Smoke and Mirrors

In a perfect world . . .

Month: October 2008 (page 1 of 2)

Beggars Night

A few tasty nuggets for you folks ‘Trick or Treating’ a bit early at my blog.
Can’t go away empty handed.
Candy, huh?
I’ll give ya schweet, sugar . . .
{if ya watch}

And, quite honestly, the scariest of all videos
I hate clowns.
Especially this one . . .
{& his gazillion grams of heart-killing saturated fat}
Thanks, Ron-bo.
Talk about a freekin’ monster.
Scarier than Bela Lugosi, IMHO . . .

Happy Halloween, folks!

Fresh Ink

I’ve spent the past several days doing some much needed thinking and introspection
and although I’ve yet to glean anything remotely resembling an answer, I have realized a few things:
I spend far too much of my time doing what I ‘think’ I should be doing opposed to what my own reality dictates.
My all too patient wife has been a ‘blogging widow’ for far too long and that must change.
She’s given me 3+ years of virtually bitch free blogging, a bonus for anyone bitten by the bug.
She does feel that my time would be better spent writing and working on this book of mine that has somehow floated too far offshore for me to easily rescue it.
But rescue it I will. (Do I sound like Yoda?)
I am not, I repeat, not done blogging.
Far from it, if that’s what you may be thinking.
But I have realized that it’s time for me to spill some fresh ink on my farfetched dream of one day being a published writer.
I am treading water for reasons that no longer elude me.
I am afraid my writing will ultimately fail.
Not a strange fear, I guess.
It’s too easy not to fail when you stay within the confines of a blog where
the people that read care for you and your artistic feelings.
That’s not too say that most comments are fluff, they are definitely not.
I feel that my words reach deep inside many people and I am truly blessed in the way your thoughts come back to me, amazed sometimes.
Although I’m still not sure of this blog’s ultimate direction some days, I do know it’s overall integrity will benefit from me doing what I originally set out to do.
I sincerely thank all of you for your thoughts, prayers and comments this past week or so.
I’ve read every single one.
It’s time for me to stop treading water and start swimming . . .

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

*On another note, several people have asked about my father since I haven’t mentioned him lately.
I went to see him this past Sunday after a phone call from my sister who happened to be visiting him.
Pamela and I found them both sitting outside the confines of the nursing home taking in the sun.
It was around lunchtime and my sister Moe suggested that we feed him lunch al fresco, that he might enjoy the change of scenery.
I agreed and went to retrieve his lunch which was warmly sitting somewhere on the third floor.
The warmth of the sun felt so good and so right, as I fed my father while Pamela, myself and my sister talked.
I was happy with not only the way he looked but the way he devoured his lunch.
With a nice big slice of coconut crème pie for dessert, I was secretly hoping he’d be too full to eat it.
He ate the entire piece, a small, good thing, I guess.
I can’t tell you how nice it was sitting there in the sunshine watching my father actually enjoy a meal.
Maybe he knew Maureen and I were there.
The saddest part is how infrequent my visits have become.
Working for a living sucks.
But I have promises to keep.
All three of us wheeled my father back to the prison inside and into his room on 3 North.
I gave my sister a hug and a kiss on the cheek and headed home to watch some of the Patriots game before getting supper started.
My sister was staying a bit longer to give Dad a shave.
Walter had a very nice Sunday.
Come to think of it, so did my sister, Pamela and I.
For those on my blogroll, I will be stopping by . . .


That’s me at the moment
I shall return eventually, a bit jaded right now for several reasons.
Don’t worry, I’m fine.
It’s just that my head ain’t screwed on properly.
I think . . .


Every night I walk through the pulsing heart of Chinatown
here in Boston on my way to the train.
I’ve witnessed a kaleidoscope of urban situations
from drug deals to being solicited by “China Blue” of the night.
There’s a muted sense of mystery lurking around every dark corner, dimly illuminated by paper-cut hanging lanterns and humming neon.
Occasionally, I get a whiff of pungent sesame oil in the air creating visions of steaming woks
and maniacal chefs in the process of creating some outlandish order of Dim Sum.
I pass by the Lucky 88 Supermarket on Essex Street and glance in, surprised to see a beehive of activity.
From the front window I see a fish tank filled with anything but what I consider to be a fish.
It’s a subculture that thrives amidst the sometimes chaotic city of Boston.
Chinatown is also a place where I would never want to find myself at 3AM.
Crimson lace dragons peer from the backlit and smoky windows of Villa Moon,
a quiet restaurant tucked away on one of Chinatown’s many dark side streets.
While there’s something oddly enticing about it, there’s also a sense of foreboding and no access,
a ‘you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave’ kind of mentality.
I know it’s all in my head but it’s what my eyes see.
As the fall days melt into winter dusk, the sun sets earlier and my journey to South Station grows just a bit stranger.
The shadows stretch and move, neon and fluorescent lights from the stores and restaurants give the ever so slight suggestion of a carnival at night.
Maybe that’s what this is.
It’s only when I take the time to actually ‘see’ this mysterious place that I come to grips with its all too stygian appeal.

Dim Sum, Fried Wontons.
Stir fry and Karaoke.
Boston’s Chinatown . . .

I Am

I am: always waiting, endlessly hoping
I think: the world is going to hell in a hand basket . . .
I know: I’m not the only one that thinks so
I want: just enough
I have: a sad heart . . .
I wish: it weren’t so
I hate: Winter . . . (it’s coming)
I miss: Summer
I fear: things I have no control over
I feel: tired, like always
I hear: conversation, the rustle of a newspaper, a train on the tracks
I smell: like a fine cigar . . . (that nobody likes)
I crave: anything but
I search: for ‘the’ words . . .
I wonder: exactly what they mean
I regret: so very many things, so many mistakes, wrong turns and unfulfilled dreams
I ache: daily
I care: deeply
I always: keep ‘hope’ somewhere very close
I am not: a brain surgeon, but I’m pretty freekin’ smart
I believe: in my three wonderful daughters (my 3 hopes)
I dance: like an epileptic underneath a manic strobe light
I sing: rarely these days, which is sad
I cry: behind locked doors (not often enough)
I don’t always: shave my head
I fight: for what I truly believe in
I write: to simply stay sane
I never: feel that life is fair
I stole: a nice four-wheel dolly from a ritzy Hotel in Boston many years ago
(actually, I just ‘forgot’ to return it)
I listen: to those that truly need to be heard
I need: something
I am happy about: the fact that the dung-slinging elections are almost over.
And I could give two sweet shits about them.
Politics suck. Period. Amen.

Feel free to tag yourself on this.
No tagging here.
I borrowed this from Moe.
Great Meme . . .
Maybe too much information?
Ah, well, it had to come out sooner or later . . .

To write a book

Weekends seem to yearn for a video.
Not many people visit but those that do have a bit of time on their hands.
Found this ‘writing’ video and just had to share it.
Too damn funny.
Have a serene weekend everybody!

An evening with JC

It was a beautiful night as I rode the Red Line into Cambridge.
From my window, the Longfellow Bridge offered up a brilliant panoramic view of Boston’s Back Bay settling into ‘night mode’.
I made my way to the Harvard Bookstore wondering what the evening would hold.
If you like bookstores, you would fall in love with this antique of a shop (est.1932).
I wandered around Harvard Square until 6:30 before going in and purchasing The Ghost in Love.
It was a very intimate setting with @20 chairs set-up.
I grabbed the closest seat to the podium that I could get.
God, I was excited.
The reading started promptly at 7 as Carroll read the first chapter of ‘Ghost’ in its entirety.
A brief Q&A session followed.
I asked him about his advice for ‘Writer’s Block’.
He laughed and said he never had a problem with it.
He answered honestly and to paraphrase said

“Always leave the windows and doors (of the mind) open . . . if they should shut, put the pen down and go cook a meal, take a walk, see a movie, have sex . . . anything but think about writing. Eventually the doors will open.”

He spoke of his craft in a way that was easy to relate to but unique in its approach.
Personally, he could have talked until midnight and I would have stayed.
After being gently prodded to begin the book signing, yours truly was 1st in line.
I did tell him how much he’s inspired me over the years to which he responded with a smile and a genuine ‘thank you’.
He asked my name and we talked a bit as he signed “Ghost” (~a ghost for Michael . . .)
I pulled The Panic Hand from my bag.
He smiled again.
As he thumbed through the first few pages he said, “Ah, First Edition, US. Very nice.”
I told him about the email I’d sent him years ago after winning the book on Ebay as well as my love of his story The Sadness of Detail.
He mentioned how many people really liked that story as he signed my ‘Panic Hand’ book . . .
I shook his hand and thanked him saying I would definitely see him on his next US book tour.
I wondered what it must be like to meet so many people that truly idolize you as an artist.
Carroll takes it in stride and is one of the most down to earth and personable writers you will ever meet.
He will be in California in a few days for anyone on the West Coast that wants a chance to see and hear this brilliant man.
I floated back (a few feet off the ground) to the Red Line and made my way across the Charles to Backbay, opening the two books every five minutes thinking the magical script would suddenly disappear.
This morning I realized just how wonderful last night really was.
It’s always nice when a dream comes to fruition.
And Vienna waits . . .

Click on the book for a little surprise!

ps. saw Stephen King again yesterday as well.
What a day for authors . . .


In about three weeks my wife and I will celebrate 25 years of marriage.
It just doesn’t make sense that I make a whole spectacle of it in one day, seeing we’ve been together and
so incredibly strong for 25 years.
These days, I’m truly amazed after reading the ‘legals’ in the newspaper with these assholes that get married for two weeks and then file for divorce.
Damn, it’s insane and I’m sorry, sometimes funny.
But what the hell were they thinking in the first place?
Either way, I’m devoting at least several posts to this incredible woman that understands me in a way no one in the entire world ever will, my wife, Pamela.
Yeah, these are going to be romantic and sentimental.
It’s just the way I am, folks.
Here’s to the one woman that still makes Mikey tick . . .


Here, in my heart
In my olde, melacholy soul
is the You I’ve always known

It’s in my darkest hours
that I find the way home
from the very light of You;
a serene beacon in this most sacred of harbours

With my spirit at the end of my tether
i cling to you like a rainbow clings to slices of sunlight;
this complicated prism of all that’s good in my life,
the colours of emotion, the extreme comfort in belonging . . .

It’s there in your heart
(I belong)
where my peacefully sleeping soul is forever safe
deep inside the You I will always know,
love always . . .


found this on the Jonathan Carroll website/blog.
written by 20th century German poet Rainer Maria von Rilke::

God Speaks to Each of Us

God speaks to each of us before we are,
Before he’s formed us then, in cloudy speech,
But only then, he speaks these words to each
And silently walks with us from the dark:

Driven by your senses, dare
To the edge of longing. Grow
Like a fire’s shadowcasting glare
Behind assembled things, so you can spread
Their shapes on me as clothes.
Don’t leave me bare.

Let it all happen to you: beauty and dread.
Simply go no feeling is too much
And only this way can we stay in touch.

Near here is the land
That they call Life.
You’ll know when you arrive
By how real it is.

Give me your hand.

– Rainer Maria Rilke

~going to try and get back to a state of blogging equilibrium here this week.
Life has been crazy. Thanks to all that have read and commented.
Much appreciated.

Ghost in Love

This post is approximately 5 years in the making . . .
I’ve been an avid fan of writer Jonathan Carroll for the better part of ten years and have read almost everything the man has written. Although he’s relatively unknown in some literary circles he possesses an almost cult following for many readers, like me.
It was January 10, 2004 (my birthday) that I happened to find a rare book by Carroll floating about on Ebay.
It was called ‘The Panic Hand’, a collection of short fiction.
The item on Ebay was listed as ‘first edition, hardback, excellent condition’.
For whatever the reason, I had to have this book.
If you’re a reader, you understand the desire and obsession.
I began bidding and got into a war with someone that wanted the book almost as much as I did.
As I said, almost.
I was working that night and gave my wife instructions to place a bid of $60.00 about 30 seconds before the auction ended. If the book was destined to be mine, then so be it.
I ended up winning the auction and the book was mine.
I’m looking at it as I type this.
‘The Panic Hand’ has some of the best short fiction I think I’ve ever read especially a story called, ‘The Sadness of Detail’, my personal favorite.
Seeing that it was a first edition book, I wanted to have it signed and began looking for the next time Carroll would be in the states.
Sadly, I came up empty-handed and sent him an email inquiring about his schedule (and the fact that I had just purchased a first edition of said book and would love to have it signed).
To my surprise, I received a reply back from him that same afternoon.
He thanked me for writing and said that he didn’t get over to ‘this side of the pond’ too often seeing that he lives in Austria but suggested I keep an eye on his website for future visits.
In my email, I also mentioned how much I loved his story, ‘The Sadness of Detail’ asking where the inspiration came from. He wrote that the story was a ‘very old friend’ and one of his favorites but the inspiration for it escaped him at that time . . . but that he would be happy to sign the book should we ever meet.
Well, folks, next Tuesday night I’ll be going to Cambridge to the incredible Harvard Bookstore to listen to Carroll read from his new book, ‘The Ghost in Love’.
He’s doing a short Q&A session and a signing after that.
And yes, I plan on asking him about how he deals with ‘Writer’s Block’.
I will happily buy a copy of his new book and have it signed and hopefully be able to tell him just how much he’s inspired me in my own writing, although I write in a very different genre.
Then I will plead with him ask him to sign ‘The Panic Hand’ and hope he smiles.
Judging from the tone in his email, I should be one damn happy writer this time next Tuesday night.
Look for a follow up post.
If you haven’t read anything by this brilliant man, at least visit your local library and take something out.
I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Don’t sound too excited, do I?

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