Belief Isn’t Faith

It's Personal , On Writing

Crucifijos de los RosariosThree of my uncles are ministers, pastors, preachers. Sometimes I get muddy on the details of their exact titles, so I loosely refer to them as “men of the cloth.” Today I had the pleasure of hearing my uncle, a Methodist minister, give his Sunday sermon at a welcoming church on the outskirts of Seattle. His sermon was thought-provoking and unusual in its delivery – interspersing YouTube clips and footage from one of the Indiana Jones movies to illustrate his point about the difference between “faith” and “belief.” Belief, as I understood his message, is more passive. He pointed out how faith can be misconstrued as a noun, but he challenged his congregation to view it as a verb. Action. Active. Motion. Moving. Compelling.Continue reading

Remembering Right

On Writing

“I can’t name these colors accurately and it frustrates me,” I told him. For weeks I’d been trying to find the right words to describe the slate blues, charcoal grays, and sherbet oranges I’d been stalking during my sunset walkabouts around town. He offered words on the pastel spectrum, but like my admittedly limp offerings, none of them were quite right. When I sit down to write, this is one of the frustrating moments – the wanting to express something your mind can see, but the words won’t come out to play; they simply won’t cooperate. I know it’s my failing, not theirs.Continue reading

Living Well, Dying Well

It's Personal

Sure sign of Spring - Robin - Bird blmiers2 via Compfight

They met a month before I was born, in the summer of 1977 at a dance hall in Salt Lake City. He later confessed to her that he’d gone to the dance that night with the hope he’d “find himself a wife.” They married in Seattle three years later. On a sunny Wednesday, a little over a week ago, I was honored to see them together one last time.Continue reading

Repioneering Pioneer Square

Seattle, About Town

“You look like true Seattleites.” My friend and I, engaged in a spirited conversation about the book I was reading that takes place in early Pioneer Square, stopped dead in our tracks. We both turned to the woman who said this to us as we were passing her.

Dark-skinned with honey-dyed hair turning black at the roots, she was exotic and lovely. Standing twenty yards from the iconic square’s pergola, waiting for the bus with her male companion, I wondered aloud if she was a tourist and what exactly a “Seattleite” looks like. “Oh, I am from Saudi Arabia,” she said, “and my husband is from here.” He looked hesitant during the exchange, uncomfortably grasping an aging bouquet of Stargazer lilies wrapped in green tissue. Now they live in Wallingford.Continue reading

I Have Zero Goals

It's Personal

This past weekend, I was asked (somewhat incredulously) by a trusted confidant how I can have no goals in life. He knows me well and has heard my occasional morsel, dropped offhandedly here and there, about how I intentionally don’t make goals. I was startled that he had paid attention to my casual asides and for the first time in my life, I felt that I needed to get out of my head and defend myself out loud for why I held this belief. My mind began to churn as I rallied my reasons for living this way and I answered him. Probably not this eloquently, but along a similar vein:Continue reading

Supporting Actors, 2012

On Writing

Macy's Vincent via Compfight

Today I awoke in the pre-dawn hours and decided to make insomnia productive by culling through and recycling two years’ worth of magazines I’d shamefully hidden in corners of my living room. Though they cost only a dollar or so an issue – like a frugal, Depression-era miser – the word-lover in me felt immeasurable guilt for letting them linger, largely unread, for so long.Continue reading

Bar Missionary

Seattle, About Town

Try scraping the ice off your eyes before giving me that cold stare

I visited Nathan Layman at Needle and Thread happened to be his birthday. Several of my fellow bar patrons apparently already knew this, and the mood in the tastefully lighted room above Seattle’s famed bar Tavern Law was celebratory but chill. The women next to me appeared to be having an after-work libation while putting off their commute home to the eastside. Next to them a tattooed hipster was waiting for her date. Upon his arrival, we learned it was his birthday too.

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I Thought I Came for the Caffeine

On Writing

hot tea on a cold day JASON ANFINSEN

“The thing that you had to force yourself  to do — the actual act of writing — turns out to  be the best part. It’s like discovering that while you thought you needed the tea ceremony for the caffeine, what you really needed was the tea ceremony. The act of writing is its own reward.” ~Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird

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