Spring is almost upon us – can you believe it? – that turning of the seasons from grey and bitter cold to a world bathed in greens and new growth, small bursts of golden sunlight along the way. As the crocuses pop their heads above ground, and the snowdrops peak at the ground like shy maidens (wary of the blossom-eating bunnies), I find that my mind, too, is crowded with new ideas, peeping out from recesses here and there, sometimes grand and sometimes little – all manner of surprises to be examined and sorted through. One such bashful thought hung around a bit, and grew, and changed, and grew some more, until it made up its mind that it wanted to be given a chance…
So, here I am, trying to help this little idea stand on its own feet. After much hemming and hawing, and general pondering, I’ve ended up calling this idea Interlude. I intend the interludes to come around at the end/beginning of most months… then again, I expect there will be interludes that will push into the fuzzy midsections during months where I’m particularly swamped (not unlike this post). Regardless of the timing of the interludes, my hope is that these periodic glimpses into my life might prove a bit of a refreshment and encouragement to you, whether that’s through a song or book recommendation, a provoking thought, a reminder of truth, or merely the satiation of general nosiness.
Today’s edition (which… AHEM… so happens to be the first edition) is slightly disorganized and very much unplanned. But so is life (especially when you procrastinate)…
Shall we, then?
Here’s to a somewhat grateful, yet wistful farewell to February.
February saw the completion of six books – one of which was a picture book of 32 pages… but it was Allen Say (i.e. absolutely beautiful and quietly thought-provoking) so I’ll count it. On a serious and rather tangential note, I have been finding lately just how much I appreciate quality children’s picture books, reading them as an adult. There are so many nuances and deep themes and lovely parallels woven into a deceptively simple booklet, packaged for children… yet full of priceless treasure. Case in point, Allen Say. Maybe I’ll end up sharing a post about him and his books someday.
Two books in particular stand out to me from last month’s stash.
Airman took me totally by surprise with its witty prose and enthralling story. It reminded me of two of my favorite novels, Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo and Allen French’s The Lost Baron, twisted into a delightful, daring adventure of the skies. The book is so cleverly written, so rich and enjoyable… to be fair, it isn’t the perfect book. And yet, for a young adult historical fiction/steampunk novel, it’s just what it needs to be. Just thinking about it makes me look forward in anticipation to picking it up for a reread.
Death by Living – my nonfiction read this month – proved also to be an adventure of sorts, and a truly beautiful one at that. N.D. Wilson’s book is a poetic theology of life and death; a journey through anecdotes in a man’s life that could well be part of any person’s experience; a story threaded with meaning and musings that make you stop and think, and nod your head, and sometimes drop a tear or two as you feel the weight of mortality and the freedom of life that transcends the strange and blessed curse of death. I won’t be forgetting it soon. This, too, is a book I want to read again. And again.
My life in music last month consisted of: a lot of Bach (his Goldberg Variations, my friends, are perfect for studying – as is everything Bach); the soundtrack from In This Corner of the World (one of the most beautiful Japanese animated films out there… すずさん (Suzusan) is a lovely, wandering piece that warms me down to my toes); and Josh Garrel’s “Anchor for My Soul” – one of my go-to songs when I’m weary.
- During an overnight crash in my cousin’s RV, she introduced me for the first time to her favorite song by NEEDTOBREATHE, “Banks”. It reminds me of woods and a campfire, and has such a free-spirited, earthy mood. It fits my cousin to a T, and I can’t listen to it without thinking of her.
- Anpanman. K-pop isn’t really my thing, but my lovely friend (and writing buddy) Kads, recommended some of her favorite K-pop songs at my request- and “Anpanman” was top of the list. It was rather unexpected… and then, to my surprise, it grew on me. It’s upbeat, and happy, and just. so. Kads. Which makes me love it even more. I will forever think of Kads when I hear this song.
- 春よ, 来い (Haruyo, Koi) is like pensive piano poetry. I discovered it while watching Yuzuru Hanyu’s gala skate during the Beijing Olympics earlier in February… and oh, the way he interprets the music is one of the most beautiful things ever. This song is one I like to just chill to in the background while studying.
I haven’t talked much about my writing on Thoughts from a Stumbling Saint yet – a deficiency which I hope (and honestly fear) to fix this year. For those of you who don’t know – which is most of you – I’m currently working on a sci-fi/dystopic/time-travel novel about a Japanese American young man, set in the future. I ought to dedicate a post to it sometime. Whether or not I get to that soon is a good question…
February was a rough month for regular writing – or really, any kind of writing. I struggled with the proverbial block that drained the creative juices and motivation of this wearied writer. In other words, I took a bit of a break. Sneak peek into the first half of March: the scribblings of yours truly have been flowing at a much better, and substantially messier rate.
Last month was a crazy one for my family… the main highlight being that my first ever little nephew (and my parents’ first ever little grandkid) was born mid-February. If you know me well, you’ll know that I’m not a baby lover. I’ve tended to avoid them as much as possible, never saw much appeal in the cooing and cuddling. But. This little guy stole my heart. He is absolutely precious. Cradling him when he was less than a day old was one of the most wonderful gifts I could have ever asked for.
Otherwise, my life was busy with studies, work, applying for scholarships, and bemoaning the fact that college is absurdly expensive. I wasted more time than I should have, and had the hardest time trying to get up early after staying up past midnight – an issue which I’m striving to solve this year.
Milestone: I completed my last ever classical piano adjudication, and it was strangely… normal. No fireworks or giddy feelings. Just the subtly bittersweet realization that life goes on, and the quiet gladness that I won’t need to face the pressure of preparing for another recital/competition again. It was a nice sensation.
And so, our brief interlude comes to a close. Thank you for making it this far. Pardon me if it’s been a bit scattered. I’m still experimenting with what works well, and what falls flat for this blog. If you have any thoughts, feedback, or suggestions, I would be so grateful if you could share them with me below.
What were some of the highlights of your February? Have you been reading any good books lately?
Until the morrow, then!
Yours in grace and peace,