Posts in Conversation
Nightmares

Roaches. They haunt my first memories. In Lubbock, TX circa age two, my twin sister and I both woke up from bad dreams. We set out to seek comfort. Reaching our parents required a journey across the house.

We knew endless dark bugs waited for us.

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“I don’t LIKE salad!”

The lobby of my YMCA was in full Saturday bustle. I chirped my entry card and veered to the right around the staircase. Parents herded their kids, trying to make an exit.

“I don’t LIKE salad!” I heard a toddler announce right before he almost ran into me.

I scooched out of his way and smiled. Honestly, it didn’t sound like he was throwing a fit. It was more an honest assertion.

I wanted to lean down and say, “I feel you buddy.”

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STUCK

My little VW Beetle was parked close to a curb at a friend’s house. Their grassy lawn sat on the other side. As I opened the door to get in, the sharp lime-green corner stuck in the earth. As hard as I pulled, I couldn’t get it free.

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Stay on the Line

The cop took a U-turn at the light, following me in my lane.

“There is a police car behind me,” I explained to my sister on the phone. I put my blinker on and turned. “Oh no, they turned too.”

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Reggae, Amputations, and Trice by Author Jess Hagemann

I met Trice at The Absinthe House on Pearl Street. The bar doesn’t exist anymore, but when it did they had weekly reggae nights. I spotted him immediately—that woven tam cap slouching over two kind eyes, those baggy jeans swaying gracefully to the music. He asked me to dance, and I asked him what he did—proving that first impressions aren’t everything. That sometimes, the soul’s story sounds like The Wailers when it sings.

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Hold Space

I circled the packed YMCA parking lot. My anxious pre-yoga pep talk did not go well: “I’m not going to get a spot and I’ll be late for class. There might not be room for me. Even if there is, I don’t want to be that person.”

I took a deep breath and kept circling.

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Peace Like a River by Author Chris Cander

Inside, 20 teenagers—many of them scarred, tattooed, broken-looking—talked in small groups. After I was introduced, the kids looked at me somewhat suspiciously. As I told them why I loved this incredible story of a young boy’s journey across the frozen Badlands of the Dakotas in search of his fugitive older brother, it occurred to me that I might not be able to give away any books at all.

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Scream Hollow by Author J.N. Powell

Outside of Austin, about an hour away in Smithville, on a lonely, remote road that leads to an even more lonely and remote plot of land, there is a magical place called Scream Hollow Wicked Halloween Park. Like the fairy land of Celtic lore that reveals itself at twilight, Scream Hollow is only open to visitors during the most magical month of all. October.

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