Wednesday, October 10, 2012

An open letter to Amy Krouse Rosenthal - concerning the Beckoning of Lovely

  I wrote this letter to Amy Krouse Rosenthal recently and although I mailed it to her, I wanted to put it out there on the internet in case others feel like I do.  Read on, fellow lovers of Lovely.

Dear Amy,

On 11/11/11, I arrived at an old bungalow home on Douglas Avenue in East Nashville.  In the yard stood a nearly naked maple tree that had recently let go of its beautiful, leafy coat of gold, the remains of which covered the ground.  I, along with nearly thirty other women, sat in the small living room of a woman named Alice Smith.  You may not know her at all, but around here, she is a connector of lives, a gatherer of information, and a finder of beautiful.  Not necessarily in things.  Mostly in people.  It’s her gift.  She saw it in you from afar.  She introduced me and many others in East Nashville to your books, youtube videos, and finally, the “Beckoning of Lovely” movement.  On that night we watched your film.  I left my friend's home, literally inspired and lifted.  I left full to bursting with my own ideas that had been touched off by the things I had seen.  I almost didn’t want to speak for fear they would be lost in the noise of my own voice. 

I have often felt like the lovely has been dragged out of me forcefully by the grind of daily life with small children.  If it does appear, it is often focused on them and must be finished and packed away by the end of naptime.  I used to be a song writer, back before babies and the “baby brain” that comes with it.  I used to make beautiful things for more people.  I know I will again and that this is just a season, but when I’m in the weeds, it’s hard to remember that. 

I shared your movie link with everyone and talked about the beautiful thing you had made.  I read your book – Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life and laughed at the small things and the magical things.  I read how you liked to write to authors and so, this is my letter to you. I just have this one thing to say.

I’m not sure what happened to the film, but I wish I could watch it again.  You said you took it down to make it more polished, but for me, the point was made.   You came together with others and made a beautiful thing.  It was, in truth, lovely.  It was lovely, as is.  It didn’t need more.  It needed to spread like wildfire and grow beautiful things in others as it did in me.  It had impact. 

If you need further proof, take this letter as that.  Here I am, nearly a year later, thinking of it and wishing I could see it again.

In the (nearly) last year I have begun painting.  I have begun writing (in earnest).  I found my voice again and have begun playing music again and have begun singing more than bedtime songs.  I am taking up the fiddle and enjoying my photography as an art rather than merely a documentation of my small ones’ march from birthday to birthday.  Your film was an impetus. 

I don’t know the reasons you took it down, but I wanted to encourage you to put it back out there.  Yes, the magic day is passed and there will never be another 11/11/11, but the beauty is still there to be shared.  Please send it back out into the Universe.

Ariana Evans – mother, musician, maker of lovely.

p.s.  Thank you.
p.p.s.  Forgive the scratchiness of my writing.  I've begun to write with a pen and ink nib to help me stay in the moment.


If you don't know who Amy Krouse Rosenthal is, here is a primer.
(from her bio on

"Amy Krouse Rosenthal is a person who likes to make things.
Some things she likes to make:
Children's books.
Grown-up books.
Short films.
Connections with the universe.
Something out of nothing.

Hop on over to her website and be amazed.  Go on...hop!

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