Time to celebrate the Bicentennial.
With this post, I have officially hit 200 full posts in less than two years. Now, a simple search of the Archives will show many more than 200 pieces, but in selecting a mile marker, I decided to ignore the shorter ‘Asides’ – those quick hits that run down the side of the page. Nope – for this moment to be meaningful, the posts had to be those full-fledged magazine length articles that I’ve thrust upon you, my poor unsuspecting Constant Readers, over the last twenty months.
I touched upon this the other day. Since this Blog was established (in the last days of January 2006), I have written close to 700 pages of original content. As I’ve gone back and reread some of those older pieces, I am truly amazed at the shear breadth of original thought on display. Now, I don’t mean to beep my own horn but I have to say, I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished. As a Dad, as a husband, as a career man, as a homeowner, as a friend, as a family member – I’ve got a quagmire of responsibilities – as do y’all. Yup, we all know the struggle. And yet, somehow, I found the inspiration to journey online and clue you all in on what goes on in my head – in your Ed.
700 pages in less than two years!!! There’s my Great American Novel. Or, at least, Several So-So Novellas. Whatever it is, I’m proud of it.
And I’m eternally grateful that I’ve found you – my Constant Readers – as well as new visitors and friends. I’ve written about this in the past (and if you follow one of the links below – you’ll get a little peak behind the curtain) but there have certainly been times in my life where I’ve role-played the hypothetical ‘Two Roads Diverged’ scenario. (It seems to happen a lot more as those calendar pages fly with wild abandon.) What if I took that Journalism Internship in college and skipped the routine summer job at Papa Gino’s? What if I chased that nagging notion to Hollywood – in a bid for screenwriter glory – instead of accepting the Nine-to-Five at Putnam? What if I hunkered down and finished one of the five novels/screenplays I have in various stages of unrest instead of playing one more round of Halo?
Of course, the ‘Two Roads Diverged’ scenario is a slippery slope. You choose La La Land over the finer points of AML legislation and the next thing you know – to paraphrase the Talking Heads – This is not my beautiful house. This is not my beautiful wife. How did I get here?
Yes, it’s a classic morality play. And you know what, the road I’ve chosen is MY road less traveled. My choices have made all the difference and as you’ve no doubt gleaned from reading these posts – especially the pieces where I call off the snark attack and let you all see the sappy, sentimental soul that resides within – I really do feel like I have it pretty damned good.
But – there is that lingering itch – and thanks to the wonders of Modern Technology, this site allows me to scratch often. And seeing as how this is the weird, wild world of the Web, you’re all allowed a peak. If that’s your thing, you sick bastards!!!
Anyway, for this 200th post, I wanted to provide a Top Ten list of my favorite pieces. I know this somehow smacks of narcissism but when thinking this through I finally threw my hands in the air and said, F#$k It. Why not be proud? So often, we dance around our talents and try to diminish them for fear of looking like a braggart. I don’t lord this over anyone else nor do I feel like I’m ‘The Man’. In fact, I’ve said on many occasions, I think I suck when it comes to writing, at least in terms of proper form and function. But, I do feel like I have a ‘Voice’ and for that, I’m proud to air it out on these pages.
So, for this Top Ten List, I have provided you with links back to the pieces as well as a little description of why a particular piece called back to me. These are culled from the full body of work – some were printed last year – maybe others, last week. At the end of this year – as I did last December – I plan on providing a Top 10 for 2007. There may be some repeats. There’d better be – otherwise, I’m on the downward spiral. Anyway, without further ado, here is the list.
Oh, and in case I haven’t mentioned it before… Thank You!!!
10. Where the Wild Things Are… Dead! (originally posted February 2, 2006)
As with everything I post on this site, this entire story is true – every sordid detail. Of course, where necessary, I have applied a little poetic spackle for dramatic/comedic effect. In this post, I documented my mid-90’s stint as the Angel of Pet Death – the Anti-Doolittle. Recounting a fateful house-sitting excursion that ended when the bodies hit the floor, this creepy little ditty would send chills coursing through my soul… if I had one.
9. Kicking and Screaming (originally posted March 3, 2006)
My reaction (and tribute) to former Patriots kicker, Adam Vinatieri, and the news that he had signed with the Colts. I also touch upon those Boston athletes I consider un-boo-able – no matter where their agents take them. I’m real proud of this piece, in particular the section on Curt Schilling and the lifetime pass his ‘Red Badge of Courage’ bought him.
8. Along Came a Ryder (originally posted June 13, 2007)
This is one volume in a continuing series of posts I published under the banner – The Adventures of Gutt and Pole. These posts have absolutely nothing to do with comic books other than the fact that I typically apply my mad Photoshop skillz (you know it’s serious when you employ the hip ‘z’) to mock up a comic for the piece. Similar to the Wild Things piece, this is a true tale that I have funneled through my skewed vision in a bid to bring some semblance of mythic to a mundane slice of my life. In this edition, I chronicle my first forays into the great wide world, post-college.
7. Leaning Tower (originally posted February 17, 2007)
I chose this because it shows some ability to extend myself – to branch out into more disciplined, critical realms of writing. (Once upon a time, I had a job reviewing movies and writing features for the UMASS Amherst Daily Collegian, so the impetus is most likely there.) Anyway, this isn’t a critique of a particular novel; it is an editorial on the declining state of Stephen King’s epic Dark Tower series. I started reading those books when I was 13 years old and my eyes were wide open and by the time I closed the book shut on King’s fantasy world, at the age of 35, I wished the journey had reach a more promising destination. Read my travelogue to see exactly where this trip went South.
6. Hard Times at Rockland High (originally posted February 7, 2006)
Now, here is a sordid tale. This true slice of pulp non-fiction is ripped right from my hard-scrabble beginnings on the mean streets of Rockland, MA. Again, the contents of this shocking expose of yours truly are “mostly true” although dramatic license is taken in some places to amplify the entertainment value. Read on for the true tale of one bad mutha’.
5. Top 5 Favorite Summer Movie Memories (originally posted May 30, 2007)
Another recurring entry on my site is the ‘My Favorite Things’ series of posts. I will often pick a theme (favorite scary movies, favorite film endings, etc) and then fill you in on why my fave five made the cut. In this post, I decided to go a bit off the beaten path and provide some back story to my Top 5 Favorite Summer Movie Memories – not favorite films, mind you, but the five movies that for some reason are tattooed upon my brain due to the surrounding real-life events or feelings that remain forever wed to these films. Some of the films don’t have much shelf life but the memories will never spoil. My Number 1 on this list is especially near and dear to my heart (once you get past the image I posted).
4. Half Life (originally posted June 6, 2007)
Here it is – the Two Roads Diverged post I alluded to above. You could also call this the ‘Oh, Woe is Me’ piece. On the dawn of my 35th Birthday, at the epicenter of my half-life, I found myself taking stock of my station in life. By the way, that’s me above along with my two sisters and my Mom (the youngest sis is in the pic, she’s just hiding in the belly).
3. The Streak (originally posted August 29, 2007)
Another Gutt & Pole installment, this one gives you a sneak peek at a little intramural collegiate activity – my days as an amateur streaker at UMASS Amherst. Yup, in this one I let it all hang out.
2. In Memoriam – Nana Pearl (originally posted August 28, 2007)
This summer, my beloved grandmother – my Nana Pearl – passed away. I was asked to write and deliver her eulogy. This post reprints that tribute and stands in honor of a beautiful person… a wonderful grandmother… a great protector.
1. The Impossible Dream (originally posted August 24, 2006)
This was a paean to the family – just me dropping a few choice words on how lucky I really have it. This is the one that years down the road, no matter how many times I revisit it, will never fail to coax a tear.