Monday, December 31, 2012

saving me (negation)

Sometimes when everything is slipping away from you, you can hold onto the things you're not. I'm not poor. I'm not alone. I'm not unintelligent. I'm not untalented. I'm not living at home. The list could go on and on.

Friday, December 21, 2012

1 Peter 3-5, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude, Revelations 1-2

1 Peter 4:8
And above all things have fervent love for one another, for "love will cover a multitude of sins."

2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Earlier this year, there was a whole lot of hoopla about Hell. A bunch of people wrote a bunch of books and blogs posts and articles about how there might not really be a Hell. There's a Heaven, but there's no place of ultimate suffering and punishment for all eternity where God condemns people who died without ever hearing about Him or before they were old enough to become Christians or whatever.

I haven't read most of that stuff, because honestly? I don't care.

The Bible has plenty of stuff to back either argument. Hell is mentioned explicitly as a place where sinners spend eternity, but there are also lots of verses like the above that talk about second chances (and third, and fourth, and so on), and God's abundant mercy and boundless grace, and these verses seem to hint that even death isn't eternal, that maybe you can repent at any time.

But again, i don't really care.

I'm not in this because i want eternal life in Heaven, although i am hoping for a library that's a cross between the one in Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" and the one in Neil Gaiman's "Sandman", where i can set up a bed and a pot of tea and spend a few millenia reading.

And i'm not in this because i'm scared of Hell, although if there is a place of fire and brimstone and eternal torture it would be nice to avoid it, especially if i can go to the aforementioned place of endless reading and tea and worship and whatnot instead.

I'm a Christian, i'm religious, i'm spiritual, i'm a person of faith, because i've met Jesus and have been irrevocably changed. I believe the things that i believe because i've seen them. I'm in a relationship with Someone who loves me unconditionally, who believes in me, who helps me become a better version of myself, who encourages me to show others the same unconditional love and faith and help. Everything in my life is better because of this relationship.

I don't know what happens when we die. I do believe in some kind of Heaven, but despite my flippant remarks above, i have no idea what it will be like (though i suspect there will be a lot more praise and worship and community and a lot less solitary reading than i'd like to believe). I don't know who gets in and who doesn't, and i don't know what happens to the people who don't get in. I do know that no Heaven could be better than seeing the face of my Savior and hearing Him tell me that He is proud of me, and no Hell could be worse than seeing disappointment in His eyes.

So i don't live in hope of Heaven, nor in fear of Hell. I live in relationship with Jesus, trying to make Him happy every day. That's all i got.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


In my apartment, birthdays are extravagant affairs. You can expect anywhere between 30 and 100 people to show up. The agenda is simple: get drunk, get drunker, play drinking games, drink. The more the merrier, since more people = more booze, which makes for more hilarity and crazy pictures and stories for the next day. Plus, you might get laid. Open invitations are issued, and friends-of-friends think nothing of showing up with three of their own friends. It's all a little overwhelming for an introvert, and i usually stay long enough to get a buzz before disappearing to my own bedroom, or my boyfriend's apartment, or a deserted corner of the porch.

I don't really do birthday parties for myself. When i was younger, my mom helped me organize and plan parties; i remember an American Girl Doll party complete with tea and games. She suggested people for me to invite, hoping both to make other girls feel included and, i think, to get me out of my shell a little. But as i grew older and more autonomous (and more socially anxious), i invited fewer and fewer people and became less and less enthusiastic about the prospect of a party with me as the main focus. My best friends and i got together for a party at least once a month, and there were never more than six people involved. Because the parties were regular and rotated in location, and because they were organized around the Orange and Blu Kidz Club (a whole series of blog posts there), no one person was ever the center of attention. These were fun, and made the transition to birthday time easy: i invited the same group of people, hosted everyone at my house, and the only difference between that and our normal monthly meetings was that everyone brought me a gift.

My last real party was when i was fifteen. I had expanded the group slightly, and although there were no guests that i hadn't known for at least five years, i was painfully anxious and uncomfortable for the whole evening. The planning and preparation was exhausting, even for such a simple party, and the things i wanted to do were drastically different from the things other girls my age enjoyed, leaving me with an awkward choice to make: please myself and bore everyone else, or turn my own birthday party into a party for other people and leave myself sad and bored and slightly resentful? I settled on a compromise that mostly worked, but that was the last time i had any enthusiasm for a birthday party, and the events of my 21st birthday cemented those feelings pretty firmly.

But this year, i decided i was ready for another party-type thing. My initial thought was to schedule it somewhere away from my house, so that when i was ready for everyone to go away i could just go home. So i picked a restaurant (Mr. Bartley's Burger Cottage; visit if you're ever in Boston!), sketched out a preliminary guest list, and picked a date. Then i got ambitious.

We will be going to Bartley's, and then perhaps we will shop for books (the Harvard bookstore is right next to Bartley's; have i mentioned how much i love Boston?), and then back to my house for Cards Against Humanity. There are a few people that i invited out of obligation, but most of them are unable to come. I created a Facebook event for it and made it closed and invite only to keep it manageable, and then started sending out invites.

I was astonished to realize that there are now more than ten people that i really want to spend an evening with. In fact, there are more than fifteen people that i would like to invite, but some of them live too far away to attend. It is astonishing to me to realize that i like that many people enough to want to spend an evening with them in my home. I never anticipated being that sociable, even in high school, when i so desperately wanted to be different than i was. I never thought i could worry about finding enough seats for everyone in my apartment. I never imagined being sad that more than five people lived too far to invite, while simultaneously being glad that two-thirds of my best-loved ones would attend.

I guess what i'm saying is, this level of personal growth combined with the staggering number of good friends is such a wonderful gift already, and y'all damn well better give me something pretty anyway. It's my birthday, bitches.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Reason #16 Why I Should Live With My Boyfriend

Because he won't invite drunken strangers over to our apartment in the middle of the night without telling me, allow them to wander around into bedrooms where people are sleeping, and then refuse to apologize or even understand why it is an issue when confronted with it the next day.

saving me (love)

Love in all forms. Love from others. Love for others. Love of others for each other. Love for books. Love from my cat. Love for steak. Love from the earth. Promised love. Past love. The hope of future love. Making love. The love of others for one another. Ingrid Michaelson's songs about love. Love, love, love.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Hebrews 7-13, James, 1 Peter 1-2

James 2:13
For judgement is without mercy to the one who shows no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgement.

I had some things to say about this, but they have all been preempted by the shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, CT. More than thirty people are dead, and most of them are children.

I am sick. I am sad. I am angry.

I read James 2:13 and i think, "Hell yes. This person shot small children in the face on purpose multiple times. Show him no mercy." And then i remember that anyone can love good people, but Christ has called us to love our enemies. I remember that if i do not show mercy to him, no one will show mercy to me. I remember that violence breeds violence, and that venting my anger on this sick, hurting, broken young man will not undo what he did, will not make me or anyone else feel better.

And then i think, "Fuck that. You can't kill people and have it be okay. I don't care what Jesus said; he also started whipping people for disrespecting the temple. You can't tell me that He would have wanted us to show this piece of shit mercy."

Then again, He's also the guy who prayed for people as they were beating Him.

I don't know what to think. I don't know what to say. I don't know what to feel.

Romans 8:26
Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

shopping 12/10

  • half and half
  • Degree clinical strength deodorant (2 pack)
  • Frank's Red Hot wing sauce
  • white bra
  • nude bra
  • grey bra

Monday, December 10, 2012

saving me (knit)

I've been knitting for over half my life. It's nostalgic, it's simple, it's absorbing, it keeps me busy when i get twitchy, and it produces something beautiful.

Friday, December 7, 2012

2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews 1-6

1 Timothy 3:16-17
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

When i was younger, i always wondered why some of the old testament books had made it into the canon. I mean, we get all of the laws in Exodus, right? And then we get Leviticus, and there are a couple of short stories, but mostly it's a detailed rehashing of the law. And then there's Numbers; once again, there are some stories, but it's mostly genealogies. And then we move on to Deuteronomy, and we go over the law. Again. Is all of this really necessary? Is my spiritual life really going to be enriched by reading the measurements for the first curtain in the temple a third time? The temple was entirely rebuilt by Solomon, anyway! And then it was destroyed and hasn't been rebuilt since! I mean, keep the blueprints on file if you must, but that stuff is all for the Jews, anyway. How can i, as a 21st century Christian, benefit from this stuff?

I've made my peace with a lot of it, and i'm sure we'll be revisiting that in a few months when i move on to the old testament. But for now, i'm in the new, and i'm once again wondering what the point of this is. 2 Timothy has some good stuff (For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love), but Titus is 46 verses long. It has some instruction about how to set up the elders of the church, but that's really it. The whole thing could be condensed into half a dozen bullet points and put in textbooks for religion majors. I feel like we only keep Titus so that we can point back to the Bible when someone asks us why our church is structured the way it is. And Philemon is even shorter, at 25 verses. Let me show you the section headings for this book: Greeting, Philemon's Love and Faith, The Plea for Onesimus, Philemon's Obedience Encouraged, Farewell. It's basically a text message saying, "You guys are awesome. It would be really sweet if you took Onesimus back. If you have issues with him, that's on me. I think I'm coming to visit soon. Peace." Why do we need this?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

process story

I know you've all been desperate to know what it's like to write a comic book. I can tell by the way that one of my dozens of posts about comic books got one comment.

Since i'm halfway through the first chapter of my first ever comic book, i clearly have a lot of expertise to share. I did read a few pages of one of Neil Gaiman's comic scripts once, and i know he writes a pretty full script, so basically i'm ready to teach a master's course in comic book writing.

Anyway, here's what i do: I already have a manuscript of straight prose, early drafts of the stories. I also have handwritten notes, maps, appendices, extra story outlines, and so forth. So i open the Word document, find the story i'm converting into comic script format, and draw a text box. This represents one page.

I then begin writing the first panel. Each page is a little different, and i have two different writing methods. For some pages, i know exactly what will happen in terms of the story, but i need to figure out how it will look. So i get my notebook, a Christmas present from my boyfriend, and start sketching.

It is important to note here that i am a terrible artist. If i were patient, and had all day to work with pencils and erasers and colored pencils and extra paper, i could produce one comics page that would look halfway decent. But i find it very difficult to draw the same person recognizably more than once. I also don't know a lot about things like shading, and i'm not very experienced or talented. So this is really just to help me figure out the action: who will be standing and who will be sitting? Will we see characters close up or from a distance? From what angle are they being viewed? How many panels will there be for this page, and what sizes and shapes will they be? Once i have the page sketched out, i write the page.

Other times, i start by filling in the text box with smaller text boxes, to represent the panels. I already know what i want it to look like visually. I do the writing in Word, and then i start doodling just to make sure that what i wrote makes sense visually.

Since i already have the story written, the conversion process is a fairly simple one. All i am doing is transferring the existing writing into panels. I need to decide how much of the story goes into each panel, and what else is happening at the same time, but it's really just a question of breaking the story into smaller chunks. There's a little bit of editing that happens at the same time, and here and there i'll write a note to change something later on, but mostly it's adaptation.

Each time i finish a page, i play a few rounds on FreeRice and read some webcomics, or walk over to the student center for coffee or a snack. I sit at a computer all day, so it's nice to get up and move when i can. And i need to let my brain breathe for a little while before tackling the next thing.

Maybe one day i will be a famous comics author and i can auction off my old notebooks for charity. And then when i'm dead, my estate will make t-shirts, postcards, and coffee mugs out of my shitty script sketches. Or maybe they'll just end up in a box in the attic, and the cat will pee on them, and then when i'm dead my kids will open up the box and immediately throw it away. Cat pee is gross, and the smell never goes away.

Well, that took an odd turn. Man, i can't wait to send part of the script to my potential artist so i can start actually posting updates about what's happening with this thing!

Monday, December 3, 2012

saving me (justice)

It's also important to have something outside of yourself to hold on to, something that you want to save. Get out of your own head and focus on someone else's needs. In my case, i'm holding on to things like the fight for civil rights and social justice.