Posts

essays

Can a woman survive without her carapace?

I’m nineteen years old. I’m wearing a floral dress, singing How Beautiful Are the Feet from Handel’s Messiah for my Mormon church congregation in Los Angeles on Easter Sunday. This aria is high, it’s slow, it requires precision and purity. There’s no place to hide. I am terrified through every breath, but once the piano starts and everyone is looking at me there’s nothing to do but keep going until I finish. So I sing. And then I walk off of the dais, sit down in a pew at the side of the chapel and burst into surprised, uncontrollable tears. 

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When things fall apart

As I write this morning, I’m listening to mournful Max Richter music and thinking about what it means to be alive now. The tectonic plate shifts in the first months of 2020 broke apart “normal life” all around the world. Here in America the virus forced us to confront the economic inequality and health disparities that lay beneath the way our country works. George Floyd’s murder was the tragic catalyst that opened millions upon millions of eyes to the racism that was embedded in America’s DNA before there was an America.

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essays

That mood indigo

It was 1984. I was 21, home from college on spring break, wasting time with my two brothers on the dilapidated brown sofa in the family room, watching MTV in the middle of a bright afternoon. The videos were just background noise until I heard the laid back perfection of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Cold Shot”. Those opening guitar licks took hold of me in an instant.

The overwrought 80’s video production barely registered. It was the sound. Something buried, nameless and dark in me latched onto those notes and would not let go. I didn’t know that my heart had been waiting for a translator that could speak its wordless language, waiting for a way to show me the silted sorrows that dwelt layers down in my soul.

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Are feathers enough?

The world before March seems like another lifetime on another planet – thumbing through the May issues of Vogue, Elle and Harper’s Bazaar made me feel like I was looking at the archaeological records of a dead society. Huge travel features. Really? Jewelry and extravagant handbags. Really??

None of us knows what life will be like on the other side. Nor do we know how and when we might start carefully venturing back into the world. “Normal it will not be,” Governor Gavin Newsom told Californians on April 14. Just how not normal remains to be seen.

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essays

Say yes to the multitudes

My greatest fear during my college years, besides that I was a horrible person who was failing in my life, was that I was utterly transparent to everyone around me. I was unable to interpret myself – my contradictions overwhelmed me. I had no idea what to do with all of that chaotic energy.

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essay

Drowning in gorgeous, artful words

Writers need to read. 

How do you learn to communicate the tender details of grief? You read how other writers have done it. How do you deftly present dialogue? You notice the craft in essays you love. How do you learn to paint vivid descriptions with words? You read a ton of descriptions other writers have written. When an image on the page blows you away, you go back and read it again and again to dissect how and why it works. 

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About Lisa

Lisa Poulson, a voice in favor of the complex beauty of female power, was once a tech industry badass, a grieving almost-widow and a faithful Mormon all at the same time. Now a writer in San Francisco, Lisa writes about grief, love and the complex beauty of female power.

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You are reading of your own will and choice. How you read, act on or don’t act on what you read here is up to you.

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While lisapoulson.com does use cookies, which helps us understand how you engage with our site and where you’re from, we do NOT save your personal information - like e-mail, name or address. And, if you join our mailing list or comment on a post, we will not share (or sell) your contact information. We are not responsible for commenters or other third parties here.

Clarity

Lisa Poulson is the legal copyright holder of this blog. Contents may not be used, reprinted, or published without written consent.

About Lisa

Lisa Poulson is a voice in favor of the complex beauty of female power, the descendant of fiercely resilient Mormon pioneers and a woman who survived the death of her fiancé four months before their wedding. Lisa lives in San Francisco, where she spends her time absorbing and creating as much beauty as possible.

Join the conversation on Instagram!

Reminder

You are reading of your own will and choice. How you read, act on or don’t act on what you read here is up to you.

Reassurance

While lisapoulson.com does use cookies, which helps us understand how you engage with our site and where you’re from, we do NOT save your personal information - like e-mail, name or address. And, if you join our mailing list or comment on a post, we will not share (or sell) your contact information. We are not responsible for commenters or other third parties here.

Clarity

Lisa Poulson is the legal copyright holder of this blog. Contents may not be used, reprinted, or published without written consent.