Paper Stage: The 30-Second Art Project


"If you could say one thing that the whole world would hear, what would you say?"

Three college students. One cross-country road trip. Hundreds of voices.

We'll be updating with photographs and postcard prose so you can tag along!


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hey friends!

some of you may have linked here through today.  if not, you should definitely follow—to write love on her arms posts something inspiring every day. 

our summer road trip has ended, but we’ve still made it to a few more cities and have more stories to share with you.  i have a book about it coming out this spring, and if you want any more information, just shoot an e-mail to  i’ll keep you posted!

thanks again for all your support…we hope our project has encouraged you to share your stories, too!

- jess

03:22 pm, by paperstage2 notes


(currently listening)

home – explosions in the sky

how far we’ve come – matchbox twenty

welcome home – we shot the moon

The first time I drove my car, I was alone and crying hysterically.  Having a car meant that college was mere months away, and college looked like an absolute dead end.  It didn’t look like a new home or a world of opportunity—it just made me wonder where all the effort I’d put into my town, my friends, and my school had gone.  Everything was set to evaporate over one summer, and my car was a concrete realization of this fact, a cage around me.

Two years later, and I’m packing up my car with two of my oldest friends, with music as loud as the speakers will go, with an atlas and no idea of what to expect.  I’m leaving my town willingly this time, with the hopes of seeing what my home looks like on a wider scale.  We can no longer stand for textbook definitions of the Painted Desert, or southern hospitality, or the snowy mountains of Vail, or the breathtaking Pacific Coast.  It’s something we’ll have to find for ourselves.  Leaving my driveway sets a nervousness in all of our stomachs, but it’s a little bit like a high bounce on a trampoline.  If you’re careless, you’ll bound over the edge and break yourself.  If you’re believing, you’ll land safely, but with your stomach in flips.  And you’ll know that this is what it must feel like, if you were able to fly right off.  And you’ll hope you’ll have those dreams, again, tonight—the carefree ones you had as a child.

The same car that I thought had trapped me, the ages that we thought would mean growing up, the mechanical troubles we’d been told to expect … all of this dissolves.  In almost three weeks of the road rolling endlessly beneath us, we find ourselves to be so much freer, safer, and amazed than we ever could have expected.  Across 7,489 miles, we make our homes on rooftops, in swimming pools, on sand and gravel and sea.  We find friends and family in every corner of our country.  It forces us to realize how vast everything is, but elevator ride connections reduce the world to a much smaller place.  There is no place where we feel we don’t belong.

Take your wildest expectations.  Go test them.  Try to remember people from twenty years ago.  Call them.  Think of the scariest thing that you can.  Go do it.  Take down the walls that you’ve been told are there.

You were meant to be free.

04:45 pm, by paperstage2 notes

04:44 pm, by paperstage2 notes

04:43 pm, by paperstage1 note

04:42 pm, by paperstage

04:41 pm, by paperstage

north carolina.

carolina – ben gibbard

the space between – valencia

couches in alleys – styrofoam (feat. ben gibbard)

The rain follows us to North Carolina, but it’s soothing as it hammers on the roof of the big, beautiful log cabin in which we’re staying.  Kristin’s friend, Brianna, greets us eagerly as we step through the door.  We’re again surrounded by the slow southern accent that we’ve come to love, but the conversation at the family dinner table is one of the most fast-paced and hilarious ones I’ve ever witnessed. 

“It’s really something,” Brianna’s father says later, as we’re all gathered in the living room, watching the Flyers and feeling closer to home.  “You turn on the news everyday, and you see all of this damage and destruction and murder everywhere,” he continues.  “We think the world is falling apart.  And then the three of you girls drive across the country, and you get all the way here, completely safe.  Not a scratch on you, no car troubles, just an experience that you’ll never forget.”  We all nod in agreement. 

It’s something that we still can’t understand.  It’s just starting to mean an incredible amount to us, the safety and hospitality and wonder that we’ve experienced.  And even more, that so many people are learning along with us. 

04:40 pm, by paperstage

04:32 pm, by paperstage

04:31 pm, by paperstage

04:31 pm, by paperstage