Friday, April 29, 2011

bronte's best

highlights of my read in jane eyre thus (and yes i just typed thus) far?

the word "ameliorate". to improve upon or to make better. i love how it rolls off my tongue and plan to use it in ordinary conversation.

jane's epiphany on page 92, "...i sat down and tried to rest. i could not; though i had been on foot all day, i could not now repose an instant; i was too much excited. a phase of my life was closing tonight, a new one opening to-morrow: impossible to slumber in the interval; i must watch feverishly while the change was being accomplished." a woman of action after my own heart.

and what's more, she perfectly describes why i'm not a huge fan of opera. as a new governess, jane watches as young adele shows off her lyrical prowess by singing, "...it was the strain of a forsaken lady, who, after bewailing the perfidy of her lover, calls pride to her aid; desires her attendant to deck her in the brightest jewels and richest robes, and resolves to meet the false one that night at a ball, and prove to him, by the gaiety of her demeanor, how little his desertion has affected her."

ha! well done once again, charlotte bronte. stay tuned, i'm only on page 112.

Monday, April 25, 2011

before the rocks cry out...

one of the best choruses i've heard this week? it doesn't even use words. easter sunday morning i set my alarm for 5 am on purpose and listened to the birds outside my window for over an hour. tonight? more of the same, only this time joined by the spring frog choir.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

because life wants to be lived

a couple of word-tools that have helped bring meaning to this Passion Week?
the book "the song of the seed: a monastic way of tending the soul" by macrina weiderkehr.

and mozart's requiem. "Rex trememdae majestatis, qui salvandos salva me, fons pietatis/Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, dona eis requiem. Lux aeterna luceat eis, Domine, cum sanctis tuis in aeternum, quia pius es."

O King of fearful majesty, who all that need Thee savest free, O fount of love, my savior be. Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, grant them rest. Let perpetual light shine upon them, O Lord, in the company of thy saints forever, because Thou art forgiving.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

entry, triumphant

"what you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. it will decide what gets you out of bed in the mornings, what you do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart and what amazes you."--pedro arrupe

Saturday, April 16, 2011

being jane eyre

i knew right where to get it on my shelf at home. the book that is, not the movie. the new "jane eyre" is fine. i understand it's hard to develop character in two hours. it was a good film but in defense of charlotte bronte, i thought there was a bit too much crying. the whole melancholic wandering-over-moors bit, ok. but really, what carries this book is the sparring banter between rochester and jane! i'm sorry, but one visit in high-back chairs next to the fire is not enough time for them to break down the wall of their souls and, ahem, fall in love by the next scene. kudos that dame judi dench shows up as mrs. fairfax; quite redeeming with this critic. here is an excerpt from the book, however, that i would have liked to see more of, "i both wished and feared to see mr. rochester on the day which followed this sleepless night: i wanted to hear his voice again, yet feared to meet his eye." jane herself, chapter 16, page 155. several lovely cinematic moments. and it's got me reading the classic again. if you need me, i'll be out wandering the moors.

only in portland

i haven't seen the documentary "portlandia" yet. is portland weird? absolutely. do i love my city? so much. case in point: where else can you do all of these things within a couple of weeks...find a crafty wonderland by a great coffee shop without even trying...go to a poetry slam...try tasty n' sons for breakfast...plant seed potatoes...see art made out of tree limbs and shoelaces...peruse letterpress stores...plant spring flowers...raise money for foster kids...visit the baby chicks at wilco...play in a symphony...visit a new church...see the movie "jane eyre"...and ride your bike to work all in a 30-mille radius? only in portland. yes, if portland's weird, then keep me weirder, because i wouldn't live anywhere else.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

new language

at first, a rush of words. and the urgencey to speak them. followed by deep silence. i awoke today listening to the newly formed water-course of my heart. in the place-beyond-words: this language i'm learning.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

face in a book

there is absolutely nothing wrong with facebook; it has benefits. since making the decision not to keep up with everyone social networking style, however, i have found my face in books! instead of the collective times per day it took me to update my status, i have read more than a few books since 2011 began but i've also taken an art class, done more paintings, spent more time outside, made new friends... i also discovered i like the pace of blogging. for me, i can still see pictures posted by fellow-bloggers and what they're up to; things they're thinking about. it's just not as fast-paced and doesn't necessarily include which kind of milk they just put on their cereal (no offense if you just posted that to your social networking site). but it does inhabit a rich world of shared concepts and images which i find interesting and mutual. if you don't check a blog for twenty minutes you don't feel like you missed important details and you can more easily regulate the comments given and received. do i miss out on some great tidbits from the 268 online friends i once had? likely. would i trade it for face to face conversation and books? hardly.

comparison (essay 1 of 5)

the teacher is giving herself an assignment. for every 11 chapters of the aesthetics text i'm reading (which will make 5 short essays) i am going to write on a concept that stood out to me. please comment, interact; that will make my study even more worthwhile! in philosopher david hume's chapter "on the standard of taste" he writes, "it is impossible to continue in the practice of contemplating beauty, without being frequenly obliged to form comparisons between the several species and degrees of excellence, and estimating their proportions to each other." it is true that we naturally compare things, which leads me to wonder if there is not, in fact, such a thing as both 1) universal sense of aesthetic (as humans) and 2) particular sense (personal preference). are there some things that all people, by nature of being created in God's image, find beautiful? i also wonder if, in the act of comparing itself, does one object have to become less favored? why is one model said to be "more beautiful' than another? or one piece of art "far better" than one next to it. art criticism (describe, analyze, interpret, judge) aside, could not one, for example praise both the blossoms of a cherry tree and those of a dandilion based on the essence of what each is created to be? utilizing senses, the smell of the former would, i think, be more universally appealing, but might the latter turn up better in someone's personal taste? it is also possible to qualify by saying "i prefer the smell of this and the color of that". as our tastes change with time, so does nature change. poet gerard manley hopkins writes, "He fathers forth whose beauty is past change: praise Him." in comparison as well as change, we perceive loss. could it be that if a Creator who embodies Beauty stays the same is able to make a creation that grows and shifts, that change was intended to appeal to our senses; inform our taste and be used for gain? it would be dull at best if nothing changed. from fall leaves to clouds and time to stars...when did we learn to compare? what about beauty would be different if we didn't?