strange currencies

October 30, 2006

maybe it is the wind in the trees, or the cackling of crows that sounds so much like crackling kindling…maybe it’s the cold air sneaking through the holes in my crocheted sweater as i walk to my car after class…maybe it is the syncopated and stifled throbbing of my neighbors bass-heavy stereo…whatever the cause, i find myself in the lake of laze.  i feel no interest in accomplishing anything and though i am passionate about teaching and happy for this goal, when a ku theatre commercial came on i nearly choked on the bitterness welling up in my throat.

acting was always something that gave me such unsure ground.  i never walked onstage without wondering if i would fall on my face or soar, not once.  i got the biggest rushes and the most incredible satisfaction from doing it well, but never felt good enough to do it for real.  i am humbled by people who make performance their life, awestruck at their commitment and aware that if i really wanted it i would have been more willing to sacrifice than i was, than i am.  but i miss it, terribly, and wonder if i will find my way back to a stage,  and if it will be welcoming to me.

when i was a kid there were all of these people who did theatre that i grew up around, and i never felt like i was as good as them, like my talent was equal.  i never felt like i was a part of a group that shared my interest or my drive in that area.  i became insecure around these people and ached for an acceptance they never knew i  needed.  at thirty i am trying to forego my need of validation, my wanting of approval.  maybe if i can let go of that i will be able to let go of my ache for performing.

or maybe i am now and ever will be a drama queen, with some little tragedy playing out in the back of my  mind at all times, never certain about my place in the world, acting each day on small invisible stages with unknowing and fickle audiences.


hippietastic altruism et al

October 29, 2006

alex and i were hippies for halloween, ala jimi and janis. i think the world may have been simpler thirty years ago, we knew who was evil in the government, we were active protesters, we rallied around things that were beautiful and funk music was all over the airwaves. i’m not certain the progress made in the last 30 has actually been progress, though my existance on the planet has been progressive, so i guess i have to be more thankful for the past 30 and less nostalgic.

alex and i had a conversation about altruism today, whether there is any such thing as an altruistic act. i suppose the cynic would say no, there is no such thing because everything someone does gives them some sort of pleasure, some sort of internal and personal reward, therefore nothing is truly altruistic. that definition requires a fairly narrow view of altruism, however, and i think, as my husband suggested, it is more hopeful and optimistic to believe that an act performed for the sake of doing good, with no external promse of reward or praise, is truly altruistic, provided ones own personal satisfaction at having performed said act is not the primary motivator for the act. yeah, a little heady, but what a great conversation to have over sushi (me) and hot pockets (alex). pretty much love him.

just heard this, want to smack someone: michael j. fox is supporting claire mccaskill in missouri in the upcoming election because she supports stem cell initiatives and research. the commercial fox shot shows him visibly effected by by parkinson’s, an illness that could benefit greatly from stem cell research. hit is moving and sad and you can go to youtube to see it.

and this is what premiere douchebag limbaugh had to say about it (transcript from his website)
“Let me just stress once again in what I said in closing this out, that I think this is exploitative in a way that’s unbecoming either Claire McCaskill or Michael J. Fox, because in this commercial for Claire McCaskill he’s using his illness in a way to mislead voters that there’s a cure for Parkinson’s disease if only Claire McCaskill gets elected, if only Jim Talent is defeated. And of course it’s all about stem cell research, which is a huge ballot initiative in Missouri anyway. I’m sorry, Missoura. He pronounced it Missoura. There are two ways to pronounce my home state, Missouri and Missoura. And Missoura, in certain sectors is the preferred pronunciation. It is a way to relate to certain Missourans. We never say Missourans, we say Missourians. But it’s a way to reach out, “I understand you, I know your state” and so forth. There’s a lot of politics in the commercial. But Mr. Fox was allowing his illness to be used as a tactic to trying to secure the election of a Democrat senator…”

what an asshole.

my mother had a stem cell transplant in 2001. i believe they harvested her own stem cells to then deplete her immune system completely and introduce the cells back into her body so that they could fight the non-hodgkins lymphoma she was battling. i was with her during much of this process. it was grueling and awful and no child should ever have to witness his or her mother goingthrough something like this. i am a stronger person and closer to her because of it but it was one of the most difficult things i have ever been through.

my mother’s first doctor told her she had only 7 years to live. that was in 1998. she got another doctor and another prognosis and after remission and a relapse she was offered a clinical trial and th stem cell transplant option. no matter what your personal, political, or moral attitudes about stem cell research are, if you do notbelive in it or it’s value to the millions of people in the world who would benefit from it, then please, keep your mouth shut around me. stem cell research should continue, should be funded, should be given every dollar this country can find and then more from other places. see the pictures in the above post? look at how beautiful my mother is, and she is even more beautiful on the inside. that is why i believe in this research and if you were lucky enough for her to be your mother, you would support it, too.

cleaning up

October 25, 2006

today was mimi’s memorial service.  it was beautiful and i think the things i said about this beautiful woman were good.  so many in the family were there and it was nice to see all of us cleaned up.  the thunder outside is really loud right now and i think it might be my mimi saying hello.  this is me and alex, and i love this picture, then brandon and teryn,dad and me, and brandon and mom.

the plugged in generation

October 24, 2006

i have to respond to something i read on a friend’s blog:
“18-22 year-olds today do not know how to be alone. In fact, I think they’re afraid of being alone. I think they are probably mostly afraid of looking like a dork because they are alone.” –

i agree with my observant friend and must inform those of you who don’t know the rest of the premise for this comment, she was observing ku students with ipods, cell phones, and borderline obsessions with facebook and myspace. it isn’t just that students are afraid of being alone, i think they do not know how to be. for many of these students a television set or a computer was the defacto babysitter, even when mom and dad were in the house. or video games took the place of actual interaction with friends.

when i was a kid (and now i sound like every old fart who ever started a story about anything) but when i was a kif my brother and i had all kinds of opportunites to be alone, or to create our own fun. he played his drums, built huge cascading lines of parachute men throughout his room that would bombard anyone who came in, and created elaborate mazes and forts in our home and yard. i remember dancing around my room to debbie gibson and billie joel songs, a hairbrush in one hand, practicing for stardom, and living out my fantasy life with barbies who wore clothes my grandmother had made herself. by hand. from scratch! and when we played together it was often with neighborhood kids who came to our house to put on skits and shows in the back yard, or to play baseball or kickball between our yard and the schraders’ (who lived across the alley behind our house). we had two whole yards as a field and we were entertaining ourselves, without technology.

the plugged in generation has lost social graces, the ability to see themselves as less than the center of the universe, and yes, the ability to spend time alone, but i’mnot sure it is their fault. we have to use technology to it’s best end (and obviously i think blogging is a pretty sweet action way to use technology). we have to use it as an enhancement of life, not as a replacement of it.

finally, i don’t necessarily think kids are afraid that being alone will make them look like dorks; i think they are afraid to really know themselves and admit that they are dorks. everyone is a dork. i have said this many times and i’ll say it again: i took myself way too seriously when i was younger. everything was life or death, the original drama queen, i hung onto the faint whispers of would-be relationships and created wedded fantasies from them. i believed someone who was nice to me was my frined and someone who wasn’t hated my guts. i was a study of extremes and then one day i woke up and said “Shannon, you are a giant nerd. A dorky girl who likes books and Woody Allen movies and you spill things on yourself and make up lyrics to songs on the radio and you fall down a lot and if somebody is going to spill something at a party it is probably going to be you…and that is OK!” i accept my giant dorkiness, i embrace my nerdom. and when i am alone i am jsut as happy with that as i am in crowd, because i know myself, and the plugged in generation isn’t still enough to get the chance to.

Just a few things

October 23, 2006

i’m pretty thrilled to be rollin with this man. i had a long weekend with the rents while he studied and played world of warcraft, yes, my husband is a gamer, and when i got home yesterday we had dinner and went about our separate business. i have to say that we spend a lot of time in the same place (our apartment) but not necc. together, and it works for us. we are a matched set, equal in so many ways and complementary. i am grateful for him and thankful to him everyday.


there are so many people who get married, rush to have kids because it is the “next step” and then settle into lives and jobs they never examine. my brother and i were talking abotu how most of the people we went to high school with have become (or always were) complacent, apathetic automatons living a life that is more going through the motions thatn self discovery and exploration. i hope that i can be more engaged, more intrigues and impassioned about the world around me than those who share a common history.

people in the arts, writers.actors.artists.poets.directors.musicians, have a broader picture, seeing the world as a blank page, a silent space, a waiting arena upon which to play. brandon and i talked about this, too, how americans don’t play enough. we work and work and struggle and strive and forget what it’s like to be silly and unfocused and simply unproductive. i do not have to be actively marching towards a career goal to be a good person. if i want to sit at my coffee table with crayons and a coloring book and forget about the stress of my life, i do it. if i want to write stories or poems or sing songs or dance around my living room or in the aisles of department stores, i do it. i find i take myself far less seriously now than i did when i was sixteen, and i think it is because i realize that my worth does no hinge on others’ perceptions of me. i hope more start to feel this way.


October 19, 2006

today was stressful.  i taught the second half of the lesson to the class and though some of the time they were into it, the other half they acted like i was major bitch because i wanted them to calm down and do some actual work.  i decided to use the digital camera we got for our wedding and went to lake shawnee to take pictures.  it’s surprising how peaceful it made me feel, and this is one of the pictures i took.  i’m not a photographer, but i love the changing trees, and wanted to try my hand at recording the beauty around me, instead of waiting t see if others did it.  i think that’s a new goal for me: recognizing and recording what is good and bautiful more often than i comment on what is crappy.