The Sailor-Boy’s Tale

Twice now I’ve sat down to read something from Isak Dinesen’s Winter’s Tales
, and twice when pawing through for a good story, I’ve ended up spending hours re-reading the stories in here, to the point of distracted negligence, but to the point of great self-satisfaction nevertheless.

One day I’ll just relent and read them all to you, but that’d be a big project, and if you’re anything like me, you’re already running on the fumes of big projects. …

A Game of Catch

It’s always a little weird to me to read a sports story, with idioms like “burning one in” that are just so far removed from my patois that I can barely even get my mouth to go in that direction. And it’s equally odd to try and project teenage boy-speak, because it’s been quite a while since I’ve taken an interest in the mannerisms of teenage boys. But it’s springtime, and nothing’s more appropriate than boys and baseball. So here’s a little bit of both, no matter how much “burning one in” seems like the last thing you want a teenage boy to do.

The Scarlet Ibis (Unabridged)

I know the great controvery of the Scarlet Ibis has bothered you, and I confess to great shame at using this controversy to draw attention away from the various corporate scandals, celebrity affairs, and political horrors that are sucking the steam off the almost pervasive media coverage known to some as HurstGate.

The Scarlet Ibis

A Listener (you know who you are) wrote to me recently requesting that I laugh hysterically for fifteen minutes into my microphone and post this as a short story for you. Now, while I agree that this would be a particularly amusing johncagey experiment, I have not, unfortunately, seen hyenaic laughter transcribed this way, and … Read more

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

WhoAm asks whether Flannery O’Connor can be expected soon. Now, I’d thought of saving O’Connor for a while, for obvious (or perhaps not-so-much-so) reasons: the desire to wait until my face gets older and wrinkles become a more permanent part of its own social fabric, or maybe I’ve wanted to save her for the debut of the sequel to Miette’s Bedtime Story Podcast.

Absent-Mindedness in a Parish Choir

Have waited nearly a year to read Hardy on his birthday, because I strongly suspect that Hardy’s just the sort of guy who should be birthdayishly feted, and in neither in an ironic nor a pointy-paper-hat way. I missed his birthday, as it happens, but not by long… and actually, missing it seems appropriately Hardyish … Read more

The Diary of a Madman

Ahh, so you’ve noticed that I still hadn’t read any Gogol, despite a-hundred-some readings including enough of a Russian contingency to keep a stronghold on the world weight-lifting championships for the next few centuries, and despite a story by an Italian all about Gogol, in its own peculiar way.


In the plot of today’s story, you will find mentioned a real-world conversational device that I can’t help but love, in a guiltily pleasuristic sort of way. I’m not sure what to call it, though I’m sure the modern linguists have had their way with it.