Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Little ways to feel human (i):

I am most happy when my life is segmented into regularly-proportioned, disparate activities. It overwhelms me (and, yes, terrifies me) when any one things looms too large in the scope of my future vision. 2014 has begun with all large things. Everything that is happening personally, socially, academically, financially, and relationally feels huge -- at least to my often-warped perspective.

When my perspective gets warped, it's the little things that remind me how to be human, how to feel like my life is not One Big Thing and that This Too Shall Pass. It's things like getting to have a sleepover weekend and attending a scriptwriting workshop with Laura; like making a mixtape with songs for my mama; like breakfast dates and coffee dates to grow new friendships; like the happy-toe-twiddling thought of two weeks off from one of my teaching jobs (I'm gonna sleep in tomorrow. Just you watch me!); like taking time out to write a blog post about... taking time out to write a blog post.

Here are some of the current little things helping me to feel human. My list got long so I'll save some for next time:

Burn by Julianna Baggott. Oh wow. Wow oh wow. I wonder if I can explain this trilogy to you in words that won't send you running for the hills? Basically it's an apocalyptic story that has left the world broken and wretched in the years after a sort of nuclear holocaust. Many of those those who were unprotected by a cult-like paradise (known as the Dome died), but some survived, fused to the very things they were holding or that were near to them when the detonations occurred. Julianna Baggott has done the seemingly impossible: to take imagery that could be grotesque and terrifying (and often is) and yet reveal its beauty. Her characterisation is impeccable, and her writing so rich. What's more, this story has not suffered from the dreaded Second Book Syndrome. In fact, I think it's improved as the series (Pure, Fuse, and Burn) has gone on. Ugh. I'm basically in raptures.

The Ear Biscuits podcast by Rhett and Link. Rhett and Link may be accurately described as "my favourite bromance that is not Hamish & Andy." Their weekly podcast, a relatively new endeavour, has them sitting down for a casual yet sincerely earnest chat with somebody who is YouTube-famous. YouTube is a creative avenue that I'm not actively involved in; the most I do is watch videos. However, the discussions that Rhett & Link open up could apply to many creative endeavours, and their conversations are with creative people living creatively. The podcasts are generally with people who have "made it" in traditional generic understandings of success (fame and fortune), but there's an honesty about the chats that make them creatively energising even for someone less enamoured with standardised conceptions of success.

The Desiring God devotional app. This app has been a part of my life on a daily basis since someone (was it you, Lauren?) put me onto it last year. I can't tell you how many times the daily reading has been so perfectly-timed to speak straight to my heart, to encourage me, or to give me a well-deserved kick in the pants. I like John Piper's no-nonsense approach that somehow manages to be incisive yet warm and sincere.

The Walk fitness game. From the makers of Zombies, Run! (which you've all heard me flail about) comes this new(ish) game, created in conjunction with the National Health Service as part of an initiative to get more people moving. Coming at The Walk from my zealous love of Zombies, Run!, I was at first a little disappointed with the change in format. But now I'm used to how the game works, I'm really really loving it. Essentially, The Walk is an unfolding mystery story (which has been compared to The 39 Steps) which takes place in Scotland (both cities and wilderness!) and is delivered through sound bites which are unlocked as you progress through the story.The game is episodic, and when the app is opened, it works as a pedometer, which means you can work your way through the story if you're jogging, walking, biking, or even just doing your grocery shop. The characters in the story are warm and funny, and I love the gentle air of introgue that's building through the story. It's a great way to make movement more fun.

So. There are a few of my favourites lately. What would be on your list of little ways to feel human?

1 comment:

  1. These are lovely, delightful things!

    I have been glorying in homemade spiced coffee lately (dark roast beans with cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and chili pepper), I am reading His Dark Materials for the first time (and it is well-written and interesting and fun and adorable all at once!), and tonight (!) I am going to see Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen in a live play. So.


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