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Showing posts from August, 2017

Confederate Statues, Trump, and the Power of Words

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“When he was young, he’d learned that words hurt, maimed, scarred. When he got older, he’d learned that words could also comfort, heal. But he’d never forgotten the first lesson. Perhaps that was why he’d chosen a career in finance: numbers. Numbers added up; they did not tear down.” From Black & Ugly
I grew up in an era when our parents told us to remember “sticks and stones make break my bones, but words can never hurt me.”
Having been called faggot more times than I can remember, and once the N-word by an alcoholic white trash neighbor in our otherwise democratic, and progressive East Falls neighborhood, I know from experience our parents were wrong.
As a wordsmith, as a writer, I understand the power of words—I understand that words can strike with the force of a hammer. Words can also heal; they can bring us together. Or, tear us apart.
Let’s talk about the Charlottesville tragedy and Trump. From this writer’s point of view what was most offensive about Trump’s reaction—Trump’s

On Writing Books & Dreaming of Movie Versions

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Before every book’s release, everything seems possible: This will be the one, this one will be widely read, and receive accolades; this one will top the New York Times Bestseller list. Ellen will call. And then inevitably the book comes out and you get up early and check your Amazon ranking. Not Number One Not even close. Not yet. Maybe tomorrow. And then tomorrow comes and the day after that and the day after that. And you continue to dream, begin boldly to imagine the movie version…
I was part of the Authors Corner at the Ask Rayceen Show in Washington, D.C. earlier this month. One of the questions Rayceen asked each of us authors was which of our books we saw as a movie and who did we want the lead actors to be. I didn’t have a ready answer, stumbled through a response. But it wasn’t the right answer. I’ve been obsessing over the right answer ever since. I know on one level this obsessive pondering of this question was partly due to my OCD—which now thanks to a wonderful doctor and …

Borrowed Voices

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I have lived with dogs for 22 years. Channing, Coco, Toby of York (Toby), Victor Lorde Riley (Riley). But I have been with Toby the longest. Like an old married couple, we are familiars; we know each other’s quirks and preferences; we are comfortably with the rhythm of our life together as the tides wash us up against each other and pull us apart, secure in the knowledge that it will also bring us back together again. We take comfort in each other’s presence even when I am writing and he is sleeping at my feet. Our nearness is enough.
Channing, Coco, Toby, Riley. I have learned so much from living with dogs. This post is all about what I have leaned form the canine companions I’ve been lucky enough to know.
Approach every stranger as if he or she was a friend, a potential ally. If they respond by throwing shade your way, hike up your tail and walk away.
Help your friends. Coco used to always rush to the kitchen door to greet me when she
heard the garage door open. After she went deaf, To…

In His Eyes—Happy Release Day to Me

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Today is the release of my third novel—my first full length work since Unbroken which was released in 2013. This is my fifth release in six years—still it feels like the first time I’ve ever released a book. It’s accompanied by the same worry, the same doubt: did I write the best book I could? Will readers like it? Will anyone read it?
On Saturday, we saw Diana Ross in concert at the Mann Center in Philly. The outing was part of our new effort to get out more, to do things together. Our therapist says that’s important—yes, we have a therapist; after twenty years together, the waters of matrimony are still sometimes difficult to navigate. Anyway, back to Miss Ross. I watched her closely, as I watch all artists—and let’s face it we writers are artists, too. I was impressed by her energy, her humanity: from the stage, she came off not so much as a diva as a person, doing her best and hoping to please a crowd. Her daughter opened for her and she brought her grandchildren on stage—yes Miss …