Whatever the unborn and dead may know, they cannot know the beauty, the marvel of begin alive in the flesh. The dead may look after the afterwards. But the magnificent here and now of life in the flesh is ours, and ours alone, and ours only for a time. We ought to dance with rapture that we should be alive and in the flesh and part of the living, incarnate cosmos.
I grew up in a world that no longer exists:The Bronx 1947-1960. My father cut ladies' dresses in the garment center and also moonlighted as a bookie and smuggler of tax free cigarettes. My mother was the legal secretary to the top theatrical lawyer in New York. Both of them gambled compulsively. When I was 10 years old I started taking bets for my father while he was at work. My almost blind and nearly deaf grandmother and I would fight for the phone. My father was furious whenever she answered it. He would come home from work and stare at the Wesson oil stained napkin where she wrote down what she thought she had heard. Quite often he was unable to decipher who placed the bets, on which horse, and for how much.
I always wanted to be a writer and was fortunate in my early twenties to be selected as a Bread Loaf Fellow and to have my nonfiction book, Becoming:An American Odyssey published by Saturday Review Press. However, in order to make a living while writing I worked at many diverse jobs:tree planter and assistant librarian in Oregon, organic orange and olive farmer in California, school bus driver, Zamboni driver, editor, stock broker, power transformer tube winder and tennis pro in the Berkshires, and custom builder in the Boston area. Tree planting was the hardest but the job I performed terribly at was driving a Zamboni. I could never make clean ovals and once during a Parents' Weekend hockey game I froze the Zamboni to the ice in the middle of periods.
I have been writing The Bookie's Son on and off for forty years. While I was managing the construction company and raising my two children I gave up writing for a couple of decades. When the children didn't need me to coach their soccer teams anymore I returned to writing. The Bookie's Son, based on my childhood, was the story I wanted to tell.
I'm slowly transitioning out of construction and becoming a full-time writer. I play competitive table tennis three times a week, mentor a ten-year old boy every other week, and take care of my grandson one day a week. He fills that day with joy.