Or, how I finally screamed Uncle!, downloaded a Kindle App to my iPad and entered the 21st century of reading…

I saw Alan Heathcock at AWP in February — he was leading a panel on writers with recently published books.  At the time his description of VOLT, his short story collection (published by Graywolf Press) didn’t grab my attention.  Maybe I’d been reading too many short stories lately (which I had), or maybe there were too many people on that panel (six), or maybe I was distracted by how much the female writers on the panel ‘loved’ their agents, editors, publishers when I’d expected to hear what ‘really happens’ when trying to publish your first book.

Anyway, somewhere in the midst of it all, VOLT got lost.

I’m glad I re-found it.

Last night I read this review by NPR and, after being sold on these shorts stories of mourning and violence, skipped right on over to the author’s website for more info.

One click led to another click, and another — you know how it goes — until I was offered the option to buy this book for $9.99 and download it right that instant.  Minutes later I read VOLT’s first story, “The Staying Freight,” my first e-reader experience.  I promise if you read “The Staying Freight,” you will see what all the fuss is about.  His sentence structures remind me of Hemingway, or to be more current David Quammen, his use of language striking the chords of Breece D’J Pancake.

More on my first bout of e-reading tomorrow, a task accomplished while anesthetizing myself with half a box of Thin Mints Girl Scout Cookies.  Frozen Thin Mints.  The paper-addicted purist in me is in mourning.  I held out so long.  Be gentle.

For now, I recommend plunking down your virtual cash and giving Alan Heathcock’s collection of short stories a try.  Or be the first to nab it at your local library.