Saturday, July 27, 2013

This year all but disappeared. Bought in to fairy tales, but Sleeping Beauty just kept score and tried to sleep more. --Matt Nathanson; Kiss Quick

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

It's a puzzle that's served us well.

When I was a kid I used to take all the puzzles out of the "game closet" next to our front door and spread them out on the floor of the front room (living room? family room? formal greeting room? Who knows what the "proper" name is). I'd put them in a large circle covering the majority of free floor space between our floral white couch and peach chairs. I'd dump the puzzles over, their pieces strewn in a pile, and once each puzzle was an empty slate I would begin.

Starting at the top of the circle I'd work my way clockwise, doing each puzzle as perfectly and quickly as I could. After making this common practice I began to pretend I was timing myself, and that this puzzle circle was my brainiac Olympics and I had to beat my personal best time. Eventually I added the more complex puzzles, telling myself once I got used to putting them together I could still hold record time.

Love is a puzzle depicting the sky. We each enter into life with our box of blue pieces, our quest being to find those whose pieces complete our picture. We stop and align our pieces with another, trying to make the puzzle work. But it's often hard to see how blue pieces fit without knowing if we're crafting the same picture. We spend an infinite amount of time trying one person's pieces only to discover those pieces that did fit don't build a picture; there are gaping holes or missing corners. Our sky is incomplete.

I'm sick of puzzles. I'm sick of waving my box about like a tin collecting alms, waiting for someone to think to try them out. I'm sick of finding matches that have more wrong than they do right, tired of extra pieces collecting dust in my box, through with packing up the puzzle again and moving around the circle to the next one.

I just want to finish it. I want to do what my grandparents have done and sit down, finish the puzzle, and glue it to a board to hang over the piano. I want to stop undergoing this task and behold it as art. I'm done with puzzles.

I read a few chapters in a book once that discussed an idea called 'flow.' It is, in essence, moments when a person is at the peak of their performance, whether that be music, sports, lecturing...when a person's task is so easily undertaken that it feels effortless, almost out of body, to be accomplishing it so perfectly with so little cognitive processing. The book also discussed how one cannot reach that peak, that flow, without stimulation. Practice. You're never going to have that perfect moment if you lie on the couch all day proclaiming boredom. As humans we're equipped to learn, to do. We're most satisfied in a bored state when doing something constructive: reading books or newspapers, cleaning, crafting. It's effort that leads us to achieving moments of excellence.

Won't I be more pleased when the puzzle finally works if I've been trying at it for so long? Won't it mean more to have worked endlessly for it?

Pop always says he prayed two years before he met Mom. Mom "dated" 64 guys before she met Dad.

Eight months and five guys down...

Here's to finishing the puzzle..

Saturday, July 20, 2013

This was hard to write with Take On Me stuck in my head.

I dreamed I wrote a song in my sleep last night.

My best friend and I signed up last minute for an open mic/battle of the bands type thing, and showed up unprepared. We had to perform three songs.

I started hitting some beat on a folded up card table and just sang anything and everything. It became a wonder of a song, stripped down to my vocals and the beat I created, a phantom piano somehow chiming in. It was completely impromptu and it went on for at least six minutes. And it was, in that moment, as grandeous in beautiful simplicity as Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody is in complexity.

And when it ended the crowd was amazed, one band much closer to fame than us even remarking "Can we try that song?"


And I woke up feeling unaccomplished and lacking.

I've forgotten creativity.

My sophomore year of high school I took a hiatus from life and stewed in the books I was assigned to read for English and the pieces we wrote and the character complexities for the book I've still yet to write. I observed the world and scripted it, in notes to myself or musings. I swam with creative fish. I forsook participating in reality.

I've started doing the opposite. I'm so absorbed in the moment, keeping a keen ear on conversation, reworking my humor to be the quick spit-fire it used to be (it's more fitting for improv), realizing that my life is founded on the choices I make in these days...I'm trying to do it right.

And I've forgotten creativity.

I felt so unaccomplished and lacking because I used to do things like that; not compose brilliant songs that would rake in all the Grammys, but I used to write lyrics and simple tunes in my head. I used to create with my mind constantly. And don't get me wrong, I still do that. I've come up with three improv characters this weekend alone, but all the tried and true methods I used to employ I've somehow discarded with the trash.

And I'm not complete anymore.


That's one thing I've been learning a lot of lately; completion. I need theatre in my life, I need elaborate creativity that an audience or reader only barely scratches the surface of. I need words, words, words. I need to be happy. I need to be with someone who knows he wants to be with me. I need to clean my room. I'm discovering all of these things I never thought would matter that are now suddenly more important than remembering which song they're playing on the radio.

I was concerned that I've been out of commission these past two months; that since November I've written two notebooks full and at least forty blog posts on creative/personal things my mind sees fit to craft. I was concerned I haven't been channeling that spirit at a time where I should have felt so very much.

And maybe that's a sign these roads were never right to begin with. Maybe that's a sign what crept up on the path wouldn't complete me. Maybe we have to live mistakes to learn.


**

(I wrote this Friday):

Remember when we thought we knew
And it would slip in place like fitted shoes
Worn with years of walking, moulded to our arch?
We fantasized and dreamt and planned
For years and things without our hands
As though we had exception to make of ourselves.

And then the courses shifted short;
We stood aghast with ill report
That life could so destroyed become.
Foolish acts of foolish minds,
Disbelief falls fast in kind
That mortal men can plot a fate
Assured from the starting gate
And all would be a bliss, a bless,
A simple unchallenging test
For happiness to come.
That God would take the easy road
And let us carry less a load
To ease the journey home.

There's beauty in intricacy,
Art in surprise.
We'd give it up if it meant smoother skies?
Or strive to be complacent, set
In the plan that God sent
And learn in whatsoever state I am,
Therewith to be content.

**


I like how clouds have shadows. And how like Peter Pan that can't manage to catch them. No amount of sewing could bring a cloud near enough it's shadow. So they drift gracefully in a cerulean sky, smiling at me and my camera with the full memory, pulling apart angel hair, casting dark spots on the patchwork.

So I live in a meadow; a stationary existence, watching time pass with the faint current of the sky, amazed and afraid at the limitless expanse above me, beyond this air ships and the seal that keeps them earthbound. And the sun keeps shinning, and I keep acknowledging it's there, and the clouds cover me moment after quiet moment, and the light dims but persists. The light always persists.

And even clouds have dark sides. Even clouds have shadows. Even clouds can block the sun.

So good can't always be good. Every cloud has a shadow, whether it casts over me or not. And there's nothing that can stop the way they wander.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Hollow Hearts

A hollowed heart
And safety pins
And three days off the grid;
Nothing stays,
No act retains
A truth beneath my skin.

There's something, then,
In tears they say,
That stream from conscious eyes:
A window to the soul
That leaks what words would lie.

**

I haven't blogged for a bit. I don't really count the one paragraph blogs of the past month typed on a phone that's finicky and frustrating and won't let me do that thing I do called start new paragraphs.

I mean come on. It's called voice, people.

There's been a lot on my plate, most off of it good. I can't really think of anything not good other than my interpretation of events.

They say reality is what we percieve. I feel I wrote a post on this back a while ago, if not I typed one and it was stupid so I didn't post it. I read a book once a few years back which, if my lazy "I don't want to get up and grab it and verify the title" self can recall, it's called "My Ridiculous Romantic Obsessions."

I bought it at a Deseret Book.

I liked it because it was one of those Mormon books that isn't full of "And it reminded me of Nephi when he broke his bow..." or "Jim's dad was the Bishop of our fine upstanding ward and his mom taught the best Relief Society lessons and always put a tablecloth and a bowl of jello out for whomever wished to partake..."

Those really nausiate me.

Which, side note, is one reason I wanted to be an author. I wanted to write books that stuck to church standards without dripping each paragraph with the sappy Mormon cliches. As a very devoted member of the LDS faith, this books sicken me and I find myself having to force them down my palate like a steaming plate of mushrooms. If I dislike them so much, people outside the faith must detest them. So, logically, what's the point in lacing a book with fluffy Mormon cliches when it's not going to entice anyone to follow up on what it is the Mormons believe? What's the point if it's just going to irritate and annoy?

It's called subtext, people.

This book, going back to the topic, was along the lines of what I wish to write. It clearly was written by and for pure virtuous religious eyes, but it wouldn't be blatantly obvious to someone not used to looking through that lens. The girl had been in a bad relationship and he'd done a lot to tear her down as a person, and though she didn't capitalize on it she had lingering low selfesteem issues.

Then she meets this really rad guy and doesn't think he's interested romantically because who would be? And she inadvertantly breaks up with him when he asks if she wants them to be friends. She says yes, thinking that, hey, at least he likes me enough to be friends this is great, when what he meant was 'You don't want to see me so let's at least be friends?'

As a reader this is a moment where you snap the book shut or shake your head incredulously at your personification of her and say "Moron. You're a freaking moron."

Last week I was a freaking moron.


Let me say it truly is hard to see when you're not looking at it from the outside. It's the reality we've constructed for ourselves; she was convinced he'd at minimum want to be friends, so had no idea she was saying no to more because she couldn't see him as wanting more. I did the same thing. I was convinced bridges were burning, or were soon to be set ablaze, and I started treating the wounds before they existed hoping to get a jump-start on the pain.


Love is draining. And I don't even mean the "I love you" love. I mean the whole process of getting to that point. I can't imagine a lifetime of relationships that just don't work; I can't fathom how empty hearts keep giving. What's in the hollowed hearts that's worth the risk? What's there to giving and giving and always coming up short? And when a moment comes when someone actually cares....

What is there to give?

"No, this is how it works: you peer inside yourself, you take the things you like and try to love the things you took. And then you take that love you made and stick it into someone else's heart pumping someone else's blood...You hope it don't get harmed, but even if it does you'll just do it all again." -Regina Spektor; On the Radio


Monday, July 15, 2013

Lead Thou Me On

"Faith, to be faith, must center around something that is not known. Faith, to be faith, must go beyond that for which there is confirming evidence. Faith, to be faith, must go into the unknown. Faith, to be faith, must walk to the edge of the light, and then a few steps into the darkness. If everything has to be known, if everything has to be explained, if everything has to be certified, then there is no need for faith. Indeed, there is no room for it." -Boyd K Packer (What is Faith?, Book of Mormon Institute Manual)