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, August 16, 2010

More to Jersey Wines Than You Think

New Jersey wines are the Rodney Dangerfield of oenology. They get no respect. Sometimes, that’s a deserved reputation, but there are surprises. Part of the reputation comes from a historical invisibility born out of post-Prohibition politics. For years, the state allowed only one wintery for each million residents. In 1981, the laws were relaxed as consumer palates became more sophisticated.

And, I didn’t know till I studied up, wine-making in New Jersey was begun at Renault Winery in 1864. Renault, in Egg Harbor/Galloway Twsp., is still going strong, winning many medals in the New Jersey State and the Finger Lakes International competitions.

This has all come together in an article I've written by the same title as this blog. It was just published by an area newspaper, The Association Reporter and will be coming out in another adult-community publication, River Pointe. Write me if you’re interested in seeing the entire story.

No kidding. Kevin Atticks, writing in The New York Times, stated, “If you go into a wine shop and blindly grab a California wine, your chances of getting something mildly unpleasant are greater than if you pick up a wine from New Jersey.”

Saturday, August 7, 2010

There’s Hope for the Next Generation

Judging the 19 entries in the local Summer Writing Contest was not only entertaining but educational as five members of the writing group I moderate went through the entries.

A surprisingly high level of achievement appeared as we tried to measure each entry against four criteria:
Characterization: Are the characters well-rounded, developed?
Plotting: Did the author begin, develop and end the story capably?
Concept: Are there new ideas, strong imagination, or high levels of insight?
Writing Ability: Does author show a good command of language?

My matrix—judging each criterion from a “1” (needs work) to a “4” (excellent)—revealed remarkable ability. Not one entry scored lower than a 10. In fact, four entries scored 15s, and three scored 14s—testimony either to the scholastic abilities or personal interests in writing of these young people.

Writing is the art form that most precisely allows a person to express his or her feelings and response to the world. Secondly, people write in order to truly communicate, to reach out in the hopes that another person will say, “Yes! I understand completely what you’re trying to say or how you interpret the world.” To have 9- to 12-year old writing at this high caliber is a joyous experience.

Of course, there were entries that seemed to be right out of a comic book or video game. These are kids! But others believed in magic. One—our first place choice—showed expression and communication in an outstanding way. It was an epistolary piece telling his absentee father that the boy would be a success in spite of the missing dad.

I wish I could’ve written like that when I was in grade school. My hat’s off to these kids. I'm looking forward to meeting them at the ice-cream-and-awards program next week.