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1000 Carrie’s Within Reach

Well, we’ve sold over 950 copies of In Carrie’s Footprints, at least according to my rough calculations, and most of them in paperback. I lowered the price of the ebook and did a little Facebook promo to see if we could hit it, but didn’t quite get there.

People don’t realize how few copies of most books actually sell. It turns out that a thousand sales is a rare thing, as in not even 10% of published books get there. I’m not talking self-published, I’m talking all books.

We have an event in October where 150 people are expected to attend. We’re gonna break a thousand that night, if not sooner. And keep on pushing.

One of these days I might even try a little marketing. And come November, Warren turns 96. I’m looking forward to singing happy birthday in the schoolhouse one more time.


Somewhere Over the Rainbow

As I write this, I can hear my daughter, Anna, singing somewhere nearby through the walls. She’s singing, “Somewhere over the rainbow.” It sounds very nice. Meanwhile, Andrea is downstairs scrubbing loudly at dishes. Today she turned 51.

And I am pecking at illuminated keys.

Last night we had a rain storm and our yard became a flood. This was in the evening. Earlier in the day our pool had been clear and blue, a Caribbean Sea. After the flood, the pool was a brown pond and still is now. Horrible. But then I think of Ellicott City and I guess I can clean out the muddy pool and not complain too much about it.

This clip has over 17 million views.


A Blog is a terrible thing to waste

What we do is we get old and swallowed up by life and forget who we are. I know I did. Or maybe we don’t forget who we are, we forget who we were. And who we were and who we are now are just stations on the road to who will be at some indefinite end point when we’ll stop being anything at all.

Elon Musk thinks we’re all most likely living inside a computer simulation, that each of us is a deluded functioning pseudo-consciousness, or maybe not pseudo at all, but just a consciousness in a game that doesn’t know it’s living in a game.

Now of course, I should have some cool graphic to illustrate this whole thing, because all blog posts need a picture, right? But I don’t. Perhaps a song.

What I’m really getting at is that a blog is a terrible thing to waste and that I should write more. But there’s always that nagging question.

About what? And why?


The French Resistance in Action

This stuff is amazing. Well, I mean, if you’re me. But really. You gotta watch it. I don’t think most Americans have any clue about French history or war in general. That’s why there’s so much loose tough talk.


Paris Has Seen Darker Days

Some three years later, if I recall correctly, these same proud young marching men would end up here. Stalingrad. And they would march again.

And then, “The heart of European civilization is beating strong again. Paris is free.”


I’ve Been Working on Me Cockney

And this guy’s been a great ‘elp.


Now Imagine if John Was Here Today

What would he say? At least we know what Paul would say to him. While strumming with his left thumb.

I once read an interview with John Lennon. It might have been Rolling Stone. It might have been Playboy. But Neil Young was singing “it’s better to burn out than to fade away.” And John Lennon criticized him for it. He didn’t buy the burned-out rock star thing. Not long after that, Mark David Chapman shot John four times in the back.

After the 9/11 attacks, there was a special concert, and Neil sang John’s song.


If George Were Here Today

What would he say?

And would his guitar gently weep? Did you know that Eric Clapton played the solo on While My Guitar Gently Weeps on the White Album? No one recorded with the Beatles up till that point, as far as I know, but George brought Eric in. Clapton wasn’t credited on the album, though.

So he’s got Elton John on piano, Phil Collins and Ringo on drums, Jeff Lynne on rhythm guitar, and Eric Clapton on lead. It’s amazing to watch Eric and George trading leads when you consider that Eric sort of stole George’s wife, Pattie Boyd. Not to mention Ringo being up there, considering that George had an affair with Ringo’s wife.

George wrote Something for Pattie. Eric wrote Layla for her. And then there’s Have You Ever Loved a Woman, a great blues song that Eric sang with Derek and the Dominoes. Well, and after that, too, but I believe that when he first sang it, he was telling a true story.

Have you ever loved a woman
So much you tremble in pain?
Have you ever loved a woman
So much you tremble in pain?
And all the time you know
She bears another man’s name.

But you just love that woman
So much it’s a shame and a sin.
You just love that woman
So much it’s a shame and a sin.
But all the time you know
She belongs to your very best friend.

Have you ever loved a woman
And you know you can’t leave her alone?
Have you ever loved a woman
And you know you can’t leave her alone?
Something deep inside of you
Won’t let you wreck your best friend’s home.


Play it, Sam

I remember every detail. The Germans wore gray, you wore blue.

If she can stand it, I can. Play it.


The Last Time I Saw Paris

I believe it was 1985 and we had little red cockroaches in our room. And that made it hard to sleep.

Yesterday some bad people shot the place up.


My Back Pages

My back pages sounds like it might have something to do with writing. I’m just putting it here because I love it. Besides, I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.


Nobody But Me

Nobody can do the shingaling, like I do
Nobody can do the skate, like I do
Nobody can do the boogaloo, like I do
Nobody can do the Philly, like I do

So I spent 14 months writing a book that’s been out a year now. Maybe it’s a good book. People seem to like it, but what people haven’t done is continue to buy it. Maybe that’s not the book’s fault. Maybe that’s my fault. You see, for the most part, books don’t sell themselves. You’ve got to sell them and that’s hard work and not necessarily fun. In fact, you’re supposed to do all kinds of stupid stuff that I don’t really feel like doing, because I’m not really a pushy guy, and I’m shy about talking about my writing. And maybe I’m even lazy.

Which brings me, I’m not sure why, to the Human Beinz. But first, let’s listen to their song, and their amazingly incredible use of the word, “no.”

Man, when I was 13 I loved that song. Back in eighth grade in Northeast Philadelphia, we had these parties every Friday night, or maybe on Saturdays. It was like a circuit, this whole crew of kids, and someone always had a party, and they played post office. (I didn’t. I saw no point to going into a closet and kissing some randomly selected girl for five minutes.) Mostly we danced. We danced to Mickey’s Monkey by Smokey Robinson. We danced to Kicks by Paul Revere and the Raiders. We slowed danced to Cherish by the Association and What Becomes of the Broken Hearted by Jimmy Ruffin.

We danced to Simon Says by the 1910 Fruitgum Company, or some such outfit, and my favorite, everyone’s favorite, was Nobody But Me by the Human Beinz, who, for some reason, I thought were black, till I just found this wonderful video.

I should have started this blog ages ago, you see, because that’s one of the things writers are supposed to do nowadays if they want to sell books or get agents to sell books to big publishers who will then sell their books for them. (Well, in theory and myth.) They have to build a writer’s platform. They have to have 80,000 friends on Facebook, and 9 million twitter followers, and a blog filled with wit and wisdom and comments.

Well, you know, man, it strikes me as pretty stupid that every writer on earth is out there building platforms and cultivating social media presence and doing the Philly and the boogaloo and the shingaling, because that’s the only way they’re going to sell any books.

And I got a sore back from sitting too much. Plus writing hurts, not in some existential way, but in the lower regions of the spine. Plus I got a bad attitude and a severe case of not so much writer’s block, but just this paralyzing idea that I needed a strategy, a focus, something other than self-aggrandizement, or a feigned interest in the works of other writers, or a keen focus on civil rights, which is an important topic in my book, In Carrie’s Footprints. I convinced myself I needed a purpose and a plan other than just yapping so I could get a few fans and sell a few books and maybe impress a few agents with my writer’s platform.

So now nobody buys my book and it’s time that maybe I rouse myself from my malaise and do something about it. Besides, I like writing, just like I liked Nobody But Me and doing the skate and the boogaloo all those years ago when my back didn’t hurt and the only thing that did was my heart, for reasons I won’t get into.

And so here I lie, pecking at my Mac on my back, sometimes dictating the words and laughing at how the Mac interprets them, but writing at last, because suddenly it dawned it me. It’s my blog, and I’ll cry if want to.

Hit the Ibuprofen, hit the keys, and write whatever the hell you want.

And if nobody but me likes it, then nobody but me likes it.

Consider it therapy. And maybe it’ll make me happy. But then again, I’ve heard that happiness is just an illusion filled with sadness and confusion.

Those are some mighty fine lyrics. The only problem with the song is that it ends.

That was Leslie Gore singing Cry If I Want To. She passed away in February of 2015.

Jimmy Ruffin died in 2014.

And the Human Beinz? I have no idea.


Greetings and Salutations

BookCover5_25x8_BW_280Hello, folks, this is the cover of my new book, In Carrie’s Footprints. That’s Carrie on the cover when she was a 16-year-old girl and about to go off and get married, have 12 kids, and live a pretty tough life. Her mom was a slave, and when it came to surviving on pretty much nothing, Carrie was, perhaps, a bit of a genius.

And the little boy down below her, that’s my friend, Warren. I’m not sure how old he was that day, probably 7 or 8, but I’m sure the picture was taken in the late twenties.

Hard to believe that little dude is 94 years old now. But he is, and if you’d like to meet him, I just might be able to arrange it for you.


A Farewell to Mae

Back in November of 2014, three of Carrie Dorsey’s 12 kids were still alive. There are only two now, but in this little video that Richard Taylor shot at the old schoolhouse in Sykesville, you can see the three of them together, I believe, for the last time. Up on stage are Warren and Rosie.  In the back of the room is Mae.

Not long after this day, Mae Dorsey passed away, but here you will hear Warren sing and you will see Mae smile.