I've added this page so that I can showcase portions of works with which I am currently dabbling. Take a short read and feel free to leave a comment on either the "News" or "Contact" page to let me know what you think!
The first piece, whose title is up in the air, is a novel I am currently writing. This novel, if all goes according to plan, would be my third. I am still working diligently on completing the first 3/4 of "The Most Recent Testament" by May, polishing it off by the end of the year, and seeking a publishing house to take a chance on me. Then I will devote more of my time to "In Dreams" (or whatever better title you people send to me). The second piece is a sort of autobiographical-essay-story-memoir that I wrote for my father. It is already a complete draft (obviously not here); however, I am planning on revising the piece and submitting it for publication sometime before Father's Day of 2012 or 2013 (barring the Rapture). If you want to read more, let me know!
Working Title "In Dreams" (started in 2009)
The tale you are about to read is about an abstract noun.
It's quite a curious thing about so many novels, poems, movies, plays, what-have-yous. Most of them are, at their core, about abstract nouns. You read page upon page. You analyze diction. You devote large fractions of your waking hours to watching the film. You seek something concrete to take from the product — a moral, a lesson. Yet ultimately there are no answers. Just more abstract nouns.
This, of course, is natural. So much of life itself is driven by the desire for answers. The truth, however, is that the vast number of questions in this world far outweighs the amount of answers. Thus, this story will deal more with questions than answers.
Love is a commonly utilized abstract noun in all forms of art and literature. To say love is "commonly utilized" is an understatement, I suppose. Unrequited love is responsible for the fame of countless authors, poets, and songwriters. In fact, without unrequited love in our world, I'm not terribly certain we would have many forms of art at all.
Poetry, for instance. There needs to be hopelessness and despair in this world for poetry – for so much – to exist. Hopelessness and despair, by the way, are also abstract nouns.
Hopelessness and despair are much less commonly emphasized than love, however. There is a perfectly rational and reasonable explanation for this disproportion. It has more to do with money than anything else. Everything has to do with money. Stories about hopelessness and despair tend to depress people. Love stories, on the other hand, whether sincere or fluffy, breed the naively beautiful notion that two people can connect on this absurd planet and pursue a fulfilling life together. It seems that, according to many filmmakers, love shares a couple of commonalities with the need to use a restroom: both inevitably happen to everyone and you almost always recognize each immediately. Somehow, though, these love stories kill at box offices. They don't even have to have logic or reason about them. Just a kiss at the end. The money rolls in.
Money, oddly enough, is also an abstract noun when you really stop and think about it.
This tale is not about love, though. It's also not really about hopelessness or despair, although I'm sure you will find plenty of each within. All are a constant presence, surrounding us at all times. We try not to acknowledge them often. I think that's healthy for the most part. But neither is like a buzzing bee. Ignoring hopelessness and despair does not convince them to fly away. They are more like time. Just there. Unseen, often unfelt, but eternally there.
The focus of this story, the abstract noun about which I have bandied for the previous paragraphs, is none other than happiness.
This tale is about happiness.
"Bunt Signs From Dad" (2011)
The most important life lesson my dad taught me is that with runners at first and second base and nobody out, bunt. Learning that at an early age made me a better baseball player, a better teammate, and a better friend. More recently, that advice has transformed me into a compassionate adult. I didn't realize it at the time, but I now know that the sacrifice bunt is secretly responsible for more good in this world than almost anything. If more people would bunt, we'd certainly be closer to world peace.
Jesus would have been an amazing bunter. He spent much of his life sacrificing: accepting outcasts, washing the feet of others, teaching life-affirming lessons. Another amazing bunter? Buddha. Gandhi, King, Mother Teresa. The list goes on. They are all fantastic bunters because many of them had the skill set to hit homeruns in life—or achieve personal glory—but opted to move the runners along in the interests of those behind them in the batting order.
This is what my father wanted to instill in his son from an early age: the desire to serve others. He, an educated man whose power to transform lives manifested itself through his job as a high school guidance counselor, saw that his son, infatuated with the game of baseball since age three, had the potential to do good in the world. He saw that my competitive fire was powerful and bold, and that with proper instruction, he might be responsible for doing what every parent should want to accomplish in having children: to raise a productive member of society.
It wasn't easy at first. Like most kids, I wanted to hit homeruns. Swinging as hard as I could, watching the ball soar over the heads of the other team, trotting slowly down the first base line—what a feeling! Everyone claps, the pretty girls smile, teammates want to know details: What pitch was it? How far did it go? It's a rush. You feel like a sort of hero. And others respond in ways that are tangible—high fives, pats on the back, compliments.
"But," my dad would remind me in his not-so-subtle Chicago accent, head shaking back and forth, lips pulled tight in disapproval, "double plays kill innings..."
And ultimately, the odds of grounding into a double play or striking out far outweigh the likelihood of connecting and clearing the bases. People might not acknowledge the missed opportunity--he took a good cut—but true fans will always be able to see that the next batter's routine flyout to center could have (should have?) given the team at least one run.
And so he would tell me, "A perfect bunt at the right time can win you the game." And I listened.