Twas Brillig and Shook Me to the Core

November 6, 2012 § 3 Comments

As a child I read everything in sight. Recklessly literate is the term my brother-in-law employs. I have vivid memories of the books I devoured, from the singsong cadence of Dr. Suess’s One Fish, Two Fish to the songs made up in Bedtime for Frances and the mystery series I zipped through on my own when a little older (Boxcar Children, Encylcopedia Brown, Mandie and the Mystery of (fill in the blank)).

The first time I realized words had power was different. It didn’t come from feeling out a rhythm or the repetitive structure of a series, but from my biggest fear.

We’d recorded the BBC production of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in the Looking Glass. In 1985, the design and special effects were…well…they were something.

Their interpretation of the Jabberwocky was truly monstrous. Slimy, flailing, alien, and loud. He appeared unexpectedly. He appeared with stormy backgrounds and flickering lights. He advanced slowly upon the other characters in the scene, and all Alice could do was scream and back into a corner (really, Alice? Run!).

The worse part was that Alice was the one who’d brought him to life. And she did so simply by reading a poem aloud.

Each time I watched the beginning of this film, where she opens a great big book and reads those famous words, “Twas brillig and the slithy toves / did gyre and gimble in the wabe,” I braced myself for the slow formulating of this imagined creature. These were even nonsense words, yet they worked to call forth all my imagination. The result was often me with a blanket pulled over my head, heart pounding, reassuring myself that the Jabberwocky was not real.

This is what Alice learns to tell herself as well. And by the end of the story, she manages to quell her fears and banish the beast with – not just any words – but her own words, telling the creature it does not exist, that she does not believe it, that she will not be afraid.

Years later, I continue to believe that words have power and that reading and writing and speaking release that power. It can still give way to fears and nightmarish runs of the imagination. It can also bring a rest to those fears, can bring lightness and connection, a voice. And so I read – still recklessly literate – all that comes across my path, and I send my own words out into the world.

Here’s Christopher Lee’s rather perfect reading of “The Jabberwocky,” by Lewis Carroll. Be wary of what might come next.


Cycle adventures: Work edition

October 29, 2012 § 6 Comments

Dream comes true – I rode my bike to work.

Last week, I had training at a near by convention center and decided to bike. My bike still has a flat so I borrowed my roommate’s bike. I was quite nervous about the ride because I’m riding a bike not made for my size, traveling on a new path, and the weather was windy and cold.  I did it anyways. I packed my backpack, put on my helmet, and layers to start the ride.

I made it to my destination with no accident. It was tricky riding against the wind. At times, I thought I would get blown over into the creek but I stayed on course. I felt really comfortable stopping, starting, turning, going up and down hill, and going faster than normal. It felt really great! Ladies and gents, I’m officially saying it, “The days of learning how to ride a bike is over!”

Celebrate with me by sharing one of your bike stories. I would love to hear it!

Weekend Do: See

October 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

photo via The Peak of Chic

The other day I was playing the game Guess Who? with two middle schoolers who both have a cognitive disorder. I was working on using descriptive words, turn-taking, and how to construct a question. One of the students was having great difficulty with the game so I sat next to him giving him starter sentences, modeling, and prompting which pictures to knock down. At the end of the game the young man decided to show his secret person to his opponent. At this point I said,

“Grass (name obviously changed), why did you do that? You’re suppose to keep your person a secret.”

He replied, “Oh no!” I didn’t know.”

I responded with, “It’s okay. We’re all learning. You’ll get this next time we play.”

As I quickly cleaned up the game he grew silent.

In a quiet, extremely soft, but very clear voice he said, “I’m sorry I didn’t know how to play the game.” He said it in a way that made it seemed like how I perceived him was dependent on his skill. My heart was crushed. I care about him for who is, not what he can do.

I assured him with these words, “Grass, we’ll get this next time. You’ll get this. You are awesome and we’ll get this.”

He smiled. We gave each other a big high-five and then he left my room.

This interaction made me think about the people I interact with daily and deeply want them to know how much I care about them is not based on what they do or do not do, how much money they make, or what they look like.

Instead of a list of weekend do’s I decided to make up one: See someone as who they are.

Happy Weekend!

Leading Lines

October 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

I’m taking a class on the line in poetry, which is proving to be a many-faceted and opinionated topic:

Lines are “sufficiently textured (that is, troubled and troubling),” according to Scott Cairns. For Bruce Bond, “The line encourages us to slow down.”

“Maybe it’s not so much that I like breaking the line as that I like the chance to keep beginning,” writes Catherine Barnett, and John O. Espinoza says, “The line should be about energy and economy.”

“A walking line gathers me in, strives outside of me.” (Christine Hume)
“The line is equal parts diligent exactitude and explosive, ebullient destruction.” (Noah Eli Gordon)

Naturally, I start thinking these things about lines in photographs:


Gathering in



Energy and economy

and see things differently.

(photos from my instagram)

Two Artists and a Hammer

October 18, 2012 § 6 Comments

As my housemate and I have vastly different schedules, it took a few months before our new apartment felt like home. A box unpacked one day, rearranged furniture another day, whenever we were in the same space together. It wasn’t until one very late night that we tackled decorating our walls.

It took us a ridiculous amount of time, measuring, and second guessing what we were doing (neither of us “get” math), so of course our first decision was to make this momentous event a time lapse (the first video I’ve ever made!). Enjoy, and welcome to our home.

In this moment: A faith to move

October 15, 2012 § 2 Comments

In this moment I believe that life is full of so much uncertainty.

Art by Alexander Levasseur

I was talking with a friend about all of the uncertainty that fills our day. I invest in relationships, pursue passions, and travel across oceans by more faith than I think. Do I have all of the answers? No. Do I continue on? Yes. Why? It’s the settling, bitterness and apathy that I refuse to surrender to.

At times, the process to move with faith is so hard. It’s often expressed in tears, questions, and fear. The process to move can be so heavy, as if the weight of that heaviness seeps into the crevices of my life, making it even more so. However, I continue to return to a comfort and encouragement that I am a part of something bigger than me.

Recently, a tune that has been on repeat and carries this theme of moving with faith is this song by The Soil & The Sun. Take a listen, in its entirety.

Goodness, my vulnerability cup has been tipped over, spilled out off the coffee table and onto the carpet.

Help me, Readers, what encourages you to have the faith to keep moving?

Currently in life

October 11, 2012 § 4 Comments

I realize I don’t do my hair anymore. Impatience with growing out a pixie cut (10 months) has led to some apathy with my hair. Wash, some days put in a little cream, and air dry. I have very thick hair and when it was long it would take hours to dry. Now it takes a quick car ride with the window down, moments of making breakfast, or checking email before a to-do list agenda begins.

Although I don’t do anything with my hair I’ve also received the most compliments. What? I don’t do anything to it. I’ve learned that the most simple things may just be the best things. Who would have thought!

Currently, there are other simple things in my life that I absolutely enjoy:

I love it when someone makes coffee for me. It’s a gesture I hardly ever refuse. I usually embrace it with wrapping my hands around the warm mug and a smile of gratitude.

I really enjoy soft scented candles. There are a few placed all over my home, but my favorite sits in my room.

Volcano by Anthropologie

The hugs, kisses, and love I get from these two are the best an Auntie can ever receive.

What simple things are you enjoying these days?

Happy Weekend!

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