J. Allen Wolfrum is a fiction author and former Marine based in San Diego, California.


The Things They Carried and Kombucha

The Things They Carried and Kombucha


I picked up a copy of The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien a few weeks ago. I read it for the first time more than fifteen years ago. My oldest friend gave me a copy when I was stationed at Camp Pendleton. My memory is a little hazy on the specific date but it was before 9/11/2001. I remember reading it in the barracks and the piece that stuck with me the most was the title, at that time I didn't have the perspective to connect with the emotions Tim O'Brien was trying to express.

This time around, The Things They Carried hit me like a ton of bricks. The book describes how events that happen during war shape the lives of soldiers long after the war is over. I'll leave it at that for now, I don't have my head wrapped around it all yet. If you haven't read the book, it's definitely worth the time.


I'm still working through some planning for the sequel to Selected. I'm trying to make sure that I have a roadmap for answering all the questions that were left open in Selected. My goal is to get a first draft done by the end of march, which is an ambitious, but achievable goal.  We'll see how it goes.


Rich and Pam are holding things down at the Catranch.  The weather has been chilly (for San Diego) and we've been able to use the fireplace in the evenings, Rich and Pam are both big fans of a crackling fire.  Other than the fireplace the evenings, the Catranch was relatively quiet this week.

I started brewing my first batch of Kombucha. Much easier than I anticipated, basically you're just brewing a batch of tea and adding in the Kombucha culture for fermentation. The tricky part seems to be the temperature, it needs to stay between 68 and 86 degrees for the fermentation process. I have a feeling it's going to take a few batches before I can get it to the point where it's pleasurable to drink.

That's all I can think of for this week. Not writing is frustrating but taking the time to plan is important.



If you're into songwriting and good music, check out the interview with Sturgill Simpson and John Prine.

Toward the end of the interview, John Prine talks about one of the first songs he wrote while delivering mail, Sam Stone.

Strange that I ran into The Things They Carried and the John Prine discussion in the same week.  Coincidence? Maybe. Or maybe not.  But definitely got the wheels turning.

An Old Volkswagen, Rainbow Smelt, and Hard Livin' on Repeat

An Old Volkswagen, Rainbow Smelt, and Hard Livin' on Repeat

The Paperback Is Out -- Winter in San Diego

The Paperback Is Out -- Winter in San Diego