Hold It All

Category: Friends

Make Lists Not War

Dear Cami,

One index of a profitable reading experience may very well be in the marginalia we make.

For instance, I read Ed Sanders’ collection of poetry Let’s Not Keep Fighting the Trojan War eight years ago. I went through and collected my inked scribbles in the margins in a list:

I read for topics, for intriguing titles, for examples, for my own Emersonian rejected thoughts, such as …
“My political causes are hopeless”
Val’s life
We’re all gonna die
My brilliant non-career
13 years in a theology department
I could do better on Kerouac than he did in “A Visit to Jack’s Memorial Park”
Come up with an entire book of Lists Read the rest of this entry »

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Share the Wealth with Cami Kasmerchak: I Know Some of the Best People

And I want to tell you about them. There’s Buffalo Meg who is from Buffalo, New York and has a pitch to convince anyone she meets to move there. There’s Hannah Frank who is addicted to adventure and fearless in the face of the unknown. There’s Brandon who I still don’t know what he does for a living, but our emails are a collection of the existential crises we encounter on the daily. There’s Maggie who is an expert on RuPaul’s Drag Race trivia and constantly shakes her head at the lack of pop culture I know.  And there’s Laura who is writing her first book, embracing her inner quiet, and reclaiming Milwaukee as her home.

Sometimes it boggles my mind how I have crossed paths with such inspiring, compassionate, and strong individuals who I have the honor of calling friends. I love sharing stories about them, what I have learned from them, and what makes them eccentric in all the best ways. Jim Rohn says, “you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” Even though I don’t always spend the most time with my favorite people because we live in different states (and countries sometimes), I am excited to share my reflections on what their friendships have meant to me, how friendship is an ever-evolving term for me, and hear from all of you about your friends too!

Join us
Sunday 10 June
Potluck dinner begins at 6:00 p.m.
Cami begins sharing at 6:45
At the home of Andrew Wimmer
5712 Arendes Dr.
South City Saint Louis
63116

A Friend Sent Me This Poem (We Inter-Are)

March 14
by Katie Murphy

It’s Amazing, Isn’t It?
I can be, at one moment, sitting at my table in the morning,
Annoyed at my boss for being an incomprehensible moron,
Pissed off at a coworker for talking down to me yet again,
Worried because my checking account balance is lower than I’d like,
Lonely because I am missing certain people dreadfully,

And then, my eyes are welling up
with the beginnings of tears,
And I’m drinking a delicious
coffee drink that I made,
And I’m listening to the different
birds chirping outside my house,
And I’m noticing how good it feels
to stop and not think of going,
And I’m reveling again in the sun and
shadows on my wall,
And isn’t morning light
the most beautiful of all,
And I’m reading your short chapter
about Hedy and thanking God and the universe
letting me meet Katie Consamus,
who could convince me, in rural France,
to log into my SLU banner account
and change my life.

How To Live in Many Times at Once

Over the years, I have been the blessed recipient of many poems by Katie Murphy, whose birthday it is today. I invite lovers of poetry to purchase her e-book, How to Live in Many Times at Once.

 

Here’s one of her poems from a previous collection she sent me–

Song for Wretched Hearts

I haven’t written a heartbroken poem
since I met you
but I play all of them on the ukulele now.

I crawl under as many layers as I have.
No touch, no glance, no reassuring word
could prevent the disaster,
even in hindsight.

Take care not to jostle it,
my wretched heart,
and the moments when I put away
my instrument will be all yours.

 

 

From Ellen Rehg on Facebook

I’ve had a year like no other. So much happened, but what stands out is all the love. I can’t be grateful enough for family and friends who did so much for me. My Mom and Dad and my brothers and sisters gave me so much support from whatever distant city they live in. I could not have gone on if my friends hadn’t gathered around me and kept me going with food and poems, and books and all sorts of things. I can’t say enough about how incredible my co-workers have been. My children have been phenomenal. I am totally humbled.

Sweet Mark Chmiel sent me this card, words that are painted on the wall at Karen House (or were!). They are Dorothy Day’s words. I now know just how true they are. Life is a banquet, even if all you have is a crust, when you are loved by those “breaking bread” with you in the midst of your troubles.

 

“So Don’t Flip”*

When it comes to righteous indignation
She makes Arundhati Roy seem timid

At a public reading of The Book of Mev
I made sure she read last reading aloud the last chapter

To mark the occasion of her medical school graduation
I gave her the original of Dear Layla Welcome to Palestine

If I see her once a year for a few hours
I consider it a very good year

For the last year she’s been working
One hundred-hour weeks

The Stoics advised long ago
Know what you can and can’t control

I can buy three sheets of Harvey Milk stamps
Send her reminders of her sri and satyagraha

 

*Jack Kerouac, to Allen Ginsberg

Share the Wealth with Jen Bello-Kottenstette: A Journey to Work Life Balance

I will be sharing my journey to maintain the coveted “work life balance” in my position as a family medicine physician and researcher. Making choices about achieving professional success involves a continuous series of tradeoffs that begins with choosing a medical specialty by weighing the enjoyment of the day to day work, monetary compensation, student debt, and ability to have a family. I will discuss my experience with this process over the past 10 years since graduating medical school which has led me unexpectedly back where I started at Saint Louis University with both a fulfilling job and family life. Read the rest of this entry »

Correspondence Collage

Nima Sheth arranged some of the correspondence I’ve sent her recently…

Share the Wealth with Marty and Jerry King: When a House becomes a Home

We began our journey of serving the homeless almost 40 years ago by volunteering to provide meals and serve in other ways at Karen House, the Catholic Worker shelter for women. The journey continued when we joined the work of Winter Outreach, serving men and women on the streets of Downtown and helping to staff the emergency shelters that have saved and transformed lives through the past 13 winters. And now, our journey continues in the work we do at the four Assisi Houses scattered around the City of St. Louis that provide winter shelter and then transitional, supportive housing that goes beyond simple shelter to create communities of the formerly unhoused. And as Greg Boyle states it so eloquently in his two books about his ministry with gang members in Los Angeles–we no longer are “serving”, we are accompanying, and even beyond that, we are “being served” and learning from these men and women who have become models for us of incredible generosity and courage in facing the challenges of living without resources and without access to anything or anyone that can effect change in their lives.

We will talk about what is the heart of Assisi House, and share some of the stories that have transformed an all winter shelter into a home for fourteen women this year. We are privileged to be a part of Assisi House, and to share these stories that emerge when men and women who had been forced to spend virtually all of their time and effort “being homeless” are given a respite from that hardship. It shouldn’t surprise us after all these years, but it still does, to see the miracles of transformed lives.

Jerry and I have been best friends and partners for over 54years. And our passion/compassion to engage with others in our life, whether it be here or during our years in South America, has followed the same path. While not always in agreement, we have worked side by side or in support of each other. We are still learning how.

Join us
Sunday 18 March
Potluck dinner begins at 6:00 pm
Jerry and Marty begin sharing at 6:45
At their home
830 DeMun, 3rd floor
Clayton, MO
63105

Photo of the Day: Liz, AIPAC Protest, Washington, D.C.