I met Ben Crowder just over three years ago this semester, back when he was president of the C.S. Lewis Society here on campus and I somewhat uncharacteristically offered to draw up some flyers in support of such a noble cause and then joined the club, too. This was stupid for one very important reason: he was BEN CROWDER. Reader, writer, artist, musician, designer, coder, you-name-it-he's-done-it, and perfectly capable of making a (much better, much more professional) flyer himself. Luckily I was unaware of this at the time and only blushed deeply weeks later once I'd actually met the man and then, consequently, all that he is---at which point I decided the term renaissance man is etymologically cataloged under Crowder, Ben in the OED.

Most recently (I mean, besides the other four score and seven projects he's got going at any given daylight hour) Ben is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Mormon Artist, an online magazine published bimonthly and dedicated to covering the Latter-Day Saints art world. It's pretty, it's purpose-full, and because Ben is nice as well as being so obviously all-aspects awesome, he let me be a part of it. And I thought just having a Press Pass was exciting.

issue fourteen out now // read all about it.


eighty-eight mph.

[ Don't worry. As long as you hit that wire with the connecting hook 
at precisely 88mph the instant the lightning strikes the tower. . . everything will be fine. ]

Got my driver's license, finally. I mean, for the second time; my original expired while in Indonesia and I guess two months home and three hours in two different DMVs goes to show you how much I cared about that. Never been one for anything with engines, maybe.  I got my sixteen-year-old license twelve days shy of seventeen and still sat out the rest of that semester on the passenger side, never really getting into the whole behind-the-wheel thing until I was eighteen and discovered one run of Wait, Wait . . . Don't Tell Me lasted exactly the amount of highway between school and home. With Sagal on the schedule I learned to love a good drive.

Anyway. Got my license, and drove. Drive. Am driving. And besides the split-second stutter just before taking a spontaneous left out onto the freeway instead of the predetermined straight along the city roads out to Nonna's, so far so good. So good. Better than I remembered. The best. I swung into my grandma's driveway secretly so immensely self-satisfied, pocketing the car keys like any old high school afternoon and skipping up the steps to arrive, alive, victorious. "See?" my mum said. "Like riding a bike."

She said this and I started thinking, because it's a strange phrase and I like to know things but guess what? Etymologically no one's been able to place the phrase, at least not as far as the internet is concerned (and what did we ever do before the internet?) unless we count Einstein saying life is like riding a bicycle, to keep your balance you must keep moving, which we don't because, let's face it, that doesn't really have a lot to do with what we're talking about, not exactly.

Anyway. Without any origins to occupy my mind's meandering I turned to lists, which I do sometimes, rather arbitrarily, lists like Places I Have Sent Letters To or Names I Am Currently Doodling Incessantly or Reasons This Last Hour of Absolutely Nothing Was Completely Justified. Most often these lists don't make much sense and are highly subjective. In this case, Things That Are Like Riding a Bike and Things That Are Not.

Because since December I have noticed very excruciatingly obviously the things I can and cannot do, or rather the things that take no thought at all and the ones that nearly break my brain with the mere effort of it. Drinking milk. Taking a hot shower, sleeping on a bed. Old friends and Taylor Swift lyrics and holding hands. These things I do not second-guess.

But then there's reading Russian novels. Or ordering pizza over the phone, or defining anchor points in Photoshop. Watching movies and eating salad and writing analytically. Coming home.

These are still hard. But I guess you just keep moving.


heart on fire

In Indonesia, we wrote letters every week. Green letters, they're called---every missionary writes them, but we wrote one more. One to President, another to each other. Lily and I signed them pulang pergi. There and back again. 

They are funny, they are sad. They are upset, discouraged, fighting, faithful. They are each in an envelope like art; one of them coiled into a BubbleTape container that made the elders laugh out loud. They are (a few of them) perfect fodder for fire.

We've been planning it for months, this Valentine tinder, and tonight was the night. Matches in one pocket and selected sentences in the other. We took the back roads up to the mouth of the mountains and walked our way around to an empty space on the hill. One match, two. Twenty-seven. I love the way flame blooms, how the corners curl and the incandescent amber complements the dusty-blue winter sky in bright petals lipping at the air. It was a silent rite and we burnt the last of them simultaneously, breaking into impenitent laughter as they fell to ashes, gone. It felt good, the way crossing off lists always does, the way new days begin. Lily did cartwheels across the frozen February ground.

We were driving down the canyon into turquoise twilight and I thought, I should blog again.