7 Quick Takes (Vol. 7)

~ ~ 1 ~ ~

On Wednesday I was up early and knew I was close to finishing my story.  I felt as restless as a cat looking for a place to have her kittens.  I was agitated at not being able to finish what was so close, and ended up cleaning the whole house.

As in: the whole. house.

  • Both bathrooms
  • all the floors
  • playroom
  • bedrooms
  • laundry washed
  • 3 dishwashers run and emptied

I had called and griped to Jay earlier in the day: frustrated at having to wait, and very close to nagging at him to give me more time.  When he came home he was more than impressed.

He took the kids the rest of the evening and it was that night I reached my ending.

~ ~ 2 ~ ~

With a clean house I am a better mom.

Yesterday I let the kids paint until their projects filled the whole table with their drying.  Today I could say yes when they asked to use playdough.

When the house is cluttered (and stuff is dried on the table) I never let them use all the cool stuff I’ve collected for them to use.   So this has been fun.

I read aloud more when the house is clean, too.  I’ve just, well, like I said, been a better mom.

~ ~ 3 ~ ~

Jay and I give the children our one-sided pages for their artwork.  Yesterday on the back of their painting I found a page of my original-original novel (as in, I couldn’t find the passage until I went back to my roughest draft) that addresses an issue I’m working out now.

Namely, how to make the Hero more interesting than his foil.

It also brings in a secondary character who (I’d made a note about) needed to be introduced earlier for better context.  I read the back of the paper with great interest, making mental notes about where it belonged and what to change.

When I came back out of my office/bedroom I saw Natasha turn over the painting and read the page.  I started loading the dishwasher and she looked up, startled.  “Is this from one of your stories?” she asked.

~ ~ 4 ~ ~

I’ve fallen off the wagon.

That is, I’m buying books again.

It started innocently enough, as it did last year: buying for the children’s schooling.  Then finding several $2 books that I really wanted for my reference shelf (analyzing folk and fairy tales) then picking up the used books that fit my collection, just because they were available and would cost twice as much new.

Once I’d gotten that far I just shrugged and figured I’d blown it.  So I’m back to normal.

And normal’s okay for me.  I guess that’s what makes it normal.

~ ~ 5 ~ ~

Having just returned a couple weeks ago from my uncle’s memorial service, I am thrown for another loop by the news of another man in his early 50s who died just last night.  One of the deacons in our little church.

We got a call as the hospital was doing CPR, and I was shaken by the horrid feeling that I was entering that new life-stage I had only vaguely been aware of 5 years ago, where you start watching friends die.

I remember being delighted with the awareness that I was so much in the “adult” group now that I was making friends with other adults– some old enough to be my parents.  Sure I’d been friendly with adults my whole life, but it was like they always knew they were doing me a favor (or that I was doing them one) because we weren’t of the same clan.

And now the down-side.  I get to outlive people I love.

Really stinks.

Then I have to wonder what it was like for my Grandpa living longer than many of his friends or, like I’m reading about just now in Numbers, the Israelites loosing a whole generation (a good million people I’ve heard it estimated) in 40 years, and that would be around 68 deaths a day.

So I get a little perspective (“Everybody dies,” my girls chirrup every time we watch Enchanted), and I’m not nearly as morose.  But I’m still sad, and I think that’s okay.

Paul said we need to know the truth about those who die, “so that you will not grieve like the rest, who have no hope.”  But I take that to mean not that we won’t grieve, but that we will grieve with hope.

We grieve for ourselves, and our loss– and while realizing that makes me feel incredibly selfish, it’s not really going to change my behavior much, other than I’m trying to shift my feelings to think more of the family and their loss: recognizing whatever I feel is nothing compared to them.

~ ~ 6 ~ ~

When my dad’s dad died I was 14.  The thing I remember most is watching my parents from the back seat– my mom’s hand on my dad’s leg as we drove the unfamiliar town my where my Papa had lived.  And the words my mom used to describe that time.

I don’t know when I actually heard them, but they’ve defined my feelings so many times:

You see that pain someone is feeling, and you start to put yourself there, wanting to share their loss, or understand what they’re feeling– but it’s too much.  It’s too painful, and you have to pull back.

~ ~ 7 ~ ~

I’ve been comparing European fairy tales and Greek myths this week (looking at episodes from The Storyteller series is what prompted this chain of thought).

And have you noticed none of the Greek myths really end well?  Really.  I can’t think of one that ends well (feel free to correct me).

I began thinking that this could have something to do with Christ.

The Greek stories all pre-date him, and center on a time when the best men could hope for or imagine was more powerful versions of themselves.  Humans felt knocked about by the world and never knew where or how they would land.  Human folly irreparably destroying lives.

The fairy tales, by contrast, have just as much folly and trial and tears, but rooted in a world where the Church had gained great influence there is always the founded hope that the end will come ’round right.

This relief of “happily ever after” (or at least, an ending moment of peace– which is more common if you actually run the numbers) is what ties me so tightly to the Tales I love.

To me it is a reflection of the hope and promise of heaven: that after enduring all trials, through obedience and because of a power beyond ourselves, we have the assurance that will never again be alone or in need.

It is a hope big enough to carry us through every pain and loss.

For more 7 Quick Takes visit Jen’s Conversion Diary

Other 7 Quick Takes on Untangling Tales

7 thoughts on “7 Quick Takes (Vol. 7)

  1. That’s what I mean, Chris: no matter who gets rescued, or how much fun they have on an adventure, it always sours.

    (Maybe I put in too many double-negatives and what I tried to say wasn’t clear.)

  2. I’m so glad The Storyteller has been useful/enjoyable to you!

    I am a better mom when the house is clean too. And a better wife. And more productive.

  3. Odysseus goes through misery but he does eventually make it home and back to his wife. It’s not exactly a happy ending, but it’s better than anything else I can think of.

    There’s another one that I watched an Opera based on that I can’t think of the name of right now where the guy has to travel into the underworld and grab his honey, and I think they make it out. . .

    Now I’m going to be thinking of this all day. I’ve taken lots of Greek mythology classes.

    I love the parallel to Christ that you’ve drawn. It’s a very fascinating thought. How does this compare with Arabic folk tales? Or Chinese?

    See, now I want to go write a paper (on the assumption that somebody already has) and figure it all out.

    And, my prayers are with you. I’ve never had anyone really close to me die, but I can imagine it’s painful. I’m not looking forward to the time it happens to me.

  4. I’d forgotten about Odysseus, and you’re right, it ends better than most, but the guy trying to get his honey was Orpheus, and he looked back before he should have and lost her forever.

    Speaking of Opera, most of them end badly too, don’t they? It’s hard to imagine one of them changing the ending of Orpheus and Eurydice, but it’s a story that I can translating very well to Opera– being so musically centered.

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