Recent Love Bursts

Here are few things that have made me especially happy lately:

  • Filling up my bookshelf. Usually I’m all for sharing space with roommate, but there’s something about having a bookshelf full of your favorite things that just makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside and like maybe even though you live in a ghetto apartment in Provo, maybe it can be home.
  • Hot steering wheels. Yesterday, my car was that perfect blend of hot, black leather and stifling summer heat, but not so hot the seat belt buckle burned my fingers. Summer is upon us.
  • A new bath mat. I had had my old orange one for a while and it was starting to ooze an off-colored goo so I bought a new one. And it is the plushiest, most luxurious experience my feet have ever had. And it’s pink, which feels fun.
  • Dresses with pockets. I splurged this week and bought an adorable dress. And I don’t even feel bad about it, because it has pockets, which means it’s perfect.
  • Working hard. I’m loving my new jobs. I just can’t get over how supremely lucky I am to be in the position I am and working three jobs that I love and not going crazy…yet.
  • Strawberries dipped in sour cream and brown sugar. I bought strawberries when they were on sale last week, and they have just turned into the most deliciously ripe beauties on the planet. Dipping them in sour cream and brown sugar remind me of when my whole family would sit around the table and go at it. I think sharing strawberries may be the only time we’re civil with one another and wait our turns. Well, that and Christmas. And by the way–I know sour cream and brown sugar sounds like a interesting combo (like, interesting in a bad way), but you should try it. It’s magical. And brings families together.
  • Life. How did I get so lucky?

Flirting with General Authorities

Disclaimer: I respect all persons who hold leadership positions in the church. The following is simply an account of one of the most embarrassing moments of my life.

Today at church, we had a lovely surprise in the form of Elder Lund sitting on the stand when we walked into sacrament meeting. Elder Lund is a member of the 70 and was visiting different wards in the stake to inspect the troops or whatever it is these general authorities do on their visits. He gave a wonderful talk for the last several minutes, and I really felt the Spirit as he testified to us.

After the closing song (in which a certain new ward organist [me] rocked the final verse), I went up to shake his hand and thank him for his talk.

Here is a transcript of what followed:

Rylee: Thank you so much for your talk. It really struck a chord with me.

Elder Lund: Well, thank you.

Rylee: And I just wanted to say that your book of recognizing and receiving revelation was amazing and really changed me.

Elder Lund: Well, you know, it turns out that the author of that book is a different Elder Lund. I wish I was as cool as him.

Rylee: Oh, there’s more than one of you?

At this point, my hand had somehow made its way to his elbow. Now, I am a chronic elbow-toucher when trying to connect with people…particularly members of the opposite gender. So as my hand is sitting there on his arm, I’m thinking–

Oh my gosh! Stop it! You take your hands off him right now! He is a general authority for heaven’s sake!

I honestly don’t really remember what happened after that because I was too busy running off the stand in complete humiliation. Not only did I just mistake this poor man for someone else who is one of the most well-known writers in all of Mormondom, I accidentally flirted with him.

My mom thinks this means that I’m going to marry a general authority’s son. Which doesn’t make any sense, because apparently I will be too busy flirting with their fathers.

Oi vey.

Channeling your Inner Transcendentalist


Mm. Gives you shivers, doesn’t it? Transcendentalism is a really long and complicated-sounding word to describe an American literary period in which writers strove to become one with nature and really find themselves and all that hippy nonsense. I know this because for my new job as a course designer for BYU’s Independent Study high school program, I am reading all about it. 
Also, I am an English major.
In one of today’s readings, I read a poem by Walt Whitman (THE transcendentalist)  I had never read before called  “There was a Child went Forth.” And I loved it. It’s about a boy who goes around seeing all these marvelous things and meeting all these wonderful people and being in all these amazing places and becoming better for them. So I decided to write my own poem called:
There was a Rylee went Forth

And then I remembered.
I can’t write poetry.
I would much rather create long lines of well-crafted sentences than spend years trying to find that one word. Why not use all the words? Why not find music in the long and winding sentences of prose than attempt a sentimental structure of poetry that may or may not end up working anyway?

Don’t get me wrong–I adore poetry. Wordsworth and Whitman speak to my soul as if they were my own voice trying to express the beauty of nature.

But their voices are not mine. Nor is mine theirs.

My voice is casual–it’s conversational–it’s borderline irreverent. Wordsworth is a well of profound eloquence–mine is a bucket-full of sass:

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats high o’er vales and hills
When all at once I spy a crowd
of delicious, cheesy Ritz Bitz.

Sure, my soul is moved when I walk down a tree-lit path and I’m so overcome with the beauty of the deep green against the clear blue sky and the deliciously fresh spring air that something wells up in my chest and all of a sudden it’s hard to breathe through all this gratitude. But I am not moved beyond words.

Apparently I’m just moved beyond poetry.

I try–I do. After reading Whitman today and walking home through that same tree-lined path and being overcome with all that same emotion, I decided to channel my inner transcendentalist and write poetry on a nice, sensationally lush patch of grass. After all–I was so inspired. It couldn’t be that hard to express myself through poetry with that much love-bursting flowing through my veins, could it?

Yes. Yes it could.

I tried. I took Whitman’s poem and began to simply model my own poem after his–I even began with the same lines and used same subjects and tried to make his words my own. Maybe I’m just impatient, but I just couldn’t get my words to have the same meaning or to convey what I was really feeling.

So I started this. A rant about my apparent inability to write poetry and express my immense satisfaction with this transcendentalist’s dream-come-true type of day. And you know what–it gets the job done.

Part of me wishes you could see what I saw envisioned in that poem of mine. It was beautiful–a tribute to the things and people and places that contribute to who I am, even if it is something that only stays with me for a week, like my obsession with X-Files, or something that serves as a constant reminder of who I am–a picture of the temple or love for my family.

So even if I can’t show you the poem that I want to write, I can tell you about it. I can tell you about how in love I am with this incredibly beautiful day. I can tell you about how happy my flowy pink and white striped skirt is making me as I lay here on my front lawn. I can tell you about how much I love poetry and how perfectly content I am to simply be alive and sitting in the sunshine.

Even if I can’t write poetry.