Grasping for clarity about the matter in Ferguson…

This is the moment of truth: no one in the media is going to tell the exact, “true” story regarding Ferguson; there is always a spin or an angle or misinformation crafted toward the target audience that will deviate the story from the “whole” truth. That’s how journalism works.

Everyone needs to feel the right to be frustrated by the media, because it’s an entire bucket of red herrings. I’ve flooded my brain with enough different viewpoints streaming from social media to just want to crawl into a dark hole of frustration.

But the fact of the matter remains: a cop killed a black person.

Law enforcement should not be killing people. Killing another person is NO ONE’S job and should never be anyone’s job. This is my belief as a (developing) Christian pacifist. Law enforcement, across the board, needs a widespread change in their value system.

The fact of the matter also remains that blacks STILL experience systematic discrimination. Yes. Do. Your. Research.

Whether or not the cop acted out of self defense does not negate the fact that racism still allowed the entire event to occur.

And that should break our hearts.

The world is a long, hard day. We’ve got to start loving our neighbors if we want the hope to survive it.

If you’re looking for some more help grasping with this issue, check out this article a friend of mine shared with me: 12 things white people can do now because Ferguson. 

Impasto experiments

Last summer, I taught some private painting lessons for young adults. One of the skills I demonstrated was impasto, which is a technique that uses larger amounts of paint to create texture with its thickness. Van Gogh often used this technique.

These are a some acrylic experiment paintings I used to show examples of impasto to my students:

IMG_1088Geryon, inspired by Anne Carson’s story Autobiography of Red. Created with palette knife and brush.

IMG_5722Noontide. Memory landscape finger-painting.

IMG_1092Bunny Fantasia, created using a palette knife and brush.

There are only a few numbers I know by heart, these days

And I used to talk to you all the time.

Now I can’t tell if I’m hearing dial tones or just a busy signal.
Maybe you’re wondering the same thing. 

Do you prefer to text?
I’m better at writing my voice, anyways. Yet –

Stricken dumb as a priest, deaf as a disciple.
How I long to be a talking donkey.

Our Father, I am speechless.
Deliver us from Evil?

Deliver me from cutting off my own ears.

Painting: Rosalyn


This landscape was painted from memory with acrylic paint. My professor had challenged us to abstain from using paintbrushes, so I used my fingers and a palette knife.

Songs (for you) if you can’t sleep

Insomnia. I’ve experienced it off and on ever since I was young, for varying reasons. As an adult, it was often a partner to stress-induced anxiety. Because that’s when you really need insomnia, when you’re already in a constant state of “tired,” right? I just struggle to turn my brain off at night sometimes.

One method that I’ve developed to help myself out is listening to a specific playlist of music. Sometimes, by playing music from my iPhone near my head, I’m able to focus on what I’m listening to instead of my thoughts and essentially lull my mind to sleep.

I use a short playlist that I rearrange every now and then depending on what songs I most want to listen to, and I never put it on shuffle. Apparently, if my mind knows exactly what order the songs are going to come on, it relaxes more–I suppose it makes sense, because there’s sort of an anticipation aspect with the shuffle mode, and anticipation has no proper place in trying to fall asleep. My brain also prefers to know that the playlist is short so that the phone won’t be on for hours throughout the night. Conservative Brain. I typically start out with a song that has words, so I start to focus on the lyrics. The songs progressively become less inhabited by a voice, as well as softer in tone and slower in tempo.

I’ve used this method often enough to keep two playlists on my phone for these nightly occasions: one playlist that contains all the songs that I’ve used for falling asleep, and another that contains a short list of the ones I’m currently preferring.

So I thought that I’d share some of my favorites, in celebration of the songs that have helped me sleep and in case anyone is in need of something like this. I know I’m not the only insomniac out there.

  1. “Twinkle” by Tori Amos, Boys for Pele
  2. “Atlas Hands” by Benjamin Francis Leftwich, Last Smoke Before the Snowstorm
  3. “The Sun and the Moon” by Mae, The Everglow
  4. “This Place is a Shelter,” by Ólafur Arnalds, Living Room Songs 
  5. “Poland” by Ólafur Arnalds, Another Happy Day
  6. “Rosyln” by Bon Iver & St. Vincent, The Twilight Saga: New Moon 
  7. “The Houses of Healing” by Howard Shore, The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King – The Complete Recordings
  8. “You Belong to Me” (cover) by Jason Wade, Shrek
  9. “Come; Follow” by Great Awakening, Songs in Secret
  10. “The Bells” by From Indian Lakes, Acoustic EP
  11. “MLK” by U2, The Unforgettable Fire
  12. “Flótavik” by Sigur Rós, Med Sud Í Eryum Vid Spilum Endalaust
  13. “The Journey to Greyhavens” by Howard Shore,  The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King – The Complete Recordings
  14. “You Are My Home” by The Sleep Design, All that is not Music is Silence
  15. “The Dirt (Alpha)” by Showbread, Nervosa
  16. “Possibility” by Lykke Li, The Twilight Saga: New Moon
  17. “All Alright” by Sigur Rós, Med Sud Í Eryum Vid Spilum Endalaust
  18. “Deora Ar Mo Chroi” by Enya, A Day Without Rain

Do you have any experience with this, or have your own songs for conjuring calmness? Let me know; I’d love to check them out.