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Feel Free

"I'm not afraid of dying. I just don't want to be there when it happens."

Woody Allen

I'm surprised how often I see people cringe when the subject of dying comes up in conversation. As if somehow the discussion will hurry the day of our demise.

Of course, there are a lot of things I'd rather not talk about. Right at the top of that list would be "feelings". It's not that I am afraid of my feelings. I just don't want to be there when they happen.

To be clear, I'm not talking about the emotional moments when a performance by one of the kids takes my breath away, or when I'm stunned all over again by how much Katy loves me, or even when I can't finish the hymn we are singing on Sunday morning because I'm overcome by God's kindness.

I'm talking about the soul searching and self-assessment required when some well-meaning person asks, "So, how do you feel about this?" Like I have a clue. And do I have to feel something about everything? Somehow that idea steals something away from the importance of feelings in the first place. If feelings were that easy to sum up in words, would they be as meaningful as we know they are?

It's like printing and framing every snapshot you click off with your high-res digital camera. Admit it. Some are destined for the delete button. Others might represent a nice enough subject, but not the moment that matters or the candid that captures the essence. Even the best are only a dim reflection of reality.

So you see, I don't mind being there when death happens. But when it does, I sure don't want to feel it.

(Thanks to Michael O'Connnor for suggesting this quote. Feel free to send your favorites our way.)

Posted January 22, 2005
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My Other Blog's a Rolls Royce

Self-deprecation is an established trend in the blogosphere. Apparently, thousands of online writers have taken Romans 12:3 very seriously:

"Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought."

Exhibit A: URLs found in the blogging universe:

  • utterlyboring.com
  • randomdrivel.com
  • mystupidblog.com

    Exhibit B: Tagline from a Typepad blog:

  • "Pointless and absurd ramblings on nothing in particular."

    Exhibit C: This blog:

  • MarginalComments.com

    But wait—I can explain! And it's all Katy's fault!

    I have never seen Katy read a book, fiction or nonfiction, without a pen in her left hand. By the time she's done, more pages than not are filled with notes, corrections, ideas, and comments. And when I am reading a book that she has already read, some of the best stuff is in the margins. (Along with some juicy gossip if she happened to get a phone call while the book was in her hand.)

    The margin is a place to react, ask questions, and make things personal. That's the real trend in the blogosphere, no matter what the title or tagline. Blogs give us a place to take notes on life as it's going by. (And, as we all know, there are no stupid questions, just stupid blogs.)

    But since I am partly responsible for the scarcity of quality domain names, I have done some research and I'm happy to report that these choice names are still available:

  • monotonousminutiae.com
  • mindnumbingclaptrap.com
  • patheticmeanderingsofahomicidallunatic.com

    Before you run out and register, it might be helpful to consider the rest of the verse mentioned above:

    "…but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you."

    I wonder if twotablespoons.com is available?

    Posted January 12, 2005
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    Around the Block

    As a free public service to bloggers and writers, I am extending an invitation to begin the year by confessing your darkest reasons for succumbing to writer’s block.

    Here is a list of who I blame, I mean... a list of my own pathetic excuses:

    1. Mom took drugs. Okay, only during labor and delivery, but at least one of the cc’s went straight to the part of my brain where coherent sentences are pieced together. Smthng’s mssng.

    2. The Feds censored me. Too many government forms contain the words “Do not write in this space.” This has always bugged me. What do they do with that space anyway, and why can't I write in it? I’ve considered organizing my own IRS-gate break-in, complete with flashlights and miniature cameras to solve this mystery. The subliminal and insidious message is that white space is sacred, off-limits, and inviolable.

    3. I respect white space. Once written on, a blank page is no longer a blank page. A blank page has all the promise and possibility of Wildeian wit, Lewisian logic, and Tolkienian trilogies. But once writing begins, the sad truth emerges.

    I could go on. Or maybe not.

    So I hereby make these rebuttals to my own whining...

    1. If something is missing, who’s to say it isn't just the boring parts?

    2. If white space is sacred, it is sacred only because it provides an opportunity for new ideas, imagination, and creation.

    3. If it is sad truth that emerges, there is still something to be said for any truth at all emerging.

    What are your excuses, and better yet, what is your plan for a more prolific 2005?

    Posted January 4, 2005
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    Alone Again

    The January '05 issue of Christianity Today offers this story as insight into the state of the church in America:

    A man is rescued after twenty years alone on a desert island. His rescuer is astonished to find that the castaway has built several imposing structures.

    "Wow!" the rescuer says. "What's that beautiful stone building overlooking the bay?"

    "That is my home," the castaway says.

    "And what about that building over there, with the spires?"

    "That," the castaway says, "is my church."

    "But wait!" the rescuer says. "That building over there, with the bell tower. What is that?"

    "That is the church I used to belong to."

    May your roots go deep in 2005!

    Posted January 1, 2005
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