Archive | January, 2015

On Workfests, Cape Cod, And Loving Our Choices

27 Jan

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Images: @presentbeck (she has a fabulous blog, too!)

It’s Monday morning at 11:33 and I’m juuuuuuuust waking up from this monster of a weekend.

“This weekend needs to be over,” I said repeatedly the past three days, hoping if the universe heard my cry it would speed up time and plop me down to right now, Monday at 11:33 in my bundle of blankets with strawberry cheesecake ice cream and a novel I actually have time to read.

The future is now.

Isn’t it fabulous?

This weekend I worked full-time, well full-time plus, really.  I also wrote about a bajillion articles, so many at once that my computer shut down not knowing what to do with all the open tabs.

I prepared a church lesson.  I never got more than a few hours of sleep.  Oh!  And the internet was down for half of it.

Improbable as it may seem, some people do not love Malibu as much as I do.  In fact, several people have told me “No one loves Malibu quite as much as you do,” which seems ridiculous.  Am I somehow an outlier in what should be the norm of celebrating this stunning coastal town?

What is wrong with everyone?

One of the reasons people dislike Malibu is that things are always shutting down here.  Cable.  Internet.  It’s hard to get services around these parts, the internet is always on the fritz, and, well, it’s just not as convenient as living in the Valley with all the suburban advantages at your fingertips.

(I will never live in the Valley.  I will gladly drive 30 minutes to Target the rest of my life just don’t make me live in the Valley.)

We choose our problems, this is a theory I’m operating under right now.  Obviously, there are some huge exceptions to this–health concerns, unexpected tragedies.  Things that no one would ever choose for themselves.

But I’m not talking about those.  I’m talking about a lot of our day-to-day problems.  I think many of those are of our own choosing.

I choose to live in Malibu and it’s rather inconvenient most of the time.

I choose to date Rob and I deal with the problems that come with that particular relationship, just like you deal with the problems that come with your particular relationships.

I choose to write.

Sob sob scream scream.

Many of my problems are of my own choosing, which is one of the reasons I wouldn’t want to switch lives with anyone.  I know they say we live in the time of comparison and people read blogs and see Instagram pictures and feel terrible about their lives, but I don’t, most of the time.

The closer I am to a person the less I want their life.  Like my best friends.  Love them all!  Don’t want their lives.  I’m sure they would say the same of me.

We choose different problems.

When I see distant, filtered lives, I don’t obsess over them or feel bad about my own too often, because I know if I got closer I would see why I don’t want their lives.  I would see their problems.

And they aren’t mine.

I choose Malibu and Rob and writing and gosh sometimes it’s hard but they’re my choices.

I’m saying that fiercely in my head right now: they’re my choices.

This got really off course.

I was going to tell you about this crazy weekend and how in the midst of the no-internet, workfest 2015 I found myself at 1:00AM on Instagram.

So let’s go there then, shall we?

This weekend, in the midst of the no-internet, workfest 2015 I found myself at 1:00AM on Instagram obsessing over this account.

Present Beck.  Cape Cod.

As much as I adore Malibu, as much as I defend it and apparently love it more than anyone else, it is second to Cape Cod.

Nothing tops Cape Cod.

One of the bajillion articles I wrote this weekend was about the most beautiful travel destinations in the world and I put Cape Cod on the list along with the caption, “America’s crown jewel.”

I meant it, go ahead and fight with me, but you shall not win.

I love Cape Cod in an irrational way, especially considering I’ve only ever spent 15 days there.  15 blissful days, but 15 days nonetheless.

Actually, if we count my time watching Dawson’s Creek I’ve spent a significant portion of my life there, but I guess I can’t count it because the show was filmed in Wilmington.

Never mind, I’m counting it because they tried to make it seem like Cape Cod and I believed them.

I believed the beauty and magic and charm.

Saturday morning I browsed through this Instagram account for hours, looking at every single picture.  I screenshotted the best ones and sent them to Rob, “Do you know where this saltwater taffy stand is?” “What about this beach?” I mentally decided which pictures needed to be prints on my wall, which ones would serve as the base for my glitter/paint project I am surely going to take on soon.  Which ones would be hung in my future home.

Ugh I want to live on Cape Cod.  I feel it in my bones, I know it the way you know about a good melon.

I belong there.

Saturday morning I bumped into my roommate.

“I did something very bad,” I said.  ”Instead of writing, I spent all night looking at Cape Cod Instagram accounts and I really just need to move, something there calls to me in a deep way.”

My roommate gasped, “Last night I was looking at Nashville Instagram accounts!”

And we laughed together.

For this is late 20s, I think.

It’s daydreaming of owning our own homes.  It’s daydreaming of getting to the places we want to get to, of the days when our lives are a little more like our lives should be than they are now.

It’s realizing we know what we want.

Or know more of what we want.

It’s learning to get fiercely, fiercely excited about and protective of our choices.

Because they’re ours.

Arthur Aron’s Theory Of Love

21 Jan

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In a recent New York Times Modern Love column, Mandy Len Catron references psychologist Arthur Aron’s study on intimacy.  Aron examines whether intimacy between two strangers can be accelerated by having them ask each other a series of ever more personal questions.

The column was a bit of a sensation, and Aron’s 36 questions have been making the rounds of the internet.

Naturally, I made Rob participate in the study on our drive to San Diego.

“All right,” I said, feet on the dashboard, “First question.  Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?”

“Pass,” he said.

“That’s not how this works.  Take a moment think about it,” I said.

“Who would you have?” he asked.

“That’s not the point, is it?  I asked you first,” I said.

“Ahhh so you don’t know either,” he said.

“Of course I have plenty of people I would love to sit down with, minds I would simply die to pick,” I said.

“Uh-huh,” he said.  ”Like whom?”

“Well…you know…oh! Oprah!” I blurted.  ”Maybe JK Rowling, ask her some questions.”

“Yeah? What questions about the Harry Potter series are burning in your brain right now?”

“Well, I don’t know.  I want to find out the secrets.  Where are the other bombs she’s been hiding?  I’m sure there are things.”

“Uh-huh,” he said.

“I’m more concerned that you don’t have a single person in the world you would want to have dinner with.  No writers?  No heroes?”  I asked.

“Next question,” he said.

“TOM BRADY!” I yelled.  That’s it!  That’s who you would want dinner with.”

“RONDO!” he said.  ”We would play Connect Four.  He’s really into Connect Four.”

“Is is sad that I have to answer your questions about intimacy?  What did you do before me?  Did you have no idea who you were?” I asked.

“Something like that,” he said.

We both sat back, a little exhausted from the strain of our increased intimacy.

“OK so, Question 2,” I said, “Would you like to be famous.  In what way?”

We got through most of the list fairly quickly.  Some of the questions were redundant, some were not worth the time when you’ve known each other as long as we have.  ”Tell your life story in four minutes,” for instance, just seemed like a lot of effort with no reward.

“Pass,” we said in unison, when it came up.

When we finished the list, Rob asked, “Are you feeling more intimate now?” and I rolled my eyes at him.

Later, Hilary sent me this New Yorker article: To Fall Out Of Love, Do This.  It’s a spoof on Aron’s study and begins with, “The following questions are part of a follow-up study to see whether the intimacy between two committed partners can be broken down by forcing them to ask each other thirty-six questions no one in a relationship should actually ask.”

I sent the article to Rob and we both had a good laugh.

Interestingly, Rob and I both answered the first question of the spoof study without even having to think twice, “Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you like to punch in the face?”

The spoof list, it seems, is easier to answer.

Or maybe we’re an especially odd couple.

The 36 questions that lead to love!  Try it!

(Try it when you don’t know someone, maybe.)

(Or not, that has a bit of charm, too.)

I’m Scared

16 Jan

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There are times where I’m so scared about my future I can barely function, can barely type words.

When Roxane Gay, brilliant writer and author of two highly acclaimed novels, says this:

I have worked my ass off but I am lucky because most writers work their ass off and not enough of us get a shot. Am I successful? I don’t know but I do feel like I am squarely on the path to whatever success might be… I might, just might someday be able to quit my job and write full time even though I love teaching. And yet, the reality is that the advances for the two books published this year, combined, were less than $30K. Success is a lot of different things for writers.

I’m scared.

Two books.  30K.

I’m scared.

There are times when I think about my student loans, the looming dollar signs in the distance, and remember that whatever I earn in my life I will have to make an additional mortgage to address those.

If I ever even get around to a first mortgage, that is.  That looks more and more uncertain.

I’m scared.

There are times when I look at people I know, family members, friends, who chose steadier career paths, who chose jobs that will pay them heaps of money right from the get-go and think

Well gosh.

I make dumb decisions.

And I’m scared.

I’m scared because I chose a profession that is scary and unknown and that’s part of the charm, I suppose, but only when you’re looking back on it.  Not when you’re wondering how you’re going to have an adult life.

If you’re going to have an adult life.

It’s not that charming, come to think of it.

I’m scared.

I wonder if I need a backup plan, something to get me through the next 15+ years until I can support myself on my own as a writer.  I’m wondering if it’s a PhD, if it’s something else.  What that something else will be.  When I should pursue it.  How much I’ll enjoy it.  If this all was for naught.

If I’ll ever get out of my head and down to writing again or if I’m stuck in this pit of spiraling, devastating thoughts, certain I’ve screwed up my life.

I’m scared.

I’m scared because if I’m ever as successful as Roxane Gay I will count myself incredibly, incredibly lucky and fortunate and privileged and feel as though all my dreams have come true and every other synonym times 12.

And yet

Roxane is 40 years old and says she dreams of quitting her job one day to write full time.

Success is a lot of different things for writers.

I’m scared.

January Ramblings

14 Jan

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I look back on my old Instagram photos and shudder.  I realize we all did this, there was a time when people actually applied their edits in Instagram, that we used full filters and ruined perfectly good photos and no one has the originals and Instagram is the new scrapbooking, in that way.

I realize this and still I’m upset.  Shouldn’t I have known better?

I do my best every day to make up for these wrongs.

Instagram is the new scrapbooking in every way, I’m just realizing this now.

I had the Caesar Salad at BOA over a year ago and I never stopped thinking about it.  It was unlike anything I had ever experienced before. A chef comes to your table with this rack of secret ingredients and makes this spicy delicious thing that almost doesn’t taste like Caesar Salad dressing, but rather a shaving of stardust from the cheese grater in the sky.

I took Rob to BOA a few months back because I wanted him to watch the chef and memorize the recipe.

He watched.  We ate our salads.  We left and went to the store where he bought the ingredients and made me another salad that very night.

He now makes me this salad…oh…every day.

I wrote down the recipe for Self Magazine, and I hope you and the world appreciate this.  I eat this every day.  It was over a year in the making and my boyfriend watched and memorized the BOA chef movements for this baby.

It’s worth it.

Fancy Caesar Salad Dressing

Speaking of Self, I wrote about my makeup remover here.  (Coconut oil, but there’s a whole article with it.)

I don’t get excited about that many health trend things, but I am on the coconut oil train.

TOOT TOOT shaving cream TOOT TOOT

After I read Brown Girl Dreaming I decided to write my own childhood in free verse.  I began with “If he loved her he would have taken her to Paris” and then I quit.

Still thinking about it, though.

Still sure I have it in me.

I started a Facebook page for this blog!  Like it!

Even if Facebook isn’t your social media poison of choice!

Heaven knows it’s not mine.

(I really don’t like political conspiracy theories.) (At all at all.)

Is there anyone who feels comfortable promoting themselves?  Every time I Tweet/Insta/FB anything I’ve done I immediately want to crawl into a hole and say “Sorry for spamming everyone I know.”  I need to work on it.  This year I’m working on it.  I put a lot of effort towards this blog and the other things I write.

I put a lot of effort in for veryyyyyyyyyyyy little reward/pay.

It’s worth talking about.

Even if I’m not, say, my brother, whose research was recently written up in the Washington Post!!

(Go Jeff.)

I wrote a little ditty for Thought Catalog called 41 Insane Things I’ve Done In The Name Of The Royal Family.

I pitched it as 41 Crazy Ass Things I’ve Done In The Name Of The Royal Family so it’s good to know I’m too crass for this world/Thought Catalog.

But you should read it, you know.

(There’s me working on my promotion problem.)

Also! I wrote this essay for Thought Catalog called My Boyfriend Is a Patriots Fan.  This is What the First Playoff Game Looked Like.  Rob says it’s his favorite thing I’ve ever written, but he could be biased since it’s me talking about the Patriots.  Whatever the case, this is one of my favorite paragraphs I’ve ever written:

You see, there is a juju thing, one I was not aware of.

I didn’t know that the game is not determined by Tom Brady or Julian Edelman or any of the men on that field.  The game is actually determined by Robert, in my home in Malibu.  It’s determined by fans like you and me.  What we say.  How hard we pray.  The distances and bars and storms we’re willing to face, it’s all part of the juju.

Let us all pray the Patriots win the SuperBowl or…

I can’t even think about it.

Good juju!

andtombradyamen

I’m trying to write a book this month.

Well, I suppose I’m trying to write a book every month for practically all my life, but this month in particular.

I’m rather terrible at it.  Writing a book is…whew…and it’s easy to say, “I’ll get to that after I write 15 new blog posts and really clean out the trunk of my car.  I’ve been meaning to for ages, there’s a weird buildup thing back there do not give me that look.”

So it was particularly…timely...when Self released their new Time Makeover program designed to help you focus your life and schedule.  I’ve just started, it’s a three work course if you want to do the whole thing, but I really like the idea behind it. I need a time bootcamp. I need the Jillian Michaels of time to come yell at me while I sob at my computer and finally set up a Venmo account after which I respond to those emails and write that book!

Hiya!

I think that was me doing karate?  I’m just letting it flow here.

I thought this was great.  When you take their Time Makeover quiz they give you a time personality.  I am a Time Warrior:

You’re highly creative so traditional time management strategies don’t always work for you.  You end up completing projects at the last minute and spend your days putting out fires.  It can feel impossible to sit down and prioritize, which makes it hard to focus on activities that could replenish your emotional and mental well-being.  Your goal: You want to finish what you start and follow through on your promises to yourself–and others.

I think this is the nice way of saying, “pull it together, woman.”

You can take the quiz here and sign up for the Time Makeover here.

Hiya!

In Which I Attend The Live Premiere Of The Bachelor

12 Jan

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Shall we start with how I made The Bachelor Ellen-ripoff selfie?

There I am in the back looking…angry?  Odd?  Annoyed?

I should have posed.  No one informed me of the picture, shockingly.

I should have posed.

All right, all right, what’s next?  Maybe a creepy screenshot?

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I’ll be honest, I imagined if I was ever on The Bachelor, the world would stop, Twitter would break, memes would be made of my face.  ”That girl in the audience,” people would say in incredulous tones, “Did you see that fabulous girl in the audience expressing with her face what we have all felt but never before been able to convey?”

I have the gift of facial expressions, it’s handed down from my mother.  I wear my heart on my face, my emotions in my eyes,  my annoyances on my chin, and while none of this makes sense, you get it.

And yet I was on The Bachelor and there aren’t any memes.

Wait!

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It’s a terrible, lazy meme!

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Two terrible, lazy memes!

Three french hens!

All right, I’m getting off course.

I learned a lot from my 9 hours with reality TV for the live premiere of The Bachelor.

I learned that in order to look good on screen you need to wear an inordinate amount of makeup, and that if you aren’t you will look shiny and odd.

I learned that wearing an inordinate amount of makeup makes you look rather alarming in person.  The Bachelor people?  A bit alarming.

But great on screen.

I learned you should bring an extra phone charger, lest your iPhone die in the middle of your (brilliant) live tweets.

I also learned about jewel tones.

You have to wear jewel tones on camera, you know.  Well, if you’re not part of the “talent” you do.  It’s probably another conspiracy to keep the audience looking gross so the talent looks better in comparison.  That and making us stand on a red carpet in boiling heat without hydration, faux enthusiastically cheering for everyone.

Would you belive I did not own a jewel toned outfit before this event?  That I had to go to H&M and find their “weirdos” rack and buy a fuzzy pink sweater because it was the only jewel tone thing in the store that I felt I might reuse?  You probably would believe it.

OK, OK.  What next.

Here’s me and Cait taking a selfie in the bright, bright sun.

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Maybe this selfie?

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Probably not.

But!  That’s Dolly Parton’s favorite lipstick and Michelle Money did tell me she liked it.  We also talked about Utah high schools, because that’s what you do with Michelle Money.

With Courtney you talk about Ben.  (Only a little.)

The whole experience of standing on a red carpet cheering for these people was so odd.

I think even “the stars” know it’s odd.  These are regular people.  The only thing they’ve done of note is appear on a reality TV show.  Some of them are also notably beautiful, but not all of them.  And we’re supposed to pretend they are some celebrity?  I’m supposed to cry as though I’m meeting a role model who has really changed my life?

Eh.

I didn’t get starstruck except for when I met Neil Lane and boomed, “I LOVE WHAT YOU DID WITH MILEY’S RING.”  He seemed a bit…overwhelmed…I knew his work so well.  ”Oh really?” he said while I giggled uncontrollably.

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Will you look at that happiness?  My face cannot contain my happiness.  Cait’s either, for that matter.

I should meme that one.

WHEN YOU MEET THE MAN OF THE DIAMONDS.

So.

I got tickets to the First Ever Most Romantic And Dramatic Season Yet live premiere of The Bachelor because of Twitter.  That’s how the world works now, you follow Elan Gale and then somehow you end up sitting behind Courtney and Graham at the premiere.

My prime location had to do with Caitlin’s loudness/love of attention and the two farmer wives we fell in with early in the day.  Farmer wives make for a good storyline in the season of Prince Farming and so we were placed at the front to answer Chris Harrison’s questions.  ”Idaho wives, with me!” the producer said, and Cait and I scampered along with our newfound John Deere friends.

Unfortunately we were not asked any onscreen questions.

I was ready for them, though.

Chris Harrison: Why do people love Farmer Chris so much?

Me: Farmers are the new doctors

When I told Cait my secret plan, the pithy sentence I would just throw out at Chris instead of the typical “He’s sweet/genuine/hot” she laughed and laughed.

“You weirdo,” she said.  ”I’ll respond with ‘corn is the new black.’”

And so we sat, armed with great answers and not enough makeup.

We didn’t ever get to use our lines.

We did, however, get free Subway sandwiches, so the whole, crazy  9-hour experience was probably worth it in the end.

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The Baking Hive: A Utah Must

7 Jan

This beautiful, aproned bombshell is my friend Elisa.

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When I talk about Elisa I usually say she went to Berkeley and dyes her hair red and that’s all you need to know.

But there’s more.

There’s always more.

Elisa is the sort of person who lights up a room just being in it.  Her energy is contagious.  Her laughter, her enthusiasm, her loud love of life.  I look up to her in every way.  I have a huge stinking crush on her.

I met Elisa at church in London.  It’s amazing that anything good came out of my church experience in London at all, but Elisa was it.  I sat in the back and made some snarky comment, and at the end, Elisa came up to me and said “I overheard you.  You’re normal.  Let’s be friends.”

I was taken aback because who does that?  Who walks up to a stranger and proposes friendship right away?

Elisa does.

Elisa is such an extrovert.  The type of person who doesn’t wait around for what she wants, she marches up and asks for it.

That day Elisa joined a friend and I on a ferry trip to Greenwich.  We tried all sorts of food and laughed at all sorts of things and Elisa announced she had one week left in London.  She had been living in the UK going to cooking school and her time was up.  This was it.

“Let’s hang out before I leave,” she said.

I was the sort of person who knew I was leaving London and snailed my way out.  I spent months in my bed knowing it would all soon end and I could forget about it.  My last week there I counted down the minutes until I could finally say goodbye.

Elisa had one week left in London and went wild.

I went wild with her.

We tried Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant.  We saw a musical.  We talked politics on the tube and I found Elisa to be one of those rare gems, one of those people who makes a political discussion meaningful and nuanced and exciting.

Sometimes I wonder what London would have been like for me if Elisa had stayed.

Certainly less lonely.

That’s the beauty of Elisa.

She makes me feel less isolated in the world and less isolated in my opinions and culture.

She shows me someone like me!  I have so many amazing role models of women as wives and mothers, but I have a precious few examples of women in business and careers.  I talk to her about things I don’t talk to anyone else about.

I talked to her about these things the first day I met her.

One of the biggest lessons from Elisa has been not to compare myself to other people.  Everyone’s timeline is different.  Do what feels right for now.  When it doesn’t, do the next thing.

I’ve watched her go from cooking school in Ireland, to an MBA program in Scotland, and now back to Utah for her business.

I’ve watched her slowly make her way towards her dreams.

Last month I visited Elisa at her dream– her very own bakery, The Baking Hive.

It was such a proud moment for me, I was practically bursting with excitement.

There was Elisa, apron on, doing what she loves–baking.  There she was using her natural abilities of nurturing and feeding and business to create something she is proud of.

Elisa is the biggest nurturer.  You feel hugged just being around her.

Eva Longoria once said that she collects amazing, smart, interesting women.

I feel that way too.

I collect incredible women and then I marvel at their bravery and success and strength.

I marvel at Elisa.

Last month as I sat on a stool and watched her bake, and ate cookies, and talked about life and goals and dreams I marveled some more.

Her bakery had only been open two weeks, she was tired and excited and so in the moment she hadn’t even reflected on how she was doing it.  Doing the thing she had dreamed of for so long.

Before my visit I was in a horrendous mood.  Maybe it was Utah or the holidays or something, but I was complaining something fierce.  Rob told me I needed to see Elisa.  She would make it better.

And I scoffed.

I had tried all manner of food and friends and nothing was fixing this mood, nothing I tell you!

And then a few hours with Elisa and suddenly my heart was light.

Suddenly I was giggly and giddy and that famous Elisa attitude–brazenly herself, brazenly happy–had rubbed off on me.

That’s the power of Elisa and her baked goods.

If you’re in Utah, you must visit her!  Support local businesses!  Support local businesses run by women!

Give her a hug.  Tell her I sent you.  Ask to hear her British accent.

I’m giddy with Elisa pride.

The Baking Hive

Address: 

3362 South 2300 East

Salt Lake City, Utah 84109

Hours:

Mon – Sat 9:00AM – 6:00PM

Get the Dirty Johnny or the Caramel Jaguar Bars or both.  Get it all.  Also!  Sign your kids up for her healthy kids after school baking classes. More information here.

My Word For 2014

6 Jan

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2014 was my year of love.

This was an easy one to decide.  I didn’t have to parse through experiences and memories looking for a common thread.  There were no leaps or generalizations or maybe-sort-ofs about it.

Love

That was my word last year.

My mother jokingly talked about what she would have put on the Christmas card had we done one this year.

FATHER started a new job and took up triathlons.  He’s great!

BROTHER finished up his degree and started a job in a new state.  He’s great!

JILLIAN’S heart was healed after a very long time of pain.  She’s great!

Love, love, love.

What a good word.  What a good year.

I wrote a letter to my boyfriend for New Years and I thought I would share a piece of it with you here.

I figured this would be a good time to start referring to him by his real name on this blog of mine, too.

My dearest Robert,

If you told me last year at this time I would write you a letter for New Years that started “my dearest Robert” I would never haves bought it.  Last year I was so caught up in a nowhere relationship, so far away from being with you.

I always knew you liked me.

I know I say I was surprised about the love, and I was, but I knew you liked me in the way that other guys have liked me.  I saw it in the looks you gave me and in your willingness to spend time with me.

But the thing I said and I mean, was I didn’t know how you loved me.  I didn’t know you loved me more than anyone has ever loved me.  I didn’t know you would be so patient and willing and eager and selfless with me.

Perhaps you didn’t know either, when it comes down to it.

I needed to be loved an incredible amount.  It was a tall order, and probably why everyone thought it impossible, including me.

And then you came along.

So yes, I was surprised with how you loved me.

I was surprised anyone would love anyone like that.

Love, love ,love.

2014 was a good one.

Here’s to 2015.

2014 In Books And Words

1 Jan

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I have a Tumblr exclusively for beautiful words.

I started it when I first read Nick Hornby.  I was laughing and crying and quoting and texting everyone I knew every other line and at some point I realized that was impractical.  That if I couldn’t buy the book at that very moment, I needed to find a better way to compile all of my quotes.

And so my Tumblr began.

I keep the Tumblr app on my phone so when I read something I love I can quickly type it in.  My page is misspelled and uncapitalized and messy, but it contains all of my favorite words from my favorite writers and I go back to it often.

I thought I would go back to it today, for you.

For us.

For the love of everything.

2014 in words, coming at you.

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Nothing can help the mood that still descends a few days before my period begins, like a black cloud rolling in. I am uncharacteristically dark and nihilistic. Everyone is out to get me, to hurt me, to uninvite me from their tea parties, to judge my body and destroy my family. I am like a character on Dallas, obsessed with subterfuge and revenge, convinced I have discovered unlikely yet real-seeming plots against me. Once, while in the throes of PMS, I became convinced a man in a black overcoat was following my down La Cienega Boulevard. ‘The police will never believe me,’ I sighed, and began hatching a plan for losing him on my own.

Not That Kind of Girl, Lena Dunham

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From the article All Alike

I am glad it cannot happen twice, the fever of first love. For it is a fever, and a burden, too, whatever the poets may say. They are not brave, the days when we are twenty-one. They are full of little cowardices, little fears without foundation, and one is so easily bruised, so swiftly wounded, one falls to the first barbed word. To-day, wrapped in the complacent armour of approaching middle age, the infinitesimal pricks of day by day brush one but lightly and are soon forgotten, but then–how a careless word would linger, becoming a fiery stigma, and how a look, a glance over a shoulder, branded themselves as things eternal. A denial heralded the thrice crowing of a cock, and an insincerity was like the kiss of Judas. The adult mind can lie with untroubled conscience and a gay composure, but in those days even a small deception scoured the tongue, lashing one against the stake itself.

Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier

 

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Speaking for all my lady friends, we all want some geeky, nerdy, polite and ridiculous mate whom we can sit at home with, slagging off all the tossers, and waiting for our baked potatoes to be ready. Who, obviously, is additionally so hot for us he regularly crawls across the front room in his hands and knees croaking, “I must have sex with you now, or go literally insane.” Compared to that, Prince Charming looks like a total donk.

How To Be A Woman, Caitlin Moran

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Ah me! Where is the faultless human creature who can persevere in a good resolution, without sometimes failing and falling back? Where is the woman who has ever really torn from her heart the image that has been once fixed in it by a true love? Books tell us that such unearthly creatures have existed— but what does out own experience say in answer to books?

The Woman in White, Wilkie Collins

 

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You will say good-bye for all the right reasons. You’re tired of living in wait for his apocalypse. You have your own fight on your hands, and though it’s no bigger or more noble than his, it will require all of your energy.

It’s you who has to hold on to earth. You have to tighten your grip — which means letting go of him.

The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing, Melissa Bank

 

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Did we find love because we grew up, got real and worked through our issues? No. We just found the right guys. We found men who love us even though we’re still cranky and neurotic, haven’t got our careers together, and sometimes talk too loudly, drink too much and swear at the television news. We have gray hairs and unfashionable clothes and bad attitudes. They love us, anyway.

Sara Eckel,  ”Sometimes It’s Not You, or the Math” New York Times Modern Love

 

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We can’t choose what we want and don’t want and that’s the hard lonely truth.  Sometimes we want what we want even if we know it’s going to kill us.  We can’t escape who we are.

And as much as I’d like to believe there’s a truth beyond illusion, I’ve come to believe that there’s no truth beyond illusion. Because, because ‘reality’ on the one hand, and the point where the mind strikes reality, there’s a middle zone, a rainbow edge where beauty comes into being, where two very different surfaces mingle and blur to provide what life does not: and this is the space where all art exists, and all magic.

And I would argue as well, all love.  Or perhaps, more accurately, this middle zone illustrates the fundamental discrepancy of love.

Just as music is the space between notes, just as the stars are beautiful because of the space between them, just as the sun strikes raindrops at a certain angle and throws a prism of color across the sky—-so the space where I exist, and want to keep existing, and to be quite frank I hope I die in, is exactly this middle distance: where despair struck pure otherness and created something sublime.

The Goldfinch, Donna Tart

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Emotions, in my experience, aren’t covered by single words. I don’t believe in “sadness,” “joy,” or “regret.” Maybe the best proof that the language is patriarchal is that it oversimplifies feeling. I’d like to have at my disposal complicated hybrid emotions, Germanic train-car constructions like, say, “the happiness that attends disaster.” Or: “the disappointment of sleeping with one’s fantasy.” I’d like to show how “intimations of mortality brought on by aging family members” connects with “the hatred of mirrors that begins in middle age.” I’d like to have a word for “the sadness inspired by failing restaurants” as well as for “the excitement of getting a room with a minibar.” I’ve never had the right words to describe my life, and now that I’ve entered my story, I need them more than ever.

Middlesex, Jeffrey Eugenides

 

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