Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 book party: ending the year on a more organized note

I am finally organizing my nonfiction.  This is much more intense than organizing fiction because I can't just put it all in alphabetical order by author.  I have to group things and then try to guess how my future self will search for them.  Where should the research books on pain go?  Next to the comedy books, of course.   
Philosophy - science - history - literature - aesthetics OR aesthetics-philosophy - science - history - literature?  (Actually aesthetics - philosophy - literature - history - science, in case you're curious.)   

Unread theology/philosophy next to general unread nonfiction?  Or should the read theology / philosophy go next to that?  Organized by last name?  Can't remember author names of some books.  Do those by title and mix in with authors I know.   

Separate narrative from essays / general nonfiction?   

All the poetry and books on writing go to the closet bookshelf in the library; they're hanging out with all the graphic novels and anime, so they're obviously having a good time.   

Why do I have two copies of Basic Theology?  

 Why on earth do I still have two racquetball books, and should they be moved to be with the comedy books at this point?   

And there is only one row tall enough for the big art books, so that throws everything off unless I remember what SIZE the book is.   

It's a really fun way to end a year, for sure: rediscovering the books I have yet to read and the ones I read and liked enough to keep.  And trying desperately to exert enough self control to finish organizing before settling down to drool over the Pre-Raphaelite art book or a beloved new Christmas book that is whispering my name . . .

Happy New Year a bit early.  I'll likely be asleep when the main event happens. : )

Thursday, December 25, 2014

12 Months of 2014: 2 Oratorio Performances

Less than a month and a half after February's wrenched ribcage, I was singing two performances of an oratorio one Sunday evening.  It was not easy for me to learn the music even with a practice tape, a friend's borrowed electronic piano, and a month and a half of rehearsal because I was so rusty I think the flakes were visible (and because it's hard music for someone not formally trained).  And because I can be kind of stupid sometimes, I also decided to actually audition for some of the solo and small group parts, even though it had been years at that point since I had really auditioned for anything.  

I ended up with a part in a quartet.  Neither of our performances were flawless, but I decided not to dwell on the imperfections when a co-worker I didn't know had been at the performances stopped me at work the next week to tell me he thought it was beautiful.  And it was.  Our Elijah had been a professional performer, and, even though he was a bass, I have never heard a human being sing so loudly without any microphone support.  And his diction was so clear.  It was amazing.  

The choir was over 90-voices strong, and there were these moments of gloriousness I can't describe.  And an awful lot of pain.  I ended up having to sit with the disabled, elderly ladies in the front row, which was not my favorite thing ever (the front row being a place I have avoided for a long time).  Only ibuprofen and the grace of God got me through it, and I'm glad they did.

12 Months of 2014: 1 twisted ribcage

There were a lot of snowstorms last winter. During one particularly memorable February storm, after a 90-minute, white-knuckle drive home (8 miles), I arrived in my parking lot to find it had not been plowed, and then my little car got predictably stuck. It was late. There was no one around. It was not safe to drive, so I could hardly call anyone over to help, and I had to dig myself out enough to get into the garage because I was pretty sure the tow-trucks were the only vehicles NOT unconquered by the snow. Long story short: I wrenched my rib cage out of alignment. There's no way to fix that kind of thing, so I was in a lot of pain for months. With the help of a good chiropractor, I'm getting better, but holy cow; I can't believe how much it can still hurt sometimes if I sit funny or for too long. Got a poem out of it, at least, written the night of the accident before the real pain had a chance to set in.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

I Need a Hero

I am being pathetic.  As early as last weekend, I was starting to come to the unavoidable realization that I do not have the energy to seek justice on the matter of my seller lying to me about replacing something in the house that then proceeded to break and damage the unit below me.  For some reason, I still hesitate to pull the trigger and put in the insurance claim that will likely make my insurance premiums too high for me to pay if I ever have another claim.  Today I found myself thinking of a lovely Chris Rice song where he sings in his usual gentle, amused way about how much he needs a hero to come in and save him just like in all the stories.  That's when I was forced again to face the fact that, often, people in need of justice don't have the energy to get it themselves, and that's why we need to live in community.  When someone is too weak to do what needs to be done, the rest of the community can move in and help out.  In theory.

It's hardly a new lesson; I learned it thoroughly over the course of my decade-long inability to get my life together enough to go after the government for breaking its word after I got hurt working for them and ended up disabled and in a hazy mental fog of chronic pain.  I should know I am not strong enough to seek justice for myself, haven't been since the year I was sexually assaulted by a classmate and bullied by a teacher and the school principle (and didn't tell anyone about any of it).  But I always used to be strong enough to seek justice for people in my sphere of community, whether it was bringing a case before a health teacher who didn't believe a classmate had fractured her arm in gym class to a college committee wanting to stop considering the most deserving award nominee for an incredibly hypocritical reason to my retail employer deciding to change the dress code to require all of us barely-minimum-wage-earning employees to purchase a whole new wardrobe, I fought to the last.  I didn't always win, but I followed through, and I could say that I did everything that could be done. 

Or maybe I should say that I did everything I possibly could.  It's just that I used to be able to do so much more.

I was younger then.  Less damaged in every sense of the word.  The things I can do now are actually more limited.  I can't make sure the criminal gets punished by the forces of justice.  I  can't keep waiting for a hero to step in and take care of all of it.  I need to just do what I have to do to move on.  But I'm stuck here.  I don't want to throw in the towel.  More could be done.  But not by me.  And there is nobody else.  Adulthood really sucks because finally you're old enough to do things only to find out that so many things that should be done can't be done.  Oh, God, I need a hero.