Anastasia Holloway & The Atrain Press
I met Ana my first day on the job at The East Austin Hotel in September, 2019. She stuck straight out from the crowd. It was a weird experience, finding my footing in that place. But after one look at Ana and one “hi, how are ya,” I was like: “I can definitely be friends with this girl.” We just vibed immediately. But I didn’t really see her or work with her for the first week or two on the job.
Then, we got scheduled together. I was a pretty self-contained and careful communicator in that environment, but, ten minutes into working the Front Desk and Retail Store with Ana, she was reading my aura and telling me about astral projection and casually mentioning that she wrote poetry. So, we clicked and became fast friends.
Periodically, she would text me poems she’d written or YouTube/Spotify songs she was digging on. After I had found my footing with how to go about finalizing and releasing the first Atrain books, I just felt magnetically compelled to extend what I had learned to Ana. Her stuff was worth releasing, and, aside from texting me stuff, it didn’t seem like she was releasing it out into the world. It excited me, the thought of being midwife to a creation of hers. Being an artist, I full-well understood the limbo zone of not quite feeling sure of what you are, or what you’re actually doing, or if anyone will even actually care whatsoever at all... So, I asked her if she would be my guinea pig for an experiment of starting up some kind of indie micro press, where I would get behind writers I believed in and help them get their creations out there. Her eyes lit up at the idea. I’ve rarely felt the specific feeling of wonder that accompanied that meeting. The press was going to be anonymously under my directorship… until The Absolution Train began to possess my spirit, once again, as it does, around January, 2020. I realized that, philosophically and spiritually (and in accord with the internal logic of the project), this was Atrain. I couldn’t refute it. My wanting to help Ana and her work, wanting to help her get it out professionally into the world… that wanting itself was the very definition of what I have come to understand is The Absolution Train.
I ran this by her. Would it be cool if I “associated” her with Atrain, put the project's name on the title page of her book (down where the name of the press might go) and commence The Atrain Press? She was down for the cause.
Loose Bananas, Ana’s first collection of poems, is raw, real, and fascinating. It is a powerful blend of lofty perspective and gritty introspection. She writes from the depths of her soul with abandon, courage, and an utter honesty that I’ve rarely encountered in people. I’m excited to work with her more – whether to release more of her writings through the press, or rope her poetic verbalizations into some Atrain recordings or live performances… We will just have to see.