Sometimes a great notion

Drove up to Saratoga Springs and had the XM radio tuned to the classical station most of the time. But at one point, somewhere around Saugerties and Woodstock (of course), I happened upon a channel that was playing the Weavers’ version of Lead Belly’s version of “Goodnight, Irene,” and I heard my pal Pete Seeger and his fellow Weavers — Ronnie Gilbert, Fred Hellerman and Lee Hays — sing this verse: Sometimes I live in the country/Sometimes I live in town/Sometimes I have a great notion/Jumpin’ into the river and drown.

More later about the Saratoga Springs excursion, which included a visit to one of the best used-book stores around, a family reunion of sorts, a cruise up Lake George (and live music by a lounge act whose set list started with, I swear, the theme from “The Love Boat!”) and a night spent mingling with my fellow Americans at an honest-to-goodness rodeo!

But first, an explanation of the theme, “Sometimes a great notion” (yes, that’s where Ken Kesey got the title for his amazing novel). Basically, I got this great notion, and finally acted on it, and I started up this Web site and blog.

Which prompted this on friend Steve Hart’s Web site (it’s called Life on Digital Grub Street and you can find it at and it’s absolutely a must-read):

Let’s have a nice warm blogospheric welcome for writer and editor Nicholas DiGiovanni — newspaperman, bon vivant, founder of the Delaware Valley Poetry Festival and sundry other accomplishments that can’t be named until the statute of limitations runs out. Nick’s got himself a spanking-new blog, and in his first post he manages to evoke Lao Tzu, Stevie Wonder, James Thurber and the Monotones. Drop by and say hello to the man.

I’d been asking Steve for advice on Web sites and blogging,.so he knew about my new blog and Web site at…and kind of jumped the gun, but that’s alright — in fact, it’s probably a good thing, because chances were excellent that I would have kept tinkering and polishing and fine-tuning the site for months before I finally got around to raising the curtain.

(I have to note that my initial entry also evokes “World of Wonders,” a great novel by Canadian writer Robertson Davies, and also riffs on a song from Bob Dylan’s “Nashville Skyline” album, I’m stunned that Steve Hart didn’t catch that, seeing as he’s the most incredibly well-read person and the most incredibly well-versed Dylan fanatic I know).

I plan to add much more to the site, including links to author friends, links to favorite magazines, links to samples of my fiction, links to information about favorite writers and favorite topics…and much, much more, so please add my site to your bookmarked favorites.

Meanwhile, a big thank you to Steve Hart, with whom I share a fine literary agent, Michele Rubin at Writers House in New York, and a devotion to the 20th century’s very own Shakespeare, Bob Dylan.

So…while I’m busy brushing up on my rodeo lingo so I can adequately describe my Friday night experience in rural upstate New York, check out Steve’s Web site (and buy and read his book, “The Last Three Miles,” about Boss Hague and the construction of New Jersey’s Pukaski Skyway).

Oh, and check out this videofrom a 1950s TV show:


My world and welcome to it

It’s a wonderful life. It’s a wonderful world. I wonder if God is dead. I wonder how long I will live. I wonder what will happen to me when I die. Is it really any wonder? I wonder if I lived before I was born (it feels like I did). I wonder if the faces that appear to me in my dreams, faces of my father and others who have died, faces that smile and seem to be trying to reassure me that an afterlife awaits — I wonder if these are real beatific visions or just wishful thinking. I wonder, wonder, wonder who wrote the book of love. Last fall I bumped into Wonder, Stevie Wonder, the ACTUAL STEVIE WONDER on a street outside a jazz club in Greenwich Village. I wonder if anyone will even read this. And I wonder why I remember what Lao Tzu said: From wonder into wonder existence opens. It’s a world of wonders. Welcome to my world.