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Desert Companion

Holla! February 2018

Convenience Store“I dare you to start reading this and put it down (spoiler alert: you won’t).” That’s a fairly typical example of the social-media response to Kristen Peterson’s essay in the February issue, “My Own Alternate Universe.” It chronicled her brief, sometimes winsome, sometimes sad tenure clerking in a suburban gas station/convenience store.  “I love writing where we get a long, intense glimpse into another life, and a writer who sees drama where other people see nothing,” one Las Vegan enthused. Another: “Your voice, your words, your ability to make the mundane beautiful —
that’s what I want to read.” Plenty of readers thought Peterson captured the store’s ambiance precisely: “I am awed at your ability to describe it so eloquently,” one wrote, while another added, “Life in the authentic lane.” One social-media commenter summed it up thusly: “Kristen is one of our best essayists.” Word. If you missed the piece in print, catch it online at

Also in the February issue, middle-aged writer John Glionna, who’d moved into a senior community, wrote about coming to terms with getting older. Local poet and spring chicken Lee Mallory was moved to respond. A few highlights: “John Glionna is fun! Notwithstanding my wife can’t get me to join AARP, Glionna presents a persuasive case on the acceptance of aging. As Homer said, ‘We are all more beautiful because we are doomed.’ ... John’s  cool, moreover, because he writes about culture shock of going to a 20-something’s gym, though he may have more stamina than those youngsters.” Though he’s at least a decade older than Glionna, Mallory says he’s “relaxed” about his age: “I’ll go with the very late Jack London, who said, ‘I’d rather go out like a blazing meteor than a dull, sleepy planet. I will use my time.’”

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