Things I am inspired by

I am tired in my bones and in my eyes tonight. Around 5pm, my voice got scratchy, and I thought it was in my head, so I asked my coworker, confused, and he confirmed that it was indeed. I am trying to decide if I fight it off or just sink into its horrible sweetness in hopes that it will move on quickly. I do have scads of sick days, but giving up seems so…weak. And I am trying so hard to be strong these days.

So instead of an actual post – since putting these few words together is taking all of the energy I contain – I thought I would mention some things that are inspiring me, as of late:

–Mumford and Sons:
I always seem to be about a step behind when it comes to new and great things. I’d been hearing about Mumford and Sons for about eight months, before finally breaking down and buying their album three months or so ago. It is something else. Besides being musically interesting – I love a good rock banjo backing gravelly British voices – the lyrics read like poetry. Literally. If you ignore the repetition of the chorus, it would look just fine on a page. I mean, look at these gems: “You can understand dependence/When you know the maker’s hand.” “If only I had an enemy bigger than my apathy I could have won.” “As the winter winds litter London with lonely hearts/
Oh the warmth in your eyes swept me into your arms/Was it love or fear of the cold that led us through the night?/For every kiss your beauty trumped my doubt.” And they even sound good sung.

Obviously, I love their vaguely spiritual messages, which tend to be much more truthful than overtly Christian messages. I feel like they’re searching, like I am, and God appears in the most surprising of places. I know I feel him in their music.

“Stars hide your fires
For these here are my desires
And I won’t give them up to you this time around
And so I will be found
With my stake stuck in the ground
Marking the territory of this newly impassioned soul”

–A Wrinkle in Time:
I have a half written essay about my early reading habits, and this book would surely be part of that. I read L’Engle’s masterpiece years and years ago, back when it seemed long and the typeface seemed small. I found it at a bookstore recently, and started reading it for the nostalgia factor. What I didn’t realize is how beautifully it’s written. I mean, L’Engle is a craftsperson. She uses the language simply for children to understand, yet does so in a way that is brilliant and beautiful. I actually wrote the word “brilliant” next to this paragraph, the first one of the book:
“It was a dark and stormy night.
In her attic bedroom Margaret Murray, wrapped in an old patchwork quilt, sat on the end of her bed and watched the trees tossing in the frenzied lashing of the wind. Behind the trees clouds scudded frantically across the sky. Every few moments the moon ripped through them, creating wraith-like shadows that raced along the ground.
The house shook.
Wrapped in her quilt, Meg shook.”
I mean, really? “Frenzied lashing”? “Scudded frantically”? “The moon ripped through them…wraith-like shadows”? Amazing description. So few words, but so well placed, and chosen.

Plus, it’s just a wonderful science fiction children’s novel. It’s inspiring, seeing someone do so much with so little.

That’s it for now. Things to expect in the near future: essay about reading, essay about science fiction, poem about jazz, conversation with Shauna Niequist. Oi. Better get going on those things. Don’t want to lose you, my faithful readers. Drop me a line, tell me what you think. I covet your comments, but only the good ones. Sleep well, dear ones.


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