The story takes its title from the Yes classic, “Roundabout,” a song that has stuck with me ever since my freshman year of high school when I bought a cassette of Fragile. In the opening scene, two characters–college freshmen–are having a disagreement over the song. The main character is Timothy Ford, also the protagonist in the story “Wildlife.”
Other than the title work, “Measuring Time,” this is the oldest story in the book, originally drafted when my wife and I lived in Portland, Oregon, in the mid-2000s. During this period, I discovered Ann Beattie, Lorrie Moore, and Louise Erdrich, great writers all, and especially great writers of the humorous. The stories I was drafting incorporated more humor than in my prior stories.
The piano was one of my first loves. When I was three, I wrote my first song on it: “All My Bombs.” I grew up in the Cold War-era, Russia still an existential threat. But in those keys of the old player piano, there was magic. I loved to slide open the horizontal drawers and watch the hammers hit the strings as I plunked notes.