When my girls were little I wrote a story called "The Bridge," which was a riff on the fable, "The Three Billygoats Gruff." After I read it to them, my middle daughter, Tyne, made the above sculpture of me, holding the manuscript in one hand and our dog, Pico, by the leash in the other. It is one of my prized possessions.

I plan to revisit The Bridge one day soon, and publish it as a Little White Cabin book. I figure a quarter-century is plenty of time to ferment in the old noggin-cask. Oughta be of good vintage by now.

I will, however, have to buy an external 3.5-inch floppy drive, as those were simpler times.

That one who is at home in the fire room of a ship, the road smoking with molten asphalt, the blacksmith's forge, the galley oven, the burn pile...

... holds tightly what we would drop from blistered hands, stands still wherefrom we would run for our lives, churns at vital labors unseen.

From the gallery, Portrait of the Artist as a Jung Man.

Most people who know the song, "You Don't Know Me," probably remember the Ray Charlies version, which may well be the best cover of the Cindy Walker classic. In The Relic, the teenaged Chick Charles plans to play it at a Christmas party for the girl of his dreams, Celeste.

That part of the story takes place in about 1960, two years before Ray Charles released his version, and so Chick keys on the 1956 versions by Jerry Vale and Eddy Arnold. But he is determined to make it his own, to show Celeste the depth of his feelings for her. Of course, it all goes wrong, which sets him off on his tragic journey "between the devil and the deep blue sea."

Given that Chick mentions those two singers by name, I figured I'd post links to their versions for readers who may not have caught the references in the story. Here's Eddy Arnold:

And here's Jerry Vale: