Friday, March 18, 2011

A quick dip

As all of you who follow this blog have noticed, the vast majority of my posts tend to be long. While in Africa, the posts averaged about three pages (if I remember correctly) - other posts before and since have been even longer.

I am about to start a project combining three essays I've written over the course of the semester using the fourth one as a frame. The end result should be thirty pages or more. I admit I am a little apprehensive about this undertaking; this will be, by far, the longest piece I've ever had to write. Ten pages, on a relatively dry academic or philosophical subject, don't frighten me; thirty pages explaining my worldview to an audience is a little more intimidating.

Exciting, too, though: this is what I want to do. It's part of the journey I want to take. It's practice for the kind of creative non-fiction and creative fiction I eventually hope to produce. Maybe I'll post it in installments here.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Go eat corned beef and wear Orange!

Or green. I simply forgot green last year, but was wearing orange, and so decided to support the Protestants in Northern Ireland. Either way, both parts of the island are supposed to be wonderful.
BTW: I'll be visiting there for the first time soon, and I have no idea what I should do. I may just go and explore. If any of you have suggestions, I'd love to hear them.

From my personal essay writing class, I was informed that one purpose of writing is for meditation: write to work through what you are otherwise unable to work through. Inexpensive self-therapy. Following that noble tradition, I begin to blog today. Why share such a meditation with the world at large? I'm not JUST meditating; I'm also trying to improve my descriptive and narrative ability. Since I am going to be writing a lot in a very short period of time in the very near future, practice now will help me to develop the ability to write quickly and well. I hope. Please post comments and critiques.

Alice in Wonderland meets the Cheshire Cat: in an oft-quoted-in-Mormon-circles exchange, Alice asks which way to go. Rather than butchering the quote, I will simply transcribe it here:

The Cat only grinned when it saw Alice. It looked good-natured, she thought: still it had very long claws and a great many teeth, so she felt that it ought to be treated with respect. “Cheshire-Puss,” she began, rather timidly, as she did not at all know whether it would like the name: however, it only grinned a little wider. “Come, it’s pleased so far,” thought Alice, and she went on:
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where—,” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

“—so long as I get somewhere,” Alice added as an explanation.
“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”

Alice felt that this could not be denied, so she tried another question. “
What sort of people live about here?” “In that direction,” the Cat said, waving its right paw round, “lives a Hatter: and in that direction,” waving the other paw, “lives a March Hare. Visit either you like: they’re both mad.”
“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”

Sadly, the end of the quote is often left off. Please excuse the second portion: not that I consider myself insane, but it is a bit nice to remember that we're all in this together.

Anyway, I feel this is often the way God works with us. Again, not that God is insane, but that He answers the questions we put to Him in order to help us grow. He is a little more loving than the cat (i.e. infinitely) but His responses are very often conditioned on our questions. Take now, for example: if you don't know which way you want to go, it is harder for you to get there, and you have to keep moving to get anywhere, so as long as you keep walking, you go somewhere, and God changes the path around your feet. Imagine Alice in Wonderland as a gameboy game, where the character always stays in the center of the screen, and everything else changes around him. THERE's a lesson ins subjectivity.

Anyway, I'm off to a scholarship meeting. I feel meditated. So much for practicing narrative and descriptive ability. Hope you enjoyed it too.