Personal Mythology: Why I Write The Butterfly Myths

Posted by on Jul 3, 2015 in History | No Comments
Personal Mythology: Why I Write The Butterfly Myths

  WHEN I WAS THIRTY-SEVEN, my first marriage came apart. And like many who find themselves so shipwrecked, I was forced to confront the many demon castaways who had  been holed up amidships all along. I was fortunate to find a good therapist, one who knew I had to take at least some responsibility for what had happened. When I mentioned, […]

Every Mothers Day

Posted by on May 10, 2015 in History | No Comments
Every Mothers Day

  MY MOTHER’S RETREAT FROM EVERYTHING and everybody was so effectual that when the paramedics came for her, they had to break down her door. She survived the day, but not many thereafter. That scenario alone could have been enough of a wake-up call for me: the message being, should I continue in the same escapist M.O. I had inherited from her, the day might come when […]

The Miracle Child

Posted by on May 2, 2015 in History | One Comment
The Miracle Child

  ONCE, I SAW THE SON OF A SERIAL KILLER interviewed in a British documentary. He’d grown up unaware of how many people his father murdered, clueless about all the bodies buried beneath the yard he played in. When the interviewer expressed shock at one of the son’s more surprising statements–that even now, even knowing everything the man had done, he still loved his […]

My Canary in the Coal Mine

Posted by on Apr 26, 2015 in History | No Comments
My Canary in the Coal Mine

  YES, I HATE TO ADMIT IT, but I am having a hard time forgiving my mother, even three years after she died. And even knowing, all along, that unforgiveness is a most illogical choice. It never makes sense, even if the accused is still alive. And yet I’m getting there. With every word I write, I […]

Days of Forgotten Memories

Posted by on Apr 24, 2015 in History | No Comments
Days of Forgotten Memories

  WHEN, IN MY EARLY TWENTIES, I finally saw my mother again for the first time since a child, I sat on her couch in Cleveland, and she tried to explain why she’d left us in Dallas, to go back to Ohio, back to Bus. I believed much of her story. Even the more fantastic parts, though they […]

Family Mysteries In Canton, Ohio

Posted by on Apr 16, 2015 in History | One Comment
Family Mysteries In Canton, Ohio

  WRITING FICTION–STORIES, MYTHS, whatever you’d call what I’m doing in my life right now–is a surprisingly effective way of getting at the truth. Take for instance a chapter that’s based in part on this photo. It’s a snapshot I came across in the midst of this writer’s journey, a journey of discovery, an exploration of my mother’s life, the choices she made, and how […]

Our Family Secrets

Posted by on Apr 7, 2015 in History | 2 Comments
Our Family Secrets

  SECRETS. THEY MAY BE A PART of every family’s history. But make it a family with some Italian in it and you’ll need pretty high-level security clearance to get to the bottom of everything. Especially if you’re just “one of the kids.” So in my attempt to understand the powerful forces and pervasive influences that have helped make me […]

The Artistic DNA

Posted by on Apr 1, 2015 in History | No Comments
The Artistic DNA

  THERE, IN THE BACK PAGES of my old guidebook of Italy, is a little 4-page section that itself speaks volumes–to me at least–about my family’s homeland. It’s a section that begins with the understated, one-word heading, LIST. This shorter index was inserted in front of the normal index, that alphabetized list of fountains and ruins that the turn-of-the-century traveler would flip to. This one–this “List of the most important Artists mentioned”–shoulders […]

The Italian Family Journey

Posted by on Mar 27, 2015 in History | One Comment
The Italian Family Journey

  ALTHOUGH THE PROUD OFFSPRING of Italian-Americans, I was oblivious to the discrimination my family faced, though it’s known to have existed well into the ’50s and early ’60s when I was growing up in the industrial Northeast. Whatever else was going on, according to the photographic record above I was a pretty happy kid (obviously high on something). Of […]

My Single Father. My Broken Hero.

Posted by on Mar 23, 2015 in History | 4 Comments
My Single Father. My Broken Hero.

  JAMES FRANK STARR, the man in the photo above, was the single most stable and consistent influence in my early life. Here you see him as a young man of about 25, married with two small children. Only a few years later, and almost two decades before the film Kramer vs. Kramer would make the single father a modern character type, he would play that role. Not that […]