D.L. Mayfield

living in the upside-down kingdom

more links than you can shake a sprained foot at

well. it is saturday. i had great plans for today. they involved roaming around basilicas and sitting still in the quiet; they involved coffee shops in the most crowded neighborhood in the land between chicago and los angeles; it involved escaping my charming and exhausting responsibilities as mother, wife, apprentice, new neighbor. but then i went and hurt my foot (humble brag alert: running 5 miles in below-freezing weather), to the degree in which i cannot stand on it. so now i am sitting on my bed, ice on the foot, alternating between common prayer, scripture reading, journaling, praying, checking fb, and catching up on online life. it ain't no monastery but thanks to lovely friends i have enough toast and jam, coffee and cookies, personalized mugs and journals to last me (that's right. i received even MORE special prezzies from fantastical internet--and real life--friends!).

so. while i can't imagine anyone has the annoyance luxury like me of being a pampered invalid, perhaps you have a few moments to spare? because i have some things to tell you about.

first: a conversation worth delving into is the discussion on how to tell stories. for anyone involved in working/living/interacting with people from marginalized communities (insert whatever word you use), there has got to be some ground rules. how much do we share? what is exploitative, what is redemptive? i don't believe the answer is to sit on our hands and be quiet, but historically we have not done a good job of empowering people to tell their own experiences. this TED talk (introduced to me by the blog of the lovely Rachel Pieh Jones) does a beautiful job of describing the danger of telling a single story. well worth your time to watch if you have ever wrestled through these questions.

second: i am sort of obsessed with the nanowrimo phenomenon. do people really do this? do "legitimate" writers do this? i don't want to sound snobbish, but is it only the realm of those writing sci-fi? please tell me everything you know about it. i am inordinately invested, because out of nowhere last week i got hit with this fantastic idea for a novel (and trust me, i have NEVER wanted to write fiction before). is this month-long experiment in production a waste of time? i want to know.

third: folk music is the best for writing, no? i have been really into the barr brothers (still), and recently fell in love with sandra mckracken (her children's music makes me teary, but is not available on spotify. but check out the album The Builder and the Architect). what are you listening to? that christmas song sufjan wrote about unicorns?

fourth: i am starting to fall down the rabbit hole of reading Sharon Astyk. described as a female Wendall Berry, Astyk writes about the realities of our excessive lifestyles. in her book, she has introduced me to phrases like "peak oil" and "post-depletion worlds". at first terrifying, this ain't your normal climate change/the end of the world is nigh book. instead, it talks about our homes as the gateways of escaping our excessive economy, which dangers us and more importantly (in my book) our poor neighbors. she writes that living well on less is not only possible, it is our only option. the implications of this are stunning, especially as i find myself in such an urban environment. how are my lifestyle choices today going to effect my neighbor tomorrow? so many of these conversations seem to end up with just a bunch of isolated do-gooders, the rest of us carrying on as normal. i am interested in solutions for the most vulnerable; this seems like kingdom stuff here.

fifth:

there is nothing good on television. there is nothing good in the movies. everything has gone to rot. should i just stay in and read my Brueggemann sermons every night? a girl has got to put her hair down every once in awhile. this is where i need your help. what is actually worth watching?

sixth:

i am finally, sluggishly, starting to feel political. and i don't really like that feeling, since it can tend to harness such unnecessary and misdirected anger. i am much more drawn to the slow process of being involved in cultural and community change. but that stuff ain't sexy, is it? one thing i have been reading over and over again is psalm 146, which i hear-by christen as the "election day psalm". read it, won't you? and let's just all agree that the princes of our world are pretty lame, and thank goodness the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

whoo. that is a lot of information. and i asked you a couple of questions somewhere in there. so hit me up. i can't go anywhere for the rest of the day.

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