Highlight Reel

New Years Eve 2011

Staring out across my yard at the Christmas lights garish against the December night sky and trying to pick out a singular light bulb the way I've tried to pick out the exact moments this past year that have changed my life.

"Where are you going?" I asked him this day last year. 
"I have to go help my best friend propose to his girlfriend. Happy New Year, let's get married, that sort of deal" 
He smiled but there was something beneath it that I wouldn't understand until months later.

 I stood in the back alley that night, caught up in the longness of the day, exhaling and wishing on the streetlights for lack of stars that I could get through this next year.

Fast forward//:

The Fault In Our Stars. 

There is something about this book that epitomizes this year.
I saved it up for a road trip, because I instinctively knew it was special. 
Existentially fraught free throws, and the pursuit of anything with lasting value. 
Love is keeping the promise anyways, even if you didn't know the implications when you swore "for always" in the first place. 
You put the killing thing between your lips but you leave it powerless to destroy you.
You don't choose whether or not you get hurt in this world, but you do get some say in who hurts you. 
Mostly, though, to embrace the infinities within life, no matter their length.


I fell head over heels for this sport and the way the cold nips my nose, stomach drops as you build up speed,
the lodge, conversations with strangers around the fire, impromptu friendships, the cafeteria in the basement where you can sit with coffee and a book, the fire escapes, artwork on the walls and the view of the sun setting over the river. One week and I'll be jiggling the key in the lock of Four-Nineteen, my family's attic penthouse where we live in this massive space with beds pushed up against the walls and you can see into all three states from the window. There were so many memories from this year, and I'll hold onto them for awhile.

On falling out.

The words becoming fewer and the voices more hoarse. Of losing eye contact, dropping my eyes to the floor.
The space becomes a canyon. And it hurts. Tears on nights when the air seems thin, releasing the barbed wire of a friendship that's turned murky, hand bleeding, then scabbing over until it's just a faint scar that I run my thumb over and smile at the nice memories from time to time.

Turning eighteen.

And expecting everything to change. Expecting to feel six inches taller, lots smarter and waking up to the dreadful realization that change takes effort and not just time.

City Museum.

 There were quite a few places I went this Summer, none of them caught me quite like City Museum. Located in urban Saint Louis, it's this immense building, with an operating Ferris wheel and school bus on the roof and rooms full of things that are beautiful, but more importantly, touchable. The experience is so well worth it. A Neverland of whimsy/ Old battered piano, second hand clothing shop, ten story slide, indoor carnival, mosaic floor, tunnels and places to think. You could get lost inside it's walls and never be entirely sad about it.

The Summer.

 Was exhausting in ways I cannot begin to explain. It lasted forever and kept me running on the treadmill of it at breakneck speeds.. Saw the country and yet felt alone. hundred degree weather I couldn't stand.
Whispered wishes for autumn to come soon. Wasted the summer praying in vain for a savior to rise from these streets.

My Best friend fell in love.

And there aren't many words that I can bring out to describe this. To see the look on her face when she talks about him, or messages from him swearing he loves her more than anything else. Their happiness is infectious.
It all just went really fast, however, and I wish that the summer hadn't been so crazy so I could have mentally recorded it for a better story telling experience. They are just so beautiful.

Autumn came.

With a gust of air and pounding rain that washed away the dry draught of summer and filled me with it's sapphire blue skies and leaves like perfect flames. Camping trip that was a Dustland Fairytale, wandering down gravel roads alone at night to watch the stars this far out from the city. A boy jumping off the end of a pick up truck, running up to me and saying "I know you think I'm crazy, but I just had to let you know how beautiful you are"
Trying not to laugh and whispering thank you. Bruce Springsteen's Thunder Road "They scream your name at night in the streets, graduation gown lies in rags at your feet". Our silent mantra of november-november-november and the way that the trees look like an impressionist painting when they're scattered among the hills.


I have to say that this year, for the first time, the words have taken a life of their own. Looking through this blog, there haven't been all that many posts. Acknowledging that,  I wish I could show you the notebooks, the documents, the handwritten letters that may have been lost but at least they were sent. They have become a large piece of who I am.
You can only write what you've observed, so I've been staring at life with eyes wide open, like an artist trying to catch the way a shadow falls across the room. 


There have been innumerable people that have come across my path in twenty-twelve. 
No one else touched my life in the way Katie has. She brought to light all the things that I've passed over a thousand times unnoticed. She's shared stories, and within them, truth. We've laughed over boys and cried over loneliness. Birds as metaphors and long journal entries. Guster, Noah and the Whale, music that changed our lives. Long days, happy minutes. Photographs and artwork. Postcards and tickets to follow along on one another's adventures. She has inspired me to write like a madwoman. To not let life slip through my fingers. To drink stronger coffee and talk to more strangers. I am so incredibly thankful for her. 
She's left the best of fingerprints on this year.

Katherine & Scout.

During the month of November, Katie and I wrote a novel together. 
Her Dad asked if it was going to be a Perks of Being a Wallflower fan fiction, and I howled with laughter. Katherine & Scout is about young women lost in Seattle, searching for hope in the bottom of their coffee mugs, and on the spines of the books that line Doris' bookshop. It's a story about loneliness, and ultimately hope. 
About memories, and how they become puzzle pieces of your own personal history book. 
It's about falling in love and traveling far. 
And ultimately looking back long enough to give yourself courage to move forward. 
I plan on posting a bit in the near future about the inspiration behind the 50,000 words, as well as some of our collaborative writing. In it's imperfections, which are many, I love it because it stands for everything we've fought to preserve this year.

Live Music.

Every little bit I can catch and save the notes for later like worn paper in my pockets. From a stranger playing Fur Elise on the lodge's piano to the adult alt bands that play on the little stage in the corner to adorable guys with acoustic guitars in downtown Saint Louis late at night to Tegan and Sara with The Killers at my first choice transfer college and Ray LaMontagne like a prayer at the Chicago Theatre.
All those bits of live, raw, goose bump inducing music memories are priceless. I want to watch street performers and hopeless musicians as well as the artists that have changed my life in ways that I get choked up trying to explain make the music that fills my soul, watch as the lies that fill up my journals make their way across a rippling, swaying crowd. I'm in love with live music and that feeling you get when you look around at all the faces aglow, feeling the least alone you've ever felt.

There you have a very brief overview of this year.
So many things are on the horizon for twenty-thirteen. Most of all, I want to learn how to love till I'm empty.
Make life beautiful for others as well as myself. Fight loneliness like a cold. Have many moments in which infinity seems plausible.

Happy 2013. Have a beautiful ending and beginning.


  1. I'm crap at writing comments but I just wanted to say that the whole feeling of this post was able to echo something I haven't yet been able to put into words. And that's just really awesome.

    1. Well thanks for commenting anyways.
      Thank you, Maggie.

  2. I really liked this a lot. It was a very unique way of writing the typical "year in review" post. You are a very talented writer!
    Kristin @ Serendipity

  3. I love this post. My favorite New Years post so far. <3
    Great Gatsby for the win!

    I have seriously wanted to go to the City Museum for years. My aunt lives in St. Louis and I'm reeeally hoping that we make a trip to the City Museum with her sometime soon! It looks fantastic.

    1. Great Gatsby has been one of those books that have made the year.

      YES. You need to visit your aunt in Saint Louis and spends hours and hours at City Museum.
      It's your Jillian-imposed New Years resolution.

      Thank you... I tried to lay everything out with some sort of flow from one life event to the other.

  4. Katie is pretty damn wonderful, isn't she? I read an excerpt of your NaNo, and it was incredible... I call dibs on a signed first edition, please!
    I have really enjoyed reading your blog this year; your writing style is so beautiful and I feel at home here, if that isn't a crazy thing to say.

    1. Ha, hell yes Katie fan club.
      Oh God I hope it wasn't the first chapter.... it was the first chapter wasn't it?
      You'll definitely get an autographed copy! Although that seems funny in a way.

      I didn't think it was a crazy thing to say at all. There are certain people in the universe whose thoughts and personalities feel like home. You are definitely one of those people for me.
      Thanks, Libby. I look forward to following your adventures in twenty-thirteen.

  5. I love this. I love your writing, and reading about the year through different people's perspectives.
    And also, I'm often too lazy to reply, but your comments on my blog are always some of my favorites.
    I hope 2013 is a wonderful year for you.

  6. Sounds like you had an awesome year. I absolutely love the way you write. It's raw and honest and inspiring in its own way.

    God bless,
    Melissa Renee

  7. This was (as usual, when it comes to your blog) a great post. I love the way its written. You really do have a talent for writing. I can see why you wrote a novel, you've got the skillz to pay the billz.

    I especially loved the part about turning 18, and the realisation that 'change takes effort and not just time'. Too true, and yet so many people fail to realise that. They just wait and hope change happens almost instantaneously or without effort. Poor fools.

    It sounds pathetic, but I've never actually been to a museum. There's one right in my city as well, but I've never been there... what a pleb I am. I really want to go to a world class one, and see what they're like. I'm fascinated by all sorts of history, and going to a massive museum would just be the bee's knees.

    By the looks of this post, it seems like you had a pretty big year. Here's hoping that 2013 is even better.

    All the best.

  8. I hope 2013 is good to you!

  9. Your writing is beautiful, and I hope you have a wonderful new year. Keep on making blog posts! And thank you for the comment, I can't believe college is almost here!

  10. hey, thanks. just been dealing with some pretty heavy stuff i don't want to let go of. It's being yanked out of my tight grasp, i'm doing some of the yanking but i'm doing all of the grasping too. i'm not sure if i've trusted something this big, or if i have, not realized it, or if i thought i had, i really hadn't. there is a time for everything. sometimes (at least, i don't know enough to be able to decide whether it really is sometimes or most of the time) those times aren't phases that merge into the next, they are pinpoints that blip and disappear or are allowed to run a course but are suddenly swept off the edge of the world. I don't just mean things that happen in life or things that come into our lives, but ways of dealing with those things. maybe the time for things just seems random and sporadic because we listen randomly and sporadically. it is a wonder we stay on this world at all. we always seem to hurry and other things that rhyme with that word but sound lame. even when reading (not that i write much that is worth soaking in), and everything. just living. time doesn't stop, but it'll still be here until it's not. This longing feels like it's for the eternal though what i long for isn't. But i think it is a longing for the eternal, i just think i'm longing for something i'm not. such is my tired mind. thanks for giving me space to put these convoluted struggles and nonsense, it seems like a good space.

  11. "I'm going to make it through this year if it kills me."

    Last night I wrote a paragraph about how I'm addicted to nostalgia, and the funny thing is that when I look back over this past year, all my memories are tinted with you. If I search your name in my email, the first few are awkward, stinted conversations about TFIOS. Do you remember the very first time I found your blog? You were the blogger I looked up to for so long. I was just a baby blogger and you were so smart, so self-assured. And then last January we were emailing, and then gradually you became a soulmate.

    (I drank a lot of coffee last night right before I went to bed, and my hands are shaky from caffeine, and my mind keeps racing, so if I don't make any sense I'm really sorry.)

    The trouble with commenting on a post like this is that there's no way I can say everything I want to...and my phone just buzzed with a text from you. "I just...feel so much." How is it that you can say what I'm thinking? There's something about the two of us, about this friendship, about 50 thousand words and so many emails...it all just feels really right. Like even though life is shitty and even though hearts get broken and even though things are hard, everything will be okay.

    Do you remember the nights when we would text each other that? Just that one phrase, over and over. Everything will be okay. Everything will be okay. Everything will be okay.

    When I started dating Aaron last year, I had coffee with an older friend/mentor. Sometimes talking to her is intimidating because she pushes for honesty and calls me out on my bullshit. When we had coffee that February, she asked me if Aaron made me a better person. I didn't have an answer for her then, but as you know, the answer was eventually no. And I think that friendship is a lot like dating. You shouldn't keep people in your life out of obligation or anything like that. And out of everything that happened in 2012, if someone were to ask me if you made me a better person, my answer would be yes. Absolutely yes.

    Love you.


"Sometimes the world seems like a big hole. You spend all your life shouting down it and all you hear are echoes of some idiot yelling nonsense down a hole"
_Adam Duritz

I love hearing things that aren't my own pathetic echoes.