Love, Music, Los Angeles & Ryan Dilmore


“I’m inspired by those who shine light on more than just themselves.”
Photo courtesy of Ryan Dilmore’s Kickstarter

In 8th grade, I met a boy named Ryan Dilmore. We were in the same Spanish class. We had some of the same friends. By high school, we were friendly acquaintances. We occasionally exchanged feedback about our work in Photography II, bonded over a mutual appreciation for creativity, and on one embarrassing occasion, he retrieved my angry prom date from the men’s bathroom.

(I don’t know if he remembers that, though.)

Since high school, we haven’t really been in touch. In passing, I heard that he had pursued a career in music. It was one of those “that person from high school stories” that seem to come and go the further you’re out of high school. I didn’t think of it again until a few months ago, when I decided to write some stories for Driftyland about creative, ambitious people.

Immediately, I thought – you should talk to Ryan Dilmore.

I recall thinking – where was Ryan, again? A mutual friend of ours, Andy, had told me last Christmas that Ryan was doing well in… Los Angeles? I checked his Facebook – indeed, it was Los Angeles – and I started listening to some of his music on Rhapsody.

And it was amazing.

I knew I had to tell his story. So I sent him a Facebook message asking if he’d be interested, and of course, if he remembered me. And he answered.

“Of course I remember you. Wow, I’m honored you’d think of me for this. Yeah, I’m down!”

That was a few months ago. Since then, Ryan’s been hard at work on his latest album, “A Light To Lead The Dark”. Knowing the importance of Ryan’s music, I agreed to wait until the album was done to publish this article. I’m so glad I did, because yesterday, I got the email I had been waiting for.

Ryan’s album, as well as a promotional Kickstarter, are finished.

In addition to promoting the album, his Kickstarter also aims to change the world with music. It features an inspirational video, that Ryan calls “an incredible project,” explaining his message. I eagerly watched it, which features Ryan walking through a forest, carrying a small, wooden box.

“Music,” a soothing and extremely familiar voice says, “lives within us all”.

It takes me about three seconds to place it. It’s Josh Radnor – writer, director and lead in Happythankyoumoreplease and Liberal Arts. Also of course, as Ted, from the recently wrapped series, How I Met Your Mother.

Ryan confirms that it’s Josh narrating. If it wasn’t obvious before, I realize the incredible potential of Ryan’s music, as he’s inspired so many people already.

So what inspires Ryan?

“Love, beauty, nature, silence …” Ryan says. “I’d say silence is a huge element. It’s the only space I feel free from distraction, from the chatter in my head,” he explains. “The music is allowed to flow through like a river.”


“I’ve always had the sense that music is the one guiding me, not the other way around.”
Photo courtesy of Ryan Dilmore’s Kickstarter

Ryan also cites Steve Jobs and Elizabeth Gilbert as sources of inspiration.

“For years, I regularly watched Steve Jobs’ commencement speech at Stanford. He has been a source of inspiration and imagination for me since I was a little kid,” he explains.

Although Ryan has been inspired by greatness since childhood, he didn’t realize he wanted to be a musician until later in life. Prior to his push towards music, he focused on art and animation. Then, he started recognizing a need within him, a force that I, and many other creative types, are very familiar with.

“Invisible tugs from some force beyond me,” Ryan calls them. As he started listening to his intuition, he explains, a series of “mysteriously fortuitous events” started showing up in his life, solidifying his drive towards music.

But despite luck and opportunity, the road towards being a musician isn’t easy. Ryan credits his gratitude and trust to guide him. He elaborates on his core values with an explanation about how important it is to remain selfless.

“Especially in moments when someone could easily focus on their own desires first,” he says. “I’m inspired by those who act as a radiant light no matter what the outer ‘weather’ looks like. Compassion and enthusiasm are wildly powerful forces in the universe.”

Ryan Dilmore

“There are always melodies spinning.”
via ryan_dilmore on instagram

Although I’m already convinced that Ryan and I are kindred spirits, he finds a way to convince me further. We start talking about other career paths he could have taken, and his are the same as mine.

“A movie maker, an artist … I see these as branches on the same creative tree as music, getting to the same heart through different sensory receptors.”

Luckily, Ryan’s never given up on music, though he initially had lukewarm feelings about staying in Los Angeles.

“Especially in the beginning. I felt it was tough to grow up in a place where the forests are lush and the night sky is so lit up, and then choose to live in a city where it’s not so easily visible.”

It wasn’t until he started connecting with other artists and ambitious types that he found his place in California.

via Ryan Dilmore's Facebook

“I’m so grateful for the people that have become my home here.”
via Ryan Dilmore’s Facebook

“Suddenly, L.A. was taking on a new shape for me. Or, maybe more accurately, it was losing shape altogether. It looks less like a geographic location now, and more like a family portrait.”

Though, he admits, a smoggy portrait. But smoggy or not, Ryan envisions his portrait to become even more vibrant. He shares his advice for other musicians, based on his experience.

“Treat the source of creativity with complete love, devotion and sacredness. Confront any old stories in your head that are not serving the greatest version of yourself and lay them to rest.”

He urges creative types to be kind and confident.

“Remember that kindness is courageous. Wherever your innermost soul is guiding you, follow that boldly.”

"The road takes some wild turns, but dang! it's a beautiful view." via ryan_dilmore instagram

“The road takes some wild turns, but dang! it’s a beautiful view.”
via ryan_dilmore instagram

Ry’s Links:

Follow Ryan on Facebook >>

Follow Ryan on Twitter >>

Follow Ryan’s Instagram >> >>

Ryan’s Epic Kickstarter >>




URGENT: Read This Before Going To Asheville

A lot of my readers are from North Carolina, however, many are not. When I told my co-workers I was headed to Asheville for Halloween weekend, I got the mandatory Carolinian response:

“Awww, Asheville? Have you ever been? YOU’LL LOVE IT THERE.”

With the exception of Smoopsie (Lane), no one from outside the state knew where I was referring to. To be fair, I only told my Mom, but she’s reason enough to write an informative blog post.

Love you, Joan!

We had a luxurious stay on some of Asheville’s most comfortable futons and in some of their most popular guest rooms (we Airbnbed it). I walked away with a lifetime of knowledge about Asheville I feel compelled to share. It’s basically everything you need to know about what Asheville has to offer prior to visiting for the first time.

During your visit, you’ll find:

Places To Eat With Hip Names


I don’t care what your name is, as long as you taste like foods.

Food That Doesn’t Belong In Food


Chips with drizzled honey? Burgers with corn bread quesadilla buns? My head couldn’t stop spinning. Madness.

Concert Selfies


If ya’ll wait in a line for a concert for seven hours, you better take a selfie! Hey, I don’t make the rules. Actually, now that I think about it, you should probably take selfies at any winery you stop at during your drive home.






If you don’t like coffee, you can’t come to Asheville! Sorry, again – I don’t make the rules.

Things Made of Wood


Things made of wood are Asheville’s favorite things.

Tasteful Floral Arrangements


If you don’t like nature, get out. Just get out of Asheville. They reinforce this with the lovely flowers atop every table.



 It’s wet. It’s everywhere.

Views from Buildings


The tops of parking garages are lovely this time of year.

Dogs Dressed As Something Else


Things are not always as they seem.

Avetts Dressed As Something Else


 The cowardly lion plays a mean fiddle.

Please, please please get what you want

Last week, I was on a run when I encountered a genuine stranger. The man was about 80, with a frizzy, grey beard, thin as a rail. I was alone, it was getting dark outside, and I was coming off a really stressful day.

I opted to smile at him as I shuffled by. We were both crossing over Boylan bridge. It’s pretty tight sidewalk, and we both slightly shifted to let the other by.

As we crossed each other, he looked at me, with a warm and genuine expression. He said, without pause, “You’re doing a good job,” as I passed by.

It was unexpected and sweet. Some days, a comment like that might have meant less. On that day, it meant a lot.

It’s strange how sometimes, we need just one person to pat us on the back. It’s surprising how something so little, and seemingly insignificant in the grand scheme of things, can turn everything around.

It seemed to be a really rough week for a lot of people. Regardless of the source, stress seemed to consume a lot of people I care about. On the surface, we were all fine – shiny, positive and eager.

Under the surface was doubt, exhaustion and a lot of frustration.

I’ve been curating my thoughts for this post for a few days. A few people have asked me how I get ideas for posts, and to be honest, they just kind of pop into my head.

Most of the posts I write are because the subject matter is interesting, fun or informative. But for a select few, I feel physically and emotionally compelled to write them.

Those are the ones I feel really good about. This post, is one of them.

Some of you are friends and family. Some are strangers.  Despite your status or familiarity to me, I respect your struggle and believe in your dreams. Even if you aren’t quite sure what those dreams are.

Even if you’re not going through a rough time, I want to pat you on the back. I want to encounter you, on whatever bridge you’re trying to cross, and give you whatever encouragement you need. Red faced, out of breath, and feeling as if you’re hitting a concrete wall, I want to face you, and express that you’re powerful and in control.

If you’ve got a roof over your head, food in your belly, and at least one decent, good person who loves you, you’re doing OK. You will be fine. This will pass.

Once you accept that, and allow peace and comfort to flow through you, I want you to examine the source of your stress. I want you to weigh whether or not it’s worth carrying.

Then, I want you to act. Optimistically, well-informed, and well-rested, I want you to boldly act.

If you’ve been waiting for a sign – to change the course of your career, to change your zip code, or just to change what time you go to sleep at night, this is it. This is your sign. It’s time for change.

I think you know I’m right.

Give yourself the opportunity to deeply examine your path, and ask the right questions:

  • Are you doing work that makes you feel fulfilled, or do you feel like you’re wasting precious time?
  • Are you surrounding yourself with people who love, respect and inspire you, or do you find yourself around people that bring you down?
  • Do you take care of yourself, emotionally, spiritually, and physically? Are you getting outside and enjoying nature? Are you taking time for long baths, sweet smelling candles, and cozy naps?
  • Here’s the most important question of them all – when’s the last time you did something that filled you with joy?

I’m talking absolute bliss here, people.

What’s the last thing that inspired, or moved you?

Got something? Good. Zero in on that. Let that be your holy grail.

Assign value and priority to your happiness. If it’s a pumpkin spice latte, go get it. If it’s a different career, find a way to pursue it. Whatever “it is”, please, please, please get what you want.

You deserve joy.

I’m here for you. No matter who you are, I’m here for you. After reading this, if you still feel a little lost and want to talk, email me. We’ll figure this out together.

If not, I just wish you the best of luck, and good timing. Whenever you are on your bridge, I’m running there right beside you. I’m there to remind you, even on the worst of days, you’re doing a good job.

Keep running.


“You’re actually going to write and record hundreds of songs.”

A few weeks ago, I came across this quote.

“You’re actually going to write and record hundreds of songs.”

It was a part of an interview with Frank Ocean, made into an inspirational kind of image, from Pinterest. Or something.

Here’s the original picture.

Essentially, a fan asked Frank Ocean to explain his current situation to his five-years-ago self. Ocean recaps his last five years, complete with disappointments and failures, to get to his current self. Of course, his current self is hanging out with Jay Z.

I was intrigued by this, so I decided to follow the same exercise.

Continue reading…


You are not a renewable resource.

I was reading a Reddit thread today with an incredible quote from a Redditor:

“You are a precious resource.”

The word “resource” sums up, so perfectly, all the energy, passion and time we have on this planet. That line inspired this post and this slight rephrasing: You are not a renewable resource.

Continue reading…