I think I speak for all my DEAD GUY colleagues when I say the events over this weekend in Orlando, FL are unthinkable, unpardonable and absolutely unacceptable. No matter who you might consider voting for it is clear that action needs to be taken. I know what I think should happen. Consider what you think and contact your legislator immediately to let him/her know you will not let the status quo stand. Too many families are crying today. It's not okay and it's not "the cost of doing business." It needs to stop.
This weekend saw my wife hit a birthday that had a 0 in it. Since I did not marry a person whose age was in the single digits and we have been married for 29 years, you can probably make a decent estimate of the number involved. That's not relevant.
The point is, whenever such an occasion comes around, I plan something a little more spectacular than I might if the numeral in question ended in a 3 or an 8. One year isn't any different than another really, but we do tend to mark these occasions more significantly than others. Once I organized a surprise birthday party and convinced friends to fly in from Cleveland, Chicago and Honolulu, among other places. The next time a 0 was involved, our children and I took my wife to Rome for a week.
You might have heard of the show. It's gotten a little buzz. So I bought the tickets last November and we sat in seats where only the lower half of the set was visible. They were the last four seats available in the theater. Last November. For a performance that took place this past Saturday.
Well, everything you've heard is true. The blend of hip hop beats, mile-a-minute rap and Broadway song styles is dazzling. The storyline is enlightening and presents history in a way that has already proven to be mesmerizing to young people of all stripes. My daughter teaches algebra to high school students in the Bronx. Not one of them can afford a ticket to Hamilton. If you think they haven't memorized the lyrics to the songs, you are mistaken.
The talent on that stage is astonishing and the inventiveness never stops. Two hours and forty-five minutes go by in a flash. As an audience member, you're moved and amused and devastated and any number of other emotions in rapid succession. I don't know how much play there has been with the facts of the first Treasury Secretary's life, but it rang true even as the style was completely 2016.
And that brought me back to the essence of storytelling and why a good story well told always works. Interest an audience, get their attention, make them care about what goes on. It will take you places and take them places. It will make a difference. It can change the way things are. And as we've seen most painfully, things can use some changing.
By the way, the latest story I have told, WRITTEN OFF, the first Mysterious Detective Mystery, is officially published today. It's gotten some very nice reviews and the readers who have contacted me seemed to have enjoyed it a lot. This is usually the post where I do my best to get you to buy a book, but there was too much going on. And a significant birthday treated to a significant story told in an unusual way.
(We also got as many friends and family as we could to video birthday messages and had my son the filmmaker edit them together into a DVD. And next March my wife and I are going to Hawaii. If the IRS asks you, it's for Left Coast Crime.)
You can't get tickets to Hamilton, but when you can, do. Or buy the soundtrack. But you might want to take a look at WRITTEN OFF, too. After all, there isn't just one story worth telling.
P.S.: In order to better celebrate (that is, shamelessly promote) the publication of WRITTEN OFF, I'll be visiting the book club and signing copies at Booktrader of... wait for it... Hamilton (NJ) Wednesday evening at 7:30. Please drop by if you're in the area--all are welcome!
Also, I'll be blogging all over the place this week (what a coincidence, no?):
Cats, Books and More Cats (spoiler alert–there’s no cat in the book): Week of June 12 Speculating on what I’d do if WRITTEN OFF happened to me)
Dru’s Book Musings: June 14 (Publication Day!) A Day in the Life of Rachel Goldman (Plus a book giveaway!)
Jungle Red Writers: June 15 (The Day After Publication Day!) About my dad, not about WRITTEN OFF (too much)
Interview at Shelf Pleasure (hey, we don’t name these things): June 17
Kings River Life: June 18 How do you publicize a nutty book?
Stuff & Nonsense: June 22 On characters doing what they want