Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Resolutions- Less Me

According to a CNN poll, losing weight is the number one New Year's resolution.  I'm sure that doesn't come as a shock to most of us.  It's been on my list more years than it hasn't.

Honestly, I don't usually do New Year's resolutions because they seem to set us up for failure.  They set me up for failure.  To set out to never do something again is like an alcoholic getting sober with the thought of never drinking again.  It's overwhelming.  It's easier to do if you take it one day at a time.  That's how I plan to accomplish my goals this year.  One day, or hour, at a time.  Whatever it takes.

My turning point, this time, was the day after Christmas when I got on the scale and had to call the Suicide Prevention hotline.  When did this get so bad?  How did I not notice?  Oh yeah, I avoid cameras and mirrors.

The snake-oil we buy, hoping for a miracle.  
So here I am at my highest weight ever (I'll tell you what it is when I'm about 50lbs away from it) and I know I have to make the changes necessary now!  I can't continue like this.  All my other goals and responsibilities are going to have to take a sideline to this one for a while.

Anyone with a television or who reads a magazine knows that weight loss is big business these days.  Everyone wants to sell you their book, their method, their diet.  They all tell you the other's don't work and only theirs will deliver the true Holy Grail.   The susceptible public, myself included, becomes overwhelmed at all the choices and decisions that need made and ends up paralyzed.   Doing nothing.  Is it any wonder how many of us are obese?  God, I hate that word, but according to my BMI, that's me.   I'm Rick Flynn and I'm obese. And yes, these pants do make my ass look big.

It's amazing the number of "diets" or "lifestyle changes" one can choose to follow.  You can do the Paleo Diet, which is all about hunting and gathering.  If you can hunt it, you can eat it. Except grains, which apparently don't count in the gathering phase.  There's the vegan diet, where you can eat anything that hasn't come from an animal. This gives you fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, etc...  There's Atkins where you want to eat animal products, along with vegetables, but again grains are limited.  There's South Beach, Jenny Craig, Nutru-System, Medfast and others... Then there's Weight Watchers, which makes the most sense, as it's about portion control and eating a variety of foods.  It's basically counting calories or points that Weight Watchers has calculated for you for the low price of $12 a week or $18.95 a month for the online program.   That's great, but I'm already spending more money buying nutritious food, which is another topic.  Why can we eat so much more inexpensively with bad food than good food?  Oh yes, back to the business of weight.  If we all ate an abundance of fruits and vegetables, the processed food companies would lose money.  The very same processed food companies who want to keep us fat.

I digress.  So, back to the choices.  What ever happened to calories in/calories out?  That does still work, right?  You don't need a fancy plan, just count the calories you're eating and make sure you're burning more than you're eating.  It's simple math, right? I portion my foods. I count my calories. I move my ass to burn off those calories.  I think I can do this.

I've got a plan.  I have the desire to make this work. I have the need to be healthier in 2012.  I'm too young to be feeling so hopeless about my weight.  I have too much I want to do that I can't do at my size.   I want to do yoga.  I want to run.  I want to climb a mountain.  I want to feel good about myself again.  That's not asking too much is it?

I am worth it and it's time I put me first!

Happy New Year everyone!  May we all be our best selves in 2012.


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Anger- Another Taboo?

"I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore."
~ Network


I've thought a lot about my blog entry yesterday about sadness and depression.  I realized those things aren't the only tabooed feelings.  Anger is another big one. Basically anything that isn't "happy" and "joyful" we don't want to talk about.  If we talk about it, we might have to acknowledge our own unpleasant feelings.

What's the first thing someone usually tells you when you're angry?  "Don't be upset.  Don't be angry."  And then they'll give you reasons to invalidate your anger.  Lost your job?  They'll say, "Don't be angry.  It's the economy."  A loved one dies and someone will say, "she's in a better place."

Bullshit!

I listened to that advice when I lost my job and then I became depressed and gained twenty-five pounds in two months.  That's how I always did it.  Stuff the anger and be a "good guy."  Rise above.  What was I rising above? Nothing.  I was stuffing those feelings of anger down as fast as I could shovel food into my mouth.  The only thing rising was my blood pressure.

I'm not saying I should have let my anger rule my actions, but had I acknowledged it and used it to empower myself, there's a lot of energy in anger.  I could have found positive ways to release it and use it.  Denying it only buries it deeper where its bound to escape in a less controlled and appropriate manner.  That's why it's usually the "quiet ones" who take off on a murderous rampage, much to the surprise of everyone around them.

Yesterday as I thought about sadness and depression, an old saying occurred to me, "Depression is anger turned inward."   Okay, Oprah, this might have been my "aha" moment because it all clicked.  Last night I realized just how angry I am and what I've been stuffing down.  Personally, there are a few things I haven't been able to express yet for fear of burning a bridge, but there are many things that contribute to it.  Turn on the nightly news and it's full of reasons to be angry.

Our government is fucked up beyond anything I've seen in my lifetime.  The price of gas fluctuates with the greed of the oil industry executives.  Banks get bailouts and then give their CEOs bonuses.  The prices at the grocery store keep going up and up.  Cheap fast food is the only thing some families can afford and it's making them fatter.  Jobs are scarce and the employers who do hire have us by the balls.  Workers comp cases are down, one friend in the legal industry told me, because workers are afraid to make waves for fear of losing their jobs.  We are becoming a nation of indentured servants to the wealthy one percent.

The clip above comes from the 1976 film, Network, starring Faye Dunaway, William Holden and Peter Finch.  It's empowering and the same speech could be delivered by Brian Williams or Barbara Walters today.  It's that timely.

I think we all need to get angry, not to carry it around with us, but to express it in a positive life changing way.  Individually we can only address what is in front of us, but collectively, we can make a difference.  Say what you want about the Occupy Wall Street movement, but it certainly showed us we're not alone in our anger.  Let's use that to empower us, as a nation, and as individuals.

Personally, today I'm going to express my anger instead of stuffing it down with food.  I think I'm going to need a punching bag to go with my rice cake and salad today.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Winter/Post Holidays Blues


"Don't wish it away. Don't look at it like it's forever. 
Between you and me, I could honestly say. 
That things can only get better."

~ Elton John- That's Why They Call it the Blues

We can talk about a lot of things these days. There are very few social taboos left.  We talk about sex, like we're discussing household chores or planning our next vacation. We tell our friends how much money we make. We'll even show you our strategically placed tattoo if you ask.  What we won't do is talk about depression.  We certainly won't admit to it.  If we do admit to it, someone will try to sell you a pill.  "Here, try this green one.  I'm never sad, but of course my sex drive is gone too." 

Depression is a familiar acquaintance to me.  We've hung out occasionally since I was in high school.  He's not around all the time.  Mostly he shows up when I'm feeling stressed or something in my life feels beyond my control.  He's a part of me and I don't need for him to go away.  I just wish he wouldn't come on so strong when he visits. Until I acknowledge his presence, I'm paralyzed.  Everything seems unmanageable.  Once I accept him, I begin to get my power back.   Somehow by admitting I'm depressed, it goes away. 

The gray winters of Dayton, Ohio are a lovely vacation place for my dark passenger (yes, I'm stealing that term from Dexter).  He showed up yesterday and between the post Holidays let down and the rainy days lately, he unpacked to stay for a while. I humored him and we hung out yesterday, but this morning I packed his bags and sent him out again.  He may be back when the sun disappears, but for now, he's out of the house. 

Some may wonder why not just take a pill and avoid all of this?  I've tried that route and it didn't really work for me.  True, the sadness didn't seem as sad, but the gladness was never as glad either.  I want to live a life with a full range of emotions; not just the safe ones at the center of the pendulum.  As a writer, I have to experience it all. 

The holidays are difficult for some people.  We think about the ones who are no longer here and how much we miss them.  We say goodbye to family members as they get back on airplanes and back to their own lives.  We spend too much money and then worry how we'll keep the lights on.  Many things can bring on the blues.  In the advice of Elton John, "Don't look at it like it's forever."   It's only temporary. 

If a friend seems down or sad this time of year or any other, don't offer them a pill.  Offer them a smile and a hug.  It will be more appreciated than you'll ever know. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Finding Something You Never Expected

Henni Fisher as Connie. John Spitler on the
left and Scott Knisley in the back.
If you follow me on Facebook, you already know what I've been up to lately and probably why I haven't done any writing here.  What you wouldn't know is how many times I've started an entry and stopped because I couldn't find the right words to express the range of emotions I've been overwhelmed with.  It all seems kind of silly because all I was really doing was performing in a play, The Blue Moon...Dancing. 

Its not completely unusual that I was doing a play, but this experience was like none I've ever had.  This is where the plethora of emotions come in and I have a hard time putting them into words.

I got to work with some amazing actors again and some for the first time.  I got to stretch myself as an actor in a meaty role that challenged me every night.  The best part was being part of such a supportive cast.  Everyone got along.  We hung out together.  It was almost like college again and for this forty-seven year old, it was much needed.

Josh Lurie, Angela Timpone, Marsha Nowik,
Wendi Michael
The show was about a group of people who have let their dreams pass them by.  Each character has a range of hopes, dreams, and regrets.  Who can't relate to that?  Its a theme that seems to mirror my own life on many levels.  It wasn't that long ago I decided to make my dream of being a writer, a reality.  This experience reminded me of that other dream I put on the shelf many years ago.  The dream of becoming an actor.

As a writer, it's a solitary life.  You don't have a cast to hang out with when you finish writing your pages for the day.  It was a big change.  Now, don't get me wrong, I love my writer friends and I love hanging out with them.  They seem to "get" me, but I think a few of my fellow actors might also "get" me.
Scott Knisley and Kelly Engle

My dear friend, Katrina said it best.  "Acting is the opposite of writing."  I think that's true.  I'm grateful that both are a part of me and that I got to feel embraced by these very talented theatre people and equally embraced by my writer people who came to see the show.  You all fill my heart with love.

Now the play is over and it's back to the writing.  If I'm lucky, when I finish my daily pages, somewhere off in the distance, I'll hear the sounds of laughter and cheers coming from an invisible audience.  I'll take my bow and get back to reality.  




Friday, November 25, 2011

I Could Die Happy- Bonus

I've been grateful for so much in my life.  Its easy to say that when everything is going well, but the true test of gratitude is feeling it even when things aren't going so well.  I've been there many times, but still held on to my gratitude.  Sometimes its the only thing that keeps us going.

Right now, even with some pretty major uncertainly to my living situation, I am having the time of my life.  Choosing to do the play, The Blue Moon... Dancing was one of the best decisions I've made since I took a writer's workshop with Katrina Kittle and met a great group of writers.  With Blue Moon, I'm working with some of the most talented actors I've ever worked with, and I can honestly say this is the best work I've ever done and its reawakened a long lost dream.

I'm working with a great director in Greg Smith, some actors I've worked with before, and a couple I've never worked with, but already can't wait to work with again.  More than that, I'd call these people friends. They are terrific.

Tonight is opening night and I wish all of us a great three week run.  I hope to savor every minute of it.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

I Can't Die Happy......I've got too much left to do!

I have a lot of reasons to be grateful.  Over the course of thirty one days I listed some of those reasons.  The truth is there are so many more.  Lately I've also been crazy busy (which is one excuse for getting behind here) and sometimes in the midst of the bustle I forget to stop and enjoy it.

My fantasy cover to my novel. 
 I've started doing another play and my role is a meaty one. I'll be playing things on stage I've never played before.  Some of it is emotionally raw and a bit too close to my own heart for comfort.   I'm having a good time with it though.  Secondly I'm finishing up revisions on my novel.  I have someone who wants to take a look at it and suddenly it all seems very real.  There's more going on there, but I don't want to say it and jinx it just yet.

Life is good. I just have to remember to take it all in.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

I Could Die Happy #31

I could die happy after...



A really good piece of theatre.

I've never been a big musical theatre fan.  Sure, there are some shows I like, but they're usually the "darker" musicals.  Sweeney Todd, Jekyll and Hyde, Les Miserables.  When it comes to acting in shows, I lean towards comedies, but when it comes to sitting down in a dark theatre to watch, I love a good drama.  I'm talking about the kind of show that leaves you with a lump in your throat well after you've left the theatre.  Last night I saw one such production.  Master Harold and the Boys, at the Dayton Playhouse left me with that lump in my throat.  I was blown away by this production.  Franklin Johnson, Robert Waldron and Ray Zupp, each with his own nuances, made these characters their own.   All three men, with direction from Matthew Smith, brought this powerful script to life.  At times I laughed and other times I was on the edge of tears.  

This is a limited engagement show. Only this weekend, so go!  There's a show tonight at 8pm and tomorrow at 2pm.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

I Could Die Happy #30

I could die happy when....


Someone notices.

One of the things any writer will tell you is how solitary the act of writing is. You spend a lot of time alone and creating half the circle.  It takes the reader to complete the other half.  The same goes with acting.  You can rehearse and rehearse, but until you have an audience you don't know what works and what doesn't.  The message is dangling out there in the universe.  Sometimes it feels the same way with this blog.  Most of the time I have no idea if anyone is reading this or not.  On one hand, I am doing it for me, so it isn't critical, but on the other hand, I'd love to know someone is listening/reading.

Occasionally someone will tell me out of the blue, "I love your blog." or "I've been reading you."   To them I always say "thanks" while I lower my head a bit in embarrassment.  Secretly, it makes my day!  

Go out and make someone's day today.  Let them know you notice them.  The good work they're doing. A good deed. Or even notice they might need a friend. A hug.  

Imagine a world where we notice the fellow man/woman in front of us and we spend less time noticing Lindsay Lohan or the Kardashians. 

Monday, October 31, 2011

I Could Die Happy #29

I could die happy after...


Being struck by a spark of creation.

Call it a spark. Call it a Muse. Call it Divine inspiration.  Whatever you call it, I'm always completely struck when it happens.  I can be writing and trying to make a plot point work or a character stand out and suddenly the writing takes off on its own and something happens.  Suddenly all the puzzle pieces fit together and I smile because I know it was something greater than I at work.  When these moments happen, time stands still and I lose myself in everything I'm working on.  I could totally die happy afterwards.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

I Could Die Happy #28

I could die happy after....

Photo by Rick Flynn
An afternoon hike in Sedona, Arizona.

A few years ago I went to Scottsdale, Arizona for a conference.  One afternoon I had free time, so I drove north to Sedona.  Wow!  No photos can do justice to the area, though I tried. Red rock formations filling the desert.  A vibration in the air. It all made for a very serene hike followed by lunch at a gorgeous little Mexican restaurant.  It was only an afternoon I got to spend there so it's definitely on my list of places to visit again. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I Could Die Happy #27

I could die happy after....


A really good cup of coffee.

I know after missing a few days this week I owe you more, but today it's a really good cup of coffee I could die after.  For some people it's a particular wine, beer or bourbon.  For me, it's always been coffee.  I don't remember exactly when I began drinking coffee.  It wasn't like today with a Starbucks on every corner and kids going in for a their mocha whipped latte skinny, blah, blah, blah at the age of seven or eight.  I must have been in my late teens when I really got a taste for it.  My taste didn't include all the frilly extras.  I like my coffee with no cream or sugar.  Straight up black!  One more thing: I'm a coffee snob.  I may skimp on a lot of things, but coffee is not one of them.  I'm not talking about buying the Jamaican Reserve at $24 a pound, but I'm not talking Maxwell House either.  It doesn't have to be expensive, but it does have to be good. A few years ago when I was laid off one job and starting one making a whole lot less money, I found myself buying a cheap generic and that's when I decided I'd rather eat popcorn for dinner than have bad coffee. Is this a problem? Am I addicted?   Oh hell yeah!  But at least it's not crack.  

Sunday, October 23, 2011

I Could Die Happy #26

I could die happy after...
Closing a show.

I always forget how much I love doing a show until I do one again.  This time it's been four years since my last show. I tend to have a love/hate relationship with acting.  I love it and then sometimes during the run of a show I end up hating it. This time I'm ending one show and can't wait to begin the next one. Of course after a few evenings free I may change my mind and enjoy the freedom for a while.  At least I know I'll end up back on stage sometime. 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

I Could Die Happy... #25

I could die happy after...

Meeting up with my friend, Jackie.

I adore Jackie Engle!  Jackie and I met several years ago when I began doing murder mystery plays.  We hit it off immediately. Her sharp wit and wicked sense of humor drew me to her.  Aside from that, she's smart and kind, and is one of those women who does everything.  She's acted with Tom Hanks. She's lived in Paris.  She skis, runs, kayaks, and probably sky dives.  She lives each day to it's fullest.  I love that!  Over the years, we've drifted apart a few times as we both got busy, but when we get back together it's like no time has passed.  Last night I met her and her wonderful husband, John out for a drink.  I love seeing them again.  Next time we don't wait so long.  Cheers, Jackie and John.  I love you guys. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

I Could Die Happy #24

I could die happy after...

Knowing my friends are happy.

Today, after nine months in Afghanistan, a soldier comes home to his five year old son and wife.  I'm sure it will be a joyous reunion, one I wish I could be a fly on the wall for.  Not only does a hero come home.  Evan gets his Daddy back.  Erin gets her husband back.  Jeff gets his family back.  Knowing that makes my heart overflow. Welcome home, Jeff Gross. We all thank you, Erin and Evan for the sacrifices you've made.  

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I Could Die Happy #23

I could die happy after...

Discovering my self worth.

I grew up like a lot of gay or fat kids and never knew my value. All I knew was that it was less than everyone around me.  At least that's what I was taught.  It took me a whole lot of years before I realized that wasn't true.  One of the nice things about getting older is that you discover who you are.  Who you really are.  Because I've discovered that I'm worth a lot more than some others might judge, it's important that I always remember to value myself and not be dragged down by others.  Recently my job was targeted as one some felt necessary to do a market value analysis on.  I had to remind them the analysis was on the job, not me.  They'd never really be able to afford me at my true value.  That might sound arrogant, but for me, it's tremendous progress. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

I Could Die Happy #22

I could die happy after...


Performing in front of an audience.

I suppose it's not very modest, but I enjoy performing live in front of an audience.  I love to hear the laughter when a joke goes well, or the groan when a moment goes badly, and of course the applause that hopefully comes at the end of the show. I'm sure it wouldn't surprise anyone to know that I was pretty much a ham as a child when it came to performing for others.  Telling jokes.  Putting on costumes. Performing skits.  I loved the attention.  I still do.  This is one of those contradictory things about myself.  When I'm on stage I adore the attention, in real life I tend to fly under the radar, not drawing too much attention to myself.  Lately I wouldn't mind my own private applause just for getting through the day.  We should all have a cheering section for a job well done.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

I Could Die Happy #21

I could die happy after...
Photo by Rick Flynn
A really good sunset.  

I took this picture about five years ago while on a vacation on Kelly's Island.   We camped with friends Tammy and Rhonda and it was one of the best vacations ever.  Whenever I look at this picture I'm immediately taken back there and I have not a care in the world. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I Could Die Happy #20

I could die happy after...

Photo by Rick
An evening walk after the rain.

This one combines several of my favorite things. Rain. Autumn leaves. Nighttime.  I love a good walk in the evening, especially if it's after a rain.  The air feels clean and energized and all that is troubling me falls away. I'm renewed and refreshed. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I Could Die Happy #19

I could die happy after...

A really good hug.

Hugs are completely underrated.  I love a really good, full body hug.  Not the pervy kind, my fellow pervs, but a fully clothed bear hug.  I could use one right now. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I Could Die Happy #18

I could die happy after...

Photo by Rick
Pumpkin ice cream.

After a hike under the autumn leaves, pumpkin ice cream tops off the day.  I prefer Young's Jersey Dairy in Yellow Springs for the best pumpkin ice cream.  It tastes like fall, or a pumpkin pie in a cone.  If you haven't had pumpkin ice cream you are missing out.  I haven't tried this yet, but I've heard ginger snaps are the perfect accompaniment.  Now if someone could just make an apple cider sorbet. Mmmmm....

Monday, October 10, 2011

I Could Die Happy #17

I could die happy after...

Photo by Rick Flynn
A walk in the autumn woods.

Autumn always seems to fly by. It's back to school season. The beginning of theatre season. I always seem to be busy.  This year I've made a concerted effort to find some time to enjoy what I love most about the season. The changing leaves.  Nature's art hop. A walk in the woods with the brilliant colors above and the crunching leaves at my feet is what restores my soul.  If I can bottle it, I'd make it through winter.  Today looks like it's going to be a beautiful day and I'm off work.  Who wants to meet me on the trails?  It's time for a hike. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

I Could Die Happy #16

I could die happy after...

Photo by Rick Flynn
Napping in the sunshine.

My dog Frankie has this knack for always being able to find a spot of sunshine for him to take a nap in.  I envy him.  I, too, love to take a nap in the sunshine.  Whether it's on a chaise lounge next to a pool, in a hammock on a camping trip, or in the comfort of my bed with the sun rolling across me in the afternoon, naps in the sunshine are the best. These naps are usually most appreciated in Spring or Autumn when the rays warm me, but don't leave me soaked in sweat. Today would be a perfect day for this. My eyelids are drooping as I write. 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

I Could Die Happy #15

I could die happy after...

Photo by Rick Flynn
After a moonlit swim.

Swimming at night has always been my favorite. The smell of the cool night air combined with the faint smell of chlorine puts me in a complete Zen state. Swimming is relaxing to me anyway, but in the evening or at night, it's better than meditating.  The stars and moon looking down on me.  The sounds of  nocturnal lives awakening.   Aahhhh.  The only thing that makes it better is the opportunity to do it all sans swimming trunks. Au natural.

Friday, October 7, 2011

I Could Die Happy #14

I could die happy after...


A rich cup of hot cocoa.

There's almost nothing better on a cold day than a delicious, rich cup of hot cocoa.  The smooth creamy warm coats your tongue as it slides down your throat to warm you through and through.  Winter seems to be coming on fast. Might be time to stock up. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

I Could Die Happy #13

I could die happy after...

Meeting the Pervs.

I was extremely lucky last year when I signed up for a writer's workshop with Katrina Kittle.  This is where I met the Pervs.  There were six of us in this group, plus Katrina.  We all immediately hit it off and magic happened in that room.  We became the Pervs because we seemed to have a collective dirty mind. To this day I'm inspired by the talent and encouragement I found in that room coming from Erin, Jessica, Dodie, Wendy, Jim and Katrina.  For an awkward writer this room was like an alcoholic's first AA meeting.  I felt like I had found my normal. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I Could Die Happy #12

I could die happy after...


Meeting Kim Zimmer

I have always been a fan of the soaps, since discovering All My Children when I was babysitting one summer when I was eleven years old. I was always intrigued by the writing and sometimes the acting.  My dream was always to be a head writer on a major soap.  With the genre dying that seems unlikely, but I digress.

I fell in love with Kim Zimmer from the minute she walked on the set of Guiding Light as Reva Shayne in 1983.  That is why in 1994 when I made my first visit to New York City I had to get tickets to an off-Broadway play she was doing, Four Dogs and a Bone.

On my way back from the TKTS booth at Times Square to the apartment where I was staying at Madison and 34th, I got the surprise of my life when I passed a woman on the street and recognized her immediately by her piercing blue eyes.  It was Kim Zimmer.

I stopped her and asked for her autograph.  I was trying to be cool, but was failing miserably.  She was very sweet and as it turns out has some relatives where I lived.  When I fished my Four Dogs and a Bone flyer out of my fanny pack (don't judge me, it was the 90s), she screamed.  "Look at what you've got." I told her I had tickets for that night.  She signed my flyer, we chatted for a few minutes and off she went.

The play was wonderful and then I got my second biggest surprise of the day.  During curtain call, Kim made it a point to acknowledge me in the audience.  My first trip to New York ROCKED!

As it turned out, I ran into Kim again the next night.  She was staying two doors down from where I was staying. What a weekend!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I Could Die Happy #11

I could die happy after....


Working with Marsha Hanna.

I was very lucky in that my first play as an adult was directed by Marsha Hanna. Here I was, this twenty five year old kid who had done some films, but nothing on stage since high school.  The show was You Can't Take it With You and some friends talked me into auditioning.  I did and got cast as Ed, the wacky xylophone playing husband to Essie. I was both intrigued and terrified of Marsha.  Halfway through the rehearsal process I got up the nerve to ask her why she almost never gave me any notes.  Did I suck so bad, there was nothing that could help?  She laughed and then she took a long drag off her cigarette.  As she exhaled, "No, I like what you're doing.  I'll tell you when I don't."   That was Marsha.  

I was honored to work with Marsha as an actor twice more in  Brighton Beach Memoirs and an adaptation of Chekov's The Cherry Orchard.   The adaptation was one born from an acting class I took with Marsha. We set it in the American South after the Civil War.  It wasn't a huge hit, but several years later Marsha sent me an article about a regional theatre in Atlanta doing it the way we had done it.  "I guess we were ahead of our time," she wrote.

Along with working with Marsha, I had the privilege of knowing her as a friend.  Last year Marsha bravely battled esophageal cancer.  I got to spend a few hours with her before her final trip to the hospital.  She was weak and looked frail, but she was the same old Marsha.  Funny and stubborn.   Right up to the end, she was the woman we all loved.

I miss her all the time and I still feel so honored to have known her.

Monday, October 3, 2011

I Could Die Happy #10

I could die happy after....



Watching someone I love have his glory moment.  Rob has been performing since I met him over fifteen years ago.  We actually got together while we were doing a show together.  This is the talent competition that won him Mr. Ohio National Pride 2011.  I'm so proud of him.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

I Could Die Happy #9

I could die happy after....



A good thunderstorm.  

I love the power of nature. I'm not looking for a destructive thunderstorm where lives are lost, but a good reminder every now and then we're not in charge is a good thing.  Thunderstorms remind of us that. How small we all are in the grand scheme of things.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

I Could Die Happy #8

I could die happy after....

Photo by Rick Flynn

Finishing the first draft of my novel, Postcards from the Desert.  As I typed the last page, I went from wanting to write a novel to one who had done it. Sure, lots of revision lay ahead, but at that moment, I cried.  Finally after all the sleepless nights of characters talking to me and guiding me, I felt like I had everything out on paper. Even as I'm half way through revisions, I have to pinch myself every now and then and say, "Wow, I'm a novelist."  I could die now.

Friday, September 30, 2011

I Could Die Happy #7

I could die happy after...

Photo by Rick Flynn

Snow Days

Winter may be my least favorite of seasons, but if it's going to be cold and snow, we might as well have a snow day.   You know, the anticipation of watching television and waiting for your school or workplace to show up at the bottom of the screen as closed.   When it happens, whether you're ten or forty, the feeling is still the same. The one thing that makes a snow day perfect is having tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch. 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

I Could Die Happy #6

I could die happy after...


Performing with the Dayton Opera in The Barber of Seville

In September of 2001 I got the opportunity of a lifetime.  Or at least my lifetime.  I was asked to play Ambrogio in Dayton Opera's production of The Barber of Seville.  It was a small part, but an incredible one.  I played a drunken servant and got paid $900 to do it. I had one line and it was in Italian.  The reason this was so incredible is that I have not one bit of musical ability.  I wouldn't catch a music cue if it bit me in the ass. 

This was one of my first times acting professionally and I was in awe.  I remember sitting in my dressing room opening night.  The curtain had gone up and I was in full hair and makeup when I heard over the loud speaker, "Mr. Flynn, five minutes to places stage right.  Five minutes, Mr. Flynn."  

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I Could Die Happy #5

I could die happy after...

Photo by Rick Flynn


Meeting people who dance to the beat of their own drums.

I love originality, especially in people.  Maybe it's the writer in me, but when it comes to people, the more eccentric the better. I admire people who have the guts to stand out.  I suppose that's because I have always tried to fit in. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I Could Die Happy #4

I could die happy after...


Meeting Faye Dunaway

It was the 1996-1997 theatre season that I met the infamous Faye Dunaway.  It was my second season working at the theatre and I was thrilled when her two week tour of Master Class came to town.  Wow!  What an experience.  What an actress!  What a bitch!  The antics began as she was thrown out of one local hotel and almost thrown out of another because of her demands and the way she treated people.  I personally got the wrath of Faye one night after a performance.  

I left the theatre and headed towards the parking lot to get my car when I noticed she was sitting behind the wheel of her Lincoln Town Car (she had already fired her driver). The car alarm was going off.  She got out of the car and noticed me.

"You there," she bellowed.  "You work here don't you?"

I nodded, fearful of looking her in the eyes. 

"Do you know how to turn off this damned alarm?"

I told her I didn't.

"Well then, what good are you?" she said as she spun on her heels and flew back in through the stage door.

A few minutes later I was joined on the sidewalk by a co-worker.  The car alarm had stopped and Ms. Dunaway came back out.  As soon as she opened the door, the alarm went off again.  At this point she was furious.  And I mean, "Christina, bring me the axe" kinda furious.  My co-worker suggested that we take her back to the hotel in her car.   After a brief conversation, the three of us got into the car.  I sat in the back and caught Ms. Dunaway's bag as she threw it at me.  After a few minutes, Faye became almost pleasant.  When we got to the hotel, I stepped out of the car and opened her door, like a gentleman.

"Oh, I forgot you were here," she said as I handed her the bag.  

The next night I sat in the house to watch the show.  I was so mesmerized by her performance I forgave her "diva" antics.  What an actress!   

After a hellish two week run (of which she only actually went on six or seven times) the theatre had t-shirts made for everyone on staff.  On the front, it said Master Class.  On the back, We've Dunaway with Faye.



Monday, September 26, 2011

I Could Die Happy #3

I could die happy after...

Photo by Rick Flynn

A trip to New York City.

I love to travel, but no place feels more like home than New York. Although I've never lived there it's always seemed familiar to me. Comforting.  Either I've lived there in another life, or I've watched way too many Law and Orders.  Any time I visit, I walk away feeling like I could die now and all is well with the world. 


Sunday, September 25, 2011

I Could Die Happy #2

I could die happy after...


Driving down the Pacific Coast Highway.


Photos by Rick Flynn


Several years ago, I drove down the PCH from San Francisco to Los Angeles with a friend, in December in a convertible.  It will always be one of the highlights from my life. Everyone should experience the drive at least once.  It's gorgeous.  I fell in love on that drive.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

I Could Die Happy

A couple of friends of mine have been blogging about reasons to be happy and I've enjoyed reading them each day.  I've enjoyed them so much I've decided to copy their idea.  I'm going to post things each day that make me happy. These will be things that make me smile and help me cross things off the bucket list.  I'll call this "I Could Die Happy After...."

Here's number one.

I could die happy after....


A Golden Girls marathon.  Nothing makes me smile like the antics of Rose, Sophia, Dorothy and Blanche.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Change of Seasons

I can hardly believe today was the first day of autumn. Summer went by so quickly this year. Too quickly.

I'll admit autumn has always been my favorite time of year, but it also flies by as the cool Ohio nights turn into cold, gray days. Every year I promise myself I'm going to savor every moment of the changing leaves, apple cider and pumpkin pie. 

One of my main reasons for my love of autumn is the transitory nature of the season.  It transitions us from the hot blooming summer to the cold, restful winter.  It's nature's time for a nap.  She's earned it and she's ready to slow down and rest for the next growth spurt.

Doesn't that sound like our lives?  I know it does mine.  I can handle the growth, whether it spiritual, emotional, or physical, but there are times I need a break.  I need to allow the growth to settle in before taking on something else. I'm hoping this autumn can be my resting time. A time for reflection.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Blazing the Trail or Taking the Well Worn Path?

As I work on revisions for my novel, Postcards from the Desert, I can't help but wonder where do I go from here?  Yes, I know, I have to finish it first, but as I finish the editing and send it to my next set of readers I wonder where it will end up.  Sitting on agent's desk for months before I get the rejection letter (in my fantasy, the acceptance letter) or do I spend that time marketing it myself?

It used to be that most authors took the traditional route.  Write the novel. Do the editing. Look for an agent. Wait.  Look for another agent. Wait. Get an agent. Wait. Look for a publisher. Wait. Find a publisher. Wait. Get accepted. And then the real waiting happens.  Cover art. Galleys. Meeting with Marketing people. Setting a release date a year away. Waiting. You get the drift.

Now as most publishing houses are reluctant to take on new authors, unless they are a famous name, it gets harder to break into the business and get that book into print.  At least with the traditional route.  I saw this recently with a friend who sent her memoir to an agent who seemed very interested. Ultimately, after many months of back and forth and the run around, the agent told my friend she loved the work, but didn't think she could sell the book because the market was already saturated.  So my friend, who has a great book (I've read it) begins again. More queries. More waiting.

Fortunately, we live in an age where we have self publishing as easy as uploading a document to an ebook platform and selling it online with major retailers.  Sure, that means there is a lot of crap out there, but there are also a lot of gems that might not get published the traditional way because they're too risky or unconventional.  As for crap, there's some in the book stores too.  As my partner likes to point out, Snooki has a published novel. What's taking me so long?

I've been following some "independent" authors on Twitter and Facebook and I must say I'm pretty impressed with the amount of time and dedication they put into marketing their work.  Many traditional writers also put in this time as many of the publishing houses now require it.  I admire the entrepreneurial spirit of the independents and hope I have that kind of guts when it comes down to it.  

I don't know which way I'll go, but I'm glad to know there are options.  I'm feeling pretty entrepreneurial these days, so I might just have to blaze a trail and find a home for my novel.  I tested the market with my first is a series of novelettes, The Other Side of the Rainbow, a few months ago and I recently got my first royalties check.  It wasn't a down payment on a house, but I was able to buy groceries that week.

But alas, I must get back to the revisions or this novel won't ever get seen by anyone other than my first readers (one who made me promise this would see publication one way or another).  Either way, I won't let you down, Wendy.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Friendship

Wow!  Has it really been almost a month since I've blogged?  I guess so.  I've started many entries, but decided for one reason or another not to post them.  They seemed too personal.   Too raw.  I'm not sure this one isn't going to be as well.

I have 353 Facebook friends.  That seems like a good number of people, but yet when I find myself feeling a little lonely on a Saturday night, only two people came to mind to call.   And both were busy.  I just wanted to hang out with someone and do nothing or something.  It didn't matter. I needed some human interaction.

Don't get me wrong, I have friends, but my most intimate friends live farther away than a trip across town for coffee.   We're talking several states away.  Now before this starts to sound like a pity party, know that's not my intention.  My intention here is to take responsibility for the situation.

I'm a writer.  I always have been, in one form or another.  That means lots of alone time.  When other kids were out playing and learning how to build friendships, I was the nerdy kid inside working on a book report.  When other teens were out dating and learning social rules, I was inside writing short stories.  In college when others were out partying, I was working on research papers.

Interestingly enough I won an award for one such paper. The topic, ironically was Male Friendships and the Barriers to Bonding.  Apparently I wasn't the only one struggling because it struck a chord with my male professor who submitted the paper for a contest without me knowing.  I won first place in the non-fiction category and got my first publication.

I wrote that paper almost twenty years ago and I still find I struggle with the same issues.  How to be and have a friend.  How much do I reveal? How much do I hold back?  Will you still like me after you get to know me?  Sometimes I feel completely socially inept.

So, I'm a writer.  I might not be able to hang out with you because I'm writing.... or I might be using that as a shield because I'm afraid.   I don't know.   I do know that being afraid can be very lonely at times.    

I've been lucky this past year because I met a group of writers who seemed to be in the same boat.  They understand the solitary life of a writer.  We became friends and after probably sharing too much, they seem to like me anyway.  I hope they know how much I adore them.

"It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them." Ralph Waldo Emerson 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Grace: The Life Gone Could Have Been Mine

My sister Angi and her youngest daughter.
I recently read a memoir by Gregory G. Allen called Proud Pants, a story written from the author's brother's deathbed perspective.  Johnny has led a life of anger, addiction and consequences.  Now lying in his birth mother's house, it's a brain tumor that's finally going to put Johnny out of his misery.  Allen weaves the story brilliantly as he gets into his brother's mind so we get to know troubled Johnny and his search for escape.  We don't always understand Johnny and why he's so angry and does the things he does. The worst part is Johnny doesn't know why either. He's compelled to act out for some reasons not known to anyone.

What captured me most about this story was how different siblings can be. One brother acts out in devastating ways while the other makes the best of what the world provides him.  This idea got me to thinking about my own siblings.

My sister, Angi, died last year when she got drunk and got behind the wheel of a car.  This followed a period where it looked like she might finally get her life together. Before that she spent six years in prison for forgery and writing her own prescriptions for pain killers.  I don't mean to speak ill of the dead, but I'm not going to sugarcoat it either.  Angi's life was what it was.  It's the life she made.  I'm only sorry it ended the way it did.  She deserved better; whether she knew it or not.

When she died, my other sister, brother and I looked at each other and dared to wonder why not us.   My living sister was in a near fatal car crash many years earlier, but by some grace she lived and walked away with a broken neck. She had also been drinking.  I know my brother and I have both driven after way too much to drink.  By some grace neither of us were killed or killed anyone else.  Why wasn't Angi given the same grace?

After some thought, my living sister and I realized that perhaps Angi had been given the same grace, but she had been given it years earlier.  She pushed her luck and didn't come out ahead in the end.   The other three of us have each had our own struggles with addiction and alcohol, but we've learned from it and moved past it.

So back to the question, why one sibling and not another?  Angi had a different biological father, but I don't know that other than biology, she had things any differently. We were all raised together.   When we look at the biology though we do find that Angi's father was an alcoholic and ended his life when she was a teenager. Could that have been it?

Angi left behind two beautiful daughters. I look at them and hope against hope they'll come out of this relatively unscathed.   My parents have raised my nieces as their own from early childhood for the oldest and from near infancy for the youngest.   I want more than anything for those two girls to break the cycle and live a good, long, healthy life.   This is a case where both siblings should succeed beyond their wildest dreams.  They deserve it.

As for myself, I've stopped asking why. It doesn't matter why as long as I make use of each day I have. That's all any of us can do.  As for Angi, I hope she has found peace.  I believe that's all she was ever really looking for.

For more information about Proud Pants by Gregory G. Allen, check it out at Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble online.  You can download it for your Nook or Kindle.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Social Networking or Avoidance of Real Intimacy

We are living in the Facebook Generation.  For better or worse, Facebook, Twitter, and other networking sites are how we get our news about friends, families and even total strangers who have enough courage to share openly on the information superhighway.

I wonder what our grandparents would have thought of Facebook, or how our grandchildren will view it.  Our grandparents probably would have thought we were putting all our business in the streets.  And we are.  Our grandchildren hopefully will have moved past this and found a better way to connect with one another.  That will remain to be seen.

Are we making personal conversations and guys (girls) night out a thing of the past?   Instead of real intimacy, are we choosing the safer and more immediate solution of observing our friends through status updates and notes?  I think on some level we do opt for the Facebook way. We can see at a glance how the people in our lives are.  We can also see if someone is having a bad day and maybe it's time for that phone call we've been putting off.

We learn when our friends lose their jobs, get new ones, meet Mr.or Ms. Right and then lose Mr. or Ms. Right.  We watch relationships move from "single" to "it's complicated" to "in a relationship" before both parties are aware of where the relationships are going.  We are voyeurs in each other's lives.

Sometimes we learn of the death of a friend, we might not have heard about for days. Then Facebook seems like a good idea.  We watch how the people this person touched make comment after comment about how this person affected their lives.  The whole world suddenly gets smaller as you find you're grieving the same loss of a friend as someone thousands of miles away.  It's not a hug, but it is something.

There are smarter people than I who will study how Facebook affects relationships, but I can tell you that I think it does bring us together in ways we couldn't have imagined a few years ago.  Sure, it's not as intimate as sharing a cup of coffee with a friend, but if you use Facebook correctly, you can set up that coffee date and tell your friend how you're really doing, and you can do it  in more than 140 characters.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Olive, an Urban Dive

The Swiss Chard Tart is amazing.
I don't usually do reviews, but I'm going to make an exception.  Kinda.  If you live in Dayton and are a fan of downtown businesses, you've undoubtedly heard of Olive, an Urban Dive.  If you haven't, you certainly will. Olive is at the corner of Wayne Avenue and Third Street.  It's in the old Wympee's building.

Olive is the brainchild of Kimberly Collett, someone who has spent her life making other restaurant and catering businesses a success.  Now as a small business entrepreneur, Olive is her baby. From the bar she built herself to the late hours she and others spent gutting the old landmark, Kimberly has had her hand in every part of making the restaurant a reality.

Go Kimberly!

Now, I love Olive for two reasons really.  I love it because the food is delicious and the restaurant is dedicated to using all local farmers and products for it's menu.  The second reason I love it is it's a dream come true for a hard working person who deserves success.  Opening a restaurant in a depressed area such as Dayton could be an insane idea, but because of the heart Kimberly puts into it, it's a brilliant idea.  People love success stories and no one deserves it more than someone willing to put her all into it.

Experts say during a recession is the best time to start your own business.  I suppose I have to agree.  Anyone who has ever had a dream deserves to see that dream come true, especially when everything we hear on the nightly news is bleak.

If you're interested in supporting a local business and having an excellent meal, check out Olive, an Urban Dive.  Right now they are only open for lunch, but plan on dinner by October.   For more information, check them out on Facebook or at their website, www.olivedive.com.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Starting Over

A friend recently posted on his Facebook account that he wishes life had a bankruptcy clause where you could you walk away from everything and start fresh. I've been thinking about that too. It's not that I want to walk away from my family and friends, but the idea of beginning fresh has a whole range of possibilities and could be exciting.

I think biology says, if I remember correctly, our cells renew every seven years.  So, essentially we are a new person every seven years, but we're still stuck in the same old patterns, expectations and limits we place on ourselves. What if we broke free from that? Can we?

I think we can start over, but it takes courage.  What we know is comfortable, even if it isn't always what we want.  Starting over means stepping out of the comfort zone and trying something new.  A new location. A new job. A new outlook on life.  A new identity of sorts.

We can start over because it is we who defines ourselves, not those around us.  Others may have their expectations of us, but we set the rules for who we are.  We can never let go of that power or we become who everyone else wants us to be and we lose ourselves in the process.

Be who you want to be.  Its never too late to redefine yourself.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sometimes You Have to Splurge

I like to rent cars.  It may seem odd, but it's true. Weekend car rentals are usually inexpensive and with last minute deals and coupons, you can rent a 2011 Ford Mustang for less than thirty dollars for the whole weekend.    This comes as a surprise to many, and of course the same deals aren't available everywhere, but I usually have great luck.

I live a relatively practical and frugal lifestyle. I drive a car that's small, but gets great gas mileage. I turn off the lights when I leave the room and I turn down the air, when no one is home.  I recycle and save jars to reuse as canisters or containers for holiday baked goods.  I grew up in a time when money was tight and with my father in construction, we didn't always know when he'd finish a job how long it would be before the next one.  There were many nights of macaroni and cheese, hot dogs,  and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. We were always cared for, but money was something I learned to respect.

As an adult I haven't always been good with my money. When I began earning my own, I rebelled against my childhood fears of poverty by splurging and sometimes spoiling myself.  Those spending habits didn't last long before the reality of poverty set in again.

Now I know the real power of money is that it offers options.  Not happiness. Just more options.  Even though I struggle with every paycheck, like so many these days, every now and then I have to splurge.  When I rented a car recently I had a choice between a practical midsize sedan or a  convertible. The cost was $23.13 for twenty four hours. I chose the convertible.

I drove down interstate 75 with the moon shining over my shoulder and the wind blowing through my hair.  It was the perfect end to a long day and month.  I cranked up the volume on the car stereo as the ideal song began to play.

"On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair.
Warm smell of colitas rising up through the air.
Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light." 
~ Hotel California

Whenever you get the chance, choose the convertible.  It makes the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches worth it.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Price for Your Soul in a Bad Economy

If you had a friend who came to you and told you that her husband was mentally and emotionally abusing her, please tell me your response would not be, "Well, at least you have a husband."   It sound pretty ludicrous, right? We've moved past the 1950s mentality of needing to be married so much that we're willing to put up with abuse.  Right?

What about work?  "Well at least you have a job," I was told after telling someone the kind of mental and emotional abuse I was having to deal with at one job.  It was so bad at one point, I would sit in my car sobbing before I went in to work.  At it's worst, I actually considered suicide because I saw no other way out.

Not to downplay the reality of the job situation out there, but do we really deserve to be abused?  People are losing jobs they spent years at only to find jobs making a fraction of what they used to make, putting up with abusive bosses and human resources departments because there is a stack of resumes sitting on someone's desk proving that others might be more willing.

Some unscrupulous bosses and companies are pushing the limit of what people can and are willing to take.  Workers compensation cases and sexual harassment cases are down.  It could be fewer people are employed, or it could be those employed are too afraid to rock the boat.   They are being bullied by the higher ups.   As people fight to keep their jobs and a roof over their heads, they will accept more and more abuse. We qualify it.  "Well, at least I have a job."  Pretty soon we believe what we're told and we lose a little more of our dignity every day.

It took me a whole lot of years to find my self esteem and know that I'm worth more than what others tell me I am.  I will not give that away to anyone.  Least of all an employer who only sees me as a line item on a budget.

I've always been a "power to the people" kind of guy and this is no exception.  When the financial crisis is over and people aren't forced to accept the scraps offered, I hope the American worker rises up and turns the tables.

Corporate America with your over-paid blow-hard CEOs, you're about to get the finger!  Or five.  Bend over.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Gay Pride Month

If your only experience with gay people is from watching Will and Grace or cheering for the cute gay kid on Glee, you might not want to read this.  I don't want to shatter anyone's fairy tale of how nice, polite and always cheerful we gays are. Because we aren't.

Last Friday the New York legislature passed a law recognizing marriage equality.  It was then signed by Governor Cuomo and takes effect July 24.   This is great news for the people of New York and LGBT people everywhere.   What made this particularly powerful is that it came at the beginning of Pride Weekend in New York, celebrating the 42nd anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.

Something like Marriage Equality has the power to unite the LGBT community the way Pride parades and festivities used to do.

That's right, I said used to do.  Don't get me wrong, I don't believe there is anything wrong with having Pride celebrations, but I do think they're a bit hypocritical.  We come together under the colors of the rainbow to stand united for equal rights and common basic decency, but after the parades we go back to our lives of separateness and isolation within our own community.  We go back to being black, white, twinks, gym bunnies, fit, overweight,  bears, cubs, drag queens, leather daddies, chicken hawks,  hustlers, trolls, and dykes.

Of course each subgroup has it's own community, but as we section off and label each other, we become further and further apart.  Pride is supposed to bring us together. Not just for one day or one month. How about all the time?  We come together when we're fighting for our rights, or fighting for a cure to a deadly disease.  I have to believe it's possible for us to stop judging each other and finding what makes us different, and start looking for the similarities in each of us.

Can we live in a world where the gym bunny can have a conversation with a troll in the produce section of Kroger?  Where we don't look away from each other for fear that eye contact will obligate us to a quickie in the men's room?  Can't we just connect as human beings?

Legislature can give us all the rights we want, but if we can't treat each other kindly and with respect, do we really deserve them?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Postcards from the Desert

I'm going through and making revisions to my novel, Postcards from the Desert, and decided to post a little teaser here. It's part of my promise to fill this space with something more often.  Here's how the novel begins, at least in this revision:

I carefully balanced my feet on the iron railing spanning the length of the Brooklyn Bridge. I held on as I leaned out to get a good look at the East River below and out across the New York Harbor.  It would be about a 120 foot drop.  I wondered if the water would be cold, or if I’d feel anything when I hit.  Would the shock force me to take a breath as I shot below the surface?
            Suicide was nearly impossible from the Brooklyn Bridge pedestrian walkway.  In order to end up in the East River, one would have to climb over the railing, walk a steel girder over the heavily traveled roadway below, and then climb through a mesh of cables to actually get to the edge in order to jump.  One was more likely to fall into traffic and be hit by commuters heading out of Manhattan in the evening rush hour.   It was too much of a risk and too much trouble for one to off themselves this way.  It was a good thing that wasn’t what I had in mind. 
            I only wanted to swan dive into the East River to see what it felt like.  I was hoping the rush of cool water would shock me out of my midlife blues.  I hoped by coming close to death, I’d appreciate being alive.  I wanted to feel again. Something. Anything but the numbness that had become my constant companion.
            Tourists crowded around me. Some seemed to be watching to see if I was going to jump.  A few pulled out their cell phone cameras and began snapping pictures of what they would later tell their friends was a crazy New Yorker about to take a dive.  One frozen snapshot in the grand scheme of things called my life.   Most of the crowd was completely unaware as they took pictures of the Harbor, with Lady Liberty in the background, or Manhattan as the sun sank low behind the skyline.  Many were locals traveling the bridge as they did several times a week.  They were the most oblivious. 
The lights of the bridge began to glow as twilight took the city.  It was my favorite time of day.  As I gazed into the horizon, I felt my phone vibrate.   I pulled it out of my pocket and stepped back down onto the platform. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Other Side of the Rainbow

If you know me, or have read this blog, you know I've been working on my first novel, Postcards from the Desert, for a few years. I finished it earlier this year and am currently going through the revision process. 

While I've been working on Postcards from the Desert, I've also done some freelance writing.  One of the projects began as filler for a local gay newsletter.  I called the column The Other Side of the Rainbow.  It was a Tales of the City type serial reminiscent of Sex and the City.  It's a funny, racy and sometimes shocking look at the gay dating scene. 

At the urging of a few of my readers, I decided to publish some of the stories in a novelette form as an ebook for Kindle or the Nook.  The first of what I suspect will be four novelettes is called The Other Side of the Rainbow- The Beginning.  It's now available at Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble online.  I'm editing and compiling the second of the series, called The Other Side of the Rainbow- Celibacy and the City, which chronicles the gang's big adventure to Manhattan for Gay Pride festivities.  

The novelettes feature Bradley Ford, an obituary writer for a local Dayton newspaper, who also writes a blog exposing the gay dating scene in the Ohio town. Using his friends, Tony and Steve as guinea pigs, Bradley reveals their experiences while he avoids men and dating as he tends to his own broken heart.  All of that changes when Bradley rediscovers the one who got away. 

The Other Side of the Rainbow- The Beginning is a very quick read at just over 8000 words, but it will leave you wanting more. 

Check it out for the Nook at Barnes and Noble or for Kindle at Amazon.com.