My new novel Subway Visions comes a long way from its earlier incarnation as Subway Hitchhikers.
Here are ten ways it’s new and improved.
- The novel no longer serves as an introduction to three other volumes but stands fully on its own in a more timeless Gotham.
- The central character is now identified as Kenzie, in line with the other novels in my Freakin’ Free Spirits cycle. Gone are the Duma Luma and later D.L. monikers. He’s more grounded than they were.
- The action is now built on a clear chronology that runs parallel to his ongoing life to the north. For that, you can read Pit-a-Pat High Jinks.
- He now has monthly opportunities to visit the Big Apple and ride its rails, thanks to a floating three-day weekend off from his job. This gives more plausibility to his familiarity with the city while living hours to the north. He is young and ready for adventure, after all.
- With his Tibetan guru living in Manhattan’s SoHo district, Kenzie’s Buddhist studies now run through much of the story. His sessions there become his principal motivation for the monthly visits.
- The story is now anchored by a set of regular characters, beginning with his guru and Buddha buddies like Holly and Wilson before expanding in the second half with the wild tagger T-Rex.
- As one reader said of the earlier version, “I really dig that chick Holly.” Now there’s a lot more of her. (And Wilson and T-Rex are altogether new.)
- The language is tighter; the sentences, more staccato, befitting the grimy trains and their stations.
- The funky sweet surrealism of the original tale now floats over the substance of an inescapably malodorous substratum. There’s nothing bland and disinfected in this gritty demimonde of endless night where Kenzie encounters the most remarkable souls and visions.
- These events are now seen in a historical perspective, thanks to the unseen presence of Kenzie’s daughter Cassia while I was revising the tale. Credit her for the snippier tone, too.
Be among the first to read my newest novel.
They all started out very much like me, but now I hardly recognize any of these characters.
Or, for that matter, lovers.
I’m so happy to hear that the New Yorker’s perceptive classical music critic, Alex Ross, is about twenty years younger than me.
There’s so much young talent to champion. And some exciting new sounds, too.
Now, more than ever.
In my novel What’s Left, Cassia’s family runs a landmark restaurant but realizes many of the Greek dishes they make at home are just too exotic for their clientele in southern Indiana, at least during most of the timespan of the story.
They do add roasted Greek potatoes as an option, but that’s about it.
Well, by the early ’80s, when they have a vegetarian line going, they might add dolmathes, the stuffed grape leaves, or vegetarian stuffed peppers to their offerings, perhaps along with tzatziki, the distinctive cucumber yogurt sauce distinguished by its dill and lemon.
Oh, but how much are the holding back on? Consider these ten options.
- Gyro. It’s a yummy handful, a wrap made of warm pita bread filled with strips of seasoned grilled lamb and beef with tzatziki and sliced tomatoes. (No onions on mine, please. They don’t agree with my system.)
- Souvlaki. Around here, it’s usually kabobs of char-broiled marinated pork, ordered by the skewer. “Give me two sticks, please,” is the way to order. Rounded out with things like rice pilaf, beans, and Greek salad on the plate. My favorite came from a wood-fired stove at the Common Ground Fair in Maine.
- Spanakopita. Or spinach pie, made of filo dough baked with layers of spinach and cheese.
- Loukaniko. Greek sausage made with orange peel, too. Great appetizer.
- Kolokythokeftedes. A Cretan vegetarian appetizer ball featuring feta cheese. (Feta is big in our house.)
- Lamb shank. This slow-baked, savory hunk o’ meat is one of the glories of our local Greek festival. Or, for those who want something a little less messy to eat, the slices of roast lamb are delightful, assuming you like lamb. If not, go for the lemon-pepper roast chicken. (Admittedly, I’m cheating in trying to keep this a Tendril. Just ten dishes? Oh, my, impossible!)
- Pastichio. Layers of baked macaroni with cheese and seasoned beef are a common entrees , as is Moussaka, made of layers of baked eggplant, potatoes, and ground beef.
- Keftethes. Meatballs. Bet you can’t eat just one.
- Baklava. This honey-infused filo is a heavenly dessert, but be warned, it has to be eaten while fresh. That honey can get sticky.
- Let’s not overlook Loukoumades. Bite-sized golden puffs of fried dough often sprinkled with syrup, walnuts, and cinnamon are another celestial way to round out the meal. I have heard some heated discussion, though, about whether the next generation can live up to the standards this one requires. The debate can be quite amusing, especially when the stand is being operated by closely supervised children.
Now, as for your Greek favorites?
Returning that matter of bohemian identity, here are ten more options.
- Peace activist.
- Organic gardener.
- Civil rights activist.
- New England contradancer.
- Sanctuary volunteer.
What more would you suggest for the list?
I’ve been considering some differences and similarities of beatniks and hippies, but they’re just part of a much longer tradition that is often called bohemian.
Without trying to distinguish what identifies each of these (I do get awfully confused at times), here are ten to consider.
- Stoner. (Oops, I just saw that this one can be broken down into ten more categories!)
How would you distinguish any or all of these?
What would you suggest for the list?
Considering the negative image of some, what would you offer as more positive alternatives when it comes to alternative awareness and living?