ON THE BOOK SHELF NEAR YOU
I am a book reader and have been since a little kid growing up on the gritty streets of Roxbury and the South End. As I grew out of childhood, my love for reading morphed into a love for writing. I was first published in the old Boston Sunday Advertiser on March 3, 1968 still only 19 years old.
While attending Boston State College, I signed up for the campus newspaper and a writing star was born. Since then, I write and write and write. It has become my life’s passion.
You don’t make lots of money writing so I fell back on a career in law enforcement that lasted 28 years. You gotta eat you know and at the same time, I found more and more ideas for my writing as a police officer. I remember back in my younger days as a cop, my co-workers nicknamed me “Joseph Wambaugh Jr.” after the police author who also wrote episodes of NBC-TV’s “Police Story.”
I love reading non-fiction because that kind of work inspires me. I do however like fiction too. Over the years I have known many authors who tell me I have a book to write but I haven’t discovered what that book should be. I turn out commentaries every single week, some are humorous, some are newsy, some are on sports but my real love are my commentaries on life passing by us from endless sunrises to sunsets.
One of my favorite stories is the one about my six years working at the City Spa Cafeteria in Worcester across from old Boston City Hospital back during my college era days when I was 20-something and full of ideas. Twice I have written about my adventure behind the counter and of all the characters who enriched my life every work day. Some writers aspire to write the Great American Novel, I always aspire to tell stories that have lessons for my readers. Doing this you cross lines without ideologies getting in the way. There is no conservative or liberal way to describe everyday life and how it impacts each of us and all those around us.
A few years back, I became friends with Tommy MacDonald from the Harvest on Vine food pantry and discovered he had the same passion for writing as I did. I just found out he has put the finishing touches on his fourth and latest mystery novel and it is currently in the editing process. I also discovered that my friend of some 40 years, Cookie Giordano has now discovered her writing passion and is in the process of writing a murder mystery that centers around Boston City Hall. Politics and crime? I can hardly wait to get that book in my hands.
Most recently, a close friend gave me a copy of “Mission Hill,” a great Boston crime novel that begins outside Doyle’s Cafe in Jamaica Plain. It has politics, law enforcement and many local references that make it an easy read for Bostonians. The author is Pamela Wechsler who comes from Greater Boston but now lives in Los Angeles. She’s a graduate of both Tufts and B.U. School of Law, a former prosecutor and a longtime criminal consultant for Law & Order, Law & Order Criminal Intent among other TV series.
I don’t know Pam Welchsler but I do know Tommy and Cookie and their publishing news is pushing me closer to doing my own “story” about everyday life and how each of us is part of such a story. Nothing grand but with lessons to be learned and lessons to pass on to other reading it. It is one thing to live life but another to understand its meaning. From sunrise to sunset we live our lives and everyday we begin again. If we learn anything in this life of ours, it is to understand what our life has meant to us and those around us. It won’t be a murder mystery except if I killed some dreams along the way.
My book when written will delight, mystify, entertain and baffle its readers. How did I get this far in life and not see a story that needs to be written? We all get epilogues at the end of our time here but the story of the meaning of life starts at birth and gets written every day. Our days are its chapters and our lives are the whole book.
I desire to write that book today and share it with you.