Bob Greene, a famous newspaper columnist and outstanding writer in his own right (“All Summer Long”), discusses the first “inside account” of baseball, Jim Brosnan’s “The Long Season,” from 1959. While getting the “real deal” is commonplace today, the book was a groundbreaking account from life in the majors, full of all the wonderful minutiae that makes up life. It paved the way for the more radical “Ball Four” by Jim Bouton a decade later. Read Mr. Greene’s article here.
Jim Brosnan passed away earlier in 2014.
Two of the main characters of The Naive Guys are Greek, spouting the (at times profane) language, and importing their drama of loves lost and found into the story. The main character, Mark Amici, turns often to his Latin instruction of Vergil’s tale of Aeneas for inspiration. And the novel is both tragedy and comedy, with real and imagined “drama.” As Cornell University Professor Barry Strauss shares in today’s Wall Street Journal, “The Hunger Games” draws heavily on the themes of Greece, Rome and the foundations of Western Culture. As do many stories, the myths are timeless. Read the article here.
Some coverage on The Writer’s Daily technology page for “The Alchemy of Self-Publishing” by author Harry Patz. Thanks to Melissa Beck of The Book Binder’s Daughter for posting!
The Naive Guys were there in 1991 (page 49)…when #1 Miami visited Boston College, seven years to the day that little ol’ Doug Flutie through his pass. Close, but no cigar, though of course The Naive Guys had lots of hijinks in and around the stands…
A day late, but here’s an Election Day-themed excerpt from Chapter 13, “Whipping Post,” of The Naive Guys. Enjoy a short trip back to the halcyon days of 1992!
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Those hotels were indeed few and far between, so I was thankful for the gas stations with the car pay phones. Around this time, Vinny Gambel received one of the first cell phones in the office— and I had heard that his initial monthly bill was nine hundred bucks, which he was trying to get Fishsoft to expense. Who’d want that hassle I thought to myself? I couldn’t afford it. And the last thing I wanted was a corporate umbilical cord tying me to the office and watching me. One of the benefits of a day of making sales calls in New Jersey was that I was my own boss and could do what I wanted, when I wanted. And I planned on keeping it that way. I didn’t even want a beeper.
After filling the tank, I jumped onto I-287 and saw yet another “Dump Florio” bumper sticker. Occasionally I would see a derivative such as “Florio Free” or “Impeach Florio,” but since I had started at Fishsoft, whenever I was driving in New Jersey, the “Dump Florio” stickers overwhelmed me. I didn’t know much about New Jersey politics, but it was obvious that most of the state fucking hated Governor Jim Florio. And he wasn’t even up for reelection until 1993, a year away.
But the big presidential 1992 election was coming to a head, and tonight, October 13, was the vice-presidential debate, featuring incumbent Vice President Dan Quayle, Democratic challenger Al Gore, and Admiral Stockdale, third-party candidate Ross Perot’s VP pick. I’d planned to watch it with Uncle Frankie and Mom after dinner. I had felt pretty comfortable with Republicans in office the past twelve years after the pathetic impotence of Jimmy Carter. But with Perot having significant momentum to siphon off enough of the voters from Bush, I believed Clinton and Gore might win.
Merging onto I-78 eastward, I chuckled to myself about the vice-presidential debate. A remark from Howard Stern eight years earlier was seared in my brain. On the morning of the 1984 vice- presidential debate between then-VP George H.W. Bush and Representative Geraldine Ferraro, Robin Quivers, Howard’s sidekick, teed up his commentary on the contest, asking Howard, “Do you think Ferraro can lick Bush?” Howard responded, not missing a beat, “I would pay to see Ferraro lick Bush!” I still laughed about it.
Howard really did have an impact at election time. Earlier in the year, one of his fans had called into the Today show and asked two questions of Ross Perot, with the second being “…do you ever have the desire to mind-meld with Howard Stern’s penis?” Host Katie Couric suggested that Perot just focus on the first question. And one of Stern’s crew, Stuttering John, asked Gennifer Flowers at her infamous “Bill Clinton” press conference if she intended to sleep with any other presidential candidates, much to her dismay.
One of the main literary inspirations for “The Naive Guys” has been author Richard Ford, and his three novels featuring the everyman Frank Bascombe: “The Sportswriter” (1986), “Independence Day” (1995) and “The Lay of the Land” (2006). While the final novel was supposed to be last tale of Mr. Bascombe, today Ford releases “Let Me Be Frank With You.”
From a 2013 New York Times article
“What draws me to writing Frank Bascombe is what’s always drawn me: he’s funny (and it’s thrilling to write things that are funny), but also he offers me the chance to write into the breach between what Henry James calls ‘bliss and bale’; in my own way, to connect ‘the things that help and the things that hurt’ and to find some kind of reconciling vocabulary for both,” Mr. Ford said. “I always think that, when I’m writing Frank Bascombe, I have the chance to write about the most important things I know, and that’s always been irresistible — as it probably is for most writers.”
Here is a a review of the novel from The New York Times.
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