April 17, 2011


What if I wrote until 9?
The mall outside my art history building is my favorite place on campus, I think. It's a mall in a Washington DC sense, not a shopping sense - just to clarify.

The sky was dark blue, and turquoisey. The petals of the saucer magnolia are starting to fall off (already!) but their pink is still very lovely. It surprises me how very green the grass has been, this entire week. It reminds me of the passage in Downright Dencey where you learn about Dencey's love for vibrant colors.

Today at my CS Lewis society, we were discussing the last few chapters of the Ralph Wood book, The Gospel According to Tolkein. Somehow we started talking about how stories teach hope. (It surprised me, because those are the very words I used to think about it to myself.) But I had a hard time thinking about how books really have given me hope. I can think of ways books teach you things about living and human nature and suffering. I think that fantasies or allegories try to tell truth on an even larger scale - to say not only "this is the way particular people act in certain situations" but "this is the way life is." I think the idea of fantasies is the whole dragon-conquering business, about showing us that stories, and life in general, really ought to end well.

I haven't read a work of fiction for months. I wonder what it is doing to my soul. There's a whole lot of things that are important for life. Today in the CS Lewis Society meeting, I got the sense of having come upon something else I had forgotten that I knew once: the sense of clarity or narrative in living. Stories have themes. This time last year, at Regionals, I remember I had a story to tell. It was a story about redemption and about learning how to desire God alone, and not competitive success. It was a good story to live.

I had this idea in my graduation speech that childhood was a time for stories, and in being grown-up the stories would get larger and we would have to be more patient to see them completed. I know I have neglected to read stories this semester. I hope I have not also left out living a story. But the themes are less clear than they used to be.

When I write about practices (like blogging, or vlogging, or reading, or engaging in discussion) that I think are valuable, I can't just muse upon their benefits, like I might talk abstractly about how running is a good thing to do, or how it's good to watch movies for leisure every now and then. I don't want just another way to spend time (though my older sister and mom are running for a bunch of very good reasons, and I enjoy watching movies with my family - nothing against my examples), I want to know if I am living well and truly. I think the examined life is an ought, not just a "if you feel like it." But self-examination doesn't have to happen in one set way.

When I'm writing this now, I know I am not doing justice to the ideas I am touching upon. I think I am writing because I want an outlet. I am attempting to understand and explain.

It's nine already. There is still so much I don't understand, but I will rest.


Hayley said...

"When I'm writing this now, I know I am not doing justice to the ideas I am touching upon. I think I am writing because I want an outlet. I am attempting to understand and explain." Yup. Story of my life. Bravo. :)

What is life, if a story without hope? It seems a contradiction. The stories we're studying in my English class are infuriating, each one after another are entirely devoid of hope and formal resolution. It all impresses on me the contrast to truth: ours stories are a line, not cyclical. Our stories have hope and resolution, not indefinite suffering.

[how these things continue to coexist troubles me.]