Happy B-day to the old man writer of Centralville who was old at six years and never got younger because he could see over the edge of the horizon and got a glimpse of the void, making it more or less indefensible to get a job in a factory when time is after all so precious, so he committed himself to the only things that seemed able to defeat time: writing stories and sketching portraits and mapping his thoughts and dreams. He enjoyed the arrival of the newspaper as a young man, gobbling up the news of the universe and dross and glossiness of the day. He just decided to do it, to write, infected as he was with the ink in his veins from his father’s shop, where words stopped slipping through fingers and took shape on paper that was more permanent than a lot of other things. That reality of brain clouds turning into something visible and tangible and portable like a printed folio or bound book was immensely moving to young Jack. It was a way to beat time, to cheat death, which had not happened with brother Gerard. Jack’s plan was to become more than a memory. He was going to leave something behind that anybody could sink teeth into.