It is a lot cooler today, so we are blessed here with a comfort that we haven’t experienced for a week of very high temperatures.  And still my eyes are attached to the weatherman on the news channel, as what I do each day is really determined by the weather.  I hope these cool temperatures last.  I might also add that we haven’t seen much rain at all for quite sometime – humidity, yes, but rain, no.

The other night I went to the Hudson River Coffee Company on Quail Street.  There were three fantastic bands playing, and these guys were all musical talents of the highest order.  These bands were, ‘The Black Mountail Symphony’, ‘Mary Jean and the Klay Family Band’, and finally, ‘The Lucky Jukebox Brigade’.  ‘Mary Jean and the Klay Family Band’ came all the way in from South Carolina, as this was one of their many stops on a nationwide tour.  The lead singer’s voice reminded me of Janice Joplin’s voice, and her facial expressions while she played harkened back to either Joe Cocker or even Ozzy Osbourne.  Her voice was in credible, and she had a real knack for playing the washboard.  They also talked about what it is like to be on tour – sleeping in their van and driving around from gig to gig.  While I thought that this was what’s to come if I ever make it in the literary world, such events as book tours around the country would be excruciatingly difficult for me.  Such tours at one time were shrouded in romance for me, but now that I heard the band discussing it, I’m glad I’m not on tour anywhere, and I doubt it would happen like that for me anyway.  The path for me is obscurity and pennilessness, unfortunately – or at least that has been the case thus far.  Nevertheless I keep trying and hoping that one day the sky will open up for me.

Lisa was the one who invited me to see the bands play, and all of a sudden I’m wondering what Lisa has in store for me.  I know I’m just her friend right now, but I’m not sure if she wants more than that or not.  I find it safe to stick to the friendship that we’ve made rather than taking the chance and exposing my romantic longings for her.  Besides, it’s always good to have women-friends.  They can do a lot for you and help you when you’re moving in the wrong direction.  Lisa is one the sweetest and kindest persons I’ve ever met.  I feel wanted and a sense of belonging when I hang out with her.  I will be careful, though, not to express how much I like her – otherwise, she may want to cut me off from her.  It’s like the ‘.38 Special’ tune – “how old loosely, but don’t let her go.’  I have to make sure that I don’t make a fool out of myself.

Yesterday, I wend to a 4th of July picnic at Schodak Island State Park.  Hamburger, Hot Dogs, Potato Salad, and every side dish befitting with a BBQ was represented.  The only problem involved the intense heat, as I caught a bit of heat exhaustion while hanging out under a tent and then outside in general.  I made about two trips to my car to cool down with air conditioning, and I fell asleep for a little while, because of my intense grogginess and drowsiness.  I hate the feeling that I get when I have to stay away but am so drowsy that I need to jolt myself awake every few minutes.  I even dozed off at the AA meeting last night, and luckily I didn’t snore right through it.  In my middle-age I’m starting to get sick with something more often, as I feel that my body is growing up a bit but painfully so.  Everyone goes through the same process, I suppose.  It’s best to exercise and keep a healthy diet, and most of all – drink plenty of water.

We are in the process of scheduling another NSI reading – this time at the Hudson River Coffee Company.  Alaine’s plans have changed.  She’s moving instead to Long Island rather than San Diego.  She leaves on the 26th, so we are scheduled to do the reading on the 19th instead, which is may be too close for us.  The poets need time to amass new material, and I do think we should wait until we all feel comfortable with having another one.  We are still plenty exhausted from the last meeting we had and some of the criticism we received, so I hope John decides to set up the reading in August, even though Alaine won’t be there.  We’ll miss her, but oddly enough we found another woman who wants to read and would be filling Alaine’s shoes, which is definitely a difficult thing to do.  Let’s see how that goes.

Harvey Havel is the author of five novels. This past spring, Stories from the Fall of the Empire, his sixth book and his first collection of short stories, was recently released by Publish America. Later this summer, Two Tickets to Memphis, his sixth novel, is forthcoming from Publish America as well. Havel has previously taught Writing at Bergen Community College in Paramus, New Jersey and also at SUNY Albany and the College of St. Rose, both in Albany, New York. Born in Lahore, Pakistan in 1971, Havel now resides full time in Albany, New York.

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