Saturday, January 15, 2011

Whitewashing the Fence

This started as a comment on Chris's post about the editing of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. For more information, check out this CNN piece. I read yet another article on it, and had this thought: One of the main reasons the book should remain unedited is because the use of such language opens an invaluable dialogue about race, about prejudice and hatred, and I think that was one of Twain's main aims in the writing. History can not be whitewashed. (Nobody's talking me into painting THAT fence!) Though it is a work of fiction, I believe that the book really is a key part of Americana and the way people understand an era in US history.
Removing the word is tantamount to acting as though it were never used, and erasing the debasement that an entire race of people suffered. The N word was often used offhandedly and without thought, but that casual insult is perhaps more grievous than an intended strike against another human being, because Black people were not thought of as human beings but an inferior race! The travesty of the past cannot be undone, but to frame it differently, to edit the story of Huck Finn and in doing so edit the perception of human history at the time, to do that is to disrespect those people who lived through it. Though I don't believe the current generation holds responsibility for "the sins of the fathers", we certainly don't have the right to ease the tinge of guilt that remains by acting like it never happened.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

1.1.11 (Make a wish!)

Goodbye 2010, Hello 2011!

(shamelessly stolen from Robyn, of course)

The New Year Meme: 2010

1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?

  • Lived with my grandparents
  • Lived in a house with a dog and a cat at the same time!
  • Photographed headshots (a favour for a friend of a friend).
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I didn't make any last year, and while I have goals for 2011, somehow I don't quite like framing them in terms of "resolutions".

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

A couple of friends, but no one with whom I'm very close.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Yes, my grandmother.

5. What countries did you visit?

Just the US.

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?

I would like to have vision, which I struggled to find in the previous year.

7. What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

October 15th, the day that Granny died, and December 25th, the Christmas celebration with my family.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

This is a tough one for me. I have things from the last few years, like my album, and things that will be coming very soon, like my degree. This year specifically, though? Nothing comes to mind!

9. What was your biggest failure?

Not finishing my degree in 2010, I suppose.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Nothing severe, thankfully. Um, last month I fell down the stairs and I was pretty colourful in the days to follow.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

A new zoom lens, I think, to replace one that broke. (From a 28-135 to 75-300mm). Also, the other day I picked up some more fuzzy socks. I love fuzzy socks.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Though I can think of one that would qualify that would have to be a private celebration.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

No one in my personal life. On a global scale there have been several instances, of course, and watching the news can be both appalling and depressing. (I never turn it on myself, but Grampy often has it on, and I end up "absorbing" more of it than I'd mean to).

14. Where did most of your money go?

Tuition and rent, debt repayment.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Going to see Tirzah in Washington, my post-grad road trip (which has been postponed, so I'm still excited about it!)

16. What song will always remind you of 2010?

I can never tell this until the time has passed. The songs that will remind me of this year...well, I suppose September Song, by Frank Sinatra.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?

a) both. b) "thinner" seems a funny word for me, but I do weigh a little less than this time last year. c) richer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Taken better care of myself financially and physically.
(This answer could be [and therefore is] copied directly from Robyn's version).

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Feeling sorry for myself.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?

Christmas was spent with my Mum, Grampy and sisters. (Oh, and my brother-in-law, but he sort of gets included in the 'sisters' grouping as an extension of big sis).

21. Did you fall in love in 2010?

Not in a romantic way, no. I'm learning to love the Island, here, appreciating the verdancy that the heavy rains allow, and learning to cherish the sunny days when they happen. Also, it's not as cold!

22. How many one-night stands?

Ew. No.

23. What was your favorite TV program?

I have a few favourites but haven't watched in a while. The top of the list includes Glee, House and Chuck.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

I try to avoid poison whenever possible.

25. What was the best book you read?

Oh man, I read so much fluff that this is actually a hard one to answer! I think that I may have listened to the audio book of 'The Kite Runner' this calendar year, so I'll go with that.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?

For a musician, I'm entirely awful about getting to know new bands! One of the things I've really enjoyed musically is spending a little more time on my guitar, as well as having a Christian radio station that I can tune into in the car. While the talk is frankly cheesy and even a little obtuse, the music and the message there is good for me.

27. What did you want and get?

I wanted and got to spend time with my Granny in her last few weeks; I wanted to focus and to breathe.

28. What did you want and not get?

My BA.

29. What was your favorite film of this year?

I might just have to say Harry Potter 7. I had a great deal of fun at that one.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 27, and I a) went to the doctor, b) worked a few hours at my child care job, and c) had a yummy roast beef dinner made for me by my Mama.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

If I appreciated it more!

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?

'Fashion concept' sounds pretty far above my pay grade! I like simple, solid colours, and comfort.

33. What kept you sane?

Who said I was?

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Gerry Butler, still, and have for a few years. (Beth at sothefishsaid coined the phrase "Pretend Celebrity Boyfriend" - he's mine). I think a big part of it is the accent. I love Scottish accents.

35. What political issue stirred you the most?

I think one of the issues I have found really interesting and for which my position has actually changed is that of same-sex marriage.

36. Who did you miss?

These last few months, I've been missing Granny, of course, as well as my best friend Emily up in the Loops.

37. Who was the best new person you met?

I would have to say that is probably the kids whom I care for. Nothing makes your day quite like a proclamation of "I wuv you, Hedder" or even just silly dancing around to Veggie Tales songs!

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010.

That life should be lived passionately, and that death is also a part of life.

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

"You are more than the choices that you've made
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes
You are more than the problems you create
You've been remade"
- 10th Avenue North

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Day 14: A Hero Who Has Let Me Down

Today's is yet another writing prompt that's tricky for me. Any question involving heroes has always been a tough one for me, because I'm not sure I've ever had one! Certainly there have been people who I've admired, but I'm not entirely sure I ever put someone on that kind of pedestal. I think that most likely I learned early on in life that everyone is fallible. This doesn't mean cynicism, understand - just reality. I honestly can not remember a childhood hero or heroine, though at age 4, in DisneyWorld, I apparently asked (the young woman playing) Cinderella if I could come to the castle for a sleepover. All my pre-schooler dreams were crushed, of course, when she kindly told me that at least that night, it wasn't possible.

I've had people I admire let me down, but upon reflection any real failing was on the part of my expectation, not their action.
When I have seen something in a "hero" that to me seems incongruous, I've asked about it. While this has been perceived as a lack of trust, I see it differently. I ask because I trust that person to give me an answer; I trust them enough that I don't believe a challenge will immediately destroy the relationship; I trust that there IS a reason behind what they've done, and I want to give them the opportunity to share that.
As far as heroes, though? I don't see the point of blind trust in a fallible human being, and I believe that's ultimately what leads to disappointment. I can admire someone while still realizing their fallibility, and hopefully that allows me to better understand and respect them. Or maybe this is all far too complicated, and I should just go back to Cinderella. A sleepover at the castle sounds good right about now. Then again, sleep *anywhere* sounds pretty amazing, so on that note - goodnight!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Day 13: A Band or Artist That Has Got Me Through Some Tough Days

I could choose any number of songs and bands here, I know.

Paul Brandt is always a highlight - and I really admire the man in the way he seems to conduct his public and private life. I like that he works with Operation Christmas Child (Mum and I went shopping for a shoebox tonight - good times!) and he's now working on a hand-up program in Calgary to combat homelessness. Basically I just think he's good people. The first song of his, that some may interpret in a more male-female romantic sort of way, but I've always seen as a "God song", is this one:

That's often made me cry and warmed my heart at the same time!
He also covered this fabulous song, by the very talented Nichole Nordeman. Not only does she have a gorgeous voice, she writes the sort of lyrics I'd hope to someday!

Finally, the one that's been closest to my heart lately, as I've been listening to cheesy Christian radio, is a new release by MercyMe. The first time I heard it, it "got" me. There's a lot more to 'beautiful' than people think, and it's not about the outside stuff, not really. This song helped me to feel that - to know that - I have a beautiful soul.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Day 12: Compliments II

Something on which people never compliment me. Well, I can't say I have any brilliant responses to this one, perhaps because I don't hear that which no one says ;-)

Hm, let's see...I have never been complimented on... lovely green eyes (because they're blue) talented accordion playing (somehow never picked that one up) sweet Aston Martin (oh, how I wish!) ability to do a triple lutz or a camel spin or death spiral (that last one looked pretty awesome/freaky at BodyWorlds!) nose ... it's just a regular nose, I suppose! (Ooh, rhyming!)

I know, I have a weird sense of humour. Tough, it's my blog :P What about you? Any brilliant non-compliments in your life?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Day 11: Compliments part I

The thing on which people compliment me most often is my voice. It used to fluster me terribly, but after years and years of playing in front of a couple hundred people a couple times a month, I got used to it! One of the many things being a church musician taught me was how to graciously accept a compliment - at least the first few times. One can only say 'thank you' so many times!

I would always respond with, "Thank you, I really enjoy singing" or "Thank you, I'm so glad you enjoyed it" or something else along those lines. Only once in a little teeny tiny while did I feel like saying, "Shhhh stop paying attention to me!" (Only when on the worship team, if I'm singing a solo, then no, I don't mind if I'm the "star" haha! Just when serving expressly for the purpose of aiding the congregation to worship does it seem peculiar to garner attention.) The fact of the matter is, I do really enjoy singing, and even after years of compliments and 99% confidence that I'm good at it, it's still nice to get that little ego boost once in a while, the confirmation that I am gifted in this way and I'm using it the best I can.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Day 10: Someone I Need to Let Go...

...or wish I didn't know.

I need to let go of Hurt. I could say that I wish I didn't know Grief, but of course if that were the case I'd never fully know the beauty of Joy. In the same way there's no one I wish out of my life; everyone comes with their own ups and downs, periods of trial and blessing. It all balances out, though hopefully the glass a little more than half-full at the end of it all.
This will seem silly, I'm sure, but something semi-related happened today on my drive to the ferry. As I was heading to the terminal, I was driving through one of the most incredible views BC has to offer, and the sun was about to set. It gave life to the phrase "the golden hour", but my enjoyment of it was a bit tainted because I so badly wanted to take a photograph, and at the most incredible point of elevation, it went by in an instant. The very best part is on a freeway, with no stopping allowed due to an avalanche zone. Mum always tells me that I need to just take pictures in my mind when the camera isn't available, but I whined to myself that I wanted to share with friends and family and the wide world of the internet. And then I heard that "still, small voice" one hears about so much: "It's just for you, Beloved."
Rationally, I know that thousands of other people saw that particular gorgeous sunset, hundreds from that view, but emotionally and spiritually? I let go of the idea of the photo and making things the way I wanted, to enjoy a beautiful gift prepared for me by a loving God.