Tag Archives: Peter Brav

Author Expounds on Labor of Love

 

Peter Brav

The “331 Innings” Interview

with Kam Williams

Author Expounds on Labor of Love

Peter Brav is not much of a baseball player but he’s written three novels where the diamond provides a setting for triumph over adversity in one way or another. Sneaking In (set during the 1999 Yankees championship season), The Other Side Of Losing (set during a Chicago Cubs championship season) and now 331 Innings (set in a small Nebraska town). Add in Zappy I’m Not, a memoir of a cranky middle-aged man reincarnated as a small dog, and you have a literary celebration of all manner of admirable underdogs.

Peter Brav, 331 Innings, Interview, bullying, war, life, Lincoln, Nebraska, Princeton, NJPeter has written several plays including South Beach, African Violet, Later, The Rub, Good Till Cancelled, and Trump Burger which have all been performed in staged readings. A a graduate of Cornell University and Harvard Law School, he resides in Princeton, New Jersey with wife Janet and three Papillons.

Kam Williams: Hi Peter, thanks for the interview.

Peter Brav: Totally my pleasure, Kam.

KW: What inspired you to write 331 Innings?

PB:Well, first of all, it’s not a baseball book. That plays a very small part of it. It covers ground I’ve become comfortable with. Trying to understand why we’re all here for such a relatively short time and yet make it harder on each other and ourselves than it should be. I was thinking about bullying and war, specifically, and how they’re linked. And what a better world we’d have, if we could minimize both of them.

KW: How would you describe the novel in 25 words or less?

PB: It’s a pretty powerful 16th year in the life of John Schram, an undersized, underappreciated underdog. Anger’s getting the best of him and he’s most certainly heading in the wrong direction. Hopefully, he’s going to turn things around before it’s too late.

KW: Was the book’s narrator, Jack Schram, based on a real-life person?

PB: John’s Uncle Jack is a fictional 84 year-old lifelong Nebraskan. But Jack’s an amalgam of many older people I’ve met, whether they be relatives or folks at my father’s assisted living center. Like Jack, they’ve made livings, raised families, fought in wars, and watched loved ones and friends pass on. And if they’re like Jack, they marvel at how the younger generations around them keep making the same mistakes they did. I’ve always felt comfortable with older people, perhaps an old soul and all that. It remains to be seen whether that continues now that I’m getting there more rapidly than I’d like.

KW: How much research did you have to do in order to set the story in Nebraska?

PB: I drove through Nebraska four years ago and spent a wonderful week in Lincoln. I know there are significant differences from the Northeast and they’re highlighted on a daily basis on CNN with red and blue colors. But for my time there, on a closeup and personal level, I encountered nothing but personal warmth. And beautiful landscapes. The story wrote itself when I got back.

KW: What message do you want readers to take away from the novel?

PB: Well, some of what I just alluded to. We’ve got no shortage of underdogs in this world, battling whatever adversity comes their way to try and make a good life for themselves and others. What we could use a little more of is leaders, let’s call them overdogs, with a conscience. And that’s pretty much what happens near the end of the novel. Something brings the high school in-crowd and outcasts together, for one really long game anyway, and the rest of the world comes along for the ride. In my 2009 Chicago Cubs fantasy, The Other Side of Losing, I had a very protracted week-long rain delay during the World Series where people come together. This is a bit of the same thing, taking a break from “winning” to maybe show a little love.

KW: Are you already working on your next opus?

PB: Well, as you know, this lawyering thing keeps getting in the way, especially in the spring and summer. But I’ve finished a play called Propriety I’m hopeful about and I’ve started a new play set in the pre-war tumult of the late Thirties.

KW: AALBC.com founder Troy Johnson asks: What was the last book you read?

PB: Great question, Troy. I wish I had more time to read but I’m getting better. I’ll mention two. The Berlin Boxing Club, a great young adult novel by Robert Sharenow.

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/006157970X/ref=nosim/thslfofire-20

And I’m just finishing War Against War, a terrific nonfiction book about the years before World War I by Michael Kazin.

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1476705909/ref=nosim/thslfofire-20 

KW: Ling-Ju Yen asks: What is your earliest childhood memory?

PB: Thanks, Ling-Ju. My beloved mother Adele, a survivor of the Holocaust who passed away two years ago, schlepping my sister and me on subways to see a matinee of Carousel in Manhattan. I believe I was 4 years-old.

KW: What is your favorite dish to cook?

PB: Cooking’s never been one of my strong suits, Kam. But my kids would say my scrambled eggs are perfectly edible.

KW: Craig Robinson asks: What was your last dream?

PB: Hi, Craig. My night dreams are gone shortly after I wake up. There are nights I’m pretty dream-prolific, too. But my daydreams hang around forever; they’re in 331 Innings.

KW: Sherry Gillam would like to know what is the most important life lesson you’ve learned so far? 

PB: That’s such a good question, Sherry, and I want you to know I learned it very early on. It’s to evaluate everyone I meet on the basis of individual character only. No wealth, race, religion, nationality, age, popularity considerations, or anything else. And I’ve been the beneficiary of that lesson, with a diverse group of friends enriching my life on a daily basis.

KW: When you look in the mirror, what do you see?

PB: I don’t know, give me a minute, and I’ll get back to you with a quite pained response. I see someone super blessed to have had the love and encouragement of my incredible wife Janet and the rest of my

family and friends.

  

KW: What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?

PB: I’m going to assume you mean intentionally. Most of the “crazy” things I did only look that way with hindsight. But I’d say naively taking my MGB without snow tires into the mountains of Vermont in the winter of 1981 ranks right up there.

KW: If you could have one wish instantly granted, what would that be for?

PB: For the powers that be throughout the world to have a collective Moment of Zen, to borrow from Jon Stewart, in which they realize they have more power and wealth than could be consumed in multiple lifetimes. And then actually do something about it to reduce war, oppression, inequity, ignorance, and the planet’s deterioration. It shouldn’t take the arrival of a worse species as happened in Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks! to bring people together.

KW: The Tavis Smiley question: How do you want to be remembered?

PB: That’s tough since most of us will be remembered by very few. But I hope it’s for more than those scrambled eggs.

KW: Finally, what’s in your wallet?

PB: The usual I’m sure. Five dollars and a completely illegible idea for a new novel scrawled on a napkin.

KW: Thanks again for the time, Peter, and best of luck with the book.

PB: Thank you, Kam, I hope folks enjoy it. Writing it was a joy for me.

To order a copy of 331 Innings, visit: https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1544237944/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20 

Read more of Peter’s work at www.peterbrav.com

and follow him at: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3299307.Peter_Brav

and: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorPeterBrav/

and: https://twitter.com/PGBistroPG

 

Source:  Baret News 

331 Innings

 

331 Innings

by Peter Brav

Zappyness Media

Paperback, $7.25

164 pages

ISBN: 978-1-544237947

Book Review by Kam Williams

“331 Innings is a powerful tale narrated by elderly, Nebraska native Jack Schram, a lifelong witness to the folly of war and hypocrisy. Jack tells of the bullying encountered by his nephew’s teenage son, John, born with physical disabilities. It hasn’t been any easier for John’s close friend, Sarah Jenkinson, harassed at school since moving to the area a few years ago…

Will John continue to cast his lot with two older ne’er-do-wells… or find a better path? In a time when people ask what is going wrong with our children and ourselves and tragedies abound all over the globe, this is truly an inspirational story.” 

— Excerpted from the Bookjacket

331 Innings  is the latest offering from Peter Brav, the gifted author of a number of baseball-themed novels, including “Sneaking In” and “The Other Side of Losing.” His new book represents a bit of a departure in that it is a coming-of-age tale which only makes occasional references to America’s pastime.

The opus’s title was inspired by Brav’s creation of the longest game ever played in Nebraska, a weeks-long contest attended by Jack Schram. The 84 year-old widower is the omniscient narrator of an engaging bildungsroman revolving around his late brother’s grandson, John.

At the point of departure, we learn that Jack has been serving as the 16 year-old’s surrogate father for about a decade, ever Jack Schram, inspirational, Peter Brav, Nebraska, bullying, book review, physical disability, powerful talesince the day his immature dad skipped town with another woman. John was more than a handful for his mom, Becky, between his  learning disabilities and a spinal deformity that not only left him a head shorter than his pals but with a cranium oddly cocked off to one side.

All of the above left the lad an easy target for bullies at school. But John considers himself lucky to have forged solid friendships with several classmates: Steve, the North High Lions’ pitching star, computer geek August, slacker Aaron, and Sarah, the girl of his dreams he harbors a secret crush on.

Trouble is, he also associates with Ted and Jake, a couple of delinquent dropouts four years his senior. They tempt John to venture to the dark side, much to the chagrin of the impressionable teen’s great-uncle.

The action unfolds in a humble, Cornhusker community littered with colorful characters who frequent down-home haunts like Mom’s Diner and the Sun Don’t Shine saloon. The plot thickens when a traumatized Sarah takes down her Facebook page after being mercilessly teased. Will John prove that chivalry is not dead and come to the aid of his beleaguered BFF-in-distress? And will her anonymous tormentors ease up or further escalate their tactics?

A sobering, modern morality play contemplating the degenerating state of human interaction in the 21st Century.  

To order a copy of 331 Innings, visit: https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1544237944/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20 

 

Source:  Baret News

THE DOUR OF MUSIC

 

THE DOUR OF MUSIC

by Peter Brav

 

I went to a Jackson concert one Friday night last month in an old Loew’s movie house so grand they named it the Kings Theatre when it opened on Brooklyn’s Flatbush Avenue in 1929 less than two months before the epic stock market crash. Abandoned in 1977 while the city teetered on the verge of collapse, and taken over by that same city six years later for non-payment of taxes, it reopened earlier this year with all the shine and restored art deco that 95 million new American dollars and rehabilitation talent can bring.

Kings Theatre 9-25-15

It wasn’t Michael. He’s gone years. Nor was it Janet, Tito, Jermaine, La Toya, or even Joe Jackson at the piano. It was Jackson Browne, he of the soulful wails that brought at least one young man to his knees in that wellspring of emotion, dreams and future nostalgia known as the 1970s.

 

After picking guitar in relative obscurity with The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and building his rep as a writer of powerful songs, Clyde Jackson Browne arrived in my life in 1972 with a bang and his debut album Jackson Browne, sometimes referred to as the Saturate Before Using album. I was in 11th Grade and more than ready to leave for somewhere. Doctor My Eyes and Rock Me on the Water foretold for careful listeners the misery to come if their eyes were open when the water came in a flood. Not for me though because those two singles were just melodic and upbeat enough for a suburban kid to whistle to while he waited for his college ticket out. It turns out that I should have paid more attention to the hints of resignation in Something Fine and the simply elegant relationship ender and difficult choice opener laid out in My Opening Farewell.

 

I arrived in Ithaca autumn of 1973 with vague ideas of becoming a doctor (soon to be dashed, for the benefit of patients worldwide) and expectations of a more exciting and fulfilling life than I’d left behind. Instead what I got was frigid cold and difficult adjustment. JB’s sophomore effort For Everyman made its way to my turntable to ease it all. He lamented the common man’s struggles and prayed for people to get it together and I was on board with that. Take It Easy, his easy take on the song he’d co-written with Glenn Frey that had launched the Eagles the year before, and These Days, one of the finest songs I have ever listened to. Other melodies almost as beautiful completed an album unlike any other I had ever heard, with gentle guitars that cried as much as the anguished words they accompanied.

 

As I began to shift more attention from mandated high school science to the world at large, this For Everyman album was there for this Everyman. It was there for the withdrawal from Vietnam, the Yom Kippur War in the Middle East and the start of the Watergate hearings. I had yet to learn that this world at large was really a world at worry, and always would be, but in any event it took a distant second place to the real questions of my own life. How would I find someone and something to connect with? And manage to keep whomever and whatever around long enough to even get to what will be will be? For an hour, for a week, for, dare I say, ever?

 

And then along came Jackson in the fall of 1974 with perhaps his greatest masterpiece, Late for

the Sky, to answer all these questions with the resonant message that I was indeed screwed, along

 

with him and everyone else, both in relationships that were failing and would continue to fail,and an awareness that the end of everything wasn’t all that distant. Late for the Sky, The Late Show, For a Dancer, Before the Deluge, and four more, all so magnificent, and so sad. Even now it’s hard to know whether this music was sent to soundtrack my life or relationships failed for me to accompany the music.

 

I was leaving college when the fourth album arrived in late 1976 after the suicide of Jackson’s first wife. With The Fuse, Here Come Those Tears Again, Sleep’s Dark and Silent Gate, it seemed more about getting away from sadness than living with it. Daddy’s Tune to a father and The Only Child to a son. Your Bright Baby Blues, Linda Paloma. Almost upbeat, relatively speaking, until the last tune, the title song The Pretender, which let me know that all finding love would do was help me sell out, endure malaise and watch my dreams disappear.

 

Ah, the laughter of the lovers

As they run through the night

Leaving nothing for the others

But to choose off and fight

And tear at the world with all their might

While the ships bearing their dreams

Sail out of sight

 

I’m gonna find myself a girl

Who can show me what laughter means

And we’ll fill in the missing colors

In each other’s paint by number dreams

And then we’ll put our dark glasses on

And we’ll make love until our strength is gone

And when the morning light comes streaming in

We’ll get up and do it again


When I met my wife, a lover of Motown and music with a beat you could dance to, my Jackson Browne LPs found their way out of sight and ear. Life was busier, and pretty good too, the joy of children and a happy marriage making sadness elusive. Sure, I knew the world out there was changing for the worse in so many ways. Many people from my generation, sometimes people I knew who were smart but not that smart, seemed to be making so much money which was hard to comprehend while so many others were suffering. Folks seemed to yell at each other about everything and CNN and this Internet thing made it easier to yell long distance and actually be heard. We seemed to find enemies everywhere, not just in the Middle East, but everywhere. And don’t get me started on the environment. Sure, GE was no longer openly dumping daily in the Hudson but they were telling anyone who would listen that cleanup was impossible.

 

I lost touch with Jackson Browne completely and had no idea that he was now much more focused on songs about plastic and bloodshed than love shed and performing in one good cause benefit after another. I, on the other hand, was resigned because I was Everyman and not someone singing about him. This Everyman grew older but more accepting and happier and didn’t think of himself as The Pretender. Knowing that you can’t change the world and that the world can’t change you is freeing.

 

Then came Friday night at the Kings. Those chords, that finger picking, that pedal steel, those poetic visions.

 

How long have I been sleeping?

How long have I been drifting alone through the night?

How long have I been dreaming I could make it right?

If I closed my eyes and tried with all my might

To be the one you need

 

Where was she, that girl to let me down gently? She was home, in New Jersey, same as she’d been for the past 32 years, with no intention of letting me down gently or otherwise.

 

Where was that belief that someday I was going to say something, write something, think something, maybe even do something that was going to make that world at large a little more magical? How had I been so comfortably numb for forty years, thank you Roger Waters and David Gilmour, wandering as long as Moses and sleeping twice as long as Rip Van Winkle? No idea.

 

Only when the house lights came up did it dawn on me that the encore Our Lady of the Well, from For Everyman of course, was indeed the end of the evening.

 

But it’s a long way that I have come

Across the sand to find this peace among your people in the sun

Where the families work the land as they have always done

Oh, it’s so far the other way my country’s gone

 

Across my home has grown the shadow of a cruel and senseless hand

Though in some strong hearts the love and truth remain

And it has taken me this distance and a woman’s smile to learn

That my heart remains among them and to them I must return

 

I looked out at many of the three thousand 50 and 60-something faces and the philosophical smiles that mirrored my own. Gray hair, sagging skin, bulging bellies. Nicer clothes, finer jewelry.

 

Tired eyes, very tired eyes, Doctor. Verging on tears.

 

Thank you, Jackson.

Peter Brav is the author of the novels THE OTHER SIDE OF LOSING, SNEAKING IN and ZAPPY I’M NOT.

https://www.facebook.com/ZappyImNot

http://www.jacksonbrowne.com/home

http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/1360

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorPeterBrav?fref=nf

 

© 2015 Peter Brav (all cited lyrics are © Jackson Browne)

 

Source:  Baret News

ZAPPY I’M NOT

 

 

ZAPPY I’M NOT

Zappyness Media Inc., which bills itself as the world’s first media conglomerate completely controlled by canines, announces the publication of ZAPPY I’M NOT.

51NSQ8Tx5ALAvailable on Amazon and other outlets and barked to author Peter Brav, the book is a memoir from Zappy, a cranky 60 year-old twice divorced Queens electrician who finds himself reincarnated as a Papillon puppy living with the wealthy Schwarzappels of Park Avenue.

Will Zappy survive the murderous Lloyd Schwarzappel’s attempts to eliminate the new adorable distraction in the lives of his young twin daughters who have become enthusiasts in the sport of Dog Agility? Will he reunite with his first long ago love, herself a reincarnated Labrador? With memorable characters both human and canine, Zappy I’m Not is truly a tale of adventure, justice and true love, all told in the humorously poignant voice of its reincarnated protagonist.

Brav is the author of the novels Sneaking In (2000) and The Other Side of Losing (2009), which national reviewer Kam Williams described as “a novel likely to tickle the fancy of any fan with a soft spot in their hearts for the Cubs”.

Brav often accompanies his wife and three Papillons, one of whom is a Master Agility Champion, to Dog Agility Shows in New Jersey and Florida. Zappy is duly unimpressed and hastens to add that you can completely bypass the guy who took his story down by getting in touch with him directly.

 

ZAPPYNESS MEDIA INC.

Serious Satire for Humans and Dogs

West Palm Beach, FL

zappynessmedia@gmail.com

www.facebook.com/ZappyImNot

www.zappyimnot.com

(email preferred—we’re all dogs here)

 

To order a copy of Zappy, I’m Not, visit: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/151481661X/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Source:  Baret News

Acronym To Follow

 

ACRONYM TO FOLLOW

by Peter Brav

 

Finally

Our Day has come

There’s a Day for everything

For doughnuts, siblings, eight track tapes

Grilled cheese, daughters and sons to work

Encouragement, Alzheimer’s

Coffee, math, chewing gum

Blasphemy, yo-yos

And now finally

One for us

Truly a Day to celebrate

National

Don’t Shoot An Unarmed Brother

Doctor King Not Seeing Progress

George Orwell Laughing

It Is So About the Money

Enough Is Never Enough

Can You Spare A Dime

Or More Time

Freedom Isn’t Free

But It Is Complicated

Day

Acronym to follow

PETER BRAV of Princeton, New Jersey is the author of the novels SNEAKING IN and THE OTHER SIDE OF LOSING, both available on Amazon.
Source:  Baret News Wire

SPRING TOO

SPRING TOO

by Peter Brav

robin egg
 

Back at the table to negotiate

Warm blue sky running few weeks late

One groundhog dropped

Another one dead

Give me one reason to get out of this bed

Thin blood, thin patience

Crazy texting drivers on all that black ice

Weather and traffic every seven minutes

No news here but it is never nice

Robins voice enough is enough

Three ounce songbirds can handle rough

Yellow sprouts in fog of gray

Galoshes hung and children play

There’ll be no stopping it soon

April hurtling through May and into June

Impatiens planted, even weeds look pretty

Replacing oil blackened slush of a major city

Blues, greens, yellows, reds

Life springs again from beneath deathbeds

Every year the struggle grows

Every interminable frost seems our last

Then magnificent spring arrives

Its budding color glory

Consigning hopelessness to the past

 

Peter BravSource:  Baret News Wire

 

Five and Time

 

FIVE AND TIME
by Peter Brav
 

Woolworth Sit-In

Went to the Woolworth Building

Downtown Manhattan

To return some do-hickey

And enjoy a lime rickey

Maybe join a sit-in

For civil rights of brothers now long dead

Found four thousand dollar square foot condos instead

PETER BRAV of Princeton, New Jersey is the author of the novels SNEAKING IN and THE OTHER SIDE OF LOSING, both available on Amazon.Frank Woolworth opened his first successful Woolworth’s Great Five Cent Store in Lancaster, PA in 1879. The Woolworth Buildingensuing chain of stores with aisles of beauty products and clothing and lunch counters where shoppers might break for
grilled cheese and lime rickeys enjoyed unprecedented success. Frank and his partners reportedly paid $13.5 million in cash to build New York City’s Woolworth Building which opened in 1913, the tallest building in the world until 1930. On February 1, 1960, four students from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University were refused service at stools reserved for whites only at a Greensboro, North Carolina Woolworth’s lunch counter. Their courage, and that of those who joined them in the days that followed, resulted in the desegregation of the lunch counter now housed at the Smithsonian Institution, with the
Greensboro building itself now home to the International Civil Rights Center & Museum. Today more than one hundred years old, New York City’s Woolworth Building is being partially converted to residential condominiums from the 29th Floor up where individual apartment prices range from $3.9 million to $110 million. 

Source:  Baret News Wire