Saturday, December 18, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
I had a dream one night that I turned into a star. I spent my time glowing and whirling in space, dancing like I hadn’t danced since I was six, when I had my special twirling skirts. They had to go through a rigorous test of twirling ability in the stores before I gave my mom the nod of approval to purchase. The hours went by full of giggling and laughing with the other stars by my side. There were hundreds of us, no thousands. And we all had the most glorious time. Telling stories of our travels, our past lives, the things we’d seen from our special view up in the highest heights of the heavens. And yet time stood still as we twirled, since we weren’t depending on the sun to tell us when to begin and when to go to bed. We could spin and twirl and giggle and play as much as we should desire. A few of the rambunctious stars would have races and go whizzing by leaving nothing but the merest trail behind. The moon read us poems and the sun told us jokes. And oh! The things I saw from up there!
I saw the colors the Earth turns with the beginning of each new day and I saw the sky paintings from the moon when he would come and take his place on the stage. I saw the shapes the clouds would make, playing their own version of charades with us stars. And I could see the dolphins dancing, too. We in our heavens, they in their oceans. Playing with hearts light as a feather.
But the heartache I saw! Not in the heavens. Somehow the stars all get along. There is plenty of space there, but no one need ever be lonely or alone. There are always friends and somehow distance is very different there. There are no houses or walls. No fences or barriers. The suns arms can reach wherever they should pleace and there is no disappointment or need for alarm. There are no possessions and no need for possessions. No the heavens have no heartache, but for the heartache they see the humans make. The heartache they can see down on the Earth. There is noise made from construction as people seek to close themselves off from each other. And there is noise from the destruction as people seek to be alone with those who are alike. And there is so much darkness. The sun cannot go wherever it chooses, but only wherever people allow it. And there are clouds of black and brown, carrying in them not the healing and rejuvenating powers of rain and water, but the hurtful powers of carcinogens and pollution. If they do not seek to destroy others, they seek to destroy themselves. Power is all people want. Power over others. Power against others. Power over themselves. There is no freedom. There is so little joy. So many tears. So much crying. So little laughing. The sun doesn’t tell them jokes. She used to. People used to understand the words of the sun. They would laugh and play together until it was time for her to go away and for the moon to read them poetry. But now they don’t understand the sun’s words when she speaks. They sound like sirens and burn like a fire. People now must seek to protect themselves from her embrace, they do not remember the days when her touch was gentle and welcome. And the moon’s poems cannot be heard either. Every night he would write for them a new poem, about magic and hope. But now they only hear rumors and confusion and witchcraft. He still reads to them, but his voice grows softer and more feebler each night they don’t listen. So he reads to us. We hear him. And we like him, too. And he likes us.
And together we all laugh and dance and speak. There is no heartache up here. Even when a fellow star has lived and spun for a long long time, and he gets tired and finds he can spin no more, we do not cry and we do not mourn. We continue spinning. And so does he. He dons his finest glow and spins his fastest spin until he cannot hold himself together anymore and his joy in his life causes him to explode in beauty. Sometimes his explosion is so big, for he has had so much joy that it consumes that which is all around in. People are afraid of death. They are afraid to stop spinning. But it is not a bad thing. It is a joyous occasion. To go out glowing and bright and beautiful and then to rest, knowing one has spun every spin one has to spin. And to be consumed by someone else’s explosion is not scary. You have merely come to the end of your own spins as well. You will both get to rest together.
People don’t understand anymore. I think they used to understand. A long, long time ago. They would walk together and laugh and they would spin and dance, too. And they would tell jokes with the sun and read poetry with the moon and they would sing songs with the wind and they would dance with the rain and paint with the flowers. But they don’t do any of that anymore. Not very many of them, do, anyway. Sometimes a person will begin to understand. Sometimes a person comes along who hears the jokes of the sun and understands. Or hears the poetry of the moon and is consoled. Sometimes a person comes along who remembers what it used to be like. And when that happens, the stars spin a little faster and glow a little brighter and the sun’s jokes are a little funnier and the moon’s poetry a little deeper.
That night I was a star made me see so much. But soon the sun reminded me that I was not born to be a star. But that didn’t mean I wasn’t allowed to spin. In my own way, in my own space, in my own world. So I waved goodbye to my friends the spinning stars, and I told the sun one last joke and the moon read me one last poem and I returned to my bed, where I awoke the next morning and started my day with my very best twirling skirt.
Monday, November 1, 2010
“The Morning after the Deluge” Joseph Mallord William Turner
The stern arms of the sun had reached the Earth, but one wouldn’t know for all the dust remaining in the air – suspended by some force made visible by those particles it now held firmly in place, preventing a clear image of anything from being formed.
I suppose we should have expected this sort of reaction. He had said we would die. This must be death, this lack of clarity. Nothing can be seen, everything seems to be a trick of the eye. Nothing can be heard, all is silent, and it is deafening. Nothing can be felt, except the utter loneliness. There is no air to breath. Only dust. Only brown.
Madness swirls around me, closing in, threatening the death I seem to have survived. But only just barely.
The funny thing is, just before this all happened – this explosion, this collapse – everything had actually become so very clear. I knew things I had never known before. I knew black. And I knew white. Now I seem to only know brown. I knew there was such a thing as choice. And that with choice came a right and a wrong. There was a choice I should make. And there was a choice I should not make. But I only knew this by making the choice I should not have made. Funny isn’t it? Only I’m not laughing. No one is laughing. There is no one left to laugh. But there were only three of us to begin with. Or were there four? Whatever the answer, now there is only me. And maybe Her. I hope there is still Her. It would be hard to go back to being just me again. Jackasses make terrible company. But I suppose they’re better than nothing. Where is she? Could she have died, too? Died the way I have? Or is she gone? Forever. Further and deeper than I can imagine because the fault was hers? She was the first to choose. She was the first to listen to that voice. To that fourth. To that uninvited guest. She was the first to see. To know. To feel. To die.
But I was her caretaker. I was her guardian. I let her out of my sight. I let her go too far. I let her go by herself. But was I to keep her by my side all the time? There was so much she wanted to know. That she wanted to know for herself. That I couldn’t teach her nearly as well as she could learn on her own. Should I have chained her to me? Denied her the knowledge? Now there is no knowledge denied to us. And this knowledge has become our chains. Our chains to the Earth. To the dirt.
I am chained to the dirt now. I shall depend on it. I shall offer it all of myself. And if it finds me worthy, it shall reward me. I will sow the seeds of my soul. Of my being. And I will reap the harvest of my survival. My existence.
And I will know what it means to hurt. And I will know what these muscles are for. And I will know what it means to hunger.
And I will know what it means to rest. And I will know what these muscles were made for. And I will know what it means to be satisfied … for a time.
The dust will settle. The world will not always be brown. Not forever. The sun will win the war. All shall be made clear again. Nothing has really changed. And nothing will ever be the same again, but it will be restored.
I will find her. And we will start anew. Both of us this time. Together. No longer alone, but one. We two will be one. We two will go forth from this moment and we two will never look back to what was. Because what was can never be again, but it must be. Everything is being remade every day. And it always will be. We two will never be the same, but we will always be we two.
From here we go on. There will be danger around every corner. There will be confusion and uncertainty. It will be exactly the opposite of what we were seeking and exactly what we asked for. We will know the difference between Good and Evil. But we will know it only because we once had Good and we know have only Evil. But it is something. And I suppose something is better than nothing.
We now walk a dangerous rope, and the net has been removed. Every day we must step very carefully or we risk losing the little we do have. But every day that we succeed will be cause for great celebration. But the fear will exhaust us. The grand celebration we will have planned will look very much like surrender to the evening sun and her sister stars. And in that surrender we shall remember what we once had and we shall feebly hope to have it once again before our eyes close.
And should they be opened anew, we two will once again walk, and ask, and seek, and work. We will talk and eat and cry and maybe laugh. We will fear. And we will learn. And we will love. For that’s all we have left now. We two. I will have her. She will have me. And we have we. And that’s how it will have to be. We have never been here before, but we will come to know this place as home. A modest, imperfect, passable place. A mere shadow of what was and we hope will be again. But if it’s not, we’ll make of it what we can. After all is said and done, perhaps the end really is only the beginning. I will wipe the dust from my eyes and step forward into the world that remains.
Monday, October 25, 2010
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Raindrops on roses
And whiskers on kittens
Brown copper kettles
And warm woolen mittens
You know that song from The Sound of Music. The famous one that has somehow become associated with Christmas, even though the only mention of anything remotely related to that holiday is the mention of brown paper packages tied up with strings. I was thinking about that song today and it got me to thinking about my own favorite things. Those things in the song are all nice, very well and good. But mostly not my favorite things, if I were to have to name them. So let’s go. Let’s name our favorite things. I’ll name mine, you name yours.
Pictures of friends
That spot right in the middle of a man’s chest where your head fits perfectly
Hugs that demand all of your soul
Baking cookies for friends … and strangers
Reminding someone that Life really is Beautiful
Dancing to make people laugh
Singing really really loud
Gifts made by friends
The weighty presence of a loved one right next to you
Laughing with someone until you cry or it hurts
That pair of jeans that makes you feel good no matter what
Black & White cookies
These are a few of my favorite things.
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Friday, September 24, 2010
Attractive British customer comes into Starbucks.
Orders Earl Grey tea.
Barista makes Earl Grey tea.
Barista falls for Attractive British customer.
Attractive British customer continues a pattern of Earl Grey teas from Starbucks.
Barista makes Earl Grey tea.
Barista falls for Attractive British customer.
Attractive British customer does not come into Starbucks at normal time.
Barista tries not to look for him.
Attractive British customer comes into Starbucks later than normal.
Barista is relieved.
Attractive British customer congratulates Barista on making it to Friday.
Barista's mind overheats and blows a fuse.
Barista stumbles over incoherent word fragments.
Barista attempts small talk.
Attractive British customer receives Earl Grey tea.
Attractive British customer walks away.
Barista learns Attractive British customer is to return to homeland that very day.
Barista is heartbroken.
Barista replays the scene for the entire day.
Barista also remembers a sighting of Attractive British customer hesitating at the door to Starbucks the previous day.
Attractive British customer decided not to come in a second time.
Barista creates following scenario in mind:
Attractive British customer knew he was leaving today.
Attractive British customer was going to tell me something yesterday, but decided against it ... line too long.
Attractive British customer came in later than normal on last day.
Attractive British customer seemed disappointed when leaving Barista's register.
Attractive British customer returned to Starbucks on last day, but Barista was already gone.
Attractive British customer must have come in later than normal to try to have conversation with Barista, maybe line would be shorter, less busy, more time to talk.
Attractive British customer was disappointed when leaving Barista's register because no time to talk was had.
Attractive British customer made second attempt to say goodbye.
Attractive British customer was in love with Barista.
Barista is simultaneously despondent and encouraged/happy/relieved.
No joke. That's what I thought today. The past three weeks of my life have led up to today ... the day I should've confessed my undying love for HB (Hot Brit ... whose real name is David). And now, I'll never get the chance.
So, Casey. I'd like to make a long-distance dedication to the love of my life, David from England who worked at the Cleveland Clinic for a short time ... but long enough to win my heart. David, if you're out there listening, come back to Cleveland. To see you in line was what I came into work for, what I waited for every shift, and the chance that you might come in a second time kept me happy and hoping for the rest of my six hours. I promise I'm not a freak. Awkward, yes. Freak, no. You'd like me if we ever got the chance to talk about more than looking forward to Friday. Maybe even a lot.
How Will He Find Me?
If I don't stand out like a star among the moons
If I am always late and he always backs away too soon
I walk the world with a skin so thin
I can wear no adequate protection
Everything comes crashing in.
If I'm too wide open for this place
But not enough for him to recognize my face
How will he find me
With no one's arms to gather me together?
How will he find me?
Only held by gravity, faded with uncertainty
No longer young and not that pretty
How will he ever find me?
It never seems to matter, the tears I cry.
There's a well inside of me that never runs dry
From being born I guess, and born in life until we die.
The music and the hope for love keep me alive
Still I wonder, how will he find me?
And what shall I do with a drunken heart
With goggle eyes and the troubling hunger
Reaching forward to trick mirror men
Leaning out and in again.
If love is a game how can it be creation?
And if I'm wasting my time
How will he find me?
Thursday, September 16, 2010
A few days after finishing, I had a revelation about revelations.
At this point in my life, if I were going to leave one piece of information to my offspring, here's what I'd say:
The revelation that Life really is beautiful will often strike you at seemingly random times; treasure those moments; take even just a brief second to revel in them before returning to your regular scheduled programming. It will seem almost as if everything has suddenly become very vivid color - almost glossy - where before it has been flat and matte. And it will strike for a very short period of time, and then the world will return to being matte. It doesn't make life any less beautiful. And you will try to hold on to those vivid moments, especially when the world becomes grayscale, but don't waste too much time or energy trying to hard, because you won't succeed as well as you'd like to. But you should still try. And when the world does become grey, try to remember the vivid colors so as not to lose one second of your Life on this Earth.
It's not infinitely practical, but in my life, right now, I find it exceedingly important to remember.
What would you say?
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Friday, September 10, 2010
But I went to the party anyway. Because I wanted to be around people. And it was the right choice. It was very very good. But now I'm finally home, and after opening my mouth when I really should've kept it shut, I have nothing to say because I didn't go home and "open my mouth" and instead I kept it shut.
But basically, I live in Cleveland now. And I have been fighting this truth for a long time. I knew it was coming, but still, I tried to deny it. And I knew that eventually I was going to like it, but I tried to deny that, too. The good news is, it's been a week and I already like Cleveland. We had a rocky start, but nothing actually all that bad. Just exhausting.
Then tonight I went to a free dance showcase and there is just some plain old incredible stuff going on dance-wise in Cleveland. No joke. I was hugely hugely impressed.
Especially with Inlet Dance, which had been recommended to me and for which one of my new coworkers dances. Small world, eh?
The showcase in general, though. Top notch! I basically just smiled from ear to ear and actually found myself teary-eyed at all the beauty I saw.
It reminded me of the book I finished reading right before I went: Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. It's the IAM Reader's Guild book of the month this month. Just as I was leaving the house to go to the showcase, I underlined this line:
I think there must also be a prevenient courage that allows us to be brave -- that is, to acknowledge that there is more beauty than our eyes can bear, that precious things have been put into our hands and to do nothing to honor them is to do great harm.(The bold and italics are mine.)
It also makes me think of the Ingrid Michaelson song "Are We There Yet?" My favorite point in the song is where she gets to the line "This is too much for me to hold."
I'm currently really enthralled with the idea of "too much." This idea that there is so much beyond what we see and experience, and that it is to much to ever experience it all. And that should be frustrating, but instead I find it invigorating and encouraging. And I know there's too much, but I can't seem to get enough, but it's okay, because I know there's more. And the idea of putting for effort into even just trying to tap into that which lies beyond.
And to a certain extent, I think we're created for that. We're created to desire more than what we know or even can know. Because we're created to desire God. And there's so much more to Him, because He is everything. Things thought of and things forgotten.
I'm rambling again. I should not be allowed to communicate or attempt to communicate after 10 p.m. I normally say 11. But truthfully, I think it's 10. Seriously. My brain starts shutting down at 10. And I should probably respect this pattern and allow my body to try to follow suit. It'd probably thank me for it.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Friday, August 20, 2010
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
- Edmund Burke
Perhaps my life may be more of a set of short stories than a full-blown novel. So here's a little bit about the story I'm currently writing.
The world is getting smaller and smaller and as the world shrinks, or flattens as some economists refer to it, more and more people, especially of my generation, are able to experience more and varied cultures. I have had the opportunity to travel a great deal, thanks to the open minds (and wallets) of my parents, and a great deal to my profession. I am a professional musician and I am learning every day just how many doors music, high-quality music, can open that are generally closed ... like China.
Several of my friends and I have started and are in the midst of birthing an international conductorless chamber orchestra called The Halo Ensemble. Basically, young people who are classically-trained musicians from around the world (i.e. Switzerland, Finland, Scotland, Canada, U.S.A., & Austria) are gathering together and playing concerts without a conductor. For those of us that are in the Church, it can seem like a very shallow calling compared to say ... full-time missionaries in Africa, but we feel our souls very much alive in this venture. And souls which are alive are the best flame to enlighten other souls through the Spirit.
Last summer our story setting was in Finland, among other places - a country plagued by apathy. We saw and heard through our concerts souls which had been shrouded by clouds of darkness, doubt, apathy, disbelief having the veils lifted and beginning to dare to feel the full weight of God's love on them. This summer we have returned to Finland to see how those hearts are faring, and to see what else God will do for them in our playing.
Our story is one of magic and mundane. We are nothing particularly special as individuals and we are doing nothing particularly extraordinary. I am reminded of Mother Theresa saying
But as a founding member of the ensemble, I know we have a great story of God's Grace to tell, in and through our ensemble. I love thinking about what other stories I could hear and tell at a conference like Donald Miller's. Being able to share that unadulterated time with other motivated people filled with extraordinary love, hearing their stories, sharing the stories of the Halo Ensemble, seeing how our stories overlap or how we can speak into each other's stories ... I can't really fathom what would come of it, but I imagine marvelous things. To hear Don's stories of starting and sticking with The Mentoring Project, can encourage and direct the path of this story I'm in now.
In Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, she says
Monday, August 9, 2010
-- my move to Cleveland
-- Donald Miller's book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
-- Commonway church's sermon series on story
And I'm beginning to come to a point where I can see all three of these things overlapping, as so many things in life are want to do, right?
So here's what I'm starting to think:
-- If I am the protagonist in my own story (as The Holiday points out)
-- And the elements that make a good story make a good life
-- And that one of the elements of a good story is character: character development, strong character and a character who wants something, worthy of wanting and obtaining through conflict
-- And if one of the reasons I'm moving to Cleveland is because my protagonist (me) has not been going down a path leading to the character she (I) wants to be and it would be foolish to think the other elements, like setting, could stay the same but the character would develop differently. I mean, that's counter to the laws of physics and nature, right?
-- Then perhaps now is one of those points of a story where something changes in the story; perhaps now is the time to tell a different story or take my current story to a different depth or change my perspective
So how do I do this? Or what will this look like?
That's sort of what's been consuming my thoughts these days and here are a couple of really practical small steps:
-- attend Donald Miller's seminar in Portland about living a story worth telling
-- take a few classes to work towards a M.A. in English (Creative Writing) at Cleveland State University, taking about one class a semester starting after the New Year
Of course, the seminar is really expensive and the classes are not so cheap either, I guess ... school never is. Sooo, you may have to sit through a few trial blog posts, but I'm going to enter a competition to just win a trip to the seminar. Seems cheap enough to me, right?
On another note, or two:
I had a delightful day sitting with one of my coworkers and talking about music
And my next musical recommendation is: LCD Soundsystem. They're pretty silly, but brought me a lot of joy on my bike ride today.
Also: I just saw a Mercedes-Benz commercial that sounded like Arcade Fire takes on Beethoven Symphony No. 9
Thursday, August 5, 2010
There is always a war going on within me, I think. Paul talks about in in Scripture, the war between the flesh and the Spirit. But this week, it has been the war without. As in outside of me. I have done nothing but kill things, most notably: ants, spiders and crickets.
On Monday I started to eat a sandwich and it tasted like crap, so I figured the meat was probably old and I shouldn't eat it anymore, so I threw it away. I thought it was an awesome idea. So did all of the ants which heard the trumpet call of the stale bread hitting the trash bag. Tuesday I went to throw something away and opened the door under the sink to do so, only to discover the area under my sink was the Ritz-Carlton for ants. Dozens of ants had moved in and made themselves quite at home. The darkness was alive. With two antennae and six legs each. Things in large numbers really really freak me out. It doesn't matter how small the individual things are, if there are lots of them, or if I keep finding them like they won't die, I panic. This is one of my irrational fears. So I panicked. I didn't know what to do! I closed the door and sat down and tried to take deep breaths and cursed myself for not putting the trash bag in the outside trash can.
Then I went to the laundry room, took out the Windex and put on some shoes. Then with a wild war cry, I opened the door under the sink and yanked out the trash can, proceeding to spill its contents and residents onto the kitchen floor. Badly done! I quickly tried to stand the trash can back up, using only my fingernails, to give the ants as little surface area as possible over which to climb and take possession of the rest of my body. I proceeded to spray Windex everywhere. Anytime I saw anything moving or a little bit black, I sprayed it. Black lint? Sprayed. Brown piece of paper moving with the wind of the fan? Sprayed. Ant? Sprayed. My theory was this would kill the ants. And in fact, enough Windex does kill an ant. But mostly it stuns them. It was good enough. If I could stun them long enough to a. stomp them to death or b. throw the can into the trash outside, I would consider myself successful.
And successful I was, but not without feeling simultaneously victorious and shameful for just re-enacting moment by moment a scene from some chick flick romantic comedy bound to come out in the next fifteen years.
Yesterday, I got ready to climb into my shower and found myself about to share the space and peaceful moments of rejuvination with a large black spider. Most spiders I don't mind and I have been known to leave a spider alone when discovering him in that very same shower. I'm lazy and try to be considerate. But spiders this big and this black cannot be ignored. I tried to scare him off into disappearance with a few sprays of water - out of sight, out of mind. But the bugger (pardon the pun) just wouldn't have it. Gallant thing he was. I tried to drown him by just tossing handfuls of water in his direction. A few direct hits, and several times I swore I had won, and just as I breathed that sigh of relief and turned the water off, he sprang back to life, all eight of his limbs reanimated and began scrambling around again ... but not to hide, to reassert his dominion in that white porcelain land. That was it. The gauntlet had really been thrown now. No mercy. Finally I turned the tub on full blast and began to fill it like I was going to take a bath. He stopped struggling and seemed to curl into the ball I had seen so many times in the last three minutes. I wasn't falling for that trick again. I let it fill a little further, probably until it was an inch of water. Then I was nearly satisfied. I turned off the water and began to let it drain out. And I towered over that land that once was his and watched that king literally circle the drain. He was so big, he couldn't fit through the holes in the drain. So I pounded him with the shower a few times and broke his body into pieces that could fit. No funeral for him. A massacre. Without respect.
Then this morning at Starbucks, I reenacted the great Bathtub Battle of 2010 in the sinks and around the counters of the store, but in smaller scale. I had to have killed half a dozen crickets. They just kept coming back! Those suckers are freaking invincible! I used to love crickets because they're musical and rub their legs together to sing little songs, like a tiny street corner violinist. But not after today. Today their souls are as dark as their skin and I have waged a righteous war on their whole civilization. They will be destroyed.
No. I am not a good person. I am a ruthless insect killer. Beware. If you're a bug.
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Now that that's out of the way, shall we continue?
What is this business of growing exactly?
I feel like I can say I've grown significantly over the past year. Not physically. Sadly, that phase is over and done. But emotionally, spiritually, personally. I feel more stable. More well-rounded. More ... boring? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe I just have a different definition of fun now. We speak of growing and growth and having grown, but what exactly does that mean? How do we do it? How can we measure it?
How do I know I've grown? Beats me! I haven't the foggiest idea. I haven't necessarily done anything to encourage growth. I haven't stood outside in sunshine and rain alternately. I haven't taken any extra spiritual vitamins. I don't know that my decision-making has necessarily changed all that much, but I do think that decisions are indicative of the growing process. But what about decision-making indicated having grown? The speed with which you make them? The accuracy? The appropriate weight, whatever that means?
What else indicates growth? How well you sleep? How much you read Scripture? How many people like you? How often or seldom you offend people?
What is this thing called growth? And how do we access it? Should we even access it?
Just something I was thinking about at work tonight.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Monday, July 5, 2010
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Monday, May 24, 2010
Mary-Ann Kirby’s book I Am Hutterite is an awkward but occasionally endearing look into a community most have never even heard of, much less know anything about. I was definitely among the ignorant prior to reading the book, and anyone I’ve talked to since has also been in that category. The Hutterites are a community of exiles from Europe/Russia to the United States and Canada in the late eighteenth-centry. Though not a completely isolated commune, the Hutterites pride themselves on a distance from worldly ways and with an affinity for hard work, routine, structure and community. Kirby’s first-hand knowledge of the life of Hutterite colonies is a treat for readers and the authenticity of what she has to share is clear. Sometimes, however, that authenticity also gets in the way of the delivery. The narrative is generally dry and matter-of-fact and frequently boring. But there are enough touches of humor and sparks of brilliance that make the book feel less like a waste-of-time and more like an education. The book varies in tone from a young girl’s diary to a light history book to a language lesson as Kirby inserts Hutterisch (the language of the Hutterites, a variation on high German) with inconsistent and awkward English translations. She does, however, include a lexicon in the back of the book. Despite its faults, it is still an honest and unique look at a way of life vastly foreign to the majority of the Western world. I am not entirely sorry I read it and I would recommend it to a friend interested in this sort of writing.