Confessions From a Moving Van review

Confessions From a Moving Van by Amy Neftzger My rating: 4 of 5 stars Amy Neftzger may have invented a new genre, “van-tasy.” Her collection of stories is tied together by the narrator, a van who/that is omniscient. His or her or its confession is the last story in the collection and cleverly ties together […]

It Takes a Tribe

A tribute to my Tango Tribe It is Thursday night at Verdi Club, San Francisco, where I dance tango once a week for shear pleasure. I am enjoying a rare moment of sitting out the music on the sideline. But it is an uplifting moment. The music of DJ Polo Talnir fills me and I […]

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, 2013

tango christmas – May you feel the stillness in the dancing and the dancing in the stillness, the gifts of life.

About La Pista Tango Salon

Tango dance salon, La Pista, 766 Brannan St. San Francisco, CA

Tom Wolfe, Patron Saint of creative non-fiction

An interviewer, Steve Winn, asked Tom Wolfe what did he find different about writing fiction vs. non-fiction, as Tom Wolfe, who began his career as a journalist, is a master of both. At first Wolfe said, there was little difference for him as a writer. Then he added, that as a writer of non-fiction, “you can’t pull punches,” meaning you have to be brutally honest.

Tango’s Five Basic Steps for Beginning Dancers

In five weeks, get the five basics of Argentine tango: walking, forward ochos, back ochos, the cruzada (or cross), and the molinete (or windmill or grapevine). Be able to dance a full tanda (set of 3–4 tango songs) by the end of the series. Series of five: $45 if paid before January 1, 2013. $10 […]

The Last Cannoli – Second Helpings!

Here is the new cover for my upcoming e-Book release of THE LAST CANNOLI! Watch for it soon on e-Book distributors everywhere.

Creative Non-Fiction Workshops

January 15, 22 & February 5 – 6:45–8:45 p.m. SEE NEW TWO-FOR-ONE OFFER BELOW! Mechanics Institute Library Board Room, 4th floor 57 Post St. @ Montgomery San Francisco, CA – What Participants Say Info: 415-425-XXXX; $125 for all three sessions; $110 if you have participated in any of my workshops; drop-in to just one class: […]

La Cuccìa – Santa Lucia’s dish

La cuccia he quick method is below. I prefer the real thing, using whole wheat berries. This year I’m using hard red wheat berries from Whole Foods (photo). In a good stainless steel pot, I will soak about 2 cups of the whole grains in plenty of water to cover over night. They will swell. You can leave them out or refrigerate if you prefer. Then, I will simmer them on low heat for up to 2 hours until they are cooked—could take longer.

Consider St. Lucy’s Solution

Back when a prayer and a song and a hymn and a story were one and the same and when Sicily was still known as Zizily, the Siciliani celebrated the harvests of the three branches of life—the grape, olive, and wheat. For the grape harvest they mixed warm blood of the lamb with the first vintage of the season. For the olive picking, a live serpent was entwined around a branch to guard against bad fruit. And for the wheat harvest, the peasants danced the tarantella wearing blindfolds in honor of the great Santa Lucia. One of their favorite feast days was for Santa Lucia a woman with beauty of classic proportions. Her eyes were so beautiful they lit up the night when there was no moon.

The Tango Singer

I can still recall the virtual experience of this book in the end, as if I myself were lying at the bottom of a stairwell staring into the dark void, watching the universe expand from the Big Bang in all directions. Perhaps it was the Borges story that imprinted this imagery on my brain. The Tango Singer put me in the same cosmos.

The Scalpel and the Soul, Allan J. Hamilton

This book is a fast-paced read. I recommend Hamilton’s memoir to those reviewers who seem to not like memoirs that are too revealing about the author

Toxic Stories, how to purge them

With all the skimming of Web stories, surfing the Net, speed reading my mind gets to feeling so gorged, I long for the virtual-room equivalent of the Romans’ vomitorium.

Deconstructing Mary

We discovered how Karr could break rules—going off-story and on tangents but that she did it so well, as one reviewer put it, “her narrative meanders through tangents that sometimes more entertaining than the point she’s getting to.” We also admired Karr’s “time management.” Again, borrowing from another reviewer: “schoolyard rape gets little more than a footnote. Karr faces it down as she does cancer, madness, alcoholism and a vicious dog—with humor and a scrappy genius for survival.”

Perish or Publish?

Then be prepared for editors with notions, who often know less than you, write less than you, but who are totally necessary and worthy of being listened to. You want to learn to dialogue, to discourse with your writing, so you will have to answer what seem like silly questions about your meaning and intent. And over explain things.

Flash Fiction (511 words)

Blood Shadow Entered in NPR three-minute fiction contest. Rules included the word count had to be 600 words or less and about a president. I’m a pitbull on the pantleg of popportunity. George holds off to the perimeter, sharpening his diction. “It’s a remarkable piece of equipment,” Karl says brightly. His eyes glance off Colin […]

A Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole My rating: 5 of 5 stars The reader either gets this author or is bored to a DNF (did not finish). I re-read this book every few years. What I love is the character Reilly, the way Toole captures the culture and times of the 1960s like […]

Solar Light, Lunar Light book review

Solar Light, Lunar Light: Perspectives in Human Consciousness by Howard Teich My rating: 5 of 5 stars Howard Teich’s groundbreaking new book, SOLAR LIGHT, LUNAR LIGHT, Perspectives in Human Consciousness, courageously challenges the cherished assumption that masculine and feminine traits represent opposing forces. In fact, Dr. Teich shows how that entrenched belief has led to […]

The Gammage Cup, Carol Kendall

The Gammage Cup by Carol Kendall My rating: 5 of 5 stars I read this book at about age 11 or 12 and it helped shape my understanding and attraction to society’s outcasts. Perhaps it urged me always to think outside the box and to live most of my life in unconventional, but personally shaped, […]

The Grass is Singing, Doris Lessing

The Grass is Singing by Doris Lessing My rating: 4 of 5 stars I’m not big on mysteries or whodunnits and this novel has a dose of both genres. But given that Doris Lessing is the author, you get not only an edge-of-your-seat read but a deepening understanding of the Apartheid culture of South Africa. […]