FULL DISCLOSURE… Andrea Lynn Samuels (Drea) is a friend of mine. We go back to freshman year at South Carolina State University and remain in touch. Drea is a warm and engaging soul who is immediately on your side; as long as what you are doing is good for people. So it was no surprise to me when I learned that she was writing a book of poetry whereby she would share what’s likely her most trying experience. What’s more is she’s contributing a portion of the proceeds to benefit cancer research. Again, no surprise to me.
On a personal note I can tell you that “Dear Life” came about much the same way that this blog has. It is a result of a “4.0 level” (meaning 40ish years old) individual finally pursuing and sharing a passion that was discovered fairly early in life; but for some reason was subordinate to other priorities… Until now. For that I am ecstatically happy for my friend.
That said, my friends know me to be honest in (and happy to give) my opinions. I am usually tactful in my approach, but no matter what, they know I make my true thoughts known. I don’t sugar coat things with my friends… So know that I am sincere when I say “Dear Life” is open, warm, poignant, and beautiful. Drea gives the reader a real window into her life. We get to peek into her experiences in love, life lessons, relationships with friends, relationships with family, self discovery, and observations of the wonders of God’s works. Drea’s poetic voice lends emotion to the most mundane observations. In ‘Welcome Home’ she observes an argument between strangers on 126th St during a visit to her native Harlem. It seems that loud words on a NY City street would be a pretty ordinary occurrence… but put her words to it and it becomes a bout with empathy for a complete stranger. ‘Reassured’, an ‘Evening Stroll’, and ‘Masterpiece’ relate the potency of love and deep infatuation. All at the same time Drea goes on to relate the profound admiration that a daughter has for a father who has shared with her the gift of his own creativity in ‘Riverside Drive’. This is just a taste. Trust me when I tell you that there is so much more.
Such a dynamic voice given to the extraordinary, the mundane, the pleasures and the vicissitudes of life comes, in this case, from a writer who has come to know triumph; despite profound loss and the struggles of her loved ones. In “Dear Life” Drea is real; and open; and honest about it all. It’s inspiring. Drea has taken personal tragedy and made it a bridge to personal power. Oh… and she manages to help others out along the way.
After reading “Dear Life, Here I Am.”, I feel that I’ve gotten to know my friend and fellow Bulldog a site better and I’m better for it. I suggest you get to know her too.
You can get the book here.