• The Sacred Arts,  This is Me,  Writing

    Giving and Taking

    Giving. It’s what most women are trained to do pretty much since birth. Here’s this dolly, nurture it. Here’s this house, it’s your job to make sure it’s welcoming and clean. Don’t you want to learn to cook so you can find a husband someday? Give of yourself, it is your job to make others comfortable. Okay, maybe things have changed a little since I was a youngster (or at least I hope so), but women talk about guilt enough for it to be a pretty pervasive cultural condition. We feel guilty if our houses aren’t clean and well-decorated. We feel guilty sitting down to read, or watch TV, or paint our…

  • Damn the Man,  The Sacred Arts

    A Grown-Up Job

    $13/hr. One week vacation the first year. Overtime expected. Looking for a go-getter with a can-do attitude, 5+ years of experience. Send us resume and cover letter explaining what makes you stand out from the crowd. What is it with employers these days? I think to myself as I scroll through the 5th job board of the day. I spend most days jumping through elaborate hoops, with a folder of 12 different resumes, 12 cover letters, 2 portfolios, 5 salary histories and 1 list of references, only to not hear back from 99.99% of places I contact. I keep a spreadsheet of every place and position for which I apply, so I…

  • The Sacred Arts,  This is Me

    Advanced Conversational Spanish

    “¿Qué piensa usted del evento en la página cuatro?” I caught the last words, “page four,” and ruffled through La Opinión as I translated the rest in my head. There was a distinct pause as I flipped through the pages of my mental Spanish dictionary: “Piensa” = “pensar” = to think. She’s asking what we think about something on page four… By the time I mastered that verbal trickery, the other students were already chatting in blurring machine gun staccato. I tried valiantly to translate every tenth or fifteenth word using my handy yet admittedly slim mental dictionary. DOS booting up in the early nineties was faster than my memory retrieval. This is…

  • lake
    Adventureland!,  The Sacred Arts,  This is Me

    Resolutions? Naw.

    Last year, I had goals for this blog, even if I didn’t state them out loud. It was my life raft from my corporate job, and I still harbored high hopes that it would save me from intellectual oblivion and possibly launch my career as a writer. This year is different. Last year, I treated this blog like a business (albeit a beloved business), and like a business it grew and changed, but not in the ways I thought it would. I advertised it, I went to a blogging conference, I tried this technique, tried that one. Some of this experience was rewarding, some of it wasn’t. Then, mid-year, something began…

  • Adventureland!,  The Sacred Arts

    The Event of a Lifetime

    I’m usually in my pajamas by seven, and in bed by nine-thirty. A party animal I am not. But that night, when the concert hadn’t started by the promised seven–and then eight–o’clock I still felt awake. Probably adrenaline keeping me going. I hadn’t been so excited in a long time. This was the event of a lifetime for me. I could never justify the expense during the perpetual poverty of my twenties, so I had never been to a concert before. Truth be told, I still couldn’t justify the expense, but Mike knew how much this meant to me and sprung for tickets. It was time. They were coming to town,…

  • brushes
    Family Dynamics,  The Sacred Arts

    Art Supplies

    I lifted the garage door for him. He wasn’t as spry as he used to be, though at his age it’s to be expected. The hinges squealed, as if I were punishing them. I knew my grandpa had a lot of hobbies, but the sight of all this mid-century crafting supplies momentarily took my breath. Not only were there boxes upon boxes of unidentified storage, there were jig saws, yellowed canvases, pieces of colored glass, tiles, drafting equipment. “I think it’s all back here,” he said, slowly wending his way through the stacks of dilapidated cardboard. “Wow,” I muttered under my breath. All of these costly supplies, going to waste…

  • My Office
    The Sacred Arts,  Writing

    NaNoWriMo: Crawling Out of the Hole to Say Hello

    For those of you who don’t know, November is NaNoWriMo, short for National Novel Writing Month. What, you ask, in the holy hell is that? Well, it’s just as scary as it sounds — especially as I am a participant this year. NaNoWriMo was created by a group of sadomasochists ambitious people who knew, just knew that they could write a 50,000 word novel in a month if only they sacrificed every waking second toward this endeavor. Then, they spread the punishment idea around the internet, and gullible hacks overachievers like me thought to themselves, “Hey, I am already spending every waking hour writing copy and articles and looking for…

  • Landscape1
    The Sacred Arts,  This is Me

    Performance Anxiety

    I can’t do it. There will be professional artists in the audience. What if they see how amateurish I am? I’ve never taken an art class. Ever. I may be an artist, but I am not a skilled artist. These are the thoughts that raced through my mind when the associate pastor at the church we’ve been attending asked me to paint during the worship service. However, you could really insert this conversation into my head any time someone asked me to perform a skill. Case in point: Times I’ve been asked to play the piano at weddings/funerals/plays/church. Times I’ve been asked to sing on the worship team. When I’ve been asked why I don’t do…

  • cross
    The Sacred Arts,  This is Me

    Some Thoughts and Songs on Spirituality

    I don’t often write publicly about my spirituality for the same reason a new mother doesn’t take her infant out to a Metallica concert; it’s growing and sensitive, it doesn’t need exposure to angry forces, and I feel like protecting it from the world during this formative time. Unfortunately no stranger to spiritual abuse and manipulation, I am more cautious with that aspect of myself now that I’ve been around that block a few times. Why people feel the need to bully others about their spiritual journey I’ll never know. Yet it is a big part of me, as much as my physical and emotional life. Sometimes I feel a…

  • The Sacred Arts

    Reflections on Rap

    This may surprise you, but I didn’t fit in the dominant culture as a young teenager. At school dances – aka, social self-flagellation in the cafeteria to bad music – I didn’t know how to dance to the popular songs. I knew how to rock out. Popular music in the mid-90’s was terrible, just to fill you in. The alternative music scene that had seemed so revolutionary in the earlier part of the decade swelled to a crescendo of icky, corporately manufactured rock, including Hanson. Yep, Hanson. Any other argument you have in favor of mid-90’s music is invalid. But in my neck of the woods, hip-hop held supreme over…


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