After Converting to Fahrenheit

To make the missionaries at the door go away, I tell them, apologetically, that I’ve just converted to Fahrenheit. They don’t get it until I close the door in their faces, and then I hear them laugh. Not humorless missionaries, then. It’s a point in their favor, but not enough of a point. The last time I let missionaries talk to me, I felt I could have given the spiel better than they did. John 3:16? Please. Let me recite that backwards for you. 

daybreak not quite hiding the scars

Back in my overstuffed chair, I work out the tenets of Fahrenheit. It’s polytheistic, naturally. I’ve always felt a single god was unnatural. I’m pretty sure God would go crazy if he were the only god in the universe, trying to keep an eye on everything with no one to talk to. A lot of gods makes more sense from a logistical and mental-health point of view, and also—this is key—from a storytelling point of view. Every religion needs a book of stories. When I get around to writing mine, I want more than one character to play with. Also, as far as commandments, I’m going with, “Don’t take yourself too seriously or other people too lightly.” And, “Take a few deep breaths. There, doesn’t that feel better?”

and yet, and yet…the lightning strike illuminates the iris

Fahrenheit churches are simple and calming, except when they’re Byzantine and surreal. There aren’t ministers or regularly scheduled services—people just wander in and out, make things, play games, sing songs, tell stories, have very long conversations, and refrain from being jerks to each other. Jerkiness is the one thing that can get you excommunicated. The excommunication only lasts a month, though. Then you can come back until you’re a jerk again.

the disaster relief appeal fades into birdsong

There is no Fahrenheit afterlife. Not officially, anyway. You can believe whatever makes you happy in that regard. Or in any other regard, really. After you die we’ll come up with some great stories to tell about you, some of which will be true and some of which won’t. After a while, which is which won’t matter. Take a deep breath. Doesn’t that feel better?

early dark
the particle collider
restores my faith

June 3: 3: Pictures? Okay, let’s try it for a while and see what happens

Taweret, Egyptian hippopotamus goddess

hippo goddess
elephant god
my fat pantheon

*

I’ve been feeling like we need some pictures around here to liven things up. As Hamlet once said, “Words, words, words…give me a break.” Or something like that.

I’m not normally a picture kind of person — my husband is the photographer in the family, and there is no drawer or painter in the family. Until I was in my twenties I thought the only reason anyone ever put pictures in books was to help out people who couldn’t read very well. But then I began to see the light, at least in terms of art appreciation. I’m wildly entertained in art museums, and I have a couple of art books on my coffee table — oh, predictable stuff, Chagall, Matisse — that I tend to shake in the faces of visitors and repeat, “You’ve GOT to look at this! Isn’t this AMAZING?” until they get scared and go away.

Still — words are my medium, the stuff I swim in. Even when I look at other people’s blogs, I tend to hardly see the pictures; I’m all over the words, and if they don’t work I’m unlikely to care whether you’re the next Walker Evans or Cindy Sherman. But I’m told that I’m in the minority. People like pictures! The more the better! Reading is hard, especially reading long things — you know, more than three lines or so. (Don’t worry, I know this is not the case for any of my devoted readers. I do have devoted readers, don’t I? Don’t tell me if I don’t.)

And my husband (the source of most of my photos) really is a decent photographer. (I took the one up at the top of this post, though, so if you have anything mean to say about it, keep that in mind.) And I’ve been wanting to try writing haiku that aren’t necessarily drawn directly from life — though in this case, I was present for or at least know the context of all these photos, so it’s sort of at least second-hand life, if you know what I mean.

What I’m trying to say is, this blog will be getting very image-heavy over the next few days — after which it will probably revert to being language-centric. So don’t get too used to it.