

Your heart is full of broken dreams
Just a fading memory
And everything’s gone
But the pain carries on
Lost in the rain again
When will it ever end?
It’s hard to believe
It seems so out of reach

But I
I am here
I am with you
I will carry you through it all
I won’t leave you
I will catch you
When you feel like letting go
‘Cause you’re not
You’re not alone

And I will be your hope
When you feel like it’s over
And I will pick you up
When your whole world shatters
When you’re finally in my arms
Look up and see love as a face

I am with you
I will carry you through it all
I won’t leave you
I will catch you
When you feel like letting go
‘Cause you’re not
You’re not alone
(Not Alone by Red)

I stayed in the same lane throughout the morning stop-and-go freeway trek, paying no heed to the possibility of being a few minutes late, and let the words wash over me with tears trickling down my face.   With every song, sermon, and verse sounding the same and not being able to see, hear, or feel Him for so long, it’s become easy for me to point to coincidence.  But I heard these songs, and I believe God broke through the silence on the radio that morning.   And it’s moments like these, when we’re lost and scared  and feel as though God’s got everything other than us on His mind for now and always, when our heart is sick with deferred hope and extended stays on the Shores of Loneliness, that He reminds us, My love is enough.  It’s all that matters and all you’ll ever need.  I’m with you.  I’ll carry you through.  I won’t leave you, even when others do.  I’ll never lose my grip on you.  Especially when you feel like letting go.

(Remember that priest who helped Much-Afraid tear human love out of her heart and put it on the altar?  Yeah, she later finds that was the Shepherd.  She just couldn’t see Him through the haze.)

People, however, won’t stick with us through to the High Places.  When we expect them to be there every step of the way, we’re setting ourselves up to get ditched at a mountainside or hanging off the edge of a cliff.   Some do it unintentionally; others reject us precisely because we allowed ourselves to be 100% real.  People are fleeting and there isn’t a single one who can be our everything, not even sparkly Edward, and no one is supposed to be.  Our God is passionately, jealously in love with us.  He wants all of your eggs and mine in His basket where they safely belong.   Anyone else is likely to drop them all over the kitchen floor and may not even feel sorry about the mess you’re left to clean up.  When we finally figure out that He unaidedly satisfies our every need, He makes the promise that “You will seek Me and find Me; when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).  And when the stings incurred by this life tempt us to withhold our hearts from Him:  breathe in, breathe out, remember that He alone is trustworthy, and let it pour.

Mind you, I’m not condoning disillusionment.  People can be there to love, encourage, correct, guide, provide wisdom, and we can most certainly do that for others, but only in the capacity that God works through them and us, and only inasmuch as God permits so that we know it was not them or us at all, but Himself.  We’re not to forsake the human relation for which we’re built, but to find ultimate relation in Him.  His love and acceptance are adequate, more than commensurate.  Enough.

The lack or loss of human love cause our biggest heartaches, but even the seeming loss of Him we love yet have never seen causes pain unspeakably greater.  And if it can hurt so fricative fricking much, its remedy must be worth sacrificing for.

Here is my altar.  Here is my heart.   This is not loss, but gain.  Though I do not see it, though I yet perceive it, with this, too, I will trust You.

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Have no fear!  Lighter reading is here!

In consideration of Pt. II‘s theme of faithfulness, I think the timing is appropriate.

He Will Come

July 2011

Is God a man that He should lie?
Or a thief that He should steal?
When will we realize
The trials we perceive with our eyes
Are only a shadow compared to what’s to come
He will come

When I can’t shake the way I’m feeling
When all I see is so deceiving
It’s Your Word that I’m believing
It’s You I’m believing
You’ll lead me to still waters
You’ll be my perfect Father
You won’t leave or abandon
You love me more than I can fathom
Faithful and relentless
You’re steadfast and endless
Your ways can’t be suppressed
They are infinite and ageless
Infinite and ageless

Will perfection cheat or betray?
Can holiness ever mislead?
Though He seems to delay
He will neither flee nor forsake
We’ll never disappointed wake, never be played
Because He isn’t fake

When I’m smiling
When I weep
You are constant
You are deep
You’re incessant
You’re guaranteed
Firm as the sun from the east
We will wait
We will endure
In You our hope is sure
Our amen, it resounds
Walls come down at the sound
In Your shelter peace abounds
For our answer has been found
Promises made true, every one
They are “yes” in the Son
Who proclaimed that He will come
He proclaimed that He will come

You know the uncontrollable reflex you get in your gut when something’s about to gush out of you?  The one that turns you into a marionette and pulls you to the toilet bowl?  Well, writing this was kind of like that, only without the aftertaste. Or unpleasantness.  (Okay, so maybe not-so dry heaves aren’t the best comparison to the “rapture” of inspiration.  But you get the idea).  I set out to work on something entirely different at the midnight hour when this, tune and all, popped out instead.  It was out before I knew what hit me, and I’ve only gone back to edit a few words.

Very little of my poetry is so song-like, so it’s an unusual bit for me.  I’ll take it, though, since it has gotten me through many a weary day in the warehouse.

I hope it lifts you up as well (:.

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Letters through the Radio: Finding Company on the Shores, Pt. II

Along Much-Afraid’s journey to the High Places, there were quite a few unexpected “wrong” turns.

(Didn’t get a chance to read Pt. I?  Click here)

The very onset was a “Detour through the Desert.”  Then, right after she ascended an impossible sea wall to overcome the Shores of Loneliness, her mirth was immediately truncated by a sharp bend in the trail that extended straight in front of her as far as her eyes could see, not toward the mountains, but straight away.  She was struck dumb, standing still in dismay, and trembling all over at the prospect.   As if this wasn’t enough, her opportunistic family and fiends antagonized her, voicing with venomous disdain the fears she held in her heart.  They mocked her foolish hope, and told her over and over again that she had been duped.  Abandoned.  But the Shepherd interrupted the derision to tell her, “This further delay is not unto death, but for the glory of God; that the son of God may be glorified.”  He assured her the path would turn back.  She glanced between her options, and, choosing Him, pressed onward.

With each deviation it was His word versus her moment’s experience.  She had to lay down her trust in what she saw and come to a greater level of trust in His promise.   Sure enough, time and time again the promise would hold true and she would get closer to the mountains.  Seeing his faithfulness made it a little easier to relinquish her doubts at subsequent detours, though it was still very painful.  None of the detours were as devastating as the very last one, however.  She had overcome a desert, an impassable ocean wall, injurious precipices, a dangerous forest, blinding mist (all done with crippled legs, mind you), her family’s persistent pestering throughout, and was closer than ever before to the High Places. There they were in plain sight, with all of their majesty and freedom within reach.  Radiant with uncontainable joy and expectation to be led straight to them, she looked ahead to see the path turn away and plunge straight down to the elevation at which she first began.  Her heart and countenance crashed to the ground, and she let out an appalled screech.  After all of the waiting and perseverance and trusting and, was it not enough?  Does she really have to start over?  She’s already endured so much and is so close, yet here is the most drastic diversion yet!  Why not finally grant her the High Places?  It seems so unfair.  So pointless.  She considered turning back, but the mere thought of existence without Him so staggered and appalled her that it simply was not an option.  “If you can deceive me, my Lord, about the promise and the hinds’ feet and the new name or anything else, you may, indeed you may; only don’t let me leave you.  Don’t let anything turn me back.”

I could relate to walking a plunging path.  It was at a very high point when my path turned and plummeted to depths I’d never been. I had school planned out, a career in mind, and the confidence to go for it.  I had a huge heart for kids (only explained supernaturally) and was teaching them at church; it was refreshing, easy, and I loved it.  A Christian college group had started up through which I was finally beginning to be a part of happenings with people my age.  Passionate and unapologetic about my faith, I was never ashamed to get the word out.  Though encircled by irascibility and unpredictable chaos at home, I was practically fireproof.  Rather than getting upset and arguing with the nonsensical bullcrap around me, my attitude remained, “Meh, Jesus loves you.  And so do I!” [Cheesy smile and thumbs up!].  People told me I had wisdom beyond my years in my decisions and discourse.  Of course, crap still happened, stupid things were still said and done, but I had always been able to immediately hop up and dust off.  Most importantly, all of this was done in His empowerment.  Energy and strength abounded to get me through whatever came my way.  Like a branch directly connected to the vine, growth was rapid, fruit was popping up all over, and I could foresee nothing but an ever upward, blue-sky climb to God’s huge plans ahead.

Then, around April/May of 2009, kind of out of nowhere, the path veered down and off.  My quiet devotional time, which had formerly been flowing and easy, began to be strained.  Prayer started becoming very difficult.  His voice and presence in which I had dwelt slowly faded.  However, I’ll never be able to forget the June summer evening that distance coalesced to absence.  I found myself in my room, attempting to pray.  The usual line of communication was gone.  Not just far off anymore.  Not distant.  Gone.  I’m not able to describe this adequately, but I abruptly felt very different and very wrong.  I wept and wept and wept through the night, rocking in the fetal position with my Bible clutched to my chest, my insides repeatedly screaming an inaudible shriek that could have torn through heaven itself:  PLEASE, PLEASE DON’T LEAVE ME!

Something within me broke, and it broke hard.   From that night on, I could no longer feel His presence, and I began a gradual downward spiral to what I consider Hell on earth.  Not being able to find God for calm in the storm, the increasing chaos at home wore on me.  I wasn’t fireproof anymore, and I began to fight back.  I’d pray for patience, for help, but everything still ate away at my peace.  Those things that were once effortless became more like trying to walk through shoulder-deep sludge. I’d ask for wisdom and guidance in upcoming “big” decisions, only to be met with ear-ringing silence. Lost, confused, and alone I wrote this portion of a sketchpad entry dated July 17th, 2009:

I’m groping for an explanation that isn’t there.  I’m searching for possible reasons, and none will stand up to claim itself culprit…My heart aches in unfilled desire for its natural holder…I’ve never felt this empty before.  Not even before You.  Would You implant me with these cravings and not fill them?  Would You put food in front of me without letting me eat?  Would you give me water that quenches no thirst?  Would You call my name and not answer my answer?  Would You?  I have no remedy if You are not it.  I have nothing apart from you.  NOTHING.  Speak.  Speak.  Speak.  Speak.  Speak.  Speak.  Speak plainly.  Speak plainly.  Speak plainly.  Speak plainly.  Speak PLAINLY.   SPEAK PLAINLY.  SPEAK PLAINLY.  SPEAK PLAINLY…

The rest crumbles on to illegibility.

The clock was ticking amidst the silence, and I was approaching a time that required decision and action.  Faltering through the dark, I took what seemed the best out from my home with someone who ended up being just as imaginative, accusatory and impossible as my step-father but under a religious cloak.  With my utter lack of strength, peace, and direction from God, I reacted.  Details aren’t necessary, but crap hit the fan and it made a bleepin’ mess.  Meanwhile, as I couldn’t feel His love and acceptance, I looked for ways to win it back, to try harder so I could earn it with performance.  I added Bible study, a college-level Christian missions course, and volunteer work to my already busy school schedule.  Exercise was a temporary relief, so I biked pretty much everywhere, up to 100+ miles per week, as well.  My schedule never stopped, and neither did I.  I longed for rest, but there was none.  I had to keep doing.

That summer was characterized by such emptiness that even the August sun could not warm me. I didn’t know how to externalize or express this unfamiliar thing, this hollowness.  I was afraid that if I did try to explain it to someone, they’d merely respond with a trite, “Well, you’re not empty.  Christ is in you.  Just stop.  Feelings aren’t everything, you know.”  Those things I knew, had lived, but could not be filled by any amount of reflection.  Then there was the notion that if I’m tossed and torn by these things, walking in defeat rather than victory, if God’s presence and power were not evident in my life, then I’m not a true believer.  I don’t have real faith.  I’m fake.  I’m a poser.   My roommate certainly thought so, and afraid to be judged as such by my friends, I hid the fact that I was falling apart and fear took up residence in my cold, cavernous heart.  Ugly, toxic, suffocating fear.  Mind distrait and nerves threadbare, I thought if I just sought His face even more, done more, that I could break through the silence on my own, that God would come and surely He will hear me, surely His heart breaks seeing me on my knees begging over and over for relief.  Surely his compassion would fall to ease my desperation.  Surely, surely the One who had set me “free indeed” would come and remove these shackles.  Things would get better.  God could not possibly allow something like this to continue, not for His beloved.  Yet He did.  Day after day, month after month, circumstances worsened and by October I withdrew to an empty shell, unable to respond to the outside world, devoid of hope and paralyzed.

Long story short (haha!?), I eventually came out of the paralysis and haven’t quite reached such an abyss.  But since that point, I’d been pushing to find some sort of progress, and it’d been one step forward, two steps back.  Each time the path seemed to almost turn toward the High Places, another turn away from them was right behind the corner. Detoured again.  Deferred again.  Broken.  Again.  How could God let this happen?  Where is He?  Why defer for two years?  What’s the point?  Angry and confused, there were Sundays where, sure, I’d show up on the premises but I wouldn’t stay inside the sanctuary.  Rather, I’d go for a walk, stay upstairs alone, or lay out on the grass.  One Sunday in particular, I refused to go to church at all but instead went on a 500+ mile drive.  Five years of my life, my trust, my hope, my everything I gave to the calling of His higher places.  Was it a wasted nothing?  I was pissed, cynical, and questioning if I could actually trust a God who would allow the things I’d been through and who would delay for so long, even while I sought Him.  On that drive I considered letting go, removing myself from the path, extricating myself from church.  From the Bible.  From God.  I couldn’t sit on the fence anymore, waiting for some miracle to turn everything around.  I was either all in, or all out.  Standing at a proverbial crossroads, it was time to weigh God’s word:

Isaiah 43:1-2
“…Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.”
Psalm 30:5
“… His favor is for a lifetime; weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning.”
Psalm 34:17-19
“When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles.  The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit.  Many are the afflictions of the righteous; but the Lord delivers them out of them all.”
Isaiah 41:10
“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
Isaiah 40:31
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
Philippians 1:6
“…He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Psalm 94:14
“For the LORD will not forsake his people; he will not abandon his heritage.”
Psalms 46:1
“GOD is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
Galatians 6:9
“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.”
Lamentations 3:24-25
“‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘Therefore I have hope in Him.’ The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him.”
Joshua 23:14
“…You know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one word of all the good words which the LORD your God spoke concerning you has failed; all have been fulfilled for you, not one of them has failed.”
1 Kings 8:56
“Blessed be the LORD, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised; not one word has failed of all His good promise, which He promised through Moses His servant.”
Hebrews 10:23
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.”
2 Timothy 2:13,19
“If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself…”
1 Thessalonians 5:24
“Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.”
Psalm 36:5
“Your loving-kindness, O LORD, extends to the heavens, Your faithfulness reaches to the skies.”
1 Corinthians 1:9
“God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Psalm 89:1, 2, 33, 34
“I will sing of the loving-kindness of the LORD forever; to all generations I will make known Your faithfulness with my mouth. For I have said, ‘Loving-kindness will be built up forever; in the heavens You will establish Your faithfulness. But I will not break off My loving-kindness from him, nor deal falsely in My faithfulness. My covenant I will not violate, nor will I alter the utterance of My lips.’”
Matthew 28:20
“…and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
1 Peter 4:12-13
“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Isaiah 54:10
“‘For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, but My loving kindness will not be removed from you, and My covenant of peace will not be shaken,’ Says the LORD who has compassion on you.”
John 10:29
“My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.”
Hebrews 10:35-37
“Do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. For yet in a very little while, He who is coming will come, and will not delay.”
Psalm 27:10
“For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me up.”
John 14:18
“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”

God has either abandoned me, or God will never, ever depart from me.

One of these things is true.  One of these things is false.

Do I trust Him?

From my lips He has drawn an excruciating, “Yes.”

I would love nothing more than to say that once deciding in the affirmative, that everything has been magically set aright and I’ve turned to the heights.   It is not so.  I’ve regained what has felt like a millimeter by millimeter increase in elevation, and I still feel as though I’m wandering in a direction opposite the High Places.  I can’t claim any of His wisdom, direction, or power, and I’m struggling with much of the same old same old.  For now, I’m just surviving along this winding path.  But, hey, I am surviving.  God is far greater than a faith-bought cosmic gumball machine, anyway, and He never gave His word for immediate anything.  He simply promised.

It is arduous business, this persevering, when the High Places aren’t on the horizon to urge you onward.  Yet “He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a man, that he should change his mind.” (I Samuel 15: 29) And “God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” (Numbers 23:19)

These things within and before me tell me You’re gone, that perhaps You never were and what I knew and lived after accepting Christ was a cheap fluke.  But even my senses, though they are the only things I have for the acquisition of human knowledge and experience, are prone to feed deception to my soul.  You promised me, and although it looks and feels as if You mislead me about the hinds’ feet and the High Places and everything else, still will I trust, because I firmly believe that You will not, indeed cannot, deceive me.  Only don’t let me turn back.

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Letters through the Radio: Finding Company on the Shores, Pt. I

I just finished a book called Hinds’ Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard. 

It’s a Christian classic about a young girl named Much-Afraid.  She lives in a low basin called the Valley of Humiliation, with her family, the Fearings.  Her family consisted of people such as Gloomy, Pride, Resentment, Self-Pity, Bitterness, Dismal Forebodings, Spiteful, and the like.  Needless to say, they were a dysfunctional and entirely miserable bunch.  In the midst of the chaos and turmoil set about her in that valley, though, she had the respite of every morning and evening meeting the Chief Shepherd, for whom she was in service for many years, at a pool on the outskirts of town.  One day after learning that it had been arranged for her to marry her cousin Craven Fear, requiring her permanent residence in the valley to slavishly attend him, she ran out to meet the Shepherd by the pools to share the horrible news.  She had no hope of ever leaving to something better, for they threatened to enforce the marriage whether she was willing or not, and such a dreadful thought reduced her to tears in his arms.  After divulging all she had to say, she looked up at the far-off mountains and said, “Oh, if only I could escape from this Valley of Humiliation altogether and go to the High Places, completely out of reach of all the Fearings and my other relatives!”

The moment she said this, the Shepherd replied, “I have waited a long time to hear you make that suggestion, Much-Afraid.  It would indeed be best for you to leave the Valley for the High Places, and I will very willingly take you there myself.”  She was shocked and amazed at the suggestion, and took to it with great excitement until she looked down at her feet and considered her crippled condition.  It was said that only the sure-footed hinds and deer could ascend the treacherous slopes of the High Places.  Then there was the factor of her family, who had an intense hatred for anything to do with the Chief Shepherd and his High Places, threatening to hold her down.  The Shepherd promised her that, as long as she was under his care, her family would have no power over her.  She was also promised to always have two companions to help her, carrying her if need be, the entire way. He also promised that upon her arrival he would “make [her] feet like hinds’ feet, and set [her] upon the High Places” himself.  She knew the way would be difficult and her family would take every opportune moment to dissuade her along the way, but because of her trust in the Shepherd’s promises, she made a break for it.

After the first chapter of this book, I asked God to use it as a map to show me my own journey:  where I’ve been, where I am, how I got here, and the way upward.  So I followed Much-Afraid on her detour through a great desert, and a painful stay on the Shores of Loneliness from which the only way out was to scale an impossible wall.  Then she had to cross the Great Precipice of Injury, trudge through the Forests of Danger and Tribulation, find her way through a blinding Mist only to arrive at the Valley of Loss, among other arduous trails. Each one of her obstacles spoke to me in its own way, some more than others.
I had finished the chapter on Much-Afraid’s stay on the Shores of Loneliness right before leaving for a family reunion, the location of which was saturated with water.  Nearly every trail had a stream run across it and you couldn’t go far without finding a small lake somewhere.  Being the athletic type, I brought a mountain bike with me. While the family was going about their afternoon lulls I would take off on it for a few hours at a time.

It was a BLAST!  I treated the trails like my own journey to higher places, pushing through the pain in my legs on the slippery, rocky ascents, drawing from my Shepherd’s strength just as Much-Afraid. One day I followed a trail that led me through knee-deep water, up and down difficult terrain, across grassy planes, through narrow passageways of trees, and finally ended at a hidden forest lake (shown above).  I didn’t see another soul the whole way there, and upon arrival found that I had an entire lake to myself.  Exactly the sort of thing I normally reveled in.  So I stopped, got off the bike, and beheld the unoccupied beauty before me.  As I sat there on the shore, I thought this would be a perfect place to wind down with a book.  So I pulled Hinds’ Feet on High Places out of my backpack and opened its pages.  Something stopped me from beginning, though, as I looked out on to the small waves.  The adrenaline was wearing off, and in its place grew a nagging, unsettled feeling quite unlike the solitude I expected.

I put the book down and sighed,
“God, I am so lonely.”

Through the course of the past two years, I have left the love and home of my mother due to step-fatherly strife (put mildly).  I’ve been betrayed by a close confidant, someone I once admired and considered very trustworthy, who is now a stranger to me.  My dearest cat died.  Dev-a-sta-ting.  The only person my age who I hung out with on a near daily basis moved to another state.  My childhood best friend got married and is beginning her own family, and the rest of my friends, who are between 40-65 years of age (I’m 22), have their own families, curfews, and routines.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I’m lonely because I’m friendless.  I love the people in my life and am very grateful for their friendships, but there is a lot I can’t relate to and a lot that I can’t relate to them.  Being in such a different stage in life than they, there is a disconnection.

I have some responsibility in where I’m at, though.  After the aforementioned betrayal, I shut off the vulnerability switch.  The woman hurt the hell out of me, and I wasn’t about to give any new faces ammunition to do the same.  I’ve been bitter as bitter could be, and presently, looking at my life now versus when I would tear down the walls, life just isn’t the same without thriving relationship.  Yet now I’m stuck with trying to overcome the hardened, pessimistic persona I’ve held up for a facade.  Week after week of impersonal conversation and one-word answers kind of turns new people off to you, and you can’t change others’ perceptions overnight.  So when I have the whimsical idea to go to out for coffee and discussion at 10:30pm on an idle Wednesday (it happens!), I don’t know who to call.

There were neither coffee houses nor reception out there anyway, leaving my thoughts to turn to a far deeper reason I felt the way I did.

In my early years as a Christian, it seemed that all I needed to do was call on Him, just once, like He promised Much-Afraid.  I’d always get an immediate response.  If I was hurt, all I did was say so, and I would be comforted.  If I was anxious – instantly my bones were filled with the marrow of soundness.  If I felt alone and misunderstood, I’d be met with a powerful, enduring rush of His presence.  Frustrated and uncertain?  BAM, wisdom.  My phone was perpetually lost, but I never had to find it because I had an constant connection to the Throne.  Prayer came easily; I didn’t even consider it something so pious as “prayer.”  It’d just be having a chat with God here, there, and everywhere, whenever and about whatever!  Just like one of those friends who requires no filter, but even better because He was always available.  Jesus was my BFF!  Everything went to Him.

Having to refer to those wonderful things in the past-tense brought tears to my eyes, and still does.  The intimacy we had, all that was.  Why has He not been so in my current, my here, my now?  What am I to do with this two year long silence that began so suddenly? Much-Afraid’s way out of the Shores was to scale an impossible wall.  Maybe I too, have an undiscovered wall to conquer.  Or maybe God has something else in mind.

Much time went by waiting, wanting, and missing.  Analyzing, figuring, and thinking, trying to make sense of it all.  I eventually stood up from the shore with nothing resolved, wondering where God’s promises might be and how long His apparent furlough from my life would last, and made my way back to camp.

(Click here to continue to Pt. II)

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Caving In

Okay, I’m finally doing it.  I gave in.  I caved to the world of “blog.”

I say “caved” because I’m doing it with a touch of reluctance.  You would think that as a writer the concept of having an ever-readable notepad devoted to my personal thoughts and opinions would have appealed to me upon first learning of their existence.  Honestly, though, the idea has never interested me much.

It used to be that only the truly talented, unique, and deep-thinking were able to get their work out to a vast public eye.  There were newspapers for esteemed journalists, non-fiction for scholarly researchers, novels for captivating story-tellers, and literature for those who with profundity and excellence of expression create something that endures the test of time and their audience’s changing interests .  Diaries (essentially what blogs are) were the little red books under the beds of prepubescent girls with a crush on so-and-so and a dislike of mean Mrs. Schoolteacher.  Its contents, while full of hopes, fears, and tales of intrigue and adventure, were private:  heaven forbid that anyone other than its author peer into its pages!

Juvenile. Secret.

Then the Internet happens.  Suddenly, twits are Twittering every waking thought, the intimate details of anyone with a face are an open book on Facebook, and it is hard to come by someone who has not heard of the phonological disaster blog.   Here, there is no editor, no painstaking publishing process (just a click!), and, at times, no filter.  Any idea or event, however unremarkable, can be textualized.  Organization and clarity?  Unnecessary.  Grammar and punctuation?  Outdated.  Knowledge and skill?  Irrelevant.

Before I’m misunderstood, I’m not saying there isn’t anything worth reading anymore.  I’m not decrying the Internet as the culprit for a complete loss of linguistic integrity, as some have imagined it to be, either.  My question is that, with a torrent of information, most of it useless, already being pounded through our senses, do I really want to add to the noise?  Will my contributions be seen as puerile?  Insignificant?  Will they even be seen?  As Flyleaf asked, “It’s time we cannot buy//Was this worth the time to write?//Was this worth the time to write?”

Then there is the question of whether I really want my thoughts to be available.  Writing is my easiest, most natural, and probably most used form of communication.  Still, nearly all of it is kept to myself (does that disqualify it as communication?).  A lot of that has to do with a lack of contact with fellow word-lovers, I’m sure, but it’s also that I’m rather reserved when it comes to sharing my innards.

In the midst of my diffidence, however, there is also the fact that my head is always whirring with ideas for poetry and topics I would love to dissect through writing.  I usually use a sketchpad (I can’t do notepads.  The lines are distracting.) to do all of that, but it’s becoming full, cumbersome, and difficult to navigate through.  Don’t get me wrong, I won’t stop using it entirely.  There is just something satisfying about the sound of graphite scratching the paper that a clicking keyboard has never achieved in me.  But this will be another, easy-edit place for the shareable.  Perhaps a point of contact for the like-minded, as well.

So, here I am with all of my inexperience and uncertainty, and if someone finds what I let through the cracks to be merely adding to the noise, they can click elsewhere.  Even if nothing comes of it but a place to gather myself, I think this will indeed be worth the time to write.

And let’s hope worth the time to read.

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