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A Yarn to Weave and be Woven

As an undergraduate, Jim had to choose between majoring in creative writing or mathematics/computer science. He decided there was less chance of having to actually work for a living if he got his degree in mathematics. Who knew? He still writes from time to time and enjoys reading short stories in the quarterlies.

Short Stories

I really love writing and reading short stories. It is invention at its purest. I've tried a few times to get some of these published in various literary magazines, so far unsuccessfully. Other writers tell me my stack of rejections isn't nearly high enough yet to expect any good news in that regard.

If you like any of these, please send email and tell me which ones. If you hate any (or all) of them enough to spend the time to tell me about it, I'll print out your message and add it to my stack of rejections. You'll be among distinguished company.

Falling from the Earth
A nativity story, set in Hell.
Adventures in the C Line
I like Southwest Airlines. And Coffee.
Super 8
A man and his sister drive across Dixie after the death of their parents.
Writer's Block
A writer struggles with an old enemy and a new friend.
The Turn
A man and his son take a hike on the eve of the millennium. This one won Best Short Story at the Rice University Writers' Conference.
Aunt Laney's Bus Ride
An old woman gets to know herself on a long trip.
Night and the Boy
I wrote this relatively dark short short story the day after a I totalled my little red car.
Saviors
Christmas in Atlanta. This one won Honorable Mention in the Austin Chronicle Short Story Contest.
Transition
Ever watch someone waiting for an airplane to arrive?
Cruel Innocence
Three boys + a hole in the ground = an adventure.
Storyteller
A children's story about a man who spins tales.

Poetry

I enjoy playing with words. It's a lot like programming in that, after a great deal of thought and planning, certain structures seem to just naturally fall out.
Look Up to the Mountains
Ever get really bored with your job and start wishing that space aliens would land and show us all what's what? You don't? Never mind then.
Past and Future
I like the meter in this one. I wrote it when Kathy and I were dating, back when I thought it was cool to be dark and brooding.
A Perfect Island
You don't see many poems about mathematics do you? Here's one I wrote as an undergraduate on one of those rare occasions when the two halves of my brain existed in the same place at the same time, influenced by the same mushroom no doubt.
Inheritance
For the space-faring ecologist in all of us.
How Many?
It's a poem about poets. Get it?
On Meeting a Lady
A few years ago I was roofing my house and I stupidly fell onto the top of an aluminum ladder. The ladder caught my lower leg and kept me from breaking my neck, but I ended up with 40 stitches in my leg and a lot of free time on my hands. Appropriately, I wrote this poem about death and close calls.
As One
This was an anniversary poem for my wife. Mush alert!
The Grand Marathon
A sonnet about life in the fast lane.
The Marsh of the Cypress Wood
My longest poem is actually a child's verse that I made up for my son. I used to drive him home from day care every afternoon. We'd make up a new verse in the car each day and recite the whole thing from memory. I didn't write it down until much later and I still can remember most of it. He probably can too --- at least the last line of each stanza.
City Life
Living downtown is a wild new experience. This verse tries to capture some of the excitement and edginess that makes it so much fun.

Essays

Of course, writing non-fiction and technical papers is part of my work. Most of those papers are either proprietary or boring or both. Occasionally though, I write something that has more general interest and I've collected a few of those here.
Ethosphere
A discussion of identity, privacy, and anonymity in a hypothetical virtual society.
A Practical, Evolutionary Software Development Process
Documents a software development methodology that I have developed over the years and used in several of the companies at which I have worked.
Intrigue and Instant Messaging
A brief history of buddy lists and instant messaging from an insider's perspective. First published by Matrix.net in their newsletter Matrix News Volume 10 Number 9, September 2000.
Computing on the Edge
A discussion of peer-to-peer computing and its implications for small kitchen appliances. First published by Matrix.net in their newsletter Matrix News Volume 10 Number 11, November 2000.
The Big I
Is the Internet Inherently Indivisible? First published by Matrix.net in their newsletter Matrix News Volume 10 Number 12, December 2000.