A Watchman

No cats today, and, sadly, no Ireland news either. I am dedicating this particular entry to book review and musings. Continue if you wish.

Those who know me well know that I have never cried during a movie (though the last third or so of Return of the King gets me close every time). I have, however, cried on numerous occasions while reading. This week I finished a book that not only made me cry but made me sit in stillness a bit after I finished reading. That happens sometimes and, regardless of whether or not I liked the book, it’s a sure sign that the book is just important. There’s been a lot said about this particular book, and I’ve tried to stay away from the talk so as to form my own opinion and now I will unleash said opinion, freshly formed, upon all of you.

The book is Go Set A Watchman, the quasi-sequel/rough draft of the dearly loved To Kill A Mockingbird. I reread that one just before starting the new one (by new, I mean recently published as it was written before) and that was an enjoyable experience because it’s a pleasant book. When I first began the next one, I thought Watchman was going to be a disappointment–the writing was sophisticated in a sort of annoying way, the themes and action were awkwardly more mature and, in my eyes, wandering, in part because the case of Tom Robinson (a pivotal event in Mockingbird) was barely mentioned in passing. As I headed into the second half, maybe final third, I noticed myself not caring about the syntax or diction, simply engrossed in a story that made itself plain on its issues. Mockingbird dances elegantly around them, framing them in a child’s eyes and having Boo Radley do his thing, but dancing is dancing one way or the other.

Anyway, the book definitely grew on me and I felt called on to compare it to Mockingbird less and less. Watchman has its own story to tell, and it’s a harsher one that I expected. Moments in the main line as well as the frequent flashback/reminiscences really got to me and told me that this is definitely not a suitable freshmen English book. That being said, I think that it maybe should be class reading later in high school.

There is a scene at the end (spoiler alert) where Scout is railing against Atticus for being racist and complicit and all sorts of nasty things. She calls him a variety of uncouth names and just really lets him have it. His response is only to say, “I love you.” Then, when she concludes by saying she never wants to see him or the town of Maycomb again, he says only, “As you please.” This is where I cried. There’s a lot going on in the book, and all sorts of meanings are contained in those words and the final few pages that come after them. But I think that, even without reading the book, that single moment makes something clear.

I don’t know if I really got everything out of the book (either one, really) or that I saw what Harper Lee wanted me to see. But I saw one thing clearly: we are supposed to love. There’s a lot to be said about the themes of racism and the civil rights movement, about ethics and justice and even constitutional politics. But I think the most important thing the book says is that simple. Love. Love black people, love white people. Love your parents, siblings, children, relatives. Love your neighbor, love strangers. Love your friends, love your enemies, love everyone in between. Love the lukewarm, love the spineless, love the broken.

The title comes from Isaiah 21:6 and the watchman is supposed to be watching for Babylon’s fall or something like that. But for me, in this book, the watchman is watching us. Watching for our actions. Watching for our words. Watching, waiting, hoping for love.

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A Dry and Weary Land

And we’re back. The third post is always the hardest.

Ireland news first: I got the email that says my tuition and all that is about to go through. And, literally as I write this, I am talking with someone on Facebook about a place to live. So hopefully that pans out, because nothing else has so far.

In other news, I’m in California, which is cool. Cool in regards to seeing the Stelles, who are super cool. Less cool in the sense of it’s really hot. And dry. Let me tell you, this whole megadrought thing is real depressing. But actually. So. Depressing. Shasta Lake is more like Shasta Pond (if that) and the only river I drove over was the Sacramento. The other ones were either nonexistent or too small to see from the road. I don’t think of myself as a particularly enviro-crazy person, but then I encounter people who don’t understand living on a planet of finite everything and I realize that to them, I am. People are the worst. Take care of the planet. Please.

So that makes me sad. But you know what makes me happy? The Stelles. I’m so lucky to have friends like them, I love them a lot. I’ve been so blessed by them through my whole life. I’m really grateful for everything they’ve done for me, including putting me up (and putting up with me) these past couple days. Yesterday, we went to this local joint that apparently is super renowned for it’s milkshakes, probs because it has over 100 flavors (that’s not an exaggeration, might be more of an underestimation). I had a Golden Eagle (so named and colored for the local high school) and it was delicious. Honey, vanilla ice cream, and dark chocolate sprinkles. Also, importantly, I am starting a campaign for an NCIS: Bremerton so get on promoting that because it’s obviously a great idea. This trip has also been great because on my way down I got to stay with Ryan and Jenni and on my way up I’m staying with my aunt and uncle and cousin. So I get to see some family before I leave, which is rad. And here is a cat picture that is just about as rad:

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I have no idea where the picture is from, but how cool is that? There’s a fun story about cabbage and me in college, but I won’t tell it because it’s really not that funny. It will be more fun for you to just think up a fun story involving Keegan, six plastic cabbages, and intense hunger. Maybe throw in a bear or two for good measure. Or just ask Tristan. Or stalk my Facebook pictures, I think one exists.

On a related (but not really related) note, the most common allergy in the US is peanuts but the most common one in central Europe is celery. Or so I’ve heard. It also, like peanuts, can provoke the most severe allergic reactions. There you have it.

Anyway, I just really wish I were that cat. I mean, look how cool it is. Sunglasses, a bell on its collar, a cabbage leaf on its head…..We sang a fun song in choir in elementary school about Brazilian Marias. Each verse mentioned a Maria from a different city. The one from Rio de Janeiro had cabbage leaves in her hair-o (“Don’t matter what you wear-o as long as you sing a song with a zing-a-za!”). So that’s fun.

That’s about all I have for you this week. Just think, regardless of my housing situation, this will be my last post before I go to Ireland. Unless, of course, I either die before I go or have a last-minute panic-post here right departure.

Hobey ho, let’s go.

P.S. While I was writing, that place I was talking about didn’t pan out 😦

I Still Don’t Know the Plural of Moose

The second post is always the hardest. It’s true I’m not really comfortable with any plural of moose. But I’m not too upset about it. Fun fact, apparently the most correct plural of octopus is octopodes because it’s Greek not Latin. But that’s not really my area.

Understand, first, that I’m writing not because I have something to say, but because I want to try to write an entry every week. I have tried disciplined journaling several times before and failed each time. My college roommate– the illustrious Tristan Slusser– encouraged me to try again. And I figure if it’s public, then there’s some accountability and, hopefully, consistency. So if you’re just looking for Ireland news, give up. I haven’t any at this juncture.

If you’re looking for fun facts, cats, and small life happenings, by all means, continue.

My first reaction to the reaction to my first blog (that’s some stellar grammar if ever I’ve seen it) was, surprise, pleasure that people enjoyed reading it. My second was dread insofar as the expectation of continued enjoyment on the part of my readers. But there’s nothing much I can do about that, my writing is what it is. So awks on you if you liked the first one much more than this one. Life’s hard. Unrelatedly, people should use words like insofar, inasmuch, and heretofore more often.

As I said, not much to report. I’ve been helping with Summer Kids’ Camp this week at my church. Small children, as many of you know, are not things I like spending time around, but it’s been a lot of fun. Tiring, but fun for sure. Shaving cream pies in faces (other peoples’, not mine), dancing in ridiculous shoes while wearing a polar bear costume (this one is me), and the baby moose (literally. We went to Northwest Trek and saw a baby moose. It was cute). Fun fact, moose (mooses? moosen? in the woodsen? a boxen of doughnuts?) can dive up to twenty feet in part due to their ability to close their nostrils. Also, it’s been great to see the kids (and our high school leaders) over the course of the week. Tiring, but so good.

Lillian’s also been watching the BBC Sherlock series which, obviously, I’ve seen several times but have no qualms about rewatching yet again. Last night was the one based off Hound of the Baskervilles. Fun fact, there is an actual military base on Dartmoor. I’ve seen it from afar. Sort of. They were doing artillery drills or something vaguely dangerous, so I couldn’t get very close. Didn’t actually see much. But there were big black vans with people that were definitely soldiers in them going to and fro.

Also, because I promised cat pictures, here’s a super attractive one of Ryan’s.

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And, to make us all feel a little better, here’s one of mine.

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That’s all for now. Next week I’ll probably have some more mindless babble. If we’re lucky, I’ll have some Ireland updates too. No promises.

Titles Are Hard

So here it is– blog post #1. You know what they say, the first is always the hardest. But here goes.

First, regarding my domain, I was going to go for just “Something Witty,” but, surprise, that was taken. So why not include cats because, really, cats cats cats cats cats.

Second, regarding the purpose of this blog: a sort of newsletter meets journal plus some cats. As a freshly minted 21 year old moving across a continent and an ocean, I thought starting a blog would be a convenient way to appease my parental units’ need to know what I’m up to. Plus, you’ll probably get some cool stories and pictures from Ireland. So that’s neat.

Third, just a bit to get started on the “keeping up with Keegan” thing. Surprise, I’m going to be studying at Trinity College Dublin starting this September. My program is called Race, Ethnicity, and Conflict (probably REC for the remainder of this blog). It is a twelve month MPhil program, which means I will (hopefully) be submitting my thesis at the end of August 2016 and will then be a master of philosophy which, let’s face it, is way cooler than being a master of basically anything else. I am in charge of my own accommodation and will hopefully have a place to live before I fly out but I might be staying in a hostel or something first while I look around in person.

Finally, a few warnings. When I say that there will probably be some cat pictures, I’m deadly serious. I take cats very seriously. I’m really into fun facts (the nice way of saying “tangents”) and will be inflicting those on you liberally, I’m sure. This may make my writing a little scattered (and by “may,” I mean “definitely will”). I’m also really into parenthetical asides (you may have noticed). I also really love/hate the Russian language and kind of talk about it a lot. If any of these things really bother you, you can pretend this blog is a reading for school– read the first and last paragraphs (initial sentences in between if you’re in a good mood) and hope nobody asks you for detailed content. Just kidding, I totally do all the assigned readings (just not the recommended ones).

Anyway, this is the place to be keeping up with me. Hobey ho let’s go.