The Guilty Party

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Papa, My Father

I have just finished reading Papa, My Father, by Leo Buscaglia. The book was copyrighted in 1989, which makes it just over twenty years old. I have had it on my bookshelf for just a few years, prior to that it was at my sister's home and before that it belonged to our father. I think it was a Father's Day gift to him, but I honestly don't recall if it was me or my sister who gave it to him and there is no inscription in the front to help. That in itself is a clue that I was not the source. I was, and am, usually pretty good about putting a little something in gifted books, perhaps I have been practicing in case I ever find myself seated at a large folding table stacked high with copies of a book I have written, facing a line of readers, each of them eager to have me sully a copy or three with a sincere, personal note dashed off with one of the dozens of Sharpies my publicist has supplied me with. But in this book there was no "Happy Father's Day, 1989, Love Alan" , just one of those address labels one receives unsolicited from various charities stuck to the inside cover which identified Dad as the owner. That's what he used those labels for. I suppose the book could have even come from our mother; she was, as I recall, a fan of Buscaglia's, never missing the programs he had on PBS in the 80's.

The book is short, just 125 pages long, with a fair portion of those pages devoted to full page quotations from personages mostly recognizable to me (I've no idea who Carey Winfrey is or was, but his quote, which is the first to appear, reassured me greatly concerning the relative unimportance of father-son games of catch in assessing parental success.). But its impact is, I think, substantial. Buscaglia tells us much about his father, much about himself, and much about a life well lived. A life that had little in the way of what we would consider advantages, nothing in the way of a sense of entitlement, and much that illustrates the maxim You Get Out of Life What You Put Into It. What Leo's papa put into his life was his heart, his full attention, his willingness, no his earnest need, to learn and grow, and his wide-eyed wonder at the world and all its wonders, which he found every day, around every corner, and very especially in his own home and garden.

I will be reading Papa, My Father again. I need reminders like that on a regular basis.

Oh, and here is one of the quotes from the book. This one is from J.B. Priestly. Him I've heard of.

"To show a child what has once delighted you, to find a child's delight added to your own, so that there is now a double delight seen in the glow of trust and affection. This is happiness."

I like that.

Go Ye Forth and Do Likewise.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

All those Stillborn Manuscripts

I am sure that anyone here who fits into the Author column of life has had this conversation. The fact escapes that you are a writer. Almost inevitably the other party says, "Wow, so you've written a book?" "Guilty as charged." "You know, I've thought about doing that, you know, writing a book." "Uh-huh."

With the ease of e-publishing and companies like iUniverse and Authorhouse and YouBetchaWe'llPublishAnything* out there, the landscape, as well as the sky and that vast, seemingly unfillable space known as The Internet (or is it The Web? I can never get those two straight.) is brimming with literary masterpiece after literary masterpiece. Most of those masterpieces are, truth be told, really, really bad. But they keep getting cranked out and their authors keep bellowing for our attention. I can say this with immunity since I'm one of the bellowers.

But think for a moment--and just a moment, since doing it any longer will likely hurt and just may cause damage--about all of the books that never get written. My conservative estimate is that for every vampire chronicles tome tossed into the sunshine (poor thing), at least three or four hundred lie moldering in their creators' mental attics, never getting past the "Wow, what a great idea!" stage.

A part of me feels this is a shame. Chances are there are at least two or three really fine books that will never be written just because their intellectual property owners never place butt in chair and do the necessary paperwork.

But the rest of me is okay with this situation.

*I understand they have done very well with Ms. Palin's memoir.

Go Ye Forth and Do Likewise.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Reviews for Boomerang

Boomerang has been getting some nice reviews on Smashwords. And I am very happy to report that it is currently the Number Four Bestseller on Smashwords All Time List.

Here is what four readers have to say about it.

Maybe we'll do a recipe next time. I made a really good roast the other day, a rare accomplishment for me. Pun intended.

Here are the reviews!

Review by: Jessica Goedtel on Jan. 01, 2010 : star star star star star
Loved this book! Hutcheson does a great job creating a host of wacky characters all after the same object. I really enjoyed seeing all of the different plot lines and watching them all converge. I will definitely be recommending this one!

Review by: Bill on Dec. 21, 2009 : star star star star star
Alan Hutcheson has writen a wonderfully fun tale that will keep you reading all night. Ted and Jerry make a unique team on the hunt for a strange relic once owned by a super powerful Washingtom lawman; and if thats not enough they have a crossbow wielding albino after them to keep them from slowing down. The characters are weird and entertaining they will make you laugh. I can't wait for Alan's next book.

Review by: Donna Rail on Dec. 20, 2009 : star star star star
This very funny book had great characters and a fast-moving plot. The reader is led to wonder what could possibly be so special about the title object. A madcap quest takes the various groups of people closer and closer to the goal. Each of them will have very different reasons. Messed-up hotels, dodgy cars, and a slew of other details makes this novel seem like it could happen to you. I loved this book. It would make a great movie, too.

Review by: dreams on Nov. 20, 2009 : star star star star star
Great fun from start to finish. The various antics of the characters had me laughing out loud as I visualized the situations. I loved following the old lady sisters, Amelia and Doreen (they were so real that I could almost hear their conversations) and Ted and Jerry (that guy had more stuff he was into than poor Ted could keep up with). If that wasn't enough, add in the alphabet soup of government agencies and “the clothing optional former onion festival queen". I had no idea how it was going to end and couldn't wait to find out. This will definitely be on my to-be-read-again list.

A Bit About Me

My photo
I am a writer with a longtime interest in photography. I'm a dad, husband, photographer, and not very good guitarist. My first novel, Boomerang, is available in both paperback and ebook form at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and As a matter of fact, my second novel, The Baer Boys, can be found at exactly the same places.