A Massive Influence

I have by now a routine when I write. For one, I have found that I write best early in the day. The books you read have been largely written between about 5am and 10am.

Settling in Friday morning to write for a while, I was feeling a bit down amidst all that is going on around us. I am sure you have had your similar moments particularly in the last year and a half, too. I found my mind drifting back to years ago…

[Photo by me, 2021.]

I know I have been especially missing my mom and my uncle – both of whom died in 2015 – in recent months. Interestingly (to me, anyway) I developed an “independent” relationship in my twenties with my uncle that was fundamentally different from that of with my mother. And I don’t think my mother was ever entirely comfortable with that.

I had considered him quite “scary” when I was a teen and younger. I actually did not like him then very much and did not like seeing him at family gatherings. What I did not truly understand then, of course, were the major life burdens he then carried (including his marriage to my aunt was not going well and his police career had taken a turn that placed incredible abnormal pressures upon him) that had made him moody and distant and often obnoxious.

Once that difficult time in his life passed, I discovered he was actually suddenly a different man. I don’t think I will ever forget the first time I visited him after he and my aunt separated: he was living alone in a rented Rhode Island house, had by then written I think two novels (although I had not yet read anything he had written), and we (no other family were around creating tension) had a pleasant couple of days together. It was as if a massive weight had come off his shoulders. Looking back all these years later, that became the start of a “mature,” I guess, uncle/nephew relationship.

[From the dust jacket of one of my now late uncle’s 1990s novels. Photo by me, 2021.]

As I was back on Friday morning re-browsing that book above of his, I had decided I was going to for the first time – by taking a photo of a page – share an example on here of his writing. However, repeatedly I discovered I cannot post even an innocuous excerpt. The reason is everything I pulled and then “googled” came up in a Google Books search.

So I had to scrap that sharing idea because that search identifies the book… and its author… and then it is seen who he was. And if it is obvious who he was, it is more easily found out who I am. And I would like to keep my “pen name” as my “public persona” for as long as possible. (Although I do know that some of you already know who I really am. “Yes, I’m Batman.” LOL!)

That blog post annoyance aside, I was again also struck by how well he could write. His books were crime/police tales that were also at times disturbingly and realistically violent as well as sexually explicit: they were definitely NOT for under-18s. As you may know I had used him as the basis for the novelist “Uncle Bill” in my first three novels and he lived long enough to read my first two and therefore see “himself” – and objected not to even a word of his fictionalization by me. (They were my books after all, he had also made plain.)

[Excerpt from Passports: Atlantic Lives, 1994-1995, KIndle version. Copyright, 2013. Photo by me, 2021.]

He was indeed an integral part of the real-life basis for the tale. I think seeing it he was really flattered too at being – even if warts and all – fictionalizedas I had known him back then about 20 years earlier. That is one tiny example above. He never missed an opportunity to sign one of his books for a reader or for a potential one (especially, uh, a young lady. LOL!) .

Years before my own first book above was even a thought in my mind, he had suggested repeatedly that I try to write a novel. I kinda wanted to, but I was not sure I could and basically I just agreed with him that maybe I would mostly to get him off my back on the subject. In doing that regularly, though, he was a massive influence in persuading me to develop the courage to write.

In response to his proddings, I always told him that if I did try someday that I certainly couldn’t write the sort of stuff he wrote. After he read my first book (I was a nervous wreck as he did), we had a long chat about it over the phone. Likely remembering what I had said to him over and over, I recall he told me he definitely couldn’t write what I write, but that I had written what I felt I could write and that is what a writer is supposed to do. LOL!

Nothing too dramatic there, I suppose. Just a few thoughts and recollections for this Sunday morning. I hope you’re having a good weekend, wherever you are. 🙂

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