My memoir would be about three depressing chapters. Brace yourself.

If I were to spin my childhood positively, I’d describe it as uneventful, boring and somewhat sheltered. I suppose I should be thankful there were no major mental crises to recover from. I desperately wanted to study drama and act in school plays, but that’s not what the cool kids did within my small circle of pothead misguided miscreants. In hindsight, it was stupid to abandon a dream just to be accepted by kids that avoided me anyway. Whatever. That ship has sailed.

My ear for music developed at an early age. I played Chopin in high school, and promised everyone that I’d be in a Yes-type band (minus the cape) and play Madison Square Garden within 10 years. Apparently, there’s been a slight delay. Instead of Yes, or Rice, Lake & Palmer, I played keyboards for various Staten Island rock bands in my twenties. On weekends, we’d all don tuxes and play weddings to earn a little extra scratch—the best of times. I played keyboards for the Mickey Burns Orchestra, and the Pat Tedesco Orchestra – neither of which were orchestras, btw.(If you were married in the NYC/NJ area in the 1980’s, I may have played your wedding—check your video.) It was a lot of fun, but no Garden gigs. If I’m being honest, I achieved a level of musicianship I consider mediocre. More importantly, in my fellow musicians, I found the highest caliber of loving humans one could hope for, and mostly, we’re still good friends. There’s something about musicians, writers, actors, and artists that I’ve always been drawn to and connected with—still to this day. I’m sure it’s our shared creative souls. If you have a creative soul, you get it.

Naturally, I ignored feeding my creative soul, and spent forty plus years as a local 361 union ironworker, as my father and his father did before me. I erected skyscrapers, repaired bridges, and caused havoc with traffic during the overnight hours on the BQE. I loved my job, and most of my co-workers were stand-up, but creating structures isn’t the same as creating art. While I replaced bearings supporting overpasses, or bolted iron on high rises, I’d conjure various fictional scenarios in my head to pass the time, and rush home to put them to paper, like all weirdos. Eventually, I bought a laptop which led to dozens of short stories and countless ideas for longer works. They all sucked and are thankfully lost. Like most things, with practice and persistence comes quality. Hopefully.

Now that I’m retired, I have the time to pursue dreams without shrugging responsibilities. I can feed the creative beast within by writing books, songs, and maybe get more active in filmmaking. We’ll see. I’m older than I’ve ever been, but I’ll never be this young again. There’s no sense in waiting.

If you decide to read The Shores of Utopia, you’ll get a better sense of who I am and who I want to be, and what I wish for all of us. Many of my characters and I share the same traits. For better or worse, you’ll eventually find yourself wandering around in my dreams of an optimistic and hopeful future. Is it naive to think that our future society could be Utopian? Perhaps. I choose to believe that all we need is the vision to dream it, the desire to achieve it, the dedication to working toward it, and a simple sense of adventure to get started. My sincere wish is that you’ll find my world a delightful place to explore, and a starting point to dream further.

And if you do read my book, please, reach out. I’d love to get your take.