Feb 29, 2008

Aaron Donley's Bits of Life

One of the funniest humans I know is Aaron Donley, the comedy editor for Burnside Writers Collective -- a title he recently accrued by being one of the funniest people THEY know, as well. Aaron's "Bits Of Life" collections on BWC are now available in daily, pictorial doses, at his Bits Of Life website. Here are a couple from recent days.

I'm definitely bookmarking Bits Of Life.

Feb 25, 2008

The Shack, Take This Bread

I've been swamped with my own writing that I haven't done much for recreation. I saw only one Oscar nominated film: Juno, the night before the awards. I haven't read much either. But a few months ago, a writer friend gave me a copy of The Shack. He said that the writing was rough in patches but the message was a knock out. So I read it, trying to keep my literary snobbery in check.

The premise is this: A man's young daughter is abducted and murdered. A few years later God writes the man a letter, inviting him to meet God at the shack where the murder took place. "Mac" goes, and has a weekend-long conversation with God about love, evil, and some very hard questions. Some moments are goofy. Like Mac notices that the coffee God brewed never grows cold. But if I hadn't read onward I would have missed a great story. The writer tackles some very difficult questions. Mac has an encounter with his deceased father who had abused him when he was alive. At another point, Mac asks the very welcoming and inclusive Jesus, "Are you saying all roads lead to God?" Jesus answers well: No, but there's no telling how far down any road I'll travel just to meet them." A great answer. Silence your critic and read The Shack.

Here's a memoir I loved: "Take This Bread, by Sara Miles. Subtitled: A radical conversion, the Spiritual Memoir of a 21st Century Christian. A self-proclaimed “secular intellectual, lesbian, left-wing journalist with a habit of skepticism,” Miles wandered into a church, took communion, and her life changed. “I became a Christian, claiming a faith that many of my fellow believers want to exclude me from; following a God my unbelieving friends see as archaic superstition.”

Miles new faith prompts a vision: to start a food bank at the church where she first had communion. She goes on to help organize food pantries all over her city. Miles confronts the politics that dumps tons of usable food to prop up prices, the recalcitrance of parishioners who'd rather keep Sundays for Bach than feed bums. And Miles totally owns up to her own character flaws: her fear, prejudice, bossiness. She's terrific. Her writing is unsentimental, rich, detailed, and fun. Her faith is full of real longing, flaws, and desire for God. She just keeps barreling forward. I got to interview Miles for Burnside Writers Collective. Here's a snippet of that interview:

To those who are on the edge of faith but afraid to step into the subculture, what would you say to them, what word of caution or encouragement? To the conservative Christians who are wary of you, what would you say to bridge the gap?

For anyone who’s on the “edge of faith,” remember that the “whole subculture,” or even the mainstream culture of Christianity, isn’t the point. The point is your desire for God, and you don’t have to give that up based on what churches do or don’t do. Trust your desire, and let it lead you. For conservative Christians wary of me, I ask them to pray for me.

Read the entire Burnside Interview here.

Enough about other people's books. back to my own.

Feb 23, 2008


I stopped watching awards shows. It costs me 3 hours of my life, and unless I'm watching in a group, I'd rather live those three hours, and get the 5-minute wrap up later that night. Besides, I can never remember who won what award from the previous year. Do you remember what won Best Picture last year? I had to look it up.

Our Small Group meets on Sunday afternoons. It's an arts and entertainment focused, so we invited everyone to stay after and watch. It's only fun with the running commentary. Tomorrow, we are voting on which book we're going to study for the next few months. Among the titles nominated: Simply Christian by N.T. Wright, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, by Peter Scazzero, The Cost of Discipleship, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Sex God by Rob Bell. I don't know about you, but I think it would be a very rewarding experience to study The Cost of Discipleship while sitting in our hot tub. Provided our group stays small and we all wear speedos.

But back to awards shows. Our friend Dave Kopp's son, Neil Kopp, has been nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards, and is in Santa Monica today to attend the gala. He's been nominated for producing Gus Van Sant's Paranoid Park, and the Piaget Producers Award for producing Paranoid Park and Old Joy. The kid is 28 years old. UPDATE: Neil WON the Piaget Producer's Award!

Larry and I haven't seen any of the nominated films. We've been too busy working on our own stuff. But we are going to go see Juno tonight. I hear all the characters talk the same way, they've all got those smart alecky comebacks you usually only think of after the fact. As the french call, "esprit d'escalier." Witty things you say when you're walking downstairs away from the target of your bon mot. One thing were told NOT to do in screenwriting school, was make every character sound the same, or sound smarter than they really were. And this movie is up for best screenplay. Well, esprit d'escalier ou non, Il dit que "Juno" est tres enchante. It's supposedly delightful. Even if the screenwriter was a stripper.

Tune in tomorrow and I'll tell you which book we chose. I'm voting for Simply Christian. I've already read it and loved it.

Feb 16, 2008

One Man's Bitch is another man's Virago

I subscribe to Dictionary's word of the day.
I found today's entry rather ironic

virago \vuh-RAH-go; vuh-RAY-go\, noun:

1. A woman of extraordinary stature, strength, and courage.
2. A woman regarded as loud, scolding, ill-tempered, quarrelsome, or overbearing.

So ladies next time you're extraordinary, strong or brave, beware someone doesn't label you a loud, overbearing beeotch.

Feb 8, 2008

Best of The White Album?

When Beatles-fan Adam Christing casually asked me, "if the white album could only have 12 tracks, which 12 would you choose?" I decided to ask my music enthusiast friends. Brian Godawa complained it was like separating the trinity. John Fugelsang refused to play. "That's like telling Leonardo Da Vinci to only paint four apostles at the last supper. "

But others went along with it. Dana Bisignano, a Beatles connoisseur and a composer, even suggested the order in which he would place the songs. Because well, what could follow Revolution 9?

"While My Guitar Gently Weeps" was voted by everyone until Terrie Silverman came along and not only DID NOT VOTE for "Guitar," she voted for "Don't Pass Me By," which includes the odious lyric, "you were in a car crash, and you lost your hair." (Which reminds me of my next survey: What is the WORST Beatle Song ever done?)

So here it is, with only nine people voting. Vote in the comments if you want to change the results!

The Truncated, Sacrileged WHITE ALBUM on One Disc

While My Guitar Gently Weeps 7
Dear Prudence 7
Birthday 6
Blackbird 6
Helter Skelter 6
I Will 6
Julia 6
Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey 5
Back In The U.S.S.R. 4
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da 4
Rocky Raccoon 4
Revolution 1 4
Cry Baby Cry 4

Rest of the Results
Glass Onion 3
Happiness Is A Warm Gun 3
I'm So Tired 3
Why Don't We Do It In The Road? 3
Mother Nature's Son 3
Sexy Sadie 3
Good Night 3
Martha My Dear 2
Piggies 2
Yer Blues 2
Honey Pie 2 (only the girls voted for this)
Savoy Truffle 2
Bungalow Bill 1
Don't Pass Me By 1
Long, Long, Long 1
Revolution 9 1 (Brian Godawa's bonus track, proving he IS a Satanist)
Wild Honey Pie ø (the only one with no votes!)

Okay so play if you dare:

If you could choose 12 tracks plus one bonus track of teh white album, which would they be?


you can choose any song penned by one of the fab four. Dishonorable mentions for early covers (ie Chains)

Feb 6, 2008

My Cat Loves Larry

Ever wonder how your pet is going to get along with your new significant other? When I first started dating Larry, he said he "wasn't much of a pet person." He said it was because the pain of a beloved pet's death was too hard to deal with. I wondered if that was why he hadn't gotten married yet. Well Larry soon took to my cat, Honey. Which was the first sign he might be up for marriage. Of course, Honey's hard not to like. She's very friendly and social. She loves to be wherever the people are. Here she is, insisting she play a part in Larry's writing sessions. Or rather, here's Larry, indulging Honey in one of her cuddling sessions, no matter how inconvenient.

The other night, Larry spent a good 20 minutes petting and scratching Honey to the point she stretched out so long, she bent backward so far she lost her balance and tipped over.

Ah, nice. Ah, soo so nice I may even stretch backward.

Maybe I'm a bit far back ... woooooah! Act like nothing happened.