What saves Serafin from being strangled by his own introspection is that he has an ability to read people who are emotionally inarticulate or damaged almost as well as he reads himself, perhaps because the kinship he feels with them offers him a degree of protection from both their dysfunctionality and/or their madness. They become, in effect, aspects of his own ego and imagination, which settles around them with a gentleness he doesn’t offer to himself or anyone who isn’t damaged like them. Anyone he believes is capable of passing judgment on him is a blank to him, or rather, he is blinded by his terror at the possibility that they might judge him, or by his rage when he decides that they have. Serafin is one of those supremely touchy writers willing to ignore or torch the good will of others if it doesn’t coincide with his exacting terms."

I admire Serafin's first book very much, and was deeply infuriated today by a local editor, who I will not name, who dropped into the shop to invite me to contribute to an upcoming issue of Well-Regarded West Coast Magazine. I proposed a lengthy review of Serafin's book. "No," said Unnamed Editor, "I think it's flawed. And it's received enough exposure."

I argued that the book had received two dull and thoughtless reviews in the Sun and the Straight.

"No," said Unnamed Editor patiently, taking the tone of a parent with an annoying toddler, "I think it's flawed. And it's received enough exposure. Now is there anything else you'd like to propose."

Only this: I propose to never write for Unnamed Editor's critical and commercial success story ever again.