Archive | 2:44 pm

Following a Plan for the Future

3 May


I have a long-range plan.

I really do, despite all appearances to the contrary.

The problem with a long-range plan, though, is the long-range part of it.  The goal is distant, which by definition means it is way out there, beyond the horizon, not to be accomplished anytime soon.

So it can be aggravating and, at times, annoying.

But still we truck forward!

When I decided to pursue my dreams of becoming a writer, I sat down and mapped out the journey.  I’m anal that way.  I write a long-range calendar, for lack of a better term….it includes writing goals, marketing goals, steps upon steps upon steps as I climb this ladder.

The good news is I’m right on plan.  The bad news is, at times, the struggle seems endless.


“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.” John Quincy Adams

I really am right on schedule.  In five years I have written four-full-length novels, one non-fiction book and three novellas.  I continue to write articles and soon my first podcast will be offered for your listening pleasure.town_878

Sales are picking up on my books and I attribute that to a steadfast approach to keep cranking out books and building upon earlier successes and efforts.  Soon I’ll move on to the next stage, which will be an increase in public readings and book signings.  Now that I have a body of work I’m proud of, it’s time to take it to the people, in person.

And this fall I want to teach several creative courses.

I’ve done some of this in the past.  I need to do more of it.

So how about you?


Do you have a long-range plan?  If not, do you think you might benefit from one?


Do you really find creativity?

If you asked me forty years ago if I was creative I would have immediately said no and honestly, I wasn’t.  I showed no signs of the writer I have become today.  During the forty years that followed, though, I experienced life and I became more aware of life around me. town_881

Today I suspect creativity was in me long ago but it was dormant, a sleeping giant just waiting to erupt from me.  The time was finally right, five years ago, for me to write and release that creativity.  I don’t believe I found it.  I don’t know that I did anything special to find it.  It just happened when my muse allowed it to happen.

Don’t try to force creativity.  Allow it to happen.  Baby steps and willingness will go a long way.


Yes, a new Billy the Kid is being written as we speak.  Here’s a preview of that upcoming novella.

There’s a story that circulated around the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City when I was a teen.  You know, urban legend sort of shit, origin unknown, veracity questionable at best but still, it was worth taking note of.  The story was about Val Checkers, nickname for Valentino Agnelli, the Checkers for his love of the game, which he played with neighborhood kids daily in Central Park.  Peaceful setting at first glance but definitely deceiving.

The surname Agnelli means “timid person” in Italian but let me tell ya, there was nothing timid about Val Checkers when I knew him.  Val was a made man in the Italian Mafia, his area of expertise prostitution.  The Italians were splitting up the city with the Russians, Chinese, Jamaicans, Mexicans and a few other nationalities, all scraping out a living from illegal endeavors.  It was agreed, long ago, to work under a flag of truce rather than fight it out daily, and for the most part that truce still works today.

Anyway, the story goes there was a pimp, Fat Boy Jerome, who worked the area around West 179th, near High Bridge Park, just off of Amsterdam, and like any low-level pimp he had visions of grandeur, him thinking he was going to squeeze some extra fat from Valentino’s royalties and it would go unnoticed.   This went on for several months but, as any street rat in the Heights can tell you, eventually there are no secrets.  Val found out, to the surprise of no one because, well, Val had a thousand eyes and ears in the neighborhood, and he requested a meeting with Fat Boy.

Over the span of the next two weeks, every low-level pimp in the Heights received a package, delivered by UPS, and in that package was one of Jerome’s body parts and a checker.

I wasn’t there to witness it but I have no doubt it happened.town_877

Agnelli is one of those guys who always looked old.  He looked old twenty years ago when I ran numbers for his outfit, me being thirteen at the time, and he looked the same old last year when I saw him eating linguini at Momma’s Kitchen.  He has a peaceful face, a gentle face, a grandfatherly face, the kind of face you imagine at church bake sales, but get closer to that face and you’ll be forced, eventually, to look at his eyes, and one look at those eyes will tell you all you need to know about Val Checkers.

The eyes reflect his soul, dark pools with no reflection.




We had a new hatch of quail chicks last week, sixty total, all seemingly healthy, but five days after the hatch one of the babies died.  I held it while it was taking its last breaths and there was something very profound in that moment we shared.  If you don’t understand that you probably never will.

Life is precious!  We writers imitate life and bring ideas to life.

Pay attention to those special moments when life, and death, speak to you.


Call on my buddy Mike Friedman and he’ll fix you up at a reasonable cost.  You can find him by following this link.


It’s getting closer, I promise.  When I do finally post my first podcast it will be called, appropriately, The Writer’s Mailbag.  Stay tuned!

Thanks for stopping by.  I’ll catch you down the road of life and at that time we’ll share more thoughts about life and writing.

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”