On how no one can explain America

I know there are far more influential and relevant things to talk about, but if America is going to spend all this time on Miley Cyrus and the VMA’s, we might as well open up our eyes to something else no one seems to have mentioned. Here it goes.

Everyone is saying that this girl’s performance was downright nasty. And yes, I agree. It was a big gross mess. Everyone is saying how sad/weird/disturbing it is that she went from Good-Girl-Hannah-Montana to this Public-Scene-of-Obscenity. But here’s the thing– no one is shooting any criticism toward Robin Thicke, who stood right up there on stage with her. In fact, the whole nation has been singing his song “Blurred Lines” for months and raving about how they hope it will be the Song of the Summer. People turn up the bass. Have dance parties. Tweet their enthusiastic fandom. But have people really listened to the lyrics they’re raving over? Because hello, it’s about a former good girl “getting nasty” and doing some pretty detailed, graphic things. In other words, it’s the story of Miley Cyrus. So Robin can put this song out there and make millions of dollars. He can be glorified by the music industry. He can even stand up there on stage with Miley Cyrus, complicit with her twerking all over him, as she embodies the very meaning his song we’ve been singing all summer… but now we hate her? Still love him? Weird.



Sing it, yeah.

There are certain lyrics I love lately.
They just fit with me.
I’ll show some of them to you:

I will be rocks. I will be water.
I will leave this to my daughter:
lift your head up in the wind.

Those three lines don’t carry special meaning for me so much as they
SOUND so good to me.
The pace and syllables and short vowel sounds.
Ooooh. It’s a drum for me.

This one I love for different reasons:

Antarctica, my only living relative.
Antarctica, I can’t wait anymore.

Except she sings it like this:
Oh it’s delicious.
Stay with me here.

I kept singing it and singing it one day while Lacey (my sister) was over.
“What does that even mean?” she said.
“It means there is a place somewhere way out there that is isolated and frozen in time and even though it’s an unlikely place for comfort, it is her only chance to be close to someone alive.”


As I explained this, it just felt like an obvious thing– like of course that’s what it means– didn’t you feel that too? And that’s why I love words. Because who knows what Deb Talan really meant by it… but I know, for me, exactly what it means. Because so often I am trying to say something that I just can’t find the words for. I am trying to get out all of this STUFF in me and I need words for it. But I just can’t find them. So when I do find them, or when someone else finds them in an obscure reference to an uninhabited continent, I am in love. And I just keep saying and singing and writing those words. Expressing. To clearly express what once was just a stuttering voice in my heart: It’s an act of healing.

Though sometimes there is that little disappointment– why couldn’t I have written that?
I want so badly to own those words.
But I can. They can be mine too. That’s gotta be part of why people write.
Somewhere in there we are hoping to connect not just to ourselves, but to someone else out there.

These songs brought to us by Deb Talan.
Sometimes in a band called The Weepies,
and sometimes just her. Thanks Deb.


Sing it friends.

I know I’m supposed to be doing homework and that class starts in an hour but can I just tell you the first two songs that came streamin through my headphones in the library? Because as soon as they did I thought “I have to write about this.” And lately I always shaft writing. But I just can’t do it anymore! Quick break to tell you how much I love this music.

1. Free’ Fallin.

Covered by John Mayer.

Now here’s the thing, no one can rock quite the way Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers rocked this song. This must be understood. Their original version has followed me through my childhood, thanks to my Dad.

However, it must also be stated that no one quite souls-it-out like John Mayer. His cover is beautiful, and has trailed around my college years with that long-to-be-fulfilled feeling. Like turn it up on repeat all the way to Salt Lake. Sing through the dark highway. (And I don’t really mind if John Mayer is actually a mean person that broke up with Taylor Swift. This song is dang good.)

2. Landslide

Mmmmm Stevie Nicks.

Thanks again to my Dad for singin this in the car with me until I learned all the words. Don’t forget, when you’re singin along with the live version, to say “This is for you Daddy,” just like she does. It makes you feel like you know her. But what does this song mean? Even Stevie Nicks can’t give you a straight answer. Sometimes it’s about her Dad, sometimes about Lindsey (she loves him) leaving her, sometimes about Lindsey working so hard for her, sometimes it’s just about mountains and avalanches and trudgin’ on alone. For me it’s moving away to college and wanting my Dad to think I’m cool and every time I let go of something that was hurting even though I had no proof that life still be significant once the hurting was gone. I can’t explain to you all the things this song has meant to me, but I bet you’ll feel your own version of it all if you listen, and that’s the best part.

As Stevie tries to explain what she’s been singin about for years, she says this:

“But see, when I’m really thinking about something — I mean when something’s really bothering me — again, the best thing that I can do is go to the music room, or to the office, where I can write. Because once I put it down and I can read it back, and I can think about what I’m saying, then it makes sense to me. When I’m just thinking it in my head, it’s going around and around, and I feel like a little child unable to make a real, substantial decision. And we were talking about our lives… the rest of our lives.”

I agree.

Other versions of Landslide:

The Dixie Chicks I love them. I’m shameless.

The Backbeats Revisiting my obsession with a capella groups.


“Don’t use the phone. People are never ready to answer it. Use poetry.” –Jack Kerouac

A song for you: Ben Howard: With the Wolves.

Let me tell you where I am when I listen to this song.

It is the summer of 2010. I am laying on my single bed next to the window with the blinds wide open. This is the first room I’ve had to myself since 107 Sago Lane–six years ago. I am changing. I am going through every drawer and box I have. Old letters and photos litter the floor– a mass cleansing. I am creating a pile of things to give away. My friends are saying “You’ll be back in 18 months! Don’t donate that! You’ll miss your bathing suits when you come back! You’ll need those shelves!” But I don’t mind. I toss them toward the door. It feels SO good. I am every other minute checking the time to see when Ken will be back from work. His face is still a novelty to me. Freckles and sunburn. I love him. I am leaving. These days I find it is hard to define myself without including him. He is part of me. I am  just barely transitioning into this union. I am learning how to let go of being alone– of being only me. I am learning this amidst a commitment to leave him and be one with someone else. With a Father I have not had the full privilege of knowing yet. I am promising both a big part of my life. I want so badly to be ready for them. I am coming home from work with my lifeguard whistle around my neck. Two whistles means get out of the pool. I jump in car barefoot and drive home. Hand out the window with the sun urging me on. My top drawer is full of symbols. My bed side is full of journals. I read them over and over and try to track where I’ve been. The last 6 months have blendered on by. I have been 15 different women, all rapidly transforming into the next before they can look in the mirror and see the first. It is a rapid, exhilarating feeling to sense that you cannot keep up with yourself.

That agile soul that I was then– I seem to be slower now, a little less directed. I came home, 18 months later,  more one with the Father, who taught me to be one with Ken. Now we all work together.

The ooo ooo’s stream through the laptop speakers. I am re-arranging the post-it’s on the wall. I am surrounded by a gate of photos. I am eighteen I am twenty-two I am twelve years old. Even now I stare into the black of the sleeping computer screen, blonde bangs in my eyes and bun on top of my head and think “I look like me. Like me back then.” I will always be this woman. An identity perpetual.


Morning Word Practice.

Just a note: I married a fantastic cook. Memphis bbq chicken and mashed potatoes and zucchini and squash with bread crumbs. Was that my real dinner yesterday? That was my real dinner yesterday.

Another note: I love The Weepies.

I love the slow soulfulness of women in folk music like this: Big Strong Girl by Deb Talan.
They make me feel old fashioned and alive.

Ken and I have been grocery shopping two official times as an official married couple.

Trip #1: We stare at the huge barrels of on-sale watermelon. We agree. We just cannot conquer that much watermelon alone. But maybe we’ll have some friends over on the fourth of July and buy a big watermelon and share it with them! This was a great experience because we both love fantasizing about the idea of “having people over” i.e. having friends. Even new friends! We love making new friends. And you know, we get kinda lonely over here sometimes…

Trip #2. After we get home from this trip I notice a HUGE watermelon on the counter. Did I put that in the cart? How did I miss Ken putting that in the cart? That Sunday afternoon I am making some salsa dip and he is going to town on the watermelon with a real big knife. We eat that mess with our dinner and seal-up the left overs in a glass bowl in the fridge.

This morning: I sat down with that glass bowl to accompany me as I wrote the feelings of my heart. I wrote on this blog. I wrote in my google doc journ. I wrote to all of my mission companions that are still out there servin the good lord. There is nothing like the texture of a good watermelon as you type type type out your words. How is it so soft and so crunchy at once? I love watermelon. I love the 4th of July. And we’re gonna need another one of these on that great day. Or maybe 3 of them. Because hey, I finished the leftovers. All of them. I conquered the watermelon.
B E A S T .
Can your wife eat this much? Probs not. I bet she saves you lots of money.

Speaking of eating, I miss butter.
I’ve been using healthy-girl alternatives like… olive oil.
Because, well because me and Ken are trying to eat healthier.
WHY do I feel like I’m sinning when I say that?
That statement is nigh unto “Me and Ken are trying to take the fun out of life.”
Sometimes it feels that way. But don’t we want to be healthy? Yes!
But don’t we want to eat butter? MORE Yes!
Maybe I will use A LOT when our hypothetical friends come over on the 4th of July.

Time to brush my teeth and make the bed and organize the bathroom or something. Maybe it will look like I did more than write and eat and listen to folk music all day. Husband home in 2 hours. Work in 3 hours. Goal: Life life life during all of those hours.