Monday, May 21, 2012

Everyone has a hungry heart - and a Bruce Story

Setting deadlines, whether you meet them or not, is important. If you have no target how would you know if you hit, missed or came close? I find that I have to establish a plan and then strive towards it otherwise I meander and make little progress. I was pretty sure I had this eBook all figured out and it would be published by Memorial Day.

Stuff happened; additional responsibilities and side entertainments encroached on my time, sometimes with my complete complicity. One interviewee for the Bruce book was discussing the different friends that he knew who approximated his enthusiasm level. I said it would be great to interview them but the book might never get out. One interview pointed to another and another, and then I’d be issuing this book at Chirstmas. He stopped me dead in my tracks and asked, "What’s the rush?" My reason at the time was that I loved writing this but I had other projects I wanted to get to and I wanted to finish one completely.

That’s still true to an extent. I like the way the book is finishing. I am starting to believe that non-fiction books might have an aspect to them that there will always be something more you can add and the trick is drawing a finish line. One more interview, one more photo.  Yes I want to get this out and, yes, I’m trying to be careful and make this the best book it can be, the best writing I am capable of, but I also understand I want a certain amount of closure.
Except for the last few interviews, the book is finished. There is still some more editing and I know I’ll add another photo or two but, basically, it’s done. The problem right now is that I still have three interviews left to do. Two are in Baltimore so I have to clear my schedule, sync it with the people I am interviewing, get down there and then get back and write it up. The last interviewee is hard to catch, [my fault, not his] so I’ll give myself until mid-July to catch up and then after that throw convenience to the wind. I could do this hard-to-catch guy over the phone but it would never be as good as face-to-face.

There is one other short [but important] interview but I can write that up after I make a few e-mails, place a 5-minute phone call and wrap it up.

There are several other good reasons to finish this. One is that I’m pretty excited to share this whole story and like a little kid on Christmas I can’t wait to publish this. Other people who have read excerpts enjoyed them and they are waiting, patiently, I hope. I’d had some wildly excited, dedicated Bruce fans, chopping at the bit and I don’t want to get them all worked up and then disappear on them. “Say, what happened to that guy who said he was writing a book about the Boss?”

Last week I received this great response from a Springsteen website offering to review the book. Turns out one reason they are excited is that they have done several Bruce book reviews but this is their first e-book review. I replied that, in addition, this might be the first inter-active Bruce e-book. If you’re going to do something new-ish then you might as well make it ground-breaking. I like the ring of it: “The first inter-active Bruce e-book. Cool!”  I might add that to my provisional tag lines for the book – “the one Bruce book you cannot live without” and “everybody has a hungry heart −and a Bruce story.”

Mine will be out before Labor Day. I promise.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

An Afternoon in the Life

There is something about New York City that will keep me from becoming jaded. I don’t know what it is, the vibe, the classic top-drawer scenes imbedded from old movies, or maybe that feeling that you are in the focal point of civilization as it exists in 2012.
I accepted the gracious invitation of a print supplier to a presentation of the latest programs for enhanced digital content management. That’s a mouthful, so to break it down, I saw demonstrations of Aysling’s Adobe, Woodwing and Picturepark systems. To break that down a little bit more, these are the latest, cutting-edge tools to manage enhanced, embedded interactive magazines viewable on computer tablets. I also apologize for that redundancy because “tablet” equals “computer” for those of us not old enough to remember floppy disks.
First I was wowed by the technology, how you can scroll with your fingertips across your tablet and choose videos and then within those selections more embedded videos, slide shows, audio and multilayered comment boxes, etc. Anyone with a tablet knows that these things exist but to see how they are created, managed, digitally tracked for the rights, edits, augmentation and corrections, was truly amazing.
Then to have this done in the heart of mid-town, 8th floor of the Time-Life Building just made it over the top. On the walls were the iconic photographs, some which were Pulitzer Prize winners, pictures that you’ve all seen somewhere, if not in your history books then on the pages of Time magazine or inside the classic, Life magazine. If you never heard of a floppy disk, you thought that they were pretty cool pictures. If you had a deeper sense of history, you were wowed by their importance. If you were a teenager for the Kennedy Assassination or caught Pink Floyd’s original  Dark Side of the Moon tour, you were blown away, as I was.
I was among the 50 attendees this afternoon. I am still a little kid, wowed by big windows. I couldn’t help a gaze out from the Eighth floor to look down on the Radio City Music Hall marquee and 30 Rock. A setting like that never gets old. I’ve been to many outrageous places, mostly benefits of business connections or at the behest of the newspaper I wrote for and I’ve had the good fortune of meeting the famous and infamous. This afternoon was one of those reminders that there is this strange world out there that I am allowed to glimpse from time to time..
The presenters flew in from  distant points, Japan, Hawaii and Switzerland. The hors d’ oeuvres were spectacular and the wine was great. All that was required of me was to show up.  But I did have to make some concessions. For instance, I couldn’t wear my trademark jeans. When I look back at my salad days in the 1970s and remember that I had to wear a suit to work every day, I pinch myself that I can work on Broadway in New York City in jeans, any and every day I choose. Okay, so I wore a pair of nice Dockers, and an ironed, dress shirt with double-pressed collars. To make myself completely legitimate, I wore a sport coat, not a dress one but a tight tweed pattern, more college professor than wino, down in his luck.  I am completely comfortable in that skin, rubbing elbows with the pinstriped suits, required by their employers to dress the part.
So in this setting, comfortably dressed, fed and quenched, I saw the future of the enhanced video magazine tablet. I was transported to another world, even if only for an afternoon. Tomorrow, according to Jackson Browne, I’ll get up and do the mundane again, pull on those jeans and struggle for the legal tender. But as iconic as the Time-Life building is, I smiled when I got into the elevator on my way out to Sixth Avenue, and saw nothing but rows of lights and polished aluminum. In my marble palace icon, I watch a flat screen TV while I wait for the elevator to reach my floor. All icons are created equal but some are more equal than others.

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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Life Imitating Art

Like a page torn from the Fastnacht League, men playing our national pastime on a sunny Sunday afternoon, journeyed back into time and took us with them. Most of the play was easily recognizable as most games played today but the players garbed in uniforms from two centuries ago helped the imagination. The game was pure, the same one played with enthusiasm and joy, centuries before big contracts, free agents and leather gloves.

I will be posting more pictures (some are up already) on the Fastnacht League Facebook page: Grateful thanks to Brad Shaw (Neshanocks) for his help and for giving me access. My daughter, Liz, took video which will be part of a YouTube video on the two New Jersey teams the Flemington Neshanocks and the Elizabeth Resolutes, to be posted later this week. Also, look for the Fastnacht League book trailer, which will use some of the images we captured today.

For more information on these two clubs go online at and

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Writing Contests

I'm not much of a writing contest type of guy but I am considering the "Dear Lucky Agent" contest sponsored by the GLA blog on Writer's Digest site.
For details go to this link:

Apparently you can get more details at

Whether you are so inclined to enter contest or not, it would be a good idea to register for Wrter Digest's period emails at From the site I can glean  a lot of free writing advice.