Where the Words Come From: 01 - Key to Survival


We have been getting a lot of questions about the poetry within, specifically regarding the focus of each poem. Are these poems about each woman specifically? Why the Killdeer Mountains? Why lipstick? Why JFK? That's why we wanted to start a series where we talked about where the words came from for each woman and tell the deeper meaning of their story behind the poetry.

Each women within the book has their own poems about them and them only. I remember Dave encouraging me to write right after we met with them, so the morning was fresh in my heart and head. Often times, I would buzz into work after early Wild Morning shoots, so I would write a list of things I noticed about each woman and settle in to write late into the evening hours.

Let's start with 01 - Alexandria and her poem 'Key to Survival.' Note: the women in the book are featured in the order we met with them. 

When we met Alexandria on a warm July morning, I wrote down her quotes on my phone as Dave took photos and we all chatted. We were just talking with her, she had a lot of tasteful one-liners that I couldn't resist noticing and jotting down. She was excruciating. That's the only way I could describe her quickly. "At hotels, I sit in the sink to do my makeup. I always wear eyeliner. I keep it on from the night before and just go over it when I wake up." That was the first quote from Alexandria I had on my phone. Then, "I want a kid so bad. Her name will be Kennedy when she's here."

Her life was everywhere and everything, sprawled all over her closet and old dresser, along her walls and deep into her tall white shelf in her kitchen. I remember writing a few things in my notebook when I got home, the things I was most enamored by her - and what was the best part about this first Wild Morning, was that I was in awe of the most simple things: the vintage stork scissors on her thigh, the beam of Twitter on her face as she scrolled through her phone, her copper pot collection, how she stood - knees pressed together and delightfully awkward in her kitchen...and suddenly I was fascinated by how the things she kept held her to a truthful standard.

I wanted to write about everything I saw in her home and relate it to her life. Because her things said so much about her. Even though I didn't know so much about her, Wild Morning only offered a sliver into her life, I felt the honesty in what surrounded her every morning. Her copper ware collection glistening back at her like a team of soldiers accentuated her inner strength. The vintage scissors she collected gave her a maternal and adventurous gusto. The straw perched inside her coffee mug, something delicate and intentional - like she had a plan but it was casual enough to alter. Her obsession with JFK, felt romantic and longing...bold in its nostalgic luster. Her love for Chuck Klosterman felt complicated because I knew her mind worked around corners and down deep alleyways of curiosity. She was loose in intention with an incredible backbone. Which, in turn, made her majestic in intention. 

That's how I wrote "Key to Survival." I felt everything about her, all over. I could feel that's how she thrived. All-consuming. Not hot to the touch but safely whole.



david puente