Friday, December 19, 2014

Tiny Fascinations


The dark days of winter are made a little easier, for me, by other peoples Christmas lights. The people in my neighborhood appear to be particularly insane in this respect, which I love. We are bounded on one side by the super-Christian college campus with its enormous illuminated cross that can be seen from halfway across town and the uber-rich estates that have a seemingly decades-long rivalry to see who can put up the most extravagant display. In the middle though, where the common people live, is a hidden street of mainstream American Christmas gone totally wrong. Think National Lampoons, but with moving, mechanical, inflatables. House after house on this particular street has its yard filled with billowing snowmen and light-up nutcrackers. Gone too, are the simple strings of lights outlining the roof, these people re-side their homes and encase their shrubbery dense nets of mismatched lights. It is American consumerism, keeping up with the Joneses and missing the point all rolled into one.

And I love it.

Head for the side streets and back roads before the season ends, it does wonders for the holiday spirit. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Something To Watch


I will admit to being far outside the mainstream in terms of media. I rarely see movies in the theaters, play no video games, take no interest in online videos, viral or not, and have not owned a television in years. But it's not like I live in a cave. There is still Netflix and Redbox, what should be plenty of choices for anyone. But one night this week while searching for a movie to watch, The Guy, who loves a good thriller and anything involving a sociopath announced that he was giving up.

"There's plenty to watch, but it's all getting to be a bit much, isn't it?'

And he's right. It is a bit much. Too much violence, too many serial killers, battle scenes, rampant viruses, and ways to end life as we know it. It isn't so much that we object to it based on moral values or because we think its warping young people (though those are probably great reasons too) its just, boring. We've seen so much violence and sex and conflict as entertainment that its far less than shocking, its normal. Which it shouldn't be. 

Violence should be shocking. 

So this season, we are taking a step back, filling our minds and idle time with music and books and movies that rely on story, rather than shock value, for entertainment. We are going to back classics and old favorites and going to bed early without staring into a screen first. We are letting our season fill with joy.  Its a good thing.


Friday, December 5, 2014

Tell It Slant


A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to read some of my work at an event called Tell It Slant in Portland. What made this event special was that I got read alongside my mother, who in her 7th decade has gracefully, and successfully, become a poetess.

The theme for the evening was 'Bloodlines', and both of us brought work concerning ourselves, and our mothers. We had a wonderful time, and were truly surprised by the positive response we received, not just about our writing, but about us, the way we were with one another, and the way we write about each other. It was validating, and a good reminder of the value of family.

Do not stop being astonished by your parents, they may surprise you yet.