Busy Days and 50,000 Words

Yesterday was John's Birthday. We woke up to 4 inches of snow, too! All over the roads, grass, trees. It was beautiful!

We had the traditional baked pancakes for breakfast (aka Dutch Babies) and then the boys all went out to go sledding for the morning, and came back demanding hot chocolate.

Birthday presents were given, and Jet and I gave John two card games, Rook and The Monty Python version of Fluxx. Rook was something of a bust, as the game wasn't anything like I thought I'd remembered from playing it as a kid. But the Monty Python version of Fluxx was a huge hit with John for all the Monty Python references, and a huge hit with Jet for the fact that the rules change all the time.

Jet loves rules, perhaps in the way most kids love them, making them, breaking them, changing them, negotiating all the boundaries of them. To have a game where part of the way the game is played is by changing the rules really tickled him a lot.

John also asked for pumpkin pie for his birthday, instead of cake, and Isabel proposed a lovely dinner with roasted salmon with vegetables. So she made dinner while I made the pumpkin pie, and I got a little time to rp with stark in between all the other things that happened. So that was very neat indeed.

The pumpkin pie turned out gorgeous. It was fully baked by about 7, "cooled" for an hour in which time the custard finished setting, as it does that on the residual heat. But when we cut into it at 8:15, the pie was still warm. Surprisingly, it was really, really good that way. The custard was cooled enough that we could eat it, but it was still warm and smooth and lovely. Jet really enjoyed his piece, too, and everyone put plenty of whipped cream on the slices.

So by the end of yesterday, I had 49708 words.

This morning, I woke up and John had waffles on the table. So we all had breakfast and went to Sunday school and church, and I did my part of the service along with the three youth that got into it too. They did all the planning, picked the order of worship, read the Call to Worship, the Invocation, and picked the hymns. The substitute organist nearly killed all the hymns she played them so slowly. Gah. And then I said my piece:

I've always disliked Apocalyptic readings. I hate the doom and gloom, all the graphic ways people die, and how everything will be destroyed. People seem to like End of the World stories. The enormous number of media stories on how the whole world economy was going to collapse, how the market was never going to recover, or how the US economy was going to be stuck in these doldrums for years only goes to show just how much people like talking about how terrible things are.

Imagine my surprise when I went to my Disciples class and found that the traditional apocalyptic stories were intended as messages of hope, not of despair. That they were written in a sort of symbolic code to keep officials from knowing that they were talking right about the moment that they were being written. That for most everyone Now is the Ending of Times, because the world is always changing, ending what was to allow what will come. And when I read the actual books, after all the bloody bits there were always messages about how things will work out.

I also have a love-hate relationship with deadlines, remarkably similar to my relationship with the Apocalypse. I wallow in dread and worry about all the things that can go wrong that are out of my control. I hesitate to start, thinking it'll never work. But when I take that first step, it goes okay, and then it leads to the next step. And when everything is done, it's amazing, and I always wonder, "Why did I think it'd be so hard?"

Maybe I should just skip the dread, worry, and stall part of it and just figure out a single step of what I can do. Plant a garden to feed folks, keep my money still in the economy to keep the money working, write assurances that no really the economy isn't just going pop like a balloon, get the next word in on this message

There's plenty of darkness to fascinate, titillate, and depress us. Maybe in the midst of it all, our duty is also our salvation. To look for the next thing we can change, the next bit of light we can encourage, and use our faith and hope to make the courage we need to get through all that we fear and find that it really wasn't as impossible as we thought it would be. We may find that that hope or faith is all we needed all along.

The youth that went before me just blew me away with a really great message of her own, and I have to figure out when it gets posted on the church's website, so that I can point to it when its published. But my main feeling was whew... done with THAT... and after the service lots of people said that they liked my part of the sermon.

Jet went to a birthday party after the service, and is now at a friend's house playing, so I finished up my 50,000 words with more of Twin Souls, as that had been my original goal. I didn't actually get all of Twin Souls done, got too distracted by other things, but it felt good to finish on the thing that I was supposed to be working on all along. And now I have enough to carry me a bit further into the next month. I have another story I want to write tonight... but for now... I'll update it when I'm done for the day.

I am pretty proud of the word count, as many of the words were actually third or even fifth draft words, not first. Many of them got posted or will be posted in the not too distant future, too.

word count: 50,389
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Happy birthday John!

And wow, I never knew that about the apocalyptic stories. That's really cool. Thank you. (It does remind me of the Anne Lamott essay in which she talks about how it's no use running around saying the sky is falling, because the sky has already fallen, and what we can do now is take care of each other.)
I *love* what Anne Lamott said. That's pretty much how I see it, too. Ross had a *great* comment on this post, too, with a great analogy for how to read apocalyptic literature. It's really good...
That's a very good bit of sermon.

(Also, as the Disreputable Dog says, "It's always better to be doing." And if you haven't read Garth Nix, then I know what I'm giving you for Christmas. :))
*giggles* I have all the Day stories, the Tower books, and I love, love, loved the Abhorsen triology especially the Disreputable Dog. *laughs*

*hugs you happily*
A lot of the critical discussion refers to that entire genre as "apocalyptic," using the word as a noun, which always sounds weird to me. "John wrote an apocalyptic..."

But the analogy I like to use to explain the weirdness of apocalyptic writing is this: suppose that you open your newspaper to the editorial page, and you find there an illustration of a donkey fighting an elephant, and standing to one side is a fat guy wearing a waistcoat with dollar signs on it and he's throwing dollar bills into the fight, and on the other side is a tall skinny guy with a white beard wearing a striped top hat and he's quietly weeping.

You, of course, would have no difficulty interpreting this drawing as political commentary with a very specific meaning. But now suppose that someday a person from the distant future, with only the sketchiest knowledge of our time, comes across that illustration. What are they going to make of it? Most likely they'll find it baffling. They might be able to make some tentative guesses about what's going on.

But the absolute worst thing they could do would be to assume that here in the twenty-first century we had a big problem with donkeys fighting elephants.

The apocalyptic genre is like that. It uses a variety of standardized symbols in standardized ways -- for instance, giant beasts with multiple heads usually represent dynasties, and the heads represent the kings of that dynasty -- and it all makes perfect sense if you have the key to the symbols. If you know, because you've absorbed it by cultural osmosis, that a donkey represents the Democratic Party, then you know how to interpret an editorial cartoon with a donkey in it. If you don't happen to know that, good luck figuring it out.

But when the Revelation of John is read literally, then it's just like that guy from the future writing his treatise on the great herds of donkeys and elephants that roamed the streets of 21st century America.
I *LOVE* that analogy!!! That's absolutely perfect. *happy sighs*

Thank you.

And, yeah, that is a very odd noun to hear. *dances about* Yay for symbolism that is symbolism not to be taken literally! Whew.
Congrats on the word count, successful reading and fun and yummy birthday party. :D