Cruising the Green of Second Avenue

Wild Child Publishing has issued the second volume of short stories in Cruising the Green of Second Avenue. The tales take up where Vol. I left off — bringing back Klein the Biker, Straight Charlie and Sammy the Madman while introducing new characters stumbling over life’s difficulties in the late 60s. Vol. II is an e-book published by Wild Child Publishing that you can download, save as a pdf (Adobe) file and print. Read both volumes and see that life isn't all that serious. Find it at Barnes & Noble, Amazon and other online book sellers.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Memories Are Hard to Lose. And That’s Good

The past never leaves us is a cliché that can be useful to a writer. That applies to my story, “Silver Screen Saver,” just published by The Corner Club Press. (You can read it at That’s Issue #5, pp. 26-31.) Shamelessly, let me add that this is my fourth story The CCP has published in its first five issues.

“Silver Screen Saver” came to me because as a post-pubescent kid I never forgot seeing Marta Toren on TV. This relatively unknown actress played in a 1948 remake of Algiers. There's are almost no filmography references to Marta (she died at age 31), which allowed me to recreate her as the actress who never grew old. Play that against a romantic nostalgist so wrapped in the past that he can't move forward and you end up with — excuse the left-handed pun — "Silver Screen Saver." In her way, she could have been as iconic as Veronica Lake.

Okay, moving right along with revising the past, “Carnival’s Last Show” was also published this month by The Jersey Devil Press. That’s up at The piece is a reimagining of the day in the eighth grade that I played hooky. I hitched in to Portland, Oregon with my friend Frank Dunham to see Clyde Beatty’s Circus. That incident was anaturally matched pairing with Bruce Springsteen’s “The Last Carnival.” I ask, “Where does the magic go when the carnival train leaves and the carousel music ends? Where does a roustabout kid go when a legend walks into the desert to die?” It’s a short bit of fiction that’ll take just a minute to read…and dredge up some of your own memories.

Hitching to see Clyde Beatty was earlier revisited in “Louise from the Bar.” The story recalls that life can be thrilling, dangerous and filled with stuff you’ll never forget when you’re 14. It was published May 11, 2009 by Paradigm Journal at Sadly, Paradigm has closed its doors. R.I.P.

See, the past never leaves us. And that’s good. (Sometimes.)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

When the Devil Leaves the Porch Light On

When Colson Whitehead published a genre novel about zombies (Zone One), New York Times reviewer Glen Duncan made the analogy that it was akin to an intellectual dating a porn star. A literary shooting star was slumming! Epiphany! So that’s why I love writing pulp. Besides, it’s hard to dance with the angels when the devil leaves the porch light on.

Those thoughts tugged at my nether regions as Pulp Modern this week accepted “Gaslighting.” (“Being a kid can be stressful even without having someone abuse your girlfriend, Halloween or not. And then there’s that thing with living lawn ornaments.”)

This was followed a few days later with Big Pulp accepting “Flying Objects.” (“The green baize of a blackjack table is a playing field worthy of the best antagonists when love and money are at stake.”) Why is pulp fiction so much fun to write while stories of literary quality languish?

Today, “Carnival’s Last Show” went up at The Jersey Devil Press ( Read it, and tell me a tear doesn’t come to your eye, all you tough guys who wanted to run away as a kid.

And The Corner Club Press also accepted “Silver Screen Saver,” with editor Amber Forbes saying, “I think by now you can at least suspect you're going to get into our issue 5. Your stories are always so diverse, and from one story to the next, I wouldn't be able to pin that it was you who wrote it, which is probably why I'm always accepting you. [WG note, this will be story No. 4 in CCP’s five-issue run.] So it's fantastic that you can write all these stories and make them so unique with different styles.” [WG note, Ah, shucks.]

Back to the point of pulp: I try to keep my mind on higher things, like eternal love, the meaning of life, and if there are clues to the meaning of life in Lindsey Lohan’s adventures. Look, I researched, wrote and posted a review of Dashiell Hammet’s Red Harvest last week. And, a thumbnail review of John le Carré’s A Most Wanted Man was printed in the Asbury Park Press Nov. 1. I moderated a real, live writing group, and I advised my grandchildren on the meaning of life, value of hard work and to not mix the grain and the grape. That ought to deliver a couple of karma points.

So, don’t give me any guff about pulp. I’m working on a serious literary story now. (See, there's this kid who duct-tapes the slacker to death and ends up getting devil’s 1960 Chevy pickup truck.) But it’s the cocktail hour. Stay tuned.