Random Thoughts for the Beginning of the Week


1. I’ve been listening to podcasts that interview writers and poets. Two different writers this past week said something to the effect of, “Write what you want. Don’t follow the market. You will never have your own voice, if you do. You cannot be yourself if you do.” And then they both offhandedly said this is true for life itself. And then like thunder it dawned on me how I do this with my family. I want to be seen as normal and follow the market of the middle class american family and what it values. But there is a voice ringing out like bells at dawn.

2. I’m writing some of these while up very late with a very sick little boy on Saturday night/Sunday morning and I’m past the point where I like anything anymore.

3. Over the past six months during my run I’ve seen a woman thin considerably.

4. I just watched a documentary about Levon Helm and there’s this scene on the day he wins a Grammy and he sees his just-born granddaughter for the first time in a picture and the look on his face is something I’ll never forget.

5. I cannot help but think the American idolatry of busyness is why my kids have so much dad-gum homework after being at school for 8 hours.

6. David Ryan Adams’ cover of Taylor Swift’s 1989 is heartbreaking in the most wonderful way possible.

7. I’m not very good at my job yet. But I find myself looking forward to it and wanting to get better at it. This is really weird.

8. I’m blessed to have a wife I am glad to have during hard times. But I did not ask the question before we married. I did not ask, “Is this who I want to weather the storms with?” I asked “Is this who want to have good times with?” Not a bad question. But my advice is to ask the first question first. The second question is kinda a full gone conclusion.

9. Two hours ago I was not only writing cogently but with rhythm. Now? It’s 2 AM and I don’t understand the keyboard anymore.

10. I believe one day the Christians of the future will look back on our day and wonder at our enjoyment of football while knowing it was destroying the lives of players and their families.


Thursday’s Random Thoughts

1. Yesterday I drove through a part of town where all the houses and streets look ideal. The sidewalks were covered in former frat boys and sculpted moms pushing expensive strollers. I felt judged. And it dawned on me that others may feel the same driving on my street.

2. It is hard for me to see someone as a victim if they have a PR firm telling me they are a victim.

3. After more than five long years, we finally have another book by Mary Karr. There are not many memoirs who avoid writing about people they don’t like. She does it because she sees herself as her biggest problem. If you know her story, you’ll understand how amazing that is.

4. Just over a month left of baseball and there aren’t enough documentaries to get us through winter.

5.  I’m not a pacifist. But I still think American Christians are too comfortable with violence. Too enthralled with it as entertainment. Too easy with it as sport.

6. Something doesn’t smell right about the Muslim student getting arrested after bringing a homemade clock to school. It’s too perfect.

7. I listened to an interview with Mary Karr about her new book while running this morning. You would’ve thought the new book was about her relationship with David Foster Wallace since half the interview was about her relationship with David Foster Wallace. Of course, it was NPR.

8. Even though I really like my new job, I still pine to be at home with my wife after being gone for about an hour.

9. This week we saw what it looked like for a pastor to apologize for blowing it in how he handled a pedophile case in his church and how he treated the victim. Apologies are rarely perfect. They just seem to be rare.

10. My ungracious expectations of my kids doing really well in school are not only ironic but hypocritical.

Random Thoughts for the Weekend

1. We are preparing for our short visit to the beach, where I will eat fish and shrimp and sleep late and stare at Bethany in her swimsuit and listen to my children laugh in the excitement of being able to order a soft drink instead of water because we are wrapped up in the joy of being there.

2. Only a consumer would read the CEOs more than the poets.

3. Much of what you find beautiful as you grow older, you only caught a glimpse of as a young man. Maybe you knew there was something there, but had no words for it. Maybe there was no context for you to make sense of it with. But now it’s like a veil being lifted from a glowing bride’s face.

4. I am truly afraid of my boys playing baseball at the ballpark and what it will do to our family. This is not an attempt at humor. I did not like how my heart was glad when I saw that my son was not the worst player. That is an evil insecurity. It will be hard to hope my kids fail well and succeed well. I’d prefer to not worry over their skills. And I worry about our evenings of leisure being tapped and parched. I worry about the ballpark taking over.

5. I have never regretted one moment of listening to Van Morrison. It has never been a waste. It has always been good for me.

6. Have I mentioned how much I look forward to all the seafood at the beach?

7. It has been a long time since I’ve gone on a vacation without the dread of return.

8. When the dark night is all you’ve known, even though you’ve longed for the morning, it is something to be used to still.

9. The missing of my parents has become a broken pane letting air in, and then out, the kind you grow used to. Maybe it’s more like a dent you cannot knock out. Or a hole in the ground you cannot fill.

10. On Friday I read Heaney’s “A Requiem for the Croppies” while at lunch. I did know the story behind the poem, but the line “The hillside blushed, soaked with our broken wave” shot through me, even though I did not know The Battle of Vinegar Hill took place in the county of my ancestors.