Things I love? Reasonable people saying reasonable things. Freedom to Marry, Freedom to Dissent: Why we Must Have Both, is a statement signed by a number of respected, thinking people saying that they support gay marriage AND they support the right of others to disagree without being punished. And here’s a statement from Dale Carpenter at Volokh explaining how he does and does not agree.
Esther Emery’s Why I Will Not Leave the Evangelical Church Today. Another piece of nuanced, compassionate writing from my friend in Idaho.
Joy the Baker has a story/recipe combo post on her blog, making The Old-fashioned, which is (after a bit of trial and error) her cocktail. It looks awesome and like it would bring a little extra credibility and sophistication to a night out.
Finally, we’ve got a Writing Lessons post from Emily Maloney that has stayed with me this week. She writes about how she learned to put into practice the important writing mantra of showing up and getting it done. Reminds me about what Anne Lamott said at the Festival of Faith and Writing, and a new effort to write words on pages at #6am led by my new friend Ed Cyzewski.
I gave you something kind of vulnerable this week, and my top reads reflect that same positioning: they are stories of our journeys to find who we really are in the midst of who we thought we were, who others think we are, and who everyone else told us we would be. Click through and give them the love they deserve.
One. Sacred/Scared Day Two at Momastery.
I don’t typically read Glennon’s blog (because, like, it’s called Momastery and I’m not a mom), but every now and again I see a link that leads me there and this is a winner. I never expected to have so much in common with Kristen Howerton! It’s weirdly comforting to read a more mature version of your own insecurities written by someone you respect.
Two. On Changing Dreams at A Beautiful Mess.
Three. In Defense of the Sharp Lefts, by Elora Ramirez. Holy wow.
Four. Caris Adel’s I’m White and It’s Uncomfortable.
Five. Leanne Penny’s What Mental Health Isn’t.
Also: tip of the hat to Dr. Richard Beck’s series on Johnny Cash’s theology. I particularly enjoyed his discussion of Cash’s album Bitter Tears. Any English majors reading this blog today? This could be a great source for a senior thesis topic.
Last week we spent an evening at Lincoln Hall with Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors, with David Ramirez. I first heard Drew and Ellie Holcomb sing while I was attending the StoryChicago conference, and I loved them. When they said they had a show scheduled the following week in my city, I knew we should go.
Typically, I’m not much for concerts. (Yes, I hate fun.) They are loud and typically it gets really hot, and there are so many strangers packed into a tight space that if you have to go to the bathroom you may never find your way back to your friends. Also, concerts typically start about the time I’m ready to go to bed, so before the main act hits the stage I’m yawning and mostly just want to put on my jammies and go to sleep.
But H loves concerts. He loves going to different venues, hearing bands he doesn’t know very well or used to love in college, and he can hang with strangers like a champ. One of my goals for this new city we are living in was to make sure I found a few cool venues for us to attend, because even though I mostly want to go to sleep, I’m usually glad I went once I get back home.
Lincoln Hall was a perfect venue for us. For me, it had an upper deck with bar-height tables so I could sit with a little space around me, return to my seat after going to the bathroom or walking around, and easy access to the bar. For H, it was a music venue, with music. That’s basically all it takes for him.
It turned out that DH and their openers were actually Christian bands, which at first was a total bummer because (a) they are usually terrible, (b) I hate being a stereotype, and (c) the 8:30 band was playing very lame and confusing songs that turned out to be praise and worship music, which was awkward.
So we sat back for a bit and drank our beer. But, when David Ramirez came out — wow. We both loved him. His lyrics were real truths, he said the F-word when his harmonica was upside down (so clearly we could be best friends) and didn’t care when the crowd of white hipster Christians gasped at his language (and I cackled like a crazy-person), and his voice was about 80% Johnny Cash.
And I love Johnny Cash.
My favorite Ramirez song was one about forgetting a lost love, called Shoeboxes. Here’s a video from YouTube of him singing that song:
In the venue the song was a lot more yell-y and broken that it sounds in this video, and I love that quality in his voice: you can feel his pain echoing through the room. His song The Bad Days is going to be big, I think. Check it out.
Next up: Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors.
Drew and Ellie were great. Their sound with the whole band was very different from their sound as a duet, which is how I heard them first at Story. H and I both like them better when it’s just Drew with his guitar and Ellie with her mandolin, but you could really tell their band had a lot of fun together and we rocked out to their cover of Tom Petty’s American Girl. Best song of the night: The Wine We Drink.
All in all, this was a great night of challenging myself to push past my personal (grandmotherly) boundaries and ended up being a win-win, because not only did we have a great time but we found a new artist to support.
So, it has literally been a year since I bought a CD (a Frank Sinatra collection for wedding dance lessons last summer), and probably three years since I bought music just because I liked it.
Last night, I downloaded iTunes (I know, how 2000s of me) and three new CDs plus some free Starbucks downloads with a gift card I received as a birthday gift (in January). Life changing.
Today, I am listening to Bon Iver (Bon Iver) while studying and it is seriously fantastic. I mean, if you like banjos and folk music that happens to be the second most popular download this week on iTunes, it is probably for you. It is mellow but upbeat, which is basically the key to MB’s study music. Typically, I’m on Banana Pancakes + Ben Folds + Tom Petty Pandora radio, so this is a nice portable change with no advertisements. (Take that, Pandora!)