Gretchen L. Kelly, Author

Heart On Fire… Happy Birthday Samara

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No one tells you that blogging will become about more than just writing. It may start off as a way to find your voice, share your thoughts and exercise the writing muscle. But it becomes so much more.

You start meeting other writers. People who care about the same issues you care about. People who breathe through writing the same as you. People who blow you away with their talent and inspire you and make you want to be better at this thing you love.

A little over two years ago, I stumbled onto Samara’s blog through a mutual blog friend. I was a little curious to check out this person who left witty and intelligent comments on another blog. I was immediately sucked into her words. I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the screen. Scrolling from one blog post to the next. Laughing. Then crying. Enthralled. Yes, her life has all the makings of a Scorsese movie. But that wasn’t what got to me. It was her writing. I fell in hard love with her writing.

I would scramble to her blog every time I got notification that she had posted something. Reading, but not commenting. I was intimidated and scared to comment. The comments section read better than some blog posts by other writers. One day I had to say something. She’d written a gut wrenching post. I was moved to tears and had to comment. Somehow my serious comment on her serious post turned into a conversation about music and eventually realized we both were huge Lenny Kravitz fans.

And from there we started to get to “know” each other in bloggy terms. We read each other’s writing and we commented and supported. And in the midst of that we became to know each other in more “real” terms. One day she reached out to me with an email to say something about a post I’d written. It was a hard day for me, a hard post to write. One that I was reeling from for hours after hitting “publish.” The things she said in that email healed a little part of me that was in so much pain that day. It gave me the push to keep writing, just as I was considering giving it up.

See, that’s what she does. She sees something in others and pushes them to be better. She listens to your dreams and tells you to go for it. Underneath the tough exterior that burns with fire is the soft soul of a person who deeply cares about others. She helped to create this amazing place that is a safe haven for writers to unleash their pain and write with blind fury. She is fiercely protective of the people who come there to lay their hearts on the line. She is the embodiment of Together, We Are Stronger.

I’m so grateful that in this huge infinite world of blogging that I connected with her. And though in some ways we couldn’t be more different, there are so many ways I relate to her. We are both fierce protective mothers who share similar parenting philosophies. We are sisters who will never let the memories of our brothers die. We are passionate about music. Music means as much to us as writing, it is intertwined with our words. It inspires us and saves us. We are writers. We live and breathe for our families but writing is what tears us apart and puts us back together. All of these things have connected me to this woman who I got to know through her words. And now I can say we are friends and SisterWives. 

Today is her birthday. I’m a big fan of birthdays. I think they are a glorious reason to celebrate a person. To show them that you are glad they are in this world. To let them know that they are awesome and amazing and special. Samara, Happy Birthday.

Happy Birthday to the passion, to the fire, to every word you bleed onto the paper. Happy Birthday to your soul that you open up and share with us every time you write. Happy Birthday to the fearlessness to Write Free. Happy Birthday to a beautiful person full of love and imperfections and intricacies.

For your birthday, I’d like to take you to a Lenny Kravitz concert. And I think we both agree we want to see Lenny circa 1990. So put on your platform shoes and your hip hugger pants. Mess up your hair and let’s jump and dance and scream. Cheers, my friend. Let’s rock.

*Write Free and Breathe Through Writing are two terms I learned from Samara. See? She’s so good with the words…*

To join the party and listen to Samara’s Birthday Mix Tape, go here.

25 Responses

    1. It SO is.
      Every time I read one, I’m so overwhelmed I can’t comment.
      This one – this touched on the Thing That Joined Us – initially, it was about losing brothers that we loved.
      Lizzi, Gretchen was the spark that eventually became the fire and the courage to write about my brother.

      1. I always knew that you and Gretchen had a very special bond, which goes deep into shared pains, but I didn’t know that.

        I’m so glad. I really think you have some incredibly building-up, healing kinds of people here, Precious – Gretchen, Rara, Hasty – I’m glad 🙂

    1. Ohmygod! It should be! When I was first getting to know Samara she would Tweet about all the random weird holidays (like National Maple Syrup Day) and I told her once we should make up a holiday! Let’s do it! September 9th is now Samara Day! 🙂

  1. You are one of the most inspirational people in the ‘sphere. I get courage from YOU.

    From the moment I found you, it was love. You write to make a difference. Writing at its best.

    I’ve never seen ANYONE write with the range you have – from challenging and political, to family driven, to humorous, to musical expertise, to life affirming, back to deeply change-driven.

    I’m proud to know you, to call you friend, and sisterwife. I love you, Gretchen.

    Write Free!
    And yeah. Let’s rock! xoxoxoxoxo

    1. Samara! You aren’t supposed to say nice things about me here! This is about you and your awesomeness. You can say all of those things later. And often. 🙂 But seriously, you say this and it makes me want to cry. Thank you. I love you too, my friend. And one day, one day we will go see a kick ass show together. xoxo

  2. So beautifully assembled and written. I love that this tribute goes out to rock, blogging, and Samara… that’s a triad of awesomeness. (Happy Birthday, Samara!)

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