Thursday, April 28, 2011

beatitudes and woes

These are two different Gospel accounts of the Sermon on the Mount, which contains some of Jesus' most famous teachings, including the beatitudes. Usually, people refer to the Matthew version if they are preaching or writing a devotional or something. I never noticed the Luke account until a few months ago, but i'm starting to think i might like it better. Let's compare:

Matthew 5:3-12
3 “ Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
      4 Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted.
       5 Blessed are the meek,
For they shall inherit the earth.
       6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled.
       7 Blessed are the merciful,
For they shall obtain mercy.
       8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see God.
       9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God.
       10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
 11 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Luke 6:20-26
20 Then He lifted up His eyes toward His disciples, and said:
      “ Blessed are you poor,
For yours is the kingdom of God.
       21 Blessed are you who hunger now,
For you shall be filled.
      Blessed are you who weep now,
For you shall laugh.
       22 Blessed are you when men hate you,
And when they exclude you,
And revile you, and cast out your name as evil,
For the Son of Man’s sake.
       23 Rejoice in that day and leap for joy!
For indeed your reward is great in heaven,
For in like manner their fathers did to the prophets.
    24 “ But woe to you who are rich,
For you have received your consolation.
       25 Woe to you who are full,
For you shall hunger.
      Woe to you who laugh now,
For you shall mourn and weep.
       26 Woe to you when all men speak well of you,
For so did their fathers to the false prophets.

* all italics and other formatting are the work of the editors of the NKJV, and do not belong to me.

How To Tell I Need a Life #4

I have nothing to do for finals week this year, because i am a graduating senior, and graduating seniors don't take spring finals at my school. What are my plans for this glorious week of freedom, the last week before reality sets in permanently?

Organize my bookshelves, knit, and maybe pick up some more hours at work.

pearls of wisdom 1

In all my world travels, in all my cultural experiences, in my four years living in Boston and studying psychology, in all my self-exploration, reading, and observations, i have learned two things about human nature.

The first is this: Wherever you go, whoever you meet, whatever you do, everyone in the world is exactly the same. People are just people, and no one is any different from anyone else. We all have the same framework, the same foundation. We all start from the same place, and we are all created not only equal, but identical. Everyone is the same.

The second is this: Wherever you go, whoever you meet, whatever you do, no one in the world is anything like anyone else. People come in a staggering variety of personalities and characters, and none of them are the least little bit like any other person. We all have totally different frameworks, different foundations. No one starts from the same place, and we are all created both fundamentally inequal to one another and totally different. Everyone is an individual.

Both of these things are absolute, bedrock truth.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Where the Heart Is

Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue, a wonderful living side by side can grow, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky. 
-- Rainer Maria Rilke

The air wraps around my skin in a heavy, smothering embrace. I feel myself dissolving into the atmosphere – the sluggish humidity absorbing my flesh effortlessly. I float free and slow through the streets of this little town, invisible.
All that tethers me to reality is you.
Even from a distance, you have a hold on me. A tiny beep from my phone, and all of my disparate parts are re-collected in you. Everything that i am is held within everything that you are – from your virtual words on my screen to the realness of you, many miles away.
If not for you, i would become lost in the world, swirling into an oblivion of color and sound, melting into nature. But you are my rock. However far my imagination may take me, you always call me home again.
They say that home is where the heart is. I find my home within every word you speak, every glance that comes my way, every touch. I am at home in the curve of your arm, in the curve of your mouth, in your curving laughter. I am at home in your thoughts, in your quirks, in the miles between us. I am at home in your heart.
You say that your heart is mine. This, then, is love: i have learned to be at home in you, and in so doing, i have found myself at home in me.

less is more

You hear a lot these days about the decline of civilization and literacy as exemplified by the rise of texting as a primary form of communication. People are afraid that this instant, long-distance communication makes it uneccesary for people to talk face to face. And the use of texting abbreviations and acronyms surely prevents children from learning how to read and write properly. Additionally, the quick, short messages (140 characters or so) must be a factor in the ADD epidemic, making it impossible for children to focus on any real literature.

This is all bullshit.

Yes, seeing things like "l8r" and "I dnt wnt 2 do ne hmwrk" makes my teeth itch, especially when this dialect is exported from texting to other forms of communication. But what upsets me more than how people are communicating is what is being communicated. People just say dumb things, and sometimes they also say them in dumb ways.

However, that is a topic for another day. When it comes to the issue of text length and what it does to literature, i think that what we need to do is embrace this new form of communication. Great ideas can be contained in small packages. We just need to learn to harness the power of saying things simply.

Consider the six-word memoir. According to the apocryphal story, the first six-word memoir was by Hemingway. Someone challenged him to write a complete story (full narrative arc, beginning middle and end, etc) in six words or less. Hemingway came back with, "For sale: Baby shoes. Never worn." Boom. There you have years of yearning and disappointment, or perhaps the deepest anguish and loss, or maybe even a simple housecleaning. There is narrative, there is backstory, there is room for interpretation, and something has certainly happened. All in six words.

Another example of this "numbered fiction" (i might have coined that term. I no longer remember.) is the fifty-five word story. It's a similar concept, but with more words.

Both examples require an extremely high level of skill and talent. Every word must do the work of dozens, or even of hundreds. Every word, every comma, must be carefully considered. A six-word memoir is like a sonnet on crack.

I wrote a prose poem once about a long distance relationship that was only maintained through text messages. When that's all you have, you learn to make it work. If you have only 160 characters, only a Facebook status update, only six words, you have to learn to make each one count. Why is this not being embraced as a valid literary concept, as a powerful writing choice? Why aren't we teaching students to write this way?

Let's face it: no one is writing epic poems anymore. They're just not. And if they are, no one is reading them. It's time to embrace the culture. I am NOT talking about lowering standards or expecting less of ourselves. I'm talking about doing more with less.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

My Peter Pan Moment

Not the pain of this but the unfairness was what dazed Peter. It made him quite helpless. He could only stare, horrified. Every child is affected thus the first time he is treated unfairly. All he thinks he has a right to when he comes to you to be yours is fairness. After you have been unfair to him he will love you again, but he will never afterwards be quite the same boy. No one ever gets over the first unfairness; no one except Peter. He often met it, but he always forgot it. I suppose that was the real difference between him and all the rest.
-- J. M. Barrie

The above, of course, is a basic definition of a Peter Pan moment: the moment when a child realizes that fairness is not automatic, and that people sometimes behave unfairly to one another for no good reason.

I think i knew, on an intellectual level, that life is not fair. I'd been told that it wasn't, i'd seen small examples of it, but somehow, it never really sank in. Somehow, i really believed that if i behaved fairly and played by the rules, everyone else would eventually come around and behave as they ought.

When i was fourteen, my boyfriend and i were babysitting during a board meeting at the church. The kids were my siblings and the pastor's young daughter, Kelly*. Joe* and i were sitting with Kelly, playing some game. I don't remember what. Kelly did that thing that little kids do, where they pretend to hit you and you pretend that it hurts, and everyone laughs. Kelly hit me, and i flopped over on my back, tongue protruding, gasping, "I'm dead! You killed me!" Kelly was sitting next to my sprawling legs, and Joe was leaning over us, a good 12-18 inches away from me.

Just then, the pastor's wife Mary* came through. Seeing me on the floor with my tongue out, Joe leaning over me, and her daughter laughing, she automatically assumed that we were making out (or worse. I never found out and never want to know what exactly she thought was happening.)

"Guys, do you really think that's appropriate in front of the kids?" she snapped, as she flitted through the room.

I was confused. I honestly did not know what she thought was happening. Sitting up on my elbows (which brought me about 10 inches away from Joe, who had leaned back as i sat up), i looked at him, befuddled. "What was she talking about?" He shrugged.

Mary came back through the room then, and snapped (even more ferociously), "Guys, seriously! You're supposed to be watching the kids!"

That night, my mom asked me what had happened. Apparently, Mary had told her that Joe and i were behaving inappropriately. I explained what happened, and Mom explained why it had looked bad.

"Mom, we really weren't doing anything," I said, shocked and hurt.

"I believe you. But Mary was upset. I think you should call her tomorrow and apologize."

"I didn't do anything. What do I have to apologize for?"

"Well, sometimes you have to apologize for other people feeling uncomfortable, even if you didn't actually do anything wrong," she explained.

It was too late to call that night, so we decided to call her in the morning. I went to bed, still upset, but hopeful for the morning. I was certain that when i called Mary and explained what had happened and apologized for upsetting her, she would understand that she was in the wrong and would apologize to me, and everything would be all right. I still believed that if you just played by the rules for long enough, everyone else would eventually fall into line. I also believed that if you apologized when it wasn't your fault, the other person would be shamed into realizing their own guilt and would immediately apologize.

The next morning, i went to my mom's room and called Mary. My mom, knowing more about the world and Mary than i did, stayed there to support me. When Mary picked up the phone, i said that i was calling to apologize for and explain the events of the previous night. I told her what had happened, explained that it had been perfectly innocent, and apologized for making her uncomfortable.

Mary said, "Oh, honey, it's okay. You know I love you, and I like Joe, and I'm happy that you two are dating. And I trust you, and don't think there's anything inappropriate about your relationship. I just think that some things are inappropriate in front of kids."

We talked for a few more minutes, and it became increasingly obvious to me that Mary not only still thought that something inappropriate had been going on, but also thought that i was apologizing for my actions, and not for her perception of what happened. (I was apologizing for her misunderstanding. Even as a naive fourteen-year-old, i wasn't about to apologize for something that genuinely never happened, especially since i wasn't entirely sure what she thought had happened.)

When i finally hung up the phone, i burst into tears. My mom held me close as i tearfully related the conversation. She said that she'd thought the conversation would probably go pretty much that way, and was sorry that i'd had to go through that.

In that moment, i learned that people, even adults, don't always play fair. I learned that just because you're playing fair doesn't mean that anyone else will. And i learned that you still have to play fair anyway.

See, your behavior will quite often have absolutely no effect on other people. People tend to do what they're going to do, and will gladly ignore any attempt on your part to stick to the rules if you're not going along with what they want to do.

Sometimes, all you can do is your best. All you can do is make sure that your behavior, at least, is above reproach.

That way, when you go to court, it will be clear that the other person is in the wrong.

"The most important thing to remember when it comes to forgiving is that forgiveness doesn’t make the other person right, it makes you free." -- Stormie Omartian 

*names changed

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

boarding passes

Sometimes, when i'm cleaning out my purse or suitcase, or flipping through a journal, an old boarding pass will fall out.

I have taken about fifty flights in my lifetime, including layovers. I love to fly. One of my favorite flights happened in 2007, when i took my big Europe trip. It was an exciting time, obviously, and there were a lot of flights in those six months, but i am only talking about one now: the one where i flew over Ireland at night.

Usually, when you fly over cities at night, you see a dazzling display of rainbow brilliance, like the jewelry box of a goddess dumped out onto the ground. The lights sparkle and swirl, dazzling the eye far more than the brightest stars ever have.

But Ireland was long stretches of deep, velvet darkness, with only tiny lights here and there to mark the villages. It was like the night sky on a misty night, almost devoid of stars. I had never seen anything like it.

Henry Drummond, in "Inherit the Wind", once said this about progress (in a truly fantastic speech): "Mister, you may conquer the air but the birds will lose their wonder and the clouds will smell of gasoline."

I understand his point, and as i said, i love the speech, but i have to quibble with him on one point. The birds have lost none of their wonder. Flight is still full of romance.

Which is why i keep my boarding passes. Tucked into my journal or lost in the lining of my duffel bag, they are like roses from a lover, pressed between the leaves of a diary. They are a tangible reminder of my victory against gravity, of my magical wanderings across the earth and through the skies.

Plus, sometimes i forget to throw them away.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Some things just need to be archived.

Emily: "I don't fit in well with people."
Jennifer: "I would say, 'Join the club,' but that would be counter-intuitive."

Emily: "What does Alex do, exactly?"
Matthew: "Freshmen."
KP: "You're a very humble, mild, well-mannered young man. We'll have to work on that."

Andrew: "I am 23.25 years old. My life is not a competition. There is no award for how sucky your day was compared to mine."

Jennifer: "Even starving Africans aren't going to eat a chocolate rabbit ass-first."

Bridget: "I just feel bad for the people who have to write the science text books. They must feel so awkward typing up that stuff (the chapter on human reproduction). Although maybe they like it. My mom really liked it. I mean -- not that part! I mean she really liked learning about it!"
Sheila: "Wait, what part did your mom like learning about?"
Bridget: "The . . . the reproduction (whispered) you know. The intercourse stuff."
Sheila: "So your mom didn't like having intercourse?"
Bridget: "I don't know!!"

Jennifer (to a mosquito): "Bitch. What are you doing here? Didn't you see the citronella candle?"

Pam: "He can also make his foot into a fist."
Jennifer: "Well, that's a handy skill to have, in case he's ever in a fight and he breaks both of his hands."

Pam: "The internet is being a whore."
Jennifer: "No, if it was being a whore, it would be easier to use."

Pam: "As our friendship grows, so does your butt."
Jennifer: "You realize this means you guys will have to be roommates forever? For fear it might deflate when she moves out."

George: "My life is a sad spiral of hate and lies. And gay porn."

That's What She Said

My roommates and i kept a running list of real-life "that's what she said" moments. So here they are:

I can't get my finger in there far enough to get it off.

I've been waiting all day for this. We're doing it.

I wanted to finish licking this.

I wanted her to put it in my mouth.

It hit me in the face!

I feel like Lyndsay's blowing is far superior to mine.

I forgot to go down.

I thought it was exciting until I put it in my mouth.

I could use a good bump in the junk.

Mine's always out.

I figured it was wet so it would work.

Don't go down too far. You'll get stuck and no one will be able to help you.

Get back on me.

Hold your breath and swallow.

I didn't know what to do with it, so I put it between my legs.

It's not a favor if you're paying for it.

I think you can last a little longer.

I'm really bad with this whole staying-on-top-of-stuff.

It hurts when it's tight.

I couldn't see where my hand was going.

They're not like the hard ones that you suck on.
But I like to suck on them for a long time.

Maybe it needs to be bigger. Is that part of the problem?

I like hitting hard.

The free ones are all really, really short.

I push into it hard to help relieve the pain.

You know what my favorite part is? It's so long!

I got it to go up!

I thought it exploded but I didn't catch it in my mouth.

I put my hand in it and it was wet.

I can't get my finger in there!

It got stuck in the hole!

You're doing it much better than I did.

We could see it coming.

He finally finished and left.

My mouth's not big enough!

Mine's awkwardly long now, so it might not fit.

Mine's awkwardly shaped.

I don't know where to put it because it's so big.

Take off your pants. Maybe something will happen.

Good job! You got it in the hole!

That was a little harder than I intended.

Since every stroke does the work of two, you save time and finish faster. (Behr paint commercial)

I don't want it now! Bad things have happened to it! It went soft!

When it goes "bump", that's how I know it's in far enough.

Oh, God. You're way too big for me.

It exploded on my face, and I wanted to throw up.

I took off the top and it just started gushing. I poked it.

Can you fit the whole thing in your mouth?

Why are you so hard on me?

Monday, April 11, 2011

it's real now

I have returned from visiting my brother. I knew it would be hard. I knew it would be good. I knew it would be bittersweet. I knew it would be a farewell for a time, with no guarantee of ever seeing him again.

What i didn't know is that seeing him would make it all real.

Up until now, i have been able to pretend that he was going to be safe. I hadn't seen him, so i hadn't said goodbye, so he wasn't going anywhere. Now it's real. Now i know that he's leaving.

In class today, we had to all write down our most painful moments. It was not the most fun in-class assignment i've ever done. It got even worse when the professor read them all aloud (without names, of course).

Someone told a story of trying on prom dresses. While she was in the dressing room, her mother got a phone call and began crying. A helicopter had been shot down in Afghanistan. There had been at least three casualties, but there was not yet any confirmation on who they were. It was weeks before she found out that her brother was not dead.

As soon as i heard "Afghanistan", my whole body tensed up, and i started trembling. At the word "brother", i started to weep silently.

Because in about a week, my brother will be in Afghanistan. In about a week, i could be frightened at every phone call, shaking at every text message, breathless at every news report.

I didn't know it would be like that.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Damned Nonsense

This story starts with me deciding it was a good idea to take an extra elective class in my senior year.

The class is group psych, and one of the assignments is a term paper on group observation. We are required to observe (but not participate in) two or more meetings of a group and write a paper on what we've learned about group dynamics.

I chose a Sunday School, partly out of laziness (to be perfectly honest), and partly because Sunday School classes are usually organized very specifically. I won't go into more detail about group structure, because no one who is not interested in group psych will care, and everyone who is interested in group psych can figure out what i'm talking about.

I have not attended Sunday School since i've been at college, because my church doesn't have a college/young adult class. And i have not missed it at all. I don't feel a need for that kind of structure in my spiritual life. Maybe it's a bad thing that i don't miss it or feel that need, but whatever.

Anyway, i have been attending the College Student class at a local church, and i hate it. While it makes a certain amount of sense to organize people by age/life stage, not all college students are at the same level of spiritual development, and that makes it difficult to organize a class that will be equally beneficial to all. In this class, the teachers ask questions as if they are interested in a discussion, but really they want to guide the students to the conclusions that they have already decided are the correct ones.

Today's lesson was about profanity. Now, i'll be honest: i have no problem with swearing. In fact, i really really really enjoy it. I am also a Christian, and was raised not to swear, though i later made my own decision about that. So i had a lot to say on this topic, but as an observer of group dynamics, i am not supposed to involve myself too much with the class. So i'm participating here instead.

As an English major, i think that it is important to use the correct word. Saying "large" when you really mean "tall" is not only incorrect but misleading. Words have immense power when used correctly. When used incorrectly, their power is diluted. I think if you mean "darn", you should say "darn". I think if you mean "damn", you should say "damn".

James 5:12 says, "But above all, my bretheren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your "Yes" be "Yes," and your "No," "No," lest you fall into judgement. (NKJV) Setting aside the word "swear" (which clearly means "like in a court of law" and not "profanity"), this verse simply means to say what you mean. Nothing more, nothing less, nothing else. The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

And if you mean "damn", you should say "damn". Not "darn". Say exactly what you mean.

Everyone was pretty much on board with this idea, until the teacher's wife said that we have to remember not to cause others to stumble. For some people, curse words are really offensive, and they might misunderstand our meaning, so we should not say something if we might be misunderstood.


Antoine Arnauld said, "It is far better to cause trouble and shock the community than to abandon truth."

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day. — 'Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.' — Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood. " (emphasis mine)

And Henry Drummond (a character in Inherit the Wind), said, “I’m sorry if I offend you. But I don’t swear just for the hell of it. You see, I figure language is a poor enough means of communication as it is. So we ought to use all the words we’ve got. Besides, there are damned few words that everybody understands.”

C. S. Lewis once said "damned nonsense" on the radio. He got a letter about it, complaining about frivolous swearing. Lewis explained that "I mean exactly what I say: nonsense that is damned is under God's curse, and will (apart from God's grace) lead those who believe it to eternal death." (I told this story in class. The teacher said, "Well, you can't argue with a linguist. Which C. S. Lewis was." He wasn't. But he was still right.)

I'd rather be misunderstood than dishonest. I'd rather be offensive than silent. I'd rather turn the air blue with cursing than say anything other than what i really mean.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


It's all so new, and i find myself blushing as i speak his name. Blushing, as if i'm back in eighth grade. That was surely the last time i blushed over a boy.

A part of me wants to tell no one, to cherish this very new (yet very old) sensation for as long as i can. It's mine, mine and his, and i want to savor it.

Another part of me wants to tell everyone, to have the awkward pleasure of blushing and laughing and being teased as i whisper the things he said about me, about my beauty and warmth, about how he blushes around me.

I feel all twirly inside.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

God of the Mailboxes

I don't communicate well at all, so most people (even my parents) don't know how hard this last semester has been for me, both emotionally and financially.

First, financially: I'm pulling a B in a class where i should have an A, due in large part to the fact that i couldn't afford to buy two of the required books. Most days this semester, i have only eaten one meal a day, because i can't afford more food than that. Some nights, that one meal was nothing but beans and rice. A few times, it was only apples and peanut butter.

I've never not had food. I've never not been able to pay a bill. My bank account has never been in the red. But it has been an uncomfortably tight semester.

Second, emotionally:  Of the many trials and tribulations that have made this semester such a roller coaster, the one most relevant to this post has been the enlistment of my little brother in the Marines. He enlisted about a year ago, and communication since then has been practically nonexistent, as he's been in training and has had limited access to phone or computer. Early this semester, he got his orders.

His deployment has been rescheduled several times. This means that his leave has been rescheduled several times. But for a while, it was set at the middle or end of April, leaving me plenty of time to budget and plan and save for a ticket. He was going to have ten days, and he planned to split that time between Maryland (with our mom, sisters, and extended family), Delaware (with our dad), and New York (with his girlfriend). Knowing that Massachusetts (where i live) is much closer to New York than to either Maryland or Delaware, i planned to visit him there. Transportation would be both easier and cheaper, meaning i wouldn't have to pinch quite so many pennies or take quite so much time away from work and school.

But life moves fast in the armed forces, and you can't plan very far ahead. Fortunately, i had not yet bought the tickets when the plans changed yet again. Unfortunately, his new deployment date was much sooner, and his leave was much shorter. I would not have time to visit him, and i would not have money to buy a ticket.

Being both introverted to an almost pathological degree and independent to the point of self-destruction, i did not mention this disappointment to anyone for a week. I quietly resigned myself to the fact that i would not get to bid my brother goodbye, that i would not see him again until Christmas, and tried desperately not to add "if he lives that long" to my thought. But after a week had gone by, i was talking to a friend and mentioned the early deployment and the impossibility of a visit.

"I can afford to take some time off of work, or i can afford to buy tickets. I can't afford both right now," i explained. Later that same day, i repeated this conversation to another friend. I did not mention my predicament to anyone else, nor did either of my friends repeat the conversation to anyone.

The next day, i checked my mailbox. Tucked in between the trashy magazines (hey, they were free) and the reminders of upcoming campus events was an envelope. I didn't recognize the handwriting spelling out my name, but it seemed deliberately nondescript. I opened the envelope and promptly burst into tears.

The envelope contained two twenty dollar bills and a note that said simply, "GO HOME." Forty dollars was almost exactly what i needed for the trip. I ran into the bathroom and shook with tears, whispering prayers of thanksgiving and praise.

Those of us who have faith are very comfortable with the idea of God performing big miracles. When cancer disappears overnight, we chalk it up to the Great Healer. When the perfect job is presented the day after we are laid off, we praise Providence. When the skidding car rights itself and manages to come to a smooth stop out of the ditch and away from any telephone poles or other vehicles, we tell everyone about Divine Intervention. Missing children found, vision corrected, missions trips that all come together at the last minute, we call all of these miracles. And we forget that the God who parted the Red Sea, spoke the stars into place, and multiplied the loaves and fishes is also the God of still, small voices, the God of free chairs when you least expect them, the God of mailbox blessings.

As far as i am concerned, the handwriting on that envelope, the handwriting that i do not recognize, is God's.

There are any number of perfectly reasonable, rational, human explanations for what happened to me on that Thursday afternoon. But none of them exclude God's involvement. After all, what greater miracle could there be than one person extending the grace of God to another?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

How to Tell I Need a Life #3

I am an attractive, single, 21-year old woman living just outside of Boston. It is 9:00 on a Saturday night. I am sitting in my room, wearing pajamas, listening to an audiobook, and writing an essay. I am alone in the apartment except for my cat. And i'm thinking about going to bed.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Ding Letter

Actually, it wasn't a letter. Just a creamy, almost-yellow card, slightly smaller than your average post card. I got my first ever rejection through email, but i was expecting that one. This was the first rejection that i could hold in my hand, and i had had high hopes for this particular opportunity.
I'm trying to convince myself that all it means is that my poems were not their cup of tea, but it's hard not to read this as "Seriously? You should have saved your postage and our time. What a waste."

Last semester, i wrote this poem:

I fold up my heart and my soul
and all my hopes and dreams
(including a cover letter and SASE)
and send them off
to find out how much they are worth.
And sometimes
(all too often, in fact),
the answer comes back:

Putting aside the fact that the poem sucks, i am trying my damndest to remember that the question should not be, "How much is this worth?" but rather, "How much is this worth to you?"