They Bought Me Flowers

One day in early April, when the flowers were just starting to blossom in New York City, I walked by the bodega on 82nd and Amsterdam and was draped in the sweet scent of lilies—like Easter and weddings and childhood. It was like getting smacked in the face with the pleasant sting of nostalgia.

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Elizabeth Moore
What I learned from Writing 1,000 Words a Day for Two Weeks

I learned a lot about myself during #1000WordsOfSummer. I’ve never written so much in such a concentrated time period, by the end of it coming out with 14,000 more words than I had before, which is wild. I think that knowing ourselves as writers is an important part of the process, so I want to share with you what I learned throughout my experience with #1000WordsOfSummer.

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Ashton Ray
At the Table

On a private rooftop at 86th and Columbus with a gorgeous view of Manhattan, a long table was set with pink plates, fresh flowers, cloth napkins, and wine glasses that would be refilled so many times we’d lose count.

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Elizabeth Moore
To the Size 2: What I Wish I Said

I wish I’d said something, but I didn’t. I was just the thick girl who had never, in her life, had someone say they were jealous of her body. The whole situation was like I set it up for myself, but I said nothing.

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Ashton Ray
A Stream of Consciousness about Writing and Creativity

I’ve woken up early on a Sunday morning to write. Without trying, this has become a bit of a routine. I go to church in the evenings and keep my mornings deliciously free, quiet and slow like dew. This is where I recenter myself, among coffee and instrumental music and empty space. Sometimes the most beloved, necessary routines develop when we’re not looking.

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Elizabeth Moore
To Nelda, Who Made Me a Writer

“You are a great writer, Ashton. Better than most students I’ve had,” Mrs. Reichley said, her tone serious and intentional, holding one of my papers in her hand as she looked at me from across the desk.

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Ashton Ray
Let it Carry You

The Apollo is iconic. Chandeliers and theater boxes make sweeping declarations of one hundred years ago. But there’s an intangible quality simmering beneath the elegant trimmings. There is soul here. The Apollo Theater is in Harlem, and the spirit of Harlem lives in the Apollo. Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, and Alicia Keys presided, invisible but palpable, taking up the space they deserve. We sat on the front row of the first mezzanine, the best seats in the house, putting our feet up on the rails.

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Elizabeth Moore
Heavy With Nostalgia

That house has been my home for all of my 24.5 years on this earth. It’s where I have experienced some of my deepest hurts and greatest joys. It holds my story, and as I made my way thru the playroom and the rest of the tasks on my dad’s list, that truth became evident. Rather than going thru everything, every picture and elementary school art project and book, I want to talk about the highlights, the real nostalgic treasures.

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Ashton Ray
Because You Asked

I’ve been stunned by the power of persistent prayer--the unseen mystery of talking to God, of asking for the desires of your heart but holding them with an open hand, of receiving gifts that are beyond your wildest dreams and realizing they are yours, not because you deserve it, but because you simply asked.

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Elizabeth Moore
The Comfort Afforded by the Color of My Skin

For the last few years I’ve been making a conscious effort to increase my personal awareness of race in America. I’ve written about it a few times, but this is a conversation that needs to continue. And it’s Black History Month, so I’m going to talk about it again.

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Ashton Ray
Moments and Songs and Memories

Like most people I meet, if I hear a certain songs, I get instantly transported to different moments in my past. An unfortunate number of these memories have to do with guys, some with deep sadness or immense joy, and some are just memories of driving to school. There are so many songs and albums that I’ll love, or hate, forever because of what they bring up. Here are some of them.

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Ashton Ray
Significant Moments, Significant Places

I’m not an expert on this city by any means (I have the credibility of a long-term tourist), but New York has been the backdrop to significant moments I don’t want to forget. The river is rushing past, leaving barely enough time to savor the sweetness, saltiness, or whiskey-sour-ness of a moment until it’s gone. So, as a three-month-old rookie to this city, here are a few places of significance so far.

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Elizabeth Moore
On Good Art

During my first week at Oxford, I did what any Narnia and Hobbit loving human would do---I walked my literary ass to the Eagle and Child.

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Elizabeth Moore
Notes on Autumn

This is the time of year where my toes are enduringly cold and always a bit damp. But even in the bite of cold, something glows. I’m more aware of warmth and safety than ever before.

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Ashton Ray