The other Savannah


Amber and I had talked for a long time about taking a ladies’ weekend trip somewhere since we don’t get to see each other too often during the year. We finally made that happen in September. Back when we were brainstorming a trip, we considered all kinds of mid-size cities across the country, but we both ultimately were charmed by Savannah, Georgia, thanks to the rave reviews from our friends who’d been there and tons of random internet strangers.

And you know me and my thing for Southern gothic. Can’t stop, won’t stop.

So, we set off to meet in Savannah in mid-September and had a really lovely time. The weather cooled off just enough in the middle of our trip to make our numerous walks around downtown pretty spectacular. We both were hit with some pretty gnarly allergies while there (is it the junk hanging from the trees or what?), but we just Kleenexed our way through town and met lots of ghost hunters and seekers, and encountered more fantastic folk art than in any other place I’d ever traveled. I love a city whose inhabitants so obviously love and value the visual arts. And I love a place where the living residents cede so much of their narrative to the stories of the dead.

Here are some photos from the trip. Full album can be viewed here.

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Savannah GA

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Savannah GA The river

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The Wolf’s Bane

I am so excited to see the finished product!

Betsy crafted this incredible story and was kind enough to ask me to do the book’s layout. I adore her writing so I was happy to do whatever I could to be involved. Check out this mini documentary on the project as a whole.

COMING 2015: The Wolf’s Bane from Emily Beard on Vimeo.

I am super proud to be a part of this project and cannot wait to get my hands on a finished piece. I just want to smell it. Is that weird?

‘The motions of people who could find each other in a pitch black room’

Betsy Phillips signs her book

That there is Aunt B signing a copy of A City of Ghosts. And this here is Aunt B reading two of her lovely short stories. Even if you’ve never had so much as sympathy for the devil, you might find yourself with a crush on him after the second story.

Please read A City of Ghosts if you haven’t yet. I will loan you my copy. (Here’s a review/interview I did for The Commercial Appeal when the book came out, to give you an idea of what it’s about)


Now when I see old friends and I get half an hour, an hour, maybe almost two hours with them, I can’t catch them up. There’s so much that’s happened that I’ve not had the time or the chutzpah to pass along in real time. Things I’ve kept to myself (what a concept), things I’ve hoarded, things I’ve protected, things I’ve squirreled away, things not meriting an incremental update. When I try to give the Cliff’s Notes version of my life in the past year, it doesn’t make any damn sense. Not to mention I don’t want to talk about my dumb stuff the whole time; I want their stories too. I haven’t seen all the tweets and the status updates and I’ve forgotten texts and emails. I’m not a great friend and I’m spread too thin, probably — my attention all over the place and my focus too fleeting.

I’m that lucky kid in the pool who has all these cool toys but who can’t keep her arms around them all.

This post is not about work!*

We hit a wormhole back there or something. I don’t know. How did it get to be the freaking sixth month of the year already? YOU GUYS, CHRISTMAS IS ALMOST HERE, Target’s marketing department shout-whispered directly into your ear.

I think about blogging constantly and then I get on the computer and my work email pops up and before I know it, it’s four hours later and I’ve answered fifty emails and laid out three pages that someone else was scheduled to do but some editors REALLY REALLY NEEDED DONE LIKE RIGHT NOW PLEASE and I’ve worked on the schedule and attempted to make an illustration that doesn’t suck on rye toast and that’s all BEFORE I’ve even gone to the office. It’s kind of obscene how much I’m working lately. And yet that is sort of what I have to do to feel even close to being on top of my workload.

It’s kind of hilarious in a really sad way. I try to keep my dabbling in work in check at home while the boy is awake. I have to send out the daily assignments early in the morning but beyond that I really really try not to have my head buried in the laptop while he’s playing and could use some company and someone to teach him how to, uh, walk and talk and stuff. But when he goes down for a nap, all bets are off.

Hi, everyone. My name is Lindsey and I’m a workaholic.

I have friends who live fifteen minutes away who I have gone months without seeing. Five months. Seven months. Blink. How?

I’ve gotta cut this out. I’ve got to draw some boundaries. Got to get my social life back and I’ve got to write and take photos again. And make stuff. And play with my baby more. Shit, he’s not even a baby anymore. He’s a little dude and he is going to think that my face is a glowing white Apple.

*This post is about work

Shane McDermott, ###

Day 141: Captain Arnold

Yesterday, my former employer laid off one of my close friends and one of the most talented people I have ever met.

I remember when he was hired. It was a few months after I had started and the art director sent out an email to everyone telling us we’d hired a new artist named Shane McDermott, so be on the lookout for some dude walking around, wearing a beret. Get it? He was an ARTIST.

Shane sat over and away from the rest of the design department on a little cube island with the art director and the other artist. Yes, folks, in 2005, The Commercial Appeal had TWO graphic artists, one of whom made maps and downloaded stock and weather graphics for a living. Can you imagine? I didn’t speak to Shane very much but I remember that first Christmas, he came around and dumped a little pile of chocolates on everyone’s desk. Obviously, we were destined to be good friends.

We also worked together like gangbusters. When I had my stint as assistant art director/Sunday Viewpoint designer my favorite part of the whole week would be when Shane and I got to sit down and talk about his illustration ideas. He would always come over to my desk with his sketch pad in hand and go over the intricate thumbnail sketches he’d come up with. Then I’d make a face and he was always really good at reading when I wasn’t into any of them. Sometimes he’d have something that was just perfect. Sometimes we’d settle on a combination of two thumbs. Sometimes we’d brainstorm a totally new but freaking brilliant idea, sitting right there at my desk. He’d go back to his desk and scan in the thumbnail and I’d place it on the page and design around it. He’d stay up all night making an amazing piece of art that would be printed in the Sunday paper and eventually end up in people’s trash or at the bottom of their birdcage (herf derf, we newspaper people love hearing that joke!). It’s so fleeting, making art for newspapers. You get one shot to make it count. Shane was fantastic at knocking it out of the park, visually, in that one shot. I have so many portfolio pieces with his work on them.

Shane’s art made The CA better. So much better. His touches were all over the paper. When they laid off the graphic artist responsible for doing maps and stocks and weather, Shane picked up those duties on top of his already substantial illustration load. I’m sure he wasn’t thrilled to be spending some of his hours making locator maps, but it was something he did with skill anyway.

Having Shane on staff made the paper more colorful and more engaging every single day. When the holidays rolled around, you could be sure there’d be a sweet story that would unfold in his advent calendar. And he could take a two-dimensional concept and turn it into an entire (and adorable) papercraft franchise. One of the few things I carried from my old desk to my new desk here in Nashville is my CA newsbot. It sits proudly beneath my monitor, looking pretty busted because it’s taped together and not glued, but proud and fucking rad nonetheless.

Day 180: Independence Bot zombot2

And having him as a work friend was the shit. For a long time I saved almost every email he sent me at work because they were all hilarious. We worked in this surreal space where there were nosehorn trumpets and foot stompers and people humming and clearing their throats and clicking their fingernails on keyboards and sing-song yawning, and had I not had him there to make incredulous faces at and field my frustrated emails, I never would have lasted as long as I did.

Shane is an incredible talent and a damned great person. It shows the desperation of the company if they are getting rid of him, frankly. Shane’s artwork helped set The CA apart from and above other news outlets. It makes me so incredibly sad to see the paper — which gave me my first job out of college — go this route. Several other people I admire and respect tremendously lost their jobs yesterday in the same round of brutal layoffs. I’m so sick of being a part of an industry that just keeps cutting and cutting with no end in sight. It’s heartbreaking.

The good news is that Shane will be fine. He is going to be plenty busy and I hope it’s with stuff that doesn’t involve a LICK of school mergers and politics. Because he’s illustrated enough of that stuff to last a lifetime.

Shane, my friend, seeing that picture of you loading your stuff into a shopping cart made me cry and laugh at the same time. That is entirely you. Absurd and funny and wacky but always with a baseline of utterly heartbreaking sincerity. You will be missed by an industry that didn’t even know what it had.

Dear reader, go visit his blog, where I hope he’ll be updating us on what’s in store for him.

Spontaneous potpourri craftiness

I have to brag about this.

Last weekend I was a bridesmaid in Kristin and Lonnie’s wedding, where I accidentally ruined every picture by making having a stupid face. Anyway, Kristin sent me home with my bouquet and a piece of hers. Sadly, the few hours the bouquets spent in the car in the scorching 100+-degree heat when I ducked in to Opry Mills pretty much sapped them of their ability to stand up and be pretty and quasi-alive in a vase. But they did start to have that delicious dried-flower smell on the drive home. I don’t know if Kristin picked the variety of flowers she picked with their decay qualities in mind, but I would not be surprised if she did; she is very clever.


Anyway, today I was trying to figure out what to do with my lovely, dying bouquets, and I couldn’t stop smelling them. But I had to dismantle them because my fat orange cat was making insane noises trying to get at them once he realized what they were. He is plant crazed. So I got one of my huge wine glasses (a gift from Ashley K many years ago) and set about plucking out bits of the bouquet and arranging the pieces in the glass.

There was enough foliage to do two but I knew that would be tempting cat fate, so I just did the one. I think it turned out really nicely.


Week thirty-seven

All righty, then. We are officially full term this week. Wahoo! That means that this kiddo can pop out any time he pleases and he’ll be equipped to make it in this harsh world of ours. Of course, I fully expect him to stay in there a few more weeks and get nice and ripe, but hopefully he won’t overstay his welcome. Let’s be punctual or maybe just fashionably late, baby. But don’t keep us waiting too long, because we want to meet your sweet face and smell your sweet skin and whisper your name in your ear like we’re giving you a secret.

I had my GBS test on Wednesday and I’m patiently awaiting my status on that end. Probiotics, don’t fail me now. The rest of the midwife appointment went well. I gained more weight than I wanted to (shock horror) but my blood pressure was good and the baby’s heart rate and position were good.

I’ve had some minor swelling in my ankles and feet the past couple of days when I got home from work. I suspect I need to drink more water, which is a fun thought when I already feel like I should be paying rent on the restroom at work.

37 weeks No Braxton Hicks yet, that I can tell anyway. I have had some odd, intermittent throbbing in my lower back, but nothing remarkable. I have felt a big ball of tension here and there in my stomach, but I think that’s just baby boy shoving his butt up into me. It’s the weirdest thing to see and to feel.

Sunday Amanda, Amber, and Courtney threw us a shindig at the house with some delicious food and even better company. Naturally, I got completely distracted and didn’t take many pictures at all. It was so great to see everyone who came. I have felt sort of cut off from the world thanks to my crappy hours and the general exhaustion that comes part and parcel with pregnancy (I don’t do a lot of partying these days), so having friends I hadn’t seen in months — some of whom traveled a good haul — come to my house to celebrate the major life change that’s about to click into place, well, it means a lot to me. We got some lovely and super useful things for the baby, and once again I am just blown away by how generous the people I love are. We are truly fortunate. I hope this baby will be able to pick up on that and appreciate it from day one.

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So we’re kind of in countdown phase now. Twenty-odd days until the due date and my last day of work. Some nights I’m not sure which I’m looking forward to the most. Some moments I’m more than ready to get this show on the road. Other times I cannot believe this is happening and am convinced that there is no possible way we’ll be ready in time. But we’ll be ready. We’re ready.

C-Y Fest booth: A recap


My first mistake was assuming that I would make it to bed by midnight Friday.

Instead, I was up until 3, printing out last-minute signs and trying to make sure I had everything in order. My alarm coaxed me awake at 6 and I went about loading the car and putting some food and drinks in the cooler, only to realize that most of the ice trays were empty and therefore completely worthless to me. Bah. I filled a big travel mug with strong coffee and woke Ray up right before time to go, and we scooted over to Cooper-Young.

We found our stall and pulled the car into the nearest parking lot to unload as we waited for Shane — the bringer of the tables and chairs and the essential extra person to help successfully put up the tent. He ran into some traffic snags so we roped my pal Ed, who had just stopped by to chat, into helping us attempt to get the tent set up, since I was starting to panic a little about getting everything ready and the car moved before the streets were blocked off and Ray was effectively stuck there all day (he needed to be able to go home and sleep before his work shift that night) and the festival gates opened.

We got the tent mostly open and figured out, and then Shane arrived and applied his tent TLC to get it fully functional. We made pretty quick work of attaching the lattice and hanging the photos up on their janky little paperclips. I kept running into a brain block where I couldn’t quite figure out exactly how I wanted things to look, even though I had practiced the day before. Anyway, we were tidying up as the festival-goers started trickling in, but by and large, we got it done in time. I am so glad I have helpful friends, and that Shane has a good eye so that he could figure out the best place to put some things I was totally stymied by.

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By 9:30 I was already sweaty and exhausted, but things were just getting started.

I made some sales early on, which was encouraging. I immediately met a sweet couple of ladies who really liked my Tennessee prints and were hoping to customize them as cards. The magnets of the same size were a big hit, too, and I sold out of one design and nearly out of the other. Another big seller was the Memphis letter collage print, which eventually sold out.

Several friends stopped by and chatted with me, which was a lovely cure for my hermit disease. Some friends even bought stuff, which was also awesome.

One of the coolest things that happened was getting to meet people who read the blog/follow the shop whom I’ve never met before. They were all so sweet and patient with me. Hi, everyone I met who might be reading this now!

Erica checked on me several times and, being a craft show veteran, even offered some suggestions about how to tweak the booth. I heeded her advice on moving the banner so that people could see in to the booth, but I didn’t have the energy to change the placement of the tables. Next time, maybe. Ray and Shane dropped back by to check on me, as did Amanda and Brandon, so I could walk around and take a pee break or two. I ate a giant burger from Celtic Crossing — that they delivered to my booth! — and swilled water to stave off dehydration.

It wasn’t so bad sitting there alone. I got to do some pretty fine people watching (some highlights: seeing a woman on a Rascal scooter accidentally careen into a neighboring booth and knock over a piece of art, and then later seeing a woman and a man have words — “ex-ca-uuuuuuse YOU!” when they both accidentally bumped into each other, and then even later watching some kid get caught trying to steal some dude’s sombrero) and it gave me a chance to sit back and tend to things in the booth that I might have ignored had I been otherwise distracted.

One of the bars across the front of the tent started to fall, and every third person who came inside hit his/her head on it on the way back out. I started warning everyone repeatedly to watch their heads, as many of them had had some beer and were not exactly observant. Ha. But I was scared that if I tried to push the bar back up, that my entire tent would collapse. So I left it.

It was really cool having people come by and have nice things to say about my art. I feel weird calling it that but that’s what it is. One man even told me I had the best collection out of all the photographers there. Sadly he didn’t buy anything but hey, a compliment is great too.

I can say I’d definitely do another craft fair, now that I sort of know how they work and what to expect, and the kinds of things craft show buyers seem to gravitate toward. It was an excellent marketing opportunity and I gave my cards out to everyone who would take one or two so they will hopefully check out my shop. Of course, this time next year I will have my hands full with a 10-month-old (!!!) but I would love to try my hand at it again. Maybe get a bigger tent and some sturdier structures from which to hang things. Maybe pare down my offerings a bit now that I know what didn’t garner much interest at all and what seemed to be popular. Definitely make extra copies of things that I can tell will be popular so that I don’t run out, although it’s really hard to predict what will take off and what won’t.

By the time we got home, I was completely exhausted and could hardly move. My hips and back were almost totally locked up and my head had started to hurt pretty bad. I was in bed by 10 p.m. and slept nearly 12 hours. I woke up sore and still tired. But it was a good tired. An accomplished tired. It was quite a leap to take to get my name out there and let people peruse through my artwork, opening myself up to judgment like that. I would so love it one day if this is how I could make a real living. Making and sharing and selling.

Baby shower No. 1

My friend Ashley took the reins months and months ago before the bump had ballooned and told me she wanted to throw me a baby shower — something she’s always wanted to do — so I happily took her up on her offer. Over the course of the intervening months, she has worked so hard on the event. And did a fabulous job. I really can’t thank her enough for making my first baby shower so special. Too bad I can’t talk her into having another little one so I can return the favor.

Sunday my mom, sister, both aunts, grandmother, and very brave nephew Patrick came into town and we met up at Ashley’s house with several ladies from work. I had an acute attack of preggo brain and forgot to put the battery in my camera, so I’m grateful Courtney was there and snapped pictures and was kind enough to let me use them.

the spread Orange and chocolate cake: Delicious!

We ate excellent food and played a couple of games — the girth guess and a pregnancy word scramble that, shamefully, I did not win (I missed the word “midwife” for crying out loud!) — and then it was on to the portion of the shower where you open all the lovely gifts people have given you in front of the whole crowd. That is a trip. Christmas babies don’t get a lot of occasions to open gifts solo; most of the time if I’m opening a gift, everyone else in the room is too. So I mowed through wrapping paper and ribbons and card envelopes, making rubbery emotional and silly faces (which I know thanks to Courtney’s pictures) and showing the goods to the crowd.

We cracked wise and ooohed and aaahed over Ashley’s immaculate diaper cake. I mean, that thing was stacked with awesomeness. My grandmother regaled us with a story about her new dog who only eats weiners. My sister threatened to feed my month-old child Vienna (pronounced “vah-ay-nee”) sausages through a mesh pacifier. You know, the usual Turner antics.

diaper cake

I am just blown away by everyone’s sweet generosity. This child will want for nothing, except maybe parents who aren’t batshit crazy (but everyone wants for that). I want to make a photo catalog of all the wonderful things we’ve been gifted; I’ll get on that soon. I’ve started my thank-you cards and hope to get them all out before the end of the week. But a little card just cannot express how grateful I am for friends and family and co-workers who have been so amazing, helping us stockpile stuff for DJ Baby Bok Choy’s arrival. It’s on me to pay it forward, and I will take that responsibility very seriously.

More pics over on Courtney’s Flickr. I will hopefully be able to gank some additional pics from my family too!