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I am a native of Los Angeles. Growing up I discovered that, contrary to received opinion, you can see the world from here. It’s a new world. But that’s an old story. So, with the aid and comfort of some friends, and in the freedom that seems at home in America, and even in L.A., I thought to tell that old story in this new way. New to me, anyway. I have labored in the groves of academe and continue to labor. But on early mornings, late nights, long weekends, and weeks of leisure, I ride my old motorcycle around the city, up the coast, across the desert, and out into the broad land, and write poems, songs, and stories like these. Friendly listeners will be relieved to learn that I am not planning to quit my day job any time soon.

These stories are mainly about what it is that makes America beautiful, what it is that makes America good and therefore worthy of love. It is our hope that these stories may in some small way move the better angels of our nature to touch the mystic chords of memory that strengthen our bonds of affection and make us friends. In our case, these mystic chords stretch not only from battlefields and patriot graves, but from back roads, school yards, and bar stools, city halls, summer afternoons, and old neighborhoods—from everywhere you find Americans being and becoming Americans.

Christopher Flannery