Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, though to me it should similarly be known as the “F” holiday – it’s all about family, friends, food, and football! But it’s really about giving thanks for the many blessings in our lives. This year, it’s extra special as I get to celebrate the accomplishment of a lifelong dream, publishing my first novel, The Naive Guys. And I am extremely thankful for the strong reception for those who have read and liked it, and the many people who have supported me along the way, before and after publishing.
Here’s wishing a Happy Thanksgiving to all of you and those your love. Even if you’re outside the US, and not American, I suggest you take a minute to thank all of those who have helped you, not just friends and family, but those random people who have aided you purely out of the goodness of their hearts.
And of course if you are bored during the holiday meal, or tired of your “Debbie Downer” cousin gossiping or whining about her life or your drunken uncle complaining about whatever political topic du jour (we all have an Uncle Frankie after all), crack open The Naive Guys and you’ll be laughing in no time!
Thanks for following me, and Happy Thanksgiving!
Well, we know how Fate and Free Will worked for the BC Football team yesterday. But, you have to appreciate the BC coach’s attitude. In football, as in life, results matter. You play to win the game!
Both fate and free will are some of the dominant themes in The Naive Guys. And football, particularly college football, also plays a role. In Chapter 22, “My Kind of Town,” and Chapter 23, “Until the End of the World,” the guys go to Chicago to see their alma mater Boston College, play a football game. And not just any game, but on that Saturday before Thanksgiving in 1993, Boston College would play the only other Catholic football (Division 1) school, Notre Dame. And not just any Notre Dame squad, but one that was 10-0, had won 17 consecutive games, was ranked # 1 in the country, was a 17 point favorite, and headed toward a national championship. And who by the way had beaten BC in their 3 prior meetings, including a 54-7 drubbing the year prior that wasn’t as close as the score. Notre Dame had beaten then #1 and undefeated Florida State the week prior in South Bend to claim their own #1 ranking. You can read the The Naive Guys to see how that BC-ND 1993 game turned out:-)
Today, on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, twenty-one years and two days removed from that game, unranked Boston College faces 10-0 Florida State in Tallahassee, FL, winner of 26 consecutive games and the reigning national champion, ranked #1 in the AP poll, a 17.5 point favorite, and careening toward the first-ever college football playoff. And, who despite a competitive first half, solidly edged BC for the win in Chestnut Hill the year prior. Earlier this season in October, #2 Florida State narrowly edged then #5 Notre Dame in Tallahassee.
What will be the outcome of this BC game vs #1 in 2014? As The Naive Guys listened to one Irish band twenty-one years ago on the way to that game, here’s another one, The Dropkick Murphys, with a song for all the Boston College fans for today…
There’s a lot of sexual situations in The Naive Guys – imagined, attempted, aborted, theorized, humorous, sloppy and actual – but none would qualify for this award! Great tips for the writers by Jonathan Beckman in today’s Wall Street Journal.
- Just make sense
- Don’t destroy the universe
- Dom’t get carried away by metaphor
- Don’t do it in real time [my edit – more “color,” less play-by-play]
Radio stations (remember those?) sometimes play “Two for Tuesday” or “Three for Thursday” by the same band. No alliteration here, but we have two great articles from today’s Wall Street Journal on reading and books.
The first discusses the rise of mass-market paperbacks, essentially coming from efforts to entertain World War II troops. “Strange Fruit” was also a famous Billie Holiday song.
The second, 400 Things Cops Know, is a true life account from a San Fransisco police officer. It looks extremely interesting.
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.