Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Winter's Scorn -a letter regarding the mental illness of the upper midwest-

My dear friend,
I fear it is with a heavy heart I write this letter. However, I can keep it tucked away no longer. An issue has been eating away at the core of my being for quite sometime and frankly, it must be addressed. I truly believe this confrontation is the only path to reconciliation and peace.
The issue I speak of is somewhat sensitive in nature, which is perhaps the reason I have been so hesistant to bring it up. I have sucessfully avoided the issue all together a few times, but this was only by avoiding you altogether which may or may not have done either of us any good.
I am not even entirely sure that you are aware of this wieghty situation. I'm told those with your condition or those similar to it often are not. But what I can assure you is that there are many professionals who can aid you tremendously with overcoming this misfortune of mental stability. I, however, simply cannot bear the brunt of it any longer.
While so often you are supremely good and generous to me, you seem to be harboring a sort of split personality, extreme mood swings, at least, causing to you move from genuinely amiable to being a full on bastard. Barely I can tell you are one and the same as your pendulum swings wildly from one side to the next. You shine on me rays of glorious sunshine and nourish me with that which you yourself bear. Like a child eager to please her mother, you bring me sweet and heart-warming gifts. A flower. A strawberry. A rainbow. A song.
Like a lover you woo me with your sultry nights. I lie back in your arms and gaze at the stars.
But then, as if weary of doting, as if sick of my praise, your kindness flees and I am left alone in the outer most layer of hell. Though I hold on so tightly, I watch as you fade. Dr. Jekyll becomes Mr. Hyde. Any kindness you've given, you yank from my hands and finally...spit in my face. While once we embraced, we each now have become lovers scorned.
What have I done to you?
Where did I ere?
Whatever it is, I repent!
Here I am on my knees, pleading with you. Begging you'll stop and you'll see...the one I know you can be. You'll remember those warm summer nights, those crisp autumn days...the beauty of you that you seem to forget. When your whispers brushed the lobes of my ears, your warmth caressed my back. Return to the time when your rain flooded the land with wildflowers and your soil was the sorce of life. This death of your winter, simply too much to bear.
Though I bow humbly before you and beg for your grace, now again your fist ready to strike. As I brace for your blow, one last time, I implore, return to who I know you can be. This devestation wears on you as well as on me. I see it as your color seeps slowly away each time this affliction rears its ugly head. So much of you dies, and that which survives merely inches along. And saftey's a matter, nearly too grave to mention. I'll not mention the countless lives lost. Surely, for that matter alone, you must be willing to face this unholy side of yourself, and once and for all, overcome. This cataclysm must come to an end.
These words of harsh reality, hard to bear, I know. But I come to you as friend and one who dwells in your embrace, both cuddled and crushed. Please. Get help. I will assist in any way that I can. I eagerly await the day when I can finally rest wholly in you...steady and unwavering.
Be well, friend.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

a rough draft (ie-work in progress)

why is it, people are unable to tolerate silence?
what are they afraid of hearing
whispering from within?

if you see him
ask elijah
when it was
he heard the voice of God

"What are you doing here, Elijah?"

crank up that radio
make that tv blare
because who wants to be faced
with such a question

Friday, December 10, 2010

Everlasting University...Who Needs Gobstoppers?

My current facebook status is this:
Does anyone know if (and where) there is a "school" where people can just take classes and learn for fun and personal interest rather than for a degree or career sake? If not, who wants to start one with me?

I have serious doubts as to the existance of such a place, but oh, how I dream of it! This idea is just beginning to mill about in my brain, but I think it would be such a fun invention. A "university" of sorts where folks could enroll in a class or two for a nominal fee simply for the sake of learning. Perhaps local professors could share an hour out of their week (again, for a nomimal fee) and lecture and lead discussions about ideas, histories, philosophies, sciences, arts, etc.
Or perhaps, blast the thought of it, in this computer savvy world, with the genius of Skype and whatnot, there could be virtual classrooms completing the tasks mentioned above.

Say I'd like to take a class in Russian Literature? Click! Enroll! From 3-4pm CST Professor Plum lectures on the likes of Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky.
Perhaps a course in art history to brush up on theories and style? Oh, I know all sorts of folks to teach this one (Ms. Gilkerson, I'm looking at you)
How fascinating the human body is! Perhaps you'd like to enroll in the physiology course taught by Dr. Bod MD. It's Saturday mornings 9-10am.

An on-going university simply alive for the purpose of learning?Yes. Yes please.

There was a point in time when individuals coveted knowledge simply for the sake of knowledge. It seems now that in many cases, universitities have gone from haven of learning to graduated techincal schools.
(Two side notes-1. This is not true in every case. I was fortunate to have gone to a university in which both discussions and ideas were valued. 2. I in no way wish to demean technical schools. Those who emerge from them are far better equipped to do the necessary tasks that life demands, which I am far incapable of doing. And quite frankly, in today's society, tech schools are most likely the most logical and economical choice for making a living in the real world.)
Universities, it would seem, have become gradiose, expensive trade schools. Learning for the sake of learning has all but disappeard. (From my life, anyway. This could all be stemming from no longer being in university, but rather drudging through the mindnumbing "real world.") And yes, I realize with the internet at my fingertips and google providing me every tidbit of information I could ever desire, this is not what I am after. Real people discussing real ideas face to face (even if it is face to computer screen face)...that is the creme de la creme.
But, I can't go to university forever. Not in the way that it's set up now anyhow. I'm already up to my ears in student loans. I don't want to bury my children in them. It always boils down to money, doesn't it? When declaring a major in college, the million dollar question is "What can you do with that?" (At least for those of us who chose the less practical fields of study.) Translation: What kind of job can you get/How much money will you make? When did it happen that anything worth a damn has to have a price tag affixed to it? I can't get degrees in history, philosophy, art, physics, biology, etc simply because I'm interested in them. My children's children to the 28th degree would bear the weight with tuitions what they are these days.

I need a place where I can sit and absorb and discuss ideas, both new and old and learn and wonder how this world works.

So, this everlasting university thing is probably just another hairbrained idea stirring from my cranial mush as a result of 8hrs of mindless and mindnumbing "work," and will most like result in nothing. But, it's a fun idea. So, if you agree...if you're in....when do we start? And how the hell do we get something like this off the ground?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Happy Day

Happy Chanukah!
I know. You're (most likely) not Jewish. Neither am I.
But, should a person of Jewish faith wish me a Happy Chanukah, I would in no way be offended. They are simply offering me the best of what they know, and I would happy to recieve it.
In Korea, there were holidays that I had never pataken in celebrated all around me. Chuseok, the Korean Thanksgiving and the Lunar (Chinese) New Year are some examples. I am not Korean, but I celebrated them, because it was a part of who they are. I did not shudder or cringe when people wished me a happy Chuseok or Lunar New Year, even though I do not celebrate them. Once again, they were just wishing me the best of what they me a part of who they are.

This time of year, people can sometimes get up in arms about proper terminology and politically correct well wishings. Well, you know what? Merry Christmas! That's what I know, that's a huge part of who I am. In wishing Merry Christmas, am I trying to sway one's beliefs to that of my own? No, I'm simply wishing you the best from what I know and who I am.

So, what about "Happy Holidays?" Doesn't that cover everyone and therefore offend no one? Oh, that arguement makes me laugh! First of all, some one is always going to be offended, because it's in our human nature to want everything our own way. Our reality should obviously be everyone else's. Second, the word "holiday?" A holiday is (or once was) a Holy Day. So, I guess to all of my athiests friends (and yes, I have them) I'm just going to say "Happy Day!"  Because, you know, I don't want to offend them or anything. I certainly can't wish them a Happy Holiday, because, well, that would just be rude.

So, as the snow falls ouside this season, hang up your day stockings, bake some day cookies, wrap your day presents, and enjoy the day lights.
Or, share with someone a bit of who you are.
Merry Christmas, friends.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Idealism? Reality? A Battle to the Death!

Yesterday's blog had a healthy dose of my idealistic side. Sadly, my idealistic side and realistic side often don't see eye to eye. Point in case: Um, I like getting Christmas presents. Who doesn't love getting Christmas presents? It's a tradition and a fun one at that. I also thoroughly enjoy giving Christmas presents to other people. And I'm not wholly convinced the getting and giving of Christmas gifts is morally wrong.
But every year for the past several years, I've seriously contemplated the whole getting Christmas presents thing. I don't need anything. Sure, there are plenty of things I want, but nothing I really need. And, as I said yesterday, That Christmas Fellow (the manger one, not the red one) urged folks to give away all of thier stuff to those in need. Every year, I think, I should just tell my family I don't want anything. Give to charity. Donate time or money to people who need it.
But, I don't.
Because, I'm selfish.
Perhaps this year, come to think of it, there is a solution...Thanks to one Mr. Blake Mycoskie (philanthropic heartthrob). Ask for toms, give toms, give kids shoes in the process. Or Ten Thousand Villages! There's a good Christmas shopping store, too. A win win situation. Tradition. Fun. Good for mankind all around. Christmas shopping/wish list seems much more in line with my idealistic side. In the battle of idealism vs reality, I rule this a tie!
Yesterday, I promised cynicism, but he's bowed out for the evening. Lovely break.
Also, without Christmas presents, there would not be precious moments like this. (My grandpa with his mask from Korea I gave him last year) Ah, family fun!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Friday Black Friday

Not to be confused with Sunday, Bloody Sunday

So, after working 56 hours (give or take) in 4 days, my blog had a little rest. (While I did not)
So, this Black Friday blog will find its home on the Tuesday (or Wednesday if you're somewhere far from me) following Cyber Monday. Oy! With the labels already! We get it! People like to shop!
 'Tis the season, anyway, for swiping plastic and a mighty river of flowing cash. Several people have asked me if I partook of the American Holy Day known as Black Friday. (Ok, I added the American Holy Day thing). My general response is to shudder and reply "Do I look crazy?"
  The throngs of people running, trampling, thieving, and general disrespecting the other thousand throngs of people is enough to keep me home hiding under blankets with a good book. Or Netflix, I guess. But to be honest, Black Friday crowds are not my number one annoyance with the new American tradition. It is the supposed celebration for which these gifts are being hoarded that fuels my frustration.
Why, it should be asked, are these masses of people lining up and literally trampling each other to death? For Christmas presents, if I am not mistaken. It is for the sake of the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, Messiah and redeemer of life (not coupons) that we shove, name call, trample, destroy public property, and even rip items out of our neighbor's hands. (I'm sure He was just kidding about that whole not coveting your neighbor's stuff thing.)

Um. Yeah. Hi. Have we even read the Bible? That cute little baby in the manger grew up to say some pretty profound stuff. Things we seem to love to disregard to suit our own needs. (Trust me, I'm the queen.)

Remember the rich young ruler? Young guy, stacks of cash, loads of belongings, lots of power. He bumped into Jesus one day.

"Teacher, (that's the cute little manger baby in grown up form) what must I do to inherit eternal life?"

"Yeah, yeah. I do all those things. So, I'm good right?"

"Wait, what? You want me to do what? Sell my stuff? Give it away to the poor? Um....ok. I'll.....I'll think about it."

Then he skulks away, bummed.

So, let me clarify. In celebration of the birth of the guy who says get rid of our stuff, we do what now?.

**Stay tuned tomorow when my idealistic side, cynical side, and the side that likes Christmas presents go head to head to head.