Monthly Archives: July 2013
Painters love to paint. Musicians love to play music. Writers love to have written. When I first heard this aphorism I wanted to throw my hands up in silent alleluia!
I’ve been a Williamson my whole life. If there is one thing I’ve learned it’s that my family intentionally doesn’t follow rules. At times, I wonder if we even have a choice, or if we came into this world pre-wired for rebellion.
People won’t look at you when you’re homeless; they refuse to make eye contact, as though you didn’t exist. How diminishing to a person’s sense of worth.
It was the summer of 2012, and I had not had a great two years, employment-wise. Since graduating in 2010 I had been stringing together part-time gigs and freelance work with, at best, mixed success. The previous year my primary income came from cleaning schools 20...
Lately, my brother Drew and I talk a lot on two subjects: the NBA and hip-hop. We analyze the Pistons’ draft day maneuvers over text message: -WHAT? HOW COULD THEY NOT DRAFT TREY BURKE??- -Caldwell-Pope? Just what we need, another athletic wing player.- Or we discuss...
“But I have nothing to write about,” you say. I say, “Are you familiar with any people, places or things? If yes, you have something to write about, so close your cakehole and write.”
For years, I have identified myself as a “feminist.” And, for years, I have had to deal with the personal aggression that comes as a side effect of my passion about the subject.
I need to find a farmers’ market for writers, where I can pick up armfuls of raw paper, measure out markers and pens. Bring home the overflowing crates and get to work. I’ll chop the paragraphs and dice adjectives (pick out the stray adverbs that fell in).
Much changed (say, musically,) between the release of The Who’s smart and catchy “My Generation” in 1965, when my parents were in college, and Limp Bizkit’s unlistenable song of the same title in 2000, when I was in high school.
First of all, opinions of cities should not be based on luck or the weather, I admit. I should really give some of them a second chance. Second, I see the shades of gray in places I’ve stayed for a few weeks or more. In these cities, I know not only the good and the bad, but also the mediocre.
This past Saturday, I was humbled. I did what I think was my fourteenth triathlon. I won the overall female award by quite a margin—would have beat all the men, too, if I hadn’t brought my boyfriend, Matt, along. But there was a much more impressive performance at this race.
The internet has none of this. There is no way, on the internet, to look into the face of your fellow conversation participant and be forced to acknowledge his or her humanity.
My husband and I bought a piano recently. I’ve played for twenty years now (few things make me start feeling old like I do when I can say that), and now that we have a house for it to live in, it’s time for me to get my fingers back to the dexterity they once had. I...
Now, you might be thinking, here’s another fitness nut gearing up to write glib posts about the joys of physical exercise. I am not that nut.
Rudi is a Catholic priest. He looks like Bavaria, if Bavaria were a person. What I mean by that is this: if the self-proclaimed Free State of Bavaria could pick a person, any person, to act as its mascot and all-purpose representative, it would be Rudi.
With marriage has come the inevitable marriage-y questions, which—don’t get me wrong—are fun to answer because it means I get to talk about myself. But I do feel like my answers are underwhelming.
It’s a rather pithy thing to say these days — “living intentionally” — devoid of overt meaning and explanation. But I try to remind myself of this anyways, truly trying to grasp what it would mean to live intentionally in this very moment.
“Excuse me…” I was waiting in the shade of a mesquite tree, squinting past the short cars on the busy street in hopes of seeing the tall, flat face of the SunTran bus behind them. I turned to see who had spoken; a middle-aged Hispanic man was approaching me from...
’ve decided to ignore it and make peace with the familiar. It comes down to personal preference, I guess, but do we really need an adventure every other day of our lives? That sounds exhausting.
I was Reverse Culturally Baffled last week walking through my sister’s trim, manicured neighborhood. The playground sign near her house advised Indiana suburbia: NO guns or hunting allowed.
In some ways, that’s exactly what art is—a way of showing the extent to which one understands about people, the world. When we think, for example, of the world’s greatest writers, we list those who have done this well—those who have understood something about people, and put that something into words.
In Chicago there are people called “apartment finders.” There’s probably a technical term, like a “broker” or a “realtor”, but who cares. You tell them what you’re looking for and they hunt it down.
I like Talia because she has a bumper sticker that proclaims, “The Day of Non-Judgement is Near” and she buys all her clothes from a thrift store. I once told her that I still found someone who once broke my heart irresistibly attractive. She told me, “There is nothing wrong with seeing beauty where it is.”
Everyone knows the basic concept: stand on the shoulder with a thumb in the air until a driver pulls over. But that alone will get you glares, pitying glances, and head shakes. Through online research and personal experience, I have discovered a few tricks to effective thumbing, so you, too, can hit the road.
Something about studying words at Calvin was special. The camaraderie and community among faculty, staff, and students in the department was tangible. I was taught, but I was also nurtured.
Fellow Calvinites, if you, like my unfortunate college roommate and Michigan native have never been farther west than—what did he say?—Iowa!, then you have never lived.
Imagination can lead further than empathy, though. If I act upon empathy, if I stop grumbling about that huge SUV or the car that just cut me off and instead consider my fellow drivers as people with legitimate fears or beginners somewhat shaky on the road, then I accord them some grace.
In order to reframe our writing, we need to see the world through a writer’s frame. What experiences, once put to words, will make compelling literature? Or start a discussion? Or, in their tedium, force readers to confront their boredom and test out what “counts” as art?
Those professors who warned us how hard it was to keep up post-college writing when no one is making you do it, possibly they made it quite clear that it was a choice. Even a responsibility.