Monday, July 28, 2014

Marking the Kindred: Experiences While Traveling

Lucy Maud Montgomery once claimed that she was a "book drunkard" ... a very apt term for those of us who can't seem to stay away from books. Even while travelling, I found myself drawn irresistibly to them. I helped lead our eighty-four campers into Colorado Springs to visit Garden of the Gods, the Air force Academy and Focus on the Family and of course made my way to the bookstore if there was one. At Focus on the Family we had a chance to visit Odyssey and Whit's End, the art gallery, or the bookstore; I utterly ignored the WodFamChocSods and came out of Focus quite a lot poorer in cash though richer in books with Tramp for God (Corrie Ten Boom's after-story), A Man Called Thursday and The Innocence of Father Brown by G.K. Chesterton, as well as a copy of The Weight of Glory by C.S. Lewis that I was given for my birthday (July 20). At first I was concerned about space in my suitcase, but having toted along two pairs of shoes for a friend which I had deposited in CO Springs, there was enough room.
Perhaps one of my favorite things about travelling is getting to mark and observe other readers. There is little more satisfying that hearing the stewardess announce that all cellular and electronic devices must be turned off during take-off and landing and settling back into your not-so-comfy chair with your paperback and a smile. I also like spying on what these fellow book-drunkards are reading. We had a rather long layover in Reagan International on the way home and it was only as we were called to our gate that I noticed a cheerful-looking older woman with a copy of Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand on her lap; how I wished I'd seen the pair before! We could certainly have had a very interesting conversation. After getting situated on the plane prior to landing at Reagan, I noticed that the man sitting beside me not only had a prosthetic, bionic-looking leg, but his other leg had chunks out of it too, and he was reading a book called The Four-Hour Work-Week. The cover was embellished with golden palm-trees, leaving me to wonder A.) what sort of life he'd led so far B.) what he was planning to do with his life next. He texted someone named Kristen before takeoff and after landing, so I can only guess she's his S.H.I.E.L.D. contact and he spent quite some time at a place like Tahiti. (Phil Coulson's son?)

I just love speculation. I haven't forgotten last year's experiences with dropping a copy of Winnie-the-Pooh onto my seatmate's feet and having him fold himself like a Jacob's Ladder to collect it for me, and it sets me to wondering what sort of person my reading choices mark me out to be? It's such a fascinating thing to think on and wonder over. For instance, I was reading The Weight of Glory at the same time this man was reading about working four hours a week. He stole a look at my book, I peeped at his. I mean really, people, it's like optic eavesdropping: it happens. And yet for all his peeping and my peeping, we never actually spoke to each other. Had he never heard of C.S. Lewis? One would think that if he had, he might have said something friendly such as, "Such a great book," or: "I love C.S. Lewis." And if he hadn't heard of Lewis, what sort of shell had he grown up in? I, on the other hand, might have extended my remark on his really cool leather bag to include his strange choice of reading material and inquired further into Tahiti. But no, I turned shy and didn't wish to bother him anymore (he didn't respond with much animation to my compliments of his tote of choice) and kept to myself.

I recall reading an article recently wherein the author spoke on being a bit daring and extending our interactions to the point of commenting on an article of clothing, a piece of statement jewelry, or the book they are reading. It is amazing what sort of random and yet not random connections it is possible to have if one is willing to extend the right hand of fellowship.Also at Focus, I purchased a t-shirt with the phrase "It is well with my soul" emblazoned on the front in a pretty font. I bought it specifically as a pretty and fashionable conversation-piece, hoping to elicit a remark or two to see who might recognize the song and provide with me a counter-sign. The one who ended up making my day was a TSA agent. She remarked on loving the shirt and the sentiment, but what was even better was her remark that the story behind the song was precious. I'd found a kindred-spirit without even trying.

So be willing to start a conversation or be the conversation; find your fellow book-drunkards and hymn-recognizers and be available. It's such a rich feeling to know there are people like you in every corner of the world. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

A Wayward Clump of Marl

I am back!
 I cannot vouch for the coherency of my speech, my thoughts, or my actions because I got an average of 3 1/2 to 4 hours of sleep each night and worked every waking hour but it was amazing. The mornings were spent in writing the daily newspaper for the camp. By the time I passed out Monday's paper to 170 kids at lunch, I realized that the whole facts part of journalism is not for me. Give me a specs sheet of a new class of submarine and tell me to write an article about it and I utterly fail. But if my assignments were to cover the presidential debate, press clubs, charity galas, etc. I was in my realm. It had to do with people. I can do people. I love people. Also, I learned a lesson in how disappointing it is to not write with my normal spirit. I had written up a rather prosaic newspaper for Monday and brought it to my superior, Jeremiah Lorrig, for him to proofread.
"It's an excellent newspaper," he said, handing it back. "But I expected more snark from you."
I looked over my articles and wholeheartedly agreed with him; one had been a pre-set deal I simply tweaked. Another was my own. So before printing the copies for distribution, I went back and snarked it up and upheld that new standard all week. Actually, some of the kids remarked that this year's papers were the best they'd ever read and more than one was begging to make extra copies so they could take them home. 
Lesson learned: always write hot

On Thursday night we had a game wherein each staff member was assigned a certain role to facilitate a 3-hour scenario scavenger hunt. I got the part of a Shakespearean actor and reenacted Act 2, Scene 1 from Much Ado About Nothing 17 times. Yes, that's right. I got to choose two guys and a girl to be Leonato, Antonio, and Hero while I played Beatrice ... 17 times. It was amazingly fun, though by the end I was exhausted. Also, who doesn't like to be given permission to speak in a British accent, flirt, and wear a Tudor-style dress? Well, some people might dislike it but I found it quite pleasant.

While at camp, I was sent an amazing look at the cover design for Anon Sir, Anon and that look is giving me inspiration to continue rewrites and edits. Jeegly clambake ... it's a long process. All that aside, I am glad to be home for five days, though two of those will be work days. Thus runs the course of a busy life! Thanks to everyone who has entered Chatterbox this month. :)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

July's Chatterbox: Something Foreign

I am taking a quick moment while my newspapers are printing to announce the Chatterbox topic for July because SOMEONE was so good as to remind me I hadn't done it yet. Ahem. Jolly good. So, the topic for July is going to be:

Foreign Relations

Haha. Hard topic on the surface but really: how do your characters interact with those of another culture or nationality? I want to know because it will probably be quite varied and certainly interesting. :) I don't have time to figure out how to sign in to the InLinkz page so for now, just leave a link to your post in a comment! :D Life of a journalist. So sorry. See you in a week or so!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

"A Gentleman Arrives by Carriage."

Hey-low, people!

    This is just a very quick note to let you know that I am absent from home (and therefore absent from the blogosphere) for eleven days, starting today. That means that The Inkpen Authoress will probably be rather a quiet spot during the interim. I'm off working at Generation Joshua's iGovern East camp where, among my other responsibilities, I will be acting as the journalist and writing the daily newspaper, leading a tour of kids through Washington D.C. and spending my July 4th in the same, going to the Spy Museum. Confession time: I have wanted to be a spy since the age of ten or twelve and to go to this museum is an unofficial bucket-list item. :) So happy about this.

Can't wait to get back in town and to you, but I'm also super blessed to be a part of the GenJ Leadership Corps and working in the lives of these high-school students. God always blesses the week beyond our dreams and though we're technically there to teach them the inner workings of America's political system, shining the light of Christ into their lives is the actual goal.

So. See you in a week-and-a-bit and until then, take gobs of care and if you're American, have a blast on Independence Day. (I'm also a pyromaniac. I love fireworks.)