(Pictured, left to right) Arielle Estoria and Sarah Wallick
I had the joy of spending the day exploring Downtown LA with soul sisters + co-authors Arielle Estoria and Sarah Wallick. They recently wrote a book entitled Write Bloody, Spill Pretty a compilation of poetry that exposes a beautiful vulnerability, and is so relatable. Sarah the coffee aficionado and music enthusiast provided the playlist for our adventure, and taught me everything I needed to know about the coffee world, while Arielle gave us all the feels with a full on self analysis workshop in the backseat of my car. My day with these girls was filled with laughs, good music, and thoughtful conversation. Their friendship is truly a beautiful thing, and i know you're going to be blessed and inspired after reading more about this dynamic duo.
Can you introduce yourself - tell us more about who you are, where you’re from, and what you do?
A: Well, hello! My name is Arielle Estoria (Leda Wilburn). I am a daughter of two powerhouse parents, oldest sibling of four amazing people I get to call brother and sisters. I was born and raised in Northern California but chased the sun to socal for college and have yet to go back. I am a Writer, Speaker and Creative (which means a lot of different things). I often like to say that I am in the business of pulling heart strings, I have this motto of "Words not for the ears but for the soul" which stems from my dedication to remind any audience that words are meant to be felt and not just heard. I am made of sass and good intentions, I have a deep love for car karaoke, brunch at any time, any day and flowers.S: Yo, my name Sarah. A little bit about myself? If we ever have a conversation music will likely come up! Whether it’s searching for new music, curating playlists, creating mixes for friends, collecting vinyl and tapes, running a sound board, or attending live shows I'm usually doing something related music. I love it. If you ever go looking for me you’ll likely find me traveling, spending time with people, or serving you coffee at Blue Bottle's Echo Park cafe.
How did you guys meet?
A: We met at church officially, kept in contact and then ended up crashing into each other one too many times and every single time something beautiful kept growing between us!
S: Yes, what I love is that before we even knew about each other everyone around us knew we needed to meet. They eventually stuck us in front of each other, leaving it to us to introduce ourselves and the rest is history.
How did you guys decide to collaborate?
A: I think we were talking about poetry one time (per usual) and we sort of said something off handedly “We should write a book” and then after a few months it was sort of like “wait no--we really should” so we did!
S: Totally. It was during a conversation we were having about our writing styles, specifically how opposite they are to one another yet how necessary both are to fully express what it means to be human. The realization that our styles worked in harmony was the launch pad for the idea of a book.
Photo by Andrea Cenon
Tell us about your book.
A: We say that Write Bloody Spill Pretty is about coming to the fullness of our humanity through words. The book is split into five different sections: Purpose, Places, him, Her and Abba. Each section delves into a different but very important part of our life.
Places is about anything from counseling waiting rooms, to look out spots on the top of a mountain, to our very body being a physical place. As writers, and as people in general, we gain so much inspiration and experience not only from people but from the places we experience those people and ourselves in as well. Purpose is about our different encounters and understanding with what we were made to do and who we were made to be and how we interact with others and live life with that understanding.
Our Abba section is like our personal Psalms. It’s an invitation to experience God as Father through our praise and adoration and also our honest fears, doubts, and struggles. It’s intimate, it’s relationship. It’s not perfect, it’s persevering. It’s humanity and divinity intertwining in seas of grace and revelation. Our relationships with Jesus define us, shaping so much of our creativity it would be impossible not to bring it all back to Him.
him, is about all the boys we’ve loved (or liked), been loved by, or haven’t been loved by, these poems are now in a book because we’ve experienced healing from those ties or breaks, though maybe our tone wasn’t the sweetest at the time---we’ve grown so much since they’ve been written and have respect and maybe even a different kind of love for the boys they’re about (most of whom have no idea). For me personally (S speaking), it surprisingly became a space addressed to my future. It started out in a place of fear and disbelief and ends in a place of wholeness, and an openness to the man who isn’t here yet, but one day will be. Her is about all the women in our lives, moms, sisters, sister friends. Call it an ode, a love letter, a collection of declarations over the women who have inspired, encouraged and reminded us the beauty and honor in being a woman; more importantly to be women rising.
The book was designed by our soul sister Andrea Cenon. She’s an amazing graphic designer and hand letterer based in Los Angeles and this book would not have come to life in the beautiful way it did were it not for Andrea taking the reigns after she found out we were trying to design it on Google Docs. I think we gave her a heart attack, hahaha. Thankfully, she survived and went on to create the magic that is our book.
S:Yes, Andrea Cenon is amazing! (see more from Andrea here: www.andreacenon.com)
What is the best thing about getting to work with your best friend?
A: We are so different and sometimes our differences were almost comical and then on the other hand they challenged me so much and made me intentional with choices not only just in our project but also in the rest of my creative endeavors. My absolute favorite part was the end and not because it was over but because It was so cool being able to see this beautiful thing we created and sharing it with our friends and families.
S: The best thing is knowing you don’t have to perform. The reality that Arielle loving me, accepting me, and being proud of me isn’t based upon how well I write or come up with concepts is absolutely freeing. She’s my girl, whether or not this book flops— what an invitation to throw my fear of failure out the window and give it all to see this thing come to life. There were also seasons we put the whole thing on hold because one or both of our lives did not have the space for it. To work with your sister is to work with someone who loves you and wants to protect your being more than they want success or deadlines being met. It’s working with someone who is patient enough to never let a book become worth the cost of your well-being.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
A: Write down everything, even if it doesn’t seem complete or perfect. Write it down, give it the space it deserves to be put on paper. Collaborate with others-- your work is beautiful but think of the fire you could create with another person? But also never foget to understand that your story deserves to be told, deserves to be heard. The story you have and how you tell it is how you stand apart, it is what you have to contribute to the world, please don’t do the world an injustice by keeping it to yourself.
S: Don’t be a slave to inspiration. Write even when you have none. Consistency trumps inspiration. If it helps, consider it practice. No athlete arrives at the finish line without hours and a lifetime of training behind them. What does that look like practically? Create spaces for yourself to write and guard them. Set aside times when it’s just you and your notebook or laptop. Even on the days you feel like you don’t know what to write, write about that. Those moments can often birth a line, phrase, idea, or one simple word that sparks something you will love to write. Don’t settle for first-takes either. The editing process is a weapon for the artist willing to use it. Reach out to other writers you know and ask for feedback. Send poems or portions of your writing to others and invite them to edit. Investing in and building this kind of community around yourself is priceless. Don’t forget to be willing to be this person for other peers/writers as well.
What quotation or verse inspires and motivates you to be yourself and do what God created you to do?
A: Ephesians 4:1+2 Has been one that resonated with me since the beginning of starting this creative/ poetry journey. “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
I performed the book of Ephesians with four other poet friends for my church and during the first service I stumbled so hard on remembering this part during the performance. I wrecked it, cried on stage and once we were finished I went straight to the back and just wept. How could I forget, wasn't this my life verse? And I could hear God ask back “Is it?” and I had that moment where I wasn’t LIVING like I was called to do this. I was still walking in fear and uncertainty when I knew deep down I was called to this. I had let fear and doubt creep in and I questioned what I was made and purposed for. And even if we haven’t received that calling yet, guess what? We’re still supposed to live that way: confidently, sure, humble, gentle and loving, boldly walking into everyday as if just waking up that day was a calling we were given.
S: But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; have called you by name, you are mine. Isaiah 43:1
Arielle, describe Sarah in 3 words.
Forgiving, genuine, the best kind of (hood)Sarah, describe Arielle in 3 words
Inspiring, free, safeName a song that best describes your friendship.
A: Oh goodness...describes our friendship?!
No Scrubs….I think we’d both giggle at this
S: Yes, I giggled, hehehe. Super down and I’d add Good Friend by Emily King
What’s your favorite thing about your friend?
A: Her honesty, she is the most raw human you’ll ever meet
S: My favorite thing about Arielle is her authenticity. She has leveled me in the best way with just a simple look.
What would your best day ever with each other entail?
A: Honestly probably our photoshoot day---starting with coffee, a book or record store (or both Last Bookstore) add some thai food and flowers + a prayer car sesh and we’re set
S: BREAKFAST :D Which automatically includes delicious coffee. Then yeah, yeah, exploring somewhere or getting to slow down in a record store or book store, even a flower shop. Definitely thai food and talking about anything and everything over our meals then spending time praying with and for each other.
Friends of Grace highlights women pursuing God-given purpose while living fully in grace.