Author Unknown (2)

July 5, 2020


Pencils down.

Eventually, you had to call each book finished, regardless of blemishes. But you were not done working… and writing. Not by a long shot. One required representation, an agent. In order to get one you had to find one. There are many journals and websites devoted to these people. You must start at the beginning, with “A.” It is like reading a phone book. Other than a famous few, one cannot tell the crackpots (bored housewives, failed authors, drunkards) from the magicians, the one who will be your champion. After curating a list of too many names, you then wrote each a personalized query letter, including synopsis and biography. Unless it was perfect, this may be the only thing you write that your prospect ever reads. Most replied via form letter or a quick scribble: Not for me. Thank you! You used to save these rejections. When it became morbid you threw the entire stack in the trash. The few agents that expressed interest always had “notes.” One suggested you rewrite a certain character. Another wanted a new ending. And so on. Saying no wasn’t an option for an unknown commodity. So you rewrote the character, with all that that entailed. You created a different ending, not sure if you even liked it or, moreover, if your patron would let alone a reader. In the end, you were rejected anyway.

Multiply this by three novels, two screenplays and dozens of short stories. Then divide it by a wife and three children. Subtract it from your real job, the one that is paying you.

This was your life. This is your life. Author unknown.

To be continued…

(If interested in any of my books please click on the links right side of this blog!)


The Lake (7)

May 18, 2020

My Michelle … Not My Shining Moment

The end came at The Shining, of all movies, at an old theater on Clark Street. You, Michelle and your best friend, Omar had entered the theater just as a big storm erupted outside. Omar sat to her left you to her right. During a particularly gruesome scene –the dead crone in the bathtub- there was a crash of thunder, loud enough to be heard over the chilling soundtrack. The power failed and worse pieces of the old movie house’s ornate decorations began falling from the ceiling. Many in the audience, already frightened by what they’d witnessed on the screen, started hollering and scrambling for the exits. You were one of them. Without thinking, you climbed right over your date, literally stepping on her to escape.

It was a cowardly move, one you did without hesitation.

By the time Michelle and Omar had met up with you in the lobby, order was restored. Not so much with Michelle. She was pissed. And you couldn’t blame her. The three of you then went to dinner, which was awful. Nothing you could say, not after what had happened. Omar did little to defend you. Without panicking, he’d stayed by her side in the theater and he sat by her now, stoically. When the dinner mercifully ended, Michelle bolted in a taxi. You forget her parting words. Omar hung with you for a while, providing scant commiseration. But soon, he too, quickly departed.

Later, you found out the two of them had rendezvoused that very evening. They started seeing each other and that was that. By your own hand you’d voided the code among friends regarding one-another’s girlfriends. You’d forgotten an even older code: women and children first. While you resented Omar for betraying your friendship and taking advantage of the situation you accepted it as penance for your shameful behavior. You’d put yourself before her and so lost her. You broke your own heart. That your good friend became beneficiary only made it worse.

Still, a part of you had been relieved. Michelle would dump Omar soon enough. That was certain. Orbiting her hot sun, always vying for the light, had taken its toll. Getting burned was inevitable.

Next Chapter Coming Soon!

The Locker (6)

April 14, 2020


One hundred years ago, where you’re standing was more a frontier than a county. The Golden Gate Bridge hadn’t been built yet. Folks still got around on horses. Once a swamp, Chicago had already been drained and laid over with clay bricks that one could still find if he knew where to look. You recall your grandfather telling you about the horse drawn ice truck he worked on, every morning before dawn the sound of hooves clapping over those clay bricks, delivering sawn blocks of Lake Michigan to restaurants and saloons.

Grandpa Jack almost made it to 100. As far as you know he’d been happy through most of it. He liked watching sports on TV (the Bears and the White Sox but never the Cubs), and, in his last years, riding the senior bus to the casinos where he played the slots and bet on the ponies.

As a child, you saw your grandparents periodically, when they were your age now. But you didn’t really know them. Their lives were like dusty books you had no interest in reading. Maybe you’d picked up on your father’s ambivalence to them or, more likely, you were simply too preoccupied with yourself. By the time you became a teen-ager, the last thing you wanted to do was drive out and see them. This would not change, even after siring your own children. Schlepping the kids 40 miles only to watch them squirm seemed like torture. Begrudgingly, you did it, but it was like checking a box. Hit the early bird buffet and have your family back in the city before nightfall. ______’s attitude was better but even she came to view it as an obligation. Your daughters never had a chance. The chain of indifference perpetuated. You marvel how anyone could truly adore his or her elders. Stuns you whenever you hear someone say his or her best friend was grandpa or grandma. Such a different experience than yours, sometimes you think those people were lying.

To be continued…

Eve Babitz

February 26, 2020


Overlooked as a writer for being a looker, the bombshell author, Eve Babitz. You discovered her while reading a biography of Jann Wenner, the mercurial founder of Rolling Stone magazine. She was merely a footnote, yet you were immediately smitten. Babitz would become infamous for the now-iconic photograph of her playing chess with Marcel Duchamp in the nude. The old man had thankfully worn clothes. Yet Eve was in all her glory. Wavy dark hair obscures her face, highlighting the body. And what a body! Eve’s proud breasts cantilevered over the chessboard and your imagination. By her own admission, Eve was a party girl, part of the in-crowd in 1970’s LA. And she liked to fuck. A lot. Unabashed about her lust, Eve considered sex an art form. Her –ahem– position was that even the most average person could become an artist by creating “sexual masterpieces.” To Eve, sex was creation and nothing to be ashamed of. Eve, you quickly learned, was also a gifted writer. In between carrying on with many luminaries or just lucky guys she met at one of her favorite haunts, she managed to write numerous books. None best sellers but those who read and reviewed them said they were special, capturing not only the gossipy aspects of her life but also the druggy, smoggy, sun drenched milieu of Los Angeles in the seventies. She was compared to Joan Didion, her peer and good friend during those heady years. In a fit of passion, you promptly order both women’s books, lustfully reading them one after the other, alternating between the two as if in a three-way. Didion you’d heard of but of “Eve Babitz with the great big tits” you were ignorant. Not anymore. A zaftig siren, a flirter of men and fame, blithely taking her own talent for granted, Eve was irresistible.



When I was a teenager I didn’t see this movie because of the music and the fashion -not my thing. Last night, I finally watched it with my wife and daughters. Honestly, I was stunned by the movie’s misogyny and racism. A gang rape is handled with casual indifference as is a beat-down of an innocent group of Latinos. It’s like, whoops that happened. In one scene a girl begs John Travolta’s character to let her wipe off his sweat. And on and on. At least “Last Exit to Brooklyn” and “The Accused” had a moral core. You knew badness when you saw it. With “Saturday Night Fever” it’s all just so… whatever. I can’t imagine this script getting made today, let alone written. Am I over-reacting?