Friday, September 3, 2010

Holy Cow Love and Kindness



I've been reading Mary Karr's Lit. a memoir which traces her descent into a truly hellish alcoholic state. I love reading about drug and alcohol use, getting a vicarious thrill from tales of abuse I've been lucky to avoid, tales I might have written myself had I been less careful. There have been numerous enough bad drunks in my family it's as if there have been signposts over the years that read-- Bender Ahead or Caution: Beware of Blackouts. 

Part of her story deals with the difficulty she had accepting the "higher power" aspect of AA. I related to her skepticism regarding being force fed a diet of Evangelical stew. She put up an admirable fight playing the cynic to her sponsor's advocacy. One of the counter arguments got my attention, however. Her sponsor argues that it is less important who (or what) you pray to than the act of praying itself. I found myself thinking about what Eddie Merrins counseled during one of our conversations, not about going on the wagon, but about achieving a quest.

Eddie Merrins:
You’re talking about mechanical things. You’re talking about physical things. You’re talking about psychological things. Sooner or later you’ll get around to spiritual things. That to me is the four-part make-up of the golf game. It’s partly technical— yes, you need to understand how you like to swing, how you like to play shots. It’s partly physical, dealing with your physical well-being and the ability, if you have it, to put yourself in a relaxed state. But mentally you need the commands, the positive commands that let you produce. And you need to be able to deal with the emotions, the temper, the motivation, the highs and lows. Learning to be positive versus tentative and negative. And then character-wise, the spiritual part comes into play.
It’s partly physical, partly technical, partly mental and partly spiritual.  Spiritual meaning—it could come from religion, it could come from education, it could come from association, it could come from philosophy. Regardless of where it comes from, it breathes the character into the person.

For all my skepticsm, when it comes to the power of positive thinking on the golf course. I'm a true believer. It wasn't until I gave myself over to Eddie's advice that I was able to battle the demons to a draw.

Which raises the question: How does faith, belief, and actually praying alter us physiologically? This question has had some dicey new age answers like The Secret which taken in part I get but taken whole strains logic.

From Die Happy:

The concept is this: our lives are shaped by the energy we put into the universe. Visualize good things and good things will materialize. Put out nasty vibrations, as I had evidently been doing big time, and plenty more bad shit awaits you. To some extent this is undoubtedly true but the film’s hokey production values, maudlin music, and smug tone made the thing nearly unwatchable. I found myself running into the same roadblock over and over. What about the hundreds of thousands who died being swallowed by the tsunami in the Indian Ocean? Had they all been seeping such negativity that the universe saw fit to answer their collective whining en masse? Six million Jews? Children of abuse? Oh, yes father, that little altar boy totally had it coming . . .

I wouldn't argue with anyone of faith. If you fully accept some entity as your personal lord and saviour, I'm guessing you spend less of your time confused about the meaning of life and your part in it. So long as there is a divide between your faith and the right of others to think you're full of shit without banishing them to eternal damnation or, worse, trying to blow them up, I say have at it. And while I haven't fitted myself for a barmitzvah suit (a good thing since I'm in the process of losing so much weight-- okay, early in the process) I am going to give this a bit more thought. In the meantime, I'll continue to be a member of the Holy Cow Love and Kindness Church of the Great Outdoors. I worship every day without fail.

Die Happy by Brock Walsh will, with a little luck, appear in bookstores soon. Contact brockwalsh@gmail.com

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

We're Back


There is no inertia quite like the one born out of laziness. I thought I'd take a brief hiatus in May, but I've seen "Back To School" advertisements for weeks and the calendar doesn't lie.

Meanwhile, it was an odd and eventful day for Jim Furyk. His alarm failed to go off and he ended up missing his tee time and being disqualified from the first round of the FedEx Cup playoffs. I've been there myself, driving like mad, sweating profusely, cursing my carelessness. It's no fun. 

In Jim's case it's even worse. He'll have to answer questions about it for weeks and, if he comes in second, have to wonder why he didn't have a back-up plan for a dead cell phone battery.

Tiger will have another go at it, albeit as a single guy. I can't imagine what it sounds like in his head as he stares down a 20-footer for par. I dislike piling on, but watching him over the summer has at least confirmed for us married guys that there are benefits to refraining from chasing skirts not attached to a spouse's ass.

The dawn patrol is still out there twice a week. Richard, Dennis, Tom and I are still walking Rancho, vying for the various rewards of competition. Someone asked if we play for money so I thought I'd let an excerpt from the book explain:

Tom and I have a match every time we play. This started during the last NHL strike, so we called our match the “Stanley.” The loser had to answer to Sally. Soon thereafter, uncomfortable with the misogynistic tone, we switched and made the winner Sally. The winner is now said to be “wearing the dress” and, like the Ryder Cup, he who possesses said garment need only halve the match to retain it.

There's more to it than that, in that each golfer of five (counting Jim Dewitt) has a separate match and garment but I'll leave that for another time. I hope your summer's gone swimmingly and your swimming's been swell.



Die Happy by Brock Walsh will, with a little luck, appear in bookstores soon. Contact brockwalsh@gmail.com

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Ron Scalera









He was a huge-hearted music-loving good and loyal friend. He died this morning.

I worked for Ron, writing and producing music for CBS where he ran the On-Air Promotion department, from 1990 to 2006. He cared about music deeply and was a fine musician himself.

The end of our working relationship is closely chronicled in my book, Die Happy. He was enormously supportive of this new venture as he was of any creative pursuit chased in earnest. That's just who he was. He loved the best of everything and encouraged all he worked with to aspire to the greatest heights they could achieve.

He was a very good promo man, but what he loved more was riffing, ripping on a Les Paul.



Die Happy by Brock Walsh will, with a little luck, appear in bookstores soon.
Contact brockwalsh@gmail.com

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Ordinary Remarkable


The Masters completed, the PGA headed for Hilton Head for what is traditionally a sleepy and pretty tournament on the Carolina coast. The big names weren't there and guys whose names don't usually get top billing battled it out. Hockey and basketball playoffs take over page one and golf fans need to dig into the back of the sports section to find a story about it.

Except this year, the guy who came in second put the tournament front and center.

On the first hole of a sudden death playoff, Brian Davis called a penalty on himself and it cost him, in addition to 400k, the victory.

Fans of other sports may have difficulty understanding it. An outfielder catches a low liner after it skips off the ground, lifts his glove to show the ump he's made the grab, and, despite knowing full well he didn't catch it on the fly, will run off the field if the umpire signals out. He's not even accused of dishonesty, rather, he's praised for having "sold it well".

Professional sports are televised with such technically advanced coverage that a replay usually reveals such subterfuge in seconds. All an announcer will say in response is that the ref got it wrong. He won't impugn the player for lack of honor. Strangely, honesty isn't expected.

In golf, it is. This alone sets the game apart. People marvel at the oddity-- they certainly did in Brian Davis' case when hundreds of media outlets picked up the story, namely, Athlete Tells The Truth. Don't get me wrong, Mr. Davis deserves all the praise he's getting.

 People should realize, however, anyone who plays golf the right way would do the same thing.


Die Happy by Brock Walsh will, with a little luck, appear in bookstores soon.
Contact brockwalsh@gmail.com

Friday, April 16, 2010

Tommy P


Tom Patchett has been a friend for decades. He's a regular golf partner and a major character in my book.

I attended his birthday party last night at Rush Street along with 50 or so other FOTs. More than any other one thing, what makes a party great is the collective feeling the assembled have about the feted one. Everyone's great affection for Tom resulted in a walloping warmth.

I shepherded a filmed tribute to Tom, included here, that manifests the great love we all have for Tom and, as promised last night, I post it here on his actual birthday.

Die Happy by Brock Walsh will, with a little luck, appear in bookstores soon.

Contact brockwalsh@gmail.com

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Phil's Got A New Fan


I've never been much of a Phil Mickelson fan. He's a nice enough fella and a talented golfer, but he's never fired up much enthusiasm in me. 

As of today, I'm a fan.

Yeah, you guessed it. I've been one of the legion of Tigerites, hooked on the prodigious drives, laser-like approaches, and other-wordly putting, but the Masters provided more than enough evidence that when it comes to character, Phil wins in a romp.

Tiger put on his best face, contrite and uncharacteristically warm, and proceeded to put up three good rounds that left him within what would normally be striking range. Okay, I thought, maybe he's turned over a new leaf.

It didn't last.

On the 13th hole Tiger skied his drive and his f-bomb tirade was captured in high definition. On the next hole he
had four feet for birdie that would have left him close to the lead. He missed it, missed the two-foot par putt, tapped in for bogey and stonily walked to the 15th tee. Gone was the warmth, the humanity. All that was left was the greedy child that is Tiger Woods.

Meanwhile, Phil was calmly assessing his chances from the woods on 13, deciding in typical fashion to attempt a 205-yard shot off the pine needles, through the trees, over the pond to the linoleum hard green. Bingo.
The main difference between the two? Tiger was alone. Phil had family. Phil played courageously, emotionally, driven by the memory of truly awful year his wife has had battling breast cancer. 

And when he'd won and reached his wife by the scoring house, Phil took her in his arms and cried. CBS can be forgiven for replaying the tear streaking his cheek in slow motion.

Golf's a mysterious game but I'd dare say this much is true. Every golfer plays not only with his or her talent but with their whole life. Phil had a team. Tiger was alone. It was no contest.

Die Happy
by Brock Walsh will, with a little luck, appear in bookstores soon.
Contact brockwalsh@gmail.com

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Glass Houses


Here comes Tiger. What looked to be a lengthy hiatus turned out to be a 144 day look-repentant-and-get-ready-for-the-Masters blip in the TW continuum. Maybe we should have seen it coming. Maybe you did. I didn't.

Yesterday, Billy Payne, master Masters spokesman, gave a press conference which ended with a strange diatribe about Tiger's transgressions. He lectured philosophically about the great disappointment caused, both for this and future generations.

Why is it we feel like this is the stuff of public discourse? Doesn't it make relevant the sexual behaviour of every member of Augusta National? Shouldn't Mr. Payne have to answer to his own fidelity, now that he has called out the one golfer who brings more attention, and dollars, to his organization than any other? What business is it of his?

I love the Masters as much as anyone. I'll watch it end to end. I'll dream of someday playing a round there as I have since first laying eyes on it. I'll defend the place when critics decry its refusal to admit women. But this arrogance is too much. I stopped going to church when the hypocrisy of church leaders became unavoidably obvious and I certainly don't need Billy Payne to step into the void.

Any married person knows the pitfalls of fooling around. We also know the benefits, no matter how great the temptations, of being a faithful spouse.

I'd like to put one question to Mr. Payne. Have you ever been unfaithful to your wife?

Die Happy by Brock Walsh will, with a little luck, appear in bookstores soon.
Contact brockwalsh@gmail.com

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Pace of Play


Golf on television has never been wildly popular. Finding an audience that thrills to the sight of someone measuring a five-foot putt has always been a thankless challenge. Even Tiger, who single-handedly doubles ratings, can't lift them beyond a cooking show, and when he's absent they instantly plunge right back to the bottom of the pool.

Which is why I ask, can the PGA survive Jim Furyk? 

I'll say it for the record. I like old Jim. I admire the strange swing, the slightly grouchy demeanor, and the grind-it-out workingman's approach to the game. He shows up, goes about his business with a minimum of antics, and regularly finishes at or near the top of the leader board.

But this routine that has him eyeballing a putt from both sides, caddy swapping positions like a dance partner, then standing over the ball as if ready to hit it, then stepping away and repeating the entire choreography, then addressing the ball again and then waiting . . . waiting . . .

Excruciating is not too strong a word. Paint dries with more inherent entertainment value. You can almost hear the network pulling out their dwindling gray hairs, the 60 Minutes clock ticking, as he waves his putter three, four, five times beside the ball, seemingly summoning the courage to actually put it in motion.

Tiger's brief self-imposed exile comes to an end in a mere seven days. The unsavory questions will inevitably flow and the camera will, as it does whenever he is within a mile of a tournament, remain on him whether or not he's in contention. And however painful that strange fascination may be, remember, it could be worse.

And please, Jim, could you pick it up a little?

Die Happy
by Brock Walsh will, with a little luck, appear in bookstores soon.
Contact brockwalsh@gmail.com

Monday, March 8, 2010

Accidental Riches


One of the best things about golf is the accidental discovery of interesting humans. Sure there are occasions when the opening in your group is filled by someone who annoys, but more often you're paired with another stricken golf romantic very much like yourself.

When I first met Michele Sturla I was struck by his thick Italian accent and wonderful sense of style. He introduced himself as "Michael" but I heard in it the anglicized apology and before we'd walked the first fairway I'd extracted his given name, pronounced Mee-kay-lay, accent on the second. I asked him if he'd mind being referred to as such. "No, dot ees fine!"

We've played half a dozen times since, including today. He's in his mid-sixties, jet black hair, lean as a jockey, immensely strong, with a finesse rarely seen on a muni course. He is a picture of golf politesse, owing to his having caddied for a few Italian pros including Constantine Rocca. And man, can he play. He may be the only golfer with whom I play who not only carries a 1-iron but uses it to great effect. After receiving a compliment on a 170-yard left-to-right shot out of the rough that resulted in a birdie, he responds-- "I've been making dat shot seentz I wussa boy . . . "

But my favorite thing about him is his endless gratitude-- for my having called him to play, giving him a yardage, replacing a pin, you name it-- he's thankful. He smiles, cigarette dangling from his lips, and says, "You're too kind."

Really, I'm just grateful. You know how rare style is these days?


Rub Of The Green by Brock Walsh will, with a little luck, appear in bookstores soon.
Contact brockwalsh@gmail.com

Friday, February 26, 2010

Fool Proof Marketing Strategy


I'm a first time author so I'm learning a lot of new stuff about the publishing world. I always thought the order of events went something like-- book deal, writing, editing, marketing, sales. Turns out that's just not how it's done.

The real order is writing, rewriting, marketing, editing, book deal, sales. Well, maybe book deal and sales.

Okay, I'm new at this so I'm playing along.

Having completed three drafts, I am now embarking on the design of a marketing strategy. I know, I have no experience in the field but somehow this doesn't seem like enough to rule me out. A publishing house, I'm discovering, needs to be told by someone as ignorant as me how they, the acknowledged experts with gobs of experience, might best sell a book.

It's one crazy world I'm telling you.

Remember when full service was the only choice at a gas station? I'm thinking it's something like that.

Seems to me selling a book ought to be pretty much like selling anything else. You gotta catch their eye and offer them what it is they're looking for.

I haven't settled on any one idea yet but I'm thinking "bacon" should be in the title.


Rub Of The Green by Brock Walsh will, with a little luck, appear in bookstores soon.
Contact brockwalsh@gmail.com

Monday, February 22, 2010

Personal Appearance



I am now ready to begin my prepared remarks. As previously announced, I will not be taking any questions.

As I stand here before my handpicked audience, I'd first like to say I am so sorry about the muzzles. But please understand, I couldn't take the chance that the air would be fouled with the sound of anyone else's voice, so beautiful and contrite is mine. And per the agreement you've all signed, please avert your eyes should my doleful gaze fall upon you as I deliver my amazing speech. When I look away, feel free to again stare at my awesome visage. I mean, who could blame you?

I would like to finally give my side of the story regarding the events of November 25, 2009. While it is true that I was admitted to the hospital that evening with a turkey leg in my ass, it is absolutely untrue that said entree was put there intentionally or otherwise by any member of my family. The media has had an absolute field day coming up with scenarios beginning with Thanksgiving dinner and ending with a turkey leg in my ass and I have only this to say. Leave my family alone.

What actually transpired was this. As my eldest son gave the blessing over the perfect feast prepared by my beautiful, faithful, and loving wife, a man appeared at our dining room window. The window was partially open to allow for ventilation. The man, a stranger, was holding a photograph of his ailing daughter, who happens to think I am just about the coolest thing on the planet.

"Please sign this for my stricken girl!' the shoddily dressed intruder said.

I leapt to the side door to satisfy the poor man's request, tripped on the Bible, accidently hit the button that releases the hounds, lost my grip on the turkey leg in question (that I had intended to give the malnourished fellow), tore my trouser bottoms, spun head over heels, and unluckily was impaled on old Tom's gam.

This hereby ends my remarks. I thank you for your attention and remind you that no good deed goes unpunished.


Rub Of The Green by Brock Walsh will, with a little luck, appear in bookstores soon.
Contact brockwalsh@gmail.com

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Unfair Vanity


Some people holler incessantly and can't get noticed, others hide like fugitives and can't disappear.

Tiger's been gone for months but remains the number one hot topic of sites and blogs that cater to golf junkies. Television ratings have plummeted, and it's everything commentators can do to keep the analysis focused on who's playing rather than one golfer who might have been but isn't.

Tiger's talent explains some of our fascination. He has wowed us so many times we get hungry for another fix. We like to be reminded of what true excellence looks like.

But he demands attention by his absence almost as much as his participation. We feel like we know him. We thought we did. And until his prodigious appetites became public, we were able to assume they were . . . what? More like ours? And what exactly is that?

We're a horny unfaithful lot if you believe the polls. Why would we assume he be less so?

I think we, the public, are waiting to hear his voice-- to hear the sound of reckoning, humility, honesty, and embarrassment. Because while we're listening to him, we'll be hearing ourselves.






Rub Of The Green by Brock Walsh will, with a little luck, appear in bookstores soon.

Contact brockwalsh@gmail.com

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Two Kinds of People


You'd like to think people are basically all the same, that whole love-your-brother thing, but really? There are truly only 2 kinds of people, people who prefer the stupid animal with the empty eyes and the idiot stare, and those who go for the dog.

Some causes are too important not to participate in.
Please visit:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Can-this-poodle-wearing-a-tinfoil-hat-get-more-fans-than-Glenn-Beck/334162806080?ref=nf


Rub Of The Green by Brock Walsh will, with a little luck, appear in bookstores soon.

Contact brockwalsh@gmail.com 

The Golf Trip


Every April for the past 20 or so years, I've headed for Kiawah Island, South Carolina for that last great bastion of male camaraderie, the golf trip. Same guys, same courses, nothing much changed from year to year.

Perfect doesn't much call for alterations.

Well, chalk up another victim of the great recession. I had to do something prudent and surrender my place.

Here's a brief excerpt from the book:

We head out in two vans and immediately fall into the comfortable and well-worn routines guaranteed to wind each other up and get the taunts flying. Roger’s quite sure I’ve neglected to procure a wide enough variety of non-alcoholic beverages—he has amassed seven years of sobriety and can somehow maintain it around us during this week of nearly indiscriminant consumption. I play the indignant and unappreciated martyr. Gary goes as the pious reformed one as he outlines the dietary restrictions brought on by—count ‘em--five coronary vessels having been rootered and rerouted just three months prior. Kevin, too good-natured to take an unprovoked swing, says laughing, “Golf trip.”

Each day passes in a blissful blur. We wake up at 7, pull out at 8, tee up at 9, lunch at 1, watch The Masters until 6, dine at 8, and call it a night by 11. Gone is any evidence of the outrageous behavior that once threatened life and limb, frightening woman and children---condo wars with rooftop maneuvers by commandos armed with quart-sized water balloons, one a.m. golf missions that left a tee box badly disfigured, indoor freestyle climbing of walls, fireplaces, ledges et al, and Guts games where small fortunes changed hands. John Madden faithfully brings the cards and chips each year but I’ll be surprised if they even make it out of the case. 

I won't be there to see if they do or not. We're having a west coast, tee-it-up-at-Rancho golf trip this year.


Rub Of The Green by Brock Walsh will, with a little luck, appear in bookstores soon.

Contact brockwalsh@gmail.com 

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

What's Your Quest?


Every golfer has a goal. Breaking 100 is a fairly common place to start. With a little persistence, most of us get there. But as soon as you do, ninety raises its head and whistles. Hey, you! You want a piece of me?

With every golf goal met another is born.

What is it about golf that keeps urging us to improve? People who play pickup basketball don't towel off and start figuring their field goal percentage. They have a beer and agree to meet same time next week. 

Before you even make your way to the first tee, you reach into that wooden box and----

Today, just as I have for years, I’ll take a fresh scorecard, carefully fold and crease it, pencil my initials and enter my scores. I’ll circle the pars and, if I’m lucky, etch a neat tiny triangle around the birdies. When the last putt rolls in, I’ll sum up and write down a total. And like always, perched in the upper right hand corner will be that number that seems forever out of reach. You know the one I mean--even when you’re not looking at it directly you see it out of the corner of your eye . . . like Venus.  
Par? In 43 years of playing golf, I’ve never done it.

That's right, 90 fell and 80 beckoned. And when 80 finally toppled over, par was waiting, smirking and too smug to waste its breath on a whistle.

So what's your goal? Have you already crashed through or are you stuck in a rut? I'd love to hear your story.

From Rub Of The Green
by Brock Walsh which will, with a little luck, appear in bookstores soon.

Contact brockwalsh@gmail.com 

Monday, February 1, 2010

Secret of Vaudeville

My dad fancied himself a bit of a song-and-dance man. He'd do Jolson or Durante, occasionally ending with a brief soft shoe and a "Good night, Mrs. Calabash". And then he'd offer this advice, which at the time seemed too corny to be worth heeding. "The secret of Vaudeville-- tell 'em what you're gonna tell 'em, tell 'em, then tell 'em what you told 'em." Hokey? And then some.

It is shocking how often those words have rung true over a thirty year  writing career. And that is precisely what I didn't do in this third draft. I got the first two right but assumed I didn't need the third, alas.

In a song, the verse announces what's coming, the chorus states the theme, and the all important bridge provides that vital reiteration that feels so good and makes the last chorus feel complete.

In a movie's final scenes, the hero states, sometimes so blatantly it makes your skin crawl, exactly what he/she's been up to for the last 90 minutes-- even though we've been watching their every move. It's just the nature of story telling and the odd wiring of the human brain.

You gotta tell 'em what you told 'em.

Rub Of The Green by Brock Walsh will, with a little luck, appear in bookstores soon.

Contact brockwalsh@gmail.com or
Beverley Slopen slopenagency@gmail.com

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Light


The rain relented yesterday and Los Angeles looked like a vagrant freshly showered and shaved, surprisingly beautiful. Joined by Richard, Tom, and Jim, I was among the first to walk Rancho's fairways at seven.

"Light is more beautiful out here. Book-ending the day are those brief spans-- the movie business calls them “magic hours” --when the sunlight is a deep gold and the shadows are so dark they think it’s still night. Backlit you are treated to a vision of crystal clarity. Turn around and the dew sparkles like a sweeping field of diamonds. The fairways are double cut, leaving a wide expanse of checkerboard."

From Rub Of The Green by Brock Walsh which will, with a little luck, appear in bookstores soon.

Contact brockwalsh@gmail.com or
Beverley Slopen slopenagency@gmail.com

Friday, January 22, 2010

How much does the Court matter?



Possibly everything.
Please take a moment to read and if you're sufficiently outraged, take a moment to write your congressperson:
Rub Of The Green by Brock Walsh will, with a little luck, appear in bookstores soon.

Contact brockwalsh@gmail.com or
Beverley Slopen slopenagency@gmail.com

Monday, January 18, 2010

Existential moment


So here is the question-- satisfaction or amusement?

I am as prone to seeking amusement for its own sake as much as the next drooling cretin, just ask my poker friends on Facebook. I can put off a worthy task for days if dealing with it sparks a scintilla of discomfort. Boxes wait forlornly by the closed garage door day after day and I walk by with no more than a sideways glance. This despite the nagging feeling of uselessness and the knowledge that it would take less than a minute to stow them away. 

Just not right this moment--- I have to check my email.

But back to the question. I can amuse myself as I'm so good at doing, drawing from a long list of games and goodies, or I can deposit my distracted self at my desk and do the one thing that might bring real creative satisfaction--- solve the problem with the ending of this book.

In the hopes of spurring me to that end I will state-- sometimes you need to overcome life's obstacles for no other reason than to prove to yourself that you are capable of answering fate's bullying with a little vinegar of your own.

It's an amusing thought.





Rub Of The Green by Brock Walsh will, with a little luck, appear in bookstores soon.

Contact brockwalsh@gmail.com or
Beverley Slopen slopenagency@gmail.com

Friday, January 15, 2010

Cliff Divers

It's a long way down but I'm jumping back in.

The Japanese have a saying-- you're never done building your house. The same goes for a book evidently.

I had hoped that whatever editing and rewriting remained would wait for a book deal but what happened yesterday has made me rethink it. The editor I referred to in last Friday's post (1/8), returned my email and invited me to call him asap as his wife was about to go into labor. I looked at the clock and saw I had thirty minutes before my session with the LA Jerk Kings was scheduled.

He answered the phone and was warm and personable. Over a full thirty minutes, we talked about the book--he reiterated how much he enjoyed it, how rare it was for him to finish a manuscript and not offer a deal--and how I might improve it by increasing the emotional impact. This, he felt, was all that was missing. 

He had me take him through the various incarnations, three drafts, and how each differed from the preceding. He wondered if I had it in me to have another go at this point. I answered that I had nearly all my chips in the middle of the table and had little choice but go all in. He is a golfer himself and I offered to take him to Rancho should he make it to LA.

His attention feels like fuel and I'm going to need some to complete the task ahead.

But first I have to jump.





Rub Of The Green by Brock Walsh will, with a little luck, appear in bookstores soon.

Contact brockwalsh@gmail.com or


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Faint Praise Indeed


Part of the game of catching a publisher's attention is having your notable friends pen a blurb, some pithy praise, that might tip the scales and have them give your manuscript a peek. Beverley asked me to see who would agree to do so and Roger Director, my dear friend and author, graciously came through. Eddie Merrins, author and golf pro, did as well. 


Having worked as a composer for the CBS network, I decided to call in a few favors and get to David Feherty, the famously irreverent announcer for CBS Sports. Ron Scalera, a VP at CBS who has been a friend for years, agreed to act as a go-between, and within a week he called me to say that Feherty, after initially declining, had consented to send me a quote.


Ron warned me that whatever I might receive would be unusual and he wasn't wrong.


It read:


This book is soft, and very absorbent. Ideal for the bathroom.
Brock Walsh is like a blind man in a dark room, looking for a

black cat............. that isn't there.

 

David Feherty


Akin to the famous quote attributed to German composer, Max Reger--  "I am sitting in the smallest room in my house. Your review is before me. Soon, it will be behind me", it's pretty clear what Feherty was recommending readers should do with my writing. Beverley saw no point in including it and I couldn't disagree.


On a journey that takes years to complete, you're going to encounter all sorts of people and an equally wide range of assistance. Some of it isn't worth much and is better discarded.


I hope to live long enough to return DF's favor,







Rub Of The Green by Brock Walsh will, with a little luck, appear in bookstores soon.

Contact brockwalsh@gmail.com or
Beverley Slopen slopenagency@gmail.com

Friday, January 8, 2010

Many Rivers To Cross


Beverley sent me a copy of a letter last night written by a New York editor of a respected publishing house. In it, he details his great admiration for the book, confesses that he read it to the end, and then meticulously  enumerates what he feels is missing. It's two pages long and, no matter how defensive I may be to criticism, I had to marvel at the insight he shared and the care he took.

I'm probably not done writing this book.

There simply is no doubt that it can be made better. It has undergone dramatic changes in both form and content based on the heap of comments from my brilliant readers already. I glanced at the first draft, two years old now, and it's hardly recognizable. 

I'm a new writer but I'll bet this is true. The closer a book gets to being very good, the more glaring its weaknesses become. And the temptation to punk out is never greater. Beverley and I have yet to decide on a course of action, but I'm leaning toward taking up said editor on his offer to talk with him about how I might bring it home.

Joy's late father wrote, as have many unpublished wannabes, a book that exists in a bound version only because he went to the expense himself. To have come this far and meet that fate would be very depressing.

Whoever it was that first said writing is rewriting was not kidding around.





Rub Of The Green
by Brock Walsh will, with a little luck, appear in bookstores soon.
Contact brockwalsh@gmail.com

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Shoulder To The Plow

Had a good chat with Beverley, my agent, last night and learned that there is some interest out there from our first foray. I'm keeping a lid on my excitement level, never easy and contrary to my December premature elation (not a misspelling). So with new measured enthusiasm, I place shoulder to plow and resume digging.

It's a delicate balance, allowing yourself enough hope to keep up the fight without succumbing to that embarrassing chicken counting followed by crow tartare. Being the excitable type (read Irish), I'm prone to the latter. And difficult though it may be to take on these unlikely pursuits, it's far preferable to the daily dreamless slog we face without them.

I've also received some great advice on how to make this site an enjoyable destination, replete with pix and video and, who knows-- recipes?

Thanks for initial burst of support and good wishes. I'll try to walk that middle ground between punking out and inundating with gobs of gibberish.

Rub Of The Green by Brock Walsh will, with a little luck, appear in bookstores soon.

Contact brockwalsh@gmail.com 

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Oh, good, another page

At my eldest's behest, created a FB page for the completed and yet unpublished Rub Of The Green with the following proviso:

Spent the last 10 years watching the music business go the way of that 'cake out in the rain' and arrived at the publishing world's doorstep just in time to learn that it's celebrities only. So it's time to play make-enough-noise-to-get-heard or die trying.

By joining, you can either be part of the excitement as we go from promising longshot to Oprah's darling, or watch a grown man submit to endless humiliation and ultimately be rendered disgraced and penniless!

Here's what we're saying to prospective publishers:

Rub of the Green

In Golf and Life You Play it as it Lays

In a chaotic and uncertain world, the goals we set can soothe our fears and guide our destiny. Brock Walsh, a Los Angeles songwriter and avid golfer, pursued a two-year quest to shoot a round of "level par", a feat achieved by one amateur golfer in a thousand. What he didn't know was that life was cuing up its own slew of challenges that would test him far more.

Walsh takes us on a wild ride of harrowing reversals and surprising victories. He is betrayed by his business partner, loses his job, has to fight to keep his home, while his wife battles a life-threatening drug resistant bacteria. Staring into this dark vista, he is forced to contemplate deeper issues of aging, courage, and self. For Walsh, who has had a stellar career writing songs for the major stars of his generation, the change in fortune could not have been more vertiginous.

Rub of the Green is a golf story, a love story, and a life story. Whether he takes us backstage with the Rolling Stones, in the studio with Michael Jackson, or down the tree line with the dawn patrol, Walsh weaves a tale that is smart, funny, and heartbreakingly real.

Available, with a little luck, in bookstores soon.

After graduating from Harvard, Walsh began his professional life as a touring musician with Linda Ronstadt, Karla Bonoff, and Andrew Gold with whom he produced the hits "Lonely Boy" and "Thank You For Being A Friend". He was a staff producer for Quincy Jones and has written and produced for such artists as Christina Aguilera, Celine Dion, The Pointer Sisters, and Aretha Franklin.