This is a letter to a friend, Caleb Pierce for his birthday in August.  A friend of his has commissioned us (Caleb's friends) to write a letter to him for his birthday to put in a scrap book.  I can't think of anything more sweet.

Why am I noding a personal letter for someone's birthday in a generally public place (I'm sure this will be found by Google)?  As stated by Mink, I paraphrase, everything2 is for people who like to write about their passions, among many other things.

Should the world know about a kind and heartfelt person?  Yes!
Should the world know about a talanted, smart and intertesting individual?  Certainly!
Hence, I am going to node about someone who fulfills these life categories to the brim.

Dear Caleb,
You have been, and I'm sure, always will be a wonderful friend.  The time I have spent with you has been like putting dog-ears in the pages of my book of life; whenever I flip back through the pages, the dog-ears make it so easy to read the words once again.  All of the memories I have associated with you have been great!  My first clear memory of you was at a swing dance held at school.  I was flabbergasted by your ability to dance.  You were dancing like the world was going to end the next day. 

I remember my favorite conversation with you, when we exchanged our ideas about everything, over lunch.  It was that conversation which solidified our friendship.  The most profound exchange of our conversation was our thoughts on the creation story offered by the Christian Bible.  Your idea is simple and carefree: This is how The Bible says it was done, that is what you believe, and that is it.  Simple, clean; no worries about which particle did what or when what did how or somesuch, The Bible has the answer.  My idea of creation is a little weirder.  I believe that God made a bunch of rules that particles follow, added some material to the universe, and then hit the "go" button.  I can't remember how long we talked about everything and nothing, but it seemed completely necessary and unnecessary at the same time.

Two other times I have deeply enjoyed with you were parties at your house.  The parties that one finds on or around a college campus are like shuffle board tournaments compared to your parties.  The breakfast for dinner party was great, and the end of it was fantastic (I do not mean to imply that I wanted to leave).  We sat around playing music and singing, and it reminded me how much I missed playing and performing music.  I will come by and play with my alto saxophone some day, although I need to start practicing again. 

The party where we played telephone pictionary, which I had never played before, was possibly the most hilarious party ever.  My card started with:

The chicken-piloted tank barrels down the road toward a pile of explosives; which are on fire.

And ended with (the contribution of Ingrid):

Red the Robin took his Self-Esteem class a little too seriously. He decided that he deserved nothing less than world domination, captured a tank from the U.S. Army, and conquered most of North America in a mere fortnight. "That just goes to show the power of positive thinking;" his proud counselor said.

I will probably start a collection of these, being the pack rat that I am, because they are so great.  I really hope to play this with you and everyone else again. 

Although I have known you for a relatively short time, you have profoundly affected me,  and I am thankful for that.  You have a viral sense of humor, an impeccable wit, a surprising knowledge of dance, and a sharp intellect.  I hope that you have a wonderful birthday, and that everyone's letters to you will warm your heart. 

Happy Birthday!


P.S. For your peace of mind, I still have your Virginia Western: School for the Homeschooled DVD; I still haven't gotten around to copying it yet, sadly.

"So why do you keep fighting this? Why do you keep trying to be someone other than who you are? Have you lost that much faith?"

Months upon months of dreams that were empty. Dreams I could not remember. Months upon months of praying for the dreams to return. Months upon months of praying that my faith would return. Months upon months of asking her to please listen to me and give me direction. And then this week, a week of chaos and confusion, a week of grabbing myself by the balls and pushing forward, and then there it was, the kingdom of my dreams coming back live and in living color.

"Maybe you have suffered enough."

"You think?"

"Don't push it, motherfucker."

"Is that nice talk?"

"Yeah, like you haven't fucked mothers. Give me a break. Stop being a pariah."

If you had an angel like mine, you'd miss her as well. Probably. Doesn't matter. You have to be aware of the really strange caveats in my religion to understand, but the morning after a very vivid dream in which my angel took me to a large building with many rooms and left me there, I went out to buy cigarettes. In the old days it used to work like clockwork. Whenever I was down to one cigarette in the pack, a homeless person would come up to me and request it. He would then tell me something profound. At times it weirded me out.

"Spare a smoke?" asked the dude sitting outside the convenience store.

"Sure, no problem."

"Not your last cigarette is it?" he asked. I do believe he saw me go into the store and buy the pack. I was about to shake my head at him when he laughed and said, "Of course it isn't. I wouldn't take your last smoke, man."

"No problem, buddy. Here, take two."

He held them up in front of his face, looked at one and said, "This is my body." Then he looked at the other and said, "This is my blood."

I stood in stunned silence for a moment. "Do I know you?"

He laughed and walked away. You see, in the old days sharing my last cigarette was my equivalent of communion. The giving of the last smoke was a point of religious conviction. Angels are strange and fucked up creatures. They follow a code that only allows them to exist amongst us in the most desperate and down of circumstances. The meek shall inherit the earth and so forth. And they are unusually fond of cigarettes, although they never seem to actually smoke them. I followed the fucker in my car after he walked away. In the old days they always seemed to disappear, and when I followed him up the road I found no trace of him.

It could easily be called coincidence or wishful thinking, but for me to regain my faith means that I must accept a connection between my dreams returning, the voice of my angel returning and a lost soul asking me for a cigarette. That was how it ran in the old days before I sold my soul to pursue a sociopath I mistook for something else. What we believe goes a long way in determining the future course of our lives, and for the past eight months my life has been lost, empty and without purpose. The emptiness is painful. It is a reminder that psychological damage is just as real, and perhaps moreso, than any physical damage a person can suffer. I had to be reminded of that. I had to know this, to be in touch with it again, after so many years of being cocky and filled with a sense that I was invincible. If you don't get knocked down hard regularly you'll start to believe that those who are suffering have brought it all upon themselves and fall into that sick and twisted camp of "Just get over it."

The reminders of who I am and why I am here have been more concrete as well. A good friend I have known for over a decade attempted suicide a month ago. The pain she deals with is very real, and yet her attempts to get her father to understand her mental and emotional turmoil were greeted by her father taking her to the terminally ill ward of the hospital where he works to show her people who are dying and told her, "These are people with real problems. Come back and see me when you have to deal with something real like this." I tried to be amazed that a medical professional could do something that fucked up to his daughter, but I've seen too much to be amazed by that kind of callousness.

I still have miles to go before I sleep.

Staying awake all night and going to bed at the desired bedtime the next night proved to be ineffective.

What I didn't count on was how clueless I'd be after being awake 36 hours. I remember having set my alarm. I also remember opening my mouth, staring at the wallpaper and being fascinated by how strong the "after image" was of anything I'd look at, doing something else and wondering 5 minutes later why my mouth was open. Clearly, at some point I must have forgotten my alarm was set, "set" it (thus turning it off) and then carrying on. For all I know I did that multiple times; the point is my alarm never went off so I woke up at 11.

It wasn't completely pointless. It was pretty fun when I wasn't too tired. I get a sort of "buzz" from being up for a really long time (or repeatedly sleeping too little) which made everything more fun. I drew several pictures, the quality of which improved slightly over time. Maybe if I wanted to do something "creative" like drawing or anything else artistic less sleep would be helpful (wouldn't be helpful for writing).

Now I have two options: Continue being lazy and sleeping in everyday until school starts, possibly risking getting no sleep at all before the first day or getting up earlier every day until a reasonable time has been reached. The first one sounds more fun.

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