Tag Archives: Katie Haggstrom

~from Intern Katie Haggstrom

Mackenzie (Mack)
English Education Major with Spanish Minor

I notice that you brought some veggies into the Writing Center today. 
My parents have an urban farm down in Denver for the joy of gardening. It has exploded with so much produce they could stock our local King Soopers. They make pizza sauce and other canned goods but still had too many vegetables. That’s when I stepped in and was able to bring baskets and coolers full of vegetables for the Writing Center and other community members in Eddy.

How do you spend most of your time in Eddy Hall? 
I spend my time in Eddy as a Writing center consultant, a student and an advisee. I have had several classes in Eddy and also have a wonderful academic advisor named Joanna Doxey. I’m most excited to spend my time in Eddy as a consultant for the Writing center because writing is a very fluid process and everyone can use support to make their dreams realities.

It’s only the third week of classes, but what has been your favorite moment in the Writing Center so far? Or favorite moment in Eddy? 
The staff in the Writing Center is so warm and welcoming that it’s hard to not want to spend an afternoon with any of them. I myself had a presentation coming up and didn’t know where to start so I created an appointment with one of my co-workers to brainstorm ideas. It was so helpful that I have no idea why I didn’t use the Writing Center for every paper I ever had while attending CSU.

What’s your favorite book, poem, quote, lyric? Or favorite writer? 
Currently my favorite book is “Life of Pi” but if you ask me in a week the same question my answer might change.

Can you describe Eddy in just one word? 
Ready.  Ready to help and support anyone with all their needs.

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From Jill Salahub, English Department Communications Coordinator: I am so happy to introduce the English Department’s Communications Interns for Fall 2017 —  Michaela Hayes and Katie Haggstrom, (who was also with us last semester and over the summer, and is so great we asked her to stay on). Just like the position description states, they are creative and enthusiastic CSU students with good communication and writing skills who are super excited to help us tell the story of the English Department. We’ve had our first official meeting, and there’s lots of good stuff coming your way! If you have any ideas of what they should be writing about, events they should be attending, people they should profile, etc., please send those suggestions my way.

 

 

 

From Michaela Hayes: 

Hi! I’m Michaela and I’m beyond excited to be an intern for the English department this semester. I’m a transfer student from the University of Kansas and one of the main selling points of CSU for me was the English department. One step in Eddy and I was in love. Feel free to chat with me at any time about books and such- I’m always up for new recommendations. Some of my favorite authors are Daphne du Maurier, Tim O’Brien, James Baldwin, Jeffrey Eugenides, Joy Fielding, and I could talk about about Sylvia Plath for days. I’m looking forward to going to English department events and readings this semester and adding to my list of favorites.

 

 

 

 

 

From Katie Haggstrom:

My name is Katie and this will be my second year interning for the English department! I’m constantly amazed by how much our students, faculty and staff do, both during the summer and the school year. I’m starting my second year in the MA English, Literature program, and I also work in the Writing Center as a consultant. I spend most of my time running around Eddy, so if you see me please say hi (and you might become the next feature for our Humans of Eddy). Outside the English department, I work with ASCSU as the graduate senator, helping to bridge the gap between grad and undergrad students. I’m excited to get started and hope to see some of you around Eddy!

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~From intern Katie Haggstrom

While the school year is over, there are still plenty of local events happening throughout the summer. The OpenSpace: A Music and Reading Series will have their next event this Saturday, June 17th at 7:30pm. The event will feature some familiar faces from the CSU English department.

Our own alumni Felicia Zamora will be sharing an excerpt from her new book Of Form & Gather, the winner of the 2016 Andres Montoya Poetry Prize from the University of Notre Dame Press. Zamora was also selected as the 2017 Fort Collins Poet Laureate.

Read our alumni profile for Felicia Zamora to learn more about her achievements and time with the English department.

Poet Joanna Doxey is also an English department alumni and will read from her Plainspeak, WY publication. As OpenSpace explains, this book “documents the brutally harsh winters of the Wyoming landscape and is a mediation of self as wilderness.”

What makes the OpenSpace series stand out from other poetry readings is that it combines poetry with music. Two musicians, Porlolo and The Ugly Architect, will perform alongside these poets. Porlolo formed in 2002 and has toured nationally, just releasing their EP, Everything Barely. The Ugly Architect will include various players from Fort Collins, and have set a strong precedent for the Northern Colorado indie-folk scene.

This event will take place at the Wolverine Farm LetterPress & Publick House in downtown Fort Collins. Visit their event calendar for more information on this event and other upcoming events held through the summer. 

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~From intern Katie Haggstrom


Recently the English department hosted a workshop, “Putting the Humanities to Work,” to help graduate students explore potential career paths. As the event description explained, “one of the things we don’t talk enough about is how your English graduate degree prepares you for a wide range of interesting careers.” The common myth is that English majors have a narrow career choice, forced to decide between writing or teaching. But the field, and the career possibilities, have only expanded with the increasing need for people who can think critically, write, and communicate, and do so effectively.

Using LinkedIN Professionally

To begin the workshop, representatives from the CSU Career Center went over some of the features and networking tools available on LinkedIN. Katie Russo and Barbara Valusek stressed the importance of using the connections you already have, especially the ones made through CSU.

A LinkedIN profile is a virtual way to show companies the different qualifications and skill sets you have. However, around 56% of hiring managers report that LinkedIN profiles don’t share enough information on their job descriptions. Hiring managers do value information that goes beyond your education, like volunteer experience. So take advantage of the digital format to provide extra information you normally couldn’t include on your resume.

In addition to working as an online resume, LinkedIN is a great resource for reaching out to alumni and finding job postings. First, the Career Center suggests searching by specific university to find other alumni. From there, you can narrow searches depending on degree, areas of interests, and even location.

LinkedIN is also the perfect space for gathering connections, ranging from peers to coworkers and professors. Once you’ve found connections, or people you know on LinkedIN, take the extra step and see who your connections are connected to. Using that web of connections will ultimately expand your own connection base.

If you’re graduating or beginning the job search, use LinkedIN’s job section to let recruiters know that you’re looking for a job. Click the “Update career interests” to share information about what specific skills you have and what type of jobs you are interested in, building off the information already provided with your profile.

 

MA/MFA English Alumni Panel

What can you do with an english degree? What do you do if you don’t want to adjunct or be a professor?

The workshop ended with a 9 person alumni panel from various graduate CSU English graduate programs. The panel included:

  • Whitney Dean, Owner/Head Coach, CrossFit Elevation
  • Lauren Feldman, Associate Editor at Active Interest Media
  • Shannon Dale, Assistant Director of Development, College of Liberal Arts, CSU
  • Nelly O’Connor, Academic Success Coordinator, College of Liberal Arts, CSU
  • Drew Nolte, partner at Agile League, application design/development
  • Felicia Zamora, Program manager, CSU Online
  • Jeana Steele Burton, Technical Writer, CA Technologies
  • Angela Sharpe, INTO CSU Instructor, co-founder of Mas Language Services
  • Shannon Zeller, INTO CSU Instructor, co-founder of Mas Language Services

MA/MFA English Alumni Panel

This informal panel opened a discussion between current and graduated MA/MFA students with important and valuable tips for moving forward with our degrees. Some of the key points from this discussion were:

 

Experience. Many alumni placed emphasis on internship experience and making connections. Even join an interest group to find people in the community you can connect with.

Ask for help. Take advantage of the resources offered to you while you are a student, like your advisors, mentors, department and the Career Center. Don’t be afraid to ask any one of these people for help, they are here to help you succeed.

Continue learning. Teach yourself new skills before a job interview. If you’re unfamiliar with a position you’re looking at, research it! As English majors, we are talented at researching and learning about new things. Use that to your advantage.

Persistence. Apply for things that you might not feel qualified applying for. Don’t give up easily and keep pushing for the things you’re passionate about.

Networking. Come from a genuine place. Ask someone in your dream position out for coffee. Be authentic with those connections and show your curiosity. Create a mutual relationship and even offer them to help them with a project they’re working on. This will form a relationship with that person. (English majors can be fairly introverted people, so think about these opportunities as part of your professional identity, and mentally prepare for those interview and networking moments.)

“Huddle your ducks.” This builds off the idea of networking. Through the connections you make, create a strong well of people you can ask for help. This also means recommendations! Speak and engage with mentors and professors who have helped you during your education. These are great connections for the future.

Find your passion. Some members on the panel took a pay cut to move over into something they’re passionate about. Think about your direction and where you ultimately want to go.

 

Getting an MA/MFA in English might feel like a graduate degree with a narrow scope of employment, but. But there are many interesting, and unsuspected, ways to put that degree to use.

Ultimately, the most consistent piece of advice was to continue building a network. We all have a well of people around us who are focused in different areas and pursuing different things. Maintain relationships with these people and constantly watch for unconventional ways to use your English degree!

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We’re coming to the end of National Poetry Month. It has been a challenge to limit ourselves to just a month’s worth of influential poets and poetic forms, while including space for CSU’s own poets. We’ve barely brushed the surface. If we’ve learned anything this month, it would be that poetry is a powerful magic, a potent medicine, and poets are the ones we look to when “she cannot find the words/for the nothing in her center.”

One of our favorite poets, Camille Dungy, reading some of her poetry.

One of our favorite poets, Camille Dungy, reading some of her poetry.

To end our spotlight this month, we are featuring the fourth of our CSU English faculty poets, Camille Dungy. We remain excited about the recent release of her new collection of poetry, Trophic Cascade, (March 2017). “Dungy writes about the world in which we must all survive in a time of massive environmental degradation, violence, and abuse of power.” Earlier this week, Poetry Daily featured her title poem, Trophic Cascade, a powerful piece that compares the change that happened to the ecosystem in Yellowstone after the reintroduction of the gray wolf to the personal transformation that took place for the poet once she became a mother, “After which, nothing was ever the same.” This single poem does what the rest of the collection does so well — telling beautiful and sometimes brutal stories of life, embodying both the personal and the natural world in a single unified narrative.

We recently featured Dungy on the blog during Women’s History Month. There’s also a profile we did when she first arrived at CSU. Rather than repeat ourselves, we decided this time to ask the poet herself to speak for herself about poetry and this new collection.

Can you tell us just a little about Trophic Cascade and your inspiration for this collection of poetry?

It’s often hard to summarize a book of poetry. Here’s what we say about the book on the book: “In this fourth book in a series of award-winning survival narratives, Dungy writes positioned at a fulcrum, bringing a new life into the world even as her elders are passing on. In a time of massive environmental degradation, violence and abuse of power, a world in which we all must survive, these poems resonate within and beyond the scope of the human realms, delicately balancing between conflicting loci of attention. Dwelling between vibrancy and its opposite, Dungy writes in a single poem about a mother, a daughter, Smokin’ Joe Frazier, brittle stars, giant boulders, and a dead blue whale. These poems are written in the face of despair to hold an impossible love and a commitment to hope.”

In terms of the inspiration for writing the book, I was beginning to write new poems in a moment when I was bringing a new life into this world. But I also happened to be losing loved ones, to old age and illness, but also (if I think more proudly about what and who I love) to environmental degradation, domestic and global violence, and more. Thinking about regeneration (oh joy!) in the midst of peril (oh no!) moved my writing in a particular direction, and eventually I produced the poems you’ll read in this book.

Since it’s National Poetry month, what is your favorite poetry collection? Or favorite poem?

I always have a hard time answering this question. I’m a poet and a professor of poetry. This means I read for a living and I read for pleasure. There is just no way I can narrow things down to one favorite. Because I know that this question is meant to help readers discover poetry they might love, I can give a list of five books I find myself returning to again and again.

The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton (1965-2000). Boa Editions.
The Apple Trees at Olema, Robert Hass. (Ecco)
Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, Ross Gay (Pittshburg UP)
Citizen, Claudia Rankine (Graywolf Press)
The Verging Cities, Natalie Scenters-Zapico (Center for Literary Publishing)

Why do you think poetry is so important?

The great poet Audre Lorde says, in her essay “Poetry is Not a Luxury”: “Poetry is the way we help give name to the nameless so it can be thought.” I agree. Poetry is a path toward empathy. Poetry is a path toward a deep brand of knowledge. Poetry is a means toward inscribing beauty on a broken world. Poetry is a register of life. I could go on…

In one sentence, what advice would you give a student who is an aspiring poet?

Read more poetry.

 

And that seems like the perfect thing to leave you with at the end of this month of celebration. Consider this your charge for not just the next month but for the next 365 days: Read more poetry. (And if you need any recommendations, just ask us).

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As National Poetry Month comes to a close, we’ll spend the final days focusing close to home, on our very own English department poets — Matthew Cooperman, Sasha Steensen, Dan Beachy-Quick, and Camille Dungy.

Poet, professor and essayist Dan Beachy-Quick is next up for our local poets. He is an Associate Professor from CSU’s own English department.

Born in Chicago, he was raised in both Colorado and upstate New York. After graduating with a BA in English from the University of Denver, Beachy-Quick received his MFA from the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop in 2000.

Since graduating, Beachy-Quick has both written his own poetry and taught others about the craft. Before teaching at CSU, he taught at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The Poetry Foundation explains that his poetry “draws its material from a wide range of sources” and “is often united by a focused engagement with the fabric of sound and the pattern of echoes.”

He has published five books of poetry, including Circle’s Apprentice (2011), North True South Bright (2003), Spell (2004), Mulberry (2006), and This Nest, Swift Passerine (2009).

This Nest, Swift Passerine was a finalist for three awards in 2010: the Colorado Book Award in Poetry, the William Carlos Williams Award, and the PEN USA Literary Award in poetry. The collection Circle’s Apprentice won the 2011 Colorado Prize in Poetry and it was named Notable Book of 2011 by the Academy of American Poets.

Publisher’s Weekly described Beachy-Quick as “a supple and well-read poet with a fine ear” and explains that he has “long studied–some might even say he has been obsessed with–Moby Dick.” It’s not surprising that this essay collection in 2008 titled A Whaler’s Dictionary builds off the journeys of Melville’s Ahab and Ishmael.

Beachy-Quick’s reach extends beyond the CSU English department. This year, he was awarded a Research Fellow from the Global Environmental Sustainability at CSU. He is the principal investigator for the Crisis and Creativity Global Challenges Research Team here at CSU. Beachy-Quick’s research team “represents a unique, trans-disciplinary collaboration between the natural sciences and the humanities that will address the increasing threat that specific loss poses to global environmental sustainability.” Read SOURCE’s article to learn more about his team and the other fellows.

Video: Dan Beachy-Quick, Live Your Passion at Colorado State University College of Liberal Arts

 

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The Creative Writing Reading Series ended with this semester’s second, and final, thesis reading in the Gregory Allicar Museum of Art. The space was filled with family, peers and faculty members eager to hear the accomplishments of these three students: Joyce Bohling (MA in Creative Nonfiction), KT Heins (MFA in Fiction), and Cedar Brant (MFA in Poetry).

Camille Dungy opened the evening with an introduction, both excited and sad to begin the last event in the Creative Writing Reading Series of the school year.

As my fellow English department intern, I was excited to hear Joyce Bohling read an excerpt from her nonfiction graduate thesis. Associate Professor E. J. Levy introduced Bohling, describing her as a writer marked for a literary life. Bohling’s small, soft spoken demeanor is largely contrasted with her fierce words on the page.

Bohling’s thesis builds on her personal journey with anorexia, moving through the science and cultural history of eating disorders and the modern fad of dieting. As she began her piece, a stark silence settled over the group. Her cultural criticism targeted professionals in the field who combine dieting with extreme exercise as the perfect (“healthy”) duo for weight-loss maintenance.

As Bohling presented fact after fact, her powerful voice permeated the room. The weight of her evidence piled against the alleged success of dieting, moving from a satirical to an outright dismissive tone as we learned more about her personal experiences with dieting. We were left with an important explanation surrounding the reality of Health at Every Size, a lasting message that will still resonate long after the reading.

Levy took the time to also introduce MFA fiction student KT Heins, who shared the first chapter of her novel. As Levy explained, Heins’ violent and eerie prose was something that was both haunting and haunted. The story revolved around a lesbian who lost her lover one year ago to anorexia, an unplanned but recurring topic for the evening.

As she began, Heins’ words were filled with intense imagery that worked to describe the vivid scenery of the world within her novel. We followed her characters as they built a life together, a life before loss. Through her descriptions and narration, I could picture the glass house they bought in Aspen, and the way each character moved in that space, in sync with one another.

A feeling of cold, and loss, carried throughout the reading. I could almost feel the cold surround me, mimicking Heins’ tone as the ghost of the lost partner appeared, followed by the absolute weight of the memory. Her first chapter left me wanting more of this story, a haunting reflection on love and loss.

Finally, Cedar Brant read an excerpt from her MFA poetry collection. While Associate Professor and poet Dan Beachy-Quick was unable to attend the event, he sent a speech introducing Brant’s poetry which Associate Professor Sasha Steensen read.

Through Beachy-Quick’s well-formulated words, we learned of the elegant and philosophical nature of Brant’s poetry. Her deeply vulnerable poetry allows us to “see how she is of and in the world.”

Before beginning her reading, Brant explained that the inspiration for her collection, and the focus on fire, came from the experience she had when her house burned down. Unsurprisingly, her poems are themed around these powerful images and memories of fire. These poems, according to Brant, are a “space where more parts of myself can be contained.”

Brant’s voice was calm and steady as she moved through each poem, delicately circling around the theme of fire. As an audience, we moved through her painful memories and her fluctuating relationship with her sister. Each poem took these smaller memories and expanded into larger ideals and reflections. With Brant, we experienced her giving parts of herself back to the earth, allowing us to dwell on our own relationship with the earth.

When the reading ended, I found myself wanting more. This past year, each graduating MA and MFA student has worked tirelessly on completing their final thesis project. I feel privileged to have shared in this part of their process, hearing just a portion of the work that Joyce Bohling, KT Heins, and Cedar Brant put into these creative projects. I can’t help but think about the small pieces of themselves they will leave behind, pieces that have forever become a part of their work and of us.

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For this week of National Poetry Month, we are featuring spoken word poetry and poets.

Image by Jhayne

Hearing a poem read by its author adds an additional dimension to any work.The inflection, the empty spaces, the tone. All of these pieces work together to create the art of spoken word.

Shane Koyzcan was born in 1976 in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. At the National Poetry Slam in 2000, he won the Individual Championship title, making him the first Canadian to win. From there, he continued to garner success for his slam poetry. He went on to publish his first full-length poetry collection in 2005 called Visiting Hours. This work brought together a collection his spoken word and poetry, all dealing with the “intricacies of human emotions.”

His collection made The Guardian’s “Books of the year” list in 2005 for Koyzcan’s “ability to take you straight to the heart of what on the surface may seem like mundane actions but which turn out to be much more complex. He makes you feel the depth of love, joy, and pain in everyday life. Love, after all, is in everything.”

In 2010, he performed a portion of his “We Are More” piece at the Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. In 2014, he released a digital spoken word album titled Silence Is A Song I Know All The Words To. Beyond the audio element, artist Gareth Gaudin illustrated his poems into a graphic novel of the same name.

Koyczan went viral online with his 2013 “To this Day Project.” The spoken word, set to an animated video on YouTube, addresses Koyzcan’s personal experiences with bullying. The video brought further attention to Koyzcan as a slam poet, and raised awareness about bullying.

Video: Shane Koyczan reads “To This Day”

As Koyczan explains, “My experiences with violence in schools still echo throughout my life but standing to face the problem has helped me in immeasurable ways. Schools and families are in desperate need of proper tools to confront this problem. This piece is a starting point.”

Through this project, Koyczan hopes to bring attention to the ongoing issue of bullying and its presence in schools today. As his poem explains, he grew up “surrounded by people who used to say/ that rhyme… about sticks and stones/ As if broken bones/ hurt more than the names we got called,/ and we got called them all.”

Spoken word has a way of sticking with people, hearing the words spoken with speed or suspended through dramatic silence. Koyzcan used his own stories to shed light on a problem children still have today. But, “to this day,” there’s still more we can do to help.

Shane Koyczan is currently on a Canadian and International tour that started in April and is continuing through June. This tour promotes his new album titled Debris. He will make an appearance at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in Colorado on June 16-19. (For more information: http://bit.ly/2nNHrE6.)

Want to know more about this poet?

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Image from rupikaur.com

Artist and poet Rupi Kaur was born in Punjab, India, in 1992. When she was only 4, her parents emigrated to Toronto, Canada. Her artistic and creative ability was something that emerged when she was a young age. Kaur began to draw and paint, inspired by her mom and would write poems for her friends, and even crushes.

As Kaur reflected in an interview, “I grew up reading everything I could get my hands on. I was moved by the ability of books to pull one out of their reality and into someone else’s…I want to put words to feelings we have trouble putting into words. Like the breath before the kiss, I want to make the mundane beautiful.”

At the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Kaur was able to pursue this passion by studying Rhetoric and Professional Writing. She then began posting her poems on social media sites, like Tumblr and Instagram. Through these venues she gained popularity and published her first collective works in 2015 titled milk and honey. 

The collection has received much attention for the voice she brings to violence, abuse, love, loss and family. Huffington Post said that “reading the [Kaur’s] book, is like getting the hug you need on a rainy day, the catharsis you crave after a tragedy.”

From the success of her first collection, Kaur has a contract for two more books with one slated for fall of this year.

While her poetry perfectly captures a wide breadth of powerful moments, it’s not without lots of time and sweat on Kaur’s part. As she explains, “The words get in the way of writing.” Her process often involves “Freewriting. Rewriting. Entering. Backspacing. Coping. Pasting. Until I stop. Until it feels like I’ve gotten out everything that needed to be written and then I will put it away.”

Rupi Kaur has made waves in both the poetry realm and within larger feminist work. In 2015, she posted a controversial image on Instagram of her lying on a bed with an obvious menstrual stain on her sweatpants. This was part of a Visual Rhetoric course at the University of Waterloo.

Through her art, Kaur fights to bring attention to these taboos of society, becoming a powerful messenger for many women without a voice of their own.

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The work of David Whyte moves between literary, psychological, theological and vocational worlds. As Whyte explains, his poetry and philosophy comes from “the conversational nature of reality.”

Born in 1955 in Mirfield Yorkshire, his poetry was influenced by bother his mother’s Irish heritage and what he called his “Wordsworthian childhood” in West Yorkshire. But his early life didn’t reflect his passion for poetry and philosophy. Instead, he received a degree from Bangor University in Marine Zoology.

Following his undergrad, he lived in the Galapagos Islands, working as a naturalist. He became quite the world traveler, leading various anthropological and natural history expeditions through the Andes, the Amazon, and the Himalayas.

It wasn’t until after Whyte moved to the States in 1981 that he began his career as a poet. In 1987, he began to share both his philosophy and writing with larger audiences. In an interview with Spirituality Health, he reflects on the role poetry and philosophy have played in his life, explaining that “I felt it in my infancy and first started articulating it in my early teens, but I actually thought that everyone was like this. So it was quite a surprise when people would be taken aback by the insights in my thoughts or my poetry.”

His first poetry collection, Songs for Coming Home, was published in 1984. Now, he boasts 7 volumes of poetry and 4 books of prose. Whyte has received an honorary degree from Neuman College in Pennsylvania. In 1994, he topped the best-seller list in the United States for his book The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America. Whyte is an associate fellow at both Templeton College and Saïd Business School in Oxford.

In 2014, he published his book Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words. In an interview about this book, Whyte says that “there must be a place for everything in the human soul…it’s just a question of where they are in the hierarchy of experience.”

As human beings, it’s important to keep asking questions, and looking at the world around us. As Whyte reminds us, “you ask [a beautiful question] with your body. You ask it with your longing. And you can ask a beautiful question in complete silence with no verbalization whatsoever, just in the way you’re paying attention.”

 

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