Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Pilgrim At Tinker Creek

I've been reading a smathering of Annie Dillard in the past few days. I had some money to spend at Websters from G-Mom for Christmas so I bought two books by her. She approaches creation in a way I have never seen before. Not only does she look, and see, things but she creates them for me in words in images that create understanding and awe (a paradox if there ever was one!).

"After the on extravagant gesture of creation in the first place, the universe has continued to deal exclusively in extravagances, flinging intricacies and colossi down aeons of emptiness, heaping profusions on profligacies with ever-fresh vigor. The whole show has been on fire from the word go. I come down to the water to cool my eyes. But everywhere I look I see fire; that which isn't flint is tinder, and the whole world sparks and flames." -Pilgrim At Tinker Creek, Chapter 1


A funny conversation regarding Tinker Creek:

Jackie: "Who is making you read that?! I had to read that as a freshman. It's a terrible book. Don't bother!"
Dana: (looks up in surprise)... (wonders if she missed something terribly wrong about the book)... "I... bought it for myself?"
Heidi: (laughs at Jackie)
Jackie: "Why on earth?! It's so boring!"
Dana: (now that she understands why it is so "terrible") Well, she comes at nature from a really new way and just does things with words that are way beyond anything-
Jackie: "Just stop. If you continue, I'll have to mock you."

I continued, was mocked, and then proceeded to hand over the book to another girl at the table to puruse my underlined sentences. She tried to help me out but apparently I had dug myself into a hole. Good times!

(Jackie and I get along quite well so it was all in good fun!)


I am in an anthropology class where he spent the first hour attacking Christianity and the story of Creation. He speaks of separating church and state, faith and education. I wonder then why he feels a need to defend this "science" of his by solely attacking faith. I wonder why here, on his turf, his science must be his faith and he won't acknowledge it.


I'm so tired. This week has been manic in a way that even my first week ever was not. I feel like Christmas was years, not merely a month, ago and that there is not break in the near future. I enjoy most of my classes but I already feel a certain weariness with them that shouldn't be. At least I took a nap today... we should all take naps at least once a week.


In theatre we talked about how as children we are natural born theatre makers. I called Hannah later and we went through all the stories we used to play, the moments where we were certain that our animals were real, separate from our own control. Secret Agents, orphans and runaways, wester wagon travelers, cowgirls and indians, princesses and servants. We had whole worlds and it never struck us as unique. We did it with each other and we did it with friends. We created and it was natural and whole. Then I wondered if I'll ever have the creativity again. I've forgotten how to play like that.


"How was college"

"How was break"

How can I answer such questions when no one from either group would understand the stories?

Sunday, January 13, 2008


My dreams and visions for 08:

- "Leave room for spontaneity" as Dad said.
- Do not rush.
- Creative Hours.
- Running to like it.

These past few days were powerful and completely littered with small moments of understanding that emptied my energy as if it was the end of a long race, the final push before the rest. God has once again proven Himself... no, proven is absurd. He never sees fit to prove anything to us. He is there and that takes away all question and deadness. I'm sitting at my computer, windows open on my tenth floor view of Beaver Stadium, crying. Whenever I talk about these past three days in complete honesty and earnestness I begin to cry. I haven't cried in ages and I feel out of practice. Crying and laughing are two things I need to do more. No... I need to let things hit me and change me so that I will laugh and cry.

And part of my heart goes with four people on a 15 hour journey to Estonia.

I returned to State College early to participate in a conference that I initially brushed off as something that I would learn little from. I also did not want to leave home early and all the friends and the rest of utter, 24/7 leisure. It was a decision that kept coming back and I kept reasoning my way out of it. Thankfully I gave up and signed up anyway once I realized that I wouldn't have another chance at it, ever. So I went among 90 people out of which I only knew three, to be crammed with information and rather broken with humility.

I had much to learn. Not things that I should have known before but things about myself, explanations for how I am who I am and how that is good and how that is bad and what to do about it. That I have strengths that didn't have names before but that I can now further understand and so use. That I like speaking in public and that the fact that I'm in love with coffee houses actually is part of how I relate to people. That I've actually changed over the years, a change that I am extremely grateful for and wonder how it happened.

But all of that stood in small light compared to the community that grew around me. I met some wonderful people and got to know better those that I've only known vaguely before. I am grateful for all of this.

I am also grateful for a country by Russia named Estonia. I introduced myself to the two women in the group from there and talked to them for a while. And at communion we washed each other's hands and I was overwhelmed by a God so big that I could be family to complete strangers. It was a moment beyond words and language. I can't speak Estonian and we struggled through accents and confusion but all the while... it was just beyond everything else from these past few days. They asked if I had ever been to Estonia and I confessed that I hadn't. Hopefully this will not be true when I die.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

CHESS Revisited

Yesterday, I left work early and attended Mrs. Bell's modern novel and poetry class in the all too familiar lobby of Grace Chapel. I saw the present faces; I sat at a table with Abby and Anne for a while and did not look at the stage. I ran an errand during class to get copies of paragraphs from Mrs. Rustling. I saw Brittany and Abby Hall. I met another student who goes to Penn State. I spoke to Mrs. Bell for a few moments after class and then left.

It was, perhaps, the first time that I was not unhappy to be at CHESS. I was one of those students who, when it was over, had very little inclination to look back. Yet last week I was at a CHESS reunion and yesterday I actually went and sat in a class. I wonder sometimes, why I decided to hate it so much. And part of it was that I was scared to death of making friends and talking to people and being awkward. Another part was that it was so much work. But being lonely was the core of it.

Tomorrow, I return to PSU but not really PSU since I'll only really be at my church and not on campus until Saturday afternoon. It will be a rewarding time, I believe.

Everyone remember that Sunday night at 9pm on PBS there will be a Jane Austen film! is the link to the schedule

And a good conversation:

Me to Sarah on my cell phone: "So is it true that you are pregnant?"
Charity from her computer: "WHAT?!"
Me: "No, no, no, Charity, not you, my friend Sarah!"
Charity: "Oh thank goodness. Because I am definitely not pregnant."

Monday, January 07, 2008


Gretchen decided to relate her "vivid" dream to us on the way home from church.
G: "You just won't believe this! It is so hysterical!"
Isaac: "I thought you said it was 'vivid.'"

Church: "Today... I choose... to FOLLOW YOU!"

Me and Mim being the blind Rochester:
Me: "Come back you fool! I can't propose to you ten feet away!"
Mim: "Yes, I won't be able to look into your eyes!"

Our loud cries and shouts over Jane Eyre turned... well... rather scandalous.

St. John to Sunjun which sounded an aweful lot like Sunjaya

Mrs. Eagleson continually asking if it was funny. It was but really not in a way that would reasonably justify the laughter that we were continually compelled to make.

Eagleson conversations, particularly around their dinner table, are always exceptionally mad. There is somehow an expectation that we are all able to fill, an expectation that we will participate in three conversations at once and talk very loudly. I know of no other place where such craziness goes on and we all have a great time with it. Native Americans... The Golden Compass... books and presents... our blind attempts at chai smoothies (turned out wonderfully)... summer plans... all at once.

This past weekend I spent three hours with two different friends both while drinking hot tea. I think tea, particularly chai, is a wonderful thing. Hence the beauty of the chai milk shakes we concocted. I highly suggest trying it. We used Tazo chai concentrate with several scoops of Breyer's Vanilla ice cream and a dash of milk. I think next time we should try cinnamon in it and sprinkle it on top of the whipped cream.

Good times. Hard to believe that I return to PSU in four days... it all went so fast.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

War and Peace and Art and ?

I had an odd quote floating through my head about the art of war and love and something about it being twisted into the mouse of war and love and it made sense then but not now.

Now I am sitting on my bed, freezing cold, listening to a mouse run across the floorboards above my head. I didn't hear them until Hannah started banging on the wall, waking me from my sleep with her angry and manic cries. She's off her rocker, I'm sure, I thought this time. I thought "This is is, she's gone mad, pure mad." But this time I stayed awake, angry and frustrated as she stormed out of our room and upstairs to be away from the sound.

And then I heard it: this was no ordinary mouse, I now knew. It was an evil sent to torment us and drive us from all rest. This mouse, I could hear, was not merely scampering, a pleasant, almost lilting sound. No, this mouse was scratching the wood and burrowing into it. I could hear it eating. It sounded right by Hannah's bed, eating at the walls and trying to get in. It was the sound the goblins made as they moved through the earth to invade the Princess's mountain home.

And I am sure I heard it peeing.

I now hate and fear this mouse. It could be the late hour, but I believe that I have never hated an animal as much as this peeing, eating mouse. I want it to die. So far it has ignored the mouse traps that surround our house. But oh, it needs to die.

"You jump, I jump."

I watched An Ideal Husband with Mom and Mrs. Saufley tonight. The latter took an instant disliking to Lord Goring, a dreadful mistake I felt obliged to clear up immediately. "You have to understand that he doesn't really believe half of what he says."

"I will be in the conservatory under the second palm tree to the right. The usual palm tree."

I am also very proud of myself because I discovered that the chef's voice in Ratatouille is the voice of Ian Holm (aka Bilbo Baggins).

Starbucks is an odd place. I go on purpose to see one person, and I come away having seen and said hello to at least six. Very odd.

The mouse has quieted down... maybe it is listening to its brother, my fingers as they type across the keyboard. The sounds are not dissimilar. Except for the peeing part...

I am cold, so cold.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

2007 In Review

1. What did you do in 2007 that you've never done before? Gone on a road trip. Seen the Pacific Ocean. Gone to college and lived away from home.

2. Did you keep your New Year's resolution and will you make one for next year? No. Yes.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? I don’t think so…

4. Did anyone close to you die? No.

5. What countries did you visit? Canada. Montreal and Victoria.

6. What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007? Self control and stamina.

7. What date from 2007 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? The day I stood, looking out at the Pacific Ocean for the first time. My first day at Penn State.

8. What's your biggest achievement of the year? Being a college kid. Proving to everyone and myself that I can live at Penn State and still be me.

9. What was your biggest failure? Not running.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Got sick that one time and couldn’t move basically. That only lasted a day though.

11. What was the best thing you bought? A camera. Books.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Christy Lear.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and/or depressed? I love how I never actually answer this question.

14. Where did most of your money go? Books. I bought so many books this year. And tea.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Winning the Maclellan Scholarship at Covenant. Getting an A- in math. Meeting Katie Stick.

16. What song will always remind you of 2007? I sang “10 Minutes Ago I met You” compulsively throughout my first semester. I don’t know how that is significant. During the summer it was “There is No one like You!” by David Crowder. In the spring semester it was hymns such as “Be Thou My Vision” and “What Ere My God Ordains”

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: happier or sadder? Sadder I think. Soberer in any case.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of? Sitting and thinking. Letting things sink into me.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of? Frittering away time.

20. What was your favorite TV program? Gilmore Girls.

21. What was the best book you read? I can’t even remember what I read this year because the list I wrote was lost with the dead computer. But from this past semester I would say Rethinking Worldview. Maybe… I don’t know.

22. What was your greatest musical discovery? Jake Armerding.

23. What did you want and got? A good roommate. New college friends. A community I could engage in. And, at the very last possible minute, guy friends.

24. What movies did you see in the cinema this year? Pirates of the Caribbean, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Spiderman 3, Nancy Drew

25. What did you do on your birthday and how old were you? Turned 18 and hung out with the family. It was all thrown in there with graduating and celebrating the end of high school.

26. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Understanding the people I was with more. Bothering to listen to them and hear their hearts not just their mouths.

27. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2007? Significantly more effort though perhaps less than satisfactory results. The pierced ears were exciting.

28. What kept you sane? Reading incessantly.

29. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? In the past few days I have become a fan of Matt Damon.

30. What political issue stirred you the most? Human trafficking issues. Fair Trade. A growing environmental concern (to the horror of my family).

31. Who/what did you miss? I missed the people I’ve missed every day since their freshman year four years ago. I missed Greer once I met her. I missed Seth. I missed home when I went to school. I missed the old friends, particularly having guy friends around. I missed piano and having music more readily available in my life. Now that I’m home I miss school and my RA and Katie Stick and the trees leading downtown. I miss the freedom, the lack of curefew.

32. Who was the best new person you met? Katie Stick and Mimi. And Kate Devann… and Sarah Saltzburg… and Jaimie Zachavitch… and Dan Saxton… and Jackie… and Maryn and Paige… and… Justin and MinSoo… College was great like that.

33. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2007: Deciding is a process that teaches and gives answers that would not be answers if they did not take time and a journey to reach. Waiting and listening and praying is essential. I can be outgoing, I can make lots of friends, I can find community anywhere. That being an English major is going to be my life and breath.