All of Harlem was buzzing over Ellington and his band. He had been playing over a week but tonight was the first chance for Charles Merritt to see him. He dropped off a case of Rye and stood behind the bar near the exit door. He made sure to have his best suit on, it seemed like the thing to do.
By the time he was nineteen Owney Madden was running the Gopher Gang. He got to that level because he knew how to handle any mug that crossed him. One of his trademark moves was the way he would bust a guy’s nose. Left him marked for life. All of New York knew that if you crossed Owney Madden, you’re gonna remember it every time you look in the mirror. He taught each new member the way he wanted [...]
I’ve been asked that question three times this weekend. First time was when I was checking out at the grocery store. The bagger held up a plastic bottle of ketchup and asked if I would like a bag for it. I looked at her with disbelief but refrained from responding that I would like to carry the ketchup in my hand as I walked out to my car. I said yes. The second time was later that afternoon as I [...]
I’ve heard that a lot about the main character in my first three books. In fact, most opinions are more definitive than that. He has been called; moral center, toady, hero, shyster, genius, drunk, liar and savior. It mainly depends on who did the reading and thus did the defining. So what do I do with this guy? I can’t make him go away. He does make people form opinions, and if they hate him or love him; they care [...]
I put out the recyclables last night and this morning I saw a man on my Manhattan street who collects cans. His cart was an engineering marvel. Blue bags hanging at odd angles from his shopping cart. Each bag looked like a half deflated Thanksgiving float. It was early, but his cart was already overstuffed to its limit. I didn’t look down on the guy, I identified with him. As a child I was him. I was taught my life’s credo while [...]
"That was harder than it seemed." How many times have you heard that? A lot I would think. You know what I never hear? "That was easier than it seemed." There's a reason of course. There are very few tasks that one could describe with such a bold statement. If it was so easy, you wouldn't bother saying anything about it. But there is one activity that has inspired me to shout that phrase aloud after accomplishing it. Skiing! Now stay [...]
Talking Location With… author John Nuckel: Martha’s Vineyard 22nd February 2018 #TalkingLocationWith… author John Nuckel: Martha’s Vineyard where his novel “Drive” is set in part. I was jogging on Edgartown Bay Road in Martha’s Vineyard a few years ago. At the two-mile mark on my phone app I came across a sign that read “Huckleberry Barrens.” I will admit to not knowing what the hell a Huckleberry is but it was hot, I was tired and it looked like there might be some [...]