A few nights ago at work a fellow employee and I walked through the crowded "employees only" back hallway and saw a Bible on the shelf reserved for items with typos. We saw a Bible encased in a box. Upon the box Jesus was not spelled normally but instead, "Je'sus." My boisterous co-worker walked through the store boldly questioning to all, "Why is there an apostrophe in Jesus?" I have an underlying hunch there is a poem or essay within her question. Stay tuned.

My job is fascinating. You might not recognize the fascination if you walked in to see me pricing boxes of CD's, ringing up sales, or straightening numerous shelves at the end of the night. Nonetheless, I people-watch a lot and I often feel as if some of our customers will be morphed into my stories' characters one day. Not to mention that I really do find solace with books surrounding me and I try to concentrate on that fact when a few customers challenge my usually calm demeanor.

Sometimes a booklover will walk in our store and inpsire amazement. Last week a pretty blonde lady was shopping and I knew her from somewhere - it was killing me. I raced around the past in every crevice of my brain trying to find this nameless woman. I rang up a sale and noticed an adorable, semi-gawky young lady with long, beautifully-wild, curly red hair and soft pale skin. Her friend said, "Hey Taylor, look at this." At that point I'm pretty sure my jaw dropped. I suddenly felt all of my 29 years. Taylor was one of my cute 3 year old students from Treasure Island day care at Second Baptist church around 8 years ago and the blonde was her mom. Back in the day Taylor still had that gorgeous head of hair but it was shorter like my childhood heroine, Annie. As Taylor walked around the store she sized up every book with the cool, laid-back stare she used while watching me read a story to a group of 3 year olds. Since I'm not a parent yet I don't really know but seeing Taylor again gave me a glimpse of what it must be like to watch your children grow - phenomenal.

And, yesterday a lady arrived at the counter with an armful of very heavy books. She directed my attention to the chivalrous customer who allowed her to go before him due to her heavy load. He was a gentle young man in a wheelchair who was not able to speak so he gestured her with his head to go ahead of him. My heart swelled with admiration as I saw before me true qualities of a man.

The other event this week worth mentioning is a writers in residence program at Strange Land Books/Taft Coffee/Ecclesia church. I received both a snail-mailing and an e-mail which I took as Signs unto me since I've been praying lately realizing my desire to write poetry and fiction has not disappeared. It seems just when I convince myself I could never be a good writer or that it's too late in life, I pick up a book like Suzanne Lipsett's whose writer soul bonds to mine so sticky I can't breathe until I say, "Ok, alright. I DO need to write." Anyway, the 5 writers in residence are beyond-kind people who grasp the servanthood of art and humble me with their willingness to teach infant writers such as myself. Go out and buy all of their works: J. Mark Bertrand, Wm. Anthony Connolly, Allison Smythe, Jessica Beck, and Martha Louise Doolittle.

{... Poetry arrived
in search of me. I don't know, I don't know where
it came from, from winter or a river.
I don't know how or when ...
-Pablo Neruda}

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