Sunday, February 15, 2009

Date Night with Employee of the Quarter

Last weekend, J and I got to have dinner out, courtesy of our employer (a gift since J was Employee of the Quarter). Beautiful waterfront view at sunset. Food was incredible.

(Okay, so my photoshopping skills aren't so hot. Just pretend.)

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Holy moley, this woman can WRITE. I'm loving Diane Ackerman's A Slender Thread. Her description of calls she receives at the crisis hot line is riveting. The organization she works for provides telephone suicide prevention service. Her ability to listen and then recreate the conversations is remarkable.

Here's a sample (I've changed the formatting since it's such a long sentence, but all the words are hers):

Listening athletically, with one’s whole attention, one hears the words, the sighs, the sniffling, the loud exhalations, the one-beat-longer-than-normal pause before a difficult or taboo word,
the voice-fall of misgiving,
the whittling of worry,
the many diphthongs of grief,
the heavy tongue of drunkenness,
the piled ingots of guilt,
the quiet screeching of self blame,
the breathlessness of fear,
the restless volcano of panic,
the fumings of stifled rage,
the staccato spasms of frustration,
the sidestepping anger of the “yes, but”-ers,
the tumbling ideas of the developmentally disabled,
the magic dramas of the hallucinator,
the idea shards of the psychotic,
the harrowed tones of the battered,
the bleak deadpan of the hopeless,
the pacing of the ambivalent,
the entrenched gloom of the depressed,
the distant recesses of loneliness,
and anxiousness that is like a wringing of the hands.

Diane Ackerman, A Slender Thread

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

On my bookshelves

Reading update: I just finished a book by Erin Prohpet about growing up in a cult. SUPER interesting.

The author's mother, Elizabeth Clare Prophet (leader of the Church Universal and Triumphant), convinced her congregation that nuclear war was imminent. In 1990, the church built huge underground shelters in Montana and planned to survive on a seven-year supply of stored food and supplies. The author describes how she began to doubt her mother's prophesies and how she broke away from her family's faith and everything familiar. It was interesting to read about the cross-over between family values and religious commitment.

The book was gripping because Erin Prophet is very honest about her relationship with the church: she grew up in the spotlight and as her mother's "seer," she was provided a powerful identity. She describes the manipulation she saw (and participated in) as well as her changing loyalty to the church and appreciation of the community she grew up in. She writes about her mother's Altzheimer's diagnoses, and the affect it has on their family and the church.

It's always a big sense of accomplishment for me when I finish a book ('cause I'm great at picking up something that catches my eye, flipping through the first couple chapters, and then taking forever to finish it). Here's a list:

Books I've Started Recently that I'm Determined to Finish

Talk about inspiring. The Artist's Way makes me want to drop everything, move to a cabin in the middle of nowhere, and write until I collapse. But then my subject matter would be boring. I guess my life provides material to write about where I'm at.

Okay. No cabin necessary. I like Julia Cameron's description of creativity as evidence that we are made in God's image.

A Slender Thread: Diane Ackerman has peaked my curiosity once again. This book is about her position at a crisis hotline center. After reading her historical narrative and poetic perspective on human physiology, I'm eager to read this book as she plumbs the emotional depths of crises.

This selection is for faith-bolstering. Especially after reading about gullible cult-members, I need to remind myself What's So Great About Christianity. Husband bought this for me a few months back, and the little I've read so far is good: not over-spiritualized, no knee-jerk defensiveness, palatable.

I'll keep you posted on my progress.