Category Archives: Journal

Exciting entries, recalls of riveting events.

Sal Mineo – I Will Never Be Myself [Lyrics]

Never never never
Never never never
Never never never
Never never never

I can’t pretend that I’m glad we’re apart
I can’t pretend ’cause you’re still in my heart
Though I still smilenowand then
I’ll never be myself again

You wore my ring for the whole world to see
You had your fling, made a fool out of me
Though I still date now and then
I’ll never be myself again

Though it’s so wrong to go on this way
I need your love ’til my dying day
I’ll go through life through the long lonely years
Seen your face from behind lonely tears

Though I may smile now and then
I’ll never be myself again
Though it’s so wrong to go on this way
I need your love ’til my dying day

I’ll go through life through the long lonely years
Seen your face from behind lonely tears
I’ll never be myself again
No I’ll never be myself again
I’ll never be myself again

Wally Wiggins – Sweeter Than Sweet [Lyrics]

Sweeter than sweet
That’s what you are
Be mine alone
My guiding star

Well, I guess it’s love

Sweeter than sweet
Please take my hand
Show me you love me
You understand

Well, I guessit’slove

Well, you know I love you,
I told you so
Come on little darling, don’t
Be so slow
Just hold me close
Make my life complete
You know I need you
Sweet, sweet, sweet

Sweeter than sugar
Your kisses taste
Come on little baby
No time to waste

Well I guess it’s love
I guess it’s love
Love, yes I guess it’s love

I absolutely love this song…I can’t help but close my eyes and imagine someday crooning this to that special lady in my life. Thank you Cool Bobby B for sharing such beautiful music with us.

One Paid Hour

Having too much time and money on my hands and a need to be fulfilled, I was wandering the streets of Manhattan when I decided that I would do something about my unfulfilled desires.

I called a phone number, and some shady sounding guy told me that he had to call me back because the lady I wanted to see had just stepped out. So I hung around a street corner on Lexington Avenue, smokin’ a cig and lookin’ like a sophisticated street tough, a dapper don in an expensive suit.

Who am I kidding. I played a colorful children’s game on my iPhone while I was waiting.

My fun was interrupted when I got a call back. The man told me that she was ready for me. He then proceeded to give me directions, leading me to a long staircase that up four flights of stairs, past a shady second-story spa that looked like it was the sort to give happy endings.

Out of breath, I found apartment 4F. I knocked on the door, and lo and behold: a passably attractive woman, whom I would later learn was of German and Sicilian descent, came to the door and greeted me by name.

“Hello,” I replied. I had forgotten for a brief second that I’d given my name to the fellow on the phone, so I believed briefly that she was psychic.

We shook hands, and I noted that her hands were silky soft, and warm.

“So, why are you here today?” she asked me. Part of me wanted to be comforted. I had been starved of the love and affection of a woman for quite some time, and an impulse in me was what had brought me to this pretty lady’s door.

“I’m not sure,” I replied. The corner of my mouth curled in chagrin. “I’m pretty new to this. It’s my first time, actually.” I lied.

She gave me an uncertain smile and led me, in two steps, into her tiny foyer, where she had set up a curtain to block off the deeper parts of her apartment that she didn’t want her clients to see.

“Sorry it took me a while to let you in. I had to put my cat away.” She continued to ramble on, saying something about how business men often visited her and she knew that they wouldn’t want a cat rubbing up on their suits.

We got comfortable, sitting at an angle from each other in some sitting chairs. They were relatively comfortable, if a bit cramped. Unbeknownst to me at the time, I was sitting in a chair seeped in cheap cologne, musky perfume, and cigarette smoke.

A moment of awkward silence ensued as I sat there, unsure of what to do.

She smoothed out the front of her plain black skirt, pulled on her blouse, and smiled politely at me. “I know this seems like a small space, but I like to keep things cozy,” she said, half apologizing, half bullshitting. “I think my assistant said that you had a bit of problem finding this place, yes?” I nodded my head. She chuckled. “I see my more important clients at this studio because it’s a little more out of the way, that way it gives them privacy. Some of them are celebrities, you know. And you know how they don’t like people to know their business.”

I nodded in understanding. But I smirked on the inside. Her transparent inflations were amusing to me.

“So, is this your first time?” she asked me.

“Yeah, I haven’t done this before,” I replied, noting that she was a poor listener. I’d already told her that it was my first time. It was a lie, but still. Not a good sign. “So…what do we do? What do you offer?”

The woman shifted in her seat to face me more directly. “Well, a lot of clients come to me for a variety of things…”

I looked at her blankly. She returned my look with her own: her face said that I was a complete dolt for not knowing what was on the menu. But then she caught herself and smiled kindly at me.

Wetting her lips, and putting her soft warm hand on mine, she said, “Did you come here today because you’re worried about love? Or maybe work.”

I smiled with a sigh, ashamed that my needs were that transparent.

She looked at me softly. “I can tell you have something on your mind. It’s okay though. That’s why we’re here, to take care of it.”

Again, I nodded. My mind was already traveling into my distant past as she spoke. “We can do a palm reading for twenty, a love reading for forty…” she said. I spaced out though. I couldn’t quite focus on what she was saying, namely because I was already knew what the deal was.

I opted for the full life reading for a big chunk of change, a cool hundred. I pretty much knew that I was wasting my money, but I still wanted to believe. Deep down inside, I was hoping that she would tell me something that would soothe my soul and calm my worries. I wanted her to tell me that love was around the corner.

Third Time’s A Charm: My third bespoke suit from Michael Andrews Bespoke

After discovering the world of bespoke clothing, I sought out a reputable place who could do my sartorial bidding. Well, that’s a little nefarious-sounding. Really, I was looking for a place to develop my personal image and to hone my sartorial skills. Ultimately, I settled in at Michael Andrews Bespoke. Ever since late 2009, when I donned my very first bespoke suit ever, I have yet to step foot out onto the streets of New York City without wearing my bespoke clothing. Yes, that is a fact. Not a single day. No, this is not a joke. [ Cont'd ]

On Good Fiction (and learning from other first-timers)

While watching a program about lions on the Smithsonian Channel, I happened upon an article in a the Daily News paper lying on my coffee table. The article was about a Queens novelist’s first-time novel.It grabbed my attention immediately. As an aspiring novelist myself, these things are of great concern to me, and doubly so because the novelist hailed from the same borough as myself.

The book in question is Dogfight, a Love Story, and the author in question is Matt Burgess. According to his own website, Burgess is apparently a “28-year-old graduate of Dartmouth and the University of Minnesota‚Äôs MFA program, [who] grew up in Jackson Heights, Queens.”

His book earned glowing praise from the New York Times, applauding his dialogue. The Economist extolled his visual style. Because Dogfight is supposedly glowing example of said skills, I come to question my own novel.

You see, one of my own strengths as a writer is my ability to create strong dynamic characters. This was noted to me by my brother’s English teacher many years ago, when I read the feedback on the one-act play I had written for my brother’s homework assignment. My work received a grade of A and elicited delighted comments. I’m sure my brother felt very proud to have received such a grade, and that he felt very good that the teacher was fawning over my talent. Aside from character development, dialogue is also something I seem to have a knack for. To me, it isn’t terribly hard: it’s simply a matter of keeping your ears open. But even so, it is a valuable asset for a writer to hold nonetheless.These are the advantages and skills I have that set me apart from the average writer. And so, when The New York Times exalts a novel for qualities that I myself am supposed to have a knack for, it behooves me to study the novel to see how I match up with the competition.And, upon checking out the competition, I become frantically insecure about myself. I think to myself, how is this humble writer, who hails from the same region as Burgess, supposed to compare with someone who studied at a privileged and prestigious college like Dartmouth? How is this underprivileged and undereducated writer – who didn’t even graduate from high school – going to measure up to someone like Burgess?

Honestly, one of my greatest drives to succeed is to show the world that overpriced educations mean nothing, and that raw talent and hard work, combined with a little bit of luck, can result in success. I want to show the world that a neglected young fellow from the not-so-rough streets of Queens can produce a significant literary work out of nothing but good old-fashioned discipline, self-study, and smarts.

My old professor said that I was a diamond in the rough. And that sentiment is just what belies one of my deepest fears. I fear that I will remain nothing but a diamond in the rough. I have enough confidence and perhaps arrogance not to worry that my novel will be a piece of garbage. But I fear that nobody will recognize my talent, that I will remain obscure and undiscovered, perhaps only stumbled upon after my death and treasured and studied only after it’s too late for me to care.

With what little formal education I have had in this art that I so wholeheartedly pursue, it is often frightening to have what feels to be an immense lack of knowledge, guided only by my instincts and my fortunate intelligence a nd insight. I see how J.D. Salinger took a class at Columbia University to work with Whit Burnett in order to hone his skills, and it worries me that I have no mentor to help sharpen the bluntness of my raw talent into a sharp precision of a highly skilled craftsman.

Because I aspire to literary greatness, perhaps I am a little grandiose in my ambitions. Apparently, the age of 28 is still considered ‘young’ in the literary world. In an interview with Burgess, he was asked, “How does it feel to be a published author at the young age of 28?” He replies that he feels extremely fortunate. Soon enough, I will hit my mid-twenties. Yet I feel as though I should’ve already written a novel and made a massive splash in the literary scene: Truman Capote published Other Voices, Other Rooms when he was 24.

The interview with Burgess does provide a measure of comfort though. He describes the process of writing, and the hurdles he had to overcome in his writing. This is important to me because it not only provides me with a sort of roadmap, but also because it serves to confirm my instincts about the craft of writing. Though it may not be evident from these ramblings here, built into my very process of crafting fiction is an extreme discipline: I am constantly asking myself, what is this sentence doing here? Is this action necessary? Why am I describing this? Who is talking to who here? Why are they saying these things? Am I making the absolute most out of every single sentence?

To me, good literary fiction must serve a purpose. It must pose the careful reader questions about the human condition. It must provide a hint of an answer, but never actually outright answer the question. Good literary fiction must not be self-indulgent or hagiographical. Good literary fiction must engage a reader, and give them, at every paragraph, a reason to continue reading.

It is not enough to merely be descriptive or poetic. Such set pieces are too easy: anybody can be “descriptive as hell,” as Holden Caulfield’s roommate Stradlater wanted for his English assignment. It is not enough to merely have vibrant characters. Why are the characters included in the novel? If it is for nothing more than entertainment, then it does not serve a higher purpose in the fiction.

I am extremely critical of fiction I read, and I am not any less so when it comes to my own fiction. I tear my own pages apart, stripping the story down to its base so that it is not filled with extraneous purple prose, so that my novel will not sound like some sort of love letter to the protagonist. I apply an intense amount of pressure on myself to have an economy for words, a holdover from my beginnings as an aspiring screenwriter.

It is because of my extreme criticism that I become my own greatest enemy. I create such an immense fear of failure. If I am to put so much effort and discipline in writing my novel, and it ends up a flop, then I will have wasted so much hard work and energy, and I will have committed the greatest crime an artist can ever commit: to deceive oneself in one’s own cleverness and talent.

But, as I have said before, it does not serve me to fret over these issues. My energy is better spent on my novel. All the same, such fears can serve as a powerful motivator to strive for greatness. After all, if one aims high enough, hitting low is still pretty high.