Summertime (Part 2) — Paperback Writer

Writer’s Note—This entry is the second in a three-part series entitled Summertime, based on that classic song from the musical Porgy and Bess. If you’ve never heard Ella Fitzgerald’s version of this song, you should.

Mid-Summer 2021—After my last CT scan in June, the summer had its share of ups and downs. That mid-summer malaise contained one bright spot for me.

Summertime and the livin’ is easy
Fish are jumpin’ and the cotton is high
Oh, your daddy’s rich and your ma is good lookin’
So hush, little baby, don’t you cry

Paperback Writer

Like that definitive Beatles’ song from 1966, this summer I became a paperback writer. My first fictional short story—Redemption Blues—is part of the mystery anthology Lies Along the Mississippi. As a writer, having this story published (both in trade paperback and digital) was a giant step forward in my career. I have worked tirelessly over the past several years to get my short stories published, so I was both proud and excited to see my name in print.

I was also taken aback by the love and support that many of you shared with me after learning this exciting news. Thank you!

To learn more about my first published short story and about my ongoing writing, visit my Writing page on this site. (You can also order the anthology online through Amazon or on

Here’s a short excerpt:

The guitar man wore a hat—a fedora by its shape. His face, however, remained hidden in the shadows.

He stopped playing and looked down at Josh. “Like what you hearin’, young man?”

His voice sounded like metal scraping against metal.

“Yes, sir,” Josh responded. “I like what I hear very much.”

Hot, Tired Mess

It’s summer. It’s hot. It sucks. That’s about all I have to say about that. Summers have been brutal for me ever since my stage IV (melanoma) cancer diagnosis. Even now, on immunotherapy (Keytruda) infusions, I feel like crap most of the time. I cannot wait—like most everyone else—for the temperatures to cool down.

The malaise from the summer’s heat has impacted my writing—I have zero motivation and zero ideas to write about. It’s been a strange summer, thus far. My hope is that as it cools off I will regain that fire to write.

I’m a writer, it’s what I do.

The Beatles—Lyrics

I’ll end this post with the first stanza of The Beatles Paperback Writer. I’ve always loved this song, and its meaning is special to me.

Thanks, as always, for listening.

Dear Sir or Madam, will you read my book?
It took me years to write, will you take a look?
It’s based on a novel by a man named Lear,
And I need a job,
So I want to be a paperback writer,
Paperback writer.

Songwriters: John Lennon / Paul Mccartney
Paperback Writer lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC