Too much…

Because 1)we need to read poetry more often and 2)we forget to look outside of our small selves at the bigger world…

The World Is Too Much With Us

BY WILLIAM WORDSWORTH

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;—
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.

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In other news…

In lieu of posting about the recent elections, my predictions about aliens landing or the zombie apocalypse, my pre-occupation with donuts or badass unicorns, I am just letting you know that the Englewood Review of Books has posted a nice write up on Nearly Orthodox.

That, my friends, was one long sentence. Sorry.

In any case, I hope you will take a few moments to check out the kind review from Amy Gentile –

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And if you haven’t had a chance to pick up the book, maybe this would be a good time to do so…

You can find it at Amazon of course, but if you’re more comfortable with the independent spirit, consider picking it up at Eighth Day Books:

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Or directly from the publisher:

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As always, I am grateful for you!

Season’s change

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It’s snowing in Chicago today.

Okay, so “snowing” is a little bit of an exaggeration, considering it’s Chicago and all but still, flurries and 30 degrees on October 31st? Come on, Winter. Wait yer turn. I’m not complaining, much, at least not yet. I anticipate I’ll get to the complaints pretty soon. It’s part of the cycle of things. For now, there’s work to be done- sweep up the dried and dropped leaves from my neighbor’s tree, say goodbye to the plants that survived my poor gardening skills only to be left at the mercy of this cold weather, dig out winter wear from last year if I can remember where I might have put it. Those scarves and gloves could be anywhere. I’m just not ready.

But as I sit and listen to the flurried, sleet sort of rain fall outside I’m reminded about how things shift, how we move…

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Advice for Voters…the basics

In many places in the U.S. early voting is open. You might be saying to yourself, “Well, heck…what’s the point of voting?”

and to that I say, “The point is that you’re a citizen and you ought to get involved here, Bucko.”

and then maybe you might say, “Hey, all those politicians are the same!”

so I’d respond, “Maybe that’s true but it’s also possible it isn’t.”

and you’d most likely counter with the old “Yeah but my vote doesn’t count.”

to which I’d shout, “Bullshit. That’s what they want you to think.”

and if you asked me “Who wants me to think that?”

I admit I’ll have to shoot back, “I have no idea but I still think it’s bullshit.”

Listen people, your vote does count. What you have to say does matter and in this wide internet driven information overload society you actually have the means to make really well informed decisions. Look up the people who are running for office. Look up the issues on your ballot. You can be away from Facebook for a few minutes, I promise no one is going to post the next cat video that will blow your mind while you’re away and even if they do, you’ll most likely see it show up again and again and again anyway.

And then do the next bit, get out there and vote. When we find ourselves ranking 138th out of 172 nations on voter turnout as compared to registered voters we have to ask ourselves exactly what sort of republic we’re rockin’ here, right?

Get out there. Let’s do this thing.

Weekly thoughts: unrelated

It’s been an interesting couple of weeks over here at Carlson Central. We’ve had illness and a return to health on a few fronts. We’ve had battles of wills and pestilence and dust bunnies. I think I was the clear winner on the first two and the sore loser on the third. I just cannot reach far enough under the bed to really do a thorough job. That’s the truth. I’ve tried swiffers and vacuums cleaners and brooms with stuff tied to it. The last time I used some dusting spray stuff that assured me that the dust would be attracted like a magnet. That was a damned lie.

I can see the piled up dust under my bed every time I come up the steps. I feel like I have two options in this case, ignore it or buy a dust ruffle and forget it’s there.

I freaking hate dust ruffles.

It might be the word “ruffle.” I only like ruffles if they refer to potato chips. I freaking love potato chips.

This morning I put my oldest son on a city bus with explicit directions to get off at a certain street, turn right and walk one block to his school. Yesterday I rode with him, I tried to be sure to point out markers for him to follow, what to listen for on the speakers, words of wisdom. He assured me that it all sunk in. I asked if he wanted me to ride with him again today but he declined. 14 years old, too cool for school.

I was uneasy though so I told him I’d follow the bus today and make sure he got off at the right stop. Just for today. It’s his first time riding a city bus alone, give me a break. I’m entitled to be a little overprotective, right? So as I rode behind the bus I realized two things at the same time, my back right tire was low (again) which means the patch on it is coming loose and second, I didn’t have my cell phone with me. I thought, “I’m sure it’ll be ok…” and I just did like Elsa would do and I let it go. Mostly. I drove slowly, avoiding potholes so that the tire would hold up juuuuuust a little longer and I pulled up next to the bus at the stop Chet was meant to take.

I breathed a sweet sigh looking at his face through the window. He didn’t see me. I didn’t realize it was his stop in that moment because I was caught up in this feeling of letting go and such. He didn’t realize it was his stop either, apparently. When the bus and my car reached the expressway a few blocks later I was yelling in my car, alone, “GET OFF THE BUS! GET OFF THE BUS!” and scouring the stops to see where he’d finally exit. It was here that Chet did indeed find his way off the bus. I was stuck a few cars back, watched him dial his phone in a nearly calm manner and look around to get his bearings. I imagined my phone ringing back in my other coat at home. I considered whether to cut around some cars to reach him. I considered honking to get his attention and we sat there, hanging in the tension of that “what now” moment. I was close enough to see his brow furrow, to see him turning left and then right and I saw the moment melt from his face then when he spotted my car. He broke into a wide smile.

When he climbed into the car he said, “I missed my stop!” and then he laughed. “Were you worried?” I asked. He shook his head. “Nah. I’d have figured it out” and I believed him but I still drove him the four blocks to school because he’s my first boy and he’s a daydreamer and he’s growing up. It’s hard to let go. It really is.

Next week I do my first book reading at Parnassus Books in Nashville. It’s important I tell you this in case you’re not already subjected to my daily, maybe hourly harping on it on Twitter or Facebook. I’m an equal opportunity harper. If you’re local I hope you’ll come! You can find the info here:

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https://www.facebook.com/events/355481744600509/

That’s all I got for you fine people today…cling to each other well this week. Time is fleeting 🙂

Ruminating: All the day

I go through seasons of feeling as though nothing I write is showing up much of anyplace at all. They feel like desert patches, the sun bearing down and sand kicking up in my face when the wind blows. I think about the way the heat seems to bend the air, making it heavy and visible, making everything ahead appear farther away, more desolate, no consolation in sight.

It’s a little disconcerting to say the least.

Then there are times when it feels as though I reach an oasis. I have a little thing crop up there in the middle of the big nowhere. It’s a life-giving event, a life-saving event. Here’s the water, at last.

I have a new post up at Ruminate Magazine’s blog this week and I truly hope you have a chance to read it.

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It was a tough one to wring out, to be honest. It was tough because it touches on the grief I encountered recently when a pal of mine died suddenly. Reading it brings up all the sad again, it’s as though it reignites that grief in me even now, a few weeks later.

And I’m glad of it.

I have to be reminded of these things, these feelings, these losses. I want to remember. It’s easy for me to get caught up in my own brand of bullshit and crazy making. It’s easy to turn away from the people and the events that press in on my pain and in fact, it’s preferable in some cases. But I want to remember the people I’ve lost. It’s important to remember how much I loved (and still love) them. It’s how I know my own mortality, how I know my own heart, how I know my own fragile state of being.

So, I hope you read the essay on Ruminate and I hope you will be able to get in touch with your loss and your grief too. Turn away from your own brand of bullshit and crazy making just for a little while. Let’s remember together, how fragile we are.

Share the love…

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It’s a full on social media blitz over here at Angela’s Book Release Headquarters.

I promise I will do my level best to keep it to a dull roar on weekends and after 10pm on school nights but for the balance of the time I’m afraid it’s going to be a bit crazy for a while. I apologize in advance if that’s annoying. I intend to post more about my love of doughnuts and pre-occupation with the zombie apocalypse as time marches on so that’s something to look forward to, right?

For those of you who do not already know I’ve written my first full length book and the fine folks at Ancient Faith Publishers have decided to put it out there into the world. For a writer who has been pitching books like a crazy person for the last 10 years (me) this is kind of a big deal. So now that the hard work of writing the thing is done we now enter into the hard work of telling everyone I know that I’ve done this thing and ask politely if anyone within earshot would like to take a look and maybe pick up a copy for their own perusal.

The book, Nearly Orthodox: On being a modern woman in an ancient tradition is best described as spiritual memoir. It began as a detailing of my conversion to Eastern Orthodoxy after a lot of years of wandering from my roots but it’s more than that, struggle, redemption, humor, maybe a little angst-ridden ranting. It’s a book for anyone who has been on a road they did not intend to take. Lonesome pilgrims, sign in here. Fellow travelers, represent.

If you go to the publishers website you can even read a full chapter to whet your appetite, how great is that? If you like your books the Amazon way you can grab it up there as well by clicking here: NEARLY ORTHODOX. You say you like eBooks? No problem! Go here and get it! The point is, the book is here and it’s waiting for you. All of you. No matter what your walk, your journey, you ice cream flavor preference.

Now, the best possible way to get the book into the world is for me to reach out to you lovely friends, family, faithful readers to let you know it’s out there. If you like what you see the crucial part is that I need to ask you to do this really important thing.

Share.

Are you on Facebook? Put a link to the book on your timeline-  http://store.ancientfaith.com/nearly-orthodox/

Are you on Twitter? Write a quick tweet to say you’re excited about the book and post the link- http://www.amazon.com/Nearly-Orthodox-modern-ancient-tradition/dp/193627096X/

Instagram? How about posting a picture of the book when it arrives in your hands? And tell ’em to go here to buy a copy- http://www.amazon.com/Nearly-Orthodox-modern-ancient-tradition/dp/193627096X/

Google+ is your bag? Simple. Post this link and some words of affirmation- http://store.ancientfaith.com/nearly-orthodox/

Other unnamed social media sources? No problem…post this link, friends! How easy is that? http://www.amazon.com/Nearly-Orthodox-modern-ancient-tradition/dp/193627096X/

Online social interaction not your jam? Are you a live and in person type? Easy peasy. Get you a book and carry it around. That stunning cover art ought to open all kinds of doors. Then you can pull out a pen and just write “Nearly Orthodox by Angela Doll Carlson” on their palm. Well, okay, maybe write it on a piece of paper to avoid awkwardness.

In any case, what’s going to make this thing happen for this untried first time author is your participation. It’s just like your kindergarten teacher always said, “It’s good to share.”

Thanks in advance my dear, wonderful, kind pals! Your support over the years has been a true gift.

-Ang

Memoria…

My post from last year on this day still holds true….

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agia theodora vasta

A year ago, give or take a few days, I was welcomed into the Orthodox faith. On that day I took the name of Saint Theodora of Vasta, whose story echoed in me the moment I read it. Theodora came to the aid of her village while it was under attack, she dressed as a man to fight for its survival and became mortally wounded. As she lay dying it was said her final words were, “Let my body become a church, my hair a forest of trees, and my blood a spring to water them.”

After her death the villagers built a chapel on that spot and over the years that followed trees grew up in and through the small building. From the outside, the tops of the trees can be seen even today, but inside the chapel no evidence of roots or limbs can be found. Scans…

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