Monday, May 31, 2010


Just finally figured out why I've spent the last three days on the verge of crying whenever I watch The Dog Whisperer.

Or Fight Science.

Or when I listen to music.

Or write.

Or do anything except physical exercise.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

This Resonates

I deeply admire Stephen King.

I have not read anywhere near enough of his books to consider myself a true fan. Let me correct myself. I do think of myself as a fan, an erstwhile, ill educated fan. Other people probably wouldn't consider me a fan because I haven't read enough of his stuff, but I'm getting there. Slowly and in a haphazard manner.

I just finished his book, Mist. This passage is one of the reasons I have a strong artist crush on the man.

“You know what talent is? The curse of expectation. As a kid you have to deal with that, beat it somehow. If you can write, you think God put you on earth to blow Shakespeare away. Or if you can paint, maybe you think - I did - that God put you on earth to blow your father away....since (realizing that he was a good commercial artist) that voice of disappointed expectation - that cheated child’s voice that can never be satisfied with such a mild superlative as good - has fallen pretty much silent. And except for a few rumbles - like the sounds of those unseen creatures somewhere out in the foggy night - it has been pretty much silent ever since. Maybe you can tell me - why should the silencing of that childish, demanding voice seem so much like dying?”

This is said by the main character, David, an artist.

In the middle of a book about human behaviour when faced with deep fear, he has this additional nugget of truth that resonated with me so much I had to write it down and keep it forever.

On a bit of a side note, in the opening credits of Alan Wake (that game I wrote about the other day), Alan attributes this quote to Stephen King. "Explanation is the antithesis to fear." Love, explanation - heart and mind - logic and emotion. Both are tools we were given to deal with the world around us, two sides of one coin. Too bad we humans tend to pick one side over the other instead of finding the balance between the two!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Bits and Pieces From My Mind

"Just give it to a thrift shop, they don't care if their water tastes like burnt."

I know he doesn't mean anything by it but my hackles rise a little anyway. But I don't know him that well so I say nothing.

I don't think he's ever had to face a reality of poverty. Where everything he owns comes from a thrift shop. A charity. Where if it wasn't for someone giving him something he'd have nothing.

If he has, he's sure as hell forgotten it already.

I can speak from experience - if I don't like the taste of burnt water, nobody else will either.

No matter how poor they are.


But we don't live by our emotions, do we?

This is still bothering me, weeks after reading it on an acquaintance's Facebook page. This acquaintance said she felt like her world was crashing down around her and she had nothing to hold onto. So what does one of her adult Christian friends - I'm assuming she's some kind of mentor - say to her? We don't live by our emotions. What you feel is invalid. Push it away, and hang onto God.

Why does this bother me?

I stop myself from commenting on this post over and over because I don't know what to say.

The assumption that we shouldn't take our emotions seriously - that we shouldn't listen to them - that we shouldn't live our lives by what we feel - it makes me feel uneasy.

Something I should ignore according to Christian Mentor there. Just stuff it away. God will take care of you. If you feel negatively, you just don't have enough faith. Trust God! God, God, God!

Look at all that projection. She didn't actively say any of that. Obviously I have some issues of my own to deal with.

But I would like to know why Christians think that emotions are unnecessary. Why are we told that we shouldn't live by them? And what the fuck should we live by then? Our minds?

(Spoken as a true Blue.)

But I would like an answer. I don't think living solely by our minds is any better. I don't know about everyone else out there, but God doesn't usually use my brain to communicate with me, not right off the bat. First He grabs my attention by tweaking my heart in one way or another - through my emotions.

Because I listen to them.

Maybe it's just because I'm an actor and I have a bit more, oh I don't know what to call it. Emotional training? Positive experience with heightened emotional states? It's closer to training, how to open yourself up to that overwhelming experience, and then how to get yourself down without breaking or destroying yourself...maybe that, combined with my personality, makes emotions less scary for me than they are for the average person. Because emotions are scary, but that is a fear to be embraced. They serve a purpose. They are there to serve you as much as your brain is, your heart, your intelligence. It's all there because God put it there, and it pisses me off to see something so close to myself written off as an unnecessary appendix to life.

Because there needs to be a balance, and I think as Christians we all too often lose sight of that, and instead we push away the frightening aspect in favour of the one that makes more sense. The one that can't be manipulated by the Devil, after all, it's in the Bible. It's there in black and red.

As if knowledge is immune to the twisting of Darkness.

All of this just because I want to tell this acquaintance, this girl, that how she feels is okay. It's something to accept, to learn from, and to grow because of.

Ignoring emotions isn't going to build anything up except walls, and walls don't help any relationship. Not with people. Not with yourself. Not with God.


It just occurred to me that if I were to ask one of these two people what we were supposed to live by, they might say Faith.

Complete trust or confidence. Strong belief.

Those evoke emotional responses in me but maybe that's not how it is for everyone.

I don't really know what it means to live by faith. I have a bipolar faith - I either trust God completely or I don't trust Him at all.

I know when I'm struggling to trust when I get an anxious spring, a tightening in my chest that tells me everything is going to shit and no-one will be there to catch me.

I understand I should trust when I look back at the path behind me and see that I haven't been homeless or behind in any payments - even if I've been broke - and that I have been provided for. With friends, money, shelter, love...needs and desires.

And when I feel the trust there I am afraid of nothing. Perfect love casts out all fear.


It's telling to me that in Harry Potter, the Avada Kadavra spell, death by pure terror, isn't shattered by peace. It's broken by love.

It hits us on the most primitive level. Where everything is survival and instinct and reaction time. Love opposes fear, not hatred. Although I think a lot of hatred has fear at it's root.

I feel like a very fearful person sometimes, although I don't think I really am. I'm not afraid of bugs, or dead things or rodents; I have my fair share of rational fears but nothing that overwhelms me and keeps me from living a normal life. I'd hate to find an intruder in my home, for example, but the fear of it doesn't make me sneak around my home with a butcher knife.

My one irrational fear is a fear of the dark. It's something I've worked against since I was a kid. I learned quick that if you have a flashlight outside at night it just makes the darkness darker and inhibits your ability to see outside your little sphere, which I think makes you vulnerable to attack from all the crazies waiting in the shadows. I'd go out to check the animals at night and leave the light off until I needed to see details. Of course, when I slept I'd tuck the edges of the blankets underneath me so the dark creepy things couldn't sneak underneath the blankies with me. Even now I fight the impulse to jump from the light switch to the bed, so that I can prove to myself that nothing is lying in wait underneath my bed. And then I lay in bed and see shadows gathering in the corners and they appear to get thicker and darker and I tremble and shut my eyes and pray for the fear to be gone. Or I snuggle into S. because he's warm and alive and he'll protect me even when he's sleeping.

Love. It's pretty powerful.

I had a lot of dreams last night where I needed a flashlight to survive. Lots of battling the darkness with what little lights I had. It's probably just the combination of a few books I read - Brother Odd and Forever Odd by Dean Koontz - and the latest XBox game to grace our console, Alan Wake. Alan Wake has to fight Darkness personified with any light source he can get his hands on in order to save his wife. It's a pretty cool concept, actually. I haven't played it yet because just watching S. play makes me jump off the couch.

But these were just dreams, because I didn't wake up, skin crawling, sweaty, heart pounding with fear.


I finally figured out why two of my pots of sweet peas are dying. The cold at night is only bothering them, and it confused me no end until I realized they were the only two pots in front of the sliding patio door. The glass doesn't hold enough heat to keep them through the night. I moved them the day before yesterday, after they almost had it, and I think they're coming back already. Hurrah! Except now the middle of the balcony will be naked.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Write What You Know

I'm doing a fair amount of writing these days. It's amazing how many hours there are in a day when you have nothing to fill them. It's equally amazing how easy it is to piddle those hours away with useless, meaningless crap. Facebook, I'm looking at you.

I'm also getting in a lot of reading. The Chronicles of Narnia, The Sparrow and Children of God, Good Omens, Of Mice and Men. And the odd book on writing or acting. Or both.

The book I'm reading right now, The Blunt Playwright, is proving both enjoyable and thought provoking.

In particular the comments on knowing what the protagonist wants. This shouldn't require that much thought, should it?

But when I often don't know what I want in real life I guess it's not that surprising that I have trouble writing characters who know what they want too.

I mean, it works. Sometimes very well, because I think a lot of people go through life not knowing what they want. The trouble is that when you're writing a story, it has to go somewhere.

The people in the story have to want something badly enough to change their lives for it.

Which is also something I don't think I do on a regular basis. I don't know if I want anything outside my current sphere badly enough right now to change my life.

The wonder and beauty of writing, though, is that I am provided with catharsis and voyeurism on a daily basis. I live a dozen lives a day, lives where I do want something, badly enough to kill; where I fight, am angry, am gentle and soft; where I make sense of a confusing world and where I succumb entirely to the chaos, to the moment. Lives that end and lives that keep going. Moments captured and moments lost.

It's a challenge. It's an incredible release.

Even with this post, I don't really know what it is I want to say.

Just that I'm writing, I guess. And it's wonderful strange and hard all at once. I am so lucky to be able to just sit at home and write.

I should put that as my status on Facebook. Be right back...

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Infected With Rage: Or How Zombies Showed Me The Light

I am furious right now. So furious I can't type properly. Furious like the zombies in 28 Days Later, but with a just cause.

There is a certain woman that keeps sending me chain emails full of hatred. I think I've mentioned her on here before. At first the emails made me shake my head. One made me weep. Several, including this latest one, have filled me with rage.

I don't understand how anyone who calls themselves a Christian can stand behind words of such hatred. The emails she sends out talk about how we should just kill all the Muslims by bombing the hell out of Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan - kill their women and children because 'they've done it to us'. They celebrate a professor at Michigan State because he told all the Muslim students to go home. They justify bigotry and racism because 'we are in a war'. (A war that was made up for political gain in my opinion, a war that hasn't fixed anything, a war against an act of terrorism that happened almost ten years ago and hasn't been repeated...but that's all irrelevant to the email campaign of hatred and fear, dressed up in patriotism and the love of God).

Even if it was an active war and people were being killed in America every day by terrorist bombs (I realize it happens more often overseas, but since it kills 'them' the emails ignore it), even then I couldn't advocate racism as an appropriate response. How does painting every Muslim with the same fanatical brush help anything? How does judging someone on their skin colour or ethnic heritage keep us, or anyone, safe?

I notice that she never sends out emails condemning all of Christianity because of the fanatical actions of certain sects of the faith.

She never sends out harsh words towards those who bomb abortion clinics, or beat homosexuals to death. Oh, right. Those people deserve to die because they're sinners. Unlike us.

Why can she judge Islam by the actions of a fundamentalist few and keep such a blind eye to the sins of her own professed faith?

Next she'll be saying we should round up the Jews for killing Christ.

I could let this ruin my day.

Or I could let it inform the actions I make in my own life. I could take a look at myself and see where I am blind, where I am a bigot, where I judge harshly without reason.

Maybe after I calm down I will. As much as I would rather just keep pointing a finger of righteous anger at her because it's easier, that doesn't help the world become a better place either.

This is the truth that I want to live by: "The ultimate sense of security will be when we come to recognize that we are all part of one human race. Our primary allegiance is to the human race and not to one particular color or border." Mohamed ElBaradei, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said that. An Egyptian by birth, named for the Muslim prophet, he may be Jewish but I don't know if that matters or not when a person is filled with hatred towards everyone who isn't perfectly Aryan.

And one could argue that our primary allegiance is to God - but I think this quote falls under "Love thy neighbour as thyself".

I'll settle for the world learning the second half of the commandment. It's a bitch to do. I certainly wouldn't risk my life to save this particular woman from zombies. (You'll know who really loves you when the zombies attack. True friends don't trip you when they're running away.)

Shoot. All my anger is deflated now that I realize I'm not living the commandment myself. Well, fuck.

True to form, it took a zombie reference to point out the truth of my own life to me. So now I'm going to go away and swear a whole lot and finally accept the fact that this woman, despite herself, has given me an opportunity to grow further into the Light.


Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Let It Snow...

It's snowing outside. Or rather, drizzling. It's not committing to either season out there, just a general mix of unpleasant, chilly precipitation.

S. is outside somewhere, rehearsing scenes for his job as a historical interpreter/actor this summer.

I'm inside, my feet cold and my lap full of warm computer, sipping tea and watching my sweet peas grow the best they can in the half-light that makes it through the clouds. My knee hurts like it always does when the weather's like this, damp and cold. Between that and my ankle full of twinges (and my sore wrists, and does anyone else notice that their hip joints kind of click when they do sit ups? No? Just me, then?) I could be an old lady.

Joints are apparently not my friends.

Which means that when I'm an old lady I may not be as independent as I would wish to be.

Which sucks.

But that's in the future, the very distant future, and I'm very good at not thinking about possible unpleasant futures if I can be persuaded to think about things like how to kill the darkspawn in Soldier's Peak or what life would be like in a zombie apocalypse or how to build a tree house in medieval Europe.

Or what I should make for supper when my sure-to-be cold man gets home.

Which reminds me, I should be in the kitchen. ;)