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Author Archives: the exile


An Air Force detail from Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. A flag-draped coffin. The family with hands over hearts as Taps mourns over the cemetery. A flag folded into a tight triangle, saluted. I know why my father joined the U.S. Air Force in 1952. Or rather, I think I know. The Korean War was at its fiercest. ... Read More »

Creative Writing

This past week Frank Conroy, director of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, announced he would soon step down from his position. Conroy’s 1967 memoir Stop-Time is an unsentimental journey into childhood and growing up lost in America. Besides being a powerful piece of memoir, it’s beautifully written. Conroy’s style is spare, economical, no words wasted: “My father stopped living with us ... Read More »

A feast of love

When we read, we have to submit to the book, we have to suspend our preconceived notions. We have to learn how the book wants to be read. That’s something I discovered in my experience of a first reading of James Salter’s A Sport and a Pastime. For a long time I’ve wanted to write or read a great book ... Read More »

A Fan’s Notes

At first Frederick Exley’s 1968 fictional memoir, A Fan’s Notes seems as if it might read like Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer. I read Exley’s sometimes excruciating novel after reading an essay on the book in Swink, a refreshing new literary magazine. By all accounts Exley’s bio sounds Miller-ish: In Swink, David L. Ulin describes Exley as “an unregenerate freeloader” ... Read More » review

Last year about this time I sent a review on spec to the apparently now defunct Readerville Journal. Tom Grimes is a writer worth reading so I hope the following review will get readers interested, if they aren’t already. Review of (a medicated memoir) Feeling a little “whatever”? Prozac got you up? A little too aware of the post-modern ... Read More »