Wednesday, August 22, 2007

MacBeth, Version 2.0

Okay, so this may seem a bit hypocritical after my last post. But MacBeth needs a version 2.0. For, while the first four acts are pretty awesome, the climax is just... lame. What? We're going to dress the whole army up as shrubberies? Are you drunk? Oh. You are. Ok then.

Anyway, I have put some effort probably better spent elsewhere into improving the climax of this classic play.

Till Birnam Wood Come to Dunsinane... The climax of this play, in which MacDuff leads his army against MacBeth, is all about the fulfillment--and subversion-- of the two prophecies regarding MacBeth's downfall:

Macbeth shall never vanquish'd be until
Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill
Shall come against him.


Be bloody, bold, and resolute: laugh to scorn
The power of man, for none of woman born
Shall harm Macbeth.

The way the first prophecy is fulfilled, if I recall correctly, is that MacDuff's army chops down trees from Birnam Wood, makes suit coats out of them, and uses the fact that they now look like a gay pride parade rather than an army to get close to MacBeth's castle. Riiight.

Now, how much cooler would it be if MacDuff had had his men, say, chop down trees in Birnam Wood, make arrows, battering rams, etc out of them, and simply use those to attack MacBeth's castle? Much cooler, in this scribbler's opinion.

The second prophecy is fulfilled/subverted by the fact that MacDuff was "From his mother's womb untimely ripped," a sort of nast C-section, apparently. Now, this is much less lame, and it did give rise to one of the oddest and coolest phrases English literature has perhaps ever seen. However, it doesn't quite work here.

Apparently this is supposed to make MacDuff "not of woman born"; however, he still comes from a woman (his mother), and he is still, in fact, born--however unnaturally.

This scribbler's idea may not be much better, but at least it's a better fit. Attack dogs. Or, trained hawks. Or something. Some form of vicious animal, trained to kill, could seize upon MacBeth and take him down.

"Ah, but Spot here was not of woman born! Ahahahaha!"

(Yes, when I rewrite Shakespeare, there is evil laughter involved.)

The Wal-Mart Theology Department

So the other day, my brother and I are wandering around Wal-Mart (having lost my dad somewhere) and we wander past the Books section. Naturally, me being there, we have to stop. So I peruse their collection of Steamy Romances, Clever Romances, Not So Steamy But Also Not So Risque Romances, the racks of westerns with one story but so many different covers, the poorly written novels meant to thrill adults, the poorly written novellas meant to scare children....

And I happen upon their Bibles. My eye immediately went to the one most obviously designed for someone in my demographic. This book was not called The Bible, or even The Holy Bible; oh no, this was "The Message: Remix." In fact, it was Version 2.0. Because apparently version 1.0 or even 1.5 wasn't quite up to snuff, Word-of-God wise.

I was giving voice to some of these thoughts (aimed in the direction of my brother), when a Wal-Mart employee with pink hair wandered past (though I'm sure she had a purpose). Apparently she overheard me, for she said, "Okay now, making fun of themed Bibles is just too easy."

We talked with her for a couple minutes, and she told us about a Bible they had once that was even worse. Apparently it was bright pink, and, in sequins, had the word PRINCESS emblazoned across the front.

If anybody sees Charles Finney, give him a good kick for me, ok?

Sunday, August 19, 2007


So I read that Mr. Bradbury says, in regards to becoming a good writer, that once you've written a million words you start to know what you're doing. Hmm.

Doing some quick math, I've determined that at a thousand words a day (the rate Mr. Baradbury claims to have written since age 13), it would take around three and a half years to write a million; say I started in six days, at that rate I'd "know what I'm doing" by partway through senior year.

Of course, I'm no Bradbury, and (as proven by the bestseller status of The Da Vinci Code, Eragon, and James Patterson's novels) the general public in this country doesn't give a rip about writing quality these days.

Still, I figure I'm at somewhere over three hundred thousand words. It's something to think about.

Ok, enough bloody introspection. I need to carve up some literature.

Diaspora, and Such

Well I've grown sick and tired
Of trying to stand still
I've learned to let the wind
Blow me where it will
To throw myself into the will of the wave
How can we ever be brave until we're free
-Dustin Kensrue

Though I doubt there is anyone who's had any contact with me over the past couple months who doesn't know this, I'll be going to Bethany Lutheran College this fall. And by this fall, I mean starting in six days. Yikes.

I'll be an English major. I've made no secret of my desire to become a sucessful fiction writer; and I have no delusions as to what that will entail. As to life immediately after college (assuming that bestseller doesn't hit while in school), I really have no idea. Oh, I'm not scared of not making money, of not working. I just don't know what form that work will take. There are a couple jobs abroad I may go for; I'd like to get out and see the world somewhat, before getting too tied down.

I have evangelical friends who like to remind you to "factor God in" to your plans, as if He's a girlfriend or something and you want to make sure not to move too far away from Him. One must make sure one is honoring God in all one does. This last part is Biblical, of course, but the phrasing is deceptive.

I personally find it rather arrogant to be "facoring God in", implying that if we don't remember the Creator of the Universe then, well, He can't do anything with us. It seems rather pointless for me, a fallen, sinful being, to try and determine the will of God, at least on a personal level where he has not inspired a Biblical passage about it (ie, "Where thou shalt go to school" as opposed to "Thou shalt not murder").

Rather, I have faith that despite my blindness, God will lead me down the path He has set forth for me. Even though in my sinful nature I fight him, he has already cleansed me of that nature. Nothing I can do, no "factoring in," can either help or harm this. I simply have faith that He will lead me down the path and, in the end, lead me home.


This year's HT conference was great, of course. I found it a lot harder to write summaries of this year than last year, as we didn't do a whole lot of stuff that makes for good reading. Heidi posted as good a summary of that as I can write.

I do have a few thoughts, though (and all the people run away screaming). One is that, unlike many of the various sorts of youth gatherings I went to in my younger days *cough*, HT conferences aren't designed to be "mountaintop experiences." They're designed to be a great time, of course, and there's all sorts of euphoria that goes along with that. But you will NEVER see, for example, an emotional call to repentance delivered by a pastor who is nearly crying himself, backgrounded by soft praise music that suddenly gets louder as said pastor declares an Altar Call.

There were several moments that brought tears to my eyes, but they were tears at the sheer beauty contained in our faith, rather than those coerced by provocative preaching and mood music. One example, perhaps, is in order.

The closing service was glorious, as always at HT conferences. We took Communion while 1000 people sang At The Lamb's High Feast--now if you want beauty, there you go. I'd been hearing teaching about Communion (among other things) all week, and as I went back up into the balcony after taking the body and blood of our Lord, thoughts that had troubled me were laid to rest. I had looked down on someone, but (I suddenly realized) Christ died for that sin. I had resented someone, and He died for that sin too. I had unthinkingly snubbed someone, and he died for that too. A whole host of sins, some of which I'd forgotten, some of which I hadn't let myself think about, came rushing back to me--and they were all laid to rest, defeated, by the body and blood of our Lord, given and shed for me--and for you.