Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Public Service Announcement

So...NaNoWriMo starts in two hours.
For the record, I might not be blogging much over the course of the next thirty days. Then again, I might be blogging more than usual. Procrastination is a lovely thing.
Do feel free to join me, though. There should be a link to the home site on that > side of this post. Or, alternately, the young writer's program for young people. Also, follow @NaNoWriMo and @NaNoWordSprints, as well as the #NaNoWriMo hashtag on twitter for to-the-minute updates, and read the Office of Letters and Light (the nonprofit behind NaNo) blog for inspiration. Figment's got an official Figgie-Wrimo group; and the NaNoWriMo forums are endlessly helpful and supportive. Also, feel free to look me up on either website, Figment or NaNoWriMo, username Zoie Gale. If the thought of participating in this psychotic thirty-day mad-dash for 50k has even crossed your mind, do it. No, seriously, do it. You'll be glad you did. I've never once regretted it. If it's nothing else, it's a whole lot of fun, and it's not too late to sign up. :)
Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I'm gonna go snag a couple hours sleep before locking myself in the bathroom and converting the bathtub into a writing haven.


I stepped out my door about five minutes ago, after about two day straight of hiding from Sandy, and realized that the seasons had changed while I'd been inside. Leaves were whipping across the street in a chilly breeze. It's.....fall! One does have to be careful about blinking, doesn't one?
And it's not only Fall, It's Halloween. So this is what started running through my brain:

By Harry Behn

Tonight is the night
When dead leaves fly
Like witches on switches
Across the sky,
When elf and sprite
Flit through the night
On a moony sheen.

Tonight is the night
When leaves make a sound
Like a gnome in his home
Under the ground,
When spooks and trolls
Creep out of holes 
Mossy and green.

Tonight is the night
When pumpkins stare
Through sheaves and leaves
When ghouls and ghost 
And goblin host
Dance round their queen.
It's Halloween.

Memorized that one ages ago, but had forgotten most of it. I had to look it up, and I'd completely forgotten the poet's name. 
Also, the subject of ghouls and ghost and goblin host, go and download Neil Gaiman's super-creepy (and also free) audiobook 'Click-Clack the Rattlebag' before it's too late. Today's your last day. It's magnificent.
There'll probably be a post following this one later, another Halloween post, about the adventure of taking Riley trick-or-treating and hunting for Whovians in our sleepy little neighborhood, but, for the moment, Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

There and Back Again

So that Texas thing I was talking about? Totally happening. The urban mission where I applied to be a semester missionary liked the look of my application and accepted me, I'll be headed out first part of January.
First thought: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Second thought: I've got so much to do. This isn't a two-week missions trip with Global Expeditions. This is a nine-month commitment, and it takes a lot more effort. There's plane tickets to worry about, I've got to figure out the sweet spot of what clothes and stuff to take with me and what to buy there for optimum budget-friendly-ness, there's the question of piecing together my wardrobe (which is currently mostly in boxes in my grandmother's garage an hour away). And I have to have my plane ticket, to know what airline I'm flying with, to know the baggage allowances, to know how much I can take with me. Ugh.
There's the question of living arrangements. My room and board are covered, mostly, but I've got no idea where I'll be staying (and then there's the question of roommates and host families that very much affects what kind of stuff I'll need).
I'm also working to pull together a cook-book for myself of all those home-recipes I don't want to be without. Andrew and Daddy have agreed to record some guitar-ey stuff for me to put on my iPod to take with me.
I also have this sort of half-formed plan of organizing and streamlining my internet stuff for maximum convenience. The one thing I know about the time I'll spend there is that I'm going to be, well, rather busy. But I'd still like to keep up this, my personal blog, fairly faithfully; as well as start another (similar to the one I kept before/during/after my missions trip summer before last) for missions-specific stuff that's family/friends/real-life friendly, and maybe some kind of twitter-feed-ticker for both of them for updating on the go. This might take doing.

The one thing I have to keep hanging onto, even when plan and specifics threaten to take over my brain, is that this is God's will for my life right now. I need to remember to rest in that. Because it's a feeling I never, ever want to lose. Being in the center of God's will. It's nice.

Also, hope everybody's warm and dry and safely out of the angry clutches of Sandy McFrankenstorm. I know we had a bit of downed-power-line excitement last night. I also know that that's nothing compared to a lot of other places. My prayers are with everybody who lost family, friend, livelihood, home, or so on.

200th Post!!

So, erm, woohoo! :)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Lust for Life

(Post title being a reference to the biographical novel, bearing the same title, of the life of Vincent van Gogh, written by Irving Stone)

 I've been thinking about Vincent van Gogh. And about sunflowers. About how he's the reason that I love sunflowers. Because they make me think of the person I'd like to be. I'd like to be the sort of person who would've stood by him. I'd like to think I would've stood by him. Because he was spectacular, even though he was different and difficult and tragic. He deserved to have somebody stand by him, just one person to take his hand when the rest of the world turned their backs on him, to make his life better and brighter when it was dark, to give him hope and strength and quiet the demons in his head. And that's the person I'd like to be. I'd like to love the different and the difficult, and to be able to see the spectacular in the different and the difficult. 

I've been thinking of Vincent van Gogh. You know he started out his life wanting to be a missionary? His whole heart wanted to serve God and help people, and he was so willing to give up what he was born for to do it. He wound up in a mining town, trying to preach hope and redemption to people who had literally no way out, and he made himself sick trying to help them, gave them everything he had, down to the shirt on his back, to try and make their lives better. And he just saw too much of pain and hurt to go on believing in a good God. And then these people, the mission board, decided that he wasn't good enough to do what he was doing, and that was enough to make him snap, to turn his back on God. I've wondered why God would let that happen to someone who loved Him and only wanted to serve Him, but then I kind of realized: it took snapping and turning away from God for him to make a selfish decision. Without that, he never would've chosen to do what made him happy for the rest of his life. Cause he didn't paint for anyone else, not a soul ever told him that was he was doing was good, was worth it. He did it because he loved it. And think of what the world gained because of it? Maybe God let him go, pushed him away, to let him do what he was born to do, and to give the world a gift. Maybe what we think of as the selfish decision, can sometimes be the most beautiful thing of all.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

New Beginnings

Maybe a bit of explanation is in order. Maybe I should stop quibbling and come out with the honest truth. Our landlords evicted us from our lovely little house, stating "a new business venture" as their only reason. With an utter lack of other options, we moved in with my father's parents. This has been a mixed bag of good and bad things.
Because my father's parents' home is an hour away from our previous home and our home church, we had to take our leave of the church that's been more than a home and more than a family to me for the last four years. 
They gave us a reception after church a week ago today, featuring a laying-on-of-hands, a tie-dyed cake, and a lot of tearful goodbyes. I never realized people I'd known for so short a time could mean so much to me. I never realized it would be like pulling out a part of myself to say goodbye. I never realized the impact they'd had on me, or I on them, or how important it is to say everything you need to say. I feel like there are some things I left unsaid. But Brandon hugged me goodbye and Stephen would've if I'd let him. Corinne cried and made me cry; and Joy stood next to me the whole entire time talking about almost nothing, pretending her husband wasn't itching to leave. And then I cried myself into a piercing headache on the way home and slept for most of the afternoon and that was a week ago today.
This morning I got up and dressed like a person and we all piled into the car and drove to a brick building five minutes down the road. It's a new church, a church plant, meeting in a very old, pews-and-vaulted-ceilings building. I know what that feels like.
As wrong as it might be, I'm tired. I didn't want to go. But I did.


Pull in the driveway. Conspicuous. Surprised face in the parking lot. I know the thought process. Are they lost? No, they're coming here. Wonder how many? Will they come back? Quick, smile. Shake hands.
Where should we park? Is this okay? Shuffle through the door. Smile. Shake hands. Forget their names as quickly as they forget mine.
             "I'll never remember them all. I might ask again."
Table of donuts. Juice and coffee. Awkward laugh at an awkward joke. Oh, look, the praise band. Skinny jeans. Boots and scarf. Jacket's too tight. Beard and button up, hipster Jesus. Fitted t-shirt, worship leader. Smile. Shake hands.
Find a pew. Did we steal someone else's? No, no dirty looks. Stand and sing. Don't know the tunes, easy enough to guess.  They're clapping. Can I clap? Do I have the right? Clap and sing a song I don't know. Keep on beat. Words. Worship words. I want to worship. My feet want to move. My hands want to rise. Can I worship? Do I have the right?
Familiar words touch old hurts. Not ready for this yet. Still sore. Sing. Worship. Don't think too hard. Don't cry. Not a good time to cry. 
             "And then we'll have a time of meet and greet."
Sinking feeling. Shake hands. Forget names. Smile. People are the same everywhere. 
Communion. Will they let us take? Should we take? Okay, pass the plate, don't spill. Wait? Don't wait? Don't wait.
Offering. Wish I could give something. Wish I weren't broke. Wish somebody wasn't broke.
           "And the conclusion of our series on David..."
My luck. Just my luck. Last of a series. This always happens to me. Psalm 23. I can do Psalm 23. Oh, it's the sheep sermon. And he has a lisp. They all have a lisp. Little church laugh at sermon jokes. Take notes. Smile.

Closing song. Shake hands. Smile.  
          "Hope we see you again."
And all the while, my eyes like magnets to the plaque in the corner.
El-Roi. The God Who Sees Me.
Hagar's name for God. My name for God.
My God.
My God is the same here as He has been everywhere else I've ever been.
My God is here.
My God sees me.
My God.
Don't think too hard. Don't cry. Not a good time to cry. 


Friday, October 5, 2012

Stuff and Things

Hi, all. Rather than having bunches of posts about various things I've watched, seen, read, or listened to, I'm gonna try and clear it all away in one post. Will try to keep it from being too terribly long. Here goes.
~~Harry Potter. Finally watched ALL the movies. Yes, I know, I'm severely behind the times. Not sure what I have to say about them, beyond that I enjoyed every single second of it. And that Snape might be the single most heart-wrenching, provocative character ever. Period. And express my general what-the-heck-ness about that whole Ron-and-Hermione thing. I can't be the only one, can I? Maybe this just shows my ignorance, and maybe I should shut up and read the books before I make judgments (and, really, I'm meaning to. You know, whenever I have a spare MONTH just lying around); but I would've rather seen Harry and Hermione.
~~Doctor Who. As in, is back. Season seven. *explodes*
For the sake of sparing you spoilers in case you haven't seen it, I won't go into particulars (except that, when it comes to Angels Take Manhattan, have a couple hundred boxes of tissues at the ready). Actually, this might have to be a post of its own. Merp. :/
~~Sherlock. In case you didn't know, season two has been added to the Netflix streaming library (so no more waiting around at the bottom of waiting lists for the dvds to be free). Very convenient for any American fans out there who have not already used proxies or piracy to watch it online. Anybody who was patient enough to wait ten months. Person I am describing, if you actually exist, I salute you.
~~Ophelia. Young adult novel by Lisa Klein. Can be found here (Amazon). It's a retelling of the story of Hamlet, from, predictably, Ophelia's point of view. I love some of the grey areas it clears up, for all that it took quite a few drastic liberties; and Ophelia is a much more sympathetic character in this version, which is nice. Plus, it's got an utterly gorgeous ending, visually and story-wise, that was absolutely worth reading the entire novel. Again, spoilers. Read the book.
~~Hugo. As in, finally watched. Picked it up at the library (Oh my. A library system that has dvds. O brave new world!). Gorgeous plot, gorgeous casting, gorgeous score, great cinematography. I'm utterly in love. And it's steampunk! Why wasn't I told that it was steampunk?
~~Jeeves and Wooster. The Granada, Hugh-Laurie-and-Stephen-Fry version. Also a library find. You know how sometimes, you read a book and you've got these pictures of the characters in your head, and then you watch the movie and they just get it completely wrong? Well, this isn't one of those times. Hugh Laurie IS Bertie Wooster (which is kind of crazy when you think of him as House. Could you get a more polar opposite?). And Hugh Laurie, then 31, reminds me decidedly of another tall, skinny, blue-eyed British 30-something. Wildly ironic, because he played this person's dad on another tv series, Fortysomething. Funny how things work out.
~~The Graveyard Book. Neil Gaiman. Yes, I know, again, behind the times. But I can't not mention it, because I absolutely loved it. You know how sometimes a book becomes a part of the way you think? This one's going to stick with me for a while. Favorite quotes:
“Bod said, 'I want to see life. I want to hold it in my hands. I want to leave a footprint on the sand of a desert island. I want to play football with people. I want,' he said, and then he paused and he thought. 'I want everything.”
“He would go somewhere no one knew him, and he would sit in a library all day and read books and listen to people breathing.”
I feel like that sometimes. I don't want to deal with people, I just want to go e near people and feel like a person.
~~Once Upon a Time. The ABC series. Only mildly entertaining, yet strangely addictive. Curse you, mediocre television, for worming inside my head and not letting me go. Stuck watching season 1 on Netflix because we're not caught up enough to watch season 2 on live tv. *shakes fists*
~~Babel. As in, the new Mumford & Sons cd. I've read mixed reviews on it, seen it accused of being disingenuous, and I'll concede that they've found something that works and stuck to it with their second album, and that the album version of Below My Feet is nowhere near as good as the version that leaked a few months ago; but their music is every bit as good, and the emotions feel every bit as true, in Babel as they did in Sigh No More. The massive sales numbers alone tell you that this band's still got it.  But don't let me decide for you, check out my youtube playlist of the cd. For Those Below and Reminder being my favorite songs, with Babel and I Will Wait tied for second.
And, last but not least...
~~Elementary. First off, let me just say...
I am ashamed.
I just knew I should've waited until I saw it to say anything about it. I should've guessed I'd wind up eating humble pie. Johnny Lee Miller brings this sort of manic, puppy-dog, I-need-you-to-like-me energy to the title character, to the point that he's almost unrecognizable (and definitely nothing at all like Cumberbatch's version). I don't love the Watson (not because of gender or race, but because of some other things they changed). But I do like the show. It will, at the very least, tide me over until Sherlock comes back. But, un-canon as it (unarguably) is, I it. It's...cute. Incredibly cute. Come on, that last scene? Watson's a Mets fan? And the Elvis Costello, Watching-The-Detectives outro? Utterly adorable. And funny. Sherlock (the tv show), for all that it's worlds better, is almost never funny. As much as it pains me to say it, I was wrong. And I'm quite looking forward to episode two. :)

Aaaand, I think that's it. Forgive the mile-long post!


For a couple of weeks now, I've been sitting here with this sort of dull, throbbing guilt. "I should blog. I should probably blog." I know it's been a while.
But see, my laptop finally kicked the bucket. Went to meet its maker. Shuffled off this mortal coil. But you get the picture. So it's either been steal an ipod from a brother, kill my back at our wildly inconvenient home computer, or try and battle my sister's laptop (which is a very little bit healthier than my own). Really, doing anything internet-related hasn't been easy these days.
Which isn't a good thing at all with NaNoWriMo coming up. I still haven't worked out how I'm going to manage, but I'll figure it out. And I've got my lovely story idea, have laid in a supply of fine black teas, have cleared my schedule, have several pages of notes and research, and have attached myself to a NaNo Newbie as their *ahem* "mentor." Which means lots and lots of guilt if I run screaming from the whole crazy idea, or don't keep my word count up, or don't quite make it to 50,000. Guilt can be a lovely motivator.
Found out this morning that I did not in fact win the Defy the Dark contest. I had, of course, seen that coming; but that doesn't mean I wasn't disappointed. In fact, I was. Especially considering that the person who placed third took the same subject I did (swamps in the American South), and did it better. But I gave it my best shot, and maybe I'll do better next time. Love that hypothetical "next time."
The good news is, I've got lots of time to spend on my writing right now, as I don't actually have that much to do. Or, really, anything. Breakfast dishes and sweeping the floor, and then for the better part my days are my own.
For the record, I hate it. Lovely as it is to have time to do what I will, the slow, creeping uselessness is starting to get to me. I've been reading a lot of books, mostly YA fiction, which is always a slightly depressing pastime. And writing, which is cool. But the good news is, it probably isn't going to last.
Now, I feel like I can say this here, because a very few people I know read this blog, and most of them already know, but it's far from public knowledge amongst my friends and relatives yet, and I'd like it to stay that way, at least until I know for sure.
I will probably be moving to Texas in January. Not my family, just me. The group I volunteered with when I went on my missions trip last summer has a semester internship program that includes room and board. And as much as I was wildly looking forward to attending community college and holding down a part-time job, somehow this missions thing feels right. So I'm pursuing it. I've got an application in right now (that includes a frighteningly honest testimony and sort of about-me thing), and I'm waiting to hear back from the gentleman in charge of the semester volunteers. And unless that response consists of, "No way, you are absolutely 100% wrong for our mission and would you please run in the opposite direction as quickly as possible;" this feels like it's going to happen.
Fingers crossed and whatnot, pretending not to be mind-numbingly nervous.
And, I think that's essentially it. Might follow this up with a "media I have consumed recently" style post.
Have an epic Friday!