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Friday, May 15, 2015

One Last Tribute for B.B.

I emerged for some air, as I worked my way through a couple of freelance projects, to the news that B.B. King was gone. The thought brought me a wave of sadness, and then I smiled.

VO: You got the blues, girl! 
[Sound FX: distant guitar riff]

There will be endless words written about the man, his music, and his gigantic influence on blues, rock, and even pop music for over half a century in an international stage.

Every decade of my life has a handful of B.B. King songs and each adds value to big moments – from friendships to breakups, from births to deaths, from laughter to tears, from life-affirming magic to soul-crushing disappointments.

His music has been there, in my life, since I was in the womb. In fact, he had a really great year right before I made my own debut and I know for a fact that I was exposed to it.

B.B.’s passing reminds me that some people I have loved dearly are no longer in my life and it amplifies the sadness. Still, in the back of my mind, I can hear the guitar wailing The Thrill is Gone… That was the first B.B. King song I ever learned, but it means so much more to me--it links me to him in so many ways, and to people I loved, and a time when I was the happiest and the most miserable I have ever been.

I wrote a piece about meeting B.B. and listening to him play at the Blue Note in New York, one of my favorite memories. In fact, the mini-memoir was one of the first things I put out when I started publishing, and the first I translated to Spanish.

I wish I would have the opportunity to do that again, to sit in a small room and listen to B.B. make deliriously and heartbreakingly beautiful music. I wish I could have another moment with him because the last one still touches me deeply.

And so, finally, Lucille is silenced because nobody will ever touch her the same way, and I feel her pain. The sound, though, the sound remains deep inside me because it is part of the soundtrack of my life.

I am grateful I could look the man in the eye and thank him, just thank him for the music. All my vinyl, CDs and digital files aside, it was that fleeting instant that means the most to me. But I am grateful to have the music to remember him, and my own living blues. I will be blasting the blues all weekend long, that's my tribute.

If you'd care to read an excerpt of my B.B. story, you can read it here: ( in Spanish)

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Dynamic Duo Excerpt

I have been writing and find that some ideas I had are bearing no fruit. This is not as upsetting as it sounds. I've always maintained that writing is a learning curve. As long as the words flow, it’s never wasted. Dialog and scenes, plot lines and settings not used remain in an inactive directory that may be accessed at any time -- and I have plucked details from rejected stories and inserted them into published works.

Most of my creative writing right now is about stories on the aftermath of infidelity. Some of it introducing characters, or dialog between antagonists, such as this moment when a woman runs into an ex-lover:
To follow the progress of the upcoming collection, visit

Unexpectedly captive in a hug I wasn’t sure I wanted to reciprocate, I felt myself grow cold.
“Of course,” said Josefine, “you know Bill.”
She did not mean to be malicious. She didn’t know we’d had an affair. She always suspected it was more than just a playful acquaintance.
“No,” I said and turned my back on him as I tried to walk past him. “I can’t say that I do with any degree of certainty.”
He grabbed for me, thinking we’d embrace or kiss, or something far more civil than my actual response. He looked baffled by my rebuff. And if I know him at all, he thought he deserved better, ‘I was a generous lover to her!’
I glared at him and at his hand on me and, instinctively, he let go.
“Mr. Green,” I acknowledged him, but the contempt dripping off it made it sound as if I were a tween addressing a substitute teacher.
“Of course you know me,” he said and smiled. I saw him restrain himself and rein it in before he called me “babe.”
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw his wife peek through from behind him. She had a neutral look but I knew she was more than just curious.
“I know you’re a liar,” I said softly, making her strain to hear what I was telling her husband. “But I assume you’ve enough sense of self-preservation to just drop it.”
For this particular story, I have the wife and former lover join forces to become a sort of surreal dynamic duo that goes out into the world to bring some twisted justice to it.

It may lead to nothing, but getting there is an interesting exercise nonetheless.

Doing research and further reading may lead to the conclusion that it has been done. This does not mean you can’t do it, it simply means that if you commit to doing it, you must improve on its treatment.

I’d written a few ridiculous scenes, but it is a delicate balance. Do I want to make it a humor piece or a plausible story? How much drama/tragedy ought there be in the collection?

Shall I try micro-stories or respect the characters enough to allow them a word or two beyond a Spartan, minimalist existence on paper?

Then I remember that I wanted to write at least one food porn story and I hear my inner editor beg, “Go long!”

Someone once told me that writing was like a drug, and certainly, it has a euphoric aspect. The art of creating possesses and transports you. And it may be that the idea in your head is far more ambitious than what you can deliver in reality. The beauty of it is that you can try and try again until you get good enough to pull it off.