I bolt upright at the first sound of my alarm, adrenaline pumping furiously.
I fly into my clothes, quickly gather my hair into a sturdy knot, and begin lacing my shoes.
You can do this. It will be fine! Great cause. Good weather. Nothing to prove. And think of the personal fulfillment!
I inhale deeply, stomach churning.
Who are you kidding? What were you thinking?! You are going to die! People train for these things!
I exhale and set off for the race.
A couple stretches, a quick prayer--Lord, have mercy!--and the gun sounds. No turning back.
I break into a slow, easy jog. People pass me on both sides. Four miles of this? How will I ever make it?!
I turn up my music and fall into a steady rhythm. My rhythm. Left, right, left, right. Just keep going.
Just me and the open road. My calves begin to ache as I start up the hill. Stay steady. Focus.
Halfway now. A quick drink as I run past the cheering crowd. A quick smile as I pretend I belong. If you only knew...
Left, right, left, right.
Shirt drenched in sweat. Muscles screaming. Lungs burning. I consider stopping-- just for a little bit?--but then, from the sidelines, "You're doing great! Don't give up!" Maybe just a little further...
So close yet so far. Each step feels like a mile. Left, noIcan't/yesyoucan, right, butIhurt/justbelieve.
And just when I think I cannot go any further--
The final stretch. A roaring crowd. A finish line.
Praise the Lord.
A much-earned breakfast.
(With much-preferred company.)
A fresh perspective.
...More than worth it.
In the lonely spaces,
In the teetering between
Hope and hopeless--
When you are drowning,
When you are flailing,
When you cannot make your
Wobbly knees stand--
If you are broken,
If you are scarred,
If shame is your shadow
And sorrow your cloak--
You are loved.
You are forgiven.
You are not forgotten.
And you have been called good.
In winter 2007, singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens invited his fans to participate in the Sufjan Stevens Xmas Song Xchange Contest (how Xciting!). Participants could submit holiday-themed songs with hopes of exchanging the rights of their song for a new, unreleased holiday song by Sufjan himself.
Not surprisingly, many people jumped at the chance. More than 600 people, in fact. So Sufjan got busy and set off to pick a winner. He reportedly fell in love with each entry--even "the songs with expletives, the songs with Christmas clichés, the many songs about ex-girlfriends, nativity scenes, snow globes and apple cider"--and referred to this experience as "an arduous and fascinating sociological project."
So, the time came for Sufjan to pick a winner. He eventually chose Alec Duffy, a New York theater director, for his song "Every Day is Christmas." In exchange, Sufjan gave Duffy the exclusive rights to his (new and unreleased) song "Lonely Man of Winter." True to his word, Sufjan sent Duffy his prize in the mail--a brand spankin' new Sufjan exclusive in the form of a soliatary CD.
Sufjan fans held their breath and waited impatiently for Duffy to cash in and make the song readily available to the public.
They waited...and waited...and waited...
And then--oh the horror!--Duffy announced every Sufjan fanatic's worst nightmare: he would not be cutting a deal with anyone to release the song to the public. Period.
<cue the wailing and gnashing of teeth>
Outraged, Sufjan fans cried foul claiming that Duffy was being selfish by withholding music from the world. Fans blasted him with insults and even some threats but to no avail. Duffy would not budge.
For Duffy countered that music used to be about an experience--an experience of searching desperately for a song and finally, when the painstaking treasure hunt ended, rewarded with sheer joy.
But today's music has been reduced to a mere click of a button and is forgotten tomorrow. And according to Duffy, this song should be a "real treat" and not just "one of 10,000 songs on an ipod."
Duffy's solution? Listening parties. In his Brooklyn home. For real.
An interested party contacts Duffy himself and once the arrangements are made, a group visits Duffy for tea, cookies and that much-sought-after secret Sufjan song (no recording devices allowed).
So what do you think?
Is Duffy "spitting in the face of progress" as one angry fan contends by keeping this song under such extensive restrictions?
Or do we today have a false sense of entitlement for expecting music immediately at our disposal?
I'm interested to hear your thoughts.
Chapter Twenty-Five: The Thing About a Crossing
It’s like this when you live a story. The first part happens fast. You throw yourself into the narrative and you’re caught in the water, the shore is pushing back behind you and the trees are getting smaller. The other shore is inches away and you can feel the resolution coming, the feeling of getting out of your boat and walking the distant shore, looking back to see where you came from. The first part of a story happens fast, and you think the thing is going to be over soon. But it isn’t going to be over soon. The reward you get from a story is always less than you thought it would be, and the work is harder than you imagined. It’s as though the thing is teaching you the story is not about the ending but about the story itself, about your character getting molded in the hard work of the middle. The shore behind you stops getting smaller, and you paddle and wonder why the same strokes used to move you but they don’t anymore...The shore you left is just as far and there is no going back, there is only the decision to paddle in place or stop, slide out of the hatch and sink into the sea. Maybe there is another story at the bottom of the sea? Maybe you don’t have to be in this story anymore? Maybe you can quit and not have to paddle in place anymore?...
I think this is when most people give up on their stories. They come out of college wanting to change the world, wanting to get married, wanting to have kids and change the way people buy office supplies. But they get into the middle and discover it was harder than they thought and they can’t see the distant shore anymore and they wonder if their paddling is moving them forward. None of the trees behind them are getting smaller and none of the trees ahead are getting bigger. They take it out on their wife, on their husband, they go looking for an easier story.
Robert McKee put his coffee cup down and leaned onto the podium. He put his hand on his forehead and wiped his grey hair back. He said you have to go there, you know. You have to take your character to the place where they just can’t take it anymore. He looked at us with a tenderness we hadn’t seen in him before. You’ve been there, haven’t you? You’ve been out on the ledge. The marriage is over now, the dream is over now, nothing good can come from this. He got louder. Writing a story isn’t about making your peaceful fantasies come true. The whole point of the story is the character arc. You didn’t think joy could change a person, did you? Joy is what you feel when the conflict is over. But it’s conflict that changes a person. He was shouting now. You put your characters through hell. You put them through hell. That’s the only way we change.
- The makers of this movie just got even cooler by announcing this, which makes them deserve these all the more, in my opinion
- And this community is helping this place make ends meet since sales of this just aren't cutting it these days
...What's new with you?
p.s. Info credit: Twitter (duh). Okay I lied. It's an RSS feed from here.
Not as in the gross-yellow-slicker-you-wear-when-you're-five kind of raincoat. I mean a cute, classy jacket that I can throw on during dreary spring days such as these and sport to work instead of shivering in my (not-quite-so-professional) hoodie or donning my bulky winter pea coat.
This weekend, after being sorely disappointed in TJ Maxx (um, hello, I don't care if it's freaking Calvin Klein! You're TJ Maxx! Sell something for under $65 please!!!), I decided Target was calling my name.
I sauntered through the women's section and after perusing the latest additions, I headed to the clearance rack because I'll be honest, full price is not my style.
I harnessed every ounce of self-control to ignore the knit dresses and fitted cardigans to focus solely on one thing--a spring coat.
Just as I was about to give up hope, the clothing rack parted and out jumped Destiny in the form of a belted, khaki, super-cute number that, to top it off, had that much-sought-after sale price sticker dangling from the sleeve.
Oh happy day! I thought to myself and trotted off to the dressing room with my newly-found trophy in tow.
I shrugged it on, fastened the top buttons, tied the sash and surveyed the mirror critically. SOLD! I inwardly cheered.
Just then, as I went to place my new bargain on its hanger, I saw it.
I cringed. I squirmed a little. BUT I BOUGHT IT ANYWAY.
What did I see?
A small, innocuous tag on the inside collar that read "LizLangeMaternity."
*And for the record, totally and completely NOT APPLICABLE!
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted
because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.