When critics ask me why I continue to write about Oildale, about Bakersfield, about the Central Valley, I tell them that the place is sufficient, even though my talent or craft may not be. In this site can be found all the great subjects, all the grand dramas, and they are not only themes of my stories and essays, but in a sense they are the settings too: place and people and passion inseperable as the terrain of the heart. And the heart is our primary locale. As a result, location and purpose often merge, so I employ rural California and its denizens to extol honor or truth or courage just as I use them to attack those narrow, negative attitudes that would bind our souls. Imagination starts somewhere and, since I observed and learned all those things here, I write about them here–an apprentice shaman questing for the sacred.