December 9, 2016

end of 2016

Yikes, what is the function of this blog anymore? Everything is basically on my Instagram, but out of habit or a need for tidiness, here's the latest...(crickets, crickets):

The Crucible closed, then The Cherry Orchard opened! I played Anya, and wrote a little about that show's timeliness here, which is mostly a piece about the election, and the importance of championing humility, nuance, and complexity as antidotes to how little truth or factualness seem to matter right about now.
Rookie turned five years old! Our theme that month was Infinity, and I published a series called The Infinity Diaries, about my move to New York, heartbreak, doing my first play, and how writing and acting are kind of like opposites but can become friends. I don't think I've ever been more scared to share anything but I'm very glad I did.
☆ Other recent Editor's Letters that felt especially good to write: Awakening, Cast of Characters, Soulmates.
☆ I interviewed Miuccia Prada for System, Solange for W and for Rookie, and Kenneth Lonergan for Interview--basically just secretly made them my college professors for an hour or two.
☆ I was on podcasts like This Week Had Me Like, my favorite source of bizarre celebrity news/way of coping with absurdity, and Anna Faris Is Unqualified, in which we broke down all my defenses and shared tales of love and loss and people who lie about being the children of famous filmmakers, etc.
☆ I wrote about the secret lives of objects, being a collector, and documenting your life like it's a picture book, for A Magazine Curated By Alessandro Michele of Gucci.
☆ I did an Illustrated Interview for T Magazine.
☆ I was on the cover of Teen Vogue's September issue, interviewed and styled by Grace Coddington and shot by Inez and Vinoodh, so 12 year-old me was dying. Also, here's a video we did in my apartment.
Petra shot me for i-D which was deeply satisfying in the way making visual dreams come true with her always is.
☆ Patrick Demarchelier shot me for Glamour's rad portraits series of American women working in a range of fields and mediums.
☆ In DazedClaire Marie Healy wrote one of the profiles of myself that I felt most understood by (a seemingly sad sentence that's more just like, hey, it's nice when someone gets it!). Ethan James Green took the all-Rodarte photos.

K, see you in another 80 months!

April 21, 2016

20

Today I am 20. The Crucible, in which I play Mary Warren, opened at the Walter Kerr Theatre three weeks ago, March 31st—also the eight-year anniversary of this blog. I have a lot of trouble comprehending that writing Style Rookie led to writing for other places, then starting Rookie, then being able to audition for plays that I love and to be inside of them for long periods of time, which is an inexplicably wonderful way to live a life. But I am really really really insanely thankful for all of it, and many of you have followed for a LONG time, and that means a lot. Right now, I'm very slowly writing something that I hope will effectively articulate the strangeness of the way these all overlap—the fictions we get to try on via diary/blog-keeping, and acting, and personal style. But that's a longterm hermit project. I just wanted to mention it because in my attempt to briefly list recent stuff I've been up to, I may sound callous, but: None of this goes unexamined or unappreciated.

Since my last update:

I went on tour for Rookie Yearbook Four and got to meet Rookies across the U.S. It's always surreal and the very best heart-nutrition to see long-time readers and meet new ones! Here are some photos of it all.

Recent Editor's Letters for Rookie about stuff like: GloryAssemblyPotentialTruth or Dare, and Cult of Personality. In my letter for the theme On Display, I also wrote about David Bowie.

Back in the fall, Bowie commissioned a series of videos set to songs from ★ by Insta Mini Series, and you will find me in some of them.

I am also hanging out with the coolest/cutest girls in the world in the video for Carly Rae Jepsen's song "Boy Problems," which Petra Collins, Rookie photographer and personal partner-in-crime, directed.

For the online magazine ILY, I wrote about how liking movies too much can cause one to dissociate from real-life events such as love. Shoutout to movies, love you movies!!!!

Some brain-expanding interviews I have conducted—
For Rookie: Adrian Tomine, Carly Rae JepsenJoanna NewsomHailee Steinfeld, and Danai Gurira.

For Interview: Winona Ryder, high priestess of my DVD shelf.

For Studio 360: Ben Whishaw, who plays John Proctor in The Crucible and is a magical person.

I also interviewed Olivia Bee for Studio 360. She is crazy talented and has taken photos for Rookie since the very beginning, and now has a stunning book out with Aperture called Kids in Love, in which I wrote a thing or two (two).

I got to be a guest on one of my favorite podcasts, Call Your Girlfriend.

I was in an episode of Scream Queens, dressed in homage to Rosemary Woodhouse and having SO MUCH FUN. Here is Jamie Lee Curtis ruining my life:

And while we're at it, here's Ben ruining my life in The Crucible:

I gave a tour of my apartment in this video for Nowness + Apartamento.

I wrote some + edited a round-up of feelings about the two-year anniversary of Beyoncé's self-titled album over at BEAT.

I was featured in CR Fashion Book and beloved Rookie illustrator Mithsuca Berry did the artwork. (Photo by Sloan Laurits.)

I was shot by empress/emperor Inez and Vinoodh for Vanity Fair while Shania Twain's "Man! I Feel Like a Woman" played on a loop inside my head.

I was on the cover of a zine Rookie illustrator and world wonder Kati Yewell started, called Noisy Kids. She interviewed me and took photos where I am swimming in my documented spirals I mean diaries.

I was also on the cover of Polyester Zine, interviewed by the brilliant Ione Gamble and shot by Eleanor Hardwick, who I interviewed eons ago on this blog and who's also been at Rookie since day one. It was SO SPECIAL to finally meet her and work together; the internet to IRL is amazing!!!

If you've read my blog or Rookie for a few years you know how much I love Seth Bogart or even that my friends and I weaseled our way into his 18+ shows in high school. I got to sing on the song "Barely Legal" from his new self-titled album, which is a huge treat all-around; here is a tiny clip of it.


I was photographed by Annie Leibovitz for the 2016 Pirelli calendar in the company of my every living hero, and I wrote some about it here:
For the 2016 Pirelli Calendar, Annie Leibovitz chose to photograph women whose achievements demonstrate a different kind of beauty from what the calendar has traditionally showcased. I'm still shocked to be included among so many people who've long influenced not just my work, but how I see the world, and try to see myself. Annie photographed me one year earlier in the pink velvet dress I'd originally bought for prom, in my parents' backyard. At that time, it was still my backyard, too, and had functioned since I was a little kid as a personal photo studio, study, and consistent reminder that I was bigger than I had been the year before, and the year before that, and that this would only keep happening. (I'm still v short, but: relatively speaking.) It was where I learned that as your childhood shrinks around you, so will your sense of wonder, unless you choose to pay close attention to what surrounds you at new heights. When Annie shot me for Pirelli, we were just a few blocks from my new home in NYC. A lot happens in that first year, and not knowing the geography of the city makes every encounter feel totally isolated from the rest of the world, like a castle on a cloud. At the time of this shoot, I was parsing what in this year had seemed significant just because it was new, and then what was enriching. I was exhausted by the sheen, and desperate to develop a kind of discernment which would make me so healthy, so OK with myself, that genuine wonder would return--gravitation towards stuff that isn't just shiny, but illuminates the same sorts of truths I'd learned as a fan of Patti, Yoko, and other women who happen to be in this calendar, too. I decided to cut my hair on the shoot, rid myself of any excess. Annie made me feel completely comfortable, like I was the same person as the year before, but indeed older. Again, still very physically short. My foot is peeking out of that shoe. I urge you to look at the other portraits, all so stunning, bold & nearly impossible to turn away from. They are strongest as a group, but I wanted to share what mine means to me and thank you for following what I do in such a way that has allowed for this to happen.

It feels wrong to write about a play—one of the last things in this MODERN TIME which can't be captured or effectively described to anyone who wasn't there in person—but I am so so proud of The Crucible, and of everyone involved in the production. I talked about that here.

HEY THANKS FOR EVERYTHING!!! See you at the stage door, or at a Rookie event, or if you're ever on the streets of the Big Apple and you're like "who's that girl squinting at directions on her phone and inconveniencing everyone around her?" I just want you to know that the answer, always, is me.

October 7, 2015

2015

Hi! I guess this is now just a place for updates. Most of my work now is on Rookie and I update my Twitter & Instagram with other stuff I've been up to.


Rookie Yearbook Four, the print edition of our fourth year, comes out October 20: 352 pages of beautiful writing and art by young people, plus print-only contributions from people like Amandla Stenberg, Kiernan Shipka, Jazz Jennings, Dev Hynes of Blood Orange, Emma Roberts, Sarah Paulson, Charli XCX, DeJ Loaf, Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend, Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine, Donna Tartt, Shamir, Chloe of Kitten, Rashida Jones, Tracee Ellis Ross, Joy Williams, Hayley Williams of Paramore, Lorde, Tyler Ford, Ariana Grande, Edward Droste of Grizzly Bear, Solange, and Willow Smith. WHEW. See also: stickers, posters, a cut-out diorama and banner, ET CETERA FOREVER. I've never been able to choose a favorite Rookie Yearbook until now. It is our final one (senior year!) and I can't wait for Rookies THE WORLD OVER to see it. (Mr. Burns laugh, but in the name of good things like self-esteem and creativity.)

I'm also doing a tour for the book, reading from the book with local Rookies and signing copies. You! should! come!


More exciting Rookie news: After four years, we have our own office. We also launched a redesign of the site that makes me feel warm and fuzzy.


Acting-wise: This Is Our Youth closed in January. Starting in February, I will play Mary Warren in a 20-week run of The Crucible on Broadway. I was also in an episode of Scream Queens that airs this fall.

Writing: I interviewed Taylor Swift for the cover of ELLE, guest-edited a section of the July/August issue of Poetry Magazine, and guest-edited a Rookie section of the October issue of Nylon. So many talented people of all kinds are featured in both, so take a look! I also wrote the introduction to Petra Collins' book, Babe, which showcases the work of many of my favorite artists.

Here are some recent Rookie editor's letters I am proud of: Acting Out, Trust, Both Sides Now, Give + Take. This is a list of some of my favorite longreads (and long-listens, and long-watches) on the internet.

Podcasts: I talked about my favorite episode of Freaks and Geeks on Rerun, and discussed teenage loneliness on Dear Sugar.

I'm also in a campaign for Clinique in which I talk about confidence and creativity, my two favorite things/biggest sources of anxiety ♡♡♡

The 2016 Pirelli calendar is of clothed women with a variety of achievements, and I am stoked to be one of them, in intimidatingly good company. Here is a behind-the-scenes photo from the shoot with Annie Leibovitz, in which I am wearing my soul in sweatshirt form: GIRLS AT NIGHT ON THE INTERNET.


October 20, 2014

For the unacquainted:

Hi! I'm editor-in-chief of Rookie, a website for teenage girls that I founded in 2011. Every year we put out a book that compiles the best content from that year of the site. Our most recent is Rookie Yearbook Three, published by Razorbill. It is just over 350 pages, and in addition to loads of beautiful artwork and writing are print-exclusives like stickers, valentines, a Rookie pennant, and contributions from the likes of Dakota and Elle Fanning, Shailene Woodley, Lorde, Grimes, Kelis, Sia, Broad City, Bob's Burgers, and more.
They are my babies, and they can be adopted here.

I'm currently acting in This is Our Youth at the Cort Theatre on Broadway until January 2015. How can you even stand the unabashed enthusiasm of the trio below?
Photo by Brigitte Lacombe
Here's an ad that will tell you some of the nice things people have said about it:


Other recent developments: I was on the cover of magnificent, ad-free The Great Discontent, as well as New York Magazine and Nylon. This is Our Youth playwright Kenneth Lonergan wrote something about me for Vanity Fair, and Annie Leibovitz took the accompanying photo in the same backyard where I used to take pictures every day after school for this blog. Here I am babbling on about all this lunacy:


♡✿♡✿♡

December 3, 2013

current events

LONG TIME NO TALK. Here's what's happened since last spring:


Rookie Yearbook Two is out! It is the print edition of our best content from our second year as a website and I am crazy proud of it. This one was a real labor of love -- I flew to Montreal twice to work with Drawn & Quarterly in person, and what you see in these pages came from two suitcases full of my clothes, trinkets, jewelry, cut-outs, record covers, journals, et cetera times infinity. It is so hugely satisfying to have put our contributors' amazing work into a tangible form, exhaustively designed and obsessively detailed. There are also a bunch of extras you can't get on our site: letters to our readers from Judy Blume and Mindy Kaling, an interview with Mindy by Lena Dunham, pages from Grimes' sketchbook, and enough stickers to make you swoon. Here are two videos of tiny previews of my favorite spreads, and two reviews that made me feel like, cool, yes, we put this out into the world and other people feel the way we do. More important than what a buncha fancy GROWN-UPS think, though, is that our readers like it, so thank you to anyone who's come to any of the events on our book tour and shown the love. I'm rubber, you're glue, your enthusiasm bounces off me and sticks 2 u.


I was asked to share my "big big world" at the Sydney Opera House and the Melbourne Writers Festival and mostly talked about fangirling, the anxiety of influence, and being happy instead of putting pressure on yourself to be some tortured artist. I love Neil Gaiman's "make good art" speech, but I wanted to talk about what happens when you can't make good art, and about how fulfilling it can be to appreciate other people's art. If you prefer to watch the FIRST-EVER DELIVERY of this thing, the Sydney one is here, but I've embedded the slightly-updated Melbourne one above.


I tackled my love for Taylor Swift in a 4000-word piece for the Believer. A nice Tumblr user scanned the whole thing. I HAVE NEVER STRUGGLED SO MUCH WITH WANTING TO GET SOMETHING RIGHT. This love is difficult but it's real.


Last August/September, I filmed a supporting role in Enough Said, real live goddess Nicole Holofcener's recent movie. (Early readers of this blog will remember lame references to musical theater. In the words of KP, This is a part of me.) It's out in theaters now! I'm really proud of it and still shocked that I got to work with such funny, wonderful humans.


I am on the latest cover of BULLETT, accompanied by a piece by Fiona Duncan. As you can see, my hair is also shorter. I'm not much taller.


Finally, this month's theme on Rookie is Forever. My editor's letter went up tonight, and it's already been hugely validating to see the response from those of you who feel similarly about this period in one's life. I mention in it that Petra gave me a book of her documentation of our shared adolescence, and above is the cover and last page.

The past few years have been dauntingly magical, with many thanks to supporters of Rookie and of the other odds and ends listed here, and I'm just at an interesting time right now in figuring out what's next. Thanks for sticking around, coming by for a first time, what have you -- I know I said last spring that I was trying to let go of my need to document, but I figured out in writing the Forever letter:
"Reflecting and archiving is not the same as dwelling in the past. It is not anti-living, but a part of life, even a crucial one. We do this to highlight one thing above others, so that a special moment can take up more space in our brains than an inconsequential one; so that, by plain math, our personal worlds contain more good things and fewer bad ones. Or more interesting things and fewer blah ones, since you have to record the bad, too."
Much more to come.

April 3, 2013

five years


Sunday was the five-year anniversary of this here blob, which I've neglected in the past months in the interest of Rookie, high school, friends, sleep, and other things. Aside from that, I don't feel like I have much to say, or rather, I prefer now to say it in private. My most recent journal is my favorite thing I've ever made, and nobody will ever see it.

I have been thinking a lot lately about what validates an emotion/event/observation, makes me feel like it really happened and I really lived it, and this seems like the right occasion to word-vomit these ideas. (Plus, I miss having time to keep this thing going, and I do feel an obligation to people who have read my blog for a long time that is not unlike the unspoken understanding you have with your first best friend, the one who watched you like stupid bands and stupid people and embarrass yourself and cry a lot, whose insight into whatever you do from now on is shaped by a unique knowledge of all the ties which bind New You to Old You, and who refrains from bringing up in front of new acquaintances that time you were on the 8th grade hip-hop team in the interest of letting you become more of yourself. In other words, we had a time, but there's so much time ahead, and it is, somehow, at the same time, quickly running out.)

I. The school year begins, ending a very special summer. I begin breaking down the different kinds of memories I have:

1. IMAGINED

"The difference between reality and imagination wasn't ever clear to me at all." David Lynch
"Everything you can imagine is real." Pablo Picasso

I keep a list in the back of one of my journals called "Moments of Strange Magic." It contains events that were either (a) just really, really happy (jumping around to Beyoncé with friends) or (b) aesthetically cohesive and perfect and synesthetic (driving through the desert in a blue convertible to Nancy Sinatra's "Bang Bang" past a bunch of neon-sign motels and trailer parks). Each event is marked with a symbol indicating whether it took place in real life, a movie/TV show/book, or my imagination. Examples of some imagined (b) ones would be: sweaty teens in shiny pastels dancing in unison at a wood-paneled, tinsel-covered community-center room to "Snowqueen of Texas" by the Mamas and the Papas; a view from the side of a guy walking down a school hallway to Frank Ocean's "Forrest Gump," passing lockers painted in the 1970s and a ton of muted, rowdy students; a girl submerging her head into a tub of red hair dye to the chorus of St. Vincent's "Cheerleader."

Where do these episodes come from? A past life? An innate discontentment with everything life already offers, combined with a form of voluntary synesthesia developed from an adolescence of perpetual loneliness manifesting itself in movie marathons and an inconvenient impulse to pay attention to every visual and auditory detail of every situation as an escape from the social interaction at hand?

An argument for the past-life theory might include this anecdote: A drawing I did in my journal of how I remembered the backyard of my boyfriend's house looking on a night that it was snowy and dark included a metal swingset. The next time I went over there, I realized I'd only imagined the swingset, though he later told me that they did have one when he was little. My mom then told me that our family almost bought that same house before I was born, meaning that, in that timeline, I would have known that metal swingset, in that backyard. 

References: Zoltan Torey copes with blindness by reconstructing reality in his head. Wes Anderson called Moonrise Kingdom a "memory of a fantasy," and envisioned the whole "These Days" scene from The Royal Tenenbaums when he first heard the song, building the rest of the movie around that moment (I have no source for this, a friend told me, I'll choose to believe it's true). I also wrote a bit about this in relation to The Virgin Suicides here.

2. DREAMS

Unlike imagined memories, dreams are not witnessed or crafted by the conscious brain (then again, "WHAT'S CONSCIOUS, MAN?" —the tiny stoner living inside me who mocks my every semi-deep thought). I account for dreams as real memories, or at least truthful ones, because of the idea that in dreams come truths that are too difficult for the conscious mind to accept.

If a dream is not considered as valid as "real," conscious memory, then I'll still regard it in some corner of the mind as a tiny piece of my history and identity. In Chris Ware's Building Stories, one character is able to partially reconcile her life's regret of neglecting to pursue a creative career because she dreams she had written the book she'd always hoped to. The fact that this book could exist even in her subconscious fantasy was enough for her. Just the notion of her own potential had her wake up in tears.

References: Agent Cooper's dreams in Twin Peaks. Jenny Zhang's wonderful piece for Rookie. Joseph Cornell's dream diary. Robert Altman's 3 Women, which came to him in a dream (the casting, the colors, the story, everything) and was shot without a script, with only his memory as a guideline.

3. SECONDHAND

"The world is bound with secret knots." Athanasius Kircher

Secondhand memories come from storytelling  a movie, a book, a song, or a person recalling an event of their own past. 

When I saw Ware give a talk about his book last November, he said that he could remember what he'd visualized as a child listening to his grandmother tell stories about her own life better than he could picture some events that actually happened to him. When I interviewed him for Rookie, I asked about the one character's dream, why he included that Picasso quotation on the inside cover, what convinced him that such memories could have the same effect on a person as real ones. His response:
"Well, really, our memories are all we have, and even those we think of as "real" are made up. Art can condense experience into something greater than reality, and it can also give us permission to do or think certain things that otherwise we’ve avoided or felt ashamed of. The imagination is where reality lives; it’s the instant lie of backwash from the prow of that boat that we think of as cutting the present moment, everything following it becoming less and less "factual" but no less real than what we think of as having actually occurred."
When I remember eighth grade, I recall scenes my mind illustrated while reading Norwegian Woodjust as well as, and in some cases more vividly than, classmate interactions and walks to school. I spent a lot of freshman year analyzing my close, personal relationships with Rayanne Graff and Laura Palmer. I cried when I had watched The Virgin Suicides so many times that I could no longer remember how I'd first visualized the book. I still miss the characters I'd pictured before, and the school, too. Strangely enough, my first mental images of the Lisbons' house came flooding back to me when I set foot inside a neighbor's for a wake a couple years ago. When I walked outside, I saw that across the street was an old brown Cadillac surrounded by bushes and a sunset, mimicking two Corinne Day photos from the set of The Virgin Suicides almost exactly.

I don't actually think these events really happened to me, but they'll still come to mind when I think back on a time when a secondhand event seemed to hold some kind of truth that reality did not. Example: I felt all weird and drifty at the beginning of last summer, and when I try and revisit that place, I don't literally imagine the view from behind a car windshield and how everything must look to the narrator in Yo La Tengo's "Today Is the Day," but I sure remember the exact sadness that it captured.

References: Ronald Reagan, long before he had Alzheimers, would repeatedly recall some great war story with tears in his eyes. As it turned out, the incident was actually from a 1944 film called A Wing and a Prayer. Every other part of the Oliver Sacks essay where I learned this is also amazing and relevant.

4. EMBARRASSMENTS

These memories worsen with time. The original events often occur in adolescence, are usually social interactions, and, at worst, were intended to be romantic. One remedy is to frequently remind yourself that you won't have to live with your humiliation forever because MORTALITY. Or that our perception of reality is pretty inaccurate no matter what (see: Chris Ware; the tiny stoner I quoted earlier). Or that technically — TECHNICALLY — we have no way of knowing for sure that any of this is happening AT ALL. You could also just watch Freaks and Geeks.

5. NOSTALGIA

This is when the act of remembering an event becomes more enjoyable than the event itself, conjuring feelings that are warm and fuzzy, but also painful in the best way. From what I've gathered, the majority of people feel nostalgia most strongly for:

(a) Adolescence. Not for all the sweaty, horrible stuff mentioned in #4, but for the positive feelings and experiences which are only accentuated by the fact that your developing brain is taking them in for the first time. And even the sweaty, horrible stuff can be kind of great to revel in. Or, in the words of John Hughes, "At that age, it often feels just as good to feel bad as it does to feel good."

(b) Love.

Lolita and The Virgin Suicides combine (a) and (b) most perfectly, both being stories of men who spend their entire adult lives trying to hold onto what they once had, or once wanted.

References: Why You Truly Never Leave High School. Paul Feig's guest DJ choices on KCRW. Chuck Klosterman's essay on Dazed and Confused, in which he states, "Dazed and Confused is not a movie about how things were; Dazed and Confused is a movie about how things are remembered." Those fuzzy photograph-looking paintings by Gerhard Richter. Any Rodarte collection that cites California as inspiration. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

II. My understanding of death deepens. I think I'd always assumed I'd at least get to watch my funeral go down and have a few suspicions confirmed concerning who would write awkward "Happy Birthday! Miss you :(" messages on my Facebook wall long after I'd passed. I thought I'd get to still see how this whole "world" thing turns out: Do we all explode? Do things start to suck less first? Does everyone get sick of technology and start to live like the Amish, inspired by that one episode of Arthur? DO PEOPLE STILL WATCH ARTHUR?

But a few experiences take me out of all the stupid, floaty thoughts you get alone in your room and it hits me, quite tardily, that death is really the end.

III. I start watching Six Feet Under, which helps in some ways ("Why do we have to die?" "To make life important") but feeds my anxiety in others (every episode starts with some really unfortunate freak accident).

Everything is now a matter of life and death. Math homework: NOT A PRIORITY WHEN THE END COULD BE RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER. Cleaning my room: IS THIS REALLY HOW I WANT TO SPEND MY LAST HOURS ON EARTH WHEN I COULD GET HIT BY A CAR TOMORROW? Etc. The habit that blog-keeping instilled in me of compulsively archiving every single thing only worsens. If I get behind in my journal, I spend hours wondering where to even start. I can't pay attention in class, only make scattered notes where there should be a timeline of the Industrial Revolution, listing all the details I need to get down properly as soon as I have time: The music we listened to in Claire's room, the old man I saw on my way to school, the view from my boyfriend's car when we sat in a 7-Eleven parking lot watching people walk in and trying to predict their purchases, along with a record of what each person looked like and what they bought. My hands tremble, relaxing only once everything has been sufficiently documented, each memory in my grasp, as if by putting them down on paper, I can make them last forever.

I develop my own form of sacred geometry to find the secret knots among these details and fit them into the rest of my journal. I go through one every two months or so, and for that period of time, coordinate it and all other parts of my life with a specific mood. My handwriting, my doodles, the clothes I wear, the books I read, the music I listen to, the movies I watch, and the streets I walk down all match up. One goal of this is to create memories that are aesthetically pleasing and cohesive and perfect and synesthetic, each element in place (and never repeated in another journal or memory, making its singular usage especially special) so that the nostalgia will feel extra good. The other is to be as many people as possible, until I'm nobody at all.

IV. I listen to the "Bliss" episode of Radiolab, and the reasoning behind my impulses feels confirmed by the segment on snowflakes. So taken with their beauty, a young man in the 1880s named Wilson Bentley spent day after day trying to catch and document them, first through drawing and then photography. He only had about five minutes before one would melt, and had to hold his breath the whole time to keep from giving off any extra heat. Today, physics professor and snowflake expert Kenneth Libbrecht travels worldwide to do the same.
"…All of a sudden they'll get really good, and then I just start out there, frantically trying to collect as many as I can. One of the things I like to think about is, here I am, with my little piece of cardboard, in the middle of a continent where it's snowing all the time, and so I'm catching some incredibly small number of these things for a brief period, and getting some really cool pictures. So you kind of wonder, what else is out there? What are you missing? I mean, imagine just all the beautiful little works of art that are just falling down, totally unnoticed, and then they just disappear. Stuff that is far prettier than the pictures I have. 'Cause they're out there, you know they're out there. Statistically, they're out there, so you know, there's just an awful lot of really gorgeous things, that are just totally ephemeral and you'll never see them. And they're falling constantly. You sorta wanna just stop the world and go look at them."

V. I get to the finale of Six Feet Under. One character begins readying a camera until she's told, "You can't take a picture of this. It's already gone."

I talk about hoarding with my neighbor, whose house is very clean and calming, who has no trouble ridding of her two sons' childhood things. "I don't need to keep them, because I have every memory in my heart."

I tell Claire that before, I felt like an event had only really happened once it had been documented, shared, and praised. Then, just documented and shared. Now, just documented. She reminds me that there are always more moments to come, and that they will be fully experienced only once I've let go of those of the past.

I revisit American Beauty. This part at the very end leaves me feeling like Alan Ball has, once again, personally slapped me in the face. 
"...It's hard to stay mad when there's so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I'm seeing it all at once, and it's too much, my heart fills up like a balloon that's about to burst...and then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain and I can't feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life."

VI. My boyfriend and I take a tiny road trip during spring break. We skip stones on the beach, drink Coke out of glass bottles, and watch a pink sunset sky settle into nighttime. We walk along train tracks in the dark and stop to look at an old car behind a restaurant. I ask him to stand in front of it so I can take a Polaroid, the only picture I would have of him.

I retrieve it from my bag once we're on the dull Midwestern highway, leaving for good. The photo got exposed in the streetlight and came out as a mess of brown and blue spots. In a panic, I rapidly replay the day's events in my mind, and jot down a few details to remember. At some point, my notes turn into questions that I just can't shake:

"You can't grasp your legacy when alive, and it makes no difference in death. What if I leave behind no record? What if I let every day vanish? If I don't archive anything, am I free to change?"

The endless gray road with its yellow lights begins to feel less like a stretch of perpetual sameness, and more like an infinite sky filled with stars.