Expedition to Well-readedness*

Who knew a person could actually own so many unread books? I feel like a hoarder. Actually, I think I might be a hoarder in real life. A book hoarder. (I posted pictures; you’ll see. Just promise not to judge. Or, if you do, don’t tell me.)

I’m not only a compulsive Amazoner (“Oh, look, this book is only $3.99! That’s basically free! I’ve never read that… “), I’m a used bookstore junkie. Ask me about the Schumann and the biography of Elisabeth Schwarzkopf I found at Greenwood Books, just down the road from Eastman. Go ahead, ask me.

It’s not that I don’t want to read them. It’s not that I’m not capable. It’s simply that pesky thing, that life thing, that keeps interfering. I think that half the reason I buy so many, revolves around the simple fact that every time I see a classic I haven’t read and don’t own, or a three-dollar, four hundred page steal, or a twenty-cent gem at a garage sale, I am reminded that I spend a great deal of time meandering about, complaining about how busy I am (occasionally/aka most of the time, I actually am that busy, but I digress**). Whenever I see something I’ve been meaning to read, or might enjoy, I can’t help but grab it and flip through, maybe smell it or something; I fantasize about the gray afternoon in a presumably not-so-distant future where I will curl up with my treasure and relinquish Life, just for a few hours.

It rarely happens. HOWEVER,*** this summer I have vowed, due to my lack of a full time, real-people job (don’t worry about me, though, I’ll still be busting ass), that I will plow through the mountains of books in my room. That’s right: not pile, not stacks, not even singular mountain: MOUNTAINS****.

There are going to be hours this summer where I will stare at page upon page of cyrillic and transliterations and just want to scream. And so I plan to soothe myself with a good old-fashioned English language storybook. If nothing else, I’ll get through some trashy romance novels. And for some tragic drama, toss Sophocles in there (since I found the complete works all nicely bound together in Greenwood! Love that place… almost as much as I love Sophocles). Maybe I’ll add in Vonnegut, and although he might be somewhere in the depths of the mountain (appropriate, actually), I’d like to finish at least the classic Tolkein.

But we’ll see. Maybe I won’t have as much reading time as I’d like. Maybe I’ll pull an Oedipus and stab my own eyeballs out for lack of patience and eyeball stamina. Or maybe I’ll read half my unread library and be pleased with myself.

I have been tallying a books-read count since January. As of right now, I’ve gotten through a whomping nineteen (and a seventh, I have a 700 pager going currently). I’ll keep this updated, maybe. If I remember… ha, ha.

In other news, I am blogging for the first time ever from my bedroom at home in the boondocks. We have previously only ever had dial-up internet, and I am pleased to report that my stubborn mother finally, after nearly twelve years of mutual hatred, read the death sentence to the old-fashioned internet connection after one too many failed attempts with online taxes.

And now I have to resume the cleaning of my barely-unpacked bedroom. Below are my mountains of books… photographic evidence. Remember not to tell me about the judgments I’m sure are to follow.

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You’ll see that at least I have a bookshelf with which to store them (in the background)… albeit a currently empty bookshelf

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There are books in those pink tote guys, too… this bookshelf is about ready to call it a day

* Complete with footnotes and halfway decent grammar

** Holy shit, run-on sentence of my life, right there…

*** Naturally in caps due to its importance, not my itchy caps lock finger

**** Here we see my exuberance, exubing***** exuberantly

***** Clearly not a word, I’m just feeling rambunctious today

Crescendo to a thought

As always, Brendan’s blog got me thinking.

I wish I could say it made me think about how great people are, and how humble I strive to be, or even how much like Jesus we should try to be.

Instead, it got me thinking about three separate things.

One: a behavioral pattern I see here at Eastman.
Two: ideas that have been swarming in my brain lately.
and Three: that Brendan needs to write a book.

Relating to one, which I think is the most trivial of the three…
I see a pattern between the “partiers” here and the “religious kids.” The religious ones either keep it to themselves or go to extremes to invite people to their well-behaved events. We have one group, called InterVarsity (it sounds like a sports group but it’s a Christian organization here) that holds all kinds of events. But somehow it kind of seems like they’re in their own little bubble. They’ve extended information to the non-affiliated kids (like they mentioned a gathering to me once, I think) but to me (the non-affiliated), they seem a little upper echelon. A little too good, if you know what I mean. This may or may not be true (I don’t know) but that’s the vibe I get.

In addition to these Christian sects here (and they do separate, we have more than one little club for each denomination), there are the party-goers. The weekend warriors, if you will. It does get incredibly intense here during the week and to me, an outing seems like recreation to release stress (even if it becomes an unhealthy behavior eventually). Now I don’t see any of the partiers in the Christian groups. I could be overlooking someone, but I don’t think I am. In fact, there almost seems to be some animosity between partiers and groups like InterVarsity. I do recall on Ke$ha night being asked in the car if I was a member of InterVarsity… if I was my new best friend (whom I was, uhh, like laying on) was going to kick me out of the car, regardless of our shared sports views.

Back on topic, though. So. My friend Katie here said the other evening to another friend, “When’s church in the morning? I think I’m going to try to go.” This surprised me, because A.) Katie and I were going to the River Campus that night with the intent to find somewhere to dance (to the uninformed it looked like we were going to get smashed), and B.) Katie had never seemed the “type” to go to church.

I realize this is silly thinking on my part (slap on the hand for stereotyping) but to be honest she hadn’t fit the mold for kids I know here that go to worship services. That got me thinking, why can’t I try to go to church? Granted I would love to sleep in on Sundays… but maybe I could even go to a youth group thing or something here. Who knows? But then again, I’ve been known to be out late on weekends. That doesn’t make me any less of a follower of Jesus, though, does it? Then I thought perhaps some of these groups needed a reminder that, first of all, drinking isn’t a sin (hello, wine in the Bible). And secondly, most importantly, Jesus loves the sinners, too. I’m not saying that I go around getting wasted, swearing and having wild monkey sex with everyone I know (because obviously that’s not really my game plan here). But someone who’s not to hip to the holiness thing (aka me, or anyone else, really) is just as loved by God and (if they’re doing it right) should hopefully be just as loved by the little clumps of Christians floating around here with their wooden cross necklaces and conservatively buttoned shirts.

That about rounds out topic number one for me.
Topic two? IDEAS.

Liz Shropshire will be the speaker at next Tuesday’s Colloquium. I. Am. So. Pumped. I really want to get involved with that. In case you haven’t heard of the Shropshire Music Foundation, the link to the site is here and I blogged pretty extensively on it here, because man, am I excited. It’s finally a window (dare I hope, a door?!) into using music to make a serious difference in peoples’ lives. Children’s lives, more specifically.

That brings me to ideas. I haven’t even heard Ms. Shropshire’s spiel yet, and I’m already planning what could be done back in my hometown to bring more revenue to the Foundation. Then (it’s ambitious) what about starting something similar of my own? Maybe a mix between School 17 here (it’s a huge string instrument program for younger kids, but in a city school, if you’ll believe it) and the Foundation. The ideas are still molding themselves, shaping like silver ore in the forge that is my mind, but it’s exciting. To think that the training I receive here won’t restrict me to performing for the elite (if I ever get that good)… it’s really cool. I could use my degree(s) to pour the salve of music into the bleeding gashes of the world.

That said, here’s a poor segue to topic three.

Brendan needs to write a book. Yeah buddy, if you’re reading this… I feel like now’s the time. Okay, maybe in a few more months. But soon. Use your blog and some other topics, get them edited (Jordan and I did offer, oh so long ago…). I’m not trying to flatter you, I’m being honest. Reading words from someone so young in the scheme of things, who’s really trying to connect to his faith and figure crap out is really inspiring. And it makes your audience think. Or at least it makes me think. It’s so real, too. Like God is giving you words with which you can poke at someone’s thoughts. Little nudges. And they show that you absolutely don’t have to be some godly snot in order to have a real relationship with Jesus.

So, whenever you’re ready sir…

On that note, this post is so done. I have theory homework to do. But those are just some thoughts before studio class that I feel needed to get put on a webpage.

Your mission for the day? Listen to the song 'Why do they shut me out of heaven?' It's a Copland tune with words by Emily Dickenson. The Barbara Bonney version is pretty decent.

Psychosis

Here’s the definition for it; it’s not just taking up space as the title of this blog entry. Psychosis (pl. psychoses): a severe mental disorder in which thought and emotions are so impaired that contact is lost with external reality.

It has nothing to do with what I’m about to talk about, except that the core of the word “psych” is also the core of the word psychic. “Psych” comes from the Greek psychikos, meaning “of the mind” or “mental.”

I’m going to see a psychic today.

I feel like both a skeptic and a wimp. Cool, man, cool (not)

I tried to think of other ways to phrase that, but the truth is? I’m feeling a little weird about it and don’t know what to expect. I’ve always had a tendency to research the paranormal, and in doing so have compiled the following facts that seem to be making me nervous.

01. My grandma is a pretty avid Christian and has mentioned to me before that seeking spiritual guidance of that nature is highly ill-advised. She basically conveyed the idea that reaching into the beyond without God was dangerous. Anything from tarot to Ouija to psychics– ex-nay.

02. My mother went with my aunt to see a psychic in Lilydale a few years ago. I remember them returning and detailing the visit for my grandma, cousin and I. Some pretty weird stuff was discussed: everything from the child Kathy must have miscarried to the possible future of Caitlin, to contact with my dead grandfather. Weird shit.

03. The Bible says that seeking mediums are not the way to go. The advice of a centuries-old book shouldn’t be discounted, should it? Granted it was mentioned in the Old Testament where there were hundreds of rules, but still. (Along with psychoanalysis and paranormal research, I’ve been interested in religion as well.)

04. Maybe I’m just a cynical skeptic when it comes to the whole “here let me tell you something about your life that I shouldn’t know at all, but I do” thing. That makes me feel vulnerable. Also, not in control.

05. Plus, I am pretty solidly in the “spirit world is real” camp. I realize that we’re blind to the actions of the ether, normally, but I think they’re there. Thankfully I’ve been blissfully unaware, mostly, thus far… can you imagine neurotic me, trying to live alongside ghosts and knowing it?

06. Also, to be brutally honest, I’m nervous. I’m nervous because even though I’m going with Sarah and her mother and they’ve done this before, who knows what I might learn. Apparently it’s this thing called “circles” where you pay ten dollars or so to sit in a circle with four or five other people. This psychic gives you (and here I’m quoting Sarah) “a mini reading.” I’ve never been to Lilydale and don’t know what to expect.

And here’s the kicker for me, I guess. I’ve never– never— been afraid of learning something. I’ve been afraid of many other things: death, sharks, deep water, slashers, stalkers, cannibals, fire, baby-killers and sadists. But never new knowledge.

I guess I’m just unnerved. What if I’m told I’ll suffer unspeakable tragedy soon? Or that my greatest worries will become reality? Or that on the way home some normal guy will suffer a psychotic break and steal Sarah and I for a fun couple years in his basement lined with human skin?

I just don’t know what I’ll be told, and I won’t have any control over it. I don’t like to be unaware of what I’ll face. So maybe I should be happy that whoever gives my “mini reading” might give me a heads-up… or maybe that five minutes will be the most terrifying five minutes of my life.

Totally Gubular (horrifying pun, I know)



*PLEASE NOTE: The handwritten-ness is simply a tip of the hat to the ingenuity and creative flair of a Mr. Matthew Gray Gubler and is in no way an attempt to plagiarize his work or to be a (and I quote) “copycat.” I have nothing but respect for his career and/or his sweet-looking webpage. So: that’s my disclaimer to anyone who may want or need it.