Friday, March 26, 2004

I can't begin to express how stressed I am right now..... I have tried to sleep, but I can't seem to shut off my thoughts. Finding a place to live hasn't been very difficult today. The difficult dynamic has been the realization of how financially out of balance I have been for the past year. I wouldn't give up the freedom and opportunity to pursue music full-time--not by any means. But the trade-off has been the loss of financial stability. I came face-to-face with this truth today: I am going to struggle coming up with the initial money needed to get into a home. I've been running virtually every scenario in my mind constantly today, but I still cannot land on a good solution.
I shared with the Symbol today that I don't want to make a lot of money so I can go out and spend it (waste it??) on toys and "stuff." I just want to have enough financially to take care of the things I NEED to take care of. To get out of this spot, that I have been in for months, that doesn't allow me anything other than the absolute bare minimum. I think what is as disappointing as anything are all the chances I have had to "donate" money in a variety of directions and contexts, but have had to say "No" to because I can't come up with anything extra. It's this strange feeling of being a miser when I don't really have much to horde....

This is a more "serious" and introspective post today. Guess I can't deny that my life right now is sort of serious and introspective. I'm not feeling very clever or funny or whatever today. On top of that, my blog friend, Caitlin, really has inspired me with her past few posts. I really encourage you guys to check her site out. Not only does her choice in music and cuisine (sushi--w00t w00t!) prove her worth, but she is genuinely clever, a gifted writer, and not afraid to deal with real life. And her blog gives a good picture of that. It's definitely worth the extra couple minutes of your time to visit her blog daily. Keep it up Cait!!!

I hope that those girls from Fox's "The Simple Life" NEVER NEVER NEVER have any more attention! I cannot believe I live in a country that celebrated and devoted time to watching those two idiots. Makes me really proud to be an American!!!


Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Well if you know me, this news is not new, but..... I am in the process of moving again. (See earliest entries for my thoughts on this cursed process...) This time though, it's a more significant venture. I am heading to Michigan. Grand Rapids exactly. I have landed a fantastic job as the Worship Shepherd for a fantastic church, Mars Hill Bible Church.

This weekend I am heading to apartment shop! It's a new way of thinking when it's a place to live OUTSIDE of where home has been for 12 years! In many ways, I am grieved to leave the 'burbs of Chicago. I have been here longer than anywhere else in life. Yet I am also really excited about what lies ahead and how this is going to change me as a fellow struggler in life. (Not to mention all the fodder it will be for my blog.)

Just wanted to give my peeps the 4-11. More details to come... And thanks to the joker who decided to speak on Janet's behalf (see Talk Back a couple days ago.) That really made me laugh!!


Monday, March 22, 2004

I wanted to say "Thanks" to someone who will never read my blog. Thank you Janet, the woman I sat next to while eating sushi today. It makes me kind of sad how little I interact with people on a daily basis. I don't mean to sound like a hermit or anything. I just mean how little I even say "Hello" or have some kind of conversation with people that I don't know. No wonder so many people talk about being lonely (and why I feel that way more often than I like) when we live in a culture that not only doesn't encourage interaction, but makes you seem strange if you do. How many times have people reacted negatively when I have tried to say "Hi" or comment on something?!?!? We are a suspicious people.

But thanks to Janet, who not only didn't treat me like that, even though she might have thought it, but ended up offering me a philadelphia roll!! (Of course, by that time it was impossible to put one more thing inside me, but still......)

I don't want to talk to every person I sit by in restaurants or anything like that. But I also don't want to feel stupid if I try to connect with someone!!

To Janet: the next round of sushi is on me.


Sunday, March 21, 2004

It’s 2:05 am. I just finished watching two movies and can’t possibly dream of sleeping. I’m moved and provoked by these two really different but yet familiar films. (And I really do call these films—not just the typical Hollywood productions…)

“American Splendor” tells the story of Harvey Pekar, the underground comic book story-teller. Combining the actual personalities with the actors portraying them, the movie gives a sobering look into the life of a troubled, common man who realizes ‘The ordinary stuff of life can be a big deal” and the cult-comic he created to illustrate that mentality.

The second movie I saw tonight, “Pieces of April,” gave a picture of an extremely dysfunctional family and the ‘black sheep’ daughter’s attempt to bring the family together for Thanksgiving. At times unbearably uncomfortable yet funny, the movie’s redeeming quality has got to be that I felt the conflict and the resolution even though my life doesn’t resemble very closely those portrayed.

So why post poor reviews of these films? Obvious reasons: I hope more people will watch Independent films. Because neither film was heralded in theatres, most people will probably have to admit they have no idea what either is about. I hope I can keep pushing people towards all media independent! Also, I appreciate the realism in these films. Unlike the typical movie-goer, I am not a fan of "escapism" through a movie. Even in "depressing" movies (as many of my friends call the kinds of movies I like), there is still an attitude people have that helps them feel better about themselves because "my life isn't nearly as bad as that!!" These movies don't allow for that. You cannot escape the glaring fact that these movies, even in only small ways, give a picture of the pretty typical American existence.

Secondly, the soundtracks for both films are great. Mostly accented by classic jazz tracks, “American Splendor” uses music subtly. “Pieces of April” features the music and songs of Steven Merritt, the mastermind behind The Magnetic Fields, Gothic Archies and Future Bible Hereos. I thought this film featured music creatively and subtly also. Neither film felt like a music video for any song, as I have felt increasingly in some of the more recent “big budget” films I have seen. Finally, “Pieces” has one of my three celebrity crushes in it: Katie Holmes, along with Oliver Platt (who, though NOT a celebrity crush, does happen to be a favorite character actor of mine.)

But I think my major reason for posting about these films is because they have affected me. I am aware that I have been in a pretty introspective stage of life lately. And I have felt pretty emotional the last two weeks, especially. Even though these are facts, I am still struck by the connecting thread in these movies: the need for each other.

A key scene from each movie: (And to those who want to see the films, I am pretty sure this won’t give anything away, but you still might want to skip this paragraph, just in case.) The closing scene of “Splendor” shows Harvey holding a little girl’s hand. She asks him not to hold her hand and Harvey’s self-deprecating response is quickly refuted by the little girl. “I don’t want you to hold my hand Harvey because when you do, you squeeze it too hard.”

The Katie Holmes character, in “Pieces of April,” is trying to explain to an Asian family the reason for Thanksgiving. After a few failed attempts, she sums it up beautifully in a simple statement: “There was a day when everyone realized they needed each other.”

Yes, I have been feeling lonely lately. Yes, I have a heightened emotional trigger. Yes, there are reasons why I would respond to these scenes to the extent that I have. Regardless of my experience though, I am hoping the push of these two films, to push the universal desire and NEED to recognize how desperate we are as people individually and how desperate we are together, will be understood and grasped by everyone I know, including myself, to a great extent.

May we turn our backs on the arrogance that defines us, especially as Americans, and realize that the day has come to recognize that we need each other.
And let’s squeeze each other’s hands a little harder.

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