Saturday, September 4, 2010

Standing on the Couch Where You Never Stood

I'm viewing the idea of blog in general as solo cooking. I am standing by that stove with some shorts and slippers on expecting just to make some awesome dish for myself (because, let's face it, how many people will really read these words??). However, there comes a time, when someone unexpected comes to your house and instead of saying, "Excuse me, I was planning on maintaining an introverted mindset this evening. Would you please leave so that I may gobble these eggs while staring blankly at the back table leg?", I choose to make such a unique meal that people have to stay for some reason. Metaphors aside, the blog is UDL. It has multiple uses and more than we even planned on. I can use it to vent out my own pains, to try to sound coherent, or to inspire others.

Sitting where you never have before is precious. I would recommend the kitchen area with back to the stove, the house entrance, or, if we were to leave the house, the front row in chapel. What is odd for me about sitting is that I believe I have better attention in this position. I can either listen better while sitting or walking. If a marine sergeant called me to attention, I would definitely draw aside a folding chair.
Sitting often means a good conversation for me. Let's talk about the lunchroom. Love it. Ordered chaos as usual. There is constant conversation and the voice of the room is one long language of laughter. The bigger the more it bellows. I suppose the lunchroom is either where I intend to take things way too seriously or I leave all troubles at the door. I will eat my sandwich, and I will talk to you, and I certainly hope that we laugh together. My view of the lunchroom is largely based on the educational system. It's sandwiched in between classes. And yes, I'm a pun-master!

In one of the last highlights of summer, I met with some brothers at Panera bread. Conversation was more luscious than my breadbowl. And we sat at some extremely high tables that were demanding that I sit at them. Two of these tables were connected to provide space for about 10 chairs altogether. I randomly rejoiced with my friend by observing, "Look! These tables can bring strangers together at lunch!" And then I realized any table could (should) do that. What astounds me is the contentment that businesspersons possess to simply gorge their face at an empty table. It's the way things go but how unfortunate. At college I am a huge fan of finding someone and hoping that they are up to talking and improving the lunch experience. Why would I discontinue that at a career level?

It's interesting to think about the symbol of table in the Christian life. Christ sat with sinners and saints, as he lived amongst both as well. While the Pharisees required purity, Christ's table created it. It was a fellowship, not just an eating-fest.

If this is a question of comfort zone, which do I love more? My human brothers or my Wi-FI connection? Will I cooperate with a fellow soul or manipulate my technological device?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Staring Down Horizons

What is that feline thinking about as it may be unknowing of the photographer behind it? My thought is that the quality of this picture and its content inspire me and provoke my thoughts tonight. However, I wouldn't be surprised if this cheetah is either intuitively smelling out its prey or discerning if he could ever be fast enough to catch the sun before it entirely sets.

My writing deals with one subject this morning: interpretation.
Sometimes, it frightens me how significantly history/social behaviors/etc. can be so affected by interpretation. The Bible and the Constitution are two major texts that lead readers to extremes. At this point, I wish I had the mental capacity and the wit to offer a stimulating analysis of how people should consider interpretation. I don't. My loudest call at this time is how blindly a person often reads something. A person often reads something with the motive to prove a point, he only searches for self-application, or he could only consider one area that the text is speaking towards but dismiss the rest.

I'm learning we are in a high tide of emphasizing. We don't necessarily deny the truth of something, but we rank one aspect over another. There is this contemporary Christian song out called "It's Gotta Be..." or something close to that title. The musician is vigourously promoting the idea of viewing a relationship with the Lord as falling in love. Yet it saddened me that he compromises the idea of giving our allegiance to the Almighty. Simply because you are proving a point doesn't mean you sacrifice the truth. We cannot choose to view God as only attributes that bring us that earthly comfort that we seem to enjoy. "Not as I view thee, but how You know yourself to be."

Though I am at a confusing stage in grasping firm concepts of truth and living above reproach, I retain my observations along the way. I know we cannot place ourselves above the law. My mentor, Stephen Jenks always used to say, "When read correctly, the Bible reads the reader." As I approach my Bible reading these days, I pray that I am doused in humility but also full of grit. I do intend to test the spirits, specifically my spirit of intepretation. Life is fraught with giving things meaning: When we meet someone, we shake hands with them; not because we have to, but that has been made into a formal gesture of greeting.

This topic is too far above me. I feel like I have written incomplete, if not false things tonight. I am willing to stand corrected. I am also willing to seek out and receive truth that is eternal, lasting, and transformative. He is the Messiah that won't just redeem our hearts, but our psychologies...the barren earth, all of creation, and thank goodness that he shall put the government on his shoulders. We often don't know the gravity and cost of these words, but for those who yearn for redemption (not just those who smile at the thought of it), we are bold to say, "Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!"

All this because a photographer captured a moment. A moment I interpret to be stunningly beautiful. And like a sufficient film that lets you ponder one last compelling question, I finish with a jovial spirit and a wink:

What is beauty?

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Slow Return

As many cynics would predict, this blog is most likely going to join the list of the "whatever" blogs with some musical endeavors on the side. In the musical Next to Normal, the daughter sings how she can't "expect normal" from anyone basically because that's way too out of reach (i don't remember the exact lyrics!). But she "would like something next to normal..." And perhaps the title of this blog knew itself better than what i thought it was going to will not be a musical blog only, it will be something next to that!

I won't waste time moaning how I have not written. Oh whoops...This summer has established a few new traits in me! First, I am now one of those creativity geeks who walks around with a pocket-sized "creativity journal" to capture ideas in those certain moments. Though I haven't gotten any farther on the music of our musical save that one awesome song that is actually posted to facebook, I have a lot of play ideas down. I am tickled pink with the idea that as I go through a string of months writing ideas down, maybe all of these thoughts will scatter across the table and somewhat form themselves. It's like a puzzle that I can forcefully make fit together, and it's justified. I take the ideas I've written down and simply avow that the personality characteristic from July 3 and the traumatic experience written on August 7th belong to the same character in my play! Inspiration is rolling me like a marble, oh yes.

I have also taken to poetry. Actually, slowly returned to it, as I am facing so many slow returns in life now. I think poetry is so elevating yet I think I used to hate it because it did not bring much glory in return. I used to very much be the man who needed to be noticed and needed to be the best. That was a bad way to go, friends. I hope I don't slowly return there. Anyways, my new goal is to write so much poetry that people will be suprised that they only saw a shaving of it. I want to kind of be an Emily Dickinson in number of poems, but DEFINITELY not in style nor in reclusivity. I also plan on wearing colors, not just white.

One day I hope to finally fuse the lyrics of my poems to music but it's just not the time right now. I don't seem to have that gift. Probably in a vain way, I love to compose music WITH people, but I find many are not willing to collaborate these days. It's a downer.

In this mosaic of thoughts, I'm realizing some of my greatest loves: piano, inked words, the idea of culture, relationship....

It seems that the only thing we usually slowly return to is our banal sin. For good modems- relatives such as charity, service, creativity, honesty in the arts, true worship - let us consider a return to these devices as well.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Importance of Production

Our college (Cornerstone University) is featuring Into the Woods in the 2 middle weeks of April! This is my first opportunity to view the show from a non-acting perspective. I am Assistant Stage Manager!

This first blog is not to describe the progress we have made on our musical, but rather have a little observation of theatre in general. By the way, we've thought of some songs for the musical..."Phone Tag" sounds like a good one (we just can't copy "Therapy" from Tick Tick Boom)!!

I am beginning to realize the importance of producing a show. Duh, shows need to be produced. But communication and teamwork to get it set up. Actors only worry about getting lines down, not upsetting the director, and hoping that their character rises a bit more than what is expected.

Well, there is the light aspect, the props aspect, the stagecraft aspect, the stage managing aspect, and a lot more that can just join the list unsaid.

My high school director always used to ask why we as actors couldn't "arrive" to a great presentation "two weeks earlier" than we did. For example, we wouldn't nail our characters until like two days before tech week. However, if we meshed about two weeks earlier, we could spend valuable time refining the work to an even better offering.

Well...this is Ian Grell saying, "Don't just look at the actors, people." The structure and order of the play practice schedule will play its role on the formation of the work. And if the set hasn't been built? Oh yes, that has a toll as well.

All this to say that in order to put on a great show is not only to get the perfect cast of actors, but of production. There's not a hierarchy. We depend on each other. Just like the audience assists the show to go on just as much as the actors control the pace. We need good communication to delegate responsibility, to stay faithful to deadlines, to set big goals to meet early so we can experience catharsis in the arena of practice and not just the playwright's text.

Moral of the prep work: The actor can't be the diva. The production staff can't always play the victim that thinks that no one is listening to them. Stop having such a focus in just your area. Be interdisciplined. Specialize in the place that you are assigned but plant daisies in the common ground that you find with your coworkers.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

A Picture of the Collaborators!!

(Kirk, Shane, and Ian! Kirk on the left may as well be our Stage Manager!)