Monday, December 5, 2011


It’s been a stretch since my weekly-blog-that-turned-into-a-monthly-blog-that-turned-into a-whenever-blog has had a new entry. What inspired me to finally post a new one was that I started thinking about some of the people I’ve had the good fortune of calling my friends. Most of them don’t know each other, but they all share one thing in common. They’re talented.

There is something wonderful knowing people who can do things beyond the average. It’s intimidating, inspiring, and at the same time comforting knowing they have ruffled collars, flat tires, credit card bills and sometimes eat unhealthy food.

This is a random list, and I’m going to leave out a lot of people that warrant a mention, but these are the ones that were swimming in my mind when I wrote this.

Talent, as we all know, rarely equates to fame and fortune. What these people have besides a great gift, are an unbridled work ethic, determination, love of their craft, and to boot, are just plain nice.

This isn’t about name recognition. This is about people I know who struggle because they have to, because something inside them dictates it, regardless of whether they reach whatever their definition of success is. These people are far from household names, though if you dig a little bit you’d find info on some of them.

As I said, this is far from a complete list and never should be. At times it may sound like I’m plugging them but, you know what? They deserve it.

As a disclaimer, let me state that if I upset anyone by mentioning, or not mentioning, their names, it wasn’t my purpose to do that.

In no particular order I’m going to start with Lisa Cattoretti. She is one of the most tasteful guitarists I’ve ever known. Everything she touches has a sliver of something she once told me she calls the heart notes. She doesn’t play fancy, she plays tastefully. It’s a talent that comes from within. Her band, Blue Sky Drive, has just released a four song CD. Listening to it, her wistful guitar lines left me feeling as if I were in a field of wheat reaching out to my childhood.

Michael Gavaghen. He’s a writer who has the ability to create characters that are practically polar opposites and yet are just as much of each other as the sun is to the earth. He also has the ability within the chapters of his writings to lower, lift, and snatch away everything you thought you knew about the story. He’s a master conductor who is in some ways as tasteful as Lisa.

Gus Aviles, Jr. A guerilla filmmaker who never quits. He scrounges money, hits up friends for favors, films between his regular job, does his own writing, editing, promotion, dialogue replacement—whatever it takes to get the job done. Somehow, he always manages to come up with a product that is stirring and delightful to watch. It’s a physical and mental strain that would crush anyone who didn’t have the sheer willpower that he has.

One of the bravest and most talented writers I know is Corey Ginsberg. Though she writes in most genres, what strikes the most awe in me is her non-fiction pieces. She refuses to back down from the dark corners of her life. Not only does she write about it, she expresses it with power, grace, humor, and poignancy. This is an achievement that only comes from hard work, dedication and a belief in what you're doing. On top of that, her relentlessness in getting her work to publishers is a lesson every aspiring writer should learn. I use her for my inspiration in that department.

The list in my head contains others, but I don’t want to drag on too long and I don’t want to toss out names without giving each person their due, so I’m going to put the rest on the back burner for another entry.

The one thing I’ve noticed about walking in the midst of giants, it makes me stand taller. And for that, I thank all of my talented friends who have allowed me into their world.