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What is it about the smell of toast that is so pleasant? Not too much to do to achieve it: Bread popped into a toaster, button pushed, patience. And whala, simple pleasure! The photo above is the beginnings of my peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch today. While putting it together, the aroma that filled the kitchen made me take pause. I have no big events or special memories tied to the smell of toast that I recall, and yet there it was--that smile and feeling. From toast.

Sometimes, when I am reading a story, I find myself pulled so far into a scene. It somehow triggers some emotional response that I cannot trace back to its roots, but it is there none-the-less. In creating a story, it is my hope to find a bit or two spots in the narrative that folks may fall into and get lost for just a little while. Although my writing cannot compare, some of my favorite moments reading still light a smile. Fear. Intrigue. Sadness. And pleasure. Just recalling the words and moments brought to the page by some of my favorite authors replays it all so simply:

❤Harry Potter's birthday cake on the island in the middle of a stormy sea. (JK Rowling, Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone)

❤Katniss Everdeen's moment in the tube before being elevated into the Hunger Game challenge for the first time. (Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games)

❤Elsa Wolcott Martinelli's stance on the back of a pick-up truck fighting for picker's rights during the Dust Bowl just before being mercilessly shot (Kristin Hannah, The Four Winds)

❤Lali (Ludwig) Sokolov driving away from the Russian soldiers after serving them and being liberated from Auschwitz weeks before. (Heather Morris, The Tattooist of Auschwitz)

❤Alice Van Cleve's first horseback ride into the mountains to delivery books to isolated families (Jojo Moyes, The Giver of Stars)

❤And Kya's long long wait in jail after knowing only freedom and independence. (Della Owens, Where the Crawdads Sing)

These are just a drop in the bucket of the many moments I have had finding simple pleasure in reading. Not too much to do to achieve it: Grab a book, have some light, put on my glasses, read. Replay. And whala, a trip into another world.

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