THE PLACE IS MIAMI, THE TIME IS 1967, and Goodwin DeFoe's gawky teenaged body and relentlessly cynical mind can find no relief--until he picks up a guitar. When Chuck Buffington, a womanizing musician, teaches Goodwin about jazz guitar, he finally finds something that lifts his spirit and sends him spiralling outside his life. But what happens when the student clearly surpasses the teacher? What happens when even Goodwin's music can't insulate him from the violent drama his parents act out every night?
Shaped and colored by the music and culture of the 1960's, ASTRAL PROJECTION is rich with dark humor, snappy vernacular, and piercing observation.
I write all my stories for a single purpose, which is to explore a certain state of loneliness and the way it operates in human relations.
From his kitchen window, Snowden watched the Corvette grind up the driveway and skid across the front yard until it stopped just behind his truck. The driver got out, and the dust settled around him as he drummed on the roof of the car like he was playing the bongos. The evening breeze blew softly, pushing right into his face.
“My God it stinks,” he said.
The girl on the passenger side put her hand to her forehead and said, “Well, what did you expect, Ray?”
Bed of Nails
Late at night I’m sitting on the patio drinking coffee with one of the café owners. We’re under a maple tree that’s just dropped all its flowers, thousands of yellow blossoms lying on the pavement like a skirt a girl has loosened and let fall around her ankles. Leonard is talking about this year’s crew of waitresses, some of whom are new while others are old hands. I say “old” but you must understand they’re all quite young. The owners only hire women to wait table, and to get the job you have to be good-looking and fast on your feet. Leonard has a full red beard that he squeezes as he talks.
“Have you checked out Nikki II yet?” he says.
Heard Melodies Are Sweet
They do a little blow before going over, Hoxford the famous defense attorney and the girl who calls herself Jessie. He’s been with her once or twice already and finds her amusing, amusing enough he’s asked for her specifically this time around.
She has straight blonde hair that reaches halfway down her back, which is standard issue for one of his dates, as are the regular features and flawless complexion. What kills him is her voice, low and a little squeaky like a pubescent boy’s. There’s a film actress has a voice like that whose name Hoxford can never remember.
He came to visit me once, showing up unannounced at my house in Miami, on a day early in July of 1966, the year after his father and I had our parting of the ways. It was in the morning from what I remember, a time when I didn’t get a lot of visitors, and I was busy packing since I was leaving that afternoon for New Orleans. I opened the door in answer to the bell, and there he was on the other side of the screen. I guess something of surprise showed in my face. He looked to the side, hands on his hips.
“Hey, Mr. Warner. I was in the neighborhood and thought I’d drop by for a little visit, say hello.”
The Other Side of the Screen
We just got rid of a problem neighbour, and I must say I was delighted to see her go. It started sporadically—the parties, the cars, the shouting matches and blasting stereos—and then it became a nightly occurrence. It also became evident at some point that the woman was not just living her life in the way she found most pleasant, but that she was taking a sadistic delight in tormenting her immediate neighbours, the families who had the misfortune of living on either side of her.
Book Review- Journal. Volume 1: 1837-1844. The Writings of Henry David Thoreau.
A few years after the death of Henry David Thoreau, his friend and biographer, William Ellery Channing, admitted that he had “never been able to understand what he meant by his life. Why was he so disappointed with everybody else?” Channing had probably been too close to Thoreau to be able to interpret his life accurately. The man who, in a book called Walden, sent out his cockcrow over the roofs of the world had by all accounts an odd personality, compounded of equal parts sarcasm and sincerity.
Should Beggars Be Grateful?
Early in Ulysses, a thought occurs to Leopold Bloom that in a way has come to define the city where he lived: “Good puzzle would be cross Dublin without passing a pub.” No doubt, just as great a challenge would be to try and cross Toronto without meeting a single panhandler. Even now, more than 15 years after passage of the so-called Safe Streets Act, Premier Mike Harris’s lamentable attempt to eliminate all forms of “aggressive panhandling,” the richest metropolis in Canada remains what it always has been, a city of beggars.