Peeled oranges; morphologies of water; whalesong / Concepts to Linger With

Some weeks ago, I tweeted out a list of concepts I've been lingering with lately—motifs arising over & over in my art & life right now, ideas I haven't been able to rid from my tongue. They were a rather slapdash, hastily scrawled snapshot of what the inside of my head & my chest & my notebooks look like right now—but, it seems, quite a few lovely readers found a little light in the idea.

Below, a smattering of just some of the dozens of responses across social media from the past few weeks of the concepts each of you is currently lingering with. I've tried to link the person's website or social media presence by each list, especially as many respondents are artists themselves—so if you particularly enjoy any specific answer, please do take the time to search out more of that person's work. 

Dear readers: what concepts are you lingering with these days?


My own: hands / peeled oranges / dog-eared pages / white wine / deer / open windows / freckles / floral bedsheets / electric guitars / shortbread / thyme / swimming pools / flightlessness

Jessie Lynn McMains: cornfields / smoke / rock 'n' roll / leather / carnivals / moonshine / mood rings / dead shopping malls / dead girls / ouija boards / qualities of light / grandfathers / swans / rivers / spells / origin stories / saints / roses / hitchhiking ghosts / the desert / genetic memory

Caitlin Conlon: softly lit bedrooms / tracing skin with fingertips / plums / the sound of brass instruments / sticking your arm out of the car window & letting it float with the air / love that stays / laundromats / star maps / the smell of hardware stores / peach wine / card games cross-legged on the floor / finding glitter in the bathtub / empty swimming pools / high heeled shoes kicked off near a doorway / TV static / succulents in hand painted bowls / the smell of old books / vases at garage sales / trying to get better

Rhiannon Admidas Conley: whales (dead & alive) / snails / beds / raspberry bushes / spotted fruit flies / spotted fruit flies ruining a raspberry bush / plastic / how having a child has changed my perception of the world / lakes / loons / pressed flowers / the body as machine

Danielle Hale: having & naming children / owning animals / the faults of memory / genetic memory / heredity / serial killers / convicted innocents / percussionists / the universe as body / imperfections of the body / imperfections of the mind / the relationship between Fuzband & cats

Katherine DeCoste: processed food / lake & sea bottoms / misplaced organs / the prairie / fear of the self / lavender / curly hair / freckles / soft paws / butter knives / rust / sea foam / forest mulch / decay / Greek deities / inheritance

Andy Winter: thoroughly unimpressed by reality / misty mornings / the shade of night melting into ocean / sheet masks / Twitter thought vomit / alleyways / abandoned libraries / tulle snow / writing at wee hours / tinted aviators

Caroline Grand-Clement: kisses that taste like sweat / sleeping with the windows open / thunderstorms / family / the moon / improvised kitchen utensils / ruined plans / plan Bs / driving in empty fields / veins & the blood that rushes through them / loneliness / healing / admitting you need help & asking for it

E.: recycled notebooks & pens / warm summer evenings /  the shape of a relationship / poems, always poems /  how I bite on my lips / soft flowers / warm yellow / the word "tender" / shame / metamours / metaphors / writing in a second language / you, always you

Emma-Louise Adams: sunsets / sourness & bitterness / stuffed olives / bite marks / the number seventeen / the Bible / transitions / cars & driving / miniatures / summer holidays / heat / swimming

Catherine Garbinksy: monsters / the way fear lives in us / the way trauma haunts us / rituals & spells/ tarot / astrology / fairytales / porches / drying herbs / passed-down recipes / patina / fire / ash / dragons / yawning babies / magic in the mundane / a devotional heart

Jeanne Obbard: fey & strange girls / gardens / spooky rainy misty places / flowers & small creatures / transcendence versus immanence / birds / seasons

Kathryn Ivey: fate & free will / the mundane vs. the divine / archetypes: the martyr, the hero, the chosen one / the sea / the stars / love as an altar / dark green woods / people & places outside of time

Margaryta Golovchenko: morphologies of water / the cold side of the pillow / lingering kisses / promises / the language of shadows / finding comfort in feeling lost / reading a good book on the subway & missing your stop / rediscovering macaroons / laughing deeply & carelessly / cool & rainy summer days

Laetitia K.: knees buckling from laugher / finding lost things / the ghost of a kiss / singing off-key / dried flowers / sleeves going past your wrists / the way the sky reflects off the river / the moon / fireflies / you & me & sleepless nights / staying, just for a little longer

Kolleen Carney: love / husbands / apples / oceans / deserts / trauma / joy / old houses / botany / dreams

Paola F. Bennet: lavender smoke eyeshadow / feeling a crush's fervent heat fade to savoured fondness / wafts of eucalyptus / the pulse of an amp / how a name feels between your teeth / wine-drunk arguments / purple summer lightning storms / staying a little too late at the party / "you don't have to." "I want to."

Megan: smelling flowers / blossoming / the ache of missing someone / watering succulents / sunsets / photographs / rainstorms / reading / writing, always / grief / admiring beauty / a walk in nature / making friends with stray cats / when the whole world’s just fallen asleep / a quiet sadness / empty space / slightly broken hearts / sitting with ghosts / feeling the energy from the earth / mornings spent alone / the moon / flower gardens / pastels / confessional song lyrics / dreams / platonic love / rekindling faith / healing, healing, healing

Lydia Havens: astronauts / fireplaces / cursive handwriting / speaking things into existence / different shades of purple / poppies / good luck charms / the role of grief in history / capers / incomplete sentences / tulle / pianos / humidity

Keren Chelsea: untouched notebooks / coloured markers on white paper / handwritten love notes / reading the letters out loud / a heart so filled with love / falling in love with new friends / photographs of mundane moments / coffee over tiny conversations / plants just starting to bloom / poetry readings / the rose emoji / the smell of new laundry / laughter that booms / trying new things / lipstick swatches on the back of thumbs / loving & losing people, & being okay with that / finding joy intentionally

Kara Goughnour: matchsticks / shame / marble / the homes of those who shop at thrift stores / genetic grief / shades of red / chewing gum / canyons / Oni masks / fishnet stockings / A-line cabins / healing love

Elizabeth Ruth Deyro: the woman's body as a metaphor / varieties of life interweaving through fleeting encounters / attempts to give trauma a mouth / sex & Catholicism / unreliable narrators in poetry / embers against starry skies / depths of the ocean

Bebe Rena Blackwood: dreams & nightmares / Rachel & Leah / things that don't go together somehow going together anyway / history / myths / not wanting to know everything / places I know by name / ghosts you conspire with when no one's listening / questions / duty versus obligation / the fantasy in reality

Rebecca Connors: girlhood / shame / swimming / magnolias / honeysuckle / memory / being a mother / daughters / anxiety / boundaries / love / city raccoons / trust / the shore / breath / asserting my voice / bones

E. Kristin Anderson: magnolia trees / blackberry brambles / Agent Scully / the idea of home / plants native to Texas / bees / teeth / viscera / Dave Grohl / vines / joint pain / pavement / telephones / Stephen King's hatred of women / the ruralness within a city / Texas vs. New England / medical trauma

Nicole Ting: the beginning of goodbyes / nine A.M. black coffee / sunflowers halfway between bloom & uproot / soft candlelight / la vie en couleur pleine / the war-worn force of women bringing misogyny crumbling down to its misshapen knees / old cathedrals / fluffy carpet rugs / unselfish prayer / my mother’s succulent gardens / friends finally stumbling across the star-bright happiness they deserve / empty Texas highways at night / Malaysian street food / the reeling infinity of the universe / a game of hide-and-seek with love / Asian-American voices in supernova revolution / my brother’s head against my chest / red wine / music festival clothes / abandoned train stations / wanderlust / the way the sun goes out: not with a bang, not with a whimper, but with cotton candy skies & honeyed light

Kwan Ann Tan: sticky-sweet syrup at the bottom of a can of peaches / watching the ocean from a balcony / counting down the days until I next see you / perfumed sheets of paper / the final chord of a piece ringing through the air & then coming to a stop

Wanda Deglane: whalesong / thick oil paint / road trips through the desert / the corrosiveness of anger / silence / the healing nature of the ocean / memories attached to places that no longer exist / nectarines / the body as one with the mind / greenhouses / Venus flytraps


These responses have been edited for length & clarity.

Thank you so much to everyone on this list, & all those I missed (far too many, I know) who also took the time to let the world into the tender & biting concepts they're currently inhabiting. The inside of your heads must be such bright places to live. If you haven't already: share the concepts on your fingers with me in the comments? 

&: weekly love letters for more tender things like this sent to your inbox