It's a new year and on January 16th I turned 80 years old. That was the good news. Eleven days later, Milo, who arrived from a shelter almost eight years ago, died. He was more than 14 years old, a beautiful tri-color (black, white, brown) Cocker Spaniel mixture from Last Chance Animal Rescue. He was named for the protagonist in Sam's novel, "The Ask." He was sweet and funny and we miss him. He sat in my office while I wrote and even now I keep glancing over to the empty place where he should be. In my dreams I see Milo where all the good dogs go, hanging out with my Dad, who is feeding him treats.
This is the first time in my life that the President of the United States has made me feel unsafe and I've lived through Kennedy's Cuban missile crisis, nutjob Nixon and Bush's weapons of mass destruction. As a school kid I had to "duck and cover" in atomic bomb drills. My Dad always said that nothing in life is as good or bad as your imagination can make it. That helps some.
In other news, the fiftieth anniversary edition of THE CONTENDER has just been published, and in March, Rutgers University Press will be publishing a new edition of SportsWorld: An American Dreamland, my 1975 farewell to sports (I came back).
On May 11, the film version of One Fat Summer, my 1977 Young Adult novel, starring Donald Sutherland, Blake Cooper, Luke Wilson, and Judy Greer will be released. It's title is MEASURE OF A MAN. It was written by the gifted screenwriter David Searce (A Single Man), directed by Jim Loach and produced by Christian Taylor.
I've returned for the spring semester at Wake Forest University, speaking in the Communications, Education and Documentary Film departments. A great school of terrific students and professors, especially Alan Brown, a scholar of YA literature.
I'm still writing my monthly column for the Shelter Island Reporter, my hometown newspaper. It's called CODGER.
While awaiting Sam's new novel, "Hark," there's his latest volume of short stories, "The Fun Parts," which got rave reviews. Janet Maslin in the New York Times called him a "literary rock star." (And I remember when he fronted a noise punk band, Dung Beetle.)
My memoir, "An Accidental Sportswriter," published seven years ago by Ecco/HarperCollins, is still in paperback and Kindle.
Don't forget another great read, "Along the Roaring River: My Wild Ride from Mao to the Met" by Hao Jiang Tian with Lois B. Morris.
I'll be using THE LIPSITE page for articles you might enjoy and whatever is currently on my mind about my novel writing life. In the JOCK CULTURE section you'll find pieces about my take on sports. Right now, there's a terrific piece about me by Bryan Curtis, the ace Grantland writer.
Don't forget to go to the website of my wife, Lois B. Morris, and take the free personality test. I did. Learned a lot about myself. Gotta be a book in it!
There's always time to answer your e-mails. So don't forget to drop me a line. If I don't answer immediately, I'm probably writing.