July 26, 2004

extemporaneous ramblings

a tangle of late-night write-as-fast-as-you-think scribblings

A summer evening of 2002. A car door slams shut. I walk toward the house, weary. 21-year-olds are supposed to thrive on the early morning hours. 2 AM is when we shine. My aching frame confirms my suspicion that my body is actually a couple decades older than what I’ve been told my whole life. As my key turns the lock, I experience a moment of revelation: though my body is certainly fatigued, my brain most certainly is not. I’m left with a choice--go to bed and lay unawake, or stay awake and find something to do. The door swings open as I consider my options, when suddenly a monstrous gravity yanks my mere 170 pounds into the door. As my arms and legs hold on for dear life to the doorway, my eye lands upon the source of this great magnetism--the corner wherein lies the television, in all its 98-channel splendor. In a display of unhuman strength, no doubt fueled an adrenalin rush and the will to survive, I pull myself from the doorway and eventually manage to extricate myself from the magnetism altogether, throwing myself onto the pavement outside. Panting, heart beating a rhythm that would wear out the best punk rock drummer, sucking huge volumes of air into my oxygen-deprived lungs, I watch as the smallest member of my bachelor pad saunters out the door. Somehow she, the only one able to stomach the cans of Whiskas sitting on the shelf, managed to escape that vicious vortex of energy. Perhaps I depleted its strength in time for her to walk out unscathed. The gargantuan ragdoll feline now brushing up against my shins goes by many names--I’ve christened her Zarathustra, Kaiser Wilhelm II, Fluff--and she answers to none of them.

Silence. My ears find nothing to entertain them except cricket choruses and cat purring. Now that the epic struggle is done, I’m reminded once again of the aches and creaks that one gets with a geriatric body. I relax, my long frame sprawled across the driveway, the cat's long frame sprawled across my chest. The busy-ness and all the noise slowly trickle out, and eventually I simply stare at the sky.

The stars hide their faces behind the city light painted across the sky. As I stare at the light-bulb lit sky, I know the stars are still there. Quite frankly, though, I wish that they were not masked by the inferior imitations that fill my field of vision. I want to see them. Actually, I long to see them. Not because they're pretty. What I want to see is bigness. I want to look beyond the metropolis, beyond the world my peers have created. I want to see Someone whose being defies my understanding in the same way that my being defies the understanding of the beast on my chest. It's not that I can't imagine the stars. I’ve seen them a million times before. I know what they look like. It's not that there's anything magical about the stars. Burning balls of gas a couple light years away--hardly anything to get worked up about. But still I want to see them. I want to look at them and see the reminder—the kind of reminder that I can’t ignore as long as I’m staring at that sky—that there’s something other than the purely material world I see. I want to see them and see something more than what I can see. I want the houses and telephone lines and city light diffusion to be pushed aside from my sight, to reveal great and mighty things in the Milky Way above. I don’t even hear crickets and cats anymore. All I hear is the longing for something more than what I see right now.

A glance at my watch warns me of the impending morning alarm clock. Tomorrow’s another long and busy day. The white noise starts streaming back into my head and floods away all things metaphysical. The streetlamp--one of the many that mask the diamond-studded velvet above--ensures a well-lit pathway down my driveway. Back to business, I think as I plan the next day on my way to bed.

Posted by jonsligh at 09:39 PM | Comments (6)

July 19, 2004


and every man did that which was right in his own eyes...

I am a copyeditor. Which means that I am maddeningly nitpicky about the clarity and unambiguity of the speech and writing of other people. I must try very hard to refrain from telling people when they’ve confused me by using a nominative case pronoun when they meant to use an objective case. And I shriek when people pronounce “nuclear” as “nu-kyu-lar.”

But lest you label me The Grammar Gestapo, let me be quick to assert that I’m actually a relativist, and at times an anarchist, when it comes to editorial things. True, I snap and snarl at the sight of misplaced modifiers (“I only worked 25 hours last week”) And yes, misspellings do merit tidal waves of red ink. And I refuse to believe that "sensuous" means the same thing as "sensual."

Btu all these errors are errors because they make the sentence less clear. They don’t communicate as precisely as is possible. Lots of the little grammatical rules you learned in 6th grade do not, in my opinion, matter one stinkin’ iota. It’s OK to use “impact” as a verb, regardless of what the nitpickier-than-thou style manuals say. Incomplete sentences—such as I have used several times already—are kosher. And it’s OK to recklessly split an infinitive.

These supposed errors that I've mentioned aren't really errors, because they don’t make the sentence less clear; in fact, they often communicate more clearly.

Here’s the rule: Yes, the rule that no one but my anarchist-nitpicker self really cares about. It is: As long as your sentence is clear, concrete, concise, you can do whatever you dern well please.

Posted by jonsligh at 09:47 PM | Comments (9)

a busy weekend. filled with:

the City of Brotherly Love
a visit to Tenth Presbyterian Church
Inner-city church youth group activity
a bachelor bash
the WTS bookstore wherein I bought an ESV

Posted by jonsligh at 09:23 PM | Comments (0)

July 13, 2004

too bad i'm terrified of needles...

View image

Posted by jonsligh at 09:56 AM | Comments (8)

July 05, 2004

The Fight for Love and Glory

I'm still in Banff. Worn and aweary. Today we took a 7-hour hike up Mt. Rundle. It was actually more of a climb, as we were having to grasp tree branches for a large portion, and take breaks every 3.2 minutes. We made it up 8500 feet or so of the 9700. The last portion of the hike was a scramble up loose shale. Then it started raining. And of course, in typical unpreparedness, we didn't have gloves for the 45 degree weather; our only means of protection was ponchos, also known as expensive blue trash bags. We did not make it up the remainder of the slick wet loose shale, as we value life more than mountain-conquering. The highlight of our trip--in fact, the climax of excitement--was when we got to see Jann at the top, a post-doctorate student of learning theory who had hiked to the top in sandals, and was now crouching in the rain under a rainbow umbrella and eating a 2-foot sub. We now revel in the glorious soreness that must always accompany heroes.

Posted by jonsligh at 11:06 PM | Comments (0)

July 04, 2004


So here I am. I'm here in Banff, Canada, with Sam. In a laundromat, waiting for my clothes to dry. I didn't bring enough clothes, or the right clothes. In fact, we didn't bring much of anything. Only what could fit in our miniscule bookbags. No towels. No rain gear. No cold weather gear. No hiking knowledge whatsoever. Which makes our hike tomorrow, on a mountain on which 5 people have died because they were not very cautious, exciting. Frank Sinatra serenades me over the radio with "My Way." And it's time for me to go.

Posted by jonsligh at 11:55 PM | Comments (2)