Saturday Scribbles – Ruins



I discovered today’s scribble on the back of an old photograph as I was switching pictures out in a frame.  I have a bad habit of letting pictures pile up in frames, so I’m never quite sure what I will discover when I switch one out. The photograph (shown above) was from a trip I was given to Ireland several years ago.  My mom had just passed away a little less than two months before this picture was snapped.  I would describe myself now as a walking shell on that trip; grateful certainly to be given a childhood dream, but also a raw and wrecked twenty-something kid and not a little bit lost.

We visited many ruins on this trip and I literally have dozens of pictures of gravestones and graveyards and ancient holy places left crumbled across the landscape. It was my obsession on the trip.  There has always been something almost comforting and familiar to me about ruins; ancient places bound in sorrow and rich history. There we were, St. Patty’s Week tourists, wandering through remnants of centuries of history… all alive and breathing, snapping photos before retreating into the warmth of a gift shop or cafe to buy our trinkets and mementos and steaming cups of tea.  But I resonated instead with the dark song these broken places were singing, not the warmth in the living distance. Deeply so…

I remember capturing this particular picture specifically for some reason. I’d gotten separated from my traveling companions for the moment and was left alone with the stone and earth and the sounds of wind and rain. Sleet stung my face like knives slicing through skin, but I didn’t care. The wind only sharpened the frigid sting and my need to absorb every ounce of the moment. I remember thinking this spot was where I belonged … the sleet and fog, the toppled gravestones and ruins of an old church… the lands of my ancestors surrounding me. The relics of someone’s need to remember someone they loved whispered to me from the stone. Strange as it sounds, I recall this incredibly strong compulsion to simply lie down in those ruins ….. and sleep.

I also recall the day I wrote this scribble.  I was packing away the apartment I had lived in for the majority of my post-college life.  The apartment I lived in through the roughest years of my mother’s sickness. The apartment I grieved in. After almost 8 years, it was time to go. Time to leave those haunted walls. Time to learn to live again. While sorting through a box of pictures and old letters, I found the picture above, the moment I captured it rushing back to me in force. Grabbing a nearby sharpie I’d been using to label boxes, I scribbled the following thoughts …

…because ruins have always been meant to teach us that life is designed to be lived, death is engrained in us to be remembered, and that even the darkest places within us can be resurrected into new light.



In life you were my lesson in perseverance,

How to walk while still bleeding,

How to laugh through anger,

How to live with pain a constant companion,

How to choose compassion when instinct screamed to hate.


In death you are my daily lesson on how to rebuild;

How to love the scars and carry their story as strength and not weakness,

How to extract joy from every day,

How to navigate the Darkness,

And how to let the Light illuminate the shattered pieces…


So that others might see…

And choose to love anyway.


Chelsey Whitlow


Saturday Scribbles (Mid-Week Edition)


**(Doing something a little different today because I didn’t want to wait until Saturday, so I’m throwing a little mid-week scribble out there….)


So many of my scribbles come to me in the middle of a song. As I’ve posted before, music is my fuel and one of the mediums that inspires me the most. The scribble below came today while scanning some documents at work ( a mindless task perfect for getting lost in a song or daydream). While  listening to the playlist we built for the book, my thoughts drifted to our main character and some of the hard choices she will have to make throughout the course of the book. A song by A Silent Film called Harbour Lights came on and BAM…. my pen hit a nearby post-it note pad with a new scribble about Charley.

We all have choices we have to make in the relationships in our lives. Many of them difficult.  Different people play different roles…. Some good…. Some painful.  The relationships in my own life look more like a kaleidoscope, than any recognizable pattern. A wide array of  lovely and broken and beautiful characters color my own story.  It is the differences in these people that have made me who I am. And even the ones who have broken my heart along the way are vital. I wouldn’t trade any of them for another story. How can we regret love, in any form, if it makes us stronger, braver, wiser…. more?

I like my choices. Even the painful ones.

This scribble emerged from that idea (with a little jumpstart from an amazing song)….



One was my anchor;

The other my wings.

How could I survive without either?


One had captured my heart;

The other knew the language of my soul.

How could I ask only one to let me go?


I will forever be torn.


Chelsey Whitlow







Saturday Scribbles

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Today’s scribble is a little midnight rambling scrawled across the back of a magazine after waking from a very vivid dream.

Because sometimes our insides claw their way to the surface….


My blood crackles like boiling water
Beneath my skin,
Fighting to breach the surface.

A relentless burn,
fueled from the broken deep;
A deep thirsting for new life.

Buried, stifled, smothered…
For a lifetime of fear.

Relief is found when this boil turns to flame,
And the fire finally reduces the old to beautiful ash…

And from the ash rises beauty once again.

Chelsey Whitlow


Saturday Scribbles



Pulled today’s scribble from an old photo album on a recent walk down memory lane.

Because there’s always that one person…



there’s a fragment left…

a thread,

a sliver of me

within you…


A what-if that haunts

the cold dark of memory;


A connection,

though frayed and worn at its edges,

still tying you to me… Always.


Your curiosity gives you away.


Chelsey Whitlow

Brain Food



As I mentioned in a previous post, music is fuel for me. I can’t go long without it. I love discovering what music people are listening to and what songs inspire them. Sharing music is one of my favorite things to do with the people in my life. It makes me happy and it is always a joy and honor when others choose to share the music that inspires them with me. Whenever I’m in need of new tunes I search out my trusted music-loving friends and family for suggestions. And when I find those song-jewels that seem to grab hold of my very soul and ignite my imagination…..well… those get downloaded, slapped into a playlist, and texted or shared with my people immediately. It simply can’t be helped. Those kinds of treasures should not be buried.

So… I decided to share another one of my playlists on the blog for anyone who cares to listen to my current list of treasured song-jewels. A few of these songs even came from suggestions some of my favorite authors recently shared on their social media (They’re my favorite authors not just for their ability to enthrall me with a good tale). I’ve titled this playlist Brain Food because these songs have been really feeding my imagination lately in a productive way and driving my editing of the book heavily.

So…without further ado… here is Brain Food.


And if you, dear reader, feel like sharing some of your current favorite tunes…. leave me a comment. I’m always in the market for something new and inspiring.