Many Moons and other stories

To the delight of stargazers everywhere, there's a total lunar eclipse in the morning!

I stayed up late last night finishing the Emily books, so I'm tired. And yet I might just get up and try to see this. It won't happen again till 2014, and who knows whether we'll have a clear night then?

And on the stargazing note: my favorite event of this past week was Lou setting up our telescope down at my parents', so we could all look at moon-craters and Jupiter with two of its moons. Mom and Dad and sister and brother-in-law and niece turned out for it. My two-year-old niece was enthralled at the sight of the moon through the lenses.

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I have never liked living with suspense. Which means that I read in bed a lot, pushing past the midnight hour to find out what happens. This has its challenges; there's no comfortable way to read lying down for very long. At least, not lying on your side with your head on the pillow. You can prop up the book and read one page, but then you have to prop yourself up to read the facing page. It gets annoying.

My favorite thing about the Kindle: it fixes that problem. Though I probably shouldn't stay up tonight blasting through Anna Karenina.

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Early last year, my little city made Forbes' top five potential real estate trouble spots. Now it's in the news for having the lowest average sunshine amount in the nation (only because nearby Forks and Alger weren't counted, I'm sure.) And we won't even talk about the general tone of the bumper stickers around here.

Crazily enough, I love this little town anyway. It's immensely beautiful. Today, it's even sunny.

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Writers' link of the week: Jon Morrow's 'Five Crippling Beliefs that Keep Writers Penniless and Mired in Mediocrity.' Important, thoughtful, interesting—but potentially dispiriting, so here's also a glorious little Sir Arthur Conan Doyle quote about books themselves, for inspiration.

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Music of the week: I am so grateful to Michael Gungor for posting his thoughts on 'Zombies, Wine and Christian Music', I could just sing. He said much of what I've wanted to say for years: 
"There are emotions and attitudes of different genres of music that are the soul of the music. You can’t remove the anger from screamo and have it still be screamo. It’s the soul of that music, whether that soul is good or evil is not the point, simply that it is the soul. So when you remove the soul from music and transplant the body parts (chord changes, instrumentation, dress, lights, and everything but the soul…) and parade it around with some more “positive” lyrics posing as Christian music, then what you have is a musical zombie."
I loved this article. I'd like to take it and write a very long post in response, enlarging on his thoughts and moving on to some of my own. And possibly migrating from music to fiction. Unfortunately, I haven't the time at this moment.

Anyway, that's not music, and what I promised you was music... so here's some Gungor.

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And that's all from me... I know there's funny stuff on the Internet, but I'm out of ideas. Although you could always Google Dwight Schrute quotes.

Happy weekend!


  1. I love the Conan Doyle quotation, Jenna, so thanks for that!

    It reminds me of another quotation about books/libraries that I saw over an arch at Yale University's library when I was there for a conference: "There studious let me sit and hold high converse with the Mighty Dead." --James Thompson, Scottish poet (1700-1748)

  2. The Michael Gungor quote is fantastic! Applicable, as you say, to both Christian music and to much fiction. While many classics (e.g. Jane Eyre) are deeply Christian, or have vivid themes of sin and redemption, the "Christian fiction" section in most bookstores today seems to take poorly-written grocery store checkout aisle romances and tack on a "got saved" bit at the end. I will say that my husband loves Christian Rock to energize him for working out, and I think that in a few scenarios the music really does match the theme. I love classical hymns and liturgical music, but get sometimes wanting to shout out praise at the top of my lungs.

  3. I hope you post reviews of the last two Emily books so I can run my mouth about them some more!

    That is all.

  4. So true, Sarah! Not all Christian rock is bad by any means, nor all Christian fiction--but some of it sure is. Great point.

    Laura, yes--reviews coming. I had plenty to like and dislike about them, so I'm excited to write them up. And I will definitely look forward to your thoughts!

  5. I kept meaning to comment here on the Christian rock issue (C-fiction I don't know as much about) but every time it turned into a massive wall of text. Basically, I think the problem with Christian music is just about one hundred percent a problem with how narrowly the CM mainstream defines itself and its goals (which, as I think the article pointed out, are not artistic goals but "message" goals). (I was going to say "marketing," but there's a bunch else mixed in, like the expectation that C musicians do alter calls-- which is enough in itself to drive a huge number of great musicians out of the CM industry).

    There are A LOT of awesome musicians on CM labels, and a lot more who are working independently of the CM industry but whose music is basically nothing but prayer all the time. Almost none of them get airplay on CM stations because good music is challenging and challenging music on CM radio draws angry phone calls about Hey, This Is Confusing, I'm Calling Millstone On This Song, This is Supposed to Be An Encouraging Radio Station and Your Unnecessarily Poetic Lyrics Just Caused Me to Stumble, I'm Going Back To Listening to Michael W. Smith On An Infinite Loop and Never Using A Radio Again. There's more to it than that, but not always as much more as you might think.

    And the division between "good CM artists" and "good CM artists who get promoted" seems to be even greater for female musicians, for reasons I can't even begin to untangle.

    And so on.

    Anyway, my point is I would really like to read that long blog entry you don't have time to write. Not just so I can hijack your blog to jaw about the CM industry. But, you know. Partly.

  6. oops, I mean "altar" calls, in which the audience members are called upon to "alter" their saved/unsaved status at an "altar" which may or may not be actually a podium with a state-of-the-art multimedia presentation system.

  7. Haha! Now I'm tempted all over again to write it. :D

    I absolutely agree about the problem with the goals being message-oriented instead of artistry-oriented. Which means it IS marketing--it's trying to sell an idea. And spoonful-of-sugar-makes-the-medicine-go-down marketing is always a little shady.

    LOL--I love the altar depiction!

    "And the division between "good CM artists" and "good CM artists who get promoted" seems to be even greater for female musicians, for reasons I can't even begin to untangle.

    Maybe because there's often a trace of the scandalous about the quality female artist? She's thought to have seen and felt a little too much, even if she's lived a modest and morally pure life? Maybe because Christian women are the primary consumers of Christian music, and being more tolerant of cheesiness than most anyway, they naturally seek out the uncomplicated image (but not when listening to male musicians, where the rules of marketing and sex appeal apply?)

    I haven't got a lot of good reasons for jawing about the CM industry myself, since I almost never listen to it anymore, but as a singer/songwriter and former worship leader, I've got opinions all over the place... you never know, maybe the blog post'll happen. :)

  8. Maybe because there's often a trace of the scandalous about the quality female artist? She's thought to have seen and felt a little too much, even if she's lived a modest and morally pure life?

    hah, this is almost exactly what I was going to suggest before I thought, "Nope, better wait for someone else to say it." Well, if you do write the post, be warned that I will probably have Opinions to Share.


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