Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Christmas Morning

Accepted for publication by The Penwood Review.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Top 100 things to remember about 2008 (in no particular order)

Albums released:
1. Coldplay – Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends
2. Mates of State – Re-Arrange Us
3. Low – Drums & Guns
4. Beck – Modern Guilt
5. Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes
6. Death Cab for Cutie – Narrow Stairs
7. Rosie Thomas – A Very Rosie Christmas
8. Kevin Max – Crashing Gates
9. She & Him – Volume 1
10. Ben Folds – Way to Normal
11. Keane – Perfect Symmetry
12. The Submarines – Honeysuckle Weeks
13. Lucy Wainwright Roche – 8 More
14. Coldplay – Prospekt’s March
15. Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend

Heavily-rotated albums:
16. Andrew Bird - Armchair Apocrypha
17. Stars – Set Yourself on Fire
18. Beck – Sea Change
19. Ben Folds – Songs for Silverman
20. The Decemberists – Castaways and Cutouts
21. The Blow – Paper Television
22. Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
23. The Submarines – Declare a New State!
24. Lucy Wainwright Roche – 8 Songs
25. Low – Long Division
26. Rosie Thomas – If Songs Could Be Held
27. The Most Serene Republic – Population
28. Spoon – GaGaGaGaGa
29. The New Pornographers – Twin Cinema
30. Bright Eyes – Cassadaga

Shows attended:
31. SubPop Anniversary at Marymoor Park
32. The Decemberists at Moore Theater
33. Bumbershoot
34. Stars at Western VU
35. The Blow at Western VU
36. Rosie Thomas at Town Hall
37. Dana Little at Lettered Streets (x3)
38. Christine Bron at various coffeehouses (x plenty)
39. Corban Watkins at Common Ground Coffeehouse

Movies released
40. The Happening
41. Burn After Reading
42. Batman: The Dark Knight
43. Smart People
44. Be Kind Rewind

Books read:
45. Walking on Water – Madeleine l’Engle
46. A Wrinkle in Time – Madeleine l’Engle
47. Me Talk Pretty One Day – David Sedaris
48. When You Are Engulfed in Flames – David Sedaris
49. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim – David Sedaris
50. A Wolf at the Table – Augusten Burroughs
51. Dry – Augusten Burroughs
52. Magical Thinking – Augusten Burroughs
53. Tortilla Flat – John Steinbeck
54. Take This Bread – Sara Miles
55. Traveling Mercies – Anne Lamott
56. Bird by Bird – Anne Lamott
57. Plan B – Anne Lamott
58. Choke - Chuck Palahniuk
59. Snuff – Chuck Palahniuk
60. Bonk – Mary Roach
61. The Fidelity of Betrayal – Peter Rollins
62. I Was Told There’d Be Cake – Sloane Crosley
63. Bee Season – Myla Goldberg
64. You Can’t Go Home Again – Thomas Wolfe
65. Girl Meets God – Lauren F. Winner
66. Mudhouse Sabbath – Lauren F. Winner
67. Bowl of Cherries – Millard Kaufman
68. Lamb – Christopher Moore
69. Everything is Illuminated – Jonathan Safran Foer

Writing samples published (in Jeopardy Magazine)
70. “Nicodemus” – poem
71. “The Line Starts Here” – poem
72. “I have nothing memorized” – poem
73. “Because I speak on my feet” – poem
74. “Waiting for the Feast” – poem

Assorted events:
75. Graduated college
76. Celebrated 22nd birthday
77. Caught up in computer-gate scandal (I’d rather not discuss it)
78. Attended Peter Rollins’s lecture at Mars Hill Grad School w/ Seth Thomas, Sarah Johnson, Stead Halstead, and Ty Chang
79. Resigned from WWU Writing Center
80. Began working at Village Books in Fairhaven
81. Did yard work for Erv on Lake Whatcom
82. Stained Roberta’s fence in Ferndale
83. Counseled for one week at Camp Lutherwood on Lake Samish
84. Began leading an INN music team
85. Opened for Christine Bron at 3 Trees Coffeehouse
86. Headlined an Open-Mic at 3 Trees w/ band formerly known as We Walk Through Fire
87. Joined Amateur Prose for CD release show at Wild Buffalo
88. Performed w/ DJ Morgan and Hailey Mitsui at the INN Open-Mic Fundraiser
89. Performed w/ Christine Bron, DJ Morgan, Dana Little, and John Furtado at INN Welcome Back Carnival in Red Square
90. Traveled w/ the INN for a mission trip to Vancouver
91. Participated in Salt on the Street
92. Started first attempt at a full-length novel
93. Voted in first election (presidential or otherwise)
94. Traveled to Portland w/ Jake Summers, Sarah Condreay, and Lisa Schwank
95. Recorded one (1) song demo
96. Began Smart-Tripping regularly
97. Watched all available seasons of LOST w/ Megans Taft and Goodwin and others
98. Watched Ferris Bueller’s Day Off at Fairhaven Outdoor Cinema
99. Experienced coffee tasting (first of many, hopefully)
100. Competed in the running leg of Ski-to-Sea (first of many, hopefully)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Vespers: Advent

I've been expecting trumpets,
a jubilee trimmed in joy and triumph,
heralds and heralds.
I have come to expect Emmanuel
and Incarnation, but Advent—
Advent, where we wait,
when we watch the days grow darker,
and, my, how they have darkened.

And the dark only knows how to oppress,
constrict.
Bound with cords of worry and frustration,
we are lashing out at everyone we bump into
as we fumble about.
And we find we can no longer stand it,
hearing news of light and joy and rest.
Elsewhere, as mere gossip.

I am most familiar with the darkness,
the wait.
Almost.
Delay, again.
I admit to having kindled furnaces
from jealousy, applying pressure
like bellows, just to keep warm.
The fire scalds as harshly as the cold.

They say the birth of Christ was most likely
in June—obviously, so light and comfortable,
Incarnation as solstice.

But I understand why tradition dictates
Advent for the coldest, darkest days.
Because it reminds us
that the days get brighter ahead.
Because another, kinder thread
has stitched us together with Hope.
Because our binding Hope is His
arrival, with Heaven in hand and a gift:
Peace. A clean and gentle heat—
opulent—that does not scorch.

So we wait together,
as Israel waited, gravely hopeful.
Thus we bid: Emmanuel, come.