Introduction . . .
Dear Dr. Melanie Thompson,
What follows are transcripts of letters written by your patient, twenty-six-year-old Jeremiah John Watts. They were discovered inside a metal box along with two fountain pens, four pairs of boxer shorts, five pairs of socks, three t-shirts, twenty-eight dollars, and a heart-shaped silver locket, inside of which was a photograph of a young woman. The box protected these items from the forest fire that killed Watts, who was identified only by his teeth. Watts, as you know, was declared missing four months previous to the fire, and is now believed to have been living as a hermit in the woods the fire consumed. His motives for this are unclear.
I realize this may be difficult for you, but I need your help in understanding Watts’ role in the most devastating forest fire this region has seen in fifty years. At this time we are unsure whether or not Watts had anything to do with the blaze. As the psychiatrist who treated him most consistently, any assistance you can offer in this matter would be greatly appreciated.
Sheriff Tommy Bell
This brilliant debut consists of a prose collection of fictional letters from a deceased 26-year-old Southern American named Jeremiah John Watts (JJ). The people JJ mentions in these letters have a parallel to the alienated and confused dreamers, addicts and lost souls found in the work of the likes of Denis Johnson and William Burroughs, but JJ’s larger-than-life sentimentality as his past leaks out of his heart and onto the page puts this collection in some new sphere of perception equally brilliant but entirely its own. Gradually, the letters tell a fractured tale of a life of mistakes, heartbreak, sickness, and regret, but also love, faith, hope and perseverance.
– Heath Brougher Author, A Curmudgeon is Born, and Your Noisy Eyes