I want to talk about wildness.

wild |wīld|
1 (of an animal or plant) living or growing in the natural environment; not domesticated or cultivated.
2 uncontrolled or unrestrained, esp. in pursuit of pleasure
in an uncontrolled manner : the bad guys shoot wild.
noun (the wild)
a natural state or uncultivated or uninhabited region

There are a lot of wild-heart songs.  I don’t know why.  But I do know that they don’t make sense to me.

When I first started living alone two years ago, it was amazing because it felt like my brain was running free.  All that time with no one around so the forest in my head grew up, like I never had to clarify, I didn’t have to tread out any paths at all.  I still wouldn’t trade it, but the flip side is that my thoughts are now incomprehensible even to me sometimes.  Orienteering is hard even when you have the right tools and there’s no such thing as a brain-compass.

For a long time my mind was the only thing I was sure I could be proud of.  And then, abruptly, it wasn’t.  But that isn’t the point.

The federal government designates wilderness as “an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.”  It’s a stricter definition than a national park or forest–for example, there’s no mechanized equipment allowed in a wilderness.  When I worked in the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness in Oregon two years ago, we cleared fallen trees from the trail with a hundred-year-old crosscut saw.  The air was clean, the views were amazing, and it was quiet.  That’s wilderness, and it’s certainly wild, but it’s not what these songwriters mean.

So I always thought my mind was the wild thing, not my heart, which is all semantics because they’re just meat in my meatsuit but you understand the distinction.  For the past couple years I thought my heart was dead, a burned-out husk, crumbly timbers barely standing after a fire.  Or, in slightly more lucid moments, I thought of it as outer space, as a blackness so complete it could swallow planets.

I believe that I can make you scream for me

I think this song was in a car commercial recently?

Maybe songwriters gravitate to ‘wild’ because it’s a less-racist way to say ‘savage’ or ‘exotic.’  Maybe it’s the more ‘authentic’ or at least the more romantic version of ‘crazy.’  It could be a kind of irony and juxtaposition to hear the call of the wild in shimmering synths.

But I mean–when I think of ‘wild,’ I think of the bear cubs that I saw when I was hiking with Shannan three years ago, and how scared we were.  I think of getting certified for Wilderness First Aid and how they told us that if you got bit by a rattlesnake in the backcountry you probably weren’t getting out alive.  I think of how hard it is to explain myself, sometimes, how much work it takes to thin, let alone clear-cut the forests of Bad Thoughts.

I wanted to write about the actual songs here–and I have so many more, too–but such is not to be, apparently.

My heart is still outer space.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Some things that are, like, pretty representative of my life right now:

“went for a three mile run, took a three hour nap”

“trying to wash my hands but makeup tubes keep falling into the sink”

“Starburst in new, limited-edition ‘Fruity Slushies’ flavor”

“not crying”



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I want to make baked Alaska.  I want to go to Iceland.  I want to have a job that pays me money.  I want to have a job that takes me into a forest.

I want to get enough of myself back that I can write a book with an ending.

I want to live my best life, one day.

I don’t like talking about myself but I love learning about other people.  ‘Tell me about your hopes and dreams,’ I say, and I haven’t figured out yet how to ask it in a way that ensures an answer.  But the things people choose to say are also telling.  Be a dad.  Do urban revitalization in my hometown.  Be a professional hunter and trapper.

I don’t really have dreams any more, or hopes, but I’ve gotten back some wants.  It’s nice to want things.  And maybe the rest will return, maybe I will get new dreams, though I tread carefully around these possibilities, as I do about most of the future.  And most of the past.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Trust: I, too, have been wondering where I’ve been.  It’s the middle of July and all I have to show for this summer is an amazing tan line from my watch and a bunch of dumb poems.

Or, that’s not exactly true.


I don’t really need cuticle oil but it smells nice and sometimes I put it on at night when I can’t sleep and it’s something to do.

This is a crop-top from the Pretty Little Liars for Aeropostale line, the most 2014 thing I own.  The great thing about this picture is that, while you can’t see my face, you can see in the background a pile of Starburst wrappers in my bed.


I have a plant in my room now and when I look at it I feel a lot of feelings about caring for a thing, and what it means to be both alive and functional.  And how important it is to stay hydrated.


I completed my color palette in Keds.


I only really wear black/white/gray/navy clothes now, but makeup is a separate game, and so is nail polish, at least this summer.

Last, this morning I drove to work shout-singing ‘why don’t you hang with me this weekend.’

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

It’s July and we’ve been having storms.  It just rained and the sky is pink.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

One of my favorite things that teens do at concerts–besides screaming, which is amazing–is throwing accessories onstage for the performers to put on.  Flower crowns.  Headscarves.  I was at a 5th Harmony show last fall and Camila got a bow and put in on because bows are her thing.  I think it’s a cool connection between audience and musician.

And speaking of connections between audience and musician, the early leaks off Ed Sheeran’s new album made me think maybe there wouldn’t be anything on there repping sad girls, which would be a misstep.  We’re his core audience, really.  SO I was delighted to find that not only is there a song called “Even My Dad Does Sometimes,” which is about how it’s okay to cry; there is a song about how Ed Sheeran will WIPE THE TEARS OFF YOUR FACE.  Amazing, he totally gets it.  And while I still feel some of that vestigial rage from a year ago, why does he have to write about my sadness, why can’t I do it, I can be you, Ed Sheeran, watch me burn you to the ground, I’m tired these days and mostly I just go to work.

Okay.  Okay.  “Latch” is on the radio.  “Latch” is a radio song now.  I don’t like “Latch.”  I don’t like Disclosure at all, actually, not a fan of the UK house revival, but whatever, trends come and go, put Settle on your year-end list if you want, I’m probably the only one reading it.  Except now it is on the radio?  “Latch” came out in 2012.  Can we not get another song from 2012 some airplay?  Marina and the Diamonds gets a hit out of Electra Heart?  Flume breaks in the US?  2012 was so long ago.  I can’t even remember yesterday.  Good for Sam Smith and all but I want something new.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“So, Leela, what’s going on?”

I met a great dog.  She was a German Shepard mix named Lucy and she followed me through a corn field.

My mother bought me a churro at Costco, chomp chomp.

I bought a cookie jar and I filled it with cookies.

This is the worst week ever.

“Marry me and I’ll smother you in private phones!”

Got my blood pressure taken at the dentist and it was 90/56?  Am I…slowing down?  Until I…cease to be?  Like a clock spring unwinding?

I have been meeting a lot of Mennonites and learning a lot about Mennonites and it has all been so cool and interesting.



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment