To Nelda, Who Made Me a Writer

“You are a great writer, Ashton. Better than most students I’ve had,” Mrs. Reichley said, her tone serious and intentional, holding one of my papers in her hand as she looked at me from across the desk.

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Ashton Ray
Let it Carry You

The Apollo is iconic. Chandeliers and theater boxes make sweeping declarations of one hundred years ago. But there’s an intangible quality simmering beneath the elegant trimmings. There is soul here. The Apollo Theater is in Harlem, and the spirit of Harlem lives in the Apollo. Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, and Alicia Keys presided, invisible but palpable, taking up the space they deserve. We sat on the front row of the first mezzanine, the best seats in the house, putting our feet up on the rails.

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Elizabeth Moore
Heavy With Nostalgia

That house has been my home for all of my 24.5 years on this earth. It’s where I have experienced some of my deepest hurts and greatest joys. It holds my story, and as I made my way thru the playroom and the rest of the tasks on my dad’s list, that truth became evident. Rather than going thru everything, every picture and elementary school art project and book, I want to talk about the highlights, the real nostalgic treasures.

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Ashton Ray
Because You Asked

I’ve been stunned by the power of persistent prayer--the unseen mystery of talking to God, of asking for the desires of your heart but holding them with an open hand, of receiving gifts that are beyond your wildest dreams and realizing they are yours, not because you deserve it, but because you simply asked.

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Elizabeth Moore
The Comfort Afforded by the Color of My Skin

For the last few years I’ve been making a conscious effort to increase my personal awareness of race in America. I’ve written about it a few times, but this is a conversation that needs to continue. And it’s Black History Month, so I’m going to talk about it again.

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Ashton Ray
Moments and Songs and Memories

Like most people I meet, if I hear a certain songs, I get instantly transported to different moments in my past. An unfortunate number of these memories have to do with guys, some with deep sadness or immense joy, and some are just memories of driving to school. There are so many songs and albums that I’ll love, or hate, forever because of what they bring up. Here are some of them.

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Ashton Ray
Significant Moments, Significant Places

I’m not an expert on this city by any means (I have the credibility of a long-term tourist), but New York has been the backdrop to significant moments I don’t want to forget. The river is rushing past, leaving barely enough time to savor the sweetness, saltiness, or whiskey-sour-ness of a moment until it’s gone. So, as a three-month-old rookie to this city, here are a few places of significance so far.

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Elizabeth Moore
On Good Art

During my first week at Oxford, I did what any Narnia and Hobbit loving human would do---I walked my literary ass to the Eagle and Child.

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Elizabeth Moore
Notes on Autumn

This is the time of year where my toes are enduringly cold and always a bit damp. But even in the bite of cold, something glows. I’m more aware of warmth and safety than ever before.

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Ashton Ray
One Year Later

I’ve lived in Birmingham for a year today. And now, just like last year, I find myself sitting in a brand new and unfamiliar apartment, crying.

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Ashton Ray
How Do You Say Goodbye?

I stand on the empty hardwood floor that used to be my living room; the same floor Jerica and I used to tiptoe around to not disturb our cranky downstairs neighbor. Every little sound is magnified by the echoes of an empty room. The white TV cable is coiled on the ground, and the oven clock gives off the only shred of light. It’s dark and empty in here.

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Elizabeth Moore
Life as an Enneagram One

I typed “enneagram one” into google and this is learned that the names are both “the perfectionist” and “the reformer”. I find the last one to be a little too optimistic, but I appreciate the effort.

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Ashton Ray