The 2011 Soundtrack

December 31, 2011 Candace Morris 0 Comments

The albums that carried my soul through this year, in order of appearance:

It's been a very electronic year for us.  I wore myself out on indie/folk last year, and have been comforted by the solitary sounds of synth and motherboard.  However, if you've not gravitated towards this type of music, do know that it's not all dance/techno (most of which I despise).  All of this music is very Depeche Mode inspired, albeit a bit less serious.

Walking on a Dream
This album is just good, clean fun.  It will make you feel so very good.  Yet another Australian band!

The Sound
Joel brought this one home and started playing it.  While I didn't appreciate his immature lyrics, I began to resonate deeply with his themes:  a willing loss of control, such determined hope, and damn good mixing!  This album held me close through a very rough summer and fall wherein my soul insisted on challenging my marriage and encouraged me to release my rigid notions of romantic love, as well as coaxing me into the transition of realizing we wanted to start trying for a baby. Such a deeply spiritual and beautiful album.

Equatorial Ultravox
I am quite proud of this one, because I heard it on KEXP and texted Joel to listen.  We fell in love with it, especially the first song, Now That I'm Real.  It's EPIC.  My one criticism is that the entire album isn't remarkable, only two, maybe three songs.

Idle Labor
Another KEXP find, this album was on INTENSE repeat for an embarrassingly long amount of time.   THE.ENTIRE.THING.  It is swooingling romantic, intensely sad in its glorious pop-style, and boasts such a filling sound.  It's definitely a summer fling.  If you ever loved the Pet Shop Boys or ABC, you'd love this album.

Beach House 
(super hard to see the album art, but it's there)
Teen Dream
There is nothing like the sound this sister/brother duo puts out.  So calming, distant, and moving.  It is an album to paint to, to drive to, to make-out to, to drink to.  Equally sad and hopeful, it's the perfect soundtrack to a 30-something life.

I revisited my love for Bjork right around July/September.  The themes of releasing control (notice a pattern anyone?!) and abandon to the realities of life continue to speak to me, 10 years later.  There is no one like Bjork, nor will there ever be.

You Are All I See
I rarely love an album immediately.  From the instant we played it, we both became immediate fans, obsessed and infatuated.  Joel was able to see him play (a total surprise to him) when he opened for M83 in Atlanta.    With his professional harpist skills, this is one of the most hauntingly melancholy albums I've ever loved.  It's musical perfection.  

I think I saved the last for my favorite!
This album is only available for pre-order, but thanks to Spotify, we've been enjoying it non-stop since October.  An homage to The Joy Division and New Order, this band sounds perfectly 80s with newly existential twists in lyric and theme.  It gives me chills. As Joel says, it's one of those bands that's going to BLOW UP and you'll end up hating yourself for loving.

You can listen to any of these tracks on Spotify, which I highly encourage you to download if you haven't already.  

And you? What has your 2011 Soundtrack done for you?



December 29, 2011 Candace Morris 5 Comments

One of my favorite gifts from Joel this year is this star projector lamp.  It is hanging out with a vinyl copy of "The Music of Cosmos" that I bought him.

  We are crushing on the universe this year.

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.”  Carl Sagan, Cosmos


a small service announcement

December 22, 2011 Candace Morris 3 Comments

For those of you who purchased my book of poetry the last few weeks, I wanted to apologize for the delay.  The proofs came and I was simply unhappy with the product.  I have resubmitted the order with my fixes and expect to receive the books by January 15, at which time I will send them right off to you!

For those of you didn't snatch one up, I have 12 books left for purchasing.  See button on sidebar to the right.

Thank you for your patience and support of this lady.


on quiet and joy

December 21, 2011 Candace Morris 4 Comments

For one of the first times in my writing life, I have very little to say.  It doesn't feel like a dry spell or block. Instead, I feel a heavy blanket of peace and quiet.   Joel and I have spent our December evenings cuddling up with Christmas movies and video games, with gumption to do little else, to see no one.  We have no real travel plans, I finished my shopping over a week ago, and aside from some baking and a few presents to wrap, there isn't any pressing matters.  This holiday has almost zero stress.  How did I accomplish this?  I would love to put the prescription in a bottle and sell it to this harried country, but in the end, we are responsible for our own schedules.  Let's face it - every one of us is exactly as busy as we want to be.

I've enjoyed a few conversations with far-away friends, but mainly feel like listening.  My end remains quiet and contemplative, but nothing too deep or melancholy.  The only real ache I have is for my sister and Clara, who kept this house bustling last Christmas.

In my home, it's dark aside from a vast array of holiday lights and very quiet save the cracks on the floor as the cat wanders by.  I've not picked up my real camera in ages, and since publishing the book of poems (upon which I am still waiting due to a glitch in the first edition I simply had to send back), I've not lifted a pen and paper.  I feel distracted and painfully private and for this Christmas, I am giving myself the gift of just letting it be so.

If you see little of me here, know I am well.  Know that I am grinning like a child at Christmas lights and glorying in naps and puzzles.

Happiest of Holiday Seasons, revelers and religious alike.
There is much sharing to come, I need my rest.


Pre-Order Option Available

December 08, 2011 Candace Morris 6 Comments

A few of you have requested to pre-order this book.  

 nightwatch the cover

Click on book or  here to purchase.

There are 25 copies available, and you can expect to receive them no later than January 1.  I will order more copies if necessary.

Thank you for your overwhelming support!


a thoroughly enjoyable experiment of the bookish kind

December 06, 2011 Candace Morris 2 Comments

For those of you who have had the pleasure (commence eye-roll) of conversing with me regarding modern fiction, you know I make no bones about reading classical literature versus the bestseller.  For the most part, I've not felt any sense of loss to disassociate myself from certain adolescent bestsellers, as entertaining as they may be.  

My decision was justified in 2007 when I decided to read The Road.  Although I enjoyed the plot and theme (despite it being unoriginal - I can tell you 5 novels off the top of my head written pre-1980 that deal with the decaying nature of humanity vs the enduring nobility of same during apocalyptic/traumatic times), I was mortified by McCarthy's use of language and the strange occult following the novel produced.  The trend irritated me to no end, and although now I can see McCarthy's mode, I still cannot say that my first experiment with reading anything published in the last 10 years was a rewarding one.  I engaged in so many subsequent defensives on my hatred of the book that it became an entirely exhausting experiment.  

I've endured many interpersonal changes in that same time span, and quite proudly say that I've learned to be less rigid, and have allowed myself to be less narrowly defined by standards I imposed upon myself during my sadly-lacking (in modern literature) Christian education.  I still stand by my voice that modern fiction is sub-par in word choice and cadences as classical literature, but I've found a way for the modern voice to be just as important, inspiring, and informative to culture.   

All of this to say that last month, I did something I've absolutely never done before.  I went to a NEW bookstore in pursuit of a novel published weeks prior.  I then proceeded to purchase this book for $30! (I've not spent more than $10 on a book in 10 years).  

I have this dream about wandering into a bookstore and picking a novel based entirely on my mood, how much I want to shop, and the cover, applying the nonchalance I use to pick out a red wine (even if I limit myself to the Italian section these days).

I am not quite there yet.  This recent trip to the store was still premeditated and I picked this book based on a "Fresh Air" interview with the author.  But still, I am growing!

The Marriage Plot

From the moment I started The Marriage Plot by Jeffery Eugenides (some of you may know him for his Pulitzer Prize winning, Middlesex), I not only absorbed each word like a precious Belgian truffle, but I was rather challenged with his vocabulary, and not just a little bit impressed with his skill as a writer.  It helped that his heroine is a disillusioned English major and his two beaus are 1) a manic depressive and 2) a religious studies major.  How could I resist three areas of my own personal interests?!

The Marriage Plot: Bedstand

It feels so good to be a part of a self-experiment gone terribly right.  I completely recommend the book.


it is finished

November 28, 2011 Candace Morris 22 Comments

For sale December 17, 2011.

Now that feels good,


the silence

November 26, 2011 Candace Morris 5 Comments

No, I am not speaking of the ominous villain in Doctor Who (I love you if you get that reference), but I am speaking of the strange periods of silence I've recently endured.  Times in life where one desires no company other than a spouse, no conversation other than with beautiful films, and more sleep than most people dream of.

Monk's Prayer

Perhaps this silence is due to my being sick for almost 9 days now.  I've left the house only 3 times in that stint, and just when I thought I was getting better, I woke up this morning with what I can only guess is a different cold.  How festive.

Despite feeling strange, solitary, and rather disabled, I've been enjoying the energy, the Feng Shui, of being in a house that has been lived in so well.  I've cooked several amazing meals, had countless cups of tea, snuggled with Joel any old time I wanted, stewed cider, and baked an apple pie.  I suppose I am saying that I am thankful for being ill in that it has demanded sleep and nourishing food and soul-giving solitude.  I am thankful for a body.

Let me explain.

The Universe and I have been at odds lately.  We've been in discussion about endings.  I am fighting this impossible battle between the biological need to survive and the inevitable truth that we all die, and must.   The human race will most likely be entirely wiped out in the next million years, with nothing to offer the cosmos or other lifeforms elsewhere (except The Voyager, Joel comforts me).   Moreover, I suppose the real struggle is that I cannot control either. I wish I could be obsessed with beginnings, but instead I've been struggling so much with the fact that life ends.  Just when bliss introduces herself to me with a jarring handshake, she slips through my fingers because I think of when it will end. I am trying to accept that this issue has been brought to me to examine and chew on, trying to see its essence instead of its shadow, but I have a distrust of the temporary.

Simply stated, I am trying to reconcile death with life, and it seems everyone has some sort of lovely answer for how they have arrived at their own particular version of peace. I suspect that most deal with it by ignoring it, or praying a lot, or distracting themselves with the busyness of life.  I bring up this comparison to others because I believe our notions of personal happiness are based largely on how we see others living and what they chose to pour their precious lives into.  I am clinically depressed, so it makes sense to me that I would wonder why everyone is so darn happy all the time, expressing how they find certain weather patterns, particular bowls of fruit, or long vacations nothing but entirely rewarding, afraid to express anything negative because of what that might mean, or what others might think.  In the end, when we do not take the time to express all parts of life - the good and the bad, and express both with tact and love - I feel we are performing a great disservice to those in our care, who listen to us and glean inspiration from us.  If we are only expressing good, those who feel badly about life will feel ashamed that they can't just feel good like so and so does all the time.  This is a complete rabbit-trail, I might add.  All of this to say that it often feels as though I am the only one thinking about the inevitable end of the Universe, and balancing the desperate desire to stay alive with the intellectual acceptance of death.  Of course I'm not.

Back to feeling thankful for the human body I have.

Therefore, in the midst of this very confusing mental dialogue, I find it especially rewarding when I am made newly aware of the awe of the human body, decaying and fleeting though it be.

It costs me much, and I have more caveats than acceptance of the notion, but I again say to the cosmos and to you, I am thankful for this body.

Hope your Thanksgiving was meaningful, at the very least.


9 years

November 23, 2011 Candace Morris 8 Comments

At 6:00pm tonight, Joel and I will have been married for 9 years.  When this union took place, the technology available to us wasn't able to produce a slide show that included both music and photos.  As it happened, we pressed play simultaneously on both the pictures and the songs - how antiquated!  Because I've wanted to redo the slideshow in modern format for record keeping, I've now made a movie of our wedding slide show.  This was played at our reception, and I used all the same music and photos as I did then.  It is a bit long, but if you chose to sit through all 11 minutes of it, please enjoy.

Also, feel free to count how many different colors my hair was.  At age 18 - I dyed it dark brown.  19, 20 - blonde.  21-22, black. 23-24, some varying form of red with a blonde streak in front.  The slideshow stops there, but have subsequently varied between blonde and dark brown ever since. 

More importantly, I am looking forward to a decadent dinner out with Joel.  We usually go away in January when things are less chaotic, but it is still important for us to commemorate the day.  I am especially moved this year, after the tumult we've endured for the last while.  This may be sacrilegious to some, but I do not consider the institution of marriage to be a good enough reason to stay together anymore.  In the end, if you have to fall back on the haunches of a commitment made several version of yourself ago, I feel you aren't doing the psychological or soulful work necessary to keep intimacy, to keep alive.  This may be the incredible naive of someone married for less than a decade, but the only reason I see to continue in this marriage is because I want to be with Joel, institution or not.  We got married because of our desire to live life alongside each other, not because we needed some external and arbitrary rule to keep us bound if we no longer wanted to be.   I don't know, perhaps I will be grateful for commitment in the years to come.

All I know is now.  I think that's what I've learned these last 9 years.

I had to laugh when I realized that if we ever broke up, the first person I would walk to talk about it with would be none other than my Joel.  I'm going to take that as a sign.

Happy Anniversary, Joelio.


the healing properties of tea

November 16, 2011 Candace Morris 3 Comments


I love it when Jennifer and Olive come to visit.  Since they moved back to California in April, much to the family's sadness, Jennifer and Olive have been able to get back up about once a month to ease our pain.


Not only do I love that Jennifer does the dishes when she's home (and a myriad of other chores we all hate but now have to do in her absence), but I love that after dinner, no matter the evening, almost all in attendance enjoy a cup of tea.  I like to wander to Jean's china cabinet and chose a tea-cup from her lovely and eclectic collection.  I daresay it's one of those small, profound pleasures that I live for.


Add one (or five) of Jean's pumpkin cookies, and you have one blissed out madame.


Last night, Miss Olive joined in the festivites.

What joy was mine,


Saturday's Allowances

November 12, 2011 Candace Morris 3 Comments

I have spent my day in the pleasant, beguiling company of my truest comrades - words.  Speaking them, hearing them, researching them, scribbling them in and out of existence.  Their demanding precision is killing me; which is the best possible death for a literati.

I have walked my day among the bloody, brazen graveyard of fall's foliage. I observe the decay and pull my cowl closer in smug confidence, resisting the ubiquitous temptation to capture the beauty with a camera.  This time, I know there will be more colored leaves, more photographs, more pretties than I can imagine.

I know this isn't my last chance.

The flippant faith that there will be more seasons is the very definition of hope.
I am entitled to a little less intention, a small pour of taking it for granted.

These are the permissions afforded to me today.


on the up and up

November 08, 2011 Candace Morris 8 Comments

Wherever it is that Joel finds this unending source of love, to which he bestows upon me in such attentiveness, I must find.  I must locate this resource in myself.

Murky Waters

You've no doubt noticed me writing a lot about marital stretching, musing on the pains and pleasures of a maturing wife.  I've made some sense of it, with the help of mental pictures and a patient therapist.  Allow me to share. 

For the last four years, I've been in a deconstruction phase.  First, I found courage to take apart family and not be afraid of separating myself from what I found toxic.  Then my soul directed itself to question all things religion, church, god and the Christianity in which I was raised.  After god, it was taking apart myself in the form of my external beauties and internal artist.  As if that weren't confusing enough, I then had to start honestly examining my marriage.

I began this process standing on solid high-rise, a weapon of destruction handed to me by the very things I doubted. Despite my best efforts to ignore the need to deconstruct everything I loved, I still I distrusted the stability; I needed to destroy it in order to test its substance.  The fear of hurting others in this process with my flying debris, or that I wouldn't be able to put any of this chaos back together, paralyzed me for much of the process.  I pushed through, but as usual, my soul didn't give me a choice.  Its message has always been very clear: Engage or die.

There I am, standing on this structure, swinging a sledge-hammer, reluctantly.  Finally, it's all torn down, all in crumbles.  My face is streaked with dirt and tears, and I'm petrified, "What the hell have I done?"  Boulders of what used to be my beliefs, my identity, and my relationships lie cast about in wild and painful destruction.  I'm sitting on a boulder, observing all of this.  I am so tempted to gear up and hastily put it all back together.  But what if I didn't have to?  What if they weren't mine to put together in the first place?  What if I don't have anything to do with it, oh goodness.  That thought sends thrilling relief through the spine of my soul.  

Instead of the impulse to reconstruct something recognizable as Candace, I finger through the pebbles and dirt. What I am finding is gold nuggets of self and gems of goodness upon which this new me will no doubt be built.  Some are remnants from my previous self, some are forged as a result of destruction.  

I was drawing this visual of me sitting on a boulder in my journal last night.  Joel returned from the store, and asked me to explain (it was hardly recognizable as my drawing abilities are laughable at best).  In an effort to glean from his abilities, I asked him to please draw me sitting atop a boulder in a field of rocks and pebbles.  He did so, but then the most beautiful thing accidentally happened.  He continued with the drawing, sketching a tree, himself in it, overlooking the deconstruction of my soul, communicating with the cosmos in his cerebral way.  He's so patient with the stars, the vastness of the universe.  Of course he could be patient with the vastness of me.  It's nothing to him. The addition of himself to this picture made me shed a few unnoticeable tears.

I had no guarantee that I would find him here, and I am tremendously relieved that we've been given more time to be together.

I admire him so,


Half an hour per day to keep the angst away

November 03, 2011 Candace Morris 3 Comments

30 min a day
Zoka Coffee House, 3 Nov 2011
There is so much to say, so much I don't want to see in writing, so much I want to birth. I'm beginning with 30-min a day until this poetry books gets finished. I love breaking down big projects into tiny little chew-able pieces, but it's not the scheduling that's the difficult part.  It's all the questions I ask myself about the project that distract me from the purity of art I'm aiming for.  Why am I doing this?  Maybe it is as simple as needing an external deadline to truly push myself into the practice, which will push myself into the poet I know I am inside somewhere.  Maybe it's because I want to have a sense of accomplishment, maybe I want to self-destruct, maybe I want to live for your approval.  

These questions and much more
Soon to come.
The timer is set.

Welcome to 30-minutes a day.


trial separation

November 02, 2011 Candace Morris 8 Comments

Well thank the gods that little experiment is OVER!  Joel arrived safely back into Seattle's brisk arms ever-so-early this morning.  After 3 hours of sleep, he sauntered off to work this morning like the hard worker I fell in love with 10 years ago.

A few months ago, in an effort to rebalance our marriage a bit, we decided that Joel needs to start travelling more.  I always go away, using our air miles and monies to visit friends and family.  Last year, I lived with my sister in San Diego for 12 weeks.  When people encountered me vacationing sans husband, they started in befuddlement   "We are just really independent and enjoy missing each other," I would reassure them.

I was full of ignorance.  Turns out, it's the one leaving that gets all the independence and freedom.  When the tables turned and I was the one at home pining for Joel for the 15 days of his absence, shit got ugly.  My brain messed with my being and it wasn't fun.  Suddenly I found myself trying to be as social as possible, not wanting to journal or write for fear that delving into my brain without someone around to pull me out would result in something dark.  

I've spent a lot of time thinking, hoping, and I daresay praying (more like a desperate pleading with the heavens) about my marriage.  It was a time to write love-letters again.  We are birthing into new people and though my questions about us do scare me, I am reminded that everyone has a story.  We are past our introduction and heading uphill to the rising action.  I'm totally fatigued, sweating, and barely recognize the path, but I am not alone and I know the denouement is ahead of us, for better or worse.

Dating: August 2001

Married: June 2011

"I don't know what the future holds but I am willing to walk into the darkness (or flames) holding your hand.  I believe in you... and I believe in us.  Our faith is the greatest church and our love is the most beautiful cathedral I have ever stood in." Joel Morris, October 30, 2011

Here's to knowing that we can never possibly know - and to my brute (his new nickname),


It was a graveyard smash...

November 01, 2011 Candace Morris 1 Comments

Hope yours was delightfully spoooky.  Mine was a little get-together on Saturday night wherein I was not drunk enough to endure friend's singing Karaoke.  

Oh, and I have to share these of my toddler nieces!
Smart Clara as a dalmation puppy, Teresa as Cruella DeVille.

Sweet Olive as a strawberry