Thursday, May 27, 2010

music and the creative process*

i stole this idea from my high school friend, Bob. Bob is an architect and wrote about the presence of music in the studio when he is working. he's got a pretty cool blog. you can find him here:

i use music when i'm writing my sermons. i'll usually latch on to a specific song that somehow puts the scripture into perspective for me and i'll listen to it over and over while i'm writing. (that and red vines get me through!) most of my sermons have some lyrics from a song in them. sometimes my sermon titles are names of songs. i've even been known to make the congregation sing. (so i don't have to sing alone.)

writing a sermon is a huge undertaking--in my opinion. i read the scripture, go back to the Greek or Hebrew (yes, i can read ancient Greek and Hebrew), consider inconsistencies in translation between sources, read surrounding and referenced scripture, find some relevance to what's happening in the world today, and write a sermon. then i throw that first sermon away and write the real sermon. this takes me anywhere from 10-20 hours.

there is no substitute for music in the creative process. it stimulates my brain and imagination in ways nothing else does.

my tastes run the gamut, not just for listening but also for preaching. in my last sermon i used the song "kookaburra." the sermon before that was James Taylor's "Home by Another Way." I've used Talking Heads, Indigo Girls, John Williams, John Barry, Etta James, Marc Cohn.... I'm all over the map, with music from soundtracks making the most appearances. I think this is because the music evokes images and memories for me. also, just putting iTunes on shuffle and letting it pick up all the things you don't often hear can be interesting. i never know when the inspiration will hit.

so, how 'bout you? where does music fit into your creative process?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

i enjoy being a girl

so this is my morning:

so i got up 3 hours earlier than usual in order to drive 1.5 hours to an all day meeting in Jerseyville, IL.

so i recently decided i needed waterproof mascara so i wouldn't sweat mascara all down my face when i'm doing my uber-tough workouts. (or when my eyes water.)

so i'm putting on my waterproof mascara this morning and poke the applicator in my eye. normally this wouldn't be a big deal, but i wear contacts. the giant smudge of waterproof mascara is on my contact. waterproof. contact. i. repeat. waterproof. contact.

so i take my contact out and put it in the no rub solution and start rubbing like crazy, all the while trying not to tear the contact. of course the waterproof mascara won't come off. waterproof. contact.

so i get out the eye makeup remover and pour some of that in my hand on the contact. yes, it's safe for contact lens wearers. i scrub that baby as best as i can and finally get the giant smudge of waterproof mascara off my contact. but now i have eye makeup remover all over my contact.

so i get out my no rub solution again and rub that puppy until the eye makeup remover is cleaned off. contact is now good to go.

so now i have waterproof mascara all over my face from trying to get the contact out and then back in. it's virtually impossible to fix that kind of mess without starting over.

so i start over. this process has taken at least 20 minutes.

so i'm running late for my meeting, it's raining and i'm going a place i've never gone before. i set my iPhone map app to get me to the church on time. but i'm directionally challenged. i take a wrong turn and end up in sauget. yes, sauget.

so there's no easy way to get back to where my map app tells me to go so i decide to venture out on my own. maybe i'll get there, maybe i won't.

so, long story short: i got there. just in time. contacts in and makeup on.

but don't think i didn't have a drink when i got home.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

across the pond

i am obsessed with all things British. as we speak, i'm watching the results of the House of Commons election results on c-span.

i've never been to Great Britain. some day I'll go.

mostly i want to go to Scotland.
i know most of you are shocked by this confession. if you know me, you know how much i hate cold and moist weather. I'm not saying i want to live in Scotland. i just want to visit. maybe for an extended time. i'll let you know when i get there.

the problem is that i have no plans to get there.

why, you ask, would i want to go to Scotland?
first and foremost, the scottish accent is so sexy.
second, my family is from there. yes, it was a long time ago, but still...
third, is is the birthplace of presbyterianism as we know it. John Knox and his pals.
fourth, i love tartan plaid. i know, dork.
fifth, i want a sporran. yes, i know i can get one at Thistle and Clover in St. Charles, but i want one from there.
sixth, i know the loch ness monster exists and i plan to photograph her.
seventh, i want some Wellies.
eighth, i can't think of an eighth. do i really need an eighth?

of course there are places i'd like to see in addition to Scotland. i'd like to go to Northern Ireland. i'd like to see Wales and the Isle of Mann. i'd like to go the beaches. i'd like to see the lake country. i'd like to explore the land of Jane Austin. i want to spell words with "ou's." it makes me feel so sophisticated. and all those other accents are sexy, too. if i'm flying over there why not get my money's worth?

so, anyone have some frequent flier miles they would like to donate to the "pat wants to go to Great Britain" fund?
i'd bring you back a souvenir!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


If I had lived 200 years ago I would have been called "sickly." I would have been one of those people who was constantly run-down. I would be the one everybody looked at with sad eyes and the knowing nod of the head as I sniffled and coughed my way through life. I wouldn't be able to provide for the family because gardening made me too sick to do anything else. Poor me.

I hate cottonwood. Cottonwood trees infect the planet with their beautiful, fuzzy spawn, coating the planet with a fine layer of spring "snow." Sure it looks pretty, but cottonwood is pure evil.

Every April the cottonwood trees would bloom and every April I would get sick. Until the spring my dad cut down our cottonwood tree. God bless him.

I thought that when I left Texas I had left the cottonwood behind.

Our neighborhood has a cottonwood tree. Every April it blooms and every April I get sick. I take my zyrtec. I use my nasal stereoids. I use my neti pot. I stand in a hot shower. In my 41 years I haven't found anything that will work. (And before you start recommending decongestants and cough syrup, I can't take them. When my neurologist says "no" I tend to follow her advice.)

I dream of the day this tree will be gone.

I want to sneak over and cut it down in the middle of the night. But then I remember that a) I don't own a chainsaw and b) even if I did, I don't know how to fell a tree.

So while I wait for lightening to hit the tree, even if it means our power goes out, I'll spend every April (and May) sick.

Damn cottonwood.