Bleach. The smell of bleach and pine. A lot of what I do in the classroom, when it’s not grammar, when it’s not composition, is intuitive.
“My Yesterdays,” are true stories — my true stories. Most of them are humorous but some are deeply moving.
Thank you for your service. The Federal Government reinstated its draft lottery during my senior year in college.
After college, I was drafted into the U.S. Army. This was during the Vietnam War. Instead of being sent to Vietnam, however, I ended up in Germany as an army postal clerk.
I went to a Catholic seminary for high school. It was a boarding school, and there were only three times each year that we could go home — Christmas, spring break and summer vacation. Other than those breaks from our schooling, we were never allowed off campus. That meant no interscholastic competition in any sport.
It is humbling when a man cannot protect his wife and home from an invading menace that’s smaller than a poodle. It was a hot August night when I learned I did not measure up to my “manly” gender role. My young wife and I were renting a small house in rural Louisiana.
You have probably seen aerial pictures of crop circles, strange patterns in wheat fields that appear to be deliberately made. No one knows who or what made them, though many educated people, like me, have jumped to the conclusion that they may be signs of a higher intelligence, possibly graffiti from aliens hovering above in their flying saucers.
I suppose I should come clean about Dan Bitterman, the main character in my novel, And Lead Us Not. If you’ve read And Lead Us Not, you’ve already discovered that Dan is a fool. A reporter for a small weekly tabloid in the mythical backwater town of Sarpy, Louisiana, he is considered a joke even by those he works with.
Lots of people have asked me recently: What word or words would I use to describe myself? a writer? a southern writer? a humorist? a satirist? a social critic? Some who have read my bio and know I am a high school English teacher, have asked if I consider myself, first and foremost, a teacher.
Readers of Bayou Da Vinci (who have been among the first to read my follow-up novel, And Lead Us Not) tell me that I’m a wonderful storyteller, that success must have come very easily to someone like me with all my talent.
People are always asking me when I first decided to be a writer. That’s really not the question to ask. It wasn’t a choice, at least for me. It’s always been who I am.