About Sentiments of Blue
Set in a Michigan factory, the title story takes readers inside a workplace dominated by a ruthless bully and his cronies. While explaining the actions taking place around him, it becomes clear that the narrator yearns to escape the blue-collar life handed down to him from his father. “Perfect Game” unfolds during a minor league baseball game with Chi-Chi Gomez on the mound, a fearless pitcher who never fails to brush a few batters back from the plate–a space he considers his personal property. Along with other stories, the book also features original poems including “Uncle Nardo’s Store,” “My Father’s Foot,” and “The Malediction of Miss Holstein.”
Read an Excerpt!
The Careers of My Mother
When I was a boy
she was a secretary.
Her nights were filled
with filing groceries,
taking phone calls,
around his office
to remind him of things
he always forgot.
Then, when I turned fourteen,
My mother earned her law degree.
As a defense counselor,
she became a dazzling chief litigator,
furious with her polished tongue,
bullying us with verbal assaults,
clearing his name with brilliant oration
while drilling her steely finger into my chest
with every point she made!
Today, she’s a nurse.
From the den I watch her
slowly lean over to turn him,
stroke his hair, cut the drool that sways,
from the corner of his mouth,
kiss his hand that trembles
between the tubes that feed him.
Thursday Thirteen – ThirteenThings about Garasamo Maccagnone
- In high school, my parents moved the family in the middle of the school year. At my new school, my counselor chose the classes I would attend. To my dismay, I was placed in a 9th grade English class with an old school task master named Carol Cross. Well attired and always well prepared, Mrs. Cross would wait twenty minutes, in total silence, until you coughed up a reason for not having your homework finished for her class.
- As I was able to choose my own classes after my freshman year, I made sure I picked a different English teacher for my electives the following year. As fate would have it, in each of those years, the teacher I sought, either was fired, or retired, and I ended up with “you guess who.”
Though at the time, I thought those years to be torturous, today, I consider Mrs. Cross to be the best teacher I ever had.
- My college instructors were Sam Astrachan at Wayne State University, and Stuart Dybek, at Western Michigan University. Both of them are prolific writers and hold high positions of stature in the literary world. I was fortunate to learn the craft of writing under both.
- The first poem I ever published was in the Western Michigan University literary book.
- I wrote “Sentiments of Blue,” while attending a literary class for Stuart Dybek. The story was well received, though I saw it as a sort of throw away story, something I turned in at the time to fulfill my quota. Afterward, the story was lost in a household move or basement flood. Thirty years later, I rewrote the story from memory.
- My children’s book, “The Suburban Dragon,” was written in Agoura Hills, California, during a time where I moved my family to open a franchise for my shipping business. While writing upstairs on a weekend, a little girl from across the street who was in our house playing hide and seek with my two little boys asked me what I was doing. When I told her I was writing a story, she asked if I could write a story about her and the boys. Not wanting to disappoint her, and always up for a challenge, I wrote the story over the next week and presented it to the kids the following weekend. When I received rave reviews from the crowd of three, I knew I had something. The book has been in print for twenty years.
- For a brief period of time, I wrote copy in the advertising business. Later, I became a one man agency for customers who could not afford high agency rates.
- In the 1983, I opened up a shipping company called, “Crate and Fly.” I was the CEO, and one man advertising department, for twenty years. We went from a storefront to a fifteen million dollar company with offices around the country, and one in Genk, Belgium as well.
- As a marketing piece, I created a cartoon strip called, Franco, The Super Salesman. Originally featured as a strip within a monthly calendar, due to popular demand, complete books were created around the characters. As the character was a spoof of my father and his antics while selling for the company, the strip made my father a local celebrity and the highest ranked salesman in the company for years.
- After returning from California to live in Michigan, my wife decided to sign our boys up for soccer. As a college baseball player, my dream was for the boys to play baseball. To my disbelief, both of the boys hated baseball due to the length of the games. They also claimed they weren’t seeing enough action during the games. As I learned after my wife’s fateful trip to sign the boys up, I was also chosen to be the coach. With little knowledge of the game, I sought out people who could teach me the game. That’s how I met Rocco Mitkov, the man who inspired the character, Bobo Stoikov in my novel, “St. John of the Midfield.”
- I write from pure memory. Once a story is locked in my mind, I can carry it around for ten years and still deliver it word for word.
- During my twenty year stint as a CEO, I owned a cottage in Oscoda, Michigan, and a second home in Lake Ogemaw. In the story, “For the Love of St. Nick,” I used Oscoda as the setting for the story.
- The poem, “The Malediction of Miss Holstein,” serves as an ode to a heavy set teacher I was very fond of in 8th grade. After passing away from a heart attack in her thirties, I wrote the poem about her as I reminisced about her class room antics.
- As I was half way through a novel entitled, The Sorrows of Pebble Creek, I somehow veered off route and am now working on another novel titled, The Storm that Chased Me. Who can figure how this stuff works?
Garasamo Maccagnone is a writer and entrepreneur. The founder of a successful airfreight business, Maccagnone now focuses on his literary career. He is the author of the novel St. John of the Midfield, the novella, For the Love of St. Nick, a collection of short stories entitled, My Dog Tim and Other Stories, and a children’s book titled, The Suburban Dragon. Sentiments of Blue is his latest short story collection. Maccagnone currently lives in Shelby Township where he is working on his second novel, The Sorrows of Pebble Creek.
Visit Gary online at http://garasamomaccagnone.com/
Visit Gary at his tour page at Pump Up Your Book!