As I parted ways with the peninsula of the Florida coast yesterday, I was saddened to leave the only state I've ever lived in. If it be God's will that I end up there for the rest of my life, I wouldn't be downtrodden. But yesterday, I was, for whatever reason.
I enjoyed my time with my parents over spring break. I love them, I do. However, I was happy to leave as well. I visited Graceville (RIP: 1999-2005) on the way down and then on the way back. As I was there, something new came over me. I had an emotional experience with that very small town. While driving the streets, I sighed heavily because I missed that place. What? I know, I know. I missed misery.
This is surprising, still, because Graceville exists for the sole purpose of despair. As irrelevant as it may be, the town slogan, "Where the living is easy," is more appropriately finished when the tagline, "And the dying is even easier" is added. For me, Graceville equaled death. Death to youth. Death to truth. Death to all the things I thought were important. Death to friendships. Death to enthusiasm about life. Death. Death. Death.
I do realize that "death" can happen anywhere. I deal with it in New Orleans. I dealt with it in Melbourne. No matter where one goes, one will always have to deal with personal complacency. A brief treatise on stability of life:
Mediocrity (A) is addictive. So is sin (B). Sin (B) equals death (C). So if (A) plus (B) equal (C), than I should be six feet under now.
When you can't live for anything other than yourself anymore, you are stagnant. That sort of motionlessness was present in my life and in a lot of my friend's lives there. Graceville has always represented either youthful bliss or adulthood dilemmas and I'm not sure which one is more frightening. Let me get back to the point.
When I graduated from college and was unemployed for six months, all I did was live. Live by my rules, standards, and morals. Yet, I often didn't practice what I preached. Moreover, I was a hypocrite, a lot. But who am I kidding, I still am. From my start at BCF, to finishing school, to my self-proclaimed 'starving artist' period, to working at Laurel Oaks, I was in a constant state of disarray. I was always looking for something else to make me happy. Possessions, relationships, affection, etc. Now that I'm back doing what I think I'm supposed to, it feels good. I feel right. Now that I'm gone from that large village of three thousand strong, I tend to equate that place with that of an unmotivated lifestyle. I thought Graceville suffocated me; choking the life out of me and my will to know happiness. But it was I. I gave up. I. I. I.
It's hard to believe that I thought a town was doing that to me. Causing me to live for myself. I still look back and thank God I am not there anymore. It's funny though. I still smile when I think about the good times. Not all the times where good. But the stupid stuff--the big problematic situations of the self-possessed, latter adolescent--seems like a cakewalk now. I look back at the good and the bad and feel a reminiscent feeling. It's what came over me yesterday. I didn't miss all the bad stuff, but the memories of the good.
A town cannot make you hate life. Your perspective is the only good or bad. Nothing can make you do anything. You make the decisions and choices. Maybe God does orchestrate more than we give Him credit for, but still, from my perspective, I am doing whatever I will. And that's the problem. I mostly don't concern myself with His will. I know that Graceville was a good time, but it was also a trying time. I would love to move back, but I know I would hate it after a day. I love Melbourne, but don't see the same happening either. I don't know where I am to be, but I hope I'm open to any option because I know that happiness is just around my ego, heart, pride, and good intentions.
I really don't know what to write. Spring break is not yet over, but it feels like it is. I drive back on Sunday. If I can make the trip in 12 hours, I'll drive back to New Orleans, but if I can't, I'll just stay over in the Graceville/Dothan area.
It's sad, the highlight of my time in Melbourne is the fact that I get to eat at restaurants I don't normally eat at unless I'm here. Pizza, Bourbon chicken, Cuban sandwiches--I love all of it.
And this is why I'm obese.
"And like I really deserve a chance to sit across the table and tell you that I think you're wonderful. And I think you're something special. I guess this is my only chance to say I wish I knew you because I'm sure you're wonderful. If I'd get to know you." The Juliana TheoryThe Closest Thing From Understand This Is A Dream.
I just got back a couple of days ago from a five day trip to pensacola. This trip was for my grandparents 50th wedding anniversary. It was also probably the last time I will see my uncle Dade alive. My mother had 6 siblings. My uncle Michael died before I was born, which is why my name is not Jared. It was good seeing everyone all at once in one place. It was also good to share the celebration of my grandparents 50th together. But there was this constant problem of the men in the family not talking about it, at all, and the women trying to talk about it alot. My family, on my mother's side, is known for dangerous antics at least when they were younger. It's just all good fun, usually. There is also a family tradition for the Molchanoff. This tradition is the youngest of the clan gets picked on by everyone in age above them. Michael picked on Dade, Michael and Dade picked on Tim. Michael, Dade, and Tim picked on Joe. ex cetera excetera .For example, my uncle matt, being the youngest of the bunch, got picked on alot. And also, by picked on I mean was made into a human kite with wood and a sail boat sail, in hurricane force winds. This was when Matt was at the ripe old age of 5. I arguably had it the worst. That is because Matt didn't have anyone to antagonize. They had run out of brothers. Alas, Debbie has a son! Hence, the beginning of my tortured youth. When I was 5, they forced me to watch Steven King's It. And then Matt dressed up in a full blown clown suit and chased me around the backyard with an axe. All the while my uncle Larry was video taping. My mother thought I had an overactice imagination and I made up the clown. She saw the video a year ago and was angry at them and heartily apologized. I'm writing about this because I was finally accepted as a Molchanoff Man the trip before last and was treated like it by all this last trip. This miraculous event transpired as I told them a story about the first time I saw snow. I was on a youth group ski trip. I skipped ski school, because skiing is just sliding, with funny shoes on. Or so I thought. Anyone who has ever seen Bambi will better understand my plight. Picture the scene in Bambi when Bambi and Thumper are playing on the lake that is covered in ice. Remember when Thumper slides across the ice and POOFS right through a mound of snow? As soon as I picked up some pretty good speed, I saw a HUGE mound of snow. I , being stupid, thought....POOF! I skiied (did I type that right? I have no idea) straight at the mound. Bambi is a LIAR. It wasn't snow, it was ice. And it was only one inch thick. That makes it sound better doesn't it? Well, its not. The ice was shielding the boulder which lay behind. It really hurt. It was this story that reminded Dade, Tim, Matt, Joe, Larry, of their lost youth and officially made me a Molchanoff Man.
Maybe I'm the only one who's done this. For as long as I can remember I have struggled with what it is I am supposed to do with my life. Like a person struggling for sleep, I have tossed and turned for this answer. I announce boldly I now know. I've found the answers. Am I the only one who's done this? I'm not so bold to think that. My main trouble has been having different, yet seemingly conflicting goals. As in thought of it as a vocational crossroads where a choice had to be made. A person cannot go east and west at once. It seemed this way to me because of popular mythology that a person has to invest their entire lives pursuing one career path in order to get anywhere on that path. I have, however, realized the error of my thinking. The goal is not to make a career but to accomplish goals, building a career is not always necessary for this. My error was thinking I had to build a career for each vocational goal and that I thus would be a tad bit short on time. How did I come upon this clarity? I'll tell you.
It happened last month while viewing the annual Oscar telecast. Every year that I watch this a great ghastly feeling is stirred within my soul. It's the thought that God intends me for the purpose of contributing something to film. I've been thinking this for about 8 years. For almost as long I have felt called into "the ministry". My understanding of this calling has evolved and become crisper with the passage of time. I am all but certain now that my "ministerial calling" is to teach high school or college (in such a way as to encourage God-ward thinking). These two paths are the main two paths I've felt drawn to walk down. I think it's pretty easy to see why I'd think of them as east and west.
The telecast got me to thinking as it always does, but for once I decided I didn't always want to be stuck on this question. So I gave it another think over, but in such a way as not reasoning one option over another, but thinking about how God introduces us to the plans he has for our lives, particularly regarding vocation of course. The conclusion I came to was more personal than universal, but perhaps someone can take something from it. The conclusion was that I've done two things consistently: sought God on the matter and maintained the same vocational desires. Thus, these are more appropriately called the desires of my heart. As far as I can tell they are God-given and so far as that is true they will be accomplished.
Without further adieu or additional paragraphs, I present to you my list of life goals:
(In no particular order. Some vocational, others personal)
Teach High School and/or College Get Masters and Doctorate Write a book Have book of poetry published Write a screenplay Have screenplay made into movie Start a production company Produce an album Be a good husband and *father (*not a short-term goal)
It was Donna's idea that I make such a list. It is her insistence that I pursue these goals. I don't dare say this list is in stone, but give or take an item or two I think it's pretty solid. I want to teach because I care how people think. I have to have the education to do this. The next six on the list are the creative contributions that I want to make. Mainly, I want the completed works of book, screenplay, movie and album for the purposes of saying I did rather than for being known for it. I'd like a publishing deal, but the finished book is the foremost goal there. When I say to have my poetry published I mean, if nothing else, a project which I finance myself. I want to write a screenplay and have a movie made of it. Understand, this are two separate, yet interconnected, goals. More than likely for the movie to be made according to the vision I have it would have to be financed by an entity larger than myself. I need their funding, but beyond that I'm not so concerned that it be a big success. My desire to produce an album is basically the same as these others. I want to start a production company because my vision for film goes beyond a couple movies I'd like to make. This goal is to create a network of financiers and filmmakers all who share a similar hope regarding future cinema. For my purposes I listed only the essentials. Like, I want to write a book but intend to write more than one. The idea is that without at least seriously pursuing these on this list I will not be happy with myself. If for some reason or another I don't pull them off but have seriously pursued them in addition to God's will regarding them the situation will be different. Then it will be evident that I was wrong in some way as to what I said were my God-given desires of my heart. I think people are unhappy with their lives, or at least their jobs because they do not seek God's direction in the area and/or do not pursue these desires. The last goal was to be a good husband and father. This is not a vocational goal, but nonetheless I felt it as important to list here because even moreso than these others it's important I actively pursue this goal and seek God in that pursuit. These goals exist not for themselves or even simply for me but as part of a plan only God could dream up.
I had two, ten page papers due on Friday. I had one midterm also. Graduate work is so much more than undergrad. I guess that was a clue before I started. It just takes a lot more time. In the past five days, I've slept like a total of 14-17 hours. It's not that I procrastinated. I just had a ton to do.
It's now early Saturday Morning and I don't have a thing to do until next Tuesday (a week from this coming one).
An itinerary of sorts:
Friday: Leave New Orleans and drive to Graceville Saturday: Hang out with Chase and Donna and some relatives Sunday: Drive to Melbourne Monday, Tuesday: Hang with Folks Wednesday, Thursday: Hang with Melissa and Michelle! Friday: Goto Dentist Saturday: Other stuff Sunday: Church (maybe start driving back) Monday: Maybe driving back.
The rest of my life: Thinking about you...
I have five books to read during this break, plus a lot of other crap.
Old friends come back from the dead Like a reoccurring addiction It's nice to see their faces popup It's nice to know they came But, I like old acquaintances As much as I enjoy cocaine Snorting up relentlessly Just to enjoy the day It's just that- I've been getting along Without you for sometime If you need help I can try Maybe I could possibly lend a hand But I won't make the same mistakes again It's not that fun to feel low Maybe we could share a needle tomorrow
Yesterday I went to go see Million Dollar Baby. I have to admit when it won Best Picture I wasn't all that thrilled. I love Clint Eastwood and I think He's a wonderful director, but I was pulling for Martin Scorsese and The Aviator to win. However, after seeing Clint's movie I was convinced it deserved the award. It's one of the best films I have seen in a very long time. This movie will stick with me for a long time, there are just some scenes that will stay with you. Hats off to Eastwood for making something truly Oscar Worthy. Everyone needs to see this film.
Well, I was going to post about how stupid I thought it was that the same internet casino that bought the "virgin mary grilled cheese sandwich" for $28,000, has now bought the "virgin mary - holding - baby jesus pretzel" for $10,600. Then I would go on to say how there are poor people in the world and there are better ways to publicize and use your money than that. Then I realized I am just jealous. Because honestly, I mean, if you told me you had a taco shaped like Hitler, I would probably at least give you most of the money I had for it. Maybe all of it if I was hungry enough.
Ok, many of you know me, some of you don't. And I also decided that I should post more than christianity hilarity that occurs within the confines of my store. Because to quote Jeff, I'm more than my experience at my christian bookstore.(Good suggestion buddy!) I found this thing on my friend Kelly's xanga site. I liked it. So I'm doing it now.
i am not: very careful .i hurt: when I'm betrayed i love: creativity i hate: not being in control i hope: in very little, probaby not enough i hear: Number One Gun, which is what is playing in my store right now. i crave: God's direction for my life, because I don't know what it is. i regret: Chances not taken. i cry: Not very often at all. i care: for my friends, they are the most important to me, even if I suck at showing it. i always: think. i long to: be useful. i feel alone: in miami i listen: Good stuff. i hide: my true self, from most people, those of you who are in the in...you know who you are. i sing: in my car. i dance: at shows, only at shows. i write: only when inspired, which isn't as often as I would like. i breathe: music. i play: life. i miss: my friends and family. i search: for completion. i learn: a little all the time. i feel: turbulent. i know: a ridiculous amount. i say: my mind. i succeed: in meeting my own expectations i fail: and learn from it. i dream: for the sake of dreaming. Vivat the dream! i sleep: to get away. i wonder: when I will be completed. i want: to know my direction. i worry: too little. i have: a hankering for a sub. i give: too little trust to others. i fight: against ignorance. i wait: for completion. i need: food. i think: high maintenance customers frustrate me more than all others. i cant help the fact that. I need people when I don't want to need them. i stay: turbulent. i am: nothing.
The nice thing about this is Brian Wilson (Beach Boys) will be playing here at the New Orleans Jazz Festival in April. That's a pretty big deal. Part of the reason I picked to goto school in New Orleans was for the culture.
I've conducted a lot of countdowns in my life. I've counted down to high school and college graduations, to album releases, to when different girls would come back from summer vacation and to my wedding day.
It helps me.
I didn't count down as fervently to my wedding day as I did to some of the other big events and I'll tell you why. I was happy. I never thought of marriage as an escape so much as it was a positive progression. The other countdowns were more about escape: I wouldn't have to go to high school anymore; I wouldn't have to go to college anymore.
I was one of a few people in the dorms who always stayed the duration of the summer. While I was always counting down to when a girl would get back I was more concerned with the sum of everyone getting back. I counted down to that too. Most of those girls didn't hang out with me as much once the semester was in swing. But my friends still did. Deep down with every day I marked off the calendar I knew that. Those countdowns were mostly about fighting loneliness.
Then there was one girl who actually did keep hanging out from one semester to the next. Counting down to her actually turned out to be worth it. She, of course, is now my wife. It was when I missed her, and only when I missed her, that I counted down to album releases. True story. I've never done that otherwise. Granted, there are always albums coming out that I am excited about but usually I just save the anticipation for the ride to the store.
I count down every single work day. I've got a system. I break the day down into two equal halves. I complete a task, then check the time. If I can get halfway I'm set. See, because at 1:00 I have to man the front counter while Cashier 1 goes to lunch. At 1:30 I eat. Many times I try and lose track of time near then so that I end up lunching at 1:45 or even 2:00. The second half of the day moves much quicker because there are more customers to deal with. I get through every hour like a weak man pulling himself out of swimming pool. And reaching these goals gives me a momentary sense of victory, after which I dive right back in.
Some people say I'm wishing my life away. No, no. I say I'm counting down to the parts I like better. Papa's got a brand new countdown. To what? Until we forsake this Wiregrass dump...Until we establish ourselves in what will be our home sweet home. Where? Nashville, TN. It is truly a land of opportunity. The cost of living is actually not higher. And I will, if nothing else opens up, be able to transfer to the Books-A-Million there. Me and Donna are leaving next Friday to go there to put in for jobs and housing.
Cheers! Because of bad weather in the area, I didn't have to tutor today. That was a nice break. I have to read 100 more pages in Moral Choices by Scott Rae and finishing writing my book review of it, which is due tomorrow. After, American Idol.
Last week, I made one of my students cry. She was constantly talking during the session to the other children. I repeatedly asked her to listen, she refused. At the end of class, I asked her to stay after. I told her I was going to call her parents and the tears started a-flowing. I assured her that I wouldn't need to take such an action if she would only talk about what we were discussing and only at the appropriate time. She wiped up the small pond and went home. I'm getting old when I have to start threatening to call parents.
Notre Dame Seminary is right next to the school I tutor at. I went to their bookstore today. I was so tempted to ask if they had anything by Martin Luther, but I just couldn't bring myself to it. I wonder if they have a heretics section? Regardless, they were really pricey and I lacked the funds to buy anything that I wanted.
DO NOT see the movie Cursed. Just don't. Unless, you are going to go see it with people clever enough to see this was obviously meant to be a comedy. I'm not going to ruin anything for you, but I will tell you this. Chris Cartee, Me, and Justin Mcleod could make a better werewolf suit after a week of no sleep, with no materials or resources other than a carpenter knife, truck bedding, an old shoe, a 1985 jeep cherokee, and a years worth of dog haircut places shavings. Now that I have said my piece, you can go decide for yourselves. But you have been warned.
I am really nothing more Than a simple-minded whore I go about life everyday In the same manner The very say way Very cliche As with the things I say No more stout and realized Nothing at all Just the lies I make money to live I make it to give away Paid in full These are the games I play Working when I want Stealing when I cannot I show effort for a little I ask for a lot If you see me on your block You probably won't stop To shoot the breeze Or to notice there are no leaves On these autumn trees Run back to the place where you take refuge Run very fast When you have finally gotten there You will sigh, 'at last' It's not good to talk to a lady Who sells her body for money Nor is it wise To talk to a guy Who spends half his life Telling those he loves Little white stories That have so much glory Fictitious fabrications Details that make this life So glorious to those who only Read the tabloids And try to fill the void That's gaping so wide By convincing themselves That encounters like these Don't resemble their own Lives they try to leave
Hey guys, I just have two things today. First, does anybody have my copy of Pedro The Lion's Control CD? I can't find it anywhere. I might have misplaced it, but I don't usually do that. I'm thinking I might have loaned it to someone and not got it back before I moved. Please let me know, okay? I want to listen to it really badly. I'll even pay shipping.
Secondly, I'm going to mention this so I can be the envy of anybody who cares or might know these names. The Southwest Regional meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society is meeting here at my school this year. Actually, they might meet here every year, I'm not sure. There is going to be a debate between N.T. Wright and John Dominic Cross on the resurrection ("Historical Event or Hermeneutical Invention?"). This proves for a fun-filled night. I just thought I would mention it to brag, if it's something worth bragging about.
"It was a soft summer night when you came into my life. I thought it was a dream when your hand reached out for me. There was something there that I couldn't compare and I knew that you were the only one for me. Seasons change." Ghoti Hook, Seasons, from the album Sumo Surprise.
It's kind of like how "good" cheese is really "old and moldy" cheese. This one of the those shows you love to hate. Where the teens have a $3,000 allowance and are still learning the same lessons as the kids on Sesame Street. The letter for today is "O". And "C". Just watch it, trust me.
Evelyn hates this game. Enough said.
The Da Vinci Code
I just finished reading this book, and it took me under 48 hours. And that's only because I had to go to work and occasionally I fell asleep. This book is so good I read it while sitting next to my Xbox, which houses none other than (yes, you guessed it) Halo 2.
The Garden State Soundtrack
The recent Grammy winning soundtrack is the most amazing mix of amazing music in an amazing jewel case I have ever seen. It is just damn amazing how amazing this cd is. If you buy it, and you don't like it, I'll buy it from you. (This offer is limited to only one person, sorry.)
1-1-2-3-5-8-13-21 Oh, Draconian Devil. O, lame saint. P.S. Find Robert Langdon.