The American Story, an anthology
Doing this book was like going to graduate school. I learned so much from the book’s editor, Starkey Flythe, Jr., who was a brilliant short story writer (an O. Henry Award honoree) and editor. I was hired as assistant editor mostly because I had a history degree and because I was standing in the office when they needed an assistant editor. But I spent a glorious six months in the musty archives of the Saturday Evening Post, working under Starkey’s direction, and assembling a beautiful words-and-pictures book to mark the Bicentennial. In between times, Starkey steered me to Flannery O’Connor, Eudora Welty, and other writers whose work enriched my life. I was jazzed that this was published the day before my 21st birthday — for some odd reason, being featured on a catalog-card entry in the Library of Congress before turning 21 . . . well, that was a weird goal for me at the time. This book is still fun to read.