Monday, April 21, 2008

You Can Have Your Faith if I Can Have Mine

Today, I worked on my couch for most of the day and then decided to finish up my work at the beach.

I was tooling down Atlantic Boulevard when a lady in a Hummer with a Jesus bumper sticker cut me off. A few minutes later, when a guy in a souped-up pickup truck with a Jesus bumper sticker cut me off and threw his cigarette butt out the window, I found myself wondering. What would Jesus do?

For example, let's say Jesus lived in a city with no dirt roads and no hills and had $35,000 to spend on a car. Would Jesus buy a 4-ton menace that gets 12 miles per gallon? Would Jesus drive with a sense of entitlement? Would Jesus tailgate and honk at people who took too long at red lights? Would Jesus neglect to use his turn signals? Is Jesus an asshole?

By the time I got to the beach I'm sorry to say I had the mean reds.

But! The beach! The surf was high and there were pelicans, and I pulled my beach chair out and sat down with my revision and every fifteen minutes pulled on another layer for warmth. I worked for about an hour and realized that I wasn't going to be able to proceed until I took a good careful look at every instance in the novel of a certain character being mentioned. That got me worried, because I became convinced that there was an unsolvable problem with this character and the revision was doomed.

But by then, the sun was setting and it was time for my official Beach Sunset Walk with Music. I bundled up in hat and coat and gloves and headphones and took off my shoes and rolled up my jeans and walked along the beach singing along to Sinead O'Connor's album "I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got" at the top of my lungs. I had the beach practically to myself except for the surfers. My pants got completely soaked despite my precautions, and Sinead O'Connor passed the test of "inspiring music good to sing at the top of your lungs when the surf is high and the surfers can't hear you" with flying colors. The moon was rising over the water and the sun was setting in front of the water, turning the surf pink and orange. Big boats were sparkling on the horizon. Oh, it was so beautiful! And I decided that it was okay that I felt like my revision was doomed, because sometimes part of revising a book is feeling like the revision is doomed, and I bet I'll feel differently tomorrow.

I believe in loud waves and loud singing and wet jeans and solitary walks and believing its okay to feel doomed.

So there.

What do you believe in?

3 comments:

Amanda said...

i like that both you and the floor 22 folks are talking about this. as you know, the god stuff has been big on our radar now that we're raising a child, trying to have our own traditions, and send him to a preschool that is not in a church. my answer to your question is that i believe in being a good person. you know--try not to be judgemental, be nice to animals, give to charity, be thoughtful, and so on. it's simple. why can't other people just let that be enough?

kristin cashore said...

You got me.

I just saw a documentary on the Dalai Lama and now I'm full of rage toward violent people and religious extremists.

That's probably not the reaction the Dalai Lama would want me to have, but you know what I mean... :o)

Gwen said...

Ok, so I know I'm backlogging to over a year ago here, and the chances of you checking out a new comment on this post (when you have hundreds of new comments on more recent posts) are slim. But still, I thought I'd chime in because I found this post particularly relevant.

I am often frustrated by people who believe in "jesus" and find people who simply believe in themselves and believe in making the most of life to be far more palatable.

I, personally, have a firm belief that a long walk in the rain, or a climb to the top of a peak, or a solid hour spending quality time with a dog, can fix just about anything.

Thanks for posting this. :-)