Boston Red Sox: World Series Champions

world series, 2013, boston red sox, red soxWe won! Yes, the Red Sox pulled off another unbelievable season going from worst to first and winning it all––The World Series. Three times in ten years––it still hasn’t sunk in.

I’ve been a Sox fan since I was a kid back in the 80’s––back when we were praying for a World Series title. I remember buying baseballs before the game, and then after, waiting out back of the park to chase down Dwight Evans and Bob Stanley for their autographs. On this night, I was at home getting the play by play off of a computer screen. We don’t have cable TV any longer––a decision that my wife and I consciously made to rid ourselves of the reality TV crapola. On this night though, I was itching to watch this game.

I took a walk and ended up at one of my favorite places, Eastern Standard restaurant in the heart of Kenmore Square. I was five-deep off of the long bar watching the game and the revelers. Inside it was controlled chaos––outside it was pandemonium. Police lined the streets and barricaded off the area. Thousands of energetic and excited fans knew, just as we did, that the Red Sox were going to win it and they wanted to be able to tell all of their friends that “I was there. I was in Kenmore Square in 2013 when the Sox won!” Shit was starting to get real! The sox were up by a lot of runs and from a distance I could see the crowd gathering from outside the restaurant windows. The managers began covering all of the windows with paper just in case the crowd got out of hand. In their sister restaurant next door, the Island Creek Oyster Bar, the police made them shut off their TV’s because too many people were gathering outside the restaurants windows to watch.

Once the final out was made, and it was official, the cheering began. The crowds were chanting, “Let’s Go Red Sox”, and on the TV was a memorable picture of Red Sox player and series M.V.P. David Ortiz, a.k.a. Big Papi, with a black motorcycle helmet on lifting up our relief pitcher Koji––a triumphant and memorable moment for the young Japanese pitcher.

There was nothing left for me to see here. I had just witnessed another Boston team win a championship. I made my way up from the restaurant, and walked down the long corridor through the Hotel Commonwealth. People were in the lobby watching the game on the big screen TV that they had installed––one older fan was passed out sleeping on on of the couches. At the front door the hotel’s security team was directing the traffic––“if you have a hotel key, you can come in. No key, no entrance.” People who were trying to get home were looking for a place to use the bathroom. Security did their best to weed out the riffraff and let in the guests. Other guests were trying to get home and wanted to retrieve their cars from the parking lot where they had valeted them prior to the game. With all of the roads barricaded, they would be lucky if they would even be able to get back on the road before 2 or 3 a.m.

Once most of the crowds began to move away from Kenmore, I made a mad dash for it and walked the mile up Beacon street. I passed thousands of college students in the streets dressed in their Halloween costumes, I stepped over dozens of smashed pumpkins, and witnessed too many people peeing in bushes and throwing up for one evening. Fifteen minutes later I finally entered the threshold to my house. My wife was still up because the noise of the car horns, people yelling and helicopters were constant––not sure who could really sleep through that anyways.

As I climbed into bed with thoughts of the Red Sox dancing in my head, I recall my wife saying, “they flipped a car on Boylston street.” Sure they did––Keepin’ it classy Boston. See you at the parade! Boston, you are my home.

Back Bay by William Martin

back bay, william martin, book, historical fiction, fiction, bostonI spent the last week banging through William Martin’s Back Bay book. This historical fiction story was based right in my neighborhood. Boston’s cool people! There were many plot twists, and with that said, I think the book could have been about 100 pages shorter. It was a “rip-roaring page turner” as the Boston Globe described, but I found that there were too many characters to keep track of.  I guess that is why Martin put an extended family tree in the front of the book.

I have no idea what I’m going to read next. Maybe I’ll take a breather to work on editing my book and take some notes for the future book.

If you’re interested in historical fiction books, try Martin’s latest book The Lincoln Letter.  Less twists, better read.







Author David McCullough and the Back Bay

Since I’ve been on a John Adams kick lately, I found this great short video that The Boston Globe featured about one of my Back Bay neighbors, David McCullough, author of the Pulitzer Prize winning book, John Adams.  I hope I run into you in the Commonwealth Ave Mall one of these days. Click on the photo to go to the video link.


david mccullough, author, writer, video, back bay, boston

John Adams from Massachusetts

john adams, president, united states, boston, quincy, braintree, massachusetts, portrait, painting“I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain.”
~ John Adams.
(Letter to Abigail Adams, May 12, 1780)

I read this quote on a plaque inside the State House in Boston, Mass. last week when my wife and I were doing some research during our staycation.

As we see, John loved the artist.  He wrote and was well read, as was Abigail.  Out of the clear blue sky last week, I decided to start a fiction book based on John Adams. I visited the Boston Public Library where the John Adams Library is kept in-tact, Faneuil Hall, Kings Chapel, The Granary Burying Ground, The Boston Athenaeum and finally The State House. I suspect that I’ll be making many trips to these locations over the next year.

There is trouble brewing in the old families. That’s your teaser for now.

10 Steps to a Kickass Essay – Writing Tips

Greetings Writers!

I just returned from a rejuvenating and inspiring 3-days at Grub Street‘s The Muse and The Marketplace literary conference in Boston.  I live in Boston so it wasn’t to much of a hike.  The sessions were all fantastic and the panelists gave me so much information that it’ll probably take a good week to digest it all.  I even got to meet and listen to Amanda Palmer give a very touching Keynote address.

On the last day of the conference I attended the session called: 10 Steps to a Kickass Essay, hosted by Ann Hood.  You can find her on Twitter: @annhood56. These writing tips were so insightful that I wanted to share what I learned with everyone.  Here are my notes.  Feel free to steal and share as needed.

1.  Write like an orphan.
Hold back emotionally.
If your motive is revenge, no one will want to read it.  Those type of essays lack depth.
If your writing about someone who was died, don’t mythologize the person.

2.  A personal essay is about just one thing.  Only one topic.

3.  Every personal essay is really two things:  what’s on the surface, and what bubbles underneath.
External thing + Internal thing.
Make sure there is a concrete story.

4.  Make sense of the events.  You don’t report them, you make sense of them.
Open the essay with event.  Don’t trick the reader or leave it until the end.
When writing about a hot topic, write it cold.
You report, then you reflect

5.  Push past the ending that makes sense.
Add a line or two after the closing sentence.
Go beyond the Norman Rockwell ending.

6.  “What do you know now that you did not know then.”
Force yourself to come to a realization.

7.  Power of Once.  The use of flashback.  Don’t top load the essay in flashback.  If you start with a flashback, the whole essay will be in the flashback.

8.  Objective Correlative:  The author uses an event or an object to stand in for an emotion.

9.  You need to write well!  A personal essay is not a  bundle of emotions.  It’s not a journal entry.

10.  Don’t write what you know, write what you don’t know about yet.



Snowy Days Are Good For Writing

Boston-Snow, writing, write, snow storm, jason landry, boston, penthouse, weatherMe: Siri, can I stay home today and do some writing?

Siri: Let me check. Would you like me to check the Internet for, ‘Can I stay home today and do some writing?’

Me: Ah, no Siri, I was hoping that you would be able to answer that.

Snowy days are perfect days to get some writing done. Take a look at the picture on your left. That’s the view from my penthouse in Boston. Actually today, I may do some more editing and then read a bit. There’s little distraction since I don’t want to go out. I won’t be tempted to run out for a bagel or a burrito or a pizza. My wife set up dinner in the crock pot and the dog is already sound asleep at my feet and it’s only 8:57am.

I have about 67,000 words written and in the can toward my first memoir. I can’t express how exciting this has been for me. I already have two more book ideas on the back burner––one non-fiction and one fiction. I’ve been told that when you’re stuck writing, start writing something else. Instead of putting all my eggs in one basket, I have opened up a carton of eggs––none of which are colored with PAAS Easter Egg dye––yet!

On a side note, the Boston Marathon is less than 30 days away. Last year the weather was in the 80’s on Marathon Monday. Even though tomorrow is the official First Day of Spring, the chances that warm weather will actually come that quickly is looking doubtful––however, I’m optimistic!


11 Good Quotes for Writers

quote, fortune cookie, literary, writing, trees, writer, grub street, quotesAre you writing a memoir or a non-fiction book project?  I went back over my notes from last weekend’s AWP Writing Conference in Boston.  Here are some great quotes that I wrote down from two separate sessions: The Art of the Non-Fiction Idea and The Urge Toward Memoir.

Since I’m learning just as much as the next person, I was too busy feverishly writing notes to remember who actually said these great one-liners.  If you know who said it, feel free to send me a note.  Wouldn’t some of these quotes look good inside fortune cookies?  This images is from a fortune cookie that I was given at the Grub Street booth.  You guys rock!

Here’s 11 Good Quotes for Writers to Think About.

“Date around before you marry an idea.”

“Will your idea pass the cocktail party test?”

“You need to be able to sell your idea in two minutes.”

“Tell the stories that only you can tell.” ~ Ethan Gilsdorf

“Test out your ideas in short form first.”

“Build up your authority in your niche.”

“Virality = will your writing piece circulate and go viral online?”

“Your project is a balance between you and your voice and the topic.”

“You have to have control of your story just like your novel.  Your readers are dying to know what’s next.”

“All of life is a cover story.”

“Your family will not see things from your point of view.”