Monday, February 28, 2011


I just finished another book last week. It makes for seven so far this year (secret wish: 2011 will be the the year of the book. So far, so good.).
It was good. I don't want to hyperbolize in saying that it was amazing or incredible or ground-breaking, earth-shattering, mind-blowing, but life-changing might be apt.

I have a longstanding love affair going with a man.

His name is Wendell.
This latest book, Sex, Economy, Freedom and Community is tempting to eclipse my first love, The Unsettling of America. In some ways, it's the same story re-told 20 years later. In other ways, it's refined stewardship, refined love. Refinements are nice.

I think a big factor in why I love W. Berry so much is that he makes me feel like I am at home. He helps me remember that earth is a sacred place, and that there is love in abundance. Lately, I have been feeling rather home-less. I have a roof over my head, but a roof that I can't afford any longer, and a home that feels like it has been invaded and changed. It's a strange feeling, one with which I am not well acquainted, and which I am having a hard time coping. Berry is a steward of the earth, and his words beg common sense, not political partying and raucous silliness.  He talks about sex as a communion, and as a integral part of communities. His words are clearsighted and beautiful.
I should stop raving about him and just encourage you to read his books.

And then I will tell you how it has changed me.

I read that the Bible is a a hypaethral book, one that is to be read open to the skies. Like so many ancient temples. I will let Berry do the rest of the explaining:  It (the Bible) is best read and understood outdoors, and the farther outdoors the better. Or that has been my experience of it. Passages that within walls seem improbable or incredible, outdoors seem merely natural. That is because outdoors we are confronted everywhere with wonders; we see that the miraculous is not extraordinary, but the common mode of existence. It is our daily bread. Whoever really has considered the lilies of the field or the birds of the air, and pondered the improbability of their existence in this warm world within the cold and empty stellar distances, will hardly balk at the turning of water into wine--which was, after all, a very small miracle. We forget the greater and still continuing miracle by which water (with soil and sunlight) is turned into grapes.
What the Bible might mean, or how it could mean anything, in a closed, air-conditioned building, I do not know. I know that holiness cannot be confined. When you think you have captured it, it has already escaped; only its poor, pale ashes are left. It is after this foolish capture and the inevitable escape that you get translations of the Bible that read like a newspaper. Holiness is everywhere in Creation, it is as common as raindrops and leaves and blades of grass, but it does not sound like a newspaper. 
(As a side note, my baby brother wrote me from Germany, encouraging me to consider the lilies of the field, saying, "You don't have to run around frantically trying to find yourself and what you should do when all you've got to do is calm down and look to your father in heaven for guidance." What a great human being, B. Harris.) 
zinnia babies sprouted this week!
It makes me yearn for spring so much. It makes me wish for our garden and to community we built there. In some ways I hate that community, and the ways that it became so all-encompassing and so engaging of my life.  I maybe need a new community. Maybe I need to go home to help my dad build a house. And then again, that community is one of the major reasons I am still in Provo. Basically this all brings me to feeling rootless and ill at ease, unsure of my convictions and my decision to stay.
So I plant zinnias and rosemary and put them on the windowsill above the kitchen sink. I bake whole wheat bread and I pray for direction as to where I can put some roots into the soil so that again, I can open up that book and open my heart to the sky.

ps. If anyone wants to give me another reason to stay (or better yet, BE my reason to stay), I am open to suggestions. The only thing keeping me here now is my signature on a contract and the vague promises of summer.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

short for shawtie

this one will be a quick quickie (eh?) for that mid-week feel.
these are open on my browser rightnow. They are all great for their own special reasons, anad totally worth checking. so: check.

this video is my theme-song lately. This is in part in regards to my last post. Eventually I will figure out how to give words to my feelings; for now Rilo will have to do it for me. Thanks, Jenny.

2. yeah... this is cool. Kinda longwinded sometimes, but still veeeeeeeeeeeeeeery interesting.

3. thank you, WSB for this little gem-treasure. Truly. Hilarious.

4. Holy beautiful. This is amazing, and is making me ache even more to be back here.

That's it. Happy Wednesday, yo.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

By way of update(s)

oh hey.
So I just got back from an incredible and excruciating trip to New York, wherein I attended the annual conference for the College Art Association.
It was terrific on so so many levels. I will attempt to elucidate them here:
-The girls. The art history girls. in my department there is a particularly high quantity of fantastic human beings. If you are wondering about who-to-date in Provo, and you are a fine male-type, these women are it. Seriously. They have personalities that range from serious and passionately committed, seeking and open to the world, adventurous and fun to spunky and hilarious. Pure love for all of them.
-The conference. I learned so much and was expanded in a beautiful way. I was nervous some of the time, but overall, I felt the benefits and the goodness of being completely engulfed in your discipline and the like-minded. It was good for me.
-The good news. I recieved some very tantalizing news that has served to assuage some of these concerns. I'll keep it to myself (and a select few of you to whom I've already leaked... you know who you are) for the time being, but it's good. I think it's really good.
-The city. I stayed with dear friend Jendar who lives in a lovely little apartment in Harlem. Her hospitality made the trip so delightful, and because of some other friends living in/visiting the city, I was able to branch out further and get a larger bite of the burroughs than most of my compatriots. Delightful time all-around.
-The art. It might seem obvious (and it should): I love art. Sometimes I think that I actually hate art when I am standing in a room chalked full of Renaissance biblical illustration, but really, in my core, I love it. I fully came to this realization when I stumbled upon the work of long-time-favorite artist Alexander Calder.

It was like visiting with an old friend who you haven't seen for far-too-long, and you just can't wait to remember why it was that you fell so hard for them. I stood in that gallery for fifteen minutes at least, just using my own breath to make the composition move. I felt the depths of wonder and love that come from interacting with and knowing a work of art. It was  a beautiful experience as those little white dots danced around in the air, just like the work's namesake, a Snow Flurry. Beautiful. 
In the same gallery, I interacted a little less legally with one of Duchamp's works:

I pushed that wheel, and set off a tizzy of rage and anxiety from the security guard whose sole duty in life is to protect that from happening. Well.  I'm not sorry; that bicycle wheel was put on the stool for the intent of moving. Duchamp put it in his studio so that he could explore what kinetics are, he wanted to see the composition of movement. So did I.
-The people. I made a few new friends in Nueva York that I am happy to report as my own. If you are reading, it was nice to meet you. Thank you for being good.
So that was New York. It was perfect.

In other news, I have a lot to say. I am formulating a lot of thoughts and things that I may or may not say here (I'm not sure if this is the right venue for some things...). Please take everything with a grain of salt, and don't think things are directed at you in future posts which might be (slightly) angsty... I'm not into passive aggressive blogging (or anything, really). Like Beyonce, "I'm not gonna dis you on the internet, 'cuz my mama taught me better than that".

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The last great app

  Today is the last day of the process of applying to graduate schools. The process has been self-reflective and ...for lack of a better word, hard. Without being too self-congratulatory, I am now entering what will surely be the absolutely most torturous episode of the process of continuing my education: the wait.
  In the process of asserting and determining a plan for graduate school, I sometimes felt totally lost, totally flummoxed and doubtful about my convictions to persevere. I wondered what I was doing, and if it was right, but I am very grateful to announce that I am firm in my desire and determination to continue in my education.
  I now wait and seek closure on so (so many) many things. Despite this, I have decided to be happy and enjoy the moment that I'm in now. I realized once last week that I was basically unaware of the social norm to be unhappy, discouraged, and dissatisfied with where I'm at. Yes- things could be better, and yes, I could know more things about myself and about others. I can admit that. But there is also so much that is happy and good about right now; about just-not-knowing.

  Here's to more not knowing. 

  I am excited about being in New York by this time next week. So much goodness in store there; so much to learn and so many people with whom I can connect and build. I am excited to be on the right coast again, ready to brave snowpocalypse 2011.
  In totally unrelated news, I can't stop listening to this song really loud in my room. Also, I have now shaved my underarms 2 total times this year. I don't see why I should... so I don't.
  Happy February, people.