• Introduction to Online Portfolio

    My name is Emma Tamplin and I am a student at Belmont University, studying Sociology and English Literature. I am in the process of pursuing various goals in creative writing, documentary photography, and (most prominently as of late) applying to graduate school. I hope to earn a PhD in Sociology to explore my life-long interest in culture, religion, thought, gender, and literature. Here are some examples of my critical writing and research.

    Curriculum Vitae

    Essay i: The Tragedy of Lack

    Essay ii: Narrative Memory

    Essay iii: Reflection

    Extra Essay: The Counter-productivity of Blame in 'The Handmaid's Tale'

fitting into a suitcase

In the process of preparing for the big move to BCS last May, I began to look at my belongings in a different way. As started to pack all my things into boxes and suitcases I grew very frustrated at the amount that I had to pack. My room was huge and it carried so much. I was tired and overwhelmed with my room and my life. So I stripped everything down. I cut out about 75% of my wardrobe and threw away about half of my belongings. We sold all of my furniture and I gave away most of my books (most of which I never even read). I kept only what was special, necessary, or useful. Growing up I was a hoarder and my room was always crammed with all my little belongings. But things were changing. I was leaving everything I was and I was going to be new. So I cut down.

The theme of simplicity continued on into my thoughts and habits throughout this year. I think cleanliness, small spaces, and less options became an outlet from everything else that seemed so out of control. But I found a rest in less. A symbolic loveliness that comes with being light and portable. I caught a glimpse into an agile identity I so desperately wanted and needed: quick to move from one place to the next even amidst the blows of circumstances.

I know how to be abased¬†and¬†live humbly in straitened circumstances, and I know also how to enjoy plenty¬†and¬†live in abundance. I have learned in any and all circumstances the secret of facing every situation, whether well-fed or going hungry, having a sufficiency¬†and¬†enough to spare or going without¬†and¬†being in want.I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who¬†infuses inner strength into me; I am¬†self-sufficient in Christ‚Äôs sufficiency].”

Philippians 4:12-13


Below I share a collaboration of journal entries about simplicity and prayers from this year.

I have nothing.

Every heart gives the eye what it wants to see… With its recycled filters and musty films. People flail their arms outward in an effort to move forward. Forward to the glory they associate with their memories of an encounter they can no longer see very clearly: the remembrance of an assurance of purpose and some form of divinity.

I want to believe in them. In people. I want to believe that what they say & do & want are worth saying & doing & wanting.

But I really don’t. I know people too well.

 I want to fit into a suitcase.

Take the weighty evils away from my being

And keep it simple. Give me just one spirit, aside from my own.

That I may laugh without fear of the future

And release anxieties that were never mine in the first place.

 Lord make me small so that I could fit in anybody’s suitcase.

I would hate to be left behind because I was too much, too wide, or too heavy.

Restore me to a simple mind and a light heart- That my only words be ‚Äúyes Lord‚Ä̬†

Let the rest of the words that come from my mouth not be me. I am so done with me.

I am just too heavy.

Yes I want to be small. Small because big is something that doesn’t need me to compete with it.

Lord give me a simple life and a light load by way of small desires. Your voice is simple. You have not hidden yourself from me, and you lay in this bed of weariness alongside me. All the while I thought I was alone, hiding under these covers. Let all there is be you and me and your love. Your direction. I cannot get out of this bed to the same way I was living. I cannot force myself to strive for things that I no longer believe exist. Lift me out of this bed to a place I can silently enjoy life while working with my hands and let this work be my spiritual act of worship. Doing only the things you have ordained and anointed me to do. Nothing more than dream, commit, love, touch, make, raise, teach, write, and give. Keep me simple. And keep my weariness near, because it is all I trust and the¬†ground of my heart’s new found¬†establishment in¬†eternity.


Dana Whiteley - Sweet Emma,
Living with less is easier living.
It causes you to see the importance of reality here and now and doesn’t block this view. It is here that we learn and grow.
Stay simple, require less, live more.
Love you! D

nugent family



this here is the Nugent family. They are hilarious and awesome, and we (maybe just I) had a lot of fun being able to take their pictures. this last image here is one of my favorites. Everything you need to know about their sibling dynamic is summed up in this shot.

Have a happy Monday.



julia - what gorgeous pictures of a happy family! you are so talented!

Samantha - love your photo taking style!

xo, Samantha

song of silence

ejp-75ejp-76I hope that one day I can be truly content. Content with how it is. Now. Not uncomfortable. Not over the top. Not too large. Not too loud. Not concerned and not worried. Just there. I don’t want to think about how things could be better or when they will be better. I want to know- deep deep down in the places people can’t touch and rarely let themselves venture off to- that there is a music playing and that music is a heavenly kingdom. That the kingdom’s one-day-to-be-recognized song is playing, now. In the noises of the silence in those deep places, which I have closed my ears to, instead of the noises my thoughts make. The sounds now. They happen and they belong. They are ordinary and they are wordless, but they are now. And if there is anything that is shared by all, it is that deep depth of a place that is waiting for the sound of a certain song we know must be playing somewhere. A song so specific we know we must have heard it before, maybe when we were being knit in secret and when it was just us and our creator. I’m sorry to tell them that they (and I) will never find that song by our own thoughts, degree of individuality, or wordful pain. The sound of the song of all is now. Always. And I am afraid that time is neither now nor always, and has created a sound different to our perception. The voice and song of God are sourced from this silence- The only universal place of self-reflection, fear of death, and knowledge of self (and therefore of eternity), and where the sun moon and stars scream the loudest and clearest cries of purpose.

How thankful I am for silence. No kind of sound ever brought me permanent peace.