Merry Christmas America (Are We Dead Yet?)

Yes, I’m writing on Christmas morning, but that’s not my choice, it’s sort of my duty. A long time ago when I was studying and writing at The Breadloaf Writer’s Conference, the novelist Tim O’Brien kindly took me under his wing, personally critiqued a short story of mine which was then called Portrait, and which later became the novel, When Shadows Come (a novel that was orphaned prior to its release from Thomas & Mercer when the editor jumped ship — something that happens a lot over there. But as usual, I digress).