the nature of friendship

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

I’ve been thinking about friendship lately. And about the relationships in my life. The big ones and the small ones. Sometimes they all come together, twining around each other and holding strong. And other times we spiral out from each other, single strands.

I’m one of those people who likes to that I don’t have a lot of friends. Even though, when I start thinking about it, and counting all of the people I care about, I guess I do. It’s just that I have more specific ideas about friendship. And there are really only a few people I let fully into my heart. And a few people that I want to give myself to, even a little bit. I mean the daily grind is easy. It’s easy to give those parts of yourself away. They just grow back and multiply. You guys know those parts. They’re the parts that joke about TV shows, and coffee, and what you did that weekend.

Those things can be the basis for strong & true relationships. And sometimes you just meet someone, and you know, your relationship with them is going to grow into something that belongs in your heart. And sometimes they sneak up on you. But it’s those deep relationships that I care about. It’s those relationships that I value. They’re not made up always of lengthy discussions about the heaviest of subjects. They’re made up of something quieter. The feeling you get when you’re with someone who just knows you. They’re made up of those moments when you don’t have to say anything. The moments when you can look over at that person and even if you’re not talking, or even if you’re talking about trivial things, you know: it runs deeper than that. Like blood. Like a web that’s twined together.

Right now, I’m feeling like adulthood contains less of those concentrated parts of the web. And more of those parts made up of endless single strands. All of that metaphor to say, I’ve felt lonely. Growing up is hard. When you’re in school, every day is full to the brim with relationships. A lot of them are transitory, but there are the few gems, and they’re always present.

When I was in school, I felt built up by a pillar of these gems. Rocks. Bricks, I should say, for how steady they were. They made up my foundation. And now, my pillar has crumbled. I’ve talked about this before. So I’m left in the rubble to pick up the pieces. Not to say that I’m alone. There are still those moments of meaning. I still know that I am cared for and loved. But those moments I was talking about, those moments where you just feel so known, those come slower and further apart. Sometimes the spaces between can feel lonely.

The nature of friendship isn’t always steady. It moves, changes, breaks, morphs. You have to be enough on your own. You have to know, truly know, that those relationships still run deep. And so it’s always a growing process. The single strands of my web keep reaching out, and the lonely spaces will learn to be less lonely, and then they’ll close up and there will be that concentrated overlapping of people, and after a while we’ll spiral out again on our own, and I’ll still be known, somewhere. I’ll always have people who know me.

Things about this photograph

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Things about this photograph:

An ancient vase, that I don't remember acquiring, and a tiny ketchup bottle
Wood windowsill, wood window trim
The view overlooking that cobblestone path
(I used to cross it everyday)
The warm summer air
The hint of outlet
And something in the corner I can't quite make out
Sometime in the corner I can't quite remember
It's lost to me, sometime which used to be a daily fact

throwback thursday

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Circa the early 90's. No idea where this was taken. No memory of it at all. But it must have happened because here we are, as four. My dad wearing a (now) vintage Denver Broncos hat. My mom with perfectly smooth skin.

As nostalgic as I am, my memory steals things from me and puts them in locked dark places, and it's easy to forget where I was. Or, maybe more accurately, it's easy to forget that those places were real. A real world with real air and real grass and real happiness and sadness.

How can photography be such a fantasy and also a proof?

my jumbled mind, and evening walks

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Now that it's summer, when Steele gets home from work before me (which almost never happens) the back door is open when I pull into the parking lot. My first thought is always that our house has been broken into.

I'm not quite sure what I feel like in moments like that. I'm always sort of hoping all my stuff will mysteriously disappear, because then it would be gone without me having to make the conscious decision to get rid of it.

Anyways. Today I got home after Steele because I had to go to The Target. I had to get some heel pads for a new pair of shoes (that are just the slightest bit too big.) The Target is like a vortex. I go in an wander around for a million years, and then I come out and it's only been 20 minutes. Today I looked at all of the clothes, then the office goods, then the makeup. (The makeup aisles are the worst.) I tried a new nail polish and contemplated some cheap concealer. 

And then didn't buy anything besides those heel pads. Whew. Okay, enough about Target. 

Sometimes I think about what to write on this here blog, but most of the things have been written about a zillion times over, so I always end up with my ordinary life. (That sounds like the sequel to My So Called Life) 

Here are some photos from tonights evening walk. Maybe they can distract you from the train wreck above. This walk sure did distract me. Nothing like the liquid summer air to calm a mind. 

a kitchen full of cups

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Yesterday was graduation for the class of 2014. I kept feeling like I should probably write a post about it being a year since my own graduation. It would be about how time moves so slow and so fast all at the same time. It would be about how I’m living in the unimaginable debris of those four years at school. It would be about how I can’t imagine anything else. How I don’t want to imagine anything else.

I suppose there will come a time when I write that post. But it’s not today. Today I want to write the cups that Steele and I have collected. If you’ve been reading this blog for four years, you might remember this post, about the first cup we bought together, and how it was the start to a kitchen full of cups. Well, we still have it. And you know what, we also have a kitchen full of cups.

Cups have a strange way of being unsentimental objects that still hold so many memories. So that they start out as just a thing in the kitchen, and slowly, over so much time, layers of memory and sentiment build up, and they absorb all of it and become an object heavy with meaning. But the beautiful thing is that in the next moment you can rinse them out, put them on the dish rack, and they’re once again a useful object.

These are cups that have been collected together, bought from ceramic sales, rescued from empty studios, purchased at Goodwill and OCAC’s gift shop. They’ve traveled from house to house; been wrapped in newspaper, held flowers, water, tea, wine, coffee. They are a proof of this life we’re building and living. Tangible things that stay the same no matter how much time passes. No matter how many things we leave behind. No matter how much we outgrow, how much crumbles beneath us and falls away. No matter what people we become. No matter what new lives we build. They bridge the gap between who we were and who we are and who we will be.

evening flowers

Friday, May 16, 2014

Tuesday, when the sun was going down, I stepped outside for an evening walk. I'm trying to make these walks a little tradition (You can follow along on instagram with the hashtag #bvceveningwalk) because they make me feel more grounded, and happier, and documenting things for me is a motivation to do them. Sort of ironic. But there you have it. 

So. I stepped outside and wandered around the neighborhood. It was a hot day, so the evening air was warm and languid, the exact same temperature as my skin. I grabbed some flowers along the way, rose and dying lilacs. When I got home I sat on our tiny porch and cut them, trimmed the leaves off and arranged them quickly in a jar. 

I put them in the bedroom. Don't they just seem like bedtime flowers? Steele put the fan in our window and it blew that fragrance–even richer as the flowers die–right into the room. 

the book heart: no. 7 (white oleander)

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Niki and Yvonne had pierced my ears one day when they were bored. I let them do it It pleased them to shape me. I’d learned, whatever you hung from my earlobes or put on my back, I was insoluble, like sand in water. Stir me up, I always came to rest on the bottom.

I think White Oleander, by Janet Fitch, was the first book I ever read that grabbed me with the beauty of it’s writing. My sophomore year of high school I re-read it, putting a hot pink sticky note on every page that had some sentence, fragment, description I wanted to remember. By the end the whole book was covered and every re-reading since has been spent unsticking sticky notes and trying to remember why I put them there. What I wanted to remember.

It’s about a mother and a daughter, two women wrapped around each other, always. It’s a coming of age story—discovering yourself in the harshest way possible. It’s dark and gritty and at times, depressing. It’s about all the different ways to see the world, to see beauty. All the ways to ignore beauty. All the ways to be a human, to survive.

My copy is wrinkled and aged. A smoothie was spilled on it, once, and it has been used over and over as a surface to paint my nails on. Half the cover is ripped off. Re-reading it this week, I felt like I was opening up a time capsule. It’s funny how books define certain periods of our lives. I must have only been 14 when I read this book for the first time. It strikes a different cord now.

I also have to say that it has one of the best endings. Not in the plot sense. Not in the way things in the book ended. But in the way that it sat with me. In the way it was written. It’s like somehow I get to the last page, and instead of holding it in my hands, the book sits on my stomach.

(The book heart is a place books go when they move you. It’s a place for you to keep all of those books, all of those plots and stories and all of those little moments. This is a series chronicling the books that have become a part of me. I hope you'll enjoy, and that maybe these books can become a part of you as well.) 

Things about this photograph

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Things about this photograph:

Half-afternoon light
The familiar window in Julia's living room, that linen curtain.
Parking lot lines outside
And Ali's face, which has learned over time to confront the camera in the quietest way.
Her body follows suit, and relaxes completely.
Until her head has sunk into the couch cushion.
And her cheekbone catches the light just barely.
After the shutter clicks, she doesn't move. This is how she is.

the empty ruin

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

This past weekend I went back to Colorado. I had a quiet hour to myself and took a walk to photograph the place I used to live. So here are some pieces of it covered in a Maytime snow. Here is a tiny sliver of it. There are things I can't commit to a photograph. The delicate crunching of ice atop a snowbank. The crisp air with it's shifting patterns and thick snowflakes. The way I chomp through the grass and the red gravel roads, past the no trespassing sign, down the makeshift steps to the river. The way I come upon my old hiding place to find it changed. It feels both smaller and bigger–a place I can't inhabit. 

When this was my home, I was growing and filled with desire, worry, sadness, and hate. So much hate. I feel small coming back to this shell of my former self--who was so flawed, but ultimately felt things much bigger, sometimes. I can't imagine such a flurry of emotions every fitting inside me now. (But I guess that's puberty for you.) Now I am much quieter in my ways. I am content and though my emotions take up less space, they run deeper. 

It's going home that throws me. Trying to fit back into that shell. Feeling small inside of it. My past is a huge empty cavern that used to be filled, and now I am a tiny frail wisp of a girl inside it. There are sweet things there–happy memories and places that I want to visit. Small things, like the familiar turn of the road, the sound of my darkened house, the view from the living room window. There are people too, the only points of gravity holding me there, my brother and my parents. But still every visit I'm just wandering this empty cavern, trying to fit inside it. Trying to take up the space, and failing. So what do you do? 

Overlay these empty spaces with the full ones. Try and try and try and try to remember. What it was like to be here, to be twelve, thirteen, fifteen, eighteen. Try to learn something from your boxes of old journals. To accept growth. To string lines from this life to the next. And as always, photograph the empty ruin. 

more on going home here and here

spring adventure no. 2

Friday, May 9, 2014

This is the story of a short little weekend trip up to Guemes Island, in northern Washington. Steele and I went to visit our two dear friends, AJ and Jon. (And their new puppy!)



See all the adventure films:

summer adventure no. 1
summer adventure no. 2
summer adventure no. 3
fall adventure no. 1
fall adventures no. 2 & no. 3
winter adventure no. 1
winter adventure no. 2
winter adventure no. 3
spring adventure no. 1


Thursday, May 8, 2014

This was taken on April 30th, at 10:38 pm. I sleepily realized we had never taken an April Portrait (Plans fell through, etc, etc.) I know this photo is kind of funny. It sort of looks like I'm about to jump Steele. I promise nothing of the sort. He was just exhausted, and wouldn't move no matter how many times I told him that he looked funny. 

I actually kind of love it though. This is us now. 

the book heart: no. 6 (the time traveler's wife)

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

There’s a playground at the end of the block and I run to the swings and climb on, and Henry takes the one next to me, facing the opposite direction, and we swing higher and higher, passing each other, sometimes in synch and sometimes streaming past each other so fast it seems like we’re going to collide, and we laugh and laugh, and nothing can ever be sad, no one can be lost or dead, or far away: right now we are here, and nothing can mar our perfection, or steal the joy of this perfect moment.

I remember picking up The Time Travelers Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger, at Powell’s, in a stack of books that I was planning on reading on the drive home to Colorado after our first year at college, nearly 5 years ago. (!!!) What I can’t remember is if we had watched the movie before I read the book. I think we had. (Because now that I'm thinking about it, I ashamedly have to admit that was the only reason I picked it up. That cover just does not catch my eye, and Audrey Niffenegger wasn't on my radar.) But it really didn’t matter, because the written story is so much more enthralling, so much deeper and darker and more raw, that by the end of reading the book the movie had been entirely erased from my mind.

I remember driving down the coast, my whole body slouched over this book, not able to look up at the passing scenery because what I was holding in my hands was becoming more and more real to me. I’ve read it several times since then, and it never fails to sneak it’s way into my heart. As always, the shining stars of the books are the characters—real, deep, fucked up, honest, redeemable. The characters are the bright points of light and all of the moments, and the plot, and the wonderful descriptive passages that books are made of, they stretch out between the points of light and connect them. Until there’s a web that’s been constructed and it’s solid enough that you could lay right on top of it, and be held above the ground.

I'm sure some of you guys have read it too. Was it a favorite?

(The book heart is a place books go when they move you. It’s a place for you to keep all of those books, all of those plots and stories and all of those little moments. This is a series chronicling the books that have become a part of me. I hope you'll enjoy, and that maybe these books can become a part of you as well.)