So, June was on fire. Literally.
At the moment of this post, there are somewhere between 7 and 12 fires burning in my home state of Colorado, one of which had consumed at least 81,000 acres, another of which has destroyed more than 500 homes in Black Forest, a beautiful area of Colorado Springs to the north and east of where I live. It’s also the one year anniversary of the Waldo Canyon Fire that caused us to evacuate our home in less than 45 minutes, driving away with near certainty that our home would be consumed. It wasn’t, but more than 350 homes in our vicinity were, and the view of the burn scar from my office window reminds me daily of the way the verses “I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from?” in Psalm 121 changed that day.
This month I’ve been writing and wrestling, making progress on the book, and sitting with God in the quiet of the morning. I’ve held hope in my hands and felt the stretch of tragedy and triumph together. I’ve even had more than a few laughs, surprises and sunny days. All in all, a good month.
So here’s what I’ve been into (and up to) this June.
Read and Reading:
My Bright Abyss: Meditations of a Modern Believer by Christian Wiman—OH. MY. WORD. I’m only halfway through this book, and I’ve stopped highlighting, because I’m highlighting absolutely everything. Wiman is the (former as of this month) editor of Poetry magazine, and this book is as much verse as prose, as much poetic and polemic (and probably very little of the latter.) I might be in danger of being rightly accused of proselytizing for this book. I mean, read this:
Our minds are constantly trying to bring God down to our level rather than letting him lift us into levels of which we were not previously capable. This is as true in life as it is in art. Thus we love within the lines experience has drawn for us, we create out of impulses that are familiar and, if we are honest with ourselves, exhausted. What might it mean to be drawn into meanings that, in some profound and necessary sense, shatter us? This is what it means to love. This is what should mean to write one more poem. The inner and the outer urgency of it, the mysterious and confused agency of it. All love abhors habit, and poetry is a species of love.
Sober Mercies: How Love Caught Up With A Christian Drunk by Heather Kopp—Written by a friend of mine, this is a tender, profound memoir that I dip into like sliding into a pool on a warm day.
A Darker Place by Laurie King—I needed some good mind candy. Laurie King is a favorite in that department, and I discovered a book of hers that I haven’t read. This one is about cults and religious extremism. Fun read, especially given my calling.
On My Nightstand:
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion—still, yes. I’ll get to it
I’ve got one other Laurie King novel in my Kindle cue, and few other books-to-read related to my writing, but the nightstand is thankfully fairly bare (my floors and bookshelves are another story.)
TV & Movies:
In shock and delight, I realized I’d somehow missed a whole season of Call the Midwife is available. My husband experiences the show as talk-talk-cry-talk-SCREAM-SCREAM-SCREAM-talk-talk, so he doesn’t watch it with me, but I don’t watch The Walking Dead with him (I can’t deal with zombies), so I think we’re even. Some of the people I’ve been unhappily disliking have left the Next Food Network Star, so I’m looking forward to the next few episodes getting real, y’all. And, of course, So You Think You Can Dance is on.
Bryan’s been out to see Man of Steel and World War Z, but I skipped both of those—the former because I’m not a huge Superman fan and the latter because, well, zombies. I’ve been head-down with the book, so I suspect that I won’t be seeing much in the next few months.
That said…. SHERLOCK! It’s coming back this fall, and I’m going to eat the sofa in anticipation of each episode, I’m sure. I’m also considering crumbling to the peer pressure that is Dr. Who. I know I’m late to the party, but the first episode turned me off so badly that I’m really going to have to take it on faith to watch another episode.
I just downloaded the new Patty Griffin album, American Kid. I’m loving it, as I do all of Griffin’s work. “Wild Old Dog” seems to be on repeat for me.
I’m waiting for Sam Phillips’s new album, Push Any Button with anticipation.
And we made it to an Over the Rhine concert the beginning of this month. Bryan and I are a patron of both of their upcoming albums, Meet Met At The Edge of the World, and the Christmas album Blood Oranges In the Snow. I loved hearing some of the new music at their concert in Denver, and can’t wait to get my hands on The Edge of the World.
Words, Words, Words:
I’m at 38,424 words on the book at the moment. It’s a patchwork, really, but I’m excited about having momentum. The sinew is knitting together, the circulatory system is beginning to form. I feel the beat of it’s heart, at a distance from me, and it sounds like thunder.
I’m also in the middle of editing the next issue of Conversations Journal—Be Not Afraid. Arch Hart, Gary Black, Rebekah Lyons, Emilie Griffin, Amy Simpson, to name a few. I’m excited about what Issue 11.2 has in store.
On My Blog & Elsewhere:
I also guest posted for Rachel Held Evans, which resulted in a whole day discussing sex with strangers, but, hey, it was great.
Because of that, I ended up on Andrew Sullivan‘s weekend roundup, which leaves me unsure if I should be honored or horrified. (Warning, the video is horrifying, and Sullivan is an angry atheist.)
Things I Love:
- This status update from John D. Blase: “I’m interested in writing that speaks of life lives on this dark and marvelous planer, writing that honors dying and sex and cottonwood trees and lower-middle-class cabernet and your daughter’s faded red robe that hangs behind the door and the fact that your grandfather poured cream in his cereal instead of milk. I’m interested in writing that smells and tastes and feels, writing that makes the marrow burn. I’m not interested in any other kind of writing.”
- This post by Sarah Bessey on slow summer light.
- These words by Jamie the Very Worst Missionary on Taking Back Eden.
- This love letter by my friend and mentor Preston (although I think his love‘s post was better—sorry, P!)
- This blessing of words by Winn Collier on blessing.
- Skype dates with Tanya Marlow and Lorraine Wheeler. Why must the best people always live in England?
So, how about you? How was your June? What are you into? What are you up to?
I’m linking up with the wordsmistress Leigh Kramer. Join us, if you’re so inclined!