Instructions for Dancing

Tuesday July 22, 2008

there are miracles, miracles

Filed under: Uncategorized — by hettyweston @ 12:31 am

On the last night of Spring Harvest this year, I bought a book. It was written by the speaker that night, Jeff Lucas, and it’s called Lucas Out Loud. As such it’s not about anything in particular, just odd anecdotes about his life and his church and some musings on parts of the bible. It’s very human, not at all preachy, and still now gives me moments where I remember something from it and I have to stop and think.

I’ve always had difficulty connecting with God. Not in the happy times, where it’s traditionally easy for him to get shelved, not even especially in the bad times, when it seems he’s the one shelving us. It’s the times when there’s things happening in my life that the bible censors but I don’t, when I’m not hurting anybody but it feels uncomfortably like an excuse to say ‘my own moral compass knows best’. I felt like that when I was going out with a girl, and I feel like that sometimes being in an intimate relationship without being married. It’s typical christian teenager conflicts.

The problem with them is that, even when you work out your own tentative answers to the bible’s problem areas, as I did (doesn’t God love everyone?; in the times of the bible being written, wasn’t marriage the only kind of committed relationship?), there’s still a bit of guilt when you really get down to it, and that’s difficult to deal with. I feel the furthest from God when I’m in that biblical grey area, when something doesn’t feel wrong. Shouldn’t I be feeling guilty? When I get to those questions, my first instinct is to avoid God, to still pray sometimes, perhaps, but about other things, to imagine that if I don’t mention it, he won’t notice. It’s hide and seek in a desert.

But I don’t think God wants us to be so far away, even when we’re feeling all prodigal, even when we feel we have no right to talk to him about it – or he has no right to talk to us. Even when we’re not feeling ready to give something up, even when we’re feeling guilty for not feeling guilty. I think he wants to be with us whatever.

The bit of Lucas’ book that moved me the most was something he wrote about the Christian propensity for guilt. God is, well, perfect, but we’re doing wrong all the time. How can we ever be close to him? He writes*, I’ve just finished a lengthy study of the seven churches of Revelation, and I was stunned to discover that Jesus had no word of rebuke at all for two of them – only commendation and a verbal pat on the back. The lack of rebuke is… stunning. Why are we at home with the threat of judgement, but struggle with the idea that God might want to tell us that we’re doing alright? When we finally step forward on the last day, perhaps the hugest shock of all will be the sight of a perfect God, whispering the most unexpected greeting to plebs like us: “well done, good and faithful servant”.

We’re imperfect, but we’re trying. And I feel just as guilty sometimes as the next teenage christian does, but I like to believe that he still thinks we’re doing okay, even when there’s things that we’re not ready to put in front of him just yet. He wants to come and meet us at whatever point we can do, wherever we are. Michelangelo was dead on with his depiction of God straining to reach Adam, not vice versa. So I’d just like to say, he thinks you’re doing alright. And I am too.

Wow, so I had more to say on that subject than I thought. This is all elaborate and intellectual packing procrastination, I think. I have reached the limits of suitcase capacity but not the limits of Things Needing to Be Packed. So I’ll go do that. I’m away in France from tomorrow until Wednesday 13th August. I’ll have my phone with me as always. Farewell, anonymous reader. <3

*some bits omitted to save my fingers

Monday July 21, 2008

nobody else above me

Filed under: Uncategorized — by hettyweston @ 12:41 am

Oh, America. I wish I could believe this was Elizabeth Dole’s first ever dip into some risqué irony, but I have a feeling it isn’t. As the article says, her proposal is to name the current AIDS relief bill after her predecessor, a politician so ‘conservative’ that he opposed not only the Civil Rights and the Voting Rights Acts but, more relevantly, AIDS research and prevention funding. Because all AIDS can be traced in origin to ‘sodomy’ and because gay people are “weak, morally sick wretches”.

As the Athenians discovered, direct democracy has just one flaw, and that’s the way it… gives power to the people. To every person. And while representative democracy may be a slightly different idea, it still gives power to the people to appoint unworthy representatives. Where am I going with this? Democracy’s a bit flawed that way, but it’s the best we’ve got. And so too, perhaps, the concept of free speech for all.

Speaking of which, I (sober) just got off the phone with Mat (rather drunk). Best ever.

Saturday July 19, 2008

nothing there to prove

Filed under: Uncategorized — by hettyweston @ 11:21 pm


I just did a silly quiz called the Attachment Style Test, because I know I have issues in that area (I think most do) and I wanted to see where I was put. I was fairly middle stat on Avoidance, but in the top 25% for Anxiety, which I think is absolutely right: I think the only reason I wasn’t called even more anxious is because a lot of the questions are of the type, ‘How often does someone call you insecure and clingy?’ and obviously nobody does that, firstly because I don’t go bandying my insecurities about and secondly because, well, that would be really harsh.

The thing that amused me, though, is the two fictional characters it suggested I might identify with: Kaylee from Firefly and Hiro Nakamura from Heroes.


why they’re gone in the morning

Filed under: Uncategorized — by hettyweston @ 5:00 pm

Even Emily laughed. ‘Seriously, James, not good enough. I could find an earring in under ten minutes in any city in the world,’ she said, all of a sudden inspired to join in for reasons I didn’t understand. ‘It’d only be a challenge if she didn’t tell us what city she’d lost it in. But I bet even then we could do it.’

James was backing himself away from the office, a look of feigned horror on his face. ‘All right then, ladies, you have a great day, you hear? At least she hasn’t fucked you both up for good. I mean, seriously, thank god for that, right? You’re both tooootally sane. Yeah. Um, have a great day…’

‘NOT SO FAST THERE, YOU PANSY! shrieked someone very loud and very high-pitched. ‘I WANT YOU TO MARCH YOUR WAY BACK IN THERE AND TELL THE GIRLS WHAT YOU WERE THINKING WHEN YOU PUT THAT SHMATA ON THIS MORNING!’ Nigel grabbed James by the left ear and dragged him into the area between our desks.

‘Oh, come on, Nigel,’ James whined, pretending to be annoyed but obviously delighted that Nigel was touching him. ‘You know you love this top.’

Today is shaping up to be a Really Good Day. I got up early, which meant I won a lift into town at 9. I’ve made creamy orange ice-cream, I’ve drunk three cups of tea already and I’ve spent the afternoon-so-far ploughing through the last half of my current book. Of fiction! Fun, simple, vicarious fiction is the best luxury of any holiday.

I just took a ‘break’, though, because what I’m currently reading is The Devil Wears Prada, by Lauren Weisberger (so no kidding with the ascending tricolon of adjectives) and I remembered that I saw the film. The trailer is here. It’s always interesting to see how things get changed for films, and the IMDB page has shows some amusing alterations too – unfashionable boy’s name becomes Nate, not Alex, fashionable successful novelist boy becomes Christian Thompson, not Collinsworth, and I think they axed the ‘novelist’ bit too. I think Lily also disappeared, judging by the trailer.

But I think the main difference is that, in the novel, the protagonist is likeable and the novel’s villain is despicable. Even from the trailer, you can see that it’s rather different for the film – the villain is obviously ‘misunderstood’, because she has a fuller figure and a fuller personality (novel Miranda is a cruel, petty size zero). The protagonist is ‘smart’ like the novel, but, because smart isn’t cool, she’s also a ‘sad little person’ who falls over things all the time and ends up running to Nigel of her own accord to beg him to transform her. In the novel, Nigel (or possibly James) gives her some clothes and tells her off-record that she’ll probably be fired if she doesn’t wear them.

So all changes to be expected, I suppose, but the lack of depth in a Hollywood remake never ceases to give me pause. But then, I remind myself, I’m reading a book called The Devil Wears Prada. And to be completely honest, I am thoroughly enjoying it. What can you do.

Tuesday July 15, 2008

this isn’t how i go

Filed under: Uncategorized — by hettyweston @ 11:30 pm

Damn, I should have known wearing a white dress would be a bad idea. I got through the day fine until about half an hour ago when I was trying to let Susannah out of our house and waft flies out at the same time. I ended up taking a small chunk out of my finger with the front door key, and now I have bloodstains.

I got back from my adventure yesterday, and it’s very nice to be home. I had a fantastic time, though; all the travelling went smoothly, we saw almost everything we’d wanted to (and some more we hadn’t known the existence of) and we got on really well as a group. I ended up sharing a room with Ev, too, and it was great to have some time with her before she goes off to Japan for the year.

Seeing Matt again was great, too. It had only been about three weeks but I was already forgetting the details of him, so it was lovely to be reminded. I also met his third sister, the next-door neighbours we’re holidaying with and all the grounds of Worth Abbey, which are extensive and beautiful. I also discovered that a mutual friend is being a bit too friendly with him for my liking, but he’s not encouraging her and I’m taking the high road. I’m a possessive girl nowadays.

Anyway. A week until I go back for France, and besides dancing on Thursday I don’t have much planned, just days of walking and reading (fiction!) and perhaps starting work. It’s nice to be home again.

Tuesday July 8, 2008

something to believe in

Filed under: Uncategorized — by hettyweston @ 5:41 pm

We did get to see the Leavers’ Musical last night. It was strange being back in school, and theirs was rubbish compared to ours (and I’m not just saying that – ours excelled in every way except possibly the singing talent of the main characters, ahah). But we also got to have dinner together beforehand, (Beka, Emily, Lou, Chrispy, John and I,) and we had a nice catch-up, so it was a lovely evening.

I’ve a little packing left to do, and I’m off in the morning. I’m leaving here at 7:30, which is a time I honestly don’t remember when I last saw. We’ll be staying in Ostia Antica Park Hotel for four nights, coming back on Sunday, and then I’m staying at Mat’s for a night, so I’ll be back Monday. He lives ten minutes away from Gatwick so it was too good an opportunity to pass up. It’s going to be a great holiday.

Still, I’m a little anxious to be going away right now, as various issues have cropped up here just recently. But I hope things will be okay, and I love you whatever. I’ll have my mobile with me so I’ll be reachable with texts at least.

And I’m doing ceroc tonight, as I can’t do Thursday. I think it’s in Burton.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Monday July 7, 2008

“it’s the balance of using the feet to hear the sound”

Filed under: Uncategorized — by hettyweston @ 12:01 am

So I wouldn’t normally post twice in one day, but I’m watching Last Choir Standing, the BBC’s new talent-spotting competition for choirs, and I guess that was asking for it to begin with. They just booted off a fantastic, technically brilliant traditional choir and gave a whole load of airtime to:

“I think often people are put off going to choirs because they think music’s an elitist thing where you have to sing in tune.”


…Not that I’m going to stop watching.

Sunday July 6, 2008

ain’t satisfactioning me

Filed under: Uncategorized — by hettyweston @ 11:06 pm

I am feeling super happy right now. I’ve been to church twice today (this always makes me feel good), spent my day drinking a lot of tea, reading my book and watching Wimbledon, and my FAVOURITE EVER with ‘biceps the size of Charlotte’s whole body’ just won Wimbledon and climbed a wall of Centre Court to hug his family and shake hands with the Prince and Princess of Spain.

It was such a good match, and I would have been a little heartbroken if Nadal hadn’t won after leading for 4/5 of it. I was a little heartbroken that anybody had to lose, though, because all the closeness of the final (6-4, 6-4, 6-7, 6-7, 9-7) went to show that they’re both highly, highly brilliant and everybody else is way down there – neither of them had dropped a set all tournament until today. But there had to be a winner.

I’m also listening to Elvis, which might contribute.

The concert went very nicely last night. We performed well and it was great to have an audience of so many familiar faces, supporters from St Helens and (for the B-Ws) our old Whitwick church too as well as the assorted family members who can’t escape. No big muckups happened in our pieces, and people seemed to enjoy it, especially the audience participation bits in Plink Plank Plunk, our final piece. It was a lovely evening.

Oh, and I watched Doctor Who when I got back. No spoilers, but it’s like I loved it and it sortof broke my heart but I don’t care and want to get back together. Stupid love that might be hate too. It was a really good episode. And I always loved Donna, right from this in the first episode.

Saturday July 5, 2008

round here something radiates

Filed under: Uncategorized — by hettyweston @ 2:36 pm

Step out the front door like a ghost into the fog
Where no one notices the contrast of white on white
And in between the moon and you the angels get a better view
Of the crumbling difference between wrong and right

Counting Crows – Round Here (live)

And I used to think Counting Crows were tame – I think this has to be one of the most passionate live performances I’ve ever seen. Duritz is an amazing, fearless vocalist; he’s acting out every line as he sings. Watch this. Seriously.

Susannah and Lizza are arriving in about ten minutes for a few hours of gentle trio practice, then we’re moving on to Whitwick at about 5:30 to have a quick practice in the concert venue. We’re wearing red tonight, which means I get to get out my May Ball dress again. It should be good.

Friday July 4, 2008

on a night like this

Filed under: Uncategorized — by hettyweston @ 1:37 am

Hi Etta,
Nice work in the exams! I was very happy to see you do so well.
Good luck with whatever you do next.

So I got this really sweet message from a guy who did some linguistic structures classes with us in first term, bits of grammar mingled with a very quick read-through of two of our first Greek texts. I don’t know if he emailed the entire group – I may text George tomorrow and ask – but he has obviously seen my results, been happy for me and wanted to let me know. That’s lovely.

Two problems: One, I don’t know my results yet. I wish I did, but what I know is high 2:1, no specifics, and I think it’s only slightly more embarrassing to have to ask someone who’s just congratulated you for more specific details of your own achievement than it is to email back pretending to know precisely what he’s pleased about when you don’t. Two, my name is obviously not Etta.

I’ve emailed Carrie begging for more information.

In other news, I had a really nice time in Oxford last Sunday, and a really nice time tonight too, dancing until late in Tamworth. An unlikely combination, but they’re nice people. I’ve started going to classes with Susannah and Jen to learn ceroc, which is a kind of modern jive, easy to pick up because of the simple footwork and (for women) the fact that men lead. It looks like this. The great thing about it is that, once you’ve learnt some basic steps, you improvise, and when that goes well and you’re in tune with your partner, it’s the best feeling ever. You can also do it to any music in 4/4 time with a moderate speed.

The truth of the matter is that it’s just nice to meet people and spend time with them. That’s something I don’t get to do here in Ashby as much, partly because of transport issues and partly because I have here a few good friends and no acquaintances or even ways of making any. It’s nice to be in a new environment.

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