New WKAR Book Review: Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

Current StateOn WKAR’s Current State, I reviewed the new (and it is still weird to say this) book by Harper Lee, Go Set a Watchman. This might have been the hardest review I ever had to do on the show for many reasons, as you will see below.

You can listen to my new review here: http://wkar.org/post/book-review-go-set-watchman-harper-lee

If you would rather read my review, you can do so below.

Hey, did you know Current State has a podcast? If you subscribe, you can download episodes and segments (and you can find me every other Thursday). Here is a link to find it on iTunes- https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/wkar-fm-current-state/id594609653?mt=2

If you want to check out my other book reviews for WKAR’s Current State, you can do so via links on this page. Continue reading

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Their Obsession With Cheetahs

The CubbiesEvery night my children go to bed with cheetah cubbies that may be leopards.

They are cheap stuffed toys, the kind you see at the front of lesser family restaurants. Nothing extravagant, but wherever they go in the house, they are usually in the same room, many times next to each other. And each evening, they are needed for nighttime or there might be tears.

The cheetahs started with my son when he realized how fast they were.

My son has always loved to run. Back when he used to go to daycare and I would pick him up, on every nice day he would be in the playground racing with his friends. The teacher would just shout “Go!” and watch the kids run around and around again, not considering it was the parents that had to deal with the kids with sweat-soaked hair that would always need a bath later.

Now my son wasn’t always the fastest, he did good, but there were always kids a little faster since they might be older or just plan bigger. But that didn’t matter to my son, he would always tell me on the way home how he won… even when we both knew he didn’t.

He was Dash from The Incredibles for Halloween when he was four then the year after that The Flash. Whenever either costume was put on he would get this look in his eye, scream “zoom” and take off running around our house hoping to find a bad guy some place.

A red blur of speed!

 Last Christmas, my daughter gave her brother a giant stuffed cheetah. (Well, actually the parents did but she happily took credit for it, she was one then.) My son immediately declared it was the mommy cheetah, and they both happily agreed. The cheetah cubbies were grabbed and quickly were reunited.

They are now a family of cheetahs. Continue reading

Taking on the Princesses. Me vs. My Two-Year Old Daughter’s Heroes

ScoutFor years I dreamed of Scout.

That is how I used to imagine my future daughter. Smart, inquisitive, able to stand up in a fight and not playing with dolls, finally growing into a person like Harper Lee. Inventive. Creative. Empowered.

That is not to say I envisioned myself as an Atticus Finch from To Kill A Mockingbird. I’m not that great, and when I do heart-to-hearts with my kids they are never that lyrical or profound. Usually, it seems to me, that my big parental moments are always about the importance of sharing and taking turns (from toys to parents). Ah, the life of a father with two little ones.

Whatever the case, my daughter is over two now, almost two and a half, and all of the popular girl trends I hoped to avoid with my daughter have taken over and laid waste to my Scout dreams. Where there should be overalls, there are pink leggings, where the toys should be educational and gender-neutral, her likes lean towards the pink aisle of the toy store, the one boys avoid like the cooties.

Yes, my daughter is a full-on little girl, surrounded by Care Bears, babies that need rocking, a lot of pink, and I am at a loss… and then there are the princesses. Continue reading

The Historical Resonance of Turning Two

With a baby...Sentimentality runs thick in my family. It has always been that way, carrying on that tradition from my parents to me. And when a holiday or family event arrives at our door, the past always arrives with it, shaking the snow off its boots, an escapable addition at the table.

Every Christmas tree is compared to a past tree, every gathering being a moment to remember those no longer there, and birthdays are always tainted with the feeling of a time gone that will never return.

This is not a bad thing.

In a way it adds to my family’s experiences along this mortal coil, since we view time and moments in such a special light. So at any event, look for me with the video camera trying to chase something down that can’t be chased down; the elusive kernel of a pure, real instant.

Every giggle, every dance, every story of my kids, I want to capture it, knowing that someday, with my sentimentality sitting beside me on the couch I will want to view it again… and again… and again…

That time that is just about to slip away. Continue reading

What I Learned From Having a Literary Agent

Snoopy Attempting The DreamFor five years, my books were represented by a big agency out of New York City. While I don’t want to name any names, I think I can safely say that this agency has a long history and has been associated with such writers as Harper Lee, John Steinbeck, and John Irving. (Yeah, I have two degrees of separation between my books and Scout!) Their clients are a who’s who of writing over the last one hundred years and as a writer and literature buff I could not have been more thrilled.

Thrilled? No, let me correct that.

I bragged! I gloated! I patted myself on the back every chance I got! I was big man on literary campus and it was only a matter of time before everyone knew my name. Start preparing the Booker prize trophy now… Wait, do they do a trophy? Or is it a medal? I have no idea (if it’s just a certificate that would be lame).

There is this wonderful Hollywood dream for artists that when someone of importance finds their work that suddenly everything is going to be streets of gold from then on and all the hard work is over. (Remember “The Standard Rich and Famous” contract in The Muppet Movie?) Well, I fell for that dream hook, line and sinker; and over the five years I was signed with this agency my career was stagnant.

Those five years are never going to come back. Continue reading