Living in the land of plenty

Donut - Land of Plenty

I remember growing up in St. Paul, there was a donut shop on University and Dale that made the best raised donuts in the world. They were big and my favorite was a chocolate with crushed peanuts on top. We would take a special trip there every few months and only get one donut for each of us. The donut would take forever to eat.

We had the same relationship with the Dairy Queen on Rice St. We would visit the DQ on the Sundays our family drove down by the Mississippi to watch the barge traffic. We didn’t go for those drives often and we would always only get a small cone per kid. No matter how hot it was, that ice cream would last for a long time.

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From my point of view or yours?

Church Steeple

I saw this church across the parking lot of a Morris furniture store in Dayton. I was being dragged to go shopping for a new sofa that I didn’t want and I don’t really need, so I was in a somewhat goofy frame of mind. It’s how I handle my reality when I’m in a situation I don’t want to be. Everything gets funny.

As I looked up at this really sharp, point steeple and mused, “From God’s point of view, that is a thumbtack on a chair.”

But when the funny wore off, I started to think a bit deeply about why people build steeples on churches. It occurs to me that the best church would be built around this really cool-looking garden sanctuary so that when God looked down, he would see a place that invited him in instead of poking him in the eye… or the nether regions, depending on which direction he was facing at the time.

People build churches in God’s name, but everything about them satisfies their needs, not His. They reach toward the sky with steeples in hopes of being closer to God; they put the tower bells up high so that God’s voice can call to them. They line the inside with statues and gold candelabrae. (Lutherans also make sure there is a kitchen for coffee and donuts after the service. But they also put roosters on top of the steeple, so I don’t know what that means.)

I wonder if God looks down at us and thinks, “these people sure are a selfish bunch.”

This post isn’t really about God or religion or any of that. (If you comment about religion below, you are warned that I am a cantankerous Recovering Catholic and you should be prepared to suffer the slings and arrows of an unfiltered opinion.) It is, rather, a introspection on the relationship we have with one another. When we extend out an invitation, do you point the thumbtack pointy end out or in? Do we see ourselves from the other person’s point of view? Should we?

I don’t have the answers, but I now have the questions. I suspect that is a lot more than most people get looking up at steeples.

This blog post is part of a blog-off series with a group of bloggers from different professions and world views, each exploring a theme from his/her world view. This was about exploring the theme, Thumbtacks To explore how others handled the theme, check them out below. I will add links as they publish.

Turning scars into art – A podcast with Jane Devin

Jane Devin, author of Elephant Girl

UPDATE: Jane’s book is now available for Kindle at Amazon.com. Other formats to follow, so please follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

I was following the babble of Neil Kramer one afternoon and one of his tweets led to me to Jane Devin. She was just another blogger who published articles on Huffington Post but anyone who could wrangle a byline on HuffPost was probably someone worth reading. I read her post there and click over to her blog.

I should have read in the reverse order.

I think I lost a few hours poring over the shards of her soul pieced together in the essays on her blog.

I learned that Jane recently took a nine-month road trip across America and wrote a blog about the experience. Following the road trip, she wrote a book, Elephant Girl, from the cab of a borrowed truck in a coffee shop parking lot. But if I say any more, it would ruin the story.

So, in her own words, Jane Devin talks to me about Elephant Girl. I hope you enjoy listening to her as much as I did interviewing her.

When Elephant Girl is published later this year, we will have information on how you can pick up a copy. It is an intense memoir of “a challenged life lived with imagination.” It is worth every minute your heart and soul will lose within its pages.

Editor’s note:
Jane has established a Facebook page for her book. Please like it.

MP3 File

A thousand words in a million keystrokes

This morning, I pulled the dust cover off the old manual typewriter, rolled a sheet of paper into the carriage and typed something. I wanted to see what it felt like again to be a “real writer.”

In truth, it felt like getting on an old bike after having not ridden for years; slow going at first… a lot of fits and starts but eventually that rhythm… aw, who am I kidding. It was painful as heck. It felt more like learning how to walk and talk again after someone hit you upside the noggin with a hammer and broke both your legs with a Louisville slugger.

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Why do we keep eating?

Why do we eat? The simple answer would be that if we did not eat, we would die. But that is not entirely true. Science can provide us with a pill we can take that would provide exactly the nutrition we need — no more, no less — to keep our bodies healthy. Yet, we resist the notion that a pill, taken three time a day, would replace daily meals.

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Half the failure Guy is

My dream is to become only half the failure Guy Kawasaki is!

http://www.rivershark.com/x/47

I still have not written the two books banging around in my head. But, I figure if I blog almost every day, that kinda counts?

Love that “big pile of nothing.” To misquote Emily Dickinson very badly, “I’d rather be sitting on my own big pile of nothing than at the bottom of a big pile of Yahoo!”

That “big pile of nothing” gets me traffic and Twitter tweets! Keep on doing nothing, Guy!

 

Posted by email from rufus’s posterous

Scott McClellan from a dog’s point of view

There is a lot of talk about Scott McClellan’s new book. Comments from it range of “now, we know the truth” to “he is bitter” to … oh, who really cares. Just everyone shut up already. If you want, buy and read the book, if not, just quit talking like you know anything.

Here is the canine take on what really happened in the White House and is best illustrated by the fable, The Emperor’s New Clothes, written by Hans Christian Andersen in 1837, 171 years ago! Amazing we knew so much about humanity back then and still we don’t pay attention. Kids, stay in school, crack a book!

For anyone under 40ish, here is the synopsis from Wikipedia,

An emperor who cares too much about clothes hires two swindlers who promise him the finest suit of clothes from the most beautiful cloth. This cloth, they tell him, is invisible to anyone who was either stupid or unfit for his position. The Emperor cannot see the (non-existent) cloth, but pretends that he can for fear of appearing stupid; his ministers do the same. When the swindlers report that the suit is finished, they dress him in mime. The Emperor then goes on a procession through the capital show off his new “clothes”. During the course of the procession, a small child cries out, “But he has nothing on!” The crowd realizes the child is telling the truth and begins laughing. The Emperor, however, holds his head high and continues the procession.

But, this is a fairy tale, so the emperor had to be the laughing stock. But, here is what would have happened if this were a true story.

Royal guards would burst out of the royal procession and beat the kid to death in a bloody attack, in full public view. Then, they would have arrested the kid’s family, beating them the entire way to the dungeon, where they would have been tortured and held without a lawyer indefinitely. Do you think the crowd would keep laughing? Do you think the crowd would turn on the royal guards and administer mob justice? Probably not. They would have kept their heads down, waved like they meant it and worked on trying to get out of the parade and go home as quickly as possible.

A lot of royal guards burst out of the royal procession after 9/11. And the crowd did not stop them and did not speak up. The few who did were beaten back like a bratty little kid. And deep in their hearts, the crowd knew this was wrong, yet kept silent because they didn’t want to get beaten and they didn’t want to get hauled off. (Bill O’Reilly, if you are reading this, this is a METAPHOR for what happened, not a literal representation. You use a lot of big words at the end of your show to describe how folks should write you. Can you say metaphor?)

For the people who are saying “If Scott felt this way, he should have spoken up sooner, not write a book later.” Hmmm…. 171 years ago, Andersen knew this. I think what Scott did was kept his head down, waved and tried to figure out how to get home as quickly as possible. Then, when he was safe, he cried out “The emperor is wearing no clothes.” But, the royal guards came after him anyway. And probably will for a very long time.

Please read, then speak. In that order. Start here.