It’s a Mad, Mad World

I’m just playing with sounds and rhythms and words in this post, seeing how they connect and affect each other. So don’t get hung up trying to understand every detail. 😉 But feel free to comment and let me know your thoughts and impressions!

It’s a Mad, Mad World
by Beth Turner

Enter THINKER

THINKER

Rhythmic. Almost chanting or singing.
Spoken as if spinning, twirling.
Like a wobbling toy top.

 It’s a mad, mad world.

A world of twisting, twirling,   sanity, striving,   mad, mad world.

It’s a would,   a word,
a world of tossing balls, of catching balls, of hunting balls,
a world of fuzzy lint, of hungry lint, of crying calling
It’s a mad, mad world.

It’s a crazy, hide-it, crazy, quiet, crazy buy-it world.
It’s a run around, don’t slow down, mad, mad world!
It’s a yell-at-Mom, pretend I’m gone, cry and scream and shout.
It’s a hello there and a goodbye fear. A push, a tare, a tear.
It’s a mad, mad world.

Help me, tear me, scream me, cut me, hold me, leave me, hunt me, eat me World.
It’s a mad, mad world.

THINKER sits cross-legged on the floor.
                                                                                                                                  Enter CURIOSITY.
The following discussion moves quickly.

CURIOSITY
What are you?

THINKER
What am I?

CURIOSITY
Yes, what are you?

THINKER
Good question.

CURIOSITY
20 questions?

THINKER
Sure

CURIOSITY
Are you a place?

THINKER
What is a place?

CURIOSITY
What is a place? Surely you know a place!

THINKER
Do I?

CURIOSITY
A place is a plane of existence.

THINKER
Oh

CURIOSITY
Are you a place?

THINKER
Am I a plane of existence?

CURIOSITY
You tell me

THINKER
Maybe

CURIOSITY
Well, are you a thing?

THINKER
A what?

CURIOSITY
An object. Something tangible. Unless it’s an idea.

THINKER
Am I tangible?
I can feel myself. But if I feel myself, does that make me tangible? Or could I feel myself even if I weren’t here?
Am I an idea?

CURIOSITY
I don’t know. Maybe you’re not a place or a thing or an idea. Are you a person?

THINKER
How is a person different from a thing?

CURIOSITY
A person has life.

THINKER
So do things.

CURIOSITY
But things are different.

THINKER
How?

CURIOSITY
I don’t know.

THINKER
What is life?

CURIOSITY
The state of being alive

THINKER
And what is alive?

CURIOSITY
Having life….

THINKER
So a place is a plane of existence. A thing is a tangible object. But it’s different from a person because a person can feel itself and has life which is the state of being alive which is having life.

CURIOSITY
I’m losing interest.

THINKER
When you lose interest, do you fade away?

CURIOSITY
I don’t know.

CURIOSITY walks offstage.

THINKER
When you lose interest, you fade away. Unless you’re the only one there.

                                                                                                                           THINKER stands to walk offstage.

THINKER
But if you’re the only one—are you?

Exit THINKER.

THE END

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Brushing Away the Dust

I met an old friend this past weekend. Someone had said something that had reminded me of a favorite composer. So I revisited his music.

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Photo Credit: Vintage Junky

The music greeted me with the same love it had before. It recognized my heart. If anything, I think it understood me even better now.

It spoke tenderly and and with empathy in “Vocalise,”  reminding me of the past it and I had shared together, reminding me of the hours that it had listened to me pour pieces of my heart onto the piano’s keys with this song.

Too many years have passed.

Pinterest informs me that music brushes away the dust from the soul. There is always a song that fits whatever I’m experiencing, and the music enhances and improves my understanding. It helps me express myself. It helps me be honest with myself.

I have enjoyed spending time with this composer’s music. And when I have a piano again, I will pull “Vocalise” out and rekindle the friendship even more.

Opinion Is Knowledge in the Making

I am of the opinion that I can change my opinions.

I am young. I am curious. I am testing ideas to see if they hold up.
And I am learning.

Sometimes people don’t understand why I’m so curious and why I’m so willing to test ideas and beliefs. I understand their fears; they want what is best for me and are afraid of where my journey might take me. I appreciate that.

I want what is best for me too—that’s why I’m so willing to challenge ideas and belief systems. How else can I know what I actually believe and why I believe it?

The great poet John Milton (think: Paradise Lost) wrote, “Where there is much desire to learn, there of necessity will be much arguing, much writing, many opinions; for opinion in good men is but knowledge in the making.”

I am willing to risk being wrong in order to learn. I recognize that the ideas I hold to now might not be the same ideas I hold to later. But right now I argue about them, write about them, and have opinions about them. I do this in the hope of gaining knowledge. My opinions may change…. *I reserve the right to change my opinions!*

“What is true? and what is truth?” People have asked this question since the beginning of time. Eve asked it when she was tempted by the serpent. The ancient Egyptians asked it because they believed their hearts would be weighed against the feather of truth in the afterlife. Pontius Pilate asked it of Jesus before sentencing Him to death. Every person has asked it (audibly or not) at some point. I’m don’t pretend to imagine that, out of all these people, I will be the one to know all truth. But I want to know as much truth as I can.

So I question. I think. I write. I argue. I form opinions.
And that doesn’t scare me.
It’s all part of my journey.

The Parable of Margaret Hamilton: Christian Women and Higher Education

Liberated

You’ve probably never heard of Margaret Hamilton. You’ve probably heard plenty about Neil Armstrong, one of the first men on the moon, but there isn’t much said about his support system. Margaret Hamilton is the woman who sent him to the moon–and without her, he may not have come home again.

She was one of the founding fathers (ahem–mothers) of modern software. Without her brilliance and mad coding skills, software as we know it would not exist and those men may never have landed on the moon. She was working as a programmer at MIT to get her husband through law school when the Apollo program started. At the time, she had an undergraduate degree in math and a 4-year-old daughter she frequently brought with her to the lab. She was chided occasionally for abandoning her motherly responsibilities for the space program. The chiding stopped when America won the race…

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Elizabeth Lorelai?

Sometimes, I relate very strongly to Lorelai Gilmore. I was recently introduced to the show and have been fascinated with her fun, quirky character. (I’m still in season one! Sh!) I’m a little worried, though…because I think she might be rubbing off on me. Why else would I be writing emails such as this one to the public library?

Hello,

I’m so sorry, but I set a DVD on top of my car as I was getting in and then drove off with it still on my car. It fell off somewhere in my journeying and is lost. I’m hopeful that some kind soul will find it and turn it in, but I want to let you know right away so that you can rework any holds on it. I’m willing, of course, to pay a replacement fee for the DVD: Gilmore Girls, season one, vol. 3—only fitting that I would lose that DVD the same way I imagine Lorelai would. . . . Again, I’m so sorry. Please let me know what I need to do.

Thanks,
Elizabeth Turner

Allow my to clutch my coffee in mortification.

See what had happened was that I was dashing out of my apartment, and my hands were full of stuff, and I was trying to get the keys out of my purse, but things were falling, so I set all four DVDs on top of the car while I finished putting my stuff inside the car, and then I grabbed the DVDs, tossed them into the passenger seat, and took off. But when I reached the library, I could find only three of the four DVDs. And one must have remained on top of the vehicle until it decided to take a swan drive into the road behind me.

So…whether Lorelai is rubbing off on me, or whether we just happened to already share a lot of similar characteristics, I owe the library $10 for the swan-diving DVD.

DMV, Donating, and Tears

I cried in the DMV parking lot today.
And I was laughing as I cried.

Maybe I was crying because I was hungry.
Maybe I was crying because I had officially registered my new car.
Maybe I was crying because I rang a little bell after donating one dollar to Donate Life.
Or maybe it was all of the above. (That’s the most likely, to be honest.)

I just sat there in my new car, laughing and crying at the same time in the parking lot of the DMV.
Here’s the observation I came away with.

Be grateful.

I knew there was a healthy meal waiting for me at home. That’s a privilege that many people don’t have.

I drove my new (okay, new to me) car home. It has air conditioning. The locks work. The headlight isn’t held on with packing tape. And I don’t have to roll the window down so I can open the door from the outside in order to exit the vehicle! This is wonderful!

And I have the gift of life. I had the privilege of living this day. I had the privilege of donating one small dollar. I had the privilege of remembering my aunt and the two lives that she helped by donating her kidneys.
(Uh…you should consider donating money too. Right here. ‘k, thanks.)

These are all things to be grateful for.
Donate Life

Learning to Grieve

How long can one stare at a blinking cursor before writing any words?

What do you say when you don’t know what to say? Or, even if you know what to say, how should you say it?

The cursor blinks again.

A year ago, I was praying, begging God to spare the life of my aunt, to let her wake up. But when faced with an unexpected accident and a loved one fading away, there comes a point when you accept what is happening. A point when you realize that there is nothing more you can do, a point when you realize that God isn’t sending a miracle.

When that moment came for me, I felt numb. My face still had the dried salt of tears on it, but I’d stopped crying. All I really felt was an emptiness—and a headache. Crying has some nasty side effects.

My parents came out to celebrate with my sister and me as we finished our degrees, and then they left for the funeral. My brother and sister went with them. I had to stay behind to start my new job.

I grieved in my own way—writing. All the emotions found themselves landing on a page where I could process them, analyze them, and appreciate them. We need the emotions in our lives. (Hello, Pixar. Good job.) Most of those writings are not for public sharing. But they did help with private healing. And that’s okay.

So, wherever you’re at, whatever is going on in your life, whatever you’re grieving, it’s okay. When the cursor blinks . . . and blinks . . . and blinks, it’s okay. Sometimes you won’t know what to say. Or how to say it. And that’s okay. Sometimes you won’t even know what emotions you’re feeling, and (you guessed it) that’s okay.

Hang in there.

Psalm 121

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.
The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.