A Word and Letter About The Grotesque

Dear WomanNeverSleeps,
Are you asleep? You haven’t posted anything for so long, it almost seems like you’re hibernating. What’s the deal?

Dear Awake,
Thanks for asking. To tell you the truth, I haven’t had much time to blog lately. But then, I’ve never really had time to blog. I’ve always made the time to blog and usually relished every moment that I was blogging when I should have been cleaning out the fridge or something. So, I guess that hasn’t really been the problem. No, the problem is that lately I just haven’t had the words – or at least what I thought were the right ones.

But I have the right word now, and its one which I was always told was wrong. I’m reconsidering this word – and not just because I have some Scotch-Irish in my blood. If you ever – and we here in America rarely do – get the opportunity to hear it used *appropriately* you know you’ve fallen into a pit of heartbreaking discovery – a deep, lonely, place of understanding you’re own sin and stupidity. You know instinctively that there’s only one word that describes that kind of honest introspection.

This word that has inspired me really comes from a whole set of words in a song. I first heard this song on a video right after I listened to the same group sing one of my favorite hymns, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” It was probably one of the most attention-getting moments of my life – going from words of prayer and praise to words of confession. It reminded me of what Flannery O’Connor said, “I use the grotesque the way I do because people are deaf and dumb and need help to see and hear.”

So, Awake, listen to this song and tell me what you think. Does using this “grotesque” word help you to see and hear? (You can read the lyrics below the song while you listen.)

Truly Yours,

Lyrics to Little Lion Man
Weep for yourself, my man,
You’ll never be what is in your heart
Weep Little Lion Man,
You’re not as brave as you were at the start
Rate yourself and rake yourself,
Take all the courage you have left
Wasted on fixing all the problems
That you made in your own head

But it was not your fault but mine
And it was your heart on the line
I really fucked it up this time
Didn’t I, my dear?
Didn’t I, my…

Tremble for yourself, my man,
You know that you have seen this all before
Tremble Little Lion Man,
You’ll never settle any of your scores
Your grace is wasted in your face,
Your boldness stands alone among the wreck
Now learn from your mother or else spend your days Biting your own neck

But it was not your fault but mine
And it was your heart on the line
I really fucked it up this time
Didn’t I, my dear? (x2)

Didn’t I, my dear?


But it was not your fault but mine
And it was your heart on the line
I really fucked it up this time
Didn’t I, my dear? (x2)

Didn’t I, my dear?


10 thoughts on “A Word and Letter About The Grotesque

  1. This was very difficult to listen to with postpartum hormones running through my body. Yes, very appropriately said. Hmmm…. I think a fellowship meal is long overdo. And, I think you've turned me unto another band. :-)By the way, I LOVE Flannery O'Connor and I LOVE "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing."I've been so busy myself that I haven't blogged very much since the baby was born. However, I noticed that I do much better when I'm writing. Keep it up!

  2. Is that an electric banjo?! Very cool!I had to mull this over a bit in my mind, but I think you make a great point. I wonder if the apostle Paul had the same philosophy that Flannery O'Connor had many centuries earlier when he wrote, "For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ…" (Phil. 3:8). I have heard it said that in the Greek, the word "rubbish" was actually something much more grotesque. And perhaps Isaiah had that perspective too in Is. 64:6 when he compares righteous deeds as being like filthy rags.Keep on writin', my dear friend!! πŸ™‚

  3. Words are important in understanding each other. It seems this is an appropraite usage. It is shocking, but so is our sin!Was recently turned onto Mumford. Redemptive songs, many. They have some good hymns too. πŸ™‚

  4. Yes, Julie, in light of our Holy God, it's hard to find words that are truly "ugly" enough. I guess that's a good thing, but I'm thankful for these reminders – and that they can miraculously be used amid such beautiful music. We've been "turned on," too. Going to see them on the Railroad Revival Tour on the 23rd. Are they coming to Portland?

  5. It's been forever since we went to a concert, but one of Brian's faves, Robert Cray, is coming to Portland soon for a festival on the waterfront. That may happen. No Mumford in our area.I don't have any of their music, but some is on my list to download…. Love The Cave.And I'll find strength in painAnd I will change my waysI'll know my name as it's called again

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