Blog

Greek to me

Welcome, dear readers, to a blog that I hope will be a provocative and fun commentary and complement to my novel “Water Music,” the first in a series on “The Games Men Play” – athletic, psychological, cultural and erotic. Due out 1/14/14, “Water Music” tells the story of four male athletes – rivals, friends and lovers – and how their shifting professional fortunes color their personal relationships. Here you’ll find more about the book and me and how you can order it from Greenleaf Book Group and Amazon.com.

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You’ll also find a number of poems related to “Water Music” and the second novel in the series, “In This Place You Hold Me,” about a quarterback’s search for identity – sexual, racial and familial – in the beautiful, brutal world of the NFL. We’ve added the first chapter here to give you a taste of and for it.

But I don’t want to use this blog just as a way to wave a flag for my novels (though, let’s face it, that’s partly the idea). I’m a longtime cultural writer, and I want this blog to be a forum for ideas about culture with a small and capital “c” – the arts, sports, the media, spirituality and the sexes, and that’s just for starters.

I’ve rarely met an idea that can’t be discussed civilly and elegantly. So keep it clean, and let’s be kind. Having said that, I must add that this is not a blog or site for kids, given the sexual content of the books and the intellectual nature of the discourse. So kiddies, get thee to a site your parents approve of right now.

What I’d like to talk about in this first post is my logo. The colors reflect swimming and tennis, the two sports at the heart of “Water Music.” (They become the colors of The New York Templars’ football team in “In This Place You Hold Me” and the New York horse farm that is the center of the third novel, “Criterion,” about a colt trying to win the Triple Crown and told in part from his point of view. For you Seahawks’ fans out there, I know, I know:  They’re your colors, too.  What can I say?  Great minds think alike.)

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The logo’s abstract Greek key pattern, symbol of eternal life, relates not only to the double Gs of my name but to the main characters in “Water Music,” whose stories are entwined with ancient Greece, for “Water Music” is very much a novel about the way the past informs the present and the future and the way the games men play become  metaphors for the games nations play.

But ancient Greece permeates “Water Music” in other ways just as it has permeated my life from the time I was a child reading Greek myths and literature, looking at Greek art and architecture and studying the life of Alexander the Great. The Olympics, the appreciation of the male body, homoerotic bonding – all part of ancient Greek culture – all play a part in my novel.

  "Achilles Tending the Wounded Patroclus," an Attic red-figure kylix circa 500 B.C. Altes Museum.

"Achilles Tending the Wounded Patroclus," an Attic red-figure kylix circa 500 B.C. Altes Museum.

So much so that one of the main characters, a swimmer named Dylan Roqué, majors in classics at Stanford University. In my second novel, “In This Place You Hold Me,” he’s a classmate of the central character, Quinton Day Novak, the New York Templars’ deeply troubled quarterback, who is a classics major. I wrestled a long time with making two of my athletes Stanford classics students. And then it turns out that Jonathan Martin, the Miami Dolphins’ left tackle who’s the victim of a recent hazing incident, was a classics major at Stanford. I guess you can’t make this stuff up.

I’ve been following this story just as I’ve been noticing Greek key patterns, in a throw in The Metropolitan Museum of Art catalog and in a reproduction of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’ iconic sunglasses in the Smithsonian catalog.

Apparently, the Greek key pattern was Jackie’s favorite. So I’m in good company, no?