Walking Distance

When I was 9 years old I had a favorite paperback book called “Stories from the Twilight Zone”, a book of short stories based on the skin and bones for sketches produced on the TV program of the same name.
I had a favorite called “Walking Distance”, the story of a tired middle aged business man that leaves the big city one weekend and simply drives in an effort to get away from his job and the Rat Race in general.
His car breaks down and he gets towed to a local garage for repairs when he sees a road sign for the town he grew up in years ago.
He asks how far it is to the town and is told, “It’s walking distance.”
He enters the Twilight Zone and walks into his hometown of 40 years ago where his mother and father are still alive.

It’s funny that I was falling for these kinds of tender stories when I was ten.
Yeah, I was a weird kid, huh?
Much of my writing loosely falls into the same sentimental category. Go figure.
I started thinking about the last good day I had with my mother and father, sadly the memory has vanished deep into the recesses of my own scattered mind.
The ‘moment’ did happen though when I came to a realization that I could never get those moments back; accepting the idea was painfully difficult but I knew it had to be done.
It occurred to me that I began saying goodbye to the individual pieces of both of them, various facets of their personalities, phrases they often used and the stories they loved to tell.

I remember fruitlessly trying to pull my mother back into my world with my “remember when” queries that all too quickly lost their magical powers.
If I’ve learned anything at all from their tragic situation it’s that life is about seizing moments, grabbing them by whatever means possible and never ever letting them go.
I only wish I’d realized that fifteen years ago, wish I’d accepted their fates sooner, if that makes sense.
But I’m only human and I desperately wanted to believe otherwise.
If I could have several more hours with both of them it would be spent on the back deck of the Goodbye House’.
It would be a warm but comfortable summer night with nothing but a cricket soundtrack and a deep, orange creamsicle sunset off to the West.
My father would be standing by the grill wearing his signature wrinkled Bermuda shorts (or were they seersucker? God forbid), sans shirt with his pot belly exposed to the world with a can of Busch beer in his hand as he flipped burgers and hot dogs.
My mother would be flitting around the kitchen like some culinary Tasmanian devil putting the finishing touches on one of her ‘signature’ desserts.
We wouldn’t be talking about anything in particular; it would just be like it once was.
But it would be different to me because I would mentally file away and lock every smile, every laugh, and every taste and smell living inside that one bittersweet summer evening.
And I would remember all of it again, if I had one more chance.
Maybe the truth of the matter is that those memories are never very far away; in fact they’re easily accessible because wherever I am, ‘home’ is always close by.
Actually, it’s walking distance . . .


Grub Street, Boston

Grub Street:

Founded by writers for writers, Grub street is Boston’s only independent writing center. Our goal is to help writers with all aspects of the writing life, from finding inspiration to marketing a finished work.
Grub street offers high-quality workshops, events and professional development opportunities for writers of all levels.
It also offers the chance to be part of a community.
You can read your latest work at riot act, our open mike series.
Meet editors and agents at our annual Muse and the Marketplace conference.
Join us to discuss a new book with its author at our bookclub.
Or drop by on a Saturday morning for coffee and free-wheeling discussions on topics of interest to readers and writers.

This is where I will be tomorrow for my lunch hour.
A writing lunch hour.
I’m really excited and hope it goes well.

Just received this via email tonight:

See yourself in print
We’ve got some special news about tomorrow’s Brown Bag lunchtime seminar.
The seminar series is going to be featured in the Boston Globe, and a writer will be at the class taking photos and reporting on the event.
She’s even going to publish excerpts of selected work produced during the class!
This is a great opportunity to try to get your work (or your mug) in the paper, and a fun experience all around.

Am I ready?
Oh, yeah.
Will I get my name in the paper?
Who knows. Do I care?
I will just be happy to be there.
If it will improve my writing, coolbeans.
Say a prayer for me anyway that I find my creative nirvana. (LOL)
Lord knows, I don’t want to look like an asshole.
Click on the Grub Street logo above to check out their website.

Check out my ‘Toonz’ at the bottom right of my sidebar.
I’ve uploaded some favorite tunes.
Right now they’re in MP4 format but I’m looking to change it to MP3.
If you have ITunes you shouldn’t have a problem listening.
If you don’t have ITunes, shame, shame . . . it’s free, folks.


{thought I’d post this one early. Many folks will be doing 12 oz curls on Saturday and too inebriated to visit, which is fine. Have a Guinness for me, I’ll have one (4) for you as well…}

In 1995, I found myself on a battlefield of sorts playing a woefully inexperienced medic to parents that would get sicker by the day.
It was a dark time in my life and one that I somehow chose to chronicle.
I’m still not sure exactly when it happened but one day I picked up a legal pad and started writing and I haven’t stopped since.
But this post isn’t about my mom and dad.

The years went by and it wasn’t until December of ’99 that it occurred to me that the internet was bursting with writing opportunity and educational counsel.
Through a series of internet searches (Google being the starting point, no doubt) I came upon a free online fiction course called F2K sponsored by a site called WVU (Writer’s Village University).

If my memory serves me correctly, the course was 12-16 weeks long and touched on all the various elements of fiction writing from plot and P.O.V.,
to dialogue and the overuse of adverbs.
There was something for everyone.
The concept was quite simple: write, post, critique and be critiqued.
The hope was that the writer would come away with some new and fresh knowledge and style.
As it turned out, I didn’t learn much that I didn’t already know regarding the craft but WVU put me in touch with several unique and talented people.

There was one particular writer that really intrigued me.
She was smart, witty, a verbal powerhouse and a real straight shooter when she critiqued your writing. We connected immediately.
Her comments were always brutally honest and I admired her courage to voice the truth as she saw it, a tough thing to do at sometimes at WVU where egos were not unlike eggshells.
Her own work had a shine to it and she could make me laugh, cry and ponder the big
‘life questions’ with one single post.

Seven years later and we’re still in touch on a weekly basis.
It’s wonderful with the transient nature of cyberspace.
This post is for the chick that kept all of you entertained while I was on vacation last summer.

I’m evil, y’all.

I knew that one small taste of blogging and she would be jonesing a blog of her own.
Her post ‘Cream Boogers’ is a blogging classic and one of my favorite posts.
She’s written posts about me and I don’t believe I’ve ever returned the favor.
That stops today.

Needless to say, her words, wisdom, candor and fiction delight many folks that visit her corner of cyberspace daily.
I haven’t said why this post is for Annie, have I?

Silly me.

It’s her birthday on Saturday.
St. Paddy’s Day!
I’d love it if everyone that reads this post visited her and left one short comment.
Just one.
By my blog stats, she’d have a serious number of comments.
Can you do that for me?
Ahhh, I knew that you could…




If reading this gave you just one wee sparkle in those Irish eyes of yours, this post will have found its way home.
I wish you peace and infinite rainbows…
Happy Birthday, Kiddo.


Lit meme

This was a great meme I saw posted at Interstellar Adventures.
I’m a bit ashamed I haven’t read more of these.
I also feel that Raymond Carver, Ray Bradbury, Russell Banks and Tobias Wolff (for starters) should have been included.
That being said here’s my whimpy list.

Look at the list of books below.
*Bold the ones you’ve read
*Italicize the ones you want to read
*Leave the ones that you aren’t interested in alone.

1.The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
2.Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3.To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee) (alright, slap me for this one)
4.Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5.The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6.The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7.The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10.A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11.Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12.Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13.Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16.Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)
17. Fall on Your Knees(Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban(Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21.The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22.The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23.Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26.The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams) (Gone way too soon)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck) (I love Steinbeck, cryptic as he is)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie(Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32.The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks) (AKA, the story of my mom and dad. mucho tears)
33.Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34.1984 (Orwell) (Slap me again)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True(Wally Lamb)(Lamb is totally underrated)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40.The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)(Too sappy for me)
45. Bible (parts only)(The book of Job)
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47.The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48.Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49.The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50.She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51.The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54.Great Expectations (Dickens)
55.The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62.The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolsoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73.Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75.The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78.The World According To Garp (John Irving)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down(Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. The Good Earth(Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100.Ulysses (James Joyce)

I’m pathetic.