8/19/08

I Write Most Easily in Lists or Chunks

I went to Tanner's wedding this past week, and it was very nice. His new wife, Carli, is normal in the best way, and Tanner seems effortlessly happy.

I'm at Jacob Lake selling expensive rugs. I'm better at being a salesman this time around, at least I talk to more people, which is a small, satisfying victory for me. My favorite things to do are watch the Olympics, read (currently Wuthering Heights), and watch birds at fountain near the cabins.

I'm trying to vamp up my scripture study and prayer and soforth--the usuals. It's a good thing, but sometimes I fear I can't sustain the effort, as if I were sprinting, and I wonder if I'm not trying too hard, and there's some principle I'm missing, like, oh, I don't know, the Atonement? Anyone else ever feel like that? Anyone ever heard that DairyMan's Daughter song by Michael McLean?

Michael McLean is possibly my guiltiest musical pleasure, guiltier even than Beyonce and Avril Lavigne (you heard me...but I also like the Beatles and Stevie Wonder, which I think atones for a lot of bad taste). Michael McLean, for those of you not in the know, writes (but does not sing because his voice is terrible) some of the cheesiest Mormon music out there, songs with lines like "When you feel trapped inside a never ending night--Hooooold Ooooon--When you've forgotten how it feels to feel the light--Hooooold Ooooon..." I began to like him on my mission. And this is my argument in favor of Michael McLean: I think he means all of his songs. They're cheesy, I know it, but I think he means it, and I can't help but like him. I don't think that's the case with a lot of the EFY music or Christian rock, but Michael McLean's legit. Sorry Ivor.

I met a fifty-year-old Chinese man from Vancouver in the gift shop today, and we chatted a little (some in Chinese, but not much). He said, "I take my daughter for summer break and see national park." Then tonight I bumped into him and his daughter in the dark in an obscure slot canyon by the Colorado River and we chatted a little more, and I asked him if you can say xiari for sunset, and he said, "It's okay."

18 comments:

Matthew R. Hall, Esq. said...

I'll do absolutely great as far as scripture study goes for about three days. Then I tell myself that listening to talks while I work counts, and then I get bored of talks and the rotten cycle starts all over once everything goes to pot. It's like I'm sometimes living off "borrowed knowledge" from my mission-- scriptures and doctrine that I already know so I tell myself it's not the end of the world if I don't study really hard today.

Thing is, it's not the same as it was on the mission. Despite my gift of knowing references really well, I don't know the scriptures like I did. I'm better than some, but that doesn't matter because the gospel is an individual thing, not a competition. My goal for the rest of the break is to brush up with my Bible knowledge and get to know that book front and back like I used to.

Also, that last story about the Chinese man and sunset was quite enjoyable. I liked how you didn't take the obvious route like I would have.

Jami said...

I love that some people still use this blog. After my entire college experience without facebook, I am resisting the pressure to get an account now. I can't judge because I've never experienced it, . . . but I like the gut-honest writing we have here on this blog. I knew that this post was Chan before I even looked at your name. You have a way of making people want to read on because the rhythm creates such a relaxing tone. Hopefully that makes sense. Thanks for this post.

iBo said...

I don't know Chan...Micheal Mclean....

For the record you can use "日落“ ri luo, for sunset. It sounds better.

Your story of the chinese guy reminded me of the waitress I talked to in Idaho Falls that was fresh from Sichuan province and spoke no English. I remember asking her "Why are you here? Isn't it hard to not be able to communicate with anyone and to not have any other Chinese people around?" She didn't have any answers for me. I think her purpose had gotten muddled up somewhere along the way.

Maybe knowing what our purpose is in doing something is like our scripture study. Why are we reading? What are we looking for? Anyone have any answers?

I'm tired and groggy from driving all night. I'm in Provo right now and I'm not sure how I got there even though I know I drove.

Sky said...

Chan, I love your posts. We've missed them. But, I'm heartbroken that we didn't get invited to Tanner's wedding. I hate weddings, but it's one I would have attended. We almost made it to EmPo's reception, but I didn't get my car's tail light fixed in time(which I broke backing into Kaitlin's car). I received the invite, which she sent to my office, AFTER the wedding. In it was an invitation to the Logan temple, which I would have walked down to attend. Ah C'est la vie and crap.
Scriptures? I feel so blessed if I read more than two scriptures a day. Megan (daughter) told me she reads everyday, even if her mind wanders, because she feels it's one more commandment from the Prophet that she's keeping, and that knowledge alone makes her happy. Maybe that's the best goal. I don't read to understand every war etc. I read to hear if Heavenly Father has anything to say to me that day because if He speaks it's during that time, in the temple, or during Sacrament meeting (or in emergencies also). Sometimes, He just sends a feeling of peace, or sometimes I just feel He's pleased that I have the book open. Sometimes, I feel a gentle reordering of priorities in the back of my mind. Sometimes, I see certain faces (usually WC people) or hear a comment I missed that needs addressed that day. But, the main point is that scriptures help me be more kind for some reason, which is what, I think, matters most to Heavenly Father, and which is my biggest weak area. Em and I were coming down to see you, camping along the way. When do you come back? Or are you back already?

Sky said...

Ivor,
get home. Your house is on fire.

Sarah said...

Yes yes yes. I also am a chunky or listy writer. That's how my brain thinks, that is what spills onto the page. I have heard Dairyman's Daughter, and I have often found myself asking which part is mine? Your post was inspiring, by the way. Now I feel a need to write.

E. Anona said...

Hey Chan, did you meet my brother Matthew there at Jacob Lake before he left? I really miss him.

Chan said...

Anona, I did meet your brother Matt. See replies to the last post, or maybe the one before. He was (is) a cool kid, I thought.

Sky said...

I keep coming back to Ivor's "what are we looking for?" question because I'm impressed with it, since it's probably the highest question we can ask. We "should" be looking for God, so the scales of darkness about EVERYTHING--our life's choices, our mates, our daily minutes--can be illuminated. But, we get off track. Yet, "what we put at the center of our hearts can often poison us and those around us" (quotation from son Beau). I LOVE high questions. Thanks Ivor. (Did Matt really say he listens to tapes at work? Surely he meant his second job at McDonald's or third job at Get-Absolute-Answers-About-Universe.com.)

Matthew R. Hall, Esq. said...

I meant I listen to talks when I'm doing the garden and landscaping work at my Grandfather's house that's occupying my days during this break. It's too frustrating trying to listen to anything at the Writing Center because by the time you get into a talk, you have to stop for a session. Really, the rules enforce themselves through mere convenience.

Eric James said...

I am in the same boat as the rest I suppose, especially since I wrote my last blood essay. I remember feeling like I was getting answers as I read the scriptures. Since I arrived home, almost a year ago, I have yet to read them consistently. The more I think about it the more I think I am cheating myself of the answers that I want to receive. If I really want God to answer me, I shouldn’t expect it without effort. If I believe that He must answer me, then I must believe that He will answer me on His terms. I guess I am trying to say, I need to meet Him no matter how many times I climbed to the middle already. Alas, my cycle continues!

(Sorry Sister Morgan, I had to throw one exclamation point in there.)

(And Jamie, succumb to the world of facebook. It is a really easy way to keep in touch. Besides, how is the world supposed to know you are married and living in PA?)

Julie M said...

Jami,
The whole world doesn't need to know that you are married and in PA. Only the people that care. And we are all on this blog. I don't do Facebook either. As a matter of principle.

Chan,
Michael McClean. I loved him once too. Deeply and truly. You know I think that he really helped my testimony at parts of my life. I'm glad that you like him. However, he does exploit other mormons to acquire things such as landrovers. Ah, well. Who doesn't exploit mormons these days? Noni juice anyone? With that off of my conscience I can move on.
Tanner got married huh? Post pictures of the wedding or announcement so we can see. And I am glad to hear you are alive.
Anona,
How's the baby? How are you?
Sarah,
How is grad school? Your life?
Good to hear from everyone.

Sky said...

Who is Michael Mic "Clean"?

Also, I gonna agree with Eric. Face book is an insane, chaotic mess, but it's a way to post a lot of pics (Tanner's wedding) and short one liners when you don't have much time to stay connected. I can even send you a whole song one night when I'm missing you. It's a sloppy kind of connection, but it's connection. Just try it once. Really. I don't go much, or else I go too much, but It feels like you're in a big room with WC friends and you're all doing your own thing, but suddenly I think of Ivor or Shalese (Yes, SHALESE even), and I can just yell hello across the isle. It feels like a lot of people have your back. (But, don't ever give up blogging. That's real writing.) Face book is a way to keep up with everyone's life. That's all.

OK, Everyone, let's vote. Most of us understand Jami and Julie's hesitation, but how many think they should join us on Face Book? Raise your hands.

Julie M said...

Shalese is on Facebook? All right. I may finally have to break down.

Leanna said...

Consider this a hand raised from me!

Crystal said...

I miss you guys.

And I like Michael McLean, even if he is cheesy. What's so wrong with cheesiness?
And I vote yes on Facebook.

What are we looking for? I don't know. But I feel like I have a tendency to get wrapped up in all sorts of superficial surface things that don't really matter, and they keep me from being myself. I feel like deep inside, at my center, I don't exist as much as I want to. I think I'm looking for a way to become myself, if that makes any sense.

(I love posting on older blogs, because chances are good that no one will read my comments. Is that strange?)

Sky said...

Ha. Thought you could hide here, Crystal? We miss you already also. And I love your post.

Crystal said...

Go to bed.