Tag Archives: writing

Lonely guys on a mountaintop

4 Aug

“A blonde, a brunette and a couple of dogs,” Ritter said hopefully.

Moran nodded. It was the confident nod of a sage, who knew the score. “Are you sure Jon? I mean … it’s late October for God’s sakes, and there’s a chance of snow. I don’t think a pair of voluptuous women are going to venture up into these hills this time of year.”

“I didn’t say they were voluptuous for Pete’s sake,” Ritter said.

“Well … the way you described them ol’ chum. I mean … ”

Ritter picked up a piece of wood and poked at the campfire. “I think I said, they looked fetching … at least from a distance.” Why get his hopes up? he thought. I mean … life was full of disappointments and missed opportunities and shitty circumstances. Hell, if they wanted to meet women, why didn’t they just join some church or become dog owners and go to the park every day. I mean, he’d once heard somewhere – talk radio? freakin’ Facebook? – that daily walks with a pooch was a sure-fire way to meet women. Next thing you knew, some great looking gal was petting your dog and you were in like Flynn. Ah … but that wasn’t him … or Moran, for God sakes. On the other hand, he wouldn’t put it past Moran to try it.

Ritter peered down the mountain from their campsite, but he could see no sign of any ladies. It was late afternoon and the cool autumn breeze chilling his face more than hinted of a chilly night – his favorite kind of fall evening. Sure, who needed women anyway? He’d stare into the flames of the campfire, groove on the wind snapping the bare branches of the trees, gaze upward into the stars and the mysteriousness of the Rocky Mountain night. And yet … and yet … he had this gnawing hope that these women would appear.

Moran brought the binoculars up to his eyes, training them on … what? The trail disappeared into pines and aspens. Good God, it was impossible to see anything.

“What in God’s name are you looking at?” Ritter asked.

Quite suddenly, a smile creased the old professor’s face. “Bing-GO,” Moran said.

“What?” Ritter nearly shouted.

“There they are … as gorgeous as co-eds traversing the lawn of Penn State’s Old Main on a sunny spring afternoon.”

“Wha-a-a-a …” Ritter sputtered. “Let me see those binoculars.”

“No need, my boy.”

Sure enough, Ritter saw for himself the two women, the pair of canines trailing them – a blonde and a brunette, just now emerging from the thick canopy of trees along the trail.

“Holy jumpin’ juju bees,” Ritter said. “I look like hell.” He scrambled to his feet and looked toward the tent. “What do we do?” He knew full well he probably didn’t smell too good. Three days of hiking without a bath didn’t exactly result in pleasant bodily odors.

Moran coolly lowered the binoculars and smiled at his longtime protégé. He slowly stood, pulling a beret from his pocket and placing it atop his head at a rakish angle. He looked toward the tent, and trotted off toward it, leaving Ritter next to the campfire.

“Where are you going,” Ritter whispered loudly. He stole a glance down the trail. The women were drawing closer.

“Getting into my old Army dress uniform,” Moran called back before disappearing into the tent.

“But you were never in the Army for God sakes,” Ritter said, gritting his teeth. Ritter stole another glance down the trail. Hell, they were perhaps just one hundred yards away. In a few minutes, they’d be here. What the hell was he supposed to change into? The damn filthy blue jeans and sweatshirt he’d worn yesterday?

“Remember the old Boy Scout motto Jon?” Moran called out from inside the tent. “Be prepared.”

“You were never a Boy Scout,” Ritter screamed.

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Waiting for Godot

10 Feb

Idleness and Wanderings

My dream job is to review movies for some cheap underground film magazine. Think of it, hanging out in second-run movie houses in sketchy sections of downtown cities, my pack of black market Turkish unfiltered cigarettes rolled up into the upper arm of my tie-dyed t-shirt, my beret pulled low on my head. Meanwhile, up on the silver screen, a blonde scantily clad Swedish babe astride a motorcycle – doing her Kerouac thing – roaring off into the Scandinavian wilderness, subtitles keeping me abreast (pun intended) of the action. Afterwards, hanging out in coffee houses, discussing the merits of the films of Bergman, Truffaut with like-minded bohemian sorts – awaiting Godot. Being idle, getting bored, wondering in God’s name where our lives are going, only to be admonished by J.R.: “There is something heroic about casting off real jobs, middle class trappings and doing our thing dudes. Believe me when I say, Godot will arrive.” Ah … J.R., the wise and wonderful J.R., pacing before us like a fire and brimstone preacher, his eyes aglow, stabbing the air with his pipe to drive home the more salient points of his diatribe against 401(k) plans, respectable jobs and neckties. “Those things were created to strangle mankind,” he screams, flinging the pipe into the wall, his piercing eyes now narrowing in on the bespectacled Ralph, shaking him to the very core of his being. But of course, this is all a preliminary, a warm-up, don’t you see, to the debate to follow. Fred M. and the great J.R. will once again lock horns, get down and dirty to argue about life and love and the whole of existence. “As soon as that S.O.B. gets here, you guys will see what I’m trying to say.”

A couple of baseball books to start the season

31 Mar

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Can’t get enough baseball? When you get done watching your favorite team on Opening Day will you still be hungry for more baseball?.

There’s always plenty of books on the national pastime. Some of my favorites include “A False Spring” and “Dynasty.”

“A False Spring” is Pat Jordan’s mostly autobiographical book of his minor league days as a struggling pitcher in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Jordan was a flame-throwing right-hander who got a nice bonus from the Milwaukee Braves, but unfortunately was unable to fulfill his promise.

Jordan’s story isn’t a particularly happy one, but it’s interesting how he tries to make sense of how it all went wrong. And Jordan paints just marvelous descriptions of some of the backwater bush league towns where he spent lonely summers of his late adolescence learning about himself and struggling with his baseball life.  .

“Dynasty” was Peter Golenbock’s first baseball book, and it was a gem. It covers the great era of the New York Yankees from 1949 to 1964 when the Bronx Bombers were truly a dynasty. Golenbock traces each of the seasons and later catches up with the ballplayers, and not just the stars such as Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra and Whitey Ford, but the mostly forgotten players as well.

Anyway, those are just two books I would recommend among dozens of others you can read. Hey. It’s great to have spring here finally and another baseball season. Now let’s play ball.

Writing a book is therapy … and safer than drugs

7 Mar

Those days when you’re feeling lousy just might be the best times to go to the keyboard and write that book.

Now why in the name of Truman Capote would I say that?

Well, for one thing, it will get your mind off the fact that you’re feeling miserable. Besides, you need to be writing anyway – just about every day – if you’re serious, really serious about ever completing a book.

Think about it. If you can write on the days you’d rather stay in bed until past noon or get in the car and drive across the country and never come back, you can certainly write on those other days, when you feel great and can’t wait to race those fingers across that keyboard.

I know it’s worked for me.

A number of years ago, after I lost a job and went into a anxiety-ridden period, including panic attacks and the whole shebang, I began writing my first book. It never got published, but that’s another story, as they say. It was late November, the weather was  lousy in Pennsylvania and wouldn’t get better for months, and as I mentioned, there was no work to go to. I suddenly had this time on my hands – a lot of it. For years, I’d dreamed of writing a book, and I figured what better time to begin.

I wrote every damn day in long-hand in a spiral notebook. I wanted to get my story down, and I did. The writing was wonderful therapy as it threw my mind off the troubling thoughts that were dancing around in my head most of the rest of the day, when I otherwise faced all this empty time to fill.

So, if you don’t think now is a good time to write a book. If you figure there’s too many other things swirling about in your life for you to get yourself together enough to write, think again. It just might be the best time for you to begin a story.

Again, if you can write during the bad times, you can certainly write during the good times.
Remember, there’s no way in hell you’re going to feel good every day anyway. Nobody feels as if they’re flying on air all the time. And guess what else? Writing through the bad times just might give you something to make you feel better every day.

Try it. You might like it. And it’s safer than drugs.