Mea Culpa

Why has it been so long? Isn't that the question you never want to have to publish? Because I was hired to write a blog, and although it's not about books and it's not about Russian Lover or Luc Sante or Vanessa Veselka or what Valerie Martin said today on the Bookshow on WAMC, which I listened to while driving south from Albany after meeting with the ear doctor who performed a tympanoplasty on my ear (and said we had a good result, which from a doctor is like a war whoop of joy, isn't it), and although it's not even about bookcovers or design, or about the wonderful painter Steven Schwartz, aka SAS, whose home and family the fires in Southern Cali missed by the geographic, ember-strewn, ashen equivalent of inches, or about why sometimes I don't want to read fiction and then suddenly run into it somewhere, and sit down and have the longest most delicious conversation ever anyway and wonder why the heck I ever thought of keeping myself hermetically sealed away from all those words, all that craft, all that wild writer's brain stewing and tangling and untangling the messy data of our hearts, it still requires a certain kind of writerly discipline and impulse.

That is why.


But the wordy world keeps turning.

Darlin Neal curated the latest issue of The Mississippi Review online: The Hyperextended Family. There are great stories here, including a story by Claudia Smith, "Jennies," that has this great line: "She likes me to make the dolls alive." My story, "Painter," really a trio, a 3-part blue fugue of before and after, is in there too. Honored to be in such good company. Kind of a way of closing a long and wobbly circle that started in about 1984, when I worked with Mary Robison, who counted among her best friends "Rickle," who turned out to be Richard Barthelme, who is the editor of the Mississippi Review.

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