I could pretend that I have an amazing ear or was just magically inspired to write Loudermilk’s voice, but I’m not going to do that. The truth is that I spent a long time reading publications like Maxim and Playboy and watching endless period television shows and movies. Loudermilk’s voice is a sort of Frankenstein’s monster of these anthropological activities. He’s a carefully researched amalgam. I have notebooks, binders full of Loudermilkian words, phrases, and sentences. And, although I’m not going to write them, I certainly have enough material for several sequels. But even given this excess, I’m not sure I ever got tired of Loudermilk’s way of speaking. It was weird because when I began thinking and writing about him I was pretty sure he was my polar opposite, the person in the world to whom I was the most opposed, but the more I worked on this book, the more I began to see the similarities between myself and this character. He was my proxy, after all. To paraphrase the poet John Berryman in his 242nd Dream Song, “I am him.”


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