Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday afternoon

All systems have seized here this afternoon, so apart from the adventure of sampling fruit I've never seen before that was delivered in a thank you fruit box (eg a horned melon - some kind of cross between a cucumber and a passionfruit), I've not been able to do much. So I watched this:




In These Arms from banjo bandstand on Vimeo.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Last Station

I’m quite sick of this blog of late, if you hadn’t noticed. But I won’t make any grand or noble speeches of renunciation, because they’ve all been made before - and then I kept right on blogging, even if it was with little above nothing. All I’ve got to say right now is that I am looking forward to seeing the movie The Last Station. It is based on a novel, which is apparently based on the last few months of Leo Tolstoy’s life, so how much of reality is left in it I have no idea, but it looks like a highly entertaining movie none the less. I liked this review.

I've trudged my way through Anna Karenin. I have to say, it wasn’t ‘the world’s greatest novel’ to me. I wondered how much had been lost in translation, because after reading George Eliot I didn’t think either the writing or the human perception were surpassing. That and I just plain didn’t like Anna or Vronsky or any of the rest of them (excepting maybe Kitty and Levin). So I’m saving War and Peace for a hospital visit sometime. The movie would seem to be more about the Tolstoyans, however, and a time in Russia's history, than about the literature (though the literature created the Tolstoyans). It might somehow inspire me to read that epic.

Here is the movie trailer (and would you believe, Penguin just ran a competition for tickets and I didn't win!).

Love is not all you need

When you're done laughing at that video below, in all seriousness, you should read the chapter called "Love Is Not All You Need" in Counterfeit Gods, by Tim Keller, to see why either of the two extremes embodied in those song lyrics - the "thinking I could never live without you by my side" or the self-reliant "I will survive" - are not the place to be. I'm loving the book.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I've got all my life to live

Someone in my street is cranking out "I Will Survive" tonight.

If you haven't seen this little piece from Pixar, which I thought was hilarious about ten years ago, you need to:



Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Now I know that you love me

I had one of those "ahhh" moments over this little section from Counterfeit Gods, by Tim Keller. He has been discussing God's requirement of Abraham in testing whether or not he would sacrifice Isaac ("your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love" - Genesis 22:2). I always read that story and feel the great agony that must have been for Abraham (even though I don't have kids!) and finish up in awe of what he did. Then mostly from there I go to something like 'God provided the substitute lamb for the sacrifice for Abraham, and then later he sent Jesus to be the ultimate substitute sacrifice ...'. This, however, is slightly different:
We have to know, to be assured, that God so loves, cherishes, and delights in us that we can rest our hearts in him for our significance and security and handle anything that happens in life.

But how?

God saw Abraham's sacrifice and said, "Now I know that you love me, because you did not withhold your only son from me." But how much more can we look at his sacrifice on the Cross, and say to God, "Now, we know that you love us. For you did not withhold your son, your only son, whom you love, from us." When the magnitude of what he did dawns on us, it makes it possible finally to rest our hearts in him rather than in anything else.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Green is our neutral

Today one of our external editors is coming in for lunch. We're going to a fancy cafe on the water and the company is paying and they've said we can have dessert. Goodie! I have to go study the menu ... (We don't get out much here.)

Meanwhile, take a look at this house. I mean, I like green and all, but my goodness! (if you enter the house tour and then click thumbnails you can see it all at a glance).

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Elevating others

I snitched this graphic off this blog, which I got to from this blog. So simple, yet so profound.


And Tim had a link to this post (which just happens to be written by the CEO of a publishing company - not that I am going to be CEO any time soon, or want to be) on his facebook last week, regarding how to confront people and stand for the greatness of others. I am seriously adverse to confrontation and conflict (those INFJ personality sites all back me up on this one) but it does occasionally need to be done.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Poetry Day - The something

I thought it was time for some more Christina Rossetti. I've mentioned that my life seems to have a current theme about the Sehnsucht, and it has struck me that perhaps this is why I have always been taken with the two lines of poetry that feature in my header — Christina Rossetti was writing about it too. So here are two sonnets from her double sonnet of sonnets called Later Life. You can read some of the other sonnets from this sequence that I have blogged before here. But first listen to the Sehnsucht in these first eight lines:


17.

Something this foggy day, a something which
  Is neither of this fog nor of today,
  Has set me dreaming of the winds that play
Past certain cliffs, along one certain beach,
  And turn the topmost edge of waves to spray:
  Ah pleasant pebbly strand so far away,
So out of reach while quite within my reach,
  As out of reach as India or Cathay!
I am sick of where I am and where I am not,
  I am sick of foresight and of memory,
  I am sick of all I have and all I see,
    I am sick of self, and there is nothing new;
Oh weary impatient patience of my lot!—
    Thus with myself: how fares it, Friends, with you?

...

24.

The wise do send their hearts before them to
  Dear blessed Heaven, despite the veil between;
  The foolish nurse their hearts within the screen
Of this familiar world, where all we do
Or have is old, for there is nothing new:
  Yet elder far that world we have not seen;
  God's Presence antedates what else hath been:
Many the foolish seem, the wise seem few.
Oh foolishest fond folly of a heart
  Divided, neither here nor there at rest!
    That hankers after Heaven, but clings to earth;
    That neither here nor there knows thorough mirth,
Half-choosing, wholly missing, the good part:—
  Oh fool among the foolish, in thy quest.

I took this photo at Lands End in England. My scanning is a bit wonky, because I didn't want to tear the photo out of the album, but I quite like it like that.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Equipping women for gospel-centred lives

Wow. I didn't read this post the other day when I first saw it, because I wanted to come back later when I had more time. I did that at lunch time today. Go over there and read it. Here's a tantaliser:

If your message doesn’t resonate as well with the single woman watching her biological clock ticking away without a date in 8 years as the wife and mom who homeschools her children, you have missed the fullness of the message of the gospel. You may have communicated some out of context Scripture on women’s roles in the church and home, but you missed the gospel that equips us to bridge the gap between God’s good plan and the depraved world in which we live. That’s a bold statement, I know, but hear me out ...

Mothers

You have to love mothers (intended in the genuine, affectionate sense). Today I got a parcel in the mail from my Mum. It's a very large parcel. The mail deliverer here at work (I get stuff sent here because getting to the local post office to collect parcels during office hours is a big nuisance) balanced it on top of my in-tray and it looked quite ridiculous.

In this large parcel is a blanket.

Now I don't need my Mum to send me blankets because I am down here freezing to death in the winter. With my very own money I bought myself an 85% goose down doona a couple of years ago, and I have been toasting ever since. The long story behind this blanket is that last year Mum came down here to stay, and before she did I bought this self-inflating foam camp mattress for myself (and any other future guests) to sleep on on the floor, and I bought the double size for good measure (and because it was on sale!). It's a bit narrower than an ordinary double bed, and would be some kind of squashy business for two people, but for one its nicer than sleeping on the floor with your arms and legs hanging off the edges of some minimal piece of foam. Then I made do with spare sheets and blankets and sleeping bags etc and I thought it was fine.

But my Mum decided that I needed dedicated double-size stuff. So I actually got this blanket for Christmas, but couldn't lug it back in my luggage because that was already filled up with a set of double sheets, a double mattress protector (Mum used to have a spare double bed and doesn't anymore so she had these and was keen for me to have them - plus she has this self-confessed thing about manchester - you can't keep her out of manchester shops and when she was down here she went through my linen cupboard at least twice, just looking and folding stuff), other Christmas presents and of course that ESV study bible.

So this week she posted it. Now all I have to do is haul this enormous parcel home.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The dangerous duty of delight

The other day when I was at Koorong I also picked up a little book for $7 called The Dangerous Duty of Delight - The Glorified God and The Satisfied Soul by John Piper. I opened the preface and it quoted from CS Lewis, the passage that is also in the Wikipedia article on Sehnsucht:
The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them ... For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.
Sometimes you feel like your life is taking on a theme.

Piper goes on to make the point that the beauty, however, has visited us, in the word becoming flesh (John 1:14). It turns out that this book is actually a shorter version of Desiring God and basically his argument for Christian Hedonism and the command to pursue joy in God (you can read some of it online here) - but that's OK because it's been years and years since I read that. I've enjoyed taking in a few bite sized chunks since - it's a nice small book with short chapters, which for some reason makes it easier to snatch little bits of it.

On drumming, with sushi

This is a random post, one for the teenage boy in all of us. If you ever find yourself at a trivia night, and it features all those wretched music questions, and they ask you "who won 18 Drummer of the Year awards from Modern Drummer Magazine's annual reader polls and was inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 1996?" well you will here find the answer. I know next to nothing about drumming, except that when I notice the drumming in a piece of music, because for some reason or other it stands out, it's usually Vinnie Colaiuta drumming (eg Sting's album Brand New Day). It would seem he is one of the best drummers in the modern world. I read this great little anecdote on Wikipedia:

About Colaiuta's ability to play [Frank] Zappa's notoriously complex music, guitarist Steve Vai told the following story:

“He's one of the most amazing sight-readers that ever existed on the instrument. One day we were in a Frank rehearsal, this was early '80s, and Frank brought in this piece of music called "Mo 'N Herb's Vacation." Just unbelievably complex. All the drums were written out, just like "The Black Page" except even more complex. There were these runs of like 17 over 3 and every drumhead is notated differently. And there were a whole bunch of people there, I think Bozzio was there. Vinnie had this piece of music on the stand to his right. To his left he had another music stand with a plate of sushi on it, okay? Now the tempo of the piece was very slow, like "The Black Page." And then the first riff came in, [mimics bizarre Zappa-esque drum rhythm patterns] with all these choking of cymbals, and hi-hat, ruffs, spinning of rototoms and all this crazy stuff. And I saw Vinnie reading this thing. Now, Vinnie has this habit of pushing his glasses up with the middle finger of his right hand. Well I saw him look at this one bar of music, it was the last bar of music on the page. He started to play it as he was turning the page with one hand, and then once the page was turned he continued playing the riff with his right hand, as he reached over with his left hand, grabbed a piece of sushi and put it in his mouth, continued the riff with his left hand and feet, pushed his glasses up, and then played the remaining part of the bar. It was the sickest thing I have ever seen. Frank threw his music up in the air. Bozzio turned around and walked away. I just started laughing.
That's all. For some reason I like stories of musical genius.

Picture from: http://www.vascoforever.it/band/immagini/vinnie-colaiuta.jpg

How to be a poet

Nathan, the great unboring, asked me to contribute a post to his Mad Skillz week. It's a nice ploy for getting other people to write blog posts for you (as well as sharing the love), which I am wondering how I can imitate. I wrote about poetry, which is a little hilarious I admit. So all you poets out there, go over and tell me what I should add/subtract etc. Nathan is projecting his deep issues over here I think, when he really does know how to be poetic.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Ninety minutes

I went and saw Ninety at the Ensemble Theatre last night with a friend. They had a spare ticket and so I said yes before I had any idea what I was off to see. Then when I looked it up online I thought, 'oh well, that looks interesting'.


As I wrote on facebook 'I laughed and I cried and I thought - and so I liked it', because to be amused into laughing, moved to weeping and provoked to thinking about something is about as much as I hope for in entertainment. And I did like this play.

The premise is a married couple who have split up and the husband is due to remarry, but the wife asks him for 90 minutes of his time to talk through their own marriage and why he should stay with her instead. What follows is basically that: 90 minutes of this couple talking through their life - with flash backs to earlier scenes - airing their grievances and saying those things that were never said (I do love this sort of stuff!). Obviously it's a play of the world so it contains sexual references, some bad language and the foundation of their whole relationship in the beginning is uninspirational, but the way it unfolds it intriguing (I was hooked for the whole ninety minutes of these two people talking to each other).

I do wish I could read the script, because most of it was said in fairly fast-paced dialogue, so it's not easy to remember any particulars. What was ultimately most surprising was the fact that if the play has any particular line it's towing it's quite pro-marriage (or pro sticking it out with the same person at least). The guy drops the line of just wanting 'to be happy' early in the dialogue, and gets tackled on that, then their is a lot of resistance to the idea that you can up and leave a history and just 'begin again' elsewhere. Without trying to nut out details of what was right and what was wrong all up it's an interesting observation of contemporary marriage and what people think relationships ought to be.

There were scenes that were laugh-out-loud funny - in particular the guy describing, in all earnestness, the desperation he felt at being left at home on his own for a week with their baby. Then at the end came a scene that had the tears running off my face and if it had gone on for two seconds longer it would have been more than tears. What you learn is that their little girl died, and that the husband's inability to deal with that was the beginning of the end. So eventually he tries to talk about it during this meeting - of his envy that his wife could articulate what she felt and make anniversaries and do something with her grief and he never could - and it's wrenching to watch.

The actors Kate Raison and Brian Meegan are married in real life (I didn't know that till afterwards) and I am no play-frequenter, but I thought the acting was very good, especially Brian Meegan for his difficult scenes.

I liked it.

The Wolf and the Rose

Oh yeah, and you should read this. Frances writes about Christina Rossetti's poetry, in response to criticisms levelled at her from Virginia Woolf. I do think some poetry of those long dead is becoming more inaccessible to modern audiences, because they simply have no understanding of what piety is, or why there should be such a thing, but that's all part of the tragedy.

Counterfeit Gods

Slightly, or possibly, related to the post below, a few weeks ago I got a $10 Koorong voucher in the mail (always pleased to receive book vouchers in the mail!) for having spent a certain amount there previously. This was enough to lure me out to the store on Saturday. I got myself a copy of Tim Keller's Counterfeit Gods, which is apparently exceptional for showing you what it might actually look like in your life if something is a counterfeit god. You can read Challies's review here. I haven't started it yet, or barely even opened it, but am looking forward to reading it.

(And I'm feeling pretty chuffed because even though they have locked up blogger here at work to the point of impossible, I managed to get that picture in, even if it does have that big white space - and have realised it perhaps wouldn't be that hard in future because I can access flickr here, so I could find a picture, load it into flickr, then reference it here - it's just a bit of a pest. And maybe I should actually just do it at home.)

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Nonny Enticement revisited

Things were more interesting around here once, and a long time ago now I wrote a few posts on the topic of dating a non-Christian guy (those being known here as a "nonny"). They were: The Nonny Enticement Pt 1 - A Story, The Nonny Enticement Pt 2 - Why Not and The resolution of Jane.

As you know I have been reading some of CS Lewis lately, the most recent being The Four Loves. The thing about reading CS Lewis is that you find little gems in places you wouldn't necessarily expect them on that topic. (And read this great article by John Piper on the theological ups and downs with Lewis - I haven't ever signed off on everything he said, but neither has that stopped me reading.) So in reading through the chapter on Charity from The Four Loves, he has this to say, which relates to those three earlier posts (and it's a recurring issue for me, so maybe it is for you too):
It remains certainly true that all natural loves can be inordinate. Inordinate does not mean ‘insufficiently cautious’. Nor does it mean ‘too big’. It is not a quantitative term. It is probably impossible to love any human being simply ‘too much’. We may love him too much in proportion to our love for God; but it is the smallness of our love for God, not the greatness of our love for the man, that constitutes the inordinacy. But even this must be refined upon. Otherwise we shall trouble some who are very much on the right road but alarmed because they cannot feel towards God so warm a sensible emotion as they feel for the earthly Beloved. It is much to be wished – at least I think so – that we all, at all times, could. We must pray that this gift should be given us. But the question whether we are loving God or the earthly Beloved ‘more’ is not, so far as concerns our Christian duty, a question about the comparative intensity of two feelings. The real question is, which (when the alternative comes) do you serve, or choose, or put first? To which claim does your will, in the last resort, yield?

As so often, Our Lord’s own words are both far fiercer and far more tolerable than those of the theologians. He says nothing about guarding against earthly loves for fear we might be hurt [he has earlier quoted Augustine along these lines]; He says something that cracks like a whip about trampling them all under foot the moment they hold us back from following Him. ‘If any man come to me and hate not his father and mother and wife … and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple’ (Luke 14:26).

But how are we to understand the word hate? That Love Himself should be commanding what we ordinarily mean by hatred – commanding us to cherish resentment, to gloat over another’s misery, to delight in injuring him – is almost a contradiction in terms. I think Our Lord, in the sense here intended, ‘hated’ St Peter when he said ‘Get thee behind me.’ To hate is to reject, to set one’s face against, to make no concession to, the Beloved when the Beloved utters, however sweetly and however pitiably, the suggestions of the Devil. A man, said Jesus, who tries to serve two masters, will ‘hate’ the one and ‘love’ the other. It is not, surely, mere feelings of aversion and liking that are here in question. He will adhere to, consent to, work for, the one and not the other … So, in the last resort, we must turn down or disqualify our nearest and dearest when they come between us and our obedience to God. Heaven knows, it will seem to them sufficiently like hatred. We must not act on the pity we feel; we must be blind to tears and deaf to pleadings.


How this could come about we may see on a far lower level when the Cavalier poet, going to the wars, says to his mistress:

I could not love thee, dear, so much
Loved I not honour more.

There are women to whom the plea would be meaningless. Honour would be just one of those silly things that Men talk about; a verbal excuse for, therefore and aggravation of, the offence against ‘love’s law’ which the poet is about to commit. Lovelace can use it with confidence because his lady is a Cavalier lady who already admits, as he does, the claims of Honour. He does not need to ‘hate’ her, to set his face against her, because he and she acknowledge the same law. They have agreed and understood each other on this matter long before. The task of converting her to a belief in Honour is not now – now, when the decision is upon them – to be undertaken. It is this prior agreement which is so necessary when a far greater claim than that of Honour is at stake. It is too late, when the crisis comes, to begin telling a wife or husband or mother or friend, that your love all along had a secret reservation – ‘under God’ or ‘so far as a higher Love permits’. They ought to have been warned; not, to be sure, explicitly, but by the implication of a thousand talks, by the principle revealed in a hundred decisions upon small matters. Indeed, a real disagreement on this issue should make itself felt early enough to prevent a marriage or a Friendship from existing at all. The best love of either sort is not blind … If ‘All’ – quite seriously all – ‘for love’ is implicit in the Beloved’s attitude, his or her love is not worth having. It is not related in the right way to Love Himself.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Poetry Day - Love is ...

One more from CS Lewis (and a random painting I found that I like by somebody called Brij Sondhi).


Loves's As Warm As Tears

Love’s as warm as tears,
      Love is tears:
Pressure within the brain,
Tension at the throat,
Deluge, weeks of rain,
Haystacks afloat,
Featureless seas between
Hedges, where once was green.

Love’s as fierce as fire,
      Love is fire:
All sorts—infernal heart
Clinkered with greed and pride,
Lyric desire, sharp-sweet,
Laughing, even when desired,
And that empyreal flame
Whence all loves came.

Love’s as fresh as spring,
      Love is spring:
Bird-song hung in the air,
Cool smells in a wood,
Whispering ‘Dare! Dare!’
To sap, to blood,
Telling ‘Ease, safety, rest,
Are good; not best.’

Love’s as hard as nails,
      Love is nails:
Blunt, thick, hammered through
The medial nerves of One
Who, having made us, knew
The thing He had done,
Seeing (with all that is)
Our cross, and His.

CS Lewis

Picture from: http://www.iaac.us/seventh_film_festival2007/images/Deluge.jpg

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Reading your way out of depression

I need to cull my google reader, because it's out of control right now, but I just came across this post in scrolling through the Guardian Books blog on reading your way out of depression. It's not at all Christian or medical or any other thing, just one person's experience, but it does say some interesting things ... (and that's all I'll say as I've never been diagnosed with depression, and it seems to be one of those minefield topics, so I'll let others more informed decide for themselves ...).

A 'cracker' for free

Seem to be all out of blogging inspiration just now, but on the weekend I did discover that you can now watch online (legally) the whole of Cracker Bag, the short film my friend Glendyn Ivin made - before his feature film Last Ride, which you've all heard about if you've been reading here long enough - which went on to win the Palme d'Or at Cannes. Maybe I am prone to crying because I shed a couple of tears on watching it again, but it's a nice little film about disillusionment/disappointment. It's only 14 minutes from start to finish, so treat yourself and watch it here.

(I got the DVD of Last Ride for Christmas, and realised I hadn't watched The Desert before, which is his other short film included in the package, so I sat down and watched that. It's a little obscure. It is a short poetic film, cut from the rushes of a music video, which perhaps explains it. Incidentally, for those who like bikes, Glendyn also won accolades for his graduating film titled Neverland, an investigation of the culture surrounding bicycle couriers.)

Monday, February 08, 2010

Poetry Day - Joys that Sting

I was going to give you another of CS Lewis’s poems written of his search after desire, but it’s all a bit tormented, with “holy monsters” and “long-haunted men” and so forth, so instead I thought I’d give you something less troubled and internal, though not quite in the land of sunshine and happiness, called Joys That Sting. Remember the line from Shadowlands where Joy says "the pain then is part of the happiness now" ...


Joys That Sting

"Oh doe not die," says Donne, "for I shall hate
All women so.
" How false this sentence rings.
Women? But in a life made desolate
It is the joys once shared that have the stings.

To take the old walks alone, or not at all,
To order one pint where I ordered two,
To think of, and then not make, the small
Time-honoured joke (senseless to all but you);

To laugh (oh, one'll laugh), to talk upon
Themes that we talked upon when you were there,
To make some poor pretence of going on,
Be kind to one's old friends, and seem to care,

While no one (O God) through the years will say
The simplest, common word in just your way.

CS Lewis

Picture from: http://www.lifehack.org/wp-content/files/2007/12/20071224-walking-alone-in-the-snow.png

Saturday, February 06, 2010

A blog award

So, I have been given a blog award, troubled poet that I am (I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not – I’m feeling a little insecure – hah! – about the portrayal of my emotional stability around here lately) which as far as I can recall might be my first. Thanks Ally! Go and look at Ally’s cool up-cycled things, and her four little cuties.


I’m supposed to tell you seven interesting things about me. We might have to take poetic license (since I’m claiming that title) on the meaning of interesting, but here are some “things” anyhow:

1. I used to scavenge through the pouches of road kills looking for live pouch young, which I then dutifully rescued.

2. Once upon a time I was reasonable at playing the flute. I’ve had to be Kenny Gee at weddings and do my best at slow, romantic sax impersonations – and if you’ve ever looked at Kenny Gee sheet music, you’d understand this even further. I used to say ‘you’re going to have to give this to me on tape’ (it’s just weird and irregular). I don’t even play the flute anymore, but I’d like to learn the cello.

3. I’m in that class of people that likes licorice – dark-chocolate-coated licorice especially.

4. I have a large box full of pencils, pastels, oil paints, watercolours, inks etc, which don’t come out very often these days. I’ve just been looking at them sadly and I’d like to change that.

5. My Mum used to be always telling me to stop whistling, because I whistled rather incessantly. I don’t seem to whistle anymore, and I feel like I have lost something.

6. I wish I was really good at riding horses (and actually rode horses). Galloping through the country on a horse is so fun (and it's always rather romantic in period dramas).

7. I have a secret little thing for fancy, pretty china. I don’t buy it (anymore), because, well, I don’t know exactly what to do with it, but I do like it.

I’m supposed to award seven other people, which like Soph I find a little awkward (ah the pressure! - and I am sensing the rising angst out there against memesy things) and the reality is I couldn’t come up with seven other girls I know who blog (I just have a hunch that guys wouldn’t be so chuffed with the beautiful blogger award, and wouldn’t pass it on anyhow). But if you just read this all the way to the end, well I think you deserve the award! You are beautiful! And also if you read this far, please comment and tell me interesting things about yourself. Please.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

The Flavor Bible


This looks like a useful book, if you want to know how to mix and match in the kitchen. Before Christmas I cooked this for friends and discovered the wonders of thyme and lemon zest together (remember that frozen turkey dilemma? - well I did this first, then froze it straight away (apparently you don't let turkey cool to room temperature first - that's bad, bad, bad), then thawed it later and it was fabulous - probably kept moist and lovely by the rather excessive amount of butter, but anyway, you only do these things once a year). Over here there are more pictures of the inside of The Flavor Bible. I am curious about the music ...

INFJ favoured careers

So I read this on Simone’s blog and had a go, out of the fascination with myself. I don’t think the person who put this site together likes INFJs. I read the general description and was so disgusted with it I decided most of it doesn’t apply to me. :) But in all honesty, I don’t think I am anxious, cautious (I have even been called “reckless” in the past, but perhaps there are limits to my sphere of recklessness) easily frightened (except I absolutely don’t do horror films), easily offended or low on energy (I want to take this person on a wildlife trapping trip!) and no one has ever let me know if I am “moody” – I hate “moody” (have they just gone F = moody/sensitive? – that to me is emotional immaturity, not a "type"). And I am not so sure I am prone to crying – except maybe about those sad things I am attracted to, which is kind of true. This sounds like a fear-ridden nerve case to me. Other websites/books are much kinder to us poor misunderstood INFJs. (I mean seriously, I get about two positive things and fifty negative things at this one (all of the introverts get beaten up it seems) - I'm sticking with the page that says Jesus was an INFJ.) I don’t know what “sabotages self” means exactly, but maybe that’s been my problem my whole life.

But what I do like is my favoured careers. I think I got misled originally on the “environmentalist”* option. I loved nature/wildlife and thought I was going to save the world's endangered species from the edge of extinction. And I loved working for the National Parks and Wildlife Service, but then as I went on and got a job as “Environmental Planning Project Officer” in the strategic planning department at a local council, I couldn’t stand it. And I have wondered how I came to wind around to where I am now, but I think I am heading in the right direction (except I currently work on legal products, which are slowly killing me):

psychotherapist, artist, art curator, bookstore owner, freelance writer, poet, teacher (art, drama, english), library assistant, professor of english, painter, novelist, book editor, copywriter, philosopher, environmentalist, bookseller, museum curator, opera singer, magazine editor, archivist, music therapist, screenwriter, film director, creative director, librarian, social services worker, art historian, sign language interpreter, photo journalist, makeup artist, photo journalist, homemaker
Curiously this other nicer site (which also says we are "often seen as the most poetical of all the types" - obviously that's just my thing) says of INFJs: "Sometimes they feel a strong calling toward the religious life as clergy, nun, or director of religious education."

* I used to call myself a conservationist, not a preservationist. And I think there's a good biblical case for not pushing whole species off the face of the planet, which has happened at an enormous rate particularly in the last 200 years in Australia. I once wrote an article on "God, Us and the Pig-footed Bandicoot", which perhaps I shall dig up.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

The Scarlet Letter and Other books

I finished The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne a few weeks ago. After beginning it for the EQUIP book club I simply couldn't put it down. I've been meaning to mention it ever since. It's a ripping good yarn, so to speak. It's apparently commonly read in the US, but not so commonly here. I'd recommend it - but I'd also recommend that you read Susannah Macready's notes over at the EQUIP book club, because the way it treats some ideas can be confusing in the errors.

The book actually portrays the Puritans, and the Christianity they supposedly hold to, very badly, and so is in no sense a 'Christian' story. It's also liberally sprinkled with archaic superstitions and some references to witchcraft (though the 19th notions of the integration of body and soul may be closer to the truth than modern medicine allows at times). The lack of grace in the story is greatly disturbing, but it also shines a bright light, in it's own way, on hypocrisy. The one person known to have sinned is labelled and shunned, and the other unknown agent in that same sin goes on being venerated by the townsfolk. But the "hidden" sinner actually feels this keenly, and in one way wishes not to be so hypocritical though they lack the courage to do otherwise, such that the unconfessed sin is ultimately their demise, which is curious to observe. The greatest error in the book is what appears to be the belief that there are some sins for which there is no guarantee of forgiveness, together with some confusion about what (and ultimately towards whom) repentance actually is and what it secures.

But the story is masterfully threaded together and superbly written and the tension mounts till in the end you feel like you can finally exhale. It's a good read and gives you lots to think about along the way - about grace, repentance, social/public punishment etc - even if you have to sort out the good from the bad along the way.

Anyway, I mentioned a while back that I picked up Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro at an op shop, so I was interested to read this review of it via Between Two Worlds. I'm looking forward to reading it (one day!) even more now.

Monday, February 01, 2010

The right-hemispheric language of poetry

I took down my earlier blathering on about how I am not all poetry and flowers and once studied pure maths, because it was, well, blathering. But it really does appear to be true that poetry works both sides of your brain at once. It has been described as a right-hemispheric language (most language processing is on the left hand or "logic" side of the brain). Here is a quote from the science education review: "When you write poetry, you need to use your whole brain; both the left side of your brain (e.g., language and logic) and the right side (e.g., visualisation and creativity)". So, read poetry - it's good for you.

The delightful design of Daylesford

Soph drew it to my attention that the gorgeous house I stayed in with friends, courtesy of Penguin Books, in Daylesford last year was featured on the design files last week. You can see more of it here. You can also have a peek inside the designer’s (I chatted to her a few times on the phone and she’s very nice) own home here. Sigh. Heaven is coming, and it might have a clawfoot bath ...

Actually the real sigh about remembering Daylesford is that it was such a wonderful blessing of a time, and two of the friends who came, and I got in deep with on those few days, have now moved to Melbourne ... and our little party has broken up. I've since toyed with the idea of moving to Melbourne myself! My friends have gone there for a job lecturing at Monash University, and, as Providence would have it, my brother-in-law has taken my sister and kids there for a job lecturing on the same campus, so they have gone too. (This is him.) So yes, I have dreamt about moving to Melbourne, but at the moment it's mere fancy and I am just looking forward to a visit.