Tag Archives: fiction

Book Excerpt: Reflections on Baseball’s Deep Meaning

This is Philip Wyeth. I had the opportunity to attend two World Series games this past month, one in Boston and one in Los Angeles. So I thought what I would do here was share some of the footage I took at both games, as well as read an excerpt from my new novel, “Chasing the Best Days.”

In this chapter my main character Greg has invited his older son Peter to attend an Angels baseball game, and then later he thinks to himself about what the game of baseball meant to him. …

Greg remembered how on summer weekends when he had custody of the boys, Peter would take the rubber-banded stack of baseball cards he’d brought over and arrange them on the floor in front of the TV. All the Angels players plus the other superstars from around the league he liked.

The boy would flip a card over and recite an Angel batter’s stats, then try to predict which base he would most likely end up on if he got a hit. Even back then, the kid was thinking on a higher level. No wonder he’s working in tech.

Greg had collected baseball cards in his day too. Mid-to-late seventies. Lots of great ball players with real personality back then. Mike Schmidt. George Brett. Nolan Ryan. And the guys with classic nicknames too. Goose. Yaz. Catfish.

It was a nice little collection. Stored in a couple of shoe boxes he kept under the bed. Nothing fancy like the binders or hard plastic cases that had come into favor in later years. Baseball cards weren’t an investment back then—you engaged with them. Lived and breathed with them. So what if you creased a corner holding onto Dale Murphy’s card while hoping he got a home run?

And that’s why Greg liked how Peter made use of his own cards. Wore them out, got them dirty, left them on the floor in a big square pattern—before being trampled by Nick in one of his wild moments—as if there was something about life that Peter would absorb from the corny smiles and action shots on the glossy front side.

But it wasn’t just the baseball cards themselves, Greg was now coming to see. It was all aspects of the game that made it so captivating. The deliberate pacing. The nuanced rules and your own understanding of them. You could get real insight into another man based on how he saw the game, as if it were a reflection of his own intelligence and worldview.

Baseball was a game that taught boys about the boundaries of life—how going sideways earned you nothing, but soaring forward over the wall was what brought you the glory. There was teamwork, strategy, and those moments when it was you alone versus the pitcher—each of you grappling with your thoughts during the showdown.

And then one day sometime during adolescence, your focus shifted away from this game that was challenging but always made so much sense, and instead you began chasing girls. An endless riddle that defied logic because the rules changed at random. Where wins seemed like flukes you had stumbled into rather than achieved, and which never carried over to the next play.

Even if you kept watching baseball during all these years caught up in the business of life—school, hobbies, family, work—you never watched the game with the same simple intimacy as when you were an innocent boy. But maybe it waited for you to come around again, leaving a door open to reconnect when you were older, calmer, done with distractions, and had… if not satisfied your desires, at least gone beyond them, because you were finally able to set greed and lust aside.

Then your mind could really take in this chess match out on the diamond. Even now in middle age, Greg saw how it could be an important bookend on a man’s life. Returning to a place well worn by your own feet decades ago, when they were much smaller and without the callouses of so many miles. Embracing the calm flow of America’s pastime after a life spent in the trenches.

You had participated. You dove in and battled the sharks. You made the charge over the top! It was of no importance that you didn’t get rich or famous—or even maintain an intact home, apparently. What mattered was that you played and left it all out on the field, including your intestines as it sometimes felt like after the worst defeats.

Maybe baseball and golf, sports so dependent on rules and played as a process rather than on the clock, maybe these were the great soothing elixirs for an aging man’s mind. An effervescent dreamland, a bulwark against chaos, a wide open space in nature where generations of men could gather in safety.

To teach fundamental skills. Tell stories of when I played the game. To marvel at the youngsters bounding around the field—their joys so pure and simple, their tears heartfelt but not weighed down by any of the real grief that would come later.

Greg thanked God that he had been there for Peter and Nick’s practices and games. As cruel as the whole arc of those years had been, at least he wasn’t denied being allowed to teach the boys how to throw a proper curveball. He had been there when each of them got their first hole-in-one too. …

It didn’t matter when your plans turned to nothing. Or that you had lived in denial chasing the dream for far too long. Because what you got instead—that wisdom beyond words—didn’t come with championships, it couldn’t be purchased, and no man could pretend his way into possessing it.

You had to be wounded again and again to receive it. Get back up and charge onward—over here, and now there—and die once more. The only way out was indeed through—as your blood and tears seeped down into the soil of life, your bright eyes filling with despair in the shell-shock of a thousand different defeats.

Which was maybe why old men saw ball fields as holy ground. The place where memories of their own distant wins and losses merged with those of the generations that came after. To know that thousands of boys also tried to steal the very same second base that you had—this was profoundly satisfying. …

Thanks for listening. You can hear all of my monologues at philipwyeth.com, and you can purchase the new book “Chasing the Best Days” exclusive to Amazon. And if you’re a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, you can read the e-book for free.

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Video was originally uploaded on November 5, 2018.

Monologue Announcing My New Novel “Chasing the Best Days”

This is Philip Wyeth. No monologue today because I’m here to announce the publication of my new third novel, “Chasing the Best Days.”

This one is much different from my other two books, which are dystopian, political, high-concept. This one is much more down-to-earth and relatable. It follows a divorced middle-aged man who has just enough money at the end of each month to afford a budget country club here in Los Angeles.

And you follow him on the course, dealing with his sons, frustration at work, trying to scheme a new career change in the middle of his life, dealing with the ex-wife, and his much younger girlfriend.

So a few things I wanted to tap into with this book were: One, my love of golf. Two, talking about the plight of the divorced American man, which i think is an underserved audience. As well as tapping into, in a comical way, some of the changes that are happening in our society so fast right now. And it’s almost like a lot of people are trying to hide away, almost in the style of “The Masque of the Red Death” by Edgar Allan Poe.

That’s under the surface. The book itself is fast moving, lots of great dialogue, lots of fun characters. And I definitely think there’s room for this series to grow.

So right now the book “Chasing the Best Days” is exclusive to Amazon, so if you’re a Kindle unlimited subscriber you can read the e-book for free. Everybody else can buy the e-book or paperback on Amazon.

And if you like it, please post a review so that’ll encourage me to write more books in the series, grow the character out. I would love for this thing to actually turn into a TV show. I think it’d be a lot of fun to have a show on the golf course, for fans of “Caddyshack,” “Tin Cup,” “Happy Gilmore,” or just watching the PGA Tour.

So I’m very excited about this, it was a year ago I started the project, and I’ve been chipping away—no pun intended—in the last four months I really buckled down to crank this thing out.

So again, visit my website PhillipWyeth.com, there are links to the book in the description section here as well. And I’m gonna take a small vacation next week, and then I’m back at the grindstone for more writing. Thanks!

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Video was originally uploaded on October 20, 2018.

Why I Wrote a Book About Reparations for Slavery

This is Philip Wyeth. So the question is, why did I write a book about Reparations for slavery? I’ve actually written two. “Reparations USA” and then “Reparations Mind,” which came out in April. The truth is that the book isn’t specifically about Reparations, that may almost be a vehicle for the broader points.

If you read the first, book you’ll see that the real villain is surveillance, the surveillance state, as well as what we do to each other when we have these tools at our disposal. Basically a giant database which allows us to keep tabs on each other for things that our ancestors did, or maybe we did twenty years ago.

I think it lends itself to a lot of dangerous potential consequences. We’re even seeing this in the news today when social media mobs jump on whoever is the thought criminal du jour. As I say in this most recent book, “Reparations Mind,” at one point, since the advent of the internet we were all chasing after our fifteen minutes of fame, but now we’re running away from our fifteen seconds of shame.

But getting back to the original question, why did I write this book in the first place? I think I had a lot of ideas bottled up that accumulated over time, and they were just looking for the right outlet. But it all came together last June when a friend of a friend of mine did some very public SJW speech, if you will, or presentation that was just so over the top, and I was “triggered” into writing an editorial about this, and how that was representative of how far off the deep end the Left is going these days.

And I didn’t like the tone of the editorial, I felt it was a little bit too harsh. And I had had this note laying around that I had written sometime in the past, the past couple years, about what became in my book the Historical Reparations Administration. So I merged the two ideas together.

I took your female social justice warrior and I morphed her into my character of Kate Donohugh, who is a supervisor at the Historical Reparations Administration office in Newark, New Jersey.

We follow her at the beginning of the first book, where she actually appears on an early morning talk show, “Tina Talk,” and it’s basically a puff piece as so often happens when these government employees go on shows, like Jon Stewart Show or Colbert, and yuk it up in front of a studio audience to basically propagandize what the government is doing.

And then we see her back at her field office interacting with Beneficiaries and Debtors, which are the two classes of people who either receive payments or pay into the program.

And then we also move to Newark, New Jersey, streets, where there’s a young black teenager, and his life is on the ground level, experience in a world where Reparations is three years in and the program is not really working as planned. He has dreams of being a musician and ends up writing a song which is critical of the HRA, which captures sentiment across the country. It becomes an overnight hit.

We also have a game show or reality TV show type spectacle, it’s called “DDM TV Live” and DDM stands for “direct descendant match,” where the super computer, MARVIN, “Macro Aggregating Restitution Vector Input Navigator,” scans old documents into the system and makes connections. And if your ancestors have something like ten or more violent interactions with somebody alse’s ancestors, they bring you on to the TV show for a Kumbaya moment where you basically hold hands and go off and work on some garden somewhere to put the old demons to bed, if you will.

Pretty ridiculous spectacle, almost the like “Running Man,” or yeah, “Running Man.” “Who loves you and who do you love?” Something like that, because a heavy topic like this, Reparations, I’d assume most other projects would take it in a pretty negative, revengeful way.

I believe both Amazon and Netflix are working on some sort of a show or a series about it, and from what I understand it’s all more like a fantasy, or “Twelve Years a Slave” or “Inglorious Basterds,” basically envisioning a history that never actually happened, or in the case of the other show, I guess it’s just another kind of a fantasy. If it wasn’t revenge, it’s that some policy was enacted in the late 19th century, which actually didn’t happen.

So my book is different, my series is different, because it takes place in 2028, it envisions in 2024 America’s first female, first Chinese-American president coming into office with her main campaign platform being this program. The HRA and Reparations.

So I put a lot of current-year-relevant things in the books. In addition to that I did try to make these books as fun as possible, because it’s a heavy topic and tensions… the divide across the country are just getting out of control. And it’s like social media is only exacerbating it. On the one hand you use it to make contact with people; on the other you’re just hitting each other over the head with this information.

Another reason why I tried to make it a little fun and zany is because I’m a big sci-fi fan. “Demolition Man” is one of my favorites that I revisited lately. Very ahead of its time, very clever, very fun. And I think that’s a great balance that you’d want to find when you’re doing sci-fi, speculating into the future, dystopian heavy subjects. Can you still have fun with it?

And that’s what I try to do… The original “Rollerball” with James Caan, another great sci-fi movie, dystopian, that maybe gets lost in the shuffle because people think the game itself is pretty silly. But great movie, and great commentary track too.

In the second book, I have a chapter that takes place in Las Vegas where they have just opened up a brand new Reparations-themed casino called Paybax, and it just has a lot of fun, zany flavors which you could say skirt the line between satire and ruffling people’s feathers, or triggering them.

But you know, the main problem I see on the Left right now is that they’re so sensitive, everything triggers them. And it reminds me of some video essay I saw back when I was in college twenty years ago taking photography classes, and there was a guy who was the subject of this, I guess it was an audio documentary, with still photographs.

And he was in the jungles, he was a doctor from America, and he was down… I want to say in Central or South America, very poor people in the jungles, and he just gave his life, every month, every day to help these people and help their children. I don’t know if it was the interviewer… somebody asked him a question about philosophy, and he grumbles, “Philosophy is for people with full bellies!”

And I really like that line because I see parallels with today’s people on the Left. They’re so coddled, they’re so spoiled, they’re allowed to get mad about everything but what matters. Whether it’s using the wrong word, being offensive, things that have nothing to do with life and death.

Basically so-called progressives are so bored and boring that they have nothing better to do than stick their noses in other people’s business, and always make them look over their own shoulders. “Have I offended you? Have I said something wrong?” And it’s just constricting our lives, it’s making it almost impossible to do anything, because they’re gonna dig up something on you.

And my book plays it out ten years from now where there’s this supercomputer which is scanning every document ever, it just can bring up everything you ever did. And I feel like it could just paralyze mankind.

So that’s why I say the villain is really the surveillance state, and Reparations is just a vehicle, and in some ways that’s just the extreme extension of this religion of Leftism, where they’re gonna make everything right, and of course at the core whiteness is the evil. Something white is the worst. Of course, most SJWs themselves are white, which I think is a product of the brainwashing, that they would feel like they have to do penance to make up or something that they’re not responsible for.

And the second book, “Reparations Mind,” gets very much into that, exploring the history of indoctrination. I’m hoping by keeping things fast-moving, humorous, and having likable characters of all different races, to avoid some of the pitfalls that you could easily fall into with this kind of a third-rail type of subject.

What’s interesting is the first book was written very quickly and it was almost like my mind and body were just ready, “You have to write this book now.” And it came out, it was… it’s less than 40,000 words, and it’s kind of a breezy, fast read. The second book is about 60,000 words and it took a lot more out of me to, basically transmute very big, heavy ideas and still keep it fun, still keep it fast-moving.

I utilized a lot more dialogue in the second book, and because I ended the second book on a cliffhanger, I’m now mapping out the third book as frantically as possible to complete the trilogy, with a possibility of more books if the series starts to catch on.

For this third book, even bigger ideas, even heavier ideas… I feel like our society right now is headed for some sort of an existential crisis having to do with all the tensions. Racially, socially, economically, even stuff having to do with AI, outsourcing… There’s really no meaningful work to be done. We have the spiritual void.

And I’m hoping to convey in the book, which takes place in 2028, some insights and some lessons that we can apply to our lives now over the next few years, so that we avoid any sort of conflagration of this, I call it “the cold-pressed civil war,” where people are in coffee shops lobbing Twitter bombs at each other across the table on their computers.

If that goes hot… we don’t really want it. In our veins, our blood, it may want it, may want violence. We’re ready, it’s been a long time. But in our hearts and our minds, we’ve got to say no, it’s only gonna bring suffering, knock America’s prestige off the world stage, and a lot of other bad forces from around the world will be happy to leap in and mess with us or take over, and maybe not be as benign as we hope we are.

Another thing about people on the Left that concerns me is where they are mentally. What’s their approach? I’m really debating, are they disingenuous? Lying? Stupid? Naive? Lacking any foresight? It just seems like sometimes their world is a middle school pep rally of just, rah-rah, “You’re so great. YOU’RE so great!”

But there’s no actual thinking being done, there’s no arguments being put together. Yet they feel like because they have the buzzwords, the feel-good catchphrases, they have the moral high ground and get to shame and incriminate everybody else on the Right, who basically… we’re just grumps, we’re jerks, we’re bigots, we’re hateful. All those catchphrases they use to just take control of the conversation.

And as we move toward this “Idiocracy” future which is coming true day by day… If you try to articulate an argument properly, you sound like Luke Wilson, everybody just laughs at you because they can’t understand. So I don’t really know how to resolve that divide of willful ignorance under the guise of a pep rally, while the more wise people on the Right are taking so much flak.

So I think I’ll end this talk right here about my books, “Reparations USA,” “Reparations Mind.” I hope it’s been informative and intriguing to you. Right now “USA” is available free as an e-book on most sites, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Kobo. Amazon has it for $0.99, they haven’t price matched it. And paperbacks available for both books, “Reparations USA” and “Mind” on Amazon.com.

And if you have any other questions for me about the book and the series, feel free to post them in the comments below and I’ll get back to you. Thanks for listening.

Download the e-book of “Reparations USA” free from these stores:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/reparations-usa/id1270546107
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/reparations-usa-philip-wyeth/1126963763
https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/reparations-usa
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/741651

Amazon author page:
https://www.amazon.com/Philip-Wyeth/e/B0778R4T5T/

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Video was originally uploaded on May 25, 2018.