I do not hold a prestigious post in a Tier One university, but was once a finalist for a position at Fordham and was sort of considered for a job at a really good school in the Northeast that eventually went to a guy whose kid got a hug from the Pope. I ended up as Associate Professor of Theology in the Honors College at Baylor University, a title that only vaguely resembled my actual work there. A more representative assessment of that work comes from a former colleague, who said that I once delivered “the worst lecture in the history of Baylor University.” While at Baylor I occasionally looked at other jobs, as one with any sense in an iffy institutional situation would. Once I completely bombed an interview at UVA by mentioning the Eucharist and lentil soup in the same sentence, an episode that still haunts me and whose meaning still remains obscure. My first book bears a ridiculous title, which partly explains why no one read it. My scholarly work has been rejected by a wide range of some of the finest and most illustrious journals in the land, including Modern Theology, Poetry, and The New Yorker. The latter returned an unsolicited manuscript (circa 1997) submission with no note or letter but with a simple but thorough slash through the pages. For a decade I lived in Waco, Texas, a fact that I often had to explain to foreigners as not nearly as bizarre as it sounds but still pretty weird. I am married to Meredith, a rock star violinist who attended more elite universities than I did, and who refuses to pick up my dirty clothes off the floor, as this will teach me virtue. Hitherto, this strategy has been ineffective. We have four boys whose names are Henry, Charlie, Oliver, and George, although I am frequently confused about which person each name belongs to. I live in Asheville, North Carolina, where I write fiction and essays. I am currently preparing a manuscript for rejection by The Atlantic.

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