Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

There’s No Place Like Home

On the particular joy of visiting a beloved author’s house

I am drawn to the homes of famous writers like a wayfaring pilgrim on a lifelong literary crusade. Somehow, I manage to talk my patient husband into going along for the ride. But he doesn’t really mind. He has seen what these nerdy excursions mean to me.

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Merry Christmas! You’ve got Cactus Man

Sometimes a community needs a Christmas tradition all its own

He appeared at my threshold late one night, uninvited: Cactus Man, a ceramic figure in biker regalia, planted with a suggestive succulent. What began as a gag gift from my Ultimate Frisbee teammates grew into an outrageous ritual that, for our little tribe, came to embody the Christmas spirit.

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“Leaving Town on the 8:05”

Book Excerpt: The Light Tears Loose

KB Ballentine’s sixth collection,The Light Tears Loose, appeared in July 2019 with Blue Light Press. Published in Crab Orchard Review and Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal, among others, her work also appears in anthologies, including In Plein Air and Carrying the Branch: Poets in Search of Peace.

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“A Letter”

Book Excerpt: Swallow

Tara Mae Mulroy is the author of the full-length poetry collection Swallow and the chapbook Philomela. A graduate of the M.F.A. program in poetry at the University of Memphis, she currently manages Nightjar Review, freelances, and teaches Latin.

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“Dear J.T.”

Book Excerpt: And What Would You Say If You Could?

Born in New York and raised in Nashville, Haviland Whiting is a 2019 United States Youth Poet Laureate Ambassador and the 2018 Nashville Youth Poet Laureate. She is a senior at Harpeth Hall School. And What Would You Say If You Could? is her first published collection of poetry.

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