Tag Archives: fiction

The meaning of life on a fall night

1 Nov

Professor Fred Moran peered into the darkness of the woods. The rustling sound from deep in the forest had faded.
“Hell-o-o-o-o … ” he yelled rather tentatively.
“Forget it Fred. The bear is gone.”
“Bear? Who said anything about a bear?” Moran lowered his trusty cane, Misty Blue and came back to the campfire where Ritter and Reuther were huddled, their faces aglow from the flames.
“I suppose the Penumbra State Spy Network is out there again,” Reuther said.
“Yeah,” chortled Ritter. “Out to track down Fred and his stolen manuscripts.”
“Real cloak and dagger dangerous missions,” laughed Reuther
Moran took two steps forward and pointed a finger at them. “Now that’s enough right there.”
“Aw lighten up Fred,” Reuther said. “The days of cold war literary espionage are gone.”
“Quite right,” said Ritter, pulling out his pipe and his pouch of tobacco. “They want to steal your stuff they go online.”
Moran looked deflated. He shuffled off toward the fire and slumped to the pile of rocks he’d fashioned earlier that evening as a seat. “Alas. Who cares about my stuff anyway? I’m a hack.”
“Er … now wait a minute,” said Ritter, taking a long drag on his pipe as he studied his old mentor. “That piece you wrote earlier this year on Annie Klondike. Top notch, I thought.”
“Right,” added Reuther. “I mean … the sexual tension was not only erotic, but clearly showed the underpinnings of fading youth.”
Moran nodded his head. “It certainly was one of my favorite sections of the book.”
“Buck up Fred. You still have it.”
“Even if your powers of sexual virility have faded,” added Reuther.
Moran looked from Ritter to Reuther. He emitted a long sigh and peered skyward. “What the hell are we doing here anyway?”
“Camping,” shrugged Reuther. “What else?”
“No I mean … What are we doing?”
Ritter took a long pull on his pipe and studied Moran.
“Sometimes I think life is just one long masturbation,” Moran said.
“Mmmmm …” mused Ritter as he took another long pull on his pipe.
“Just might be at that,” said Reuther.
The three of them stared at the dancing flames of the fire. A soft wind shook the bare limbs of the trees on this late October evening.
“You’ve certainly given us something to think about Fred,” said Ritter.

Advertisements

Baseball book is a great reference to serious readers of the national pastime

11 Jun

Image

 

Ron Kaplan’s “501 Baseball Books Fans Must Read Before They Die” is an intriguing title, even if it may not mean much to people other than those devoted to the national pastime. A reference book of this kind was sorely needed for us serious baseball readers, and Kaplan has given us one with this nifty little volume. It’s divided into different chapters depending on the type of book. Kaplan summarizes all kind of books – classic novels such as Bernard Malamud’s “The Natural” and biographies of legendary heroes including Sandy Koufax and Babe Ruth. Kapan isn’t terribly critical, if at all, in most of these summaries. But that’s okay. I give the author credit for putting out a volume that includes so many baseball books, which, believe it or not, really only scratches the surface. I’m happy he included some of my favorites – “A False Spring” and “Shoeless Joe. 

I’m a writer, and I just want to scream

30 Apr

Image

 

One of the worst things about being a writer is the godawful frustration you find yourself up against with trying to draw attention to the words you’ve put out there before people.

I often write these blogs with the first-time author in mind, but I know there are also loads of you who’ve published one or two books as well.

You know the agony of marketing. You remember how hard it was just placing the fanny into the chair every day and writing. Then, you finished your first book, sent it out to the world hopeful as a young child on Christmas morning.

Alas, you made little if no money for all that hard work and time. You think of all the many things you’ve done in life that bore some type of fruit after so much labor. If it was a job there was at least a paycheck waiting for you.

I often compare the life of a writer to that of an aspiring politician. There’s just no guarantee after all that campaigning that you’ll actually win. In fact, second place brings you nothing.

Yes, it can be tough out there. So what keeps you going as a writer?

Ask yourself why you write. Look for little things every day to keep yourself going. Take pride in the fact that you’ve finished a book and stuck with this writing life as long as you have.

In the meantime, keep marketing your work. There’s plenty of ways to get noticed out there. Maybe you’ve tried all the usual methods – getting reviews from readers, going on blog tours, submitting to interviews, – and perhaps book sales have only trickled in.

Try something different. Be creative. Marketing can take a while to really take off, especially for unknown writers.

The point is, there was a reason you wanted to write books. Sure, if you’ve stuck with it this long perhaps you experience that crushing feeling of what seems to be the utter futility of being a writer.

Maybe you want to give up and concentrate your energies on something else. Then again, think how you’ll feel if you just give up. I mean, is that really an option?

I would love to hear from readers on this one.

Write the book you simply have to write

3 Mar

Image

 

Frederick Exley’s A Fan’s Notes is one of my favorite books. This story of a man who dreams of glory but falls way short hits all the right buttons. A Fan’s Notes is about many things – drunkenness, madness, fame, football, love, lust and a few other human emotions and issues that most of us who’ve lived any length of time on this vast Earth have thought about or experienced in one way or another. The protagonist is like a lot of us, even if he seems to have more problems than most of us.
I read the book when I was twenty-two, fresh out of the Air Force, a time when I was at loose ends and trying to figure out what the hell to do with the rest of my life. Naturally, I identified with the main character, who was Exley himself, a man who wanted literary fame, but didn’t seem to know how to go about getting himself together to try and grab the brass ring.
That the book eventually catapulted him into some degree of celebrity is the ironic part of it all. Exley never duplicated that first book. In fact, he only wrote two other books, both of which fell far short of his first effort.
Maybe you too have a book in you waiting to get out, a fictional memoir like Exley wrote. Perhaps you’ve been carrying around this story in your head for years, but you just don’t now how to get started.
Why not try sitting down and letting it all out? Don’t get hung up on the beginning and outlining to death and wondering if it will have some kind of ending. Chances are, if you’ve been carrying the story around in your head for all these years, it will come out. Trust your instincts. Write the darn book, as I like to say. Don’t over-think the thing. Remember, the best stories come from the heart, not the brain.
And always, write fast. Remember a first draft is only a blue print. It can always be edited.
Exley put it all out there in his book. Whether you’re burning to write a fictional memoir, as did Exley, or some other book, letting loose with your heart is a good strategy. Exley wrote a book he simply had to write. How about you? Is there such a story waiting to get out?