6/10/15

Authors from Julies Book Review: William Snyder


BIO
William Snyder was born, raised and educated in Philadelphia. He began teaching secondary school English before becoming a computer programmer and consultant. He returned to teaching Computer Systems Management and Programming at university before following his dream to travel and become a writer. He has been published in a variety of e-zines and literary/technology journals. His short story "La Mujer del Ojos Negros" appears in "29; An Anthology of Memoirs and Short Stories by Emerging Writers." He currently resides in Merida, Mx.

"Songs of Icarus" is published by Booklocker.com.

About the Book
When 16-year-old Jim Collins' basketball dreams start coming true, his path takes some unexpected turns. When 1959 becomes 1960 Jim's conformity morphs to rebellion. Collins learns that growing up in Philadelphia did not prepare him for life on-the-run as a self-exiled son in Miami. He's been taught to win and lose but doesn't know why. James Joyce, Bill Evans, and Henri Matisse become his new teachers. Has Jim's luck run out before his life as an artist begins.
"Songs of Icarus" is available on Amazon, Barnes&Noble and other sites.

Here are links to where you can buy the book...


Excerpts

Part 1

i

Half-court…00:05 no time…drive…PLUNK…can’t… stayin’

zone…00:03…pretty far…PLUNK…gotta take it…slow

down…everybody yellin’…don’t listen…shut everything

out…rim…PLUNK…rim…square…plant…rim…forehead…rim

…flick

blinded me can’t see…wanted more time…felt right…nice spin

…Johnny B. Goode!

The shooter’s yellow-flecked feline blue eyes widened as

the ball slithered through the net and the scoreboard read:

VISITOR 55 HOME 56

TIME 0:00

The referee signaled the game was over and the

Annunciation High School team sprang from the bench.

“Great shot.”

“Way to go.”

“I dig it, I dig it.”

Clad in royal blue trimmed with white they ran from the

court champions of the Philadelphia High School Holiday

Basketball Festival. ‘Cool’ was king of the masquerade in 1959

and ‘cool’ was the raiment Jim Collins wore running off the

court. In the locker room the team gathered in a tribal circle as

Coach Chandler beckoned him to the center of the circle.


Rubbing his close-cropped black hair, the coach shouted, “One

helluva clutch shot, Jim. Big time play!”

The team clapped their way into an open shower room

where the hero of the moment suffered through the soapy blur

of a hot shower as they doused him with cold water. Afterwards

supine on the locker room bench, he remembered practicing

game-winning shots in darkening playgrounds, unlit gyms, or

under the streetlight outside his house. Nights and days putting

it up-and-in for the feeling of making the numbers change with

no time left. Minus Wallace Stevens’ peignoir, complacency

wrapped him in reverie. Luxuriated in peacefulness he changed

into khakis, a navy blue turtleneck, and a red Jim Stark jacket.

Exiting the locker room, Chuck Berry’s "Johnny B. Goode" drifted

from a car radio into the cold night air.

A cream-and-sky-blue bullet-nosed Ford waited at the curb.

The air in the car was warm and heavy, laden with the smell of

burnt tobacco. His father, a big broad-shouldered man,

hunched over the wheel and flicked a cigarette butt out the

window.

“I’m glad ya made that last one. When ya missed those

fouls earlier I was sure ya were goin’ to be the goat. Ya had

that number 7 in your hip pocket. Ya coulda done all night what

ya did at the end.”

Gerry Collins didn’t look at his son adopting a matter-of-fact

tone that brooked no disagreement. He had played semi-pro

basketball in church halls in the 30’s where the game was

played in a cage to stop fans from fighting with players. At five

years old he had Jim dribbling and shooting at a peach basket

hung on the side of the cellar stairs. Gerry had no doubts his

son would be the player he never was.

“Yeah, I know. I should’na had to make that shot. We

shoulda been way ahead by then.” He wanted a cigarette to

soothe the nervousness that came on him whenever he talked

to his father about what happened in the games he played.

“Well, I’m glad you did make it. Won’t hurt for the Big 5

coaches to see it in the paper tomorrow.”


“Hadn’t thought about that.” Jim didn’t hear the pride that

resonated in his father’s voice. He slid further down in his seat

pleased with what Diane would read about the game.

“Yer gonna save me a lotta money when ya get that

scholarship. I never had the chance yer gonna have. They’ll be

offerin’ more than tuition too. Maybe somethin’ like

Chamberlain got for goin’ to Kansas. Everybody figured he was

goin’ to Temple. But ya can never tell what a nigger’s gonna do.

He just took the money and ran like all the other coons workin’

in the Catskills.”

“Nobody’s in his class. Never seen anybody like him. He

just goes over everybody.” ‘Nigger’ and ‘coon’ felt like

sandpaper rubbing an open wound. Jim turned to the window

wishing his father hadn’t come to the game.

Gerry parked the car in front of the row houses he

described as ‘brick cigar boxes.’ Jim numbed himself into his

James Dean persona, eyes cast to the black-and-white

linoleum squares that were the same in most of the houses of

Osage Avenue. His mother stood absent-mindedly at the sink

with a fork in her hand.

“They won by a point, Jim made the winning shot.” Gerry

mumbled as he hung his coat on the kitchen door.

“He did, did he? That’s a blessing. Wha’ can I fix ya two

lads to eat?” Marcia Collins spoke with an Irish brogue when it

suited her even though she was not from the Emerald Isle

“Somethin’ quick, ma. Meetin’ the guys at Dinger’s.”

“Always in a rush, lad. You spend a lotta money on meals

you could eat at home. Sit down and I’ll make ya a sandwich.

How’se about a Butter Burger?”

“All right.” Jim agreed to a frozen beef patty congealed with

margarine that was the usual game-night meal. Eating in

silence broken now and then by Marcia’s questions, father and

son answered tersely, looking to each other for agreement. Jim

finished his sandwich and got up from the table grabbing his red jacket.

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