Thursday, December 31, 2009

Villains -- Who to vilify?

Okay, so I dreamed I should make my villain in Constant Tower stand out more.
Heck, I have a lotta minor baddies but no real villain who has the big qualities that make a really memorable, effective, bad-ass villain.

So am pondering the story. What makes a great villain are motivation, family issues, power, something inside the villain that touches the reader and the villain's own particular style or panache. If he's gorgeous and hot that helps also. A good villain makes us admire him or hate him or worry that he's going too far -- that we understand where he's coming from but perhaps he's going a bit farther than we would go if we had that power. And it has to be done in a story that doesn't feel cliched or badly-plotted, or melodramatic.

So, motives: why is this character so hateful and why does the protagonist bug him so much? What the heck is his issue?

What power does he have to destroy the protag?

How does he get along with other characters?

How smart is he? How emotional is he? How moral is he? How sexual is he? How skilled is he in fighting?

Does he have a weak spot? Is it emotional or intellectual? Why?

And -- HECK!!!-- what if the protag is the villain?

So here I am... pondering who the heck I could bump up to the status of CT's main villain.

Cyrt? He represents the worst of the Wheel Clan (at least in Psal's eyes) He believes in the tribe's eugenicist ideals and hates it that the king allowed the lame disabled Psal to live. But he's really a bully and a trouble maker. And although he has a grudge he doesn't really think in the longterm. He's more impetuous. So yeah troublesome but not really great villain material.

Gaal? I really love Gaal. He has a woundedness like Naom in Wind Follower. Like Psal, he is also an outsider. But there's nothing physically wrong with his body. He brings out an emotional connection in me. I want to hold him and be loved by him. Yeah, just like Noam. But do I want him to be so like Noam? I don't want my villains in my books to be duplicates. He's a mirror image of Psal in many ways... and he wants to befriend Psal who rejects his friendship. He gets very nasty after that. But he's not really evil in the beginning. So how can he be a villain after being kind and neutral in the beginning?

Ezbel, the chief of the Voca clan? She's nasty, cruel, vindictive. And she is searching for the Constant Tower because she wants to rule the world. She also knows how to keen in daytime. But she is pretty much outside of Psal's reality and reach throughout the whole book. How evil can she be and how can she move the plot ahead if she's off in the distance murdering women and stealing babies? She's too far off plotting evil to affect Psal's motivation, conflicts, goals?

Prince Netophah, Psal's brother? He's the best of Wheel Clan warriors and has all their virtues and none of their flaws. He's kind and understanding. Trouble is Psal hates him and treats him like dirt. Another problem is that although Psal sees all Netophah's goodness as evil (because Psal hates his clan) Netophah isn't inclined to harming his brother.

Chief Samat, the chief of the Peacock clan? No, this wouldn't work. Samat is an enemy, someone Psal is warring against. But he's not an antagonist.

The entire clan as an entity? There's a thought. A communal villainy, a communal villain. The entire actions of the clan bothering Psal. Everything they do pisses him off. Psal has had the bad luck to be born into a clan he considers evil but the set up of the world is that he cannot leave.

So there I was pondering....


I dreamed of a mennonite community and a boy pushes them out of the home they all dwell in. They knock down the walls and say to him: "Why do you do this to us? We're family!" I think it was my dream telling me that I should have a communal villain.

The more I think about it, the more I think Psal the protag has the capacity to go overboard. But do I want my protag, Psal, to so totally lose his bearings? But in a situation with communal evil -- the family/tribe as evil, the clan as people one must stick with but whom one does not like-- AAARGH!!!! But I think the communal villain thing is the best thing. They are the ones who do things.... and push Psal's buttons.

This would mean that we must hate the Wheel Clan as much as Psal hates it. But we're cocooned inside this clan. We are surrounded by them. We're in their longhouse and Psal's claustrophobia should become ours. The readers will have to hate the people they are reading about and living with. Uhmmmm. Gotta think.

Can't think of a story or a film with a communal villain. Gotta think.

But also I want to thank God for the first dream telling me about the villain problem and then the second dream telling me the answer to the villain problem.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Thomas Hood's poem: Sally Simpkin's Lament

"He left his body to the sea,
And made a shark his legatee."

"Oh! what is that comes gliding in,
And quite in middling haste?
It is the picture of my Jones,
And painted to the waist.

"It is not painted to the life,
For where's the trowsers blue?
Oh Jones, my dear!--Oh dear! my Jones,
What is become of you?"

"Oh! Sally dear, it is too true,--
The half that you remark
Is come to say my other half
Is bit off by a shark!

"Oh! Sally, sharks do things by halves,
Yet most completely do!
A bite in one place soems enough,
But I've been bit in two.

"You know I once was all your own,
But now a shark must share!
But let that pass--for now, to you
I'm neither here nor there."

"Alas! death has a strange divorce
Effected in the sea,
It has divided me from you,
And even me from me!

"Don't fear my ghost will walk o' nights
To haunt, as people say;
My ghost _can't_ walk, for, oh! my legs
Are many leagues away!

"Lord! think when I am swimming round,
And looking where the boat is,
A shark just snaps away a _half_,
Without a '_quarter's_ notice.'

"One half is here, the other half
Is near Columbia placed;
Oh! Sally, I have got the whole
Atlantic for my waist.

"But now, adieu--a long adieu!
I've solved death's awful riddle,
And would say more, but I am doomed
To break off in the middle!"

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Renewing the mind

Okay, so here I am.... attempting (and somewhat succeeding) in controlling the daydreams in a positive way. It hasn't been as hard as I feared. I suspect because I repented of the worst kind of daydreams -- (Oh, there goes my crushes and wishing I was married to some rich rock star/philanthropist!) and am actually daydreaming about going around the world talking about my books. So yay!!! the mind is being used to a purpose. Once one really sees the wrongness of a thing and resolves not to do it, then God really can work.

My newest daydream is I'm in some inner city school in the US (or on a book tour in Japan) after my world-bestselling Young Adult novel My Life as an Onion has become a movie which is a super-movie....and I'm talking to them about it. I pretty much tell them what the Lord wants me to tell them that day. And who knows? When I get to heaven, I find out that my book has not only prevented quite a few suicides but has planted good little seeds into the mind of many people. So yeah, that's one fantasy I daydream about.

Also, when I get up I get the horrible temptation to fall into health fears and money worries....but then voila I remember that the Lord is my rock, my provider, my healer. So am controlling the mind in that way as well. We must be careful with father we hang out with. The father of lies, the father of fears, the father of doubts, the father of despair. Of the father of truth, love, and power.

Also am avoiding horror flicks. Yeah, I'm tempted. Cause I love horror movies. But God has told me that he doesn't want me watching the really fear-inducing ones. There'a a verse which says: "Woe to those who run to shed blood." Something like that. And although the real meaning is about trouble coming to those who commit murder, in my spirit I can't get away from the personal application that God doesn't want me -- me specifically, not saying anyone else-- running to view a slasher film.

Trying also not to dwell too much on what creepy folks have done to me. So, yeah.

In addition, am really focusing on imagining faithful things. The day when I pray for someone and they raise from the dead...that kinda thing. The day I pray for someone and their cancer immediately disappears.

Whatever things are pure, of good report, lovely, virtuous. You know what I mean.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Weekend Movie-Viewing

Dandy Daddy

A father who writes romance novels gets nervous when he thinks his teen-daughter has begun dating. He's very sweet but let's face it...he knows what guys can do. He also is a bit of a hypocrite. Basically, he wants to be seen by his fans -- who are legion-- as understanding. He's Mr Free Love etc. So in public, on TV, in his daughter's school, he's seen as the great freethinker. But secretly he's having a nervous breakdown. The usual stuff happens -- misunderstandings, etc. But it's really a sweet story.

Speed Scandals
A radio DJ has been speaking on air to a girl who wants to meet her father. He encourages her to meet his father. He tells her to go, and promises to help her in her singing career. And asks her to call back his audience to tell them how the meeting with her father is going. Totally not realizing that he's her father. So she comes to his house and he discovers he has a daughter who is a single mother. Of course he's uncomfortable and does the DNA thing. Then much to his chagrin he realizes he has a daughter. Things get complicated when she goes to his studio to sing. So there's a lot of hiding of stuff and misunderstandings. But when her little boy goes missing, his true grandfatherliness comes out. Sweet little father-daughter story.

Delicious Gakuin
Three guys get kidnapped and forced into a cooking school. Ah, the Japanese obsession with food! If you like Iron Chef, you'll like it. And if you like making fun of celebrity culture, this little drama might be fun. I laughed out loud several times. Not super-great but not super-bad.

There is a guy who loves beauty and who is in beautiful and wears beautiful things. Basically, he's famous for being beautiful. His catch-phrase is "that's beautiful" or "that's not beautiful." There is a working class kid whose mom died -- coking-- and so he eats only raw foods. He's especially in love with raw cabbage. And he can eat ten raw onions...if necessary.

And there's a kid who has a French mom and a Japanese mother. His name is Matthew Perrier. He carries a gem-encrusted spoon which he calls "Amour" and he talks very lovingly to Amour. He speaks Japanese very badly. From what I can see from the sub-titles, it's very bad but I suppose I'd laugh even more if I understood Japanese and see how badly he's messing stuff up. Translations can only go so far. When he first meets his fellow-captives, he says to them, "ME fluent in 5 languages." A lot of the time he talks, what he says -- especially when he says "me"-- is written in CAPS. So, yeah, there's something I'm not getting. He's very a ditzy dumb pampered can't-do-much-in-the-world-because-he's-so-helpless kind of way... (The guy who is beautiful is more empty-headed, spoiled and vain) and he speaks like a little kid who's always on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

Anyway, they are stuck and they must graduated from this cooking school in order to leave. Slapstick is hard, and sometimes the drama works really well. Sometimes it's just silly because it's hard for kids so young to do over-the-top humor, I think. They're about 17-20 years old, I think. And I stopped watching after awhile. Not really bored, but you have to be in the mood to watch a slapstick film that isn't working as well as it should. (Or in love with one of the cutie actors.) Alas, none of them were there for me. Although it was fun to see a character who was like BEN in Onion.

Oishii Kankei aka Delicious Relationship
A 19 part DRAMA -- not a film.
Yet another foodie flick. With father issues. A rich but not spoiled woman drinks a wonderfully aromatic soup and after her father dies goes to a French restaurant named Petit Lapin where she happens to bump into the same chef who made it 5 years earlier. Basically, her presence is a healing balm to everyone. And there is the arrogant bitter chef who she wants to learn from.

Other stuff going on in this film too. Romances, forbidden, unrequited, etc. The upscale restaurant down the block who takes the customers away from Petit Lapin.

It's very sweet, although slow in parts. And definitely is drama. I have to admit I skipped ahead. So when I got to the last section there were all these sub-plot stories I had missed. But it was sweet. The danger of watching these dramas...alas...skipping ahead.

General Update

Okay, so where to begin?

Older son suddenly -- SUDDENLY-- told me he is going to finish his BS in Tallahassee Florida. He leaves in a coupla days. Yep, am still in shock. I have weird ideas about the South -- but from what I hear Tallahassee isn't so bad. Older son has never fitted in with this family. Hubby, younger son, and moi...all live in a world where life is scary, full of illness, hard work, debt. Older son has -- through a flaky narcissism-- always been apart from all this. He's a good kid and generous but he's always lived his own life...and I don't think he's really spoken to his younger brother more than one sentence in the past week. He doesn't really ever speak to him. Alas, this is what autism, fibromyalgia, and money issues has done to my family. So --paradoxically-- I guess it's a good thing for older son to leave the house. He's always been a sweet and good kid but honestly, it's as if he's lived in another family. Maybe in leaving us, he'll understand how much a part of the family he really is. Am still feeling untethered but even more so because of his leaving. And yet, weirdly, this is this strange new feeling of freedom -- as if hubby, younger son, and I are meant to continue on --somewhere else, someway else-- without older son being in the same house with us. Can't explain it but that's how I feel.

Trying to work on younger son's congestion. LOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG Story. His tummy isn't hurting him so much. But now there's this congestion....for six straight months. Meds, herbs, what has or hasn't worked? What to do?

Trying to put terrifying prediction of my former gyno/obs out of my head. She's one of those medical people who tells you terrible news in a practical "you have to know" kinda way. Very depressing to know someone like that. So she's waiting for her autistic nephew to die and she kinda adds, "And your son is a delicate one too. I told my sister Sam (her nephew) wouldn't live long. And your son probably won't live long either." Ah me! And there I was trying to be positive and trying to at least say something affirming about the power of Jesus blood to save us and keep us healthy...but I couldn't get a word in because formber gyno/obs talks a mile a minute (She lives alone so she doesn't know when to stop all those lonely unmarried former docs out there.) Sooooo I finally manage to say something while she's talking and what do I say? "Yes." AAArgh!!! It was politeness on my part but I didn't want to go "agreeing" with her prophecies about death and sorrow for my son. But the "yes" kinda just slipped out because well, she's older and an authority figure and she talks so dang much and relentlessly so I couldn't say anything.

You should've seen how hard I was trying though. I mean...I kept saying to myself: "Affirm the power of the blood here!" "Okay, affirm it here." "Okay, just say 'I'm trusting in Jesus to keep him well.'" SOMETHING!!! But it's very hard to say something full of hope in the face of someone in a kind of negative looping hammering away at a person. One is so afraid of seeming ridiculous or just plain naive.

Of course "yes" is the kinda thing one does say when one is talking to (listening to) someone who talks non-stop depressive prophesy about death, mayhem, racism, etc. I have a neighbor who can go on and on about the evil white man and she just kinda paralyzes me with her prophecies about how things can go wrong for black folks. (Uhm:: interesting thought -- at least interesting to me-- is that folks like these DO kinda get into a weird loop where they just can't stop talking. I wouldn't call it hypnotic for the listener, but it does seem as if they're in a kind of hypnotic talking negative spell. Actually it's a kind of abuse and they don't realize they are abusing all hope out of you when they talk like that. It's them allowing their members to be used as tools of unrighteousness and the devil. They just allow negativity to use their lips.

And the weird thing is that the desire not to seem impolite just kinda keeps one rooted in place -- on the phone or in front of the negative spouter. It's weird... one simply cannot leave or hang up the phone. So, yeah, the devil uses our desire to be polite and our little etiquette to keep us being hammered away with hopelessness. So yeah, she had me weirding out all night.

What else? Yeah, something else about the devil's work. Today I was watching a show on National Geographic channel about the elephant man of China. Why, oh, why do I watch shows about how illness and disease and war affect people -- especially children? So of course I was crying and weeping and being angry at the devil for what he does to people? I so wish I had the gift of healing...and the boldness to go around the world using the authority God has given to every believer in Christ to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers. etc. But heck, if I can't even tell my former obs/gyno to shut up because she scares me with all her medical prognoses about me and my son.... then how can I be bold on the mission field or with strangers?

Am trying to figure out what to do with a villain. I want a really memorable villain. But the book is full of a lot of baddies.

Got some lovely calls from friends from all over -- especially friends in my town. Made me feel loved. And almost tethered. Will see. The entire family is going into the New Year living on hubby's unemployment, my pension, and young son's SSI. What a world! Wonder what God is planning.


Sunday, December 27, 2009

25th Wedding Anniversary

Made it! Who woulda thunk it?

Thank you, Lord, for giving me the sweetest, most patient, kindest husband!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The cornucopia of salvation

Yes, yes, I know.... the phrase is actually "a horn of salvation." But I like cornucopia better. Cornu and horn mean the same thing. In Scripture "horn" means power, strength. Like a ram's horn that pushes against an enemy. People blew through shofars -- a type of horn. They drank from horns.

But I got to thinking of cornucopias. You know what those are. Large horns with tons of nature's goodies stuffed inside them. A cornucopia tended to overflow. So yeah, I like that...because it's about God's tendency to be generous and when we think of cornucopias, we do not limit the holy one of Israel.

So what exactly is in this horn of salvation?

Well, let's see:

Because of the death and perfect life of Jesus we have:

The mind of Christ
The peace that passes all understanding
The Love of God is shed abroad in our hearts
We have an advocate with the Father
Righteousness before God
The right to use Jesus' name
Adoption into the family of God
Authority to heal the sick, and cleanse the infected
Power to raise the dead and cast out demons
All things are Christ's and all Christ's is ours.
We are more than conquerors through him that loved us
We have a brother named "Amen" (YES) and a Father named YAHWEH(ALWAYS AM)
We were healed by the wounds of Jesus
Ah, I could go on.....

So here's the verse:

Luke 1:
68Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people,

69And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;

70As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began:

71That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us;

72To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant;

73The oath which he sware to our father Abraham,

74That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear,

75In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.

76And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;

77To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins,

78Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us,

79To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Psalm 18

1I will love thee, O LORD, my strength.

2The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

3I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.

2 Samuel 22:2-4 (King James Version)

2And he said, The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer;

3The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence.

4I will call on the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.

Go Tell It On The Mountain

Friday, December 25, 2009

Yeat's "A Prayer for My Son"

I love this poem because it speaks of the Nativity, but also connects to how I feel about my son.

And then there's this one.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

WTF moment in Christian conversation -- worldly conversation superstitions

Sometimes a Christian says something that makes me wonder.
Here it was: "Well, this is what I want to happen. But I won't talk about it. Because if I talk about it, it may not happen."

A Christian  is supposed to be one who speaks forth. We are children of the word. The devil has convinced so many of us that it's best to err on the safe side by not speaking our wishes or by "hoping for the best but preparing for the worst." It's such a part of some Christian's habit that I want to say, "Didn't James (Jacob actually) say that true religion is having control of one's tongue? But you are so deceived now! You're thinking that having control of your hope and not speaking your hope is 'safe'?" Honestly, what does one do with this kind of person?

We are called to speak forth. If we want a thing, we are to be bold and to say, "I am trusting that God will help me in this. I'm trusting that He is helping me." Instead, we have folks saying, "Well, it's bad luck to speak about this wish. So I won't speak it. And it's best for me not to hope too much." I'm not even going to talk about a neighbor of mine who prays for her son all the time but always says, "If it weren't for bad luck, he'd have no luck at all."

You don't get saved until you speak it out, until you start to activate what's in your heart. With the heart one believes and with the mouth one confesses to salvation.  The power of our heart linked to our tongues has a power. God has put His words into our mouth.

Let the high praises of God be in their mouth and a two-edged sword in their hands.

I won't even talk about the person who says negative things about her future all the time. Okay, it's hard not to talk about negative things in the present. But when someone says in conversation, "I just know such and such will happen." Come now, folks!

There are so many things God has prepared for us to walk in. But we are collaborers with God. We have to speak faith. We don't have to walk around being theological about everything but if we live a life where we live in communion with the father and simply speak with hope....we will have power. You can read the Bible for days but if you speak negatively or speak from a culture or spirituality that has been tainted by the faithless traditions of men, you won't walk in the life you want.

Think of Moses' parents, Amram and Yochebed: They saw that Moses was "a goodly child" and because of that they wanted to spare him from Pharoah's decree. They were ordinary folks who chose to live in faith. It's possible that anyone could be the deliverer of Israel. But Moses' parents were the ones who held on to the small hope: a child as cute and sweet and handsome and lovely as our child shouldn't die. It was a faith thing...and they spoke it to each other. "Amram, don't you think this is the best kid ever? Yochebed, isn't he the cutest thing?" By an inner conviction that was nothing more than parental love, they "decided" to live in faith. Faith had a faithful work, but it was rooted in a decision to be full of faith.

Think of Abel. His blood cried out to God from the ground. Poor murdered Abel -- he saw the life he could've had. He saw the things he could've done. But his life had not gone the way it was supposed to. Yet he cried out. That's all he could do about his lost life. His blood cried out to God from the  ground. The human soul knows there's something in God that wants us to live well. The Christian redeemed human soul should know that God has given us authority and power through the blood, name, and word of Jesus. Then why do we act as if God is a horrible cruel negative being? Do we really believe in the great salvation that Jesus has given to us? True, it's hard as heck sometimes to get some prayers to manifest. Because we have an enemy who battles us. There's an enemy to resist. The kingdom of God suffers violence and the violent take it by forth. But when a Christian doesn't even fight, or develops some funky theology about why not to fight, or starts playing conversational wordgames based on the world's just makes me wonder.

We Christians have to be consistent that we speak from heaven. Jesus said "we will give an account for every idle word we speak. By our words we are justified and by our words we will be condemned." Simon Peter spoke from heaven one second, then from hell the next. First he says that Jesus is the son of God; then the next thing he's saying something that makes Jesus shout at him: "Get away from me, Satan!" We have a choice of how to use our words.

We are seated in heavenly places. Our conversation is in heaven. We have a great life planned for us. But we must work with God -- with believing faith in our hearts and with faithful words in our speak about what Jesus has provided for us. We mustn't agree with the enemy. We live in God's kingdom. It's a matter of choice. We can align ourselves. Don't let sin reign in our mortal bodies...and allow the parts of your body to be used for sin. Especially our mouths.

Jesus said we are called to do greater works than He did. And look at this...someone talking about not talking because "talking about hope might bring bad luck." What a world!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


by Marly Youmans

  • Publisher: PS Publishing; Limited signed ed edition (April 1, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 1906301514
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906301514

Here's the intro in the book:
"It is Shakespearean in its sensibility, with its enchanted wood, its twins, its doubling and quadrupling of couples and families, its fairy brood. It is difficult to say that it is a fantasy novel, and difficult to say it isn't." 

Here's a smidgen of a review from Christianity Today where it was named one of the best books of 2009

The word "magical" has been overused and misused to such an extent that it has perhaps lost its potency, but this tale, set among the redwoods of Northern California, is truly magical. I'm sorry it is not as easily obtained as the others on this list, but I can attest—having ordered it from the UK myself—that it is by no means inaccessible. And you will be amply rewarded. More than any other book I read in 2009, this one insistently came to mind.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Weekend Movie-Viewing -- The serial drama edition

I'm watching japanese dramas now...not justmovies.

Started watching a show called houkaga...which means after school
It's a teenage body switch movie. It was good but then I switched. (tee-hee) Am not sure if I could sit through 20 episodes of anything at my computer. Not good for circulation. But it wasn't bad as far as I've seen so far. The annoying thing is that dramas tend not to be completed on the site...even if it says it is.

So moved on to  Nobuta wo Produce    Producing Nobuta
It's about a girl who's being bullied and Shuji who likes to think of himself as the cool and caring guy decides she needs to be helped. He's an interesting character. He's cool but he's friends with nerds, popular kids, everyone
everyone likes him. and he's very self-aware and aware of what it takes to be liked by all. Except he has one enemy --a kid who wants to befriend him but whom he just cannot stand. But they both are gonna work on this girl...but since everyone knows they dislike each other they don't want to be seen as working together. Too embarassing for Shuji. And working together they begin to like each other. The funny thing is how sweet Shuji is.
He's really a kind person. Like he allows the bullying up to a point. But even when he allows it, he gives a limit It's cute in its weird way. I really like shuji. He has a strange relationship with the most beautiful girl in the school. She makes him lunch everyday. But don't know what's going on there. The drama is very sweet so far. All over the world the same kind of sweetness is admired.

But watching a completed series is interesting. Since it's supposedly all up there, I can go to the site and watch it anytime. Or I can zoom ahead. Or watch it all in one sitting or simply not watch the ending. So, yeah, it's weird.

Gaichu -- Harmful Insects

This is a great and totally depressing movie about a depressed mother, a melancholy teenaged girl, pedophiles. Ah, yes, Japan! I really liked it but at the same time I don't like the relentless mean-spiritedness of life in this story.

Saichi lives with her suicidal mother who hardly pays attention to her. The mom seems lonely but she's often seen at a distance. Saichi has had a sexual relationship with her sixth-grade teacher and he's skipped town because he's afraid of trouble. But she still writes to him. He's the only one she has to talk to...and it's one of those complicated pedophiliac relationship where the guy is probably a nice guy. (Yeah, I know... but there you is nothing if not complicated.) She is gossiped about in school because of her mother's suicide attempts and because of the rumors...and because she's a bit odd. But she has a faithful friend Nakuto who worries about her and tries to include her into everything.

Saichi meets a street urchin (love that word) who she befriends. He's another lost child and he's pretty nice. She stops going to school and hangs out with him. But then...the first of the very manipulative nihilistic thing happens and he's out of her life.

Okay, I'm not saying I hated this movie. In fact, I loved this movie. And YET, I totally have to say that I DO NOT like movies that manipulate events in such a way as to create doom for a character. That's all I'll say. No, I'll say something else: the timing of the manipulative events. When you watch a movie and you JUST KNOW some doom is coming, you can't be patient -- if you're a writer who writes and plots stories for a living-- with something designed to be relentlessly unlucky in the life of the character.

Anyway, that's just me.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Modern Galatian Church

I suspect that when a Bible-believer reads this title he/she will assume that I'm speaking about the Messianic Church movement where many charismatics/evangelicals are returning to some of the rituals and laws of Judaism.

Well, no! Although they might be included in the larger grouping. The fact is that the modern Christian church is way more Galatian than we'd like to think.

In the book of Galatians, Paul warns people against attempting to work through law to get to God. He meant Judaic law but he also meant laws of behavior, as in the knowledge of good and evil. He even goes so far as to say that if we try to get into heaven through law, we are cursed and bewitched. It's sad to ponder but it's probably true that most Christians think that worshiping God and being good Christians is a matter of keeping rules. And we often judge our brothers and sisters by the rules we think they ought to keep. Although Paul has told us that we cannot judge our brothers and sisters in Christ because we are no longer under law.(I could go into the impossibility of judging folks but it'd be a good exercise to go through the Bible and to see how God dealt with different people who did different sins under the law. Often one person does one sin and is punished and another person does the very same sin and goes unpunished or is even rewarded. So we have to be careful. As a small example: witness how lying is considered a sin in most of the Bible...yet Samson gets in trouble when he doesn't lie to Delilah. And that's just one example. We don't know what's going on in other folks' lives... so we can't judge.)

So we who should be living by grace and trust in Christ's works are often living under the and trusting in our own righteousness under some human tradition or law --

Thus... Roman Catholics have their rules which they keep and because Protestants don't keep those rules...therefore protestants are judged by not obeying the rules.

Or Baptists have certain rules which they keep and because Episcopalians don't keep those rules, then Baptists feel free to judge the Episcopalians about it. (Ever had to deal with one of those "We don't drink wine in communion" discussions? People really get worked up about if not taking wine is part of the gospel. Heck, wine isn't something one should drink too often but it isn't a sin to drink it.)

When the first disciples preached the gospel to the first converts, they told them the basics: (The great council in which they decided what the basics they should do.) And they said to preach the gospel, heal the sick, raise the dead, baptize people. The average Christian rarely does these things...(but we Christians are always doing stuff other than what God tells us to do. I mean, honestly...we have so many traditions of men that fight against the word of God...and we don't question them.  

Honestly...if you're in church and you have a minister who always talks in such a way to make you feel guilty, you should leave that church. Because if you're in a church that makes you always feel guilty then you're in a church ruled by an Accuser of the Brethren. You'll end up either judgmental of others or full of self-condemnation. Because such a church has become an enemy of the grace brought by the blood of Jesus which delivers us from bloodguiltiness.

Jesus came to free us from our own works and to make us sons of God. Not to give us other works of our own righteousness to do. Satan's sole purpose is to belittle the work of Christ and to not allow us to show forth God's glory by preaching the kingdom, healing the sick, raising the dead. As long as we believe we are unworthy and as long as we live under the law... we are victims of a counterfeit church and in the Galatian heresy.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The glories, angst, and tragedy of fantasy

Am getting back into The Constant Tower. WOW!!! It's so good to be back into a fantastical world. The nobility, the beauty, the angst -- the character's lack of concern about paying mortgage! (Well, at least in this story, there are no money issues or penniless beggar children.)

Loving beautiful Ephan with his birth taint and grief.
Loving angsty angry Psal with his congenital illness.
Loving everyone. Even the evil Voca!

Oh my gosh! The joy, the bliss!

Mainstream has its virtues, mind you. But...fantasy! Well, it just leaves me speechless!

I'd stepped aside to work on Onion. Although Onion is YA, it still has my issues. It even dealt with tribalism -- in its own way. And the romance in Onion -- like the romance in Wind Follower-- was about and thwarted by tribalism in its own way. Except that in Wind Follower, the tribe that was against the romance was the tribe of the spirits. In Onion, the tribe that's against the romance is primarily the friend group to which Ben belongs...

 Now that I'm back with Onion, I just have to work with figuring out why the story feels so repressed. Not sure if it's repressed because I'm afraid of a beat-down from Christians because they didn't like the sexual stuff in WF. Or if the story's repressed because secular reviewers had an issue with the religious/Christian aspect of WF. Or maybe it's repressed because I myself am just plain repressed.  Either thinking that when it comes to reviews maybe I should develop a kind of "been there, done that" attitude... and simply stop reading my reviews. In that way I don't repress and suppress myself.

So...for your pleasure -- and curiosity-- some of my fave final fantasy games...and my beloved Kokia.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

We Who Live at the End of Time - Climate Change Edition

It's been a while since I did an "End of Time" post so figured that since the Climate conference is going on in Copenhagen, I'd just ramble on a bit.

From what I can make out there are four takes on this climate thing

1) Nothing strange is happening to earth's weather at all
2) Something is happening but it's all perfectly cyclical
3) Something is happening and its all man's fault
4) Something is happening and God is behind it because we're at the end of time.

From what I can make out of all this, the folks who don't believe anything is happening and the folks who believe it's perfectly cyclical tend to be Christians or North Americans or rich multinationals.

I'm not so embarrassed that they are north Americans...because I'm kinda used to being on the outside of North American mindsets. North Americans watch mostly provincial news programs -- shows only about their own lands and concerns-- so they don't know that there is no longer ANY snow on Mt Kilimanjaro. Or that Kenyan lakes are drying up and people are starving. Or that Bolivia is really suffering with drought. Or that Denmark hasn't had much snow since 1995. (YAY! Today they got some!) As long as American weather is fairly normal, Americans won't change until their water and land are affected. You can tell what type of person you're dealing with, by the way, by what they call it. If they call it "Global Warming" they're apt to be deniers. Because they can say, "Look the climate's not warming up." Everyone else calls it Climate Change.

I'm also not embarrassed about the rich multinationals...because well, I'm not one. And I'm pretty used to the facts of multinational corporate grief. They were stealing water, attempting to patent seeds, etc for so long... that they're pretty good at pretending that all is well.

But I gotta admit that the Christians who don't believe in any climate change at all are embarrassing me. There is the usual American Christian habit of believing that our country is noble and good...thus if climate change BLAMES the US, climate change is bad. This desire to believe that something doesn't exist because it impugns our country is so wearying as to be stressful. It's mixed up with the American Christian worship of patriotism and law and I'm not gonna go into it except to say it's kinda disgusting to me. Well, I'll just add that this kinda thing is also connected with the belief in the pre-trib rapture. Basically, as long as America exists, American Christians believe that all is well. (Wouldn't it be soo weird if the rapture was post-trib and all the Christians who believed in the pre-trib rapture took the mark of the beast because they thought the beast couldn't come before the rapture? Just thinking.)

Many of these no-climate-change Christians also believe that "God made the world perfect" therefore the world can endure any of man's evils...because the world is not fragile. They also believe that God said the seasons would endure til the end therefore the climate of the world cannot be destroyed. My opinion of this is that I know the world can recover... but only if God deems it necessary that the world recovers. My other opinion of this is that the Bible tends to only talk about two seasons. Winter and Summer. The division of stuff into winter, spring, fall, purely man-made. Also, who says the continuation of seasons necessarily bars climate change? One can still have seasons with climate change... except it'll be weird seasons.

Okay, then there is the "it's all man's fault group." I'm a bit on this side. Although I can't say it's all man's fault. Because another part of me totally thinks --yeah, here it comes-- that we live at the end of time. Seriously, what person in his or her right mind really really really thinks the earth will be around in the next two hundred years? (Not talking about the 1000 years of peace, mind you.) Seriously, wars and rumors of wars abound. The four horsemen are running rampant: strange disease pestilence/epidemics, famine, natural disasters, and war.  So while I do think greedy men and average folks like myself have contributed to the over 3.5 carbon factor in the air... I gotta say something vastly greater and weirder is going on.

The funny stuff about all this is the selectivity of info. Many Conservative Christians will select conservative pro-American media outlet to believe, and will believe those series of reports. Many progressives will select anti-American media outlets to believe. I find this all very funny...but Jesus did warn us against "rumors of war" which is the old term for "propaganda." So when Christians start allowing media to teach them how to think...we're in trouble. I tend to listen to everyone's viewpoint... but that's me. And I like listening to news shows from all countries. So I'm aware of let's say news from Kenya and Bolivia...and I see how the weather is changing for those countries. Most American Christians however don't really do that. They're content with news from Fox News and from their ministers -- who presumably have degrees in climatology as they deny climate change.

Now, whatever we may believe...the sad truth is that something has got to be done to starving people all over the world who are being affected by all this strange climate. Whether it's through countries such as the US, Canada, China, etc lowering their carbon emissions or through working with the "normal cyclicality" of it all we really ought to help people. I read recently that one of the Ice Ages affected humans. Most people seem to think ice ages only affected dinosaurs. Ah, people, people! People!!!!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Remembering Terry

Lately my friend Terry's been on my mind. Why does that happen? Someone dead for a couple of years -- or longer-- just starts pressing at the mind and one can't shake it. I even included a Terry-like person in my novel Onion. That's the effect he had on me. Or maybe he was always in the back of my mind and decided to jump into Onion. I miss him a lot.

I found no obituary for him on the web except for this:
"Beloved activist and film maker Terry Strecker, known for his affection for people and for all things beautiful as well as his work on films such as "Inside Outside" and "Safer in the Street," passed away on September 29, 2006."
I knew him when we went to Purchase together. He was older than I was and was one of the central figures in a little group that I kinda belonged to. I can't really describe what there was between Terry and me... I hardly know myself. Certainly, I don't think anyone else knew of it. (Yeah, I know... confusing...but it would be even more confusing to describe this relationship. And I don't want to talk too much about it. Especially for folks who don't understand certain things.)

As I said, I knew him in school when we went to college in Purchase. I lost touch with him after he graduated -- which I think was the thing he decided to do. I really am happy I knew him. And I'm happy for the little group of wounded WASP, German, Italian, and Jewish gay and bisexual males I was surrounded with in college. The Christians didn't protect me or include me in. The Blacks didn't protect me or include me in. The Jews and the gays were the ones who took care of me and befriended me. I'm not prone to judging folks. And although I am an avid Bible believer, I didn't allow that to let me judged my friends or destroy my relationships with these guys. I don't think I would've grown up to bash gays if I hadn't met them. But I know hanging around outsiders and being an outsider among outsiders influenced me in wonderful ways. I think of Terry and so many of my friends now dead. He died of liver cancer.

His music was interesting...not that I got it back in the day.

Here's a video they did that played on MTV.

But the greatest mark Terry made was a film he did to help mental hospitals transition the mentally ill from institutional life to the world outside. It's a remarkable achievement and is widely known and used in federal, state, and private governmental mental health sites. Here's the viewer's guide pdf

Here's an abstract of the film:

In the light of the Supreme Court's Olmstead Decision (1999), ex-patient film-makers Deegan and Strecker depict the lives of eight people with very significant histories of institutionalization who make their journeys from inside nursing homes and psychiatric hospitals into full community inclusion on the outside. In the introduction to the film Deegan discusses the four stages of this journey: Becoming institutionalized (Inside out), Turning points (Inside out), Turmoil to self direction (Outside in), and Community integration (Outside in) before an audience of people with psychiatric disabilities at Pilgrim State Hospital.

Here's the blurb:

Inside Outside: Building a Meaningful Life After the Hospital

This is a work of hope created by ex-patient film-makers Pat Deegan and Terry Strecker. Inside Outside tells the story of how eight people with very significant histories of institutionalization made the transition to recovery and community living. In the spirit of the New Freedom Initiative and the Supreme Court’s Olmstead Decision, the film carries the message that recovery and life in the community are possibilities even for people who are viewed as the most chronic or impaired. The film leaves audiences of professionals and people with psychiatric disabilities alike, cheering for these eight individuals as they make their journey from inside institutions to full community inclusion on the outside. Running Time: 49 minutes
The film Inside Outside has completed the federal government’s clearance process. The film has been made available in the public domain which means you can get a copy for free at theSAMHSA website. People outside of the U.S. may not be qualify for a copy of the film through SAMHSA and occasionally copies run out.  An alternative is to purchase a copy at our website.

This is one of the interview he did with a patient.

This is a part of a lecture done by his co-filmmaker

Rest in Peace, Terry. One day I'll see you in heaven.

Death Brings the End by Heinrich Heine

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Dark Parable: Older Son's Mannequin's Body

I had this dream this morning. I dreamed it was a Friday and my older son was preparing to go away for a trip. When I looked at him I realized he had a crack in his shoulder that radiated down his left arm. It seemed that some time before he had lost his body and his head had been placed on top of a mannequin's body. Or maybe his brain was inside a styrofoam skull head atop a mannequin's body. Whatever it was, he was going on this trip with a broken arm. I began to chide him, "Don't you realize that although it's hard for God to heal someone who's been decapitated because we humans don't have faith to pray for the restoration or re-growing of a human body, that the place that manufactured your body has a warranty!!!! But no, you're allowing your arm to be cracked up like this...and now there's no time to get the replacement arm to the plug into the replacement body socket. Even if they overnight it, it can't come by tomorrow when your trip is schedule!"

So now, I'm like...okay.... WTF?

Is this dream from God?
Is this dream my self-conscious telling me about my son?
Is this dream my self-conscious telling me what I think about my son?

Ah, symbols! I know it's probably gonna be totally clear today. That's how these things happen. Maybe I'm just tired of son eating take-out food or "trying to bulk up and look hot" like a mannequin. Or maybe I'm thinking he just doesn't take care of his body....all that junk food. Or maybe I want him to realize there is a warranty -- the word of God-- that he isn't using.  Will pass the dream on to him. Sometimes I get dreams for him. Like the time I dreamed a friend had put a claw in him....and bingo it turned out the night before some sleazy friend of his had attempted to take his money. Will see. But when I dream of older son out of the blue, I'm like... what? I love you son but I never really dream of you... So, am assuming this is important.

Got this from Rose Marie my pal over at

is there something that you think your son is neglecting in his own healing process?
God heals, but it seems like people that cooperate with their healing get farther in the healing process? 

Sounds good. Will see what everyone else says. 

Monday, December 14, 2009

Vain imaginings -- The Great Might Have Beens, The Great Will Never Be's

Was talking to a friend about imagination, fantasies, Christians, and limits. Got to thinking.
I daydream way too much. Or maybe I daydream in the wrong way. God gave us the imagination so it's to be used -- presumably. But how is a Christian to use it? And how is a Christian not to use it?

Oh there are the shoulda-coulda-woulda daydreams. A sad lot. Because they tend to be about regret. I shouldn't have said this. I shoulda done that. If only...

Not that it's always rejection. Sometimes it's just curiosity. The mind starts wandering/wondering. I often think of my two great-might-have-beens. Sometimes they end up in my novels or stories. And both have ended up in Onion -- with their real names, no less. So maybe that's the end of my daydreaming about them (if daydreams are a tool in a writer's creative arsenal.) Except for the fact that they were both white, they were guys who were vastly different from each other. Jeff was a red-headed Christian kid. So pure, so sweet, so shy, so holy. Terry was gay, in and out of mental institutions, Jewish or German, the leader of his arty clique, prematurely gray from all the debauched life he'd lived in the clubs. Weirdly, both never told me their love. And there was no "official" dating. Just these weird moments when the love was angrily declared (by Jeff who thought I should've seen it all along) or in Terry's case "undeclared" (as he tried to tell me for fifteen minutes but couldn't bring himself to say it so someone else told me years after the fact.) In both cases, I thought: Dang, was that what was going on all that time? Well, now they're in Onion. Except that in the story Jeff actually tells the main character he loves her and gives her a chance instead of shouting at her at the "end" of their relationship for not realizing. ::rolling eyes:: honestly, when I think about Jeff I find myself saying: with all the weirder more passionate stuff going around everyone's live in college, did he even think a gentle Christian courtship could be seen by non-observant clueless me for what it was?

But moving on:
The weird creative fact is that I have so many alternative lovers, husbands, families in my daydream that I really h ave to ponder this. God actually warned me about this habit of daydreaming when I was graduating college. Yep. In a dream, I was shown my real family and my imagined family...and how I had neglected the real for the imagined. And as I think about that dream and about my very bad habit of daydreaming, I feel God wants me to be here now. But I doubt he wants me to get rid of the habit entirely.

Okay, I know some folks are probably thinking these fantasies are sexual. Well, yes, some aren't. But most aren't. Although there are weird sexual and racial dynamics going on.

In these daydreams -- there are often common themes. Themes common to other fantasies, themes common in my stories, themes common in many fictionalized romances. There is always someone or some group I need to impress, some person of power, mystery. or wealth --either me or the other person in the daydream --, some foreign country, and the other occupants of the daydream are usually an audience. (Ah, no!!! Nor voyeurism but something definitely about approval or acceptance or rejection of the collective mind.)

In one of my pretty persistent daydreams I have a rockstar hubby and --he's way younger and I'm way older so women who think he wouldn't want me are stumped-- he and I adopt kids labeled unadoptable. I always wanted to do that with unadoptable kids. But I also always wanted to thumb my nose at all those white women who have looked at my hubby and me and said, "What does he want to do with a fat Black woman?" So yeah, hurt is in there.... And of course, it's got to be a rich guy whom everyone wants. But also I have fantasies where I daydream against white men. In one of my fame dreams, I'm on American Idol and I have two boyofriends... a native american and an Asian. Stepping outside of the "white guys are the best" mode. But also these guys are gorgeous and they both want me. Which reminds me... must make Constant Tower a bit more sexual.

The alternate husbands, boyfriends, and alternate Caroles tend to be either extremely cold or extremely passionate (not sexually but with a very large personality) --unlike hubby or me.

I understand that fame, woundedness, and my attraction to the wounded works in these daydreams. For good or ill. Often in these daydreams, I deal with wounded people...and I show the cruel audience world that I reject their judgment of the wounded folks. So, while I want to get rid of the habit of too much daydreaming, I don't want to get rid of the pure things that drive them -- such as my love for wounded folks, my desire to be somewhat special, my desire to live an unrepressed life.

And yet... I feel i must surrender it to God. Because I fantasize more about this alternate reality than I do about younger son's healing or my healing. What a horrendous waste of the imagination! Shouldn't I be imagining and daydreaming what life will be like when younger son starts talking? Especially if the imagination is probably a tool to be used in getting one's prayer answered.

I think when I get to heaven God'll say I lived half my life in an alternate reality. So yeah, it's good for you if we control the daydreams. Unless these muddled what-ifs and might-have-beens- and shoulda-couldas are really healing us in some way.

But where to draw the borders of imagination? When i consider that in some fantasies I'm young and with some passionate handsome's pretty unreal for me. Cause I can't grow young again. And when I do get somewhat real (kinda) and have daydreams about some young thing but am my own would mean killing off my hubby if they were to come true? Am I right? Plus a very strange May September romance. Pedophiliac "robbing the grace" issues aside, what does that heal within me to daydream like that?

So I've been daydreaming since youth. Now it could be a response to my crappy childhood or my talent for writing. (Hey, writers daydream a heck of a lot) Or both. Although I've been daydreaming for ages, it hasn't destroyed my 25 years of marriage. But I suspect it has pulled me from praying and praising at night as much as I could. I expend a lotta energy and time on these daydreams.

And yet, it would be tearing such a part of my life away to not fantasize anymore -- if that is what God wants. I don't want to excuse what he might see as a real problem. I just feel childish and foolish because I want to hide from reality sometimes -- or to use them to get to sleep-- or because some facts in life are too painful for me to really face. And at the same time, the reality I've built up is so much larger than say the reality i've built up of Gabe's speaking

So... the decision:

Am gonna try to make my imagination be led by me..not me be led by it.
I think I have to have true comfort... and true imagination. God is my true comfort. To run to the fantasies also develops weird soul ties with non-existent people --and the rare hottie I'm lusting for (but that's very rare.)

I have to make God my true comforter...not the daydreams. I have to use my imagination to imagine good in my life. I must use my imagination to help me in creating my stories. I must not be led by it or addicted to it. It must not bee my own private sedative, especially when it's in something that can't happen. I don't mind living in a story... but when the story kinda grabs you the minute you get into bed it's a bit of a problem. Not psychosis but dang close. (Of course so many of my stories have been stories I lived in before writing there is that writer daydreaming issue.)

But when the scenes in a daydream have been in our beds/heads for 20 various forms...and has not become a story, and the core issues have not been resolved...then it's a kind of loop, isn't it? One is in a circle and cannot get out. When one is young and unmarried, it's not as if one is committing adultery with an imagined person. It's a way of exploring and testing limits. Can one allow one's self to sing and be famous in a daydream? Can one allow one's self to be loved passionately in a daydream? Or is the daydreamed self just as unloved and unrepressed? And if one is a writer, well ... writers write their own truth. We have to write truth in order to be healers and to show God's comfort. We just have to not become overwhelmed. And as Christians, we can't go letting some horrible sinful daydream take us over.

i in love are we with these characters? There is something pure about my characters. Let's say you're in love with Aragorn from Lord of the Rings. You can create someone like Aragorn...or you're in love with some Asian hottie. You can create a story with an Asian hottie. And yet... there is this weird code of conduct. The character isn't really yours. He belongs to the woman you've also created to love him and to be loved by him. But somehow it's healing to have created the characters...and the soul is a bit healed because of that daydream now novel.

I imagine these characters and I love them dearly. So the story might be born of a daydream but they aren't like some others I daydream about. Ah, we Christians. We have some heavy repression going on. Not because God is so repressive but because so many Christians who taught us are teachers of legalism and not of the gospel. But also -- when it comes to those things God forbids-- there is a reason for such repressions.

I think we can still fantasize and daydream...but we have to be brave in these stories. We must allow God to challenge our endings in these stories. It's about not limiting life, God, or ourselves..but it's also about reining in stuff that is just counter-life

For instance, I was considered beautiful by some and used to model. But I never felt beautiful So I needed all this fantasy. Especially with a quiet hubby who doesn't compliment me. Yes, I am greatly loved in my fantasies.

And yet I also feel that one must be careful and be ready to drop anything God wants us to drop... and it might be a matter of life and death of happiness in marriage or unhappiness in marriage...depending on how one controls one's imagination. We must guard the heart...what we put in, what we allow the world and the imagination and the demonic to put into it. It's good to study these daydreams to see what we're trying to work out. If we can do certain things in real life, we will move past them in fantasies.

I think we have to daydream about healing the sick and raising the dead to teach our minds how to be ready to do the commandments of God. Jesus says to heal the sick raise the dead etc. to not do that is to be disobedient. So i really should add this kind of thing to my mental daydream repetoire. We must be renewed in the spirit of our minds and be transformed by the renewing of our minds. The conscious renewing.

We know that we are living far below our birthright. We know the enemy has been relentless
and our imaginations can fight the enemy but we also know the enemy also has a lot of knowledge about how to snare we must be careful and take heed how we use our minds.

Weekend Movie-Viewing -- the puzzle edition

I hadn't set out to use my mind at all this weekend but alas...there it all was: my mind and some movies that needed puzzling out.

The second movie I saw -- the first i'll mention here-- is a Japanese movie called Puzzle. (Did you like my seque from the first sentence into that title?) In the toughest class of a really difficult high school, 19 kids are enduring a hard difficult teacher who is telling them that they should consider each other enemies. The class and life is a competition and it's all about being competitive and winning. He is hard and passionate. So much so that only 10 folks are left in his class. The 11th kid was just about to transfer to a totally different school -- because of the humiliation of failing-- and wouldn't you know it? kid and hard teacher are kidnapped by masked hostages and put on the school via school-cam. Masked hostages ask for class 3A. Class 3A is told that masked hostages want to play a game. They have 24 hours to find 2000 pieces of a puzzle....located all around the school. And if not, well... death to the hostages.

Well there's some stress and discussion about whether they should or not but a gunshot to 11th student pretty much tells them it's all serious. And they know better than to call the cops or else the hostages will be killed. Not that they like the prof...but they like the kid. Talk about a movie that had me on the tip of my toes..edge of my seat...and which was so infuriating.

And why -- so you ask-- is it infuriating?

Two reasons.

The first:
This film has about eleven main characters. But throughout the film the visuals are behind the
auditory stuff. So in the beginning we have quick cuts from character A to the others. And as they talk to the cops they're all talking about each other -- What they all did as they try to escape the hostage takers and find the puzzle. But since the sound lags after the visuals
or before's like we hear a guy's voice...but we see a woman. And guy is talking about a character who flashes on after he talks but then it's not really in time with the character he's talking about so we see other pictures. So i'm just so confused about who is who? i am i to get to know the subtleties of personalities. The only guy I can kinda understand is the main character bec ause he's on screen long before all the intros take place
And a class rebel slacker type who wears very loud hippie type clothing.

But then the second was so infuriating as to be devastating:
There I was, watching the film and giving a play-by-play to my friend Jessica with whom I was Chatting (I-M-ing) at the time. And suddenly when we got to the last part of the flick: NADA! There was no last part. It wasn't uploaded or whatever. The devastation was horrible. Why, do you ask, was I so devastated? Because this was one of the best little flicks I'd see in awhile. Because there were twists and turns and surprises EVERYWHERE, because I was on the edge of my chair...and then ending.

I'm still in shock and hurt and upset. I suppose I could imagine the ending...but ....

This is the link. The movie described on the linked page is NOT the above movie... but the movie begins on this page.

Then there was Fracture with Ryan Gosling. I am such a major Ryan Gosling fan. Hey, the kid's got such an attitude. He always has this smug smirk on his face. How can I not like him?

In this movie he stars with Anthony Hopkins. Anthony's character is one of these guys who thinks about the smallest details so when he commits a murder against his philandering wife he has set matters up in such a way that Ryan's prosecuter character cannot possibly prosecute him... unless he finds a small fracture in the plan. Of course the good guy wins in the end. And we spend much of our time trying to puzzle out how things will work. Like that as an ending.

I also wanted to see this. Yet another puzzle movie. Japanese time-travel. And a cult favorite. But after the devastation and the grief of the Puzzle debacle, I went up to bed to stare at the wall. Will have to see this later.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Restoration: WTF Moment in Asian Hottie Fandom

So, last night --through a series of web connections and links- I came upon some startling sad news about my crush -- my hottie from a particular pop boy band. I'm actually feeling strange mentioning his name because my fan relationship with him is so dang problematic. He is beautiful, plain and simple. Although there are many handsome men, few men exist that are so beautiful... and even fewer with the strange flaky mixture of woundedness and exuberance as this guy. And of course this is the type of guy I've always fallen for.

I had a problem with him because when an interviewer asked him if he had any non-Asian celebrities he liked, he said that he "prefers Asians generally." I felt deeply wounded at that. How can a modern singer not like even one non-Asian celebrity. It felt very small-minded and country-bumpkinesque. It's very hard to love a celebrity who may or may not be prejudiced against you. Especially when the celebrity's comment reminds you of a past white boyfriend who dumped you with the great line: "I can't fall in love with you. I just can't. Although I feel myself doing so, I know it's probably because I'm not sane. Because for a white guy to love a black girl in this society only shows there's something wrong with me." I dealt with the pain of this kind of rejection by mentioning it in my YA onion.

But even so, I reminded myself that my hottie was young and that he would get over that smallminded inability to like minority celebs -- maybe. Although hurt I continued to watch his group and I really started liking these boys so much -- as if they were my children. The fact that so many of them had had such sad lives really connected with me as well.

Anyway, last night I found out this hottie's biological mother had to give him up when he was 4. Really sad. He just got to know his bio mother again when he was around 20. Now the're reunited. Well, I had always sensed a certain sadness about him, that. Charisma is made up of so many things and sometimes we see sad things in certain famous people that we can't quite put our hand on... but it's hard to put our hand on. All sorts of sadness with that group. No wonder i like him. It was very unsettling though. Kinda wish I'd never learned about it because it reminds me of so many heartaches.

I found out and within ten minutes I was lying in bed...stunned and weepy. Why?

Well, human life is often made up of we humans blame-storming and trying to figure out where some great grief came from, what some weird emotion actually is, why we're feeling a certain emotion we can't quite describe. We humans are so wounded and so full of pain we never know where to begin to ascribe emotions. So there I was.

The problem could be global -- maybe I was just weighed down with the sorrows that happen to people in this life -- all the poor women who have had to abandon or give up their children after men leave. All the sad children without mothers to love them.

Maybe the grief concerned only him-- maybe I was sad because I wanted to comfort him and knowing him he wouldn't accept it because he was prejudiced against me. (Remember how I think.) Maybe his grief was what made his songs and talent so great.

Maybe it was my own issue. My father had abandoned my sister and me. He's alive still and we're nothing to him. My mother had to leave us with Jamaican relatives when she came to the US to earn the yankee dollar. Weird uncles, aunts, and cruel grandfather. Separation always hurts me. Especially when little kids are separated from people. Even before that, when I was around two or three my grandmother, Egangelist Ellis, stole me from my mother. She didn't want my father to stay with my mother because she said "my mother was too dark" and so she simply stole me. My mother had to search for me for three days. Then there was my half-sister who said my father loved her more than he loved me because I was too dark. (She's half East Indian.)

Whatever the issue or the source of the pain, I was lying in bed miserably on the point of tears...but not quite crying. Hubby came upstairs and I told him all my heart. He said, "Well, why not pray for him? Maybe that's what God wants you to do. Maybe that's why He led you through that circuitous route to find the information."

I said, "This band has a zillion fans. They have the largest fan base in the world. What is my prayer? I'm sure others of their fans are praying for them."

Hubby said, "Maybe, maybe not. And who knows if they know how or what to pray for."

So I prayed for him. I prayed for myself. I prayed for older son. I prayed for younger son. I prayed for God -- who is in all time-- to touch us in the past and to be there and to heal me as a little girl, and younger son when we had to leave him in the hospital incubator, and older son when we had to leave him when I went to the hospital. I bound the spirits of rejection, abandonment, inferiority complex. Then I went to sleep.

I went to bed. I won't say if I slept or not. In the morning, I heard the Lord say to me: Restoration. Isn't this restoration?

It just came like that.

I realized I'd written about restoration in Onion. I had written that when we're restored we become healed but we don't return to what we should've been if the bad things hadn't happened. I had written that even after restoration we carry all the bad we've had to endure. This young hottie now has two mothers. Both mothers and sons have had their kind of pains, angers, hurts, wounded. But now this kid has two sets of parents and two families. He is restored. Yet the past still remains. I think God wants to tell me that that is how restoration works. When my younger son is perfectly healed and begins speaking, he won't immediately turn into a normal kid who had never been mute or sickly. No, he'll be a kid who is healed and talking but he'll also be a kid who has known both the isolation of being different and he will understand the love of two parents who have done so much for him. So many times when Christians talk about restoration, they ignore the fact that the painful past is still interwoven inside our restored happiness. No matter how plentifully God restores. We can't forget what we've gone through. It gives us a heart of compassion for those with sick children and for those who have suffered terribly...and that will be wonderful.

I don't know why God is telling me about the true nature of restoration. I hope it's because our family is ready to be restored and will be soon. But I also got up thinking of Heaven. In that restoration, abandoned children will be restored to their families. Children who weren't totally kind to their parents will be restored to them. We'll be restored in ways we don't understand. And yet, God will wipe away the tears from our eyes. God says the former things will not come to mind. And yet, the effects of the former things will have affected us and our future eternal work. God does all things well.

Isaiah 25:8
He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.
Isaiah 25:7-9 (in Context) Isaiah 25 (Whole Chapter)
Revelation 7:17
For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.
Revelation 7:16-17 (in Context) Revelation 7 (Whole Chapter)
Revelation 21:4
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
Revelation 21:3-5 (in Context) Revelation 21 (Whole Chapter)

Go Tell It On The Mountain

Friday, December 11, 2009

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Untethered -- waiting to be blown away

Lately I've not only been feeling untethered but have actually become untethered.

I feel as if I'm waiting for something to happen...but what? Waiting to go somewhere...but where?

Okay, by this time you all know that living a sickly sleepless life can pull a person from the world. Add a sickly sleepless non-verbal child with issues and that also pulls a person from the world. Other stuff, too, has contributed to yanking hubby, younger son, and me from the world. (The house and money issues being way up on the list.)

So about six months ago hubby became unemployed after 14 years of working at the same firm. The economic crisis. We've been living on his unemployment, my pension, and younger son's SSI. We are weirdly calm. Weirdly expectant. A job often tethers you to a place. But now that hubby has no job...we are weirdly free.

Then my friends started dispersing. One best friend got married and moved upstate. Other best friend went upstate to live near her children and the rest of her family. Other two best friends are in the throes of their recurring mental illnesses and are battling being institutionalized. Three other friends have died. One tempting male friend had to be put aside. And two friends who kept making snide cracks about Christians -- they listen to much too much NPR-- were cut loose. Oh sure, I've got other friends around here -- but those are equally reclusive and we talk through the phone and via email. And I've got neighbors and acquaintances -- but these aren't people I tend to want to hang with. So what does this mean? I am untethered from emotional ties to this place. Heck, even our furniture and house is dissipating before our eyes -- being destroyed by younger son and doggy. The things that tether me to this town are falling aside.

I like surprises...and writing "My Life as an Onion" came as a strange and wonderful surprise. It summed up my past in many ways and seems to be preparing me for the future. It's as honest and heartfelt as Wind Follower but it's probably the nearest I've ever come to writing an autobiographical novel. I was clearer about the root cause of certain issues --such as being an outsider, choosing to be an outsider, being impatient with cruelty, being antsy with religious platitudes and authoritarian smugness...and it's a free little book. (I am hoping the publishers will accept that freedom. It's a bit edgy...let's hope the editors understand what I'm aiming for.)

I feel as if I'm in waiting. But I don't know what I'm waiting for.

I've had dreams of a Mexican woman giving me her boots to wear, hubby has had a dream of me going traveling on a camel/falling off/ getting a new saddle...then getting back on again.

So what is my and my family's next journey?

Am waiting for the healing of my son to manifest..... yes, but that's not quite it.

Am waiting for my own healing to manifest.... yes but that's not quite it.

Am waiting for hubby to get a new job......yes but that's not quite it.

Am waiting for a new kind of life... but what is it?

Am waiting to hear what God will say or to decipher what he has spoken?

Has he spoken to my heart and yet I haven't heard it? Has he spoken to my mind but my mind has been too sleepy and tired to hear it? Has he spoken to my spirit but I haven't spoken in tongues enough to be edified by it? God's sheep hears his voice...but we often dismiss it.

Cause it seems I won't get what God's saying unless it's written large. Which, mercifully, he tends to do with me....cause I am so dense at times I don't get subtle hints.

So here I sit....praying and praising and listening....and waiting to be blown away. All I want is to be tethered to God.

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