One day in the 1990s an ATM would not respond to the touch of my fingers on its screen. This denial gave birth to Michael. “Poor McCormick,” I thought, “his poor white bones.”

He was a graduate student in literature, like me. And he would meet, years and years before I did, a salvation of a woman born in Korea (that’s Julie So), and they would have a child (that’s June).

McCormick exists in the Julie So Stories (1992) and a novel called The Red and the Blue (1995), but rather than wait in those undiscovered texts, he breathes here 100 words at a time. No more no less. That’s the discipline.

He’s an exercise, a mash of Twitter and Haiku and journalistic wordcount. He’s the last words of General Custer and the first words of his beloved daughter, all the words of his students (Meher, Karishma, Naashia, Renne, Renae, Rodney, Liz, Paula, Mercy, Sasha, Glenn, Lauren and Zixu) his friends (Hobbs, Nick, Anna) and his masters (Virginia, F. Scott, Kazuo…).

Like raising a child in a melting world, writing fiction in the noise of the new millennium is optimism itself. You’ll like this I hope…

Nick Smart