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P u b li s h e r TV and radio talk show host Frank MacKay engages America’s actors, business leaders and other newsmakers in one-on-one interviews that delve into the past to reveal significant moments in time that defined their success. Frank keeps his audience fixated and his guests enjoying the twists and turns of the conversation. He has conducted more than 2000 interviews, including Donald Trump, Nelson DeMille, Micky Dolenz, Charlie Daniels, BJ Thomas, David Cassidy, Carol Alt, Gary US Bonds, Kitty Kelley, and countless others. Breaking it Down may be heard daily on LI News Radio in New York, on the Talk of the Palm Beaches 900 AM, and throughout the nation via syndication. TV and radio shows are also available on Frank’s website, “Frank MacKay Media,” as well as Soundcloud, Blog Talk Radio, Talk Nation on Roku, Itunes and a host of other popular social media sites. www.FrankMacKayMedia.com
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Ed Asner Frank MacKay: I’d like to welcome everyone to “Breaking it Down,” Frank MacKay here. But much more importantly, with me today is a seven-time Emmy Award winner, the former president of the Screen Actors Guild, an activist and advocate for so many great issues. This year, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award during the Long Island International Film Expo. Mr. Ed Asner. Ed, how are you? Ed Asner: How do you do? Frank MacKay: I’m doing great. I have to imagine, for you, getting an award like this is “old hat” by now. You’ve probably been getting these for a long time, but this is a nice one. Ed Asner: I like to be on Long Island for this one. Frank MacKay: Let me ask you, if you don’t mind, about your time as the President of the Screen Actors Guild. Do you look back on that as a fond memory, or do you look back on it as a big pain in the neck? Ed Asner: I look back on it as the trial by fire. I got to oppose Moses quite visibly and that’s a breathtaking task. TA L K N AT I O N | I S S U E V I
“If we took care of our people, we could be the shining example we should be”. Frank MacKay: I can’t imagine that’s an easy thing to do. The way you did it, too, you were very outspoken about some things you were uncomfortable with. Now, looking back on it, people applaud, but maybe at the time, taking certain stances… Ed Asner: at the time.
I was a dirty Commie
Frank MacKay: Right. Things have changed. Ed Asner: Yeah. Oh how we long for the old days when it was so simple to have your enemy be the Commies and fight them tooth and nail. It’s a lot harder to fight ISIS these days. Frank MacKay: Yeah. Ed Asner: They just appear at dance halls in Orlando. Frank MacKay: J e e z , imagine?
Ed Asner: anywhere.
Frank MacKay: It’s very true, but looking at the current situation other than, obviously we have these random acts of hate and these random acts of terror. In general, I imagine that you have to be pleased with where we’ve come as a society since you were Screen Actors Guild President back in ‘81 and ‘85. Looking back, it seems like the Dark Ages.
Ed Asner: I would put it this way: American invincibility to think that we were in charge, we’ve sown a lot of seeds of hate which pop up everywhere. I think we didn’t really dedicate ourselves to the “Good Neighbor” policy as it should have interpreted. We propped up many dictators in Latin America, and we were fairly exposed in our search for oil. Now that oil is no longer popular, if we dedicate that search for oil to a search for the sun, then maybe we can turn it into something more benevolent. I know that I sound like I’m running off at the mouth. I would hope that we would ... My main hope in life is that the millions, billions, trillions we pour into the military industrial complex would be poured into caring for the citizens of this country and stop worrying about leading the world. If we took care of our people, we could be the shining example we should be. Frank MacKay: Our very special guest, Ed Asner. Many people know him from so many roles. Lou Grant, obviously, seventime Emmy Award-winning Ed Asner, is really well-known for Lou Grant. But the hundreds - literally hundreds - of acting roles and voice acting roles. But your advocacy. I don’t think you’re running off at the mouth at all. I think now, you’re seen as an elder statesman. Maybe with your TA L K N AT I O N | I S S U E V I
experience and you’re seen as a veteran, and all of these things. I’m not so sure that you’re seen as the troublemaker that you were at one time. At one time, you were, as you said earlier, known as the “Dirty Commie.” I don’t know that you have that title anymore, and I don’t know that the words, “Dirty Commie” are taken that seriously anymore. Ed Asner: I would hope not. It was never true, and it still isn’t true. You might call me a dirty socialist, if you want. Frank MacKay: Right. Hey, look at Bernie Sanders. He’s an open socialist. Ed Asner:
Frank MacKay: He’s been embraced by the kids. The young people, they don’t remember ... They don’t see socialism as the great evil that we grew up battling against. Ed Asner:
That’s a blessing.
Frank MacKay: Yeah. Ed Asner: We have not tolerated what could be openly be called socialism, even though many of the practices put in by FDR were socialist practices. They have benefited everybody in this country. Frank MacKay: To this day. Let’s face it. FDR was a pivotal member. I consider myself an independent. But in looking back, FDR did what was necessary to put the country on the right track, and without the means or the ideas that FDR pushed through in his three terms, we wouldn’t be here as a nation.
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I don’t consider myself a socialist, but at the same time, socialists are no longer looked at as either mocked, or whatever. Not from the mainstream, anyway. Ed Asner: Precisely. Almost all of our allies, certainly in Europe, are socialist. I don’t think there is one that you could say is not. They certainly know how to provide family leave, family health, basic needs of children. They’re all ahead of us, and if we stole more pages from their book, our people would be better off. Frank MacKay: Looking back on your childhood, who was the outspoken one of your parents, or maybe outside of the family? Who were you influenced by from a political standpoint? Who helped you formulate some of your thoughts as a young man? Ed Asner: As a young man, I left college early to become an actor. I couldn’t get jobs as an actor. This is in Chicago, so I went into the work field, and I worked in the steel mills in Gary, and I worked in the auto plants in Kansas City and Chicago, and I became a union man forever. I am distressed that unions have fallen to such low numerical figures in this country, because it’s what kept this country going. Even our Democrats have sold our jobs overseas. Even with the Clinton trade pact, which I think were a big mistake. With that, the middle class, who was well-off before, being mostly ... A lot of them were union people. They no longer have those jobs. As big a bully as he is ... I’m just thinking of Trump right now. Frank MacKay: Right.
Ed Asner: His one theme about bringing jobs back to America is the most appealing thing that he can say. Frank MacKay: When NAFTA was about to be enacted or passed, and the trade agreement was happening, were you speaking out against it at that point? If you were, what kind of reaction were you getting? Ed Asner: I was not. Only in retrospect have I become wise. I realize that though it’s great to build bridges as we do, when you endanger your own working people by sending those jobs overseas, then you’re blowing up the piers of your own bridge. Frank MacKay: Yeah. Looking back on it, NAFTA was a complete failure and a disaster. People looked at him as if he was crazy ... A guy like Ross Perot was screaming from the rooftops at the time that this is a disaster, that this is going to happen. I don’t want to be the guy to point to Ross Perot and say, “Look, he was right,” but boy, look, he was right. Ed Asner: He was and Bill Clinton was wrong. The principle is a great idea, but not as long as you endanger your own people. Unless you can replace that job ... Unless the government sets its task for whatever trade agreement they create ... Unless the government sets its job to retraining and providing the employment for those people who put out of work, then it’s a worthless scrap of paper. Frank MacKay: Another reminder ... Frank MacKay, here, but much more importantly, Ed Asner. The legendary Ed Asner will be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award during the Long Island International Film
“Creating jobs, creating employment, creating new fields to be invested in, to be investigated. There’s so much to be done”. Expo. No one deserves this more than Ed. Is there anything on the horizon? It doesn’t have to necessarily be a “hot button” issue in politics. Is there anything that you could see happening in the next several years that you would use your advocacy, or use your celebrity to bring attention to? Ed Asner: I just think we have to look at the infrastructure of the United States. Roosevelt instituted the Work Progress Administration. We could use it in this country right now. I see the streets of our cities and our highways, and they’re badly in need of repair. We need a rebuilding of our infrastructure so we can smoothly roll on time and in comfort. There’s a lot of repair that needs to be instituted and I’m all for it. How it happens, I don’t know. Call it another Work Progress, too. We need our government to take the funds, the military industrial complex funds ... Again, I go back to that. Take some of that and pour it into our people. Frank MacKay: I’m with you. I’ve been preaching that for a while. You put people back to work, they spend money, they feel better, you get unemployment as low as you
possibly can get it, and you get people working again. Again, we have bridges and roads that are dangerously in disrepair, and I don’t k now w h y w e ’r e resisting it.
Ed Asner: Republicans are always campaigning against taxes. Too much taxes, too big government. The tax rate that we have now is so far lower than what it was during Eisenhower. I don’t know what the exact figures are, but it’s ridiculously low. If we took our taxes and transferred the bulk of them into rebuilding the country, this would be a happy country. Creating jobs, creating employment, creating new fields to be invested in, to be investigated. There’s so much to be done. We’d become more abundant. Frank MacKay: In an election year like this one. We have two ... We have an open seat, basically, right? Obama’s term is ending and there’ll be a new American President elected in November. At this point, people talk about percentage points away. I’m not here asking you to make a prediction. What I’m asking you is do you think that your ideas and other folks’ ideas that are similar on this ... Putting some money into infrastructure ... Do you think this is the perfect storm for someone like yourself to make a difference if one of these candidates, if not both of these major party candidates, would pick up on your thoughts?
Not only your thoughts ... By the way, Ed, there are many people who agree with you and me putting the money into the infrastructure ... Do you think that this is the perfect storm for that, or are you cynical that anybody’s going to pay real mind to it and just give it lip service? Ed Asner: Not as long as business comes first. If business becomes the first priority, then business will keep winning out. Unless we show that the people come first and business can come second or third or wherever you want to put it ... Until that realization takes place, then forget it. Frank MacKay: No question. Another reminder, Ed Asner here. Thrilled to have Ed Asner. We’ve got a few moments left with him. I really appreciate your time here. Just looking back on your career, is there any stone left unturned? Is there anything that you’d still like to do that you haven’t done? You look at an IMDB page of Ed Asner, and you will see three, four hundred roles that he’s done. Again, Frank MacKay here with the great Ed Asner. Ed, what about that? Is there something on your bucket list, or is there a bucket list at this point? Ed Asner: I’ve actually been made happy. I’ve not had that big yearning as when I was younger ... Hamlet, or my Lear, or my Macbeth. I don’t have that thirst. I always felt I was deficient as an actor. I never had ... I always felt I was deficient as an actor because I didn’t yearn to show my great role performance. I’ve been gratified by TA L K N AT I O N | I S S U E V I
what I’ve been given to do. Let’s put it this way: I’ll stand on my record and let it go at that. Whatever comes my way, I don’t want it to be stinky role, I don’t want it to be a small role, but I’d like to make a contribution. Frank MacKay: It’s amazing at how much work that you’re still getting. There are a couple of fellow actors of yours, actresses of yours, that are working. They get tremendous work at this. I’m talking about Cloris Leachman and Betty White. The three of you, you work more than people half your age. Ed Asner: Cloris works more than I do. Frank MacKay: She’s amazing. Ed Asner: She’s got jobs all over the place, the dirty rat fink. Frank MacKay: S h e’s a m a z i n g . Looking back, when you guys were singing The Road to Tipperary as you’re closing out the Mary Tyler Moore Show, would you ever have thought that forty years later that you would be getting this amount of work? You’ve earned it. The three of you are just wonderful at your craft. Would you ever have imagined that you would be getting this kind of work at this point in your career?
them special entitlement. I’m not there yet, but I’m getting close and I’m going to start demanding my fair share. Frank MacKay: You want to know something? With modern medicine being what it is, people are living ... Ed Asner: I could play Cloris any day of the week. I could never imitate her ass, though. She and Ted Knight had the most unbelievable asses in the world. You could carry trays on them, I’m telling you. Frank MacKay: Did she work at it, or was she just blessed? Ed Asner: I think she was blessed. I don’t know what Ted was, but I guess you could say he was blessed. They’re like strutting little penguins. Frank MacKay: That whole cast went on to have ... Beyond the Mary Tyler Moore show, the casting of that show was just unbelievable. It’s not just the success of the show that grew this additional work, the casting was amazing. Ed Asner: That was the genius of the producers, of the writers, Allen Burns and Jim Brooks. They knew what they wanted. Fortunately, in my case, it was me.
Ed Asner: I never worried about it; never thought about it. I can assure you as you get to my age and to Cloris’ age, the opportunities are certainly limited. I think Cloris should be giving me some of the stuff she’s getting, because she’s hogging the boat. Betty White’s the same way.
Frank MacKay: In retrospect, when you ... You were no kid when you got that role. Lou Grant was not a twentyyear-old breaking into the business, he was a grizzled old veteran and you played him so well and famously. If you thought about it at that time, did you think, “Hey, this it. This is a big deal.”
I don’t know. I guess the fact that they reach ninety and plus gives
I mean, Mary Tyler Moore was coming off of the Dick Van Dyke
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Show and she had a lot of success and you had your success. Did you realize what it would be right away? Was it an immediate thought to you that this is going to be a game changer, this is going to be a career changer? Ed Asner: I didn’t think of it in those terms. All I knew was they were the best scripts I had read since I’d come to Hollywood since I’d been an actor, certainly for T.V. They were rich, they were wonderful, they were funny. They knew how to put that show together and I just knew that to be a part of it, to learn how to be a part of it ... There was learning on my part. Finding the release systems in my body that would create the level of the humor that those scripts deserved. Fortunately, I was able to pull out a few stops and achieve it. It was all a community ensemble work. Learning from each other, rubbing shoulders with each other, and drawing from each other. It was a Communist society. Frank MacKay: Again, a remind, Ed Asner’s our very special guest. Ed, just a question about back then, during the Mary Tyler Moore Show ... You have to pardon my ignorance on this ... What was your advocacy level there? Were you as outspoken as you became later on? Ed Asner: Yeah. My big mouth learned to close less. Frank MacKay: Were you warned by the producers ... I mean the group of you. I don’t mean you individually ... Was the group ever warned, “Hey, look, you got a good thing going here, it’s popular with all types of people across the board, try not” ...
Photo of Ed Asner as Lou Grant
â€œWe had a marvelous cast, believe me. Every role in Lou Grant was beautifully filled by the actors in those roles. I think pound for pound, it was the equal of Mary in its own wayâ€?. TA L K N AT I O N | I S S U E V I
Ed Asner: None of that ever got in our way until I went to Washington and became one of the spokesmen for medical aid for El Salvador. Which was to provide medical aid for those people in the provinces that were being denied that by the murderous Junta that ruled El Salvador. The ones that killed the priests, the nuns, they killed Archbishop Romero, all of that.
Photo of Ed Asner as Lou Grant and Sheree North as the new woman in his life. After his divorce from Edie, when Lou starts dating again, he finds that it’s hard to carry on a romance without attracting a crowd.
This country was doing nothing about that, so we elected to go ... The people in the provinces were being denied the medical aid they needed. That was the catalyst that we used to draw attention to that country. It worked to such a point that it got me outspoken as one of the spokesmen of the organization, and eventually got CBS, Bill Paley, the grand “emperator” to pull the plug on the show. On Lou Grant, that is. By then, we were on Lou Grant. Frank MacKay: Yeah. I know that you’ve spoken about that. I’d have to believe it was true. It was a very popular show and I remember at the time ... I was a kid when it was on. I was a young guy, and I was, like, “Why would they pull Lou Grant?” It certainly seemed politically motivated. Ed Asner: Ostensibly. Certainly it was, and ostensibly it was because they feared the ratings would drop because M*A*S*H was going off the air on the same night. They thought Lou Grant would suffer with the loss of M*A*S*H.
Photo of Ted Knight as Ted Baxter, Ed Asner as Lou Grant and Mary Tyler Moore as Mary Richards from the last episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show-”The Last Show”. TA L K N AT I O N | I S S U E V I
You can conjure up a million reasons, but it was a prestigious show and certainly thinking people, if there were any left, pursued it and admired it, and treasured what they saw. We did handle the issues of the day in a very excellent manner, I think, and I
think it was a trendsetter show. I’m proud of what we achieved. I’m guilty of the fact that my words helped lead to the cancellation of the show. I put all my brother grips, and crew, and fellow actors out of work for a while. It’s a guilt I’ll have to live with. Frank MacKay: It’s very nice of you to look at it that way, but the other way that most people would look at it as, “Well, without Ed Asner, there’s obviously no Lou Grant.” There’s no Lou Grant show without Ed Asner, and that’s the price they pay for having you. Ed Asner: We had a marvelous cast, believe me. Every role in Lou Grant was beautifully filled by the actors in those roles. I think pound for pound, it was the equal of Mary in its own way. Frank MacKay: But so much different. The show was so much different. Both of them were important in their own way, but it was ... A beautiful way to follow-up a successful sitcom was by doing a show like Lou Grant. You said groundbreaking, and I think it was. Ed Asner: Once again, I give credit to the two creators: Mary Tyler Moore, who became my producers on Lou Grant, Allen Burns and Jim Brooks. They elected to go that route and to make it the hour show, to make it a newspaper show instead of T.V. By this, they were able to talk about the ideas that we couldn’t talk about in a half-hour comedy. Frank MacKay: Those two men that you mentioned. There’s an overused cliché when people say they get it, but those guys got it. Burns and Brooks. They got it. They understood
a lot of different ways, they thought out of the box. I never got the opportunity to meet either one of them, but everything I’ve ever heard about them is top-notch. Ed Asner: We would have been nothing without them and Gene Reynolds. I don’t know why I left off Gene Reynolds, and I shouldn’t. He deserves as much, if not more credit, than even the other two. He researched the hell out of that show. He produced the hell out of that show, he directed it, he oversaw the writing tremendously well. He’s as responsible as Allen and Jim for the quality of that show. Frank MacKay: We got a couple moments left. Ed Asner: you’ve been very gracious with your time here. Seven-time Emmy Award-winning, he’s an activist, he is an advocate extraordinaire, and certainly at acting. I can put his resume up against anybody’s, and it will shine. Autism Speaks. This is something that you’ve brought great light to. It’s become a very powerful organization, and it’s bringing a lot of help to people who need it. How did you first get involved with Autism Speaks? Ed Asner: I had an autistic son. It took a while for ... At the time, he was young. It took a while to uncover that fact. He’s high-functioning. He already has a degree from the University of Southern Connecticut. Frank MacKay: Wow. Ed Asner: He has a Bachelor’s degree. He was judged to be autistic. Then, eventually, my oldest son had two boys and his youngest is also
autistic, so it became a family affair. Frank MacKay: There’s so much more light on autism now than ... Let’s go back to when you were president of the Screen Actors Guild. I think it was ‘81 to ‘85 at that time. There was so much less known about autism and you heard the word so less often than you hear it now. Nowadays, I think people are getting a handle on it, and it’s because of groups like this. That’s what I mean. Your activism and others like you have changed lives, and have changed thought. Looking back on it, is there anything ... Again, you’ve lost shows because of it, you’ve lost jobs, you said there was some guilt in your activism, but are there any regrets at all about your activism? Ed Asner: You mean other than that guilt I told about my fellow actors and crew members being out of a job with Lou Grant? No, there are no regrets of my speaking out. I never had to bite my tongue. Frank MacKay: It’s been a great career. What were you, working in the yard prior to our interview? Ed Asner: Yeah, I was trying to knock off a few weeds, and the weeds fought back. Frank MacKay: Listen, take care of yourself. You have had such just an amazing career, and an amazing life, and it’s still going strong, and you sound like you got another thirty years in you. Ed Asner:
Thank you so much.
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Brain foods: Eating for academic success (BPT) - What do the foods your children eat have to do with the grades they bring home? Surprisingly, more than many people think. Research shows that certain vitamins and nutrients support brain health and development. That means the snacks, meals and supplements your child consumes can give them an academic edge, in the classroom and in life. Lauren Zimet, director of the Early Insights Healthy Foundations Program and a mother herself, understands how food can empower the body and brain. Here are Zimet’s top picks for brain foods that can help support your child’s learning and development.
from last night? Dinners in the U.S. traditionally have more protein than other meals, so eating last night’s leftovers in the morning is a fun brainboosting breakfast option.
salmon to get more omega-3 essential fats, which play an integral role in promoting cellular health and brain development.
Mighty nuts and I n c r edible seeds carbohydrates These nutritional powerhouses Some examples of healthy complex carbohydrates to incorporate into your child’s diet are brown rice, quinoa and oats. These types of carbs elevate levels of serotonin in the brain, which has a calming effect. Need bread? Look for organic options so you can feel confident your child is consuming the nutrients they need and not the additional chemicals that are commonly found in conventional breads and grains.
provide generous amounts of calories, fats, complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, minerals and fiber. Kids can enjoy making their own healthy seed-nut snack mixes, then package in baggies or small containers. Also, try swapping traditional peanut butter for other nut butters like almond or cashew for a healthier take on PB&J.
percent fat? That means when your kids eat healthy fats, it can support brain function. Pack snacks with nuts, seeds and avocado. When cooking, replace unhealthy hydrogenated oils with healthier options such as extravirgin olive oil or coconut oil. Eat more meals with cold-water fish like
becoming more and more recognized as part of a healthy family diet. They are a convenient source of the omega-3s - especially EPA and DHA - that are so crucial to optimal brain health and function. It’s important to know where your fish oil comes from and how it is purified. Nordic Naturals
S upe r P owe r ful Fantastic fats supplements proteins Did you know the brain is about 60 Omega-3 fish oil supplements are
Protein for breakfast and lunch will not only curb hunger pangs throughout the school day, but will also help sustain mental energy and level moods. Kid-friendly protein ideas include eggs, organic chicken/turkey/ beef, non-GMO nitrate-free turkey bacon, and beans. Have leftovers TA L K N AT I O N | I S S U E V I
specializes in purified, molecularly distilled oils that come in various formulations, including a variety of options for children. Learn more at www.nordicnaturals.com.
Vivacious veggies and fruit
hormones that help reduce stress and promote better sleep. By paying a little attention to the foods your child eats, youâ€™ll be set for a healthy start to a brain-smart school year!
Real, whole foods like fresh fruits and vegetables support brain health while calming the nervous system during times of stress. Blueberries, raspberries and strawberries are full of antioxidants and vitamin C, which research shows helps regulate cortisol, a hormone responsible for stress. And donâ€™t forget bananas! Not only are they full of potassium, but they also help the body produce
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B r e akin g it down wit h f r ank mackay and
Mitzi DeWhitt Frank: I’d like to welcome everyone to Breaking it Down. Frank MacKay here, but much more importantly, we have a wonderful author and a woman who does so many things so well, Mitzi DeWhitt. How are you Mitzi? Mitzi: I’m great. Thank you. Frank: Mitzi has an incredible career. She has taught piano, theory, pedagogy, and composition, and performed solo and with orchestras. She is a performer, composer, and teacher of music for over forty years. She has some unique talents and she has put many of her thoughts and talent into writing. She is the author of some amazing books on music theory, including Nearly All and Almost Everything: The Gurdjieff Work, The Hebrew Kaballah, The Indian Shrutis, and The Musical Tree of Life. We were just speaking a little offmicrophone a little bit about your history, but let’s start from the beginning if you don’t mind. Where were you born and where were you raised? Mitzi: I was born in Ponca TA L K N AT I O N | I S S U E V I
City, Oklahoma. I was reared in that town for 18 years, and then I left and came to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania where I got married, and then we went back to Oklahoma. From there, it’s just around different places. Frank: Y o u ’ v e written so much and you’re prolific in regards to your work, and really, you started writing essays and they turned into books, and they’re such brilliant works. By no means is this a slight against Oklahoma because it’s an amazing area, but you usually don’t think of Oklahoma as being a breeding ground for forward-thinking and writing. Well, first of all, tell me if I’m wrong about that, and with all of the millions of people growing up in Oklahoma, were you a diamond found in the midst or were there many others with similar motivation and interests? Mitzi: Well, I think I didn’t belong there. For one thing, the town was five miles from the Ponca Indian Reservations, and I was always intrigued by the Indian dances, the indigenous music, the pow-wows, the Indian culture. My father was
a minister of music in a church, and it was always in my life to have music, so that was a big influence in my life. The music, I think, saved me from being a stick-in-the-mud in that town. I really couldn’t wait to get out of there, to tell you the truth. Frank: Yeah. I would think so. I don’t want to be presumptuous that you would feel that way, but you must’ve felt like you were just bursting to get out. Mitzi: I was. I was. Frank: Let’s talk about that. You’re a little girl and your dad is a minister of music. Obviously, when you’re a young lady growing up in rural surroundings, you’re out there looking for influences. You’re out there looking for stimuli, and you have it and your dad, you have it in music, and you have it in the Indian reservations, but what was the first time as a young girl that you realized, “You know what? There’s not an awful lot around here and it’s a great big world.”? I mean, when was that. Can you pinpoint an age, a time period in your life when you realized, “You know what? There’s a lot more out there and I’d like to see it.”? Mitzi: Well, this doesn’t really directly go to what you’re asking, but when I was three years old, I was performing in a music store window, as sort of an example, a guinea pig for people at Christmastime to come in and buy pianos. The reason was because I had perfect pitch. Frank: Wow. Mitzi: They would ask people to come in and they could sing a note or play a note and I would tell them what it was. TA L K N AT I O N | I S S U E V I
Frank: How old were you? Mitzi: I think I was three. Frank: Oh my gosh. Mitzi: I never could quite understand the whole point of it, because I thought everybody could hear what I was hearing. It didn’t make any sense to me that it was a big deal. I thought well maybe it’s because people didn’t know the names of the notes on the piano. That was kind of my first eyeopener that I wasn’t normal. Frank: Not to cut you off, but I don’t want to tell you how many people would love to sing, but they’re just tone deaf. It’s not their fault. It’s just something they’re born with. Mitzi: It just woke me up to realize that there was something else that I have that other people didn’t. Frank: Going from a three year old in a window, like an exhibit almost. Right? You’re an exhibit. Mitzi: Exactly. Yes. Frank: Very interesting. You go from there, you go into kindergarten. What’s the school system like in the town you grew up in Oklahoma. Again, I don’t want to stereotype. I don’t want to be disparaging to rural areas or mischaracterize them, but I can’t imagine that they had a first class education there. Mitzi: Well Ponca City was a very strange town. One thing, it was the hometown of the E.W. Marland, who was the Governor of the State. He was also the founder of the Conoco Oil Company. Ponca City was a town divided, if I ever saw. It was divided by railroad tracks, quite literally, and it was divided by haves and haveTA L K N AT I O N | I S S U E V I
“It just woke me up to realize that there was something else that I have that other people didn’t”. nots. Frank: Was there a wrong side of the tracks and a right side of the tracks? Mitzi: Absolutely. Absolutely. I saw that first hand over and over. I hated it. I didn’t want that. I grew up in the “haves” part of the town. My mother was actually, at one time, I shouldn’t say this maybe out loud, but she was married to a member of the Soligny family, who came to Oklahoma during the land run, and he was a big land owner. My mother inherited a lot of money from him. I was on the “haves” part of town. Frank: Wow. That’s nothing to apologize for. It’s unjust, but you didn’t create that injustice. Mitzi: To say that Ponca City had a bad school system or it was all down and outers is not the way it was at all. It was almost the opposite. Frank: Interesting. Mitzi: In fact, I grew up with country club people. There was a lot going on there. I saw people coming in the community for concert series. I got to accompany an opera singer when I was a very young girl. I had a good life.
Frank: It sounds like it. I’m going to interrupt for a second to remind folks that are just tuning in that this is Frank MacKay, but much more importantly, our very special guest is someone who has music in her blood. She’s a wonderful author and a prolific writer. Her name is Mitzi DeWhitt. Mitzi, you were talking about basically, you had been positioned on the right side of the tracks in rural Oklahoma. I guess thank god for that, or thankfully, you had that. What if you weren’t? What if you were on that other side? How much would things have been different? Mitzi: Well that’s why I was so intrigued with the Indians, quite honestly, because they were the havenots. They were ostracized in the town. You could tell the Indian reservation immediately, because there was nothing there. It was just a blank. I wanted to know about those people. I made friends with them when I was in junior high school. In some ways, it was not a good thing, because it’s ... That’s another story, and I don’t really want to go there. Frank: Sure. Mitzi: My father died when I was 13 years old, suddenly, of a heart attack. That was another turning point in my life. Then I got married at the age of 16. Frank: Wow. 16 years old and getting married, that’s wow. Mitzi: I got married. I had a child. My life was kind of a disaster for a while. Frank: Let’s go back on some of that, because that’s fascinating. Even now, so many years later, to lose your dad at 13 years old. I don’t know that you ever fully recover from that.
Mitzi: Exactly, that’s a very perceptive thing for you to say. Yes. Frank: Yes, and I think when something like that happens, there’s no real explanation. By the way, your father was a person of god, a minister of music, and had some strong beliefs, I’m positive, just from a little bit of background I have on him. We were talking a little while ago about our writing. Let’s go to the origin of it. You mentioned Ayn Rand and the effect she had on you. Mitzi: Okay. Well, it’s one of the major influences in my life. It was during my undergraduate years, during the sixties, that I started reading her books, and I became a passionate, committed advocate of Ayn Rand and objectivism. Maybe it was because I was transferring hero worship from my father to those heroes in her books, Howard Roark and Hank Rearden and John Galt. For whatever reason, I became a really solid, avid Ayn Rand fan. I became interested in the fact of her objectivism. The idea that everything is objective, by which she meant, I think, never accept anything on faith; verify things for yourself. Those ideas are tenets of the Gurdjieff work, which I met up with a couple of years after that, in the early seventies. Frank Gurdjieff, if you can, and expand on that work. Mitzi: Gurdjieff was a Russian mystic. He came to the United States back in the, I guess, thirties and forties, but he had a group of people who were his followers. I think this is so interesting here, because Gurdjieff, in that respect, also reminded me of Ayn
Rand. People who followed him were not slouches by any means. They were people like P. D. Ouspensky, who was a mathematician and philosopher and people like Orage and people like J. G. Bennett. People like Thomas de Hartmann, they were geniuses in their own right, before they ever met Gurdjieff. They were attracted to this man like iron filings to a magnet. He wanted those people. He didn’t want the Peter Keatings of the world, as Ayn Rand’s character. Gurdjieff was looking for the highest royalty; the highest intellectualism; the highest integrity. That’s the people that he drew towards him in his early years. So all of this is part of the magnetism that I was feeling towards Ayn Rand and Gurdjieff, both at the same time. Which people will say “Well, what does Gurdjieff have to do with Ayn Rand?” I think it has a lot to do with it. Mitzi: Well, her biggest book was Atlas Shrugged, but before that, she wrote Anthem ... Frank: Do you think people would dispute that for some reason? I mean, it sounds like you have just a clear connection to Gurdjieff and... Go ahead. Mitzi: I feel a clear connection. I think other people would throw up their hands in despair at the idea. People in the work would say “She and Gurdjieff have nothing to deliver in common.”They would probably be mad at me for even making a connection like that, but I think that’s not right. Frank: Well, that flies in the face of objectivism anyway, right? If they dispute your thought without listening to it first?
Mitzi: So I could see in both Ayn Rand and Gurdjieff sort of this Nietzsche glow to power idea. Gurdjieff, in Views From The Real World, if I can quote him, he said “Will is a sign of being of a very high order of existence, as compared with the being of an ordinary man.” He’s talking about the will to power. He’s talking about people of great integrity and strength. So, do you want me to go ... Frank: I would, but is he talking specifically about the will to power? Is he talking off of Nietzsche’s work? Or are you just connecting the two? Mitzi: Well, Ouspensky was, I think, an advocate of Nietzsche or at least of Kant and maybe Nietzsche also. I think the ideas are connected, very definitely. The idea of individuality, New Taste Individuality, the overman, the idea of the true self, I think that’s very connected. You take Dr. Bakken’s exemplary human, as the one who is in the quest for self-realization and for individuality in his idea of beyond good and evil. Nietzsche said “A living being wants, above all else, to release its strength and that life itself is the will to power.” So I think it’s all very connected. Frank: At what age did you find Ayn Rand? Mitzi: It was, I guess, in my early twenties, or maybe my late teens. I don’ know. It was in the undergraduate years at the university. That’s when I first ran across her books. In the 1970s, in 1970 actually, is when I ran into Gurdjieff. That was the second shock in my life, I guess you could say. What I find so incredibly interesting about this is that if I had TA L K N AT I O N | I S S U E V I
only been interested in Ayn Rand, that would be like first power. It would be a lineage; but I also connected up with Gurdjieff. I was avid about Gurdjieff. That was like the second power. So the two together, the squaring of the ideas, the connecting of the ideas, is what just blew me away. I think that is really what Nietzsche was talking about when he was talking about the work of craft is connecting to links of the chain of one’s life. I think he was talking about exactly that -- you make connections between this link over here and this link over there, and how they come together to become a power source in your life. Frank: Where does music fit in with the writings? Start with Ayn Rand. First of all, was there much, and pardon my ignorance on that, was there much connection in her life to music? Mitzi: I don’t see her connection to it so much, but I see how, when I saw the word “objective” in Gurdjieff’s books, objective music, that just blew me away and I had to go look for this man and what he meant by objective music because for me, objective music meant, when I was a little girl, how did music make the walls of Jericho fall down, for instance? How did Orpheus change the course of mighty rivers? How did people heal or kill, even, with music? What was this power that music had? I was always very, very interested in those ideas. So when I started hearing about objectivism and I read objective music in Gurdjieff, my mind linked up the two ideas, which I do think are connected. Frank: You are the author of so much beautiful work and music. I would urge readers to look up your TA L K N AT I O N | I S S U E V I
“Cosmology of Music”. Let me read something that you wrote, and maybe you could expand on this a little for us. “Musical wars,” and I’m paraphrasing, “Musical wars are the keys that unlock the treasure chest containing the mysteries.” Maybe I’m not paraphrasing. Maybe that’s a direct quote. That’s such a powerful statement. Can you expand on it a little? Mitzi: Yes. For one thing, it strikes me to say this: That music, in ancient Greek thought or ancient myth, goes back to the idea of Hermes. Hermes was the son of Zeus and Maia. He was called the god of science and music. So music, in a sense, is the most hermetic of all sciences. It’s the Hermetic science, the secret, sacred laws of vibration. That’s what it is. So hermetically-sealedwhen we use those words hermetically-sealed- we mean airtight, impervious, un-openable. Something that’s hidden from sight or people cannot get into it. So the word hermit, we use the word hermit, he’s a person who lives in solitude, even in the midst of a noisy throng. He hides the mysteries, even while he expresses mysteries. So I think the music idea is the most hermetic science there is. I think the string physicists, string theorists, are just now opening the crack in that field container. They’re getting into the hermetic science of the laws of vibration and they’re finding incredible things. Frank: I never connected those words together, but you’re right on with all of this. I think it was Nietzsche who said “Life without music would be a mistake.” Is that accurate? Mitzi: Right.
Frank: Did he say that? Mitzi: Yes, I think he did say that. Frank: To shed a little more light on Gurdjieff, what is it that connected you with Gurdjieff, and why isn’t his work more well-known? Mitzi: I think his work was purposefully hidden from view for a long time. It’s a mystery teaching. I think it’s a teaching that’s been down through the centuries, perpetually hidden, and he, supposedly went to ... The story is that he went to the Far Moon monastery and was given this hermetic teaching and brought it back into the world. He was like a messenger that was bringing this information back. Nowadays, the work in Gurdjieff’s name is all over everywhere. You google Gurdjieff on the Webb and you’ll just get thousands and thousands of connections; but it didn’t used to be that way. So my feeling is that we’re talking about hermeticism. The word back in the day was divination. Divination was considered the highest of the art. It was called the gift of the gods. A Diviner was one who could interpret God’s hermetically-sealed words and give them out to the world, transmit them. So the Diviner was a medium, and that’s what the Divine science was. The Divine science was about harmonics. Gurdjieff’s laws are about harmonics. That’s where the connection is. I could see the harmonic laws from my study of music. They were glaring at me. They were calling my name, and I just had to do something about putting those out there. Frank: Is this what led to the idea of Cosmology of Music?
Mitzi: Yes, the Cosmos. The Cosmos means order. The laws of order are what underlie the Cosmos, instead of Chaos. Chaos and Cosmos are the two facets of the ancient Greek world. So Cosmos is harmony. Gurdjieff’s institute was called the Harmonious Development of Man. So he was all about harmony, Harmonia, the soul. The soul is the middle part. Now Ayn Rand left out the soul part. She had the head and abdomen, and she left out the middle. She left out the heart part. So that’s where I started parting company with Ayn Rand and started going towards the mystical traditions of Kant and Hegel and Nietzsche and Heidegger and the philosophers that went toward the heart part, the mystical part. Frank: Very interesting. Maybe Ayn Rand left out the soul part because she was a... Wasn’t she a devout atheist, if you can call it that? Mitzi: Yes. Frank: Do you believe in the immortality of the soul? Mitzi: I think that it means something different than is normally taken in the religious context, but I would say yes. I would say yes, just to put it in one word. Frank: A collective soul amongst all of us, something that connects us, whether it’s nature or ... Mitzi: Like an over-soul? Like Nietzsche’s over-soul? Frank: Yes, right. Mitzi: Or the over-self? I think there are several different kinds of souls. TA L K N AT I O N | I S S U E V I
There’s the soul that ... I mean, just look at the word, s-o-l, s-o-u-l, s-o-l-e. The sole of the foot is at the ground; the sol of heaven is the sun; and the soul as in the middle part of the heart. So we can take it as three different kinds of soul, and all three are relevant. We can talk about each one of those separately, or together. It’s the Harmonia. Frank: You’re talking about connecting music, philosophy, thought. Really, you’re expanding on what Ayn Rand did by saying “Question everything.” You not only question everything, you’ve questioned what Ayn Rand did and connected it to Gurdjieff and Kant and everyone else. Mitzi: “Reality is,” she said. So you can’t just turn your back on it. You
have to look at it. You have to face it. Frank: Her idea that Kant is a witch doctor is very funny. It’s a very funny thing. What’s your thought on that? I mean, if you’re looking at this from ... If you’re watching a movie and you’re watching somebody like Ayn Rand say about Kant’s work “He’s a witch doctor.” I mean, what’s your response? What’s your immediate response to that? Mitzi: Well, I could say she’s right, in a way. She’s right that he’s a witch doctor. He is a Diviner. He is going towards the soul part, the divine part that is not part of heaven or earth, but it connects the two together. He’s the bridge. It’s very, very apropos that he’s called a witch doctor in a certain way. It’s taken as a derogatory statement, but it could also be taken as a positive statement.
It brings in a mystical tradition that’s sorely lacking, to me, in her work. I love Ayn Rand because, if you just look at the cover of her books, they’re looking up. The heroes are looking up. It’s not like the world today, where everybody’s looking down into the pit, into the grunge. Her heroes looked up, and that’s what I loved about it. It’s like she turned our whole approach of everything around. She turned my approach around. That’s what I loved about it; but you have to go up, and you have to come down. There’s two sides to every stick. To sides to every coin. Two ends to every stick. That’s what you have to look at. Frank: I think you’re doing a pretty good job of explaining. I know I’m learning. I don’t know if that’s the purpose, to be teaching me, but I
On Sunday May 29th Alicia and Dennis Chu, residents of Newark, were two
of forty other young pianists from around the country to play the stage at Carnegie Hall as part of a 36th anniversary concert of the Piano Teachers’ Society of America. The two were chosen from a large number of applicants after auditioning for a panel of judges. Alicia, age 9, a fourth grader at North Star Elementary School, performed Debussy’s First Arabesque. Dennis, age 13, who attends H.B. du Pont Middle School, played Dance of the Water Grass, a Chinese classical piece made famous in the West by Lang Lang. The two study piano with Mitzi DeWhitt of Hockessin.
BIG SMILES AFTER PERFORMING IN CARNEGIE HALL, SUNDAY, MAY 29,2016
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ALICIA CHU (AGE 9) AND DENNIS CHU (AGE 13)
guess if you do and I connect and I spread it and the folks that are listening spread it and folks that are reading spread, it connect. These are heavy connections. This isn’t real light ... This isn’t fast-food stuff, like “Here you go, make a couple of quick changes in your life and you can do this.” This is seeing everything in the world connecting ... Mitzi: That’s right. Frank: ... and music being the key, or a key ... Mitzi: Yes. Frank: To those. Mitzi: Yes, the vibrations are what connect us. Another word for it is resonance. Just think about it. It’s the resonance that connects us between one thing and another. One tone on the piano will resonate with another without ever being touched. It’s spooky action at a distance, like the physicists talk about. If you put down middle C and play a low C without making a sound, it will still vibrate that sound. It’s spooky action at a distance. It’s resonance. It’s the laws of vibration at work. We all vibrate according to these resonances and don’t realize it. That’s where, I think, you have to be careful with somebody like Ayn Rand because she takes only what you can see as the rational world, and I think there is something below the surface that we don’t see that we also have to take into account, the higher and the lower and the middle. Frank: When was the last time you had an aha moment? It sounds like you’re in the teaching phase of your pattern here of your existence, that you’re more in the teaching phase. That’s not to say that you don’t learn,
but when was the last big breakthrough? When was the last big aha moment that you had? Mitzi: I get moments like that constantly. I feel as if things are just really right in front of my nose, so to say. They’re in plain sight. We just look at something and we don’t see it. Then suddenly, you look at it again, and you go “Wow. Why didn’t I see that before?” That just happens to me over and over and over again. I think it’s just a matter of being open and willing to look. You just open your eyes and see. Frank: Is there a surrounding that helps with the harmony? Is there a place you need to be in your life? Is there a frame of mind, or even a physical place, that would be easier for, let’s say the listeners, to go to kind of connect all of these, all of what you’re talking about? Mitzi: I don’t know. I’m thinking of Nietzsche, who was talking about suffering, you know? He said “The way you’re going to find things is by suffering.” Gurdjieff basically suffered. He said “You have to ...” It’s intentional suffering. You put yourself in position where you’re not comfortable. It’s not a comfortable place in-between, sitting between two stools. Just try it.
Mitzi: Exactly, yes. I think suffering is what burned us and puts our tools to the fire. We need it in a way. It’s too bad that we do. Frank: Mitzi, what could you leave us with? Could you leave us with a thought? Mitzi: I guess my thought is I would like to be listened to. So in my fifth book, The Reality of Being Decoded, what I said at the very beginning was a poem by Walter de la Mare, called The Listeners. It sort of sums up my feelings. “Tell them I came and no one answered. That I kept my word,” he said. So I feel like it’s like Atlas Shrugged, it’s like “I came and I have been obliged to put out there what I’ve known and what I’ve been taught and what I’ve learned. It’s on my shoulders and I wish that other people would climb up on my shoulders and take it away and go on with it.” That’s my thought. Frank: Incredible. Mitzi, thank you very, very much. This is just wonderful, and I appreciate you sharing your information, your studying and your connecting to all of this. Mitzi: Thank you, Frank.
So I don’t think it’s a matter of being sweetness and light, as much as it is being willing to put yourself in uncomfortable spots and just look and see what happens. Frank: That’s very interesting. Some of the best writing was done by people when they were either imprisoned or they were under tremendous stress or personal scrutiny, and that might be what you’re talking about there as far as the suffering goes. TA L K N AT I O N | I S S U E V I
Top 5 most distracted behaviors and how to change them
(BPT) - With the average attention span only lasting eight seconds, and the need to multitask to keep up with an on-the-go lifestyle, it’s no wonder so many of us are easily sidetracked during routine tasks. Mace, a globally recognized leader in personal safety and security, offers valuable tips to combat the five most distracted behaviors. Running with headphones Whether training for an upcoming marathon or jogging around the block, we often take the time to develop the perfect playlist to keep us going, but don’t consider the risks of tuning out the outside world. Before you press play, consider your personal safety: leave the headphones at home, especially at night. If you’re streaming music through your smartphone, make sure the volume is low enough to hear the traffic around you. Texting while walking Did you know that nearly 60 percent of pedestrians use a smartphone while crossing the street, according to the National Highway Traffic Administration? Combine that with the average five seconds a driver’s eyes are off the road while texting, a statistic from the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the results can be deadly. Don’t walk and text. If you need to take a call, move to the side until your call is complete. Always be aware of your surroundings. A distracted pedestrian can be an easy target for potential criminals. The National Crime Prevention Council suggests you switch
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directions or cross the street if you think someone is following you. If the person continues to lurk, move quickly toward an open store, restaurant or lighted house. Add an additional layer of protection by arming yourself with the BoobyTrapBra, a Just In Case bra designed to hold your pepper spray where you can easily reach it, empowering you to live an active life with peace of mind. Walking your dog at dawn and dusk Fido requires multiple daily walks to stay healthy. If your schedule only allows for exercising him in the early morning or late evening hours, you may find yourself walking in the dark when you’re overtired, which can delay reaction times when they’re most critical. Keep dogs on short leashes for more control in heavy traffic. If you walk your dog in the dark, wear light colored clothing with reflective strips so drivers can see you. Nite Beams are equipped with LED safety lights that provide high and instant visibility up to 1,400 feet or a 1/4 mile from every direction. Available in wrist, arm and leg bands for you, and collars and leashes for your dog, these bands will help to provide safety for everyone. Navigating the parking lot
alongside the aisle instead of taking the stairwell, or ask a security guard to escort you to your car. To buckle a child into a safety seat, get into the backseat with the child and lock the doors rather than doing so from outside the vehicle. Zoning out transportation
One of the perks of public transportation is the ability to use your travel time to multitask, like getting a jump start on your day by checking work emails. While you may enjoy not paying attention to the road, don’t let productivity goals get in the way of your personal safety. Ride in the first car or closest to the operator (insider tip: the train conductor is usually in the second car). If you are traveling at night, do your best to avoid dark or isolated stops. Remain aware of your surroundings as you exit, with keys in hand when you depart from the stop or station. For added protection, include the compact and easy-to-use Mace Brand KeyGard on your key ring. Whether walking, running, driving or riding, incorporate these tips into your everyday habits to help keep yourself safe and secure throughout the day.
Whether working late or tackling weekly errands, busy parking lots and garages can be dangerous if you are distracted by an armful of bags, children or technology. Leave the balancing act for a secure location to ensure you safely get in your car and on the road. Before making your way to your vehicle, be sure your keys are in hand. Pay attention to your surroundings and other vehicles entering and exiting the lot. Consider walking TA L K N AT I O N | I S S U E V I
B r e akin g it down wit h f r ank mackay and
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Frank: I’d like to welcome everyone to Breaking It Down. Frank MacKay here, but much more importantly, a very, very talented musician, songwriter, a guy named Nick Ferri. He’s from the band Back From Nothing. Nick how are you? Nick: I’m doing great. Thank you for having me on the show. I appreciate it very much. Frank: Yeah, no problem. I appreciate you being here. When you hear about this new movement of alternative bands and again, I guess every ten years or so you have this movement. There’s bands like The Front Bottoms and Modern Baseball and Pup from Canada, those guys. You guys are kind of in that same vein. Every time I hear people talk about you and again, you’re not quite as big as these other guys, but when I hear people talk about you, they mention you in the same vein as these others. Is that fair? Nick: Yeah, that’s definitely fair to say. Those three bands that you mentioned are huge inspiration for the songwriting that I do and my band mates do. The main thing is that, we’re all trying to do the same thing. We’re all reacting to our general surroundings as Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix were doing way back in the day. Whatever’s going on at the time, they’re writing songs about. That’s still going on now, it’s just a little bit different. It’s more relatable to the generation now and the teenagers now. Frank: Is there any geographic link, for example, when there was the Seattle sound, which is kind of unfair also, to call it all Seattle sound, but the grunge bands that came
out of Seattle, all were geographically linked and also linked from a sound perspective. I would think that there’s a sound link to guys like you. It’s probably flattering right? Being in the same breath for you with the Front Bottoms, Modern Baseball, Pup and all of that. Nick: Yeah. We’re definitely not nearly as big as them but we’re definitely trying to be.
Frank: Is there a geographic link? Are any of these bands all from, all you guys from the same area? Nick: Well the interesting thing is back in the day, you’re talking about the Seattle and how the same type of music came out of there. Nowadays, everything is on the internet, so a band from Tokyo could be listening to my music right now, you know what I mean? They could just be TA L K N AT I O N | I S S U E V I
listening to it in a flash. I don’t think there’s much of a geographical link anymore because for instance, Pup is from Canada and they have a very hard rock kind of style. The Front Bottoms are from Jersey and Modern Baseball is from Philly. They don’t sound exactly the same, but they definitely are putting out the same type of message or vibe that you would say. Frank: Yeah. I get that for sure. It’s interesting because when you’re talking about the grunge scene breaking out, and the grunge scene in the nineties, the early nineties, the internet was a rumor and it wasn’t emerging. If it was emerging, it was emerging much slower. That’s not what you thought of it, but right. You’re right. The geographical connections are replaced basically by the internet. You got folks that, I mean you have people in this style of music that are coming out of Japan literally. You mentioned the fans of these people but other bands that sound like this coming out of Japan. Nick: Japan specifically, I’m not entirely sure, but I do know my bassist definitely listens to a couple of bands that are actually from Japan. I’ve heard them a couple of times and they do sound similar and it’s entirely possible. Actually here’s a very valid point. In the UK, what’s interesting is the bands from America, they’ll be a lot more popular first in the UK, and then in American, which is really weird. They’re not from the UK but they listen to this kind of music. You know what I mean? Frank: Yes, absolutely. If you are just tuning in or if you’re just turning on your radio, Frank MacKay here but much more importantly, songwriter, guitarist, sometimes singer right? You’re kind of a talk singer, cool, very TA L K N AT I O N | I S S U E V I
angry, angry lyrics coming out. I’ve listened to your music. Terrific. It’s real good but it’s angry no question about it. Nick Ferri from Back From Nothing is our very special guest. Let’s do a little biographical sketch of you guys. First of all, how old are you? Are you twenty years old yet? Nick: I’m nineteen and I’m the guitarist and I write the songs. My brother is fifteen and he’s one of the best drummers you’ll ever hear and he’s my drummer. Then I have Harrison Reed who’s my lead guitarist. Then I have Marlin Bonella who’s my bassist, and then Stephanie Cavalier who’s my singer. We’re all about nineteen, twenty, except for my brother, he’s fifteen. Frank: Wow. You guys are out there playing live. Are you readying yourself for a tour? Nick: I would love to do a tour. The problem is around where we’re from, we’re from Yorktown Heights and there’s no real alternative rock music scene around here, almost at all. If anything, most bands that are playing, play country or they play covers from the seventies. It’s very hard to get gigs around here. It’s really hard to get known or get become an opening act for some of the bands I mentioned previously. That’s what we would want to do. We’re are all on board to drop everything that we’re doing and to go on tour. That’s what we want to do. We want to play in front of a lot of people. Frank: Do you think that your target market really is among the colleges? There’s a lot of them, there’s a lot of colleges and certainly there’s a lot more young people that are there. Historically bands like yourself, alternative bands have broken through, through the colleges. Is it a thought of yours? Do you have a marketing
strategy behind there or are you just doing your music and seeing what happens?
their birthright almost. They start adapting the style, or maybe there’s no style, they’re just losing the style, they’re becoming generic by doing that. They may make some money in wedding bands and different things like that. In my mind mind, I’ve never seen anybody successfully do that, to go on to have an original music career. You guys are basically all originals. I think that’s the way to go.
Nick: Absolutely there is a strategy. We would love to play colleges. That is definitely one of our goals because that is the audience that we want to play to. We know for a fact that if we put our music out in front of people who are nineteen, fifteen to about twenty-five, they will definitely, definitely like the music. The problem is where we’re playing right now, we’re playing in front of adults. They do like the music, but they want to hear the older music and the covers most of the time. That’s just not our style. I know for a fact that these shows that I go to, all these kids are there, and if we could play in front of them, I know that we can get all of their attention and they would really like the message that we’re putting out. Frank: I always felt that bands were musicians that wanted to do covers right away, they’re kind of selling out
Nick: Yeah, we’re entirely original. We were definitely influenced and we do play on our own songs that we like to listen to from any era, but we don’t want to perform those songs. They’re not our songs, so we’re not going to perform them. Frank: Is there a difference between a cover and a remake? Nick: Yes, there definitely is because I would say you have, well I’m sure you’re familiar with EDM and a lot of that is remixed tracks from songs that were made fifty years ago.
Harrison Reed You know what I mean? Frank: Yeah. Nick: They definitely don’t sound very different but they give off a different vibe, so I would definitely say there’s a difference between remixes and covers, for sure. Frank: In your plans though, could you see yourself, and I know you want to stay away from being a cover band and everything else, but if there was a song that you thought could generate some interest in you and get some attention through the internet, that is a remake... I heard bands like, in the ska genre. I don’t know if you listened to any ska over the yearsNick:
Frank: Genre and they would grab some kind of standard or classic, something you would imagine them doing or TV commercial and they would turn it into a song and TA L K N AT I O N | I S S U E V I
it would gather some attention. Is that something that you are are morally opposed to? Are you morally opposed to doing anything that you haven’t written, or you just don’t want to be a cover band. Nick: I’m definitely not morally opposed to it. In the future, after people know who we are, we definitely would like to think of a possibility that we can do that. There’s a band called The Story So Far actually did that on our acoustic EP. They covered a Bob Marley song. The name is slipping me but they covered a Bob Marley song on that. The EP, it was all original plus that one song that they re-made. It’s definitely not out of the realm of possibility but right now, it’s not something that we want to do because honestly I write too much music for us to have time to someone else’s song. Frank: Back From Nothing is the name of the band, and the self-titled debut album is out. It’s getting great reviews and again, it’s a different business. It’s a different business than it use to be. Is it your own label? Is it something that you guys did on your own or are you signed to somebody? What is it? Nick: We’re not signed to anyone at the moment. We would like to be in the future. We did that whole album on our own. Me and couple of my band members funded the whole album. Basically we went to Dark City Studios in Yonkers and recorded all of it there. I released on my own through CD Baby and we made the hard copies through disc makers, so it’s available right now on Spotify, iTunes, Google Play. You
name it. We have one music video on YouTube. All you have to do is TA L K N AT I O N | I S S U E V I
search our name, Back From Nothing and you’ll find everything. Then we have our Instagram page and our Facebook page.
with the rest of his band. Very young guys, under the age, all of you, are under the age of twenty right? Nick: Yeah, twenty-one. Everyone is under twenty-one.
Frank: Is there a website you want to point us to? Basically Google Back Frank: Everyone’s under twentyFrom Nothing and we’ll find you? one years old. Amazing. Now just in closing. We have a couple of seconds Nick: Yeah. If you Google Back From left here. Do you have material for the Nothing you’ll find everything. If you next album, or are you just writing as search it in Instagram, you’ll find it. you go along? If you search Back From Nothing on Facebook, you’ll the page. We’re very, Nick: We absolutely have material we’re one of the first ones that come for another album. We’re just waiting up and you can see it. for someone to back us up before we do anything with it. Frank: Well we have about a half a minute, a minute left, with Nick Ferri Frank: All right, well listen, congratufrom Back From Nothing. Wonderful lations on the album. It sounds great. songwriter. Young guy on the rise, Congratulations on your video.
Check out their album on Google Play, Spotify and iTunes
It looks great. Good luck with everything you’re doing. It’s a new movement, and you guys are on the cutting edge of it. Nick Ferri, thanks for being here. Nick: Thank you very much for having me. Frank: I want to thank everyone for tuning in. Frank MacKay here, but more importantly, Nick Ferri. Main songwriter, chief songwriter from Back From Nothing. A very talented young band, check them out. Back From Nothing is the name of the band, Back From Nothing is the name of the album. We will see you next time on Breaking It Down.
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5 ways to say goodbye to y o u r ‘s ad desk lunch’
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(BPT) - You’re running out the door, already late and thinking about that important 8 a.m. meeting. Lunch is the last thing on your mind. In fact, you usually just pick something up from the deli line or local fast food place and hurry back to your desk. Sound familiar? You’re not alone. Only one in five people actually ditch their desks during their lunch hour. When you feel your stomach growl, it’s all too easy to grab something from the vending machine or - if you remember - to pack a cold turkey sandwich. But there are plenty of easy ways to spice up your lunchtime routine at work. Here are some tips to improve your mediocre midday meal:
Walk away from your desk. Do you eat at your desk every day? You have a lunch break for a reason; so use it. You’re busy and need a few minutes to recharge throughout the day. You’ll come back refreshed and ready to be productive for the rest of the afternoon. Eating at your desk also means you’re probably multitasking, not paying attention to your food. Leaving your desk will help you become a more mindful eater and you’ll enjoy your meal more. Take a walk, socialize with coworkers, do something that gets you up and moving for at least 15 minutes.
Bake up a batch of healthy chips. Step away from the snack machine. You don’t need those stale potato chips. You can bake your own with only six ingredients. Thickly slice two pounds of potatoes and coat them
with olive oil and one tablespoon of salt. Season with cayenne and ground pepper. Arrange the slices on a greased baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes until potatoes are crisp and golden brown. Then, spread them out on parchment paper, sprinkle with salt and enjoy. Pack a handful of chips in your lunch each day for more crunch and less guilt.
Stray from the PB and J. Peanut butter and jelly might be a staple, but it’s time for a grown-up work lunch. You can find sandwich fixings that are not only easy and quick, but take your lunch to the next level. Try a gourmet chicken salad like the no-mayo Avocado Chicken Salad from Willow Tree Farm. It’s a better-for-you option, saving you calories and fat, because it’s made with Aveyo, a spread simply containing Hass avocado, white vinegar, olive oil, sea salt and lime juice. It takes
the place of eggs and most of the oil, while still maintaining that classic creamy texture and flavor.
Find a new way to pack your salad. Forget about soggy, wilted lettuce. One of the best ways to pack a salad is in a quart-sized canning jar. Put your dressing on the bottom, add in your lettuce, veggies and any other salad toppings. If you really want to kick up your salad game, Willow Tree Farm’s new Sriracha Chicken Salad layers perfectly with leafy greens and adds a tasty spice to your salad. Everything stays separate until it’s time to toss together. Simply pour the salad out into a bowl and you’re ready to eat. Your salad will also last for a couple of days in the fridge, so you can make a few days’ worth of lunches ahead of time.
Make your lunch at work. Are you always running out of time to pack a lunch? Choose a lunch you can throw together in minutes. A chicken salad wrap, tuna melt, pita pocket sandwich with hummus or a Greek yogurt parfait are all relatively simple, healthy meals you can prepare in the office. Keep the ingredients on hand and lunch will be a no-brainer. Make sad desk lunches a thing of the past with these tips. For more ideas for reinventing your lunchtime routine, visit willowtreefarm.com.
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T h e Bay a r e a F r i e nd s of t h e F in e a rts to F e at u r e t h e A b st r act E x p r e s s ioni st Paintin g s of
J an e n e G e ntil e
The large Abstract Expressionist paintings of the renowned Long Island artist Janene Gentile will be on exhibit at the Bay Area Friends of the Fine Arts (BAFFA) Art Gallery at 47 Gillette Avenue in Sayville from September 17-24th. The exhibition will include more than 20 works, including some of her large-scale autonomic paintings that have never been on view. Much of Gentile’s work is thematically rooted in “art for social change” and inspired by the ethnic and cultural diversity of growing up in the Bronx in the 1970s. She is known as one of the most notable Abstract Expressionist American painters to emerge out of New York in this decade Gentile has been making art for more than forty years, and her paintings are characterized by dynamic brush strokes, brilliant colors and bold emotional expressions. Some of her collection has been acquired by Billboard Magazine owner and Hard Rock Casino investor David Saltz, and has been featured in LA Magazine among other. Gentile was born in New York City and spent her youth in the 70’s and 80’s in
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the Bronx. Early on, her art reflected the era’s need for social change and she collaborated in many public projects that sought to improve outcomes for disenfranchised segments of society. After graduating from Lincoln Center College with a degree in Fine Arts, she went on to earn her Master’s from NYU. She also studied and exhibited her works in Venice, Italy and throughout Europe. She is a member of Women Sharing Art, and may be seen on Tumbler under Gentile Painter, and at Abstract Gentile on Facebook. She currently resides in Long Island and creates at her studio in Miller Place, New York. The opening reception will take place on Sunday, September 18th from 2-5 p.m. and the artist will also conduct a lively conversation and viewing on Saturday, September 24th from 2-4 p.m. A percentage of the proceeds from the sale of Gentile’s work will be donated to the BAFFA charitable non-profit to benefit local artists and communities in need. For more information about viewing hours and directions, please contact the BAFFA gallery (631) 589-7343.
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B r e akin g it down wit h f r ank mackay and
M.G. Potter Frank MacKay: I’d like to welcome everyone to Breaking it Down. Frank MacKay here, but more importantly, we have a wonderful author of the book, Ball Girl, M.G. Potter. That’s the pen name for Mike Potter. He spent many years as a sports writer and has written a wonderful novel. M.G., Mike, how are you? M.G. Potter: Hi. Doing well. How are you today? Frank MacKay: Doing good. I love your book and I’m thrilled to be speaking to you about it. I should mention that the forward is written by a professional basketball player, Marissa Kastanek, who is playing in Poland right now, which is interesting in itself. She was part of your beat in North Carolina State and she played for the Wolfpack over there.
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Let’s start with a little bit of that. You covered North Carolina sports and when you do that, it’s simply not the four major sports. There are a lot of sports. How did you get involved in the first place? M.G. Potter: I wrote for some small papers in Virginia. I graduated from William and Mary. Didn’t have a lot of contacts coming out of there because there’s no journalism school. I worked for a small town paper call the Tidewater News in Franklin, Virginia and it came out twice a week. It was way out in the farm country. Then I had a short time at the South Boston News and Record.
I then worked for the Danville Bee in Virginia, which is an afternoon paper and then in 1985 came the Durham Sun, which is an afternoon paper. My primary responsibility was covering Durham Bulls baseball. At that time, I was also covering North Carolina Central University, a historically black college which used to be Division II. I kind of became the jack-ofall-trades sports writer. I covered a lot of Carolina Hurricane hockey games – basically anything new that came to town that nobody knew about. I seemed to be the designated guy on that.
Frank MacKay: That’s a nice thing to do. Regarding the Tide Water News, were you writing when the Met’s farm system was down there? M.G. Potter: No. That’s in a little town called Franklin, which is about 60 miles in. The most glamourous thing I covered there was a state championship high school football team from Southampton High. I got to cover a lot of Virginia Tech football, which was a 220-mile drive, because the star players from our area were playing for the Honkies. I didn’t cover any pro-baseball on a regular basis until I got
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to Durham and I covered Durham Single-A ball before the movie was made. Then following the transition to Triple A, I was a beat writer from 1998 to, I’d say 2011.
Grady goes out and visits. He says, “How’s everything going Steve?” “Pretty good,” said Steve. “Did you send your mother a card for Mother’s Day?” That was the discussion. He didn’t tell him what to do. He just Frank MacKay: Bull Durham follows wanted to get his mind off of too the career of minor league baseball much concentration on the moment players. When you see a movie like and let him relax a little bit. that after you’ve seen it up-close, and especially from the same city, do you Frank MacKay: It’s fascinating and to find it to be a good representation of cover sports at any level is interestwhat actually happened? ing. To cover sports at different levels and different types of sports is fasciM.G. Potter: A lot of the things nating to me. that happen are true. I think when it opens up with having sex in the Let’s talk a little bit about the clubhouse, and that wouldn’t likely influence and why a women scribe in have occurred. Although now we this book. I’m sure it’s based on a lot hear that Darryl Strawberry may have of your experiences, but was it easier done that recently, so I don’t know. If to write for the other gender? it ever happened to anybody, I wasn’t there! M.G. Potter: I had to get corrections from my wife every once in a Some of the best scenes while. Gwen’s the principle editor are when they’re talking during the and that’s why I did the letters M.G. game. I do think goofy things go on She’s an absolute, integral part of the
“That’s where I went to high school. Where Lisa Patterson goes in the book is everywhere I went”. during conversations on the mound. book. Marissa also read it through There was a rookie Bull’s pitcher before she gave it any endorsement named Steve Avery who went on to at all. pitch for the Atlanta Braves. There were a few people Frank MacKay: Sure. A lefty. mentioned by their actual names in the book, but it’s either innocuous M.G. Potter: His manager at the or complimentary. Putting it into time was Grady Little in Durham. He someone else’s shoes, so to speak, happened to be pitching on Mother’s allowed me a little more freedom to Day and he had gotten into some say what I needed to in some cases. trouble during the sixth or seventh I think my straight-up autobiograinning. It was a situation where the phy just wouldn’t have been that Bull’s were ahead but if the runners interesting of a guy that becomes a scored, they were going to be behind. sports writer in the 70’s and sort of TA L K N AT I O N | I S S U E V I
makes the edges of the big time. I just I don’t think it would have sold enough books. Frank MacKay: It’s far different than reporting and just writing about what you see and reporting scores or what happened in the game. Let’s talk a little bit about your personal history. Let’s touch on things from the very beginning. Where were you born and where were you raised? M.G. Potter: I was born in Chicago. My parents happened to be there after meeting in college in Wisconsin at Ripon. Then they moved me to Charlotte, North Carolina when I was an infant. That’s where I lived until I was in the ninth grade. Then we moved to Richmond, Virginia at that point. That’s where I went to high school. Where Lisa Patterson goes in the book is everywhere I went: from Charlotte, to Richmond, to school in Williamsburg, to Franklin, Virginia. We skipped the one little year in Danville, Virginia. Then to the triangle area of Raleigh-Durham. Frank MacKay: It’s interesting, and it must be interesting. I’ve written several books. I have never written a novel. I always ask a novelist, whether they’ve written 20 books or one book, “Do you get into the character?” When you get into a character, is it difficult not to imagine it as a performance? In other words, is it hard not to see an actress in the role as Lisa? Do you have that in mind? Tell us about your methodology. M.G. Potter: Yes, it is hard to not see myself as acting a role as I wrote the book. I had a little experience in that. I was playing an MMORPG, one of those massive multi-player online role-playing games. In the game, there was an outfit that put out a newspaper and was looking
when you have had that kind of assignment and what you had to do to prep for it, or was there any prep? Did you just bullshit your way through it? Give us an example of an obscure sport that you had to cover. M.G. Potter: Somepeople would think I was BS-ing my way through the four majors as well. I was covering the first NASCAR race that I ever saw in person. Back in the 80’s, they gave you so much literature that, that’s always been a thing about covering big time sports, you get so much help. The media guides, the release for the day and all that. You just make sure you get all the facts right.
for writers. I had to live this female character to do the Dear Abby role. I had the people who were reading the copy thinking that a female had written those. I thought that would be a transition away from sports writing to do something else every once in a while. Then they started giving me fashion assignments and all things like that. They didn’t know about the ruse, which was not intended at all until the paper folded, as so many newspapers have tended to do. Even the one in the fictional situation folded.
Frank MacKay: It’s a sign of the times. It’s certainly there. Having said all of that, Ball Girl is a novel and it’s about a female scribe following many assignments in many different sports. What about that? Handling the four majors is one thing. Sports fans know a little something about the four majors and it’s easy. When you have to write about something that you know very little about, it becomes much more complex. Give us an example of
If you go to some place like a major NASCAR event, or an NFL or NBA game, or a big time college basketball game, you get so much information there, and for that reason it would be really hard to mess it up. The NASCAR event was the first one I’d ever seen. I covered some boxing without ever having been to a professional boxing match, and even high school volleyball. I covered National Championships in field hockey when Wake Forest defeated Duke. The National Championship game was the third game I had ever witnessed. I covered gymnastics at what was called the US Olympic Festival. They don’t do that anymore, but it used to be a National Championship. The JV team for the next Olympics was kind of the level we were covering there. It was a big festival in Raleigh-DurhamChapel Hill at that time. I also covered a triathlon --things like that.
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It’s football, basketball, baseball, soccer and hockey. The first NHL game I covered was the first one I saw in person. I had been to about maybe 25 minor league hockey games before that in the American League and the old Easton Hockey League that played in Charlotte when I was a little kid.
point when I was seeing the AHL, it was right towards the end of the time of the NHL had only six teams, so there were great players down at that lower level. Then there were rule changes that improved the offense. I had a couple of people in press row that every time something happened that I didn’t know what happened, I would walk down the sideline and Frank MacKay: Not to get caught up ask them. The press row guys were too much on specifics of hockey, but great. my assumption when you say you watched minor league and then you When the Carolina Hurricanes had to cover your first major profes- were waiting for their Coliseum to be sional hockey game in person, seeing built, they played in Greensboro for it for the first time in person. Much two seasons before they moved to faster? Much harder? What is it? Raleigh. There was no replay board so we had to go back and watch a M.G. Potter: I wasn’t really that replay on a television set. I don’t know astute enough to know the differ- how familiar you are with watching ence at the time because at that hockey, but having to re-create the
passes sometimes is difficult if you didn’t actually play it I think. Frank MacKay: I agree with you. I watch hockey. M.G. Potter: When playing it back, you have to see who got the second, if it’s a lot of touches. Frank MacKay: Yeah, no question. Give us a place where you send people to buy Ball Girl. Can they pick it up on Amazon? M.G. Potter: You can get it at Amazon or at Barnes and Noble. It is also available for Kindles and Nooks. You can buy it immediately for well under five dollars. There are book sellers all over the world selling it because it’s print on-demand. You can also get it from Author House, which is my publisher, and you can order directly from them. They may have a stack of a few sitting around. It’s not like there are hundreds and hundreds of books sitting somewhere for people to buy. I have a few dozen at my house that I am still distributing. I do have a website you could go through. It’s www.ballgirllisa.com. We bought all the others, like info, net and things like that go through Ball Girl Lisa. The simpler words ‘ball girl’ were not available at that time. Frank MacKay: I imagine that got eaten up pretty quickly. Ball girls from different folks. M.G. Potter: I know. I was hoping that nobody would put up a porno site with it! You have to say Lisa’s name in there. Frank MacKay: Right, that would be an issue! Let’s jump back to North
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Carolina. I’m fascinated by Tobacco Road and whether others are, what they call Tobacco Road and you hear the romantic stories of Michael Jordan and different players, men and women, just practicing on the farms and practicing in the rural areas of North Carolina. Not a lot to do there. There are no Broadway shows, no concerts, but they do have a hoop and they do have some space and some great weather. They’re blessed by weather in a sense. How much of that did you find to be true and did you get to experience any of that in any of those “Cinderella stories” of people growing up on those farms.
air-conditioned if you went there to barbecue in the summer time. Michael Jordan grew up in Wilmington, which has been kind of a harsh travel town in the deep past, but now is building up as a tourist attraction, right there near the beach. The Cinderella story, I guess you’re talking about a guy from the middle of nowhere, Tom Burleson who played for North Carolina State in the seventies was in college around the same time that I was. He came from a little town called Newland up in the northwest North Carolina High County. The legend was that if you wanted to find Burleson, you just had to stop in the General Store and ask somebody. Everybody in town knew where the seven-foot four guy was hanging out.
M.G. Potter: Yes. North Carolina is a very diverse state now. Back in the late 50’s and 60’s, it would have been a lot like that. There were dirt roads around and nice places to eat, except the country club may not have been
There are still a lot of kids
coming off of dirt courts, but less so now because they get discovered a little earlier and AAU coaches get a hold of the basketball players. Frank MacKay: Is it harder to write nowadays knowing you’ve got newspapers going out of business. When I say write, I’m talking about sports writing. Newspapers going out of business, blogs dominating and so many people are their own reporters. Anyone with a blog or anyone with a Facebook can kind of steal the thunder. Is it harder, and would you do it all again? If you had to do it all over, would you go into the same field of work? M.G. Potter: I might be more aggressive about looking for work at higher levels. When asked, “where are you on the sports writer continuum in the United States?” I’d say,
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I’m about number one thousand in maybe fifty thousand. Ever since what happened, when I lost my full-time job in 2009 with the Durham Herald Sun and since I had been working part-time, but frequently, except in summer months. There’s just not that much to do with the Raleigh News and Observer and they are community papers. I also cover the Carolina Hurricanes and some other things frequently for the Associated Press (AP). I do not enjoy writing quickly, as in “the deadline is now.” If you write for AP, the deadline for a first story is technically at the buzzer. It’s in about one minute after. I have to get the stage right for a hockey game. Sometimes there’s a scoring change and that really messes everything up. That’s also become pretty standard for daily newspapers as well. They want their first story at the buzzer because they want it to be the first story anybody sees.
I don’t know whether I will write another book or whether it will be any time soon or not at this point. It’s interesting to see how marketing works and how much involvement there has to be to bring attention to a book. Our discussion will certainly bring some that I hadn’t had before. It took me about ten weeks, and I had put a self-imposed deadline of before we went out of town to see some family around Christmas vacation. What happened, I got an assignment for the Durham Bull’s Baseball Club to do a series of stories on a man named Bill Law. He was the life-time baseball fan who became the Durham Bull’s announcer. He had also announced for the Raleigh team with the Carolina league many years prior and was kind of one of the faces of the franchise along with Wool E. Bull, the mascot. At Triple A level, you’ll have some guys, but if they’re that great, they’re going to be in the major league all of a sudden. The personalities that stay around are the ones they market more. It’s easy now with quicker media. You can market that some guy is coming for four days and get that out where it would have been tougher before.
Back in 1995-98, I was writing for an afternoon newspaper. There was no internet. I’d go to a late night game and have five hours to get my story in. It hurts everyone’s quality, that first run through. Now if you’re a columnist, you get to write for an I did the series on Bill Law. My hour after the game, that’s the same wife said, Gwen, she came upstairs, as it was 25 years ago. she said, “You ought to just write a book on him.” I said, “Nice idea. My Frank MacKay: It’s so interesting mother suggested 50 times that we comparing the two jobs. They’re write a book,” I said. I’ve been fact completely different jobs, writing a checking for 40 years, so to write novel like this and covering sports. a non-fiction book, and I almost We’ve got about two minutes left. stopped myself in mid-sentence. Let’s go back to the book. When did Then I thought, “Wait a minute. I you decide to write it? How long did could write a fiction book.” I wouldn’t it take you? Can we expect to see a have to check any facts at all. Then the sequel? idea of writing it as someone who’s clearly not me and doing it in the first M.G. Potter: I don’t think there person just popped into my head. I will be a sequel exactly to this book. wrote the first seven chapters of the
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25 probably in about four days. I looked and said, “Well. How long does this need to be?” Then I made an outline of Lisa’s career log. I put her in some family situations. Then there is some tragedy in the book. I hope there is humor in the book. Frank MacKay: Certainly is. It’s funny. It’s a very funny book. M.G. Potter: Thank you. Ups and downs. Maybe it’s funnier because I was the principal author and my wife wasn’t. I’ve had a lot of friends that have a hard time getting out of their mind that I wrote it. Frank MacKay: Lisa’s likable. The character of Lisa is a very, very likable and you’re cheering her on. I’m cheering her on certainly in the book. It a wonderful book. Mike, going back to Lisa, going back to the methodology, did you look back once you finished it and ask yourself if you missed anything? Did you ever say, “I wish Lisa was ….?” Did you ever second-guess yourself there or once you wrote the book and once you published it? Or was your feeling that’s it. It’s perfect. It’s fine. Not perfect. Perfect’s the wrong word, but it’s done. It’s complete. It’s fine. M.G. Potter: There are things I might change and add, but I’ve been a daily newspaper guy for so long that when I write a story, it’s gone. At the very beginning of my career, when I worked for that twice-aweek paper, the deal was they would send a paper to my home and to my parents for free. In the small town, I could go back and re-read everything I wrote. On a daily paper, what I want to know is that it was on-time, nobody complained about it and the check is coming. For the newspaper,
one kind of gets into a mode like that. Second-guessing, yes, there will always be that. If we were fortunate enough to have a second edition, there are a few mechanical changes I might make in the writing. Frank MacKay: That’s a whole different thing. That’s different. M.G. Potter: I think Gwen did an outstanding job. Fortunately, I’m married to someone who was a 4.0 student in high school and college. My foreword writer, Marissa Kastanek, also achieved those things as well as being a great basketball player, which amazed the heck out of me because I didn’t play basketball in college and I didn’t have a 4.0 either. Frank MacKay: I t ’s t e a m w o r k . Everything we know is teamwork. It’s a wonderful, wonderful book. Ball Girl is the name of the book. M.G. Potter is the author and Mike Potter, or M.G. Potter, is the author and he’s been our very special guest. Give us the website one more time and where people can reach out to you personally.
M.G. Potter: The website is www. ballgirllisa.com or .info works very quickly. Either one of those. The Twitter handle for that is ballgirllisa and there is also a Facebook page that can be accessed that way. My Twitter is MikePotterRDU and if you want to talk about a lot of things besides this sport and books, you can friend me on Facebook. I take most friend requests, if there’s a reason for it. Frank MacKay: R ight. Not the spammy kind, but the real people. The real people we take. Hey, Mike. Thanks a million. Congratulations on the book. I hope there’s a second and I hope there’s a third and fourth after that. M.G. Potter, thank you very much for being here. M.G. Potter:
Okay. Thank you.
Carolina State. She is now playing professionally in Poland, which is a whole story in itself. Frank MacKay here signing off. We’ll see you next time on Breaking it Down.
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Frank MacKay: Frank MacKay, here signing off. M.G. Potter, Mike Potter has been our very special guest. Ball Girl is the name of his novel. Everyone please go out and get it. The foreword was written by Marissa Kastanek, former star basketball player at North
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Mitzi DeWhitt, Ed Asner, MG Potter and others are in this issue of Talk Nation.