July 30, 2011

I don’t know how to blog anymore.

For myself that is, about random daily activities or “profound” anecdotes. Or maybe it’s just that I haven’t had the desire to lately. I have been feeling lately that my blog is going into a different direction. Or even being replaced by the ever popular tumblr.

Perhaps it’s a reflection of the direction of my own life. Priorities are different now. I don’t have time to just sit down and think about the next blog post because I’m too busy absorbing everything else that is around me.

For now, all I’m doing is reading other blog posts, articles, books (fiction AND non-fiction), practicing piano, taking pictures, and listening to music.

I’ll blog when I’m ready.

It feels better that way.

don’t let me forget

(A journal entry, dated August 14, 2010. Edited for clarity, but as less as I possibly could. I recently bought another notebook from Target and decided tentatively to start journalling again.)

I figured I should restart a journal in order to supplement my blogging. I have a habit of buying notebooks faster than I can possibly use them, and they accumulate in my desk drawer.

It feels weird keeping a journal, ever since I was put off it a while back — I kept a journal for all the wrong reasons if that is possible (believe me, it is). After that, journalling hadn’t felt right and ironically I was more comfortable with typing down my thoughts into WordPress, going through massive edits, and putting forth something that I know will inspire and encourage people, than to sit down with a little notebook and a pen and scribbling thoughts as they came to me, no editing necessary.

Keeping a journal for myself and only myself seems somehow selfish. In some ways I am more at liberty to ignore grammar rules and correct spelling and just let loose. Even now as I write I am so very conscious of what I’m saying — how people would react. Is it articulate? Is it understandable? Can people identify with it and bring something out of it and be touched by it?

At the same time, there is more room for heartfeltness and a rather brutal honesty that could be missing from blog entries, which I always worry is missing from what I write. I have permission to be freer if I so choose.

But even for my own journal which no one will read, I don’t feel like writing down personal stuff. Things like my love life, for instance. Even though I could. I’m afraid that my own idle speculation could feed my overactive imagination and ruin me… I don’t want that to happen. Or even bashing people I don’t like. I feel as if that could become dangerous. Over some point it steps over the venting line into something like bitterness and that’s what I’m afraid of. Complaining is one thing and bashing is another and there is quite the fine wall between the two. I used to use my journal for both reasons, and it didn’t make things any better, it made me feel worse.

So why do I want to journal?

In the end, I want to journal to help myself. To help me produce better writing: better ideas, better presentation, better clarity.

And in turn to help my words not just be words that speak of things that have happened, are happening, or will happen; but words that speak of living, breathing, moving, and what it really means to be human and alive.

(I originally wanted to post it unedited, but in the end decided not to for obvious reasons, like clarity and organization. Edits are always a good idea! I also realized that I had used “at the same time” to begin two paragraphs in a row, and I couldn’t let that get by. It rambled a lot more than I liked it to, as well.)

I have also realized that I have been lax in visiting blogs and even posting stuff on my own, and I apologize for that. School starts in a few days, and there is so much to do to get ready. Thank you for your lovely comments, everyone!

All photos are under a CC license and used with permission. Click photos for credits.

Won’t You Please Stay Around?

Snippet of an essay I wrote for my Development of Western Civilization class. This snippet didn’t make the cut when I was editing, but I liked it too much to discard it completely.

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…On the other hand, mortals in this polytheistic religion are unable to resist the gods’ control over their actions. The mortals in the Aeneid seem helpless, as the gods manipulate them into carrying out various schemes. Dido is a good example of a woman who was manipulated into falling in love with Aeneas, therefore leading her to kill herself in despair. Venus concocted a scheme where Cupid, transformed into looking like Aeneas’s son, would use his talents to “enflame the Queen’s heart and infiltrate her bones with fire” (Book 1, line 801). To what purpose? Because Venus, distrusting Juno’s own schemes, planned to catch Dido off guard and “encircle her with passion, so that no power can change her, and she will be bound to me” (lines 823-824). As a result, Dido becomes a most unhappy woman. “Dido is burning. She wanders all through the city in her misery, raving mad” implies that Dido cannot control the feelings she has(lines 80-82).  Even the consummation of their love, their “marriage,” is orchestrated by Juno and Venus. While Dido and Aeneas ventured out on a hunting party. Juno poured down rain with hailstones, making the heavens rumble with thunder. In the ensuing confusion, Dido and Aeneas found themselves in the same cave. “I will be there too, and with [Venus’s] consent I will unite them in holy matrimony. This will be their wedding” (lines 143-146). Yet another example is Lavinia’s mother (Book 7). Juno enlists the help of a “Dread Goddess” named Allecto, ordering her to “prevent Aeneas from winning over Latinus through marriage, or from invading Italy” (lines 407-408). Amata, unhappy at Lavinia’s impending nuptials to a man Amata dislikes and rejects, is set upon by Allecto. “The goddess plucks a snake from her dark hair and throws it on Amata, thrusting it deep into her bosom to drive her mad and so bring down the entire house” (lines 423-426). Eventually, Amata wreaked havoc on the household, ultimately hanging herself out of her misery.

In contrast to this picture of absolute manipulation, Jesus Christ in Luke 15 tells a parable about a son who asks his father for his inheritance, telling in not so many words that he would rather have his father dead. The father gives the son his inheritance. Knowing that his son wants to leave, even though that may not be the best choice, this father lets the son go his separate way. Eventually, the son squanders all his wealth “on a life of dissipation” (v. 13) and then a famine strikes the country he is in. After a while, the son realizes that he has been foolish, thinking, “I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son” (v. 18-19). The son then gets up and returns to the father. Amazingly enough, the father sees him from far off and is “filled with compassion.” The relationship is such that the father freely welcomes his son back. However, the son has to want to come back first. It is the son’s choice whether to come back or not. God clearly wants his people to return to him; however, it is their choice whether to return or not. God, like the father in the parable, will not force a relationship. Similarly, this presenting a choice could be seen on the road to Emmaus after the crucifixion of Christ. Two men were walking to a village, and as they walked, they conversed about the occurrences of the past few days. Jesus appeared to them, but they were not able to see who he was. While explaining to them the meaning of everything that had happened, he walked with them to their destination. However, Jesus “gave the impression” that he was going farther. They urged him, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over” (Luke 24:28-29). It is during that meal that Christ reveals that it is indeed he, risen from the dead. The significance in this passage is that Jesus did not force himself on them. They had to ask him to stay with them, thereby giving him a chance to reveal himself to them.

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I know I’m unworthy, but won’t You please stay around?