I was tagged by Susan Russell (http://inchatatime.blogspot.com/) to consider the challenge issued by Brother Causticus to play "Seven Things." Well, I never turn away from a challenge, especially from Susan, so I stopped in the middle of putting Christmas decorations away -- at this rate I may not get them packed away until Valentine's Day -- to think about the following questions. Answers below ... and now Michael Hopkins at http://fromgloryintoglory.blogspot.com/ Tag! You're it!
1. Name a book that you want to share so much that you keep giving away copies:
The Color Purple by Alice Walker. Celie’s journey through abuse to wholeness, her courageous willingness to risk love in a hostile world, is a story every woman should read. And Celie and Shug’s discussion about God – what God looks like, who God is [God ain’t a he or she, but an It] – is one of the most powerful discussions in literature about a loving God:
Listen, God love everything you love—and a mess of stuff you don’t. But more than anything else, God love admiration.
You saying God vain, I ast.
Naw, she say. Not vain, just wanting to share a good thing. I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.
What do it do when it pissed off? I ast.
Oh, it make something else. People think pleasing God is all God care about. But any fool living in the world can see it always trying to please us back.
Yeah? I say.
Yeah, she say. It always making little surprises and springing them on us when we least expect.
You mean it want to be loved, just like the bible say.
Yes, Celie, she say. Everything want to be loved. Us sing and dance, make faces and give flower bouquets, trying to be loved. You ever notice that trees do everything to git attention we do, except walk?
2. Name a piece of music that changed the way you listen to music:
Beethovan’s Ninth Symphony (Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125). When I was growing up in a tiny West Texas town there were no opportunities to hear a live symphony. My dad had played in a jazz band at Notre Dame and he listened to his jazz records almost every evening. My mother liked classical music, but she was so busy she rarely had time to sit down, much less listen to records. But our parents were determined that our lives not be bounded by small town Texas, so they traveled with us every summer to some city. Once, in New York City, they took us to the symphony to hear “The Ninth.” I was 7 or 8 years old. I was stunned by the power and beauty of the music that filled every nook and cranny of the huge hall. The sound of the massed voices in the fourth movment (Ode to Joy) left me agape. Here was music on a scale I could never have imagined – there were more people on stage than there were in our entire town. My brain was blown open by the beauty pouring into my ears. My whole idea of “music” was redefined and I suddenly caught of glimpse of why the church teaches that we are created in the image of God. Surely, music like this is a small echo of God’s voice.
3. Name a film you can watch again and again without fatigue:
To Kill a Mockingbird. A tour de force by Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch. The realities of small-town southern life are captured perfectly. See #6.
4. Name a performer for whom you suspend all disbelief:
Helen Mirren. Whether she’s playing Queen Elizabeth [I and II], Jane Tennison, or a member of the Women’s Institute producing a calendar, she pulls me totally into the reality being created on the screen.
5. Name a work of art you’d like to live with:
Rembrandt’s Portrait of a Young Jew. I practically live with the painting anyway, because it is part of the permanent collection of the Kimbell Museum in Fort Worth so I can visit it all the time. Admission to the Kimbell is free, as is parking, so it’s easy to drop in. When the museum puts its permanent collection away to make room for a big special exhibition, I actually feel lonely, as if a close friend is gone. But when the painting is on display, I find myself dropping into the museum and walking upstairs to just sit or stand with the painting for a while. Sometimes I stay only a minute, other times I stay much longer. The painting is lovely and dark and, like much of Rembrandt’s work, just a bit mysterious. But for reasons I don’t even try to explain, it makes me feel both peaceful and energized.
6. Name a work of fiction which has penetrated your real life:
Again, To Kill A Mockingbird. Reading this novel allowed me to really “see” the small town in which I grew up – its small graces and tender mercies, its small-minded bigotry and its big-hearted generosities, its moments of loveliness and its potential for real ugliness. Harper Lee’s depiction of the rich lives the children led, mostly below the radar of the adults who loved them, rang true to the experience I had with my brothers when we were growing up in the amazing freedom (and safety) of a small town in the 1950s.
And even though it says seven things, I only got SIX questions from Susan. Hmmm. Have to check this out. OK. Here's the seventh thing:
7. Name a punch line that always makes you laugh:
Next time, stand still!
It's the punch line to a shaggy dog story my father used to tell, about a guy at the Shamrock Hotel in Houston . . .We'll let it go at that. :)