My Good News Is … from Dear Layla

by Mark Chmiel

Nima Sheth sent emails and texts at just the right times
Ron Laney gave birth to images at 4:30 a.m.
Katie Consamus read on the train in New York
Lindsey Weston was an exemplar of answerability
Clara Takarabe spent five hours with me at the Bourgeois Pig Café
Joanie French gave regular and restorative Feldenkrais FI’s
Lubna Alam was resplendent in telling me of the wonders of Ramadan
Ale Vázquez illuminated el derecho de vivir en paz

Tony Albrecht wanted to meet up because of something Josh Aranda shared
Amenah Nagori Shamsuddin kept the most unreadable poker face during those bureaucratic meetings
Candice Simon brought yogini cheerfulness to the table
Magan Wiles emailed daily for months with cheerfulness and panache
Sharifa Barakat generously shared stories, skills, and smiles
Courtney Barrett miraculously could be a mess and gorgeous at the same time
Dianne Lee talked about “Layla” like she was person down the street
Lindsay Sihilling, Kelley Schwartz, and Chris Wallach practiced deep listening and deep reading outside at Northwest Coffee
Fatima Rhodes gave me a much welcomed overdose of encouragement
Laura Aranda wrote “I Am”
Don Lassus planted a seed
Katie Murphy loved Rachel
Amy Nuismer took refuge in Monseñor on her cell phone
Alexis Mary Lassus kept it real
Elizabeth Driscoll knew that healing is made of non-healing elements
Zeina Kiblawi’s exuberance was infectious
Thuy Khuu’s candor was endearing
Katie Madges embodied exuberant calm
Colleen Kelly was an avatar of availability
Pete Mosher, John Dupuy, and Cab Yau appreciated the Karamazov brothers at Sasha’s
Eileen McGrath brought The Book of Mev from Cincinnati to Saint Louis, so she told me at RISE Coffee
Pat Geier took countless walks with me in New Harmony, Indiana
Laura Weis proved that sabr jameel
Sara Rendell breathed mindfully in Haiti, Burkina Faso, and the London Tea Room
Aryanna started a blog and read Bolaño
Yael DiPlacido-Eastman wrote about Vitebsk, Yelets, Uglitch, Murmansk, and Minsk
Layla Lavasani was so at home in her own skin
Andrew Wimmer provided savvy during frequent forays in the Central West End
Elizabeth Quiros-Loe lost and found herself in George Eliot
Thich Nhat Hanh wrote a poem called “The Good News”