Hello! Welcome. Grab some coffee. Tea? Wine? Kombucha? Whatever happens to be your drink of choice.
I am beyond excited to kick off a new year and this new site.
Live. Snap. Write.
What is that exactly?
It’s a peek into our worlds. I hope it will inspire you to plug in to whatever excites you.
I’m particularly interested in things that move you.
Maggie and I met in 2013. I was blogging about marriage and the rearing of two little people and all the other 500,000 topics that popped into my head at any given moment. Truth be told, I was in the middle of a sort of identity crisis. I was mostly a stay-home parent, and frankly, I couldn’t have been more ill-fitted for the job if I tried. I was taking a few freelance projects, ghost-blogging mostly, being that I’m anxiety-ridden when it comes to my writing. I’d just as soon flash the Publix cashier than share my inner thoughts with people I actually know . . . like in person. Hello, I’m Jenni, allow me to vomit up my soul.
Writing has been a constant in my life. The constant. It’s sustained me on days when nothing else has.
Maggie is a photographer and writer, and she’s nothing short of amazing. She and I bonded over a love of R.E.M. and a healthy dose of commiseration. We’re both strong-willed, sensitive artists striving to live hard and real.
Curiosity drives us, as well as a desire to live authentically and creatively.
My teens and twenties were a whirlwind of action. I didn’t sit still much and did whatever I could to experience the world.
I was in motion. Going going going.
When my oldest son was born in 2007, I was blasted with a shot of reality.
I was responsible for a human.
I spent the first year or so freaking out, for lack of a more eloquent way to put it. I know plenty of women who have a baby and carry on just as they did before.
That was not me.
My cherub was the sort of child who needed peace, but with me for a mother, that was hard to come by. I thrived on novelty and stimulation. The mere word ‘routine’ emitted a hive-like response. I actually said to our pediatrician once, “You mean, babies need structure? There is nothing I loathe more than structure. I never do the same thing two days in a row.”
I had a lot to learn. I needed to grow in a way that felt quite foreign.
And I did. I nested. Actually, I barely left the house for fear that it might set off our little prince. I listened to audiobooks, taught myself to cook and did what I could to foster happiness in my home — while staving off boredom for myself.
Then I had another baby, and while it was lovely in a multitude of ways, being a mother often felt like I was inhabiting a strange, unfamiliar universe.
My kids are now first and second-graders, and it recently hit me — I miss the person I was prior to having children. Don’t get me wrong. Parenting is the most rewarding experience ever, and I recognize now how necessary it was for me. I knew I would love my children, but I never realized how many skills I would be forced to acquire as a result of becoming a parent — it’s kind of jarring now that I think about it.
When Maggie and I started tossing around ideas for this site, it forced me to genuinely examine my space in the world at this moment. And it hit me — I miss the movement and spontaneity of life before kids. I’m ready to travel again and explore, both on my own and with my children. That is a huge part of who I am that’s kind of been lost in a haze of meal-prep, sleep schedules, and figuring out how to guide and nurture my little tribe.
At the same time, I have learned to appreciate the beauty in the ordinary since becoming a parent — a necessary skill that has grounded me and made me better and more grateful.
Live. Snap. Write. is a place to share things that move us — experiences, places, various art forms, both extraordinary and the seemingly unremarkable.
My experiences inform my writing. All that motion of my youth shaped me. I am who I am today because I lived. I experienced different places and people and cultures. I tried different jobs. Some I liked, others . . . not so much, but regardless, I learned valuable lessons from each of them.
I spent so much of my early life feeling like a failure because sitting in a desk trying to absorb lectures and lessons from an overhead didn’t work for me. I realize now that that’s okay. I had to go out into the world before I could actually process information.
I’m looking forward to exploring again.
I’m also fascinated by others’ artistic processes and seeing the world through others’ eyes. Photography continues to inspire and baffle me. Maggie makes magic with her camera, and I’m excited to partner with her. Most of the photography on the site will be hers. Well, the beautiful photography will be hers. The photographs I take will likely be snapshots — usually from my phone. I typically take pictures of things that strike me in the moment as a method of bookmarking my experiences. They’ll be little pieces of my world, but please don’t expect superb quality.
Words, thoughts, and ideas excite me.
Building community excites me.
Creating and connecting moves me.
I’m looking forward to sharing my world with you, and I hope you’ll do the same.
Welcome to Live. Snap. Write.
Thank you for joining us.
words: Jenni Dowling
feature image: Maggie Carlise