Thursday, March 30, 2006

this is the life


this picture is from miranda stone's website, it was taken at an artist retreat center in california.

i want so much...i have been reading blogs and web journals of two incredible musician couples (the weepies(steve tannen and deb talan) and miranda stone & her husband chris) along with talking to my aunt who recently got married. it is a wonderment to me how these artist live a life that is supportive and beautiful. they are living out their gifting.
this is the life i want; to create to live and to engage with others. to make art as beautiful offerings to God. i feel so incompantant, so not able to do this and yet this is my heart...it seems like such a far off dream to find my self in a place where i am free to create and be. there more i read and interact with theology and biblical understanding the more my heart desires this. i don't think we were meant to work in small spaces, tucked away in high buildings away from engagement and the people we love. a shared life is one that is lived in the day to day of community. the life of an artist and the communal life seem some how to be bound to each other.

i can remember reading from "eyes of the heart" by buechner two years ago and wanting to have the space to create just like he did the summer after graduation. to be off in a place where you are living with others who are creating seems so beautiful to me. there is a wonder and beauty about entering into that space with others even through creation can be individual it is also essecially communal too. i don't think we ever enter into creation with out the presence of another. whatever has inspired is present in the act of creation too.

our house...



i think we have found the house. i with six friends, five of them mars hillians, are planning to live in community. this is something that is both exciting and scary. ever since the summer after i graduated from high school nine years ago i have wanted to live in a mixed gender community. i have lived in several "houses" having at least four roommates(more if you include boyfriends). each time i have hoped and dreamed of having men living there too, each time it is only women. now all this to say i have nothing against my gender but as we are studying genesis and gender i find that i desire the different view of men. when you have three or more women in a house and there is no male presence things can easily go south. for as relational as women are we also more emotional and take things personally. little things build and create great strife. maybe it was just the people i lived with. yet i have noticed when you have a mix of men and women there seems to be a shifting, there is less tension and relations seem to be more balenced. i guess i'll find out. the group of people we have is great and all pretty easy going which is good. but i am afraid, what if we all end up hating each other? i love my friends i don't want to loose them. what if i can't live well with them? what if i get on their nerves? what if we all end up hating each other? what if someone i love now ends up driving me crazy? what if all my insecurities are greater because of living there? what if they find out who i really am and don't like me any more? what if i get stuck caring for the dog?

there are so many questions that i don't have answers to yet i find that for the most part my heart is calm and excited. this might help me be a better person, help me to know and love my friends better. we will see. isn't that the beauty and horror of community that you jump in with both feet and then work it out from there.

Monday, March 27, 2006

it's all the good that won't come out of me....


once again i am sitting a day before a paper is due with very little done. for whatever reason these last few weeks have been hell on my paper writting. i can't seem to get out what i need to say even when i have it out-lines and though out. nothing i write seems to make sense. maybe this is just the end of the trimester nearing.

yet it is horribly frustrating because now not only will i have to miss church tonight but i will also have to get very little sleep, so that this paper will be done by 2pm tomorrow. aahhhh! why, am i so often bit by the procrastination bug. this paper will get done and it will be in ontime.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

a painting




this is the painting i spoke about in one of my first posts "of art and dating" i'm not sure i am happy with it. i have been trying to so some mixed medium stuff but so far it isn't working out the way i would like it too. i need to play with textures more. i wish that i was better in my translation from head to paper/canvas.

the power of calling and naming


I went and saw 'the voice of the prairie' at taproot theatre tonight. there are several thing that stood out or rather hit me in the face.

the first being a overwhelming urge to cry and desire to run out of the room. this is the emotional response i have to seeing good theatre, especially if i am not acting at the time. it was my constant reaction to films and plays both my sophmore and junior years of college. it is the ache of my heart, wanting to be on stage enfleshing a character and allowing a space for others to enter into the beautiful story of another.
i love theatre for the ablitity to create this space for other people. when i am away from theatre my body, mind and soul aches for it. this is my calling. it makes it hard to be at mars hill, as much as i love it, because it means that i have less time for theatre. then i get so overwhelmed by the amount that this degree is costing me. how will i be able to get a master's of fine arts in preformance, unless it is completely paid for? how will these two things work together? and i am getting older and what does that mean as an actor?

yet i am blessed because even as i was sitting in a pool which was rapidly filling with these confussions, God sends becky. these were her words, "you are called, this is a prophecy a promise of what God will do. God is faithful, remember sarah and abraham." while at the time being compaired to sarah sucks it was also a reminder that God indeed is faithful. this is part of the process, being at mars hill is a step in the process. something i need to do to get to where i am going.

secondly, the power of naming things. there is a place in the play where a character calls upon the name of another as a binding of that person. they do not want them to become who they are so they invoke a name. he says (in a prayer no less) "God do not let this woman destroy me. her name is frances not frankie."

i remember the first time i heard this line, it was last summer. i was watching a tech rehersal for the production i was costuming. the words lept out at me like a snake poised to strike. before this i had always seen the weight of naming as calling the good and glory of another. reading "walking on water" has greatly informed my understanding of the act of naming. through l'engle's writtings i have been given such a foundation of the importance of words and naming.

what astounds me about this scene is that the naming is not a way to bless this woman, it has nothing to do with her really. it is about him asserting his power over her; a power of reservation and propreity. she is in the process of rediscovering her true self and he is trying to keep her from that. in finding a name and a voice, if they are true, one will not destroy what is true. what is being destroyed is the lie, breaking a lie is a painful process. people run away from it all the time because it is safer to live there than to break out. finding your true name(s) is a terribly rough and incredible expereince.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

i'm in a fever, when i'm beside her....desire


desire, tonight i sit wondering what it is that i truly desire? which is more real the desire of my body, my heart or my mind? each want something but unable to fill the need alone. and then i run away from it as much as i can. i smoke to much over a short period of time, i drink too much(two posts ago) and i try to make it go away.

do i desire because i need stablity and rest? would those actually come? or am i making something the end all be all of things which are impossible to cure?

i think my desire is also spurred on by my fear, i am so afraid that i am not enough. i am afraid that i am not a person who is enticing, playful and interesting enough to keep the interest of others. dan has talked about the fact that women, post fall, fear that they are to much. i very much embody that fear and it's opposite that i am nothing at all. will some find what i have to offer a over whelming blessing and then will they be willing to take all the craziness i lock up inside? i am so very scared that there is nothing really that makes me valuble or worthy of continued relationship. there is a long list of people who i love who have left me high and dry, without rhyme or reason. i always feel like their leaving the relationship has something to do with my being to much to handle or not enough to keep them engaged.

yet God is merciful too, i have several wonderful friends who i rarely get the chance to talk to because they all live far away. when i do get to talk or see them i am reminded how much they love and care for me. these are my sticking with it friends, lifers i think. not matter how long it has been or far away they are ( bfe texas) when we connect we are ever present in the moment. this is mercy espcecially on those days when my mind rakes me over the coals of contempt and self hatred.

so now i sit and wait, i wait for the fever to over take me in God's time. i wait for the memories to recall that i am loved. memories battle the wicked lies and challenge the fear. they call for truth. they say that desire is good and sitting in the ache of desire now is not a sadistic evil thing but a tool of growth. so my unmet desire is here to bless me... if i runaway or disconnect then i miss out on the blessing now. so waiting is part of what bring the heat and the fever.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

BRMC, this is sexy music


tonight i skipped class and went with liz to a black rebel motorcycle club show. it was amazing. i still can't think of words to describe how beautiful and rock n'roll this music is. blues and rock mixed with so much more depth and beauty that it floods your body and soul. it is music that catches your heart and turns you on. i feel like i have lost any words which would do true justice to the beauty of this music. ahhhh....

Sunday, March 19, 2006

drinking and honest thoughts



i am drinking...it is 4:30am and i realize that when i drink i get to this point where all my self imposed reseverations fall away and i am free to just been in all the mess of my life as it actually is with out the need to filter it. i know that this is something that i should learn to do with out the help of alcohol, but sometimes it feels good to drink like sometimes you just want to smoke. it is a sort of communion which God enters into your fallen self and brings beauty and connection. this can happen when you are a sober nonsmoker too, but i am so thankful for the times when i am drinking and smoking and it happens. i need to be reminded of God in the glorious ruins.

in these moments i am given an image of my self with out all the walls i build to keep the craziness bound in. because i do not want to freek anyone out with the reality of me, i allow the pile of insanity which lives inside my head to stay hidden until it is so great that it seeps out of every corner. it is similar to the process of laudry growth.

there is that ever present voice yelling in my mind it says "keep it together you have to as a "big" girl you can't do anything that is off or that will be your down fall. nothing is just as it is, everything that you do that isn't perfect is turned against you. you must be fucking perfect. this is the only way you can hope to be loved"

i want to escape that voice...i want to be normal whatever that is. i don't want anything to be assumed because of the way i look. but right now as intense as it could get if i started that isn't the shell to which i find my self bound in, instead it is just me nothing more or less. just me. i want to live my life with just jessi and not all the rest of the baggage. i want to be free, able to fly and be at rest.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

mystery in the face of a child


rocking a child to sleep is one of the most beautiful, sweet, and tender things in the world. emmie, the baby i nanny for, has been sick all week. she was starting to feel better today but still is pretty yucky. everytime she breathes in it sounds like she is purring because she is so congested. so cute.

it took me two and a half hours and three tries before i finally got the sick tired girl to fall asleep this afternoon. i think she was so excited about feeling a little bit better, that she just kept fighting her body, which made her even more sick. any way the last time i tried to put her down i decided that i was just going to hold her so that at least she could get some rest (she kept freeking out when i left the upstairs area or her room).

so i took her into the spare bedroom, wraped up in a blanket and rocked her back and forth while sitting on the bed. looking down through her soft black curls on to her angel face as her eyes fluttered like wings in their slow closing, was the best moment of my day. there is something so breath-taking and spiritual about holding a child as they rest their head on your chest. in moments like these i know why i want to be a mother, why God is mother as well as father and why i miss my mom, the way she was, so much.

i hope that i can trust God to hold me when i am crying, tired, and fighting rest just as em let me wonder in her today.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

creativity and mission


i ran into my friend brooke today at an audition. as we sat talking at cafe vita this afternoon, i began to think about the cost of being an artist. it costs alot to be an artist i realized. not only are you asked to pour your soul and being into a piece of art that bearly embodies the depth and weightiness of what you desire to convey, but financially it cost alot of money be it, guitar strings, paint and canvas or headshot. yet you rarely get any of that back. you might get a small stipen or a few dollars for your painting but rarely are you given enough money or time to really think and engage with your art. instead you are beaten, beaten by working that "day-time job" to pay the bills and then working more hours on your art, beaten by putting your work out there to little or no response, beaten by the voices both inside and out side of your head telling you to be practical and get a real job. but you can't stop either you have been created to be this, God has made you into a person compelled to create and that is a beautiful thing(at least theologically). there is no place in our society of consumerism for artists to really be thoughful, thinking, creators. it isn't valued because that kind of creativity takes time and rest. images, melodies, words need time to be impreganted and grow, and then birthed. as we all know it taked time to grow a life and creating art is growing a life.

what our society wants is art that is marketable. the quality and integrity isn't of value, the only value is what can find a nitch of buyers in society that will purchase it in droves. everything is of value as long as it can be bought and sold.

i want to have the freedom for artist to create with out restraint. maybe this is an image of the kingdom of God that i must live my life striving for...the freedom for people to be used in a way that blesses others with their visions and gifts. this is what i want for the world, specifically inregard to women and artists that they may bless the church and the world by using their gifts in glory and participation with God of his mission (missio Dei). to redeam and restore the whole of creation.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

the art ( or lack there of) of seduction


i have been thinking alot about the idea of seduction. dan said in class that all women posess the quality of seduction but many use it wrongly, like to get their children into a "good" school. or something like that.

it seems that over these last few months while i have grown in my ability to love and become my better self. with this personal growth i have found that i have lost any slight abiltiy i have to be seductive. is this a good thing? i don't know.

inretrospect, i find that there were many points in my younger days,(that makes me sound so old), where i was not only aware of my seductive powers but i used them to get what i wanted, sort of... i can think of several points in high school where had i been more cognacent i could have seduced and manipulated the men i was involved with. i had that power. the power of seduction is a frightening thing. i have seen many men, men i love dearly, since then harmed and almost destroyed by that power. i have one friend who at one point, contemplated (not seriously but with the emotional implications) jumping off the aurora bridge rather than break up with his harmful seductive girlfriend.

it is not just about men being seduced. i have serveral beautiful and incredible female friends who have seduced and harmed men. it is so incongruant that these wonderful women would used their beauty and charm to serve themselves.(they have since changed). this is the power, i don't understand, is it something beautiful or something harmful? or is it both? seduction can be a beautiful thing if it is a guileless woman seducing her husband to enter into a time of joyful play. when it is guileless is the beauty that compells people to a wise woman. it can be a wonderful blessing and gift. yet so often it is used for self-fullfillment or gain.

seduction scares me, the power it has. yet, i think that the reclaiming of seduction, not in a negative for might be a key point in opening up the voice of women in scripture.

Friday, March 03, 2006

walking the line...

once again i find my self back here at this place wrestling with what it means to be a artist and a follower of christ. i spent this afternoon and evening at the first day of the artist for life conference. it was beautiful and humbling and glorious and painful. it was great to have so many people there, wanting to walk in this place together. i think one of the hardest things about being a christian artist is how lonely it is. you are always having to live between two world that can be very opposite. it is like being the child of a divorced family and never quite feeling at home in either place. community and support is so very important as an artist.

i also found it hard, hard because i HATE having to chit-chat with people. i never know what to say, i feel completely stupid and i suck at it. give me a debate on something and i can talk all night, ask me to small talk and i will run away as fast as i can. but that isn't the only reason it was hard. it brought me back to questioning. i am not doing art right now specifically i am not doing theatre and yet that is one of my passions. i have been hidding away from it over these last few months at school. granted my schedule isn't very condusive to doing theatre but i also have only been on one audition. i find that i keep trying to run from that art. but i cannot even in reading "good body" i am reminded of why i love theatre and film what it is about them that seduces me. it is the profound connection. when i read a character i enter that expereince i take them on. i love that. taking on the life of another person thinking about what they have lived through is beautiful.

i miss that so much it hurts and yet i am terrified to go back to it and find that i no longer can do it or worse that i never could. needless to say that spending tomorrow dreaming about being an artist excites and scares me. if you are reading this please pray for me.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

back to the garden?

garden of simple-ani difranco

some crazy fucker carved a sculpture out of butter
and propped it up in the middle of the bonanza breakfast bar
and i am stuffing toast and sausage into my pockets
under a sign that says grand opening
while my dog is waiting in the car

i wake up, i check out
i fill the tank and wash the windshield clean
then i'm back out on the highway
and BANG that's when i remember my dream:

we were standing in a garden
and i had a machine that made silence
it just sucked up the whole opinionated din
and there were no people on the payroll
and there were no monkeys on our backs
and i said, show me what you look like
without skin

science chases money
and money chases its tail
and the best minds of my generation
can't make bail
but the bacteria are coming to take us down
that's my prediction
it's the answer to this culture
of the quick fix prescription

but in the garden of simple
where all of us are nameless
you were never anything but beautiful to me
and, you know, they never really owned you
you just carried them around
and then one day you put 'em down
and found your hands were free

so now it's early in the morning
at the longitude of memphis
and the sun is setting sweetly on hong kong
and the big plan is just to keep spinning
cuz the big bang is only just beginning
and sometimes it's all that we can do just to hang on

and what i meant to say is xxoo which means i'm thinking of ya
which means i've been thinking of you
all along


I find my self coming back to this song time and time again. There is something so deep about encountering the pure reality of another person. As I have been reading The Passionate Marriage today I realize how scared I am of encountering my self. The good and the bad, maybe my current tiredness is more about feeling bound emotionally than being physically tired. Ambivalance is eating away at my point of indecsion because I want to be free and I am scared to take those steps. I want to enter the garden with out letting the monkeys and masks I hide in be peeled away.