Los Angeles – Managing Editor at Darling Magazine, Musician
Tracy never intended to be a writer or a musician. Now, she’s the Managing Editor at Darling Magazine and about to release her first EP. Some of us know where we’re going to be in 10 years, but most of us don’t. Most of us have a general idea of where we’d like to be in 10 years, but it’s entirely possible that we’ll end up somewhere completely different than where we thought we’d be. Tracy’s a part of Group B – I’m a part of Group B. What’s interesting about Group B, and what’s interesting about Tracy, is that there’s usually a common theme or motivator that seems clear in retrospect but feels foggy and awash with competing interests in the present moment. Since a very young age Tracy’s been drawn to writing and music, she has a degree in Communications, and she even pursued a career in advertising after graduating college. Tracy may not have ever intended to be a writer or musician; but Tracy’s always been a writer and a musician. Among many other things, Tracy’s interview helped illuminate whether we know where we’re going to be in 10 years or not, we must be attentive to the subjects that light up our mind, and in everything we do we must show up, everyday, seeking more.
TSP: Can you please share a little bit about your past? Where you’ve been? What you’ve done?
TL: A California native, I grew up in Orange County, went to college in San Diego and somehow ended up in Los Angeles. And by "somehow" I suppose I mean "thankfully". With a degree in Managerial and Organizational Communications the options were endless when it came to post-college dreaming. It was specific enough to make me seem decisive yet general enough to instill in me a multitude of skills to kind of tackle whatever field I found myself attached to – even if momentarily.
After traveling internationally, I ended up back home where I landed my first real job that introduced me to blazers and terms such as "salary," and "health insurance." After working for almost two years and lifting my “real world” vocabulary to an all time high, I somehow got caught up in writing on the side (I think mainly to keep my sanity) and realized I enjoyed writing far more than I enjoyed knowing what a PPO plan was.
I eventually managed to take on freelance work full-time – leaving said first job. I then decided to move back to San Diego. There I did a handful of various writing jobs. While there, I met a friend who introduced me to Darling Magazine, which brought me back to LA.
TSP: For you, is there a unique gravity to writing?
TL: Well, I don’t know. Like any normal teenage girl, I had a diary. I’d write in it every day. I have the worst memory. That’s why I write, a lot. That’s why I document life the way that I do. It doesn’t matter how much time I spend trying to soak in present moments, I’ll always miss something. There’s just too much to absorb all at once. Life’s good in that way. But through writing, like a photo, I can capture the spirit of the experience for future reflection. Then, upon reflection, I can learn and grow from what I missed while I was there.
TSP: Have you always wanted to be a writer?
TL: I wish I could say I always wanted to be a writer, but I can’t. Writing was just the most natural way for me to further explore my interests and passions, my ever-running internal and external wonderings. I’m deeply interested in a broad range of things; and I read about pretty much everything. While reading an article one day, I became overwhelmed by a simple realization: I too could write an article like the ones I read and so enjoy. When I look back at that moment, I can see that it was a key turning point for me. It’s when I knew I wanted to pursue writing as a real thing. Soon after, I met with someone who told me what I needed to do to start writing professionally, so I got started. I reached out to whomever would listen, and I’d write for them. Like anything, you always have to start somewhere – There doesn’t have to be a clear finish line, either, you just have to get going and be open to adjusting course along the way as needed.
TSP: Are there any particular writers you’re inspired by?
TL: I really love Hemingway. He just is who he is. Lena Dunham is that way, too, but in an entirely different way. But they both break convention, and they write like they live, freely, recklessly and honestly. I admire that.
TSP: What are you up to now?
TL: Los Angeles stirred in me a renewed spirit. It sounds trite, it sounds annoying, but alas, it's true. I fell in love with the dang city. Working as Managing Editor for a print magazine grew and has grown me in many ways – expounded my interest in certain creative paths and has really enabled me to challenge myself in ways I never thought I'd be able to partake in. I also never thought I'd be this into a level of busyness that makes me dizzy. There's balance and awareness that is necessary for sure, but this spinning seems ideal. New friends and strangers, new places and side streets and new spots to get your morning coffee, it all sparks an incredible curiosity and deepens this said love for Los Angeles.
A lot has unearthed being here. Enter: my latest jam. Recently, I've decided to take on music as a serious kind of thing. So… I'm currently a month out from releasing my first single from my first EP. Lot's of "firsts" in this season of life. As well as "what the heck am I doings." But there it is and here we are.
TSP: Walk us through pursuing a whole new creative path?
TL: To start, my first nod is to Los Angeles. If I was living elsewhere, in some other city, I don’t know if I would’ve realized how much music is a part of who I am. Much like writing, music has been steadily innate. I didn’t grow up wanting to be a writer, just like I didn’t grow up wanting to be a musician. However, I’ve always loved writing much like I’ve always loved music. To know that something is a part of you, but to not share that part of you with others is kind of tragic, I think. This city helped me see that.
Actually… Do you mind if I reframe the question?
TSP: No, not at all.
TL: What I’d like to ask is what’s it like to discover and grow something that was already a part of you?
TL: So, my EP is called “Heavy Shoulders”. If I didn’t pursue music, I’d likely be weighted down by not pursuing it. At the end of the day, my mind feels clear because I’m doing something that I know is right—in the sense that there’s an urge of go in my insides. When I first took hold of this realization, it was like the anchor was lifted. A new world I had always known existed was now waiting to be explored. That’s liberating.
TSP: When feelings of doubt and uncertainty begin to creep into your sightline, how do you press forward?
TL: I think everybody is way more confident than they think they are, at least the majority of people anyhow. We don’t start or think something unless there’s some ounce of sturdy spirit in us that believes we can pull it off. When the water’s rough and all’s lost, I seek out that original flicker of fire that got me out here. I expose it to the elements, and feed it with as much oxygen as possible. That keeps me going.
I guess also, I’m not that fearful of failing. I’m more fearful of not being honest with myself and with others. I think fear and uncertainty is just a part of that process. It’s not something to be intimidated by. It’s something to harness and to use as a motivator.
And last but not least, something that helps me overcome doubt is having people around me that I respect and that respect me; because I can lean on them, I can learn from them and I can always trust in them to tell me the truth. I love correction and critique. Sure, sometimes the truth is hard. But there’s nothing else I’d rather be shaped by than truth.
TSP: Practically, how do you find balance and awareness amidst a schedule that barely allows for bathroom breaks?
TL: If I’m honest, I don’t think there can be balance with everything. It’s more about how do I better identify and say yes to the right things and no to the wrong things. Easier said than done, I know. It’s a lifelong pursuit. I’m not sure it will ever be as straightforward as I’d like. You need to be aware of who you are and why you’re doing what you’re doing or not doing. The more we strive to know ourselves, the more we pay attention to the decisions we make and the affects they have on our lives, the better we’ll become at saying yes to the fulfilling and no to the exhausting.
I also believe in routine. Like a metronome, routine keeps me on beat. Everyday from 5 to 6pm, I write and sing. That’s just what I do. Because I’m grounded by this single hour in my life, I can launch out and explore all my weird, wild and wonder-filled curiosities without fear of getting lost. Regardless of where I am, everyday, from 5 to 6pm, I’m back, writing and singing. Of course there are days where I’d rather eat a bowl of popcorn, but it’s there. I think balance comes with discipline and obedience to your responsibilities, both personal and professional.
TSP: Where do you hope to go next?
TL: With it being a new year, there's an anticipation that the thoughts I think of before I fall asleep unwillingly and the thoughts I think of when I beat the alarm in the morning will come into full life. Whether it's Darling or music, or a side project, I hope my installation of ideas and work turn into a tangible product/sound.
In the specific case of music, it's the release of an EP. Steps with that are: market the release, print the CDs, release my album and hopefully go on a tour of the sorts – definitely play more shows. With any work I do though, whether it’s editing, writing or music, my goals are closely both personal and professional; I want to make wise decisions that will marry the bold ones. Though the life of a singer-songwriter is far from secure or even sane (ha!), it feels, for the moment, like the thing I have to do. I suppose doing it all the way and with heart is the overarching aspiration and goal.
TSP: Has that always been a goal of yours, to make wise decisions that marry the bold ones?
TL: I’ve always been a sociable introvert. I think before I act. I love to gather data (people’s stories, my experiences, etc.) and apply it to my life. I’m also a hoarder of wisdom. It’s comes from everyone, the young and old, inexperienced and experienced, calm and rickety. I seek it out, always, and store it for times known and unknown.
I want to say it’s something innate, that it’s always been a goal of mine, but it’s not, it’s most definitely learned. I love taking time with decisions, but I’m always dreaming. I’m a realistic dreamer. I’m a fan of both awesome and safe. In my actions, I’m calculated. In my thoughts, I’m extremely rebellious. I’m glad it’s that way. I’m pretty sure everyone else around me is too.
TSP: How do you plan to get there, to turn your ideas and world into a tangible product/sound?
TL: I think when there's less anticipation and more of an embracing attitude, I will know I'm in a place of reality rather than idealism. Maybe. But I don't think necessarily it's an "ah-ha" moment that will make me realize I'm really doing what it is I ought to do, but more so a resting thrill.
Yes it will be a feeling, but I really do think that realizations have always been real. It takes time, timing and the right yes' and no's. How though? Hm. I must challenge myself, always, to rest in the decisions I've made. I must commend the past met goals and protect the current goals stirring inside of me. And lastly, I must decide that nothing good can be lost all the while always, always doing what I do for the sake of something bigger than myself. Working for your own good is not sustainable and definitely not as creative otherwise.
TSP: How can we, the TSP community, help you get there?
TL: If you like music: listen to TRACE. And then share the jam with anyone you know who is a fan of music a kin to lonely with a good beat. Come to my alleged and not yet planned show(s) despite the fact parking might be terrible at the venue. If you like reading: see what we are up to at Darling Magazine, share your story and take in someone else's and join the movement that fights for worth and wonder.
But above all, remain curious and bold in your thoughts. Wrestle and wonder; come along side me as a believer, a believer that the biggest and smallest things give pulse to our posture in our daily life. When we agree that our craft(s) cannot cultivate without one another, there’s an immovable support that surpasses doubt, hesitation and fear.