Sunday, December 26, 2010

Henry Miller's Birthday

Happy Boxing Day! Or Henry Miller's birthday, for some of us. For the special day, Kreg over at Millerwalks posted my classic story The Ghost of Henry Miller. It was the first thing I had "published" back on Hackwriters in 2002. It's been a long hard slog of writing since then, but of course now it is all paying off. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Swinging at the New House

Let me show you the reason I didn't post often last month.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Nomad's End at Bridgeport Public Library

Recently Amy talked about her new book, Nomad's End, with Mary Witkowski's memoir class at the Bridgeport Public Library. It was a good lecture/reading, and we enjoyed speaking with the budding writers there. There was talk of an anthology of Bridgeport memoirs, and I hope that happens. Sharing stories is what being human is all about.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Hamden Antiques Show

Amy and I worked the Hamden Historical Society's antique show at the Miller Library this year again. It was a lot of fun, and we look forward to doing it every year.

Amy is joined at the food service counter by Al Gorman and Craig Reynolds.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac

I encountered The Dharma Bums for the first time in college, on a classmate’s shelf. She gushed about the book, but I was more interested in her roommate and didn’t pay enough attention. Many years later, I finally read it on a lonely road trip through New Hampshire during an unusually cold May. Snow drenched the higher elevations and my camping experience became uncomfortable and risky. I paged through Kerouac’s autobiographical novel and wrote two dozen poems. I finished the treasured Beat tome in front of a roaring campfire, beside a bubbling river, before crawling into my sleeping bag. A near-perfect reading experience.

This book is sometimes ignored, due no doubt to its similarity to the more famous On the Road. The sprightly Japhy Rader resembles the more famous Dean Moriarty, though one is based on Gary Snyder and the other Neal Cassady. But this is no retelling, not even a prequel. The Dharma Bums has a charm of its own…from its bookend experiences in the high mountains to its evocative exploration of Buddhism. Of course, the journeys Kerouac’s narrators take may be similar. He always seems to be searching for truth. Does he find it? That’s up to the reader, but the real lesson is that the search is what is important.

Read this book and listen carefully to Kerouac’s barbarous prose. Hear the message both in the words and behind them. Break out of your simple routine and hit the road. Climb a mountain. Fall asleep in a treetop. Meditate for three days. Change your life and broaden your mind. The Beat generation and the counterculture that followed may have had their problems and failures, but at least they tried. And they got one thing absolutely right: life is a journey and if we don’t keep moving, we die.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

My Wife's Battered Suitcase

My lovely wife, the poet Amy Nawrocki, is published in the latest issue of The Battered Suitcase, an excellent and highly regarded literary magazine. I particularly like her poem about wine in the Finger Lakes. It makes me want to get back to writing our book on Connecticut wine...which is due in less than two months at the publisher!

The Battered Suitcase is available online, but why not buy a copy of the magazine while you're there?