For my daughter, who is so strong and was always there for me. She inspires me to push myself to be all I can be.

To my Navy bootcamp chief, who was always tough but who pushed us all in the right direction.

To my high school art teacher, Mrs. G., who was a free spirit.

To my high school senior year biology teacher: you saw something in me I didn’t know was there.

To my college biology teacher, who taught my just how precious life is and how fascinating and beautiful life is.

Peace Book is for you.

And especially for Jay, my best friend.

I met Jay in fourth grade. He lived just around the corner from me in California. We hung out with our mutual friend, Eddie. Sometimes Eddie and I would go looking for Jay, and we would find him asleep in a tree. We’d say, “Where’s Jay?” And we’d go to the same tree, and there he would be. Asleep on a branch. But that was Jay. We’d call him and say, “Hey, wake up!”

And he’d wake up and climb down from the tree.

Back in ’89, we used to go rollerblading and play street hockey. He wrote poetry. His poems were deep and thoughtful and beautiful. He once invited me to a poetry reading at a coffee house on Greenleaf Ave. They whopped a stage in the middle of the café, and it was a full house that night. Jay got on stage while the afternoon sun was shining, and people were sipping lattes and espressos, and everyone just listened as Jay recited his poems. Not a sound could be heard from anyone.

All was quiet except for Jay’s moving poems.

At the end of his reading, everyone snapped their fingers because that’s what you do at poetry readings.