Friend Files is a new feature I’ve added to Away With Words, this being just the eleventh installment. I will be interviewing a friend of mine and showcasing why they are a friend to me and what I like about them, and also a mini-interview (five questions) that detail what they think of me. It’s a way to acknowledge my friends out there and what they’re up to and also introduce them to my larger group of friends, acquaintances, and anyone else who might be interested in reading.

Today, I will be talking about Kylie Justine Groat. Before I get into what I think of her, here is my mini-interview with Kylie (exchanged over Facebook) where she jotted down just a few thoughts:


Kylie Groat - Writer, Barista

Kylie Groat – Writer, Barista. Ink Lover



ME: Give me some details about your life.

KYLIE JUSTINE GROAT: Details about my life, huh? How much do you wanna know? Well, I work too much. Okay, not really. I don’t work enough. I worked two jobs through most of college, & that makes most work not feel like enough. But simultaneously I work too much to spend as much time writing as I’d like. It’s a struggle. Anywho. I’ve lived here in Portland since September, where I share an apartment with four housemates, all of whom I met in college at one point or another. We all spend most of our time working or just sitting around the apartment drinking too much coffee, whining about the MOTHERFUCKING SNOW, & watching each other play video games. Occasionally we’ll get in some really good conversations about religion or politics or philosophy or poetry, & it’s so great when we do, but all in all, life in our little corner of the world is just really laid back. I love it so, so much.

Other things about me. I write a lot. Not as much as I’d like, but a lot. I write a lot about faith & questioning faith & my own rebellion against the typical conventions of religion & how all of those things are their own part of my understanding of the things I believe. Writing has always meant a lot to me, but it was only in the last few years that I finally began to use it to inform & deepen my understanding of the world around me, rather than to escape it. It’s such a cool & rare process, I think, to come to the realization that the thing you are creating is in turn creating you. So I feel really grateful for that & for the experiences I have had in my writing life so far. Now if I could just get myself to start writing again (I’m so bad at writing regularly, it’s not even funny) I could truthfully say that I can’t wait to see where it continues to take me. So yeah, there’s that. Outside of writing & living with some really cool people… I work at Starbucks & I love it SO much, not just because I get free coffee but because I know from experience that a really good cup of coffee can turn a person’s entire day around, & it’s nice to be the person who gets to do that. I also just work with some really awesome people & it always makes it a little easier to do your job, whether you love it as much as I do or you’re just there for a paycheck, when you get to spend eight hours a day working with people who can turn a high-stress environment into essentially a running joke.


ME: How exactly did we meet?

KYLIE JUSTINE GROAT: We met at Starbucks! I think I’d been there for three months or so when you started at Forest Ave. I’ve never been good at approaching new people, but you got stuck in drive thru with me one afternoon, & that always kind of forces people to talk. I think we started really bonding over a combination of Epic Rap Battles of History (damn, that reminds me, I really need to catch up on those) & the time we’ve both spent in Creative Writing programs. & then a month or so later we found out that we’d both worked at gas stations. I think that was when we went from awkward hey-you-seem-kinda-cool-but-man-I-don’t-know coworkers to actual friends.


ME: What is one good memory you have involving me?

KYLIE JUSTINE GROAT: Without a doubt, the best one was when I was working a late shift with you & Stesha & maybe Tyler? & it was SO SLOW. So we decided to play “describe your sex life with a movie title.” We came up with some good ones. (“Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” is probably still one of my favorites.) None of us could stop laughing all night. I love those closing shifts.


ME: Why exactly are we still friends?

KYLIE JUSTINE GROAT: Because we work together & we have no other choice? & because we’re both awesome. One of us always has some bizarre fact or anecdote for the other, or a good book or stupid video to recommend. Those are the things that keep a friendship going, man.


ME: Anything you want me to plug?

KYLIE JUSTINE GROAT: If I can actually manage to get myself to start writing again, my blog is kind of cool sometimes. You can find that HERE.


Before I talk about how I met Kylie and what I think of her, I just have to say that you should check out her blog. She’s just getting back into it after a long hiatus and I’m thinking if she’s got some new folks rooting for new posts, maybe, (as a writer like myself knows), that will inspire her to post more often. So far, I enjoy her writing voice. When she takes off with an idea, her posts gain momentum and rhythm and are actually quite nice to read. Check it out at the link above.

As for how we met, Kylie and I haven’t known each other for very long at all. This is the beauty of Friend Files. It’s indiscriminatory due to how long I’ve known a particular friend. It’s a snapshot of the multiple layers of friendship one can have with many people on a daily basis. Kylie, right now, happens to be a friend I met at work. As she said in her interview, we connected on multiple levels.

These connections were welcome during my transition from my old store in Saco, Maine to the new one on Forest Ave. in Portland, Maine where I am now. I knew a couple people from going in there off and on a while back, but most of the people were new to the store themselves when I transferred. Kylie is a writer, like me. She just finished with a school writing program, like me. She worked at an Irving/Circle K – just like I did. She likes Epic Rap Battles Of History, which is one of my favorite things to watch online (you should really check it out if you haven’t, by the way).

So far, working with Kylie has been a great pleasure. She’s honest and open, and she has lots of interesting stories to tell. Her boyfriend is a cool guy whom I’ve been able to talk to during a couple of work-related outings with friends. She also loaned to me a book by Donald Miller, titled Through Painted Deserts. I haven’t read the entire book yet, but the people I strive to have in my life, as I’ve said before, are people who like to share themselves, share ideas, share art, share stories. We may not know each other as well as I know some of my other friends, but for just having met only a few months ago – we’re on the right track. Plus – we’re totally going to start up a writing group soon, I hope.

In any case, I’m glad I met Kylie and I hope we get to know each other even better in the future! And now, I leave you with some photos relevant to Kylie.

Kylie is smiling most of the time I see her.

Kylie is smiling most of the time I see her.

She likes her ink.

She likes her ink.

A portrait of Kylie in her role as a student and writer. Photo by Elizabeth Cooke.

A portrait of Kylie in her role as a student and writer. Photo by Elizabeth Cooke.

Kylie isn't afraid to define herself.

Kylie isn’t afraid to define herself.

A silly photo of Kylie and her boyfriend.

A silly photo of Kylie and her boyfriend.