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Crossroads from Damascus:  Mississippi Headlights by [Akley, Jason]
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Crossroads from Damascus: Mississippi Headlights Kindle Edition

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Length: 269 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description

Product Description

The legalization of marijuana is becoming an issue more mainstream these days, but most of its advocates still come from the underground. Crossroads from Damascus is a chronicle of the consequences of pot addiction. As a collection of stories and poems connected by non-fictional, inter-related narrative passages, they also tell what was happening while writing them--a tragic yet funny chronicle of working as a traveling lab tech while trying to hide a weed habit. The stories roam from St. Louis to Montana, Texas, and New Orleans, stories that include an account of a real murder that took place in St. Louis back in 2005, a recounting of a pot run to Spokane with Mush, a Native American off The Rocky Boy Reservation (a 1500 mile road trip across the Rocky Mountains in an overheating truck with a half-pound of weed inside), a funny episode about hiding fake pee at a clinic in Texas, and a poem about a birthday in New Orleans with Harry, an old hustler who fixes shoes on Oak Street.

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Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 752 KB
  • Print Length: 269 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Outskirts Press (Nov. 6 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa226db70) out of 5 stars 27 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa2218480) out of 5 stars Exceptional. April 13 2014
By Jay Mittener - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
All I can say is bravo. This book is fantastic. I love how Akley is changing up genres all in one work. It's memoir, poetry, some fiction, but most of all it's heart. It's gripping, gritty, and real in a way that makes you feel at times like you're sitting around a fire and listening to stories and wondering about the person whose mouth they are coming from.

It's not very often that stories feel completely genuine and are able to highlight so many different relationships and emotions. This book is a look at a life, a look at a family, and a very real and significant look at how a family and a life look when depression and desperation are mixed in. This is just an utterly honest portrayal of the struggles of a man and his family to simply live and survive. I was so struck at I read this book with the quest for self actualization and you can actually see the levels of hierarchy akin to Maslow's theory as you read the book.

I love this, and appreciate so much the honesty and the guts that it took to write and publish it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa1ae133c) out of 5 stars An interesting collection of stories April 17 2014
By Owen Robinson - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
So I was recommended this book by a friend. He really enjoyed it, and enjoyed all of the different stories, and said I should check it out.

This book is a mishmash of different people’s stories told through first-person narrative, third-person narrative, or sometimes even poems and things like that. They all center around pot addiction, in one way or another, with depressing, and sometimes hilarious results.

Getting the most obvious thing out of the way first, while I have actually never done any drug harder than painkillers after a tooth extraction, I disagree with the main conceit of “pot addiction”. The reality of it is, there aren’t really any concrete studies either way to say that marijuana can lead to “addiction”, and I personally don’t believe that it is habit forming. Addiction gets thrown around way too much these days as it is. “I’m addicted to chocolate!” No, you like chocolate, and eat it frequently, you’re not physical and mentally compelled to consume chocolate, or face horrible detoxing consequences. But I digress…

I enjoyed some of the stories and poems on their own, but put together as they were, it just seemed very disjointed and jumbled together. I get that it is supposed to be “stream of consciousness”, but the stream seemed to not have a consistent flow to it, with a lot of sections where you just had to get out of the canoe, and trudge across the slow parts yourself. Like I said, I did enjoy pieces of it: a lot of the poems were really nice, and The Candlestick was right up my alley. But overall, it wasn’t great.

Maybe because I disagree with one of the main themes of the book (pot addiction), it colored my perception of the book overall. But that is something that you have to consider when reading something like this, whether you agree with it or not. And I’m not saying “If you don’t agree with something, don’t read it!”: That way of thinking causes more trouble than it helps. The reason they are called our opinions instead of our facts, is because our opinions can change, and it’s important to challenge your beliefs every now and again. It can open you up to new points of view, or solidify your already held beliefs. While this book didn’t really change my mind about anything, I’m glad I read it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa22168b8) out of 5 stars `Most of this book is about risk, dealing with faith in that risk, and the risk in taking credit on your own heart...' March 24 2014
By Grady Harp - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Jason Akley. We know too little about him. He is the son of a colonel in the United States Air Force, and has traveled extensively across America and Europe following his father's military assignments. He currently resides in Illinois. He started writing stories at the age of eight, and has had his poetry published in two books. He is the author of children's books (Sweet Pea and the Bumble Bee and The Candlestick) the hefty tome `Lazarus', `Salted with Salt and The Altar of Silence: Two Novellas, Rick's Place, and The Psalmist. Akley has a BS degree from Tulane University in physics and mathematical economics. But to discover what the man is truly about it is necessary to read his books. He has the gift that imbues Bukowski's writings, the poetic balance of such poets as John Berryman, Allen Ginsberg, and Hart Crane, and the imagination and flights of fantasy that circle reality like few others writing today. Think Foer, Burroughs, etc.

In this collection of short stories, poems, musings and essays he focuses on pot addiction - and they are all over the place, locale wise and topic wise. If you love stream of conscience you will fall in line with some of these stories, or if poking a hole in somewhere you shouldn't appeals, that is here, too. There is tenderness, death, murder, road stories and some very fine poetry. Example:

`The following poems where written soon after I attempted suicide twice in the span of a week. My second and third attempt since my medical discharge from the Air Force in 1998. They were written in the early fall of 2005, and I wrote them just after the hurricane hit New Orleans, after work, after midnight, after driving to the apartment where I last tried to kill myself, the apartment of the woman I proposed to in bed, sitting in the dark there drinking beer, by the kitchen window that looked down into the street...

My sister fell and hurt
Her knee and needed
Surgery. My mother
Stayed with her in the
Hospital, along with my
Brother-in-law, and made sure
She had plenty of bottled soda
To drink after the drugs
Wore off. I stopped in
Before work to see her.
But I got lost and it was
A long walk to the room.
When I arrived
The nurses were helping her
Back into bed after using the
Teddy Bear waiting there
From the boys. Angel and I
Will give them a gift certificate
For a dinner out and an IOU
On keeping the boys for a night
As a Christmas present. They are
No longer little, but I still love to
Wrestle with them. And I'm happy
My sister is doing well... But
I'm late for work, so my mother
Walked me out, and we talked
Our plans along the way.
"We're not buying
a lot of junk this year.
We're getting married and then the
cruise. We'd rather spend our
money on that..."
"I wish you were coming over
for Christmas. You could call
once in a while... It's been
four years now. Four years since
your father passed..."
"I know, Mother..."
We stood at the exit doors
Talking this way
About our plans,
And I hugged her and said
I loved her. And she waited at the
Door as I left...
The people I grew up with are
Comfortable strangers now.
I will see them again
Before New Year's.
Before I marry.
And I don't know if something
Has ended and something else
Has begun, but what has been lost
Has become something else now.
And sometimes I think about this.

If people say Jason Akley Is an acquired taste, then this reader is addicted. This book contains some very fine writing. Grady Harp, March 14
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa2204f54) out of 5 stars Enjoyable book April 14 2014
By Robin Perron - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Crossroads from Damascus: Mississippi Headlights is my second Jason Akley book. Crossroads is a compilation of poetry, short fiction stories and memoirs that all come straight from the heart. Jason Akley uses a memoir format to help explain what he was experiencing in his life when he wrote each piece. These notes provide the reader with a greater understanding of the story or poem that we’re reading.

The Swab, a short story about a triple homicide opens the book and shows the reader the tone for the rest of the book. Akley’s writing is to-the-point and full of emotion. Through this story you’ll learn about the highs and lows that he and his family experience from the birth of both of his children to his struggles with employment and finances.

My favorite story was a short children’s story about a child searching her dreams for a candlestick. In this story the child meets many creatures and learns many lessons as she quests for the candlestick that she was promised.

If you like to learn about your author as you read then this book is most certainly for you.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa220c3c0) out of 5 stars A Powerful Collection, Written From the Heart May 20 2014
By Veritas Vincit - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was an interesting collection of ideas and experiences that vividly painted a picture of the author in an honest way that most writers are unable to do. Baring your soul through characters is one thing, but to so thoroughly pour yourself and your own story into every page must be an exhausting and (at times) painful way to create. The mixture of prose and poetry in the book was well-chosen, as certain feelings should only be expressed in verse, and I felt that the author took the time to consider how he wanted the reader to experience certain elements of his life. The pervasive theme of marijuana use (or even addiction) was a strange twist, and while I haven't participated in that sort of recreational (or habitual) drug use, I know of some people who are heavily influenced by marijuana and have often explained the depths of mental exploration and self-awareness that it gives them. I could see some of their words manifested in this collection, and I felt the naked sincerity of the author as he exposed certain parts of his life. I particularly like the explanations of where his life was at when these pieces were written, or at least what the inspiration for the stories and poems were. It helped to create a framework in which I could experience each piece and then consider how the author was feeling, what he wanted to share with the reader, and what his opinions about those turning points in life happen to be (childbirth, financial struggle, complicated relationships). It made the work of the reader both easier and harder. It was easier to understand the author, but it also doesn't allow you to simply skip over any part of the book that might seem too "heady" or "deep". The bridging explanations to the author's real experiences made every element of the story stick in your mind and forced a reader to consider their own opinions and relationships with certain moments of their life. As the title of this review stated, it was a very powerful collection, and one that I will certainly recommend to other people. Beautifully written and uniquely honest.