Review: Wild in the Hollow by Amber C. Haines

I live in a shoddily-constructed rental home and I’m worse than ashamed about it. I’m irritated with the ground wasps that multiply in August that sting my husband whilst he’s trying to cut the grass. I’m annoyed, generally, with the lack of well-configured space and the moody windows that usually don’t stay open and the ugly countertops that are forever being stained in my kitchen. I’m full-blown ticked that I’m nearly old enough to run for U.S. President but am so broke as to need to rent property from a colleague.

I’m malcontent and it’s not okay and author Amber Haines seems to understand me.

Wild in the Hollow: On Chasing Desire and Finding the Broken Way Home is something of a masterpiece.

Truth: this is the best book I have read about spiritual conviction and the spiritual landscape in North America.
Truth: I am so jealous of Haines’ eloquence for writing about said conviction and landscape.

How can I be both jealous and in awe of a writer at the same time?

I just am. I cannot recommend this book enough. I’ve marked it up something fierce with my pen of conviction and I’ve already got it slated to lend to my girl Brandy who also teaches me things about spiritual convictions and landscapes and who reminds me not to be cranky about my rental home because I am a rich woman indeed and good things come to those who wait and hope in the Lord.

Here’s the trailer:

Wild in the Hollow: On Chasing Desire and Finding the Broken Way Home from Matthews Media on Vimeo.

Please go read this book if you have ever:
– felt a bit too wild for your environment
– wondered why you have an ache for something more at the end of each day
– known anxiety, depression or some combination thereof and wondered why you couldn’t pray it away
– desired community but were afraid you had nothing to offer
– felt despondent about church or the capital “C” church and didn’t know what to do about it

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Sorry I burned your dinner; I was looking for the right emoji

What follows is a bit of satire for your pleasure…

I’m sorry about the lasagna. I know you don’t like it quite so crispy, especially on top.

Believe it or not, while it was baking, I was texting you! I was making lasagna–your favorite. 💗 But how to put that all on 📣 to you without using too many words, because I know you said you hate to scroll. Gives you carpal tunnel while sitting at🚦.

So I figured emoji would be my friend! 😆

That’s why, the message read, “Making 🍝”–but then I thought that was kind of misleading. I mean, why would you leave work before 10 p.m. for spaghetti? So I went searching for an Italian flag emoji to elaborate.

Which is, I guess, when I neglected to hear the timer going off. 😮You know how immune to that I’ve become to the sound of the oven timer, especially after all the times you would tell me to set it when we’re about to have a 😡😡 because you didn’t want it to last more than 10 minutes. Of course, even when the timer was going off, you’d still be waxing on about how it’s all my fault; yet I’m supposed to just be all 😶 and 🙆 and 👸.

Basically, while I was searching for the Italian flag emoji, I ignored the oven timer. So, I just sent the text and then followed up with “🔝means lasagna, lol.”

That was partially a lie. I wasn’t actually laughing out loud. I wasn’t laughing at all. Because that’s when the smoke detector started blaring. I wanted to send you a text not to come straight 🏡 but I didn’t want to panic you. The whole 💥💭💂😖💨was my attempt at saying, “Gotta go.”

Now that I look back at that message, I can see why you immediately called and asked if a Russian spy had tried to kidnap me. That’s when I literally did LOL, except only for a moment because then I smelled burnt cheese ♨ and the kitchen started seriously 💨💨💨.

I started another text to you, but then I realized my time would be better spent calling 🚒

The dispatcher was prepared to walk me through using the fire extinguisher. 💦I looked for it under the sink and to my surprise, discovered your small but fine collection of women’s 👙👙👙. I suppose you never thought I’d be looking for a fire extinguisher since I myself am, as you say, “not exactly a nine alarm 🔥🔥,” but now it looks like there had already been a few in the house. ㈫🏡 ㈫

Sorry about the lasagna. 😂😂😂LOLOLOLOL.

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The best thing I saw at #AWP15

I got to go the Association of Writers Program conference in Minneapolis this past weekend, thank you Workplace Pro Growth account!

It was the best carnival of all for a writer, a smorgasboard of publishing goodies and a veritable Main Street USA of connections, all overstimulating and whipping one around at full-tilt. Also, I am now in possession of 45 bookmarks and 8,000 pens.

It’s easy to fall prey to AWP overwhelm and to just want to stand bowlegged in a corner and hope someone is going to shout, Red Rover Red Rover, Girl with the manuscript come over. But one is better off wading into the book fair looking as though one has a plan. And waiting for something shiny to call out.


Which is why the BatCat Press was my absolute favorite booth. How darling are these girls? They were all shiny dappled cheeks and information and I was all standing stun-gunned, trying to get past the fact that they are in high school and cranking out professional books and hand-marbling pages and all kinds of other ridiculousness. They attend a high school called Lincoln Park in Pennsylvania, which I hope it’s okay if I’m posting their pics here, because they’re kind of a big deal. They operate the only press in the U.S. run by high school students.

This is the part where I tell you how I spent my high school years: shoving cup after cup of Reese’s pieces into my wide open maw while I stood in the walk-in cooler at the Dairy Queen where I (supposedly) worked.


These girls make books. With their hands and their brains and probably some hipster pixie dust.

And here is their teacher, perhaps the most charming teacher I’ve ever snuck a picture of at AWP.


Shout-out to BatCat Press. Press on…..

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