Seattle, Washington, United States
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Sunday, September 11, 2011


Hey, Coffee Lovers. I'm still on hiatus, but I needed to write to you all. Even if it is 2:37 in the morning. There's something about telling a group of friends and total strangers about my life that I find oddly comforting. I think they prescribe something for that.

I wrote a poem today. That, in and of itself, is not important or interesting; I write a poem every day. But today's poem was a little bit different. It was called "Willow," and, unfortuantely, it meant something. It was about the onset of winter, or, more appropriately, winters.

There are so many winters. I've known people who see no sunshine on an 80 degree day, because, in their eyes, there is none to see. I've known people, conversely, who laughed - for no particular reason - in the midst of howling wind and rain. Life, as beautiful and speckled as it is, would be so much easier if we were subject to our environment.  But we aren't plants. Damn.

I'm currently in American History in school and we were discussing, as every American History class that has ever sat an AP Test has discussed, the Pilgrims. When they came to Plymouth, they experienced a winter that has gone down in history as the "starving time." There is an air of accuracy to that kind of a phrase. No, we do not literally starve, but our souls - the only part of my body I'm not sure exists - starve quite often. They go without so that our minds, our pride, our fragile Freudian Ids have a chance to flourish. They are selfless and unable to help themselves. They're without hands to feed themselves or eyes to accuse others for their maltreatment. They have no mouths with which to beg. They're souls, therefore intangible, and therefore more real than anything else we have on our person.

Sometimes, I wonder if our souls know a winter, a starving time, a difficult passage before it occurs. If they sense the storm clouds on the horizon. Do they try, in vain, to warn us silently of the impending threat of indomitable snow fall or the crushing howl that awaits us in a month or a day or a week? They might.

So, "Willow." It is about the setting in of winter, both the winter for our Northwestern skies (lo siento por los lectores de latinoamerica porque yo sé que el verano está viniendo a ustedes) and the winter for our fragile, possibly eternal human souls. I think, as winters of many kinds descend upon me and winters of other kinds take wing for some place new, my hope is that I do not succumb to emptiness.

J.R.R. Tolkein, brilliant man that he was, not only wrote three of the world's most successful novels, but also invented several langauges besides. The most beautiful, in my opinion, is called Sindarin. My favorite phrase in Sindarin reads like so (if one uses English letters): Auta i Lómë. It means, literally: The night is passing. But in the two years that I've known that phrase it's come to mean many things to me. Some nights it means: Michael, this isn't forever. Some days, it means: Michael, it's time to look for the dawn. Sometimes, it's nothing more helpful than: Hold on.

I love this phrase, not because it is particularly profound or even because it sounds beautiful when properly pronounced. I love it because Tokein did not know that, when he jotted it down in a notebook that was found in his desk after his death and published many years later, he was jotting down a little piece of advice for a sixteen year old that sometimes forgets things, no matter how good or how bad they are, do not last forever.

So winters, of the soul or of the sky, are just seasons. And seasons are bound to change. Always. If they weren't the damn plants wouldn't be the lucky ones.

I look forward to writing to you all on Thursday when Stronger Coffee officially comes back from hiatus. And, lastly, to all of those that have a particular kind of winter on this day in September, we are thinking of you and we will not - now or twenty years from now - forget you.

May your coffee be strong, your passions electric, and your laughter easy.


  1. Michael,
    There is nothing I want more than to be able to articulate in words how I feel after reading this and after reading "Willow" (I just read my email). I know that things have, for lack of a more satisfying phrase, sucked majorly, especially this past week. But it's so happy-making to be reminded that a lot of this cray cray world is just trying to speak to us. You're one of those phenomenal unique gems that truly makes an effort to know this and share it with everyone around you. Your soul will beat out every winter that comes it's way because it is the warmest, most beautiful one ever. Thank goodness gracious that the Stronger Coffee hiatus is ending =] so that we all may be lucky enough again to keep being a part of your wonderful thoughts. Remember, every wrong *soul* you meet is one *soul* closer to the one you should meet ;). I love you so incredibly, indescribably much and will always be here for you and will also be the one who camps out for two nights to be the first one in line at the release of your future novel(s). You're amazing, you're inspiring, and I wish you the loveliest and best of everything ever. Also, even though they know how to grow and how to hide underground according to the seasons, it would be so fricken weird to be a plant. :D

    <3 always, shreya

  2. Chingu saranghaeyo! ^^ I love you friend!
    Whenever I am going through a winter, you are the fireplace and hot coco and sweaters that keeps me warm!

    <3 Gina

    PS I will be with Shreya for your novel release and you will totally both get tix to my first film premiere!