The souls you wish would touch the author within


See why I try to be a writer instead of an artist? Poor Dietrich Bonhoeffer…

This is the most creative thing I actually accomplished on our beach laze, despite my grand plans. These are all writers who shaped my childhood or who I have learned to love and respect for differing aspects. And ones I would like to steal from.
(This marring of faces was inspired by Steal Like an Artist which is vaguely inspirational and motivating.)

And this exercise led into a past-5am-conversation and physiological study and wonder about the world with two of my brothers-in-arms (actually some of the most beautiful of women). Hot chocolate, wine, and potato chips joined us for a time.

So, of course I came home wildly rested…



There is no place like home. Like…there is no home.

Numerous “rigid searches” finally resulted in enough chocolate items to create almost normal chocolate chip cookies. No brown sugar or molasses though. Incidentally, this little kitchen is also one of my favorite places on earth.

So…I left Ukraine.

The last week was mercifully busy with wrapping up English club, partying with English club, kicking up the most magical carpet of yellow leaves, sitting on tanks, blowing my nose, getting lost in abandoned, Soviet-era water parks, eating fermented sea weed, moping about leaving, discovering a coffee shop of great creativity, not getting served the sushi we ordered, more or less weeping through worship, sitting in the kitchen and thinking about life and leaving and planning and all that is beautiful and wonderful and past and present… (well, almost) …

Basically… it continues to be incomprehensible that God gave me this time and these people. And basically… it is inexplicable. At least at this time. For a writer of these limited talents.

I am so, so, so thankful for my Ukrainian brothers and sisters. For their hospitality. Their example. Their friendship. Their patience. Especially for the homes I stayed in, the family they contain, and for the long conversations in the kitchen and the long conversations and company on walks. These persons deserve extensive glorification and lingering epistles on the ways they blessed me. But I am not going to share them with the world.

Although, of course, they will influence and bleed through everything I say and do and write now and forevermore. Like all the amazing people and opportunities I’ve been given in this short and weary and crazy beautiful life.

At this time (and for the last 3 months), I am obsessed with this letter from Dietrich Bonhoeffer prison letter to Eberhard Bethge. And I found it online, just for you. So read it! 🙂

It also seems consistent with past trends that my body has developed an intolerance for goodbyes. And so it was, that I stood holding my head on and my snot in while saying last farewells (and/or dripping tears and glop on my boots as short-shortsightedly laced them for my seven trips through various airport securities). And then it was over and I was in an airplane and then in the German airport deliriously falling asleep on chairs as they seemed to come my way. And it was all over.

Fall clouds and Oregon being extraordinary and all that.

And 30 hours later I was in a Mexican restaurant eating GMO corn again after holding the hands of my little people I missed discovering that everyone’s hair had grown while I was gone and stuff like that.

The valley…through our dirty, mild-mannered mini-van window.

This was followed by drinking something warming with my bro among the boxes of all the moving that occurred in my absence. (I was spared so much. Sorry family. And thank you.) And then I fell into bed and ate almond butter for the first time in a long time and read Edgar Allan Poe until I woke up (tricky, huh?) and sat on the floor and had this conversations with my nieces:

“Uncle so-and-so has a fake Christmas tree,” says 6-year-old niece-with-the-jovial-belly-laugh.
“Does it dance?” I say, not terribly impressed.
“No!” says 6-year-old niece-with-the-jovial-belly-laugh, jovially laughing. “Then it would have to have a tutu!”
“A tutu as big as the world,” says 5-year-old-mildly-dark-soul-vibe-meat-eating-niece.
“I would find that disturbing,” I say, feeling perfectly content and affectionate in the moment.
6-year-old niece-with-the-jovial-belly-laugh, restarts the jovial laughing.
“Or a bomb.” 5-year-old-mildly-dark-soul-vibe-meat-eating-niece says darkly. “It would blow up the universe. For Christmas!” 5-year-old-mildly-dark-soul-vibe-meat-eating-niece throws her head back and laughs good-naturedly.
“Maybe,” I say, disturbed and happy.
“Time for breakfast,” says hardworking mother.
We disband.

Lived in this coffee shop last week. Meeting with all the people. Like this beautiful face/soul/writer/brother-in-arms person. This is so blurry and grainy it will make a great photo in her biography. Also, I really want to work at this coffee shop.

Then commences a week of meeting people at coffee shops and going back to work and getting used to different food (I did not expect this to be an issue at all and it’s been really disorienting. Actually, I feel disoriented in general and do not seem to be able to drink a glass of water without spilling it on myself).

“I’m a hike, Boppy! Take a picture. Because when I grow up I’m going to be a climber mountain. A big one.” I have many photos of this quality of these little people I missed.

There was also some unpacking, but the best (well, worst) is yet to come.

No more golden fields out my window these days, but I can walk to this view.

I told my nephew (if you haven’t figured it out yet, I am living with one of my brothers and his family at this time) that after I cleaned my room (it will take herculean powers), we would go to the pet store and pick out a fish or something (I realized I have a need for this) and it will dwell in my room and they can play with it (hopefully not kill it). (Do you like all the parenthetical remarks?)

I want to sneak my typewriter (which still needs to be repaired) into one of the empty buildings down there. Then I’m *sure* I could write something good. Probably not. xP But I could say I did and it was destroyed in the struggle with the police and/or druggies.

So now, whenever I come or go or am about, he tells me about his detailed plan for him to take a nap, me to clean my room, my car to be restored to us, the moving of his car seat into my car, the driving of the vehicle to the pet store, the picking out of the fish, the return of both us and the fish… and the bliss that will follow thereby.

But there is no cleaning or fish occurring at this time… Instead, this:

This ocean. It can communicate all things and all feelz. And listen to all communication and feelz. And take it.

We got here Saturday, which basically means I am on day 3 of dutch braids, camo hoodies, and John Donne.

However warm or magnificent or safe other beaches are in this life, there is no place so wild and free as the Oregon coast. And so, it is the best.

Also, there is a lot of gloriously depressing documentaries and war movies and books occurring because right now it is just myself and the folks. *family time*

I know it’s prettier in color and I have plenty of pictures in color, but I feel like all foundational things should also be viewed in black and white from time to time. I have various theories for this, but they all sound stupid at this time…so I will keep working on their presentation.

Our family style is essentially this:

Run around like chickens with our heads cut off (yes, this is a cliche phrase, but since we have actually experienced chickens with their heads cut off together in cozy family butchery moments, I feel its vibery is good here).

Suddenly stop and go to the beach for a day and eat chocolate.

Run around like chickens with our heads cut off with various duties and social engagements and work.

Suddenly stop and have a hot dog roast in the backyard (which no longer exists, thanks parents).

Run around like chickens with our heads cut off with various duties and social engagements and work.

Suddenly pack for a week when everyone else is at school or is afraid of bad weather and set up camp in a bare-bones beach house. Pack the following:

  1. Enough PJs to live in for a week.
  2. Anything you need for sickness, because you will probably get sick as soon as you remember you are only human.
  3. Something that you can be seen hulking down the beach in.
  4. A body, mind, and soul prepared to eat continuously from the hand of Ye Olde’ Mother Hubbard who will never give your digestive system rest.
  5. Various historical or depressing movies. Also, we always accidentally watch some horrible dud movie at the beach (this is what happens when you try to pick a movie with a happy ending. I’ve been trying to tell you…).
  6. And, most important of all, your own personal box FULL OF BOOKS. You will be expected to read and eat all day, discussing what you have read at frequent meal and snack times, watch a movie at night, occasionally be pressed upon to play a game, and not look nice so you don’t make the rest of us feel guilty for our lack of effort.

Of course, this is my perception. But I like this routine, this dependable family, this life.

My week. Happiness. Not sure I’ll make it, but the three books down thus far were all extraordinary. I have falling concernedly in love with Graham Greene, it would seem.

I also feel like I’ve kind of never been here (beach, Oregon, America, life, etc.) before, and when I open the door, it will be to walk down a uneven sidewalk and climb in a crowded, yellow marshrutka. 

All About that Framing

My new home. Welcoming me after 30+ hours in airplanes and airports and Mexican restaurants. There is a reason this picture is portrait, even though landscape looks better on this blog thing…

All pictures and all writing–all art–is choosing to say one thing over another thing. The finiteness and prejudices  of ourselves and the way our eyes are pointing can only pick one part of the truth.

outside the Instagram picture… Moving joys.

Thus I avoid talking about anything to do with all the feelz at the moment… 🙂