Friday, August 31, 2018

Friday Freebie: One-Sentence Journal by Chris La Tray

Congratulations to Adrianna Rogers, winner of last week’s Friday Freebie: Still Life With Monkey by Katharine Weber.

This week’s giveaway is for One-Sentence Journal by Chris La Tray. If you’ve been paying attention to my Facebook feed over the past few years, you’ll know I’m a die-hard fan of Chris’ blog which features his journal, literally one sentence to sum up each day’s events in a precise, vivid capsule. Gems like “From the comfort of sheets and blankets I felt the storm blow in overnight, shake the house in waves, whistle in the dry branches outside my window, and rattle the vent cover on the roof over the kitchen, only to be gone by morning.” And “Never underestimate the emotional healing powers of a styrofoam tray heaped with cheap Chinese takeout.” And “Add Butte, America to the list of places I’d love to time travel to to witness it really jumping during its heyday.” (When he does, I want to be in the passenger seat beside him so I can meet the souls who once filled this ghosted city in which I live.) Good stuff like that abounds on every page of One-Sentence Journal. You’ll be hearing more about OSJ from me in the future, but for now, I’ll warn you this is one of those books which makes me fall hard and fast in love with it. Unsuspecting strangers on the street will be approached and persuaded. In the meantime, here at the blog, another lucky reader will have the chance to fall in love with the simplicity and beauty of this book. Keep scrolling for more praise for the book and how to enter the contest.

Each poem and essay in La Tray’s book focuses on what would appear to be microscopic and ordinary moments. Innocuous some would say. But not La Tray. His attention in these small moments, paired with his simple, honest, and heartfelt words, helps to remind us that the smallest moment is important. That chain-wrapped tires can sound like sleigh bells, that a glorious afternoon doesn’t require sunshine, or that living paycheck to paycheck makes every other Friday feel like Christmas. The majority of One-Sentence Journal is made up of short poems (yes, often just one sentence) grouped by season. These sections’ structure is very intuitive, each moment being captured and honored within its own space while also maintaining the context of that particular season. Whether it is the needling cold of windblown ice or Missoula covered in golden, autumn leaves, La Tray shies away from nothing, finding beauty, wisdom, and worth in everything.
       (Bryn Agnew, CutBank Journal)

Chris La Tray’s One Sentence Journal achieves the difficult task of creating a narrative out of snapshots. La Tray’s observations of the world around him not only take us into his world, but provide unique insights into our world. This book is proof of the power of language, even at its most spare.
       (Russell Rowland, author of Fifty-Six Counties)

Reading Chris La Tray’s One-Sentence Journal I find myself wishing all kinds of things: that I went for more walks in the woods, that I spent more time in the company of owls, that I ate more fried chicken, that I woke each day in time to watch the sunrise. For this is a sunrise book, a book of revelations, of creekwalks and roadfood and ordinary sadnesses, ordinary joys—which are, in the end, the only kind. “I have a stake in this,” La Tray writes. And so do you. So do you.
       (Joe Wilkins, author of The Mountain and the Fathers)

If you’d like a chance at winning One-Sentence Journal, simply email your name and mailing address to

Put FRIDAY FREEBIE in the e-mail subject line. Please include your mailing address in the body of the e-mail. One entry per person, please. Despite its name, the Friday Freebie remains open to entries until midnight on Sept. 6, at which time I’ll draw the winning name. I’ll announce the lucky reader on Sept. 7. If you’d like to join the mailing list for the once-a-week newsletter, simply add the words “Sign me up for the newsletter” in the body of your email. Your email address and other personal information will never be sold or given to a third party (except in those instances where the publisher requires a mailing address for sending Friday Freebie winners copies of the book).

Want to double your odds of winning? Get an extra entry in the contest by posting a link to this webpage on your blog, your Facebook wall or by tweeting it on Twitter. Once you’ve done any of those things, send me an additional e-mail saying “I’ve shared” and I’ll put your name in the hat twice.

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