Donkey and Goat’s skin fermented roussane is DREAM, liquid golden hay that smells like a guava apple cider. Roussane is typically a white wine but here they winemakers leave the grapes to ferment in their skinnies so it makes for a sunny, evocative wine with both chewy tannins (bitter parts of some) and fresh minerality. It goes really well with lazy laptop sessions and tastes like peach skin, ripe pear, and a Fiji apple. Happy SUNDAY!
It's October fourth, the autumn sun is shining, I stomped through leaves on my way to get here, and I am eating a pumpkin spice RX bar. I would also like to note that yesterday, in an effort of procrastination, I entered a content to win over $200 worth of pumpkin RX bars, plus a Nespresso machine. My plan is, if I win, to set up shop on the side of the road in Monrovia, and sell coffees and pumpkin RX bars to the cyclists as they bike through the fall weather. Though I'm pretty sure this is illegal, so please don't spread the news.
One month of yoga and poetry (and I'm 27) complete! And it's fall! Things feel like they're changing, mostly because the world around me is, and that doesn't always feel like a great world (in fact, lately it feels really shitty), and I've never been more grateful for words as a means of expression, and for my body as a means of being alive. It's so easy to hate ourselves—to hate the words, to hate our physical appearance. But when there is so much hate in the world, the last thing we need to do is criticize ourselves. Unless you are genuinely being an asshole, in which case take a moment to say to yourself, "I am an asshole. It's not too late for me to stop. How can I be less of an asshole?"
I felt like an asshole at times, specifically when this poetry and yoga challenge stressed me out so much that I snapped at my loved ones. I have a lot on my plate, and sometimes that makes me feel as though I am not being productive. But productivity, while a bonus, is not the point of it all, is it? I snapped because I felt like life was interfering with my art. But life is art, and art cannot interfere with art. It only contributes to it.
A big takeaway from daily yoga and poetry was to honor patience and appreciate the details. Patience with the process, a gentle understanding that it need not happen all in one day, and that the work will never, ever end. (That's not a bad thing). The details are the things that make patience worth it. All of those tiny moments, whether you're finding them in the clouds or in your fingers, make the journey worth it. They make patience easy.
Below are some other lessons I took away. Flexibility is not one of them, but it was also, definitely a nice reward.
1. Your medium is important.
Yoga, poetry, illustration, whatever it might be, you are a creative being, and your method of creation is important. Find ways that you can express yourself and use it to be the change. If you're stuck on what to pursue, ask yourself why you're doing it. For validation, for internal satisfaction, for someone else, to spark a conversation? The world needs art and mindfulness now more than ever. Be the one to create. You are the only one who can share your voice.
2. The lessons are not always immediate.
Sometimes when I was working on a poem, or doing a flow, I would get very frustrated, thinking I wasn't getting better in my practice, or the words weren't stringing together the way that I wanted them to. But when I returned to the page a few weeks later to reread some of the things I had written, I found that there were some really good moments. In yoga, you s-l-o-w-l-y begin to see the patterns of strength, the newfound flexibility. You suddenly touch your toes, you can jump back from crow into chatarunga. The same can be said in life. Often times, we ask ourselves "what am I here for?" or "what is my purpose?" or "why did this happen?" The answers are unnecessary—live the questions, knowing that you will too soon live the answers.
3. If you can do it, you are responsible for sharing it.
If you are lucky enough to have a yoga practice, or the ability to make art, you're liking reaping some benefits from it. It's our responsible to carry the joy we receive from these activities and bring them into the world, whether it's through a conversation or a more direct way of giving back to the world around us. If something brings you joy, DO IT, and then extend that joy into the lives of others. This not only empowers others to pursue their own ambitions, but adds lightness into a world that is at risk for being so dark.
4. It's not a competition (even when it is).
Comparison is toxic! Everyone is one their own individual journey, with their own particular experiences, and it is literally illogical to compare your journey to that of someone else's. We all have our own voices to contribute—your voice matters specifically because it is yours. Even in direct matters of competition, you shouldn't put your worth in the end results. Who knows what the judges were looking for? Maybe you didn't win that competition, but your piece or thing might be better served elsewhere. Maybe it existed solely for your creation. The need to compete comes from this idea that there is not enough room for all of us to succeed, but that's not the case. I see this is especially true among women—it's so important that we lift one another up. When one of us wins, we all win.
5. Failure is not a bad word.
There are so many lessons in being a human. I believe the strongest, happiest people are the ones who can see their struggles and upsets as learning opportunities. When we feel like we're taking a step backward, it's important to use that space as a moment to recognize what we can learn, why we needed to learn it, and how our lives will shift from that moment forward. There is no one person who has sailed effortlessly through her or his life without at least a handful of moments where they took a professional, romantic, familial, or creative tumble. Embrace failure and use it.
6. Overthinking leads to hesitation.
I am the princess of overthinking! I do it all the time: Should I focus on this, or this? Am I giving too much attention to this creative project? Should I go on a run or should I read or should I clean? All of that time I spent thinking on what I should be doing was time that I could have spent actually doing things. Just make things. Who cares if they are bad? They probably will be "bad." But they will get better, and you will figure it out.
7. Fake it till you make it.
I originally heard this word of advice in reference to relationships. If you're experiencing trouble within your relationships, act like the perfect girlfriend/boyfriend. Be the kindest friend. Love when it's hardest to love. Eventually, this pattern starts to becomes something you don't have to work so hard to achieve. The same can be said for your art—if you don't feel like you're an artist, or a writer, or a yogi, go sit in the chair or on the mat and MAKE SHIT HAPPEN over and over and over. You will get good at it.
8. There's no harm in slowing down.
My desire to do intense, calorie-torching yoga came from the desire to be skinny, not to be healthy. Sometimes a slower, yin-focused practice is exactly what you need. Sometimes you need to spend an hour working on five sentences, if only to select the right words. Sometimes you can read the same book over and over, believing that you'll learn something new and beautiful with each read. Which leads me to:
9. The small moments are everything.
As I mentioned earlier, the details make patience oh-so-worth it. Having turned 27, it's so easy for me to stare in the mirror and think, "Wow! Where is life going?" and yet other days, I'm wishing the seconds would tick away faster so that I can get to the next thing. But it's in these small moments, the slower minutes of life, where there is magic. It might be the smell of toast, or the conversations of a mother and daughter at the intersection, or the way the leaves are floating through the air as they season shifts to something new. There is always something beautiful to notice, no matter how small it is, no matter how dark everything else feels.
10. Believe in the style of yourself.
You have your own way of doing things, and as long as you aren't an asshole, that's valid. Trust your creative process, trust your flow, trust what you are wearing, what makes you feel good, how you love, who you love. Everything is a spectrum, and you are valid. You get to decide how you live this life, and if you make love a priority, I promise that you will feel the rewards. Love your art, love the world, love those around, and love yourself. Everything else, like a domino on a picnic table, falls gently into place.
what have you taken away?
hungry // a birthday poem
The day I was born was full of jam,
so sticky and sweet,
my parents couldn’t keep their hands off me.
they sang songs of apples, and we played games to honor
the yellow bricks made for three, and cried
happy tears to bathe a baby face,
while starfish hands caught the glitter and
dough of a mother’s kiss, and a father’s
i ate everything with my heart.
at 13 I stared in the mirror, wondering,
whispering “where does love go?
are you there God
it’s me, Hunger.”
i stuffed my secrets into cotton,
and threw stained t-shirts out the window,
while ironing baby curls until they were flat,
and smelled like fire.
at 22 i painted my chest with
the chest of another—
silk upon marble and sweat
dripping oil into bathwater and stricken
by my humanness,
starving for a love that i read about in books,
that sat in my blood, like a disease.
at 26 i felt the smartest,
my secrets revealed and spilled,
figuring things out and clasping
to the gift of understanding.
how funny to see the numbers,
adorable to find the answers painted on a white sheet
washed out with each year, the love
a blank slate, clean and terrifying
in it’s emptiness.
what does your birthday inspire?
the things that eat me
I cared about cookies once, I counted them,
When I was a Girl Scout, and we stood
Outside of the mountain of monopolies,
Princess Mermaid selling coffee (which was new), and a Giant, and the breaker-of-blocks.
We offered tan cookies that tasted tan, and learned that
Most children don't like toasted coconut until they are 12, and they find
That caffeine (with milk and sugar) can make you feel like an Adult, and Adults
Think mint is not a dessert, and peanut butter cookies
Are for dads and maybe teenager sisters, who eat
While watching heath ledger fall in love.
I cared about cookies, and people buying them, and the number of boxes.
And a sheet my father took to his office, my name
At the top, his co-workers spied and
Inked their names beside mine (like we were signing up to my friends!)
They could give cookies to their teenage daughters, husbands (maybe there were dads), and I
Wondered if their daughters, were like me, and
Counting cookies, and would their numbers eat mine?
Girl vs. girl, throwing cookies and cutting brace-laden teeth,
Oh... Not much has changed—thin fingers count cookies, but the numbers must be itty, and the sugar invisible, like a cloud stretched so thin
You can barely taste it.
And our counting, our caring,
Leaves us hungry (instead of full).
what eats you?
I recently put out at Facebook post to ask my friends what their favorite words were, and the results were far better than I could have imagined. The "struggle" of writing is real—I've talked to a couple of my artist friends recently about feelings of "not being good enough" or coming up dry for words. It's frustrating, and in a previous post, I address ways to combat those feelings. Now I have another tactic. For seeing these words, and writing the definitions for them, sparked a kind reminder in my soul: that words are really, really fun. Words, and writing by indirect nature, are on our side. They exist for us to communicate and create bridges between our minds and hearts with the minds and hearts of others.
One of the reasons I took on this challenge was so that I could s l o w d o w n, and appreciate the details of the world that I felt like I was overlooking. This speedy mindset came with me into writing—autopilot happens. But slowing down means thinking thoughtfully about each word, and about the profound impact that it can have.
Also, this ended up being really, really, really fun. Though I knew most of these words, I went ahead and defined all of them, which was good because I was incorrect about some of the more "official" definitions. Epiphany, for example, I always thought meant that "ah-ha" moment, like when you realize you can use your conditioner for shaving cream, or when you remember that kid who played Ross's kid in Friends was ALSO in Big Daddy and was ALSO in Suite Life of Zach and Cody. But an epiphany technically is a noun that relates to a divine or supernatural being. So when you say you're having an "epiphany," you are having a moment so magically bizarre that it is relating to the divine.
I also found words that I knew through on a casual basis, but that I rarely used, and now love. Revelry refers to lively and noisy festivities, especially when these involve drinking a large amount of alcohol—WHY don't we use this more often? Come to my BIRTHDAY REVELRY, my TACO REVELRY etc, etc. Chthonic means subterranean, or the underworld, AKA the upside down... so naturally that evokes feelings of mystery and cravings for Eggo waffles. Oenomel refers to a Greek drink made from honey and wine, which are two of the sweetest things combined into one, and who wouldn't want to be drinking honey wine on the Greek isles with some mythological creatures and a handsome moped owner maybe, possibly named Chrisos?
I digress. I could on and on about words forever, and it's late, and Ian and are pretty much finished with a bottle of Trader Joe's Cherry Blossom, and we'd still like to build a fire before bedtime. If you're ever short on inspiration, need to add some tools to your box, or are simply looking for a dose of whimsy, please check out the list below.
voluptuous - relating to or characterized by sensual pleasure
bookkeeper - a person whose job is to keep records of the financial affairs of a business
balloon - the ability to appear effortlessly suspended while performing movements during a jump
bumblebee - a large hairy bee with a loud hum, living in small colonies in holes underground
melanzana - Italian, eggplant
ubiquitous - present, appearing everywhere
volition - the power of using one's will
deathstar - A number of fictional mobile space stations and galactic superweapons
onomatopoeia - a word that phonetically imitates, resembles or suggests the sound that it describes
sesquipedalian - long, multi-syllabic
superfluous - unnecessary, more than enough
ballyhoo - extravagant publicity or fuss
tomfoolery - foolish or silly behavior
defenestration - the act of throwing someone/something out of a window
unconditional - not subject to any conditions
existential - concerning existence
ethereal - extremely delicate and light in a way that seems too perfect for this world
satire - the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices
phenomenon - a fact or situation that is observed to exist or happen, especially one whose cause or explanation is in question.
fruit loop - a vibrant, singular piece of cereal (or a silly person)
beluga - white whale in the arctic or sub-arctic
oubliette - a secret dungeon with a trapdoor in the ceiling
terpsichore - of or relating to dance
mellifluous - sweet or melodic, nice to hear
wizened - shriveled or wrinkled with age
exegesis - critical explanation or interpretation of text
Pelaverga - an Italian grape wine
eloquence - persuasive speaking or writing
vellichor - strange wistfulness of used bookstores
Oenomel - Greek drink made of wine and honey
hullabaloo - commotion or fuss
quandry - state of perplexity or confusion over what to do in a certain situation
cannabis - a tall plant with a stiff upright stem, divided serrated leaves, and glandular hairs. Used to produce hemp fiber and as a psychotropic drug
cummerbund - broad waist sash, usually pleated
schadenfreude - pleasure derived from someone else's misfortune
surreptitious - kept secret, especially because it would not be approved of
aspirational - having or characterized by aspirations to achieve social prestige and material success
ne'er-do-well - a person who is lazy and irresponsible
curmudgeon - a bad-tempered or surly person.
prolific - present in large numbers or quantities, plentiful
audacity - willingness to take bold risks
awkward - causing or feeling embarrassment or inconvenience
y'all - you all
spatula - a broad, flat, flexible blade used to mix, spread and lift material" including foods, drugs, plaster and paints
intrinsic - belonging naturally, essential
shenanigans - silly or high-spirited behavior; mischief.
doppelgänger - a look-alike or double of a living person
balderdash - sense talk or writing, nonsense
umlaut - a mark used over a vowel, as in German or Hungarian, to indicate a different vowel quality, usually fronting or rounding
nefarious - wicked or criminal
syzygy - a conjunction or opposition, especially of the moon with the sun
zymurgy - is an applied science which studies the biochemical process of fermentation and its practical uses.
chthonic - concerning, or belonging to, or inhabiting the underworld
ouroboros - an ancient symbol depicting a serpent or dragon eat its own tail
incandescent - emitting light as a result of being heated
revelry - lively and noisy festivities, especially when these involve drinking a large amount of alcohol
antiquated - old-fashioned or outdated
lacrymosa - an Evanescence song, or "lacrimosa," which is Latin for weeping
iridescent - showing luminous color that seem to change when looked at from different angles
humuhumunukunukuāpuaʻa - a reef triggerfish
discombobulated - disconcerted or confused
macabre - disturbing and horrifying because of involvement with or depiction of death and injury
infinitesimally - indefinitely or exceedingly small
epiphany - a manifestation of a divine or supernatural being
astronomically - of, or relating to, or connecting with astronomy
When I was 4 years old, I was in a daycare program where naptime was required. Every day, we'd spread our mats onto the floor and lay in a cluster of Osh Kosh B'gosh, smelling like crayons and graham crackers, and expected to lay still for forty minutes.
I was terrible at naptime. According to my mother, I stood up and whipped by blanket around at others, apparently declaring that they join me in my wild readiness. But naptime was the rule, and so everyone tried to make to me comply—the other kids were doing it just fine. A few weeks later, and after several blanket whips, everyone gave up. They gave me a new activity for the nap time-slot, and sent me to the daycare's office to label things. Everyone was happy, especially me, because when the other kids started rolling out their mats, I got to toss my hair back and say, "Oh, I've got to go to work."
The moral of this story is not to be an asshole to your fellow preschoolers—it is that some rules are not for everyone. Naptime exists within the schedule of four-year-olds because it's often a positive thing. It's supposed to prevent you from whipping your blanket into the faces of small children, because you are less riled up and you use that precious energy on things like macaroni jewelry and building hospitals out of wooden blocks. So it's cool that my teachers were like, "Hey, let's give this naptime thing a shot," but it's also cool that when it didn't work for me, they switched it up a bit.
The same thing exists within poetry and yoga (though I'm not a certified in yoga and I can't make any *official* claims that this true): it helps to learn the rules, but that doesn't mean you can't break them. I've never taken a class in poetry, but I like to study other poets and their work. I like to sit and think, "what made this such a dope poem?" In yoga, many of my teachers have instructed the traditional version of the pose, as well as some adjustments and substitutions depending on how your body reacts to that particular pose.
Once we understand the rules, the history, and the various techniques of those around us, we can start using them or breaking them. Through exposing ourselves to those rules, we're contributing to the great mental toolbox that is our creativity. Our brain is smart—it knows which tools will best communicate what we feel in our hearts. It all spills out eventually, much like my crayon box would have when someone forced me to take a nap.
I've tried to apply this over the past 16 days by looking at different poets, and practicing different styles of yoga. I'll admit, it's been hard to sit down and say "I'm going to look at Iyengar today" or "I'm going to study Southern Gothic Literature," especially when you're a GIRL JUST TRYING TO HAVE FUN! But when you're dedicating yourself to a challenge, it gives you the motivation to poke around and look at what's out there. The more (in my experience) that you learn, the more you want to learn. Excitement begets excitement. Words beget more words.
This was the challenge I gave myself today. Study some rules. Go back to the basics. Use these to fuel today's poem and practice.
If you'd like to do something similar, hold on to your hats, because I've got some links!
First, here is a link to Ashtanga Fundamentals.
And here is a link William Blake's "The Tyger," which is considered one of the greatest poems of all time. After that, you can read something totally different, and check out a poem from Rupi Kaur's Milk and Honey.
And below is a poem by E.E. Cummings, who is probably most well-known for his role as an avid rule-breaker.
[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
what rules do you chose to break?
Hello! it's day 12!
I've been yoging / poetrying / best friending all weekend. My longtime galpal and former roommate Maddie came up to visit, and while there was much downward dogging and writing poems on wine tasting menus and in the notes section of my phone, I failed to update you in blogland. So if you're also doing this challenge with me—keep on it! We're all doing great!
And, also importantly, Maddie is engaged! This is very, very exciting, especially since she''ll be getting married to another friend, and it's two friends coming together and both being so happy and I could not be happier for them. I'm so happy I almost bought Maddie a horse.
I want to talk about something that starts with a capital A. It is anxiety. I don't need to google any statistics to know that anxiety plagues a good portion of humans these days. I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder when I was 23, about six months out of college graduation. Much of this anxiety was situational, and I'm pretty sure that the cocktail of pills I was prescribed didn't do much but exacerbate the problem. Since then (I'm 26 now), I've had celexa, citalopram, zoloft, xanax, wellbutrin, and ativan. Some of these were for depression, which I did not have, but for some reason me and my psychiatrist were like, "WHATEVZ," and threw them on the mix. I am currently on nothing, though I probably drink more red wine than I should, and I'm occasionally one to eat my feelings while watching Gilmore Girls reruns. C'est la vie.
Part of having anxiety is dealing with the physical symptoms. Sometimes nothing will be wrong. Most of the time, nothing is. I have so much to be grateful for and very little to complain about. But occasionally, be it work, relationship drama, the fact that I'm comparing myself to someone more "successful," on Instagram, or my adrenals are out of wack, I will feel shaky and my brain electrocuted. It's hard to make connections, to think clearly, and to be creative.
I find this extra difficult: I'm already anxious, likely over not doing ________ (insert art, laundry, yoga, spending enough time with loved ones, etc), and so the last thing I want to do is stare at an empty page and feel like there's nothing I can do. Some writers, many, will tell you to sit and stare at the page and write anyway. I agree with this, to an extent. Writing when you have nothing to say is great when you are not in the middle of a bought of anxiety. When you are calm, or bored, you can often sit around and throw some words out. Maybe they're good, maybe they're not. You figure it out later. The point is, those suckers are THERE.
But with anxiety, I think it can be hard for anyone to sit totally still and put the pressure on themselves to CREATE. I know I was always wanted another tactic, something to help with the anxiety so that I could approach the page with a fresh mind.
Here are my ideas:
Practice yoga / meditate. Often times, we feel anxious because our minds are skipping ahead into the future, plotting ideas or mapping our plans. Yoga and meditation encourage us to focus on the present moment, or specifically the breath. Also, and especially with yoga, both of these practices encourage you to think about the badass beautiful gift that is your body. That's one of the reasons why this challenge has been so beneficial—it allows me to rekindle the relationship I have with my physical self. Writers know that there is something known as "the flow state," or when you are so caught up in what you are doing that you are one hundred percent present. Your ideas seem to flow effortlessly, as if they are being channeled through some mystic stream of words and wisdom. I imagine it's like what Oprah feels 24/7.
This too is true of your mental state. Meditating and practicing yoga affords us the opportunity to hone in on the present moment, and ultimately, find that flow state. If we're anxious, and fearful to write, taking the time to mediate or practice yoga is still beneficial to our creative crafts because we are essentially practicing to be mindful. And mindfulness leads to true and beautiful art.
Go on a walk. I got this one from my boy Stephen King, even though these walks ultimately got him into a bit of trouble. But—go on a walk. Leave your cell at home, don't take notes. Just savor the vivid experience of the outdoors, from the cotton candy glow of the sky, to the couple dressed up to drink margaritas on a Tuesday, to the TVs illuminating the windows, to the smell of tamales wafting through the summer air. Anxiety will be soften, connections for new creative projects might arise (even if subconsciously), and you'll stretch those legs and that bum that likely spend so, so, so much time sitting in a chair.
Talk to someone who makes you laugh. Much like meditation and yoga, laughter brings us into the present moment. When we are genuinely laughing about something, we're so caught up in delight that we can't help but be present. Laughter is a beautiful way to draw ourselves out of anxiety—we feel the endorphins surge, we feel the simplicity of joy, we enjoy the absurd, and the ridiculous. And furthermore, fostering relationships, or being with that bombass guy or girl who makes you double over in a flaming fit of giggles, greatly enhances ones quality of life. At least, I think so. :)
- Listen to music while lying on your back and staring at the ceiling. Sometimes, you just gotta get emotional. Let your former teenage freak flag fly. Play some Lana Del Rey and question the existence of the moon. If you're anxiety is getting the best of you, confront those emotions with the emotions of other artists. It makes you feel less alone, and I find that the lyrics give something to focus on. It's inspirational to hear that we're not the only ones in the world dealing with anxiety/fear/grief/loss, and that there are plenty of artists who transform these feelings into art. Be with your emotion. Befriend it. Through knowledge comes empathy.
But perhaps most importantly, know that you are not alone. Anxiety and art aren't separate entities, and you can still make one when dealing with the other. Take notes on how you feel and write about it. You never know who it might help.
My lover says to love--
Where I am,
And so I spend the days counting wine
Sips, red and white,
And counting backward to the days of
When I saw women
Naked and telling me all about
The neighbors laundry machine.
I drink too, with my words as
Gray smog floats on blue skies,
Trees as green as my shorts 1995.
They grow unsteady, dancing further away
While I crawl on hands and knees to eat
The flesh of where I am.
what does your anxiety say to you?
and a sourdough mountain
my morning hero
after you wake up
we add sugar to the crust
eating the sweetness
bubbles in my blood
effervescence in my heart
and can't stop kissing
what does your breakfast say to you?
I love this poem by Mary Oliver—and I love this flow. Both have the power to quell when things feel heavy. xx.
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
I once went to an Ayurvedic doctor. It was after I got back from a long bought of traveling, and was back in Los Angeles. I was feeling aimless, only slightly employed, and guilty for traveling when I was so low on cash.
"You have a lot of fear in you," she told me gently, and upon hearing this I burst into tears. Mostly because she knew I was right.
Fear comes up a lot for me. That's not to say I don't find ways to tackle it—I've dealt with it, rolled it around for a few minutes, and wondered if it was a worthy thought. Eventually I'll then use it to make a decision. The trouble comes in when I let fear do the decision making.
An old therapist once told me, "Fear can ride in the car, but it doesn't drive. It doesn't sit in the passenger seat, it doesn't get to decide what plays on the radio, it doesn't get to hold the map." I took this to mean that, "yes, we can hear fear, but it doesn't get to call the shots."
I let fear in so often when it comes to both my yoga and my writing. "That class is too hard for me, this story sucks, I shouldn't submit my play because it won't win, I don't want to practice with people who are that advanced." And what am I afraid of? Falling down, looking silly, rejection? All of those things only seem scary because of the stereotype I've attached to them. Falling down isn't bad—it can actually be quite fun. I'm sure those who have fallen in love would agree.
And it's through those moments of pushing through fear—writing that poem, taking a 90-minute 2/3 class, submitting to that fellowship—where the growth happens. We rise in our fear. We eat the obstacles and use them as nourishment so that we can learn and create.
I urge you to pick one thing that scares you and ask yourself "why?" If it's, "touch the stove," than no, don't be a dumdum and touch the stove. That is a RATIONAL FEAR. But if it's something like... trying AcroYoga or cook for your boyfriend or write a novel, then do it. Make it part of your routine. Will it be perfect? NO. There is also the chance that it will be very-much-so less than perfect! And that's okay. Unless you are talking about parking brakes, failure is not a bad word.
my crow song
sometimes (or when it's stormy),
the ocean fills my body,
and the waves slam us awake.
with merfolk crooning
and whispering their lies,
i eat what I can,
and spill the rest.
thank you for
the release of salt.
what are you afraid of?
Art courtesy of Kathrin Honesta
Today I am thinking about women, place, and potency. As I mentioned earlier, I was just in Denver with a group of my best girlfriends. Denver is a fun city: plains that stretch into a never-ending horizon, weed stores selling s'mores cookies, front porches with razor scooters. I get why people like it so much.
One thing that I love about traveling is the sense of potency, or the power of small moments. Setting the table is gift. The wet grass feels like an ocean. Flowers are yellow miracles. Jokes turn into an ab exercise.
Today I'd like to share this poem by Nayirrah Waheed. I love Waheed's style: crisp, emotive, and resonant. And it's very, very potent—her poems are shorter than many of the ones I read, but her words are loaded. By the time we get to the last line, I feel as if I've read a narrative. That sort of poetic efficiency is what makes poetry so special; you can so much so quickly. I'm teaching myself to mirror this sort of style myself, and using it as inspiration to write my own. (Not everything I write is going online just yet!)
Furthermore, it reminds me of love. Loving people, loving places... And never having to lose anything simply because of time or distance.
i am your friend
a soul for your soul
a place for your life.
sun or water.
we are a lighthouse.
— lighthouse, by nayirrah waheed
what does potency in poetry mean for you?
I'm back from Denver! Pictures to come. It was SUCH a wonderful trip. My butt hurts from hiking, my crotch hurts from biking, and my abs hurt from laughing. I wrote one of my poems while under the influence of a LOT of pink wine and did my yoga on the front lawn with my best friends and a leashed cat. We did all of the Denver things (hiking, breweries, trendy tattoo shops) and all of the sleepover things (Mean Girls, pizza, tacos), and all of The Brothel* things (Chambongs, cuddling, and velvet).
*The Brothel was the name of my house in college. Nine girls, one roof, a ginormous communal wardrobe.
Anyway. More on that soon.
For now, I'd like to say a few things about stream on consciousness writing. I have a love/hate with this style of writing, for while it can sometimes seem a little repetitive and thoughtless, I actually really love the release of emotions, and the spur-of-the-moment connection of ideas and images. Things that you didn't think would become symbols or metaphors suddenly are. Theme emerges. Stream of consciousness writing is a nice way to tap into the more mysterious parts of your brain, even if nothing more than to give that part a little bit louder of a voice.
I read Crown by Danez Zmith and bits of On the Road by Jack Kerouac for inspiration.
The baby took his hands off my chest.
The baby took his hands off my chest and looked down at them, and at the rest of my body before he left and came back to bring me the ice cream, which we ate in a haze of smoke so thick that we laughed, we howled like ghost wolves, like we were watching kittens fall off coffee tables. he put a ring pop on my finger and it was sour blue raspberry, so naturally I had to eat it.
The baby put his hands on my chest and his nose in my hair and smelled each strand as if it were a thread taken pulled from a rose under a microscope and then we lay on our sides, and we studied words, the alphabet soup that made up our skeletons, each bone fractured and broken because we wanted to pretend we were drummers, and we’d smash rainbow sprinkles under our baby fists and suck the pretty dust into our noses, and then there’d be the cream, round two and biting off the bottoms of cones, and then oh my goodness, two babies made a family, and what did we know about the home, or a new immigrant who ate more bread than there are stars, and who untucked itself from bed while we unstuck ourselves from the fire of a dirty kitchen.
The baby took his hands of my chest and I let him fall asleep and then stayed up for only five minutes before I watched the sun rise like a broken yolk.
What comes up for you when writing from a stream of consciousness?
sug, or diane
The first time I tasted champagne was on the lips of my grandmother she was so beautiful with black hair and the skin some called olive but i never knew why because to me it was the shade of a fine leather which she probably owned because she had many attractive things like a yellow kitchen table where we made bird nests out of shredded coconut and sugar and chocolate cream eggs and we spent time on our stomachs while watching football on the console tv and one day they took her breathing tubes out because she no longer had a use for them and i couldn't kiss her because we said goodbye over the phone --
What do you remember about your grandparents?
Happy day three! I'm writing this from a tattoo shop, freshly inked for the fourth time, and the Denver sun is blasting. There are black-eyed susans poking up from beneath the street signs and breweries around every corner. The tattoo shop is selling palo santo. This morning I woke up to a cat sitting on my back. There's nothing I can complain about—other than the burning sensation on my thigh for the new wound I just added. But even that feels pretty good.
I knew it would be hard for me to start this challenge on a trip—yesterday we moved from hiking to brunch to pedal-hopping to dinner to karaoke to bed. But as my friend Kaitlyn so accurately pointed out, that's why it's called "a challenge." And challenges are rewarding. Finding the time to do just a bit of yoga, or write a poem, while surrounded by so many friends and activity and booze has given me a moment to press pause and appreciate my surroundings.
This morning I sat in the grass and drank my coffee while reading Mary Ruefle. I like this poem for it's narrative and the little/big button at the end. I like the images, especially "the sad toy upside down in the street." I like the movement, the timelessness, and the bits of familiarity that reaches out to me like an olive branch. It makes me think of how being in love encourages us to latch on to the tiniest details of the world around us. The hum of an air conditioner on a gray morning, the scratchy sound of christmas paper wrapping being torn from a book. Coffee does not just taste like caramel—it is a Werther's original. The details. We always go back to the details.
Concerning Essential Existence
The horse mounted he mare slowly and precisely
and then stopped.
He was profoundly disturbed by a piece of straw.
He was profoundly distracted by the sad toy
upside down in the street.
He was profoundly disengaged by half a cloud
In the corner of his wet eye.
And then he continued.
Nothing is forgot by lovers
Except who they are.
What did this poem make you think of?
we are girls again
and the great golden opal mixes color
onto our faces
pink and freckled.
the glittering quartz twins each visage
as we traipse each curve
"the design in our stars is the same in our hearts."
tiny feet stamping in boots made for a man.
in the garden the tomatoes are green
and the zucchini grows fast
and long with authority.
did you see the flowers?
they are growing without rumination
and all the consideration.
thriving in our backyards,
and beside the stream
where the schoolchildren shared their first kiss,
like cakes rising, sweet and moist.
the process is the pleasure
and the frosting spins like a rose.
what do the mountains make you think of?
Happy First Day of September!! How are you greeting the month? I was up half the night with stomach cramps, Ian putting a cold rag over my face as I lay half-naked in on the bathroom floor. Ya knowwhen you're sick and nothing feels better than the cool, gross tile against your face?? Yes, that's how I came into September.
Ian said it was "very punk rock."
Luckily when I woke up this morning, my appetite was back and I was ready for a new month, minus whatever nasties had snuck their way into my body. We had a breakfast of Dave's Killer Bread (soft and squishy with a pat of butter), and coffee heavy on the almond milk. It was nourishing.
So yes, I'm feeling better.
Which is good. I've got a flight to Denver tonight to spend Labor Day with eight of my girlfriends from college. Relieved to be on the up-and-up, I wrote my poem not long after waking. I like doing this, it allows me time to access the words while my brain is still sleepy enough not to censor. For yoga, I selected Grounding Into Gratitude - Root Chakra Yoga with Adriene. I first attended Adriene's class in Austin about a year and a half ago, and then shared a bottle of rose with her in July at Wanderlust Squaw Valley. Her classes are like she is—fun, accessible, and encouraging. Plus doing a grounding flow before a flight seemed like a good idea. Or, at the very least, balancing.
Over the last few days I've been mulling over the different things I wanted to write about. So funny that the ideas seem to come when I'm in the middle of a conversation, or driving my evening commute, or throwing up on the bathroom floor—not so much when I finally decide to put pen to page. This, I understand, is normal.
And that's why it's nice to have lists like these.
Artwork: "Water" by Brice Postma Lorient, France
50 Topics for your poetry
your grandma’s kitchen
how it feels to wake up on a snow day in 3rd grade vs. how it feels to wake up on a snow day now
grilled cheese n’ tomato soup
ice cream (oh wait…)
the flower shop
the lady in the the flower shop
a gross beetle
a pretty beetle
slow-roasted pulled pork
a broken diving board
a girl named ashley
people with yellow eyes
the way a chair looks when you are 2
the way a 2 year old looks when you are a chair
a hotel with a front desk boy who skateboards
ice cream (SHIT)
the difference between artisanal donuts and dunkin’ donuts, and the rating system of donuts
sleeping for a very long time
the nighttime routine of your youth group pastor
dying with regrets
never saying “i love you”
whiskey, and how you feel when you see it in a decanter
What are you writing about?
I hope all is well with you all over in internet land. I'm writing with a glass of watermelon drink (frozen watermelon blended down and mixed with champagne!) in my hand, friends not too far away, and summer dancing its way into the horizon.
I’ve always had mixed feelings about August. It’s a lovely month, one that goes far too quickly, and is rich in symbolism. Summer! Corn on the cob! Full moons! Back to school! A ripe season when all of us are full of heat! I wrote a place several years ago titled "The End of August" about a dog dying, a playground, God, oral sex, and best friends. So I guess those things make me think of August, too.
In Los Angeles, it’s a bit hard to tell that the season is shifting, and so I plan to celebrate this change internally. I will be turning 27 at the end of September, shortly after the Equinox. The arrival of one's birthday often spurs internal review. Have I achieved enough? Am I where I need to be? Am I a good person? All the thoughts come exploding out of me like I'm a broken gumball machine and I can't seem to focus on one thing. Color and sweetness, nothing appreciated. When that happens, the beauty of life starts to blur together, and I miss out. I don't want to miss out, so I'd like to slow down.
As part of that, and to kick off the resurgence of this space on the internet, I’m promoting a September challenge:
- Write a poem everyday.
- Yoga everyday.
Reasons being: Poetry and I sort of fell into each other, like two drunk introverts at a square dance. We didn't ask anything of each other and yet we really, really hit it off. I never considered myself a poet, didn't even try because I didn't think that I fit the gilded label of "A POET." But one day, in an effort to collect the feelings revolving around a memory, I let a bunch of word spill out and strung them together in a way that felt right. It demanded presence, and forced me to focus on the smaller details of existence. In doing so, I felt gratitude for these small things: the warmth of yellow light, the frothy humidity, the sticky floor of a brewery on a first date . I felt gratitude for the words. And as for yoga, the practice allows me to focus on my body, the most honest thing I have. In the heat of a practice, I notice my the tiniest stretch of muscle, the last sip of air filling my lungs to capacity. Again, the details. Again, appreciation.
It sounds so simple, and yet I anticipate a struggle. Doing anything daily opens up so many windows for excuse. (I don’t have time, i’m working too much, etc, etc.) I deal with those ALL THE TIME. And thus the challenge. I hope my invitation of this moment welcomes the opportunity to make a change. You can do it too! Together we can look up to the trees, and be like the leaves.
Yoga and Poetry Challenge
30 days of yoga and poetry, starting September 1. "I am not a poet," you might say. Me neither—until I decided I was one. Allow yourself to put pen to page and see what bleeds out. It could be a haiku, it could be two lines, it could be a recipe, it could be your fears, it could be the ingredients of your shampoo strung out into a word document.
See you soon, and stay cozy.
Photo courtesy of Aminda Villa.
Have you ever howled at the moon?
Knowing the majority of my friends and readers (and there is much overlap), the answer to this question is most likely yes. And if your answer is no, I highly recommend it. One of my favorite writers, Clarissa Pinkola Estés swears by it. See her “wolf rules for life,” listed below.
3 Rove in between
4 Render loyalty
5 Love the children
6 Cavil in moonlight
7 Tune your ears
8 Attend to the bones
9 Make love
10 Howl often
I’ve howled at the moon in California often. Tahoe, Joshua Tree, Los Angeles…It’s a good place to do it. The horizons are wide, the voice echoes.
I’ve been back in LA for over a month, working at Wanderlust for three weeks, and falling in love with the desert all over again. It is dusty and expansive and the mountains are always blossoming outside Ian’s house, their peaks rising like the scales of a giant dragon. And speaking of dragons, I also enjoy watching his babe play in his dragon jammies. Sometimes he even pretends to be one of those huge-ass fantastical reptiles, himself. Tiny hands transform into claws and all seems okay in this scary world.
It’s weird to be back in a place that once made me so anxious. I think it helps that I am older, and that I have a better understanding of the tools I can use to soothe my mind. One of these tools, a big one, is the outdoors. If you are stressed or feeling powerless, I highly recommend a dose of nature, preferably with those you love. Two weekends ago I went to Lake Arrowhead with Ian, and last weekend, the two of us plus our friends Kait and Dave (we met at their wedding), joined us for a trip to San Diego.
The adventure was based around the idea to attend the Wanderlust 108, a mindful triathlon. The number 108 is significant in Hinduism and yoga. According to yogic tradition, there are 108 pithas, or sacred sites, throughout India. And there are also 108 Upanishads and 108 marma points, or sacred places of the body. Wanderlust's 108 is a triathlon consisting of running, yoga, and meditation. Kait and I considered the event months ago (bonding through text messages as long-distance friends are wont to do), before I moved back to LA and before I started working at Wanderlust. The triathlon was simply a thing we wanted to try. And once the two aforementioned things happened—well, then it was obvious.
The moon. Right.
In those moments I’ve howled at the moon I’ve felt entirely free—vulnerable and wild and so connected to my fellow humans. It’s silly thing to do, rolling your mouth and letting your throat and heart do the talking. I can remember each time very vividly. There were always other humans, warm bodies to call with. There were always stretchy pants. There were always stars.
Ian, Kait, Dave, and I spent two nights in San Diego. Ian and I arrived at our weird little AirBnb, and then greeted our friends with booze and guacamole made from overripe avocados. The next day the boys dropped us off at the field (they were spending the afternoon playing golf), and Kait and I (ignoring our champagne hangovers and chugging water) checked-in.
She’s the only friend I run with, and we talk while doing so. It makes the chore of running so much more bearable. Kaitlyn and I go way back—we attended college together, moved out to LA within two years of one another. I let her borrow my glasses, she made me a cake. Throughout all of this we both struggled with similar mental and physical ailments. Often over cake. She is beautiful inside and out, she is fun and kind. She listens, even when we run.
During our run we talked about vulnerability, or the act emotionally exposing oneself. What a challenge that can be, especially for someone in a new relationship (cough cough) who has not been in a “real” relationship for quite sometime (cough COUGH cough). Vulnerability requires bravery, especially when you are exposing the most fearful parts of yourselves. I find this fascinating and ironic, and the irony makes it silly, which makes it less scary.
Howling at the moon—when that feels scary…I remember I’m howling, and then I feel silly, and it is no longer scary.
Why don't we share our vulnerability? If the reason is fear, does that fear make us more vulnerable? Would the braver choice be to share?
Another funny thing: Most of the time we howl at the moon, we are howling in the dark. The dark provides a shield from vulnerability; it is why many of us like to expose our secrets or make love with the lights off. It’s why we kiss strangers in nightclubs. Drugs, alcohol, filters of whatever kind—perhaps these are another form of darkness. They make the scary things less scary, the howling less vulnerable.
After our run, Kait and I wandered the field and collected various amounts of free samples of various protein bars. (I am set for weeks, thank you Wanderlust!) We shared snacks and stories and small secrets. Then came the time for yoga, the second installment of the mindful triathlon.
The flow was led by MC Yogi, a charismatic and endearing man with a joy-inducing voice. After 20 minutes of beat-driven yoga, MC Yogi called all the practitioners to the front of the stage, where we were called to dance. And I mean, dance. Bouncing, barefoot-stomping, headbanging, sweaty arm waving, dancing. The San Diego sun was hot, the sky cloudless. It was then we were invited to howl.
Howling in the sunlight. I’m a weird girl, this I know. But to howl in the sunlight? This felt downright wacky. There was no shade or darkness to shield the high levels of goofiness. But the delightful and mature response of “whatever” floated through my mind, and I grabbed it, and decided that howling at the sun would be my expression of being alive, and that I would let everyone and their mothers hear me howl. And I howled and Kaitlyn howled and we all howled together.
When I spoke to Kait later, we shared gratitude for the moment and for one another. And we discussed how it made us feel wild and fun. And that wildness and joy helps so much to quell the fear of vulnerability.
To share secrets is a scary thing. I think about this often as my relationship continues to deepen. I didn’t realize how much I struggled with vulnerability until I had someone who I wanted to be honest with, even though it initially felt like a trap. My thoughts: Share your deepest thoughts, your darkest feelings, and scare him away. I sincerely believed this was true.
I don’t think that way anymore, or at least, I would like to change it. To be vulnerable is to be wild. It’s to let your hair down and to show your lover and closest friends the knots and the flyaways. To howl in the sunlight is to show what you know to be yourself, loud and true.
Honesty, even when it feels so difficult, gives back so much. It builds relationships and inspires trust and makes us feel SO MUCH LESS ALONE! That’s the ticket, right?? We all want to be dancing with our friends, to be hold another by the surf, to howl in a community. I think that if we share our vulnerability it builds us all up. Getting into a pattern of sharing ourselves sets the stage for a more honest and braver collective of humans. If we can express our fears, they no longer stay trapped in our heads. We see them for what they are: thoughts.
What do you want to say to someone you love? What do you have in your heart or gut that you have not shared? What will you lose if you let it spill? If it is your love...would you really want a love who did not know all of these scary, spooky, sincere parts?
Don't get me wrong—a secret is a fun thing. I have mine and I like them very much. But being able to unleash myself...That's bigger and better than secret-keeping. Vulnerability is an adventure. I am making my peace with this, and I hope my friends will do the same. It really does sincerely bring joy to see others strip away those layers.
I hope you howl at the moon, and then howl at the sun. I will applaud you, and howl right back.
A few months ago, I did a thing.
I gathered up all of my possessions, tossed the big ones into storage, packed the small ones into my Nissan Rogue, and left. I waved goodbye to smoggy Los Angeles, its polluted pink sunsets and palm tree horizons, and the late nights dancing in Venice Beach bars. It was an idea I had considered for months, and with some tiny bursts of encouragement, transformed into action.
I built a bed in my car and lived in that. I camped in National Parks and bathed in lakes. I wrote poems and ate canned black beans mixed with pico de gallo. The experience of both worlds, living in Los Angeles and among the stars, introduced me to new flavors of loneliness. Despite the overwhelmingly high population of the city, I felt alone, even when I drove down a congested highway, or slept next to another warm body. I can’t explain where this came from, but I felt as though I was consistently by myself, perhaps on a new mental plane, or wandering a path that was only true in rumors. That was both scary and endearing.
On the road loneliness felt like warm mud. I liked the sense of isolation that washed over me as I looked onto the red horizon, counting the dust molecules as they lofted across the windshield and Iron and Wine’s “Lovesong of the Buzzard” tumbled out of my speakers. Yeah, I met folks. An older gent in a coffeeshop took one look at me and said, "you're a libra, aren't ya?" (I am.) I sang campfire songs with a team of high schoolers in quiet Lake Wallowa. I wasn't a hermit. Still, I knew I was on my own, really, truly. Out of the loneliness grew independence, and from that, bravery.
I feel as though bravery is similar to a muscle, something we need to exercise and feed. When I graduated college, my bravery muscle was weak. I felt like I was only safe if I had control over the unknown, which we all learn, is impossible. I wanted to know where I should work, what I should be “doing with my life,” what I should believe in, who I should love, etc…It was exhausting!
I asked myself the same questions that came from middle school guidance counselors, “what are you passionate about?” and I couldn't figure that out. I was passionate about drinking wine in hotel room plastic cups, holding hands, laughter, and buttering a maple scone. But in order to translate the beauty of my passions, I need a tool. I needed words.
In this time of melancholic loneliness and unrest, language was like a friendly pup. It was always there, always loving. Putting pen to paper (or hand to keyboard) was the only way I could understand the swarm of feelings fluttering in my heart and the pounding voices that took hold of my brain reigns. Magic came with words, these little utensils that had been there for me since I was a small child and traced my starfish hand across the pages of a Richard Scary book.
Writing. Communication, as honest as I could make it.
I made this blog and wondered what it should be. I worked a few jobs, here and there. I made gluten-free macaroni, picked up dry cleaning, and played "Strawberry Factory." I worked at concert venues, with start-ups, and on reality TV sets. I ate a mountain of peanut butter sandwiches, I poured lattes, and cappuccinos, and americanos, and cold brew, and tea.
On my road trip, I took a month-long break in Portland, and at the end of the month, found I wasn't ready to leave. I stayed and ate roasted sweet potatoes and drank white wine while watching children climb plastic houses, their parents with pints of beer. They shared news of the family’s plans for a fire pit. I imagined one day owning a fire pit, and worked, worked, worked. I road my bike on the weekends and fetched lunches during the week. I wrote a play, a few poems, and on a napkin.
I went to a wedding where a dance turned into an upward spiral of butterfly-filled text messages and spontaneous weekend visits.
I wrote about that, too.
I stayed up until midnight copying scripts and writing scripts and editing scripts and wondering why my scripts were not good and what was good and how I could be better, and if ambition leads to negative self talking, is it worth having?
I wondered if the method used in Whiplash was practical.
I wondered if I was soft. And then I thought about how soft a homemade marshmallow is, and when I went home for Christmas, I ate them in hot chocolate and my mother and I laughed.
I watched one of my dogs die in my mother’s arms while I held my younger dog, who stared at the Christmas tree, and thought “I am glad to be soft.”
I swapped writing at night for two (sometimes three) hour phone conversations and told myself that life, when lived, made me very happy.
I looked at this picture and immediately wanted to cheers its creator with a tall and frothy beer.
I decided never to ask my writing to be solely responsible for my income. She smiled when I said that, and now we play on the swings and bake bread and drink wine on the floor. I believe in unconditional love because it exists with her.
I fell in love with Portland and I fell in love with a man not in Portland and I left Portland to move back to smoggy Los Angeles, with its polluted pink sunsets and palm tree horizons, and late night walks alongside the jasmine trees. The desert land.
Los Angeles had an unusual winter, lots of rain. Did you know that all that rain made for a very lush spring? Just the other week we went to the Antelope Poppy Reserve, where we brought a blanket and a bottle of champagne and grapes and little sandwich wraps. I watched this man pop the champagne in a field of flowers while my friend’s dog ran and the poppies licked my ankles and the bubbles sprang from the glass.
Before I went to Los Angeles, I went to another beach, Flamenco. I was running through the shallow part of the surf, my feet on white sand and the clearness of the water so perfect I could see the white grains on the painted red of my toes. At one point, when I just so happened to be looking down, I saw a sand dollar. It was sitting in the water, inarguably visible and perfect. The beach was popular, so it couldn’t have been there long. I took it home with me, and in less than 36 hours, broke it in my hands. I was sad, very sad, but used this as a reminder that nature is fragile, and I am strong. I keep the pieces in a box to remind me of the importance of benignity. I kept the box with me when I drove from Portland back to Los Angeles, waving goodbye (if that, even) to a different range of mountains.
In these weeks, I got a job. Earned, I should say, because it did not come easy, but required work and commitment, and will surely require more work and commitment, but it will be of the writing kind, and for that, I am very, very, very grateful.
I found that the desert, with its complicated romanticism and history of love and death and life, is a good home for now. I like walking on clear nights to get tacos and margaritas, I like loving, I like showing this small child the wind chimes, I like knowing that the world is big.
Perhaps I am writing all this to remind others that writing is fun, and life, unexpected. I spent the last three years planning and fretting, only to realize that most things, the best things, arrive out of nowhere. Life can not be "figured out," only explored, whether you are in one city or ten. There is adventure in our brains and our hearts as much as there is in the physical world. There is delight in our bodies, the earth, conversation. I hope now, three years into the post-grad and still learning, I can remember that words can exist for pleasure and laughs and insanity and graham cracker kisses and magnolias.
I can’t see much, but I can see that.
We meet spunky sweatpants Lorelei and adorable bookworm Rory. They are mother and daughter, but Lorelai had Rory when she was 16, and so they are also best friends! What a hook!
Important Season 1 Moments
- Rory’s dream is to go to Harvard and be a journalist. She applies to a fancy private school called Chilton and gets in, but it is essentially a pond for spoiled rich people. This sucks, but it’s also the sort of place that breeds Harvard grads, and so mom and daughter try to figure out a way to make this education possible. Lorelai was raised in a wealthy family, but since she got preggo at 16 and was kinda slut-shamed, she barely speaks to her parents. She bites the bullet and asks them for money. The parents agree, but only if Rory and Lorelai hang with them for fancy dinners once a week.
- Rory meets Dean, the new boy at school who wears leather jackets and reads Hunter S. Thompson, so like MOTHER MAY I?? He becomes her first boyfriend.
- Rory meets Paris Gellar, the other ultra-smart girl at Chilton. Paris is hyper-competitive and kind of a bitch to Rory because she’s a victim of the patriarchy and believes that there’s only room enough for so many women in the world.
- Luke is important! He is the grumpy diner owner who is secretly in love with Lorelai. They eat breakfast at his place everyday and it is always sort of unclear as to whether or not they pay him.
- Lorelai gets engaged to one of Rory’s teachers, but this eventually fizzles out. This moment wouldn’t be worth mentioning if not for the infamous “thousand yellow daisies” scene, where Max proposes by filling Lorelai’s house (or some room at the Inn??) with a thousand yellow daisies. Super cute, but the attraction just isn’t there in the long run.
In this season, we see Rory in her groove. She’s at a good school, she’s dating Dean, and she’s making nice with the grandparents. Lorelai is working hard to achieve her dream of opening up her own inn. Shit goes awry when bad boy Jess Mariano, Luke’s nephew, moves to Stars Hollow.
Important Season 2 Moments
- Rory and Jess start hanging out. He’s a dick to everyone but Rory. He also reads a lot. ASP (Amy Sherman Palladino, show-runner)really dumbs down Dean in this season, and we all start rooting for Jess.
- Lorelai and BFF Sookie (Melissa McCarthy) start solidifying plans to open their own Inn.
- Lorelai starts hooking up with Rory’s dad and her high school sweetheart, Christopher.
- Rory and Paris start becoming friends. It’s really sweet and one of the best relationships in the series, IMO. Paris, who is very power hungry, runs for student body President and makes Rory VP, and they win.
- Sookie gets married to her vegetable producer, Jackson. The night before the ceremony, Lorelei has sex with Christopher (it’s really touching guys, I’d say making love, but I’m not drunk enough yet), and they decide to get back together. Everyone is REALLY HAPPY including Lorelai’s parents, who don’t know about the sex, but they do know Christopher is back in the picture. Then minutes before the ceremony Rory kisses Jess (she’s still dating Dean) and Lorelei finds out Christopher’s “ex-girlfriend” is pregnant. Christopher says he’s going to try to make it work with his ex. Rory is confused about her Jess/Dean dilemma and decides to go to Washington D.C. with Paris to postpone actually dealing with problems.
Rory’s senior year of high school! Time to really buckle down and get them grades for HARVARD! Also begins “The Jess Years.” (I should mention that Rory has a best friend named Lane. She loves rock-n-roll but her mom is hardcore Christian and traditional Korean, so Lane has to hide all this shit from her mom. This is the season where Lane starts to rebel.)
- Rory still likes Jess, and comes back from Washington to see that he has a girlfriend. She is pissed but decides to use this as an opportunity to better commit to Dean.
- This doesn’t last long…Rory and Jess are constantly little flirty birdies and trying to make one another jealous. In one episode, Dean catches on and dumps Rory at the town dance. Rory cries, but this paves the way for Jess and Rory to be boyfriend/girlfriend.
- Everything is going well until Jess finds out he won’t graduate, and can’t take Rory to the prom. This hurts his fragile badboy ego and so he hops on a bus to Venice Beach to find his real dad.
- Lorelai and Sookie buy their inn!!!
- Lane starts playing the drums and is rull good.
- Rory gets into Harvard AND Yale AND Princeton. It’s also Paris’s dream to go to Yale, but she doesn’t get in, and has a breakdown on CNN, telling everyone that she had sex and because she had sex she didn’t get into Harvard. (Lots of slut-shaming in these early seasons.) Rory and Paris both decide to go to Yale, Rory graduates, and makes a really sad and sweet speech about her mom. Jess tries to get back with Rory and she’s like NAH BOY!
This is a turning point in the series because Rory and Lorelai are now living in separate zip codes, which sort of changes the energy of the show. (Not bad or good, they just have to try harder to see one another, which the show ultimately addresses.) We also see lots of development in the Luke/Lorelai partnership.
- Rory and Paris are roommates at Yale. Lorelai and Sookie are working on opening their inn.
- Luke listens to some self help tapes and realizes he’s in love with Lorelai. He starts taking her on dates.
- Lane’s mom finds all her rock-n-roll stuff and Lane gets kicked out. :(
- Rory comes back to Stars Hollow and sees ex-boyfriend, Dean, who is now married. The marriage isn’t going well, and unresolved sexual chemistry between Dean and Rory starts to surface.
- Lorelai and Sookie open the Inn! The night of the test-run, Luke and Lorelei kiss for the first time. BUT ANOTHER FIRST…Rory has sex with married Dean!! Lorelai finds out and is like, “WTF, kid??” and Rory is very sad because she loves Dean and wants to savor the loss of her virginity, but can’t because Dean has a wife.
Welcome to the Logan years! Rory and Dean start dating, Luke and Lorelai start dating. It’s pretty swell, until it’s not.
- Dean’s wife, Lindsay, finds out about how Rory and her hubbub put the ol’ banana in the fruit salad. They get divorced and Rory and Dean are back together.
- The grandparents become separated. :(
- Rory gets more involved with the paper and meets Logan Huntsberger. In the infamous “You Jump, I Jump, Jack” episode, Logan wins Rory over at a secret society party when giving her a huge lecture about how she should take more chances. Logan starts to seem like less of an entitled douchebag and more like a fearless hot dude with inspiring, off-the-cuff speeches.
- Luke and Lorelei are really hitting it off!!!
- That is, until Richard and Emily get back together. At their vow renewal ceremony, Emily tells Chris to come back to Lorelai, and he gets drunk and ruins everything. Luke and Lorelai break up. (OH, and by this point, Rory and Dean have broken up, because they were mostly fueled by lusty, first love possession, and it wouldn’t have worked anyway. Rory and Logan start to make out at the renewal ceremony, and get caught by Christopher. Uh-oh!!!)
- Logan and Rory start dating. Logan’s dad hires Rory for a prestigious journalism internship and then tells her “she doesn’t have it.” Rory is so sad she steals a yacht.
- Lorelai proposes to Luke and he says yes! Too bad her kid is in jail.
For many people, this is when Gilmore Girls took a slight plunge. I have to agree, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth going over.
- Rory drops out of Yale and Lorelei and her get in a big fight. They stop talking.
- Luke and Lorelai are planning their wedding, but Lorelei won’t pick a date until she and ROry are speaking again. (I should also mention that Rory is living with the grandparents, which like, destroys Lorelai, since all she wanted was to raise Rory on her own without their meddling.)
- Jess (remember him?) has gotten his shit together. He lives in Philly, works at a publishing house, and wrote a book. Jess meets Logan, and Logan is a huge dick to him. Then Jess is all, “Rory?! Why are you dating this asshole?? WHY did you drop out of Yale?? WHAT ARE YOU DOING??” And she’s like, “…I dunno.”
- Rory decides to go back to Yale! She tells Lorelei and they are best friends again! Lorelai can pick a date for the wedding!!!
- UHHH, jokes on you, Lor, we just found out that Luke has a secret 12-year-old daughter no one knew about.
- Rory’s best friend Lane marries their band’s drummer, Zach, and we’re all like….rock and roll???
- Lorelai finds out about April (Luke’s daughter) and he demands he marry her ASAP. Luke says no and it is unclear as to whether or not they break up.
- Lorelai has sex with Christopher. :(
- NOW THEY ARE DEFINITELY BROKEN UP AND EVERYONE IS SAD.
Amy Sherman-Palladino has left the series! This season of Gilmore Girls sort of reads like sad fan fiction, but it’s aight. We’ll just cover the basics.
- Chris and Lorelai go to Paris and get married.
- Luke is LOVING being a dad, but all goes south when April’s mom decides they are moving to New Mexico and Luke won’t be able to see her. They get into a custody battle.
- As part of the battle, needs a character witness, and he asks Lorelai. Lorelai writes a really, really, really nice letter about how awesome Luke is and how he helped raise Rory.
- Christopher finds the letter and is like, “WTF? You love him?” And Lorelai is like, “No, I love you!” But it doesn’t work. Christopher runs away.
- Lorelai’s dad has a heart attack and Chris doesn’t show up, but Luke does They break up. (Grandpa lives, btw.)
- Rory is super nervous about her future. She applies for a fellowship at the New York Times and doesn’t get it, and she has no idea what to do next.
- Zach and Lane have TWIN BOYS! Steve and Kwan.
- Logan is working for his dad’s company and loses millions of dollars. He quits and gets a job in San Francisco. He asks Rory to marry him. Rory says no and they break up.
- Rory gets a job on the Obama campaign! She has three days before she needs to leave Stars Hollow!
- It’s predicted to rain the night before Rory’s going away party, and Luke spends the whole night building a giant tent out of raincoats and table cloths that they can still have the party. (I don’t know why they couldn’t move it indoors, but whatever.) When Lorelai sees this, she melts. Luke is like, “I just like to see you happy.” They kiss. End of series.
- Coffee with pop-tarts. Pop-tarts and coffee are the fuel of the Gilmore Girls. These sugary stacks, while void of nutrition, are essentially the mascot of the girls’ diet, and should be represented at some point during your viewing party.
- Mallomars, which Rory once filled the kitchen table with for Lorelei’s birthday.)
- Spike whatever with some whiskey from a “fun flask!" (In the Harvard v. Yale football game episode, Emily and Richard drank from a “fun flask” and surprised everyone with their tailgating capabilities.)
- Santa-shaped pancakes, which Luke once made for Lorelei even though he kind of hates Christmas, but he still wanted to make her happy.
- “Try a plum, they’re better than sex,” was an infamous line from Ms. Patty. You can eat a plum, and that will probably be the only thing from nature on this menu.
- A frozen pizza topped with frozen tater tots. Because Lorelei once did this and it was horrifying.
- “Founder’s Day Punch,” Ms. Patty’s homemade tropical rum-based beverage so alcoholic that you cannot light a match while in it’s presence. Rory got super drunk off this and cried on the floor of a bathroom because a boy wasn’t texting her back. (Been there, babe.)
- Ritzy gin and soda or vodka martinis, just like they do a the Grandparent’s. Preferably from a bar cart.
- Chinese food from a place that should not sell Chinese food. (Rory and Lorelei ate General Tso’s from “Al’s Pancake World. :/)
- Dessert sushi. Lorelei made this for Rory when she had to cancel her trip to Asia with Logan. Wrap a Swedish fish in a rice krispie treat and then wrap that in a dark green fruit-by-the-foot, and voila!!!
- Pie. Specifically because Lorelei “I’m attracted to pie, but it doesn’t mean I need to date the pie.”
Alright, silly gillies, happy viewing party! Remember your poptarts, jammies, and tissues.