It was just 3 in the afternoon, and I’d returned from a trip to San Diego, and my body craved relaxation, but not in the house, where suitcases remained unpacked, and dishes to be washed.  I walked down to La Fonda Hotel and sat at a table in the woodsy and old leather bar.  The smell of tequila and chips permeates the room, so I flowed with the

ambiance and ordered guacamole and a margarita. Sipping slowly, I took notice of the other people around me; old men in Spanish colonial chairs staring into the hotel activity, the reception desk staff, fudging with room reservations, and the lovely waiter, who bowed each time he came to my table. I hadn’t planned on thinking about the script I’m working on, and just as I was unwinding my limbs from the plane ride and trip from Albuquerque, ideas started boiling up like bubbles about this script. I panicked because I didn’t have my journal, or even a pen.   Ah! the gift shop.. …

” Do you have a writing pad?”

“What kind?”

“With lines.”

” We have a few.”

” I’m in a hurry, anything will do.”

” What’s the rush?”

” I’m a writer,”

” Oh, I get it.” The clerk rushed through the transaction, and as I was about to leave I remembered,  

” And a pen.”

She handed me the one she was writing with, and off I went.

Seated with my tools, I scribbled the thoughts as fast as they entered my still sober self, and when I finished, I took to writing about my surroundings.  Yes, this is a place to bar write. I’ve observed Sam Shepard in several places writing through a meal. He has the distinction of not being bothered, but if he is, he draws a line around his space with his power pupils, one glance, and you’re blown off his planet. Sam does not always  position his power pupils to defer interruption, I’ve seen him put his pen down and engage the stranger. His eyes turn to a likeness of the Mustang horse, wild and waiting for tenderness.

 You have to practice this art, because invariably someone will ask if you are a writer, if you are published, and then they tell you they want to be a writer too.  I don’t have power pupils so I put on my head-set and if necessary place  my phone to the ear, if I am in the middle of a superlative sentence that I cannot stop.  You also have to monitor your drinking, because I’ve learned more than one glass, is not going to read like it did while you were drinking.  



Don't Go Broke. After the War Buy More War Bon...
Don’t Go Broke. After the War Buy More War Bonds – NARA – 534094 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Eat less, drink more, and write. I know that’s bad advise. It’s mine.  We have to own how we absorb the tumbles and falls. We all have them. I mean, there is no answer, no universal answer, or political party, that will bring you to that point.

You just have to find the path that you belong on.Mine is all about gambling.

I love to be tested. Isn’t that crazy?

If I had known that I was seated next to the Mafia Boss of Los Angeles, then I would have listened with sharpened ears, and repeated bits of explosive headline blood curdling stories to my girlfriends. That would have placed myself, my father and my friends in jeopardy. An informant from the government may tag me on the way home from school, or tag one of my friends, or an enemy of the Boss, may pick me up from school and not bring me back. Everyone is suspect: an informant, or weak enough to become an informant, a loose lipped wise guy, a bragging connected businessman, a friend of a friend, a cousin of a brother, and a daughter of a gangster. We are all potential targets of this organization known as the Mafia, Mob, syndicate, Costa Nostra, or our thing. Growing up in this circle of gamblers, killers, fixers, enforcers, bookies was like growing up in a novel, it was a fictional tale all the way, until the end of my father’s life. There is a drop down board that appears every time I write about our family business that reads, “ How dare you open my life to the world, what do you know? You know nothing little sweetheart, and that’s the way I planned it. “ “There’s no such thing as the Mafia! If you ever mention that word again, you’re leaving this house!” I melted down to the floor, and he was ominous as God standing over me. I would never mention the word again, I promised, and I would never believe in the Mafia. So, I became a writer of our secret interior life.