Talking to Joe Loya: the power of story & freedom from solitary confinement

A while ago, my wonderful friend Amy Gutman did me the great favor of introducing me to Joe Loya. When Amy introduces me to someone, I do my best to put my best non-disappointing face forward because she is a friend-yente extraordinaire whose people have an amazing track record of improving my life. (For the 394239493th time, thank you, Amy!)

Meeting Joe was no exception; as it stands, he is my all-time favorite bank robber. As with all the best people, we had no time for pleasanteries and started immediately gabbing about things like, oh, skulls, mortality, prison and identity. What else do you talk about over (virtual) tea?

We had such a brilliant conversation (translation: Joe said lots of brilliant things and I fangirled) about the power of story and metaphor. I felt it was such a waste for it to be only for my own eyes, so I asked him if I could reproduce this conversation for my blog. He kindly assented.

I hope you enjoy Joe as much as I do.


Read the post, which now lives at The National Book Review.


Get Missives from Our Lady of Perpetual Fuck Yeah (i.e. the patron saint of this website)! Every once in a while, I’ll email you a benediction, links to new posts and probably appraisals of sex scenes in whatever books I’m reading.


  1. That was a fun dance.

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  2. I know Joe from back in my days as a program counselor in a local County jail. His talks with the inmates about change, etc. were always powerful, relevant & always well received. I haven’t seen Joe in years but I’ve followed his personal growth via Facebook. I miss my “homeboy” who’s generosity of spirit meant so much.

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