There are six seasons. Not four.

Kurt Vonnegut proposed a restructuring of the seasons that I like a lot.

January and February: Winter
March and April: Unlocking
May and June: Spring
July and August: Summer
September and October: Fall
November and December: Locking

Vonnegut argued that March and April never really exemplify spring. It's still cold. The grass is brown. Trees aren't yet budding, and winter can still offer its last gasps of snow.

Similarly, November and December rarely feel like winter. November feels like the bastard stepchild of fall and winter, unsure about what it should be. And white Christmases are hardly certain.  

Instead, November and December is a period of locking. The ground begins to freeze. Nature begins to slumber. Winter coats, hats, and mittens begin to find their way back into the world. 

And March and April are unlocking. The ground begins to thaw. Kids track mud into the house. The first green shoots emerge from the ground. Golfers count the days before they can play again. 

In Vonnegut's own words: 

“One sort of optional thing you might do is to realize that there are six seasons instead of four. The poetry of four seasons is all wrong for this part of the planet, and this may explain why we are so depressed so much of the time. I mean, spring doesn’t feel like spring a lot of the time, and November is all wrong for autumn, and so on.

Here is the truth about the seasons: Spring is May and June. What could be springier than May and June? Summer is July and August. Really hot, right? Autumn is September and October. See the pumpkins? Smell those burning leaves? Next comes the season called Locking. November and December aren’t winter. They’re Locking. Next comes winter, January and February. Boy! Are they ever cold!

What comes next? Not spring. ‘Unlocking’ comes next. What else could cruel March and only slightly less cruel April be? March and April are not spring. They’re Unlocking.”
— Kurt Vonnegut

Of course, Vonnegut's proposal (and the demarcation of seasons in general) is irrelevant if you live in Southern California. Or Kenya. Or Boca Raton.

Poor souls.

But for those of us who experience the seasons in the way they are stereotypically presented, I like this a lot.    

My new TV gig

Tomorrow Seasons Up Close, a news program from the publishers of Seasons magazine, debuts on channel 3 at 11:30 in the Hartford market.

This will also mark my television debut. Much like my role in the magazine, I will be doing the final segment of the show (and future shows), which will be a short bit of humor and observation at the end of the show.

Sort of like the Andy Rooney spot on 60 minutes, but without a desk and far better looking.

I haven't actually seen the segment yet. They sent it to me, but I have decided to watch it live. If you're in the Hartford area and are free from 11:30 until noon, check it out.

And if it's eventually made available online, I'll be sure to share it here (if I don't hate my performance).  

Here's a little taste of what you may see:

Resolution update: July 2014

In an effort to hold myself accountable, I post a list my New Year’s resolutions at the beginning of each month, along with their progress (or lack thereof).

1. Don’t die.


2. Lose ten pounds.

Six down and four to go.   

3. Do at least 100 push-ups and 100 sit-ups five days a week.


4. Launch at least one new podcast.

Author Out Loud, my first podcast, is still yet to launch (and therefore still not my first). Once we have that podcast running smoothly, we can think about adding a second podcast.

Progress so far: I found a much easier way to podcast that eliminates the need for much of the equipment and a producer. I would really like to start this month if I can get this website ready to receive.

5. Complete my sixth novel before the end of the summer.

Some progress. It’s more than half finished.

6. Complete my seventh novel.

Progress continues on this one as well. It’s possible that I’ll finish my seventh novel before I finish my sixth, which makes no sense. 

7. Sell one children’s book to a publisher.

Work continues on five manuscripts now. My writing camp generated many new ideas. Quite a few are good, I think. Sending at least one manuscript to my agent by the end of the month.

8. Complete a book proposal for my memoir.

The proposal for a memoir comprised of the 35 or so of my Moth stories is complete. I await news of its sale.

Work also continues on a memoir that focuses on the two years that encompassed my arrest and trial for a crime I did not commit. These two years also include an armed robbery, the onset of my post traumatic stress disorder, my period of homelessness, and the time I spent living with a family of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

It was a memorable two years.

I’m also writing another golf memoir about this season of golf. Since I haven’t played enough golf this summer, I may stretch it to encompass the entire year rather than just the summer.  

9. Host at least one Shakespeare Circle.

Nothing scheduled yet.   

10. Write a screenplay.

More than half finished. Still going well. I met with my screenwriter’s group last week. They approve of my progress so far. I’m over-writing, but I knew I would. Better to have too much than too little.   

11. Write at least three short stories.

I am still nearly finished with one short story.

I still hate this goal.

12. Write a collection of poetry using existing and newly written poems.

Done! The collection is complete and in the hands of my literary agent. I still await her response. She probably hates it.   

13. Become certified to teach high school English by completing one required class.

Still one class and $50 away from completion. My wife is actively looking for a place online where I can complete this relatively obscure requirement.

14. Publish at least one Op-Ed in a physical newspaper.

My first column in Seasons magazine published this month.


I also pitched a column idea to a major online magazine that is seriously being considered.  

I also published a piece in The Cook’s Cook, a magazine for aspiring food writers and recipe testers. You can read the April-May issue here.


None of these are Op-Eds. Please ignore that fact in the event I need to use these publishing credits in order to claim that I have completed my goal.

15. Attend at least 10 Moth events with the intention of telling a story.

I competed in a Moth GrandSLAM in Brooklyn last month, bringing my total number of Moth events to 10 and completing this goal.

I have plans for two more Moth events in August.

16. Win a Moth GrandSLAM.

I competed in the aforementioned GrandSLAM in July. Unfortunately, I had to tell my story first, which made it impossible for me to win, even if I could have won. But given my record of second place finishes, I probably wouldn’t have won.  

I have another GrandSLAM this month in Boston, and that might be my last chance at a championship for 2014. There may be one more GrandSLAM in New York before the end of the year, and if so, I will be entered based upon my previous StorySLAM victories.

But my chances for winning are becoming limited.  

17. Give yoga an honest try.

No progress.

18. De-clutter the basement.

Small progress made.

19. De-clutter the shed

No progress.

20. Conduct the ninth No-Longer-Annual A-Mattzing Race in 2014.

No progress.

21. Produce a total of 6 Speak Up storytelling events.

Our total stands at five after our most recent July show with additional shows planned for September and December at Real Art Ways and October at The Mount in Lennox, MA.

22. Deliver a TED Talk.

I delivered a TED Talk in March at Brooklyn Boulders in Somerville, MA.

I have also been contacted about speaking at two other TED conferences in the fall and am still awaiting word on my pitches.

23. Set a new personal best in golf.

I shot a 47 last week, which was one off my personal best. I have made enormous improvements in my game this month despite only having a limited amount of time to play.

I have a chance at this goal in August.  

24. Find a way to keep my wife home for one more year with our children.

We still don’t know how we will afford this, but we made the decision to keep Elysha at home for one more year with our son.

25. Post my progress in terms of these resolutions on this blog on the first day of every month.


Carte Blanche Summers: My first column

Look what showed up at the house today!

Seasons magazine, and my first column, entitled Carte Blanche Summers. The magazine publishes in four different markets (soon to be six), which explains the different color covers. 

You can subscribe to the magazine, of course (and you should), or you can read it online.

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