All Documentaries are Liars (as are all historians, too)

February 12, 2016 § Leave a comment

I hate documentaries. In fact, I’m somewhat morally opposed to them.

You see, a documentary is one perspective, one story, told in a very moving, dramatic, and persuasive manner. It’s one side of a debate without an opponent. There are images, music, and powerful language to sweep you up into a story. A tale. It demands your belief and polarizes the story.

And all of this is fine if, like a political debate, the documentary is merely for your entertainment.

I suppose there are two types of documentaries. Probably more, but I studied history, not film. (With the delightful exception of a science fiction film class.)

One kind of documentary tells a story.

The other kind of documentary tells a story.

Ha! What I mean is, one’s a narrative and one’s persuasive. Persuasive documentaries are the ones that really get my hackles up. They present a story and pretend it’s fact. Not cool! They have the option to omit important facts and considerations. They can cite studies but don’t have to tell you how those studies performed in peer reviews.

Now, the narrative kind of documentary is more tolerable to me, but it can be sneaky. It’s also a story, presented as fact. It’s just not overtly trying to form your mindset. And that’s where they get you, because you’re not listening with guarded ears.

It’s kind of like history, actually!

I mean, when you read a history book – a secondary source, if you will – you expect to trust it. But you shouldn’t! Historians write history, like literally write history. History is whatever they want it to be. Fortunately, there are checks and balances and peer reviews, but there’s a reason the world history you learn in American schools is different from the world history you learn in, say, Chinese schools.


Why am I dogging on my favorite subject? (History, not politics.) Well, I believe that a good historian is always doubtful, always critical, always aware that everything (and I do mean everything) is subjective. My undergraduate studies, and my critically-thinking parents, and even my graduate studies, taught me to view information with a doubtful eye (a grain of salt, if you will). To quote my current favorite show, the truth is out there. It just might be between the lines or on the cutting room floor or buried under a pile of s***.

P.S. I absolutely loved the documentary Encounters at the End of the World. Quirky and unequivocally beautiful – it’s the only documentary I suggest you watch. 

The Book Thief: An Honest Review

February 11, 2016 § 9 Comments

Remember back in 2015 when I resolved to read four books in the month of July?

Right. So. Here’s the review on the fourth book. I read it in July, I promise.

I just had to let the words ferment.

* * * ANNOUNCEMENT * * *

The Book Thief is
One of the best books I’ve ever read

* * * RESOLVED * * *

The Blogger hopes to someday be as good a writer
As the Author,
Whose words land like punches
And chimes.

* * * DISCOVERED * * *

The freedom to write
In whatever way you damn well please
And screw convention.

* * * CONFESSION * * *

I cried.
A lot.
It was worth it.


You Should Read This Blog

February 9, 2016 § 7 Comments

My friend Amber moved with her husband to an under-resourced and sometimes dangerous part of our city. They’ve lived there a few years now, and she’s started writing about it on her WordPress blog, rose & sword.

Listen, I’m not just plugging her blog because I love her and she’s one of my best friends. She sees into things, and she’s giving you the opportunity to see our city – this city I love – through her eyes.

Her blog is thoughtful




An excerpt:

“She wears big sunglasses. She wears ill-fitting clothes. She is always tired. She is always silent. And she is always with him.

Are you paying attention?

He orders her food. He pays with a $100 bill, among many in his wallet.

Do you notice the details?”

She’s also an artist.

Do yourself a favor and click.

8 Things Unorganized People Do

February 8, 2016 § 2 Comments

How do they do it? How are unorganized people so, well, unorganized? With time and extensive research, I’ve compiled the following 8 habits of highly unorganized people.

Unorganized people:

  1. Pursue every idea
    Unorganized people don’t let the task at hand prevent them from pursusing the idea that just popped up in their head. They let the knowledge and seeming urgency of what they’re currently doing slip quietly out the back of their heads as they direct their creativity and energies to the Next Cool Thing.
  2. Use multiple systems
    Unorganized people are not limited to one system of organization or planning. They might use Google calendar, AND a date book, AND sticky notes, AND a memo pad, AND the back of that Wal-Mart reciept. This way, every system gets tried. From there, it’s survival of the fittest. Or the most visible.
  3. Are open to change everything at the last minute
    Unorganized people are some of the most flexible people you will ever meet. How do they do it? Well, for one, they might be looking at their date book and think they’re free, when their Google calendar has an appointment scheduled. But really, unorganized people are just available at heart. They don’t mind postponing duties for the sake of a friend, an adventure, or a night alone with a book.
  4. Overhaul their lives
    Things are bound to pile up – tupperware in the back of the cabinet, socks under the bed, unsent thank-you cards in a desk drawer. For this reason, unorganized people are brilliant at “spring cleaning.” All they need is a day, maybe a weekend, and their whole house will be spotless, bags of useless stuff out the door, everything cleverly re-organized. For at least a week. Repeat six months from now.
  5. Don’t let stuff rule their lives
    Expired marinara in the fridge? Pantry overflowing with plastic grocery bags that you just might need? Books perilously towered on a desk? WHO CARES? Unorganized people don’t.giphy
  6. Go with their gut
    Should I keep this receipt? Unorganized people don’t agonize over these kinds of decisions. They just do. (Or do not.)
  7. Think outside the box
    Is it a glove compartment, or a receipt receptacle? Why can’t earrings hang out in the cupholder for a while? Who says you have to keep the trunk of your car empty? It’s great for when you’re short on storage – store extra jackets, books, water bottles, anything! For an unorganized person, any object or space can have any function they want it to.
  8. Live in the moment
    If all of these hallmarks of an unorganized person could be summed up in one overarching maxim, it’s this: they live in the moment. They aren’t tied to plans, systems, obligations, or the physical world. They might want to be, or at least think the want to be, but the blissful truth is unorganized people are blessedly free, free to jump on the next idea, free to drop everything for a friend, free to stumble on unexpected adventures.

Do you wish you could be so unorganized? Baby steps, my friend. Try this: Don’t write something down. Throw your socks on the floor. Leave clean laundry in the dryer. It’s possible: with time, you too can become unorganized!

How Homeschooling ruined my life

February 6, 2016 § 11 Comments

I was home-schooled as a child and it totally ruined me.

Here’s why.

As a home schooler, I learned that I only had to work for as long as it took me to do my work.

So I became fast and efficient. I rarely had to do schoolwork for long hours.

(But now I work from 8:30-5:00.)

As a home schooler, my classroom was everywhere. It was in the dining room, on the porch swing, at the natural history museum, in the back yard, at Grandma’s house.

So my days were full of options and variety.

(But now I go to an office every day.)

Since school could be done anytime, so could everything else – playdates with friends, errands, volunteering, vacations.

So I became flexible, and thought flexible was the natural order of things.

(But the world runs on static order.)

If I was sick, I could stay in bed and rest until I was better.

So I believed that was what everyone did – and should do.

(But people go to work sick and expect you to do the same.)

I had a LOT of free time (see aforementioned efficiency), which I spent daydreaming, reading, writing stories, drawing, playing pretend, building forts, hiking, gardening,

So I learned life should be filled with creative and voluntary activities.

(But in real life you don’t have time for that.)

In addition to socializing with my own age group and younger, I socialized with adults all the way up to my 85-year-old great-grandmother.

So my opinions and intelligence were regarded as valid, even as a child.

(But in the real world respect demands age.)

I didn’t have to do things the normal way – and often couldn’t.

So I made my own way and thought outside the box.

(But people want you to do things the way they’ve always been done.)

Yes, home-schooling absolutely ruined my life. And someday, I hope to ruin my children’s lives, too.

The Missing Gospel

February 5, 2016 § 1 Comment

I think you might be missing half the Gospel.

Maybe you’re not – but I was, for a long time. I thought this was the Gospel: Jesus died to save me from my sins and now I will go to Heaven when I die. Woo-hoo, The End.

I stumbled around in life, because that version of the Gospel is woefully lacking. It’s not untrue, it’s just not the whole story. Not the Whole Gospel.

Let’s try to get the big picture:

I am broken

God walked the Earth as a man/God

He surrendered himself (which I could never do)

And died (which he didn’t deserve)

And broke the bonds of death (because he was God)

By rising from the dead.

In doing this, he took my shame and guilt upon himself

And killed it dead.

He loved me always

He fixed my brokenness

He healed my sickly heart

Restored me to right relationship with God.


(here it comes, that other half)

I could know God

Love God

Love others

And live in the reality of the Kingdom of God.

Which is:

Love and

Healing and


Wiping away every tear

Binding up the broken-hearted

And proclaiming liberty to the captives.

Not tolerating injustice

Not living for comfort

But living for the Kingdom.

So if you, like me, have been believing half a Gospel: welcome. Welcome to the Kingdom.

Interior Creativity

February 2, 2016 § Leave a comment

My fingers are dry as I hover over the keyboard, staring at the white tundra of an empty “New Post” page. No ideas. I HAVE NO IDEAS. No – that’s not quite true. I feel creative. I feel things moving, changing, forming in my mind. But they’re mind-things, not world-things. I am the clay being molded, this time. All of my energy, all of my creativity, is currently occupied interiorly. Thus I have no ideas for words on a page – or lines, or notes in a song.

Poor blog sits fallow. NaNoWriMo draft unedited. Piano gathers dust. Pencils in a drawer. But no creativity is metastasizing unused here, no ma’am, it’s alive, you just can’t see it. This art is not for popular consumption. Though perhaps, in time, you may feel the brush of the wind it creates.



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