Thursday, December 18, 2008

Lord, who am I? What are my words?

I want to warn you, this blog post is coming out of a very sleep deprived rambling Brian who should yet again be studying or sleeping instead of writing whatever pops into his head. I am writing in third person...yuck, I’m really not like that, please bear with me. Tonight (this morning I should say) I felt the need to make an observation on the power of words and what they mean to me. As a writer it is my job to paint some sort of picture of reality or some revelation of truth with the most essential human tool: words. It is thought by some theorist that I can't remember right now, that thought wouldn't exist without language (convincing huh?). However, like I said in my last entry that the meaning behind words or their connotation is assigned by us and can change. Therefore words and any human language are very subjective things. They change all the time depending on our necessity. We even create new words usually through mass media and the recycling of accepted jargon in the realm of "scholastica." Point taken? Yeah I thought so, fo shizzle. Anyways, I was just being particularly existential and stuck in a post modern rut that all things, especially words are subjective, so how can we ever come to some concrete grasp of Truth or objectivity? It’s all grey these days I miss black and white. Don't worry, in all my talk I always hold that God contains all Meaning and all Truth and that these observations are merely evidence for my feeble humanity and inability to grasp anything. This in turn makes God all the more mysterious and amazing. I am supposed to be writing an essay on Dramatism (another made up word); an interpretive communication theory developed by Kenneth Burke which basically holds that life is drama and all our rhetoric and communicating is grounded in the necessity to purge ourselves of guilt and to persuade others to accept our interpretations of reality or our dramatic story (yuck, I think I am going to go read Dr. Seuss!) At any rate, Burke had a very beautiful quote that made me attempt to formulate it into my own words and this is what I came up with. I see this as a bit of a mantra working on many levels for me as a Christian an actor, writer and general artist for such a time as this.....

"A writer is a choreographer of words, who synthesizes a dance which reflects a particular interpretation or perspective of reality."

The way I see this working with my faith is that I have a story to tell. We all do. I have a view of God and a view of humanity and the world which only I can see. Nobody else can look into the perceptual lens of Brian except myself. It’s not like I am saying I have some special corner of truth and that I have it all together. I am deeply flawed like everyone. What I am saying is that even if we believe the same things, I will still see the world and God in a unique way, slightly different than you because of my combined experiences. Now, If I believe that I have come to understand truth and bits and pieces of our enormous Creator then it is my duty as a Christian to share my findings as they unfold on my road of life. As a human it is my obligation to do more than take up space. I must impact my world, all the people around me. Even you as you read these words. We are all connected. I believe it is my privilege and my calling to share the words I have come to understand in a unique way. I have a unique voice (as we all do) and the words I use to construct my life dance, will and should positively impact others and inspire them to see some revelation of truth or Truth that may be present in the movements of my language. It is my desire to encourage others through my abilities to find Truth which I think is ultimately Peace with God. I want people to understand the joy that I have even in dark times because of my faith in Jesus Christ. I believe there are infinitely creative ways to show the immense complexities of being a human through writing. There are a billion and a half ways to write about God and His relationship to us. Please understand that I hold my role as writer, storyteller, and actor no more important than any other position in life. We are all created equal. However we are all special and bring something beautiful to the tapestry of life and God's perfectly Choreographed dance of creation. We all play a different role. I am just coming to understand my part in new ways and I am excited to explore that challenge. If my words and choreographed dance of language and thoughts do nothing for you and you only see me as a fool stammering on and on, so be it. I don’t need anyone to tell me I am good or horrible. I don’t do it for that. If I didn’t have an audience I’d still act in a play. I want to experience the story and be forever changed through it. And ultimately I just want to improve and share what I learn. That’s all folks…….

Oh, goodness gracious why?! I don't think I’m done being reflective or pathetically desperate profound Brian. I need to think…..Recently it dawned on me (possibly) why I am the way that I am (in one aspect). I think my understanding and appreciation of the manipulation of language and general word play arose from a constant and inescapable environment of punning. My father, Russ Gehrlein has some of the cheesiest jokes you will ever come across (that I have come to adopt as my own). Also he probably has a pun for every situation and every sentence ever uttered or written. It’s absolutely ridiculous. However, living with the guy for twenty something years I may have heard them all. My mom and siblings will attest to this. Anyways, I was forced to understand puns and word's multiple common threads, and ironies and double meanings or else I wouldn't have been able to communicate with my parents! I would have been left out of the joke and that’s a lame feeling. It’s my dad's fault that I can't help being a total word dork. My brother and sister are similar in this way. It has manifested itself differently in all of us but its still there. That was really random but so is this post. Oh well, that's who I am and I feel God leading me to develop this part of me more and more as I grow in knowledge and faith. I have a story and stories to tell. I see the world a certain way and I have to talk about it. Yet I know that I am still in a stage of infancy in the grand scheme of things and that is okay with me. I'm only 20! I don't expect to possess all wisdom and knowledge. No one can and it’s silly to try. I don't expect to write drama like O'Neill or poetry like Whitman. Besides I suck at spelling and grammar escapes me. If not for the crutch of Microsoft Word spell check you would think I’m an idiot! Maybe so. Frankly I think I just ramble on and on. Whatever I'll still do it and see where it gets me. Thanks for chilling with me for a while. Peace out.
I will leave you with a little word-play.

Reiteration in my taste is out of fashion. I just don’t like being redundant. People should be articulate enough not to repeat themselves. Don’t you just hate hearing redundancy?


Dear God,
Calm my useless chatter and help me to rest in your peace. Help us stop thinking so much and just learn to BE. Let us find contentment in you and in the restoration you bring. Let me speak the words I find and dedicate them to you always. You are the ultimate Truth and the one True Author of all. In your name I pray, Amen.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Poem for a dreamer

Wake Up Now Dreamer

I am a dreamer dreaming dreams,
Conceiving what never was.
I wait in dreams, entranced it seems,
Between a clock-tick pause.
So lost in dreams, in things,
In hope, in morning’s rising sun.
So lost in dreams, so much it seems,
My now is all but done.
For I have spent my past in dreams
And hope for night to end.
Moment fleeting now—tis passed.
For time, she does not bend.
Alas, for soon, my past is now,
And now my now has passed.
Now is gone. Sweet dreamers remember that
Time slips by too fast.
Cruel time has killed my dreams for good,
And dreaming killed my now.
Too late to dream, too late to live.
No dreaming should you vow.
If in today you rest,
Save your dreaming for tomorrow.
You’ll have a dream, you’ll have a now,
You’ll live without my sorrow.
I know tomorrow killed today.
My dream, she never came.
Wake up from dreams, arise to now.
To dream’s a foolish game!

I wrote this poem after I spent a great deal of time literally doing nothing dreaming about everything...

I don't believe that meaning can inherently be in a poem or a literary text. Sure words have meaning but they only mean what we want them to mean. The meaning is in us. Words and poems change as we do. Emphasis on interpretation. Without being redundant I'm not a fan of New Criticism in literature theory. Reader response is my piece. This poem or any poem I post on this blog will mean what you think or need it to mean. You bring the meaning and I'll bring the words.

I find myself in the future far too often and quite frankly I’m sick of missing my now. I suppose you could apply this to the Christian faith. Dreaming about heaven isn't going to get you there any faster. We have work to do and we aren't even guaranteed the rest of the day. All we have is now. So stop reading this and kiss your loved ones, do what is most important, get some work done and don't wait till tomorrow. Stop all that dreaming or you may have no time left to dream.

Guilty accusation....instead of writing this blog or contemplating the delicate balance between dreaming and living I will go do some studying...

I guess I'll just use this blog to write reflections, poems, and stories about everything I think is meaningful. Thanks for reading.