Hear James J Patterson read "The Lovesick Lake"
"Lovers of the personal essay should be rejoicing in the streets at word of this collection. For readers and acquaintances of Jimmy Patterson, it is long overdue, but the author was born in Washington, D.C., where the machinery of progress is congenitally slow. So this book, in many important ways - is what all satisfying collections of autobiographical essays should be - a mirror of place." Rick Walter
Armistice Day, known in the US as Veteran's Day, is now a work week past, but for James J Patterson it is a memory and idea that refuses to restrain itself to a 24 hour period. Yesterday we published his moving account of those veterans of The Great War he knew growing up, memorializing and contextualizing them for an audience whose experience of the war may only be through the muddy, pained faces in old photographs.
This is the sort of talent Rick Walter, above, sees in the work of James J Patterson, and the sort which sparkles so amiably in James' first collection, Bermuda Shorts. James takes all the best parts of the autobiographical essay-- the ability to appeal to one's personal charms as a sort of ethos, the love for a subject spoken in a personal and impassioned way, the sincere vulnerability which seems to lend itself so well to the idiom--and elevates them as all good authors must elevate their genre. As Montaigne gave the travel essay an insight into the societal state of the European which would be appropriated again and again by contemporaries and progeny alike (as with Shakespeare's Tempest), so does James J Patterson make people, real living people, veterans, bass players, frustrated lovers, the menagerie of his life's tortuous road, into mirrors showing how who we are conceives the character of the places we occupy.
"Chubby Blewett made cedar-strip boats by hand..."