What do you eat for breakfast?

Steel cut oats, dried black cherries, nonfat yogurt, flax, and maple syrup.  Two double-espressos with steamy hazelnut milk.  Best breakfast I know of.

 

Agreed.  So…about the new novel.  You know the question I’m going to ask.

True.  But go ahead.

1

CHINOOK

 

He was on lunch duty when it happened, jacketless because of the Chinook wind and composing in his head a line or two about the color of the sky reflected in the wet school-yard pavement, the ice-rimmed, quickly vanishing puddles, clouds whipping past upside down . . . sun oil water. If he had a minute before class, he’d jot some notes to remind himself, and tonight or tomorrow, the weekend maybe, craft the lines. Meanwhile, these gusting, transitory moments of pleasure verging on epiphany, ears full of word sounds not quite articulable. He told himself he was lucky: The reward was having such feelings at all, being a man attuned to his surroundings enough to experience the old spine tingle beholding a thing of beauty, not in mining his particular sensitivities for a poem. In the midst of this, something else, too—a push, a seismic shift in the surrounding school-yard energy that put him on the alert, making him momentarily more enthralled by the windblown colors and reflections as he tore his attention from them back to the here and now—and then it was in their voices, too, and he knew, because he’d been in the job long enough to recognize all the signs. There was a fight. He would now be called upon to do something. Act. These were old-enough kids, grades nine and ten, no one would come running for him; no more grade-school, middle-school tattletales (“Fight! Fight! Mr. Franklin—quick!”), those simpler, earlier years of his teaching career long gone, like so many other things. They’d flock around, these kids, oversize strangers, cheering maybe or just silently longing for more, for torture, each one thankful it wasn’t him in there getting pummeled, but no one would stop it.