Wednesday, December 30, 2020
Tuesday, December 29, 2020
So here is the annual list (with links in red), with notes in purple about why people went there. It's not as good as the Top 10 Horror Films, but 2020 was indeed a horror. Of note, the Top 1 about Virtual Dire was second most viewed blog post EVER, going back to 2010. The #3 about my piece in Ink in Thirds, from 2018, made the list that year, and in 2019---and is now 8th most viewed all time because of Joe Pesci!
In this year's Top 10 there are
30% about actual published work of mine, 20% about Virtual Fridays Dire, and 10% each on: a) a cancelled event that people are googling to see if it was cancelled, b) My sobriety, c) stories in Wilderness House, d) a memorial post. and e) Joe Pesci saying, "Do I amuse you?"
On with the countdown
Sunday, December 27, 2020
So, hey Mr. Tally man, I'll tally you all my bananas, right here! We won't mention Election Fraud, (see ya' later, Donnie), Covid-19 (hope to never see you), or life's often challenging lifey-moments (see them somewhere in this blog)
Besides all of that in 2020 was, my tallies were 3 Flash Fictions, 7 Poems, 1 Essay and 3 Podcasts. Slow, consistent, and pandemic friendly. I acted as Fiction Editor for Wilderness House Literary Review for their four seasons of issues.
"The New Coach" , October 26, 2020 Boog City, #137, Baseball Issue
"It's a New Year" , September 1, 2020 Right Hand Pointing, #140, scroll to the bottom
'"Ambien Beatle" January 29, 2020 Oddball Magazine
December 11, 2020 Live Nude Poems
“When You Have This Connection”
“How Lucia Joyce Was Treated”
“Thinking In Long Distant Relations”
April 27, 2020, Muddy River Poetry Review
April, 2020 Boston Literary Magazine
"Being Of Service in the Age of Corona"
"The Oddball Podcast"
"Poetry In the Bar"
Wednesday, December 23, 2020
This blog starts in 5...4...3...2...1.
Okay. That is how I count out most of the beginnings of these videos. Virtual Fridays Dire Literary Series started in April, but I didn't start recording until July---enough to have all the Fall line-up to captured below.
Things had not been fool-proof production wise as Jessica Keener's reading was caught on video after she started, and I didn't have a decent microphone until October.
Also if you want to look ahead. Here is the Winter Schedule
To see more videos of Dire features in the future, you can subscribe to my YouTube channel. The zoom recordings may look small, but the live stream on the Facebook platform gets 300 views, plus the YouTube videos get another few hundred. That's quite a crowd for a reading!
9/11, Carley Israel
9/18, Daphne Kalotay
9/25, Ryan Ridge
10/2, Marge Piercy
10/9, Kerry Beth Neville
10/16, Yuyutsu Sharma
10/23, Chris Joseph
10/30, Elizabeth Gordon McKim
11/6, Diana Spechler
11/13, Jonathan Escoffrey
11/20, Dewitt Henry
11/27, Brian Sonia-Wallace
12/4, Rebecca Fishow
12/18, Pamela Painter
Here are a few from the summer, when I first started recording these.
7/31, Kim Chinquee
8/7, Jessica Keener
8/21, Amy King
Saturday, December 19, 2020
8 Rick Moody
15 Laurette Folk
22 Mark Saba
29 Sarah Anne Johnson
5 Jennifer Haigh and Josh Barkan
12 Keetje Kuipers
19 January O'Neil
26 Elle Nash
5 Danielle Zaccagnino
12 Marty Beckerman
19 Nathan Graziano
26 Steven Cramer
Watch out for April!
9 The all-open mic One Year Anniversary Event
16 Sandra Simonds
Tuesday, December 15, 2020
I was always wowed by her writing, that pure talent, and use of metaphor. The human element in it. It seemed so natural.
Nadine and I met at Scrawl, an on-line writing workshop, and whenever we participated in the Flash and Chat, (an exercise where you write for an hour and give a critique to everyone else who had written), it made me want to either be better, or quit writing. It was that good, and produced in an hour! How was that possible? It was like magic. One thing I've often mentioned is when I am stuck with my own writing, I'll read one of her pieces, just to feel it---to live in its cadence, and explode out of it with something of my own.
Nadine and I shared a love of pop culture, and made often fun of it. When writing my novel, The Thursday Appointments of Bill Sloan, which is loaded with 70's satire, I used to run things by her to see if they rang true or were too obscure. Nothing was ever too obscure, as she knew them all, from the Brady Bunch to Musical Youth. She was also kind enough to offer a blurb for my next book, which I know, is a very gracious gesture to do.
Then there was the Dire Literary Series. Before Nadine took over an evening of Dire for her book launch she had attended earlier, and telling me how I was a cross between Chuck Barris and Gene Rayburn. Then she made me Gene Rayburn at the launch. It was probably the most fun and memorable live Dire Literary series in the 18 years I did it live. I let her plan everything. She wrote scripts to act out about Oxi-Clean that evening, and re-created the Match Game--with set, sound effects etc. Of course there was a reading from her book, She Came From Beyond, complete with a dog in her lap. Most of this evening was caught on video and I previously posted it HERE.
When the series ended, or when I thought it had ended before the zoom pandemic version, Nadine was asked to feature with an All-Star lineup. "Of course, I'd be honored," she replied.
These things, all of them combined, always made people feel that they were valued and important. It was one of her strengths. She also was a huge battler for women's rights, the toxic masculinity syndrome, the rights and treatment of those LGBTQ community. The energy and bluntness that she and her friends had regarding such social issues helped me redefine where I should be and how I should act---and for an old stubborn white man, reprogramming my learned behavior was.
I am shocked and saddened that she is gone, and my heart breaks for the love of her life, Ken, their three young children and her four step children. She was described as a wonderful mother and pet owner. One of her friends wrote: "Nadine was so worried about how Christmas would be for these children. One of the last things she worked on was a Christmas list for them. We want to do our best to honor Nadine by giving her children a happy Christmas despite their profound loss." HERE
One thing I've always said is to not waste life's time. I wish you all to remember that, remember her especially, to always end interactions with those whom you care about with "I love you."
Some of my favorites
Her review the movie Rudy - boy did it piss off a lot of men.
Friday, December 11, 2020
|Former site of Nightingale's|
Here's the story behind this story:
Sometimes we confess things.Sometimes we confess years later.
Here's my confession.
|Ted Koppel on Nightline 11:30 PM|
Pictured above is Manhattan, 2nd and Avenue C. Back in the late 80's I heard Ted Koppel on Nightline reporting about the "new" drug becoming an epidemic in New York City. "It was called crack cocaine," he said. "Easy to find on the streets of New York and was an inexpensive form of the powdered version of the drug cocaine."
I recognized the street corner in the report on television and the bar on 2nd and Avenue C, where a deal was going down, which at the time was called Nightingale's. That was all I needed to know. I jumped in my car from Massachusetts and and was on that street corner by 4 AM getting high.
The poem, "New York Confession," tell this story but it also tells of the way New York City used to be in in all it's gritty glory, which for good or for bad, has been replaced, ignored, or glossed over today.
Thursday, November 5, 2020
Ten--a big round number for my sobriety. When my journey started, I didn’t think I could go a day, a week, a month and certainly not a year. Alcohol and drugs were all the life I knew. Now, I know life differently. I can get through today, get to midnight, and do it again without the physical and mental dependence on a substance.
Generally, 2020 was not an easy year for people in sobriety. It certainly wasn’t an easy year for me. In, July of 2019, my mom was diagnosed with cancer. One week later I celebrated my ninth anniversary of sobriety, she went for a cancer treatment, and fell upon entering her ride there. Unable to stand, she went to the ER instead of Dana Farber Cancer Institute, where they ran tests and admitted her to South Shore Hospital. She was moved to hospice care shortly after, and would never go home again. She died on Christmas night. Gratefully, I could wake up on December 26 still sober.
After her passing, my father’s condition decompensated at a quick rate. My mother and father were married for over sixty-five years. They relied on each other, and each picked up the slack in the skills the other lacked. Before being hospitalized, my mother had to care more and more for my father, as his short term memory had begun to falter a bit. My brother, sisters, and I knew he would not be able to live independently anymore. He decided to move to Maryland, into an assisted-living facility close to my brother, Fred, and his family.
Then, the pandemic started. My dad left Massachusetts in late February, just before Covid-19 restrictions occurred. By March, when visitation at his new place was no longer allowed, my brother and his family generously took him into their home “temporarily” until restrictions were eased. As of November 2020, he was still living there, and his symptoms have worsened. My brilliant father, an engineering genius who worked on radar defense systems for the government, was losing much of his cognitive ability. To say that my family has lost my father as well as my mother in the past year is a fair and painful assessment. I miss both of them every day. Some days are fine, but as the seasons moved to autumn, they triggered emotions of this past year: memories of seeing my mom in hospice daily, and spending that extra time with dad, the possibility of which I no longer have.
Lately, the days are difficult. I am sorry that my brother, sister-in-law, nieces, and nephews will have difficult memories of my father not being the man we knew. Still, I find strength and faith through the work I’ve done in the last ten years not to have a drink over any of this.
In the world outside of mine, I didn’t drink over our divided country, especially in terms of the dishonesty we are shown and have come to expect as citizens. We have taken backwards steps regarding racial justice, women’s rights, and support for LBGTQIA+ community. We have forgone a healthy and safe earth—and made Twitter feeds or conspiracies more important than science. From the top down, we are rotting as if we are in a vegetable drawer that is stuck closed.
In 2020, loved ones got sick and died, and communities shut down for safety. Many jobs/businesses failed because of Covid-19. I began to work from home and left my house just a few times per week. I am still living without much human contact, but have been able to adapt because of who I have become. I am lucky to have a special person in my life, and we try to see each other once per week. She has encouraged me to re-start my Dire Literary Series as a Zoom event, and to play guitar again. We even have band practice-all play, and no work. Being sober has allowed me to have all of this.
As for virtual life, Zoom has been a wonderful tool. It allows me to attend meetings to maintain my sobriety, and to attend meetings for work. It allows me to run a literary series with an open mic-that gives others, as well as myself, something to look forward to every Friday. This year has been described as the worst by many, but I still have a lot of gratitude.
GRATITUDE LIST FOR NOVEMBER 2019-2020
1. For my family, who mobilized as a team that has worked together for years, and for having the skills to work together through my mother’s death and my father’s illness. I cannot put into words the amount of gratitude I have for my family, especially for my brother and his family who daily take care of my father.
2. For my children, who turned out as well as any parent could hope. The decisions they have made are responsible and realistic. I have learned a lot about living life from being their father.
3. Spending the last six weeks of my mother’s life daily with her was something I’ll always be grateful for. I appreciate the people I work with, especially my supervisor, Eric S., and Area Director, Joan T., for allowing me time to do this without pressure to return. I am grateful that my good overall health, helped me be able to accumulate sick time. State policies for time-off in crisis situations proved essential.
4. For continued health in 2020, and for those who have done what they must to keep others safe. Without others’ sacrifices, I may have become sick, but as of now, I am healthy, and have avoided Covid-19.
5. For Sarah, who has had her own situations to walk through, yet continues to give me support and joy. (also for her influence in my discovery of Bon Iver).
6. I have gratitude for my writing groups and that I continue to write, and am grateful for those who still find what I write worthy of being published.
7. I am grateful for enough life experiences to produce this book.
8. For a home that I love. It makes staying home easier.
9. For a job I enjoy.
10. For food to eat.
11. For my pets.
Lastly but most important--because, without this, I might not have nothing on this list:
12. I am forever grateful for the people who helped me to get sober ten years ago. Today, it’s the people who help me to stay sober and teach me through their experience, strength and hope who help me continue my journey. I have been shown a spiritual Higher Power which is no longer myself. I have people, MY people, whom I talk to every day. I have learned to experience and live life today like I’ve never done before because of them. They have taught me humility, when before I didn’t even know what that word meant. They have made me a better person. I love so many of them, very much. Each year is better than the last regarding my sense of true-self and my ability to love. I thank them for the last ten years.
Monday, October 26, 2020
THEIR PRESS, see the story behind my story underneath.
As the World Series winds down,
go into extra innings with
Boog City 137
The Baseball Issue
•Baseball Poetry from
Helen R Broom, Patrick Dubuque, Jason Koo, Michael Lauchlan, Josh Lefkowitz, Marjorie Maddox, Jeremy Nathan Marks, E. Ethelbert Miller, Matthew Murrey, Jason O'Toole, Bill Rector, Laura Rosenthal, Steven Sher, Vivian Wagner, and Viola Weinberg
•Baseball Prose from
Elan Barnehama, Bill Cushing, Aaron Fischman, Andrew Forbes, Timothy Gager, Joe Gordon, Terry Kirts, Art Lasky, Brian Mihok, Frank C Modica, Frank Morelli, Richard Moriarty, Thomas O'Connell, Leslie Pietrzyk, Susan M. Schultz, Claire Taylor, Holly M. Wendt, and Jared Wyllys
•Baseball Art from
Todd Johnson, Graig Kreindler, Mark Mosley, Paul Plaine, S. Preston, Ann Privateer, Danny Rockett, Tim Souers, Jon Teegarden, and Aaron Williams
•Plus a host of our usual swell content
featured artist Brendan Lorber • fiction from Olena Jennings • political poetry just in time for the election from Toni Bee, CAConrad, Tongo Eisen-Martin, David Mills, Urayoán Noel, and Frank Sherlock • Stephen Paul Miller reviews Daniel Morris, Thomas Fink and Maya Mason, Lynn Crawford, and Fink • and Greg Fuchs' Unguided Tour
And my hearty thanks to our team that made this possible: fiction editor Wanda Phipps, poetry editor John Mulrooney, printed matter editor Bill Considine, and our dynamic duo without whom this issue couldn't have happened, baseball editor Sandra Marchetti and production editor Patricia Patterson.
MY PRESS, the story behind the story
Wednesday, October 7, 2020
Ah, the Wilderness..It's great to get away, with everything happening in the World.
I'm proud to show you fiction I selected for Fall 2020, which featured David Atkinson's title which is longer that some flash fictions.
Fiction often has to surprise an editor in order to stand out. When I saw the title of Susan Whiting Kemp's piece, "The Opposite of the Coronavirus" on the submission list, I immediately assumed that the story was going to be heavy on Coronavirus, and light on opposite. Boy was I pleasantly surprised, as it was such a wonderful, original work. Thanks to Steve Glines who is the Editor In Chief, who empowers his editors, including myself, to do what they do.
As always follow this link to go to the Wilderness House Literary Review page and read the poetry, essays, and non-fiction too.
- Ben Watson - Snip
- David S. Atkinson -
Few People Know That James Doohan was Actually Raised Flemish and
Only Took up his True Ethnic Heritage to Advance the Public Support
for his Character
- Ethan Peters - Man in a Room
- Jasper Miller-Patterson - You Have Your Room
- Jonathan Kravetz - On His First Walk
- Niamh Bagnell - Fitzgerald’s Park, Sunday Morning
- Phil Robbins - The Visit
- Rachel Faust - Daffodils
- Susan Whiting Kemp - The Opposite of Coronavirus
- Zvi A. Sesling - Hearing Aids
Monday, October 5, 2020
You are extremely grateful when Muddy River Poetry Review nominates you for your 17th. The poem When You Have this Connection (published April 2020) was given the honor by Editor Zvi Sesling. The great thing about Pushcart nominations is that there are no "do me a favor and vote on-line for me" moments. The poem can be found HERE
Fingers crossed, as one can never assume there will be an 18th.
Congratulations to the other poets for being Muddy River Poetry Review’s Pushcart Prize nominees. I hope you win:
Eileen R. Tabios — Cigar Puffs
Marge Piercy — How I Bury
Taylor Graham — The Alpha Fire
bg Thurston — Lineage
Gloria Mindock — Deeply
Oh, and, by the way, besides 17 nominations, 17 is a pretty cool number. Look at all the 17 things shown below...Thanks Google!
There have been 16 others, and I've posted about some of them.
There are no posts or links about actually winning a Pushcart.
Tuesday, September 15, 2020
This week in Media News, An interview with Vermin Supreme, a Dire Reading/interview with Carly Israel, and a reading on Big Table's YouTube Channel
Jason Wright, editor and host had Vermin Supreme, perennial political candidate and Anarchist. Vermin is "that guy with the boot on his head" is a character, and extremely smart. He was the Libertarian Candidate in 2016 for President of the United States. I participated as co-host, for the Oddball Magazine Podcast and Joshua Corwin showed up with a few questions. Go to Vermin's website, do a deep google, and give this a watch.
SEPTMEBER---11 Carly Israel 18 Daphne Kalotay 25 Ryan Ridge
OCTOBER---2 Marge Piercy 9 Kerry Beth Neville 16 tba 23tba 30 tba
NOVEMBER--- 6 tba 13 tba 20 Dewitt Henry 27 tba
With Johnathan Escoffery taking one of the tba dates.