Friday, April 30, 2010

Tales from the CART

I ride the CART bus to and from school every day--it's a fun and educational experience. You never know what kind of characters you will meet or observe.

One thing I've noticed is that when passengers make small talk with each other or the driver, they always discuss the weather. I won't be pharisaical--I do it, too. It's easy to discuss the weather in Oklahoma because the weather's so erratic. A typical conversation goes like this:

"Hi, how're ya doin'?"
"Good! Jus' enjoying the weather. I thought it was gonna be so hot today, but the temper'ture dropped to seventy. I jus' wish it would make up its mind!"
*chuckles* "Yeeeah...I tell ya..."

I thought the age-old joke about filling conversation gaps with weather-talk was just that: an age old joke. Even if it wasn't I joke, I was sure it only applied to the British. It turns out that it's surprisingly true here today.


On my ride home today, an old man slipped into the seat across the aisle from me. I tapped a text message into my env2 as the bus bumped down Lindsey Street (I was discussing Atticus Finch with Annie). Out of nowhere, the man leaned over with squinted eyes on my phone.

"Is that"
"Ah." *nods and turns away*

I conclude that he thought it was a miniature laptop.

           Photo courtesy


I have a dear, elderly bus-driver friend named Tom. When I first met Tom, we exchanged the typical biographical information, and I told him I was from Texas.
He proceeded to say in his thick Oklahoma accent that he "wasn't just saying this because you're from Texas," but in his opinion, the prettiest squirrels come from Texas.
The prettiest what? I cracked up.
He didn't seem to think it a weird or funny statement at all, and began to explain further.
A bit later, I realized he said the prettiest girls, not squirrels.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Mr. Guinness, did you just call that "atrocious?"

I suppose my story about Os Guinness isn't as embarrassing as I thought it was yesterday. In any case, here's what happened.

At the end of the presentation, I stood in line to ask Mr. Guinness about the suffering of believers; that is, how to make sense of long, slow, soul-weathering pain in a person praying earnestly and walking in obedience.

I spread my hands resignedly. "I just don't understand why God would do this."
An affronted look sprang into his eyes, so quickly that I started a little. "No, no. God didn't do this. That's an atrocious view!"
Did the Os Guinness just tell me that my view of God is atrocious?

He went on to explain that God allows pain, but he is not afflicting us with it. Consistent with his character--his complete goodness--he walks with us through the suffering born of three things (a Nietzeschean list, interestingly enough): Our bodies, nature and other men.

Then, he sent me to "talk to Dr. Brown." Like, he really wanted me to talk to the guy. I was so embarrassed, in addition to the fact I don't like being told what to do by a person I don't know. I think I must've turned bright red when I protested weakly and Mr. Guinness offered to introduce me to him.

Flustered, I approached the first doctor-looking guy in the general direction Mr. Guinness pointed out.
"Hi. Are you Dr. Brown?"
The men proceeded to inform me, laughingly, that Dr. Brown was the bald man yonder.


I've been chewing on the realization that although I've been a Christian about eleven years, I've viewed God as a punisher over the last two years. That approach informed everything I did, right down to my unshakeable and unfulfillable need to always do things "right," no mistakes allowed.

Enlightening, indeed. What kind of beliefs about God do we harbor in our hearts that are contrary to his character as shown in the Bible? It's encouraging, in a way, to know that there is always growth in God--more opportunities to see how wide and deep and high is his love. Lately, I've questioned many things about the character of God. I almost feel guilty for asking questions in the first place, but many people I admire and trust have told me questions are normal and okay. God can handle our questions and misconceptions. Unlike me, he's not an easily offended human...

Until next time, dear reader. I hope this little anecdote afforded you a bit of entertainment. If you're reading this in the morning, have a beautiful day, and if you're reading this at night, have a restful night.

If you're reading this in the afternoon, well, I'm sorry--there's nothing I can do for you.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Side note.

An updated look for Refining Process is in the works! Stay tuned.

Os Guinness Spoke at OU this evening. I embarrassed myself again. How do I always manage to do that?

I'm kind of mad today because I just don't get people.
(This has nothing to do with Chris, by the way, just so we get that clear)
Then I'm reminded I'm exactly like them, with the same inexplicable mean, harsh, frustrating issues.
Anyhoo. I shouldn't write anymore because I don't like having to bite my tongue.

This post will self-destruct (read: will be deleted) in a few days to make way for the full Krycho update.

Until then, I'm going to try to get my anger under control and take a moment to laugh off some tension.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Publication of my Passion

Seeing something you love come to fruition is an amazing thing.

Today was a "minor momentousness" in my writing career (phrase courtesy Cheston Knapp - I don't want him to sue me for copyright infringement). Actually, this whole week was  momentous for me.

On Thursday, renowned science-fiction author Greg Bear spoke at OU, which of course made me little starstruck. He gave us zealous PW kids the opportunity to ask him questions. Because Mel (my writing professor/mentor, if you recall) recently told me that the market for dystopias--the story type I gravitate toward--is poor, I asked Mr. Bear his opinion of them.

He told me to find something that concerns me in society, make "a fantastic metaphor" out of it, then take it to the extreme. 

"Is that how you write your dystopias?"
Whoa, he totally just spoke to me! "Uh...I certainly try (or did I say, 'I sure hope so?')!"

He proceeded to ask me what I saw in society worth commenting on. Trust me, that spotlight was the last thing I was expecting, and to be honest, it was quite terrifying. I don't do well when questioned on the spot. It usually drags all the leftover stutters out of me.

I told Mr. Bear that I dislike how strongly individualistic this culture is. People often hone in on their own lives and try to make something of themselves at the cost of relationships.

"That's a good insight. That's something I've been seeing, too, in the last twenty or so years."
Wow, okay! I can deal with that! I blurted out my happiness. "That's encouraging!"

He went on to quote Ray Bradbury as a means of charging me to keep writing about the things I care about, regardless of the great and terrible "market": "If they give you lined paper write the other way" (Fahrenheit 451).

Furthermore, I finished my first full-length dystopia today! It grew from 4000 words to 10,000. You must understand, this is the first self-initiated writing project I've ever finished, which makes it a very big deal to me.

With this small thrill of victory still buzzing in my head, I received an email from the editor of A Daughter's Story.  She and I have been in touch because she chose one of my short stories for the anthology. 

She said that the book will be published by Mother's Day! We'll receive two copies, as well as a media packet so we can spread the word, by mail. This fabulous woman has plans to travel to all the "big markets"--New York, Cali, Chicago, etc.--to make A Daughter's Story as visible as possible, promos including pretty neat things like a commercial and a morning show stint.

I don't expect that this publication will launch my career into the stars. I am content with the personal fulfillment...and heady possibilities.

I sometimes wonder how God could grant me a gift that I love so much, as well as allow me to use it over and over. Is His call always this deeply joyful? 

Behold the beautiful details of His plan: I have seen life pour back into my heart this semester when I started writing stories again.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


It amazes me, what things make up the commentary on my state of mind.

The feeling of chaos. Maybe not that much is happening--I don't really know. I only know that I feel chaotic.

My emotions battle with countering thoughts, and it becomes difficult to tell whether the countering thoughts are comforts or justification for beating myself up for feeling the way I do.

Things are out of place, left where we dropped them.
Chris cleaned off those papers for you.

It seems that eating utensils appear on the counter 24-7, no matter how much we keep up with them.
PJ did the dishes today.

need to vacuum the house. I need organize my books. I need to see this person and this person and this person, pronto! What do I not need to do?
Perhaps the things I think I need to do are not as important as I think they are; after all, no one is going to die from a thin layer of dust on the top shelf of the bookcase.

I feel frustrated that I want to curl up in the bedroom, tucked away from everything with my textbooks, handouts and laptop strewn across the comforter. If I do, maybe I can get everything done, and then I'll be happy, right?

I know that I'm drawing back from people more often than usual, lately. Why do I feel like I must choose between relationships and peace, and good grades and--well--chaos?

Surely "being perfect" isn't worth this, but honestly, I don't know how to not try to be.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Transparencies, Third Part

I'm the kind of girl who yearns to escape. 

I want to know how to combat that sense of being caged in my own mind, grasping at a ladder with rungs made of air, trying to stop a spinning globe with my index finger on the exact island I mean to touch.
Such chaos and insecurity makes me run from reality.

Running is my way of playing peek-a-boo with the world--if I can't see it, it must not be there.

Sometimes I wonder what good can be salvaged from the tangled mess that is my heart. Distantly, I know that God is creating beauty from ashes, but my heart still hurts.

Like David, I cry out to you, God, in desperation I can't fully articulate.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Waxing Ridiculous - A true story of woe and intrigue.

Hey, everyone. I'm back!

First, the upcoming story doesn't involve either woe or intrigue. I just wanted to make the title more interesting. Now that we've gotten that out of the way:

It's been a long few weeks. I'm not sure there's ever been a period in my life when I was trying to balance this amount of homework, errands and chores, social life, time with Chris, visits to see family, church-related activities, not to mention emotional stress.

I'd appreciate continued prayer about my depression. I'm getting so much better--that much I know, based on the amount I'm able to laugh and smile now. :) However, it's difficult to be patient. God's timing is good but my fallen self wants to make everything I want happen when I want it!

Dear reader, I promised a commentary on the Easter vigil I attended to see my friend Lauren get baptized... *deep breath*

Round One: Little girl botches her blessing.

The last time I went to a Catholic church was five-plus years ago. I made a fool of myself. When it was time to take sacraments, clueless Protestant I was, I made the sign of the cross to be blessed, then still took communion! Two reasons why this is bad:

1. Non-catholics do not take communion in mass.
2. Catholics who make the sign of the cross, as I did, do so because they feel that they've been too sinful to take communion.

Therefore, I either looked like a stupid visitor, or a stupid Catholic.
In any case, I really confused the clergy.

Oh, and I thought the sign of the cross meant crossing my two index fingers. Good thing I saw the people putting their arms across their chest before I embarassed myself further!

Round Two: Young woman burns herself with an Easter candle.

I entered the sanctuary--maybe that's the wrong name, but I digress--and felt like an elementary schooler trying to find a seat at the lunch table on the first day of school. I thrilled with relief when I saw my friend Sandy sitting off to the side.

As I got closer, I wasn't sure if it was Sandy, because she looked different with her hair the way it was, and I was already very flustered and confused. I made a show of squinting at her and saying, "You are Sandy, right?" Yeah. Wow.

Once the candle lighting was about to begin, I realized I didn't get a candle at the door. Sandy's friend ran off to find one. He managed to, but instead of the kind with the plastic cup holder meant to catch wax, it was the kind with a circle of paper around it. Okay, I thought, this should be fine.

We were in the middle of singing a lovely responsive song about our souls longing after God when I hissed a sharp, "Ouch!" I looked down to see melted wax dripping off the paper, onto my hand and my black slacks. I spent the next five to seven minutes trying to manipulate the candle so the drops wouldn't fall, as well as scratching dried wax off various items with my fingernail and subtly gathering the pieces to put on the floor.

Then, it was time for baptisms. "Family and friends of Lauren Stewart." People stood. "Family and friends of..." Oh, I get it now. Uh....I think I missed my cue. I stood up awkwardly after an irrelevant family and whispered frantically to  Sandy's Catholic friend, "What do I do? Should I go?" Affirmative. I walked, all by my lonesome, to the exit. Everyone had already turned toward the baptismal just outside glass windows at the exit, so everyone's head was directed toward me, staring with eyes that bored into my soul.

Okay, okay, I'm being a little melodramatic. I felt like all eyes were on me, and I booked it as gracefully as a person can book it.

What was that about being clueless five-plus years ago?


I should have expected all that! :) It was a beautiful service overall, though I have my disagreements about the way some things are done. People read lots of scripture, and the congregation shared lots of songs about God's glorious work and character. The atmosphere was refreshingly reverent.

My disagreements are for another post, or personal inquiry.

Hope this afforded you some amount of entertainment! It did Chris and Katie! Jaimie Krycho, over and out!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

A Coming Soon and Deserved Praise

I was going to blog about my experience at a Catholic mass/Easter vigil last night, but I'd rather spend some quality time with my hubby! That being said, I will tell you what was beautiful, what I disagreed with and how I embarassed myself soon.

The most important thing I have to say, though:

Christ has not only set us free from sin AND death, he has conquered them.

We are raised from death because He is risen.

What a way to glorify God. In a dying world, the life in God's children testifies to his redemptive power, his overwhelming and flawless love, his perfect purpose and his utter holiness.