Welcome to Cal's Cosmos

Allow me to roll out the red carpet and usher you into my world--the world of writing. I am a blessed man; a man blessed with the enjoyment of creating worlds on a lifeless sheet of paper or a blank computer screen.

You'll find many things at Cal's Cosmos: information about my long and passionate love affair with writing, my views on literature, my musical heritage and thoughts on current events.

Please, come back often to see what's happenin' on Cal's Cosmos.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

One is never happy with one's work!

I had the pleasure last night of reading a section of my novel to our writing group. Dawn, the facilitator of Hillcity Writers, orgnized a potluck dinner to celebrate my book contract. I'm still drooling over the variety of foods presented. The celebratory cake was an added bonus, even for this diabetic--and, yes, I did indulge.

Hillcity Writers is a varied group of talented people: novelists, playwrites, non-fiction writers and authors of children's literature. However, it is the size of their hearts and the joyfulness of their spirits that touch me.

Somehow I'd missed the fact that the potluck dinner was in my honor. When Vonnie came into the den, carrying part of my manuscript and teling me I was expected to read it, I was not exactly pleased. You see, I know how I am. If I read it to anyone, I knew I'd want to rewrite portions of it or would agonzie over a word choice or ask myself why I'd used a particular phrasing. A writer is never satisfied with his or her work. The urge to tweak it or modify elements nags the mind, niggles the spirit. "I can do that better. Let me fiddle with it, rewrite it one more time."

Still, giving my first reading of "The Phantom Lady of Paris" was an experience I'll remember forever. I've been blessed with many fond memories in my lifetime: a secure, loving home created by my mother, the first time I saw Paris, the birth of my son and every day of wonder that followed as he grew-up, his graduation from MIT, my first glimpse of Vonnie, the wonderful day in Berlin when I gained a daughter, Katrin, via marriage and on and on. If life is made richer with fond memories, I am a wealthy man.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Like Etta James, I'm singing, "At Last..."

After years of working on The Phantom Lady of Paris, I've been offered a contract. I have worked on this project on and off, in fits and starts, through sleepless nights and endless days since I spent a year living in Paris. At times another story would capture my attention and I'd stow away my chapters. Then a few years later, I'd pull the Phantom Lady from her resting place in the closet, blow off the dust and work on it some more, reliving my time in the City of Light.

While in Paris back in '68 and '69, I settled into a comfortable routine. Each morning after dressing, I'd run down three flights of stairs, sprint up the street to the neighborhood dairy to purchase a container of yogurt, step across the street to the bakery for a fresh croissant and return to 21 rue Galande to retrieve my copy of an London newspaper, Herald Tribune, from the mailbox. At that time, the mail was delivered twice a day and deposited into a communal box in the vestibule where the building's residents sorted through the pile of envelopes, advertisments, magazines and newspapers to find the items addressed specifically to them. Newspaper, notebooks, pencils and breakfast in hand, I'd walk a narrow street to Boulevard Saint Germaine until I reached my "writing cafe," Cafe Balkan. There I would eat my breakfast, sip my espresso and read my paper before settling into completing my writing quota for the day.

One morning when I sorted through the mailbox, my paper was not there. The address band was in the box, but not my treasured English newspaper. To say I was upset would be an understatement. Who would have stolen my paper? What a rotten thing to do! As I sat at Cafe Balkan, my temper cooling and my writer's imagination heating up, I thought...hey that would make a great idea for a story. A teacher on sabattical, much like me, has his paper pilfered. The thief posts a note on the bulletin board over the mailbox, signing it "The Phantom Lady of Paris." The novel's protagonist posts one in response, and a dialog via notes occurs....and then...

The Phantom Lady slowly revealed herself and I, in my meager ways, tried to capture her for a brief moment within the pages of a novel. A novel that will soon be published. At last...