Introduction

Growing up, I wasn't much of an active kid. Sure, I liked to rim around the house, shimmy into tiny spaces with my small body, and climb up onto the kitchen counter to reach the cookie jar. But for the most part I would watch cartoons, do my schoolwork, and play video games on my Nintendo (not necessarily in that order). I think it was the stories in each of these areas that I found the most exciting. Stories always interested me. My father and mother were both very good storytellers in their own ways. My father was an English professor. He had a good way of using unusual turns-of-phrase to keep even a pedestrian story interesting. My mother, on the other hand, was Italian and as such had a proclivity towards fits of enthusiasm with ...

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