“May I be honest; may I be decent…
I wonder if you know why I address these manuscripts to you.
You are the only person in the world
who believes I can do what I set out to do.
Not even I believe that all the time.
And so, in a kind gratitude,
I address all my writing to you,
whether you know it or not.”

~John Steinbeck, Life in Letters

I’m starting fresh. I’m still waiting to feel that novel rise within me; I’ve had a few ideas, a few whispers of a thrill. I need a goal. I’ve met most of those I’ve set for a while, and the others are so far off that it’d be a wasted effort to be preoccupied with them.

With a huge sense of disappointment, I had to cancel the Tulane book release earlier this month due to a administrative error on the campus side of things, and school/work/NROTC has been keeping me on my heels trying to break me. While I still plan on having a book release here, I’m doing what I can to plan it to make sure its done right.

Once more, if you have any suggestions— let me know! I’d love to hear your ideas on what makes a book release worth attending, because trust me: I’ve done as many as you have.


Adam Camp Photography:

Been awhile since I plugged someone so here goes— if you’re into photography check out adam camp’s website at:


Here he not only posts his latest pictures and thoughts about, well, anything that comes to mind— but he’ll also show diagrams on how he sets up his shop, and will trade any knowledge he has with his readers.

I’ve posted a few of my favorite shots that he’s put up in the last month. Like most aspiring professionals, he needs motivation, so drop him a line and comment his site. Tell what you like, don’t like, and what you need to see more of.

Knowing the kind of gentleman Mr. Camp is, I’m sure he’d be happy to oblige to any challenge.

Jonathan Bollinger Nile C. Kinnick High School Yokosuka, Japan January 2009.


I know, I know, its been a while since I posted something of my own to read. So here we go!

In my creative writing class, we did a piece on voice. Simple assignment, just create a narrative with a distinct voice. Here, I once more explore the darker aspect of human nature. One of these days, joy and happiness and all that good stuff will bubble up inside me— but until then, I can’t pick my muses.

Those fleeting dames of inspiration always seem to find me.

The usual remark: Leave feedback! I love to hear criticism. It usually takes me 3 days and a long stubborn argument before I admit each latest piece isn’t the greatest thing ever— I’m arrogant enough to post it online and believe people will read, so shoot me down! Tell me what you don’t like, then tell me what made you shiver. I love negative feedback as much as I love your kind words! Improve me so that I can write the next great American novel, kiddos.



The Hidden

There is a place where I hide on Jed’s property. It’s not much more than a grassy patch of land, surrounded by three crumbling buildings: a house, a barn, and a tool shed. The tool shed is locked, and I don’t like locks. Most of the time, I’m not the one with the key. That was my father, the man with the key ring. Whenever I heard the jangling I knew— Oh! I knew! — that my father was on the way and he was mad. Boy, he’d get mad sometimes.

Like the time I shot the dog. Now, I didn’t shoot the dog like some trigger happy fool. But what’s a city kid to do with a hunting dog anyways? The dog goes down the rabbit hole, a rabbit comes out first. Even a city kid knows that rabbit comes out first. And you shoot on movement alone. Instinct. You don’t wait. Because the rabbit always comes out first. I’m not a kid anymore. But I was when I shot his dog.

Not saying I’m sorry. Not saying I didn’t do wrong. I just don’t like locks.

When he jangled those keys, I always tried to stay away from my dad. I have no problem with the dark; I just don’t like being trapped. What kid likes the corner, anyways? I know the difference between the dark and the light, and it is a locked closet door.

I stay away from the tool shed.

I really used to like the barn.

High rafters and the comforting smell of straw and rot, there was a lot of wide open space. I liked the emptiness. It was nice to have something to fill. I lined the walls with all the dolls I could find. It’s always a pleasure to have company, but I don’t bring too many people here. I don’t think that they’d understand. Even the dolls can get judgmental, a silent majority against me. I brought them to watch but… I don’t think they like me very much. That’s why I left the barn one day, and kept to the house. In rooms, I can hide from the eyes, even when the walls are crumbling. I’m not ashamed. People just don’t understand.

In the remains of the house, I hide the worst part of me. The windows are all broken in, shards hanging from the frame; there is gravel on the carpet. There is a stale smell that the wind can’t get rid of. I used to pace around the house, sitting for hours, staring at the art on the walls. Those who I bring here leave their mark.

Dark stains cake the walls like finger pictures. They tell a story, but I pay no mind. There are many stories buried in this house. I just enjoy the movement. Savor the rawness. Those streaks dance up and down all over the place. They dance all the way to the basement door. It is a hard oak door, thick and immobile. The other side of that door is the furthest place in the world for me. I’m sure everyone else feels the same way.

This is the place I hide on Jed’s property. This is not my happy place, but I don’t think I’ll ever be far from it. Over the hill and under the sun, I follow the dirt path toward the abandoned lot. I am heading to work. My father always said I’d have to atone for his sins. All the dirty things he did marked me from the rest; his legacy was mine before I knew not to want it. All I ever wanted was to be a better man than he, but the wound father passed down to me got infected real nice.

I walk up the path around the house. I see the storm cellar doors that lead to the basement. The doors are tied shut. I hear rapid pounding and muted voices, but ignore it. My father taught me to ignore a lot of things. The muffled yelling means nothing here. This is the place where the dirt meets the glass, and rust stains the trees. This place is neither heaven nor hell, but the river to either. I drag the baseball bat behind me.