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wishing i could return the favor

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Apr. 27th, 2009 | 08:41 pm

It’s strange what things you find while cleaning. I guess that’s what the phrase “cleaning out your closet” means. Today I found some old pictures, every set list from every show I’ve played, old flyers, every original copy of lyrics I’ve written songs for, and this letter:


Thank you for sharing your talents with us on Friday. Yours is a talent that has the ability to touch people in a variety of ways… all of which are incredibly special. On a personal note, I have experienced many different situations that have at times seemingly come with sort of expense. Rest assured, I am grateful to have a laundry list of experiences as lengthy as mine may be. Experiences are the sort of thing that may be overwhelming at the time, but will always strengthen us in the long run… especially if shared with others. Assuming that you are like most artists who hesitate to share your inner-most thoughts, experiences, and perspective due to the personal nature of the material, I wanted to take the opportunity to thank you for sharing, and implore you to continue to do so… you never know whose life you’ll touch.


Les Auten

I’ve always loved this letter and respected Mr. Auten more than most teachers I’ve had. He was always the honest one. The man who taught you so much more than just the subject at hand. He taught about life and of growing into respectful adults, while doing it in ways that made everyone interested, participative, and heard. He was a storyteller and a friend. I learned a few weeks ago that Les shot himself while being intoxicated, after battling depression. This news was quite a blow to me, because he was one of those people I would never expect this from or wish upon. It angers me, because so much of this letter that I’ve loved so much, had hanging on the wall above my desk at home in California for years, and looked to for the reminder that what I was doing mattered seems contradictory to the ways in which he chose to end his life. They seem contradictory because he ended his life.

I can’t give reason or excuses to the decisions that Mr. Auten chose to make, but I can say here and now that I loved that man, respected him, looked up to him, and wish he were still around today. I was fortunate enough to reconnect with him on a few separate occasions after graduating from Glendora High School, because he happened to be best friends with the owner of the restaurant I served at for a while. He insisted that I call him Les. He said we were both men of the same world now, and that we should treat each other as so.
I just wish I could have stayed in touch more. I wish I could have explained to him how much of an impact he was on so many people, and how involuntarily influential he happened to be in my transition from boyhood into manhood. I wish that someone could have bestowed upon him similar words to the ones he gave to me in May of 2004. I wish I had gone out of my way for him, in that simple way that he did for me. It takes so little sometimes to make serious impacts. One piece of paper, twenty minutes of thought, and the will to make your thoughts known.

I will forever appreciate and give thought to Les Auten.
I sincerely wish he was still here with us today.
I will think of him often, as I have these past five years, and give him a nod in thanks for all that he was to me.

Thank you, Les, for all of that.

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Comments {4}

(no subject)

from: anonymous
date: Jul. 26th, 2010 12:05 pm (UTC)

Thank you for sharing this Matt.

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from: anonymous
date: Mar. 11th, 2011 09:48 pm (UTC)

Les too was one of my best friends

Please call me

Eric Buege


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(no subject)

from: anonymous
date: Dec. 6th, 2011 01:47 am (UTC)

I'm incredibly saddend by that news. Mr. Auten was definitely a big inspiration to me, though I only had him for a short time before he left GHS. :(
On a seperate note, I love your music, Matt. Keep up the wonderful work.

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Matt Clear

(no subject)

from: mwuck
date: Dec. 9th, 2011 01:57 am (UTC)

who is this?? Thank you for such kind words. I hope you're well.

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