Sunday, December 30, 2012


It's complicated that I love chili but I don't like beans, that in order to love chili, I must embrace the beans, too (this year's greatest metaphor, right?). It's complicated to say that life was complicated in 2012 when, at the end of the day, it was, by love's definition, blessed. So here's to this year's beans...and the rest of the hidden metaphorical, photographical, meaningful moments of 2012. I present the second annual Year of Light in photographs (you can look at last year's here, and see how much more mature things have gotten, even though I'm talking about beans right now).

This lightness happened while visiting two of the greatest young men I know, 
on the outskirts of Seward, Nebraska.

This is Luftwerk's Luminous Field in Chicago, where many things were
illuminated and luminous, like the city itself.

This is Momma Auten and Brother Bear during Tyler's first trip to Chicago.

This happened. Where else but Carol Joy Holling Camp.
"Too much camera time."

These people, I tell you. This summer, I tell you. 
Hashtag awesome.

That face. These Kids. And Broseph at Sullivan Hills Camp.
They must have chased him around for a solid hour.

This is how I feel about Seward, Nebraska, and it was taken
during my first 4th of July there with my best friends.

This is me in a touristy shot in Chicago.  
The irony is that I am no longer a tourist.

This is a happy giant Litebrite. It happened during Chicago's 
Art on Trackwhich took place on the elevated train.

This photo marks the beginning of my Dad's mobile phone photography career.

This was a celebration of friend love outside of a Wendy's in Leavenworth, Kansas, 
where I found my way back to my convictions about photography
even though this was taken with a cell phone. 
No matter because this moment needed to happen and be recorded.

What I'm trying to say is don't overlook the beans in the chili (as in, to be all un-original about it, don't overlook the moments within this gargantuan bowl of life, for your life is fearfully and wonderfully made). And make sure you find someone who loves you for all your spilled beans. 

I'm also not going to apologize for all these bean/(possibly)fart/bowl/chili metaphors. Happy New Year!



Sunday, November 11, 2012


There's nothing like typing a big 'ol paper and suddenly losing two whole pages because you didn't command+S for over 20 minutes. It feels like the whole world is crushing your patience, your sanity, your life. It's so dramatic, you can't even handle how dramatic it is. Good thing it only lasts for a little while, after you've plopped your face into your pillow, screamed into it, cried there, let it dry, then screamed into it again. It's almost like an out of body experience, one that also crushes you with embarrassment another 20 minutes later. The only song that goes through your head is REM's "It's the End of the World As We Know It." So, you resort to writing about it on your blog so the rest of the world, if they choose so to do, can pity you and understand what you're going through. It's pathetic really. Meanwhile, your paper still doesn't get written, as you're still writing on your blog. But somewhere in there, you begin to wonder why it's so terrible that you lost just two pages of words. They're just words, for goodness' sake! Now, you have a beautiful blank slate to discover something new about yourself and others through writing. It's a really good exercise in re-articulating the present moment and beginning to treasure it. You didn't lose your loved ones, your friends, your home to a hurricane. You didn't lose your mind with the exception of a few minutes. You didn't lose your ability to think, to walk, to love. You didn't lose your faith, even though it felt like you did for a split second there. You didn't lose your life after this.

It also makes you (now me) question why I freaked out in the first place. This relates to this cool cat, whom I have admired since by best friend and I accidentally stumbled across his "Acne Song." You can watch it here. Then you, Charlie and I...let's face those blank pages together, remembering where the clean slate came from.

"I just have to hope, I guess, that I have the capacity within myself to be that person I want to be. Because, right now I just don't know and I am unsure. And, that scares me, a lot. If you have been, thank you for sticking with me over the course of this last year. I really appreciate it more than anything else, truly."

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. - Ephesians 2:8

Command+S, over and out.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

I want a sandwich.

Lately (but not so lately), after a month's hiatus from writing here, I begin by writing something like, "It's been so long since I've written, but here's what's going on." Or "I haven't written anything but school crap and it sucks, but here's what's going on" or "I think that writing on here is conceited which is why I haven't written for so long. But here's what's going on." Excuses, really. I need to work on introductions.

Today was like a dream. (I also need to work on transitions.) Confidence, reflection, brilliance, stupidity, floating, i.e. walking through familiar places but realizing you're a completely different person than the first time you walked through this place. It slams your brain down, choke holds it for a sec, when you realize you've been in a new place long enough for it not to be new anymore. Blows. your. mind. A few pieces of thought sandwich from a few days ago that led to this encounter.

1) journal excerpt, September 24
Often times a certain peace comes along, in the midst of sirens, traffic, uncertainty, uncontrollable longing for things and people missed or not yet grasped, ultra shyness, anonymity, floating, indecision, confusion, self-consciousness, reading, writing, headaches, diversity, homelessness, homesickness, discernment, sexuality, nightmares about loss, real loss, mistakes, regrets, everyday errors, cell phone usage, too much facebook, missing out, worry, the opposite of motivation, disengagement, irritability, judgment, tough love, growth, growing pains, body image, distrust, fear of closeness, fear of dates, fear. But, it's of God - the peace. God's peace. The knowing, faith, being still. That tomorrow is a gift. A day I've never, ever experienced before. What wondrous love. And all the days after. Reminds me of the Levi's commercial. But imagine them wearing love, that's right!

2) an essay about coming of age via beer, October 8
How can beer be ugly when it brings so many beautiful people and things together? My parents and their friends, my high schoolmates, that first kiss guy, that second kiss guy, my college friends, my current friends, my friendship with beer itself. This logic also applies to love for home, even when it smells like cheap beer, i.e. cow piss. The truth is, everything happened in Nebraska, not just the torture of cheerleading, or high school football, parties at the cabin, defeating shyness like an alcoholic superhero, stepping in shit while drinking beer in that pasture where we had a bonfire, finding the errors about beauty, the revisionary momentary slaps and slams toward true beauty.

3) a list of details I wish I could tell you, Today
All this new clarity opens the choke hold, and you start realizing details you want to share with anyone who will listen, or read, just to be reminded it's not a dream. Did you know: that my wardrobe color scheme has shifted from tans, grays, and black to browns, greens, blues, and black; that I wear my hair up more often to show off my face like my Mom told me to do, that I'm finally proud of my ears that stick out a bit and my nose that's crooked; that I wish I could sit on the sidewalk by that man outside the Sheridan el station on Wednesdays - he has no legs, sitting in a wheelchair, watching people go by. I'd like to people watch and have conversations with him without looking like a loon for sitting on the sidewalk; that every time I walk to church, the "don't walk" symbol is already turned or quickly turns to the "walk" symbol because I need to walk ahead, walk in His footsteps, walking through the night, walking toward the light; that my favorite color at the moment is the coral orange of certain fall leaves; that I really enjoy the cold because I'd rather keep reaching for warmth than be a total hottie all the time; that I don't mind the hipsters, because I don't really mind things that are too hip, that other people call sellouts or posers. I think calling someone a poser is poser behavior, and that me calling someone who calls someone a poser a poser is poser behavior, too; that I live vicariously through a number of TV shows that involve groups of five or more friends because I miss my college and camp groups of friends so much. I loathe couple shows because I can't relate to them, which is just fine; that I think people are more beautiful than most works of really great art; that it's okay to be an introvert, even if you secretly wish you could share all of the above or other details with a special person that would make couple sitcoms look like a stupid rat going up against a Momma beluga whale protecting her baby beluga from said rat (this needs more context, but it sorta works); that art, writing, music, great film and theatre can save you the agony of interacting with certain people, but also that escapism can be itself an interaction with people. All immersion in humanity; that I like the musicians I like because of what they stand for behind their music; that I haven't written a blog post for over a month because I think it makes me a narcissist, like everyone else with a virtual identity. I think truth can surpass the virtual, though; that I wish I took myself a little less seriously.

I'm gonna go make a sandwich now.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Pray the Lord my soul to take

This happened just last Wednesday. Before, or after, or during, or even if you don't read on, please send up some prayers for hurting families and the community of Blue Hill.

While I was admittedly thinking of myself and my own, need I say, selfish shit, I ran into this video.

It reminds me of a dream I once had. Then, hey! I remembered I wrote it down! It took me all of five minutes to dig up the following in my lengthy journal archives. It's really awesome to find something without googling it.

November 15, 2009 11:24 a.m.
There was a scene with a sunset. A friend came running around the corner. We both watched a bird of pelican-like stature take off to fly over the pond before it plopped back into the water. While this was happening, a voice was narrating the process of flying in the dream. Something like, "You will keep falling, but you just have to keep spreading your wings." Then I remember walking through a neighborhood. Across the street was a beautiful home. I walked into a room inside - I was suddenly (literally and figuratively) in someone else's shoes. A young child. I found a bookshelf, dark mahogany, with a set of colorful books. I opened the first book, and it came alive. The room transformed into a blue-green fantasy city with floating lights and particles circling overhead. I came back to the room and realized that this world made me so happy. No one judged. I picked up a second book, and this time I walked into a meadow where two very good-looking men, best friends, were walking around an outdoor hammock. This time, I was myself - no shoes to fill. I awkwardly tried to climb into the hammock, but failed. They looked at me funny. I came back to the world. I opened the next book. It became narrated by an animated brown bear with a big smile. On the first page, it talked about singing, praising, Psalms and Song of Solomon. I realized this new world I was in was truly magical - or maybe of God - or maybe my young self thought it was heaven. I woke up smiling, not wanting to wake up. God is shining in my soul, and I hope that means he is in my dreams. Such hope and light in these dreams. And the beauty of things to come.

Lord knows it's awesome (no better word) that these things come back around to remind of things to come that have been. Christ alive in us! God even overrides social media. No Google monster machine of a computer necessary for God to search - and find - your heart. And take it with Him in the end. God makes the blue-green, the particles, the twinkles, the wings, perseverance in grief, His son.

E'en so Lord Jesus, quickly come 
and night shall be no more. 
They need no light nor lamp nor sun 
for Christ will be their all.

See you up there Travis, Caroline, Dustin, Marla.


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Awesome old heart

I haven't written anything but schedules, letters, and a few journal entries here and there for over two months. And here I am, trying to figure out something awesome to say and it's not coming. But, then I think, "Lindsey, it doesn't have to be awesome. Not everyone has to write something awesome all the time. This blog is not necessarily conducive to awesomeness."

I want to talk about something really awesome, though. I've found home. I mean, besides my home home. Let me explain. For the past couple of years, I've been bouncing from Seward, Nebraska to Chicago to Rockford to Blue Hill to Ashland to Lincoln, back to Seward, back to Blue Hill, to Hastings. In all of these places, I've found people and places that are...home. You want to know how I know (feel) this? It's the fact that I'm no longer mortified to be myself in all these places with so many different people that I have come (and have learned) to love. Working with kiddos of all ages all summer will do that to you. Of course, my "self" is constantly shaping itself, and it's bound to turn in on itself and hate itself and rearrange itself once again. But it's always going to be there, at home within myself. So much self. That's selfish, I know.

I had moments this summer in which I realized that all the places I've been have been the right places at the right time. Maybe I didn't do the "right" thing, but those places were set before me for some reason. Of course, finding a home doesn't always happen at 24. It might happen at 32, or 65, or 98. Or, I may just be a total nutcase about all of this. It's okay if I am. But, maybe you know what I'm talking about: when you learn to appreciate everything you've been through, even when it's been really shitty. Because, as the cliche goes, those things make you who you are today.

Due to a recent introduction to the Oh Hello's (thanks to that you-know-who-you-are person), who I wish I had said hello to sooner, I have had a little help in finding what they might call my old heart. I spent a lot of time in Western Nebraska this summer, at a little oasis in the sandhills called Sullivan Hills.

I thought it would be the worst thing to happen to me, but it's turned out to be one of the best. Okay, Lord, you're pretty sly. I won't give too many details. That would take days. But here's what I will do: I'm going to tell you a story via lines from my journal. Don't worry, it might be funny. It might even be awesome.

Right away, I had an excitement for the grounds and what happens here, but then a slight pang of lonesome because I keep remembering that I won't be at Carol Joy Holling with most of the staff for most of the summer. I relate the courage to the Lions song we learned Tuesday (slinky!). Stories from camp that don't seem funny to others elsewhere. Sad, but true. But who cares! They're great! Almost tipping the canoe with Collin and Patrick. I almost wish we had actually tipped. Horse stampede. Laughing real hard about farting. Good, good meaty stuff in their, hearts, too. The community and camaraderie, kindness of this staff is so much better than any dreaminess. Let's just say: more booze, less sushi, and a $200 tab. It's nights like these that I'm so glad I still remember, that make so many things worth it, that bring a warmth to a story, not a dream. And I get to laugh a lot. "You shouldn't bottle that up," says Joe. But thank you, God, for sending him here to keep me sane.

I want to be like Deb when I grow up, with a big heart, in the hills, working hard, a pioneer woman, at the ready for others all the time. First rattlesnake sighting. It sucks being the boss mom at camp. Sometimes, it's the best thing that's happened, though. That one time someone backed the tractor into the shop and clipped the door just as he said, "like a boss." I smell like campfire and cast iron, but I like it.

Later, we got some crappy sno-cones, stopped at the Gallery, talked about our love lives and the pizza place we want to start together someday. Boys were stupid, got to be stupid. Wouldn't want it any other way, most days. Praying for rest, health, excitement and efficiency in planning and organizing, peace in knowing that this union is founded in Christ our Savior. We wobbled. We chicken-danced. We duggied. We Macarena-ed. We cupid shuffled. We copperheaded. We slid electrically. Sloppy Joe style.

It involved strange corridors in hospitals and churches, a car accident, and city-slick parties. Just plain after him to no avail. Thank the Lord I always wake up to more realistic adventures. The farting noises woke me up. Maybe I really should just go for it, via the advice and support of my big brother. But, alas, we hit the road. Boys in the booger. Girls in the mother ship.

Saw him from afar, apron on, more that five cuppies of water in his hands. He lit up, if a man in such garb and so occupied could be capable of lighting up. Sunshine, people. Amazingly tired, but surprisingly chipper. The Keno Kove. I can't say enough how much I'll miss those bunkhouses. But, if there's anything I've learned this summer, it's how to move on, how to forgive, how to let things go, how to move forward. "Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us then who are mature should take a view of such things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained." - Philippians 3:12-16 We'll have that moment forever, it's true. I'm thankful for one that's the bee's knees, the tops, where everything stops. 

"I want to find a home and I want to share it with you."

Friday, May 18, 2012

Adorkable Nostalgia

I must confess: I've been listening to One Direction and Justin Bieber regularly - "regularly" meaning once a month. When I do have a little free time, as I do now, I resort to recalling the excitement of my youth, when I wasn't at all concerned with my taste in music or my wardrobe that included a Mighty Mouse sweatshirt, a Mickey Mouse obsession (I was jealous of Minnie, yes), multiple Peanuts t-shirts, and at least two pairs of pink and purple pants. And, remember those old Rider Sandals? The worst designed thing I ever owned. But, I wish I still had them. I regret to say, at (almost) age 24, that One Direction is so much more adorkable than the Backstreet Boys ever were. And, Justin Bieber will always be more talented than Aaron Carter or Jesse McCartney, even though JB looks more and more like a girl everyday. Sorry, man. The fact that I know this, and the fact that I own Never Say Never is embarrassing indeed.

It's an illusive thing, this recollection of that kind of youthful, because I'm not a 12-year-old anymore. I have to remind myself of that all the time. I mean, I have to remind myself how much I've learned since then, how much I've actually had to grow up, not how much of a dork I still want to be. Right? I want to clarify the difference between having a youthful heart and being youthful. Those are two very different things. I'm talking about being youthful. I hope to always have a youthful heart.

I think the biggest catalyst for this nostalgia is my little brother's recent high school graduation as well as a recent conversation with a good friend about how I never did anything remotely "rebellious" in high school. As we speak, my brother is carefree at the lake with his best high school buds fishing and doing other lakey shenanigans. His deep connection to our hometown is the same network of quality people and places that I was so ready to get away from at his age. I was ready to be adult-ish and gain better taste in music and wardrobe. I never did quite get that far on the latter, by the way. But, whose definition of mature wardrobe are we talking about? I suppose its my own new definition, since I moved to the city, where everything's sleeker.

I do want to grow up. I am actively doing so now. But I want it to be okay to still listen to today's (and yesteryear's) teen pop. I want it to be okay that I know what's happening in the world of politics, journalism, the arts, but also that I know each hunky teens' name in One Direction. I want it to be okay that I'm concerned with how popular music is destroying really good music that should be heard, but also that I appreciate the Biebster's sense of humor and the simplicity of his stupid lyrics for hoards of young girls, who just want to be treated right. I want it to be okay that I try to dress like I'm 24, but also that I really, really miss my Mighty Mouse sweatshirt because I gave it to Goodwill a really long time ago.

It's okay. I know. Dance parties will always be okay. My taste will never be super-sophisticated, nor will my wardrobe. My youthful heart, however, I hope becomes a certain kind of sophisticated - not sleek, but mature and hearty (ha, forgive me). One love, one heart, fo' sho'.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Myself and the land.

An affinity for a rural-ness of life. Ohhh, so this explains my repeated readings of Jane Eyre - my admiration for the Bronte sisters; Enjoying Willa Cather's My Antonia, which seems, to some, a greater obscurity of life on the plains (in other words: *yawn* - but not to me). It explains what I call my Pottery Barn aesthetic (even though the Pottery Barn is a little barn-y, pottery-y and stereotype country-y for me) - an interest in earth tones, organic structures, country-designed kitchens, woodwork, pottery, hand-painted materials, hand-crafted textiles, ceramic chickens (as well as rubber chickens, maybe).

Somewhere between leaving the open earth and sky environment and the beginning of a respect for the concrete and metal city that scrapes both of these things, I started to think more geometrically. This explains a new found interest in architecture, marketing, symmetry and city street layout.

This is cool, though, because it might be important for me to think both ways. As I write, I'm lying peaceful on my double bed at home in Nebraska. It is so...quiet. I can hear myself think, which is not altogether a good thing, because I already over think and here, I can overhear myself over think.

Chicago, though - fun fact of the day that I'm proud to know and share - is laid out like a grid, and diagonal streets jut into the grid like a bicycle wheel's spokes, its center downtown. I've also learned that every 8 blocks equals about 1 mile. Just about every set of 8 blocks has an arterial street at the end of it. Every 4 blocks is a major secondary street. A block is about 480 feet. Downtown, most blocks are closer to 400 feet. Even-numbered addresses are on the west and north sides of each street, while odd-numbered addresses are on the east and south sides of each street. Yep, doin' my research.

And here's today's silly metaphor: my country roots (aka Jane Eyre tendencies and Pottery barn dreams) = the grid layout. My city living (architectural thinking) = the diagonals through the grid. This metaphor still up for interpretation, contemplation, expansion, because, it is a little yesteryear lame - you know, the structure of upbringing SLICED by 20-something self-discovery in the form of grid-breaking interruptions.

I think it's okay to one: not really have a really great conclusion to this piece of writing because it stands for the shaping and reshaping and shaping and reshaping of organic and geometric thinking; and two: finish up with a few words about freedom and making mistakes (by possibly writing this post and/or ending it with ambiguous song lyrics by a sentimental musician). Good 'ol Sufjan.

I was in love with the place
in my mind, in my mind
I made a lot of mistakes
in my mind, in my mind...

...if I was crying
in the van, with my friend
it was for freedom
from myself and from the land

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring Reading

"My heart's broken," he thought. "If I feel this 
way, my heart must be broken."
- Men Without Women by Ernest Hemingway page 116
(My heart's not actually broken, even if I feel 
this way. Still beating and still pumping.)

In the morning, Mr. Rose chose to rest his magic hands 
between trees; he came up to Homer who was 
working as a checker in the orchard called 
Frying Pan, counting the one-bushel crates before 
they were loaded on the flatbed trailer and 
giving every picker credit for each bushel picked. 
- The Cider House Rules by John Irving page 326
(I want to give credit where credit is due, 
for every bushel picked.)

Genius is said to be self-conscious; I cannot tell
whether Miss Ingram was a genius, but she was
self-conscious -- remarkably self-conscious indeed.
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte page 198
(Flamingos remind me of graceful geniuses.)

I was smack in the middle of this interesting war.
There were social overtones too that I'll explain.
- On the Road by Jack Kerouac
(There's always more to anyone's battle.)

My dear child, What I would like best would be to
send you my secret thoughts with a white dove. But
they are all out of white doves in Lebanon.
- Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder
(I miss being a kid and having secret thoughts.)

Going south we watched spring unroll like a
proper novel...when we drove back, we read
from back to front
- Fiction by Lisel Mueller
(I miss this.)
 Don't be square and don't be a stranger.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Awe-SUN Kerouac's birthday

Happy belated birthday, Jack Kerouac.

It's not often that I get real excited for a new film with a cast of very well-known actors (Garrett Hedlund, Sam Riley, Viggo Mortensen, Amy Adams, Kirsten Dunst, Kristen Stewart, Tom Sturridge, Steve Buscemi, Terrence Howard, Alice Braga, Elesabeth Moss), but when they're all respectable in their own right, I get excited. And Garrett Hedlund might just be the cat's meow. And I don't even like cats.

"They danced down the streets like dingledodies, and I shambled after as I've been doing all my life after people who interest me, because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones that never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn..." - Jack Kerouac, On the Road, Part 1, Ch. 1

Though Kerouac's writing in On the Road is deadly visceral - with the heated uncertainty of transitioning adulthood - the above passage reminded me of another I've read: "They asked each other, 'Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?"' - Luke 24:32  
Mad to be saved.

 Robert Frank and Jack Kerouac.
photo by John Cohen - Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Also, while we're talking about the Beat Generation. I've been reading up on Robert Frank and The Americans. It's worth a looksie.

Happy Tuesday to you.
And cheers to the awesome (or should I say awe-SUN) spring weather.

Yours truly,

Friday, March 9, 2012

Halls of mutterwhisperer doom

I've got a cold. I stole some of my roommate's vitamin C Halls cough drops - the ones now with tiny words of "encouragement." Just before my body broke into a heaving coughing episode, I popped the cool orange drop into my mouth and flattened out its wrapper. Did I feel encouraged? No. I felt a silly baffoon. Mocked. Maybe it's the placement of the words on the wrapper, or the way they are worded. Of course, I know I'm making myself the victim here. This little detail doesn't matter within a larger picture. I got to thinking about words, though (which I think about all the time). I've become skeptical of them as of late. It has a lot to do with my personal challenge of steering away from my own sentimental, flowery writing. And my ridiculous poetry that's so hopeful, its own hope becomes a little deafening - or too encouraging, in turn, meaningless - like the Halls wrappers. I don't want to become a Halls wrapper advocate and/or a sad mutterwhisperer writer of words.

"They fill me with sad mental vignettes featuring the saddest sickest sadsters smiling weakly at the wrappers crinkling in their flu-addled hands."

Monday, February 27, 2012

Love is making its way back home

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. - Galatians 2:20

Whoa. All construction paper. No effects added. Maybe we're sort of like construction paper - boring, square-ish (ha), effect-less. But made beautiful and...effective, in Christ. Love comin' back home. Check it!

Josh Ritter - Love Is Making Its Way Back Home from Josh Ritter on Vimeo.

I wonder as I wander out under the sky, how Jesus the Savior did come forth to die, for poor, ornery people like you and like I. I wonder as I wander, out under the sky. That one's been in my head all day.

"I still wonder and wander along the path, sometimes as lost as the exiles in Babylon and sometimes meandering home, sometimes weeping and sometimes singing, but I never cease to hope that the seeds I sowed in tears will one day yield a harvest that I will reap, rejoicing." - Maggie Kast, writer and dancer

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Mind get weary, heart get heavy

I have a habit of thinking, then thinking too much, then over-thinking. Eventually, I psych myself out of whatever it was I was thinking about doing or trying. And then I don't do it. Then I think about not doing it. Then I get frustrated that I over-thought and didn't actually do anything. Vicious cycle.

Ray Lamontagne says:
"Don't let your mind get weary
And confused your will be still, don't try
Don't let your heart get heavy
Child, inside you there's a strength that lies"

No matter what I'm thinking at any given time, certain music always has the ability to calm my thoughts, my frustrations, my doubts, and my over-thought failures to think clearly.

Morten Lauridsen writes music to:
"O great mystery
and wondrous sacrament,
that animals should see the newborn Lord
lying in their manger."

It doesn't get clearer than that midnight clear, does it?

Does anyone else also find their impressive beards comforting?
They're exquisite.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Days with Mr. Morris Lessmore

Technology is not my friend as of late. In just three days, I've lost three to four hours of work on a computer, because somehow, my HUGE file just disappeared. Every time I go to read the email on my phone, it takes me to all my text messages, instead of all my emails. Yesterday, my voice recorder recorded everything but the voice I needed to hear in an interview. You can hear everybody else and their dog.

But, it's not about me. It's about something bigger.

Ironically, it is today's technology that can actually lead us to appreciate our past without it, the material experience of reading and writing, imagination, animation! and the creation of one of my favorite short films - maybe ever. I don't want to talk it up too much. I'll just ruin it. I hope you're able to spare 15 minutes of your time.

I think Mr. Morris Lessmore and I could be great friends.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Compartmentalization, sans my sanity

I've decided to organize my life - or at least my writing. I've recently discovered that this space for free expression might not provide for half of the writing that comes out of my head here at school - for real assignments and projects. I imagine the different types of textual expressions having a Fight Club-esque smackdown. It doesn't look pretty. While I hope to be professional all the time (different definitions of professional), this blog was founded on personal musings way back in 2010, instead of a different gusto that can define the outer arts world I write about and/or my future career. I mean, what future employer wants to read about an indecisive, mushy, selfish 20-something and all her blunders? Not that every word thus far has not been worth it.

This sort of compartmentalization has a lot to do with me. If you didn't know it, I'm a freak about organization. I'm not OCD, but it makes me, um, happy to know where everything is situated. On the other hand, there's a part of me that wants to throw all that same organized shit (excuse me) into a raging bonfire in the alley behind my apartment. So I can be free of it. So I can let go.

I suppose we can keep the raging fire going here in this space, while my professional (I just made fun of that word in my head by saying it with flamboyant quote hands) life can appear well-organized.

Aren't we all torn in two? Maybe not. Maybe it's just me.

So, I've decided to create a new blog - but I don't like to call it that. We'll call it a writing portfolio. If you want to read what I'm writing about culture, art, and all of those fancy things, you can visit my new "writing portfolio" here. Still in it's beginning stages. These things are also important to me, and they deserve a place to breathe. Otherwise, you can stick around at Definitions - for another round of very unprofessional shots and endless pitchers of Blue Moon around the fire, while I continue to attempt to define my life as it goes. I think the shots will help.

It just hit me how jealous Blogger and "Definitions" in particular are going to be when I'm spending my school nights with Wordpress. But, what the eff, it's just a computer, and computers are not and never will be as smart as, nor have the emotional and creative capacity of, human beings.

And, here, I'm also assuming that anyone is reading this. How arrogant of me. But, just in case you are, reader, I'd like to dedicate this new re-organization to you. That's weird, I've never dedicated something like that to anyone. Because I want you to know how important you are to me. And if you are very well reading, thank you for rambling along with me. It's possible a young woman simply needs a space to ramble, reflect, pray, and dream...right?

Here's me, happy to know you. Sans bonfire. I'll keep it together, I promise. Although that straw elephant would light right up.


Friday, February 3, 2012

Follow-up: I cave.

In relation to my last post, I will submit to some truth in my own writing. The only way I can do so is to insert an excerpt from a previous paper I've written. Yes, about the dying art of print journalism. Let me go bury my face in a pillow for a few seconds. Be right back.

December 13, 2011

“When someone demands to know how we are going to replace newspapers, they are really demanding to be told that we are not living through a revolution. They are demanding to be told that old systems won’t break before news systems are in place. They are demanding to be told that ancient social bargains aren’t in peril, that core institutions will be spared, that new methods of spreading information will improve previous practice rather than upending it,” writes media analyst Clay Shirky in his online essay Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable. “They are demanding to be lied to. There are fewer and fewer people who can convincingly tell such a lie.”

While aiming to tackle the facts, bring art history to life, and make good art into narrative, the arts journalist now faces the the decline of print journalism and the birth of the blogosphere. Both create greater obstacles for arts advocacy.

The newspaper used to be a direct line of arts communication. Arts writers within were able to heighten awareness of the arts and define its role in a community – critiquing individual exhibits, performances, productions or products, educating readers about current art offerings in a social or historical context, and demystifying the creative process.

Today, newspapers in places like Denver and Seattle have lost their second papers. San Franciso, Miami, and Philadelphia were discussing the dissappearance of their daily printed news as early as 2009. The Detroit Free Press printed three times a week then. Even The New York Times sold Renzo Piano Tower, made steep cost cuts, and threatened to close its susidiary, The Boston Globe.

An online news engine, Miller-McCune, clearly addresses the crisis. “The situation is most dire for the journalist themselves, who find themselves no longer able to make a living pursuing their passion, but it is also of great concern to arts administrators, who are just now coming to grips with the impending cutoff of one of their strongest lines of communication with the community.” writes Tom Jacobs in “Will Critique Work For Food.”

...but here's what I concluded...

Efforts for art advocacy and definition are on the rise. Engine29 defines itself as “a project for constructing an argument for arts journalism.” It was an experiment that gathered 29 arts journalists from across America and around the world for ten days in November. The journalists worked on six projects aimed to define arts journalism. They documented what they found out on their website,

In one project entitled “We Are All Journalists. Now What?” a segment of their findings addresses today’s arts journalists. “We are nosy; curious; passionate; inquisitive. We are all storytellers — grown up daydreamers operating in reality,” speaks Celeste Headlee, a recent Midwest correspondent for NPR.

“The reality is, the numbers do not cease the work of measuring how many of us are disappearing. Yes, we know our pages are shrinking. We have heard our listeners are tuning out and viewers are turning away. Where once we kept them rapt with the expertise of our craft, there are other voices now — many other voices now — that compete for their attention. The world evolves. And so we must, too.”


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Thoughts on Provisionality

Is first person "blogging" actually journalism? I'm a journalist, but I would never claim my blog as a legitimate form of journalism. Hence my struggle with terms likened to "arts journalism." And, hence my struggle with the realm of arts education with which I am currently acquainted.


I cannot tell you how frustrating it is NOT holding my subscription to Blackhawks Magazine in my hands. Or the New York Times Magazine. Or a real live book. The computer screen's brightness can kill the appeal of great design - meant for print. Untouchable, unreachable. We can also blog about our person, in the most personal of ways. And maybe that's part of the reason the overnight uproar against SOPA and PIPA snowballed so quickly. Half of Internet users seemed in a panic because they believed their precious emotional invincibility on the World Wide Web was ultimately threatened. In the end, it was a power struggle between the web and Hollywood, not to mention the government and the people.


Sometimes, it's unsettling when I think about how much time I spend staring at a screen, in one day. I ask myself the same question these same days: Remember the time when Ella Fitzgerald didn't have the Internet and she was (and is still is) the best? But then I proceed to enter her name in Google search, YouTube her videos (man, it's a verb, now), and enter an online library to view electronic books about her music.

Of course, here I am blogging (sort of emotionally) about how much I loathe the fact that Blogger and Youtube, and Twitter are creating a new "Golden Age" of journalism. I might be getting it all wrong, misunderstanding and/or forgetting the good things that the web is doing for great writers - and journalists - all over the world.

But at the end of the day, when all I've done is read words, peruse photos, and watch videos from a giant expanding universe of digital information (often misleading, untrustworthy), I just close the "window." Then, thank the Lord, I can get some real fresh air by opening a real one.

Friday, January 20, 2012

First Love

Dearest Kodak film,

I want to you to know how much I loved you, and love you still. You mean a great deal to me. I even planned to dedicate an entire room to you - a darkroom, and the development of you therein. Once I finally owned my own home. Even though the news says you are "stuck in time," you'll always be timeless to me.

I'll never forget the moment I saw you. I shuttered at your beauty and mystery. As our relationship developed, the emulsion layers were peeled away to our chemical romance. You were the color in my life.

Thank you for all the photographic memories you have provided for my family, and myself. Though my face and the faces of the ones I love will never again appear on your plastic or cellulose acetate emulsion and light sensitive salts and gelatin, your flawless exposition and radiation will always have a place in my heart.

Remember those times we spent together in the dark - before the light emerged and showed us the bright and beautiful world in black and white, then color. I know I'll never forget.

Don't worry because I will never throw away Grandma's Brownie Camera. And all those empty film canisters will be filled with nothing but love. You may think me distant for moving on to Nikon digital, the supposed diversion of my attention for you, but I am never far away. A girl never forgets her first love, nor does it ever leave her completely.

Forever Yours,

Friday, January 13, 2012

A Year of Light: In 24 Photographs

It's been a terribly long time since I've written...anything. And now, I disappoint myself once again by not writing something completely coherent or smooth. Because earlier today, I was a little inspired by Time Magazine's "LightBox 365: A Year In Photographs." You can take a look at it here: I would recommend it.

So, in lieu of my I-want-to-do-something-to-remind-me-how-grateful-I-am-for-2011-in-a-new-year-blog-post-that-I-haven't-done-yet, I dug up some photos - not one from everyday (that's so many!), but one from every month of last year...okay, we're gonna go with two. So many tiny fraction-of-a-second loaded moments.

By the way, I am so grateful for you, because it's likely I knew you in 2011. Ha. And I'm so happy to know you now. These photos are certainly not the very best photos from each month, because there are too many captured moments in all, too many blessings and people to be contained to 24 images.

Cool. I'm excited. Let's do it.


I entered the phase of Photo Booth self-portraiture. I admit it. I shamelessly wanted to document the days I maybe looked cuter than other days. I also began to theme my photographs with warm or cool colors (according to the season - blues for January, right?). This continued throughout the year. And, the painting in the background is my sad attempt to channel a little bit of Georgia O'Keefe sensibility.

Here's a favorite photo from "the quad" at Concordia University. It's after the first big snow of the winter. My long-boarder friend Andrew is featured in the center. I sure hope he doesn't read this. If it he does, I might as well say that he keep up the good work of his go-big-or-go-home grins at the ladies and distribution of skipping-heartbeats as he passes through the quad on his long board. I cannot believe I just wrote that. I wish him the best.


This photo marks the first time in my life I received flowers from someone other than my Mom or my high school prom dates. My best bud Jesse remembered how much I loathe roses and how much I wanted, someday, to just get some flowers from someone I cared about. These are it. Thanks, Jesse. I cannot tell you enough how much that meant to me. You know, Jesse probably doesn't read this, either, since he doesn't read my text messages. But, in the hope that he might be reading: 
Jesse, call your friends!

At some point, I started lying on my floor for long periods of time, looking up and pondering big life questions. In this particular episode, I questioned shirt-sleeve evolution, its social influences, and its artistic relevance.


The Klenz. The Tanney. These two dashing fellows kept me sane in my old college age, if you know what I mean. This photo was taken in the new field house at Concordia University. I was there to photograph some tennis matches for the school newspaper. Luckily, I ran into these two, and this dreary, awkward day was turned upside down by a reminder to me of their existence in my life. I miss them.

Thus begins my strange fascination with fish - and aquatic photography. This was taken at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, after first-time dreadful apartment-hunting in a very new city. This little guy seemed to bring life to the freezing rain outside. Now, after meeting him, I sometimes dream about really cool fish. One in particular, the other night, was a Bob Marley fish - with dreads, yes. Please proceed to raise me on the weird-meter in your head. It's okay.


There's a special weekend at Concordia University called "Spring Weekend." It's full of awesome (sometimes really weird and effed up) shenanigans. This was the first year, after two groundbreaking, liberating Spring Weekends with my best friends, that I didn't participate in the festivities. So, I volunteered myself to take photos of all the best events for the newspaper. Actually, I assigned them to myself, since I was the photo editor. And, boy, was that a great decision. This photo: Team Team, with the hunchback, the unicyclist in wrestling tights, and some guy I don't know with a wig. Like I said, awesome and effed up with a nice epic quality. It just doesn't have an explanation. No, really, I have no idea.

Even though this snapshot wreaks of cheesy facial expressions, it was part of a very exciting day. Here I am with Jessica, Jesse, Chad, and Theron. I look ridiculous because I'm wearing my choir dress with the puffy shoulders, and I've just received a letter that confirms my move to Chicago, where I will enter grad an art school. I think the look on my face is partly "Whoa, Georgia O'Keefe studied at this school!" January painting attempts came back to me then. Earlier that day, I was crying (an embarrassing amount) about my last A Cappella Choir concert. A few minutes before this photo, I was crying in a very different way. Thanks, guys, for driving all the way to First Street to hug me and celebrate.


The final days of school. Together. With good friends. The balloons were made for Paul and Caley's homecoming, and then they came home! So, we celebrated. This photo is my life with the people I love. I also wanted to document our desperation for fun-ness when there's almost nothing more to do in the quaint and humble town of Seward but bop around balloons like good 'ole 90s kids would.

Me. And my pal Alex. Our happy selves on a lazy, beautiful spring afternoon. What a day that was. I'm a little speechless at the memories that accompany this photo, so I'll let it breathe a little.

Laughter really is the best medicine...especially during a full week at camp. Here are some friends of mine, full of life, gusto, hope, and love. I almost can't get over their mysterious truth in this picture. God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good. And so is His mysterious majesty in His creation of man and laughter.

This is possibly what the inside of my brain looks like. Or, what I wished it looked like. This photo was taken at Carol Joy Holling Camp, just a short walk from the Sjogren Center, where the photo above took place. These photographic memories have a great big place in my heart.


A nice glass of Cutthroat Porter was a large contributor to the first day I got drunk before 2 p.m. No ordinary beer fest (no, nothing like the movie). It took place in the mountains of Colorado. I guess the altitude might explain my timely drunkenness. A trip to Alamosa was one of the best 10-hour drives I have ever made. Multiple glasses of kiwi beer, my first Jagerbomb, my first Irish Car Bomb. Enough said. The greatest was time spent with a friend, his family, and his roots.

One more photo of camp, when the crickets came out and perspectives were strangely illuminated on a makeshift stage. There's something about this photo that is striking and beautiful. And again, mysteeeeeerious. I use that word too much.


This is a dirt track racing moment that my Dad, my brother, and my brother's friend, Charlie, would probably not make sentimental like I am. Just under a half hour after I took this photo, the motor blew, a huge white cloud of smoke swallowed my brother and the car, and I realized, again, how dear these men are to me.

Nothing like a reunion with these guys, after a long summer. 
They are the bee's knees, I tell you. 
Not long after this photo could I even remember this photo was taken.


The first big art gallery opening in the first big city I've lived. This gallery contained work by Angel Otero. I sort of got lost - in many different ways - this night. 

Here begins my undying affection for the Chicago Blackhawks and the sport of hockey. Sometimes, I really do think this organization and its professional athletes got me through a few rough months in my young adult life. That sounds a little dramatic. It really isn't. But, I really do have to thank my friend, Katy - not just for sharing the Blackhawks with me, but for her friendship.


A kiddo. And pumpkins. A day when Steph and I got to be like kiddos and, well, not really like pumpkins. A Cinderella reference would be a little much here. But we got to spend some quality time with these great pumpkins - and each other.

Our shoebox apartment started to grow on me. The objects here have strange auras. I think these weird little halos of color symbolize the objects' sentimental value in a cozy place, now full of new memories.

A trip to St. Louis, and some quality time with Chris T. If you know him, you're lucky. If you don't, you should. Ha. Kidding. Well, not really kidding. Eh. But really, this trip was wonderful, and so were all of the people we visited in St. Louis and the surrounding area. I love you all, and you know who you are.

This is my Mom. I love you, Mom. That's all.


I am proud to talk about how well I can navigate the public transportation system in Chicago. Granted, it's one of the better-engineered ones in the nation, and also one of the most interesting and friendly ways to go to and from the places I now call home...most days.

And now, we've come full circle to another self-portrait. I guess some things never change when Photo Booth is involved. Guilty. I'd like to thank Mary Poppins. 
And you. 


"In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed."
- 1 Corinthians 15:52