On the Shelf


At Auntie’s Books in Spokane

The Hardback Beast, or, a Tale of Two Books

My friend Brian Jobe’s sleek little paperback bombshell from humble lil’ Korrektiv Press.

My friend Melissa over at Bark muses on the hardback vs. paperback dilemma (soon to be made irrelevant by the eBook phenomenon?):

In the current model, some, but nowhere near all, new releases come out in hardback [e.g. Beautiful Ruins], and then are released later in paperback. The books released in hardback supposedly carry more prestige, and are able to generate more buzz and more reviews, which can lead to better sales, consideration for awards, and so on. However, many books [e.g. Bird’s Nest in Your Hair] are released in paperback, and the conventional wisdom is that it’s harder to generate national publicity for those books, because hardback first editions usually come from big publishers with a lot of marketing muscle, and thus it’s harder to get reviews for first edition paperbacks. More

My friend Jess Walter’s hardback blockbuster from a big bad New York publisher.

My friends and dear readers: Hardback or paperback, eInk or pulpmill stink, it makes no difference. I advise you get your hands on both of these books (buy them, steal them, borrow them, barter firearms for them on the Russian black market; I don’t care how you get them, just get them) and read them at your earliest convenience.

Bird’s Nest in My Mail


Soon to distributed to Spokane area booksellers!

Inside the Bird’s Nest

Go ahead, take a peek.

The Korrektiv Almanac

Brian Jobe, author of Bird’s Nest in Your Hair, was born on this date in 1964. Jobe studied Classics at the University of Washington and at the University of California at Santa Barbara. His writing was published at National Review Online, Korrektiv, Letter X Magazine, and Dappled Things. He lived in Seattle most of his life, with brief sojourns in Japan, Boston, and/or Hell. Bird’s Nest in Your Hair was the first of seventeen novels he published before his life came to a dramatic end when he drove a fortunately empty articulated Metro bus off the Ship Canal Bridge. Jobe was ninety-nine years old at the time of his death and it is believed that the accident was precipitated by the receipt of a text message from Steven Spielberg offering to purchase the rights to adapt Bird’s Nest to the big screen. (Yes, they still had text messages and movies back in 2064 and Spielberg was still going strong due to the supplement situation he had set up for himself.)

Bird’s Nest in Your Hair by Brian Jobe: a novel about bartending, old-time religion, and the twilight years of commercial pornography. Plus, poetry!

The Institute of Living

From the New York Times comes this story about Marsha M. Linehan, a psychologist at the University of Washington here in Seattle. It reads like a real-life inversion of Chekov’s terrifying story, Ward No. 6. It also has implications that readers of a certain novel published by Korrektiv Press might find interesting.

It was 1967, several years after she left the institute as a desperate 20-year-old whom doctors gave little chance of surviving outside the hospital. Survive she did, barely: there was at least one suicide attempt in Tulsa, when she first arrived home; and another episode after she moved to a Y.M.C.A. in Chicago to start over.

She was hospitalized again and emerged confused, lonely and more committed than ever to her Catholic faith. She moved into another Y, found a job as a clerk in an insurance company, started taking night classes at Loyola University — and prayed, often, at a chapel in the Cenacle Retreat Center.

Moved into the Y, found her faith: no Will Barrett she. Read the whole thing.


Bird’s Nest in Your Hair

Finally! The third book from Korrektiv Press is now available. I hit the “publish” button a few days ago, and was told the page would be up later this week. My brother called to tell me he’d manage to find it at Amazon today. You can all also get it at CreateSpace (the printing division of Korrektiv Press).

Here’s the description: Diana tends bar at Queequeg’s Tavern, where she meets Pete, a recent retiree always ready with a joke, and Jeb, a homeless student driven by a poet’s Romantic aspirations. Tangled up in a history of the family blues, she sometimes takes refuge in a church she can’t decide to join for good. Tom, the manager of a video store near the tavern, is settling into a new marriage with Helen, an adult film producer wealthy enough to save Tom’s store from impending doom. But when a figure from his past walks through the door, who will save his marriage? Who will help whom as this nest of birds unravels?

Bird’s Nest in Your Hair: a novel about bartending, old-time religion, and the twilight years of commercial pornography. Plus, poetry!

Before the Altar

Two dozen beers on tap and even more in bottles,
and not just beer, but wine and especially booze,
built up on shelves in something like a ziggurat
for a cult dedicated to the certainty of conviction
granted only to drunks in the blindness of an alcoholic
haze. Rituals have their priests; I see you as a high
priestess of drinking, surrounded by the paraphernalia
of your order: corkscrew, strainer and cocktail shaker,
a dozen kinds of glassware handled with a dexterity
demanding devotion, a cloud rising from cigarettes
burned as incense by attendants at your altar.
How well you handle every office—confessions
whispered without sorrow or regret, the jukebox choir,
and a communion of breadsticks and Beaujolais.

Inspired by faith, Catholic businessman seeks to underwrite beauty in Catholic fiction

(This article first appeared in the August 23 issue of The Catholic Times, newspaper of the Diocese of La Crosse)

The modern Catholic fiction writer has a tough row to hoe. On the one hand, he is expected by his fellow Catholics, at least those unfamiliar with the complexities of modern literature, to write simple moral stories where good wins out over evil, the princess is saved and happily ever after becomes the only acceptable conclusion to a story.

On the other hand, the Catholic fiction writer is also hoping to reach out to the modern non-Catholic and mostly non-Christian reader with the assumption that his story is worth hearing – and yet he must not say too much about the “R word” (religion) lest his readership begin heading in a panic for the exits.

The 20th century southern Catholic writer Flannery O’Connor puts the dilemma this way in her 1957 essay “The Church and the Fiction Writer:”

“Part of the complexity of the problem for the Catholic fiction writer will be the presence of grace as it appears in nature, and what matters for him is that his faith not become detached from his dramatic sense and from his vision of what-is. No one in these days, however, would seem more anxious to have it become detached than those Catholics who demand that the writer limit, on the natural level, what he allows himself to see.”

In fact, besides being pressured by secular and Catholic readers to fit into their own notions of what fiction should be, the Catholic writer’s row is made all the tougher to hoe because of the dearth of publishing houses willing to give Catholic writers a chance to show that they can write compelling, well-written and grace-infused stories for the Catholic and non-Catholic alike.

But Boston businessman Peter Mongeau is doing his best to make sure that the Catholic writer does find a voice within the milieu of today’s bestseller lists.

Fed a steady diet of good Catholic fiction throughout his life – including works by O’Connor, Graham Greene, G.K. Chesterton, Walker Percy, and Evelyn Waugh – Mongeau has started Tuscany Press, a startup publishing company which seeks to provide the Catholic fiction writer a platform and the Catholic fiction reader a lodestone for quality storytelling. He’s also announced an annual prize through the press which pays winning fiction manuscripts in cash and publication contracts.

A graduate of Boston University, Mongeau received his master’s in business administration from Boston College. After working in New York City for a time in the investment field, he returned with his wife and four children to Boston.

Boston bookworm

It was in Beantown that Mongeau first got the itch to enter the publishing business.

Before starting Tuscany this past June, Mongeau had already founded Christus Publishing, a Catholic press which specializes in books on traditional Catholic spirituality, with a strong emphasis on Carmelite writers.

As coordinator of his parish’s book club, Mongeau became familiar with Catholic publishing and noticed a demand for books on Catholic spirituality – which led to his starting Christus. Developing plans to expand the number and kinds of Christus’ titles, Mongeau noticed the hunger for quality fiction.

“As I looked into expanding Christus, I kept running into two things,” he said. “First, that people were looking for Catholic fiction along the lines of Flannery O’Connor, Chesterton, Percy, and Graham Greene, the Catholic literary novels of the 50s and 60s,” he said. “Second, there was a dearth of modern-day Catholic fiction.”

Talent and treasure

Consulting publishers, literary agents and writers, Mongeau undertook an analysis of the publishing industry which led him to recognize an underserved market of writers and readers.

“I thought there was a definite need from a reader’s perspective in terms of Catholic fiction and from a writer’s perspective with people writing Catholic fiction but couldn’t get published,” he said. “So that’s how Tuscany Press was born.”

Mongeau also took his cue to start a Catholic fiction publishing house from the writings of Blessed John Paul II. Quoted on Tuscany’s website (www.tuscanypress.com), the late pontiff’s 1999 “Letter to Artists” encourages writers to use their talents to promote a culture of life.

“In order to communicate the message entrusted to her by Christ, the Church needs art,” John Paul II writes. “Art must make perceptible, and as far as possible attractive, the world of the spirit, of the invisible, of God. It must therefore translate into meaningful terms that which is in itself ineffable…. The Church has need especially of those who can do this on the literary and figurative level, using the endless possibilities of images and their symbolic force.”

In Tuscany’s light

It was another Christian writer – Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky – who led Mongeau to naming his foundling press after the picturesque region of central Italy.

“Dostoevsky said that ‘Beauty will save the world,’” Mongeau said. “God is beauty and one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been has been Tuscany. That’s why I chose the name – it’s where I found beauty. When I was out in Tuscany, it epitomized the beauty we have in art – and the beauty that God provided us in this world.”

While Mongeau is banking on beauty being a bestseller, he also wants to sweeten the deal for writers – by attracting them to Tuscany with a literary prize. With cash awards and publication in the novel, novella and short story categories, the Tuscany Fiction Prize has four criteria, Mongeau said.

“Is it a good story? Is it well written? Does it capture the imagination of the reader? And does it have the presence of God?” he said. “If a book doesn’t have these four things, it’s not going to be good Catholic fiction.”

This last criteria – the presence of God – Mongeau acknowledges, isn’t a matter of making sure God is a character in the novel so much as the writer sees in a fallen world a possibility for redemption. He stresses that the Catholic imagination seeks to bring God to readers “symbolically, subtly and deliberately.”

“The Catholic imagination takes into consideration the whole world as we know it, as we live it, as we believe it,” he said. “God is present in the world and events don’t just happen. There is a God, a living God who is active in the world in which we live.”

The deadline is Sept. 30, he said, and already he’s being inundated with manuscripts in all three categories.

“The prize is there to encourage writers to take up the craft of writing Catholic fiction and stories, to promote Catholic fiction and to recognize the talent when it comes along,” he said.

Rewriting the market

Optimistic about the success of Tuscany Press, Mongeau said the publishing world is vastly different from what it was before the so-called information age dawned.

“The barriers to entry are lower today in publishing than they’ve ever been,” Mongeau said. “Technology has provided the ability to start a publishing company on short dollars. While it’s still significant dollars, it’s not like it was years ago. The industry has changed dramatically in 15 years.”

In those 15 years, Mongeau said, the advent of online distribution through Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and the creation of e-book platforms – Kindle, Nook and I-Book – have led to an explosion of independent publishing houses.

“The distribution channel alone has changed dramatically,” he said. “If you’re selling books through Barnes & Noble, Amazon and electronically [through e-books], I’d say you have over 50-60 percent of your distribution channel. Plus you have global worldwide distribution that way also.”

In addition, it goes without saying, Mongeau said, that Tuscany Press is also taking advantage of the social media empires to spread the word about Catholic fiction – including Facebook, Twitter and a blog which Mongeau maintains on Tuscany’s website.

“We have to go out there and prove that Catholic fiction works, and is written well, and there is a market for people to buy Catholic fiction,” Mongeau said. “But we do believe we can do this.”

For more information about Tuscany Press or the Tuscany Prize for Catholic Fiction, call (781) 424-9321 or contact Peter Mongeau at publisher@tuscanypress.com.

The Prophet Speaks

And genuflecting to the shoreline,
Unsheathing meaning in Lushootseed,
He chiefly paints on water: more than
An ancient oak, his lush shoots seed
The acorn’s fire; his tongue is bladed,
An oar that cuts the sound, though faded:
I give these words to future chiefs,
Who know the dead will speak beliefs
Beyond these flames: once more with water
And mud, with feathered fin again,
With web and spider’s tale, let pen
Produce the vessels, let the potter
Rebuild Seattle’s house of words;
Let beards entangle clever birds.

Celtic Sun God taken for granite…

Must have been wearing contact lenses…


Bird’s Nest in Your Hair is for Real

And it’s coming soon. Seriously! (Just like Jesus is coming soon, yo.)

And this here is the first prong of our marketing strategy:

Doubt as an Avenue of Communication

I want to hang onto this comment of Angelico’s and the passage he quoted from Ratzinger’s Introduction to Christianity, because I see it as key, possibly, to the unique character of Korrektiv. I re-quote it here as a placemarker for further consideration.

No one can lay God and his Kingdom on the table before another man; even the believer cannot do it for himself. But however strongly unbelief may feel justified thereby, it cannot forget the eerie feeling induced by the words ‘Yet perhaps it is true.’ That ‘perhaps’ is the unavoidable temptation it cannot elude, the temptation in which it, too, in the very act of rejection, has to experience the unrejectability of belief. In other words, both the believer and the unbeliever share, each in his own way, doubt and belief, if they do not hide from themselves and from the truth of their being. Neither can quite escape either doubt or belief; for the one, faith is present against doubt; for the other, through doubt and in the form of doubt. It is the basic pattern of man’s destiny only to be allowed to find the finality of his existence in this unceasing rivalry between doubt and belief, temptation and certainty. Perhaps in precisely this way doubt, which saves both sides from being shut up in their own worlds, could become the avenue of communication.

Could this serve as a formative piece of that Korrektiv Press manifesto or mission statement we’ve been casting about for? The fine print at the bottom of that gravestone?

The Kollektiv

From left to right: Potter, Expat, JOB, Lickona, Webb. Not present: Finnegan.

We Drank Mint Juleps with His Sister

From today’s Writer’s Almanac.

I read this after reading (and relishing) a few chapters of the last part of Brian Jobe’s Bird’s Nest in Your Hair (coming soon from this here press!), and Dubus’s remarks quoted in the last paragraph seemed highly apropos. “A first book is a treasure.”

It’s the birthday of fiction writer Andre Dubus II (books by this author), born in Lake Charles, Louisiana (1936). He grew up in a Cajun-Irish-Catholic family, went to Catholic schools, studied English and journalism, and then joined the military. While he was in the military, he married a woman named Patricia, a Louisiana homecoming queen. He served for six years, and became a captain. He and Patricia had four children.

Dubus left the military to pursue his real passion: writing fiction. He was accepted to the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and moved his whole family to Iowa City. They had a happy few years there, surrounded by friends, attending parties and discussing literature. He published his first novel, The Lieutenant (1967), and he got a job teaching in New England. The family moved to New Hampshire, then Massachusetts. Dubus was a popular professor, and his books of fiction were well-regarded by other writers like John Updike, Richard Yates, and Kurt Vonnegut.

Even as his professional life took off, his family fell apart — and that is the story that his son, the novelist Andre Dubus III, told in a recent memoir, Townie (2011). Andre Dubus II left his wife and four children for a beautiful young student, and in some ways he never looked back. He remained a dutiful father — he picked up his kids once a week and took them out to eat somewhere, and he showed up for family holidays. But he was teaching at Bradford College, living a much different life than his ex-wife and children. The life of the elder Dubus consisted of working on stories, jogging, drinking, having affairs with students, attending parties and giving readings. Meanwhile, the rest of his family was struggling to make ends meet, living in poverty in a series of Massachusetts mill towns. The young Andre Dubus and his siblings were bullied until Andre spent a year and a half obsessively lifting weights and conditioning himself to be a fighter so that he could stand up for all of them. He began to thrive on violence. His mother worked long hours and was constantly exhausted; the house was disgusting, and there were always drugs around but never enough food. But his mother did her best — Dubus said: “My mother was making $135 a week. But she had resilience and imagination. She might take frozen vegetables, cook them with garlic, onion and Spam, and it would taste like a four-star dinner.” Through it all, the elder Andre Dubus would show up to take his kids out to eat, but he seemed oblivious to how different his own life was from that of his children.

Late on a summer night in 1986, Andre Dubus II was driving back to campus from Boston, where he had been gathering material for a story. He saw a couple of young people on the side of the highway who had gotten in an accident — they had hit an abandoned motorcycle. Their names were Luis and Luz Santiago, a brother and sister. Dubus pulled over to help them and had just gotten out of his car when another vehicle swerved off the road straight for the three of them. Luis was killed, and Luz survived only because Dubus pushed her out of the way. Dubus was seriously injured, and doctors thought he might not survive. He did, but one leg was amputated and the other never recovered, so he was confined to a wheelchair. His third wife, Peggy, left him within a year of the accident. He lived alone in a rural house built on a steep hill.

By this time, Andre Dubus III was in his 20s. He had started publishing stories, and he and his father had found some things in common — they talked about writing, or about fighting — as an ex-Marine, Andre the Elder was proud of his son’s skills. Now, after the accident, with the elder Andre seeming vulnerable for the first time, the father and son were able to truly reconnect. The younger Andre and his brother Jeb built ramps all around their father’s house, and Andre taught his father how to lift weights. They traveled and did readings together. In 1999, Andre III said goodbye to his father and headed to the West Coast for a book tour promoting his new novel, the best-selling House of Sand and Fog (1999). Soon after, Andre II died of a heart attack.

Andre Dubus II’s books include Adultery and Other Choices (1977), Finding a Girl in America (1980), The Times are Never So Bad (1983), The Last Worthless Evening (1986), and Dancing After Hours (1996). His story “Killings” was adapted into the film In the Bedroom (2001).

Dubus said: “A first book is a treasure, and all these truths and quasi-truths I have written about publishing are finally ephemeral. An older writer knows what a younger one has not yet learned. What is demanding and fulfilling is writing a single word, trying to write le mot juste, as Flaubert said; writing several of them which becomes a sentence. When a writer does that, day after day, working alone with little encouragement, often with discouragement flowing in the writer’s own blood, and with the occasional rush of excitement that empties oneself, so that the self is for minutes or longer in harmony with eternal astonishments and visions of truth, right there on the page on the desk; and when a writer does this work steadily enough to complete a manuscript long enough to be a book, the treasure is on the desk. If the manuscript itself, mailed out to the world where other truths prevail, is never published, the writer will suffer bitterness, sorrow, anger, and, more dangerously, despair, convinced that the work was not worthy, so not worth those days at the desk. But the writer who endures and keeps working will finally know that writing the book was something hard and glorious, for at the desk a writer must try to be free of prejudice, meanness of spirit, pettiness, and hatred; strive to be a better human being than the writer normally is, and to do this through concentration on a single word, and then another, and another. This is splendid work, as worthy and demanding as any, and the will and resilience to do it are good for the writer’s soul. If the work is not published, or is published for little money and less public attention, it remains a spiritual, mental, and physical achievement; and if, in public, it is the widow’s mite, it is also, like the widow, more blessed.”

Queequeg’s Rising Sun

Queequeg’s Grill and Tavern
1124 Eastlake Ave, Seattle

I was having a beer at Queequeg’s the other evening, and was lucky enough to find Diana, the day bartender, filling in for one of night crew. After watching her muddle up a trayful of fruity-looking concoctions, we started talking about the capricious tastes of the typical sot in Seattle. She’s been at Queequeg’s for about ten years, and has witnessed the rise and fall of many the cocktail: when she started the Alabama Slammer was still in style; five years ago it was the Bushwhacker.

“So what never goes out of style?” I asked, contemplating a shot of Maker’s. Which is about as fancypants a drink as I can stand to be seen with.

“Martinis and Manhattan’s, of course,” said Diana. “Can’t go wrong with one of those.” She hung out a hitchhiker’s thumb towards one of the patrons to my left, and rolled her eyes. “Or several.”

“What about the foofoo stuff?” I asked, shivering at the thought of a perfectly good whiskey, ruined by Vermouth and—Lord, protect me—a maraschino cherry.

“Wellll … You’ve got your Margharita, of course. And the Kamikaze will never go out of style. What’s great about the Kamikaze is that it’s a winner every time, good at all hours of the day. People will order them as a way of celebrating the end of a working day, or even the middle of one. Hell, I’ve had them with breakfast, after going home with one in a cab the night before!”

“Really?” I asked. “Something with limes seems kind of strange for the morning.”

“It doesn’t have to be limes, actually,” said Diana. “There are variations, like the Lemon Drop.”

“Sugar on the rim?” After returning from the bathroom, a former girlfriend had ordered one in lieu of the shot of whiskey I’d ordered for her.

“Right,” said Diana.

“And then there’s my own invention,” she added. “The Rising Sun.”

“It’s like a Kazi?”

“Mostly. Instead of Vodka, I introduced Shochu. It’s a Japanese drink—”

“Like Sake?” I blustered.

“No, not really. Shochu is distilled, and they’ll make it out of anything: sweet potatoes, chestnuts, rice—”

“They have plenty of that.”

“Right,” she said, looking a little irritated. “Anyway, the point was to keep it Japanese…”

She must have registered the blank look in my eyes, as she went on to explain it a little more thoroughly.

“You see, kamikazes were these suicidal Japanese fighter pilots, so I thought I’d make a drink that was also Japanese, and named it for the ‘Land of the Rising Sun’. That’s what the Japanese call their country.”


“Which was perfect, I figured, because I could make it orange and red—like an actual rising sun. So the name dictated the colors, and the colors helped determine the flavor of the drink. Oranges were perfect as a substitute for limes or lemons. The Shochu makes it even more Japanese than a Kamikaze, but I’m happy to use vodka instead. Muddle it up with Triple Sec and add a shot of Campari to give it some red, and you’re good to go.”

“Sounds complicated,” I said.

“It is, actually,” said Diana. “Campari is considered a bitters, so there’s even more going on, taste-wise, than a Kazi. Or the Lemon Drop.”

“Would you like another beer?” She must have noted the confused look on my face at the mention of ‘bitters.’


After pouring me another Slug Bait, she walked over a piece of paper with a dirty piece of scotch tape at the top.

“One of the regulars actually wrote a poem about the drink. He was sweet, and I liked the poem, so I typed it up in the office and taped it up on the Wall of Fame.” She waved that thumb again, back to the left, where postcards, photographs of people partying, and drawings done in crayon were stuck on the mirror.

“It’s basically a drink recipe, if anyone ever needs it. I put another copy in the Drink Guide as well, so you can keep it.”

And I have. Long enough to reproduce here:

The Rising Sun

We’re never more ourselves than when entirely
absorbed in something else, and you’re most yourself,
easily, making your specialty drink, The Rising Sun.
You begin by filling the steel shaker with ice
and several orange slices (hurried, you’ll use juice),
two ounces of Shochu (Stolichnaya on request),
and a splash of triple sec (Grand Marnier for me).
After muddling the mess into an orange mush,
you’ve even shaken it thrice, for good measure, before
straining it into a martini glass, finishing with a sunburst
of Campari, the completed concoction glowing orange
and red as the eastern sky at daybreak. Bestowing
your gift on a serviette, you then stand back, smiling
gladly, your eyes finally seeing what your hands did.

I’m sure it tastes better than it reads. I had another shot of Maker’s. Less poetic, maybe, but it gets the job done.

And Then It Happened, That Queer Sensation

From Bob Dylan’s radio show, Theme Time Radio Hour.

Speaking of Bob Dylan, Korrektiv Press has a novel waiting in the wings, Bird’s Nest in Your Hair, by Brian Jobe, which takes its title from an obscure Dylan song, “Trouble in Mind.” The song appeared on the b-side of the biggest hit single of Bob’s evangelical phase — “Serve Somebody” — and the protagonist of Brian’s novel (well, the primary protagonist, in my opinion — it’s open to debate because there are several protagonists) is a young woman, a bartender named Diana, who loves listening to Dylan songs on the jukebox and is in the tentative, uncertain process of throwing her lot in with the Catholic Church.

An early draft of Bird’s Nest was pseudonymously serialized on Korrektiv some time back, but the author has busted his butt with major revisions, and rendered himself, like Hoagy Carmichael and Bob Dylan, a plaything of the muses. The result is a tome of befuddling beauty and double and triple reflections wherein startling glimpses of star dust intermingle with the dark tangles of the devil who would make a bird’s nest in your hair. Coming soon to a book dealer near you!

NB: There is some name/identity confusion hereabouts, to be sure. Let me help clarify the matter for you. JOB stands for Joseph O’Brien, and his book of poems is next up, after Bird’s Nest, on the Korrektiv Press assembly line. Brian Jobe is a different person, completely distinct from the other JOB (although both JOB and Jobe have suffered some trials like their biblical namesake). Brian writes here on the blog as Quin Finnegan and he has sometimes written under the pseudonym Jeb O’Brian. (See the different spelling from the other aforementioned O’Brien?) JOB lives in idyllic camping country “nestled amid the mytho-geographical possibilities of the Mississippi, Wisconsin and Kickapoo Rivers” (his own words) and is a prodigious father of many children. Jobe is a bachelor (and a highly eligible one, ladies) who resides smack dab in the middle of downtown Seattle and has not, to his knowledge, fathered any children at all. Does that help? Then there are the two Jonathans, also two different fellows. Jonathan Webb is a tall 50-year-old father of four who smokes big cigars, drinks Wild Turkey, and lives in the Tuscany-like environs of the Snohomish River flood plains north of Seattle. Jonathan Potter (i.e. myself, who has sometimes written under the name Rufus McCain) is a medium-size fellow in his late forties, also a father of young-uns, who lives among the rocks and pine trees of Spokane, Washington. Southern Expat is woman of refined sensibility who isn’t sure she should be affiliated with the likes of us — especially the likes of Matthew Lickona, who was almost famous once but opted for a penitential life of toil and pain and obscurity. And that rounds out our ragtag kollektiv. This is the last time I’m going to explain this, so I hope y’all are paying attention. Any questions?

Mr. Jobe, Call Your Editor

I’m ready to dish out the first hundred pages of the final edits of BNIYH. Mr. Webb, start warming up the presses. Call the roller of big cigars, etc.