It’s been awhile since I read a short story or character study that really roped me in. Finished this one up earlier today. Mr. Lytle: An Essay by John Jeremiah Sullivan, in the Fall 2010 issue of The Paris Review. Quiet, lovely words. I recommend it.
“…My experience in woodworking hadn’t gone past feeding planks through a band saw for shop class, and there’d be no time to redo anything I might botch, so I followed instructions and with rags cut from an undershirt worked coats of wax into the cedar until its ashen whorls glowed purple, as if with remembered life. “