Posts Tagged ‘my view’

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‘Out With The Old, In With The Newborn’, a recently rejected essay submitted to The Buffalo News

July 24, 2013

For those of you who may have enjoyed reading this-T.W.

Four hours ago my baby son came into the world and I couldn’t be more overjoyed.  Friends warned me that everything would change.  Now I know that it wasn’t a dark prediction so much as a wish fulfilled, or a positive and much needed redirection in our lives.  After crying my eyes out and holding my wife’s hand in the operating room afterwards, I can’t wait for the new road ahead of us.  At six pounds and six ounces (and about a month ahead of schedule), Benjamin Waters made his smashing debut.    

            For the last three years my wife Lindsay and I have been trying for a child and our efforts finally bore fruit last September.  When she broke the news to me with a pregnancy test in one hand after work and a wry joke (‘Honey, we’ve got a problem’), I cracked a grin and embraced her in the kitchen.  It’s cemented in my mind just like our first date on October 15th in 2004.  There are moments you never forget when you’re building a life together.  Our first date, the day I told her I loved her (New Year’s Eve that same year), our wedding day and now, the birth of our child.

            Since we got married there’ve been a lot of hard times and lean months.  Worse along with the better.  I’ve often said that you can’t appreciate the great moments unless you’ve gone through some tough days.  We’ve weathered out most of the worst and moved along to the best time of our lives.  The rough times we’ve suffered through together have made us stronger as a couple and make the wonderful experiences that much more magical. 

            I’ve always been uneasy around newborns.  I even wrote an essay about it (‘March Of The Newborns’ from my third book, First Person, Last Straw).  This little guy was different.  Benjamin Waters turned me around on the entire concept.  Looking through his tiny eyes and cradling his little body in my arms in the Recovery Room I saw an entire universe that was new and fresh to a being that was about to experience everything for the first time.  Not a carbon copy of myself, but a fresh amalgamation of my wife, myself and the generations before us.  Living proof that all of our accomplishments pale in comparison to the life we create, the true legacy that we leave behind some day.

            Parents warned me about getting no sleep, changing a never-ending supply of diapers and getting peed on in the face.  Another friend explained the situation much better by saying that he never understood the concept of being willing to die for someone until he had a child.  Single people spurned the very idea of it and challenged my love of barhopping, going out on a whim or the freedom of independence.  I gladly give it all up to raise a life that we made together. 

            My study has been transformed into a baby room.  Curios, collectibles and knick knacks from my former life have been relocated, packed up, boxed away and retired.  We bought a new, safer car (not a minivan, thank God) so that my transmission wouldn’t die out when I’m taxiing little Benjamin around.  Since the shower, we have clothes for every occasion, accessories for any contingency and enough blankets and homemade quilts to cover the entire household.  Out with the old, in with the newborn. 

            Everything has changed and this isn’t even the first full day.  After a fourteen hour labor and a day filled with caffeine and one meal, I’m still too excited to sleep.  Two sets of first time grandparents are chomping at the bit to spoil our son rotten and I’m more than ready to slow down, stop being so childish and selfish and take care of our child together.  Children change everything.  For the better. 

Tom Waters

-Tom Waters wrote many Club Watch reviews for the Buffalo News along with ten books of essays and poetry.  He looks forward to an early retirement from all that and a new career in carpeting FaceBook with baby pictures.        

                

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Dee Day: Mockery Book Launch & Two New Pieces In The Buffalo News

April 1, 2011

After trimming Mockery to a fault of any essays that were decidedly serious or introspective, there was a lot left on the cutting room floor.  Now whenever I launch into a whirlwind of a book promotion, I try and get some more publishing credits in locally and nationally to raise awareness.  A few months ago I decided to send in an essay about coping with manic depression for most of my life without any regard for what the public’s reaction might be and no idea of the long-range consequences knowing full well that it would be accepted.  It ran today in The Buffalo News’ ‘My View’ Section.  Here’s the link:

 

http://www.buffalonews.com/editorial-page/from-our-readers/my-view/article381948.ece

 

(You’ll also find a new breed of Club Watch review in this week’s Gusto.)

 

I haven’t touched upon this aspect of my life often before (mentioning it briefly in two or three other books) because it’s something I’m incredibly uncomfortable discussing when I’m depressed and I’ve always felt that it was a moot point when I’m manic.  A lot of people treat their diagnosis or an ailment as a crutch and I’ve never thought of bipolar disorder in those terms.  After years of dealing with it, I look at it as a gift that comes with consequences.  While I’m concerned about how the general public will react to it (anger over condoning the avoidance of prescription medications or an outpouring of sympathy over the illness itself), it’s high time to stop hiding it.

We’re at the top half of the 21st century and I won’t be part of the moral minority that still perceives any mental illness with blinders on.  That and I have an autobiography (Icarus On The Mend) due out in another year and a half that delves a lot deeper into my struggles and triumphs with manic depression.  The bottom line is that my wife and I both feel that I can function effectively in society without the benefit of medication for now.  We’ve both researched the topic thoroughly.  Those diagnosed typically get worse as they get older (longer and more debilitating depressions mainly) and our average life spans are drastically shorter due to symptom-related health hazards.

I’m hoping (rather foolishly) that the two of us can find a kind of Beautiful Mind-like cognitive anecdote to stave off the worst of the highs and lows.  This piece will be misunderstood and most likely controversial, but you and I both know that this isn’t my first rodeo in either department.

We’re mere hours away from the official launch for Mockery at Dee’s Firehouse at 7 p.m. tonight.  All in all a pretty good week in terms of print media saturation.  Whatever my life span may be, I truly hope Buffalo remembers me when I’m gone.  In the mean time, let’s have some fun tonight!

 

Tom Waters

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It Begins! Radio Appearances, Print Interviews & A Very Important Birthday…

March 21, 2011

Okay…

There’s a lot of ground to cover this week, so I’ll try and hit all the bases.  This Wednesday, Mark McElligott and I will be high-tailing it out to Lockport to make an appearance on Kahle & Co. on 1340 AM (WLVL) at noon.  We’ll be talking about both our books with my longtime pal Brian Kahle.

ArtVoice has started taking ballots for their 2011 Best Of Buffalo Awards.  I’ve never really rallied the troops for this contest before, but with a new book literally right around the corner, there’s no such thing as bad publicity, so please take the time to log on and vote at:

www.best.artvoice.com

If you’d be kind enough to vote for me for the Best Writer and Best Local Radio Personality, I’d be deeply grateful.  I cast some votes for my favorite bars, comic shops and local artists while I was there, too.

The Mockery Book launch is NEXT FRIDAY at 7 p.m. at Dee’s Firehouse in Depew with special musical guests One Hot Minute!  I really hope to see you out there so you can meet Kathy (one of the best bartenders in Buffalo), Dee and the rest of the gang!  First edition copies of Mockery will be available for the low, low price of $15, so show up on time because they’re going to go fast.

Interviews will be hitting Lancaster Source as well as The Lancaster Bee by the end of this week.  I’ve got a new My View bombshell hitting the Buffalo News either by the end of this month or the beginning of April.  This isn’t exactly a quiet week in terms of promotions, but this is the calm before the storm.  This is the last week of quiet private life (more or less) before a four month junket of readings, signings and book promotions for two books that are definitely going to do very well for Doubt It Publishing.

And finally, my dear friend Gregg Sansonne is celebrating his 50th birthday this Saturday at Griffin’s Irish Pub on 81 Abbott. Rd. in South Buffalo at 8 p.m.  Ten years ago I was starting off with Night Life magazine writing bar reviews when we ran into each other by dumb coincidence while he was starting out as a tremendously talented musician at Route 66 (now closed) downtown.  His performance bowled me over.  His piano playing and his vocals amazed me and they still do.  Please join me, my wife and the rest of Gregg’s friends for such a monumental milestone.  Gregg has been a wonderful person to a lot of people and it’ll be nice to share the occasion with him.

Have a great week and I hope to see you all soon,

Tom Waters

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Monday Big Words Update! Recognition, Expansion & Promotion

July 6, 2009
What a difference a few days make!
    Brian Meyer from The Buffalo News was kind enough to let me know that ‘Cherish Your Freedom On Independence Day’ (the My View piece that ran on July 4th) was their #1 article on buffalonews.com for July 4th and the better part of July 5th!  I was hoping that the article would strike a chord with readers, but I had no idea it would hit home with so many!  I was astonished last year when I found out that the Town Of Lancaster sealed ‘Lancaster Feels Like Home To Me’ into a 100 year time capsule, but this is quite a milestone in its own right.  Thanks to all of you who read My View and thanks for all the kind words of praise.  It means a lot. 
    In addition, I’ve been spending some time this weekend getting the word out online on The Big Words I Know By Heart Radio Hour.  Without getting into too much technical mumbo jumbo, I’ve syndicated some of the earlier shows on to podomatic.com and listed the show on a great deal of directories and feed aggregators.  This basically means that there’ll be more online beacons for the uninitiated to find the show.  While the mypodcast.com site has plenty of room and looks sharp, they’ve been having some problems with tracking accurate statistics in the last six weeks, so I’m looking at some alternatives for setting up shop down the road.  In the mean time, I’ll be experimenting with some of these other free hosting sites and seeing which one works best before setting up shop for good on another site.  If you want to check out, become a fan of, or subscribe to the sister site, here’s the address:
    http://www.bigwordsradio.podOmatic.com
    The stats for the show on podomatic are pretty all-inclusive and they give me a better indicator of how well each show is doing, how many people are listening, etc.  My goals for Big Words Radio Year 2 are to reach a larger audience, book bigger and better celebrities, and scale back on the number of new shows in order to strive for quality over quantity.  I’ll be implementing a lot of these goals over the course of this summer.
    And later this month (as well as the beginning of August), I’ll be taking part in the Buffalo Infringement Festival downtown to promote Slapstick & Superego before the official launch.  I’m still ironing out the details for the launch, but here are the dates, locations and times where you can catch me during Infringement:
    7/25 9pm Nietzsche’s (Part of Space Alien Love Fest)
    7/26 5pm – 7pm Rust Belt Books (Solo)
    7/26 5pm – 8:30pm Rock Harbor Yard (Part of Zombie Fest)
    8/1 9pm Nobody’s Art Center (Part of Nobody’s Pirate Party)
    8/2 8pm Nietzsche’s (Part of Infringement Awards Ceremony and Closing Party)
    A big thanks goes out to organizer Josh Smith for working around my hectic schedule to make this happen as well as the rest of the organizers for the Buffalo Infringement Festival.  This will be the first time I’ve taken part in Infringement, so I’m looking forward to the experience and I’m intrigued to meet and greet with some of the other artists, poets, musicians and writers taking part in the event.  If you’re calendar is free at the end of July or the beginning of August, come out and say hi!
    And finally, Night Life magazine hits the stands with a vengeance today with ‘How To Be A Slob -or- Why Martha Stewart Won’t Return My Phone Calls’, an older essay from Zany Hijinx. 
    That’s all I’ve got for you today.  Lindsay and I are still working on getting a word processing program for our loaner, so I’m holding off on writing anything new since I abhor Wordpad and would rather wait to write on something I’m familiar with.  I’ll talk to you all in two days,
    Tom Waters
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2 poems in AV this week, My View this weekend…

July 3, 2009
    I was thumbing through ArtVoice yesterday and was pleasantly surprised to see that they ran ‘token excuses for block’ and ‘listening to thelonius monk’ (from Breathing Room Volume I) in their ‘in the margins section’ in this week’s issue!  I still don’t have the slightest idea when the Joe Nickell interview is running (if ever) along with another piece I was assigned to write, spent money on and wrote LAST SUMMER, so it was nice to see a few poems that were recently accepted run so soon.  As for the other two, this has happened so many times with no clear indicator as to why the pieces haven’t run that I’ve lost any hope of them seeing print in AV.
    As for other publications, be on the lookout in the Buffalo News My View section this weekend (most likely on July 4th) for ‘Declaration’, a new essay I wrote about how Independence Day means a lot more to me than just fireworks and backyard barbeques.  I showed it to my buddy Brendan (the same one who recently co-hosted Episode 40) and he gave it the thumbs up, so odds are that it’s going to go over like gangbusters.  
     I hope you enjoy your 4th of July and don’t forget to grab a copy of ArtVoice and the Buffalo News this weekend!
    Tom Waters 
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Thoughts on the Flight 3407 Plane Crash…

February 13, 2009
I was very torn about whether or not to write about the horrific plane crash late Thursday night/early this morning, but I feel compelled to. While most people cope with any tragedy of this magnitude, they tend to relate to the event by making it about them. I’ve always shied away from writing about celebrity deaths or Buffalo tragedies because I would rather mourn in my own time than jump onto a bandwagon and vie for recognition in the classic journalistic tradition of grabbing headlines or boosting site hits by banking on the loss and grief of others.

While it’s appropriate and relevant to report an event regarding the who, what, where, why and how, oftentimes writers inject their own egos in situations like these where it’s not warranted (i.e. ‘I met Jimmy Griffin at a church function in ‘76’ or ‘September 11th was important to ME because I was doing THIS on that day and my cousin’s sisters’ husband was down the street’, etc.). While many of my essays are egocentric, I strongly frown on this sort of narcissism in professional writing. Lives have been lost and this has nothing to do with me or anyone else who tries to make it about them. If more people read between the lines in whatever newspaper they read or any cable news station that milked such an awful occurrence for everything it was worth, they’d realize just how exploitative and heartless the field can be.

In this instance, I’d like to say a few things. I was born, raised and lived in Clarence for 26 years before moving out of town to Amherst and then Lancaster. It will always be a part of me and living a half an hour away, that sounds foolish, but there is a definite cultural difference between Clarence and Lancaster. I wrote an article some time back in the Buffalo News My View column about my love for Lancaster and the fact that (like anyone aging and finding out that they ‘can’t go home again’), Clarence has become more populated and less rural over the course of the last twenty years. Over the summer, the Town of Lancaster was kind enough to include this article in a time capsule that was sealed in a building for the next 100 years. Clarence loyalists didn’t take to this article too kindly, but many alumni from high school agreed.

Since my parents’ home is on the border of Williamsville, we spent the majority of our year directly in the flight path leading to and from the Buffalo airport. Most people who live in Clarence can hear the planes that depart and arrive throughout the day and it became so commonplace that we learned to tune it out. It was part of growing up and living in Clarence. For all of us.

In December, I obtained a part time job in Clarence where I remain and work three days a week. It’s given me a great opportunity to reconnect with the town I grew up in and visit with old school chums or familiarize myself with the surrounding townships, bars and roads. The Goodrich Road/Clarence Center Rd. area (where the crash took place) is not only five minutes away from Clarence Central High School, it’s also ten to fifteen minutes away from my place of employment. The Clarence Middle School is also five minutes away from the crash site.

My heart goes out to the victims and families of flight 3407. Early reports are already confirming that most of the 49 people who died in the crash were Buffalonians. It was a horrible, horrible tragedy and most of us will be coping with the loss and grieving in our own ways throughout the weekend and well beyond.

With any unexpected death or national disaster, I try and look for the positive effects and ramifications that weigh out all the negative and saddening events. For those familiar with the Goodrich Rd./Clarence Center area, it’s a highly populated, well-developed suburban area on the border of Amherst and Clarence Center.   With two neighboring schools, a firehall and densely populated neighborhoods, it’s a godsend that more people weren’t hurt. It’s also very fortunate that the crash took place so close to the Clarence Center Fire Hall. Luckily, their response time was much faster than it would have been had the crash taken place further away from their station. What happened was awful. If the crash happened further out, though, the fire could have cost more lives and caused more property damage (during a Buffalo winter where we’ve already had plenty) than it did.

It’s always especially painful when any deaths occur so close to a major holiday. It seems as if the really decent people always die near national holidays. Again, my condolences to the friends and family of the victims in the plane crash. You will be in everyone’s thoughts and prayers in spite of living in a world of exploitative, ulterior and sensationalistic media overexposure where any tragedy is concerned.

Hopefully Buffalo media outlets won’t milk the crash for their own selfish purposes too much in the coming weeks. It would be nice to see ANY media outlet take the moral high ground by being tasteful and conservative on their take as opposed to disrupting the grieving process by hammering surviving relatives with questions for weeks on end and conducting around-the-clock coverage long after all relevant facts have been released and the news portion of the story is gone and the dead horse portion of the exposure truly begins. Please be tasteful and remember that it’s not always ’all about you’ or ’all about Buffalo’ when handling the story. For once. See also: Tim Russert, Jimmy Griffin, anything having to do with the Goo Goo dolls, etc. Real journalists will attempt to write about the story tastefully and objectively within a short time frame. Again, our thoughts and prayers will be with you.

 

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2 New Sterlace(?) TV Shows!

December 21, 2008

Oof, the holidays are murder, eh?

Everyone needs a release valve or ten.  Luckily I have a few outlets (whiskey, writing, and cheese) to vent.  If you still have it, the Buffalo News ran a new holiday piece that I wrote in Saturday’s ‘My View’ section.  Yesterday marks the tenth year since my grandfather Franc passed on and I’m not sure if it was an accident or not, but they ran the piece on the same day.  I made mention in the essay.  Early responses seem to be very positive.  It was nice to be able to honor my grandfather’s memory in such a public forum. 

Also, I made two appearances on the Greg Sterlace show this previous Friday and the Friday before.  They are already up online over at sterlace.com (12/15 and 12/19, respectively) and should bew running on Time Warner on Wednesdays and Fridays (check your DVR or local listings for times) on public access.  Last Friday it was the Mr. Ski Mask show with a very special gay proposal for Ski Mask.  This week (due to weather constraints), Sir Face Mask hosted the show and we spent a half hour going off on the Viewer’s Mom.  This show is bananas, yo!  I have no idea how they get away with everything they get away with, but it sure is fun. 

You can also check out some pics from the show along with a new look I’ve been working on.  I stumbled by accident onto a hybrid Dennis Miller code of dress that I’m really digging.  The pictures only run for the current week, so act fast!

Good luck getting all your shopping done and happy holidays,

Tom Waters

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