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Hybrid Vigor and Other Matters

Hybrid Vigor and Other Matters

My mother used the term “hybrid vigor” more than once over the years in a context that would be considered cringeworthy today. That said, her intentions were good, and her point was scientifically valid—combining two things with different characteristics can produce powerful and sometimes unexpected results. It’s a thought that came back to me again when considering The Remembering: Reflections on Love Art, Faith, Heroes, Grief and Baseball, coming December 6.

As outlined last time, my initial inspiration was to collect the essays published on this blog in recent years in book form, pulling in other first-person essays I’ve written over the years to fill it out to book length. Once I began considering what themes and through-lines might be present in the collected material, though, it became clear that the context from which these essays sprang was more than just incidental background; it was the beating heart of the story, a deeply personal tale about growth and transformation and finding your voice.

The end result is a book that’s an unusual hybrid—part essay collection and part, for lack of a more precise term, memoir. It isn’t a true memoir—not with all those essays in the midst of it, and the vast number of threads of my backstory that have been left out because they didn’t feel relevant to this particular narrative. But it ranges far afield from most collections of its kind in its exploration of the life of the author behind them, and how those experiences shaped the writing.

As for how I ended up here, with this unusual but potentially intriguing hybrid, that’s the rub, isn’t it? The reason every writer I’ve ever known is so irritated by the question “Where do you get your ideas?” is because we’d give almost anything to know the answer. As suggested in one of the essays collected in The Remembering, ideas come from “the wind, the sun, the water. From the quiet moments of simply being. From the sparks.” Beyond that, I haven’t a clue.

Of course, you may have arrived here today in search of a glimpse of the cover of The Remembering, rather than an examination of the book’s genetic code. Fair enough: ask and ye shall receive.

A word about book covers: they can be tricky.

You want the cover to do several somewhat contradictory things all at the same time. On the one hand, you want it to convey several different important aspects of the book at once—the subject matter, the tone and the emotional weight of the writing found inside. On the other hand, practically speaking, you want something eye-catching and intriguing that, in an internet-driven world, works equally well at normal and fingernail size.

It’s a tall order, but thankfully my extraordinarily talented friend Jean-Paul Vest’s skills include both world-class songwriting and superb book design. I gave him my initial concept of what the cover might look like and he came back with two options, the one I had suggested and one that he came up with on his own. It should surprise no one that I chose his, because his is better. It achieves all of the goals outlined above, and does so with considerable visual flair.

With that, I hope you’ll join us next Tuesday for an extended dialogue about the roots of The Remembering with the person—other than the author—who may know it best.

Comments (3)

  • Jerome & Dorothy Porter

    Hi Jason. Dorothy and I have fond memories of you and your Mom from our years in Larkspur. Tell me how to get a copy of your new book. Jerome Porter aka Scott's Dad

  • Jason Warburg

    Hi Jerome -- Those were fun days, playing in the circle there on South Green Street! And it's been really nice reconnecting with Scott and Drew. We will post a link to purchase the book on Amazon on Publication Day - December 6. It will be on the home page here at and also on the "Buy the Books" page that is linked at the top of the page. My best to you and Dorothy -- Jason

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