“Pornography’s Pupil”

A few years ago, when I was reading for the Yalobusha Review, I got lucky one afternoon when I picked a story out of the stack called “Between Pissworth and Papich.” I was used to putting stories down after two or three pages, getting bored by them or losing track of what was going on, but this one took hold immediately. When I was done, I knew it was not only the best story I’d seen as a reader for the journal but the best story I’d read in recent memory. I was excited to pass it to my friends Burke and Anya (who was Fiction Editor at the time). They read it and had the same reaction. I think Anya accepted it for publication the same day or maybe the day after.

The writer of the story was a guy named Patrick Michael Finn. I tracked down his novella A Martyr for Suzy Kosasovich and loved it. A while after the story appeared in the YR, Patrick and I got to exchanging messages via Facebook. He sent me a copy of his newest book, the story collection From the Darkness Right Under Our Feet (a book you should go get now, if you don’t have it) and thanked me for rescuing “Between Pissworth and Papich” from six years of rejection. I couldn’t believe there were journals and magazines that had passed on such a perfect story. Patrick and I talked about other things: Catholicism, Barry Hannah, X, Hüsker Dü, Willy Vlautin. We had a hell of a lot in common.

Anyhow, all this to say: Patrick’s one of my favorite writers, and he’s got a beautiful personal essay, “Pornography’s Pupil,” up at Trop. Check it out here.


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