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.
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.
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.
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