Relevant

Write, Right When You Get There

I’m double posting about this because I think it’s pertinent to both my writing and design spaces. I typically keep the two separate, but I’m making an exception this time, so I apologize if you read both and find this redundant. 

I’m very excited to tell you that I recently completed my very first submission for The Sketchbook Project!

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I’ve been a fan of Art House Co-op for years, and have participated in a number of their art swaps and smaller projects, but just contributed my first sketchbook to the collection.

To participate, you order a sketchbook from Art House Co-op and register the book with a particular tour you want your book to travel before being housed in the Brooklyn Art Library. The theme of the tour I chose is called “Write, Right When You Get There,” bringing together written story and visual artwork, which felt right up my alley. It also seemed like the perfect theme as (many of you already know, of course) I made a huge life transition and moved across the country just two months ago.

A lot of the writing that has appeared here the past few months was written first in my sketchbook and adapted for this little digital space, but if you’re in any of the cities along the tour (Kansas City, Louisville, Columbus, and Pittsburgh) or find yourself in Brooklyn any time soon, you should check out The Sketchbook Project and the Brooklyn Art Library. And if you feel like looking up my book, you can find it by this call number (216.5-7), and I would absolutely love to know if you do. Here are a few photos from my sketchbook.

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Relevant

Making Sense of Somewhere New

You’ll drive somewhere just to see if you can find home again on your own, wandering to wander.

You’ll miss hugs, the good ones that last too long and say so much.

You’ll go to the same places over and over again to relish in the familiarity.

You’ll miss the possibility of running into someone you know, an entire town of yearbook photos that have grown a little worn around the edges.

Homesickness will fill the silences if you let it. You’ll step onto an empty balcony at an uncomfortable house party and it will come.

You’ll be surprised by the easy days.

Your new friends won’t notice when you’re gone, when you work through lunch everyday for a week or miss Wednesday night drinks, because you haven’t been a constant in their lives long enough for them to realize you’ve been elsewhere.

You’ll double-take every time you hear a voice or see the back of someone’s head that feels familiar, regardless of how improbable it is. You’ll be disappointed every time it’s not him.

You’ll take yourself out to brunch on a Sunday morning because you want the calm and the quiet and the proving to yourself that you can. Eventually you’ll learn to feel comfortable saying “table for one.”

This comfort might scare you.

You’ll find yourself making categories and placing people in them in true Dr. Seuss fashion: old friends, new friends, home friends, school friends.

Those categories will becomes less defined and new ones will materialize: then and now. This might not be easy to accept.

You’ll challenge the things you feared.

You’ll survive.

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Reflection

More Than Bitter, More Than Sweet

I miss this place even though I am still here, even though the boxes aren’t completely packed and I still have a pile of clothes in the dryer. I miss it more and more as the reality of leaving becomes tangible, as my little sanctuary looks less and less like my own. I pulled the artwork and photography off the walls of my apartment and carefully wrapped the frames with paper and the purple bubble wrap that Makes Packing Fun so they would make it safely to a new, albeit temporary, home with new walls to tell stories to. Stacked one on top of the other, they fit snuggly in two medium-sized moving boxes, and I was amazed at how small that seemed, and how empty my walls look without them.

I couldn’t bring myself to unscrew the wooden block with the sturdy rubber arms that holds my ukulele on the wall. I imagine that will be one of the last items to be packed. I have dreams that my last few weeks in my hometown will be spent under trees late at night with the breeze that is still warm from the day, with old friends home for summer, playing ukulele covers of old favorites which are not-so-old when you’re twenty one and have only really cared about music for less than half of your lifespan, but manage to feel comfortable and nostalgic anyway. And if I had it my way, there would be minimal tears and minimal sadness because it seems like such a waste, but I’m not foolish enough to truly hope for such luck.

I constantly try to sort how I’m feeling about moving away. I spent many days saying I would begin packing, but found myself sitting on the floor of my bedroom instead, crying over old drafts of stories from my first creative nonfiction workshop two years ago or feeling too overwhelmed by everything to do anything at all.

Everyone I love and care for is excited for me and they tell me how proud they are and I smile and thank them and tell them I’m excited too, but that leaving will be tough and they remind me I’ll have a great time and I usually say I know but I’m not very convincing. I feel like a talking cardboard cutout with a few recorded sound responses could replace me most days, because I have the same conversations about grad school and moving to New York three times a day.

I am excited.

I’m also terrified, nervous, sad, uncertain, and numb about the whole thing. And in these stock conversations I hear the same word over and over again: bittersweet.

Bittersweet just might be my least favorite word, because anyone who has ever felt conflicting emotions, who has simultaneously waved goodbye and hello, anyone who has left home to find home, knows that bitter and sweet don’t even come close. Bitter and sweet and sad and excited and nervous and all of the words I have can’t touch what it’s like to move away from people you love in a place you love with bedrooms you’ve cried in and trees you’ve played music under and streets you kissed boys on and beds you were tucked into and a group of barefooted ladies that you danced with to polka music and a sweet dog that felt like your own, and a town that for the only life you can remember called you one of its own to live in a new town with all the promise and possibility that comes with discovery.

And through all the fear and uncertainty, the only thing I know is that I’m incredibly lucky to be so sad to leave such a wonderful place.

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Relevant

“You’re already home where you feel loved.”

To celebrate Valentine’s Day this year…

I played hooky with a stellar seventeen year old, had a lovely dinner with the best rents any girl could have, saw a movie with my favorite gal Toria, played my ukulele for the first time in weeks,

I wrote a love note to a stranger,

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I made paper Valentines with my favorite five-year-old,
cfd069f472fa11e2ae9022000a1f9a21_7and I designed and mailed postcards to my sweet friends and family.

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In the larger scheme of things, Valentine’s Day doesn’t actually matter and is pretty trivial. But I can’t help but love any day that gives me an excuse to remind the wonderful human beings in my life how lucky I am to have them. So, thank you, friends, old and new. And happy Valentine’s Day to you!

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Ridiculous

Oh, the clouds are beginning to break

I may be sick and in bed, but that’s not going to keep me doin’ my thang.

IMG_8288I have zero experience with gouache, and my work with watercolor is limited to a few weeks during my senior year of high school when I quickly decided I simply didn’t have the patience for it. But I bought a few tubes of gouache last week and decided to dive in. In between sneezes and cough drops, I hand-lettered and painted a few lovely lines from the first track of Ben Gibbard’s newest solo album Former Lives, which came out in October but I just snagged a copy of. He’s a talented dude, and the album, while not Death-Cab-status good, is pretty incredible. I’m a shameless fan of almost everything he does (sorry, guys. I’m not much of a Postal Service fan) but this solo album is worth checking out, I think. Also, this:

 

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