Writing, Love and Wildfolk

by Lauren Westerfield

Autumn in Los Angeles.

Autumn in Los Angeles.

It’s fall. We had a hellish heat wave here that all but obscured the early signs: the golden quality of late afternoon light, the days growing infinitesimally shorter. And then, yesterday, it broke. I woke up to an unfamiliar coolness under my feet, to clouds that didn’t break as the sun moved, to a gentle breeze with just a hint of chill wafting in through the open window and up against my skin. To my mind, there is nothing better than this. An autumn Saturday morning. A day that promises to grow chilly after dark.

All that heat, all that expansion leading up to this blessing of a weekend, made me crazy. But it also produced some new work and some fresh collaborations.

I kicked off a partnership with the lovely Taren Maroun at Wildfolk + Co., a beautiful lifestyle blog where you can find two new posts from me (and hopefully more to come) in the holistic-inspired Earth + Herb section dedicated to nourishing body and soul with healthy eats and uplifting destinations. Also, stunning styling & photography. It is such a treat to see my words partnered up with such well-curated imagery.

I’ve also got a new post up at The MFA Years: “MFA vs. LDR: Some Thoughts on the Long Distance Relationship.” Here’s an excerpt to give you an idea:

When I look to the year ahead, to my MFA plans and hoped-for acceptance into one of ten programs where I can dig in and focus on my writing, the long-distance factor weighs heavy on my mind. There is the part of me that is still afraid: to live apart, to be lonely, to put even something as strong as our half-dozen years of love and life building to the test. But there is also the part of me that can’t help but feel a thrill. I haven’t lived alone since my immediately post-college days, when I rented a big room with wood floors and bay windows in a Berkeley Victorian on College Avenue. I loved that room. I loved it’s simplicity, its malleability, its “mine-ness.” I hung a tapestry on the wall and used a futon for a bed. My desk was an old dining table, big and dark and sturdy. I had a vanity in one corner, a bookshelf along the inside wall, and a wide-open space in the center for my yoga mat, where I spent a good hour every day burning incense and listening to Ravi Shankar and taking my time because I could, because no one was waiting to share the space, to use the car, to go get dinner, to brush their teeth or fold their laundry.

I think about living apart and what I see is simplicity. A studio maybe, small and basic with just the things I need to live and work. A bed; a desk; a little kitchen; a floor space for my mat. I see this space and imagine my capacity to focus, to question, to read, to research and dig. To know myself again. Not to reinvent—and I want to make this clear. I love my partner. I love who I am when we’re together. I have no doubt that he has made me a better person—calmer, kinder, more thoughtful, more conscious, more aware, more nurturing—than I was before we met; that he has brought out a softness and a depth in me I didn’t know existed back in that Berkeley house all those years ago. I’m not seeking space in order to change. I’m seeking space in order to deepen; enrich; magnify; concentrate; elucidate what it is that I am, and want, and can and will write and express and why it matters.