Dear Kayla Crow:

I remember the first time I saw you– we hadn’t met yet, but you were sitting with Madison on the floor during the first Break The Silence I ever went to, barefoot, with your notebook open, scribbling. I know, it’s a bit creepy that I remember that, but that’s a part of why we’re writers, right? We remember so much and our brains seem to suck everything up and something inside us just wants to get it out again and make some room for the rest, the next batch of stimuli that’s going to bombard us. I think a part of why I remembered you so well is that seeing you there writing in the midst of all these people milling about and talking reminded me of myself a bit of myself, and I was also vaguely intimidated by you because you seemed so intense and cool. Plus I like the way you dress.

When you went up on the stage and read your poetry, I thought, “damn, this is someone who knows what’s up, who cares about what is going on in the world, who is willing to be angry and to show that anger.” I respected that.

We finally met during The Gun Shop, and we bonded over hookah and being queer and loving writing. We talked about various intoxicating substances and hallucinogens and San Francisco. Then we went to eat Thai food after Saturn Returns and had a really good conversation about owning our language and culture with Ish while he was sweating bullets over his meal. I mentioned The Undeniables to you at some point after that, and you actually joined. I’m really happy that you did. (I’m kind of amazed that anyone I asked actually joined, and actually kept up with this process.)

You’re special, in the good way, not the condescending way. I haven’t seen you in a hella long time because you’ve been gallivanting around the Northwest, but I’m excited to see you tomorrow.

And I think you should choose whichever session scares you the most. That’s probably the one that you want to do the most badly. I’ve talked to you enough to know that you have some winding story in you, and I know for sure that you have many verses in you.

Whichever session any of us chooses might kick our asses, but that’s why we have each other– to kick each other’s demon’s asses when we need it, and to give each other some nurturing when we need it.

So whichever you choose, I– We’ll be here for you.