It was a year rich in rejections, making it not unlike every year since I started writing. But rejections, because they’re so often impersonal, are also unmemorable, particularly the ones that never get written (which seem to increase – if something that doesn’t exist can be said to grow in number – every year).

More indelible were my debuts in two publications: the Los Angeles Review of Books and the MLB All-Star Game Official Program. (There was another, but because of the editing it shall go unmentioned.) I spoke about travel writing in the Cheever Room at the Kenyon Review in Gambier, Ohio, and about the joys of travel at the Society of the Four Arts in Palm Beach, Florida. On the Ohio trip I also gave talks at the University of Akron and the Polish-American Cultural Center in Cleveland, and did book readings in Mt. Vernon and Cleveland Heights (the last on a snowy night in April). I taught a course in travel writing for the Miami Book Fair, after which one of my students got her story published. (No rejections for her.) My big trip of the year was to Portugal, a two-week vacation that nevertheless produced a story – about the complicated feelings of a travel writer on returning to a beloved place now crowded with tourists – that has not yet found a home (see first paragraph). And I finished my memoir about becoming a travel writer. 

By Thomas Swick • Category: writing

Riding my bike along the river the other evening I noticed a market readying to open on the ground floor of one of the condos (the one behind Savor Cinema that was built sideways so to make it waterfront property). The young man standing outside told me that the market will have tables and will serve cheese platters, panini (his family is from Italy), bruschetta, and such. I always wondered why our Riverwalk, unlike San Antonio’s, offers little for the people who stroll it; the ground floors of the luxury condos, instead of housing restaurants and cafes, hold gyms and offices. (Something that, my wife tells me, is not allowed in Boynton Beach.) Encouraged, I pointed across the cul de sac: “And that restaurant will be opening soon,” I said.

“No,” the young man shook his head sadly. “They’ve been trying for seven years to make that a restaurant, but the rents are too high.”

I didn’t ask about his rent. But I did think of all the empty storefronts on Las Olas. Fort Lauderdale is pricing its downtown out of existence. 

By Thomas Swick • Category: hometown

precision

12/27/17 08:47

"So how many stitches?" I asked my dermatologist after a seemingly longer than usual session of sewing on my face. He had just removed another early stage squamous cell carcinoma.

"Six," he said.

"Hmm, I thought more."

"He's slow," the nurse said.

"I'm meticulous," said the doctor.

By Thomas Swick • Category: Uncategorized

Even if they're not always celebrated, there are 12 days of Christmas - more if the special double Christmas issue of The Spectator arrives late to Bob's News.

By Thomas Swick • Category: Americans

siriusly?

12/22/17 09:46

The Coffee House station, which features singer/songwriters, usually with guitars, is playing more Christmas music than the Symphony Hall station.

By Thomas Swick • Category: Americans

The Miami Open is moving from Key Biscayne to Hard Rock Stadium. In other words, it is giving up paradise for a parking lot.

By Thomas Swick • Category: hometown