Monday, December 30, 2013

Watching Spiderman

Watching Spiderman  

Spidey #2

By Way of Introduction….

Watching the mild mannered Peter Parker reminds me of a recent little incident. Yesterday, in the mall, I was not feeling so well. Sick actually, fever, pain, you-name-it. I wasn’t my usual mild-mannered self. The cashier at Payless, when shoes had finally been decided on, was all set to give me her little spiel about a card, and whats my phone number, and would I have some spray or polish or whatever, and I was done. I said, “I just want the shoes, thanks, nothing else. No numbers, cards, just shoes and I’ll be off.” Ha ha. It felt amazing and completely foreign to be such a jerk, and survive.  Don’t worry it will not become a habit. And that lady had a thick skin, a real “ball-breaker” type – she could handle it.
So on to the movie. Obvious to say, in Marvel Comic story lines the villains are the result of man’s dreams and hard work gone 'horribly awry'. What was meant for good, destroys. The mechanical arms on Dr. Octopus writhe like snakes, infecting his mind with thoughts of evil. They make small rattle-like noises, planting half-truths in his mind until he is completely altered.  Where does evil come from in these movies? Are people either good or evil? Or is everyone a mixture of both? What, Stan Lee, what? The mind is going in circles, my good man. Help me out here.


I do like Kirsten Dunst, she is truly lovely and luminous and talented. The camera loves her bright eyes and cheekbones. But is it just me, or does she always look like she’s about to fall asleep…. Her hair toned it down a notch in this movie, and for that we are all thankful.
Kirsten D is a believable actress here in incredibly sensitive scenes. Such pain in her face when she is in the arms of her fiancĂ©, while watching Spiderman sitting there alone!  Love and pain, two twins separated at birth. I love you. I can't be with you. Timeless, I suppose, but who can say there is any way out of this for either of them? She leans on the man she's planning to marry, telling him she's thankful he is there for her. She takes in Peter Parker with starving eyes and soul, telling him her heart is on fire.  
Tobey Maguire is super. Such a restrained, insightful performance! Plus he has the spider crouch thing down-pat. Which I'm sure he took very seriously and spent hours perfecting in front of mirrors in his hotel. But why the heck doesn’t he use his web to keep those brooms from falling out of the closet, and why oh why doesn’t he do something, anything, to that nasty gum-smacking diva that won’t pay for the pizzas?!? Really though, his nuances are subtle and perfect. Your eye follows him and then follows his on screen, taking in everything through the character's perspective.

The newspaper editor is a favorite. Can't recall his name - how tellingly unprofessional of me. He is a beautiful creation, like he stepped out of the comic itself or perhaps from the set of 12 Angry Men. 

And the pizza guy. Joes Pizza, with the 29 minute guarantee. He is quite the piece of acting work. “GoOoOO!!”

James Franco I’m always a little bit in love with. I don’t think I would be in real life, however. In movies, I’m always in love with him, a little.
Short Inner Monologue
[Mm-K. What always irritates me about these wonderful movies is this: Who cleans up the carnage? Whole sky scrapers implode. Glasses of whiskey are tossed recklessly on tile floors. (Gasp!) Vehicles overturned, burned out buildings, and the hero (and pretty much everyone else) gets to leave and never deal with it. Somewhere, at any given moment, a hard-working janitor is sweeping up yet another smashed whiskey glass. Remember that, Oh Audience, and face this reality!! 'Nuf said. Or not nearly enough said.]

Themes, Glorious THEMES!!!!!

Over-responsibility.”I’m responsible for what happened to Uncle Ben”.  

Peter has to be everywhere. He is exhausted, he’s doing too much. Over-responsibility leads to damaged expectations, and inability to do anything well. He loses his perfect vision, his webs don’t work. Nothing works with such a heavy burden weighing down. Believe me; this I know well. Leading a double life saps his strength; he can’t explain what is happening to him. He keeps climbing the walls and falling.

Feeling Trapped. “I have a choice??” He asks incredulously. He loses himself trying to be everything to everyone. Peter is trapped between impossible choices. Anytime he chooses, he has to drop something else. The Spiderman character feels very inspired by Hamlet, actually.  It’s a very tightly woven story. This choosing is illustrated in Spidey #1 when Green Goblin makes him decide to save the cable car full of children or Mary Jane. In the second, he feels freer when he starts telling the truth.

Misunderstood. He loves her, he can’t say. He knows things, he can’t say. He tries to save, they say he harms. “Peter Parker! Brilliant, but lazy", smirks Dr. Octavius. Yeah right! Lazy my sweet nothing.! He's running circles around the entire city of New York. So just shut your big yapper!  

Secrets.  “If you keep something as complicated as love stored up inside, it’ll make you sick.” (Octavius)  He can’t be honest in any of his relationships, or keep up with them even, which creates distance in all of them. The side presence of the play “The Importance of Being Earnest” is a brilliant parallel to the story. In case you haven’t seen it, mainly it is about people being who they are not. I saw it in Edinburgh, when I was a daft thing of 13, and I remember that.

Bottled feelings. Peter is feeling unbelievable stress at trying to keep how he feels at bay, about everything. Harry too, all bottled up with anger, ambition, and deep-rooted insecurity. MJ, Aunt May, trying to keep their own counsel and ponder these things in their hearts, but spilling over here and there like too-full drinks.

He 'just misses' all the time. The pizza order. The drinks and h’orderves at the high society party. The picture he needs for the paper. Stopping the thief who gets his uncle. And finally, MJ. He just decides he must be Spiderman and give her up, no matter the pain and loss, says he doesn’t love her at all…and she is taken anyway by Doc Oc. @_* AAhhhhh the frustration!! I can’t even spell! I had to redo every word in the last sentence about 8 times!!!!!!!!

It’s an unexpectedly funny movie. The Oriental woman busking, violin in hand, plunking out her Spiderman song.   Also the man in the elevator who thinks Spidey is a guy dressed up in a suit. "That looks uncomfortable." “It rides up in the crotch a little too.” Aunt May kicks the banker by mistake, instead of Peter. She’s got on a swift pair of heels, smirk.  He touches the car and sets off the alarm. Or at the end, when MJ sees him and he’s holding up the wall over her: 
 “This is really heavy”. 

Best Lines.   ----------------------------------------------------------------------------

“T.S. Eliot is more complicated than advanced Science.”  
“Your soul disappears. Nothing is as bad as uncertainty. Maybe you’re not supposed to be climbing those walls.”

“’Planning’ is not a major at this university” Dr. Connors

“Sometimes to do what’s right, we have to be steady and give up the thing we want the most. Even our dreams.” (Yeah. I’ve tried, I’ve tried to do that. It feels like a slow death, is all.)

Kindness saves him. The most beautiful moment is when the kids hand him back his mask on the train. Kindness is so beautiful. It has given me bits of hope so many times. Don't -- just -- you did. Huh. (tissue break)

More than anything, this movie just makes me want to try a New York hot dog. Yumm.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Getting Off Of Facebook

Guess what's blue and white and read all over and addicting?

You got it. Facebook.

I'm on my second day (GASP!!) of not having FB and surviving. I've known for a while I needed to break free from it, like anything else that's addicting and therefore takes up time and wayyy too much brain energy.
First I downloaded all my pictures and files to my computer. They have that option, and it's pretty easy to do.
Next, I called my psychiatrist and said I would be in soon, and please have the white jacket ready.
Then I deleted the app from my phone. Quite a shocking experience, not seeing that little icon in my favorites! Wah!!
Next, deactivate on the computer: Security, Click. Deactivate Facebook, Click.  Done.

Hey.....wait a cotton pickin' minute here....(where on earth do we get these sayings!! And when do they make sense!! But anyway!!)

"You just de-ACTIvated Facebook, CHEATER!! You didn't DELETE IT!! You're still ADDICTED! It's like hiding one pack of cigarettes just in case!! "

Yep. Well. It's true. I couldn't delete it completely.
In my defense, that wasn't the goal; I just need a break from it to do life differently, to play the piano more, to write more, and most importantly to

not be checking it every 5 minutes, or 2 hours, or first thing in the morning! Last thing at night!

See, I love my friends and I love being connected to the world. I'm an introvert with a split personality, and the other one is an extrovert, for sure.  Laughing, joking, partying,...yep I like that, with the right people of course. Commiserating with a friend looking for a lost dog, or having a rough day; I like that too. Sharing a meaningful quote or story, or a hilarious Chris Farley video...that makes my day! Personal messages about life from caring friends are awesome, and also big Day-Makers.

So why get off of Facebook, with all these perks?!?
Basically 'cuz it was starting to feel like an I.V., a lifeline. Bored, restless -- check Facebook. Lonely, tired --check Facebook. Need instant gratification -- look at all the likes on my recent post.
Basically because I want to try living without it for awhile. I need to get myself back. Or try to anyway. You know what's terrible? When I'm talking to someone, even one of my KIDS, and the phone beeps, I'll grab the phone and ignore the person, because my virtual life is more important than my Real Life .  And that, my friends, is the worst thing ever. So die, Facebook addiction, DIE!!!!! 
Ouch, it feels a bit like I'm stabbing myself.

Now that I don't have Facebook I can't post my blog there, so only a few will read this, but if you do, maybe you can pass it along to someone else who needs a break from Facebook.

After all, it only exists because we, the people, are on there. 0_o  
The choice still belongs to us.

I'm going to go read a book. Or maybe play some Christmas music on the piano. Possibly do some laundry....ooohh that's no fun. At any rate, something fulfilling and life-giving, before I tackle all the chores of the day. There are lessons to teach, dishes to wash, bathrooms to clean, clothes to fold, and piles of snow to shovel. And I may actually get it all done without checking what's up on Facebook!

Sigh....I confess I'm kinda lonely though.

Will update how it goes! ttfn!

(OOhh I should go read Winnie-the-Pooh, I love that book.)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Can't Write These Days

It has been over 2 months, but I can't seem to write these days.
Desert dry.
I could say I'm busy and distracted, which is true, but not totally true. My writing mind feels as though it's been tampered with, or the Eye of Sauron is boring into it and my brain and psyche is shrinking back in a silent scream of too-much-awareness.
It's true that my mind has been tampered with. I've had to drop a few nuts and bolts and monkey-wrenches in there to try and straighten it out, but so far it only makes a grinding sound and shoots out a few sparks, and isn't fixed.

All to make a humble apology for not posting the rest of the story chapters (see last entry if interested), or anything else, and yep I know we all go through times where we don't have a lot to say.
Ecclesiastes tirade on meaningless! meaningless! seems appropriate at the moment, oh and the vanity part, also.

Well, this is depressing.

I'll not come back on until I have something nice to say.

In the meantime, I've dug through my phone (which I am trading in this week, or next, or whenever I can drag myself to Telus) and uncovered a few poems for those of us of a poetic bent. They range from 2009 or so to the present-ish.

Feel free to comment or criticize; my skin is getting thicker. For example, "This poem is dumb. I don't get it at all! Are you crazy?" would be acceptable, along with, "I think you're a genius and must be published immediately or the world will shrivel and die for lack of art!" which is also acceptable.
Please keep in mind that the Poet (me) is not the Speaker (the voice of the poem). Or not always, anyway. Meaning it is not necessarily ME as the Speaker in the poem. 

Okay now.... let's see....what do we have here....

In dreams I walk
Not yet awake, not quite asleep.
The precipice of unreality tilts strangely.
Thoughts reveal themselves and focus,
then dim and fade.
Objects float past my vision.
I need to run, to speed quickly on,
but I’m held here by this edge.
Jagged and unruly,
Dangerous and wild,
Is the sign of sanity that I appear so mild?
Dreams that held me spellbound
have turned to air in hand,
and vertigo, my polar star
is over on its end.
Lost old souls will understand.
My time is going back and forth
across the face of hours and days.
The sands of time are quick.
I’ve propped my image up
With spoons and forks and knives,
Running fast! I will not have to hear the crash –
I’ve disappeared inside my mind.
Lonely feels sweet like coffee sugar
crystals on the tongue
walking alone in the blue space of a summer sky
watching the people on the ground.
Friends I meet here are not around.
I’ll wait, but there’s a dismal sound.

I hide behind smiling eyes, smiling mouth –
a flash of teeth, a twinkle
a poised approach.
A little speech, a set of shoulders –
swish of papers, click of heels
a dip of head.
I retreat. Feel the papery surface with
You thought there was a person here.
Warm welcoming look, touch of a real hand.
I’m sorry. She’s not in right now, but leave a message,
no doubt will be back soon,  
only it has been a long, lonely time.
Paper only lasts so long.
Merely embers warm to the hand.
Too late –
Fires burned in secret smoke and fume,
then ashes come.
I hide behind the twinkle you mistook for fire.
It’s ice.
Windswept Days
The only moment in all the space of
these windswept days that I feel
The only time I feel peace and
happiness is when
Our eyes happen to run in to each other
for a moment
A dragged out moment that stops all
the voices
And laughing, smiling faces for a
moment and I feel
The only time there is peace is when
our eyes meet
In the grey storm-cloud and it rains and
thunders but
In the glance away the still-bright sun
colors all the faces
And the painted dog chases a stick and
a spoon stirs the coffee
Loud clinks chasing away the beautiful lull
where the grey
Storm-clouds of your deep eyes breathe
kindness into my
Dried-up fractured soul. That’s the only
Good enough for now! Plus reading poems can be exhausting.
Plus I feel pathetic about them when they are here all black and white and vulnerable, so three is about all I can take.
Enjoy the day! I have a house to clean, a wife to murder, and Guilder to frame for it. I'm swamped.


Friday, September 13, 2013

Story: Chapter One

Chapter One


There once was an orphanage, set back in the hills that rolled along the base of the Cascading Mountains. Distant and far off the beaten track, there were tales of travelers who had never made it that far. Oh, they were always heard from again, it wasn’t that. But they would have a quizzical look when the journey was mentioned, and were seen to roll an eye when the destination was brought up.

Now the orphanage was not the type one imagines. Not dull white with peeling paint and grubby children hanging out of windows, nor even uniformed, clean rows of unsmiling urchins on concrete steps. Not hardly. The orphanage at the foot of the mountains was a glorious affair, castle-like, with parapets and gleaming marble floors, pillars carved with golden birds, a silver basin filled with sweet, clean water in every well-appointed room. And children, of course, everywhere! All ages, with all the colors of hair and eyes and skin children are known to come in.

Unlike their fine surroundings, though, there was not the air of aristocracy or idleness about the place. No lounging in chaises with fans and barely concealed yawns, no wiling away of senseless hours. Rather, travelers coming closer noticed the trimming of hedges, picking of fruit, painting, repairing, stacking, filling. The drawing of water, swing of a hammer. The sounds of singing come over the air between the large trees all around, and in their shade rest the young ones, being held or bandaged or whispered to by smiling older children. A sense of peace envelopes, so no matter the ordeal or the length of the journey, the traveler always soaks in the beauty while making their way to the open door. The grand front entrance stood ajar always by day, and the smells of old oak and the patina of years greeted any hands that traced its smooth carving.

Deep inside, past carpeted halls, gleaming chandeliers, vaulted ceilings and stacks of volumes in the library, fine furniture and desks, the din of murmuring voices could be heard. Around a marble table in the center room, the planning room, sat ten or so adults and older children in various poses. A stack of paper had fallen to one side, and the voices were raised. Finally, a gentleman of some twenty-eight or nine years stood and rapped on the table, hard, but when this garnered not a glance, reached into a nearby wardrobe. He pulled out a small bell, that when struck, made a sound much louder and more musical than an observer would expect. In the reluctant silence that ensued, he stated clearly, “We will get no further in this way. We must proceed in a manner that respects the lord of the house. Each one will prepare a recommendation and will be given an audience. We will adjourn for today.”

Chapter 2

Friday, September 6, 2013

Life I Love You, All is Groovy

Simon and Garfunkel live is wafting beautifully through my speakers and the poignancy is a physical ache, of memory, and my eyes keep senselessly watering. I wipe tears away and more come down.
I finally bought the album on iTunes as I haven't been able to find mine for years. By years...I mean I started listening to the tape when I was 14 in my blue bedroom downstairs, and bought the cd sometime in my early 20's.
So I think it's the lost years coming up at me out of the mist that are causing emotion.

Shadowy former self, smiling and remembering me to one who lives there. She once was a true love of mine.
*        *        * 

 My summer break from blogging was not intentional; simply enforced by no time, especially time alone. If you can write while someone is saying, "Mom. Mom. Mom.....MOM!!" every two minutes, more power to ya. Bless their sweet young souls.

In short, my year "off" from teaching has led into another year of not teaching, well, school anyway. The year had good places and rough places, and mostly I realized just how terribly tired and sick to death of everything I was. And that it takes a long time to get over that -- and you can't regulate it.
So this year I am gearing up to teach piano and voice lessons, which I have sure had a lot of myself, and have taught before, and though it's a lot of work, I am the boss of myself.

Today is Friday, after a long weekend of trying to go camping with varying levels of success...or no success if you count that both kids were sick, Dylan had to work one of the days, we had one evening together as a family, the batteries would not work so we were cold and in the dark, and I had to leave early with one of the kids and spend 3 straight hours in Hinton Emergency with no chair in the room. THAT SAID, it was a wonderful time, peaceful, with mountains all around and the smell of the camping trailer (which I adore). Also I was giddy with the sense that no one could find me there. HA hahaahahahaha!! That is the BEST feeling ever, for me. I was seriously giggling uncontrollably for awhile the first night, so happy to be free.

Everything worked out, kids are getting better, the first school week drawing to a close. Yesterday I had so much to do I was working from 7 am to 11:30 pm and dropped exhausted into bed. And five minutes later I was out on the couch playing Plants vs Zombies, because that game is addictive and should be banned in all states and provinces. :-/

This year will be much busier, as I have at least 20 students coming to my home or me driving to theirs. That will be good, because I need structure or I'll be wandering in a music, writing and reading haze without a clue, speaking to trees and butterflies and catching snowflakes on my tongue for long unknown stretches of time.

*          *          *
When I listen to Simon and Garfunkel the world sometimes seems too full, and life too long. The faces of people I've known and memories spin away and I'm left wondering why, why do we feel so much and lose so much? Why are longing and loneliness constant companions............
Sail on, silver girl, sail on by,
 your time has come to shine, all your dreams are on their way.
 See how they shine!
 Ohh if you need a friend, I'm sailing right behind.
 Like a bridge over troubled water I will ease your mind. 
When I listen to Simon and Garfunkel, the world sometimes seems so small, and life too short. The people I love and the memories of their kindness leave me wondering and breathless with the sweetness of the lives we share. And poetry and music are friends that draw colors on all the world.

Friday, July 26, 2013

And for my next film...

I would like to direct, or act in, or watch at the very least, a new film version of The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James. At long last I watched the 1996 film with a young Nicole Kidman and a malicious, balding John Malkovich. He does a great job at evilness.

The movie broke my heart, truly. But I'd like to see it done again, because there is too much art in it, and not enough simple life. And the little things that were changed were unnecessary. Kidman was spectacular; the entire cast was perfectly first rate. I couldn't believe the acting chops that were present: Christian Bale, Viggo Mortensen, Martin Donovan, Barbara Hershey, Mary-Louise Parker, Sir John Gielgud.
I was glad to see it, but like I said it was heart-breaking, and I don't use the term lightly. Harder even to read, and reading first is fairly necessary. Not reading the book first would be the difference between eating a grapefruit whole and peeling, slicing, and sprinkling sugar on one. Rather messy and frustrating versus delectable and dripping juiciness.

A modern version wouldn't work. I doubt it. The shaping factors would not be the same; the plot needs the period it is set in. And yet (which is why the novel is known as classic literature) the insights, the manipulation, the disappointment with what a rotten oyster the world turns out to be sometimes...very modern themes. The tragedy is the loss of Isabel's potential, and the loss of her life's opportunity to love and be loved. What a perfect trap is set by others when they slowly draw her in with what looks like an open door. Her marriage turns out not to be an adventure, not even an escape, but a hideous, malignant trap.

A woman today would not live in such fear, would she? Not so easily trade her dreams for cheap and lifeless baubles? She would simply laugh, or yell or scream, and run away wouldn't she? Or perhaps not? The power of Isabel's own ability to choose was the lock and the key and the cage. All in one, and one for all.

The ending of the novel leaves a reader positively gasping for air, as she returns to Rome and maybe to Osmond...? Or was it to Pansy only...I haven't read any critical literature on the subject. I really can't understand it totally. The ending of the film was rather different, and I'm not sure I liked it as much. A portrait, yes, of self-knowledge and awareness. But it was only a portrait, with no action, and it left you not gasping but simply wondering what was next. In this case brevity was certainly not the soul of wit. It was as if Polonius had a hand in it indeed...more matter with less art would serve The Portrait well.

(But I loved it! I'll watch it again. Once a week for a year? Or until some genius reinvents it?)

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Poems and Such

Lots of ideas but not a real blog post this time, just a smattering of poems that have come to me lately.
They need to be distilled perhaps but they are who they are for now.

Thanks for reading if you do; it's always good to be grounded by the sounding board of other's ideas and thoughts!

At That Age
It’s not teenagers,
But the twenty-something’s that should bear
the grimace of society.
Teens hunger and thirst, they struggle and bend,
Emotive, restless, straining toward.
20’s sit smug in pools of stagnant ambition,
Mouths open like baby birds for warmth and food and approbation
Tossing no longer jacks or colored balls but ideas back and forth
Stretched out on couches like the Enlightenment’s elite
Noshing on lattes and relevant ethics
While their parents, with aching smiles, stand beside.
Nothing for them but bland replies,
Whose backs were bent at 20 forging paths
With delicate dreams
and pocketed coins to pay the rent.

 This is (obviously) about my own introspection and selfish tendencies in my early twenties. And also about what I see around me from time to time.

Night Falling
Sometimes the moon is just right,
Over the house
A crisp crescent the cow jumped over
And the sounds of the music are just right,
Slow, steady, moody and blue
The evening sky pale through dark leaf-lace
Luminous, colorless, grey-scudded clouds
And the garden lamps glow on
The evening shower that passed
Minutes ago
Leaving drips on dim flowers
Musky in the gathering dusk
And the moon is just right,
When you look up,
The night’s soft arms are folding
‘Round colors of grey and white
It’s a good time to be alone and breathe
In the voluminous air of the night.

 This one I wrote quickly on my phone memo-pad one evening after a rain shower as I was walking into the house. The moon was perfect, and the radio still coming from the car speakers fit the mood exactly.

I’ll rent a space, where they race snow machines over high fields, and swings go up and down too high to hear the recess bell.
I’ll climb a tree in the dark, where they can’t find me and wouldn’t think to look. Or wander through the pitch black where the noise of an animal, probably wild, doesn’t scare me as much as going back.
I’ll take a walk in an odd direction, and in the space between being lost and being gone too long I’ll feel the joy of heedless breezes that come from anywhere.
I’ll climb some stairs to a grey haven, an attic room with a rectangle of window and just a bed and a wood floor.
I’ll bend to buttercups with my child self, little girl with no care too large to hold out and drop on the world.
I’ll pay my rent when it is due. In the space between I’ll hide from you.

This one also dropped out of my head in a hurry. Sometimes I like these better than the ones I tweak and puzzle over for an interminable length of time. The fast free verse stream-of-consciousness poems don't win prizes, though.



Tin taste and lead
Grey stone swallowed
And stuck
Long white hallways
End in space
Pace the miles
Drift right and left\ backward/ forward
A sneeze dies behind the nose
Burst into laughter once
Glitter in the eyes
A caked-on smile
A wait-a-while
Burnt smell and dead
Fish in the pan
Not fried
Not half alive
Print inside
On the live wire
Pulled out
Frayed, splayed
Push the whole mess off the counter.
Push      the      whole
Green, purple, and some red. Same as the dead. And guns going off all day in my head.
(Quick! Call a psychiatrist! Ha ha!) This is a strange one but I love the way it pulls the angst out of my soul. I read it now and then for catharsis.
Bye for now!


Friday, June 14, 2013

FREEDOMMM!! (Part 2)

Last week I wanted to talk about freedom, expressing my deep desire for it. This desire seems to make me different than many women I know. Rather than seeking security, routine, home fires and white picket fences, I tend to pull the other direction, feeling stifled by these (admittedly wonderful) things. Here's a short list of the more typical comforts I find a tad suffocating:

Doing the same routine every day. Please, can every day be different?
Having my home and furniture decorated and set up beautifully. Sigh. I do want this. But not that badly. If it was perfect I would change the furniture arrangement and paint something the next day.
Staying home. Well, this year I've liked it, for sure. But generally the best feeling is going somewhere, anywhere. Hitting the road.
Meal plans. I've tried, I see the benefits, and I go crazy knowing what I'm going to eat. I want daily inspiration, and a microwave that thaws meat instantaneously!!

Enough about me! The ME MONSTER! There's like a thousand "I's" in the last paragraph. So we've established the abnormality of my gypsy-like nature. Good enough.

GOD. I know Him. I believe Him. I trust His Word. (okay, ignore the "I"s for a second)

Does He want to trap me, bind me up in misery, keep me from Freedom?

I KNOW He isn't like that, but yessss.... it does feel that way at times. The life of a believer in Christ seems like an endless obligation to church programs and meetings and stuff that should be done. Plus, you can't do it grudgingly, nope, gotta have a cheerful attitude and a right spirit! The healthy ones who learn to set boundaries and do what they are able to do, cheerfully, yeah, good luck to those guys. Eyebrows raise. Heads shake. Lips, they purse. "No, don't ask so-and-so, they've got boundaries." Like it's contagious. The Lazy Disease.

So yeah, I feel like God's got it in for me through my church obligations. I can't succeed here, all the time, and the failure is haunting. I WANT to be available and be able to serve with a happy smile, but the reality is DIFFICULT. I go, but there are shrieking voices in my head, and the smile is made of paper, glue, and pink markers.

Does God want me to feel like this? Is it a kind of perpetual testing? Keep trying by fire until some gold survives? Is it a punishment? Penance for past sins? No, that's not true. I know Him well enough to know that is not His Way.

FREEDOM. I think God loves it.

Isaiah 58 is where I go again and again to be challenged and shaken up.
"Is it a fast like this which I choose, a day for a man to humble himself ?Is it for bowing one's head like a reed And for spreading out and ashes as a bed? Will you call this a fast, even an acceptable day to the Lord?
Is this not the fast which I choose,
To loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke,
And to let the oppressed go free
And break every yoke? (vs 5-6)
Not to spend our energy on looking spiritual, but to set people free.
Isaiah 61 tells of the coming Savior who is bringing freedom. And in Luke 4:17-20, the prophecy is powerfully fulfilled.
"And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written,
'The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives,
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.'
And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him."
The Pharisees and teachers of the law had decided who they thought Jesus was. Maybe you have, too. But when He shows up in your life, when you see Him, it doesn't matter anymore.
Your eyes are fixed on Him.
He came and died for freedom.
"If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." John 8:32
"It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery." Galatians 5:1
It's pretty clear...freedom is stamped all over everything God writes and does and plans for. I know one thing comes through loudly: He didn't come and die and rise again so we could be a slave to church programs.
Is it the programs' fault? Not really. The bondage is in my mind and heart. Am I really free?
James calls the "perfect law" the "law of liberty". And that if I walk in that, I will be blessed in all I do.  (1:25)
I don't think I quite have it yet. The struggle is still raw and deep, and I can't go on walking in this disconnect. Desperate for the freedom I see and yet feeling bound up and whipped like a circus performer.
If I'm not free I can't untie anyone else. I can shout at them and tell them what to do, I can bounce around in my chair, but I can't cut the bonds.
"To set free those who are oppressed."
I don't have it yet, but one thing is Really Clear, and that is...
The truly free have the ability to set others free.
THINK about that.
I want to be the one running around on the battlefield lifting up the fallen, breaking into where the captives are and setting them free. Not on my face in the mud just wishing and wishing it was all over.
So that's Freedom Part 2, "from the Christian perspective". God is very much for freedom, and I think He planted the desire in my heart. Not so I would run away from Him, but so I would have such a thudding heart that I would not be content with slavery, and would run like a paint-streaked, bloody Braveheart into the thick of the mess, yelling for freedom.
By My Spirit, says the Lord.
Yep, that pretty much sums it up.