Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Excerpt from "How to Write a Personal Letter", by Garrison Keillor

We shy persons need to write a letter now and then, or else we'll dry up and blow away... We need to write; otherwise nobody will know who we are. They will have only a vague impression of us as A Nice Person, because, frankly, we don't shine at conversation, we lack the confidence to thrust our faces forward and say, "Hi, I'm Heather Hooten; let me tell you about my week." Mostly we say "Uh-huh" and "Oh really." People smile and look over our shoulder, looking for someone else to meet.

So a shy person sits down and writes a letter. To be known by another person- to meet and talk freely on the page- to be close despite distance. To escape anonymity and be our own sweet selves and express the music of our souls.

Same thing that moves a giant rock star to sing his heart out in front of 123,000 people moves us to take ballpoint in hand and write a few lines to our dear Aunt Eleanor. We want to be known. We want her to know that we have fallen in love, that we quit our job, that we're moving to New York, and we want to say a few things that might not get said in casual conversation: Thank you for what you've meant to me. I am very happy right now.

I think that Garrison expresses why I love writing letters so much rather nicely.

Monday, April 28, 2008

I cut a star down.

Today was lovely. It was full of Chai tea, Glenwood children, good friends, writing about Dudley for class, conversation, dark grey skies and delightful sunsets. It's about to be full of roommate time and the HILLS.

Here are two poem, by me. My poetry always makes me laugh; it's not so very good, but I enjoy it.

Coffee Shop Streams

There was a wall between us
More of a window

I watched and thought.
Especially starring today.
I thought and wondered.

There was a window between us
More of a wall

And here's one more.

Trees laugh and stars sing
Behold, I do a new thing.

Bridges built over water
A pot fired by the potter.

Death, where is your sting
Behold, I do a new thing.

Smile, slowly spreading
Waves, erasing sand, dead'ning

A whisper yelling
Behold, I do a new thing.

Ryan said that I'm a beat. But I think that's cause he can't read my hand writing and makes things up.

I am tired and satisfied. My life is perfect.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Silence, and the spoken word

Last night I went to campus and sat on the swing in the cool, quietness and listened. I feel like I get swept up by the business and noise of everything around me. I get so tired. It was healthy to just listen and be still. I want to know God in the stillness. He speaks in a still, small voice, so it makes sense that if we never are where we can hear such a thing, we miss the God who desperately wants to communicate with us because He loves us.

This afternoon, Ann and I went to Carolina Theater to hear Nikki Giovanni, national treasure and professor at Virginia Tech, read her poetry. I love spoken word and I love poetry. I was very excited to hear her, and was thinking about how exciting it would be to be able to take a class from her. But Giovanni was something else: something between offensive and awesome. It was very much about race, and while she can be proud to be a Black woman, I never feel allowed to be proud of being a White woman, because if I were to feel proud of that, it would be pride in holding others back although this is something I have never personally done. I cannot understand why everything has to be racially charged. Are we not a race of people, all struggling for the same things? I see more and more that people are not interested in reconciliation and growth, but in collapsing inwardly, into their own communities of like-minded people. Giovanni was neither gracious or kind, which served the audience with a caustic laugh or two. Giovanni told a story about how a man who had been a racist died and how she was glad he died and she said, it was the same was a Jew would feel about Hitler. It reminded me of that story that Corrie Ten Boom told about how a man who had been a guard at Ravensbruck, where she'd been imprisoned came to hear her speak. She saw him and everything that had happened, and all that he had done to her came pouring back. He asked her forgiveness and though she didn't know how it happened, she genuinely forgave this man. It wasn't easy and it wasn't possible without help from the Holy Spirit, but she was gracious. So different than Giovanni's response, which I will not repeat here.

I guess I'm just frustrated because in my desire to understand people and to love them, it gets very discouraging to hear people dislike you for something that you cannot control.

I think that I will end my critique here. But I have a lot more on my mind. Dr. Giovanni, you are a talented poet, and a engaging speaker, and our mayor may have given you the key to Greensboro, but you have much to learn about humanity.

Now I'm listening to the rain and thunder. I like this a lot.