Thursday, December 20, 2012

Newtown Teachers

       Since I taught in 5 school districts in my career, I know how lucky I was to have spent 9 years teaching video production at Newtown High School.  I believe the parents, teachers and town leaders have made the difference in turning out respectful, intelligent and adventurous children.  Nowhere else have I seen the caring and cooperation of making every production a success.  Whether it was an art show, a football game or an in-class debate, win or lose, the students were encouraged in their achievements at any level.

         In other towns I've taught in, I've spent the entire two hours of Parents' Night doing paperwork because no parents came around.  It's not that way in Newtown.  Every year, twice a year on Parents' Night, every parking lot at every school was overflowing.  If you didn't remember to park at the end of the driveway, you were stuck in traffic for an extra hour after the event ended.  That's how many parents cared to visit their children's teachers and find out how their child was getting along.

        District faculty meetings were typically businesslike until the teachers took control and we got to experience each others expertise.  I learned how to teach math with M&Ms, how to find what was hidden in a lump of clay, how to prompt kids to read and write.  And I got to show other teachers how to get the best video on camera.  Really, the creativity of the teachers in Newtown knows no bounds and everyone shares.  I'm grateful that these caring individuals will be leading all those children away from the madness that descended upon them last week.  They will pull magic out of their hats.

       As young teenagers, many of my students referred to their hometown as a "one-horse town" or a "farm town."  They looked forward to the day they could leave for college and maybe move to a big city. Some of them did.  Just scanning the list I keep in touch with on Facebook, there are several enjoying New York City and Los Angeles.  They're the very same 20-somethings who are posting about how wonderful their lives are now, thanks to growing up in Newtown.

     Those of my students who returned to Newtown after college obviously feel the same way.  They're raising their own families in that beautiful New England town and now they are the ones who will take over the leadership roles, many of them as teachers. 

     Despite the recent tragedy, I'm confident every child growing up in Newtown will be made to feel lucky to be surrounded by such caring people.  I just know it in my heart. 

     Newtown is a finely tuned machine on the best days and now the world knows just how fine it can be under the burden of tragedy.  More families will continue to move into town to take advantage of the wonderful schools and the wonderful people.

     And I must also compliment the weekly Newtown Bee newspaper for their contribution to how well the town works on a day to day basis.  It's truly good old-fashioned, hometown journalism in a time when other newspapers are giving up.  The staff keeps everyone informed and entertained in addition to providing a hard copy of the accolades that scrapbooks are made of.  It must be very hard for them to be turning out their current issues.  I wish them luck.

     To my teacher friends who may have heard I happened to be in Connecticut last week:  I actually planned to go to the Newtown Library on Friday morning.  A phone call from my friend Lisa stopped me.  And my visit to the high school to see the new addition was set for Monday.  And even with all that I've seen as a former reporter, I couldn't bring myself to drive down route 34.  I was glued to the t.v. and I saw many of you, but I've been away for so long that I didn't want to intrude.  Be sure NHS will be my first stop on my next visit.  Be well. 



Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Radio Interview on Dresser After Dark

I recently did a radio interview about my book on Dresser After Dark with Michael Dresser.  Go to the home page of my website and click on the MP3 file to listen.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Senator George McGovern

     I was saddened to read Senator George McGovern's obituary today.  I'd like to think he had such a full life, he was just done at age 90 and needed a rest.

     I met Sen. McGovern back in the early '80s, just after he bought the Stratford Inn, on the hill across the street from Sikorsky on the Shelton-Stratford line.  That's the same hotel the Jets used to stay in before the annual Jets-Giants pre-season game at Yale Bowl.  I know this because I used to make my dad circle the parking lot the night before in case Joe Namath was wandering around waiting for me, his biggest fan, to show up and say "hi."  Unfortunately, Joe never came outside.  So the only place I got close to him was at the tunnel when the team ran out on the field.  Joe didn't run on those knees, so I was able to get a nice clear picture of him coming onto the field.  One time I caught the eye of Coach Weeb Ewbanks.  I was wearing my number 12 jersey, my hair in pigtails and green ribbons.  He came over to ask me just why Namath was my favorite.  I was probably eleven years old.  I can't remember what I said, but I'm sure it had nothing to do with his ability to call audibles or his quick release pass.

     I had better luck getting close to McGovern at the hotel in 1988.  I was there for a breakfast meeting of the Society of Professional Journalists and I was intimidated enough by all the writers in the group, never mind a real Presidential candidate.  Heck, I was only on local t.v.  I was happy the writers let me have a cup of coffee with them.  Anyway, McGovern was the guest speaker, but he was not going to arrive until the regular monthly business meeting was over.  I didn't care about that, so I thought I'd sneak out and use my Namath-stalking technique inside the hotel.

     It was too easy.  McGovern was just walking up and down the hallways around the lobby, checking out the decor and making sure the pictures were straight.  That was the decor, pictures of his family and a lifetime of accomplishments on his travels from South Dakota to Washington, D.C.

     Up until this time, I had only known about the senator from my history books and whatever big story hit the newspapers.  I was not a McGovern scholar.  But I did understand how lucky I was to be standing alone with a man who ran for President and I wanted to take the opportunity to drink in whatever he had to offer.  So I introduced myself and said something about how wonderful it must be to have served so many people as a representative in our government.  He was gracious and fatherly in his tone and read my genuine interest correctly.  Then I got a tour of each and every one of those pictures.  He ended with the one taken on election night when he lost to Richard Nixon.  The picture was of him and his wife and other family members sitting on a couch, watching the results on t.v.  He let out a sigh as he said, "And that was when we knew on election night."  The next moments were silent and he was probably thinking of what might have been.

     I thanked him for the tour, wished him much success with the hotel and reminded him of the meeting in the conference room.

     The McGoverns thought it would be fun to own an inn.  That's why they bought the Stratford Motel.  However, it wasn't profitable and they turned it over very quicky and never bought another.  I guess some things only look like fun.

     Although I never ran into McGovern again, I did buy and read the book, "Terry," which he wrote about his alcoholic daughter, after I married a man with an alcoholic daughter.  It gave me some great insight into fathers who try to fix things.  No matter how powerful they are, someone else's alcoholism cannot be fixed.  McGovern's daughter died in 1994 on a cold winter street, alone and homeless by choice.  He wrote the book just two years later.  It was a best seller and I always meant to write him a note to tell him how much I appreciated the story he shared.  Now I wish I had.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

I was a Child Communist

     By definition, communism is a social organization in which all property is held in common by the entire community and all activity is controlled by a totalitarian state dominated by a single party.  
     I get it.  I always have.  Growing up with a little brother and plenty of cousins and neighborhood kids to play with, I had to share.  That was okay.  So did they.  It was kind of cool.  I mean we had more toys to play with when we shared.  Back in the 1960s, parents didn't indulge their children with every new gadget that came out.  Some of the kids in the neighborhood had sports equipment.  Some had geeky science stuff.  Some had board games.  We got to play with everything.
     Specifically, Becky had a Snoopy snow cone machine.  Dave and Tommy had army men.  Lynn had girlie-crafty stuff.  John had Boy Scout stuff.  My brother had Wiffle balls and bats and Matchbox cars, and I had Battle Ship and Barrel o' Monkeys. 
     Our totalitarian state was mom and dad.  They told us when to put things away, what we could take outside and what we could lend or borrow with another parent's permission. 
     I was a child communist and it worked. 
     As I grew up, I remember studying about the Cold War.  Considering my family is of Russian descent, these lessons held my attention.  But I wondered how a whole big country full of people who wanted to share everything, somehow looked very poor on the t.v. news.  Shouldn't they have looked like they had more than they needed if they were sharing their toys?
     And the Russian parents always seemed to be standing in line for food.  I felt sorry for them and I wondered why someone wasn't sharing with them.  Communism didn't seem to be making Russia a better country.
     As a teenager in the early 70s, communism took on a hippie connotation.  Young adults were living in communes, growing their own food and sharing.  Or at least that's what they said they were doing.  It wasn't until much later that I realized some were also growing pot, dropping acid and enjoying "free love."  Oh well, they looked happy.  Communism at work.
     Then I grew up.  I always worked hard, but I noticed that some other people did not.  In fact, some people took pride in what they could get away with while appearing to work.  I didn't want to share with them.  I didn't want them on my team.  I developed the attitude that if I wanted something done right, I had to do it myself.
     However, I still bought into the ideas of the Democratic Party.  In fact, I remain a registered Democrat.  But I no longer want to share because I have first-hand knowledge of too many people who are cheating the system.  There are more cheaters than workers and the system cannot survive, not that it ever was so great anyway.  It became overloaded too quickly to find a solution to the chaos.
     I'm a capitalist now, neither Republican nor Democrat, but definitely leaning toward the right.  I appreciate workers, especially workers who could turn a profit.
     I keep thinking about that Kevin Kline movie "Dave."  He played the President's look-a-like and actually ran the show for a bit.  He used the common sense of a small business owner (which is what his character was) and got his friend the accountant to fix the budget.  I want to see that in the White House and I hope I will, soon.
     But no matter who wins, my patriotism trumps my capitalistic and communistic tendencies and I hope for the best and will always respect the office of the President.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Two Degrees of Separation

     The six degrees of separation theory was proposed back in 1929 by Hungarian author Frigyes Karinthy. It's the network theory that in our ever-expanding population, our world is actually shrinking because everyone is just 6 introductions away from anyone else.

     Let's say you just met the person sitting next to you on the bus. If their spouse is in a book club with a woman whose cousin works for the guy who cuts Bill Clinton's hair, you are six degrees away from Bill Clinton.

     If I know you, and your brother was college roommates with a guy who grew up next door to a woman who sold a house to Brad Pitt, then I'm six degrees away from Brad Pitt.

     The actor Kevin Bacon got associated with this theory when he gave an interview back in 1994 about how he's worked with “absolutely everyone” in Hollywood. Branch out six steps from everyone in Hollywood and you see how the network can connect to you.

     I, on the other hand, have found myself in the Bizarro World of this theory. I don't need six degrees. I'm connected to some very interesting and some outrageously notorious characters by 2 degrees.

     As a television sportscaster in Jackson, Mississippi back in the 1980s, I covered the Jackson Mets, the double-A team for the New York Mets. There was an outfielder on the team, a top draft choice, bonus baby, and my go-to guy for interviews. He could speak and he looked damn good on camera. He eventually retired as a player and got into management. Big time. He became the general manager of the Oakland A's. He is Billy Beane. Billy Beane of Moneyball. Michael Lewis wrote the book Moneyball about how Billy changed baseball by fielding a winning team under tremendous financial constraints. The book became a best-seller and a movie, also titled Moneyball. Brad Pitt was nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of Billy Beane. Me, Billy, Brad. I'm two degrees of separation from Brad Pitt.

     And by the way, my best friend Sherri used to have several pet deer. One of those deer, Jane Doe, was in movie with Kevin Bacon. So I'm also two degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon if you're just counting people, not deer.

     I can go on and on, connecting to celebrities and public figures, but that's not the cool part of my two degrees. It's all too superficial just to connect. You need to connect with a story. A story that goes deep enough in the details so you won't forget and you'll have a really personal, unique connection.

     My first teaching job was at night school at Stratford High School in Stratford, Connecticut in 1993. I had the Language Arts class. That's English class for those of you Baby Boomers. They call it Language Arts now. The night class was chocked full of characters. There were lovely young women coming back to school after having babies as teenagers. There were a few high school drop outs who realized they had to go back if they were going to go forward in their lives. And then there were the criminals. The guys who had to face a judge and make a decision: jail or school? If they chose school, they wound up in Miss Kendall's Language Arts class.

     There were some lively class discussions, considering the cast of characters coming together. I taught them how to use the library and write a research paper. We discussed literature, both contemporary and the classics. And I probably learned as much, if not more than they did just due to the diversity of the group.
     But not one of those students with their crazy life stories, held a candle to Mary, the new night school guidance counselor. That was some job. Offering guidance to so many different people at so many different points in their lives. You've got to hope people like that actually have life experiences themselves. Mary did.

     She grew up in Buffalo, New York. She was in elementary school during the 1970s. In 1969, O.J. Simpson, star running back out of the University of Southern California, was the number one draft choice of the Buffalo Bills. He played for the Bills for 8 years.

     Mary's father was a hot shot business owner who was a frequent sponsor of the Bills and also took on the leadership of some local charity events. For his charities, he often asked for some of the Bills to make an appearance. Of course, the star running back was someone who could help raise money just by showing up. O.J. did his share of personal appearances, and to thank him for his time, Mary's father often invited him home for dinner. And he came. He sat at the table with Mary, her older brother, mom and dad. Mary was just a little girl, but she did remember O.J. as a very nice guy who paid a lot of attention to her and her brother. He was good with kids.

     When Mary and her brother were teenagers, they and their high school friends were lucky enough to get summer and weekend jobs from their father. His businesses included a company that cleaned up and prepared job sites. Energetic teenagers were just the thing needed for that kind of manual labor. Mary said it was fun to work with her brother and some of his friends. But there were other kids on the job too, even though they weren't friends of the family.

     The chores the teenagers had to do on the Buffalo job sites were messy and dirty and the best way of getting through the day was to have fun. Challenge each other, help each other, brag about how much money they were making compared to their friends who were serving up fries at McDonalds. It wasn't easy work, but the comradery helped. At lunchtime, Mary said all the kids would order pizza or sandwiches and sit together and talk and laugh until it was time to go back to work. All the kids except for Tim. Tim never talked to anyone. Tim would order lunch, but take it and go off by himself to eat it. He didn't help anyone. He didn't ask for help. He didn't act like a teenager. He acted like a zombie. He wasn't from Buffalo, he grew up about 20 miles away in a town called Pendleton. His full name was Timothy McVeigh. The same Timothy McVeigh, who, in 1995 detonated the bomb that blew up the Murrah Federal building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people and injuring over 800. It was the first act of terrorism on American soil.

     So to recap, as a small child my friend Mary had dinners at home with O.J. Simpson and as a teenager, had a summer job with her father's company in which she worked with Timothy McVeigh. So I'm 2 degrees of separation from O.J. Simpson and Timothy McVeigh. Pretty cool for someone who likes to read true crime books and has the DVDs of all the episodes of Criminal Minds. But there's more.

     Mary's older brother went to Ohio State and stayed in the Midwest for awhile to work after college. The first year he couldn't come home for Christmas because of work obligations, Mary felt bad for him. She was in college and asked her parents if she could spend Christmas with her brother, instead of coming home to Buffalo, so he wouldn't be alone. They said yes and off she went.

      Now her brother, feeling grown up and independent with his new job and all, decided to host a small New Year's Eve party at his new place. He invited several of his friends from work. He also invited the other people who lived in the surrounding apartments in his building, mostly so they wouldn't complain about any noise from the party. So there was Mary, at her brother's New Year's Eve party in his first-ever apartment and he introduces her to his friends and neighbors. One of those neighbors was Jeff. Mary said Jeff was nice enough, a little shy and he didn't really mix with the other happy folks at the party. But he stayed for awhile, had a few beers and then left alone to go back upstairs to his place.

     Midwest. Jeff. Worse than O.J. Simpson and Timothy McVeigh. Yes, Mary partied with Jeffrey Dahmer. The Jeffrey Dahmer of rape, murder, dismemberment, necrophilia and cannibalism fame.

     So to recap again, Mary has dinners at home with O.J. Simpson, works a summer job with Timothy McVeigh, welcomes in the New Year at a party in her brother's apartment with Jeffrey Dahmer, and lives to tell about it. That 2 degrees of separation from those 3 men worked oh-so-well for me when I was single. I never paid for a drink at a bar when I told that story.

     Networking really does get you stuff for free. Everybody's got a story. Those stories may get you a few free drinks or a link to a new kidney. You just never know.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

MS Sports Hall of Fame

       I just got back from a fabulous weekend in Jackson to attend the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame Induction Weekend.  Although I covered sports in Jackson for 3 years in the mid '80s, there wasn't much of a Hall of Fame back then.  As I remember, it was just a small building called the Dizzy Dean Museum.  But these days, thanks to my old friend and the first museum director, Michael Rubenstein, the place rivals Cooperstown with its displays of sports history and the accomplishments of Mississippi athletes.
       Michael died last December and this museum is his legacy.  Thankfully, he surrounded himself with others who are passionate about the history of the Mississippi sports.
      The weekend began with a reception and banquet on Friday night at the Downtown Marriot.  I got to see plenty of Hall of Famers.  Hoop stars, coaches, team administrators.  No longer a sportscaster, now a fan, I got my picture taken with Peyton and Eli's dad, Archie Manning.  Hundreds turned out to celebrate the new crop of inductees.  (Read more at 2012 inductees are Rafael Palmeiro, Jeff Malone, Courtney Blades Rogers, Sam Hall, Ennis Proctor and Eddie Crawford.
         Some of the old inductees are really old these days, like over 90.  Their stories about playing for Lombardi or wearing wool baseball uniforms would soon be lost if it wasn't for this museum.  It was very humbling to be among these men and women who are a part of history.   Yes women.  Courney Blades Rogers was an inductee this year.  She came to pitch for the University of Southern Mississippi and put them on the map for women's sports.
      There was a live and a silent auction.  I won the Rita Easterling autographed basketball.  She was the MVP of the first women's professional basketball league in 1978.  I also took home the Chad Bradford autographed baseball.  Chad was the Oakland A's side-arm pitcher immortalized in the movie Moneyball.  It's not that I needed more sports stuff for Wally's office decor, but a donation to the Hall is important.  The Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame takes no government money.  No tax dollars.  It operates on private donations.  Thank goodness it's important to so many people.
      Next year, I'll take Wally back with me.  I can't believe he didn't come this time.  Maybe that 12-hour drive had something to do with it.  But it was worth it.  And even though I haven't been on t.v. in Jackson in over 25 years, I got recognized at the banquet by a former golfer and MS Hall of Famer.  Joe Iupe Jr. won just about every amateur golf tournament he ever entered.  He doesn't play these days due to vision problems.  Yep, the one guy who recognized me, out of about 700 people who were there, can't see straight.  Go figure.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Immigration & Such

     Years ago, when we used to live in Connecticut and vacation in Orlando, we always bought multiple-day, multiple-park Disney tickets.  We never used them up in one vacation, but that was okay.  They had no expiration date and they were transferrable.  That was a big selling point.  We used them up eventually, especially after we moved to Orlando.  We even transferred them among family members.  In other words, the person who bought the ticket was not necessarily the one who rode the Tower of Terror.

     Eventually, Disney figured out that this method, despite the fact that it generated more sales from people like us, was costing them money.  They figured out that making the tickets non-transferrable, with an expiration date, would generate more income by generating more customers.  Worked like a charm.  And their identifier has been a simple thumbprint at the entrance gates.  Once you use a ticket, it gets attached to your thumbprint and then you are the only one allowed to use that ticket.

     To take it one step further, if you bring in an extra unused ticket and try to use it to get an extra FastPass, it doesn't work.  Their software reads whether or not that ticket is in use by a person who submitted their thumbprint on that very day.  No thumbprint, no FastPass.

     So what's so hard about registering legal voters, welfare recipients, workers and more by their thumbprint?  If Mickey Mouse can do it, why can't the U.S. government?  Maybe it's just one more thing we should give over to Disney.  They already have ESPN and ABC.  Why not give them USA?  They obviously can run a business for profit.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend

   I'm going back to Shelton next week, just in time for the Memorial Day holiday.  It's my favorite time of year to go back home.  Not only is the weather usually nice, but I love seeing the generations of people who turn out for the pancake breakfast and parade.

   Everyone knows somebody in the crowd at this one.  Even if you go alone, you end up with old friends, cousins, former neighbors and classmates.  Lots of classmates.

   Kathy Bizub used to march with my class in the Shelton High School Band.  Now she marches with her own students.  It's a comforting sight.  What goes around, comes around.

   Same thing with John Spinetti, the Eagle Scout.  He can usually be found in those really cool Boy Scout shorts, leading the pack. 

   And I swear the routines of the cheerleaders, majorettes and other marchers haven't changed much.  I like that.

   I hope other parade-goers find as many old friends as I do.  Mine will be walking alongside teams, scouts or bands, with wagons of water for their kids or grandkids.  Or they'll be down the street from me, watching and cheering on the old and new veterans, volunteer firefighters and policemen.  It's a Shelton tradition.  You don't miss the parade.  It's nice to be able to count on it.

   My dad, Charlie Kohanowski, doesn't drive the lead car anymore.  He's going to be 85 this year.  But he'll be watching, if I can get him away from the pancakes in the White Cross Pharmacy parking lot.  (Yeah, I know, but it will always be White Cross to me, with a Simonetti behind the counter.)  And of course Mrs. Clancy will be taking the tickets for breakfast.  And you can count on Joe Pagliaro Jr. to be at the grill, giving to the community just as his father did before him.  Same deal with Fred Anthony.

   I've lived in many places over the years and I've never enjoyed Memorial Day as much anywhere else.  As the town has grown, I hope it becomes as much of a tradition to the new folks who have joined us.

   See you on Monday morning.  And if anyone is interested, the previous Friday night (May 25) at Archie's in Derby, 7pm.  Come on over and say, "Welcome home."

Everyone Has a Book

   Maybe it's just me, but it seems like every time I turn on the radio or t.v., another author is getting interviewed about their new book.  Tonight on 60 Minutes, an actual CIA spy was promoting his.  And James Patterson is doing commercials for his murder mystery and his children's book.  Buy one, get one free.  So I've determined that the regular publishing world is just too busy to pay attention to little ol' me.

   It's time to seek out an independent publisher and get on with it.  Besides, why do I need to give an agent a percentage of my sales (if there are any).

   It feels good to make this decision.  Now I'll see if the story can stand on it's own, backed by social networks and my own marketing and publicity platform.   Scary, but isn't that the thrill of it all?

Monday, April 30, 2012

Cats & Kids Published

   My third submission to Divine Caroline has been published.  It's about cats and parenting and parenting cats.  Here's the link:

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Joel Osteen

      I'm not the type to watch television preachers, but this morning I just happened to catch Joel Osteen before my beloved CBS Sunday Morning show. I don't know anything about Osteen. I've only seen him as I flip through the channels. But today, he won me over. He was talking about how Thomas Edison got closer and closer to success with his fabulous inventions by suffering through a lot of rejections.

      Last night I checked my email late. Not expecting any book agent to actually be working on a Saturday night, I was surprised to find my third rejection. Of course that left me dejected, until this morning.

      After Osteen finished his Thomas Edison story, he also told how his mother got a swimming pool despite the fact that his father refused to plan or pay for one. It didn't deter her. She kept measuring the backyard and planning for the pool parties. And yes, she eventually got her pool without her husband's input, financially or otherwise.

      I'm still planning for my book tour and practicing my confident, "Good morning Matt," for my Today Show appearance. And I definitely plan to get a Booze Day Tuesday shot on Hoda and Kathie Lee's show. I'll even make the drinks.

      Tomorrow begins my attack on the independent publishers. Someone has got to want a multi-media project and a guaranteed 2-book package. Right? Right?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Published online. How divine!

Got 2 articles published on  It appears to be an online filter for Ladies Home Journal.  My articles have also been submitted to the magazine.  Let's hope (and pray).  That would certainly add a bit of zip to the query letters for my book.

Link to Retail Therapy

Link to Good for You!

Monday, April 23, 2012

It's a Sputnik Thing

     "I can't help you Kerry Ann.  That's the new math." 

     I thought that was the way all moms got out of doing homework.  I  didn't consider that a grown woman could not do grammar school math.  It was the 1960s and, as a kid, I didn't know new math from old math.    It didn't make sense that multiplying and dividing would change with the generations.  But my mom insisted she couldn't help me with my homework.  She could do the problems though.  She showed me the way she solved them.  It wasn't at all like I was taught and she said I should do it the way the teacher does it because that's the "new math."  As usual, I did what I was told.

     For those of you who have never looked it up, the new math was a Sputnik thing.  The United States had just taken a big ass whooping from the Russians in the race for space.  And now our government decided to beef up the math and science programs in American schools so that we might compete with the commies and beat them to the moon.   We won that race, but it had nothing to do with the new math.  That experiment was a dud.  How children approached math and how teachers taught it, ultimately didn't matter.

     When I got to high school in the mid 1970s, I liked words more than numbers and decided to give journalism a whirl.  To me, it was just telling stories to someone who wasn't there so that they could see it for themselves.  It was fun and easy for me. 

     So you can imagine my surprise when the new journalism came along and screwed with me.  What was so new about reporting?   I read our weekly Suburban News for all the local features and lots of pictures.  And my dad brought home the New York tabloids too.  I liked reading about the mafia in those.  And I always wondered why those reporters used their real names in the bylines.  Didn't they ever see The Godfather? 

     Anyway,  the new journalism took a bit of practice, but I came to enjoy reading it.  It's reporting with an edge, and now that edge is me.  It's exactly how I write.

     Starting with Truman Capote's In Cold Blood, I studied the style and devoured all I could find, especially Hunter S. Thompson.  Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was a little out there for a teenager, but I liked the way the words flowed.  And Timothy Crouse's Boys on the Bus, well, that was real reporting and an incredible look inside a Presidential campaign.

     In searching for a publisher for my new book, Get Out Now!, I've been forced to define my style.  Of course it's new journalism, but these days they call it narrative non-fiction.  And some publishers treat it like fiction in their "Rules for Submissions" instructions.  That's not right.  My skewed views and sarcastic humor are part of my reporting skills.  It's all real and I'm telling like I see it.  Just because I see it bigger and better in order to make it entertaining reading is no reason to throw me a roadblock.

     Stop with the labels.  The wheel has already been invented and so has math and journalism.  Good writing is good writing and, regardless of labels, I hope someone recognizes that I have an audience and they just might have a few laughs reading about my real life as I report it.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Full-time job

Okay, so now I know that getting a book published is a full-time job.  I had been told, but....
Now it's out to 7 literary agents, one journalism professor and Divine Caroline (dot) com.  That's the new "filter" for Ladies Home Journal.  Another thing I have been told is that you need to be published to get published.  Hmm.  That's sort of what I heard about getting a job in television.  So I did.
Once published anywhere, I'll provide a link and ask for comments.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Book sent

This blog was created on April 19, 2012, the day after Get Out Now! went out to 2 literary agents.