January 25th, 2015

I do not believe that a wandering mind is a safe mind, but there are certain situations where the mind ought to wander. I have only recently been able to cope with wandering during prayer. Some wise people, some older people, told me that it is okay to think of other things while you pray; just pray about them.

This is a mixed bag, but I am being honest: a lot of my favorite ideas have come to me while thinking in church, but they are when I am distracted. What am I supposed to do with that? Am I entirely sinful for having a wandering mind during a sermon, or what? I don’t feel a lot of guilt about it, but maybe I should if I am saying it publicly, confessing it.

One of my ideas today was to do a collection of interviews called “A Voice of the Saints,” a collection of interviews with some faithful and older saints I know in my life. I would love the juxtaposition of all these different voices coming together to declaratively say whatever the collection will say. But, I am not in charge of the final voice. They will speak together and they will speak what needs to be heard.

Part of the motivation for this comes from recently doing my first interview. It went great, but you were also a “good sport,” Austin, as they say–although we all know they say a lot of opposing things. The experience showed me the power an interview can have. I was so excited about it, I shared it with a few other people and they were almost more excited about it than I was. It was encouraging. Thank you for doing it.

There are also a lot of people I want to know better, people I know are treasure troves, and an interview is a good excuse to get to become their friends. As I am writing this, I am realizing that I first got to know you, Jamie, by interviewing you. The situation was a bit different, but you are also different than others I know or might know.

I spent nine hours at lunch today. It was some serious, hardcore fellowship. Thanks be to God.

January 24th, 2015

For the past month, I have been foaming at the mouth with the undeniable affliction of reality feeling different. Everything is different. And I call it an affliction, because unfortunately the words to describe an intense feeling of pleasure (the opposite of what we think I mean when I say “affliction”) are victims to meaninglessness. Euphoria, maybe not, but you know what I mean. I think what I am getting at is along the same lines as Flannery O’Connor (although she certainly did not invent the term) being obsessed with a “violent grace.” I have always been amused by irony on the crusty level, but in the deep core of my being, imbibed with paradox. And I think when I say that I am “afflicted” by change and when Flannery says she believes in a “violent grace,” we are really saying the same thing, which is that a revelation of stalwart truth forms the landscape of our mind in a split moment, like a flash flood or any catastrophe that afflicts a place which does not seem to deserve it. In a perspective overlooking stolid time, the unassuming do deserve the calamity of change. But wait, you say, no one ever deserves grace! No one deserves joy! No one deserves the refreshment of eyes that can handle the sight of change! The only thing anyone here deserves is death! 

It brings to mind the phrase “I’m better than I deserve.” I know an older man who only ever says that when you ask him, “How are you?” Years ago, I adopted the phrase and use it whenever I remember to be thoughtful. But then, I heard some cynic (woe of woes!) say, “You deserve what God has given you, as a child of God.” And I thought about it, and realized, “No. As a child of God, I deserve death because I am a rebel. I do deserve death.”

But, sweet foundation-lady Paradox, we both know (don’t we now?), that we deserve death and also that we get what we deserve. And if some people receive grace, they deserved it, because they were not purchased under their own account. And because I am being purchased daily, this rebel, I feel the whiplash of joy that comes with it.

I don’t want to paint a picture of the Christian life that is one of bipolar sentimentalism. It is, however, one of being purchased daily. There is a man in the forum of Rome, with his stomach pushed on the edge of a wooden table, shaking his fist of gold coins (with the exact imprint of Caesar’s nature) at the man shaking his fist of door mice. Buying things can be exhausting. That is a little off-topic. Anyway.

I want to show that my life can often feel violent, that I can be hurt by joy, and that change is an affliction. And it has been written in the matrix of nature that there are four seasons with their dates. Click, click, the shifting gears grinding against each other.

But the violence of this all is not something situational. I am not afflicted by something that will pass. I am not only afflicted by change, lady Paradox (Lord Jesus, God-man). I am afflicted by a million things which, like the covenants under the Covenant of God with man, are simply the subsidiaries of the one major affliction of infinite God constantly pushing on this finite creature, Caleb, to comply with his will. That is the affliction. It is the affliction of infinite care. Why does an infinite God care to stoop down to my level and touch everything, not with the whimsy of Disneyland, but the terror of creativity and the wonder of being? Why does he let me see these things, to think his thoughts after him? How dare I, me and Isaiah ask of me in the corner, how dare I think I can come into the presence of a Holy God amidst every created thing holding up the boundaries of his pleasure? That is what creation is, isn’t it? Creation is the set of boundaries God laid down, not to demonstrate that it was his limit, but rather that the finite, the limited, the present, the we, deserve a place in his story. We, the creatures, belong to him and so he gave us a playground we could mess around in, one that is not infinite (he has his own; it’s called the Trinity), but set according to our created natures. The finite get finite pleasures.

And that is the beauty of the resurrection life, I suppose. There will no more be a constant affliction of something that is improbable–an infinite willing love pressed upon cute-faced rebels who even forget their plans of rebellion–and there will instead be the total obviousness we will all feel of his every thought being available to us. It will take the rest of our lives unraveling the boundless creations he has thrown out.

 

January 22nd, 2015

I am sitting here wondering what sorts of ideas to write about. I smell a whiff of something distasteful here. I might call it repetition. Or, if I am being positive about the situation I have put myself in, a theme. The theme of my journal entries seems to be, “How does Caleb deal with the ideas in his head?”

I suppose if every time I sit down to write, there is this theme sitting on the keys smiling like a kid asking silently to be picked up, then maybe I should get it over with and carry it forward. Or, I could go for breaking this broken record I started playing. Either way, I will end up somewhere existential, I think.

But for the time being, I think I will ignore the most gnawing question: what is the point of finding ideas, stealing them, and producing them into content?

So, I will stick with a less intellectual question, but perhaps a more thoroughly rigorous one: why in the beginning of this year was I so set on wearing something different every day, but have now found myself wearing the same pair of pants for every day of the past month?

It’s an honest question (insert here the meaningless and vapid clause “to be sure,” set off by commas), to be sure, and if pursued to the roots might lead to an equally existential place as my skepticism of a personal idea economy. I think to get out of the angst I might feel, which to the wise world looks like ingratitude, I need to actually realize that nothing is meaningless if meaning is the thing imputed onto everything I encounter. Some good old perichoresis of nature. God indwells ideas. And whether you agree or not, it logically follows that if my purpose is to live in unbroken harmony with God, part of that harmony is to engage with the things he indwells and sustains around me. That is not to say I should mistake the bridge for the other side, but living in harmony with this world is to live in harmony with God (recognizing that neither one comes first). So if my purpose is to live in harmony with God, if pursuing my purpose is the thing that will fulfill me, then I will be fulfilled by taking pleasure in ideas and questions, because these things matter due to God’s indwelling of them.

But anyway, my pants. It’s a funny thing. I think I wear them every day because they are the most comfortable.

January 21st, 2015

A good friend of mine started a literary magazine called The And. It is not necessarily a literary magazine for my college, New Saint Andrews, but it is made exclusively by students who go there. I am excited for it a lot. I have wanted to start something like this for awhile (previously working on a project called Fermentations, but the mind that initially fomented it said The And is the new Fermentations).

We want to do a monthly issue but not restrict each one to a theme. When you do that, it…restricts. But the theme of this first issue (January 31st) is coming together to be something like cynicism. It is one big response to cynicism. It is going to be short–six to ten pages–but you can pack a big punch in that. It will be strictly physical copies. There will be no accompanying blog or nothing! This is the most exciting thing about it to me. A blog is an accessible output, but for all of the convenience the internet seems to provide, it does not provide a high level of accessibility to the sustained thought of others. The best we get–the best I get–is bookmarking something someone wrote and putting it in a bookmark folder I have just up there for months. And I never read it. But it would be so easy to read it. It is right there. But sustained thoughts and computer screens can be bad combinations; this is coming from the guy who doesn’t have a blog, but a depository.

A physical copy is a difficult output for writers, but it’s an easy input for readers. If we have a physical copy of The And sitting on a table next to a waiting chair, that thing is going to get read. And so we aren’t concerned about The And being read, but we do want to ensure high quality “content” (a bulky and formulable word).

A lot of projects like this, made by people who believe in making, end up existing for the sake of existing. People who feel the weight of “needing to make” need to make something. But these people do not often feel the equal weight of certain ideas that their consciences beckon them to communicate. So you get writing groups that exist and no one ever brings writing (but they do bring the idea of productivity along and, therefore, a feeling of performance and alleged identity). They go, because they know they should make (who ever put this into their heads, by the way? Since when did anyone ever have to make something if they did not first start with something they wanted to make?).

I have had a week-long hiatus of not writing. I hate it when that happens. I think hiati are supposed to be planned, but they never are for me. I will get intense for two weeks, then be drained for two weeks, then go again. I would love consistency. Besides, consistency is more monastic. And that is what this is all about, being monastic.

Monasticism doesn’t occupy a lot of my thinking “these days” (when I think of this phrase and how the people that usually utter it are seventeen or eighteen, I laugh and remember Jackson Browne). It keeps happening to me, though. What I hate so much about flirting with monasticism or appreciating it as an idea is that both are exactly what monasticism is not. Monasticism is consistency, it is a life of prayer and silence, it is a life of work and singleness, it is a life of communal living. And to be “like” a monk, to be monkish, to be vaguely ascetic, is nothing I ever want to be. I want to either be full monk, devote myself to a monastery, or live my life free of self-inflicted guilt. There is no between with monasticism.

But like before, you want to know about my life. You want to picture who I am, where I am, what I do, not these days I always come back to. Why do I think that because this blog is a space of words, that it is also just a space for ideas? Why isn’t it also a mirror of my very physical life? Yes, yes, these are not mutually exclusive, but they are different emphases. It is so much harder to come to my writing as a mirror than as a different space. I like to imagine, when I don’t have to actually perform, that my writing is the leaves of a tree and the tree is not just me, not just my life, but everything that is my experience–that is our experience.

But ideas really aren’t so bad. I love ideas. I love them. They are the blood of pleasure. Pleasure for me cannot exist without idea, without projections, without visions and images of gorges of beauty of the world of what I see. We fall with the cavalcade and float in that frothy white under the forceful arm of a collapsing river. We sort of fall into our imaginations, we fall into them like the leaves grow on a tree. These metaphors are opposed, but the branches and roots of a tree are not.

January 15th, 2015

“When we were young, we heard our mothers! When we were young, we heard our fathers! We ran across the meadow and ran up the tree and plucked out an apple and we fell down into some grotesque image of someone else’s vision. And then the poet took his knife and cut up the sacrifice on his page and he stabbed every place where some sort of meaning dripped out.”

Great job. Cut right there. No, that’s good. Why edit it? Why would we do that? Yeah, let’s lay a track of pounding bass on this track–and maybe some lilting piano too, I am a yes-nonsense sort-of-guy, so let’s make that piano go bonkers. Here, ladies and gentlemen, we have true inspiration; true art. We have the song lyric. I just wrote that up there.

The only music I have been spending my time with is Thursday Afternoon, a sixty-minute ambient piece that goes nearly nowhere written by our very good friend, Brian (Ego). It does not intrude with any form whatsoever of a foreign idea. It blocks out the stupid voices of people that just had to be here in this coffee shop when I was. Don’t they know that I am trying to write here?

I feel like the only prerequisite to writing meaningful lyrics is to have the two words “vision” and “sacrifice” strewn across the verses. And the vocalist has to present these two words crisply. As for the rest of the words–banana.

Last night, I watched a movie where all of the heroes died. It would have been a satisfying end, had the movie not been a narrative pieced together by ideas. These days, I am less impressed by the process of ideas-narrative than I am by narrative-ideas. Admittedly, it seems like the second process produces ideas “without the intention of the author.” If an author writes a story because he first thought of a story, he will see how the tiny fibers of the narrative that kept it tight in his mind were actually formed by even tinier fascicles, juiced by conceptual mitochondria. I would say that it actually takes much more skill to collect enough fibrous ideas to sew a narrative together. But the man that wakes up one day and says, “I want to tell a story” and only later discovers that he actually made some sort of declarative statement in the end about an idea that was never explicitly stated in the story–that man probably approaches his craft with more humility than the man that is all, “yeah bro, I got cool ideas…pfft…and you?”

But I am just being silly really and these are all ideas. And ideas are hard. This is a journal–one I write in thirty minutes–and you probably just want to know about my life. No silly business–all right?– just give it to me straight-up. Well, okay.

I woke up today at ten. I had no breakfast, because there is a food truck on set that usually arrives at 11:30. My friend, Nikko, stayed over last night because he is working on the movie and we stayed up until about one playing video games. I got picked up at 11:15 and was driven onto the set, which is about five minutes out of town. There were no clouds today. It was beautiful, which is unfortunate because the scenes we are shooting are supposed to be cloudy. The only snow around is crouching in piles behind the shadows of trees or, if they can make it in time before the sun comes up, in a shadow corner of a building.

I was reading the script before shooting while two kids who are both under five sat on either side of me, eating lunch. They were adorable and so of course I asked them how their school is going. The little boy told me that he learned about the whole bible today and, upon further questioning, he told me that Mary was very old when she gave birth and that Moses wrote the entire Bible. He also told me that he learned about the “holy cheeseburger,” but he was being silly and his sister knew it, so she came around and whispered in his ear, “No, the holy ghost.” And so he said, “Oh, okay” and then told me about the “holy cheeseburger” again. She came around to punch him with her little fists and they both laughed hysterically while she punched him. And then their mom came over and told them to eat their lunch and so I felt guilty and left that scene un-captured by a film camera.

I was on set until five today and I was dropped off at this coffee shop so I could write this journal, work on a longer project I have been procrastinating on, and send out an email to a collection I am part of called MOTHERSHIP. MOTHERSHIP is a community and a writing group and a fellowship. We used to call it a brotherhood, but a girl recently joined us and changed our whole perspective on it. I am going to send the email and tell them to do things they don’t want to do, but things I want them to do.

Another friend sent me an email about a Writer’s Consortium that I was obliged to join because, well, I am a writer (unfortunately, there are a lot of stigmatas surrounding the term). And now that I am part of this Consortium, I feel like I have more credence to sit someone down for a conversation and make them only talk about what I am interested in.

I had other ideas for things to write about today: how we are just shades hidden in a wall, the rushing of a thousand black birds above a white-washed barn, the affluence of vocabulary, the passing generations, and the impending escalation of celebrity personalities, but eh.

January 12th, 2015

Almost every day has been foggy, like that heavy fog Dad and I drove through on the way back home from Macomb. We dropped David off at college and we were driving through the fog and we couldn’t see three feet ahead of the headlights and it was the first time I heard Dad swear and so we stopped driving so I could find an Old Country Inn on the GPS (because he liked the beds), but it was the first time I had used the GPS and I was worried that I might be too slow or the way I used it might irritate him. So I told him to do it, because I didn’t know how to. And so we found an Old Country Inn and inadvertently found a memory, which is why this paragraph exists. And not only did we find a memory, I found a scale to put levels of fog on, from no fog to that thick fog we drove through on the way back home from Macomb.

We live across from a police station or a jail or whatever it is–a place of law, which is just as likely hold offices as it does cells–and I always find it fascinating to watch the people standing at the chain-link fence, asking to get in. There is this voice you can hear over the intercom and even across the street that either tells the visitors to be patient or to come in. Sometimes, the visitors never go in; they just stand at the chain-link fence and smoke for hours and hours. And honestly, I don’t get it. Why do they stand there? Are they visitors? Why do they continue to visit people? And there is always one woman, slightly overweight, wearing a pink blouse and smoking, brushing back her frazzled hair. I swear. Ask my roommates.

As I was walking here this morning, down the hill and into the coffeeshop and onto this couch, I had this dialogue with myself. I started it by thinking about how and why I daydream about the future. Why am I so inclined to do that? Well, I didn’t answer my own question, but it somehow led me into daydreaming about the future. And when I say I daydream about the future, I mean that I work out certain sequences of events and possibilities which do not exist. When I daydream about the future, I am cogitating ephemeral fiction.

This certain time, I was cogitating the possibility of staying in Moscow, this small college town, for a long time. What might happen? Well, I figured, if I stayed here, I would likely stay within the same community, even though I would make forays into more foreign territories–that is my nature–but if I stayed interested in the same people and the same institutions, I would likely be asked to take on an increasing amount of responsibility. Let’s say, if I was here for thirty years (which is longer than the institutions which drew me here have been around), would I be asked to be the president of New Saint Andrews? Hypothetically, if I stayed around and began as the janitor of New Saint Andrews and then eased very nicely into teaching theology, would I then be asked to be president?

If I was asked to be president, I would immediately have a million ideas for how to infuse this small college with my own interests. The million ideas that have passed by my eyes–beginning as a puerile and general interest in “communes” to artist colonies to intentional communities to monasteries to Christian communities (notice the evolution and notice, too, that none of these institutions are in direct competition)–these ideas would come knocking on my door and say, “Remember me?” And I would say, “Oh, oh yes, well I remember you, but I never had a chance really to know you, as in, to make you so directly.” And I would wonder, how could I achieve what I would want using this existing institution, this college that I grew up in?

And hypothetically, if there was a certain person that asked me, I would tell him, “Thank you, but I can’t accept this.” I wouldn’t become president, because I know that I would try to change the institution to something entirely different than what it was made to be. If I want to make the thing that I have in my head (and even though I reference it vaguely, I know that if I was presented with an opportunity, I would know whether or not that opportunity led to it), I would have to go someplace else. New Saint Andrews is not what I want to make, but it is something I would continue to support. It’s just a different vision.

And I am still left wondering if this is a place where I want to be for a long time. But I am confident that it is nothing I need to worry about or something I can even decide. Obviously, I am here now and I continue to want to be here. And the only way I can determine my own future is to continue overlooking tinny desires and fostering the little buds flicking themselves up from the ground. Jesus pictured the kingdom of God as a tree growing from a mustard seed. I think a desire fed rightly is the same image. A desire grows into a tree and can bring shelter to people that don’t have any.

I like the idea of a desire, a thing we cannot exactly see, growing into the maturity of matter. A desire is a feeling we have, a compulsion or a movement towards, and if we continue to feed it, it transforms into a physical thing. There was a vague desire for community and then in a few years, churches. I have a vague desire for “that thing” and then sometime, I will see it and I can put a name to it and it will exist and have a name. And I find the existence of formed desires–they are all around me or under me, this couch–to be inspiring. That coffee. We create what we see in our minds, we move out of the fog and find a place to rest and eat something.

January 10th, 2015

I took a three hour nap today. It wouldn’t have been so long, had that dream not kept going. I woke up every hour, but as my eyes opened, the dream would go away, so I went back to sleep and, unlike other times, the dream picked up where it left off.

I have a lot of friends who keep dream journals. I have always been attracted to the idea, but not out of any interest in the “mystic” meanings behind my dreams. There is an unusual cultural undercurrent that is obsessed with dreams right now. Historically, dreams have been prized for their potential meanings. But these days, it seems that people prize dreams for their potential experiences. As to why things happen the way they do in dreams, I have no idea, but I am sure there are psychologists who blah blah about it. Anyway.

The dream, unfortunately, is mostly gone right now and the intensity of the images is certainly not there, but unlike other times, I mostly remember what it was about. It was about this woman who worked in an upper room of some kind of hospital. She would sew and knit and deal with strings all day. Her room had perpetual sunlight streaming through the windows–but I never saw the outside. She would make these creatures with the string, these creatures that she seemed to bring to life before they were made. I theorized about why she did this, but there was so much cruelty around her, that I suspect it was just to be cruel. When she made the creatures before they were made, they would scream and feel the pain of every stitch.

All of the creatures were different, but I remember one kind, one called an “apochee” (I knew, because she stitched their names on their sides). I remember them wailing on the stitching beds, but as soon as they were done being made, they were fine and would walk around normally. To say that it was normal is pretty relative; the things had no faces or arms or legs as far as I could tell, they just seemed like long throw pillows.

There was an entire city–or maybe nation–that revolved around this woman. It was all left unexplained and I do not remember leaving the “station.” I remember trying to, running down a white hallway as if it was a hospital for the mentally insane, but these doctors or guards came and began trying to unstitch me. I screamed and tousled my way out of their arms and ran back to her. Even though the people that worked for her were intensely cruel, she was safe. I hid behind her and she told me to calm myself. So I did and the doctors or guards walked away as if their job stopped mattering.

That is what I remember of her and her creatures, but there were two other images. As dreams tend to go, they were somehow connected. I must also say that this one is more disturbing than the first. If you want to skip it, it is just the next paragraph. I’ll be brief.

It was in the middle of a landscape like a painting, underneath a stone bridge. And a man stood under the arch of the bridge, looking up. A cavern opened up to the sky and he began levitating into it. As he moved up, there would be certain obstructions in the way–a giant wax hand, an over-sized rolling pin, a mask–but they would move out of the way like there was no gravity. As he came to the end of the cavern, there was a giant baby head with white chomping teeth. And the baby was all smiling and fresh (and, I must say, very un-baby-like) and there was some sweet mother’s voice coming someplace, telling the baby to drink from the bottle and that it was okay. So as if the man was a bottle, the baby put the man’s head into its mouth and bit down. A very unusual form of decapitation.

Sharing the dream is making me realize a potential theory: things are disturbing when the form does not match the content. The form of the delicate landscape painting and the voice of the sweet mother (and a baby, which is the poster-child for innocence) does not match the content of what is basically an unnecessarily-complicated guillotine.

Another note: I wonder how many of Kafka’s stories were inspired by dreams. All of the images felt very Kafkaesque (did I really just use that?) and maybe a little like Lewis Carroll.

I still have no idea what dreams are all about. But hey, they’re fun.

January 9th, 2015

I woke up this morning at 8:34 to the face of my brother Zach telling me that it was time to have breakfast. So we, including Jonte, had breakfast. She made truffle scrambled eggs and put them on top of some toast. I don’t usually eat breakfast, so I appreciated the gesture. Thank you.

This past week, I have gotten into a rhythm of waking up late (i.e. burning my morning), filming from noon until dinner, and then going to Bucer’s, a coffeeshop, for internet. Before going back home for Christmas break, I decided to commit to the lifestyle of purpose-driven spaces. So, I programmed my computer to be incapable of accessing the internet at home. If I need to check emails or post a blog, like this, I just go to school or come here. It has really changed the way I think.

Let me just say that I am pro-technology and on a scale from Amish to Steve Jobs, I veer towards Steve Jobs (although I have always admired asceticism). I want new technologies to be an everyday part of my life as long as it is benefiting my life in some way. More technology is not an end, of course, it’s just a means. And there are other means towards the end of living happily.

Generally, I don’t believe in “open concept” anything. I don’t know what is so good about a concept being open. I prefer my concepts to be crystal-clear and purposeful. Here, I’m really just playing with words, which is ambiguous anyways–and completely not what I am saying. I actually very much enjoy concepts when they drip into each other or flow steadily on like a river, maybe just to the end of enjoying the sound of my own voice. Anyways.

Hey, as you can tell by now, I am pretty laid-back with this whole journal thing. It kind of feels more like a blog, doesn’t it? Not so serious, right? Hey, watch this, it’s totally against my natural inclinations: WORDS!!!!!!!! BLACH BLECH!! eprijgerjgorjgerogjrpke

hehe.

I’m going to keep that. It hurts me. But it has to be done.

I completely forgot what I was talking about. When I am talking about my day or myself, I am very tempted every moment to take a step back and either analyze, criticize, or size-up what I am saying as I am saying it. And not only do I think that is the result of me being part of a generally cynical generation, I also think it is the result of me thinking that talking about talking is always more interesting than the talking itself. Does that make sense?

I met someone for coffee yesterday, for example, and we burned out of what we were going to talk about in ten minutes. So I asked him about how he approaches conversations usually, specifically one-on-one conversations, and if he enjoys them over group interactions. He said, “I don’t really approach them in any way.”

As for me, I vastly prefer one-on-one, because I vastly prefer a conversation over an interaction. A conversation is actually difficult to do well, but is fruitful when it is done well. A group interaction? I don’t care about ever doing them well. Give me one month and I will split that group into it’s individuals and we can call it good.

I find it interesting how differently people can present themselves. In a group–and this all depends on what sort of group it is–but in a group, I tend to present myself as quiet and shy and uninterested in talking. And for various reasons, I earned the reputation of being stoic in junior high and high school. I don’t subscribe to stoic philosophy really (by which I mean, I don’t agree with the stereotypes I have of it in my head), but I suppose I do sometimes seem uninterested or quiet. I don’t know. I’ll leave the analysis of myself up to people that want to care.

I will admit that my interests, although they are fueled by a general interest in everything, are very limited. There are very specific things that I want to build and very specific things I want to do with my life and even though some interest or conversation might seem disparate from those ends, they always funnel back in somehow. Does that make me a sociopath?

So my home is as purpose-driven as I can pretend it is. In my head, I want my home to be a haven for reading and writing. I set up my desk in a way that is conducive to writing. I have a writing rock–I figure that with any creative activity, there needs to be some artifact to look to. If I am ever sitting at my desk and lose my way, all I have to do is look at the rock. And there is also an egg-timer on my desk. I look to that when I write this journal, which is a thirty minute journal, which means that I write it in thirty minutes.

I find it funny how in my own conception, I would instinctively scoff at someone who posts a lot of facebook statuses on what they are doing during the day and I would say, “Pfft, they think their life needs to be publicized.” But if I heard that someone was starting a daily journal on a blog, I would think, “Good for them! That’s a great idea!” I think the thing that needs to change is not my praise for a daily journal, but my distaste for someone that posts “too much.” What does that even mean? How can you post “too much?” How can you post beyond the bounds of the people reading care? If the people are reading, then they care. If they don’t care, they won’t read. Besides, you wouldn’t know they posted so much, if you weren’t on facebook so much. The first place to start with cynicism is always yourself. Notice how I started this paragraph with cynicism of myself. See? We can work in a little forethought in thirty minutes.

I don’t think that is just my tendency; I think a lot of people scoff at the idea of over-sharing or living our lives publicly through technology. Why is that such a problem? Why are we the judges? Personally, I find what my friend from middle school (who I haven’t talked to in eight years) is eating for breakfast fascinating and I find it even more fascinating that they would think to tell me and four hundred other people.

January 8th, 2015

I am so unaccustomed to writing journal entries, I don’t even know what to write about. In theory, I tell myself that I am just going to write about my day, so that I can remember and people who might–on the very off-chance–care, can know. At an even deeper level of theory, I want to be in the habit of writing in a journal, so that I can prove by practice that each day is a narrative and each sequence of days makes a narrative of one life.

But, somedays seem very narrativeless. On principal, I believe that every day is complexly bound up with eternal purpose and is also finely structured by desires seen and unseen. How many desires can one day hold? I mean, there are my desires, from making tea in the morning to wishing for where I might be in two years. But then there are the desires of everyone I meet pushing on me.

Today marks the third day of any experience I have at all with making movies and even though we are going slow and I have few lines so far and the process is very relaxed, the little people with rakes in my brain are already leveling out a space for the mansion of observations. One observation–even though it seems too big for me to point out with such little experience–is that movie production is a good metaphor for being a creature. These sorts of metaphors exist all over the place. The movie is only what the camera can see. But the actors see way more than the cameras. And it’s not a facade or a lie and it’s not all “fake”–it’s simply that the movie is only part of the picture. The actor sees the director sitting on the counter, telling him what to do and how to do it, where to sit. He also sees the lighting and all the people floating about behind the camera (including the cameraman). And he also sees the food truck outside the window. That’s important. And in his imagination, there is the BBQ pulled pork sandwich floating in front of his eyes, which makes the making of movies delicious and the camera nearly irresistible.

With this metaphor, I can’t decide who we are as creatures. We are not the director–that’s obviously God. Maybe, both the audience and the actors are creatures, but ones with different worldviews. That seems to work. The audience is not the one being tricked–what they see in the frame of the shot is true and happening–but they are tricking themselves; they play dumb about the director sitting on the counter and the boom mic hanging inches above the frame. If they only knew that they were going to see a movie, which has in it the assumption that it was produced, they would be aware of all the production happening behind the camera. The actors are enlightened. They know it is a movie, but they are not tricking themselves. They believe it as much as the audience does when it tricks itself, but they also know about the director on the counter. And somehow, they know that while it is being produced, it is also somehow made already.

There is also the level of the actors having their wills intertwined with the directors (although if it isn’t, I imagine it’s no fun for anyone). The actor has total and complete control over what he does and what he says. But he has to obey what the director says and what the scripted lines are. Still, there is complete free will there–with the predestination of the pre-production.

I love having left-overs. I made a very average soup a couple nights ago and there is still a bit left of it. I want to make a very delicious soup someday, but in that case it will have to be split pea soup. That’s my favorite and I couldn’t tell you why. There is also my mom’s legendary white chili…how I wish. How I could wish. How I wish I could imagine.