Ferociously Observant

It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not. -Anon.

Constitutional Contridictions? 29 November 2007

Filed under: Rants — ferociouskater @ 11:53 pm

We are not supposed to be a country of one religion, or any religion for that matter. We are supposed to be a country of religious freedom. (Or the freedom to choose no religion at all, which I’m feeling is less and less acceptable but that’s another rant.) Now I understand the phrase “freedom of religion” means that every religion should have the right to practice and proselytize without being censored, but a lot of people are taking it way out of proportion.

I got an email forward from my grandmother recently about a 1996 speech by Minister Joe Wright to the Kansas Senate. This email has probably been circulating for years, in fact Snopes attributes to a version of it starting in 1999.

There are countless quotes I find incredibly offensive in this prayer, but right now I just want to touch on this one, the end of his prayer: “Guide and bless these men and women who have been sent here by the people of the State of Kansas […] ordained by you to govern this great state.”

“Ordained?” Pardon me, but I thought that ministers were ordained. But legislators?

The first amendment doesn’t go into a lot of detail about the separation of church and state, and in fact the phrase “separation of church and state” was actually coined by Thomas Jefferson in a separate document even though a lot of people attribute it to the Constitution itself. The actual document states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

Now sure, Wright’s prayer was technically protected under the second part of the amendment, the free exercise (and free speech) part. But proclaiming that the state congress itself has been divinely chosen by God to pass laws for the good of the state is going a bit far. Has Bush, too, pulled the Sword out of the Stone? No wonder legislators walked out on the spectacle.

Bringing up this line in Wright’s speech, and the speech itself, brings me to an interesting realization. I feel like a lot of people, especially conservatives, really like to bring up the Constitution in some arguments but completely ignore it in others. Would an NRA member from the Bible Belt try to argue his firearm rights without quoting the second amendment? You bet your Charlton Heston he wouldn’t. But at the same time he might completely ignore the Constitutional problem with Wright asserting that the people of America “have worshiped other gods and called it multiculturalism.”

I’ve heard of Cafeteria Christianity, but has the religious right of this country invented Cafeteria Constitutionalism?

I’m sorry, but it’s very hard to take you seriously when you clutch so tightly to one line of our founding document and casually paint a neat stroke of Wite-Out over the next.

 

Feet Hurt. Tired. Worth it? Yeah, so far. 28 November 2007

Filed under: Career — ferociouskater @ 12:16 am

I felt like a complete idiot today at work. I had to call for a manager a dozen times to correct transactions at the register and seemed to forget everything I had learned about where everything is in the store.

But at the same time, I saw an old coworker from the vet office and remembered how I’d much rather be where I am than back there.

My feet hurt and I’m exhausted, but I’m having fun getting to know some of my new coworkers. So all in all, idiot mistakes aside, I’m still pretty content.

Blogged with Flock

 

My Friends – Dar Williams 26 November 2007

Filed under: Blogs I Frequent of Folks I Know,Randoms — ferociouskater @ 3:06 am

“He’s a quiet man,” that’s all she said,
And a thoughtful man,
it’s just like he likes to keep his thoughts up in his head.
And we finally meet, and she tries to draw him out a bit,
She says, “He’s writing something,
hey now, why don’t you talk about it?”
And he doesn’t make a sound,
He’s just staring at his coffee,
And I know there’s all this beauty
and this greatness she’ll defend,
But I think it’s in my friend.

I have a friend in a bright and distant town,
She’s found a common balance,
Where you do your work, and you do your love,
And they pay you, and praise your many talents.
And I’m passing through, and we’re not going to sleep,
she laughs and puts on the tea,
She says, “You know I think you remember every part of me.”
And the water starts to boil,
And if I had a camera
Showing all the light we give
and showing where the light extends,
I’d give it to my friends.

Sometimes I see myself, sometimes I need a witness.
And I like the whole truth,
but there are nights I only need forgiveness.
Sometimes they say, “I don’t know who you are,
but let me walk with you some.”
And I say, “I’m all alone, that’s all,
you can’t save me from all the wrong I’ve done,”
But they’re waiting all the same,
With their flashlights and their semaphores,
And I’ll act like I have faith and like that faith never ends,
But I really just have friends.

**************************

I miss you all that are far away, and I’m already missing those that will be. Thinking about you all tonight.

 

One Thousand Words 22 November 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — ferociouskater @ 3:15 am

“When I worked at the Harvard Writing Center, I joked that the single most useful piece of equipment for a writer was a bucket of glue. First you spread some on your chair, and then you sit down.” -Joan Bolker

So one of the things that is stressing me out the most about trying to be a professional writer is that there are some days I don’t…well…write. I read and dabble in this and that, I might think about the stories I have ideas for or read other peoples’ story ideas, I might post on the conversation board about writing, but don’t actually, physically, sit down and write.

This is a problem for several different reasons. Firstly, I will never improve my writing without practice. I will never get the voice of my characters (or even me as a character, I guess) just the way I want them without that voice becoming as fluid to my fingertips as my own coming out of my mouth. Secondly, I will never make any money as a writer if I don’t finish things and submit them. I can have thirteen stories or essays or blogs going at once but never submit anything, and wonder why I’m not making any money. Hm, I wonder. The third issue with not writing is that I am quite ashamed, on most days, to even call myself a writer. You can’t be a dancer if you don’t dance, an actor if you don’t act, and a singer if you don’t sing. The same is true of writing.

So I’ve decided to try something that might work. Yesterday I went to Barnes and Noble, where they charge a ridiculous about of money to use the wireless internet (so I didn’t have distractions), and stayed at the table in the cafe until I had written at least a thousand words on my story. If I can force myself to write at least a thousand words every day, I might get a little less stressed about this whole writing as a career thing. I will certainly get into more of a groove and routine that I will need to keep and stay strict to during school. Tonight I have no feeling for the story, I have hit a plot wall, so I’m not going to spend my thousand words on that. I will spend it elsewhere. I’ve already spent about 400 here, although I don’t think it counts to use precious words describing the fact that I am counting words.

I’m thinking about getting together a prompt database that will hold a lot of writing prompts that I think are interesting that I might want to use sometime. I have three excellent books already in my possession that are good for this – The Writer’s Block, a cute little box-shaped book with spark words and prompt ideas in it, A Picture is Worth 1000 Words, that uses photos as jumping-off points for stories, and The Write Brain Workbook, a little book that actually has blank space on the pages for exercises but exchanges white space that a lot of workbooks contain for colorful photos and illustrations. I don’t always go to these books for help but they are certainly useful when I have no other choice.

After all, I still have 500 words to write today and no ideas of my own.

I hope this little exercise will work for me. I can remind my husband to hold me accountable all I want, but  it won’t work in the end if I don’t glue myself to my seat.

 

Buh Bye. 17 November 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — ferociouskater @ 7:31 pm

“I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”
-B. Baggins

Blogged with Flock

 

My New Job – Please Stop Staring. 12 November 2007

Filed under: Career — ferociouskater @ 1:01 am

When I tell people about my new job they look at me funny. “You’re leaving a reception job with a steady schedule for retail?” So here, for all to see, is one of my reasons for abandoning my “steady” job at the veterinary clinic for my new job at SuperBookStore (SBS).

I am tired of getting sideswiped by people who have just had $60 or more of stuff done for their pet come up to the counter and ask me if they can be billed. Apparently the huge “All Payments are Due At Time of Service” sign didn’t tip them off when they walked in the door. I am tired to having to explain, over and over again, that no matter how “good for it” they are we cannot give them Fluffy’s medication if they don’t have all of our money. I am tired of the dirty looks, the pathetic whining, and the threats that they will switch vets.

At SBS the price is on the label. If you don’t have the money for it, you don’t buy it, you read it in the cafe and then let us re-shelve it for you. If I’m not comfortable with how someone is treating me I can get my manager and step away. There will be a manager there no matter what day it is, I won’t be helpless if it’s a weekend like I was at the clinic.

So there is one reason I’m happy to be moving on. I’m sure I’ll find new things to gripe about once I get there. But for now I’m content, so I’m going to ignore your weird looks and get my nice discount.

 

 

Songs to Get Lost In 5 November 2007

Filed under: Creations,Ponderings,Randoms — ferociouskater @ 3:17 am

I’m pretty emo in that I spend a lot of time listening to music, and I spend a big portion of that time finding meaning in the lyrics. I don’t care what the artists meant when writing the songs, necessarily, and perhaps if I ever found out I would stop listening altogether. This, I firmly believe, is why I stopped watching music videos a long time ago. There are a few songs I’ve seen the music video for several times, and now whenever I hear them I don’t try and apply that song to my life or think about how it can relate to me – all I’m thinking about is that video. I have no creative license, for example, to Tom Petty’s “Don’t Come Around Here” because all I see is that warped Alice in Wonderland scene.

Sometimes I like to play a little game with my iPod. I shuffle the songs and try and come up with a memory or image associated with each one. I cheat a little, and skip the ones I don’t know very well. I can organize my life’s memories quite clearly using songs I listened to at the time. In fact, listening to a specific album brings back vivid memories I might not have otherwise. I’ve talked about this before, when raving about my favorite band The Indigo Girls, but it certainly applies to every song I’ve ever loved.

Anywhere You Go – Shawn Colvin: I first heard this song on my cousin’s boombox when I visited her in Colorado on a college trip. Every time I hear it I think about how my life could have turned out completely different had I followed her to Colorado College instead of attending Denison and married Tom. Most of the time these hypotheticals give me a headache, but I don’t mind thinking about them so much when I’m listening to music.

All Kinds of Time – Fountains of Wayne: I know this is a song about football, but I use it as a sort of analogy for my life. Sometimes I get really, really stressed out about how my life is at a standstill right now, in terms of career and lifestyle. And then I think, hey, I’m only 25. Why can’t I go back to school and earn a master’s  at 28? A doctorate at 30? Why can’t I have kids at 32? Why do I have to worry about these things right now?

In My Life – The Beatles: This is a great memory song. Not only is the song about remembering the people in your life, the song itself elicits memories for me. I originally heard this becase my best friend of the time included it on a mixed tape she made me. Her mixed tape was also where I first learned of several great artists and I will always be thankful to her for that. This song and others will always remind me of her, even though we no longer speak.

I could go on like this for hours, and not only is it a fun game, it’s a good writing exercise and journaling activity. And it’s amazing how vivid these memories come back to me. I’ve said it before but music truly is amazing, and I know I couldn’t live without it.