Archive for the ‘GOOD READS’ Category

  • April 15, 2014

    a poem…


    …for a day that is almost spring but isn’t quite yet.

    here in the time between by jack ridl

    here in the time between snow
    and the bud of the rhododendron,
    we watch the robins, look into

    the gray, and narrow our view
    to the patches of wild grasses
    coming green. the pile of ashes

    in the fireplace, haphazard sticks
    on the paths and gardens, leaves
    tangled in the ivy and periwinkle

    lie in wait against our will. this
    drawing near of renewal, of stems
    and blossoms, the hesitant return

    of the anarchy of mud and seed
    says not yet to the blood’s crawl.
    when the deer along the stream

    look back at us, we know again
    we have left them. We pull
    a blanket over us when we sleep.

    as if living in a prayer, we say
    amen to the late arrival of red,
    the stun of green, the muted yellow

    at the end of every twig. we will
    lift up our eyes unto the trees hoping
    to discover a gnarled nest within

    the branches’ negative space. and
    we will watch for a fox sparrow
    rustling in the dead leaves underneath.

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  • December 4, 2013

    a poem…


    …for a day in december that feels like a day in may.

    autumn day by rainer maria rilke

    lord: it is time. your summer was superb.

    lay your shadows on the sundials,

    and in the meadows let the winds go free.

    command the last fruits to be full;

    give them only two more southern days,

    urge them to completion and chase

    the last sweetness into the heavy wine.

    whoever has no house will never build one now.

    whoever is alone now will long remain so,

    will stay awake, read books, write long letters

    and wander restless back and forth

    along the tree-lined streets, as the leaves drift down.

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  • December 3, 2013

    good reads :: october & november

    oct_nov books

    I collect books. always from used bookstores (first it was powell’s, then, capitol hill books, now, mckay) and always the ones with the most character. if I didn’t love it so much, I would say it’s a bit of a problem. but if an overflowing bookshelf is my biggest vice…I think I’m okay with that. because the thing is, I just really love the feel of paper and ink. of black serif font against yellowing weathered pages. and I can’t really read a book without writing in it. without underlining all the best quotes. without filling the margins with my own random thoughts to come back to. because the other thing is, I also am a chronic re-reader. all my favorite books have been read two, three, four times (for the moment, franny and zooey takes the cake at six.) and as I’ve gotten older and the entries in my journal have become increasingly scarce and sparse, the scribbles and doodles in the margins of my favorite books have become a diary in themselves. case in point: I return to pride and prejudice after a year. although my marginalia tells me that I cheered for jane bennet at one point, I really can’t stand her passivity this time around. and then I realize that in the past year I’ve gotten a little bit better at standing up for myself. I change and the words I read change with me. so at the end of the day, my library card will sit collecting dust and my bag will never be small enough for just a kindle. at the end of the day, give me a book with some heft and a nice blue pen to write all over it with. at the end of the day, call me a collector of books.

    taking a cue from one of my favorite blogs, here are a few of my favorite books of october and november:

    an american childhood (annie dillard)
    “just once I wanted a task that required all the joy I had. day after day I had noticed that if I waited long enough, my strong unexpressed joy would dwindle and dissipate inside me, over many hours, like a fire subsiding, and I would at last calm down. just this once I wanted to let it rip…what I was letting rip, in fact, was my willingness to look foolish, in [others’] eyes and in my own. having chosen this foolishness, I was a free being. how could the world ever stop me, how I could betray myself, if I was not afraid?”

    what we talk about when we talk about love: stories (raymond carver)
    “I could hear my heart beating. I could hear everyone’s heart. I could hear the human noise we sat there making, not one of us moving, not even when the room went dark.”

    from the mixed-up files of mrs. basil e. frankweiler (e.l. konigsburg)
    “happiness is excitement that has found a settling down place, but there is always a little corner that keeps flapping around.”

    help, thanks, wow: the three essential prayers (anne lamott)
    “grace can be the experience of a second wind, when even though what you want is clarity and resolution, what you get is stamina and poignancy and the strength to hang on.”

    “gorgeous, amazing things come into our lives when we are paying attention.”

    “when all else fails, follow instructions. so we breathe, try to slow down and pay attention, try to love and help god’s other children, and – hardest of all – learn to love our depressing, hilarious, mostly decent selves.”

    “I pray for the change in perception that will let me see bigger and sweeter realities.”

    what have been your favorite books this fall?


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  • January 12, 2012

    czeslaw milosz

    love means to learn to look at yourself
    the way one looks at distant things,
    for you are only one thing among many.
    and whoever sees that way heals his heart,
    without knowing it, from various ills –
    a bird and a tree say to him: friend.

    then he wants to use himself and things
    so that they stand in the glow of ripeness.
    it doesn’t matter whether he knows what he serves:
    who serves best does not always understand.

    I could write pages and pages about how this changes the way I think about love. the way I think about the world. the way I think about myself. but for now, I’ll just read it over and over again. and hope that you will too. and hope that you will tell me how it changes the way you think.


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  • November 19, 2010

    fear and trembling

    I just finished reading fear and trembling by soren kierkegaard. full disclosure: I understood about half of it. maybe less. but one part I think I got was when he was talking about what a great life looks like and what it takes to make a great life happen. it takes a lot of effort to live in a way that is working with God to build an awesomely beautiful end scene. and I cannot skip to the end. I cannot steal the lesson or somehow buy greatness. if I really want to learn something and learn how to live, I must begin at the beginning. I cannot expect to know the outcome first, “for one knows the result only when the whole thing is over.” God has saved me and bought me and, for no other reason than his grace, I will get to spend eternity with him. but I still have to do the work to make my story great while I am in this present reality. when everything is said and done, and God asks me what I did with this body and mind and heart that he entrusted to me for a little while, I want to have something interesting to tell him.

    in his book, kierkegaard wrote that our lives become great, “not, by being relieved of the distress, the agony, and the paradox, but because of these.” and I think I am starting to understand that part more and more. that the tests and the trials and the struggles that I live through only make my story better. that if I want to live a great story, I have to do the work to make it happen. that joy costs pain and greatness takes a lot of risk and a whole lot of work. I think I have finally come to a peace with this. but the part that has proven to be harder for me to grasp is how my actions must speak louder than my circumstances. kierkegaard wrote, “it is not what happens to me that makes me great, but what I do.” put another way, in one of my most favorite books, donald miller says, “the only way to know the truth is to make choices under pressure, to take one action or another in the pursuit of desire…the idea that a character is what he does remains the hardest to actually live.” it seems so simple. if I want my story – my life – to be great, it is not just that I need to be able to deal with hard things. I need to be able to act differently in the face of them. I need to be able to love people well despite how I feel. I need to be able to live so that my words are not void. that is a whole lot harder than it seems. and I don’t have a lot of answers at the moment. maybe tomorrow.

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  • February 17, 2009

    Echoes – Roy Conant

    What I said
    In ways
    I did not say

    My words
    Return in fractals
    I do not comprehend
    Less than ever said
    But more than I

    Words live
    In the ether.
    Spirit voices
    Once raised
    Weave rounds,
    Viral wreaths and
    Endless fugues of
    Arial arrays

    The life of the word
    Is unbroken
    The speaker hears
    Only a token
    Of what anyone
    Has ever


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