year of the mirror pic!

i started riding my bike again- through the park without a plan, and to dinner down the street. i wrote in many spaces, lots of hotel lobbies and bars. i shared my poetry for the first time in march, and in august i self-published a book. i kept one job and got another. i saw phoebe bridgers on valentines day. i dyed my hair blonde and moved into an apartment by myself. i remembered how fun it is to dance in the kitchen. i went back to therapy and realized it is, in fact, possible to communicate through conflict. i started going to a new church i very much like. i helped turn a party into a john mark mcmillan sing-along, and i danced my heart out at a haim show. i had the perfect day at a diy music festival, and a perfect night listening to a Cardigans record in a space that means a lot. i saw the National on a perfect evening and walked two miles home. i spent most every saturday with a close friend until she moved away, and each one is memorable. i found creative excitement and lost it again. i took more walks, i had less energy. i hit the year mark in some important friendships, still learning how to stick around. i continued to take a film photo everyday; i could talk forever about how that project has changed my life. i felt free and sad and everything in between. the music, the people, the photos— all of it’s changed me and as the year comes to an end, i feel it’s all for the best.

now, here’s some art i cared about (in no particular order):

  • Afraid of Everything - Harrison Whitford

    top tracks: both my friends, welcome to my life, part time heart

  • Sway - Tove Styrke

    top tracks: on the low, on a level

  • Personal Best - Chelsea Jade

    top tracks: low brow, speedboat, personal best

  • Golden Hour - Kacey Musgraves

    top tracks: love is a wild thing, space cowboy, velvet elvis

  • My Mind Makes Noises - Pale Waves

    top tracks: drive, red, eighteen

  • Saved - Now, Now

    top tracks: holy water, P0WDER, set it free

    *** Reach for the Sun - The Dangerous Summer

    this came out a decade ago, but i keep returning to it. it makes me feel young and weightless.

    top tracks: symmetry, permanent rain, weathered


Fine But Dying - Liza Anne

Clean - Soccer Mommy

To, From - Ethansroom


Fallingwater - Maggie Rogers

It’s Alright - October Tooth

Night Shift - Lucy Dacus

Prior Things - Hopalong

The Mission - Valley Maker

Needy One - Beket


I read less in 2018, but my two favorites were both by Maggie Nelson: Something Bright, then Holes, and Bluets.

on to the hope of another year, and the hope of room to be, grow, love.

xo, L

fires; 2017

i split my time this year, nearly down to the day: half the year soaking up the end of south carolina, the other half making a home in nashville. i left one job for two others; i sold a lot of donuts. i rode on a bus through the night to watch the tigers come out on top and celebrated with tears and tattoos. i started hiking on my own and learned the art of paying attention. i sat around many fires: in celebration of employment, on sunday nights with nothing better to do, to warm our hands and cook our meals, to sing leaving songs. i built a bike that got stolen, and then i built another. i kept returning to new york city and felt the thrill of smallness and the subway system. i trespassed in a treehouse and on rooftops. i danced more (cc: Ellie Goulding's 'Anything Could Happen') and smashed beer bottles for the hell of it. i fit more knowledge about the enneagram in my brain than i thought possible. i started really reading poetry, and then i started to write the beginnings of a book of my own. i had a resurgence of my love for punk music. i accompanied a good friend on tour down the east coast. i kept cutting my hair shorter for a few moments of weightless freedom. i found a point-and-shoot film camera at an estate sale and have used it everyday since. i had a cocktail named after me, and thus learned to love bourbon. i went on a halloween self-date to see bon iver. i started hitting golf balls and taking drum lessons. i gave myself room to doubt, and found solace in two broken front porch rocking chairs with an assortment of people i've come to love and be loved by. i knew leaving and staying, i knew loneliness and confusion, i knew gratitude and hope. 

the new year's now a few days away and i still don't know exactly who i am or what i want, but i do know i learned more, wrote more, hurt more, and laughed more in 2017. to borrow words from Mary Oliver, it was a year of fires that both 'warmed and scorched.' in light of them, there's a new depth in me that i'm grateful for. 

like grief must be felt prior to healing, the same goes for reflection before moving forward. that being said, i don't want to look ahead quite yet. in 2017, i was moldable; here's some of what changed me, in threes.

three albums:
1) After Laughter - Paramore
- top tracks: fake happy, idle worship, tell me how
- first heard: in May on hwy 378, heading back home from clemson for one of the last times before moving to tennessee. it allowed loneliness to be upbeat, it was a bridge between comfort and change. 

2) Peripheral Vision - Turnover
- top tracks: hello euphoria, humming, intrapersonal
- first heard: also in May, tracking my last LNR (late night rip) in wyatt with Garrett and Syd; the end of an era. i heard a lot of these songs live in October and the whole crowd sang along, making for the kind of anthemic nostalgia you hope to hold onto. 

3) Stranger in the Alps - Phoebe Bridgers
- top tracks: motion sickness, georgia, scott street
- first heard: after an all-nighter in the ER, outside the bakery before going into work back in September. a current favorite sad record, it quickly began to share the weight of all i've been feeling. 

three songs:
1) this time - land of talk
- first heard: at Lauren's a few months ago. it was one of those moments that couldn't go on unless i knew the name of the song. now it makes me think of new york. 

2) hard feelings / loveless - lorde
- first heard: probably the day it came out, but i didn't really hear it until november, playing backyard basketball as it rang over the loudspeaker. it's conflict, it's the way things change, it's how we grow. and it's the crux of Melodrama, if you ask me. 

3) outbound train - ryan adams
- first heard: i have no idea, because i listened so many times. i'd play it on repeat for entire 45 minute commutes home from work last spring. in september, i went to a festival just to see Ryan play it live. it's come to be a song of redemption.

three books:
1) upstream - mary oliver
- read: last january in Caviar and Bananas; i cried mid-third essay. it took me months to finish, because i'd only read it in clemson's botanical gardens on warm winter days. i finished it in March, at Percy Warner in nashville. some books just deserve your best, you know?

2) a visit from the goon squad - jennifer egan
- read: on sticky hot july days. it seemed confusing and pointless up until the next to last chapter, and then i saw Egan for her brilliance. some things are worth pressing into. 

3) turtles all the way down - john green
- read: two late nights in October. it meant feeling understood, in a deep and sometimes tragic sort of way..."I, a singular proper noun, would go on, if always in a conditional tense."

here's to brief pause before moving forward. 2018: i have high hopes!



WWLT: Dashboard Confessional, MUNA, Big Thief

hello again / summer actually / why playlists?

a conversational piece on life these days:

hello! it's been months since i've shared anything on this space. there are multiple reasons that play into why i have been web-silent: growing cynical toward the concept of "blogging", growing uncertain about why i have believed _____ for so long, learning how to say goodbye and hello simultaneously, and the discomfort that comes along with all of it... anyway. i am, for the moment, back.

for anyone (anyone?) who keeps up with me here, a brief life update for you: i graduated from Clemson University in December and moved to Nashville in June. i intern at a co-working space called WELD, and sell donuts at Five Daughters Bakery. it all sounds well and great--and my jobs, they really are both wonderful-- but summer has been a bit of an unkind fire. i didn't have any fully-formed expectations about what this time might be like, but this surely wasn't a flame i foresaw.

a thief stole my new bicycle and death stole my dog before i got to say goodbye and friends have been preoccupied and houses to live in have been elusive. and all of these on their own, though difficult and sad, might be relatively manageable. clumped together, amongst other things, in a new city, i haven't really known how to handle it. i don't think i'm supposed to know. i'm not used to this.

before you think this is intended as a complaint or some sort of plea for pity, it isn't. just an honest summary of life lately. there are also good things! like weekly trips to the library, watching airplanes take off in the distance from the airpark, drinks on front porches with friends, iced coffee from eighth and roast (where i am writing this from / sorry @wallet).

not long after i moved, i made a playlist i was proud of. if you know me at all, you know i make playlists like it's my job. most days, i wish it were. i am good at ordering songs conceptually and knowing what to play during this moment or that one. really, i think life's more memorable if it's got a soundtrack that fits. only recently, i've discovered i have this deep recurrent need for control, and my perfectionistic and compulsive playlist-making is one habit i can attribute to that tendency. man. kind of a tough pill to swallow.

well, this playlist, entitled 'for summer days', was really great for awhile. it rang out from the basket on my bike in between trips to the park and the taco place down the street. it was there while i learned i loved to roll my windows down. and then my bike was gone and my friends were gone and i didn't really want to hear these songs alone. i'd intended for them to be shared, after all.

don't get me wrong, i still love those songs, but summer's soundtrack became as unpredictable as the season itself. most of the songs i remember are not the ones i put on that playlist. the songs of summer are beautiful in ways i didn't see coming. they are soft and sad, hopeful and fun, and most of the time, they were songs i didn't handpick. they worked their way into my ears all on their own, at the hands of friends, strangers, Jesus, occasional resurfaced memories.

the point is, i can't control everything. on my best days, i know that. but i will keep at the playlists and here's why: it feels good when what you need shows up without your choosing. it's a reminder we weren't meant to go it alone. we need each other! i want to pick your songs. so these playlists, while still a little bit for me, are mostly for you. they won't all be the thing you need at the exact moment you need it, but maybe, just maybe, one song will. and for me, that is enough.

spread what you believe matters; i'll try to do the same..

..starting now! here's a link to some songs that have been my close friends this summer. i didn't put them in any particular order. but i want you to have them if you want to listen. hitting 'shuffle' is both condoned and encouraged :)

- L

p.s. if you like reading words i write, new is coming. soon!

the blues / heart

Six years ago I began a quiet tradition. Six December 31's I've listened to 'The Blues'. It's an old Switchfoot song- you can look it up if you'd like. Its verses and choruses are comprised of a lengthy string of questions, which I think is why I keep returning to its comfort. 

I find myself at the begending (a word I probably invented to denote the clashing of old and new) again, weighed down with questions too. I fear today, the first of January, has become subject for the scoffers. 'Just another day full of empty promises to be better.' That's what the cynics might say, at least. Part of me says that too, but I stuff it down in rejection and instead try to make a big deal of expectant hope. We all want that, don't we?

I started choosing a word instead of a resolution three years ago, in a time and place I look back on with fondness. My friends do it too. Well, some of them. I like the purpose and the simplicity. I know I'll fall short of my word's intentions, but each year I'm propelled to press forward anyway.

For now I'll refrain from reflecting too much on 2016 because my mind's made a mess of it. What I do know is there were bright spots and good days amidst difficulty. It was thrilling curiosity and purposeful solitude, fervent prayer and looming confusion. It still is, partially.

Looking ahead, here's what I know: there are watchers and there are doers. I am the former and I, more than anything, do not want to be. 

So my word for 2017 is heart: courage; the vital part or essence. To me, it sends Hope, always welcomed and needed. To have heart, I think too, is to be a doer. Passion not acted on is maybe not passion at all, and I more than anything want passion.

Heart was sparked by a verse, an excerpt, and some songs (I might share later). It is more than half of "take heart", words resting in my favorite piece of scripture: 13 I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. 14 Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. (Psalm 27)

And this Thoreau quote from my twelfth grade English class; it has been rattling around in my pocket since we had to memorize it: "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately..I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life."

That's all it is, really. Purpose and passion in our days. Heart.

And everyone has one, a heart. Everyone. It's the Great Equalizer, reminding gently that we all want love. Love is a term sometimes tossed around carelessly, and it's this great abstract solvent to our problems according to most notable people. But love is not concrete and it's not graspable or formulaic. It's perplexing, but I want to be a part of it and to give it away, whatever that looks like. I think it starts with doing. And fighting for the worst parking spot (cc: Bob Goff). 

And so the song ends, 'is there any honest song to sing besides these blues?' I don't know, Jon. I keep hearing that 'everything is going to be alright', both said and sung. I trust it will be.

Here's to more heart. Welcome, 2017!

WWLT: January White & Silhouettes - Sleeping at Last //  27 - Passenger // Somebody to Anybody - Margaret Glaspy

WWLT: January White & Silhouettes - Sleeping at Last //  27 - Passenger // Somebody to Anybody - Margaret Glaspy

the foyer

This is TREES III, the final piece of the series! Before you begin, know these are not the words I expected to write. In my mind, I'd fast-tracked to a compelling tale about what college has been like for me: seven semesters and three summers. I worked on it for weeks, but I'm still so close, too close, to understand it all. Maybe that story will come later; for now, here's what I have, written today.

It's been three and a half years in a college town. To use a seemingly unlikely metaphor, Clemson's been a foyer. Fairly small yet good for beginnings, entertaining for a short while. Doors on all four walls, pathways to possibility. In my mind, the foyer's got a tree burgeoning in the center and the tree is me. 

The Foyer was grand for a small sprout, unexplored and thrilling. 'Til the end, it has been nurturing and kind. Inside, I've learned to stay soft, to be bold. I've learned the world is big and emotions are ok. I've learned what kind of company I like to keep, and that life is brimming with purpose. Each of them deserve their own essay, someday.

Ok, back to the Foyer. A time came when I thought I'd outgrown it. I no longer fit. My branches pressed against thick walls, twined 'round doorknobs. Leaves littered the hardwood. I wanted more than what was inside.

Not fitting was a half-truth in ways I'm not sure how to articulate yet. Growth was happening and growing pains are good. And there's something to be said for sticking around. Time kept its pace as doors opened and branches shot through, allowing for roaming and remaining to coexist. A God-breathed phenomenon, I'm sure. 

Now, at the risk of being cliche, it is time to uproot. Ring turned, I am ready. I've flourished I hope, Wisely & Slow

...and so the last leaf falls. I watch the descent with a wide grin, for the Foyer let a good thing grow.

WWLT: Wisely & Slow - The Staves // The Current State of Things - Noah Gundersen

Answers to FAQ (aka what's next for me):

I just finished college with a Communications degree. I'll be staying in Clemson through the spring, leading Young Life and working a part-time job of some sort, soaking up time with friends. Hopefully I'll have some opportunities to travel, but my biggest goals are to make/save money, and to learn to play drums.

I feel the closing of a chapter without its finality. I don't have to say goodbyes yet, but I've been introspective all the same, preparing for all the "lasts" in the coming months. Next, I hope to return to Nashville and find a job I love. Stay tuned!

L: 1/4/14, Christmas break freshman year. I spent a few days in/around Columbus, NC with five friends; it changed the trajectory of my life. While I don't see most of them on a regular basis, I'm always glad our paths crossed.

LC: 9/11/14, I've spent many days in this tree out at Chattooga Belle Farm. This day I took my friend Bailey to see the magic of the treehouse. Lots of memories w/ people I love are here; so is my illegible left-handed signature.

RC: 10/26/14, from Max Patch Mtn. Brianna, Abby and I spent a perfect autumn day there. When I think of it I hear Beyond the Blue by Josh Garrels. 

R: 1/22/16: Last year, it snowed late on a Friday night. It'd been a rough week; after some convincing, I joined my friends outside and marveled at the white winter trees, taking photos as we ran around campus.