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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Christian Chick Lit

I just read this outstanding post on Her.meneutics (a blog I wish I remembered to read more often than I do, because it features the writings of some of the most outstanding Christian thinkers of our time).  The question posed by Sarah Pulliam Bailey is one I've grappled with as a writer.  My novel, No Penalty for Love, and the subsequent work now under consideration, are what is termed wholesome romance.  In fact, in the editing stages I was asked to remove some of the pointedly Christian scenes in the novel because this is not what the secular publishing company did.  As Bailey says, it was a matter of subtraction.

Funny that just this morning I was praying about writing.  I feel pressured, from the outside sometimes and from within at other times, to write Christian fiction.  It shouldn't be a problem.  I loved writing the plays for Stained Glass Theatre.  As a Christian, the work should just be an extension of who I am - just like when I read something I bring a Christian worldview to it, when I write I do the same thing.  The trouble is that predominate formula Bailey speaks of that treats faith in God as something of a "golden key" or "get out of jail free card".  It absolutely is not!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Ah, Audrey

Do you and your loved one have a song?  Ours is The Street Where You Live from My Fair Lady.  It's the show Bruce took me to see on the night he first kissed me.  Ahhh.

We laugh at the line in Sleepless in Seattle:  "You don't want to be in love.  You want to be in love in a movie."  Well, who doesn't?  Swelling music.  Carefully crafted words.  Beautiful scenery.  Gorgeous costumes.  And people who look like Audrey Hepburn.  Ah, Audrey.  If I could look like anyone at all besides myself it would be Audrey.

Last night we went to see My Fair Lady at the Gillioz.  I was a little concerned because during the overture the man down the row from me was whistling along and humming and going "bomp, bomp, bomp" along with the tunes.  But, as Audrey always does, she worked her magic from the screen and he hushed, swallowed up by beauty.

I think that perhaps my favorite Audrey movie is Roman Holiday.  She even looks terrific with short short hair.  Then, there's Breakfast at Tiffany's which, I have to admit, I did not like at all the first time I saw it.  But, I tried it again and also saw it at an outdoor theater in Eureka Springs where they had an Audrey lookalike contest (okay, the entrants were mostly men, but when you're trying to be Audrey you can carry it off - maybe).

I read once that her son said Audrey always took an afternoon nap and when she awoke ate one small piece of chocolate.  How lovely.  How genteel.  How Audrey.

The movie last night got me thinking about how there's not really a clear definition or universally accepted image of feminine anymore.  We're very casual.  I am very casual.  But, when you see those old movies, doesn't something in you just yearn to put on a string of pearls and a dress?  To walk like you're carrying a teacup on top of your head?  To laugh politely and say things like "charming"?  Not that I want to give up all the advances we've earned as women, but once in a while it would be nice to feel like Audrey looks.  Utterly feminine.  Dewey, sweet, romantic.  I think it would be charming.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Take Me Out to the Ballgame - If You Must

Lord Stanley's Cup has been won.  Summer has officially begun.  Now, take me out to the ballgame.

Though sports were never high up my list - in fact, I used to become quite irritated with people who were sports fans - I have come to appreciate them since I got married.  I knew Bruce enjoyed sports and so one of the first things I did when I thought we might be getting serious was to check out a book on the basics of football so I could have at least an understanding of what was going on when we watched.  Translating what was in print to what was on the field, though, was just not happening for me.  It was several years later when I decided it would be nice if I would watch the Superbowl with him that I sat down for parts of some of the Sunday games and asked him to explain some of the plays.  Unlike Bruce's attempt at humor at the first football game we attended together when he told me the players in the odd-numbered jerseys were running backs and they had to run backward in the game (how dumb did he think I was?), he explained as I asked and over the course of the season I learned enough to be able to watch the Superbowl that year and "get it".

One of the first presents I got Bruce after we were married was tickets to a St. Louis Blues game and a Blues jersey.  Extravagant for a first-year teacher with student loans to pay, but I really wanted to please him.  Though it pains me to admit it now, I was not struck with the game.  Our seats were high up and I really couldn't understand what just looked like a bunch of scrambling on the ice.  (If you want to know my real first impressions of the game, read Patricia's impressions in No Penalty for Love - yeah, that's me, sitting there wondering what is going on and why everyone is so enthralled.)  Because I was so unimpressed, I went a little begrudgingly to my first Missouri State University Ice Bears game.  The rest is history on that one - I love hockey now!

But, since the Blackhawks beat the Flyers last night, we've settled into baseball season which is my least favorite sport.  Try as I might, I just can't relax for fear that I'm going to get hit with a foul ball!  But, I realize the odds are against that happening and Bruce enjoys the leisurely pace of summer's greatest pastime (or so it's called - my own greatest summer pastime is reading a Grisham novel on the deck with a glass of iced tea), so I go.  Tonight we're going to watch the Springfield Cardinals play the Tulsa Drillers.  In July we're off to St. Louis to see the Big Birds play.  The new stadium has been open for something like five years now and Bruce has wanted to see it since it opened.  I bought the tickets for his birthday, but couldn't wait that long to give them to him.  If you go on the Cardinals' website and look at a view from the seats, you can see what we'll be seeing:  a gorgeous skyline with the Arch just past the scoreboard.  Pray for no rain!

My point is that romance can be found anywhere.  Even at a sporting event.  Sometimes learning something new because you know it would please your loved one is a nice thing to do.  Sometimes you even discover a new interest yourself (or, in my case a new interest and inspiration to write).  What is your loved one interested in that makes you roll your eyes and wish you were dead?  Learn something about it just to please him.  Comfort in a relationship is great - being at ease with one another is much to be desired!  But, a little stretch now and then can put a spring in your step and a song in your heart:  Take me out to the ballgame!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Be Careful, Little Hands, What You Tweet

I started reading an article in the ALA magazine last night and I'm still thinking about it this morning.  It said that Twitter has given the Library of Congress permission to archive its Tweets.  The claim was that the Tweets provide valuable information into our culture.  So, I started wondering what the 40 or so (?) Tweets I've published over the past year or so (?) say about me.  How much of myself and my cultural values can one glean from reading 140 characters of type composed out of boredom, mainly?