a reconstructed disintegration

we know nothing of religion here; we think only of christ. cs lewis

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Relocation.

I’ve officially relocated to Wordpress, Tumblr’s more sophisticated cousin.  I blog LOTS there, so follow me via email (or however) to stay up to date!  I’ll be putting this one out of commission in the near future.  Thanks to all of you!

Love,

C

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Elsewhere on the interweb.

Hey, friends! 

I hope your holidays were beautiful and happy.  Mine were - I’ve always loved this time of year, and I love it more than ever these days since I get about a month off of school. 

Anyway.  I started a new blog.  Well, two new ones, but only one is really up and running right now.  I’m not quite a fan of New Years Resolutions, but I’ve been wanting to do this for a while now, and I suppose it’s a good starting point. 

The first blog, the one that’s on a roll, is on tumblr, so it’ll be easy enough for you to follow (because I know you will follow it because we are friends and friends do things like that).  It’s called Falling Over Words, and its premise is very simple: words.  Quotes.  Since the dark ages of middle school, I’ve loved collecting quotes.  First, I just wrote them in notebooks.  As I got older, I got fancier and started collecting them on Goodreads, making Microsoft Notebooks full of them - although I do still scribble them on my hands now and then.  When I read books, I have a system of dog-earring the pages: top corner down to mark my place, bottom corner folded to mark a string of words I had fallen in love with.  I underline in library books - in pencil, of course - I text phrases to myself, my “Words” Pinterest board is home to over a thousand pins (and I’m trying not to be ashamed of that). 

So, I wanted to make it easy for others for enjoy the words I’ve discovered.  I didn’t speak them or write them.  They should be remembered and cherished and thought-over by everyone the way I’ve remembered and cherished and thought over them. 

The second blog is hosted on Wordpress, and I don’t know if that’s blog lechery, but I don’t care.  It’s my grown-up blog, clean, straight-forward.  I’ve posted once on it in the last week or so since I created it, but I really hope to blog regularly on whatever it is I’ve been experiencing or thinking about.  Really, it’s more for me than anyone else, but I do hope others find it and read it.  I want to share and discuss there.  So, since we’re friends, if you’d like, I’d love it if you scurried over to my blog and subscribed of at least bookmarked it.  You know, if you want.

This blog will still continue, but it will become more focused on my photography and edits.  Quotes now and then, words of my own now and then, but mainly photos. 

Love always,

Courtney

Filed under blogs update

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For times like this.

"I don’t get it!" she screamed at him.  She was standing in the middle of the dock, and the small rowboat was to her left, bobbing in the water.  The mountains were behind her and they silhouetted her. 

He was standing on the concrete shore, the parking lot they passed for a beach.  He looked at her, and the rowboat, and the mountains.

The rain was coming.  Of course it was coming.  It always came at times like this.

"I don’t get it."  She whispered now, because the quickening wind was drowning out her voice and her thoughts, and she liked that.  "I don’t get why there is death inside some people.  I don’t get why it eats them, turns them into black ash, makes them crumble to reveal a heartless chest cavity."

She whispered, but he heard her.  Maybe the wind was blowing the words to him.  He glanced at the rowboat and the mountains, and then at her once more.  He only stood.

The rain started.  Right on cue, because rain always comes at times like this.

"Say something!"  She was screaming again.  "Give me an answer, give me something!"  She sucked in a ragged, cold, mountain-air breath, and whispered.  "I know it’s bigger than this confusion inside me.  But you’ve got to answer me, or I’m gone."  She pointed down at the little rowboat when she said this.  Raindrops soaked her hair into strings, and she had cried moments before so her nose and eyes were red.  To look at her was to look at a thing tortured too long by too many thoughts and stubborn optimism marred by overwhelming fear.  It wasn’t beautiful, even though it should have been, with the mountains towering behind her and the rain and the water and the expanse between them.

He blinked slowly, head down for a long instant, before looking back at her.  He took one step closer and she edged one inch closer to the boat. 

"Where would you go?" he said finally. 

She sighed.  The rain was heavy but when she yelled her answer, it it was calmer.  A desperate, defeated calm.

"I don’t know.  Maybe there’s a place to hide.  Someplace where people don’t die before they die.  Someplace decent."

"Maybe," he replied.  The rain, as is common in times like these, died down a bit.  Drizzle.  He scuffed his boot against the concrete as he thought for a moment.  "Yeah, maybe there is someplace like that.  But I don’t think you believe you’ll find it."

She only stared at him.  They stared at each other a lot.  They had been best friends a long time, after all.  Staring is usually more important than most words at times like these.  She gave him time to tell her what they both knew she knew.

"You said you don’t understand why there is death inside some people.  Why it eats them and turns them into something not alive.  But what if it’s inside all of us?  What if it’s not just some people?"

The rain had let up.  There was steam rising from the water in the bay, rolling down from the mountains standing, imposing, behind her.  Because she didn’t want to be near another person, but because she also didn’t want to leave him, she sat down in the middle of the dock.  He sat down too, ten or so feet away from her. He went on, because she let him.

"I think maybe some people do evil things because everyone has it in them.  I think people kill other people because every day, in my own head, I think deathly thoughts, but they’re only ever thoughts.  I think there is a creeping sort of plant in everyone’s chest cavity, one that grows slowly, and can be killed itself by most people, or at least kept at bay, at least can be pruned back often.  But some people can’t handle it.  Some people let the plant’s twisty vines squeeze the life out of their insides because there is nothing in them that tells them to control it.  I think stuff is really screwed up.  And I don’t think anyone gets it."

She let his words travel between the expanse and into her, to the place words are kept.  Then she spoke, and in her voice resonated all the pain in the world.  Of course, the pain was her’s and her’s alone, and it belonged to no one else.  But the thing that must be understood is that when someone says “all the anything in the world,” it is because their own world is heavy enough to suffice for the universe at large.  Our own life is big enough to feel too big most of the time.

So, she spoke: “Why not me?”

He knew her best, so when she said this, he understood that she was not talking about what everyone else might have thought she would have been talking about.  She wasn’t asking why she was never a victim.  She was asking why the plant in her heart never overcame her, but overcame others.

The rain was going to come back.  At times like this, the rainless moments are only a short reprieve.  Eventually, it will be moderately sunny again, but when a storm comes, it rains for days.

"Why not any of us?" he said in a low, gravelly voice.  "We’re all broken vessels, love.  But some of us get patched, I guess.  There’s no explaining it.  There’s only living with it."  He paused, smiling halfheartedly.  "I think we should be happy about it."

"Feels like everyone is scared and angry.  Like everyone’s got it in their heads that now is the time for their own vendetta to start," she said.  "I don’t think anyone cares much about dealing with life.  They’re just pissed at it all going to hell."

Quickly, he said, “It’s not going to hell any quicker than it has been for the last couple thousand years.  It’s just easier to see it these days.”

The rain was starting again, but this time the wind didn’t return.  Everything was softer.  The fog swirled around, the water in the bay wasn’t as choppy, the rowboat didn’t bash into the dock. 

"Maybe everyone is pissed because they all feel it too," he mused.  "The creeping plant, the broken places.  Maybe the vendettas aren’t about this thing at all.  Maybe the vendettas are just a safeguard against themselves."  He laughed suddenly.  "You probably should leave then.  There are far too many people in this world all full of hate."

She smiled, pushing her tangled, stringy hair from her eyes.  She reached out her foot and nudged the boat in the water, raising her eyebrows at him, like an invitation.

"Wanna come?  We could float away from the confusion."

"Nah," he said.  "Confusion’s always gonna be here.  It’s a screwy place, under these mountains, on this shore.  But I think, since we’re some of the ones who’ve been patched up, it’s probably sort of a duty for us to stay here.  Keep showing people there’s hope, you know?"

She stood up very slowly and walked to him through the rain, leaving the boat and the mountains behind. She was smiling and so was he, which felt, for one fleeting instant, like a very wrong thing to be happening.  But it’s only possible to be angry and upset and full of pain for a certain amount of time before it’s ridiculous not to go on with being normal.  She knew this, and so did he, so they let it feel wrong for a second, then they let it be what it was.

"You think?" she said when she came to him.  They began walking back towards town.  "Hope?  It’s our job?"

"It’s our part," he said with a shrug.  "I don’t think most of it is up to us."  He stared at her as they walked.  They had both gotten good at staring and walking, since, as we now know, staring usually means more than speaking.

"You don’t patch broken things unless you intend to use them," she wondered aloud.  She stopped walking abruptly.  He was one or two steps ahead of her before he stopped too, looking back at her.  He just waited for her to work out the words that were already in her.  "We have to go on without answers, don’t we?"

He nodded. “Yeah.  I think.”

She nodded once, curtly, resolutely, resigned but freely resigned.  “Okay.”

The rain, as it usually does at times like this, kept on.  But they also kept walking.

Filed under original writing Newtown Connecticut peace grace understanding God hope

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Antithetical.

And I am desperate for Your grace.

I need Your provision like I need air.

When I dream, I dream about drowning

in a sea of water, thick with salt and pollution.

And I gasp, because light does not reach the bottom of the ocean.

My lungs whisper frantically.

Don’t tell me you’ve never dreamed of the ocean depths,

of being lost in the Mariana Trench, one thousand eighty miles below anything terrestrial.

The hardness of your stone heart and lead feet pull you there.

If any of us were being honest,

you would know the world’s population claims residency in the Trench.

And so when I am honest with myself

and I allow myself to sink below the waves,

all the way down to the waveless black,

only then can I truly long for the taste of air.

Mostly nitrogen, though everyone had us fooled that what we breathed was oxygen.

They spin many tales about the air and the waters.

From my seat at the bottom of the planet,

I can tell you that there are no pineapples here

and there are no blue fish who sing mindless songs

and it is too cold for mermaids.

When you sit at the doorstep of the hot mantle of the earth,

on the threshold of the underwater volcanoes,

it is easy to remember the feeling of nitrogen in your lungs,

interspersed with oxygen and some carbon dioxide.

But it took sinking to appreciate the feeling of full lungs.

And only here, floating in the depths cold as ice and yet so much closer to the fiery core

do I cry out for the air.

We are broken, they told me.

We are pale representations of what we were made to be,

watercolor paintings grown moldy and yellow after years of hiding in the attic of some old spinster.

Cracked and shattered.

When a vase falls from the mantle and five pieces scatter across the floor,

(because it was thick porcelain, not glass)

it seems easy to glue it back together.

So you do, and you are careful about it.

You buy special porcelain glue from the five and ten shop

and you spend a whole Saturday morning at your kitchen table.

And then you put your once-shattered vase back on the mantle

because it looks so perfect, you see,

and while fixing it you thought perhaps you’d relegate it to some dusty corner in the den,

but it looked good as new so you changed your mind.

And it sits on the mantle and people forget the day it fell down,

and one spring day you saw some purple wildflowers on your drive home,

and you picked them.

They’re only weeds and you know that but you picked them anyway.

You arranged them in your vase,

and you put some water in it too,

water from the depths of the Mariana Trench

probably

and your mantle looks perfect.

Maybe you walk away to make dinner or go for a run or something.

But when you look again at your once-shattered-once-glued vase,

your eyes are drawn to the puddle of Mariana Trench water dripping onto the floor.

We are broken, they told me.

And when I break into five pieces,

you can glue me back together

but you can’t find the trillions of dust particles that sealed the miniscule gaps between the porcelain fragments.

We may not look broken,

but I’m telling you there are cracks.

And if you were honest with me

you would not try to make the cracks

more significant or more insignificant than they are.

We are like wounded doctors, all of us.

We run around trying to fix everybody

and we forget the gashes on our foreheads and the holes in our chests

because we are bleeding just as bad as the rest of them.

So antithetical in our own existence.

Catch the blood in the vase, dump half of the Mariana Trench onto our wounds.

So fragile and yet so resilient to the depths.

Lambs who sleep with wolves,

whoring after money and fame and power,

slaves strong enough to break our shackles

but not stupid enough to remove the fixture we should be chained to

because in the depths of our hearts or our brains we know we are only fit enough to be in one place.

Flimsy and floppy, traversing from here to there,

from content to greedy,

making a poem about drowning into something about doctors and whoring.

And I don’t know what comes next

but if I did I know I would still be afraid because aren’t we all?

I don’t look for questions and I ask not for inquiries as to my health or my sanity.

I promise you I’m just as normal as you all

which is both a comfort and a terror, but one that I’m okay with.

But I want you to hear

because that’s all that matters.

And this time I’m going to be brave enough to say it.

About time someone did.

I am desperate.

To wake up.

To breathe.

I don’t even care that it’s mostly nitrogen,

nitrogen that my body does nothing with, only breathes back out,

clinging to the oxygen.

"See you later,

I’ll absorb you through my food instead!”

But oxygen, I will keep.

So scattered.

So fragile.

If humans were eggs, the guy at the grocery store would have dropped us all.

I am an egg,

and I need the scalding boiling water of grace.

Hardened but not for hardening’s sake.

Made unbreakable again is all.

I need Your provision like I need air.

Mercy like air.

Peace like air.

Wrap my wounds with love

and be the unfound porcelain dust in the groves of my fallen-off-the-mantle heart.

Chain me back to You.

Filed under original writing antithesis antithetical God grace being a person broken world hope