“Naked Knees”

Featured

By BEKI DEMI

(Entering sharp)
Chimney smoke
Gets eaten up
All intercepts
Brooklyn bridge
<
Transparent circus tent
Silver waters…
I danced for you today
My public display
Extra quirky
<…
Heart spasm
How did we get this way?
We were directly
Exploited, recoiled
Perfectly placed yingyang with a flame
A watch far gone…
I’m sorry for counting the days
Assimilation
Far along
Kin/lo
Bones below
Silver corpse
<..
On another day
Golden glowing
“You are so warm”
One day
19
19 years, 19 days, 19 prepaid
What’s in a week?
What fucking fun

Such a song
No delays
Keep it simple
Clean
Strings pulled
Snapped
On your knee
Evergreen
Kosher
Rue du cirque
Round and round and round
Sickening to be bald

Call a truce?

Becki Demi is a multimedia artist and trained dancer based in NYC. 

You can find more of Beki here: Instagram|Website

Q and A Series: Darian Symoné Harvin

Featured

NAME: Darian Symoné Harvin
AGE: 25
PLACE: Brooklyn
OCCUPATION: Journalist

“Happiness is a feeling for me. It’s how I want to feel, all of the time.”

Darian is a journalist who is constantly looking for new ways to tell stories. She’s got her own podcast called Am I Allowed To Like Anything, works at Yahoo as a news coordinator, and really wants to be a beauty editor in her next life.

What’s a thing you always forget to do in the morning? 
Where do I begin… to drink more water, to answer backs texts that came late in the night, to pack my gym clothes.

What’s something you think that’s good about you that’s not good about most people?
I am good at ignoring people and shutting out the noise that doesn’t matter. It helps me to remain focused. I know who I trust, my morals, and what I should be focused on. It helps me to forecast where I should place my energy. It really helps me to stay happy and unbothered in this world where so much happens that tends to make me feel sad or like there is no hope.

What makes you feel sad or like there’s no hope?
The subway makes me sad because it spotlights the inequality in our city, and in America. Also, the 2016 presidential election.

What’s a natural talent that you’d like to be gifted with?
This question is a little hard for me. I do believe I can become good at anything I want. However, I would like to become a better dancer. I know how to dance in the club, but choreographed — I want to become good at that.

Is there a specific dance routine you’d like to learn?
I would like to learn 8 counts to Formation. And “Sorry” by Justin Bieber video. I thought those girls were amazing.

Name a desperate moment. 
I feel like all the times I felt desparate were like… when I was broke and living/interning in NYC during the summer.

I felt desperate when I was working at Junior’s as a server. It was a bad environment for me. It wasn’t because of the people I worked with. A lot of them became my good friends during that time in my life. I think just the mentality of trying to “make it” but feeling stuck, and also needing to make money. I made the best of it for sure, but it was the juxtaposition of it in my life at the time.

What’s the most awkward phone call you’ve had to make? 
Salary negotiation. But you gotta push through it. Gotta stay strong

What are three things you love to do alone?
Dance, eat dinner at restaurants. In general, I love being alone. I like to listen to Future alone because I can just spaz out.

What’s your go-to karaoke song? 
I hate karaoke, but I do like the Trap Karaoke movement that is happening right now. So in that context, I would say “Back to Back” by Drake .

Wait, what is Trap Karaoke…?
Basically it started as a small party where it was karaoke but with trap songs- rap, R&B, and only girls could go up and do it. It’s amazing. Now it’s all over the world.

What is your idea of happiness? 
Happiness is a feeling for me. It’s how I want to feel, all of the time. Right now, happiness for me is me feeling in control of my life. Not in a structured way… it’s more mental and being able to convert those into actions that make me happy. Happiness is understanding my goals and intentions and being fortunate enough to act on them. It’s hanging out with my friends, drinking coffee, working out, eating Swedish Fish, walking down the street and not getting harassed- that is happiness. Happiness to me is getting to experience the feeling of being carefree.

What’s the strangest thing you’d never leave the house without?
Sunglasses, which is odd because I always forget to put them on. Also, the mini microphone I use to record my podcast, because you never know.

Could you tell us a little bit about your podcast and what inspired it?
Well, my podcast was inspired by a conversation I was having with a friend. We were basically talking about how we don’t give people room to grow and breathe and create things and see how they play out. We are so much more prone to say that we don’t like things as opposed to being open minded, or offering critiques that push conversations forward. So, I wanted to create a space to do just that. I’ll bring on a guest to talk to them about their work and their lives, and things they like at the moment. I like to interview people, and i want to continue to hone that skill, so this allows me to do it.

Favorite book?
The Giver by Lois Lowry

Longest Netflix binge?
Grey’s Anatomy.

Margarita or martini? 
Margarita with Cuervo.

Place to drink coffee?
Coffee from Bouchon Bakery- go sit in 30 Rockefeller plaza and watch the tourists on a bench.

Favorite body of water? 
Caribbean Sea, off the coast of Grenada’s St. George.

First concert you went to?
B2K.

What’s the one word/phrase you are guilty of using too much?
LITERALLY.

What’s the last Google search on your iPhone?
Minibar delivery.

What does the last text in your phone say?
“Lol ME TOOOOOO”

Favorite insult?
“Go fuck yourself.”

Tell us one thing you think we should be getting into.
Book: Notorious R.B.G.. And I read a lot of magazines. Fast Company and EBONY, I love.

Blog/website/pieces of media: Lenny Letter Newsletter, HuffPo’s Highline, NYT Mag. ButDoesItFloat.com. This.cm‘s newsletter (which you don’t need to be a member of to subscribe to.)

Song: Too many.

Kali Uchis – “Rush
Kanye West
Rihanna – “Famous
Tear For Fears – “Everybody Want To Rule The World”
The Internet – “Just Sayin/I Tried”

You can find more of Darian here: theseam.co | HRDCVR | Twitter | Instagram

“St. Marks”

Featured

-EVE DEL PRADO

we’re sitting by the window, smoking
there’s an ashtray on the coffee table
but you say we need to smoke out the window
the rain outside is breathy, quiet as well
you come back from the bathroom
and i tell you this corner reminds me of europe
i keep all my nervous energy in one hand,
clenched fist; worry held out of sight

you tell me a story
and later, another day, i write it down
i’m smoking all your cigarettes
because it was late, and you didn’t want me to run out
we’re listening to music and laughing
and it probably happened at some point then
that i realized we would never be in love.
“you misread me entirely”
i keep saying, laughing
you ask to kiss me
and i’m wondering when you stopped thinking of me as new

i keep quiet, with the rain
and i let this wash over me too
i’m only disoriented if i thought i belonged here
i close the window, and let you kiss me.

Image Credit//Owen Welch

Q and A Series: Roxi Barron

Featured

NAME: ROXI BARRON
AGE: 24
PLACE: NYC
OCCUPATION: ASSOCIATE COPYWRITER

 
Briefly, Tell us who you are what you do?
I create content for various TV shows at a social media agency in NYC. As someone who watches TV obsessively I think it’s safe to say I love what I do. I live in Brooklyn with my husband, where we spend too much money on brunch and video games. (I never know what to say in these bios, it’s why I don’t really have one on Insta) eek.

What do your mornings look like?
Dark + quiet. My apartment doesn’t get much natural light, which makes me miss living in LA even more. I try to stay quiet so I don’t wake my husband up. Somewhere in between applying makeup + blow drying my hair he starts to make me coffee which brightens my mood. We talk at the table, I check my e-mail, scan through Instagram, get dressed and hop on the train!

How do you calm yourself?
Honestly anything time consuming that doubles as a beauty regimen, like a sugar scrub or face mask. I’ll also talk to my husband. He’s a really great listener.

What’s your favorite medium for writing?
I try to keep a small notebook in my purse. I love writing in it with my favorite black pen. If I get an idea at work I usually just log into my blog and start drafting there.

What are three things you love to do alone?
Shopping. There’s less pressure to stay or leave without a friend with you. I like taking my time, I hate rushing.
Cooking. I don’t do it often but it feels good to eat something you made, or watch someone enjoy something you made.
Cleaning. It’s so therapeutic to me, I just zone out.

Where do you go to look for inspiration?
Instagram, the subway, and my friends.

What is your guilty pleasure?
Keeping Up With The Kardashians. If they weren’t entertaining they wouldn’t be famous.

What do you listen to when you are sad? 
I generally don’t listen to music when I’m sad, but if I do it’s usually Bon Iver or something similar.

What do you listen to when you are happy?
Disclosure. I have so many happy memories associated with almost every song off of every one of their albums.

Can’t leave the house without…
Lip balm + lipstick. One of the worst feelings is having chapped lips + realizing you left your lip balm at home.

Favorite book?
I don’t think I’ll ever be able to give an answer for this, it’s too difficult!

Movie?
Pride and Prejudice (2005)
Obsessed with everything in this movie. The sisterly dynamic, the romance, Elizabeth’s independence, the feminism, the clothes, the cinematography, the score, it’s just perfect.

TV show?
Friday Night Lights. Just thinking about it now makes me want to watch it all over again. #TexasForever

Place to shop?
McNally Jackson Books. If you gave me a $20 bill that’s the first place I’d go. The only problem is choosing between a new book or new paper goods.

Place to drink coffee?
Gasoline Alley. When I don’t make coffee at home, I stop here and get a cup of black coffee to go, usually with a donut. It’s tiny but they make the best coffee and it’s such a good place to people watch.

First concert?
Between The Trees, a local band from my hometown.

Last concert you went too?
I saw Father John Misty at a music festival in Paris on my honeymoon. Pure bliss.

What’s the one word/phrase you are guilty of using too much?
“Yaaassssssss.” I started saying it ironically to be funny but it’s somehow crept into my vocabulary lol.

What’s the last Google search on your iPhone?
How to beat the mummy on Banjo-Kazooie. I know I shouldn’t be cheating but I could not figure it out and it was making me mad haha.

Shower song?
“Rock Your Body” – Justin Timberlake

What does the last text in your phone say?
The emoji with the bead of sweat on it’s forehead.

Favorite quote?
“Every pizza is a personal pizza if you try hard enough and believe in yourself.”

And tell us one thing you think we should be getting into (a book, blog, web series, song, etc.?)
Watch Making A Murderer on Netflix. It’s seriously insane.

“Chocolate Milk”

Featured

-MELISSA COPELTON

 

Sometimes I look in the mirror

for a moment too long—

not out of vanity

or insecurity

but to convince myself.

 

“You’re an adult,” I say—

over and over again

with such certainty

that the phrase nearly breaks through my skull

and dances there for a while—

until it doesn’t

and why would it?

Why would such a thought stay?

 

You can lie to the butcher

to the priest

to the paper boy

but you can’t lie to yourself.

 

You’re not an adult

you’re an oversized child

with a checking account

who drinks red wine like chocolate milk

and still can’t take no for an answer.

 

You can find more of Melissa here: NewsCult | Instagram

Q and A Series: Anna Grey

Featured

NAME: ANNA GREY
AGE: 17
PLACE: LOS ANGELES
OCCUPATION: ACTRESS
 
Briefly, Tell us who you are what you do?
My name is Anna Grey. I am a young, dedicated, and driven actor. I have recently relocated to Los Angeles to better pursue a career in film. I have theatrical representation in the city.

I have had wonderful opportunities to travel for the shooting of three short films, two feature-length films, and the Jury Winner for the Adrenaline Film Project, a section of the Virginia Film Festival. I recently wrote, directed, and starred in my own short film. It details the frequently unobserved symptoms of OCD-Driven-Disorders. It is a story that needs to be told.

I am a fluent German speaker, an alto singer, a trained dancer, a passionate animal advocate, and an environmental preservation enthusiast.

What do your mornings look like?
I wake-up at 7. I eat breakfast, which usually consists of Cinnamon Life or Apples and Cinnamon Oatmeal. (Breakfast is my favorite meal. I can eat breakfast food around the clock.) I give my dogs food, fresh water, and hugs. I practice yoga for 45 minutes to awaken my spirit. I actively seek out new artistic endeavors to fight for.

How do you calm yourself?
I have recently discovered the soothing and awakening powers of yoga. Yoga connects me with the universe reflected in my own being. It allows me to find harmony in and with the natural world. It helps me to recognize that frustrating times and saddening/angering occurrences are not mistakes or punishments, but rather the soul being redirected towards it’s true and authentic path. It reinvigorates my sense of compassion and my strong drive to be an artistic and philanthropic creator and contributor of the world.

What’s your favorite medium for writing?
I write constantly and about everything. Handwriting is my preferred method. I write in a spiral-bound notebook. I feel as if my mind, body, and soul are more in tune with the flow of ideas and language when I handwrite. My mind is awakened to new possibilities and new thoughts.

What are three things you love to do alone?
I am a very independent person, so I enjoy being by myself. During these times of solitude, I love creating and delving into characters. Exploring different perspectives is my great passion. I love to choreograph modern dance pieces that explore the full range of human emotion, connection, and movement. I love to research animal welfare initiatives and keep myself updated on the great injustices plaguing the natural world, so that I can better speak out against them and aid preservation groups in their pursuits.

Where do you go to look for inspiration?
Learning the stories of the great artists to come before me inspires me deeply. Global humanitarian efforts remind me that good people are abundant and are a force to be reckoned with.
I remind myself of this quote on a daily basis:
‘We live on a blue planet that circles a ball of fire next to a moon that controls the movement of the sea. Miracles and magic exist.’

What is your guilty pleasure?
Chicago-style-popcorn and ABBA

What do you listen to when you are sad?
Fire and Rain – James Taylor
The End of the Innocence – Don Henley
Rewind – Paolo Nutini
Samson – Regina Spektor

What do you listen to when you are happy?
I’m Alive/The Sound of the Sunshine – Michael Franti
Everyday – Dave Matthews Band
Hey Ya! – OutKast
Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World – Iz Kamakawiwo’ole

Can’t leave the house without…
A notebook and Sharpie.

Favorite book?
To Kill a Mockingbird/Pride and Prejudice

Movie?
As a dedicated actor, film inspires me, teaches me, and intrigues me. I must list a few pictures in this category: Kill Bill, It’s a Wonderful Life, Stand By Me, Boyhood, On The Waterfront, Philomena, The Railway Man, and oh so many more.

TV show?
Criminal Minds/I Love Lucy

Place to shop?
Brandy Melville

Place to drink coffee?
Bricks and Scones – family-run coffee shop in LA.

First concert?
Jesse McCartney – Beautiful Soul Tour – 6-Years-Old

Last concert you went too?
Michael Franti – grooviest human and musician around.

Whats the one word/phrase you are guilty of using too much?
infinite love.

Whats the last Google search on your iPhone?
‘Canadian seal hunt’ – research on a horrific, inhumane, and unnecessary annual hunt that I am part of the campaign to end.

Shower song?
In Your Eyes – Peter Gabriel

What does the last text in your phone say?
to my younger sister – ‘you’re a bad mamma-jamma.’

Favorite quote?
‘in the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.’ -Albert Camus

And tell us one thing you think we should be getting into (a book, blog, web series, song, etc.?)
Vessels of Four Letter Words – a film detailing the frequently unobserved symptoms of OCD-Driven-Disorders. – https://youtu.be/yB05p31LL4A

My Own Private Idaho – a groundbreaking and poignant film.

Venus and the Moon – the genius music stylings of Rain Joan of Arc Phoenix and Frallya.

stylelikeu on YouTube – innovative and inspiring women seeking to encourage healthy body image and redefine beauty standards.

You can find more of Anna here: Instagram | Twitter | IMDB | Vessels of Four Letter Words | Alaska Young Monologue

 

 

“A Timbergram”

Featured

-TIJANA TAMBURIC

Two improbable possibilities

Two fixed paths

Collide in one rarity

And become uncertain

About everything that came before.

The twilight of a stagnant week

Sparkles

As a new week unfolds before us

hesitant and winding.

A casual approach

A retreat

A searching glance

The impeccable manners

Of a gentleman.

Cranberry red pulse

Beats and breaks

The façade of a rotting relationship

With another.

Bound to another and yet,

Backless, sheer, low cut

Meant for wondering eyes.

Beneath the pristine disguise;

A bare truth

Two consciences converse

An uneasy compromise.

An open hand

Just one palm reading, just one embrace

Yet- a furry warmth

Creeps up unexpected

A remarkable comfort.

Time becomes relevant to moments spent

Demystifying tea-leaf fortunes with you

Liquid touchstone.

An affair of gestures

And subtle gazes

Abruptly ended

With a Timbergram.  

Dyed with gargling emotions

Thick with questions

Heavy, pushed through my letterbox.

Engraved in wood

A flattering three lines

lay flat

 

Tijana is a writer, publisher, and an Associate Editor at I AM MARIE.
You can find more of her here.

Image Credit//Asafe

FRIDAY PLAYLIST II

Featured

It’s Friday, and we’ve got your playlist. Listen here to give your weekend that right kind of edge.

 

This Friday’s playlist is brought to you by Daniella Mason. An extraordinary singer-songwriter that can make all your left-of-center pop dreams come true. You might recognize from the Q and A Series we did a few weeks back with her. Or from her drool worthy #ootd posts here.

 

Q and A Series: Alyssa Coscarelli

Featured

Tags

, , , , ,

NAME: Alyssa Coscarelli
AGE: 22
PLACE: New York City
OCCUPATION: Fashion Writer & Instagrammer

What do your mornings look like?
Rushed and messy.

How do you calm yourself?
Deep breathing, candles, water, yoga, meditation.

What’s your favorite medium for writing?
My laptop, because I’m a millennial and stuff.

What are three things you love to do alone?
Shop, write, nap.

Where do you go to look for inspiration?
My friends, and my girl-crushes on Instagram.

What is your guilty pleasure?
Keeping Up With The Kardashians.

What do you listen to when you are sad?
Bon Iver.

What do you listen to when you are happy?
Regina Spektor.

Can’t leave the house without…
My Mophie (charging phone case).

Favorite book?
Currently reading A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara.

Movie?
500 Days of Summer.

TV show?
Right now, Felicity.

Place to shop?
The Frankie Shop (100 Stanton Street, Lower East Side).

Place to drink coffee?
WhyNot Coffee (around the corner from ^Frankie Shop)

First concert?
N*Sync

Last concert you went too?
Kanye West’s TLOP listening party at Madison Sq. Garden

What’s the one word/phrase you are guilty of using too much?
“Dead.”

What’s the last Google search on your iPhone?
“Dissertation”

Shower song?
Anything by The XX.

What does the last text in your phone say?
“oooh well that’s kinda fun!”

Favorite quote?
“In between goals is a thing called life, that has to be lived and enjoyed.”

And tell us one thing you think we should be getting into (a book, blog, web series, song, etc.?)
Charli XCX’s new EP, Vroom Vroom.

Instagram|Refinery 29

Photo Credit//The Style Line

“Freestone Gin”

Featured

-KELSEY O’BRIEN

Perry called for one long and cold winter.
The cry always came in the dead of night
as I stumbled home from another late bar crawl,
and Tanqueray gave me the bold
confidence to answer his call on first ring.

Our relationship extended no farther
than the alcohol-laced declaration,
“I need you,”
before we twisted
deep into my sheets,
tangled in each other.

The sun only ever opened
one eye to peak over
the neighbors’ freestone homes on Halsey Street,
judging us as I let
him out the front door hours later.

He’d turn at the top of the stoop,
his muddy eyes sweeping
over my placid disposition
like he would never see it again,
or as if, this time, I would part my lips
and invite him back in, ask him to stay—
but instead, we watched our breath
curl out of each other in clouds of unsaid sentiments.
I shivered in the early morning air,
quaking in unexplained emotions.

On those indigo dawns,
I often comfortably regarded
his husky figure
heaving out the gate,
disappearing around the corner
time and time again,
until once he turned onto Weirfield Street
and never called again.

Sometimes a gin and tonic’s bitter
juniper perfume or the unbearable
solitude of 4 A.M.
guides my fingers to pull up his number.
But now I know the need for another’s
body dissipates after the sun rises.

You can find more of Kelsey here: Instagram | Twitter Tumblr

Image Credit//The Neo-Noir

FRIDAY PLAYLIST I

Featured

 

Listen to playlist here. Preferably, with an iced coffee in hand.

 

P.S. You might recognize a few names on the playlist from their Q and A’s with us.

P.S.S. Shout out to Kami Baergen for our iced coffee, lipgloss, and cig doodle.

Q and A Series: Daniella Mason

Featured

NAME: DANIELLA MASON
AGE: 27
PLACE: NASHVILLE/LA
OCCUPATION: MUSICIAN (AND ACTOR)

“Writing, singing and performing live are my bread and butter; I do my own little brand of pop music.”

What do your mornings look like?  
Laying in bed for as long as possible scouring the Internet. My husband is usually up before me and makes me a hand pour which is the sweetest, but then he always ends up mad at me because I usually don’t finish it.  Also, mornings are generally difficult for me as I sleep like the dead.

How do you calm yourself?
I pray a lot. And then I try to distinguish and bring order to what is going on in my head; separating truth from lie. That usually centers me. I’m first an internal processor, then a verbal processor, so if something really big is consuming my thoughts, I do all of the above but then I inevitably have to start talking. Usually my husband gets the brunt of my “processing”.

What’s your favorite medium for writing?
I’d like to say a pen and paper but it’s not fast enough for my brain. Honestly, it’s my iPhone. I have thousands of notes of lyrics saved on there. One time I lost them all in a faulty backup. I cried. I guess I should graduate to a big girl notebook.

What are three things you love to do alone?
Catch up on my shows, write/produce, cook.

Where do you go to look for inspiration? 
I’m inspired by the world around me and I’m obsessed with telling the truth. Pretty much everything I write or create comes from my own experiences or the things I see around me.  Every once in awhile I’ll write about people I know, but usually they don’t know it. Or maybe I’m not as sneaky as I think??

What is your guilty pleasure?
All things Bachelor/Bachelorette/Bachelor in Paradise. (But I feel no guilt, so…)

What do you listen to when you are sad?
Damien Rice if I want to sit in the sadness for a bit and not run away from it. Bethel Music when I’m ready to lift myself up. Also, “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles. Just, tears.

What do you listen to when you are happy?
Justin Bieber, duh.

Can’t leave the house without…
My iPhone! Literally everything is on that thing.

Favorite book?
I DON’T KNOW! I can tell you what’s next on my reading list, though! Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert and Accidental Saints by Nadia Bolz-Weber.

Movie?
Eternal Sunshine

TV show?
Friends

Place to shop?
ASOS

Place to drink coffee?
Crema (Nashville)

First concert?
Switchfoot

Last concert you went too?
Lianne La Havas

What’s the one word/phrase you are guilty of using too much?
“like”

What’s the last Google search on your iPhone?
“Smock pun”

Shower song?
Hotline Bling

What does the last text in your phone say?
“WHY CANT I HAVE HIS CHEEKS ALL THE TIME” (to my friend about her baby)

Favorite quote?
Right now it’s: “Make peace with your body, it’s not manmade, there are no flaws, there are no mistakes.” – Warsan Shire

And tell us one thing you think we should be getting into (a book, blog, web series, song, etc.?)
Mura Masa. He’s this kid that lives on an island off the coast of France and his music is making my life.

You can find more of Daniella here: Website | Instagram| Twitter

Image Credit// Bree

“Styrofoam Cups”

Featured

-BIANCA MONICA

I(a).

We are drinking

out of Styrofoam cups

as big as our faces,

standing beneath

Christmas lights

hanging

above the bar.

“I feel like I’m in college,” he says.

His knees squeeze my leg,

beer spills down my chin,

his thumb on my face

is my napkin.

I secretly wish this beer

would refill

this cup

for 4 more hours.

We are still.

Like boats in a harbor.

Except for my stomach,

mimicking tidal waves

every

second

our eyes flicker like

lightning bugs

in mason jars.

Our mouths and tongues

move together and

everything

feels just as perfect

as our glistening coats

and red noses.

I(b).

We are drinking

out of Styrofoam cups

off Bedford at a bar

called Rosemary’s

and I can’t drink

any of it, but I fake sip and

smile and he cocks his head

and laughs lightly and

thumbs the beer foam off

the top of my lip and cups

the side of my face

and kisses me

again. and again.

II(a).

I am drinking out of

a Styrofoam cup. It is coffee

and it is morning. I stare

ghost faced at my computer screen

watching the cursor

tick in the body

of an e-mail addressed to you.

It feels like a fishing hook

lodged itself in the back of my

cheek and I am tense and hurting

in all of the places that hold

feelings.

II(b).

I am lonely and you,

are not. Her heart is a minefield,

mine is-

You can’t do this, but you are. I’m

not that girl, but I am. You are a

terrible person and so am I.

I could keep going but the page

Is as full as my eyes are

Bianca the creative consultant of her own company, a kick ass singer/songwriter, and the Editor for About Today.

You can find more of B here: Website | Instagram

Image Credit//Owen Wilson

Q and A Series: Liza Anne

Featured

Tags

, , , , ,

NAME: LIZA ANNE
AGE: 22
PLACE: NASHVILLE
OCCUPATION: SINGER-SONGWRITER

Liza Anne is a singer-songwriter that tours full time. One time she accidentally ordered a black coffin instead of a black coffee and she hasn’t figured out if she’s okay since then. Liza has been living in Nashville for almost 4 years now but has been traveling for the past two for music and to come up with stories so when she’s old she has something other than recipes to tell kids who decide to sit on her front porch.

What do your mornings look like?
Groggy voice and sour attitude until about 10, usually. Then I’ll ease into being able to make kind expressions towards people and rational decisions about things. Mornings are hard. Ideally, I’d like to have coffee + yoga + an hour or so of reading and meditating and quiet before I start a writing session, email binge, or any calls.

How do you calm yourself?
Ha. Still figuring this one out. Being alive is a lot. But, really. Acupuncture, essential oils and baths. There isn’t a thing in the world a long bath cannot cure.

What’s your favorite medium for writing?
Chapters of books I’ll probably never publish. And, songs. The fact that my favourite medium of expression has somehow become my job is strange.

What are three things you love to do alone?
Everything. But, specifically traveling, going to movies and eating in nice restaurants.

Where do you go to look for inspiration?
Places. I never want to stop seeing and being open to the world changing and moving around all my thoughts and comforts and ideas of life.

What is your guilty pleasure?
Bad television and those massage chairs in the mall and at airports. Oh, and macaroni and cheese and Sour Patch Watermelons.

What do you listen to when you are sad?
I guess it depends what I’m sad over. If it’s over someone, I’d say Joni Mitchell’s Blue – if it’s over a place I miss, I’d say Laura Marling’s Once I Was An Eagle. And, if I’m just sad over life in general I listen to Keaton Henson’s Romantic Works or old Sylvia Plath interviews.

What do you listen to when you are happy?
Whatever reminds me of the people I love most and then The Cranberries. Always The Cranberries.

Can’t leave the house without…
My phone and my Moleskine and whatever book I’m reading – at the moment it’s A Very Easy Death by Simone Beauvoir.

Favorite book? (right now)
Not That Kind Of Girl by Lena Dunham

Movie?
Runaway Bride

TV show?
Gilmore Girls

Place to shop?
Online

Place to drink coffee?
Crema

First concert?
Hilary Duff

Last concert you went too?
Borns

What’s the one word/phrase you are guilty of using too much?
Literally

What’s the last Google search on your iPhone?
“Is there gluten in whiskey?”

Shower song?
Don’t You Remember – Adele

What does the last text in your phone say?
“Kind of a day drinker so earlier is fine with me.” (I’m fine, I swear)

Favorite quote?
“In all things we are merely in a way.” -Albert Camus

And tell us one thing you think we should be getting into (a book, blog, web series, song, etc.?)
Lena Dunham’s Woman of the Hour podcast or anything Lena always.

You can find more of Liza here: Website | Instagram | Spotify

Image of Liza taken by Carl Osbourn.

“Because I Am Female”

Featured

-ALEX TSE

 

I will not keep quiet

for you to be heard.

My voice will not wait for a

question

loud room

busy street

to be brought forth.

I will not have my kindness

confused with fragility

or failure.

I will not apologize

for making you feel small

or for the space my

body

anger

hea(r)t

take up.

I will not contort myself

nor swallow my pain

because you do not know what to do

with yours.

I will not restrict myself

because you are tired

already satisfied.

 

I will not I will

not I will not

carry your weight

drowning

to save you.

 

Alex is a writer, performer, and co-founder of The Little Fox Collective. She lives in Brooklyn and enjoys experimental theater, baths, and internet creeping.

You can find more of her here: Instagram

Image Credit//Asafe

Q and A Series: Eliza Sim

Featured

NAME: ELIZA SIM
AGE: 26
PLACE: NEW YORK, NEW YORK
OCCUPATION: ARTIST

Briefly, Tell us who you are what you do?
By day, I work at an ad agency in SoHo. I look after the social media channels of some pretty fantastic brands. I strategize, ideate, and create. By night, I have some extra creative fun by making necklaces, going to galleries, drinking an ocean’s worth of coffee, and eating my way through NYC.

What do your mornings look like?
I try to keep my mornings calm, since my days tend to be pretty nuts and there are people encroaching on your personal space the second you step out of your 4th floor walk-up. I wake up a bit earlier than necessary so that I don’t have to rush. I make a smoothie, religiously. Sit, reflect, and read a little. Struggle to find an outfit. And then I’m out the door, and I won’t stop going until I come home at night.

How do you calm yourself?
Essential oils. I’m in love with both energizing scents and relaxing scents. But, I love my diffuser (Muji, if you’re curious). I’m also a big advocate for at-home beauty treatments. It makes you feel nice and gives you a little extra glow. Sheet masks, face steaming (with essential oils), and the like. But if I’m at work or have to be out in a pinch and I need immediate calming, I just remind myself of all the beautiful people in my life, and that if whatever is stressing me out goes south – it wouldn’t even matter because I’d still have them. Big picture thinking :).

What’s your favorite medium for writing?
Pen and paper.

What are three things you love to do alone?
Wine + movie nights at home, getting my nails done, and reading.

Where do you go to look for inspiration?
Nature. I’m obsessed with flowers, and I love to be inspired by plants. Real life inspiration in NYC – Chelsea Flower Markets near my house.

Other than that, I must say, I’m a bit of a Pinterest addict for street style and beauty inspo.

What is your guilty pleasure?
Ice cream & bacon.

What do you listen to when you are sad?
Instrumental music (Nils Frahm is a great pick), or music that I associate with a particularly sad time in life.

What do you listen to when you are happy?
Upbeat, sometimes quirky music. My office listens to Top 40 music, and a lot of rap. So, I’ve also come to subconsciously know everything on Top 40 – be that a good or a bad thing. I also really secretly but not so secretly love Japanese Pop music (shoutout to Pamyu Pamyu).

Can’t leave the house without…
Lipstick. I’m an addict.

FLASH QUESTIONS (One answer even if you have a thousand!):
 
Favorite book?
1Q84 – Haruki Murakami

Movie?
Harry Potter. Always.

TV show?
Chef’s Table

Place to shop?
Need Supply

Place to drink coffee?
Market Lane Coffee (Melbourne)

First concert?
Hanson. That’s real.

Last concert you went too?
Purity Ring

What’s the one word/phrase you are guilty of using too much?
“It’s blowing my mind” (hand motion included)

What’s the last Google search on your iPhone?
“Husk Nashville” – I was making a reservation for tonight with my mom. FRIED CHICKEN!

Shower song?
Right now? Anything Beiber.

What does the last text in your phone say?
“We will have to leave at 4. Traffic will be horrid!” – My mom worried about getting to the aforementioned Husk reservation on time.

Favorite quote?
“Hustle and heart will set you apart.” – follow my lovely sister-in-law, @MmerciEncore, on Insta for quote inspo

And tell us one thing you think we should be getting into (a book, blog, web series, song, etc.?)
If you haven’t watched the Chef’s Table series, it is insanely inspiring and gives me some serious hope for life. Seeing other people’s passions come to life does a lot for your own passions.

You can find more of Eliza here: Instagram

Oh, and here is some of her artwork to swoon over:

eliza 2

eliza 1 eliza 3

“Untitled I & II”

Featured

Tags

, , , , ,

-SIZZY ROCKET

Untitled I

I moved to New York and I went to the store and bought hair bleach and turquoise dye

I sat naked in front of a plastic mirror and watched a streak of my long, dark hair turn bright orange

Sipping on warm Vodka and grapefruit juice, pretending to be expensive

So messed up, I want you here

I was 18 and I was free, and I was reckless

How was I supposed to know

That the same impulse that drove me to the drugstore for bleach

Would eventually ruin me

 

Untitled II

sometimes I want to know what you did with the note I gave you

other times I pretend you keep it in a drawer

and you will find it there months from now

and remember me like a song you haven’t heard in awhile

 

unnamed-2

 

Sizzy Rocket is a singer, songwriter, and glitter diva. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.

You can find more of Sizzy here: Instagram | Website

Images of Sizzy taken by Chellise Michael.

 

Q and A Series: Paris Carney

Featured

Tags

, ,

NAME: PARIS CARNEY
AGE: 28
PLACE: LOS ANGELES
OCCUPATION: SINGER/SONGWRITER

Paris Carney is a singer and songwriter born in NYC and raised in both NYC and Los Angeles. She is a trained jazz vocalist and now loves to encoporate her love for jazz in her writings and recordings. She has toured both in the US and internationally singing background vocals for various acts ( ie. CARNEY, Jonas Brothers, Hailee Steinfeld ) but is now focusing mainly on her solo project. Lyrics, melodies, and connecting deeply to others are very important to her.

What do your mornings look like?
I usually try to journal about three pages, handwritten, right when I wake up while I eat breakfast. It’s something I picked up from a book called The Artist’s Way. I’m super critical of myself and in my own head, so it helps me to get some of the negative out and often times ends with a positive outlook unintentionally, which I think is so cool.

How do you calm yourself?
Most often by breathing deeply and praying.

What’s your favorite medium for writing?
I love writing songs because when I add a melody I can portray even more emotion, even when a lyric is so simple.

What are three things you love to do alone?

  • Write
  • Watch cooking shows
  • Write some more.

I like to do most other things with my loved ones.

Where do you go to look for inspiration?
I love fashion blogs like TomboyKC and Whowhatwear. I usually feel really inspired and remember random things I already have in my closet that I can put together for fun. I find it oddly calming.

What is your guilty pleasure?
Anything Olsen related.

What do you listen to when you are sad?
Bethel, Hillsong, Fiona Apple, Coldplay.

What do you listen to when you are happy?
The same + Spice girls, Hanson, anything 90’s to early 2000’s.

Can’t leave the house without…
Checking to make sure the stove is off… multiple times, even when I haven’t used it. No joke. (OCD confessions)

FLASH QUESTIONS (One answer even if you have a thousand!):
Favorite book?
The Worry Workbook by Frank Minirth

Movie?
Billy Madison

TV show?
Jane the Virgin

Place to shop?
All Saints (I have basically nothing from there but I love it, ha!)

Place to drink coffee?
Caffe Vita 

First concert?
Spice Girls

Last concert you went to?
DNCE

What’s the one word/phrase you are guilty of using too much?
“Literally”

What’s the last Google search on your iPhone?
Bloomingdales.com (A link to Nespresso that my friend sent me)

Shower song?
“Sunday Kind of Love” by Etta James

What does the last text in your phone say?
Yay!!!! Xxxxx – Lindy Law 😉

Favorite quote?
“Treat others the way you want to be treated.”

And tell us one thing you think we should be getting into (a book, blog, web series, song, etc.?)
I love the TV show “The Great British Bake Off”

You can fall more in love with Paris here: SoundCloud, Instagram, Twitter

Image of Paris taken by Ray Spears.

 

“Little”

Featured

Tags

, , ,

-NICOLE POMEROY

We hid little things

        in coat pockets—

a mouse vertebrae,

a sewing needle,

our father’s secret women

The muffled voices kicked

 

                                down

 

into the floor boards

Every creek in that old house:

        some whimper of a child

        or maybe the spineless mouse—

 

their cadences kindred,

their ghosts malformed

All the turned soil in the yard

        the blistered aftermath

        of treasure hunts

 

For each new memory we found, an old handful

        was buried:

 

(1. The way he never smelled like our mother)

(2. Fishing on the docks of Lake Michigan)

(3. Tic-tac-toe in the sawdust of the garage floor)

 

their calloused roots

cut through the concrete basement

those whimpers

the ghosts of mice

their slouched heads

        the hidden

        little

        things

 

finally peeking

       through

the knots on hardwood,

waiting for a proper eulogy

 

waiting

waiting

waiting

 

 

Nicole Pomeroy is a published poet and editor with an immense passion for the nuances of language. Her work has appeared in the poetry chapbook, Boys, Girls, as well as several literary journals including The Fictioneer. She currently lives in Seattle, Washington.

You can find more of Nicole here: Instagram  and read more of Nicole’s poetry, here.

Image Credit//Asafe

Q and A Series: Gia Vangieri

Featured

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

NAME: GIA VANGIERI
AGE: 27
PLACE: LOS ANGELES
OCCUPATION: DIRECTOR, WRITER, ACTRESS

Briefly, Tell us who you are what you do?
Hi, I’m Gia. I’m a 27 year old filmmaker living in Silver Lake. Since moving to Los Angeles in 2012, I’ve produced an award-winning play (Sewer Rats at Sea, Best of Fringe 2013), directed a music video that premiered on Billboard (Daniella Mason’s “Shade of You”), and created an eight-part web series about how much I still have to figure out titled How to Not, airing on Vessel every Thursday, all winter long. I’m currently in pre-production for my first two feature films, an independent horror (slated to film early 2016) and an independent sci-fi film (slated to film fall of 2016).

What do your mornings look like?
If I don’t immediately connect with the world and get moving, I feel stuck in the mud all day. It’s something I’ve recently learned about myself. My mornings look something like this: Wake up. Coffee and read Slate.com or watch the Daily Show. Listen to indieWire podcast on the walk to Bar Method. Bar Method. Walk home. Shower. Eat. Feed the dogs. Start working.
Alternatively: sleep in forever, let it all burn down.

How do you calm yourself?
“Inhale love. Exhale that which does not serve you.” Over and over.

What are three things you love to do alone?
I am an introvert by nature, so I like to do most things alone. My most favorite things though have to be:

  1. Going to the Atwater farmer’s market
  2. Cooking
  3. Laying naked in completely clean sheets and listening to Throwing Shade – the podcast.

Where do you go to look for inspiration?
Most of the time, it’s the people in the world around me. The friend telling me a story about a text that hasn’t been answered. The fully grown man holding up a tiny, fluffy, marshmallow dog like the scene in the Lion King in front of Dinosaur Coffee in earnest. The budding teen girl in the Turkish airport eyeing my leggings and t-shirt after having fought with her mother that her burka isn’t on right.
Sometimes I go hunt it down myself: Pinterest, Aperture Magazine, Nan Goldin photos, Kubrick films.

What is your guilty pleasure?
I don’t feel guilty about any of my pleasures. They’re definitely not all hip, but I feel bad about none of them.

What do you listen to when you are sad?
Currently:
Rootless Tree – Damien Rice
Cavalier – James Vincent McMorrow
A Case of You – Joni Mitchell
Among the Leaves – Sun Kil Moon
Basic Instinct – The Acid
Stay – Rihanna

What do you listen to when you are happy?
Currently:
G.O.M.D – J. Cole
Divisionary (Do The Right Thing) – Ages and Ages
Cowboy Guilt – Torres
Where is My Mind? – The Pixies
One Million Lovers – The Growlers

Can’t leave the house without…
My license.

FLASH QUESTIONS (One answer even if you have a thousand!):
 
Favorite book?
The Stranger by Albert Camus

Movie?
The Shining

TV show?
Fargo – Season 2

Place to shop?
Bucks and Does.

Place to drink coffee?
Sitting on top of the heating vent in my hallway

First concert?
Destiny’s Child opening for Christina Aguilera

Last concert you went too?
Solange’s dance party at Tenants of the Trees. She sang. I am still tingling.

What’s the one word/phrase you are guilty of using too much?
“just”… I’m just checking in… I’m just emailing to see… I just [am trying to seem more likable and less annoying]. I need to stop.

Shower song?
True Affection – The Blow

What does the last text in your phone say?
“Expedia loves me because I use them so much.”

Favorite quote?
“Make it personal, tell the truth, then write ‘burn this’ on it.” – Lanford Wilson

And tell us one thing you think we should be getting into (a book, blog, web series, song, etc.?)
vessel.com/howtonot which is my open love letter (in the form of a web series) to the late-night-snacking insomniac who is feeling like no one gets it. (We do!)

You can find more of Gia here: How to Not  and Instagram

Image of Gia by Anna Demarco.

Q and A Series: Kendall Custer

Featured

Tags

, , , , ,

NAME: KENDALL CUSTER
AGE: 22
PLACE: LOS ANGELES
OCCUPATION: SINGER/SONGWRITER

What do your mornings look like?
Wake up, check my texts/emails, and make coffee.

How do you calm yourself?
Listen to music, call my mother, or pray. Most likely, I’ll call my producer, Shevy Smith, in a frenzy and say, “This happened. I’m driving up to the canyon now.” We usually sit on her kitchen counter for two hours and talk about it, then spend the rest of the evening writing about it. That’s the catalyst to most of the songs on my record.

What’s your favorite medium for writing?
Songwriting.

What are three things you love to do alone?
Go to Highland Park for an afternoon, rap “Clique” by Kanye in my car, hibernate in my room when people are in my apartment.

Where do you go to look for inspiration?
Majority of the inspiration I’ve used for my record has come from my life and the different experiences I go through. Real life inspiration is my favorite to find and write about. However, that can be treacherous at times. I’ve learned that I can’t rely only on romance, friendships, adventure etc. for inspiration because that can get messy. I continually write, whether there is adventure surrounding me or not.

What is your guilty pleasure?
Buzzfeed quizzes, One Tree Hill, guacamole/Mexican food, Hakeem Lyon from Empire.

What do you listen to when you are sad?
Songs to make me sadder: Leonard Cohen, Song for Zula by Phosphorescent, Johnny Cash, Snow Patrol, The 1975, old country songs I grew up on.

What do you listen to when you are happy?
Right now, Bleachers, King Krule, Ryn Weaver, Loyle Carner, Kanye, Borns, The 1975, Mac DeMarco, any rap – bad or good.

Can’t leave the house without…
My cellphone and a scrunchie.

And whatever else you want to tell us… Like, what are we missing that we should be getting into?
Read: Just Kids by Patti Smith.
Watch: Blue Crush, Almost Famous, Christmas Vacation, Remember the Titans, Place Beyond the Pines and Dumb & Dumber. I can’t choose one.
Shop: Reformation. Every piece is classic, structured, but just enough of a statement. It’s good whether you’re Blair or Serena. The Heyoka Hideout in Topanga Canyon is a bomb vintage store though. I’ve found some gems there.

More on my process:
I don’t have a regulated process that I one hundred percent follow in my writing other than just constantly writing. The record I’m finishing up right now has cultivated songs of me trying to do the right thing and be a good person. My lyrics mainly reflect on the principles I was raised on and whether or not I continue to stay true to those principles while navigating growing up.

Also, my favorite quote is, “Do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you’ll be criticized for it anyway.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Kendall Custer currently lives in Los Angeles where she is finishing up her album, going to school, and getting involved in as many creative projects as possible, including helping out behind the scenes with ATJ.

Find more of Kendall here: Website, Video, News, Instagram

Q and A Series: Kami Baergen

Featured

Tags

, , , , ,

NAME: KAMI BAERGEN
AGE: 28
PLACE: BROOKLYN/ NASHVILLE
OCCUPATION: ARTIST
MEDIUM: LIFE

What do your mornings look like?
Early. The first thing I do is make myself coffee and usually eat an apple with nut butter. Then ease into my day with some news and listening to music. I prefer to be in solitude the first couple hours of each day. I allot myself time to fumble around the internet and then set a time to start working (drawing, emailing, etc).

How do you calm yourself?
Incense (palo santo), music, tea, and a shower. Lately, I’ve been learning (thanks to my dear friend Julie) that a lot of times when we find ourselves worked up, sad, frustrated, in a pit, it is because we’re focusing too much on the past or on the future instead of the present. Reminding myself of that has definitely been a huge help to calming down and taking in the great things that are happening around me.

What’s your favorite medium for writing?
There’s something soothing about pen and paper. However, typing allows my hands to keep up with my brain, and as it’s all over the place, technology allows me to go back and forth between thoughts without having to scribble a million carets in.

What are three things you love to do alone?  
Draw/paint/create, visit art museums, and grocery shop.

Where do you go to look for inspiration?
BOOKS!
Whatever I’m reading at the moment – a lot of times certain sentences or the way a few words are strung together will give me a visual that I want to depict, or send me on a trail of creative ideas. I’m currently working through the Barron In the Trees by Calvino (sloooowwwwwly) and it has set me on a fruit kick!
Decorative Ornament by Owen Jones
Field Guide to Pacific Sea Shells
Anatomy Books
Children’s Books
INTERNET:
Booooooom.com

What is your guilty pleasure?
BBC MINI SERIES ERA PIECE DRAMAS or whatever they’re called. OMG. I’m a total sucker.

What do you listen to when you are sad?
– Devendra Banhart’s song, “First Song for B” and the last few songs on his album, “Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon”
– The Tallest Man On Earth’s album, “The Wild Hunt”
– Philip Glass, “Metamorphosis”

What do you listen to when you are happy?
BOSSA NOVA.
Anything surfy!
Sons of the Pioneers

Can’t leave the house without…
Blistex Lip Medex lip balm pot +  a crystal i wear that’s from a little shop in Chinatown (NYC) for peace, prosperity and positivity + and I’m always wearing my great grandmother’s wedding ring.

Favorite book, movie, tv show, place to shop, place to drink coffee, and whatever else you want to tell us … Like, what are we missing that we should be getting into?  (sorry,  this may be lengthy)
Favorites:
BOOK: Perelandra by C.S. Lewis, Rainer Maria Rilke’s, Letters To A Young Poet + all the Harry Potters!
MOVIE: Romeo + Juliet and Hook
TV: Bob’s Burgers
DRINK: Coffee soda by Matchless (can be found at Steadfast + Crema, NASHVILLE + soon WWW)
FOOD: Soup, chips + salsa
COFFEE: Crema/Steadfast (Nashville), Stumptown at Ace Hotel NYC, Toby’s on 5th + 20th.
BAKERY: Grandaisy Bakery on 72nd + Broadway, NYC
CHIPS: Pepperoncini kettle chips
Candy: Peanut M&M’s or Justins Peanut Butter Cups
SMELL: First smell of coffee in the morning, the ocean, garden roses, palo santo, patchouli with citrus, first cut grass of the season, construction site, and first rain on warm pavement of the summer.
SOCIAL MEDIA: Twitter
CHOCOLATE: Pop Rock Chipotle Chocolate is the greatest thing of all time.
OTHER BOOKS:
Art & Fear by David Bayless and Ted Orland
Frankenstein
The Little Mermaid by Hans Christen Anderson
LISTEN: RadioLab(podcast) episodes “Falling” and “Color”
MUSIC: Lately I’ve been listening to lots of Charles Bradley, Broncho, Tame Impala, and Glass Animals, War on Drugs, and Tibetan Meditation Music

KAMI BAERGEN is an artist (illustrator and painter) living in Nashville TN. She creates because she feels empty without it. She likes to make things that make her laugh, as well as things she finds interesting. She loves gold, confetti, collections, and sweater tees. She’s 28 years old, but she simultaneously feels 14 and 42. She’s a cynic and a lover. 

Find more of Kami Here:
Instagram Tumblr Twitter Etsy Website

“I’ve Always Felt a Bit Like the Lady of Shalott”

Featured

– LINDSEY BUTTON

I am twenty-three, almost twenty-four. It is strange to think about who I was when I was twenty-one: a very different girl. The past two years have been a concentrated growing period that has left me with a feeling of uncertainty. I often jokingly call Nashville my purgatory. But more accurately, this phase of my life is a purgatory, of sorts. I just happen to be experiencing it in this city—the city I made some of my first best friends in, the city with all of my lovers, the traces of them still seen on this corner and that sidewalk, that house, that street.

At twenty-one, I liked drinking tea and talking about books with the other girls in my classes. My life was very female-driven. All of my closest friends were girls. I didn’t grow up with guy friends and I had never dated a boy and had only kissed a couple of them. The girls I had begun to spend time with in college were similar in these regards. They were extremely intelligent fellow English majors and I found enough fulfillment in these types of platonic friendships and the life I found in literature, that I didn’t think too much about sexual relationships. That’s not to say I wasn’t aware of my sexuality. I always knew there was a deep-seated sexuality that was a vital part of my personality that could, I believed, be tamed by the intellect. So I focused all of my energy, some misplaced sexual energy no doubt, into reading about centuries past and writing about experiences that were not my own.

Above my bed, there is a painting of the Lady of Shalott (the one by John William Waterhouse). I bought this at the time I speak of—a time I like to think was the most Romantic period of my life thus far—when it was only composed of books and friendships with intellectual girls. If you are not familiar with the Tennyson poem, it is about a mysterious woman who weaves in a tower from images she sees in a mirror but is told that if she ever looks out the actual window, towards Camelot, she will be cursed. “And moving thro’ a mirror clear/ That hangs before her all the year,/ shadows of the world appear.” The poem goes on to say, “She hath no loyal knight and true….But in her web she still delights/to weave mirror’s magic sights…” It is a conflict of creating art based on a secondary account of the world vs. participating in the living world at the sake of losing those artistic abilities.

I felt as though I was the Lady of Shalott in some regards. For as long as The Lady of Shalott is weaving the images she sees in the mirror, she is happy, innocent, and the highest form of an artist—one that lives more in her art than in her life. But the moment she gets distracted by an outside force (Sir Lancelot riding by) and cannot resist looking out the window, her weaved image floats apart, the mirror breaks, and the curse is said to be upon her. She has participated in reality and her art has suffered for it. It is a similar concept that is portrayed when Oscar Wilde says, “Good artists exist simply in what they make, and consequently are perfectly uninteresting in what they are….But inferior poets are absolutely fascinating….He lives the poetry that he cannot write. The others write the poetry that they dare not realize.”

My point in all of this is that I felt I created better art when my life itself was more solitary and uninteresting. My books were my mirror. My writing was my web. But one day I found myself saying, “I am half-sick of shadows,” and my knight appeared (though he was not exactly a Sir Lancelot type). The days since have been that long drift down the river towards Camelot.

When I was twenty-two, I found myself in a relationship, in love for the first time. The short version of this story is that the whole thing confused me and that confusion led me to be a poor participant in the relationship. Thus, the relationship itself was short-lived (though our love for each other was not) and after it was over, I felt like I had looked towards Camelot and that there was no going back to my lonely tower. My schooldays were over; I could no longer hide behind my books. The mirror had broken. I could only move forward.

That leads me to this purgatory of uncertainty I find myself in. After graduating, without the assigned essays, consistent schedules, the novels I must read in a week, and the intense group discussions, I felt lost. I no longer had interest in reading or writing. I would try to write and all that would come out would be about my time spent with my ex-boyfriend and how it all made me feel, as if I could hardly remember what I was doing before I met him. It’s true I was in love with him, but it was perhaps more true that I couldn’t get past the ways he had somehow changed me. It is hard to let go of a person who reshapes the way you think about yourself and life. Having that type of deep emotional and sexual attachment with someone set off a course of changes in life. I became addicted to wanting to have my mind changed. If one person could change me in one way, how could another reshape me? “I hope I am always a different person than I was the month before,” I scratched in a journal once.

But I couldn’t translate my experiences into fiction. And it was hard to write about it in nonfiction without feeling obsessive and then becoming self-loathing about my own self-obsessions. So I stopped writing—except for the articles I was getting paid to write for a magazine and a few feminist essays I wrote for a friend’s zine—but I felt I had lost my intense imaginative abilities that I couldn’t help but have my whole life. No longer was I writing poems everyday or consumed with thoughts of what my characters were doing in their alternate realities (perhaps some would say I had just become more sane). The only books I read that year were The Complete Book of Witchcraft and Lolita, the former helped to open my mind and regain a sense of spirituality, the latter gave me a reference point to my own heartbreak-related nihilism.

As you can imagine, I had gotten very far from the girl that wore floral dresses and drank too much tea. I now perhaps drank too much gin. I wasn’t like a lot of my friends after graduation. I wasn’t networking, I had no interest in a 9-5 job, and I had no interest in being in a relationship that would lead to marriage. I was, what seemed to them, in the midst of a mental breakdown. I had come down from my tower, and I was determined that if I was now subjected to reality and experiencing life, I would experience it in ways I could learn and grow as an individual. I suppose you could call it a cultivation of self, or more simply a time period of personal and sexual exploration. But since I found I could no longer write and read with the passion I had formerly, I focused my energy on making my life an artwork of sorts (in a very Dorian Gray manner), or seeing the story in my own life, since I could no longer seem to create one beyond myself.

The girls that I had once been very close with no longer felt they could connect with me. This resulted in me losing the closeness of a few friendships which, at first, I felt bad about, as if I had done something wrong. But in truth, I felt more looked down upon. I do not believe this was intentional, but there is a type of judgment women receive from other women when they step outside of the boundaries that are expected of them. To some of my friends, I was just “Poor Lindsey, who dated too many people, who was maybe homosexual but maybe not, who maybe drank too much and didn’t have a real job.” In their eyes, I had fallen behind them—I had ceased to grow up in the midst of marriage proposals and “real” jobs.

It is the “in-between” that is terrifying to many—this purgatory I speak of. In Gothic Literature criticism, there is a term called “liminal space.” It is used to describe things that are not here nor there, which is often the source of terror. Take Dracula for instance, he is neither fully dead nor fully alive and his sexuality could easily be questioned. Things we cannot fit into categories are scarier to us. During this time, I began to feel a bit like Dracula. I felt as if my old friends, who I still adored, were somewhat scared of me and the influence I could have on them because they weren’t sure who I was anymore. Like Dracula, I was constantly trapped in some in-between state. “Everything I do is not one or the other,/ but both, and neither./ I have the sharp bone that will plunge/ and the pomegranate lips that will suck the blood,” I tried to explain later on in a mess of a poem I wrote.

This judgment I sometimes feel leads me to the other way I relate to the Lady of Shalott. There are many ways you can read that poem, but one of the more common readings is its representation of the ideal of the Victorian woman (some ideals that are still prevalent in expectations for young women). Judgment is the “curse” that came upon The Lady of Shalott when she made the decision to participate more actively in life. When you decide to live your life differently than what people expect, you are punished for it in one way or another. There was no real curse upon The Lady of Shalott; it was only that people had convinced her there was. The curse was only something constructed by society that she had believed was true about herself.

My friend Lindy, who had once been a fellow fairy-girl with her tea and books beside me in my British literature courses, who has been through far more life-altering changes than I have and who is often the supportive rock for what I begin to worry is my insanity, was reassuring me only two hours before I began this essay, “You’re figuring out who you are and what you like. Never apologize for that.”

The inevitable answer to avoid having an ending like The Lady of Shalott: don’t allow yourself to believe the judgment you are subjected to and learn to embrace the way your creative outlets change. Balancing life and art is a complicated relationship. Seeing the art in one’s own life and blending the two together is even more complicated. I’ve learned that to be a functioning artist within society and not an outsider artist listening to prophecies in the woods, you cannot ignore life, and you cannot become an invisible vessel—you are a human with feelings. Do not condemn yourself for also wanting to live. Do not let others condemn you for changing. As Joni Mitchell once said, “They’re going to crucify you for staying the same. If you change, they’re going to crucify you for changing. But staying the same is boring. And change is interesting.”

Lindsey Button lives in Nashville, TN. Her interest in writing can be attributed to her childhood in the mountains of Tennessee, her interest in mysticism, and reading too much Oscar Wilde at an impressionable age. She enjoys examining issues about the creative process, gender/sexuality, and spirituality in her writing. Her writing can also be found in NATIVE and Esoteric.

Find more of Lindsey here: Instagram

Image Credit//Asafe

“Invisible Boy”

Featured

– P.C. SAXBY

i have never seen fingers quite as bony as yours.
they’re long and
spider-like and i want them to
touch me in places even i
don’t want to or would dare to
go.

i need the way your neck stretches
when your caw erupts from the
length of elongated skin and tunnel.
i could bite it in an instant.
so hard in desperation
i might draw blood.

like cindy lou who with your upturned
nose so delicate in its point and yet
so complimentary to the angle
you prefer to be photographed at.
i made that last part up.
you’re too nice and you don’t care
not about celebrity.
not about the girls.
not even the ones
who cry for you.

i wonder on weekdays if you’re tired.
i wonder in the rain if you’re wet.
i wonder the weather in LA, is it treating you right?
do you have a tan yet?
you’re starting to look like james dean.

i’ve shed tears in this state and others for
your brown eyes. please don’t tell
a soul.
– invisible boy, part one

i’ve talked about you like an epidemic.
afraid to speak a word but
dying
to let everyone know how
dangerous

you are to me.

i didn’t even like you first.
first i thought you were boring.
and for the longest time you were.
and then one day your arms flexed
and another day you smiled sarcastic
and another you had a scar on your cheek.

you came up like acid vomit.
burning me black
and catching in my uvula
choking me
in the sickest of ways
like you’ve done
like you do.

afraid of being fully in love with you i
fled. i denied your existence
to anyone that would listen.
not many people would listen.
so i breathe you at dusk kiss your
photo before bed and
like salvador dali reimagine our
romance like melting glass
in the dead of night.
– invisible boy, part two

i am not any type of person who could deserve you.

you brick shithouse.
you golden adonis.
with your atlas shoulders.

i’ve driven miles to watch you.
watch your eyebrows raise
like that time i saw you on tv. you’re doing it.
you’re seducing.
you’re seduction.

there’s a specific pheromone dedicated to capturing me and it lives in your tongue.
you have no idea
while i wonder if you’re real.

your cheeks cutting glass is my heart’s desire
my world on it’s ear
my hope to be better.
my wish to be yours.

i am not any type of person who could forget you.
and so i dream in colour.
– invisible boy, part three

P.C. SAXBY is a poet, playwright, actor, screenwriter hybrid living in Brooklyn. She is a student of alchemy, and a serious devotee of filmmaking, make-up, and the french revolution. Though you can read some of her journalistic endevours (under her given name of Lex Briscuso) on newscult.com, this is her first creative publication.

Find more of Saxby here: Instagram Twitter

Image Credit//Asafe

“Sleep walking”

Featured

Tags

, ,

– ANITA ROJAS CARROLL 

I.
I am so tired of writing

About you.

I have oceans inside me surging
Collected sea-glass memories and
Glowing fish and decaying jewels
I seek them, they are buried
Beneath all of this water, all this brine

And what more could I possibly have to say?
I have written screenplays, letters, poems, essays
Text messages and e-mails, scratching on notepads
The canon of lovesickness knows no limits

I loved you. Then you left. I didn’t love you.
Rinse. Repeat.

II.
Three nights ago I was sleeping next to you. I didn’t realize I still loved you. I wish I never realized it. Tonight, I am imagining the feeling of my body on yours and the way you wrap yourself around me, and I can feel it. When I was in school we learned about phantom limbs and phantom pains. People who have had amputated limbs still claim to feel sensations and pain for the body parts that are no longer there. This is how I am feeling, in my bed, alone tonight, with(out) your body that I have memorized and adapted into my own. I am crying because I miss you. You don’t miss me. I am crying because I might love you. You don’t love me. This is an old story. At what point is heartbreak no longer elegantly tragic but simply banal?

III.
I am not trying to fly
I am just wanting
To swallow stars
Etch my initials onto your skin
And pretend I am some sort of infinite.

ANITA lives in New York and is currently attending Fordham University but somehow found the time to submit eight pieces to ATJ. She is the director of two short films, a producer of four short films, and has worked on development and production for several esteemed media outlets including Shine Global Inc., Parts and Labor Films, Paper Magazine/ExtraExtra Creative, HBO, and PivotTV. She’s also the co-founder of Storysmith Productions and Little Fox Art Collective.

Find more of Anita here: Website Instagram

Image Credit//Asafe

Q and A Series: Liana Liberato

Featured

Tags

, , , ,

NAME: LIANA LIBERATO
AGE: 20
PLACE: LOS ANGELES
OCCUPATION: ACTRESS

What do your mornings look like?
My mornings consist of snuggling with my puppy for a good ten minutes then rolling out of bed to get coffee into my system. I dread the day I have to wean off that stuff…the migraine will be brutal. Sometimes, I’ll go hiking with my friends just to start the day off right. I think starting the day off with friends makes all the difference.

How do you calm yourself?
Whenever I get too stressed out, I’ll light a few candles, make some English breakfast tea, and take a bath. I’ll also take my dog for a walk and leave my phone at home so I don’t have any distractions and I can just clear my mind for a bit.

What’s your favorite medium for writing?
I wish I were a better writer. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve really taken a liking to jotting down my important days and thoughts in a little leather journal.

What are three things you love to do alone?
Oh gosh, I like to do a lot alone! I’m an only child, so I guess I’m used to it. I enjoy painting or sketching alone, writing little passages in my journal, and starting a good book.

Where do you go to look for inspiration?
This sounds so cliche but tumblr is actually really insightful. Also, looking up my favorite quotes from books or movies.

What is your guilty pleasure?
Grey’s anatomy will forever be my number one guilty pleasure. Except, I’m not too guilty about it. Owning my love for Shonda Rhimes.

What do you listen to when you are sad?
Any songs my roommate is currently listening to. She always has the happiest songs on her playlist.

What do you listen to when you are happy?
I’ll listen to just about anything if I’m happy! I do like very mindless music that has a fun beat. But, I’m also very into listening in on the lyrics and understanding the story behind the song.

Can’t leave the house without…
95% of the time my dog, phone, and wallet.

And whatever else you want to tell us… Like, what are we missing that we should be getting into?
Can’t say my favorite book… but right now, I’m reading Franny and Zooey. Favorite movie is Girl, Interrupted. My favorite TV shoes right now are Grey’s Anatomy, Dexter, Fear of the Walking Dead, and The Walking Dead. If my bank account could afford it, I’d shop at Aritzia and Topshop aaaalll day, and I love Coffee Commissary in Burbank.

You can find more of Liana here: Instagram

Q and A Series: Alexandra Dristas

Featured

Tags

, , ,

NAME: ALEXANDRA DRISTAS
AGE: 26
PLACE: LOS ANGELES
OCCUPATION: YES, Executive for Bloomingdale’s…aka GIRLBOSS

What do your mornings look like?
I’m a roll out of bed after snoozing my alarm six times kind of girl. I wake up to these super cheesy inspirational messages that I set for myself so I wake up feeling positive; they almost always involve the stars emoji. I then proceed to drink 1.5 liters of water and take 9 vitamins. Sometimes I eat breakfast, but I almost always drink green juice.

How do you calm yourself?
I think we spend so much time and exhaust so much energy worrying about things that we can’t control. When I find myself getting frustrated or upset, I take a couple moments to think of my game plan… What am I going to do to move forward? What are the possible solutions?

I think happiness is a decision. Life is too amazing to get upset over things that are outside of my control. I’m very solution orientated.

What’s your favorite medium for writing?
My typewriter because you can’t go back once you’ve written something. It’s the most pure and raw form of my writing for sure but it is loud and I’ve found that you have to get thoughts out in the moment or you lose them. So, I have found the notes section on my phone to be useful in a daily setting.

What are three things you love to do alone?
Hahaha! I have a dirty mind. THAT, obviously.

I love to lay on hardwood floors and listen to records. I love to travel alone because it feels like more of an adventure when you’re lost.

Where do you go to look for inspiration?
My bookshelf and my friends.

What is your guilty pleasure?
I really love bad (but so good) pop music. I listen to Ke$ha and know all the words to every Taylor Swift song ever written.

What do you listen to when you are sad?
Lydia. It reminds me of winter. Or Conor Oberst because he’s a genius and his lyrics sort of make me wish I was depressed.

What do you listen to when you are happy?
Currently:
Past Lives – Borns
Dancing On My Own – Robyn
Real Wild Child – Iggy Pop
Mesmerize – Ja Rule

Can’t leave the house without…
Lipstick and cigarettes.

And whatever else you want to tell us … Like, what are we missing that we should be getting into?
Favorite Poem: The Benjamin Franklin of Monogamy – Jeffrey McDaniel. It’s the sort of poem that makes you wish you could produce something half as powerful.
Place to drink coffee: Profetta in Westwood and Alfred’s on Melrose across from the Marc Jacobs bookstore.

ALEXANDRA spends her time working her ass off. When she isn’t, she enjoys being addicted to drinking Perrier, falling hard for pretty girls, and planning her next big adventure.

Find more of Alexandra here: Instagram

Q and A Series: Elaina Perpelitt

Featured

Tags

, , , , , , ,

NAME: ELAINA PERPELITT
AGE: 23
PLACE: NYC/ LOS ANGELES
OCCUPATION: WRITER

What do your mornings look like?
Mornings are usually an inhale time versus the afternoon/evening exhale. So, I’ll mostly spend them updating myself on the world via the internet, scoping stories or striking images on Tumblr, and getting things out of the way that might weight on my mind later (emails, shower, being human stuff).

How do you calm yourself?
I wish I could say I had this figured out. A glass of wine or a good walk helps, but the most consistent thing is talking to someone. My not-so-calm moments tend to spin out of being inside my head, so anything that can get me out of it long enough to realize, “hey, I’m okay,” is good.

What’s your favorite medium for writing?
Word vomit. Which is, for me, an amalgam of poetry, prose, and personal thoughts that I allow to come from anywhere and be about anything. It’s raw and ugly and about 99% useless (sometimes I’ll find a line out of a hundred that I’ll like), but it’s my fave because I can always go back to it when I’m lost and need to tap back into a certain emotion or experience.

What are three things you love to do alone?
Act out my characters like a crazy person. Dance to blasting pop music whilst drinking from a bottle of moscato and subsequently using it as a microphone. Draw with charcoal.

Where do you go to look for inspiration?
Besides my favorite poems, I think my most reliable source of inspiration is reading interviews. The Paris Review has an excellent catalog with some of my greatest heroes, and it always helps me find perspective and feel excited about work, life, love, and everything. I struggled (and still struggle) with a self imposed pressure to get to certain points by certain times, and ironically, this pressure is often the reason I become stuck — and thus, I stress out over not getting to those points even more, and a vicious circle continues. Interviews help remind me that every individual I idolize was/is an actual human; and that there aren’t rules or deadlines, there aren’t fixed paths, and everyone finds their success and happiness in different ways. At different paces.

In the age of the internet and the prevalence of social media, there are a million chances to compare yourself to everyone else and an appearance of immediacy that makes it seem like they are all better/happier/prettier/more successful than you, and they got it all very fast. Interviews give you a chance to get to know the reality of the people you’d like to be more like, and I find that I have increased affection for them and a desire to chill the fuck out and take my time — which triggers not only a more peaceful self, but almost always: inspiration.

What is your guilty pleasure?
I can only pick one? This is hard. Binge-watching a show, probably, because that comes with the most pleasure and the most guilt. Also, anything puffed and covered in whatever divine chemicals create “white cheddar.”

What do you listen to when you are sad?
The National and Sia and Lana Del Rey. This new band called MXMS is also wonderful (though they only have an EP so far, it is very very much worth listening to).

What do you listen to when you are happy?
The Kills and Sky Ferreira and HOLYCHILD.

Can’t leave the house without…
Journal, phone, gum.

And whatever else you want to tell us … Like, what are we missing that we should be getting into?
Awkward white girl rappers like K. Flay, Kate Tempest, and Kitty.
Their writing and beats are out of control. Tempest actually has an entire narrative going in hers, it’s mind-blowing, and I don’t think anyone’s captured the perfect disaster of Gen Y expectations vs. reality like K. Flay’s rhymes about big dreams buried at big parties.

Elaina Perpelitt holds a degree in screenwriting from Chapman University, where she won the Cecil Award for writing. Her play, “Sewer Rats at Sea”, debuted in 2013 at the Hollywood Fringe Festival under her pseudonym, ZK Lowenfels, where it won the Best of Fringe award and made her America’s youngest female playwright. Her poetry, stories, and articles have appeared in Thought Catalog, Elite Daily, Out of Our, Penny Ante Feud, Metazen, and Emprise Review. She has sold several web series pilots as well as short films, which are currently on the festival circuit. Her debut novel was recently submitted to publishers (represented by literary agency Chalburg & Sussman), and her first feature is slotted to go into production with Under 1 Roof Productions next summer.

You can find more of Elaina and her work here:
Instagram Thought Catalog

Short Films:
I’ll Eat You Alive
Sewer Rats At Sea “DreamChild”
The Friend Zone
MATCH Episode 3: Innocent
MATCH Episode 5: Tonight

“I Will Not Talk to Boys Who Read Kafka on the Train”

Featured

Tags

– LINDY LAW

Whether ruled by love or by fear, it will happen either way.
And I mean life.

I could sit on the train next to the boy reading Kafka. He’s the kind of boy who looks like he belongs next to me— with his age and his shoes and the tattoos on his arm.

Then one tattoo makes me think of you.

I’m getting older and I see your face in the reflection of someone else’s eyes and I think about how I want to splash my existence around the traces of your irises as if they were two puddles and I was an alarm clock.

And that doesn’t make sense but it sounds good.

Time has kept me busy with books about longing and classes on theory and parties with tight black leggings and my ‘Girl About Town’ hot pink lipstick. God knows what I drank or smoked. Or how many slices of pizza I ate while crying in the back of cabs as they crossed the Williamsburg Bridge.

There has been different color hair and Sundays filled with sleep because Saturdays were filled with boys who would kiss me and then walk away. And I would walk away too with the assurance that your glance was fixed on the color of my eyes.

But now you’ve begun to cause a pain within because of my pain without your touch.

And suddenly I forget all the fun and the floors that were slept on after nights of Goodwill jean jackets and shots of whatever was left from the night before while discussing Hemingway and Malick and Dylan and you.
And I kind of hate you all.

And there is a constant chaos in my heart over the simple fact that I was born and therefore I am destined to die and those are the only two facts I don’t question.

It has hurried me to rush you into seeing glances into hands holding cigarettes and the future right now and ultimatums. I can’t do this because I can’t do this.

I am saying that I can’t keep kissing boys and walking away to simply go home and drink 3 cups of coffee while drawing circles that I imagine are your eyes in my notebook and then scratching them out and writing your name with a dear in front and an I love you at the end and then a p.s. I am waiting for you and getting up to do it all over again. This ethereal and eternal longing.

All of the nights of being young have taught me that no one will love me the way my pain loves me,
unless you love me with your hands.

LINDY is the Creator and Editor-in-Chief of About Today Journal. She currently lives in Los Angeles where she babysits constantly and drinks coffee, constantly.

You can find more of Lindy here: How to Not Series  Instagram

Image of Lindy taken by Asafe.

“Naked Knees”

Featured

By BEKI DEMI

(Entering sharp)
Chimney smoke
Gets eaten up
All intercepts
Brooklyn bridge
<
Transparent circus tent
Silver waters…
I danced for you today
My public display
Extra quirky
<…
Heart spasm
How did we get this way?
We were directly
Exploited, recoiled
Perfectly placed yingyang with a flame
A watch far gone…
I’m sorry for counting the days
Assimilation
Far along
Kin/lo
Bones below
Silver corpse
<..
On another day
Golden glowing
“You are so warm”
One day
19
19 years, 19 days, 19 prepaid
What’s in a week?
What fucking fun

Such a song
No delays
Keep it simple
Clean
Strings pulled
Snapped
On your knee
Evergreen
Kosher
Rue du cirque
Round and round and round
Sickening to be bald

Call a truce?

Becki Demi is a multimedia artist and trained dancer based in NYC. 

You can find more of Beki here: Instagram|Website

Q and A Series: Darian Symoné Harvin

Featured

NAME: Darian Symoné Harvin
AGE: 25
PLACE: Brooklyn
OCCUPATION: Journalist

“Happiness is a feeling for me. It’s how I want to feel, all of the time.”

Darian is a journalist who is constantly looking for new ways to tell stories. She’s got her own podcast called Am I Allowed To Like Anything, works at Yahoo as a news coordinator, and really wants to be a beauty editor in her next life.

What’s a thing you always forget to do in the morning? 
Where do I begin… to drink more water, to answer backs texts that came late in the night, to pack my gym clothes.

What’s something you think that’s good about you that’s not good about most people?
I am good at ignoring people and shutting out the noise that doesn’t matter. It helps me to remain focused. I know who I trust, my morals, and what I should be focused on. It helps me to forecast where I should place my energy. It really helps me to stay happy and unbothered in this world where so much happens that tends to make me feel sad or like there is no hope.

What makes you feel sad or like there’s no hope?
The subway makes me sad because it spotlights the inequality in our city, and in America. Also, the 2016 presidential election.

What’s a natural talent that you’d like to be gifted with?
This question is a little hard for me. I do believe I can become good at anything I want. However, I would like to become a better dancer. I know how to dance in the club, but choreographed — I want to become good at that.

Is there a specific dance routine you’d like to learn?
I would like to learn 8 counts to Formation. And “Sorry” by Justin Bieber video. I thought those girls were amazing.

Name a desperate moment. 
I feel like all the times I felt desparate were like… when I was broke and living/interning in NYC during the summer.

I felt desperate when I was working at Junior’s as a server. It was a bad environment for me. It wasn’t because of the people I worked with. A lot of them became my good friends during that time in my life. I think just the mentality of trying to “make it” but feeling stuck, and also needing to make money. I made the best of it for sure, but it was the juxtaposition of it in my life at the time.

What’s the most awkward phone call you’ve had to make? 
Salary negotiation. But you gotta push through it. Gotta stay strong

What are three things you love to do alone?
Dance, eat dinner at restaurants. In general, I love being alone. I like to listen to Future alone because I can just spaz out.

What’s your go-to karaoke song? 
I hate karaoke, but I do like the Trap Karaoke movement that is happening right now. So in that context, I would say “Back to Back” by Drake .

Wait, what is Trap Karaoke…?
Basically it started as a small party where it was karaoke but with trap songs- rap, R&B, and only girls could go up and do it. It’s amazing. Now it’s all over the world.

What is your idea of happiness? 
Happiness is a feeling for me. It’s how I want to feel, all of the time. Right now, happiness for me is me feeling in control of my life. Not in a structured way… it’s more mental and being able to convert those into actions that make me happy. Happiness is understanding my goals and intentions and being fortunate enough to act on them. It’s hanging out with my friends, drinking coffee, working out, eating Swedish Fish, walking down the street and not getting harassed- that is happiness. Happiness to me is getting to experience the feeling of being carefree.

What’s the strangest thing you’d never leave the house without?
Sunglasses, which is odd because I always forget to put them on. Also, the mini microphone I use to record my podcast, because you never know.

Could you tell us a little bit about your podcast and what inspired it?
Well, my podcast was inspired by a conversation I was having with a friend. We were basically talking about how we don’t give people room to grow and breathe and create things and see how they play out. We are so much more prone to say that we don’t like things as opposed to being open minded, or offering critiques that push conversations forward. So, I wanted to create a space to do just that. I’ll bring on a guest to talk to them about their work and their lives, and things they like at the moment. I like to interview people, and i want to continue to hone that skill, so this allows me to do it.

Favorite book?
The Giver by Lois Lowry

Longest Netflix binge?
Grey’s Anatomy.

Margarita or martini? 
Margarita with Cuervo.

Place to drink coffee?
Coffee from Bouchon Bakery- go sit in 30 Rockefeller plaza and watch the tourists on a bench.

Favorite body of water? 
Caribbean Sea, off the coast of Grenada’s St. George.

First concert you went to?
B2K.

What’s the one word/phrase you are guilty of using too much?
LITERALLY.

What’s the last Google search on your iPhone?
Minibar delivery.

What does the last text in your phone say?
“Lol ME TOOOOOO”

Favorite insult?
“Go fuck yourself.”

Tell us one thing you think we should be getting into.
Book: Notorious R.B.G.. And I read a lot of magazines. Fast Company and EBONY, I love.

Blog/website/pieces of media: Lenny Letter Newsletter, HuffPo’s Highline, NYT Mag. ButDoesItFloat.com. This.cm‘s newsletter (which you don’t need to be a member of to subscribe to.)

Song: Too many.

Kali Uchis – “Rush
Kanye West
Rihanna – “Famous
Tear For Fears – “Everybody Want To Rule The World”
The Internet – “Just Sayin/I Tried”

You can find more of Darian here: theseam.co | HRDCVR | Twitter | Instagram

“St. Marks”

Featured

-EVE DEL PRADO

we’re sitting by the window, smoking
there’s an ashtray on the coffee table
but you say we need to smoke out the window
the rain outside is breathy, quiet as well
you come back from the bathroom
and i tell you this corner reminds me of europe
i keep all my nervous energy in one hand,
clenched fist; worry held out of sight

you tell me a story
and later, another day, i write it down
i’m smoking all your cigarettes
because it was late, and you didn’t want me to run out
we’re listening to music and laughing
and it probably happened at some point then
that i realized we would never be in love.
“you misread me entirely”
i keep saying, laughing
you ask to kiss me
and i’m wondering when you stopped thinking of me as new

i keep quiet, with the rain
and i let this wash over me too
i’m only disoriented if i thought i belonged here
i close the window, and let you kiss me.

Image Credit//Owen Welch

Q and A Series: Roxi Barron

Featured

NAME: ROXI BARRON
AGE: 24
PLACE: NYC
OCCUPATION: ASSOCIATE COPYWRITER

 
Briefly, Tell us who you are what you do?
I create content for various TV shows at a social media agency in NYC. As someone who watches TV obsessively I think it’s safe to say I love what I do. I live in Brooklyn with my husband, where we spend too much money on brunch and video games. (I never know what to say in these bios, it’s why I don’t really have one on Insta) eek.

What do your mornings look like?
Dark + quiet. My apartment doesn’t get much natural light, which makes me miss living in LA even more. I try to stay quiet so I don’t wake my husband up. Somewhere in between applying makeup + blow drying my hair he starts to make me coffee which brightens my mood. We talk at the table, I check my e-mail, scan through Instagram, get dressed and hop on the train!

How do you calm yourself?
Honestly anything time consuming that doubles as a beauty regimen, like a sugar scrub or face mask. I’ll also talk to my husband. He’s a really great listener.

What’s your favorite medium for writing?
I try to keep a small notebook in my purse. I love writing in it with my favorite black pen. If I get an idea at work I usually just log into my blog and start drafting there.

What are three things you love to do alone?
Shopping. There’s less pressure to stay or leave without a friend with you. I like taking my time, I hate rushing.
Cooking. I don’t do it often but it feels good to eat something you made, or watch someone enjoy something you made.
Cleaning. It’s so therapeutic to me, I just zone out.

Where do you go to look for inspiration?
Instagram, the subway, and my friends.

What is your guilty pleasure?
Keeping Up With The Kardashians. If they weren’t entertaining they wouldn’t be famous.

What do you listen to when you are sad? 
I generally don’t listen to music when I’m sad, but if I do it’s usually Bon Iver or something similar.

What do you listen to when you are happy?
Disclosure. I have so many happy memories associated with almost every song off of every one of their albums.

Can’t leave the house without…
Lip balm + lipstick. One of the worst feelings is having chapped lips + realizing you left your lip balm at home.

Favorite book?
I don’t think I’ll ever be able to give an answer for this, it’s too difficult!

Movie?
Pride and Prejudice (2005)
Obsessed with everything in this movie. The sisterly dynamic, the romance, Elizabeth’s independence, the feminism, the clothes, the cinematography, the score, it’s just perfect.

TV show?
Friday Night Lights. Just thinking about it now makes me want to watch it all over again. #TexasForever

Place to shop?
McNally Jackson Books. If you gave me a $20 bill that’s the first place I’d go. The only problem is choosing between a new book or new paper goods.

Place to drink coffee?
Gasoline Alley. When I don’t make coffee at home, I stop here and get a cup of black coffee to go, usually with a donut. It’s tiny but they make the best coffee and it’s such a good place to people watch.

First concert?
Between The Trees, a local band from my hometown.

Last concert you went too?
I saw Father John Misty at a music festival in Paris on my honeymoon. Pure bliss.

What’s the one word/phrase you are guilty of using too much?
“Yaaassssssss.” I started saying it ironically to be funny but it’s somehow crept into my vocabulary lol.

What’s the last Google search on your iPhone?
How to beat the mummy on Banjo-Kazooie. I know I shouldn’t be cheating but I could not figure it out and it was making me mad haha.

Shower song?
“Rock Your Body” – Justin Timberlake

What does the last text in your phone say?
The emoji with the bead of sweat on it’s forehead.

Favorite quote?
“Every pizza is a personal pizza if you try hard enough and believe in yourself.”

And tell us one thing you think we should be getting into (a book, blog, web series, song, etc.?)
Watch Making A Murderer on Netflix. It’s seriously insane.

“Chocolate Milk”

Featured

-MELISSA COPELTON

 

Sometimes I look in the mirror

for a moment too long—

not out of vanity

or insecurity

but to convince myself.

 

“You’re an adult,” I say—

over and over again

with such certainty

that the phrase nearly breaks through my skull

and dances there for a while—

until it doesn’t

and why would it?

Why would such a thought stay?

 

You can lie to the butcher

to the priest

to the paper boy

but you can’t lie to yourself.

 

You’re not an adult

you’re an oversized child

with a checking account

who drinks red wine like chocolate milk

and still can’t take no for an answer.

 

You can find more of Melissa here: NewsCult | Instagram

Q and A Series: Anna Grey

Featured

NAME: ANNA GREY
AGE: 17
PLACE: LOS ANGELES
OCCUPATION: ACTRESS
 
Briefly, Tell us who you are what you do?
My name is Anna Grey. I am a young, dedicated, and driven actor. I have recently relocated to Los Angeles to better pursue a career in film. I have theatrical representation in the city.

I have had wonderful opportunities to travel for the shooting of three short films, two feature-length films, and the Jury Winner for the Adrenaline Film Project, a section of the Virginia Film Festival. I recently wrote, directed, and starred in my own short film. It details the frequently unobserved symptoms of OCD-Driven-Disorders. It is a story that needs to be told.

I am a fluent German speaker, an alto singer, a trained dancer, a passionate animal advocate, and an environmental preservation enthusiast.

What do your mornings look like?
I wake-up at 7. I eat breakfast, which usually consists of Cinnamon Life or Apples and Cinnamon Oatmeal. (Breakfast is my favorite meal. I can eat breakfast food around the clock.) I give my dogs food, fresh water, and hugs. I practice yoga for 45 minutes to awaken my spirit. I actively seek out new artistic endeavors to fight for.

How do you calm yourself?
I have recently discovered the soothing and awakening powers of yoga. Yoga connects me with the universe reflected in my own being. It allows me to find harmony in and with the natural world. It helps me to recognize that frustrating times and saddening/angering occurrences are not mistakes or punishments, but rather the soul being redirected towards it’s true and authentic path. It reinvigorates my sense of compassion and my strong drive to be an artistic and philanthropic creator and contributor of the world.

What’s your favorite medium for writing?
I write constantly and about everything. Handwriting is my preferred method. I write in a spiral-bound notebook. I feel as if my mind, body, and soul are more in tune with the flow of ideas and language when I handwrite. My mind is awakened to new possibilities and new thoughts.

What are three things you love to do alone?
I am a very independent person, so I enjoy being by myself. During these times of solitude, I love creating and delving into characters. Exploring different perspectives is my great passion. I love to choreograph modern dance pieces that explore the full range of human emotion, connection, and movement. I love to research animal welfare initiatives and keep myself updated on the great injustices plaguing the natural world, so that I can better speak out against them and aid preservation groups in their pursuits.

Where do you go to look for inspiration?
Learning the stories of the great artists to come before me inspires me deeply. Global humanitarian efforts remind me that good people are abundant and are a force to be reckoned with.
I remind myself of this quote on a daily basis:
‘We live on a blue planet that circles a ball of fire next to a moon that controls the movement of the sea. Miracles and magic exist.’

What is your guilty pleasure?
Chicago-style-popcorn and ABBA

What do you listen to when you are sad?
Fire and Rain – James Taylor
The End of the Innocence – Don Henley
Rewind – Paolo Nutini
Samson – Regina Spektor

What do you listen to when you are happy?
I’m Alive/The Sound of the Sunshine – Michael Franti
Everyday – Dave Matthews Band
Hey Ya! – OutKast
Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World – Iz Kamakawiwo’ole

Can’t leave the house without…
A notebook and Sharpie.

Favorite book?
To Kill a Mockingbird/Pride and Prejudice

Movie?
As a dedicated actor, film inspires me, teaches me, and intrigues me. I must list a few pictures in this category: Kill Bill, It’s a Wonderful Life, Stand By Me, Boyhood, On The Waterfront, Philomena, The Railway Man, and oh so many more.

TV show?
Criminal Minds/I Love Lucy

Place to shop?
Brandy Melville

Place to drink coffee?
Bricks and Scones – family-run coffee shop in LA.

First concert?
Jesse McCartney – Beautiful Soul Tour – 6-Years-Old

Last concert you went too?
Michael Franti – grooviest human and musician around.

Whats the one word/phrase you are guilty of using too much?
infinite love.

Whats the last Google search on your iPhone?
‘Canadian seal hunt’ – research on a horrific, inhumane, and unnecessary annual hunt that I am part of the campaign to end.

Shower song?
In Your Eyes – Peter Gabriel

What does the last text in your phone say?
to my younger sister – ‘you’re a bad mamma-jamma.’

Favorite quote?
‘in the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.’ -Albert Camus

And tell us one thing you think we should be getting into (a book, blog, web series, song, etc.?)
Vessels of Four Letter Words – a film detailing the frequently unobserved symptoms of OCD-Driven-Disorders. – https://youtu.be/yB05p31LL4A

My Own Private Idaho – a groundbreaking and poignant film.

Venus and the Moon – the genius music stylings of Rain Joan of Arc Phoenix and Frallya.

stylelikeu on YouTube – innovative and inspiring women seeking to encourage healthy body image and redefine beauty standards.

You can find more of Anna here: Instagram | Twitter | IMDB | Vessels of Four Letter Words | Alaska Young Monologue

 

 

“A Timbergram”

Featured

-TIJANA TAMBURIC

Two improbable possibilities

Two fixed paths

Collide in one rarity

And become uncertain

About everything that came before.

The twilight of a stagnant week

Sparkles

As a new week unfolds before us

hesitant and winding.

A casual approach

A retreat

A searching glance

The impeccable manners

Of a gentleman.

Cranberry red pulse

Beats and breaks

The façade of a rotting relationship

With another.

Bound to another and yet,

Backless, sheer, low cut

Meant for wondering eyes.

Beneath the pristine disguise;

A bare truth

Two consciences converse

An uneasy compromise.

An open hand

Just one palm reading, just one embrace

Yet- a furry warmth

Creeps up unexpected

A remarkable comfort.

Time becomes relevant to moments spent

Demystifying tea-leaf fortunes with you

Liquid touchstone.

An affair of gestures

And subtle gazes

Abruptly ended

With a Timbergram.  

Dyed with gargling emotions

Thick with questions

Heavy, pushed through my letterbox.

Engraved in wood

A flattering three lines

lay flat

 

Tijana is a writer, publisher, and an Associate Editor at I AM MARIE.
You can find more of her here.

Image Credit//Asafe

FRIDAY PLAYLIST II

Featured

It’s Friday, and we’ve got your playlist. Listen here to give your weekend that right kind of edge.

 

This Friday’s playlist is brought to you by Daniella Mason. An extraordinary singer-songwriter that can make all your left-of-center pop dreams come true. You might recognize from the Q and A Series we did a few weeks back with her. Or from her drool worthy #ootd posts here.

 

Q and A Series: Alyssa Coscarelli

Featured

Tags

, , , , ,

NAME: Alyssa Coscarelli
AGE: 22
PLACE: New York City
OCCUPATION: Fashion Writer & Instagrammer

What do your mornings look like?
Rushed and messy.

How do you calm yourself?
Deep breathing, candles, water, yoga, meditation.

What’s your favorite medium for writing?
My laptop, because I’m a millennial and stuff.

What are three things you love to do alone?
Shop, write, nap.

Where do you go to look for inspiration?
My friends, and my girl-crushes on Instagram.

What is your guilty pleasure?
Keeping Up With The Kardashians.

What do you listen to when you are sad?
Bon Iver.

What do you listen to when you are happy?
Regina Spektor.

Can’t leave the house without…
My Mophie (charging phone case).

Favorite book?
Currently reading A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara.

Movie?
500 Days of Summer.

TV show?
Right now, Felicity.

Place to shop?
The Frankie Shop (100 Stanton Street, Lower East Side).

Place to drink coffee?
WhyNot Coffee (around the corner from ^Frankie Shop)

First concert?
N*Sync

Last concert you went too?
Kanye West’s TLOP listening party at Madison Sq. Garden

What’s the one word/phrase you are guilty of using too much?
“Dead.”

What’s the last Google search on your iPhone?
“Dissertation”

Shower song?
Anything by The XX.

What does the last text in your phone say?
“oooh well that’s kinda fun!”

Favorite quote?
“In between goals is a thing called life, that has to be lived and enjoyed.”

And tell us one thing you think we should be getting into (a book, blog, web series, song, etc.?)
Charli XCX’s new EP, Vroom Vroom.

Instagram|Refinery 29

Photo Credit//The Style Line

“Freestone Gin”

Featured

-KELSEY O’BRIEN

Perry called for one long and cold winter.
The cry always came in the dead of night
as I stumbled home from another late bar crawl,
and Tanqueray gave me the bold
confidence to answer his call on first ring.

Our relationship extended no farther
than the alcohol-laced declaration,
“I need you,”
before we twisted
deep into my sheets,
tangled in each other.

The sun only ever opened
one eye to peak over
the neighbors’ freestone homes on Halsey Street,
judging us as I let
him out the front door hours later.

He’d turn at the top of the stoop,
his muddy eyes sweeping
over my placid disposition
like he would never see it again,
or as if, this time, I would part my lips
and invite him back in, ask him to stay—
but instead, we watched our breath
curl out of each other in clouds of unsaid sentiments.
I shivered in the early morning air,
quaking in unexplained emotions.

On those indigo dawns,
I often comfortably regarded
his husky figure
heaving out the gate,
disappearing around the corner
time and time again,
until once he turned onto Weirfield Street
and never called again.

Sometimes a gin and tonic’s bitter
juniper perfume or the unbearable
solitude of 4 A.M.
guides my fingers to pull up his number.
But now I know the need for another’s
body dissipates after the sun rises.

You can find more of Kelsey here: Instagram | Twitter Tumblr

Image Credit//The Neo-Noir

FRIDAY PLAYLIST I

Featured

 

Listen to playlist here. Preferably, with an iced coffee in hand.

 

P.S. You might recognize a few names on the playlist from their Q and A’s with us.

P.S.S. Shout out to Kami Baergen for our iced coffee, lipgloss, and cig doodle.

Q and A Series: Daniella Mason

Featured

NAME: DANIELLA MASON
AGE: 27
PLACE: NASHVILLE/LA
OCCUPATION: MUSICIAN (AND ACTOR)

“Writing, singing and performing live are my bread and butter; I do my own little brand of pop music.”

What do your mornings look like?  
Laying in bed for as long as possible scouring the Internet. My husband is usually up before me and makes me a hand pour which is the sweetest, but then he always ends up mad at me because I usually don’t finish it.  Also, mornings are generally difficult for me as I sleep like the dead.

How do you calm yourself?
I pray a lot. And then I try to distinguish and bring order to what is going on in my head; separating truth from lie. That usually centers me. I’m first an internal processor, then a verbal processor, so if something really big is consuming my thoughts, I do all of the above but then I inevitably have to start talking. Usually my husband gets the brunt of my “processing”.

What’s your favorite medium for writing?
I’d like to say a pen and paper but it’s not fast enough for my brain. Honestly, it’s my iPhone. I have thousands of notes of lyrics saved on there. One time I lost them all in a faulty backup. I cried. I guess I should graduate to a big girl notebook.

What are three things you love to do alone?
Catch up on my shows, write/produce, cook.

Where do you go to look for inspiration? 
I’m inspired by the world around me and I’m obsessed with telling the truth. Pretty much everything I write or create comes from my own experiences or the things I see around me.  Every once in awhile I’ll write about people I know, but usually they don’t know it. Or maybe I’m not as sneaky as I think??

What is your guilty pleasure?
All things Bachelor/Bachelorette/Bachelor in Paradise. (But I feel no guilt, so…)

What do you listen to when you are sad?
Damien Rice if I want to sit in the sadness for a bit and not run away from it. Bethel Music when I’m ready to lift myself up. Also, “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles. Just, tears.

What do you listen to when you are happy?
Justin Bieber, duh.

Can’t leave the house without…
My iPhone! Literally everything is on that thing.

Favorite book?
I DON’T KNOW! I can tell you what’s next on my reading list, though! Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert and Accidental Saints by Nadia Bolz-Weber.

Movie?
Eternal Sunshine

TV show?
Friends

Place to shop?
ASOS

Place to drink coffee?
Crema (Nashville)

First concert?
Switchfoot

Last concert you went too?
Lianne La Havas

What’s the one word/phrase you are guilty of using too much?
“like”

What’s the last Google search on your iPhone?
“Smock pun”

Shower song?
Hotline Bling

What does the last text in your phone say?
“WHY CANT I HAVE HIS CHEEKS ALL THE TIME” (to my friend about her baby)

Favorite quote?
Right now it’s: “Make peace with your body, it’s not manmade, there are no flaws, there are no mistakes.” – Warsan Shire

And tell us one thing you think we should be getting into (a book, blog, web series, song, etc.?)
Mura Masa. He’s this kid that lives on an island off the coast of France and his music is making my life.

You can find more of Daniella here: Website | Instagram| Twitter

Image Credit// Bree

“Styrofoam Cups”

Featured

-BIANCA MONICA

I(a).

We are drinking

out of Styrofoam cups

as big as our faces,

standing beneath

Christmas lights

hanging

above the bar.

“I feel like I’m in college,” he says.

His knees squeeze my leg,

beer spills down my chin,

his thumb on my face

is my napkin.

I secretly wish this beer

would refill

this cup

for 4 more hours.

We are still.

Like boats in a harbor.

Except for my stomach,

mimicking tidal waves

every

second

our eyes flicker like

lightning bugs

in mason jars.

Our mouths and tongues

move together and

everything

feels just as perfect

as our glistening coats

and red noses.

I(b).

We are drinking

out of Styrofoam cups

off Bedford at a bar

called Rosemary’s

and I can’t drink

any of it, but I fake sip and

smile and he cocks his head

and laughs lightly and

thumbs the beer foam off

the top of my lip and cups

the side of my face

and kisses me

again. and again.

II(a).

I am drinking out of

a Styrofoam cup. It is coffee

and it is morning. I stare

ghost faced at my computer screen

watching the cursor

tick in the body

of an e-mail addressed to you.

It feels like a fishing hook

lodged itself in the back of my

cheek and I am tense and hurting

in all of the places that hold

feelings.

II(b).

I am lonely and you,

are not. Her heart is a minefield,

mine is-

You can’t do this, but you are. I’m

not that girl, but I am. You are a

terrible person and so am I.

I could keep going but the page

Is as full as my eyes are

Bianca the creative consultant of her own company, a kick ass singer/songwriter, and the Editor for About Today.

You can find more of B here: Website | Instagram

Image Credit//Owen Wilson

Q and A Series: Liza Anne

Featured

Tags

, , , , ,

NAME: LIZA ANNE
AGE: 22
PLACE: NASHVILLE
OCCUPATION: SINGER-SONGWRITER

Liza Anne is a singer-songwriter that tours full time. One time she accidentally ordered a black coffin instead of a black coffee and she hasn’t figured out if she’s okay since then. Liza has been living in Nashville for almost 4 years now but has been traveling for the past two for music and to come up with stories so when she’s old she has something other than recipes to tell kids who decide to sit on her front porch.

What do your mornings look like?
Groggy voice and sour attitude until about 10, usually. Then I’ll ease into being able to make kind expressions towards people and rational decisions about things. Mornings are hard. Ideally, I’d like to have coffee + yoga + an hour or so of reading and meditating and quiet before I start a writing session, email binge, or any calls.

How do you calm yourself?
Ha. Still figuring this one out. Being alive is a lot. But, really. Acupuncture, essential oils and baths. There isn’t a thing in the world a long bath cannot cure.

What’s your favorite medium for writing?
Chapters of books I’ll probably never publish. And, songs. The fact that my favourite medium of expression has somehow become my job is strange.

What are three things you love to do alone?
Everything. But, specifically traveling, going to movies and eating in nice restaurants.

Where do you go to look for inspiration?
Places. I never want to stop seeing and being open to the world changing and moving around all my thoughts and comforts and ideas of life.

What is your guilty pleasure?
Bad television and those massage chairs in the mall and at airports. Oh, and macaroni and cheese and Sour Patch Watermelons.

What do you listen to when you are sad?
I guess it depends what I’m sad over. If it’s over someone, I’d say Joni Mitchell’s Blue – if it’s over a place I miss, I’d say Laura Marling’s Once I Was An Eagle. And, if I’m just sad over life in general I listen to Keaton Henson’s Romantic Works or old Sylvia Plath interviews.

What do you listen to when you are happy?
Whatever reminds me of the people I love most and then The Cranberries. Always The Cranberries.

Can’t leave the house without…
My phone and my Moleskine and whatever book I’m reading – at the moment it’s A Very Easy Death by Simone Beauvoir.

Favorite book? (right now)
Not That Kind Of Girl by Lena Dunham

Movie?
Runaway Bride

TV show?
Gilmore Girls

Place to shop?
Online

Place to drink coffee?
Crema

First concert?
Hilary Duff

Last concert you went too?
Borns

What’s the one word/phrase you are guilty of using too much?
Literally

What’s the last Google search on your iPhone?
“Is there gluten in whiskey?”

Shower song?
Don’t You Remember – Adele

What does the last text in your phone say?
“Kind of a day drinker so earlier is fine with me.” (I’m fine, I swear)

Favorite quote?
“In all things we are merely in a way.” -Albert Camus

And tell us one thing you think we should be getting into (a book, blog, web series, song, etc.?)
Lena Dunham’s Woman of the Hour podcast or anything Lena always.

You can find more of Liza here: Website | Instagram | Spotify

Image of Liza taken by Carl Osbourn.

“Because I Am Female”

Featured

-ALEX TSE

 

I will not keep quiet

for you to be heard.

My voice will not wait for a

question

loud room

busy street

to be brought forth.

I will not have my kindness

confused with fragility

or failure.

I will not apologize

for making you feel small

or for the space my

body

anger

hea(r)t

take up.

I will not contort myself

nor swallow my pain

because you do not know what to do

with yours.

I will not restrict myself

because you are tired

already satisfied.

 

I will not I will

not I will not

carry your weight

drowning

to save you.

 

Alex is a writer, performer, and co-founder of The Little Fox Collective. She lives in Brooklyn and enjoys experimental theater, baths, and internet creeping.

You can find more of her here: Instagram

Image Credit//Asafe

Q and A Series: Eliza Sim

Featured

NAME: ELIZA SIM
AGE: 26
PLACE: NEW YORK, NEW YORK
OCCUPATION: ARTIST

Briefly, Tell us who you are what you do?
By day, I work at an ad agency in SoHo. I look after the social media channels of some pretty fantastic brands. I strategize, ideate, and create. By night, I have some extra creative fun by making necklaces, going to galleries, drinking an ocean’s worth of coffee, and eating my way through NYC.

What do your mornings look like?
I try to keep my mornings calm, since my days tend to be pretty nuts and there are people encroaching on your personal space the second you step out of your 4th floor walk-up. I wake up a bit earlier than necessary so that I don’t have to rush. I make a smoothie, religiously. Sit, reflect, and read a little. Struggle to find an outfit. And then I’m out the door, and I won’t stop going until I come home at night.

How do you calm yourself?
Essential oils. I’m in love with both energizing scents and relaxing scents. But, I love my diffuser (Muji, if you’re curious). I’m also a big advocate for at-home beauty treatments. It makes you feel nice and gives you a little extra glow. Sheet masks, face steaming (with essential oils), and the like. But if I’m at work or have to be out in a pinch and I need immediate calming, I just remind myself of all the beautiful people in my life, and that if whatever is stressing me out goes south – it wouldn’t even matter because I’d still have them. Big picture thinking :).

What’s your favorite medium for writing?
Pen and paper.

What are three things you love to do alone?
Wine + movie nights at home, getting my nails done, and reading.

Where do you go to look for inspiration?
Nature. I’m obsessed with flowers, and I love to be inspired by plants. Real life inspiration in NYC – Chelsea Flower Markets near my house.

Other than that, I must say, I’m a bit of a Pinterest addict for street style and beauty inspo.

What is your guilty pleasure?
Ice cream & bacon.

What do you listen to when you are sad?
Instrumental music (Nils Frahm is a great pick), or music that I associate with a particularly sad time in life.

What do you listen to when you are happy?
Upbeat, sometimes quirky music. My office listens to Top 40 music, and a lot of rap. So, I’ve also come to subconsciously know everything on Top 40 – be that a good or a bad thing. I also really secretly but not so secretly love Japanese Pop music (shoutout to Pamyu Pamyu).

Can’t leave the house without…
Lipstick. I’m an addict.

FLASH QUESTIONS (One answer even if you have a thousand!):
 
Favorite book?
1Q84 – Haruki Murakami

Movie?
Harry Potter. Always.

TV show?
Chef’s Table

Place to shop?
Need Supply

Place to drink coffee?
Market Lane Coffee (Melbourne)

First concert?
Hanson. That’s real.

Last concert you went too?
Purity Ring

What’s the one word/phrase you are guilty of using too much?
“It’s blowing my mind” (hand motion included)

What’s the last Google search on your iPhone?
“Husk Nashville” – I was making a reservation for tonight with my mom. FRIED CHICKEN!

Shower song?
Right now? Anything Beiber.

What does the last text in your phone say?
“We will have to leave at 4. Traffic will be horrid!” – My mom worried about getting to the aforementioned Husk reservation on time.

Favorite quote?
“Hustle and heart will set you apart.” – follow my lovely sister-in-law, @MmerciEncore, on Insta for quote inspo

And tell us one thing you think we should be getting into (a book, blog, web series, song, etc.?)
If you haven’t watched the Chef’s Table series, it is insanely inspiring and gives me some serious hope for life. Seeing other people’s passions come to life does a lot for your own passions.

You can find more of Eliza here: Instagram

Oh, and here is some of her artwork to swoon over:

eliza 2

eliza 1 eliza 3

“Untitled I & II”

Featured

Tags

, , , , ,

-SIZZY ROCKET

Untitled I

I moved to New York and I went to the store and bought hair bleach and turquoise dye

I sat naked in front of a plastic mirror and watched a streak of my long, dark hair turn bright orange

Sipping on warm Vodka and grapefruit juice, pretending to be expensive

So messed up, I want you here

I was 18 and I was free, and I was reckless

How was I supposed to know

That the same impulse that drove me to the drugstore for bleach

Would eventually ruin me

 

Untitled II

sometimes I want to know what you did with the note I gave you

other times I pretend you keep it in a drawer

and you will find it there months from now

and remember me like a song you haven’t heard in awhile

 

unnamed-2

 

Sizzy Rocket is a singer, songwriter, and glitter diva. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.

You can find more of Sizzy here: Instagram | Website

Images of Sizzy taken by Chellise Michael.

 

Q and A Series: Paris Carney

Featured

Tags

, ,

NAME: PARIS CARNEY
AGE: 28
PLACE: LOS ANGELES
OCCUPATION: SINGER/SONGWRITER

Paris Carney is a singer and songwriter born in NYC and raised in both NYC and Los Angeles. She is a trained jazz vocalist and now loves to encoporate her love for jazz in her writings and recordings. She has toured both in the US and internationally singing background vocals for various acts ( ie. CARNEY, Jonas Brothers, Hailee Steinfeld ) but is now focusing mainly on her solo project. Lyrics, melodies, and connecting deeply to others are very important to her.

What do your mornings look like?
I usually try to journal about three pages, handwritten, right when I wake up while I eat breakfast. It’s something I picked up from a book called The Artist’s Way. I’m super critical of myself and in my own head, so it helps me to get some of the negative out and often times ends with a positive outlook unintentionally, which I think is so cool.

How do you calm yourself?
Most often by breathing deeply and praying.

What’s your favorite medium for writing?
I love writing songs because when I add a melody I can portray even more emotion, even when a lyric is so simple.

What are three things you love to do alone?

  • Write
  • Watch cooking shows
  • Write some more.

I like to do most other things with my loved ones.

Where do you go to look for inspiration?
I love fashion blogs like TomboyKC and Whowhatwear. I usually feel really inspired and remember random things I already have in my closet that I can put together for fun. I find it oddly calming.

What is your guilty pleasure?
Anything Olsen related.

What do you listen to when you are sad?
Bethel, Hillsong, Fiona Apple, Coldplay.

What do you listen to when you are happy?
The same + Spice girls, Hanson, anything 90’s to early 2000’s.

Can’t leave the house without…
Checking to make sure the stove is off… multiple times, even when I haven’t used it. No joke. (OCD confessions)

FLASH QUESTIONS (One answer even if you have a thousand!):
Favorite book?
The Worry Workbook by Frank Minirth

Movie?
Billy Madison

TV show?
Jane the Virgin

Place to shop?
All Saints (I have basically nothing from there but I love it, ha!)

Place to drink coffee?
Caffe Vita 

First concert?
Spice Girls

Last concert you went to?
DNCE

What’s the one word/phrase you are guilty of using too much?
“Literally”

What’s the last Google search on your iPhone?
Bloomingdales.com (A link to Nespresso that my friend sent me)

Shower song?
“Sunday Kind of Love” by Etta James

What does the last text in your phone say?
Yay!!!! Xxxxx – Lindy Law 😉

Favorite quote?
“Treat others the way you want to be treated.”

And tell us one thing you think we should be getting into (a book, blog, web series, song, etc.?)
I love the TV show “The Great British Bake Off”

You can fall more in love with Paris here: SoundCloud, Instagram, Twitter

Image of Paris taken by Ray Spears.

 

“Little”

Featured

Tags

, , ,

-NICOLE POMEROY

We hid little things

        in coat pockets—

a mouse vertebrae,

a sewing needle,

our father’s secret women

The muffled voices kicked

 

                                down

 

into the floor boards

Every creek in that old house:

        some whimper of a child

        or maybe the spineless mouse—

 

their cadences kindred,

their ghosts malformed

All the turned soil in the yard

        the blistered aftermath

        of treasure hunts

 

For each new memory we found, an old handful

        was buried:

 

(1. The way he never smelled like our mother)

(2. Fishing on the docks of Lake Michigan)

(3. Tic-tac-toe in the sawdust of the garage floor)

 

their calloused roots

cut through the concrete basement

those whimpers

the ghosts of mice

their slouched heads

        the hidden

        little

        things

 

finally peeking

       through

the knots on hardwood,

waiting for a proper eulogy

 

waiting

waiting

waiting

 

 

Nicole Pomeroy is a published poet and editor with an immense passion for the nuances of language. Her work has appeared in the poetry chapbook, Boys, Girls, as well as several literary journals including The Fictioneer. She currently lives in Seattle, Washington.

You can find more of Nicole here: Instagram  and read more of Nicole’s poetry, here.

Image Credit//Asafe

Q and A Series: Gia Vangieri

Featured

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

NAME: GIA VANGIERI
AGE: 27
PLACE: LOS ANGELES
OCCUPATION: DIRECTOR, WRITER, ACTRESS

Briefly, Tell us who you are what you do?
Hi, I’m Gia. I’m a 27 year old filmmaker living in Silver Lake. Since moving to Los Angeles in 2012, I’ve produced an award-winning play (Sewer Rats at Sea, Best of Fringe 2013), directed a music video that premiered on Billboard (Daniella Mason’s “Shade of You”), and created an eight-part web series about how much I still have to figure out titled How to Not, airing on Vessel every Thursday, all winter long. I’m currently in pre-production for my first two feature films, an independent horror (slated to film early 2016) and an independent sci-fi film (slated to film fall of 2016).

What do your mornings look like?
If I don’t immediately connect with the world and get moving, I feel stuck in the mud all day. It’s something I’ve recently learned about myself. My mornings look something like this: Wake up. Coffee and read Slate.com or watch the Daily Show. Listen to indieWire podcast on the walk to Bar Method. Bar Method. Walk home. Shower. Eat. Feed the dogs. Start working.
Alternatively: sleep in forever, let it all burn down.

How do you calm yourself?
“Inhale love. Exhale that which does not serve you.” Over and over.

What are three things you love to do alone?
I am an introvert by nature, so I like to do most things alone. My most favorite things though have to be:

  1. Going to the Atwater farmer’s market
  2. Cooking
  3. Laying naked in completely clean sheets and listening to Throwing Shade – the podcast.

Where do you go to look for inspiration?
Most of the time, it’s the people in the world around me. The friend telling me a story about a text that hasn’t been answered. The fully grown man holding up a tiny, fluffy, marshmallow dog like the scene in the Lion King in front of Dinosaur Coffee in earnest. The budding teen girl in the Turkish airport eyeing my leggings and t-shirt after having fought with her mother that her burka isn’t on right.
Sometimes I go hunt it down myself: Pinterest, Aperture Magazine, Nan Goldin photos, Kubrick films.

What is your guilty pleasure?
I don’t feel guilty about any of my pleasures. They’re definitely not all hip, but I feel bad about none of them.

What do you listen to when you are sad?
Currently:
Rootless Tree – Damien Rice
Cavalier – James Vincent McMorrow
A Case of You – Joni Mitchell
Among the Leaves – Sun Kil Moon
Basic Instinct – The Acid
Stay – Rihanna

What do you listen to when you are happy?
Currently:
G.O.M.D – J. Cole
Divisionary (Do The Right Thing) – Ages and Ages
Cowboy Guilt – Torres
Where is My Mind? – The Pixies
One Million Lovers – The Growlers

Can’t leave the house without…
My license.

FLASH QUESTIONS (One answer even if you have a thousand!):
 
Favorite book?
The Stranger by Albert Camus

Movie?
The Shining

TV show?
Fargo – Season 2

Place to shop?
Bucks and Does.

Place to drink coffee?
Sitting on top of the heating vent in my hallway

First concert?
Destiny’s Child opening for Christina Aguilera

Last concert you went too?
Solange’s dance party at Tenants of the Trees. She sang. I am still tingling.

What’s the one word/phrase you are guilty of using too much?
“just”… I’m just checking in… I’m just emailing to see… I just [am trying to seem more likable and less annoying]. I need to stop.

Shower song?
True Affection – The Blow

What does the last text in your phone say?
“Expedia loves me because I use them so much.”

Favorite quote?
“Make it personal, tell the truth, then write ‘burn this’ on it.” – Lanford Wilson

And tell us one thing you think we should be getting into (a book, blog, web series, song, etc.?)
vessel.com/howtonot which is my open love letter (in the form of a web series) to the late-night-snacking insomniac who is feeling like no one gets it. (We do!)

You can find more of Gia here: How to Not  and Instagram

Image of Gia by Anna Demarco.

Q and A Series: Kendall Custer

Featured

Tags

, , , , ,

NAME: KENDALL CUSTER
AGE: 22
PLACE: LOS ANGELES
OCCUPATION: SINGER/SONGWRITER

What do your mornings look like?
Wake up, check my texts/emails, and make coffee.

How do you calm yourself?
Listen to music, call my mother, or pray. Most likely, I’ll call my producer, Shevy Smith, in a frenzy and say, “This happened. I’m driving up to the canyon now.” We usually sit on her kitchen counter for two hours and talk about it, then spend the rest of the evening writing about it. That’s the catalyst to most of the songs on my record.

What’s your favorite medium for writing?
Songwriting.

What are three things you love to do alone?
Go to Highland Park for an afternoon, rap “Clique” by Kanye in my car, hibernate in my room when people are in my apartment.

Where do you go to look for inspiration?
Majority of the inspiration I’ve used for my record has come from my life and the different experiences I go through. Real life inspiration is my favorite to find and write about. However, that can be treacherous at times. I’ve learned that I can’t rely only on romance, friendships, adventure etc. for inspiration because that can get messy. I continually write, whether there is adventure surrounding me or not.

What is your guilty pleasure?
Buzzfeed quizzes, One Tree Hill, guacamole/Mexican food, Hakeem Lyon from Empire.

What do you listen to when you are sad?
Songs to make me sadder: Leonard Cohen, Song for Zula by Phosphorescent, Johnny Cash, Snow Patrol, The 1975, old country songs I grew up on.

What do you listen to when you are happy?
Right now, Bleachers, King Krule, Ryn Weaver, Loyle Carner, Kanye, Borns, The 1975, Mac DeMarco, any rap – bad or good.

Can’t leave the house without…
My cellphone and a scrunchie.

And whatever else you want to tell us… Like, what are we missing that we should be getting into?
Read: Just Kids by Patti Smith.
Watch: Blue Crush, Almost Famous, Christmas Vacation, Remember the Titans, Place Beyond the Pines and Dumb & Dumber. I can’t choose one.
Shop: Reformation. Every piece is classic, structured, but just enough of a statement. It’s good whether you’re Blair or Serena. The Heyoka Hideout in Topanga Canyon is a bomb vintage store though. I’ve found some gems there.

More on my process:
I don’t have a regulated process that I one hundred percent follow in my writing other than just constantly writing. The record I’m finishing up right now has cultivated songs of me trying to do the right thing and be a good person. My lyrics mainly reflect on the principles I was raised on and whether or not I continue to stay true to those principles while navigating growing up.

Also, my favorite quote is, “Do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you’ll be criticized for it anyway.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Kendall Custer currently lives in Los Angeles where she is finishing up her album, going to school, and getting involved in as many creative projects as possible, including helping out behind the scenes with ATJ.

Find more of Kendall here: Website, Video, News, Instagram

Q and A Series: Kami Baergen

Featured

Tags

, , , , ,

NAME: KAMI BAERGEN
AGE: 28
PLACE: BROOKLYN/ NASHVILLE
OCCUPATION: ARTIST
MEDIUM: LIFE

What do your mornings look like?
Early. The first thing I do is make myself coffee and usually eat an apple with nut butter. Then ease into my day with some news and listening to music. I prefer to be in solitude the first couple hours of each day. I allot myself time to fumble around the internet and then set a time to start working (drawing, emailing, etc).

How do you calm yourself?
Incense (palo santo), music, tea, and a shower. Lately, I’ve been learning (thanks to my dear friend Julie) that a lot of times when we find ourselves worked up, sad, frustrated, in a pit, it is because we’re focusing too much on the past or on the future instead of the present. Reminding myself of that has definitely been a huge help to calming down and taking in the great things that are happening around me.

What’s your favorite medium for writing?
There’s something soothing about pen and paper. However, typing allows my hands to keep up with my brain, and as it’s all over the place, technology allows me to go back and forth between thoughts without having to scribble a million carets in.

What are three things you love to do alone?  
Draw/paint/create, visit art museums, and grocery shop.

Where do you go to look for inspiration?
BOOKS!
Whatever I’m reading at the moment – a lot of times certain sentences or the way a few words are strung together will give me a visual that I want to depict, or send me on a trail of creative ideas. I’m currently working through the Barron In the Trees by Calvino (sloooowwwwwly) and it has set me on a fruit kick!
Decorative Ornament by Owen Jones
Field Guide to Pacific Sea Shells
Anatomy Books
Children’s Books
INTERNET:
Booooooom.com

What is your guilty pleasure?
BBC MINI SERIES ERA PIECE DRAMAS or whatever they’re called. OMG. I’m a total sucker.

What do you listen to when you are sad?
– Devendra Banhart’s song, “First Song for B” and the last few songs on his album, “Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon”
– The Tallest Man On Earth’s album, “The Wild Hunt”
– Philip Glass, “Metamorphosis”

What do you listen to when you are happy?
BOSSA NOVA.
Anything surfy!
Sons of the Pioneers

Can’t leave the house without…
Blistex Lip Medex lip balm pot +  a crystal i wear that’s from a little shop in Chinatown (NYC) for peace, prosperity and positivity + and I’m always wearing my great grandmother’s wedding ring.

Favorite book, movie, tv show, place to shop, place to drink coffee, and whatever else you want to tell us … Like, what are we missing that we should be getting into?  (sorry,  this may be lengthy)
Favorites:
BOOK: Perelandra by C.S. Lewis, Rainer Maria Rilke’s, Letters To A Young Poet + all the Harry Potters!
MOVIE: Romeo + Juliet and Hook
TV: Bob’s Burgers
DRINK: Coffee soda by Matchless (can be found at Steadfast + Crema, NASHVILLE + soon WWW)
FOOD: Soup, chips + salsa
COFFEE: Crema/Steadfast (Nashville), Stumptown at Ace Hotel NYC, Toby’s on 5th + 20th.
BAKERY: Grandaisy Bakery on 72nd + Broadway, NYC
CHIPS: Pepperoncini kettle chips
Candy: Peanut M&M’s or Justins Peanut Butter Cups
SMELL: First smell of coffee in the morning, the ocean, garden roses, palo santo, patchouli with citrus, first cut grass of the season, construction site, and first rain on warm pavement of the summer.
SOCIAL MEDIA: Twitter
CHOCOLATE: Pop Rock Chipotle Chocolate is the greatest thing of all time.
OTHER BOOKS:
Art & Fear by David Bayless and Ted Orland
Frankenstein
The Little Mermaid by Hans Christen Anderson
LISTEN: RadioLab(podcast) episodes “Falling” and “Color”
MUSIC: Lately I’ve been listening to lots of Charles Bradley, Broncho, Tame Impala, and Glass Animals, War on Drugs, and Tibetan Meditation Music

KAMI BAERGEN is an artist (illustrator and painter) living in Nashville TN. She creates because she feels empty without it. She likes to make things that make her laugh, as well as things she finds interesting. She loves gold, confetti, collections, and sweater tees. She’s 28 years old, but she simultaneously feels 14 and 42. She’s a cynic and a lover. 

Find more of Kami Here:
Instagram Tumblr Twitter Etsy Website

“I’ve Always Felt a Bit Like the Lady of Shalott”

Featured

– LINDSEY BUTTON

I am twenty-three, almost twenty-four. It is strange to think about who I was when I was twenty-one: a very different girl. The past two years have been a concentrated growing period that has left me with a feeling of uncertainty. I often jokingly call Nashville my purgatory. But more accurately, this phase of my life is a purgatory, of sorts. I just happen to be experiencing it in this city—the city I made some of my first best friends in, the city with all of my lovers, the traces of them still seen on this corner and that sidewalk, that house, that street.

At twenty-one, I liked drinking tea and talking about books with the other girls in my classes. My life was very female-driven. All of my closest friends were girls. I didn’t grow up with guy friends and I had never dated a boy and had only kissed a couple of them. The girls I had begun to spend time with in college were similar in these regards. They were extremely intelligent fellow English majors and I found enough fulfillment in these types of platonic friendships and the life I found in literature, that I didn’t think too much about sexual relationships. That’s not to say I wasn’t aware of my sexuality. I always knew there was a deep-seated sexuality that was a vital part of my personality that could, I believed, be tamed by the intellect. So I focused all of my energy, some misplaced sexual energy no doubt, into reading about centuries past and writing about experiences that were not my own.

Above my bed, there is a painting of the Lady of Shalott (the one by John William Waterhouse). I bought this at the time I speak of—a time I like to think was the most Romantic period of my life thus far—when it was only composed of books and friendships with intellectual girls. If you are not familiar with the Tennyson poem, it is about a mysterious woman who weaves in a tower from images she sees in a mirror but is told that if she ever looks out the actual window, towards Camelot, she will be cursed. “And moving thro’ a mirror clear/ That hangs before her all the year,/ shadows of the world appear.” The poem goes on to say, “She hath no loyal knight and true….But in her web she still delights/to weave mirror’s magic sights…” It is a conflict of creating art based on a secondary account of the world vs. participating in the living world at the sake of losing those artistic abilities.

I felt as though I was the Lady of Shalott in some regards. For as long as The Lady of Shalott is weaving the images she sees in the mirror, she is happy, innocent, and the highest form of an artist—one that lives more in her art than in her life. But the moment she gets distracted by an outside force (Sir Lancelot riding by) and cannot resist looking out the window, her weaved image floats apart, the mirror breaks, and the curse is said to be upon her. She has participated in reality and her art has suffered for it. It is a similar concept that is portrayed when Oscar Wilde says, “Good artists exist simply in what they make, and consequently are perfectly uninteresting in what they are….But inferior poets are absolutely fascinating….He lives the poetry that he cannot write. The others write the poetry that they dare not realize.”

My point in all of this is that I felt I created better art when my life itself was more solitary and uninteresting. My books were my mirror. My writing was my web. But one day I found myself saying, “I am half-sick of shadows,” and my knight appeared (though he was not exactly a Sir Lancelot type). The days since have been that long drift down the river towards Camelot.

When I was twenty-two, I found myself in a relationship, in love for the first time. The short version of this story is that the whole thing confused me and that confusion led me to be a poor participant in the relationship. Thus, the relationship itself was short-lived (though our love for each other was not) and after it was over, I felt like I had looked towards Camelot and that there was no going back to my lonely tower. My schooldays were over; I could no longer hide behind my books. The mirror had broken. I could only move forward.

That leads me to this purgatory of uncertainty I find myself in. After graduating, without the assigned essays, consistent schedules, the novels I must read in a week, and the intense group discussions, I felt lost. I no longer had interest in reading or writing. I would try to write and all that would come out would be about my time spent with my ex-boyfriend and how it all made me feel, as if I could hardly remember what I was doing before I met him. It’s true I was in love with him, but it was perhaps more true that I couldn’t get past the ways he had somehow changed me. It is hard to let go of a person who reshapes the way you think about yourself and life. Having that type of deep emotional and sexual attachment with someone set off a course of changes in life. I became addicted to wanting to have my mind changed. If one person could change me in one way, how could another reshape me? “I hope I am always a different person than I was the month before,” I scratched in a journal once.

But I couldn’t translate my experiences into fiction. And it was hard to write about it in nonfiction without feeling obsessive and then becoming self-loathing about my own self-obsessions. So I stopped writing—except for the articles I was getting paid to write for a magazine and a few feminist essays I wrote for a friend’s zine—but I felt I had lost my intense imaginative abilities that I couldn’t help but have my whole life. No longer was I writing poems everyday or consumed with thoughts of what my characters were doing in their alternate realities (perhaps some would say I had just become more sane). The only books I read that year were The Complete Book of Witchcraft and Lolita, the former helped to open my mind and regain a sense of spirituality, the latter gave me a reference point to my own heartbreak-related nihilism.

As you can imagine, I had gotten very far from the girl that wore floral dresses and drank too much tea. I now perhaps drank too much gin. I wasn’t like a lot of my friends after graduation. I wasn’t networking, I had no interest in a 9-5 job, and I had no interest in being in a relationship that would lead to marriage. I was, what seemed to them, in the midst of a mental breakdown. I had come down from my tower, and I was determined that if I was now subjected to reality and experiencing life, I would experience it in ways I could learn and grow as an individual. I suppose you could call it a cultivation of self, or more simply a time period of personal and sexual exploration. But since I found I could no longer write and read with the passion I had formerly, I focused my energy on making my life an artwork of sorts (in a very Dorian Gray manner), or seeing the story in my own life, since I could no longer seem to create one beyond myself.

The girls that I had once been very close with no longer felt they could connect with me. This resulted in me losing the closeness of a few friendships which, at first, I felt bad about, as if I had done something wrong. But in truth, I felt more looked down upon. I do not believe this was intentional, but there is a type of judgment women receive from other women when they step outside of the boundaries that are expected of them. To some of my friends, I was just “Poor Lindsey, who dated too many people, who was maybe homosexual but maybe not, who maybe drank too much and didn’t have a real job.” In their eyes, I had fallen behind them—I had ceased to grow up in the midst of marriage proposals and “real” jobs.

It is the “in-between” that is terrifying to many—this purgatory I speak of. In Gothic Literature criticism, there is a term called “liminal space.” It is used to describe things that are not here nor there, which is often the source of terror. Take Dracula for instance, he is neither fully dead nor fully alive and his sexuality could easily be questioned. Things we cannot fit into categories are scarier to us. During this time, I began to feel a bit like Dracula. I felt as if my old friends, who I still adored, were somewhat scared of me and the influence I could have on them because they weren’t sure who I was anymore. Like Dracula, I was constantly trapped in some in-between state. “Everything I do is not one or the other,/ but both, and neither./ I have the sharp bone that will plunge/ and the pomegranate lips that will suck the blood,” I tried to explain later on in a mess of a poem I wrote.

This judgment I sometimes feel leads me to the other way I relate to the Lady of Shalott. There are many ways you can read that poem, but one of the more common readings is its representation of the ideal of the Victorian woman (some ideals that are still prevalent in expectations for young women). Judgment is the “curse” that came upon The Lady of Shalott when she made the decision to participate more actively in life. When you decide to live your life differently than what people expect, you are punished for it in one way or another. There was no real curse upon The Lady of Shalott; it was only that people had convinced her there was. The curse was only something constructed by society that she had believed was true about herself.

My friend Lindy, who had once been a fellow fairy-girl with her tea and books beside me in my British literature courses, who has been through far more life-altering changes than I have and who is often the supportive rock for what I begin to worry is my insanity, was reassuring me only two hours before I began this essay, “You’re figuring out who you are and what you like. Never apologize for that.”

The inevitable answer to avoid having an ending like The Lady of Shalott: don’t allow yourself to believe the judgment you are subjected to and learn to embrace the way your creative outlets change. Balancing life and art is a complicated relationship. Seeing the art in one’s own life and blending the two together is even more complicated. I’ve learned that to be a functioning artist within society and not an outsider artist listening to prophecies in the woods, you cannot ignore life, and you cannot become an invisible vessel—you are a human with feelings. Do not condemn yourself for also wanting to live. Do not let others condemn you for changing. As Joni Mitchell once said, “They’re going to crucify you for staying the same. If you change, they’re going to crucify you for changing. But staying the same is boring. And change is interesting.”

Lindsey Button lives in Nashville, TN. Her interest in writing can be attributed to her childhood in the mountains of Tennessee, her interest in mysticism, and reading too much Oscar Wilde at an impressionable age. She enjoys examining issues about the creative process, gender/sexuality, and spirituality in her writing. Her writing can also be found in NATIVE and Esoteric.

Find more of Lindsey here: Instagram

Image Credit//Asafe

“Invisible Boy”

Featured

– P.C. SAXBY

i have never seen fingers quite as bony as yours.
they’re long and
spider-like and i want them to
touch me in places even i
don’t want to or would dare to
go.

i need the way your neck stretches
when your caw erupts from the
length of elongated skin and tunnel.
i could bite it in an instant.
so hard in desperation
i might draw blood.

like cindy lou who with your upturned
nose so delicate in its point and yet
so complimentary to the angle
you prefer to be photographed at.
i made that last part up.
you’re too nice and you don’t care
not about celebrity.
not about the girls.
not even the ones
who cry for you.

i wonder on weekdays if you’re tired.
i wonder in the rain if you’re wet.
i wonder the weather in LA, is it treating you right?
do you have a tan yet?
you’re starting to look like james dean.

i’ve shed tears in this state and others for
your brown eyes. please don’t tell
a soul.
– invisible boy, part one

i’ve talked about you like an epidemic.
afraid to speak a word but
dying
to let everyone know how
dangerous

you are to me.

i didn’t even like you first.
first i thought you were boring.
and for the longest time you were.
and then one day your arms flexed
and another day you smiled sarcastic
and another you had a scar on your cheek.

you came up like acid vomit.
burning me black
and catching in my uvula
choking me
in the sickest of ways
like you’ve done
like you do.

afraid of being fully in love with you i
fled. i denied your existence
to anyone that would listen.
not many people would listen.
so i breathe you at dusk kiss your
photo before bed and
like salvador dali reimagine our
romance like melting glass
in the dead of night.
– invisible boy, part two

i am not any type of person who could deserve you.

you brick shithouse.
you golden adonis.
with your atlas shoulders.

i’ve driven miles to watch you.
watch your eyebrows raise
like that time i saw you on tv. you’re doing it.
you’re seducing.
you’re seduction.

there’s a specific pheromone dedicated to capturing me and it lives in your tongue.
you have no idea
while i wonder if you’re real.

your cheeks cutting glass is my heart’s desire
my world on it’s ear
my hope to be better.
my wish to be yours.

i am not any type of person who could forget you.
and so i dream in colour.
– invisible boy, part three

P.C. SAXBY is a poet, playwright, actor, screenwriter hybrid living in Brooklyn. She is a student of alchemy, and a serious devotee of filmmaking, make-up, and the french revolution. Though you can read some of her journalistic endevours (under her given name of Lex Briscuso) on newscult.com, this is her first creative publication.

Find more of Saxby here: Instagram Twitter

Image Credit//Asafe

“Sleep walking”

Featured

Tags

, ,

– ANITA ROJAS CARROLL 

I.
I am so tired of writing

About you.

I have oceans inside me surging
Collected sea-glass memories and
Glowing fish and decaying jewels
I seek them, they are buried
Beneath all of this water, all this brine

And what more could I possibly have to say?
I have written screenplays, letters, poems, essays
Text messages and e-mails, scratching on notepads
The canon of lovesickness knows no limits

I loved you. Then you left. I didn’t love you.
Rinse. Repeat.

II.
Three nights ago I was sleeping next to you. I didn’t realize I still loved you. I wish I never realized it. Tonight, I am imagining the feeling of my body on yours and the way you wrap yourself around me, and I can feel it. When I was in school we learned about phantom limbs and phantom pains. People who have had amputated limbs still claim to feel sensations and pain for the body parts that are no longer there. This is how I am feeling, in my bed, alone tonight, with(out) your body that I have memorized and adapted into my own. I am crying because I miss you. You don’t miss me. I am crying because I might love you. You don’t love me. This is an old story. At what point is heartbreak no longer elegantly tragic but simply banal?

III.
I am not trying to fly
I am just wanting
To swallow stars
Etch my initials onto your skin
And pretend I am some sort of infinite.

ANITA lives in New York and is currently attending Fordham University but somehow found the time to submit eight pieces to ATJ. She is the director of two short films, a producer of four short films, and has worked on development and production for several esteemed media outlets including Shine Global Inc., Parts and Labor Films, Paper Magazine/ExtraExtra Creative, HBO, and PivotTV. She’s also the co-founder of Storysmith Productions and Little Fox Art Collective.

Find more of Anita here: Website Instagram

Image Credit//Asafe

Q and A Series: Liana Liberato

Featured

Tags

, , , ,

NAME: LIANA LIBERATO
AGE: 20
PLACE: LOS ANGELES
OCCUPATION: ACTRESS

What do your mornings look like?
My mornings consist of snuggling with my puppy for a good ten minutes then rolling out of bed to get coffee into my system. I dread the day I have to wean off that stuff…the migraine will be brutal. Sometimes, I’ll go hiking with my friends just to start the day off right. I think starting the day off with friends makes all the difference.

How do you calm yourself?
Whenever I get too stressed out, I’ll light a few candles, make some English breakfast tea, and take a bath. I’ll also take my dog for a walk and leave my phone at home so I don’t have any distractions and I can just clear my mind for a bit.

What’s your favorite medium for writing?
I wish I were a better writer. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve really taken a liking to jotting down my important days and thoughts in a little leather journal.

What are three things you love to do alone?
Oh gosh, I like to do a lot alone! I’m an only child, so I guess I’m used to it. I enjoy painting or sketching alone, writing little passages in my journal, and starting a good book.

Where do you go to look for inspiration?
This sounds so cliche but tumblr is actually really insightful. Also, looking up my favorite quotes from books or movies.

What is your guilty pleasure?
Grey’s anatomy will forever be my number one guilty pleasure. Except, I’m not too guilty about it. Owning my love for Shonda Rhimes.

What do you listen to when you are sad?
Any songs my roommate is currently listening to. She always has the happiest songs on her playlist.

What do you listen to when you are happy?
I’ll listen to just about anything if I’m happy! I do like very mindless music that has a fun beat. But, I’m also very into listening in on the lyrics and understanding the story behind the song.

Can’t leave the house without…
95% of the time my dog, phone, and wallet.

And whatever else you want to tell us… Like, what are we missing that we should be getting into?
Can’t say my favorite book… but right now, I’m reading Franny and Zooey. Favorite movie is Girl, Interrupted. My favorite TV shoes right now are Grey’s Anatomy, Dexter, Fear of the Walking Dead, and The Walking Dead. If my bank account could afford it, I’d shop at Aritzia and Topshop aaaalll day, and I love Coffee Commissary in Burbank.

You can find more of Liana here: Instagram

Q and A Series: Alexandra Dristas

Featured

Tags

, , ,

NAME: ALEXANDRA DRISTAS
AGE: 26
PLACE: LOS ANGELES
OCCUPATION: YES, Executive for Bloomingdale’s…aka GIRLBOSS

What do your mornings look like?
I’m a roll out of bed after snoozing my alarm six times kind of girl. I wake up to these super cheesy inspirational messages that I set for myself so I wake up feeling positive; they almost always involve the stars emoji. I then proceed to drink 1.5 liters of water and take 9 vitamins. Sometimes I eat breakfast, but I almost always drink green juice.

How do you calm yourself?
I think we spend so much time and exhaust so much energy worrying about things that we can’t control. When I find myself getting frustrated or upset, I take a couple moments to think of my game plan… What am I going to do to move forward? What are the possible solutions?

I think happiness is a decision. Life is too amazing to get upset over things that are outside of my control. I’m very solution orientated.

What’s your favorite medium for writing?
My typewriter because you can’t go back once you’ve written something. It’s the most pure and raw form of my writing for sure but it is loud and I’ve found that you have to get thoughts out in the moment or you lose them. So, I have found the notes section on my phone to be useful in a daily setting.

What are three things you love to do alone?
Hahaha! I have a dirty mind. THAT, obviously.

I love to lay on hardwood floors and listen to records. I love to travel alone because it feels like more of an adventure when you’re lost.

Where do you go to look for inspiration?
My bookshelf and my friends.

What is your guilty pleasure?
I really love bad (but so good) pop music. I listen to Ke$ha and know all the words to every Taylor Swift song ever written.

What do you listen to when you are sad?
Lydia. It reminds me of winter. Or Conor Oberst because he’s a genius and his lyrics sort of make me wish I was depressed.

What do you listen to when you are happy?
Currently:
Past Lives – Borns
Dancing On My Own – Robyn
Real Wild Child – Iggy Pop
Mesmerize – Ja Rule

Can’t leave the house without…
Lipstick and cigarettes.

And whatever else you want to tell us … Like, what are we missing that we should be getting into?
Favorite Poem: The Benjamin Franklin of Monogamy – Jeffrey McDaniel. It’s the sort of poem that makes you wish you could produce something half as powerful.
Place to drink coffee: Profetta in Westwood and Alfred’s on Melrose across from the Marc Jacobs bookstore.

ALEXANDRA spends her time working her ass off. When she isn’t, she enjoys being addicted to drinking Perrier, falling hard for pretty girls, and planning her next big adventure.

Find more of Alexandra here: Instagram

Q and A Series: Elaina Perpelitt

Featured

Tags

, , , , , , ,

NAME: ELAINA PERPELITT
AGE: 23
PLACE: NYC/ LOS ANGELES
OCCUPATION: WRITER

What do your mornings look like?
Mornings are usually an inhale time versus the afternoon/evening exhale. So, I’ll mostly spend them updating myself on the world via the internet, scoping stories or striking images on Tumblr, and getting things out of the way that might weight on my mind later (emails, shower, being human stuff).

How do you calm yourself?
I wish I could say I had this figured out. A glass of wine or a good walk helps, but the most consistent thing is talking to someone. My not-so-calm moments tend to spin out of being inside my head, so anything that can get me out of it long enough to realize, “hey, I’m okay,” is good.

What’s your favorite medium for writing?
Word vomit. Which is, for me, an amalgam of poetry, prose, and personal thoughts that I allow to come from anywhere and be about anything. It’s raw and ugly and about 99% useless (sometimes I’ll find a line out of a hundred that I’ll like), but it’s my fave because I can always go back to it when I’m lost and need to tap back into a certain emotion or experience.

What are three things you love to do alone?
Act out my characters like a crazy person. Dance to blasting pop music whilst drinking from a bottle of moscato and subsequently using it as a microphone. Draw with charcoal.

Where do you go to look for inspiration?
Besides my favorite poems, I think my most reliable source of inspiration is reading interviews. The Paris Review has an excellent catalog with some of my greatest heroes, and it always helps me find perspective and feel excited about work, life, love, and everything. I struggled (and still struggle) with a self imposed pressure to get to certain points by certain times, and ironically, this pressure is often the reason I become stuck — and thus, I stress out over not getting to those points even more, and a vicious circle continues. Interviews help remind me that every individual I idolize was/is an actual human; and that there aren’t rules or deadlines, there aren’t fixed paths, and everyone finds their success and happiness in different ways. At different paces.

In the age of the internet and the prevalence of social media, there are a million chances to compare yourself to everyone else and an appearance of immediacy that makes it seem like they are all better/happier/prettier/more successful than you, and they got it all very fast. Interviews give you a chance to get to know the reality of the people you’d like to be more like, and I find that I have increased affection for them and a desire to chill the fuck out and take my time — which triggers not only a more peaceful self, but almost always: inspiration.

What is your guilty pleasure?
I can only pick one? This is hard. Binge-watching a show, probably, because that comes with the most pleasure and the most guilt. Also, anything puffed and covered in whatever divine chemicals create “white cheddar.”

What do you listen to when you are sad?
The National and Sia and Lana Del Rey. This new band called MXMS is also wonderful (though they only have an EP so far, it is very very much worth listening to).

What do you listen to when you are happy?
The Kills and Sky Ferreira and HOLYCHILD.

Can’t leave the house without…
Journal, phone, gum.

And whatever else you want to tell us … Like, what are we missing that we should be getting into?
Awkward white girl rappers like K. Flay, Kate Tempest, and Kitty.
Their writing and beats are out of control. Tempest actually has an entire narrative going in hers, it’s mind-blowing, and I don’t think anyone’s captured the perfect disaster of Gen Y expectations vs. reality like K. Flay’s rhymes about big dreams buried at big parties.

Elaina Perpelitt holds a degree in screenwriting from Chapman University, where she won the Cecil Award for writing. Her play, “Sewer Rats at Sea”, debuted in 2013 at the Hollywood Fringe Festival under her pseudonym, ZK Lowenfels, where it won the Best of Fringe award and made her America’s youngest female playwright. Her poetry, stories, and articles have appeared in Thought Catalog, Elite Daily, Out of Our, Penny Ante Feud, Metazen, and Emprise Review. She has sold several web series pilots as well as short films, which are currently on the festival circuit. Her debut novel was recently submitted to publishers (represented by literary agency Chalburg & Sussman), and her first feature is slotted to go into production with Under 1 Roof Productions next summer.

You can find more of Elaina and her work here:
Instagram Thought Catalog

Short Films:
I’ll Eat You Alive
Sewer Rats At Sea “DreamChild”
The Friend Zone
MATCH Episode 3: Innocent
MATCH Episode 5: Tonight

“I Will Not Talk to Boys Who Read Kafka on the Train”

Featured

Tags

– LINDY LAW

Whether ruled by love or by fear, it will happen either way.
And I mean life.

I could sit on the train next to the boy reading Kafka. He’s the kind of boy who looks like he belongs next to me— with his age and his shoes and the tattoos on his arm.

Then one tattoo makes me think of you.

I’m getting older and I see your face in the reflection of someone else’s eyes and I think about how I want to splash my existence around the traces of your irises as if they were two puddles and I was an alarm clock.

And that doesn’t make sense but it sounds good.

Time has kept me busy with books about longing and classes on theory and parties with tight black leggings and my ‘Girl About Town’ hot pink lipstick. God knows what I drank or smoked. Or how many slices of pizza I ate while crying in the back of cabs as they crossed the Williamsburg Bridge.

There has been different color hair and Sundays filled with sleep because Saturdays were filled with boys who would kiss me and then walk away. And I would walk away too with the assurance that your glance was fixed on the color of my eyes.

But now you’ve begun to cause a pain within because of my pain without your touch.

And suddenly I forget all the fun and the floors that were slept on after nights of Goodwill jean jackets and shots of whatever was left from the night before while discussing Hemingway and Malick and Dylan and you.
And I kind of hate you all.

And there is a constant chaos in my heart over the simple fact that I was born and therefore I am destined to die and those are the only two facts I don’t question.

It has hurried me to rush you into seeing glances into hands holding cigarettes and the future right now and ultimatums. I can’t do this because I can’t do this.

I am saying that I can’t keep kissing boys and walking away to simply go home and drink 3 cups of coffee while drawing circles that I imagine are your eyes in my notebook and then scratching them out and writing your name with a dear in front and an I love you at the end and then a p.s. I am waiting for you and getting up to do it all over again. This ethereal and eternal longing.

All of the nights of being young have taught me that no one will love me the way my pain loves me,
unless you love me with your hands.

LINDY is the Creator and Editor-in-Chief of About Today Journal. She currently lives in Los Angeles where she babysits constantly and drinks coffee, constantly.

You can find more of Lindy here: How to Not Series  Instagram

Image of Lindy taken by Asafe.