Time Capsule: “Myspace Breakup”

“I just don’t trust you with my life stories anymore.”

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Sure, I should be more responsible.

I should be reading Shakespeare’s Hamlet right now for my Introduction to Graduate Studies course.

should have begun reading it on Saturday afternoon, but I made some different choices.

And here I am again, making some choices I may regret later. Guess we’ll see when the time comes.

Moving on: I enjoyed reading Alpha’s Journal. I enjoyed formulating my own opinions on the anonymous subject matter.

And a thought occurred to me while I was doing it: I could do this to my own writing.

STORY TIME:

Back in the Spring of 2015, back when I graduated from Bryan College with a B. S. in Theatre Arts (and a minor in Counseling Psychology), I was on – let’s call it – an emotional high, a manic episode, recovering from an extreme emotional low, a depressive state.

No, I’m not confessing that I suffer from bipolar disorder. I’m just saying that in the heat of the moment I decided to, well, heat things up in more than one way.

One night late May, I said to my mom, “Hey, can I make a bonfire in your back yard and burn all my papers from my sophomore year of high school until now?”

I have always been extremely organized when it comes to paperwork (and I’m a Collector), so I gathered together all my notes from Spanish classes, Creative Writing classes, Theatre classes, Music classes, Journalism classes, and Psychology classes – about 18 notebooks in all and at least four journals. But it didn’t stop there.

The pyromaniac in me needed to burn old cards, letters, mementos, memory after memory. Everything I had collected over the years went up in smoke.

Today I sat in my Stage Management class, regretting the decision to burn all my notes. But I guess the lesson is, “You live and you learn.” I’m someone who has to learn the hard way.

FLASH FORWARD:

Luckily for all of us, I saved my blog posts from previous blogs on my dad’s hard drive at his place, and I brought them with me to Louisiana.

So, I can write notes to my past.

Please enjoy this rendition of “Myspace Breakup,” circa 2009. It’s a brief, satirical love poem addressed to technology, and if you happen to remember my third attempt at vlogging, you’ll probably remember the time I read this in front of the camera.

TIME CAPSULE:

This is what happens when I force myself to stay up so late, but I have no reason to wake up at a certain time tomorrow. I actually posted this on Myspace. It holds all my true feelings about Myspace in it:

“I don’t like to blog on Myspace. It doesn’t feel completely right. Actually, nothing feels right with Myspace anymore. I’m sorry, Myspace, but I’ve found others that love me for who I am: Facebook, Blogspot, YouTube, and Twitter. You’re just too immature for me, now. We can stay friends, but I just don’t trust you with my life stories anymore. Blogspot gets me. She understands. . . It might actually be a he, but I don’t mind, really. I can tell Blogspot everything. Granted, I don’t talk to Blogspot much these days, but I’m trying. With Facebook, I feel the happiest, way happier than I was with you. I update her, or him, at least seven times a day. We like the same things, and we have the same friends. Facebook makes things much simpler. I know that we have all of those memories – my pictures – but I could just as easily save them on my Flash Drive. I named it, but I forgot the name. Anyways, with YouTube I can be more outgoing, and things are more public without me feeling like I’m being stalked. Twitter has all the qualities of a wonderful listener. You just don’t. I wish I could make things the way they used to be, but I can feel the strain on our relationship. I hope you understand.

It’s over with love,
Justin M. Jones

P.S. If you don’t change, I’m afraid that I’ll have to take my things and leave for good. There will be no friendship at all.”

Alpha’s Journal: Part 1

Sometimes we stumble across hidden gems.

In the summer of 2015, I moved into a house with a friend. Somehow, while living in the house, I ended up owning a hiking backpack, one that you might use while backpacking across Europe.

I can’t remember whether I found it while living in the house or if I got it from an old dump at the edge of Georgia. (I playfully call the old dump the Crack House.)

Without going into great detail, I kind of “disappeared” from the world for about a year, and during that time, I thought the backpack had vanished, along with some tennis rackets, my sleeping bag, and a few other items.

While having dinner with my father and stepmother about a week ago, Brenda (stepmom) said to me, “Hey, I was wondering if you knew about the backpack in your closet. Do you want to take that to Louisiana with you?”

“Backpack?” I asked. “I don’t have anything in my closet.” At this point, she’d been using my old bedroom’s closet as her own, so she knew more about the inside of the closet than I did.

After our dinner, I went back to my parents’ house, dove into the back corner of my closet, and found this massive backpack.

I thought to myself, I don’t see much hiking happening while I’m in Louisiana, but why not? So, I took the backpack with me.

When I got to my new home and after setting everything up in my bedroom, I found a compact leather journal inside the massive backpack.

What should I find but poetry from its previous owner? (And suddenly my mind flashes to the diary of Tom Riddle and the poor possession of Ginny Weasley. . . Haha!) The mysterious author calls himself Alpha.

Enjoy this once hidden gem with me:

“You stay with

Me like the stars

In the sky.

Even when I can’t see you. . .

I know you’re there.

Understand that you read true love.

Pain in its most beautiful form

Poured onto paper.

Hope, Faith, and light in a Hopeless, faithless,

and Dark World.

It’s all I have to believe in.

If I lost the faith,

Only then will I have been crazy.

I assure you, my love.

I am sane.

P. S. I miss you.

Every day.”

A New Chapter

This morning I said, “Bon voyage,” to Chattanooga, Tennessee.

From 2011 until today, this city has been a huge part of my life, from trips in college (trips to the walking bridge and ferry rides, celebrating birthdays, relaxing from shows and classes on the weekends, celebrating holidays) to moving there after graduation, to becoming a part of a very influential and scripture-focused church, to working at Starbucks, to being integrated into a bible study, and so forth…

Six years of my life has been dedicated to Chattanooga, but at this point, it’s time to move on. I’ve always wanted to move out of state. I’ve always wanted to venture forth in order to study production stage management.

So, looking back, I am grateful for the people who have blessed me in Chattanooga – and Dayton. I am grateful for both the mistakes made in this city and the redemption that God has provided for me despite my failures.

Looking forward, I am ever more grateful that God is allowing me to follow my dreams, which is not something many people can say. I am trusting fully that this is the direction God wants for me, seeing as how I didn’t fully pursue it and, in fact, I had given up on it.

This weekend, I will be moving to Ruston, LA, and I will be attending the graduate program at LATech to get my M. A. in Theatre. Whatever happens, I know I have God to fall back on.

And I’ll be posting YouTube videos so those who may be interested can keep up with me as I try to navigate graduate school.

[Here’s the latest vlog, too. It’s about my last day at my summer internship.]


In other news, I now sit at the Starbucks in Manchester, TN, wasting time before I head to my father’s house.

What am I doing here? Funny enough – I’m starting a new blog.

Here’s an excerpt from the “About” page:

 

If you enjoy fantasy, check it out. (Yeah, I get it, I’m a geek.)

Zoom, Click, Fast-forward.

Goals for the upcoming season:

Fact: I was a strange kid; I still have quirks like the best of them.

When I say “strange,” I mean that my type of “play” was a little different compared to other boys.

On the playground, I lived in my imagination, conquering the monkey bars, owning the play castle, shooting energy balls at other Dragon Ball Z lovers like myself. At home, I played with toy cars and built Bionics, played with Lincoln Logs, and Pokemon cards, as well as Yugioh.

But for the most part, my imagination did not stop on the playground, and at home, I also played with other types of toys.

My step-dad said it best when he tried to send me to my room, after having sent my siblings to their respective rooms: “Justin, I would send you to your room, but I think you would enjoy it too much. I would send you outside, but you would probably find a string and be just as entertained.”

Punishment alluded me, because everything entertained me.

Amazing, the power of imagination.

Anyhow, I spent a lot of time at my elementary school desks making my pencils and erasers talk to each other. They had full-on dialogue between themselves. At home, my sister’s beanie babies – and my own stuffed animals –  held concerts or reenacted scenes from The Lizzie McGuire Movie.

All that to say, I was easily distracted because I was constantly aching to create. The same still applies today.

Writing evolved to editing, editing to photography, photography to acting, acting to singing, again singing to writing, writing to journaling, journaling back to camera work, and recording to editing.

Round and round it goes.

I long to create and refine. Do you have the same desire – or a hunger like it?

This hunger calls to me to continue to adventure, and so I will.

In the very near future, I will be developing a YouTube vlog. It will be, I think, my fifth attempt.

[These were the predecessors: first a banter blog with my college roommate, second a “singing” channel with a college friend, third a relatively successful challenge blog with friends, and fourth a trial at the beginning of this year to test and see if I still enjoy video-making. I do.]

The channel will catalog the new upcoming season of my life. And I am so excited, especially because I bought two new books to help me out!

Happy adventure! If you have the hunger like I do, try something new and exciting!

Come ti chiami?

Why “Rowan Cords”?

So, why Rowan Cords? That’s the first question, and I’ll get to the answer.

What does it mean? That will be answered as well.

Where is this blog headed?

 

All good questions! I respond with more questions:

Is there a Higher Power? Yes. (Gasp! You think, He responded in certainty!)

Is He relational? Yes. (Really?! How come I’ve never heard him?!)

Does He have a name? Yes. In fact, He has many names, but the Ultimate is Jesus. (Perhaps I will get to share more about this Jesus.)

Do we know what Jesus expects of us? We should, because He gives us access to His Word – at least He does in America. (I can’t speak of other countries. . .)

These questions (more specifically, the answers to these questions) are the foundation of this blog post – and prayerfully the foundation of my blog.

 

Okay, with this foundation now laid, let’s look at the other questions again:

The phrase Rowan Cords echoes two concepts that have really touched my heart while studying God’s Word the past two years. And I hope the upcoming posts simply encourage, edify, and entertain you.

[Disclaimer: I am not perfect and definitely do not know everything, and ideas presented here are meant to challenge us – even me, especially me. I have no degree in biblical studies. In fact, I only started reading the bible regularly in April 2015. I enjoy story, and I trust the Author when He shares His with me. So, I enjoy sharing it with others, especially through online webpages like this one.]

 

My life verse: “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.”

(Proverbs 3: 3)

Rowan: 

This comes from two separate ideas.

First, “love and faithfulness” pertain to the Law, the Old Testament Law that we ourselves cannot obey without the power of God Himself. All we can do is continually seek out the Word of the Lord, keep ourselves immersed in it, and meditate on it day and night. We can tie it around our wrists, make posts online about it, keep it in photographs around our homes and workplaces. We need reminders because we are finite and forgetful.

But, that’s just it. Without the power of God, it cannot necessarily be written on our hearts. Religion is empty. But that’s when Jesus comes in. We realize we are weak to obey the Law, and He says, “All you need to do is believe in me.” Believe He is the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets, and He begins to write Love on the tablet of our hearts.

[Thought: The same power that inscribes love and faithfulness on our hearts also erases the junk we’ve inscribed there. (Honestly I cannot remember if that’s a quote or an original thought. . . I’ll give credit to Chris Tiegreen for the heck of it.)]

Second, a Rowan tree, in most myths and legends, is protective, acts as a spiritual guide to keep a traveller on the correct path, and always guides the sojourner home. To me, this echoes the power of God, so I clung to the idea. Without Him, we are lost.

Cords: 

The word for “bind” in Hebrew here literally means, “to tie together,” which further (roughly) translates to “two inseparable ideas when bound together – once and for all.”

Consider Ecclesiastes 4: 12: “A cord of three strands is not easily broken.” (i.e. God, Jesus, Holy Spirit)

This power is only possible through Christ, by Christ, for the purpose of Christ – for His exaltation.

And the only time the Trinity broke up was when Jesus was on the cross, dying for everyone, because He chose to do so for the sake of the world.

Consider also Isaiah 49: 16. “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.”

This is God speaking, and what would those engravings be but the marks of the nails through His palms as He hung to the cross?!

He broke the cord so that He might have more strands.

God alone has the power to bind, thus the name He allows us to share as His children – Christians.

At the cross, He invited us into fellowship with the Father. His intention is Love, that we would be inseparable from His Word and character, bound to it as with a cord, bound to Him as with a cord. We are stronger together.

 

Thanks for reading! I encourage you to consider His power and mercy.

If you wish to delve in further, leave comments, questions, and the like. Hope you enjoyed.

[Final note: I intend to make regular posts every Friday following this post.]

Bienvenido!

Welcome to my blog site.

Welcome,

Here’s your introduction to me:

Overall,  I enjoy writing, always have. My love for writing has evolved throughout the past twenty-three years. Assumedly, it started with a general passion and enjoyment of sounds and then somehow grew to apply to the conceptual art of integrating ideas with concepts, arguments, and the like.

In the beginning, I loved stories – still do. At a young age, along with my sister, I would develop these so-called (solely by us and family) “magazines” to be passed around every holiday season while the old folks would scarf down gravy, corn casserole, cranberry sauce, and turkey. The magazines would include marvelous stories about our two puppies Elvis and Cookie, whom we deeply loved – and NEEDED everyone to know the depth of our love.

When I was about eight, I got my first typewriter and, from then on, I always had a desire to write and edit. (I still hear the over-joyed clanking to this day.) My sister tried her best to come up with a novella about a small group of spy girls. I took it upon myself to edit the story, reveling in the modification of her grammar mistakes.

Silly, six-year-old sister, eight-year-old Justin thought to himself, i before e except after c. And that period doesn’t go there.

My middle school years were revolutionized by the computer, sports books (of which I ashamedly do not remember the author’s name), Goosebumps, Captain Underpants, Wayside School, Harry Potter, county spelling bees, vocabulary quizzes, involved grammar lessons, as well as a creative outlet for writing short stories. My proudest moment was the development of the short story Bam and Pistol Pete.

The story (colors are legitimate, and I illustrated the book, too):

[Jim had a ferret named Bam and a beagle named Pistol Pete. They were so playful. One morning, Jim left for school and they decided to play hide and seek.

Bam had to count first. Pistol Pete went to hide in a cabinet. The cabinet was full of pots and pans. Bam finished counting.

Pistol Pete jumped out of the cabinet. There was a big bang, the pots and pans went everywhere. Pistol Pete got to base.

Bam had to count again. Pistol Pete hid the chair. Bam finished counting again. Pistol Pete stayed there for a second, but then he jumped on a table.

He knocked over a lamp. Bam chased Pistol Pete around the house.

They knocked over books, a fish bowl, a trash can, the grandfather clock, and vase with flowers in it. They kept running and running and running.

Finally, Jim showed up from school. He stood in amazement at all the mess that they made. There was stuff everywhere. Clothes on the floor, and even food from the refrigerator.

Jim put Bam and Pistol Pete in his room, and tried to clean everything up before his mom got home.]

Life lesson according to thirteen-year-old Justin: “Don’t leave your pets alone! If I were you, I would watch out for them!”

More years of reading and writing followed.

After learning of Shakespeare and his sonnets sophomore year, I decided to give poetry a try. And, because I enjoyed writing so much, I joined the high school newspaper staff my junior year. Senior year we won the 2011 THSPA Best Overall Newspaper, All-Tennessee Newspaper.

In college I gave up journalism after three semesters, frustrated by deadlines and human interaction on top of a drama group, homework, and play commitments. (Let’s face it, it was mainly the human interaction.)

I started blogging in 2009, and I ceased blogging in 2015.

Today I thought to myself, Why not begin writing again? 

So, here I am. Welcome to my blog.

Possible topics to be had: random poetry, possible devotions, and book reviews.