Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Meme Schmeme

OK, that was just too fun to say. Christianne tagged me to post a couple of literary memes. I'm not sure what that is, but I'll just follow her lead and hope for the best. :)

The first one has the following rules:

Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
2) Open the book to page 123.
3) Find the fifth sentence.
4) Post the next three sentences.
5) Tag five people.

This was not as easy as it sounds. The book closest to me was The Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris, but page 123 is the end of a chapter and does not have five sentences let alone three after it. So the next closest book was Practicing His Presence by Brother Lawrence & Frank Laubach. Dang...only 110 pages. By now I'm getting irritated. But I scored pay dirt on the next book: Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. She's talking about the jealousy that sets in when you are an aspiring writer and another writer that you know of is published. Here are the three sentences:

"You are going to have a number of days in a row where you hate everyone and don't believe in anything. If you do know the author whose turn it is, he or she will inevitably say that it will be your turn next, which is what the bride always says to you at each successive wedding, while you grow older and more decayed. It can wreak just the tiniest bit of havoc with your self-esteem to find that you are hoping for small bad things to happen to this friend--for, say, her head to blow up."

I love Anne Lamott.

The next meme (how do you pronounce that word anyway?) requires you to answer several booky questions. This will take a little more thought on my part.

1) One book that changed your life:
Eva Luna by Isabelle Allende. It might seem like an odd choice for those of you who have read the book, but I read this back in college and it was part of what inspired me to write and woke me up to the art and power of story-telling. The genre is magical realism and it's a story set in Chile, which is where the author is from. (She's actually the cousin of Salvador Allende who was president of Chile from 1970-1973 and was overthrown by the notorious Augusto Pinochet...her father was one of the country's "disappeared".) I won't say anymore about it except to say I love this woman's writing.

2) One book that you have read more than once:
Mudhouse Sabbath by Lauren F. Winner. Lauren Winner is a Jewish woman who converted to Christianity. She wrote this book as she reflected on what she felt the Jewish faith had to teach Christians. Really lovely writing and wise reflections.

3) One book you would want on a desert island:
Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster. This was definitely up for consideration for the book that changed my life. Foster outlines twelve spiritual disciplines (such as prayer, fasting, meditation, simplicity, etc.) in a way that just invites you to dive in. Honestly, the first time I picked up this book and looked at the chapters my first thought was, "ewww." He manages to take all those aversive expectations and just completely disarm them. This book is one that I will keep going back to again and again.

4) Two books that made you laugh:
Anything by Anne Lamott and anything by Donald Miller. Did I mention that I love Anne Lamott? I love Donald too. I love that they are irreverent and funny and thought-provoking and challenging and just plain human. They are both really lovely story-tellers.

5) One book that made you cry:
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby. This book was written by a man who suffered a stroke which resulted in "locked-in syndrome" meaning he was completely intact cognitively but totally paralyzed apart from one eyelid. He wrote the book with the help of a scribe who would go through letters of the alphabet until he blinked his eye. The book was written one letter at a time in this way. It is a haunting account of his nightmarish condition, but also an incredibly hopeful glimpse into imagination and the beauty of the human spirit. Unbelievable and utterly breathtaking.

6) One book you wish you'd written:
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. I wish I had written this mostly because of what it would imply about my life...that I had written enough to warrant writing a book about writing. Truth be told, I wish I was Anne Lamott, minus the history of addiction. Then again, I don't think there would have been an Anne Lamott without that part of her history. Hmmm. Maybe I'd better throw back a few. JUST KIDDING!

7) One book you wish had never been written:
The New World Order by Pat Robertson. This is the handbook for Christian paranoia. Icky. I actually never read it, but just knowing it exists gives me the heeby jeebies.

8) Two books you are currently reading:
Philosophy in the Flesh by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson and The Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris. Philosophy in the Flesh is an attempt to use the findings of the cognitive sciences to rework our philosophical assumptions. I'm working through this v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y. I really wouldn't recommend it unless you're a psychology or philosophy nerd like myself. However, if you are such a nerd, I really am liking it so far. The Cloister Walk is a beautifully written reflection of Norris's experience of her foray into monasticism and the role of the poet. She's extraordinary. If I can't be Anne Lamott, I think I have a pretty good stab at being Kathleen Norris. In fact, I think I AM Kathleen Norris. (Where do I pick up my royalty checks?)

9) One book you've been meaning to read:
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. I've been hearing about this book for a long time and have only heard that it is extraordinary. The sad reality is that I have a million books I'd like to read, but most of my actual reading time is spent on stuff that is functional (therapy manuals) rather than fun. *sigh*

Now, since we all know that I love breaking rules, I'm not going to officially tag anyone. If this seemed interesting to you and you think you'd like to have a go at it, consider yourself tagged. Peace.


  1. Terri,

    Thanks, by the way, for the "welcome back" you placed on my blog. It's good to be back.

    You have great taste in books. I love Foster's book! That book by Winner seems like it would be just like her name. I will have to check that one out.

  2. Yay! So fun to read your picks. Anne Lamott, Donald Miller, Kathleen Norris, and Lauren Winner . . . I think you and I are one person living in two separate bodies. I mean, we are Anne Lamott and Kathleen Norris living in four separate bodies. Or whatever.

    Thanks for sharing these. I gasped at the story of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Your hub Dave recommended that film to me, but I didn't know what it was about until I read your description here. Kirk and I are agog at it right now. He's on his laptop on the other side of the table right now, looking up all kinds of things about the movie version, going "Wow. Best Director, Best Cinematography." I'm pretty sure that book and movie is in our near future.

    PS: Did you know I got to meet Lauren Winner a couple months ago? I wrote a post about it back in October. She is so sweet and unassuming, yet brilliant. I love that girl.

  3. PS: I had to ask the same question about pronouncing meme before, and a good friend told me it's French and pronounced "mehme," with an "a" sound to the "eh" part, kinda like "lame." :)

  4. Your taste in books sounds fun and diverse.
    And I do so love anne LAmmott for telling it like it is! :)

  5. nathan: winner is definitely a winner. and foster rocks.

    christianne: teehee...we really do have the same taste, and apparently the same body! eat better for me would you? :)

    the diving bell and the butterfly is SO beyond description. i'm excited to hear your response when you see the film and read the book. they are equally amazing pieces.

    and i'm so jealous you got to meet lauren. she sounds just like you describe her in her writing. is she married now? she was engaged when she wrote that book.

    oh and i think your french friend was trying to throw you off. i looked it up and it's a word that is derived from and pronounced like the word "gene". first e is long and last e is silent.

    bella: hope you're on the mend. Anne Lamott is my hero.

  6. Yep, she's married now, Terri. So cute to hear her talk about her hub, especially knowing her long history of dating from reading Girl Meets God (another book that seriously could have made the list as one I've read a number of times).

    She has really interesting views on marriage, especially in the context of community. It's funny because her views directly contradict the marriage Kirk and I had -- meaning, a planned elopement. But it's all good. One thing about the body of Christ that I love is that there can be such a diversity of views and some of this stuff we'll never get to know what God really thinks about until we get to heaven and can ask him ourselves. :)

    Thanks for the tip on "meme," too. :)

  7. Terri
    Ha Ha Ha
    hmmmm that whole waiting for someones head to blow up. Here is the question, now why (out of all the things that you have posted here) would I pick out that comment? I love off the wall sick humor. If I were in some churches they would be trying to cast the devil out of me. The addiction thing that was funny too.
    On a more serious note you have read practicing His presence. Have you read The pursuit of God by AW Tozer? I used to read the classics about some of these ministers who walked with God.

    When I was in college I had to write papers on those classics. Have you ever heard of Watchman Nea?

    Man some of these ministers really walked with God. These men and women prayed. They really tarried in the presence of God......I am jealous.

    Honestly I hate to read these days but I may be forced to pick up some of those classics.

  8. Gonna have to check a few of these out, never heard of them before! Thanks, Terri

    (Funny, The Essential Calvin and Hobbes is NOT mentioned here. Hmmm.)

  9. I love Calvin and Hobbes, 23 Degrees! Oh, those characters are so hilarious. Hobbes is so smart. I love that in a cat. :)

    Hey Tammy, I've heard of Watchman Nee! Kirk has read a couple of his books, and I started "The Latent Power of the Soul," which is a little bitty book that packs a lot of punch. The main thing that Kirk and I reference a lot in conversation that came from Watchman Nee is his idea of "soul power" versus "spirit power." We talk a lot about operating from soul power when we are striving in our own strength or when we see that striving energy at work in the world, as opposed to the spirit's power living in us and empowering us to live and breathe and do all things. I love that concept. It really helps put things in perspective, especially when you need to be called back to the center of life.

  10. Christianne
    I have not read all of his stuff but I remember reading a really interesting book that he wrote on the Song of Solomon. It has been a long time and my spiritual brain is fading fast I can tell ya.
    I used to have a special bond with the Song of Solomon. Not for marital reasons for spiritual reasons. That song of Solomon.....what is wrong with me my friend? I used to be madly in love with Jesus.
    I swear I have a split personality (Terri ain't that some sorta disorder?) I am one of two people either I am driven to die a martyr for Christ or I am buying a Harley to become a Hells angel. I guess it depends on what day you find me on. I should warn the public of which page I am on daily. That had absolutely nothing to do with Ierri's blog or watchman Nee. See I told you it is some kinda disorder. Before my life is over I will have become a scientific lab rat in the discovery of all kinds of disorders. I knew that I was destined for greatness.

  11. christianne: it is good when we can have an opinion and not get all dogmatic and weird about it. i love that. so cool that you got to chat with her.

    23: our paper never carried calvin and hobbes. so maybe i'll introduce you to some stuff and you'll usher me into the world of calvin and hobbes. you mentioned on your blog you're a neighbor of the north. where? (don't worry, you don't have to give me your exact coordinates...and i promise i won't stalk you or anything.)

    tammy: if you've never read anne lamott you really have to. that quote is typical of her. she seriously kills me. i've read some watchman nee. my favorite is "sit, walk, stand." so solid. and you're right: that guy could pray! i haven't gotten around to tozer but i've heard of him. and i love reading the classics. ever heard of interior castle by st. teresa of avila? she was a christian mystic who actually kind of reminds me of you...minus the references to hiring hit men. :) and you're not suffering from multiple personalities, take my word for it.

    and i LOVE song of solomon. it might be my favorite book of the old testament.

  12. Terri
    Now ya see you have crushed my alibi for having a drive by shooting. I can't tell the cops that I have a psychological disorder and the other me did it.

    Somewhere I have read some things about Teresa of Avila, the name rings a bell, some thoughts are popping through my head on that one, but I am still out to lunch.

    My brain is so fuzzy these days, me and Nate have have this saying 'a cloud by day and a fog by night'.

    I am going to check out some of these books that you are referring to, that is if I can stay off the net long enough. Pretty soon my fingers are going to become a permenant attachment to this keyboard.

  13. Wow, Terri. Awesome list. (Any list with Lauren Winner qualifies, for me, so...yeah). And Anne Lamott, and Donald Miller, and Kathleen Norris...I could go on and on. Fab taste, lady, if I do say so myself (and I just did!).

  14. Lovely post. My fiance brought The Kite Runner to my office thinking I'd enjoy it. He teaches in the building next door. It's how we really officially started started the conversation of love. :)

  15. tammy: sorry to mess up your alibi, but fyi: that defense hardly ever works anyway. i loved that "cloud by day, fog by night" thing. been there.

    sarah: i think we're all merging into one person. weird.

    alexandra: cool story about kite runner. must be a pretty great book.

  16. wow! im envious that you have that time for quality book! im currently juggling the work and school papers i have to do plus big exams before March ends..*sigh** and soem more personal bits to juggle with..but i cant complain that much, life has continually been blessing me with my wonderful family,always around to break my fall....

  17. Dear Terri,

    The Diving bell and the butterfly is one of the most beautiful passionate books i've ever read.

    Locked in syndrome... is the most incredibly debilitating disorder... and to write like that ...well it made me cry thats for sure ;)

    Also wanna read kite runner!

    Lots of love to you friend,


  18. li: sorry you're so overloaded, but i'm glad you have lots of love and support to get through it.

    maithri: yes, i think it might be one of the most extraordinary things ever written. both for the content and the process. have you seen the movie? it's just as amazing.

  19. I went to hear Anne Lamott speak when I lived in Seattle; she came across as a person who has allows life to seep into her and has been roughed up by it in the process. It was a great night.

    And The Diving Bell and the Butterfly perfectly complements the film.

    I always think of the phrase "the first draft of anything is shit" when I think about Bird by Bird. :)

  20. tom: i just love that about anne. she gives you permission to be as human as you really are. i'm pretty sure someday i'll stalk her and make her be my friend.

  21. I'm contemplating tagging myself! I love lists. I even started a new blog for random list-making.

    I love getting a peek at your mental bookshelf. I love Don Miller (especially listening to him). I am so middle-of-the-road on things that people accuse me of fence-riding. I enjoy and agree with many pomo writers and ideas but I'm also pretty married to my mo.

    I don't have any of Greg's books but I do have one he contributed to, Divine Foreknowledge. Haven't started it yet. I have to get in a particular groove to do straight-up theology. But I love those "Four Views On" type of books. The more I read them the better I feel about not knowing everything. No one else does either!

    Which is pretty pomo, I know.

  22. oh sharp, you're just a pomo freak having an existential crisis...thanks for stopping by!

    feel free to tag yourself. i told you to consider yourself tagged if you dig this and you clearly do...