It’s not often that you find an author (or any kind of public figure) who openly refers to himself by comparisons to a vegetable. But Jamie “Green bean” Greening does. With a name like Greening, though, the comparisons almost make themselves.
I met Jamie Greening and Joe Courtemanche at the Athanatos Festival in 2018, where all three of us were speaking. Afterward, Jamie, Joe C, and I rode together back to the airport and, along the way, struck up both a friendship and plans for future writing projects. Joe C started this Covid Quarantine Cantina thing and Jamie and I were two of the first three.
Not that this makes us special, mind you.
Along the way, it’s been great getting to know Jamie and to call him a friend. Hopefully you like him as much as I do. Check out Jamie Greening.
How was your experience writing stories for the Covid Quarantine Cantina?
It was fun. At the beginning we were just thinking about providing people with something to read while they were on lockdown, but then it turned into a part of our normal rhythms, producing one story each week, which is not easy to do. At the time, my work as a pastor increased exponentially and that made the schedule for new stories challenging, but it was good for me.
Which of your stories here is your favorite?
That’s not a fair question, a little like asking which is your favorite child. Each one reflects a different side of me and my writing. It is tempting to say the Butch Gregory version, since torturing poor Pastor Butch is one of my passions. But, honestly, The Vid Kids was probably my favorite just because I really hammed it up. But Let’s Do It is in that same category of just taking a completely silly and overblown part of the COVID-19 experience and blowing it up to its logical conclusion.
Favorites from other authors?
All of the Fondue writers are so very talented, and their stories are wonderful. Kathy Kexel’s story about Janelle getting tangled up in Chinese spies somewhere in Wisconsin was a hoot. It is the Secrets trilogy. Who can ever forget Derek Elkin’s weinermobile in Them Ole Pandemic Blues Apocalypse. Paul Bennett evoked many emotions in his As It Is In Heaven. Robert Cely is the master of myth, and his epic retelling of the origins of the deadly COVID-19 virus in The Farmer, The Demon, and the Canyon of the Four Winds has stayed with me. I really liked Joseph Courtemanche’s Nema What, so much fun. Joe Shaw really impressed me with his four part story titled Two More.
But again, picking out favorites is almost impossible. They are all great.
How has the COVID pandemic affected your life?
People I know and love have died. Many have been very sick. I buried a lot of people in December and January from COVID.
It has had a terrible impact upon church life, and I don’t mean the rhythms and practices of meeting regularly. I mean on the people. People have changed. I think the emotional, psychological, and spiritual impact upon folks will take a decade or more to heal, if ever. The levels of distrust, paranoia, and downright meanness is hard to fathom, especially among people who claim to follow the Lord.
I am editing my monster book, a further fleshing out of a series of short stories I wrote years ago about The Deep Cove Monster. I am also writing a reflection piece incorporation creative writing and poetry into the Gospel of John.
Where can readers reach you?
The easiest place is jamiegreening.com. That is where I blog, and there is also a link to my Amazon page that has the books and stories I’ve written.