On Your Birthday

This time of year still feels haunted. Autumn feels like a gift that belongs to you, is overwhelmed with you, but absent of you. If you were alive, I like to think I would call you today. I like to think I would have apologized by now, that it wouldn’t take you leaving forever for me to realize how wonderful you are. I imagine I would call you and I’d wish you happy birthday, but I’d linger a little and stay on the line a little too long, even though you would have other calls to take and dinners to get ready for, because the whole world would be waiting to tell you how glad they are that you’re alive. I would ask you about work or some warmup question, one that doesn’t matter but feels essential. I’d ask about how your sister is, how home is, and you would say that everything is OK, and you’d tell me the most hilarious thing Victoria said the other day, and I would laugh with you because we both love her so much, and I would have figured that out by now. And I would tell you how I wish I was home to celebrate with you, to buy you a beer and give you a hug because I love you so much, and I would have told you that dozens of times by now. I would tell you about the boy, about the charm and the frustrations, and you would spout some brilliant advice, to be patient, to be sure to always be my brilliant beautiful self, and you’d say something perfect like, “I’m so happy that you’re happy, My Alien,” but a million times more eloquently because words were always on your side. And I would have teared up a little, even then, with you still alive and thriving and stringing words together perfectly on the other end of the line just hearing you call me by my favorite nickname, one no one has called me since you left.

Sometimes, I can still hear it, faint and far away and fleeting and full.



Season Sting

Today I ache for summer, for an open road with only one lane on each side, that weaves and winds and turns and stretches and couldn’t hold onto me if it tried. For time outside of coffee shops, for time with the stack of books beside my bed labeled “To Read When…” For a scratched CD scribbled “Summer 2010″ playing Sublime or Marvin Gaye or anything that sings to me from summers past through the warm wind that tangles my curls and reminds me that the glorious sun can heal everything, but stings a little. And I’ll take the sunburn and the Texas heat if it means I get to race to the lake after work on Friday and bury my toes under murky sandmud and stay up late playing music and eating snow cones because that’s what it means to me to be young and terrified of everything, especially growing up.

And I’m still young and terrified of everything, most certainly growing up, but everything else has changed.


My Friend

I bought my first pack because I was angry with her. I don’t remember why, exactly. I’m sure it was something dumb. It always was. But I was angry, and I knew my buying a pack of cigarettes would upset her.


“You can have this one, but just this one. And you’re only allowed to smoke with me.”
She made me promise, and I did.

A good friend cares about things like this. She cares about not passing along her bad habits, and forgives you when you succumb to your own.

If you’re lucky, you’ll find a good one, maybe just one in your entire lifetime, who manages to be the perfect combination of therapist, mother, big sister, and crack spirit guide. She knows all of your secrets because they are easy to tell her.

She means it when she tells you that your gray hair isn’t as big of a deal as you make it, that you’re being a jerk when you are, and that you actually do deserve better. And she knows it’ll be at least three years before you figure it out for yourself. And when you do, you’ll laugh, the two of you, and she’ll forgive you for not listening the first time because she cares, more than anyone else, really.

At times, your lives ere on the side of absurd, when she wipes your tears all over your face and tells you they’re a natural moisturizer, or when you eat sad-time tacos like they’re a real thing.

In many ways, you’re unstoppable. The two of you are the ultimate Catch Phrase partnership, pulling from years of inside jokes and “Remember that song from that 7th grade Birthday Party mix CD?” moments. Your conversations are impossible to track for anyone else, as they’re placed within a context that took years to construct.

But it’s not your history that keeps you together. It’s not an obligation. You know a friendship like that is worth fighting for, worth preserving.

I bought my first pack of cigarettes because I knew it would upset her, and it did because she cares the most.



(throws confetti, once again)

Today is, in fact, my sweet little blog’s

Screen shot 2013-09-07 at 10.40.22 PMThat’s right, folks. Four whole years. They grow up so fast!
Anyway, I don’t have anything special planned, but I wanted to recognize this day and thank you all for sticking with me.

The past few months of grad school have been exceedingly difficult, emotionally more than anything else. This isn’t the first time I’ve felt that my writing has suffered because of school. It happens every semester when papers and tests pick up. But this seems to be something different entirely, and I’m trying to sort my way through it.

This space continues to grow and change as I do. So thanks for coming back.
Thanks for not giving up on me.




I want a rooftop garden, or a porch with potted petunias, or even a dusty windowsill with tiny succulents to remind me I can keep something alive, to remind me to be thankful for the sun.
I want to make music every day.
I want to feel comfortable with my clumsiness, with my shaky voice.
I want to ask you what you’re thinking instead of guessing.
I want to stop writing about you.
I want to feel like someone worth Saturday mornings, worth sharing secrets, worth sharing silent spaces.
I want to stop pretending.
I want to live with fierce authenticity.
I want to toss away the irony, the apathy, the pretense, the bullshit.
I want to cry every time I hear that Death Cab song and always be terrified of my parents dying.
I want to stay up all night writing terrible poems.
I want to write about you until I understand.
I want to always remember what I love about writing.
I want to never compromise that for a career.
I want to care more but be a little less careful.
I want the questioning and certainty.
I want to settle in the unsettling contradictions.

I love abstractions, I love
to give them a nouny place to live,
a firm seat in the balcony
of ideas, while music plays.
I love them more than hard evidence
and shapely stones, more than money,
which can buy time, but not enough.

Stephen Dunn


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!


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.





I’ll probably always be one to love a little too much a little too soon. Someone whose feelings don’t subscribe to the time tables set for them.

And I’m not among those who knows she’ll have either peonies or ranunculus at her wedding. I’ve never pictured it. I have heard myself on many occasions saying to close friends, “I hope you get married in the next few years so I can plan your wedding,” demanding complete creative control, of course, despite my intense skepticism for the whole practice. Marriage or even a long-term romantic relationship is not a guarantee for me, or at least I don’t feel that it is.

I bet on my friendships most days, even though they allow for a certain level of unspoken commitment and platonic love and bring their own kind of sadness as they end. I plan for friendships as though they’re guaranteed, but romantic relationships seem to be in the Great Unknown category, something I’m content with most days.

And despite all of this, I still find myself planning an elaborate future, without any certainty of a future with that person at all.

I’m not a fiction writer, but I can’t help but imagine a lifetime with anyone who will let me, a romanticized vision of every possibility.

He and I were to ride bicycles across the Golden Gate Bridge. She and I would share a closet-sized apartment in the city. He and I would have a cafe con leche (his with a little too much sugar) every afternoon in our favorite plaza and he would tell me how he loves music but finds comfort in sharing silence with someone and she would ask to share a cigarette on a back porch when sleep wouldn’t come and she would always forgive me when I get bossy about playing music.

We all would have reconvened for New Year’s Eve or ditched our families to have Friendsgiving in November and he would have read books in the grass and I would take too many pictures of him and we would have opened a flower/letterpress stationary shop, she and I, with soft-colored walls and hand-painted flowers and hand-drawn letters on the windows and he would have traveled the world, but come back for me, or asked me to come along and kiss him on every bridge we would have walked across.

You would have realized you were way too young to get married and I would have learned to write sweet songs on ukulele to sing our kids to sleep or maybe just a sweet pupster that would have found a comfy spot each night at the foot of our bed and I would have written you a hundred more letters and left them on the kitchen counter for you to wake up to and nothing would have felt truer than Whitman’s words when he said: “We were together. I forget the rest.”

And today, I suppose I’m content to indulge in these lovely stories. But really, I hope to spend a lifetime being continually mesmerized and fascinated by how much more wonderful reality is than anything I could scribble into imaginary notebooks in my head.