Listen to my interview on the GolfSmarter podcast

GolfSmarter #676

Exciting News: Now you can listen to my interview on the GolfSmarter podcast here:

My interview on GolfSmarter

It was really generous of GolfSmarter’s head-honcho, Fred Greene, to invite me onto the show. He does an amazing job on the podcast and makes the entire process so enjoyable for the guest. The experience made me want to do it all again, but to do a little better job.

I did the interview cold; I didn’t know what questions Fred would be asking in advance. That ramped up my anxiety factor a little at the outset but once we got rolling the interview took on a nice flow. Fred’s a real pro and a great friend to golf.

I was very pleased to have the opportunity to talk about the release of the second edition of Tony Manzoni’s classic golf instructional book, The Lost Fundamental as well as the availability of my new book, John J. McDermott & the 1971 U.S. Open.

Thanks, Fred, for providing the forum for me to share two of my favorite subjects with you and the entire GolfSmarter audience.

Listen to my interview on the GolfSmarter podcast

My Novel is Available at Amazon…For Now!

A friend of mine, Fred Greene, does the GolfSmarter podcast. He was kind enough to interview me for his show and I’ve decided to make my novel available at Amazon for the next few months.

Sometime around April or May, I will be taking the book down while I submit it to a handful of publishers.

So, get it while it’s available…

John J. McDermott & the 1971 U.S. Open

Also, I’ll post again when the podcast episode is live.

Thanks for reading.

front cover alone with sansserif

My Novel is Available at Amazon…For Now!

Do apps like iA Writer and Ulysses really help you write?

I promised myself six months respite between finishing my first novel and starting on my second. The idea was to take some time to research and test drive various writing apps.

Having a mechanism that facilitated the organization of my writing was of primary importance.

Having a writing environment that facilitated the writing process was a plus.

I mean, who doesn’t hate Microsoft Word?

On the other hand, who doesn’t use Microsoft Word?

When it comes to writing, it’s easy to come to see Word as the devil you know which is nearly always preferable to the devil you don’t. Word is not anathema to the creative process. If it was, no one would get anything done with it and there are plenty of writers who do the majority of their work within its environment.

I’m one of them.

But, Word is distracting. Word is inscrutable. Word is ugly.

I narrowed down the initial candidates to iA Writer and Ulysses.

I’m prone to breaking promises I make to myself so rather than a six month respite I’m already working on my next novel. The fun part is that I’m alternating its among Word, iA Writer and Ulysses. You’re right…fun’s not the right word.

I compose for a while and then I cut and paste the copy into Word as a back-up. I also email the copy and dump another copy into A Google Doc but now I’m giving you a bit too much insight into how much I hate the idea of losing my work.

So far, I’m not sure if iA Writer or Ulysses will be of much help to me, anyway. I do like the stripped down nature of the interface but, at least so far, I’m not seeing it as transformational of either my writing process or of my ability to maintain organization of elements of plot, characters, scenes and timeframe.

Initial nit picks about Ulysses include the use of jargon like sheets rather than text or copy. I mean, I know about a sheet of paper and about rain falling in sheets but why use the word to describe something that a sheet isn’t? But, I’m not giving up on it yet.

iA Writer takes the stripped down feel a step further. This can lead to wondering about what, exactly, the app is supposed to be doing for the writer?

I’m going to give both apps more time and copy before I decide which of them (if either) to use.

Today, I am unconvinced about iA Writer and Ulysses but I’m still open to using something other than Word. If any of you use either of them (or any other writing app) I would love to hear your views and experiences.

Do apps like iA Writer and Ulysses really help you write?

A slow recovery: The Woolsey Fire

IMG_0942

The Woolsey Fire’s destruction is widespread and sobering. But, the slow recovery has already begun as evidenced by the wisps of grass that have sprouted throughout the burn area.

There is our time.

There is geologic time.

Then there is the time the Earth takes to heal after a fire. It falls somewhere between the two extremes but it surely comes more slowly than we would like.

It will be interesting to be a witness to the recovery…to see what species come back the most quickly and in greatest number and density.

Nature is stubborn and clever and I look forward to seeing her work in these areas I know so well.

A slow recovery: The Woolsey Fire

My novel is done, done, done.

My novel is done. No, you can’t go buy it yet.

I’m preparing it for submission to a handful of publishers and it turns out they don’t fancy looking at books that are already in the throes of a self-publishing campaign.

I’m quite certain that’s where my book will end up and that’s OK by me. I’m glad I wrote it. It took a lot longer than I had hoped but I learned so much about the kind of long-form writing thought that a novel requires that I now regard the span of time as something of a necessity. That’s another way of saying I’m a slow learner.

I had written a great deal over a very long period of time before I decided to write a novel. Now that I’ve done it, I want to do another and to do a better job of it. I can look back on my book and can see it clearly for its good and bad. Something about writing it broke away a kind of resistance that had set in to that kind of writing ambition. Suddenly, writing a book seemed like something I could do and do with meaningful results.

I think often of Steve Earle’s dark years in Amsterdam when he was addicted to heroin. When he had finally clawed his way back into the light, he had a creative boom of sorts, making records and writing books and plays with a speed and intensity he never showed before. He attributed the burst of work to his release from smack.

Even though I wrote for both pay and fun I avoided the idea of writing a book until I hit my 50s. Rather than being addicted to heroin I had instead succumbed to the belief that I didn’t have anything to offer; that I wasn’t that kind of writer. It turns out that I am…

So, I’m grateful that I simply had the idea to write my book. Obviously and as always, it is the idea that made everything possible.

Now I have another idea and it’s led me start writing my second next novel.

Here’s hoping it moves along faster than the first one.

 

My novel is done, done, done.

Horizontal Banding in Untitled 29

Someone at Flickr was kind enough to point out that Untitled 29 suffered from horizontal banding. I hadn’t noticed it, to be honest, but there it was staring me in the face.

Kind of…

Actually, even after the banding’s presence was called to my attention its presence didn’t really matter to me. Still, I fooled around with the photo for a while in an attempt minimize the banding’s impact.

Untitled 29 Small

Nope, it’s still not close to perfect but I really don’t have a preference between the original version and this one. The photo still means what it means to me. It would be the same if it had been shot on film and the negative was scratched. Absent its qualities and faults I still like the photo and, to me, the photos of an amateur photographer only need to please one person and I think you know who that is.

Obviously, I’m not one to hide work that might be less than my best. I believe we learn from our successes but often much more from our failures. I try my best with each photo I take in the very same way I try to use words to precisely convey my thoughts and feelings, yet knowing my efforts will often fall short.

I once heard a writing coach say something that I think about often.

I’m paraphrasing here but this is the essence of what he said:

Let’s say that in your career as a writer you will write seven novels, three of which you will eventually regard as good. There’s a natural temptation to ask, why did I even bother to write the four novels that turned out badly? That’s missing the point: The bad novels had to be written so that the lessons that created the three good novels could be learned. Try as you might, you cannot decide or decree to only do good work. You can only work and hope for some success.

I take writing seriously. As much as I love photography, I know somewhere in my bones that I will never reward it with the kind of devotion needed to create genuinely good work. Still, that’s what is so cool about photography. You don’t always need to be that good to take enjoyable and sometimes beautiful photographs. And, sometimes, the rewards for a humble photograph come as a happy surprise long after it was taken.

And, so it is with Untitled 29, horizontal banding or not

Horizontal Banding in Untitled 29

Untitled 29 is in Flickr Explore

I missed this one somehow and now that it’s managed to catch my eye, I actually rather like it. It has a certain geometry of composition that fits with the way I doodle. It would seem that what my brain envisions as a doodle sometimes works its way into my photos.

No idea if that’s good or bad.

Interestingly, it was shot with my beloved if humble Nikkor Micro 60 f/2.8. This is a somewhat underrated lens that I find to be wonderfully balanced. It’s lightweight, sharp and the front element is set so far back from the end of the barrel that it’s never even crossed my mind to put a filter on it.

Flickr’s Explore algorithm snatched it up yesterday and for once I concur with its inscrutable judgment.

Untitled 29

 

 

 

Untitled 29 is in Flickr Explore