The Inkdrop


Episode 13: On Fatherhood with McKenzie Cassidy

McKenzie Cassidy is a journalist and debut author of “Here Lies A Father,” which is loosely based on his life when he discovered that his father had multiple families besides his. In this episode we discussed fatherhood in general and the many things that plague and trouble fatherhood in our current age.

“Here Lies A Father” can be found on Amazon here. His book will hit the shelves tomorrow, January 5.

During the intro I talked about “Bean Dad.” That whole internet kerfuffle is explained here. 

McKenzie’s Twitter is @MT_Cassidy. His Instagram is @hereliesafather.

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Episode 12: What (really) Is “Writer’s Block?” 

Breaking News! “The Inkdrop” is now available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts. Download those apps on your iPhone and you have access to all the episodes I’ve recorded so far.

This episode is a solo show recording, where I speak about this often used, often misunderstood psychological condition we call “Writer’s Block.” What is it? What isn’t it? How do we fight through it? I don’t call it “block;” I call it “interference.” And I have some ideas about where it can come from, and how it can be put to bed.

In the recording, I mention the fantastic book “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield. You can find a copy of his book here. Otherwise enjoy!

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Episode 11: What Is Happening To Jehovah’s Witnesses In Russia?

UPDATED CORRECTION: During our conversation we discussed a Jehovah’s Witness named Dennis Christensen who is serving 6 years in a Russian prison for practicing his faith. In the conversation I referred to him as a Dutch citizen. He is, in fact, from Denmark and is a Danish citizen. I regret the error. 

A topic many in America are not aware of!  This week’s guest is a Russian citizen and blogger named Anton Chivchalov. Anton has been following a disturbing campaign happening in Russia whereby members of Jehovah’s Witnesses are being arrested, tried and sentenced to prison for practicing their faith in the Russian Federation, a country that has provisions to protect freedom of speech and freedom of religion. This podcast episode discusses the bizarre application of the country’s “anti-extremism” law to ensnare Jehovah’s Witnesses and outlaw their organization. We also discusses some of the methods used to investigate and try Jehovah’s Witnesses under the statute, as well as the inhumane treatment some Witnesses are reporting at the hands of Russian law enforcement officials.

More information is here. Also here. If you like to read legal briefs, have at it.

Anton’s Twitter can be found here.

If you want to write a letter to a prisoner serving time in Russia under the bizarre statute, click here and go to “Biography Updates.” 

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Episode 10: Who Killed JFK (Part 2)

In part 2 of this conversation with the JFK assassination research community, I speak with Jim DeEugenio, an author and researcher who continues to compile documentation and declassified records as they come to light.

DeEugenio is the author of “Destiny Betrayed: JFK, Cuba and the Garrison Case,” now available in its Second Edition.

In this episode, Jim talks about the botched autopsy of the president, the motivation behind killing President Kennedy and the other attempts on JFK’s life just before Dallas: first in Chicago and then in Tampa! Enjoy the conversation.

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Episode 9: Who Killed JFK (Part 1)

57 years ago today, President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed while riding in a motorcade in Dallas, TX just before he was scheduled to speak at a luncheon filled with Texas-based business owners. The alleged assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested at a movie theater a short time after. Claiming to be a patsy, Oswald denied his involvement in the assassination, even after hours of questioning at the Dallas police station.  Two days after JFK was killed, Oswald joined him, shot dead by a local strip joint owner (and low-level mob associate) Jack Ruby on live television.

Months after the assassination, the U.S. government released its official “investigation” of the murder, assembled by a commission headed by Chief Justice Earl Warren. The Warren Report, as it is known, has since been held up as both the final word about what happened, and a completely fictional account of what happened, utilized to satisfy a thirsty public.

Years later, the U.S. government would contradict some of the findings of the Warren Commission and admit that, in all likelihood, JFK’s murder was a conspiracy: meaning more than one person was involved in the plot. Since then, an entire community of assassination researchers have used FOIA requests, interviews, and expert witnesses to get at the truth behind JFK’s assassination.

In this 2-part special, I spoke with two such experts in the research community. Part 1 is a conversation with Larry Hancock, an author and historian who has been researching the JFK assassination for the past 30 years. Hancock is the author of “Someone Would Have Talked,” a comprehensive look at JFK’s murder, available at Amazon.

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Episode 8: James Jones Turns 99

Today, November 6, 2020 is James Jones 99th birthday. His debut novel “From Here to Eternity” was published in 1951 and received the 1952 National Book Award. What most people didn’t know, when they read the novel in 1951 was that there were some incredibly truthful references taken out of the book because his editor feared it wouldn’t get past the censors, or be delivered by the U.S. Postal service. 

In 2011, the book was re-released digitally unexpurgated, after his daughter, Kaylie, struck a deal with Open Road Media to publish the book. Now, millions can read the novel as Jones intended it to be read: honest, raw, and authentic to the experiences of average rank-and-file soldiers stationed in the South Pacific during WWII. 

My conversation with Jones’s daughter got me thinking about censorship in general, and how it still can plague us in the 21st century. So…meet the new boss…same as the old boss. Here’s my conversation with the novelist and publisher, Kaylie Jones, on the day her dad turned 99. 

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Episode 7: Election Night! with Greg Camarda

Podcasting in real time as the numbers started to roll in, my colleague in education Greg Camarda joined me to discuss Trump v. Biden and all the takes that accompany this highly contested and seemingly critical presidential election.

If you’re more interested in hearing about writing and authors and literature, feel free to skip this. This is culture wars, political wars, and our 2 cents worth. Enjoy.

Episode 6: Lex Morales

Comedy writing is writing. And my conversation with longtime friend and road comic, Lex Morales, reveals his process and how he is dealing with the Covid shutdown of most comedy clubs. He moved to Thailand! But, as he reveals in the interview, there are not many comedy clubs, even in tourist-heavy Bangkok.

Lex is one of the four hosts of the Stoner Morning Show, along with Shawn Wickens, Ralf Jean-Pierre and Jay Cunnius. Their website is here. They live-stream on Facebook here.

Listen to our conversation here:

Episode 5: Michael Mihaley

Novelist Michael Mihaley and I sat down at Tommy’s Place in Port Jefferson to discuss his debut novel “The Underdog Parade.” We talked about the book, the inspiration for his characters, and how it was originally a short story.

We also talked about teaching (he and I both teach ELA), bullying, the perils of adolescence and the “try-anything” approach to book promotion.

You can purchase The Underdog Parade here.

Check him out on Facebook and Instagram.

Big thanks to Tommy’s Place and their amazing wait staff who kept us well supplied in Guinness and local brews all afternoon!

Episode 4: Kaylie Jones

“The Inkdrop” speaks with Kaylie Jones. Kaylie is an editor and publisher of the Akashic Book imprint Kaylie Jones Books (KJB). She is also a professor and author of multiple novels and her 2009 memoir “Lies My Mother Never Told Me.”  We talk teaching, publishing, PEN USA’s decision to remove John Smelcer’s novel “Stealing Indians” as a finalist for YA fiction, and much more.

KJB Facebook Page

Lies My Mother Never Told Me

John Smelcer’s website is here, and links to the controversy are here and here.

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Episode 3: Adam Penna

In this episode of “The Inkdrop” I speak with poet and professor of English Adam Penna. We talk MFA programs, #MeToo, cultural appropriation, and minivans.

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Adam’s books are available on Amazon here, (Talk of Happiness) and here (Little Songs & Lyrics to Genji) and here (The Love of a Sleeper).

Episode 2: Update: A New Short Story is Published!

In this brief update on “The Inkdrop,” a short story of mine entitled “The First Few Steps” was published in the Spring 2018 edition of Windmill, the literary magazine for Hofstra University’s MFA program. Click on the podcast to learn more about Windmill and to hear me read the first couple paragraphs of the story.

Visit Windmill here.

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Episode 1: Laurie Loewenstein

In this first episode of “So Let It Be Written,” I speak with Laurie Loewenstein about her latest novel “Death of a Rainmaker,” which is currently in bookstores from Kaylie Jones Books, an imprint of Akashic Books in Brooklyn.

Buy “Death of a Rainmaker” on Amazon. Leave a review!  Visit Laurie’s website for updates, readings, events and her blog, which is really rich and informative.

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