Saturday, December 28, 2013

I get by with a little help from my friends.

I've done it before and I'll do it again. Yes, that's right, I will use the art of others to inspire my own. Creativity begets creativity. Once again Mark Hall, music producer extraordinaire from across the pond, gave me a little writing boost with his track "And the Angels Fell". (You can listen to it here.) So, like the famous song says, "I get by with a little help from my friends". (For what it's worth, I like the Beatles version, but I LOVE the Joe Cocker version.)

Something about this particular track of his tugged at me. I was entranced right from the beginning, and then I could feel that slight knife-edge that slides right in. Beautiful disaster. You know the kind that hurts but you can't stop pushing it forward? Something about this track told me the story of a friendship that got twisted along the way. I can't tell if things worked out in the end, but I remain hopeful.

Okay, okay, okay. Enough rambling from me. Here's the poem:

Remorse Code

Look at you. smiling that smile. The slick one you have reserved for impressing people.
The one with no teeth and too much eye squint.
But with a turn of your head and change in mood, I see that damned dimple.
As if it were some secret code between us. (dimple, dimple, wink, nudge)
An unspoken apology for dismissing our friendship. It's going to take more than a dimple this time. 
Yeah. You fucked it up that bad.

You and me -- we have always fit like puzzle pieces.
You and them -- fit more like orange slices.
Some fits are better in action -- others are better in theory.

By now you should know that when I laugh, it’s not always because it was a good joke.
That “I’m sorry” does not always equal a good apology.
That “it’s okay” almost always means it isn't.

Friendships are hard. Doubly hard when you are hardly speaking.
Barely whispering. In fact, all I hear is radio silence.
(tap, tap, tap - - is this thing on?)

Things are different now that we've grown up.
The responsibilities, the other relationships, the distance, and the godforsaken busy.
We are different but more.
The same but less.

I am still a simple woman.
Simply complicated;
but lucky for you I am easily appeased.
You of all people should know how to do that.

The question is will you…
...and will I let you.

Friday, December 13, 2013

I have something to say about this...

As you might guess from the title, I have something to say. Go ahead and read this tumblr post. 
Just do it real quick:


Now here's the deal. I met my husband when I was just 18 years old through a mutual friend. We started dating when I was 19. Had our daughter when I was 21, married at 22 (wedding was in May and my college graduation was in August - a busy few months), and home owners by 23. There is not a single day that I regret any part of our time together. I have a constant companion and best friend, no need to worry about dates for parties, have someone who likes to cook me dinner, fixes things around the house, and mows the lawn. IT'S GREAT!!

Here we are on our wedding day. Say it with me, "D'aww"!
Do I give him a hard time and tell him that he robbed my of my youth? Absolutely. (Teasing him is one of my favorite pastimes. I might even call it a hobby.) Do I mean it? Absolutely not.

There were lots of folks out there who didn't think we stood a chance. Didn't think that we were ready to be so committed at that age. Didn't think we understood that kind of love or the work it would take to maintain it. I am so pleased to have proven them wrong.

Sometimes young love works. I'm sure it's rare and most of the cynics out there are right 90% of the time. But this still leaves that 10% of couples who fall in love as teenagers and somehow manage to defy the odds. 

December 15th, 2013 will mark 11 years of togetherness for us. I know without a doubt the reason it is so easy for me to work so hard at my marriage and be so willing to compromise is that I am certain all of that willingness and work is reciprocated. Also, it should be said that he has never asked me to be anything that I'm not. Never said, "Jenn, I wish you wouldn't laugh so loud. It's obnoxious." Never said, "Jenn, I wish you would try to be better at baking cookies." Never even said, "Jenn, your humor is absurd and it scares me. Please stop." Total acceptance is a beautiful thing.

Yes, I know that this is predominately a poetry-centric blog so just sit tight and stick with me for a minute...

I'm about to let you guys see a very special place inside my heart. Posted below is the first poem I ever wrote for my husband when we were younger. He has this printed out and stapled to the wall above his work bench in the garage. (He's adorable.)


Dear                   ,

Someday you'll settle me down.
you'll keep me away from
doubt and regret,
from wishing for better boys,
from needless self destruction.
you'll rescue me from the oxymoronic
everyday business of monotony, boredom,
and chaos.
show me calm, collected; captured even.
you'll teach me how to breathe again.
slow, steady, serene. 
my vocabulary will start to include words
I once though were bullshit.
monogamy, romance, love.
dinner plans at 8, meet the parents.
hold hands like a couple. 
someday you'll get to name my obsession,
you'll call it your own.
you'll put my admiration and adoration
on the wall above your bed.
so high,
infinity could be my mother.
you'll show me my biggest fears and desires, 
both disguised as ridiculous, 
reflected in your eyes.
attachment, necessity, must have.
you'll wash away my guilt; insecurity. 
reassure me that I am still myself,
a whole, intact, and alive.
I'll just be me
standing next to you inexplicably
mutually
happy
and completed by each other's
synchronized exhales of relief.



Someday I'll settle you down.
Sunday morning coffee and crosswords.
Tuesday afternoon naps on the couch.
you'll begin to understand affection,  
companionship, and returned phone calls.  
appreciation of the little things
that mean nothing.
belly rubs, back scratches, and purchased packs of smokes
will become manifestations of everything.
I will keep you away from cloudy and powdery
white monsters.
I'll show you a world of truth.
you'll find beauty in the reality of here and now,
today and tomorrow -- forever and always.  no need for you to hide behind that bad boy
with tattoos, did I ever tell you about the time... image.
someday I'll tell you another secret.
you'll forget the confusion that was your past.
trade it in for wide-eyed clarity.
you'll realize your worth; the infinite power of you.
brother, son, best friend, and lover.
simply-complex perfection.
I'll keep you and your comfort, intentions,
reactions, and daydreams,
all on the tips of their toes.
you'll understand what it means to be valued,
appreciated,
respected.
you'll recognize in my voice, eyes, arms  
something familiar that you can't quite
put into words.
because it belongs in a dream.
all that I am.
your 5am reality check.

always with love,
jenn



Thursday, September 12, 2013

Long time, no see...

Well, this is awkward. It's been three (...and a half) months since I've written anything. Not just talking about a blog post, I mean I haven't written ANYTHING. Not even so much as a stanza. It's pretty pathetic. Sorry. No excuses here, just apologies. I've been in a rut/slump/funk and am extremely disappointed in myself. Alas.

If you've been a frequent-flyer to this blog, you know how much I love to use pictures as writing prompts. This time I asked my friend Thomas Brown to supply the photo. (Seriously, if you're ever in need of a photographer in Arizona...look him up. I very much enjoy his fine art photos.) I tackled this writing exercise a little differently. I gave myself only 15 minutes and decided that I would post to this blog that piece EXACTLY as it was, with NO EDITS. Gotta be honest here and tell you that it is so damned hard to put this up without any tweaks, changes, edits, or rewrites. But, I know how I sometimes wish I could see other poets first drafts. Because I'm curious. So...

Here's the photo:

Photo credit, Thomas Brown Art. 2012.

And here's my poem:

 "On Remembering How to Forget"

I wish I could remember how I forgot you the first time.
I just dropped off. Begged you to leave. Made myself be alone.
Walked away. Ran away.
In the end, all I learned was that emotions do not leave me slowly.


Forgetting is so hard when all I can remember is how you used to wait with me for peace to come 
by counting the minutes and slowly braiding my hair down the length of my back.
With every new fold, you would tell an old story and make a new dream for me.
You wrapped them all up in a beautiful pattern for me to sleep on.
Those old stories made such painfully beautiful dreams.


Counting the minutes these days is like counting souls crossing the River Styx.
Just a few at a time and the passing comes with a price.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Come play with us, Danny. (Scratch that one off the bucket list.)

I STAYED AT THE STANLEY HOTEL!!!
(...way back in April. Yeah. Totally slacking on getting this post up. Stop judging me and just start reading. Look at my pictures at a minimum.)

Let me start at the beginning. All of these wheels started turning when I sent my mother a link to an article interviewing Stephen King about his sequel to The Shining. It tells the story of an all grown up Danny Torrance. (FYI, The Shining is one of my favorite books AND favorite movies.) She got just as excited as me about this and the next thing I know, we're on a road trip to Colorado for a two night stay at the Stanley Hotel. BOOM! My Mom wins all the awards and gathers all of the cool points because she booked us a room on the 4th floor (haunted floor) and we got a Redrum coffee mug, glow in the dark squeezy ghost and frisbee, AND a night time ghost hunt. GAH! My excitement is still palpable four months later.

Side note: for those who don't know, the Stanley is where Stephen King was staying when he was inspired to write The Shining. BECAUSE IT'S A FREAKING HAUNTED HOTEL!

So first things first.
Here's where I started to lose my mind...simply driving up to the hotel is an experience all by itself. I was bouncing around and clapping in the passenger seat like an over-excited seal.
Seriously? This place is just amazing. 

When we checked in, we were promptly given our Ghost Swag. Also, I think it's important to note that when you check out, the folks at the Stanley ask if you want to keep your room key as a memento. This was wonderful because then I didn't need to feel guilty about stealing it.
FYI - I take that Redrum mug to each and every staff meeting at work. It's not awkward - - it's appreciated. 

Next up was the elevator. The ONLY elevator in the whole joint. It was shocking. Literally. EVERY SINGLE TIME I pushed the up or down button I got zapped. But it was worth it because that thing was stunning. Also, it made me say things like, "Third floor: Undergarments, garden hoses, and tea pots." See what I mean. Look at that cool lever thing!
Heh. Elevator selfie. Sorry about that. 

Also, it should be mentioned that one of my other favorite movies has ties to The Stanley. That's right folks, Dumb and Dumber was filmed here. When I got tired of being zapped by the elevator and took the stairs, I would look at my Mother and say, "Race ya!". C'mon, you know you would do it, too.
Yes. I really did "race" my mom up these stairs and raise my fists over my head in victory. 

We stayed just a few doors down from room 401, which is one of the most haunted rooms in the entire hotel. I cannot lie, the place does have a creep factor to it. Despite its beauty and architectural value, there is a sense of heebie-jeebies that cannot be denied.
This is me in between the old servant stairs and room 401. After this picture I just stood there staring at my mom saying, "Come play with me, Danny". She rolled her eyes at me a LOT during this trip. 

Our room was on the fourth floor facing out towards the entrance. I positioned myself in the window as frequently as possible. LOTS of tourists are going to have my face in their photos. LOTS. Here's the view from our window looking out:
Three days and two nights of photobombing opportunities. Like I was really going to pass on that. (Also, you can just barely see my mom in the bottom right hand corner there...)

Here is the picture that everyone takes when they stay at The Stanley. It's a picture just outside of room 217. 217 is THE ROOM where Stephen King stayed. It's the room that started it all. Honestly, if this room creeped out Stephen King, I probably would have peed myself at some point.
Obligatory photo outside of room 217. 

Apparently Stephen King was sort of pissed that Stanley Kubrick didn't use The Stanley hotel for filming his version of the movie. Some years later, Stephen King put out a made for TV movie that was in fact filmed at The Stanley. This is the miniature version of the hotel they used for some of that filming:
Mini Stanley made for a mini series. (Like the Vanna White pose? Ta-Da!)

During our late night ghost tour, we ended up in the ballroom and the tour guide went behind this curtain and pulled out the prop door they used in the mini series for the "Heeeere's Johnny!" scene. At that point I was practically vibrating with excitement. Talk about a fangirl having a nerd moment. 


Now, at this point, I'm sure you're all, "Jenn, these are great photos, but when are you going to tell me all about the spooky stuff that happened to you?". Here's the deal. I'll probably tell you about some of the stuff, but not all of it. But you've got to understand that I absolutely believe in ghosts and I don't want to hear about how flaky I am and how it can "all be explained by science". Don't misunderstand me, I absolutely believe that there are in fact lots of reasonable explanations for things and I certainly don't believe that every bump in the night is a ghost. But sometimes, it is...

So, stay tuned for PART 2 of my adventures at The Stanley.




Friday, May 3, 2013

Just my first art show. No Big Deal. (I sure hope you read that with the appropriate level of sarcasm...)

Remember how I told you all about my act of subterfuge? How I weaseled my poetry into an art show? Well, here's how it went...

This is me living out my childhood dream of being a brown haired Vanna White. 

So, there was a reception during the April First Friday Artwalk. OF COURSE THERE WAS!
That didn't make me anxious at all. (It is one thing to send in poems to journals and writing competitions because those people are faceless and if/when they reject me it doesn't feel personal because I am not staring at their faces making small talk while it happens.) I was absolutely terrified of overhearing someone make fun of my stuff or tear it down to tiny little pieces. I am fairly self-aware and know that I am not a traditional "artist". There were things hanging on those gallery walls that just blew my mind and in no way could I even begin to compare my stuff to theirs. Apples to bowling balls. But guys, nothing horrible happened. In fact, people were so nice and curious and even complimentary! It really was okay. I really was just fine.

Here is my proof that people were good to me. I don't know Chelsea L., but I think she's fantastic and clearly has great taste. :o) 

To make what could be a very long story made short, this was a wonderful experience. I created something out of my norm, put on a brave face, and hung these pieces on a wall for the world to see. It was hard and stressful and uncomfortable, but worth it. People asked good questions, smiled genuine smiles, shook my hand, said they were proud, and it was an awesome night! I'll probably do it again next year...with a roll of Tums in hand. Or a stronger drink...

"The Looking". Copyright Jennifer Klein 2013.

"The 2nd Time Around". Copyright Jennifer Klein 2013.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

When worlds collide. (No, not an actual armageddon...just using creative license.)

Recently, I discovered that Mark Hall is a brilliant music composer and producer. He ever so graciously gave me permission to peruse some of his pieces and use them to jump start my writing flow.

Here's the thing - - I love music of every kind. I played the clarinet for 8 years in the school concert band (Yes, I was a band nerd. Hard to believe, right?) and I can associate all of my favorite memories with particular songs. It's just how I'm built. I love listening to movie scores and putting myself in a "mood" and I take my daily play list at work very seriously. With that said, I had never thought to reverse the process and listen to a song first and THEN figure out the story to go with it. But that is exactly what Mark let me do. Thanks for that. (I'm not even being sarcastic. Seriously, thanks.)

For reference, track #2 was the inspiration for this poem. I heard the first 30 seconds and knew precisely what was going on in that house.

"This house has a sad story"

Alone in a room that was always too small for her imagination.
Not enough space to let her mind run free.
These four walls couldn’t and can’t hold dreams of this size.
The bed and blankets kept her warm but not comfortable.

Holding a doll that she never really liked and never really wanted.
Remembering how it didn’t speak to her 
and neither did those who gave it as a gift. As a bribe. Making her obligated.

Alone in a room that was always too small for her imagination.
Still not enough space for her adult sized memories.
Because their reach is too far. Too wide and too deep.
The bed and blankets are old and scratchy. Smelling like grape soda and decay.

The torn wallpaper, the dust floating, and the past flashing.
She can feel her skin prickling, her fists clenching, and her eyes rolling back.
This rage is enough to break her open and then consume all but her shell.
The anger is hot and takes just one shaky exhale to spark the first flame.
The breathe of her quiet “why” sends the room up in smoke.

Alone in what used to be a room too small for her imagination.
The walls have burned, the ashes are blowing, and her tears keep falling.
Drawing clean lines down her soot covered face.
She can see her melancholy expression reflected in the doll she never really liked.
And never really wanted.

Just like she always wanted to
She screamed, mangled the doll, walked out, and ran away.
Alone with her imagination she sees that memories are hard to shake
and new ones are easy to find.
But first, you must burn down your past.
There cannot be a phoenix without a fire.


Monday, April 8, 2013

Zodiac Exercise #8 - Leo

It's only been a few months since I did my last Zodiac inspired writing prompt. NO big deal. I haven't been procrastinating -- I've been busy. Yeah. BUSY.

So to pick up where I left off, here we go with #8 in the series. I call it "Feral"

It started with one dance
and we kept it up all summer long
It was hot and burned so bright
Nothing soft about it -- this was fierce and ferocious

You wanted "us" more than anything
Growling out your declarations
there was nothing tame about your honesty
You were so obviously in love with being in love
you forgot to love those little pieces that made me

Loyal to a fault
You wouldn't let go of my arms
Couldn't hear me cry
Wanted to keep me close
But when I started walking away
You took of at a dead run

I guess when you are done, you're done
not even a single look back
Now I'll never know if I made you cry
My guess is that you haven't forgiven
I know you haven't forgotten

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

It was an act of pure subterfuge. I have no regrets.

So, the university that employs me holds an annual "Staff Art Show". Now it is quite obvious that I am not an artist in any formal way. I like to draw cartoon-ish doodles and make crafty things, but I would never say that I am anything close to a legitimate artist. I am like an artist's second-cousin-twice-removed-by-marriage. With that said, I definitely entered a piece of work in the show. Let me tell you why I did it and how I found a loophole to make myself feel better (read: less nauseous).

Since I am a poet who happens to love photography (even though I am not a great photographer) - - I used a picture that I took last summer, worked some digital manipulation magic, transferred that image to a canvas, painted on it a bit, and then placed a poem of mine as the cherry on top. Here's what that looks like:

Copyright Jennifer Klein, 2013. This was the piece I submitted to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Staff Art Show. It is titled, "The Second Time Around". 

Basically, I took my strong suit (poetry) and fancied it up with a photograph (art). I gave it a title and labeled the medium "Mixed Media/Visual Poetry". LOOPHOLE!!!

That was the how, here's the why. People constantly assume that poetry is boring. That is is hard to understand. That it is not accessible to them. I thought that maybe, if I could literally show people the beauty of poetry, they might change their minds and give it a whirl. Even if they don't see this piece and fall over with inspiration to buy the complete works of Keats or Burroughs, I'll be content if they just stop thinking that it's boring.

The art show starts April 1st and runs through the 12th. I'll let you know how it goes.

Wish me luck...




Monday, February 11, 2013

Meeting your favorite author. (I call it an inspiration and awesome sandwich with a side of OMFG!)

Have you ever had the opportunity to see your favorite author in person? To listen to them speak for an hour? To meet them and shake their hand? I never thought I would say this - but I have. It was all I could have hoped for, and honestly, it was so much more. To get the full scope of how monumental this night was in my world, I need to back track a little and reveal a few personal details. Nothing juicy, so don't get your hopes up.

I was an English major, my emphasis was in the areas of poetry and creative writing, who obtained a minor in Native American Studies. During my four and a half years at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Go Big Red!) there was this one particular author who kept showing up on syllabus after syllabus. Whether it was for Poetry 498, Native American Lit 102, Ethnic Studies 201 - - Sherman Alexie was sure to be on  my required reading list. It began to feel like I was spending more of my late nights and early mornings with his books than I did with my best friends. What started out as merely homework assignments turned into a literary love affair. I started to develop this very personal relationship with his stories. His works were seeing me through some of the best and worst times of my life. (Keep in  mind that during my college years I was working 35-40 hours a week, had a baby, got engaged, and was looking to buy a house. It was a touch stressful, but also amazing.) From those moments on, his work has been tied to some of my most important memories.

When my Mom was diagnosed with cancer for the second time I was in the middle of reading "The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven". Those short stories were an escape hatch for me. On the nights I found myself huddled in the middle of my bed sobbing because I was terrified that my mom might die, I put those feelings on hold for a while, opened that book and climbed inside the cadence of Thomas Builds-the-Fire's voice. (In case you're wondering, my Mom is healthy as can be these days...)

When I was falling in love with the boy I just knew would break my heart and watching myself do every stupid and cliche thing I vowed to never do, I ran away from myself and into "Indian Killer". I got swept away in the thriller and forgot about my boy problems. For every time he didn't call, I read another chapter. Each time his phone when directly to voicemail, I read another chapter. I read that book four times in a month. (If you're keeping score, I've been with that boy for 11 years now and haven't reread the book in 10.)

When I found out I was pregnant, I couldn't immediately process what that meant for me at 20 years old. So I took some time away from the world, sat on my sun porch drinking iced tea and read "The Summer of Black Widows". By the second time through that book of poems I knew with an inexplicable certainty that everything was going to be just fine. I still wasn't sure what my plan was, but I knew that whatever happened, it would all work out. (My daughter will turn nine soon. She is smart, funny, beautiful, and I couldn't possibly love her any more.)

Needless to say, when I found out that Sherman Alexie was going to be on campus giving a talk, reading some of his work, and holding a book signing it was an absolute no-brainer where I would be that night. It was a given that I would be in that audience with bells on.

Through what I can only assume was me cashing in on a minimum of two years worth of built up karma points, I was able to sit in the front row of the auditorium and watch the man in all his hilarious and brilliant glory. Then to top it all off, after his talk and after standing in line for 45 minutes, I got the chance to meet him. Face-to-face. I was able to finally tell him "thank-you" for providing me with my version of comfort food. (Some folks go to chocolate or booze, I go to my personal Sherman Alexie library.) He said "you're welcome" in a very sincere voice, signed my book, chuckled a bit to himself and then asked me if I wanted to take a picture with him. I proceeded to nod my head like a broken bobble-head doll and against my better judgement, spilled my guts. My awkwardness reared its ugly head while I fessed up and told him that I was trying very hard to hold back the raging fan-girl inside and that I was desperately trying to play it cool. He stood up, walked over to me and said, "Come here you adorable little stalker," and then this happened:

Look who's getting a hug from their favorite author. OMFG - that's ME!
(Many many thanks go to the wonderful young man who happily agreed to take this photo for me.)
That's right, folks. What you are seeing is photographic evidence of me receiving a full two arm hug from Sherman Alexie, my literary hero.

I still don't have the words to describe what this meant to me. All I know is that this was definitely a night for the scrap book, and now I'm going to have to work on rebuilding a copious amount of karma points...

Monday, January 21, 2013

We've done texts...now we'll do IM's...because they are funny, dammit.

On a totally un-poetic, not very "literary", note - - I would like to talk about friendship.

Folks, I'll have you know that I just turned thirty. Yup. The big 3-0. I had a shindig and as all my friends and family were surrounding me, I realized that I have the most ridiculously absurd friends. And I love them dearly. However, we all have that  friend. The one who knows that deep down you are a actually a super judge-y person full of inappropriate jokes, are a borderline asshole, and loves you despite all that. Maybe, quite possibly, because of all that. Well, I am lucky enough to have a few of those friends, but one in particular demonstrates these qualities in spades. You've seen some of our random text messages here. But please, let me introduce you to a handful of our instant messages:

Conversation 1: 

HER: Still, that's a lot of cat heariding
*herding.
but possibly also hea-riding.

ME: How did you know I recently became a fan of hea-riding?
Heas are truly magnificent creatures

HER: I hate you.
________

Conversation 2:

HER: Just learning some interesting facts about Christina Aguilara

ME: Oh, Christina Aguilara.
She's just a genie in a bottle...
who knows what a girl wants...

HER: That song is going to be in my head all day today.

ME: you know, she's a fighter...

HER: DAMMIT.

ME: who's reflection shows...

HER: Now it's like a medley in my head.
I hate you.

ME: that you are beautiful in every single way.
Bahahahahahaha! I WIN.

HER: If there was no one around I would be singing these out loud.

ME: I know.
But did you know that there ain't no other man who stands up next to you?
Especially down by the old Moulin Rouge?
Okay, okay. I'm done.

HER: OMG.
I really hate you.
I'm bringing back something for your daughter that makes obnoxious noises.
_________

Conversation 3: 

HER:  Well done 10 year old Jenn. Not immature at all.

ME :::bowing deeply::: 
Because I don't ever fucking curtsy.

HER SIGH.
_________

Conversation 4:

ME: Also, this weekend, at 1am, I very literally yelled at college kids to "Get off my lawn!"

HER:  That makes me infinitely happy.
The neighbor boys?

ME: Yup. It was a two-kegger party night.
With a van shuttle service.
I spoke with their appointed "Sober Monitor"

HER: That's not good. But hilarious

ME: I might have referred to him as "Sober Wan-Kenobi"

HER:   AHAHAHAHAAHAHAH


I just LOOOOVE clip art. This is what turns up when you search for "friendship".
Yes. This is precisely what comes to mind. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Rising in three parts

If you'll recall, I told you a while back about how my very dear friend was riding his bicycle from California to New York with the purpose of spreading the word about suicide awareness and prevention and the healing power of art. His non-profit organization, RISE, is amazing. You really should check out their site. He and his friend quit their jobs, put all of their worldly possessions in storage and set out to make a difference. ANYWAY, I decided that I was going to do something pretty rad, and I began writing a piece of poetry as they were riding across the United States. It was hard because I couldn't move forward until they did. This was such an important piece for me to write because of the pride I have in those two and what they accomplished and I really don't have a better way to show them other than writing it down. It is sincerely humbling to have friends like these. So here it is. I call this one, "Rising in Three Parts":

1. An Open Letter to a Friend
I know you feel bruised and broken.
Shattered, inside and out.
But those pieces of you are precious to many.
Needed by all.

I beg you to scoop them up and keep them safe.
When you are ready, we will help you fit them back together.
Make you whole again.

Though you will never fit perfect and seamless,
you will be recognizable.  
We will read between the lines of your scars.
Yes, you are changed.
In a way that is uniquely yours.
But still ours.

2. Endurance
Rise each morning and claim your purpose.
Give your word one more time and make their memories come alive.
Drown out the noise of doubt and hear them calling.
Single out the one strong voice that says “go”.

Know your opponent.
Defeat is only a possibility. Not a probability.
Acknowledge this disappointment then shake off its ashes.
Wipe away the residue of previous failures to launch.
Shade your eyes from the light of 1,000 hopeful smiles.
See the people surrounding you.

Friendships forged in solidarity.
Finding comfort in the solitary.
The need to rise up every day. Ready to be knocked down.
But unaware of  the difference.

3. Coming Home
Please note this part from me to you...
You have taught me a lot. Shown me more and let me see it all through your eyes.
But if you learned nothing else. If you forget everything but. Know this.
As you went by, each and every one of us snatched tiny little pieces of you,
and now we are all over.

They say that a house is not a home and they are right.
“My house is your house”, and always will be.
But your home should be where your heart beats. This is the easy part.
Because you found the why, and we’ll help with the how.