Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
I might be an abstract expressionist, not just on a canvas but also in my dreams, thoughts, and view of the world. I am a being of feeling, of emotion. Though I am also rational, I connect the dots of sensory experiences with feelings and experiential emotions.
As theorists point out, “an artist need not have the feeling in question in order to express it (Freeland 156).” Many people will tell me that they experience emotions all at once or more than one at a time: angry and sad at the same time; loathing and lusting at the same time, happy and sad at the same time. I think we can feel all of these emotions in a minute’s time, but none of them at the exact same time. It’s impossible. I’m beginning to sound like a philosopher. It could be because of this class or because of my current course in philosophy. Or, maybe I’ve always been a philosopher.
As I continue, I wonder how an abstract expressionist and philosopher go together. This could end up being another one of my self-discovery writings, but there is no harm in that. See, there I go philosophizing again.
When I wake up in the morning, I feel the monotony of life: the fact that I have to wake up to another day that ends at the same time, that is filled (for now) with many of the same people. My face is the same. My eyes are still the same color. My heart is still mine, and it will continue to feel this day. On the other hand, my face is mine! And my eyes are the same color! And I’m going to feel in my heart that this day is for feeling…for newness, for growth.
Life is monotonous. It is also fresh each day. Is it possible to be these two things at the same time? Opposition could be relative, just as multitasking with multiple feelings could really happen. I am a philosopher because I think in theory and I base it on knowledge and experience. I am an abstract expressionist because, as you can read in this paper, I am experiencing utter confusion about the mumbo jumbo I am writing, and I am creating this work of writing (or art) about it. I think that’s the jest of it. Narrowing things to the jest generally helps me simplify the idea. I am a confused, empathetic, and admittedly wishy-washy person. Though I hate these terms sometimes because of their derogatory notions. This writing is abstraction: freedom from representational qualities in art; the state of preoccupation; the process of considering something independently of its associations, attributes or concrete accompaniments.
But I ask, why should things be stuck in concrete form all the time? Why can’t something work independently of its connotations, cultural assumptions, and art world criticism? It’s because we are human, I’ve figured out, that we understand things in concrete form and in context. This is art. Even though an artist’s work may be abstraction, we still have to put it into a concrete box to digest it, associate it with either the artist’s intention, our reaction and interpretation, and our judgment. I wish to be free of this monotony.
The fresh factor must be transcendent of the concrete box of this world. I believe that the nature of this God exists, and he wants us to feel it, but not necessarily understand it.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
As I drive with my friends to Kansas City for our annual trip to Worlds Of Fun (this time, during fall break), having sarcastic arguments with underlying themes about what it means to exist (which is how I interpret them), I ponder the reason for our existence, sitting in this van, talking and laughing with one another. What are we doing here, and, of all the billions of causes for our existence here and now, there was one first cause.
It still scares me, like it did when I was a little girl, when I think about something causing these causes and how this something never had a cause. This something is God. It’s like I’m looking down a restricted line through a very narrow point of view. I look out at the trees that point up to the sky which holds the stars which extend out into the universe, however vast and large, and at the end or the beginning (or both) or encasing the entire unimaginable vast area of the universe is this strangely frightening causer, God.
I look at my friends, and first, I wonder if they think the same thing. We’re contingent beings, dependent on another. Last night, I spend time with the same friends. We were sad together because we missed our friends who have already graduated and/or have already started student teaching, taking on internships, and finding jobs. At this point in time, we are dependent on each other for fun and happiness, confidentiality, and a sense of belonging. If we were necessary beings, why would we feel this way, not as Christians, but as mere human beings?
There is a pattern, not just among Christian communities but also at the lunch table in a high school cafeteria, in the workplace, in college. We look for those in which we can see something of ourselves, so we’re not entirely dependent on our beliefs (and doubts) about existence from an ultimate creator, or an ultimate creation (the big bang theory) that eventually led to our short so-called life on earth. I even venture into the city once in a while and observe groups of friends heading to the bar, school children playing together on the playground, elderly couples walking into bingo night together. Humans are dependent on one another. This brings back a point I made in earlier writings: “How do you define yourself without comparison to others?”
I will argue that it does not matter if you’re Christian…atheist, agnostic; there is an undeniable value put upon other beings of similar substance. If you’re a “people-person,” sure it’s obvious, but even if one is a serial killer, there is some kind of significance from the human being that makes he or she worthy or unworthy of living. In other words, humans have an effect on other humans, good or bad, in the moral sense. Therefore, the value put upon existence is something of a higher power that exceeds human thought and rationality.
We just listened to a song on the radio by the Black Eyes Peas entitled, "Where Is The Love?" The final line of the song goes like this: "Father, father, father help us, we need some guidance from above." The song illustrates the need for something to look up to, to explain our existence, and to explain our existence for each other. It doesn't necessarily come from "above," but from the foundation of all causes: the first cause.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Monday, September 6, 2010
Friday, August 27, 2010
Thursday, August 12, 2010
It's funny. I would always excuse myself from cooking because I always failed at it. Burn, flake, explode, and deteriorate were all parts of my whining kitchen vocabulary. But something in me changed.
When you think about it, the kitchen himself is quite attractive. The sparkling knives hanging in the corner. The pots and pans hanging from the ceiling, decorating the space most unexpectedly to a beautiful cozy haven. the drawers and cupboards so graceful when they open and welcome you. Oh, kitchen. He can break my heart when I burn the chocolate souffle or melt it when I flip a perfect over-easy egg onto a golden piece of toast. It's amazing what he does to me with the kinds of things that come out of his inner workings. He will always be there, treasuring my hands, because they're what makes him alive.
This got me to thinking. My budding relationship with the kitchen...how he holds my heart (even when it's broken) and how much he values the work of my hands, what comes out of them, how they can be used to nourish bodies, is a sign that I'm starting to appreciate and better understand the concept of relationship. Not just marriage, though that's a big one. But relationship - friendship, courtship, etc...all the good sailing ships. We're meant to cherish one another's skill of hand and efforts, toward each other and toward good.
Who knew that the kitchen could illustrate love like this?
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Sometimes, I wish I could capture these things in a photograph, but it's impossible to do the visual justice. It just is. No photograph can truly capture the immensity of belief in that moment. I'm not even sure words can capture it, either. But words come close when drawn directly from the core. The only thing stopping the flow is the human default to edit almost every word that leaves our mouths, which brings the point back around again...nothing that humans do can even faintly compare to what God has done for the human race that he loves.
I used to get annoyed by really happy people. Or when people would say, "I've found true joy!" I'd say, 'Is it even possible to have true joy as a human being?' I'm not sure if I'm a realist or a pessimist, or if I'm depressed or angry or jealous of those who seem to be more joyful than I. I thought that true joy was only of God and not of this earth. But there are glimpses, in love, maybe, between people. I see it because I have Christ in me. But I still say, 'Wait, absolute, true joy?' Then another question arose, 'If we sought and found true joy on earth why would we want to leave it?' and 'What if earthly joy is media-fied, or politically driven, arisen from a desire for superiority ('I'm a happy Christian, and you're not.') over others who don't always see it?
But, here's something in hope. There is true joy in Christ - no, something even greater and more pure - the purest love, unfathomable. And in this, there could be joy - of God - here on earth, shown in his creation and in the hearts of those who love Him; surpassing realism or pessimism and going beyond absolutely everything we know, or think we know. This was the Baby Jesus. The cross. And this is what we sing about, and what we marvel about when we look up.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Inception. I finally saw it, after all the hype. Well-deserved hype, too. I understood (for the most part), and I left the theatre questioning my own senses, thoughts, and daydreams. The word inception is most times another word for conception or beginning. Without spoiling the entire movie, I'm going to try to explain why this is one of the most groundbreaking and enlightening concepts of this decade, or even the history of the world.
The movie is based upon a central character, Cobb (thank you, Leonardo Dicaprio for your grace and talent) who is trying to, above everything else, get home to his children...in the real world. Throughout the entire movie, this is what kept me hanging on. So, inception idea number 1: children - one of the most beautiful visuals and symbols of God's creativity and beauty on earth.
The subplot of the movie involves the "job" that Cobb must complete with a crew of eccentric and very well-dressed extractors and inceptionators, I'll call them, before returning home. One, I have to mention, is Arthur, expertly played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt (he's certainly come a long way since Ten Things I Hate About You). I've never seen the dream world look so good. And dear Ellen Page mesmerizes yet again as Ariadne, a prodigy dream architect. The job involves planting an idea into one's mind to convince them to follow the idea into reality. Inception idea number two: unauthorized subconscious brainwashing. Brilliant, but illegal, I guess.
More stunning elements of the movie include the music (Hans Zimmer brilliance with perfect timing) and the special effects. The objects in dreamworld defy gravity in a beautifully dynamic and imaginative way...as fruit and buildings and baskets and bicycles and cars explode into a thousand pieces and float around for almost an entire three minutes of film, as the subconscious directs it's own effects in a dream. Inception idea number three: the birth of antigravity.
I'm not really trying to write a movie review, I'm just trying to wrap my conscious brain around what just happened on the screen, and maybe what happens when I close my eyes and enter the subconscious. Dreams have always been intriguing and valuable to me. I write mine down often, but to share them could possibly reveal some inceptive :) revelations that I'm not ready to share. Therefore, Inception was riveting and innovating to me, just like the dreams I write down. It might also be because I use more of my right brain than my left, and the mere existence of an aesthetically disguised film like this one really gets my jitters going. So, see it if you want to take a dive into a deep abyss of your dreamworld existence, but if you're into left-brained science and physics, be forewarned, but maybe try opening up your brain to let inception plant it's own idea there.
"An Idea. A single idea from the human mind can build cities. An idea can transform the world and rewrite all the rules."
Thank you for another one, Christopher Nolan.
Onto something a little less analytical, but no less deserving of great movie recognition. After the show "Firefly" was cancelled on the Syfy channel in 2002, many hearts were broken and great television opportunity was lost. Firefly is a story about a crew of smugglers from the future who fly on the ship Serenity. Along the way, they acquire a dangerous weapon, in the form of a psychic girl name River. Captain Mal, one of the greatest television characters of all time (who deserved to make the list of Entertainment Weekly's 100 Most Interesting Characters of TV, but didn't make the cut), played by Nathan Fillion, is a hard-ass smart-ass war veteran who looks out for himself and his own. The movie, Serenity, appropriately named, picks up where the show left off. The Alliance, a.k.a. the evil empire, almost equivalent to Vader's posse in Star Wars, wants to kill River, because her psychic powers and graceful punches in the face could make her the most dangerous weapon in the newly inhabited solar system. (Earth died a few years back from overpopulation. Ironic.) So, one of the best adaptations of television to the big screen is found in Serenity. I could go on for days about it, but I just wanted to share a quote that tugs me back to ideas of inception and the defiance of gravity on our beloved ship, Serenity. At the end of the movie, Captain Mal has just helped save the worlds, before turning to River, giving her a crooked smile and saying...
"...it ain't all buttons and charts, little albatross. You know what the first rule of flyin' is? Well I suppose you do, since you already know what I'm about to say....Love. You can know all the math in the 'Verse, but you take a boat in the air that you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as a turn in the worlds. Love keeps her in the air when she oughta fall down, tells ya she's hurtin' 'fore she keens. Makes her a home."
Nathan Fillion, you can navigate the depths of my heart with your crooked smile anytime.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Tour Associated Press News Room. Meet a manager named Dennis, and some important people named Caleb, Charzan, and Susan. They're all in charge of sharing news photos with the world. Seems like a huge job, but they are very friendly people.
Meeting-conference call with AP bureaus around the U.S. Find out Apollo Ohno is in the same city as I am. I know, not that big of a deal. But I love being connected to people just because we have something in common just for a moment.
Observe the process of routing photos around the world with Charzan and Susan.
Lunch at a 'delicatessen' called the Front Door in downtown NYC. Eat a huge sandwich, appropriately called the Front Door sandwich. Have some Matzoh Ball soup. I guess it's a delicatessen thing.
Shop at the "candy store" down the street, B&H, a store packed full of any electronic item you can imagine.
Endure a severe case of sensory overload before finding my 70-300 mm telephoto dream lens for just $100.
Tour TV Guide magazine, see raw photos from the shoot for the next TV Guide cover - the cast of the revamped and remade Hawaii 50, of which includes Daniel Dae Kim and Scott Caan in its cast :)
Visit the International Center of Photography. The Gallery is closed on Mondays, but the bookstore is great! I got a mystery pack of postcards...mysterious and exciting.
Have the best Mandarin Mango smoothie I've ever had at Red Mango.
Visit the Bath House studio, post-photo shoot. Meet Jeff, of whom I now have a crush upon because he works in the basement storage room and keeps Pabst Blue Ribbon next to his desk while he renders 90 minutes worth of abstract exhibitions to be shown downtown. I appreciate the behind the scenes work...knowing that no one is likely to know you were the one who waited 90 minutes for a video to render that the entire east side is going to see. Now, that's sexy. Plus, Jeff has impressive facial hair.
Take a trip to Adorama, another sensory overload store, purchase a beautiful Nikon D70 body that even has an eye cup. Sweet.
Laugh with the potbellied Jewish employee at the next counter, after he makes a joke about karma and rude customers.
Attend a private party in Manhattan, thrown by two award-winning photographers, one for Getty, the other from the New York Times. Meet lots of cool photographers. Listen to really hip music and drink (surprisingly) cheap beer.
A. My uncle is a cool dude.
B. I'm grateful and somewhat surprised by how friendly the people were that I met.
C. New York drunks are fun(ny).
D. Everywhere you go, people are people. New Yorkers aren't necessarily meaner or nicer than Nebraskans, nor are they hipper or lamer. Apollo Ohno is a person. The editor of TV Guide is a person. The best photographers in the world are just people. I'm a person. They're not gods or idols or people more or less deserving of praise. We're just people. And this gives me hope, because I can believe that I was connected to every person I met or saw or heard about yesterday, because in that moment we had something in the universe to connect our lives. All these connections create this beautiful webwork around the world of people. It's both humbling and awe-inspiring at the same time. And for this reason, I found New York City enlightening and groovy.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
I wonder if it is initially good to feel, in a world of convenience. But of course, so much easier. I baked cookies today. It took me less than a half hour. 10 minutes to heat. Another 15 minutes to delicious melt-in-your-mouth goodness. So quick, so clean, so effortless. It's inevitable...we are forced to move forward with the ease, the technology, and the complexity of the system. But here's something to think about. Are people prepared for their loss of power? We all know there is potential. Sometimes I dream about people running around in chaos, not knowing how to survive off the land, not knowing what to do without their damn cell phone when the inside world has consumed us and empowered us for so long. What happens when we lose power?
But I do have faith in humankind. I'm just not sure how to share it.
On a positive note, I found these few words the other day. Dare I say, uplifting and inspiring. The idea so simple, the questions complex. Here is one way to the answer.
"We all know that there are regions of the human spirit untrammeled by the world of physics. In the mystic sense of the creation around us, in the expression of art, in a yearning towards God, the soul grows upward and finds the fulfillment of something implanted in its nature. The sanction for this development is within us, a striving born with our consciousness or an Inner Light proceeding from a greater power than ours. Science can scarcely question this sanction, for the pursuit of science springs from a striving which the mind is impelled to follow, a questioning that will not be suppressed. Whether in the intellectual pursuits of science or in the mystical pursuits of the spirit, the light beckons ahead and the purpose surging within our nature responds."
-Sir Arthur Eddington
There it is. Hope, faith, love. And peace.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
So here it is...I'm not even sure who this Thomas Jefferson guy is, but he has some interesting things to say. Note his words about music.
Sometimes when driving, or riding the bus, or walking around in some park, I will try to get an image in my head of what the land around me would have looked like 400 year ago. The same hills the same landscape, but in mind I'll cover it in nothing and wonder what it was like to be the first man to chance upon it. This is always useless to me. There is so much wonder in this world , but i always have trouble getting past our influence, our disasters and clumsy systems. And even in those places where there is some real beauty, like down at golden gardens, or on the olympic peninsula, or at my grandparents' cabin in Wenatchee when it's deep in snowdrifts, all I have to do is take one look at the skyline in the distance, or on the cement path I'm walking on, or the white car parked in the gravel driveway to take me out of the tenuous illusion and put me back in reality.
We are constantly tethered to some safety line. There is always a lantern, or a map, or a screen, or a cell phone. These things guarantee that whatever experience we're having is just an attempt at connecting to something foreign and old, that it's not real, no matter how real it looks. We've sketched out a new world over the old and they are in two separate universes; the old is lost despite the remnants of it we see everyday. If properly prepared, one could live entire decades indoors, in a world of their own creation.
Sometimes. I'll stay indoors for days at a time, talking to no one and doing nothing of value. Once i do go outside after a long stretch like that , it still feels fake, like some slide in front of my eyes. At a certain point, I'll have to tell myself "This is actually real and I am actually here, that dog or building or mountain ridge in the distance is a real thing inhabiting the same space that I am." I think that must be a very modern sensation, that of having to convince oneself of reality. What a weird feeling.
A very smart and gifted friend of mine told me once that music is like a kind of replacement for the natural world that, before civilization or whatever, the world must have seemed a place of such immense wonder and confusion, so terrifying in a way, unthinkably massive and majestic. And that that feeling of mystery and amazement, is somehow hardwired into us. Once the world became commonplace, mapped, and conquered, that mystery left our common mind and we needed something to replace it with and then along came music. I think she's right. Music is magic to me, transportative and full of wonder in a way that I have trouble getting from the natural world. All the human things that make the natural world so hard to connect with just aren't there with music.
I don't really know what I'm trying to say with this. It's not good to romanticize a time of great hardship. Hardship I've never known and am not conditioned to understand. I'm also not interested in a 'back to nature' thing, as nature as it was is gone for the time being and it would take a very big leap of faith and common sense to ignore that. But, music to me is just as awe-bringing as the world maybe once was, and I just love it a lot.