Friday, May 29, 2015

Saturday (Friday) Verse: "May 29" - Joanne Kyger

May 29

Something sent me back and forth across the room,
I didn't find what I looked for, I didn't know what it
was, why did I have to move.

The clarity of the image. I can cease talking at the
dinner table. The two things are not related, but I do
not know what to say. In the visual world

I can see them trudging up the hill, I have never been concerned with the pressure of sounds.

There was a long time in silence. For myself, I can tell
you that certain things give me limited pleasure for
short stretches of time.

But I do not know where to put them, they are sure to
die, later than I, being metal or wood, broken hinges
and chipped, the horses step on them, how far can they
be thrown and pounded.

"Beauty is so rare thing." He is weak as I hold his arm
he leans on me as we walk by the ocean. We forgive you
for never giving him the gift he wanted. He died in the
park, out over the ocean he talked of music, it is him
I like the best.

I shall not do that again.

 - Joanne Kyger

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Plight of the Modern Man

We Feel Fine Book
From here

I re-found this article by Jonathan Harris in one of my million tabs of bookmarks. I can't relate to his journey. But it's comforting to know that I'm not the only one who feels clueless sometimes. Below is a quote from the article:

“In life, you will become known for doing what you do. That sounds obvious, but it’s profound. If you want to be known as someone who does a particular thing, then you must start doing that thing immediately. Don’t wait. There is no other way. It probably won’t make you money at first, but do it anyway. Work nights. Work weekends. Sleep less. Whatever you have to do. If you’re lucky enough to know what brings you bliss, then do that thing at once. If you do it well, and for long enough, the world will find ways to repay you.”– Jonathan Harris

And here is this cover for good measure because it always makes me cry. If you don't read the article, at least listen to this because they are essentially saying the same thing:

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Saturday Verse: "I Cannot Count My Life a Loss" - Ina Coolbrith

I cannot count my life a loss,
    With all its length of evil days.
I hold them only as the dross
    About its gold, whose worth outweighs:
    For each and all I give Him praise. 
For, drawing nearer to the brink
    That leadeth down to final rest,
I see with clearer eyes, I think,
    And much that vexed me and oppressed,
    Have learned was right, and just, and best. 
So though I may but dimly guess
    Its far intent, this gift of His
I honor; nor would know the less
    One sorrow, or in pain or bliss
    Have other than it was and is.

- Ina Coolbrith                                                                              

     "Ina Coolbrith was born Josephine Anna Smith in Nauvoo, Illinois, the last of three daughters of Agnes Moulton Coolbrith and Don Carlos Smith, brother to Mormon Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr. Coolbrith's father died of malarial fever four months after her birth... Coolbrith's mother then married Joseph Smith, Jr., in 1842, becoming his sixth or seventh wife... In June 1844, Smith was killed at the hands of and anti-Mormon, anti-polygamist mob. Losing her faith and fearful of her life, Coolbrith's mother left the Latter-day Saint community and moved to Saint Lous, Missouri, where she married a printer and lawyer named William Pickett... In 1851 Pickett traveled overland with his new family to California in a wagon train. On the long trek, Coolbrith read from a book of Shakespeare's works and from a collection of Byron's poems." - Wikipedia

Ina socialized with Alfred Lord Tennyson, John Muir, and Ambrose Bierce to name a few, later becoming "frienamies" to all of them. She mentored a young Jack London while working as a librarian. She led a fascinating life. Read more about her here

Friday, May 22, 2015

Hard to live without

"Into the dark or the blinding light, 
either way you can't see a thing."
- Karen Dalton

This is the first Karen Dalton song I fell in love with. It was written by Tim Hardin and covered a million times, but hers is my favorite version:

Karen Dalton released only two albums: It's So Hard to Tell Who's Going to Love You the Best and In My Own Time. Neither of which contained any original songs. She's been compared to a folk Billie Holiday or Bessie Smith. She's the best singer you never heard of. A sad soul. And truly something else.

A new alum, Remembering Mountains, is being released next week o of Karen Dalton songs, and these are her own. Her lyrics were left behind, and several artists have created them into full-fledged songs. It's beautiful. Listen to Patty Griffin's contribution here, and Sharon Van Etten's contribution here.

When my dad passed away, we had mountains of papers, books, clothes. A huge physical shadow that had to be sorted through. That's all there will be for future friends and family to know him by. There were lovely things that have become treasures, but also handfuls of caffeine pills and bottles of nasal spray. Very human. Still tender.

Everyone leaves things behind, and future generations create their own narratives of who the deceased are to fill in the gaps. Even if it's not lyrics, it could be your journal, your mementos, your messy sheets.

What will be created out of what you leave behind?

Thursday, May 21, 2015


I watched "Dior and I" last night with my mom and Christian, and loved it.This documentary follows Raf Simons as he takes the reigns of fashion house Christian Dior, 8 weeks before their Fall 2012 fashion show. Even thought the actual show took place almost 3 years ago, I was at the edge of my seat, anxious to see how everything would come together.

I recommend you watch it if you get the chance. I especially love how it brought a new sense of humanity to this side of fashion. Dior is HUGE. From ready-to-wear, to their makeup line to hand bags and shoes. All based on what their exclusive clientele want. The film touches on that when an unnamed client demands that one of the key seamstresses fly to New York for a fitting. You can't deny a customer who spends $350,000 a year on your brand...

But haute coututre, just feels different. Separate from money. It is true art. And look at the result! This is the man that made Jennifer Lawrence look more beautiful falling on the stairs then she did standing up. "Sublime,"as they say in the film.

Kanye knew what he was talking about, "...they don't make 'em like this anymore". He loves Dior. Or at least, the Dior girl.

And maybe I'm wrong and stupidly buying into the vision that the film sells. But I love it anyway. Nothing inspires me more than seeing people do what they love, and doing it well.

When I cam home, felt so inspired. I had a stack of books that I needed to tackle, and I knew right away which one I would start with Eccentric Glamour.

I love Simon Doonan. He is a hoot. He writes regularly for Slate where he is hilarious, offensive, and charming. So fun to read. I've only read the introduction to this booked, and I'm already converted. And I know he has some wisdom that I need to incorporate into my life. This girl thinks so too! Can't wait to start/finish this book. Review to come soon!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Music for your Midweek: Flume - "Get Free", "Gravel Pit", "Insane"

Guess I got the heart of a frat boy. It's fine. And it's practically summer anyway, so you can almost get away with listening to this ridiculous music. Ever since I've moved back to Salt Lake, I haven't gone to any dance parties. That's the most annoying part of growing up, I guess. You're not supposed to like that stuff.

Anyway. Here is Flume spinning some tracks, for nostalgia's sake.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

"...I've a Mother there"

The day before Mother's Day, I was privileged to visit the Sacred Silence exhibit at the BYU HFAC Gallery. I would encourage you to take the time to visit, but I just received word that the show has ended and the exhibit was taken down last week.

Needless to say, I can't really give a sufficient summary or review. Just know that it was beautiful. And it made me a little sad. But also hopeful? Hopeful that there can be more dialogues like this in the church. I wish you all could have seen it.

You can read a review and description of the exhibit in the Salt Lake Tribune here. See a few photos from the exhibit here.

Katie West Payne's work helped me to re-examine what it is to be a woman, She created a safe space that encouraged peaceful contemplation. I hope that more of us as members of the church will take the time to delve into our questions, and not be afraid of our natural curiosity.

Visit Katie's blog if you would like to learn more about her work, and read through some of the quotes, scriptures, and images she used in her pieces. A favorite below:

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Saturday Verse: "The Deep-Sea Pearl" - Edith M. Thomas

The love of my life came not
    As love unto others is cast;
For mine was a secret wound—
    But the wound grew a pearl, at last. 
The divers may come and go,
    The tides, they arise and fall;
The pearl in its shell lies sealed,
    And the Deep Sea covers all. 

- Edith M. Thomas                                                                                           

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Music for your Midweek: Alt-J - "Pusher"

I was feeling very contrary when Alt-J's sophomore album was released last year. Didn't give it a proper listen. Wasn't even interested in going to their show. This Is All Yours has since grown on me a bit more. Here's a nice live version of my fave track from the album:

If you're in the mood for being slightly disoriented and terrified, watch their official music video. Yikes.

And another Alt-J song, just for kicks. The far-to-sexy "Taro":

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

In love with love

According to my horoscope (I'm Aquarius, if you want to know), my love life is going to go crrrrazy in May and June. Supposedly, Mars entered Gemini and the 5th house yesterday, which means WATCH OUT. But I already knew that because I'm going to Disneyland today where Tarzan, Han Solo, and *Robin Hood will all be hanging out in one place, so it will be no surprise if I fall in love.

from here

In that vein, here are a few articles about love that I can recommend for a Tuesday review. I recently rediscovered my articles-to-read folder of bookmarks, and I have over 200 to go through. Hopefully you benefit too:
"I’m constantly aware of lost opportunities. I used to think such lost opportunities were beautiful towns flashing by my train windows, but now I imagine they are lanterns from the past, casting light on what’s ahead."
The above is from a Modern Love article, several years ago, but I felt it needed revisiting.

We have to quit defining ourselves solely in relation to dudes. Like, 'I am not me—I am some imaginary man's imaginary perfect 10, plus 50 extra pounds, minus a 20-inch waist, plus a threatening commitment to feminism, minus any desire to pretend to care about bike polo! That's me!' No, that's not you. That is a weird monster you made up to torture yourself. 

From a super empowering dating manifesto from Jezebel. Warning: Language and... irreverence? Inappropriateness? Whatever. I like it.

"Most thoughts just fill up your head and distance you from the life that’s still unfolding in front of you. They’re not leading to any important decisions or insights, they’re just taking over your present moment, and possibly shortening your life on the other end too. 
We often believe that our thoughts are accomplishing something just because they’re emotionally charged, or because they’re “about” something we consider important, like fairness, respect, or the state of society. 
No. They are useful only insofar as they get you to move your body and do something useful." 

The last quote comes from this post from Raditude. So much of what keeps us back from love and relationships is our own internal narratives and concerns. And so much if that is just made up, or inconsequential. Language warning, but you can handle it.

*Come on. I know I'm not the only girl who had a crush on Robin Hood...

Monday, May 11, 2015

One for the money, two for the show

As a long overdue exercise in bravery, Julia and I recorded a thing! Over a year ago I tricked her into coming to my house and recording a Molly Drake cover. Since then, we stumbled into being room mates, and now look how far we've come. Woohoo!

Hope you like it.
Or don't.
It's just for fun:

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Hey Mama

The sweetest thing from Kanye and his mom

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Saturday Verse: "In Time of Famine" - Helen Hunt Jackson

"She has no heart," They said, and turned away,
     Then, stung so that I wished my words might be
Two-edged swards, I answered low:—
                                                               "Have ye
Not read how once when famine held fierce sway
In Lydia, and men died day by day
Of hunger, there were found brave souls whose glee
Scarce his their pangs, who said, 'Now we
Can eat but once in two days; we will play
Such games on those days when we eat no food
That we forget our pain,'
                                           "Thus they withstood
Long years of famine; and to them we owe
The trumpets, pipes, and balls which mirth finds good
They first were born.
                                     "That woman's life I know
Has been all famine. Mock now if ye dare,
To hear her brave sad laughter in the air."

- Helen Hunt Jackson                                                               

Friday, May 8, 2015

May Mix: Running and Staying

I'm back to working in an office
which means...
more listening to music
which means...
Better mixes for all y'all!

Not even going to be modest. This is one of the best I've made.

1. A Change Is Gonna Come - Sam Cooke

2. Que Sera - Wax Tailor

3. Multi-Love - Unknown Mortal Orchestra

4. Sea Creatures - SOAK

5. Should Have Known Better - Sufjan Stevens

6. Prélude (Scriabin) - Punch Brothers

7. Brother - Mac DeMarco

8. Before The World Was Big - Girlpool

9. Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)  - Kate Bush

10. Before the Words - My Brightest Diamond

11. In The Aeroplane Over The Sea - Neutral Milk Hotel

12. Play It Right - Sylvan Esso

13. Water Slides (Acoustic Version) - Mew

14. Billions of Eyes  - Lady Lamb

15. After Me - Misun

16. Unravel - Björk

17. Forget About - Sibylle Baier

1. This song came out over 50 years ago, and where are we? The work started during the civil rights era is far from over.
2. Have you see The Man who Knew Too Much? A favorite.
3. Coming to Salt Lake July 29th 
4. Practically a baby. You go girl.
5. This album has grown on me to the point that it is almost too much.
6. um. I didn't really like Punch Brothers new album. Almost practically not at all. But if you want to listen to them auditioning to be in a Guster cover band, then listen to this. And if you want to listen to a song that could literally be telling my future, then listen to this. Otherwise, just listen to the above track where they play Scriabin.
7. Because summer is coming and everyone should quit their jobs.
8. These girls got Willow Smith's stamp of approval, so I guess they're good enough for me. Also, the lyrics are literally my life. Leaving for work at 7:45. Living on the same street I grew up on. Eerie.
9. I took Hounds of Love out for a walk on Wednesday and had a minor freak out. All the top albums from the past few years are essentially just imitations of it, and Kate Bush's work. Really. It's incredible. I feel foolish as I should have given it a listen a long time ago. Thanks to little brother Jeremy for pointing me in the right direction.
10. Have you seen this? Fun.
11. Everyones favorite hipster love anthem.
12. Watch this fun thing!
13. Listen to (and download for free! ) the real acoustic version here! Found Mew through Birdy's cover, and been in love with them ever since.
14. Thanks to Julia for introducing me to this!
15. Fun and good. Good and fun.
16. Bjork breaks my heart all the time.
17. But this song is the most heartbreaking! Check out Sibylle's story. It's sweet. Recorded an album, mostly on her own for family and friends. Was undiscovered for 30 years till her son made copies and sent it out. Became a big thing. Imagine that.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Each step more certain

Not ready for this...

Julia sent me this article from the Atlantic about the confidence gap between men and women ages ago, and I finally got around to reading it. Much of what it said rang true, and lined up with my personal experiences. Though I admittedly don't have much ambition when it comes to climbing the ranks in the workforce, I've seen how lack of confidence and perfectionism can be debilitating:

"Perfectionism is [a] confidence killer... We don’t answer questions until we are totally sure of the answer, we don’t submit a report until we’ve edited it ad nauseam, and we don’t sign up for that triathlon unless we know we are faster and fitter than is required. We watch our male colleagues take risks, while we hold back until we’re sure we are perfectly ready and perfectly qualified. We fixate on our performance at home, at school, at work, at yoga class, even on vacation... The irony is that striving to be perfect actually keeps us from getting much of anything done."

This same confidence gap issue is plaguing our LDS missions, especially with the growing ranks of young women entering the field. Many sisters are particularly overcome by stress and sadness, sometimes even leading to clinical depression. Mission cultures that focus on personal obedience with exactness and perfection can add to the pressures placed on these young women. In the Atlantic article, the authors examined grade school classrooms to see how socialization affects confidence. They cited a study that found that "boys mistakes are attributed to lack of effort [while] girls come to see mistakes as a reflection of their deeper qualities". Is it any wonder then, that sisters sometimes struggle to thrive in a mission setting? Of course, many go through missions without feeling the sting of self-doubt, but we still need to reach out to those who may be struggling.

As for myself, I have a ways to go in building my own confidence. But I have great allies and limitless opportunities to practice, that, so I'm not too nervous. NPR is hosting a new podcast called Invisibilia that I'm starting to listen to. It's hit-and-miss. But I listened to a pretty great one all about fear. It examined what fear is, why people are afraid, etc. The last section on conquering fear was especially helpful. Listen to it here.

Invisibilia Episode #2 "Fearless"

Church activities? Pass-along cards? I can confirm Jason Comely is a Latter-day Saint. You can find his Rejection Therapy card game here.

As someone who has let fear of rejection keep me from many good things, I recognize that it's necessary to start incorporating these principles into my daily life.
I'm terrified.
But I'll just keep singing myself this song, and it will all turn out just fine.

JK I am so ready!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Music for your Midweek: Alabama Shakes - "Sound and Color"

A music video featuring my favorite worst thing. SPACE!

Also, Alabama Shakes are coming to Salt Lake this summer as part of the Red Butte Concert series. The show's already sold out so if you got tickets, how about you invite me as your date? Please?

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Walking with Ravel

I did my work slowly, drop by drop.I tore it out of me by pieces.                                               -Ravel

I need to walk. It's the only time my mind and my body can relax at the same time.
Last Sunday, I grabbed a compilation by Faure which I mistakenly thought was Ravel (I don't know much about classical music, obvy). It was NOT what I wanted at all. The completely wrong medication leaving me agitated and unsettled. So much so, I had to cut my walk short and it set a dark tone on the rest of the day. All I wanted to do was listen to Pavanne pour une enfente defunte out in the fresh air. Sometimes I can be very pretentious and fancy. I was so disappointed that my plans were foiled.

This week I was better prepared. I found the right compilation at the library, and was able to have one of my best Sunday walks yet. When you are walking and listening to this, it makes you feel like everything you do is intentional, important.
And also like you are going a bit mad.
It's great.

I had completely forgotten about this great Radiolab podcast about the music and the artist Anne Adams. It is one of the best, and I really think you should listen to it. Below is the art piece that Anne created after listening to Bolero by Ravel.

Listen to the podcast here

Warning: So so sad

Read more about aphasia here

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Saturday Verse: "How and Where" - Alice Cary

     How are we living?
Like herbs in a garden that stand in a row,
And have nothing to do but to stand there and grow?
     Our powers of perceiving
     So dull and so dead,
They simply extend to the objects about us,—
The moth, having all his dark pleasure without us,—
     The worm in his bed! 
If thus we are living,
And fading and falling, and rotting, alas!—
Like the grass, or the flowers that grow in the grass,—
     Is life worth our having?
     The insect a-humming—
The wild bird is better, that sings as it flies,—
The ox, that turns up his great face to the skies,
     When the thunder is coming. 
     Where are we living?
In passion, and pain, and remorse do we dwell,—
Creating, yet terribly hating, our hell?
     No triumph achieving?
     No grossness refining?
The wild tree does more; for his coat of rough barks
He trims with green mosses, and checks with the marks
     Of the long summer shining. 
     We're dying, not living:
Our senses shut up, and our hearts faint and cold;
Upholding the old things just because they are old;
     Our good spirits grieving,
     We suffer our springs
Of promise to pass without sowing the land,
And hungry and sad in the harvest-time stand,
     Expecting good things!

- Alice Cary