My Favorite Albums

Father-John-Misty-Fear-Fun
I’ll admit that I’m more of a song girl than an album girl. There are few things I love more than just putting a great song on repeat and getting into it (I’m aware that this is really annoying). Still, there are a few albums that have been ultra important to me. These are the ones I listen to all the way through, then immediately start over from the beginning. These are the ones that just pop into my mind sometimes, and I can’t do anything else until I take the time to listen to them again. These are the ones that make me feel connected to music the same way I did when I was in high school. What are your big albums? Tell me in the comments! Or just listen to my favorites (I included either Youtube streams or Grooveshark links):

Fear Fun, Father John Misty

I’ve listened to this one so many times that I think I ruined it for my husband. Whatever. FJM’s voice is just so pretty, even when he’s saying crazy things. “Nancy From Now On” is my favorite, but every song’s fantastic. This might be my favorite album ever.

Enter the Slasher House, Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks

It’s hard for me to believe that I just heard this album for the first time a few months ago, because it wormed its way into my head immediately. Those first 30 seconds just fill me with so much anticipation, and the beginning of the first track makes me so happy. Obviously “Little Fang” is the best song. Duh.

Red, Taylor Swift
I could’ve put any Taylor Swift album here, but this is the one I first fell in love with and the one I’ve played on repeat through countless writing sessions. I just love the way “State of Grace” kicks off the album, and every track is so full of emotion. “All Too Well” is one of my favorite Taylor tracks ever.

Camp, Childish Gambino

I know a lot of people don’t take Childish Gambino seriously, but I don’t care. I have this album almost memorized, and I love that it’s a true album. It tells a story, it’s full of contradictions, and it really tells you a lot about Donald Glover. I don’t love everything about Childish Gambino (there’s some casual misogyny that’s hard to stomach), but I love the way this album sounds. Sometimes I listen to individual tracks when I’m working or working out, but it’s best as a whole. If you’ve written him off, give this one a chance. I’m not saying he’s Kanye, but he’s pretty damn good.

Kaleidoscope Heart, Sara Bareilles
Call this one cheesy if you want. It’s still great. As I’ve mentioned a few times, I wore this album out when I was going through a rough time, and it really helped me. It’s still a go to listen whether I’m feeling good or bad. “Gonna Get Over You” and “Let the Rain “are my favorite tracks.

Rock N Roll, Ryan Adams
Here’s what I like about Ryan Adams: even when his songs are ugly and rough, there’s still always something pretty about them. There’s his falsetto, or some jangly guitar, or a really nice lyric. This isn’t one of his more popular albums, and it doesn’t really even sound like most of his music, but it’s my favorite. I used to listen to this on the drive to high school. “So Alive” is the best track.

What about you guys? What are your favorite albums? Let me know!

Wednesday Link Party!

Happy Wednesday, guys! I hope you’re all having an awesome week. I’ve been working A LOT, but don’t think that means I haven’t had time to watch the entirety of True Detective. H. and I started it this weekend and I immediately fell for it. Rust Cohle, you are something else. If you guys ever want to talk about the show, I’m always here. On with the links!

Some pep talks from Anne T. Donahue.

David Lynch’s philosophy on drinking coffee is just as David Lynch-y as you would expect.

The Hairpin interviewed Julie Klausner: “I love it when smart people get together and talk about The Real Housewives or a Broadway show or Shailene Woodley, or, “Did you hear what that person said that, that’s hilarious, oh, what a crazy weirdo”—that’s my bread and butter.”

“Feminine sadness,” from Rilo Kiley to Lana Del Rey. As someone who spent a lot of time in college just listenin’ to Rilo Kiley and feelin’ sad, I get this.

How to make yourself a better writer without getting an MFA degree.

Anne Helen Peterson writes about the joys of reading like a teenager: “Teens don’t have to spend an hour in traffic to attend a distant cousin’s baby shower; teens don’t have to wait in line at Ann Taylor Loft to return three pairs of shoes you ill-advisedly bought after two glasses of wine.”

James Franco reads a lot of books, but none of them are by women. Flavorwire gives him a few suggestions.

The boys and I saw The Sacrament this weekend and I really enjoyed it. I mean, it’s about a cult, so OBVIOUSLY I enjoyed it.

The term Manic Pixie Dream Girl was once useful and interesting, but now it’s just sort of lazy, dismissive, and (often) misogynist.

And finally, an interview with True Detective’s show runner. Seriously, I had a few problems with the show, but damn it if it wasn’t one of the most compelling things I’ve seen in awhile (and I watch Love It or List It, you guys).

Creative Ladies 2.0

Creative-Ladies

Have you been wondering what happened to Creative Ladies? Have your Thursday been hopeless, bleak, devoid of lady inspiration? Have you been struggling to see the point of it all since I stopped posting Creative Ladies interviews?

Okay, so maybe that’s a little dramatic. No one feels like that. But I did want to let you guys know that Creative Ladies isn’t gone. Creative Ladies will never die, much like a vampire or my love for Prince. I still have a couple of Creative Ladies posts lined up, but I’m thinking about changing a few things. First, though, I thought I’d explain what I actually want to do with Creative Ladies.

My motivation with the series is, honestly, primarily selfish. When I read an interview with an artist, I always want to know the behind-the-scenes stuff. What’s her workspace like? What books inspire her? What makes her feel discouraged? Who are her role models? I like getting inside someone’s head and hearing about what it takes to actually make something, and a lot of times interviews don’t focus on the making part of a creative work. Because I’m super nosy and, apparently, shameless, I wanted to see if I could get cool women to tell me about their creative lives. I also like the idea of a standard questionnaire…for one, because I simply do not have the time to craft specific questions if I’m going to featuring one woman a week, but also because I just like seeing how so many different people interpret the same questions (Design*Sponge does this with Biz Ladies, another series I really love).

But beyond my selfish desires, I also want to inspire other people. It’s nice to pull up the curtain a little bit so that all of us can see how the women we admire make things…and I really like spotlighting the artists I like, too!

So what do I want to do with Creative Ladies going forward? For starters, diversity is extremely important to me. Yes, I want to make sure I feature lots of different kinds of creativity (I have a tendency to interview writers, because those are the people I know, but I want to find painters, dancers, and all sorts of other creative types, too!). But I also want to feature every kind of diversity. As I know from the reader emails I get, a lot of girls and younger women read Welcome to Ladyville, and it matters to me that they all see themselves represented here. Too often on “ladyblogs” or “lifestyle blogs,” we only see white faces. It makes it seem like a creative life is this thing that’s only possible for white women, when that couldn’t be farther from the truth. We all have the capacity to be creative. I don’t ever want a young woman to read this series and think, “None of these women are like me.” Representation very much matters, and I try to do my best to show that.

I also want to know what you care about! What questions would you like me to ask future Creative Ladies? What do you want to know about their lives? Although the questions I pose are the ones I’m most curious about, I also want to know what you guys wonder about other ladies’ creative lives. Also, some of my questions are sort of boring. Do I want to know if someone has an actual process? Yes, but that question still sounds really boring. Any and all suggestions are welcome!

And, on a smaller note, I don’t want Creative Ladies to be a promotional thing. Yes, I love to mention projects you’re working on and I’m happy to schedule my posts around a new book release or whatever (we need to support each other!), but I can usually tell when someone’s doing this just to promote themselves. This is about sharing a fun look into your creative process, not just pushing something. That said, you don’t need to be shy about mentioning your projects! I love to talk about them and encourage readers to check them out.

If you have any suggestions or ideas, please comment or email me at welcometoladyville@gmail.com. And if you’re a creative person who identifies as female, please do email me. I’d love to interview you! Creative Ladies should be back very soon, and I hope you’re looking forward to it as much as I am!

High School Reunions: Do You Go to Yours?

romy and michele's high school reunion

My 10 year high school reunion is coming up. I’ll spare you the “I can’t believe I’m so old blah blah blah” because, news flash, although I often act like an elderly woman I don’t actually think being in your late 20s means you’re old. And, in a a lot of ways, it does seem like 10 whole years have passed since I’ve graduated. I’ve gone to college, worked a few different jobs, gotten married, and done a bunch of other things.

But just because I feel like a grown up and I’m cool with aging doesn’t mean I want to go to my high school reunion. Because the thing is…I’m not “over” high school. And I don’t know if that’s normal.

I did not like high school, which doesn’t make me unique. Most people didn’t like high school. In fact, if I met someone who was like, “Sure, I loved high school. Living under tons of rules, being in captivity with mostly people I hated, having to do constant awkward group work and eat disgusting cafeteria food…it was all awesome!” I would not trust him or her. You’re supposed to hate high school…but I also think you’re supposed to not have strong, bitter, sometimes fearful feelings towards the people you went to high school with ten years later, right?

To be clear, I was not bullied or anything in school. I was made fun of in exactly the same way that 99% of most girls are made fun of, by which I mean other girls cruelly and calculatingly zeroed in on the flaws I was most sensitive about and then made me feel terrible about them. And, of course, there were always those girls who were just straight up nasty bitches, but they were mean to everyone. I couldn’t really take it personally. But by the end of high school, it seemed like things had sort of…calmed down. In the last week of school, everyone was, weirdly, really nice to each other. It was like everyone realized that the high school movie that had, up until that point, been our lives was ending, and we’d all be going off to star in our own college party movies or staying in Bellville to star in our own depressing indie movies.

So when our five year reunion rolled around, I don’t know what I expected. I guess I thought that, to keep this movie thing going, it would be sort of like Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion and everyone who was ever mean to me would end up learning a lesson by the power of Alan Cumming and his dance moves. But that didn’t happen. For starters, Alan Cumming didn’t even bother coming, which was a real slap in the face. There were no Cyndi Lauper inspired dance scenes. And no one came up to me and said, “You know what? I’m sorry I didn’t realize how gorgeous and hilarious and amazing you were back when you had an underbite and braces and a much more noticeable lisp–I mean, yes, you still have a bit of a lisp now but it’s like a quirky thing that I’m strangely attracted to–and, come to think of it, it’s actually sort of cool that you spent all your weekends reading and writing in your weird dramatic journal instead of drinking like a normal 17 year old! Honestly, how did you not have like 50 boyfriends? Well, anyway, I’m ugly and unsuccessful and I have to get back to my home, which is a literal box in a literal gutter, so I guess I’m just sorry I once made fun of you for being bad at gym class 15 years ago. Bye!”

If I’m being honest, that’s the only scenario that would have made me think, “Whoa, this reunion is really killin’ it!” And that’s sort of (okay, really) messed up. There’s a big part of me that wants to have something impressive going on to show off to these people I barely knew years ago, but as my BFF sagely pointed out, nothing that matters to me would impress them anyway. Do you think they’re going to care about writing credits? No! My mom recently had to do business with a former high school classmate of mine (who once pushed one of my friends into a locker and called another one of my friends a gay slur) who literally did not know how to set up an email address. That girl doesn’t give a shit about what websites I write for.

I never even had the chance to say this.

I never even had the chance to say this.

Or this.

Or this.

OR THIS.

OR THIS.

But back to my five year reunion. What ended up happening? Nothing, really. I ate undercooked potatoes, poorly played some minigolf, and talked to my friends. Even though I didn’t like high school, I was lucky enough to meet some of my best friends for life there. But here’s the thing–I can talk to my friends any time I want to. I don’t have to go to a combination bar and grill/go-kart track/minigolf course to do so, thank God. And the people who were assholes in high school…big surprise, they were still assholes! Also, while my friends and I were playing minigolf, they took the group photo without us, which is pretty symbolic of my high school experience.

Total bullshit that this never happened.

Total bullshit that this never happened.

So am I going to go to the 10 year reunion? I DON’T KNOW. On the one hand, it’s happening during a weekend when I’ll be home. It will probably be at least interesting. And I know I should feel like, “Well, we’re all older and wiser and let bygones be bygones” and other cliches, but…I don’t know that I’m mature enough to feel that way. The attitudes in my hometown are weird, and I don’t necessarily enjoy putting myself back there.

What about you guys? Have you gone to any of your high school reunions? How weird were they? Did anyone give you an elaborate apology (or did you elaborately apologize to someone)? Did Alan Cumming have the decency to show up? Was there interpretive dance? Please, let me know any and all high school reunion experiences in the comments.

Thursday Link Party!

Okay, so Wednesday Link Party is actually Thursday Link Party this week. I’ve been out livin’ life, okay? It’s been a super fun week. On Friday night, we had the chance to go to a baseball game with Cat and her husband (I love baseball games because I get to eat hot dogs) before hitting up 16 Bit for 80s-themed drinks (I had the Elizabeth Shue). I spent the weekend hanging out with my family and eating lots of food for Father’s Day. And on Tuesday night, we got to see The Preatures in concert with our friend Jessie and her boyfriend. For someone who rarely leaves the house, it’s all been a lot. I hope you guys are having fun too! On with the links!

Jennifer Weiner has always been and continues to be the best: “…if you’re a guy writing a funny, fast-paced, relatable comedy of manners, with a Jewish protagonist, you’ve written a book. If you’re a girl and you wrote that same thing, you’re… me.”

I’ve been a fan of Emily Gould since I was in college. I read all her blogs, I bought her memoir, and you better believe I’m reading Friendship. In this Elle interview she talks about money and Lena Dunham and is just all-around great.

There’s nothing I hate more than a snob, and this piece about The Goldfinch has some prime quotes from quite a few of them.

Was that too many lit links in a row? Okay, here’s a Tumblr dedicated to Harry Styles in a headband.

The boys and I watched Enough Said this weekend (seriously, I feel bad for you if you don’t just watch movies with your brothers all the time like I clearly do) and I just liked it. But now I find myself thinking about it a lot, so maybe I more than liked it? Anyway, all of the performances are wonderful. James Gandolfini was very good and the world needs more Ben Falcone/Tavi Gevinson in films. A.O. Scott really loved it, and he’s a lot smarter than me, so maybe you should listen to him.

Here’s some stuff I want to eat: Lemon Lentil Soup, Teriyaki Shrimp Burgers, Summer Slaw Sandwiches with Fried Pickles.