Thursday, December 20, 2012


I haven’t felt this inspired to write in a while. Life is busy. My house is dirty. Laundry, Legos and dying turtles.  I sit in a pool of things undone and I am doing just well enough to put on make-up on a consistent basis and even more disturbing is that somewhere along the way, I convinced myself that being seen in public like this was acceptable. So- needless to say, blogging takes a back seat. But what I find that I love most about writing is how therapeutic it is for me. It’s my way of processing something that I can’t otherwise sort through with a level head. Ironically enough, running is the very same thing; only slightly more jarring to the joints.  It’s a time to sort and settle- to make well with my soul- and to perfect my snot-rockets.  Alas- free therapy. Yay!  
And so here I am. And I realize that I cannot sort through the events that have recently transpired in Newtown, Connecticut with a level head. It’s too heavy. Those babies. My babies. Our babies. And so as in situations in my past- I think I instinctively become quite numb to it all. But that’s about to change.

This Saturday (provided we all wake up to an earth that is still inhabitable), I will run for the people in Newtown and for those sweet, sweet, souls who were taken away. And I will think about them and their stories and I will sweat, and hurt, and I will cry (albeit, running makes me cry anyway. I mean, the ENTIRE toenail. Really?)… but here is my chance to process it and deal- because it’s not even my reality. It is not my experience. And honestly, avoiding it makes me feel a little selfish.
So mainly, my words at this moment are meant to inform. I want to share what is going on with this movement that I am quite honored to be participating in. And I’m asking for your help. This Saturday, December 22 at 8:00am, runners from all over Nashville and many others donating to the event but participating remotely, will be hitting the streets of East Nashville where they will choose to run (or walk) either 6.5/13/19.5/26 miles in an effort to raise money for the victims’ families. It started with a father who had an idea, a really big heart and the legs he needed to get him there. Robbie Bruce, who is co-owner of X3 Endurance, writes that his initial call was for 26 people to run 26 miles with him. “Everyone gets a name”… he says in a text to his business partner. It is now over 500 runners and climbing. If that doesn’t place a big ol’ lump in your throat then I shall deem you made of metal, you robot.
Because of the ever changing and growing number of runners, details regarding the event are quickly changing. So I want to pass on a few links and you can navigate from there. You might consider running (or walking- me and my chaffed thighs will be doing some of that too, trust me), volunteering (PLEASE NOTE VOLUNTEER MEETING THIS EVENING- VERY IMPORTANT) or throwing in a few greenbacks for the effort. If you’re not in Nashville, please remember there are many geographically challenged participants who are donating specifically to 26.4.26 but are running on their own. Recruit some friends: As a certain Mr. Bruce has discovered, you may find you have more than you thought.

The general Facebook event page has all the info you will need and Robbie updates it by the hour. If nothing else- Just read the thread and soak in the love.

Donation and T-Shirt Order link:


Thanks everyone! And love love love to the community of Newtown. That is, after all, all you really need.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Full Circle

10 years ago today, I left the only life I had ever known and drove six hours east to Nashville, Tennessee. At the time, I’m not sure I was fully aware of the heaviness of the decision I was making. I don’t recall envisioning a life any further beyond the record deal that was surely going to fall in my lap. I don’t remember thinking about where I would be in 10 years and sadly, I didn’t give much thought to the many loved ones- friends and family alike- that I was subsequently leaving behind.

It was moving day. My best friends Heather, Jim and Daniel would make the trip with me. Auto-pilot kicked in, as it often does for me, and my usual ever-present emotions, forethoughts and best judgments became blurry fragments scattered in my peripheral. Two cars and one truck were loaded up and the trek began. Six months earlier I would picture this scenario in my mind: My little Honda rolling down Interstate 85, filled with my sparse and unimportant belongings. I would always picture this moment somewhere right around where South Carolina meets Georgia- right after I cross the bridge over Lake Hartwell. And I would think of this moment so in depth that my stomach would churn with fear and doubt. My gut would twist and wrench in a way that would certainly ever keep me from doing such a thing. I can’t do this. I won’t be able to do this.

But 10 years ago today- I made that drive down 85. And at that moment, crossing over the South Carolina state line, the only feeling I had was a sort of….unsettled contentment. It was scary and exhilarating and it was nothing like I had felt when I pictured that scenario so many times before. It felt right. I can do this. I AM doing this. I will never forget that moment as long as I live.

Seven hours, five ‘ Heather- induced’ potty breaks and one highly regrettable truck stop dinner adventure later, the lights of Music City finally appeared. I had secured a pretty neat little apartment right in the heart of it all- West End Avenue. Our little caravan pulled into the gates and reality punched me square in the face. Pretty soon, the comfort of my South Carolina entourage would leave- and then it would be just me. Looking back, the most memorable moment of that night was one that never actually happened. It was only years later that my dear friend Jim would share with me… that I neglected to give a proper goodbye to him; a man that-up until that point- had been the closest of confidants, the most dependable and attentive and genuine soul I had ever been so blessed to come in contact with. I was so preoccupied with my new life that I forgot to show how much I appreciated and loved the individual who had helped to shape and mold so much of the old one. I don’t have many regrets- but that is one of them. He drove away hurt and angry. It should not have been that way.

The next several months were a blur. When I wasn’t working, I sat in my apartment alone. Sometimes I would cry. Sometimes I would write songs. Sometimes I would cry and write songs at the same time. I had no TV, no friends, and the courage that got me to this point seemed to have hitched a ride back to South Carolina with Jim. I went home every weekend and the drive back on Sunday nights was beyond difficult. Still, the thought of moving back never seemed to be an option.

I made a few meager attempts to “get into the business”. I quickly realized that the business was a temperamental, unforgiving dictator that both gave life to and sucked life out of this vibrant city. And the harshest reality was that I was not special- I was no more talented than the guy pouring my beer at the bar down the street. I was the classic example of a big fish, from the small pond; naively confident that I could swim with the sharks that loomed in every corner. Even karaoke took on a whole new meaning. In South Carolina, getting drunk and singing “I Will Survive” was just a way to accept a dare or to get someone to buy you another shot. In Nashville, singing anywhere- on a karaoke stage, a pub bathroom or even a street corner on lower Broadway- was a possible audition for a major record label. Mike Curb could be sitting in the audience or walking by for all you knew. I sang karaoke once- in a little bar called Lonnie’s. A pair of skinny, long-limbed gorgeous blondes introduced me and the song I would sing- “Strawberry Wine”. Back home, this was my signature tune and was always welcomed with wild yelps and thunderous applause. I could sing the hell out of that song- never missing a beat, a note or an adlib. But on that night in Lonnie’s, as I got up to undoubtedly knock the crowd’s socks off- the girls handed me the microphone and made several snide and sarcastic comments about the song I was about to sing. I was confused- (don’t they know who I am?) and jolted and so of course, I sang horribly. What I realized in that moment is that here- in the town they call ‘Music City’- I was no exception. I did not stand out. My version of Strawberry Wine was no better than anyone else there. The very thing that had set me apart from the crowd was a just a common occurrence here. Everybody sings. Everybody plays. My now mediocre talent meant nothing. My confidence took a real beating that night and only now is any semblance of recovery beginning to find its way to me.

From that moment on, I did enough just to appease my friends, and my ever-encouraging mother. I tried to network and make impressions and just see what might come to me by way of sheer destiny. I didn’t work that hard and somewhere between falling down many times and falling in love (only once); I realized that perhaps I didn’t want it that bad. And that maybe that was ok. I began to see that perhaps there were other reasons I felt so drawn to Nashville. And perhaps that reason was a handsome, green-eyed, mild-mannered man named Kyle Brown.

We fell in love quickly. Or maybe I fell in love quickly and just invited him along for the ride. But nonetheless, he was a willing participant and we began a very passionate, sometimes tumultuous courtship. It was through our constantly evolving relationship that I began to question things- who I was, what was important to me, what I did and did not believe. Often, there weren’t immediate answers to these questions but what I did know- is that I wanted to discover these things about myself, but I didn’t want to do it without him by my side. In the 3 years that it was just us, I became a better human being just by knowing and loving him. In 2004, we discovered we were going to have a baby and I gave birth to Tyson Warner Brown on September 22. Life as I knew it- changed forever.

So fast forward to today- April 1, 2011: I am dumbfounded that I am now reflecting on 10 years of my Nashville life. I have my Kyle, two amazing, kind, healthy and beautiful kids and a little piece of South Carolina (my brother Kevin who lives with us) by my side. For most of these 10 years, one or more combinations of the previous mentioned people have been my music, my audience and my voice. And that’s has been just fine with me.

But now… something is on the horizon. Music. Performing. That passion. That fever. It’s back. My stomach churns once again. My gut harbors that familiar fear and doubt. I can’t do this. I won’t be able to do this. I’m not 24 anymore. I’m 34. I have kids, and laundry, and carpools. My voice isn’t what it used to be. My confidence is not what it used to be…. Somewhere between this narcissistic rambling and Saturday April 9th- I have no choice but to find it again. I’ve got to get up and sing- in front of a crowd of people that know good talent and good music when they hear it and certainly know when they don’t. I’ve got to convince a group of incredibly talented musicians that I am able to bring something to their already established musical unit and that they should keep me around for a while. Not because I have a voice. Everyone has a voice. Not just because one time in my life, I had balls enough to make such a drastic move to foreign soil. So many others have done the same. But maybe- just maybe, it’s because I have this story and only now does it continue down the original intended path. And perhaps the best place to tell it- is in front of a microphone, in a crowded bar in Franklin Tennessee on Saturday April 9th, 2011. 10 years and 8 days after I declared to the world that I knew I could do it- I’ll be on stage, recollecting on forgotten dreams, reacquainting with a faded persona, and remembering a force of unfiltered passion. There I’ll be y’all- still a fragile 24 year old South Carolina transplant- finally finding again my voice and happily sharing it with the world.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Let's see where this goes....

Ok- so I am officially a bad blogger. And a bad mommy. And a terrible wife. Not only have I not been writing about random boring crap that I somehow convince myself is funny- but I'm also not writing about things that matter- like Tyson's First Day of School, Tyson's first 6th Brithday, and Riley's first F-Bomb. These are things I need to remember- for the memories, the prosterity and the blackmail. Instead, I've been catapulted into an entirely new realm of motherhood. One that includes dropping Tyson off at school still in my pajamas, trying to convince myself that consuming a glass of wine at 3:20 is normal (though never succeeding- and by never, I mean mostly never) and training for my Oylmpic debut in Chocolate Chip Cookie consumption. So- you know; at least I have goals.

I don't know what's going on with me, faithful reader(s)... Where is my creative energy? Where is the passion for writing? Where is my lonely stranger? Where have all the cowboys gone? Do-do Da-do-do Da do-do Da do-do.....

I have no agenda- no real topic. Just randomness- from a brain that just can't seem to get it's ducks in a row and apparantly-as I stare at the clock beside me reading 11:53pm- a strange desire to be really freakin tired tomorrow.

Random thoughts:
  • There was another earthquake today- in the Gulf of California. Earthquakes are so common now- that I skipped reading about that to google "Gulf of California" Who knew California had a gulf? Does the Gulf of Mexico know about this? Is there a sibling rivarly?
  • I enjoy flossing my teeth, cleaning my ears and tweezing my eyebrows probably a little more than the average human being.
  • I like to list things in three.
  • If I am walking more than 10 steps to a desired location, I automatically go into the butt cheek squeeze walk. It makes me look like I have something physically wrong with me- but you wait, in 15 years, I'll have a nice shelf of an ass that will be a great place to lay my boobs across.
  • In the past two months, my taste in music has shifted drastically. I'm still not sure what to make of it. But it's fun to listen to something a little more refined than the Backstreet Boys.
Random videos:

Riley's Cuteness:

The Double Rainbow Guy:

And the best- THE BEST Wedding Video EVER! Congrats to my friend, April and her new husband Jeremy- for finding they way it was always meant to be....

we said vows. from Jeremy on Vimeo.

ok that's all I got people. More to come... in another year or so.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Dear World,

My young son starts to school today...It's going to be sort of strange and new to him for awhile, and I wish you would sort of treat him gently. You see, up to now he's been king of the roost...He's been boss of the backyard...His mother has always been near to soothe his wounds and repair his feelings.

But now things are going to be different.

This morning he's going to walk down the front steps, wave his hand, and start out on the great adventure...It is an adventure that might take him across continents, across oceans...It's an adventure that will probably include wars and tragedy and sorrow...To live his life in the world he will have to live in, will require faith and love and courage.

So, World, I wish you would sort of look after him...Take him by the hand and teach him things he will have to know. But do it gently, if you can.

He will have to learn, I know, that all men are not just, that all men are not true.

But teach him also that for every scoundrel there is a hero...that for every crooked politician there is a great and dedicated leader...Teach him that for every enemy, there is a friend.

Steer him away from envy, if you can...and teach him the secret of quiet laughter.

In school, World, teach him it is far more honorable to fail that to cheat...Teach him to have faith in his own idea, even if everyone says they are wrong...Teach him to be gentle with gentle people and tough with tough people.

Try to give my son the strength not to follow the crowd when everyone is getting on the bandwagon...Teach him to listen to all men - but teach him also to filter all he hears on a screen of truth and take just the good that siphons through.

Teach him, if you can, how to laugh when he's sad...Teach him there is no shame in tears...Teach him there can be glory in failure and despair in success.

Treat him gently, World, if you can, but don't coddle him...Because only the test of fire makes fine steel...Let him have the courage to be impatient...Let him have the patience to be brave.

Let him be no other man's man...Teach him always to have sublime faith in himself. Because then he will always have sublime faith in mankind.

This is quite an order, World, but see what you can do...He's such a nice little fellow, my son!
-Dan Valentine

(Thanks Mom!)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Bright Spaces

I am so proud that the organization I work for is able to not only change lives but that in the prcoess, this kind of happiness happens along the way....

Great job, April!

Bright Horizons from Kent Creative on Vimeo.

Saturday, July 31, 2010


I have moved to a new office that unfortunately for me, is within panting distance of a PEI WEI. Which- by the way- is pronounced, pay-way. Like "I'm broke, yo!- whydontchoo you pay my way, homie?". It is not Pee Wee, as in 'flogshislog' Herman. If ever someone says, "Hey, let's go eat at Pee Wee", I honestly want to point and laugh hysterically like a 7 year old boy.

So we lasted all of a day and a half before we christened our Pei Wei relationship and brought in lunch to say goodbye to our co-worker, Rebecca, who is off to explore other journeys (I am genuinely very sad about this- I think she is one of the most interesting people I have ever encountered, and I feel smarter just for knowing her). We had Pei Wei on her last day. Nothing says "We'll miss you" like lettuce wraps and fortune cookies *sniff sniff*......

I love fortune cookies- not so much for the slightly superstitious and overly romanticized piece of paper, but mostly because when you prefer your cardboard with just enough sugar to piss you off- then Fortune Cookies are really great to have around.

But I opened mine. And it just says "Plenty".
Content in what I have.
No longer feeling the void of not-enough.

This resonated with me for a number of reasons I suppose. But mostly, it's the connectivity to that other word. Content.

Isn't that really what we're all after? Just a chance to look around at your life- at the people, the memories, the home you've built for your family, the way you live your life and treat others, your soul, your skin, your heart- and say... "I am happy. I feel content. I have plenty."
Well isn't it?

So I can't get this out of my head... about the idea that maybe, just maybe, I have always had plenty. That the shadow of my constant needs and wants have always blinded me to everything and everyone I've ever been surrounded with. And sometimes, admittedly more often than I would like, I still think that way. I don't want to see my life like that anymore. So I'm not going to. Hmph.

My life may have forever been altered by lettuce wraps and that overly romanticized damn piece of paper. But I'm only slightly superstitious...
And may I add-
plenty grateful.

Friday, July 23, 2010

i love this. so wanted to share. you can learn more here .           


Written in 1998, the Incomplete Manifesto is an articulation of statements exemplifying Bruce Mau’s beliefs, strategies and motivations. Collectively, they are how we approach every project.

1. Allow events to change you.

You have to be willing to grow. Growth is different from something that happens to you. You produce it. You live it. The prerequisites for growth: the openness to experience events and the willingness to be changed by them.

2. Forget about good.

Good is a known quantity. Good is what we all agree on. Growth is not necessarily good. Growth is an exploration of unlit recesses that may or may not yield to our research. As long as you stick to good you'll never have real growth.

3. Process is more important than outcome.

When the outcome drives the process we will only ever go to where we've already been. If process drives outcome we may not know where we’re going, but we will know we want to be there.

4. Love your experiments (as you would an ugly child).

Joy is the engine of growth. Exploit the liberty in casting your work as beautiful experiments, iterations, attempts, trials, and errors. Take the long view and allow yourself the fun of failure every day.

5. Go deep.

The deeper you go the more likely you will discover something of value.

6. Capture accidents.

The wrong answer is the right answer in search of a different question. Collect wrong answers as part of the process. Ask different questions.

7. Study.

A studio is a place of study. Use the necessity of production as an excuse to study. Everyone will benefit.

8. Drift.

Allow yourself to wander aimlessly. Explore adjacencies. Lack judgment. Postpone criticism.

9. Begin anywhere.

John Cage tells us that not knowing where to begin is a common form of paralysis. His advice: begin anywhere.

10. Everyone is a leader.

Growth happens. Whenever it does, allow it to emerge. Learn to follow when it makes sense. Let anyone lead.

11. Harvest ideas.

Edit applications. Ideas need a dynamic, fluid, generous environment to sustain life. Applications, on the other hand, benefit from critical rigor. Produce a high ratio of ideas to applications.

12. Keep moving.

The market and its operations have a tendency to reinforce success. Resist it. Allow failure and migration to be part of your practice.

13. Slow down.

Desynchronize from standard time frames and surprising opportunities may present themselves.

14. Don’t be cool.

Cool is conservative fear dressed in black. Free yourself from limits of this sort.

15. Ask stupid questions.

Growth is fueled by desire and innocence. Assess the answer, not the question. Imagine learning throughout your life at the rate of an infant.

16. Collaborate.

The space between people working together is filled with conflict, friction, strife, exhilaration, delight, and vast creative potential.

17. ____________________.

Intentionally left blank. Allow space for the ideas you haven’t had yet, and for the ideas of others.

18. Stay up late.

Strange things happen when you’ve gone too far, been up too long, worked too hard, and you're separated from the rest of the world.

19. Work the metaphor.

Every object has the capacity to stand for something other than what is apparent. Work on what it stands for.

20. Be careful to take risks.

Time is genetic. Today is the child of yesterday and the parent of tomorrow. The work you produce today will create your future.

21. Repeat yourself.

If you like it, do it again. If you don’t like it, do it again.

22. Make your own tools.

Hybridize your tools in order to build unique things. Even simple tools that are your own can yield entirely new avenues of exploration. Remember, tools amplify our capacities, so even a small tool can make a big difference.

23. Stand on someone’s shoulders.

You can travel farther carried on the accomplishments of those who came before you. And the view is so much better.

24. Avoid software.

The problem with software is that everyone has it.

25. Don’t clean your desk.

You might find something in the morning that you can’t see tonight.

26. Don’t enter awards competitions.

Just don’t. It’s not good for you.

27. Read only left-hand pages.

Marshall McLuhan did this. By decreasing the amount of information, we leave room for what he called our "noodle."

28. Make new words.

Expand the lexicon. The new conditions demand a new way of thinking. The thinking demands new forms of expression. The expression generates new conditions.

29. Think with your mind.

Forget technology. Creativity is not device-dependent.

30. Organization = Liberty.

Real innovation in design, or any other field, happens in context. That context is usually some form of cooperatively managed enterprise. Frank Gehry, for instance, is only able to realize Bilbao because his studio can deliver it on budget. The myth of a split between "creatives" and "suits" is what Leonard Cohen calls a 'charming artifact of the past.'

31. Don’t borrow money.

Once again, Frank Gehry’s advice. By maintaining financial control, we maintain creative control. It’s not exactly rocket science, but it’s surprising how hard it is to maintain this discipline, and how many have failed.

32. Listen carefully.

Every collaborator who enters our orbit brings with him or her a world more strange and complex than any we could ever hope to imagine. By listening to the details and the subtlety of their needs, desires, or ambitions, we fold their world onto our own. Neither party will ever be the same.

33. Take field trips.

The bandwidth of the world is greater than that of your TV set, or the Internet, or even a totally immersive, interactive, dynamically rendered, object-oriented, real-time, computer graphic–simulated environment.

34. Make mistakes faster.

This isn’t my idea – I borrowed it. I think it belongs to Andy Grove.

35. Imitate.

Don’t be shy about it. Try to get as close as you can. You'll never get all the way, and the separation might be truly remarkable. We have only to look to Richard Hamilton and his version of Marcel Duchamp’s large glass to see how rich, discredited, and underused imitation is as a technique.

36. Scat.

When you forget the words, do what Ella did: make up something else ... but not words.

37. Break it, stretch it, bend it, crush it, crack it, fold it.

38. Explore the other edge.

Great liberty exists when we avoid trying to run with the technological pack. We can’t find the leading edge because it’s trampled underfoot. Try using old-tech equipment made obsolete by an economic cycle but still rich with potential.

39. Coffee breaks, cab rides, green rooms.

Real growth often happens outside of where we intend it to, in the interstitial spaces – what Dr. Seuss calls "the waiting place." Hans Ulrich Obrist once organized a science and art conference with all of the infrastructure of a conference – the parties, chats, lunches, airport arrivals – but with no actual conference. Apparently it was hugely successful and spawned many ongoing collaborations.

40. Avoid fields.

Jump fences. Disciplinary boundaries and regulatory regimes are attempts to control the wilding of creative life. They are often understandable efforts to order what are manifold, complex, evolutionary processes. Our job is to jump the fences and cross the fields.

41. Laugh.

People visiting the studio often comment on how much we laugh. Since I've become aware of this, I use it as a barometer of how comfortably we are expressing ourselves.

42. Remember.

Growth is only possible as a product of history. Without memory, innovation is merely novelty. History gives growth a direction. But a memory is never perfect. Every memory is a degraded or composite image of a previous moment or event. That’s what makes us aware of its quality as a past and not a present. It means that every memory is new, a partial construct different from its source, and, as such, a potential for growth itself.

43. Power to the people.

Play can only happen when people feel they have control over their lives. We can't be free agents if we’re not free.
Life is funny. Sometimes it's the complete opposite. This is my best attempt at trying to capture it all...