When Did I Become The Ugly American?

by Ellen Barone

I sit tightly wedged into an economy class airline seat, braced for the long haul — a pashmina hanging from the seat back, a water bottle in the magazine flap, ear pods in the iPhone jack—when a handsome Air France steward stops to stand beside my aisle seat. 

“Excuse me, madam,” he says, leaning into my view. “These two are mother and daughter,” he continues, gesturing to an elegant middle-aged woman in the row in front of me and the twenty-something blonde seated beside me. “Would you please exchange seats so that they can sit together?”

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My Book, Your Life

by Nancy King

It was dark at 6 a.m. when I struggled to wake up so I could get ready to sell books. Would anyone care if I showed up or not? I was wondering what difference my books made in the world as I ate a hasty breakfast and drove to the farmer's market. Wishing I were still in my warm bed cuddling my cat, I set up my display and sat down at a table with three other authors, each of us trying to sell books to people as they passed by carrying bags of lettuce, tomatoes, and corn; they were interested in eating, not reading. Was the effort of writing a book worth it? 

Just as I was thinking I’d rather sleep than try to sell books, a woman in her early fifties came up to me and said, “I’d like to buy one of your books. Which one do you recommend?”

“Tell me a little about yourself,” I said. 

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