Devised Theater: A Venn Diagram

Devised Theater: A Venn Diagram
This diagram was created by the co-producing artistic directors of Rude Mechs to depict the complexity of creating and crediting collaboratively devised work for theatrical performance.

Friday, February 19, 2016

This I Believe # 6

Same as last week, please post your essay here before class on Tuesday. Please also remember to bring a printed copy of your essay to class and be prepared to read it aloud.


  1. The first time I flew by myself, I ran all the way across the Charleston airport to catch an earlier flight. I hate running, but I thought about Maura, and I made it in time. The cab from the airport dropped me off in the wrong spot, and wouldn’t budge when I tried to tell him. Maura walked to where I was to meet me and help me find my way. She took my bag off of my shoulder, putting it over her own.

    The last time I was in Philly, Maura and Maddy and I sat waiting for my train. I was the only one boarding, but they still sat with me. As we waited, we saw a groundhog emerge from a hole on the grassy hill across from us. I had just met Maddy a day or two before this, but she hugged me before I got on the train, I think still warmed by the sighting.

    It’s like when Nathan and Callie and I were driving to where Nathan and I had met. Callie hadn’t been there before. We were sharing something sacred. We took a wrong turn and went the wrong way for an hour. The mountain we had to drive up was foggy. Nathan drove slowly. When we finally got there we parked the car in the middle of the street, and we laid on our backs on the gravel.

    I believe in these moments in transit. I haven’t ever felt a longing to travel. I am a homebody through and through. But moments so tender seem to be born elsewhere. I don’t think one can ever experience affection or intimacy in the same way that you can in spaces that aren’t your own, spaces that force you to reach out to the person next to you and take their hand. With fingers interlaced, it doesn’t feel as strange.

  2. I really like yogurt, so I believe in it. There’s nothing extraordinary about it, but I still believe in it and in the memories I’ve made throughout my life because of yogurt. I like that there are many kinds, flavors and textures to it and you can never genuinely get bored of it… or at least I don’t. Last year I used to wake up every morning just to go to the caf and eat yogurt for breakfast, even if my class wasn’t until three hours later. Still, I went religiously at 8:30 to specifically get the vanilla with a scoop of either cranberries or blueberries on top and occasionally granola for a finishing touch. Oh yogurt and coffee for breakfast—yaaas! Because of how dedicated I was to eating that deliciousness every morning, I became friends with the lady who swipes the card. Now that I don’t go to the caf that often anymore, she gets really excited to see me and says: “well hello, Miss Lady, good to see you!” She probably says that to a lot of people, but it makes me feel special that she remembers who the yogurt-maniac-girl-who-went-to-the-caf-every-damn-morning is.
    It’s curious what people’s preferences are. I think your favorite yogurt flavor could possibly reveal something about your personality and your way of life; Greek yogurt for the healthy, parfait for the fancy, homemade for me. I especially like my mother’s yogurt. She doesn’t make it anymore, but it was the best when my grandfather brought her fresh milk from his farm and she would make a huge container of yogurt. My mom wouldn’t make an entire event out of it—it wasn’t anything special—but I did, because yogurt-making-day meant family time, fun time, and yummy time. My sister, my mom and I are already a very tight knit family, but I tightened our relationship even further every time I could. There would be enough yogurt for at least 12 servings and, believe or not, little 9 year old me ate half of that in less than 2 hours while my sister and mom had to share and finish the rest of it before I ended up eating their half, too. To this day I still have no idea how to make yogurt from scratch, regardless of the countless times I “helped” my mom make it, but I know for sure that our bond is just as strong as my arms used to be from stirring so much yogurt.

  3. Growing up I was terrified of failure. I put so much importance on academic achievements, holding positions in organizations, and winning trophies and yet looking back I don’t recall having much personal investment in these things and yet when they didn’t go my way I was upset. When I didn’t get into my first choice college it felt like the end of the world. The first time I filled out a job application and didn’t get an interview I was devastated. I cared so much about so many things that I was constantly exhausting myself over things that never really mattered much to me.
    When I came to college I quickly realized that things weren’t always going to go my way. I wasn’t going to ace every test or win every leadership position or get every internship but I also realized that that was okay. I soon adopted a life motto of sorts, a nugget of wisdom from the cinematic masterpiece The Big Lebowksi, “I can’t be worried about that shit, life goes on man.” It may seem a little lazy but it just isn’t feasible to get worked up over every little thing that goes wrong in life. I don’t have the energy or the time to be upset or sad every time something doesn’t go my way. As a general rule, people care too much. We care what people think of us, we care when people are mad at us, we care when a situation doesn’t turn out the way we planned. I truly believe that we would all be happier if we cared a little less. If you fail a test you can study harder for the next one. If your friend is mad at you, you don’t have to get mad back. When things don’t go your way, go a different way. I believe in a healthy dose of apathy.

  4. “It’s not the clothes that makes the cowgirl; it’s the attitude and heart.”

    This is one of my all-time favorite quotes, and shows the extent to which I believe that actions speak louder than words…. Or clothes…. Growing up in a small town and working with horses for nearly sixteen years, I have seen my fair share of equestrian and “Nashvillian” imposters (a.k.a. wannabe cowgirls).

    Dealing with horses and barn chores has been the hardest, yet easiest duties I have ever completed due to my love for these magnificent creatures. I have picked and thrown fields and fields worth of 40lbs bales of hay onto a moving flatbed trailer. I have woken up at the break of dawn to feed, un-blanket, groom, and clean stalls. I have lugged around 50lbs of tack to throw on a single horse. I have dragged arenas, cleaned leather, applied medical care, and somehow swindled my way through mounds of muck without falling in it. I work tirelessly in jeans and boots year round- the only difference being layered shirts for the cold and tank tops for the sweltering Tennessee heat in the summer.

    Overall, there is a lot more to being a “cowgirl” than dressing up. There are definitely times that we can wear ‘bling,’ special shirts, and hats for shows and clubs, but for the most part, we are clothed in un-glorious shirts full of sweat, a ponytail to keep the hair out of our faces, and boots covered in some kind of muck. The best part, though, is that we enjoy every bit of it, and as a result, we bond and operate together as a team.

    On the other hand, there are the “wannabe cowgirls” above mentioned. Most of these people have never stood next to a horse or stepped foot in a pasture in their lives. These imposters have the cleanest boots (and “fanciest” with bling and colors) I have ever seen, and some twisted sort of fashion sense of the “Miss Me” brand jeans or daisy dukes with a good-sized belt buckle and tight and/or crop top. We cannot forget that cowboy hat too! That right there is the biggest giveaway to being a tourist in Nashville. Very few people wear cowboy hats outside of the show-ring, and even fewer in the horse industry have the impeccably clean boots.

    I wanted to use these as an example for actions speaking louder than words because of the dedication and hard work that goes into being not only a good rider, but also what it means to be country. It has nothing to do with the boots or wrangler jeans, but rather has everything to do with the heart and soul being in sync with your actions. This, I believe, is in the true cowgirl creed.

  5. When given the choice, I would much rather sit on the floor than in a chair. When I was younger, I would have rather slept on the floor than in a bed. That’s not the case anymore but I still love sitting on the floor. I remember one time, when I was about eleven, that I slept on the floor for an entire week. I am a very disorganized, messy person when it comes to my living quarters and I am always “in the process of” cleaning. This particular week I had spent lots of time making stacks of disorganized piles on my bed during my cleaning process and I really didn’t want to disturb them. So naturally, I slept on the floor until my parents forced me to move back to my bed. If I need to do homework, I’ll lay on the floor. If I’m in a room full of people and there’s not enough chairs for everyone, I’ll opt for the floor. Even during our family movie nights, I don’t sit on the couch--I’m sprawled out on the floor. My favorite thing to do on the floor is read. There’s something about laying on your back, holding your book with your arms stretched out above your head. Usually my arms start to hurt after a while, but then I feel like I’m working out my body and my brain at the same time. It’s a win-win! For these reasons, I believe in floor sitting.

  6. My car is what I believe in. Sometimes I feel very isolated and I need to get out but it is too late to walk at night, so I hop into my 1994 Nissan Sentra, lovingly named ‘Baby”. I feel like I can drive to the end of the world with Baby even though she can barely go 90mph without shaking. She gets me to and from Louisville, which is where I am from and has helped me get through many yellow lights because if I step on the brakes too suddenly, she will skid, rather unhappily to a stop.
    Baby does not only get me from point A to point B, but provides emotional support along the way. Whether it be her ancient stereo that I blast like it’s a sub-woofer or her ability to listen without judgement, she is there for me. When I simply cannot go to work, she listens to me belt out angry rap lyrics like I own Lexington because she knows that this is what I need to do in order to force myself to put on my stupid Jimmy Johns hat and deal with customers and co-workers that either care too much or too little.
    Baby has been there through my worst breakup to date and I distinctly recall leaving my ex’s house the morning after prom, listening to Adele and sobbing heavily as rain streaked down the windows. In the parking lot of a breakfast joint, I used the mirror to check my reflection and wiped off the remainder of my makeup, took a deep breath and gave myself thirty seconds to mentally prepare for an encounter with my grandparents and my father whom I hadn’t had a real conversation with in months. As I walked towards my family waiting for me, a smile positioned on my face, I looked back at Baby and kept walking forward. She was my escape route so I knew that if this encounter became too much, I could claim that I needed to do homework or something stupid and we could drive away to my house or anywhere I chose to go.
    Baby is a lot like me. She refuses to give up when the going gets rough. Yeah, she complains and moans when it is cold out but she still goes forward. She is small and compact, an old soul and her style is pretty funky and eclectic, hence, the millions of stickers placed precariously on her back. Baby has a lot of interesting features that newer cars do not, like the seat belts in the front of the car are automatic, there is no airbag on the passenger side but the trunk space is plenty. While I cannot fit things like mini-refrigerators in the back seat and sometimes if there are too many people in my car, everyone is on top of each other, I would not trade my car for any other.

  7. I have always been for lack of better words, “a man of my word.” I really do not like confrontation so I feel absolutely horrible if I let someone down. If I tell a friend I want to come watch their game or grab dinner with them one night I try very hard to stick to my word and be there. While I am a very go with the flow type of person it is sometimes trying to stick to my word. Since plans change easily I generally do not get upset if last minute occurrences lead me to miss something I had planned previously, however the person on the other end may become upset.

    Last week my roommates and I decided we were going to collectively give up sweets for lent. Yes, we waited a week after lent had begun to start our journey but we decided we would go a week past Easter to make up for it. I have a huge sweet tooth so to completely quit eating sweets was a hard commitment to abide by. However I have found it to be easier than I would have imagined. The first day I slipped and ate a cookie but then I felt so bad about my decision to eat the cookie that I have not eaten a sweet since. We have only been going sweet less for one week now so there is still a while to go. However I believe since I do not like to let people down I will be able to succeed on this journey. If I choose to cheat and eat something sweet not only would I be letting my roommates down, I would also be letting myself down. This I believe in sticking to your word because in the end it makes you a stronger individual.

  8. I stood and watched as my brother, pedaling madly at his Huffy, launched himself over the handlebars as his makeshift bike ramp collapsed. Though multiple near-maiming attempts should have dissuaded him, he stood the cinder block on end again. He propped a thin plank against it and trained even harder to become the next Evel Knievel.

    I stood and watched as my brother, pedaling madly at the Singer foot treadle, perforated a line from the tip of his finger to the first knuckle. Though the needle held his loose flesh to the table like a stool pigeon’s foot is spiked to the stump of a tree, he did not scream. He did not sew again either.

    I stood and watched as my brother ripped petals from daisies at the edge of the dirt road we called home. These were the same daisies my sister pulled apart for hours to determine whether Aaron loved her or not. Divorced from him, she now knows that if he did, she’d rather have none of it. These were the same daisies that kept our Native American neighbor alive when he ate them as salad—he told us this the same day he told my brother not to hit me.

    “If a person is hit, they will hit another. In this way, punching your brother begins an unstoppable pay-it-forward assault.” Perhaps this wisdom from Marcus prompted me to respond with stillness when my brother punched me in the face to start fights. Perhaps, I have reason to believe there are 200 punches still waiting for me to pass them along.

  9. I believe that there’s nothing quite like humble pie. I’ve learn a lot from my mistakes, and they’ve helped me realize who I am, more so than when I was doing the right thing. There’s just something more intrinsically meaningful to failing, or falling short of expectations. You look at yourself more than if you’re winning all of the time.
    I’ve learned more from kind souls growing through their journey in life than successful people. I know that there are plenty of incredible people that are excellent at what they do and inspire hordes of people, but I’ve had more gumption to succeed after each time I fail. I guess I believe in practice. I know that when I used to seriously skateboard I would devote hours to practicing things I couldn’t land, things I wanted to land, stuff that I fell on, rather than what I was already good at. I believe that principle carries over to most of life for me.
    I believe that at the end of my life if I haven't failed more than I’ve succeed, then I would probably feel as if I had been too cautious with my ambition. I think that part of what makes persevering so inspirational is the fact that it usually the most daunting things in life that force us to grow outside of our comfort zones. Only when we find ourselves in uncharted territories can we begin to master every faculty of the soul with authenticity. I hope I never become complacent with success because of the fear of failure. Falling down sometimes is the best way to learn how to stand-up, and why you should stand up in the first place.

  10. To many of us, doing what we love as a career seems to be the ultimate goal. Professional athletes, actors, musicians, artists, entertainers… these are the people we secretly aspire to be, because they get paid for doing what they enjoy doing the most. It sounds perfect, but I believe it is a dangerous thing to turn your passion into your profession, because it just might rob you of the joy you felt when you used to do what you loved.
    My father for instance, always wanted to be a radio sports broadcaster. Ever since he was a little boy, he was obsessed with sports and radio. He would sit next to his big radio and listen to every kind of sports game he could find, or watch any game he came across on TV. He would pretend to be a broadcaster too, describing all the action to himself with the real commentators muted. He knew exactly what he wanted to do, and so he got a B.A. in Communications and set out to become a sports broadcaster. After doing a few radio related jobs, he finally found a home at Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia, KY, where he would become their main sports broadcaster. He provided play by play commentary for men’s and women’s basketball (my mother was on the women’s basketball team), soccer, and various other sports. He worked at the college for several years, but he grew tired of it, and we ended up moving to his/my hometown of Somerset, KY. After a few years in Somerset, we moved up north to Burlington, KY, where he found a job as a broadcaster for the Florence Freedom, an independent league professional baseball team. He provided play by play coverage for every single game, going on the road with the team and their coaches. For a while I think this made my Dad very happy, but after 3 years, he ended up leaving to look for a different job. My dad still loves sports and radio, and he enjoys them both every single day without fail, but he enjoys them from a distance.
    My father once told me something along the lines of “it’s not always best to make a career out of your passion, because once its your job, it might just be a job.” I am glad my father told me this, because it is something I think about a lot being a young artist about to graduate college. I am not completely against pursuing some sort of career in art, but I am well aware of the risks it presents to my enjoyment of creating art. I think it is important to realize the difference between making art on my own terms in my spare time, and being encouraged to make a certain kind of art for other people with their own agendas. I believe in keeping your passion your passion, no matter what it takes.

  11. I hate when people are mean. I hate when people are rude. I hate when people think they are better than other people. I hate when people try to undermine others. I hate when people lie, and cheat when they have the opportunity to be honest. I hate when people physically or emotionally hurt others for their own personal gain. I hate seeing people who are struggling alongside people who have all the things they could ever want. I hate when little kids are made fun of. I hate when adults are sad and lonely. I hate when older adults are put into nursing homes and just talk to themselves because they have no one else. I hate a lot of things, but I do not hate people. Yea, I say that sometimes out of frustration. I hate that I say that. Because all of the things that I hate are because of how much I love being human. Emotions are incredible, and anger and disgust can drive someone to hate. Emotions also drive someone to open the door for strangers, share meals with people who become friends, and give what they have in excess to those who have nothing. Hatred is a driving force that can create change. This I believe.

  12. Just before I left Jo and John’s house in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula on the Friday after Thanksgiving, Jo asked if I wanted a sewing machine.

    From Jo, the question made sense. A passionate quilter, Jo taught me the basics of quilting 18 years ago, 2 years after I arrived in America. Jo and John were my American host parents. Her quirky quilts were one of the many things I loved about Jo.

    On that Friday after Thanksgiving, I said yes, even though I knew my quilting days were over. I couldn’t turn down a free sewing machine, especially one offered by Jo.

    Three months later, a woman I’ve known just 4 years asked me to think about the meaning of stitching. “Tell me what comes to mind,” Felice said.

    What came to mind was guiding fabric through the sewing machine Jo had passed on to me—feeling the machine’s vibrations. Realizing that Jo, too, had known these vibrations, quilting beneath the machine’s steady foot.

    “A stitch is a relational thing,” Felice told us.

    Two days later, Jo wrote to me about the sewing machine:

    My friend Peggy gave it to me before she died. We had used it together, but couldn’t always figure out its intricacies and would burst into laughter. She was a professor of textiles at the University of Arkansas. Degree from Harvard. Her husband Mike taught at Arkansas too, archaeological anthropology. He still comes up here summers. When they were hired, they said to each other, “Where the hell is Arkansas?” They were there for decades, lived in the historical district of Fayetteville. Use the machine, use it for the love and admiration I have of Peggy. And I will think of you, with love. Jo.

    Reading Jo’s words, I remembered meeting Peggy. She spoke fondly about life in Arkansas and I thought there must be good reasons to live anywhere, including Arkansas. I haven’t yet made it to Arkansas.

    I responded to Jo:

    Thank you for sharing, Jo. Beautiful story. It’s spring here, 66 degrees. Headed outdoors soon. Hope you are having a fine Saturday. Thinking of you.

    I believe that a stitch is a relational thing, mending us across state lines and lives. And I believe in Peggy: a woman who died in Arkansas, a place she initially doubted.

  13. I believe in wearing the things that you like.

    It’s great to wear something you feel comfortable in. But that’s not what I mean.

    In particular, I believe in wearing images of the things that you like. The shows. The games. The people. The ideas.

    Wearing what you like is a silent but clear communication. “I like this Thing. Do you?” It’s a small invitation to engage that even an introverted, self-and-others-hating, socially awkward person can perform. When you already have a Thing you love as a starting point, it’s much easier to be open and excited with others.

    It also shows your own willingness to commit to Things. If you’re willing to wear any particular Thing on yourself, you probably are very sure that you like it. You’ve probably thought about the ways in which people will see you if you show yourself as someone who approves of that Thing. You’ve probably considered the ways in which you do in fact disapprove of the Thing, so it’s okay for you to be seen as a supporter of it. Because you can explain what you like about it and what you don’t. It’s not a frivolous choice to plaster an image onto yourself. So you’ve probably thought about it. A lot.

    I believe in human signposts because it’s one of the only ways I can make friends.

  14. ‘Hey, what if you throw your phone off in a speeding bus and let it drop 300+ feet into the Green River?’ Every morning and afternoon this thought played into my mind like a broken record during the trip to my high school. Although I might have had them earlier, I really started to take note of whatever intrusive thoughts came into my mind during high school and beyond. Most of them involve losing friction and falling off ledges, yelling obscenities during “prestigious” presentations, or the mentioned flinging of possessions out of a speeding vehicle. A recent thought I had for an Animal Behavior experiment was to see how fast it would take for cave crickets to eat a decaying human body since, ya know, they are an opportunistic omnivore; for science, right?
    Apparently intrusive thoughts are a common experience but I feel like they are not brought up a lot in conversation since, well, no one really wants to talk about the weird shit their brains make up; especially if it involves actions that could result in incarceration. I personally find it fascinating how absurd our brains can get and how people might deem someone’s actions as ‘odd’ when they might have some habit that someone else thinks is ‘odd’. You can sit in some coffee shop or brewery and think every person around you is ‘normal’ when really we live in this wonderful,morbid,weird world. For example, if you looked at Randall Horton on the street, you would never expect he was once robbed by assault rifle toting robbers. I was having an argument with my sister about this last week on how one of her friend’s fiancee is the most average individual in the world; I don’t Joey that well but I feel like there must be something really off about him especially since he is “ ultra-normal”. The more composed someone might look, the more obtuse they are; I should know myself. I believe in the absurdity of people and I don’t believe that the idea of ‘normal’ is as normal as people might think it to be.

  15. This time last year I had never really watched The Office, I remember Kevin a good friend of mine and a student last year in Community Engagements talked about The Office. How it reflected so much about relationships, how so many people look to build relationships in new places, such as work especially in such a rich character driven show. And at this point I’ve watched the office maybe three times through, it has become like it has to so many people- an easy show to watch full of laughs and characters, stories I keep coming back to, yet now I don’t really have to pay much attention to it. It’s perfect for doing homework or a paper. But what I’ve come to notice in a show that at first I didn’t care for is how genuine the characters all are. I don’t think there has ever been a show that reflects the myriad of individuals in the real world as The Office. Sure they’re all somewhat extreme characters, yet they are extremely believable and full of life. The acting is fantastic and so is the writing in this show, however what it really gets right is people, how people find relationships through just having to be in close proximity to each other. I’m sure many of us will find at least one new friend even in a class that only last maybe 4 hours a week in Community Engagements. I believe that in close proximity where you’re forced to mingle and interact, you’ll find common ground and possibly new friends. I’m not one to make a lot of friends, but I do find myself coming back to a show like the office, it reminds me that one in my future there will be a lot of new friends and that now all of my friends came in some way from forced situations. I believe in those situations where we are forced to communicate, it’s a great way to build new relationships.

  16. It’d been three days in AP US history and for some reason the full classroom of assigned seats still left a gap at my center table. I felt strong in my place in the world; my 16-year-old self saw you at the front confused and I boldly offered the empty seat. You took it, quietly. I didn’t yet see how much my place in the world would come to depend on you.

    You wore a butterfly clip in your waist-length hair almost every day, and we thought we were being clever to use it to fuse our identical locks together in an audition that led to us stuck like that for months. In the auditorium, we pulled out hundreds of long dark hairs, yanking each other by our shared thick braid. It was too much work to disentangle ourselves, and maybe that’s why even when we could we didn’t stand apart. You sang to me on the bus back from Louisville and with you, I felt simultaneously all grown up and like a small child.

    You left that summer and we grew up, but not apart. Soon I graduated and you brought me back home for the first time in college, letting me blame my homesickness on the 300 milliliters of blood taken out of my left arm. We watched the Hunchback of Nortre Dame and ate popcorn with maple syrup, and I knew I would always be understood. Another year and I braved my first trans-Atlantic flight alone to lay in the Black Forest with you, talking for hours, the moss so thick we could have slept there. Another year and I finally found you in the airport in Calcutta and it amazed me how we would never be alone.

    The world is so much bigger and lonelier now than it used to be, and we worry about new things that seem scarier than ever before. But when I call and you say what I’m thinking, I know there’s a place for me in a world with you in it.

  17. I believe in excitement. There are two distinct moments that I can tell you I was overcome with true excitement. Don’t get me wrong, I get excited a lot, but I can picture these moments to this day. The first is every year in May when it is the last day of school before summer break. I don’t care how old I am. I will never outgrow that feeling of delight and freedom. I think back to high school and how everyone broke the dress code on the last day. We signed each other’s yearbooks and did whatever we wanted. I can remember constantly checking the clock. The announcements would come on and we would all sit there listening, and anticipating the bell. It was 3:10 and the bell rang. Everyone looks at each other, screams, and runs out of the classroom. We all gather in the gym and head outside to our cars with smiles on our faces. I don’t think the last day of school has ever been a rainy day. That just proves my point on how wonderful that day is.
    Another feeling of excitement comes with vacations. After finishing up packing, I usually stay up all night thinking about how I just want to get where we are going in a short amount of time. One time, my mom told my sister and I that we had to pack our bags. We were going on a trip! She didn’t tell us where though. Being that I was around 7 or 8, I was dead set that we were going on vacation to Kings Island for a week. Now I just laugh at that thought. My sister and I were so excited. I honestly think I didn’t sleep at all that night. I just laid in the dark. That morning at 4:30 we had to get up to get to the airport. Turns out we were going to Disney World. Now my excitement for Disney World is another story.
    My “last days” of school are limited now. It is sad to think about the joy that will be lost with something as simple as the last day before summer break. I hope as I continue to grow and mature I will still have excitement for vacations, and maybe new memories of excitement will occur.

  18. There’s not a lot that goes on in my hometown in terms of residential life. We have no theater, no mall, and limited sidewalk. My county was just made a “wet”, that is able to sell alcohol, two years ago. When I came to Lexington to live, I saw all that my town lacked. Here, there is an art scene, new people, and a constant movement foreword. But now, it’s getting warm out.
    In Carter County, when spring rolls around, we drive out to the lake at night. There are no street lights if you know where to go. We get out of the car, lie down a blanket and look at the stars. On a good clear night we can stare at them and make sense of all the constellations. Here in Lexington, the sky in yellow from the lights. If I wanted to see clearly, I’d have to drive some ways out of town.
    In Carter County, we also have the caves. Thats where we go to catch crawdads and have picnics. Most of our spontaneous family events happened there. Once, I convinced my parents to hike on our circular trail that starts and ends in the same place a few hours before a lightning storm. We got to the literal halfway point and the storm started. We watched trees crack and fall, that is, until we couldn’t see through the hard rainfall. Eventually we ran under the safety of a cave, and we laughed in a nervous way. The only thing more scared than we were was a rat that hung halfway out of a hole in the cave shaking. We laughed, but we weren’t sure what to do next. We had no service and no way to leave the cave. So we just waited it out.
    Lexington is so wonderful, but I can’t crawl into cool water with two speedway cups to catch some critters. I can’t look at more than a handful of stars at night. I can’t go kayaking in a lake, and swim to the shore to eat a soggy sandwich with my friends. My county may be slow to move forward, but I believe Carter County is a great place to take some time off and just enjoy staying still.

  19. I believe in talks with Elly
    By now many of you participating in this class, or reading the class blog, will be familiar with the person or the writings of my classmate and friend, Elly. If you know Elly at all, you are already aware that she is a well-grounded and passionate person. This is one of the many reasons I consider her a friend and actually is what leads me to bring her up today.
    Elly and I have a tendency to have conversions that get pretty deep. I’m talking about the kind of conversation that teaches you something about yourself, that opens your eyes to reality, that sticks with you long after you walk away. We have these kinds of chats pretty frequently. In fact it has become a staple in our friendship that when we get together we will end up talking about something that really matters to us, as individuals and as like-minded people. Our talks never start with the goal of getting into weighty subjects; they just always end up there. We might start talking about cats on Instagram and end up discussing the effects of child rearing on our personal and societal opinion of the female body. It just happens.
    I know I am not the only person that Elly has conversations like this with. She isn’t the only person I get to share and get philosophical with either. I know there are more than one or two people in this class, actually, that I have had one of these talks with, even if it was very brief. I think it is important that I say to you all right now that I really value these conversations you had with me, and the time you took out to talk to me. It warmed my heart the other day when Elly said something similar to me.
    We were walking back to our apartments one evening after class, when Elly just turned to me said something along the lines of, “when I came to college, I was hoping to find people that I would not just get along with. I was hoping I could have friends that I could talk about anything with, with no pressure to be right or get to the point. I think found that in you.”
    I can’t say that is an exact quote from her but I hope the affect is at least the same. I guess what I am trying to get at is that Elly and I talk because we are friends. That is not inherently special. But we are friends because the times when get to talk, are not forced or all just “small talk” to occupy the time. We both appreciate being able learn about and from one another. That is what is special, and in my opinion, that’s what all friendships should have, a little Elly and Cali style conversation. And that’s why I believe in talks with Elly.