Thursday, December 27, 2007

Oh My Word

Words are truly among the best things in life. I love that there is such an assortment available to anyone who speaks to duly express thoughts and feelings. It’s like standing before a vast verbal smorgasbord every time you open your mouth or take up a pen. Even better, the sheer number of existing words provides endless opportunity for exciting discoveries. There are so many obscure and unappreciated diamonds in the rough – literal gems which would surely serve to enhance our ability to communicate if only we were acquainted with them.

Sadly, I find myself getting too comfortable with a modest collection of words, continually choosing the same common language rather than actively broadening my linguistic horizons and increasing my options. Like repeatedly selecting twinkies over crème brulee because they’re cheaper and more familiar.

But few things give me more enjoyment than learning a new word. So, I was thrilled when a friend recently introduced me to this website: Aside from being an ideal time waster at work, it's great for getting your mind moving and a fantastic way to learn new words – like my new favorite: logorrhea. Means excessive and often incoherent talkativeness. How great is that?! And, as if vocabulary expansion isn’t satisfying enough…for each definition you identify correctly, hungry people get free rice. Ending world hunger and dull speech all at the same time – brilliant.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Worlds Colliding

Nothing better than a Farmers Market. And I especially love this one held in the plaza directly below my office window. What a delicious (literally) juxtaposition of the corporate and the agrarian. Every Thursday, the skirt- and suit-clad professionals of Century City descend from their glass skyscrapers, briefly abandoning their virtual harvests to sample the literal fruit of someone else’s physical – and in that sense, real – labor. Each week when the Market comes, I can’t help but wonder if any of my fellow office dwellers share my secret desire to leave the desk job behind and head to the fields – to draw something out of the earth rather than out of a spreadsheet. There must be a very different sense of satisfaction connected to working the ‘cursed ground’ than of that connected to sitting day after day in a fluorescently lit great and spacious building (which, as it turns out, isn't very satisfying at all...).

Give me the sun, the smell of damp dirt, a row to hoe, the thorns and the thistles – the whole nine yards. I want to grow something for a change!

“In this state of total consumerism—which is to say a state of helpless dependence on things and services and ideas and motives that we have forgotten how to provide ourselves—all meaningful contact between ourselves and the earth is broken. A person who undertakes to grow a garden…is helping himself in a way that dignifies him and that is rich in meaning and pleasure. But he is doing something else that is more important: he is making vital contact with the soil and the weather on which his life depends. He will no longer look upon rain as an impediment of traffic or upon the sun as a holiday decoration.” --Wendell Berry

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Yucca it Up

We took a trip to Joshua Tree recently. Okay, so it’s been several weeks - but I’ve been too busy to post anything….

It’s an interesting place. Not much to see except a plethora of Joshua Trees (go figure) and a decent sampling of unusual rock formations. Many of them seem almost too contrived – as if someone ("someone like maybe God," suggested Eva, as we all sat atop one of said rock formations) stacked these enormous stones in somewhat unnatural and seemingly impossible configurations just for laughs. Good work, I’d say. Very funny.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Pearls Before Breakfast

Oh my word. Love-LOVED this article. Stumbled on it randomly and was dying to share it with anyone who might appreciate it...which is one of the beautiful things about blogging. By posting something on the internet, you can share it with everyone – or possibly no one.

This appealed to so many of the things tucked away in the corners of my soul – love of music and acknowledgment of its divine attributes, appreciation for a sophisticated use of language to clearly articulate an enduring principle, and a longing for increased attention to refinery and reverence in everyday life.

It intrigues me – the thought of a master standing amidst a crowd of unsuspecting passersby who do not have ears to hear – so focused on what they think is important that they miss the eternally significant. (Why does this scenario sound so familiar?) As I read, the question came: Which of the wanderers am I? The one who is stirred enough by the 'soul speak' to pause and take note or the one who moves on unawares, too busy to be bothered? And more than that: Do I actively "seek after" the things that really are "virtuous, lovely or of good report or praiseworthy" so that I more readily recognize them, or do I merely trip over them if they happen to make their way onto my path and curse the obstruction to my narrow view?

Read it: Pearls Before Breakfast. You won't be disappointed.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Where Chelsea and Santa Monica Intersect

Whatever. This place is amazing. Finally made it out the other day to take some pictures - now that I've been here over a year.

I’m in awe of the ocean every day. Makes me feel small somehow. On the edge of the world, an entire continent at my back. “And then the water reached the west coast, and took the power lines....”

Sunday, September 30, 2007

'Tis the Season for Revision

September may be the most optimal month of all for visions and revisions. What is it about the coming on of Fall that makes me want to clean the slate and start fresh? Must be a life of transitioning from summer vacations into new school years. I always loved the first day of school. Equipped with newly sharpened pencils and virgin notebooks, I felt I could conquer whatever curriculum lay ahead. For some reason the newness of the supplies made the material seem manageable – perhaps because I hadn’t yet seen the study guide or opened the textbook. But somehow a fresh pencil and unmarred notebook made me want to write. A not-yet-opened textbook made me anxious to absorb everything it had to offer.

My favorite new-school-year item of all was always the new box of crayons. It seemed like the perfect salute to fresh possibilities – the sturdy yellow box, two rows of pristine points with perfectly even tops, the spectrum of color. It’s enough to make you take all 12 crayons in your fist and introduce the whole lot of them to a blank page at exactly the same moment in one rapid scribbling motion. Undoubtedly, I succumbed to this temptation more than once.

While the days of heading into Fall with a brand new box of crayons or experiencing the sheer thrill of a new lunchbox are long gone, there is still something about this time of year that sweeps me into a state of renewed revisionist thinking. Time to buckle down. Time to shed the poor habits I’ve allowed to take hold over the summer. Time to re-evaluate and sharpen my focus.

Last September, I moved from Dallas to Los Angeles. A revision, indeed. This September, I look for new ways to revise – less drastic, perhaps, but no less visionary, I hope.