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Going for the Throat

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 5/29/14

Please join us for a great night of poetry and spoken word. Jim Trainer returns to Philly to perform and read with great writer Don Bajema and wonderful poet Charlie O’Hay.

Jim Trainer is a communicator. Growing up in the hardcore punk scene of the early 90’s taught him everything he needed to know about real work. Jim Trainer believes in rock and roll. It may be our only salvation in this dark world. He’s carried the torch for independent media, broadcasting as one of the early voices of Radio Volta(88.1fm)and writing for the Philadelphia IMC’s Wire in the early aughts. He’s appeared as The Reason, broadcasting on WKDU 91.7fm while writing for its Communiqué. He’s been the driver for several internationally touring bands, taking him to every state in the Continental U.S. He’s followed that Americana sound all the way down to Austin, TX where…

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westbound

This poem was wrttten to commemorate Turk leaving town. “Westbound” is a term hoboes use when they’re fixing to die. They’re westbound, going home.

Going for the Throat

this town took a hit but it ain’t no reason to cry
I’ve been crying since October anyway and Spring
has come to hit it-the blues-Spring has come to
shake it out and crown you with a bright-hot sun mane
the streets’ll be opening for summer soon
after all the kids have gone home
there’ll be a long song now
into the deep June jungle nights
there’ll be more options to get lost in
and the bluebonnets petals’ll fly like
billowing flags of victory

I could dive another season down
it’s sailor weather
I could rear down and wait it out
and hold onto punctured balloon-girl dreams
or I could tell pain some things:
we stood it up and stood it down
we paced and beat our blues
but now that Southern’s left town
I’ll have to find a new use

the grim total of your life,
the times you’ve…

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ImageOur Lives Are Our Own

Its January and we don’t owe anyone any explanations.

The World Is Our Oyster for the next 12 months and whether or not we know (or want to acknowledge) it- the people in our worlds are anxiously waiting for what we are going to do next.

Image

Cathy T. Colborn at Coffee Beanery reading in Media Dec ’13. Photo by Shawn Colborn

So, Fresh Starts.

WRAGS Ink.. got a chance to meet a handful of locals whose writing pierces through the mundane minutia of ironically jumbled words. Among the new school of scribes, Cathy T. Colborn, author of Historical Fiction of the Marquis De Sade and Rose Keller made herself known not only to us Vigilante Publishers, but also the handfuls of souls that braved the wintery weather of late December and stumbled on our humble readings.

The ever-present Kathryn Ombam sat down with Cathy in order to give future fans some insight on her absorbing short story.

Four Questions with Cathy Colborn

by Kathryn Ombam

The moment in time you create is fantastic. Heroic, ordered, then chaotic and sensuous. What drew you to this time period and this scene?

I was in France with a writing group when the idea came to me. The mix of sensuality and perfection of Paris filled the holes in a plot that I longed to finish. The story was about the Marquis de Sade. He had a Jekyll and Hyde persona that always intrigued me. His truth was exposed. My Rose Keller’s truth needed to be exposed. I realized that all the characters in my world had to embrace a split-persona.

Why historical fiction?

The Marquis de Sade was an awful man. He may’ve written some cool stories, but he hurt people.

I think with historical fiction, it’s the ability to manipulate such creatures in history that lures me. I have a collection of historical fiction pieces, but I also enjoy writing poetry, horror, adventure. I’m working on a New Orleans steampunk series right now, which gives me the ability to manipulate Victorian America (but only to a certain extent). You can’t disappoint avid readers of the genre.

The Victorian period is so fascinating, how much historical research do you have to do as you write?

It depends. You have to find a balance of what fans enjoy in the established genre and what you can manipulate to make the universe your own. I had to do a little more research with Thorn but it was easier. There really wasn’t much about Rose. But I wanted to make her my own anyway- younger, wealthier, bolder, stronger. I had room to play with the story. Sometimes it’s the obvious research detail that makes any genre feel right, like a horse-drawn carriage and the mention of teatime or a belief system.

Your Rose Keller is seemingly an interesting set of contradictions: young but curious, concerned with her honor but easily enticed, naive but able to defend herself. Why did you give her such a strong identity?

Until recently, the story of the real Rose Keller was missing. It’s said she was a beggar or prostitute, but it is known that she was ‘the one that got away’ from the Marquis. She was disgraced after her escape. I wanted to open up the possibility that she was a strong spirit who had her own goals but was faced with the same romantic ideals as women of her time.

This was my moment, my “What if this happened?” moment!

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Besides her steampunk series, Cathy is working on a novella about a group of women in Vietnam. She also has some flash fiction which will appear in Apiary (April 2014). Check out further links to her work at http://cathytcolborn.blogspot.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 11-13-13

Moonstone Arts Center Poetry Presents An Evening of Spoken Word and Poetry: Featuring Austin Poet and Singer/Songwriter Jim Trainer, Don Bajema and Maleka Fruean
Austin, Texas – What is a poet but someone who reshapes the listener’s perspectives and challenges the reader to think differently about the world. Vision is a subtle thing in the hands of those who express it well.

Jim Trainer expresses his vision through poetry.

good poetry

it’s hard to find
but it’s hard to find
a
diamond
in the dark
and
it’s
hard to find
a woman with a
heart of gold.
so what?
Rumi was drunk
on the
word of god
and Papa was just
drunk in Los Angeles
Levine wasn’t drunk
at all
and Dylan Thomas
drank it all.
good poetry
sings out
it finds you
it wins you.
good poetry
takes you out of
the arena
it re-doubles you
with an impossible
intimacy
it sends you
out into the wasted land
collecting grains of rice
with just a bowl
& a song.

Trainer lives with impossible – and impassioned – intimacy.

The stations of this poet’s cross have included time as a hardcore homeless punk; an acting student, a communications major, a late night freeform pirate radio DJ, a power washing remover of pigeon shit from I-95; a driver for touring metal bands; a landscaper in the projects of his native Philadelphia, a crew chief supervising underpaid hardworking minority men in converting an old candy factory into condos for the rich and largely white, and, as he recalls today, “a bartender at a pizza shop in Shitsmear, Delaware.”

Oh, yes, and a quite short stint as sexton in a Presbyterian church where he collected one, maybe two, paychecks.

Trainer’s, then, is a life led, not learned in a classroom. And he extracts from those varied experiences the essence of what it means to be a living, breathing, craving, wounded and compassionate soul in this world, mining the same rich veins that Bukowski did before him … Bukowski, who “not only showed me how to write (simply, yet profoundly), but also showed me how to live,” as Trainer notes.

Trainer, the poet, was trained by the poet Bukowski. And so it goes.

Other exemplars Trainer have turned to include poets Adrienne Rich, Philip Levine and Lamont B. Steptoe and songwriters such as Warren Zevon, John Lee Hooker, Cory Branan and Randy Newman.

So it’s not surprising that Trainer also is at home with a guitar and a harmonica, bringing his biting lyrics and bittersweet stories to life with the same fervor that defines his readings.

Now living in Austin, Texas, that so-called live music capital of the world, Trainer performs frequently in listening room venues, coffeehouses, wine bars and dive bars throughout the city. His 2010 recording “Swamp Demo” captures the unique sound he’s cultivated in the sonic soils of east coast guile and Americanish authenticity, and today, Trainer says “In the past, when something devastating or heartbreaking happened to me, I would be inspired to write a song and take refuge in music … Now that life isn’t a series of heartbreaks, I hope to move songwriting to the forefront and do it as regularly and daily as I write poetry.”

But it doesn’t stop there. The poet and performer is a communicator with a digital dais in the form of the blog, “Going For the Throat,” where he opines and pontificates on moods of the moment.

Also reading at the Moonstone Arts Center Event:

Maleka Fruean is a writer, publicist, community events coordinator, and artist. She has recently been named as one of the writers in residence at Big Blue Marble Bookstore in the Mt. Airy neighborhood of Philadelphia. She’s created and organized events and programming for Big Blue Marble Bookstore, iMPerFEct Gallery, Torchlight Collective, and more, and has read her prose and poetry all the way from Tribes Gallery in New York to communal houses in West Philly. Her writing has appeared in Molotov Cocktail, WHYY News Works, Germantown Avenue Parents, Patch and Elevate Difference (formerly The Feminist Review).

Novelist, screenwriter, actor and spoken-word performer Don Bajema first came onto the literary scene in the early 90s with Boy In The Air (2.13.61). A proud son of Newfoudland, Canada and current resident of New York City, Bajema has toured extensively in the US, Canada and Europe, sharing the spoken word stage with the likes of Hubert Selby, Henry Rollins, and Jim Caroll. His latest collection of short stories, “Winged Shoes and a Shield”, was released in October 2012 by City Lights Books.

Moonstone Arts Center Poetry Presents An Evening of Spoken Word and Poetry featuring Maleka Fruean, Don Bajema and Jim Trainer.
7 pm Wedensday December 11 at Brandywine Workshop
728 S. Broad Street Philadelphia, PA 19146

CONTACT: Jim Trainer: 512-203-6288
jamesmichaeltrainer@gmail.com,
jimtrainer.net
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PRESS Brother DonMALEKA

Kingdom Found

In honor of Charles Bukowski’s birthday, I’m re-blogging this. I wrote it for his birthday last year. Please head over to Going for the Throat for a poem I wrote for him, and checkout the Facebook Page for the blog as well. Thanks for reading. And thanks for the courage, Papa.

Jim Trainer

Austin, TX

Going for the Throat

Henry Charles Bukowski humanized poetry.  The stoicism of his anti-heroes perhaps betrayed a respect by many writers of the 20th Century for Ernest Hemingway.  They called Hemingway Papa.  Hemingway is not my Papa.  In plain-spoken, dispassionate prose, Bukowski included the sometimes gross and hairy minutiae of life to arrive at a greater truth.  He was not resigned to this–sometimes there is no greater truth.  Some nights there is no peace.  Papa helped me through many war-like years and he still helps me, when I must ruefully look back on those years and try and find some peace with it all.  Giving up is easy, the fight is painful.  Losing the game is painful, until you find your own game and are thus victorious.  He wanted to “frame the agony” and get in touch with magic, the miracle. He had more to say at the street level because that’s where he…

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CONTACT: Jim Trainer: 512-203-6288, jamesmichaeltrainer@gmail.com

Austin Poet and Singer/Songwriter Jim Trainer Reads From His Full Length Poetry Collection

I don’t know why
but
between trouble&the Blues
we’re expected to function this way
some small window
this
some real gamble
this.
we may have
our
day in the sun
and
we may ride high
atop
some fearless Nights
but
we will have to come back down
and
we will have to hash it out
here
between trouble&the Blues.

-from between trouble&the Blues by Jim Trainer

June 10, 2013, Philadelphia, PA: Jim Trainer will read from his debut poetry collection, Farewell to Armor, on June 27, 2013, at Mugshots (
1925 Fairmount Avenue
 19130). The reading will also feature Philadelphia poet, visual artist and singer/songwriter Bevan McShea (Pheonix Veil).

Jim Trainer is a communicator. Growing up in the hardcore punk scene of the early ’90s taught him everything he needed to know about real work. Trainer put in the work, playing a vivid mix of blues/folk music around venues up and down the east coast, across the country, and many, many Philadelphia bars, house concerts, and coffee shops. It gained him a following, becoming known for his intense style that rode the artistic fine balance of romantic longing and unexpected social commentary. Trainer also read his poetry out extensively, and one of the readings led to his first full-length poetry book, Farewell to Armor, published by local press WragsInk.

Trainer took inspiration from a Bukowski biography, learning that the great poet didn’t start writing until he was 35. That’s when he really got serious about getting the words down, on a President XII manual typewriter for $17. “I devoted myself to the simple line,” says Trainer, who now resides in Austin, Texas, and plays a regular rotation of music and poetry there. “I remember mornings coming off a graveyard shift, just beat-to-hell tired, pulling into the Shell, getting a quart of beer and heading home where I’d type and drink into the 8-9-10 a.m. hours. Looking back, I think I was forging a new language for myself. I had to get those lines down simple, and quick, because I was working three jobs. It was my only release. Writing has always been a means of survival for me.”

He’s carried the torch for independent media, broadcasting as one of the early voices of Radio Volta 88.1FM while writing for the Philadelphia IMC’s wire in the early ’00s. He currently serves as contributor, editor and curator of Going For The Throat, a semi-daily publication of cynicism, outrage, correspondence and romance.

Lamont Steptoe is a poet, activist, Vietnam Veteran, photographer and founder/publisher of Whirlwind Press. He is the author of ten books of poetry. He was awarded the Life-time Achievement Award by the Kuntu Writers Workshop from the University of Pittsburgh in 2002, a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Literary Fellowship in 1996 and has been twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Steptoe was awarded the American Book Award in 2005. In 2004, rapper Mos Def, opened the Def Poetry Jam program on HBO with a poem from Mad Minute. He has collaborated with Sonia Sanchez, Allen Ginsburg, Ishmael Reed, Margaret Walker Alexander, and Sam Allen.

Philadelphia artist and musician Bevan McShea has been writing poems since childhood. He began performing spoken word poetry as Lightborn after the international success of two underground hip hop albums. Freestyle and a capella versions of the songs live on stage became more appealing than the lyrics over beats, due to the focus on the subject matter content, and after a successful feature role at NuYorican Poets Cafe,  Bevan shifted his writing style to fit the spoken word format.

Promotional copies and book samples available upon request. For more information about the reading, or Farewell to Armor, please contact Jim Trainer: 512-203-6288, jamesmichaeltrainer@gmail.com

###

facebook coverPRESS

A poem of mine is featured on great writer Natalie Kelly’s blog, A Series of Moments. Enjoy. -Jim Trainer

a series of moments

the headline read:
Grim Day For A Small Town
then the cop came over
to the periodicals rack
told me there’s a
NO HAT& NO SUNGLASSES policy
in the
CITY OF AUSTIN PUBLIC LIBRARY
but I could put my cap on backwards
if I wanted
so I did.

the clerks at checkout looked on
as I stood
at the info desk
I stood there for minutes
until
it was obvious I was doing something wrong
I picked up the info desk sign
flipped it around
it read:
INFO DESK CLOSED PLEASE GO TO
SECOND FL
CITY OF AUSTIN PUBLIC LIBRARY
so I went up
asked her
“Do you have
The Days Run Away Like Wild Horses Over The Hills by Charles Bukowski?”

I got the book
went back downstairs
and the clerk at checkout
told me
I’d have to pay
$60
in overdue fees,
but if I still had…

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A New Anthology

Anthology Philly ImageHello fellow Philadelphians! WragsInk is preparing the next anthology in our Anthology, Philly series, and it could include a story from YOU!

If you live in the Philadelphia area (including nearby New Jersey and Delaware) we are looking for submissions to the next anthology. It will include everything from poetry to short stories to flash fiction. Do you want to be a part of it? Then you have to SUBMIT.

Send your best work to phillyfictioncontest[at]gmail[dot]com. The submissions will be open until filled, so it’s best you get us your work now. For more information on what we look for, feel free to order volume one and check it out.

Please only send us 3-5 poems or 1-2 short stories. We don’t want to be overwhelmed!

We’re All Mad Here

look at this place
a cathedral of wineglass
rising from black dunes of
cigarette ash
-from Tuesday, too late

It was true enough. Three months inside the pages of a book.  My life, otherwise ruined, was editing; punctuated by trips to the Conoco at 12th&Lamar for MCDs and big boys of Sapporo while muttering my mad verse into an iPhone and walking into the screaming afternoon traffic.
I came in from my last trip to find last nights french fries&ketchup drying on the table beside the carbons and the white sheets, the red pens and candles, the cigarettes and the wine and the ruin and the waste.  All spread out on the broad oaken table.  Also, there was a note from the publisher:

Hey Jim! If you’re going to post poems, could you possibly add more than just the poem? Maybe a little bio on yourself, the fact that you are a poet featured in the book, stuff like that?
I just saw the post (which is very good, of course!) but would like to see a little more.
Thanks so much! Great to have you posting on the blog :)

This was in response to a poem I posted on here on September 11th. I’d written it a year before, on the 10th Anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks but, much like my blog celebrating Charles Bukowski’s birthday and my blog about the death of the underground on the 20th Anniversary of the release of Nirvana’s Nevermind, I sat on it. I was trying to somehow be ahead or above or beyond the curve by not reporting on it at all.
I know-brilliant, right?
So I put it up this year.  And I didn’t have anything else to say that day.  So I didn’t.

I humbly offer you a little insight into my vision&process, my goals as a writer and all such droll minutiae that is my madness as I creep down this crooked road that I first stepped foot on nearly 23 years ago…

The poetry happens mechanically, mostly. I type most of it on the President XII Tower (an old, manual typewriter with no ribbon) on a paper sandwich of three white sheets and two carbons in between. This yields two exact copies of the poem, as created, and a “ghost” cover sheet (where the keys have struck but left no ink).
The best stuff flows, sure, but there’s a huge torrent of flow and it’s not all good.

Poetry is sacred to me. Poetry is the song of your heart.  It’s a wisdom of song coming to you one line at a time. There are:
rags, ragas, blues, and my personal favorite, rock&roll motherfucker.
That’s right.  It pours out like lava then.
I am aided by the spirits.  A good poetry jag can be concurrent with a bad bender, scandal&slander on the social networks, confused text messages on the phone in the morning and missing pants.
Poetry&you do not mix. Poetry, to me, is the slipped sheath of this reality, the empty mansions of the heart but with a language that is eternal. Poetry sings.
Poetry is a reason?
Poetry is some stowed away love, breaking away from the masses and the twisted wreck of my personal history and finding for peace.

One (1) night of poetry can hear me laughing, crying and leaning sodden on a turnpike of history w/:
bluesmen, swamps&toil, nightjobs, dayjobs and broads-both crazy and unrelenting.
One (1) night of poetry is like a swipe of the Matador’s cape and foolishly thinking myself brave until the next day when the kitchen/office looks like the Bull got in there and wrecked shop:
ashtray, ash, empty wine&beer bottle, thick squat glasses thick w/syrupy Herbsaint, used limes, ink&carbons and white sheets.
The white sheets.  Poetry is striking black against the white sheets.  It’s kicking against the pricks. Declaring war and reigning supreme or singing high, lonesome songs into the night.
Poetry is listening for echos and walking with the dead.
Two (2) carbons, three whites and hopefully some truth coming down through the crown chakra with the peck-peck-pecking of brittle, old-bone or plastic keys.  Real&High Adventure in the Great Indoors.
I have enjoyed the spoils of war but I have won nothing. I have conquered myself. I have lost myself.

Thank You.  You’re welcome.

Jim Trainer lives in Austin, TX where he serves as contributor, editor and curator of Going For The Throat, a semi-daily publication of cynicism, outrage, correspondence and romance.  Join him for a reading and the release of Farewell to Armor, a full-length collection of his poetry published by WragsInk, w/Lamont Steptoe and Maleka Fruean, at Imperfect Gallery in Germantown on December 15.  7pm

By Kathryn Ombam

I was very fortunate to have a conversation with author Eric McKinley about his debut novel, Blessed Sons this week. Blessed Sons follows an ensemble of characters through the complicated scenario leading up to and following the shooting death of a star high school athlete. The characters seem simple enough: the boy and his family, the shopkeeper, and the lawyer who is assigned to the case. But the emotional relationships that McKinley creates for each character are fascinating and nuanced – and the characters are forced to examine some of the most difficult things that life holds – race, class, violence, death, and the consequences that go along with each. When I sat down with McKinley, I tried to ask him some meaningful questions. Often I was reduced to just gushing about my favorite parts of the book, but here are the highlights of the interview:

Mrs.O: In this book, the protagonist is a lawyer named Jon, you happen to be a lawyer, how often do people ask you about the lawyer component of this book?

McKinley: Sure, even people that don’t know I am a lawyer ask me about the detail of the trial
and want to know if I have personal experience with the plot line. But I don’t want people to get
bogged down in making comparisons. I don’t want people to think this is the only thing I write
about – or that I will write about in the future.

Mrs. O: You do convey a great bit of detail – like how the lawyers talk to the judge and how the
whole legal process goes, even down to the details of the rooms they are meeting in and how they
differ from one another.

McKinley: Yes, but being a lawyer is not a monolithic experience. Some judges are casual; some
lawyers are too, stylistically. Some are more talented than others. Not everyone will be the same.

Mrs. O: At the reading you did today, you spoke of intentionally making the city of Philadelphia a
character in the novel. You did so beautifully. Even though I live here, I felt that I was really getting
an insider’s view of the city – and was transported to each locale with you, in the same way that I
am in books that take place in far-away locales.

McKinley: First of all, thank you for the kind words. Yes, I was very intentional in making the
city part of the ensemble. Places like Bob and Barbara’s and Cookum’s are real places, although
Cookum’s has closed down now. I wanted to include the detail of the city because this story might
be different in a different city.

Mrs. O: You acknowledge that this story has an eerily similar context to the Trayvon Martin case, do
you think that would have been a different scenario, had that tragedy happened in Philadelphia?

McKinley: I think it might. Philly is different. We have an African American Mayor and an African
American Police Chief, and obviously a large population of African American residents, so I think
the reaction would have been different. George Zimmerman wasn’t even arrested until some of his
bizarre post-shooting behavior happened. And his bail was set rather low. I don’t know that that
would have happened here because our public leadership contains so many people of color.

Mrs. O: What about Music? You use music in a very theatrical way in this novel – I could so easily
see it translated into a screenplay – but did you intend for Music to be another character?

McKinley: Music is not meant to be a character in the same way that Philadelphia is an intentional
character, but I did imagine the scene and what kind of music would be playing, because that is part
of the experience of being in Philadelphia. Most places would have a jukebox or a band, so I did
think as I was writing about what would have been playing.

Mrs. O: Yes! I was so happy to see a mention of one of my favorite artists – Mos Def – in a
description of Jon. I immediately thought – oh now I can get an idea of this person – he is probably
my age, and is thinking about music in a way that is not necessarily following trends.

McKinley: He is not a trendy guy. And the song choices were very intentional. Part of my desire
for this novel to be an ensemble piece was to include things like music in that way. Food is another
component that was meant to augment the story.

Mrs. O: I find myself very drawn to the psychology of Jon – he is so apathetic in so many ways – and
particularly to the women in his life – in his relationships with his wife and his mother, he is so stuck.

McKinley: I think of him not so much as a protagonist but as an anti-hero. So much of what he is
doing is just trying to survive. He is not a white knight swooping in to save anything. In some ways
he is just a guy trying to keep his job, trying to keep his marriage together. But he does have a
baseline competitive streak and at a certain point he gets interested in winning; in winning his cases,
in trying to ‘win’ his marriage. He is trying to do the right thing. But, he has a definitive threshold
for how much he is willing to give a shit. At a certain point the effort becomes too much of a
struggle and turns into a blockage. He loves his people, but there is a limit to his emotional reserve.
He loves, but not unconditionally and not without limits. Jon’s relationship with his mother is the
best illustration of this.

Mrs. O: Tell me about the great bartender character – Cook – he seems to be such as great father-
figure character. Was he intended to be?

McKinley: That is an interesting question and a characterization that I had not thought of before.
He certainly represents a refuge for Jon. Cy (the best friend) and Cook (the bartender) both fulfill
that role of providing a safe place for him to go amidst the madness. Look, there is a lot of judgment
coming at him from all angles. Judgment of whether he is living up to his potential or not. Men
don’t get that kind of judgment from other men. The idea is, “Okay, fine, my boy is going to cheat
on his wife, or he drinks too much, but he is still my boy.”

Mrs. O: But the relationships with women are more judgmental?

McKinley: Yes, for Jon, the women in his life don’t need to do anything. They have been accepted
by him. They are already at the standard needed for his engagement. And of course this is vast
generalizing, but women have a more project-based attitude toward men. They want men to be
more, to be what they think is better. The men are fine – saying: “That’s it, this is my guy, whatever
happens.” Conversely, men become apathetic or compartmentalize because they have already
made the decision to commit to the relationship and they are in it for whatever it is.

For instance, there is a scene in the book where Jon is looking around his marital house and he is
seeing that the décor is fundamentally his wife’s. He accepts it and is comfortable within it, but it
would be different if it was just him. It is clearly her house. But he is okay with that. He knows he
will stay and try to make it work. She is going to have to be the one that leaves him – even though
it is obvious that they have evolved away from one another. He would stay forever. Just like he
would never leave his job until he reaches a true breaking point.

Mrs. O: I guess women have more rules than men do about their close relationships – a code of
conduct maybe? But I feel like there is such a strong male tone to the book. Even the narrator has a
male tone and an urban tone.

McKinley: Interesting, I meant for the narrator to be omniscient, but you might be right. Men –
and again I am generalizing – don’t have the same rules toward their close relationships. They can
have conflict without analysis – they just accept whatever happens – with or without explanation or
resolution. They just keep going.

This is true with Jon’s marriage – he’s in it. He is at a point where he doesn’t feel like he has a
choice, so then he honors his commitment. He is not intentionally trying to push Cheryl away. He
doesn’t want to be an island but he doesn’t want to be domesticated either.

Mrs. O: I want to be sure I’m not providing any major spoilers, but there is a moment when Jon
finally breaks down. Can you tell me more about what is going on to finally bring out this emotion
from a character that has been so stoic up to this point.

McKinley: He is not a guy that feels like his life belongs to him. It’s not his house, it’s his wife’s. It’s
not his marriage, it’s on her terms. It’s not his job; his colleagues take much more ownership of the
firm. It’s not even really his case, it’s Saul’s and Jerrel’s. So when something that he really owns and
loves is finally touched by this situation, he reacts. Because he has so little stake in the rest of his
life, this becomes an even greater violation.

And I think it important to note that there is a lot of pressure coming from his community. They
know him and they know the implications of him defending this person. He had been able to remain
detached, but then all of a sudden, it’s all there in his face. He’s there in the maelstrom of crap.

Mrs. O: Right, that is a great part of the story – this all hits very close to home for him on so many
levels.

McKinley: His role provides even greater scrutiny because he is from the same community where
the pivotal action occurs. He has considerable talent and good intentions, but he is in a difficult
situation.

Mrs.O: The book really has such interesting topics for discussion. Race, gender, class, mobility are
all strong themes. I see why you have offered to attend book group discussions because there is so
much fodder for discussion!

I have to thank Eric McKinley for indulging my many questions. You can find the book through
the author’s website http://ericmckinleyfiction.wordpress.com/, the publisher’s website: http://
wragsink.com/#/ericmckinley/, and on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Blessed-Sons-Eric-McKinley/
dp/0983045445