Monday, February 25, 2008

Book Meme

Okay, so the book laying closest at hand was Virginia Woolf's The Voyage Out.

The full and romantic career of Evelyn Murgatroyd is best hit off by her own words, "Call me Evelyn and I'll call you St. John." She said that on very slight provocation--her surname was enough--but although a great many young men had answered her already with considerable spirit she went on saying it and making choice of none. But her donkey stumbled to a jog-trot, and she had to ride in advance alone, for the path when it began to ascend one of the spines of the hill became narrow and scattered with stones.

So, pick up the nearest book that is at least 123 pages, find the first five sentences, post the next three. Then tag five people.

I tag g, shukr, mr. pink's mom, and any two other people who might be reading this post (my blog community is still pretty small and anyone else I might have tagged has already been tagged). Thanks to John and Chandelle for tagging me.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

A Haiku for Summer

Au milieu de l’hiver

J’espère à l’été

Si le ciel garde sa teinte grise,

Je vais perdre tous.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day

Oh, and Happy Valentine's Day! My hubby left before I woke up, but he left me with a rose and some chocolate dipped strawberries and a box of pecan sandies. He's a sweety. And I feel bad, because we usually don't make a big deal out of Valentine's Day and so I didn't do anything in return. Sigh.

When I Grow Up

I love literature. I love philosophy just about as much, maybe a little bit more. I love feminist thought and all the ways it's taught me to look at life. So I thought that when I grew up, I would probably teach feminist philosophy at a university somewhere. However, as I've been looking at the social issues that feminism has opened my eyes to, I've been feeling the need to take responsibility for this knowledge and go into something that will allow me to effect real change. I didn't study much sociology, but I'm thinking something along those lines would allow me to get into the ugliest parts of the fray where I could closely observe, assist, and analyze the roots of some of these problems. I've also thought about going into law (something I would have laughed at had someone suggested it even a year ago). But law would allow me the language tools I need to not only understand how things are currently set up, but also how to change them. I've also considered politics. That way I can be in the thick of the decision making process--whether at the local, state, or national level. Really though, I think that these different fields are all rather inter-dependent (whether any of them would admit it or not). But I don't really have the time and money to go about pursuing each of them. So I'm having a hard time figuring out where I want to go next in my life.

I'm also aware of the endless list of problems that need to be addressed and I'm having a hard time settling on one. I want to help women and children who have been victims of domestic abuse: I want to help educate women; I want help women brake the wage barrier that still exists in the lower income levels; I want to help women learn to love their bodies for what they are and not fall pray to our horrendous beauty culture; and I want to help with the plethora of other issues that I didn't address in this paragraph. The thing is, I know that if I spread myself that thin, I'd never really be able to make a significant difference to anyone. However, I feel bad "turning my back" so to speak, on the other issues that I end up not taking part in.

Right now I'm full of idealism, full of energy that's driving me crazy, but what happens after I've actually encountered the evil, the ugly, the hopeless? What if I don't have what it takes? What if I waste a lot of my and my family's time towards the goal of trying to help only to find out that I was too weak. Worst of all, what if I wind up a cynic (although I already have strains of that from time to time)? And yet, I don't want to risk raising boys who think that it's okay to feel sorry for the bad things around them and yet not do anything. I don't want them to get too comfortable with life. I want them to see their mother actively involved in changing the bad things that happen in this world. I just don't know where to start. And the immobilization is killing me.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

The Spirit

For a lack of more obvious communication with the spirit, I decided that whenever I felt moved to tears, or got tingles all over, I was feeling the spirit. As a child, I remember this happening once--while I was watching my sister get baptized. I was so proud and even though I was only two years older than her, I felt like that gave me the right to say things like "I can't believe how much she's growing up" etc. As an adolescent, I felt it all the time. At church, out in the woods where we lived, watching church videos, reading scriptures, at youth conference (which means basically a huge emotionally manipulative boot camp for the young and spiritual). The only places I didn't feel it were when I was praying for a witness that the Book of Mormon/Gospel was true and when I was praying for comfort during rough times. When I left for school, I continued to feel it mainly in the above referenced contexts. Until I started dating my husband, then things began to change a little. We broke off our relationship for about a month (he said he needed more time to think about this whole thing). I was heart broken, but I talked to my bishop and he said to pray that the enabling power of the atonement would be with me. I did, it seemed like it was, and after a lot of chocolate and self pity, I was finally bouncing back and being okay with life by the time he re-proposed. However, when I prayed for a confirmation of whether or not I was supposed to marry him, I never got one (should have been my first clue, eh? lol).

It turned out my hubby just wasn't spiritual (I was blind to this at the time, but oh well). I would be on the verge of one of these moments, and he would say some goof ball thing that would ruin it. For instance, when we were looking out over Adam Ondi Ahman on our honeymoon, he said, "It's just a field of dirt." Good feelings gone. I was rather upset. He did this during the romantic scenes of movies too, in Sacrament Meeting, where ever I was about to have a little moment of excitement. It took me forever to finally figure out that he's just like that, he didn't mean anything by it, and to just let it slide and enjoy my moment anyway.

However, early on in our relationship, I had a miscarriage. I was certain that God was punishing me for my wicked thoughts of not wanting to have children. I prayed and prayed for comfort. It never came and it started the series of events that followed and eventually led to my leaving the church. Anyway, around the same time, I began taking philosophy classes and learned that it was okay to ask questions. I asked tons of questions. I also continued to try and find some comfort in what was a very painful situation for me. I began feeling the spirit less and less in church and more and more in nature, listening to different music (classical, opera, etc.) reading more in depth literature (Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov was life changing), and looking at artistic works. I would be moved to tears at museums, modern dance concerts, and have tingles and tears at concerts where I was introduced to the spiritual music of other faiths. But still, when I would beg for comfort, for reassurance that I was doing the right thing, in the right place, I would feel empty inside. I began to realize that I was feeling more inspired by what humanity could do than by what God had supposedly done. The spirit wasn't manifesting comfort so much as it was manifesting beauty. I would feel optimistic after watching a well executed performance that if we were capable of such beauty, then perhaps we were capable of learning to coexist peacefully. Gradually, I began to wonder how important it really was for everyone to join the same religion. I decided I thought it was more important for us to simply make beauty together. And I felt that some of the rich cultural/artistic efforts of different faiths was a good place to start.

Which finally brings me to the event that inspired this post. Last Sunday, my husband and I went to a choral performance. It was at a Baptist church here in town. My son's vision teacher sings in the choral and had invited us to come. We walked into the chapel and I was briefly overcome by the urge to cry (what I would formerly have identified as the spirit). The chapel had a vaulted ceiling and was paneled with juniper or cedar. There were several stained glass windows on one side. It was beautiful. I'd never been inside a different church before--only LDS ones. I wondered what it was about us that sometimes made us deny ourselves beauty simply for fear of rocking social norms. Why are we so narrow minded sometimes about the beauty that each of us can bring to this life? Why do we legitimize beauty only when it fits into our own narrow context of understanding? Perhaps, after humanity lost the need to explain the cosmos in terms of the divine, they started seeing divinity in the beauty that they were able to create. In the movie, The Davinci Code, Tom Hanks' character asks the female lead, "Why can't human be divine?" I think it is. I think divinity became a way for us to connect with what was most beautiful in human experience. Now if only we can recognize that in each other.

Monday, February 4, 2008


After reading Lisa's post over on fMh, I decided to do an introduction post. I mean, there's my profile over there on the left side of the screen, but it doesn't really have a whole ton about me. I was raised in Oklahoma--some time in Oklahoma City and some time in a little town called Clayton. Oklahoma was a fun place to grow up. Clayton was in the middle of a little range of mountains. They were covered mostly with pine as the logging industry had long ago cut down almost all the deciduous trees. We lived an hour away from the nearest Walmart and forty-five minutes away from the nearest branch of Mormons. There were thirty five people in my graduating class. I have duel citizen ship in one of the Native American tribes. However, my family was largely ignorant of what this meant except for free pencils and notebooks at school. My mom really romanticized our heritage. We did fur trade re-enactments as a family and while me, my mom, and sister where all white as you could wish, she always made us dress in Native American garb for these re-enactments. I was basically prejudice against my own tribe for years without really realizing it because we were never really taught anything about modern tribal issues, etc.

I was also a horse nut as a kid. When we moved to our small town, I begged and begged for a horse. I read books and magazines about horses. I put horse posters on my bed room wall. Finally in the eighth grade, I got a horse. An old, twenty four year old gelding. But I was thrilled. Unfortunately, I was also very quickly disillusioned. I wouldn't admit it, though, because I had begged for so long. It turned out that I didn't like getting up early to feed, water, muck out stalls, pick up rocks in the pasture, clear brush, etc. However, that was the image I had picked and become known for in high school and so that was the image I kept. I still love horses--they're beautiful animals, but if I ever own them again, it will be after I've decided I'm ready to make the necessary sacrifices.

I had said that I wanted to major in farm and ranch management (that only took an associates degree and I was pretty sure I hated school). However, my sophomore year, while studying French, I decided that I'd like to go to school and eventually get a Ph.D. in linguistics. Then, my senior year, inspired by my English teacher, I decided I'd teach high school English (and get that Ph.D. later).
I went to Ricks college on a whim (it was the only college I applied to--crazy, I know, but no one clued me into this until later). I majored in English, but still had a thing for languages and so I ended up taking two semesters each of Ancient Greek, Classical Latin, and Biblical Hebrew (they didn't offer anymore than two semesters of each one). So I know the basics of a few dead languages, but not really enough to read them at leisure. I minored in French and Philosophy. I love unmarketable thinking stuff like that. I puzzle over metaphysics, epistemology, mind/body problems, etc. when I take the time from blogging and feeding small children.

I actually met my husband while he was serving his mission in the tiny little branch we attended. I was one of five Laurels (in Mormon speak that means I was in a class of other young women approximately 16-17 yrs. old). The only young men there were twelve and I was their Sunday School teacher (a calling that I loathed, by the way). I walked into church and the missionaries were greeting people at the door. "Elder B" had gorgeous brown eyes and I was smitten. According to mission rules, however, the missionaries aren't allowed to flirt, date, etc. and so I kept this to myself. He was from Idaho, and by that time I had been accepted to Ricks college and had announced it to everyone at the branch. When he eventually got transferred to another area, he said, "I'll see you in Idaho." When he got off his mission, we dated long distance for a mere nine months and got married after my sophomore year. We had a little boy (Theron) about a year and a half later and another three years later we had another little boy (Gareth) who is now a year old.

So, there's my life story in a nut shell. I'll probably be drawing off of it from time to time as it has obviously shaped who I am and how I think now. However, the ways in which I was influenced by those things are subject matter for a different post, so I decided not to go into them here.