author spotlight: Jen Karuza Schile

As Jen Karuza Schile explains to her college friend Wendy in “True Blue,” the best of buddies are those you can turn to (and clean for you!) when you’re dealing with the break-up blues…

“I lumbered back to my car after class at the end of the day, dreading having to go back to the house and up the stairs to my cramped little room and face the ruins that awaited me. I did not want to look at the used tissues, ripped letters, and broken CDs, only to be reminded of my miserable state. I was shocked when I opened the door to my room on that hopeless day! I opened the door to a bright room–what seemed a world, really–of cleanliness and order. The scraps of old tissue had been picked up off the floor, and the trashcan had been emptied. The broken music and ripped pictures had been collected, and the floor was freshly vacuumed. A bouquet of colorful flowers sat in a vase upon the antique sewing table, a white card propped next to them. I sat on my pink flowered comforter and looked around, awash in gratitude. My eyes rested on a shoebox sitting near my bed. I opened it and discovered the remains of the pictures, letters, and CDs, all set gently inside. You didn’t throw out my memories; instead, you saved them for me. You thought that I might want to look at them some more, perhaps even tape a few back together, before discarding them altogether myself. It was the most thoughtful thing anyone had ever done for me…”

JEN KARUZA SCHILE has written profiles, features, and personal essays for both trade and mainstream publications. She’s been a regular writer and correspondent for National Fisherman magazine and was also published in Pacific Fishing. Her personal essays were included in the anthologies A Matter of Choice: 25 People Who Transformed Their Lives and Steady as She Goes: Women’s Adventures at Sea. Jen facilitates a writing circle for the Story Circle Network, a national organization of women writers, and received an honorable mention in the memoir category of the Writer’s Digest Writing Competition. Jen can be reached at www.jenkaruzaschile.com or on her blog, Highliners and Homecomings, which celebrates the life of commercial-fishing families. She lives in Washington state.

Read the rest of Jen’s letter, and 35 others, in P.S. What I Didn’t Say: Unsent Letters to Our Female Friends, now available on Amazon!

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