Friday Lists

Recent Thoughts

Can one ever wear too much color?

Adding art to a room instantly makes it a home.

Seeing a photo of yourself in someone else’s photo frame would make anyone smile

It feels good to know you were missed

Saying goodbye is never easy, but finding your way home is never hard

 

Blogs I Check Rather Frequently 

DesignLoveFest (where type & images totally make out)

Fire and Joy (journal-like storytelling about all of life’s tender, barefoot moments)

H. Nicole Martin (breaths and moments)

Red, Speckled, White (a friend from Chicago’s daily musings)

Kate Spade blog (of course)

 

Things to Buy 

New lamp/lamp shade

Spanish textbook

Black skirt

Comfortable flats

A week’s worth of groceries

Things I’m Excited About

Surviving and thriving in my first year off campus

Making lots of food at home

Visiting the city as much as possible while while the weather is nice

Having all my friends arrive this week

Splurging on a few great meals out

Thrifting, thrifting, thrifting for things for my new place!

 *

Happy Friday! xoxo

-Rachel

Meet the 2016 Workshop Dreamers

It’s always risky. Opening your home (your kitchen! your bathrooms! your closets!) to strangers. Saying “Come in” and “Take off your shoes” and “Tell me your life story”. But it’s always, always worth it.

I could talk for hours about all the things we discussed + places we went + discoveries we made + food we ate. But the best part (the big ol’ helping of whipped cream) is the people we shared it with.

These. Girls.

They are storytellers, dreamers, and doers. They know how to welcome and be welcomed in return. It was one of the highlights of my summer to get to spend a weekend with them, singing in the car and passing around popcorn on our upstairs couches. And it was beautiful to hear them, on the last day, talk about each other.

“I know you to be” is a big deal for me, and for all of my co-theater and story makers at school. “I know you to be” is affirming. It’s truthful. It’s full of the best kinds of things–joy and honesty and soul-building life. There is nothing casual or soft-around-the-edges about saying “I know you to be”. And so that’s why it’s so big for me to record these words here. To capture these girls’ beings. To remember them for who they are and how they see the world. It’s one of the greatest forms of storytelling we can share with one another.

Emily

Emily is sweet tea–the cool, icy, sugary kind. When she talks, her voice is soft but articulate, her words tinged with a glow of Southern, old-fashioned nostalgia. Mary described her perfectly when she commented on Emily’s “quiet but beautiful self-assurance” and the way she will “apologize over little things and not wish anyone to really go out of their way for her”. That’s Emily to a T. She takes care of herself and others. She’s quiet, but watchful. She knows how to “make-do and mend”. I’ve been reading her work for years, and I remember a scene she wrote once that was just brimming with twilight fireflies. Emily is a twilight firefly kind of sweetheart. A Georgia peach. Everything about her is gentle and nostalgic in all the best kind of ways. She’s the kind of girl the term “old soul” was coined for.

(Check out her blog here!)

Justice

Justice was our wild hippie child for the weekend. Named after “a John Cougar Mellencamp song!”, she bursts with light and color. Too much light to be contained. Light pouring out of her fingertips and the roots of her hair and every fraction of her smile. Olivia commented on Justice’s captivating words–on the way words flowed from her like music. And I can’t think of a more appropriate way to describe her or her work. She’s captivating. Words sound sweeter when they come from her mouth. She’s mostly quiet–thinking, watching, dreaming. But when she talks everyone stops to listen as she waves about her hands and tells a story from her head to her toes. There’s magic in Justice’s heart and in her words. And there’s still some leftover stardust lingering around our house that must have fallen out of her pockets as she left.

 

Mary

Strong. Stately. Determined. Mary makes me consider the word “thoughtful” and what it really means. This was her second Dream Factory Workshop, and I’m amazed at how much she’s changed and yet stayed the same. Mary is a person who puts thought into things. Who considers her words before she shares them. Who considers deeply the things that matter to her, but still laughs at the world she faces. Emily described the way people have a natural tendency to lean forward when Mary speaks, and the way she’s “forever looking for the beauty in things, and when she finds it, tells you so.” Perhaps one of the physically strongest females I’ve ever met, Mary knows what it means to be clothed in strength and dignity. Her head is always held high, but she is continually the first to go last.  Her exuberance is contagious. Her resolution is unnerving.

(“Like” her photography page here!)

Olivia

The “smile-er” of the group, Olivia lent an un-matched enthusiasm to every activity we engaged in together. Rachel described her as loving and sweet, noting that she “always wanted to help somebody with a task”. Olivia was gifted with helping hands. I can’t count the amount of times she asked me if I needed help with dishes or cleanup or meal preparation. I’ve never met someone so eager to be a part of the “dirty work”. When Rachel assigned her the adjective “observant”, everything clicked into place. Olivia is always observing the next opportunity to serve. To laugh. To share. To bond. She notes every little detail of the day and records them for her own memory. It’s just who she is.

Rachel

Justice described Rachel as “the last heat storm of the summer. The perfect definition of what August should be: intense and exciting. Breathless and unforgettable.” How could a tiny body hold so much life and energy? How could a young mind conjure up so many jokes and sarcastic remarks and unaffected compliments? Rachel was the dash of cayenne pepper in our sweet group of dreamers. The kick of life we needed. The burst of sun and color and bouncy brown curls. The voice I could hear laughing in the backseat of the minivan. The biggest heart in the smallest vessel, overbrimming with solid goodness.

-Rachel

Dream Factory Workshop 2016 Recap

Breaking stories like bread.

This past fall, I listened to a brief lecture by amazing Chicago theater-maker Nate Allen. I wrote for pages and pages in my journal on my reactions to his thoughts on catharsis, humanity, and the essence of storytelling. It was from him that I first considered the sacrament of story. The idea that story is something we break and share together. It’s something worth being in communion over.

This past weekend, with the flurry of activity in my home that accompanies every Dream Factory Workshop, I reconsidered the concept of viewing stories as a type of sacrament. As a person of deep and meaningful faith, I know sacraments to be holy. Considered. Ritualistic. When a church comes together to witness the sacrament of baptism, or communion, we are newly bonded in a shared expression of our unity, with Christ and with each other. There is nothing light, or casual, or commonplace about it. We know what it is like to regard something as holy, and set apart.

The best stories aren’t told on a platform, or in a best-selling novel, or on a podcast. The best stories are shared in living rooms, in cramped car rides, in sleeping bags late at night. They’re broken with grace over the dining room table and spilled into overfilling glasses. There’s something gritty and honest about breaking stories face to face, hand to hand.

The sacrament of story drives home the significance of humanity. The fact that every life, every moment matters. One big theme this weekend that I’ve been sharing with the girls is the idea that our weight matters. The pebbles of our everyday moments and experiences are piled on top of each other in big, giant heaps of mattering. Viewing those stories as sacrament means viewing them as important. It’s unapologetic. It’s holy. It’s declaring to the world that these crumbs of my life have meaning and yet I trust you with them.

Perhaps this is what Christ meant when He called us to a life of hospitality. Hosting each other’s lives, each other’s moments, each other’s stories. Always making room at our table for one another. Breaking stories, like bread, to nourish and feed us. Here, let me hold the crumbs of your life too. Let’s eat at the same table. Let’s share this world together.

The Dream Factory Workshop works because it isn’t a writing workshop, although we all did plenty of writing. It’s not a photography workshop, although we experienced dozens upon dozens of beautiful moments to photograph. It’s a workshop about living. About telling and listening. About being hospitable and being human and what those two mean together.

It’s something I fail at all the time, both this past weekend and in every aspect of my life. But it’s also something to strive and fail for. And I think that’s something we learned together this week.

*

The colorful assortment of iPhone photos to follow in no way capture the beauty of this weekend, but they will hopefully give you a small glimpse into some of the everyday adventures we embarked on together. Know that there were way too many giggles, inside jokes, Reese’s Cups, wide eyes, and Taylor Swift songs to ever fit in a single bog post. But our voices were heard and our hearts were made stronger and I think, in the end, that’s what makes these days worth it.

 -Rachel

P.S. Some of these photos were taken by Emily or Rachel. Thanks, girls, for sharing with me!

P.P.S. There’s already been questions asked about the next Dream Factory Workshop. I don’t have any plans yet, but if I do plan another I’ll be looking at late 2017 or 2018 in Chicago. Any interest?

Feelings

What I Wrote When I Wrote About Love

(a five year collection)

I. I told you one evening that beautiful moments make me sad.

II. And I can’t explain what the look of someone who wants to kiss you is like except with these words: It. Made. Me. Want. To. Kiss. Him. Too.

III. Some days, you wake up to find texts informing you that people you always liked actually prefer someone else. You learn that friends you would do anything for rely on the friendship of others. You realize that even big fish in a small pond are appetizers to whales in the cold ocean.

IV. So I voiced this regret, in the middle of a nice moment, and felt the air chill a bit at the pessimistic thought that something this special might not last forever. And I felt my words hang above us for a moment before you brushed away the invisible webs with a light tapping on my shoulder and the reassurance that “there will be more.”

V. Maybe I don’t really know anything about being in love. I know about the pressure of a heavy arm on your shoulder and the electricity that comes from an almost-kiss and the mixture of two ever-increasing laughs and the frailty in admitting your hurt. But love? What would I know about that?

VI. He cracked my world on a January night when I emerged from my room like a shell and cried into a paper ice cream cup.

VII.  Hand holding. There was a poem about it I read from a long time ago that goes like this:

| I don’t know what the thing is about

Hand holding

That I find so beautiful

Maybe just the simplicity of it

Because

Intertwining fingers can say so much

More than words can, or poems

That try too hard |

VIII. I would expand the memory of first holding his hand. I’d stretch out the feelings in letters and solidify the emotions in syllables but I think that’s just the point. It’s trying too hard. We held hands and. It. Was.

IX. And there was more. More moments where I looked at you with my heart in my throat and thought that if your heart was beating like a drum than mine must be beating like the hard footsteps of sneakers on asphalt. Nights where I stepped off the sky ride with knees made of marmalade, standing under the hanging white lights while you were off on the phone, wrapping my arms around my chest and realizing that in a park full of people and lives and stories, my heart was focused on a singular you.

X. Today, sitting on the couch, my head on your chest, I asked you What Have Been Some of The Greatest Moments of Your Life So Far? and you said I Don’t Know, But They All Involve You.

XI. And so I’m writing about it. So that I won’t forget and so that you won’t forget either. So that one day, whether we’re together or not, we can look back and remember what it felt like to be eighteen and nineteen. My curls on your not-so-bony shoulder. Your thumb pressed on the back of my hand. Kisses that taste like blueberries and peanut butter. Being young and feeling so certain of love and so uncertain of life and absolutely dizzy with the wonder of them both.

XII. But the last line, the final scene, the ending monologue, would be that night. The pulling back of lips and the opening of eyes and the realization that everything was new

and sweet

and would always

happen

again.