Thursday, October 23, 2008

Somethin' New

Ask me about being provided for, that's a good story I'd love to tell you in person.

Anyway. My advanced short story class (oh that's right— advanced) recently went through our first batch of short stories, of which mine was included. It was a startling process, especially after having spent so much time recently in my Writing Center training course. Allow me to explain. In Writing Center theory, the idea is (and this is a gross simplification) that the tutor is an equal, they and the writer sit side-by-side, the tutor asking questions to help the writer become better at their skill. Theoretically, both people bring something to the table, and both should leave with something more, even if it's just a warm fuzzy feeling. I give those out like candy.

Now when you get critiqued in a short story class, everyone in the class reads the work and you all sit in a circle. If your story is read, then you remain completely silent while everyone in the circle talks about what they liked or didn't like in your story. Sometimes someone will come in with discussion questions about your story.

Such was the case last Tuesday. I had spent four weeks reading and writing and practicing writing center theory, and then Tuesday came and I had to sit silent while a group of people that I do not know too well picked apart the themes of my story. Now hold on, there's value to that. You can't always be there to explain things to your readers. You can't always be around to say what you really meant or point out where they just "didn't get it." It's often very cool to hear people talk out your work, and how they got things out of it that you didn't mean to put in. I appreciate it.

But the flop side is this: with a community of student writers, none of which who are paid professionals enjoying a creative lifestyle, we all tend to fall into the trap of reading work and saying to ourselves, "their story isn't a s good as mine because..."

I think that there should be a new model. I think that some of the best writing is accomplished by two friends that want to see each other succeed, but who are honest with each other. Now obviously, the University can't force friends out of people and pair them up to make them better writers. You can't be assigned a muse or inspiration. But if you ask me, it can be encouraged much more than it is now. Writers, I encourage you: find someone who writes that you trust and want to see succeed. Help them be the best writer they can be, and hope they return the favor. I'll be looking for mine, I hope you're looking for yours.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Here are more things

Hey guys. I have a couple more of things to show you. I'm a little nervous about it, but oh well! Enjoy, if you wish. Again, click for a better view. This one above is actually my favorite

Thursday, October 2, 2008


So when I was a kid, I thought that the term "separation of church and state" meant that the government hated my church and did not like me singing in the choir. As I got older, I thought it was all about just keeping prayer out of schools, which sounds like bullying to us Jesus lovers if you live in suburban Colorado.

My mother helped me see it differently. Church is not just Christianity, and thinking so is a bit ignorant of me.

Looking at this current political season, I am caused to mull over my thinking of the topic again, and perhaps encourage others to think about it. Sarah Palin made a comment in tonight's debate that to many people, myself included, would find gentle and kind, but when said in the political environment, it felt... awkward. Governor Palin said to Senator Biden that his wife's treasure was in heaven for teaching for thirty years. Said personally over lunch, in a church, or in someone's home, a lovely comment, but out in the open during a debate, I had to think: does Christ want in our politics? Let's keep this brief, I could go on all day.

We should keep the church and the state seperate. I will tell you why I think this way. There is the very simple, clean view of states run by religion have a history of performing terribly. There, easy answer. Here's another: the government belongs to man. It is in place by man and rules over man. Our accountability to God is between us and God. We have governments to prevent total anrachy, and to prevent folks from murdering each other over fender-benders (I generalize). We do not have governments to make sure that my relationship with God is tip-top. We do not have laws making sure that I'm praying before lunch. We do not have laws that make sure I'm not lying and being an all-around jerk. That's my relationship with God, not my relationship with my government, my morality is a tough thing to ink into broad laws for everyone.

And here's the kicker: Christ said, "Give to Ceaser what is Ceaser's, and to God what is God's." So yeah, respect your government, but remember who you have the most important relationship with. The final note: if Jesus wanted to be the political and literal King (or president), he would have came and done so. But you know what? He came as a back-woods lecturer and teacher who just happened to be God as well. I don't think he wants to be voted into office.