What I Wrote in 2015

I woke up this morning, on the last day of the year, and thought about writing. I consider doing this often, just getting up and writing. Then I did what I do almost every morning. I hit snooze on my alarm and rolled over. When I finally did get up, after hitting snooze a few more times, I had just enough time to run out for coffee before starting work. (My actual work that I get paid to do.) This, I thought to myself, is why I can never get any writing done. Then I proceeded to get angry at myself for not writing enough this year, for not publishing anywhere other than my own site, for giving up on the novel I’d started, for constantly feeling like I don’t have anything to say, for worrying that no one reads or cares about what I do put out there, for getting caught in this same negative thought cycle all too often.

I decided to stop being angry and to do a thing I had promised I would do more often this year and in the future. I decided to be nice to myself. All of the things I didn’t do this year? I told myself that it’s fine that I didn’t do them. I can do them or not do them later. And all of the things I did? They’re great! I did them.

This lead me to make a list of things I wrote that I liked this year. So, here are the things I wrote that I liked:

I wrote about having crushes.

I wrote about traveling to Iceland by myself.

I wrote about being a fan.

I wrote about getting naked with my friends at the spa.

I wrote about losing my job.

I wrote about talking to strangers in New York City.

I wrote about losing my uncle twelve years ago.

I wrote about what I listened to and what I read.

And I’ll write more next year. Just probably not right when I get up in the morning.

Music So Far, 2015

2015 is now more than halfway over and I’ve been keeping this running list of all of the new music I’ve liked so far so I figured I would share it here. No rankings. Just a whole lot of stuff I want to recommend! And there’s a Spotify playlist at the end.


Natalie Prass, Natalie Prass
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, “Careen”
Sleater-Kinney, No Cities to Love
Chromatics, “I Can Never Be Myself When You’re Around”
Colleen Green, I Want to Grow Up

Hot Chip, “Huarache Lights”
Toro Y Moi, “Empty Nesters”
Yumi Zouma, “Catastrophe”
Belle and Sebastian, “The Cat With the Cream”
SOAK, “Sea Creatures”

Lower Dens, Escape From Evil
Rae Sremmurd, SremmLife
Twerps, “I Don’t Mind”
Makthaverskan, “Witness”
Jessica Pratt, On Your Own Love Again

Waxahatchee, “Air”
Jazmine Sullivan, “Dumb”
Courtney Barnett, Sometimes I Think and Sit, And Sometimes I Just Sit
Speedy Ortiz, Foil Deer
Westkust, “Swirl”

Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp A Butterfly
Chastity Belt, Time to Go Home
Bully, Feels Like
Upset, “Glass Ceiling”
Grimes, “REALiTi (Demo)”

Metro Thuggin, “Free Gucci”
Girlpool, Before the World Was Big
Jamie xx, “Loud Places” ft. Romy
Chromatics, “In Films”
Leon Bridges, Coming Home

Panda Bear, “Crosswords”
Marissa Nadler, “So Long Ago and Far Away”
Diet Cig, “Scene Sick”
Rich Homie Quan, “Flex (Ooh, Ooh, Ooh)”
Yumi Zouma, “Song For Zoe & Gwen”

Kero Kero Bonito, “Picture This”
Ryn Weaver, “The Fool”
Fetty Wap, “Trap Queen”
Post Malone, “White Iverson”
Miguel, “Coffee (Fucking)” ft. Wale

Miami Horror, “Real Slow”
Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Multi-Love
Tame Impala, “Eventually”
Nao, “Apple Cherry”
Kacey Musgraves, “Biscuits”

Vince Staples, Summertime ’06
Young Thug, “Constantly Hating” ft. Birdman
U.S. Girls, “Damn That Valley”
Carly Rae Jepsen, “All That”

Hudson Mohawke, “Ryderz”
Empress Of, “Water Water”
Destroyer, “Dream Lover”
Jamie xx, “I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)” ft. Young Thug & Popcaan
Strange Names, “I Can’t Control Myself (Doss Remix)”

Tei Shi, “Go Slow”
Cuushe, “We Can’t Stop”
Shamir, Ratchet
Sia, “Elastic Heart”
Stealing Sheep, “Not Real”

Susanne Sundfør, “Fade Away”
iLoveMakonnen, “Whip It (Remix)” ft. Migos & Rich the Kid
Wet, “Deadwater”
Neon Indian, “Annie”
No Joy, More Faithful

Allie X, “Good”
Sufjan Stevens, Carrie & Lowell
Janet Jackson, “No Sleeep”
Samantha Urbani, “1 2 3 4”
Eskimeaux, “Broken Necks”
swim good x Merival, “since u asked”


Several Stories High: Songs From Mad Men

My fellow fans know that Mad Men did not lack for musical moments. Some songs simply gave us historical context for an episode. Others conveyed the show’s sense of irony. And many served as proxies for the central meaning or conflict of an episode (or entire season). Mad Men has, kind of unexpectedly, been a source of music discovery for me as long as it’s been on television, turning me on to forgotten pop hits and artists I’d long ignored because of my far remove from the era in which the show is set.

So. In honor of the series finale of Mad Men, I’ve created a playlist of my favorite songs that were used in some way, either playing in the background of scenes or as finales that played over the closing credits. (I have to credit Basket of Kisses and TuneFind for helping me find many of these songs.)


“I didn’t get into them until high school,” the girl said, shrinking herself deeper into her faux fur coat so that her eyes were the only visible part of her face, as we reached the exit of Terminal 5.

“Are you kidding me? I didn’t get into them until college. And I’m OLD.” Her male companion, wearing only a suit and thin wool scarf, wrapped his arm around her. “I’m THIRTY,” he said.

All around me, I heard conversations like these, people comparing notes on the first time they heard Sleater-Kinney, the point at which they became fans, how many shows they had seen and what number this one was for them. A man who looked like he hadn’t showered since the 90s told a group of men who looked like different cartoon versions of him that this was the sixth show he’d seen on this tour alone. As I listened to the group share their personal records for numbers of shows attended during past tours, I wondered how it felt to be that big of a fan. I wondered what they would say to me if I told them the particulars of my Sleater-Kinney fandom:

I got into them in college, a few months into their hiatus. Dig Me Out got me through one really rough time and then a few other minor rough times and depending on the day, I’d say it’s in my top five favorite or most important albums. They were the only music I listed in my Facebook interests, back when that was a thing. I get back into at least one of their albums at least once a year. That show we just saw? It was my first.

I’ve always had this sense that I’ve never been a real fan of a lot of the bands I love. If I wasn’t there at the beginning, to experience a band’s greatness during their early years of recording or touring, then what claim do I have on them?

I never felt this more than when I saw Pavement during their 2010 reunion tour. I was twelve when they released their final album in 1999. And while the possibility exists that I had heard “Cut Your Hair” on MTV as a child, I think it’s safe to say that I never really listened to Pavement until I was well into my teenage years. But I became a fan nonetheless, their music partially soundtracking my college years. Eventually, I came to count them among my “all-time favorites.”

But when I saw Pavement live, I felt self-conscious. I felt young. I felt like I was not as big of a fan as many of the other people there. Looking back on it, I was young compared to a lot of the crowd. I was twenty-three. And I wasn’t as big of a fan as many of the other people there. I didn’t know the words to every song. In fact, I think there were a few I didn’t really recognize. But I also had a lot of fun at that show. I knew most of the songs. I sang-screamed along to some of them alongside one of my best friends, who at the time was also a twenty-three-year-old girl. Afterward, I told people that it was one of the best shows I’d ever seen in my life. That was probably the truth.

sleater-kinney at terminal 5 (or, probably the worst concert photo taken for the purpose of instagramming in the history of the practice)

sleater-kinney at terminal 5 (or, probably the worst concert photo taken for the purpose of instagramming in the history of the practice)

Last night, I watched Sleater-Kinney perform a lot of songs that I knew well, some that I didn’t, and a few that are so important to me that I smiled the whole time they were happening. More than once I thought back to earlier that day, when I had considered not going to the show at all. I was on my way to a meeting, exhausted and unable to concentrate on the presentation I was to give shortly. I didn’t see how I was going to make it through the morning, let alone the afternoon and evening. I told myself that going didn’t matter, that I really wasn’t that big of a fan, that I wouldn’t be missing anything life changing. But I reasoned that I’d spent fifty bucks on the ticket and that alone was a reason to go. So I went. And it was good. (Even if I had to stand in the back against a wall behind a girl who kept whipping her pigtails my face while performing what seemed to be premeditated dance moves.)

I almost ended with that last paragraph, but I’m not sure I made the point I set out to make when I started writing this or if I even remember what the point is. I think it is: I have sometimes felt that my music fandom or knowledge is insignificant compared to that of other people. I wish I didn’t feel that way. It’s definitely OK to be into something exactly as much as I’m into it. Also, who cares?

l.o.v.e. is strange to me

l.o.v.e. is strange to me_cover

Here’s a mix for February with some (happy and sad) love songs.


1. Annette Funicello: ‘That’s Amore’
2. Barbara Lynn: ‘Only You Know How to Love Me’
3. Orange Juice: ‘L.O.V.E. Love’
4. Moe Tucker: ‘Will You Love Me Tomorrow?’
5. Honey Ltd.: ‘Tomorrow Your Heart’
6. Roy Orbison: ‘Crying’
7. Helene Smith: ‘Pain In My Heart’
8. Dressy Bessy: ‘Makeup’
9. The Breeders: ‘Do You Love Me Now?’
10. Neil Young: ‘I Believe In You’
11. Harry Nilsson: ‘You Made Me Love You’
12. Simon & Garfunkel: ‘For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her’
13. The Beach Boys: ‘Disney Girls (1957)’
14. Beverly Kenny: ‘A Sunday Kind of Love’
15. Shelley Duvall: ‘He Needs Me’
16. Gary Portnoy: ‘Where Everybody Knows Your Name (Cheers Theme)’

You can download the whole mixtape here. I also made a Spotify playlist, if you prefer listening that way. ❤