How does where you live influence who/what you write about and how you go about doing it?
New York City, for a writer or anyone who loves the arts is a fantastic place to live and work There are few cities in the world (I would imagine), that can claim to have more writers, artists and performers on this little 23-mile stretch of real estate, then there are in most countries. Manhattan Island is truly a Mecca for creative talent. Walk down any side street on a Saturday afternoon, on Broadway and your more then likely to run into a brand name performer strolling down the street. For me as a writer, it's the energy and the diversity of the people that energies me, and compels me to keep on writing, and there's always something new to write about just around the corner. There are hundreds of creative venues for a writer or performer to take advantage of in this town, from workshops, writing clubs, book fairs, book stores, and creative auditions'the list is endless. Your inspiration can come from anywhere, just sit in Bryant Park on a sunny spring afternoon, or in Washington Square park in the heat of summer, or take in an off, off Broadway play in a downtown loft, on a Friday night, and watch young performers passionately hone their craft, inspiration is everywhere, that's the main reason why almost everyone living in this incredible city, is from someplace else, and there aren't many cities that can claim that.
Your Broowaha picture, is there a story behind it? What are you doing/reading?
That's an insightful question, and no one has ever asked me about that before, and there is indeed a history to that photo. Some of your readers may or may not know that I'm a published author and that photo was taken at my first book signing event (in 2003), at Barnes & Noble in the Village. I was speaking in front of family, friends and colleagues, and reading excerpts from my novel and of course I was a bit nervous. My dear friend Hugh Bell, who was a well known photographer in his day, was in attendance, and shot the photo. Days later when I reviewed the photos taken at the event, this one stood out, it captures that moment and what I was feeling at the time, the intensity of trying to get it right is there within the eye, and of course the photo also showcases the book. As an artist and photographer myself, it's a great shot and it tells the story.
Tell us more about the inspiration for your last two Broowaha pieces "You never want to let a good crisis go to waste"
Ummm, that's an interesting question. I rarely think of my articles as inspirational, being a political junkie and moderately conservative Independent (capital I), I try to be logical and take a premise to its final conclusion, and though I'm passionate about what I write about, the end result of my writings, is always based on fact. It's easy for us as advocates to be drawn into an ideology, and we're all guilty of it. The trick is to know that, and to avoid it as much as possible. Things are never black and white, there are many shades of gray in between, and if we take our politics seriously, we need to hear the other side and have a balance in what we write, and respect for the other points of view...sadly that's changed in recent years, there seems to be more name calling and disrespect, just take a look at some of the more radical political websites. In my article "You never want to let a good crisis go to waste," my inspiration was simply the absurdity of it all, that someone in a position of authority can make such a statement and not get called on it'tells me we've entered an era of ambivalence, where words and deeds are meaningless, as long as your ideology is in vogue. I was personally offended by those remarks, by Rahm Emanuel, not because a liberal or progressive had made them, but because they were made under the guise of something else. The implication is that being honest and forthright can't accomplish the same goals, and we need to hide behind a crisis to achieve them, is simply wrong. I would have felt just as outranged if President Reagan would have made those remarks.
As for my other article 'And he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them-Luke 4:40'. My inspiration for this article in part was, and is, the mainstream media's coverage of President Obama and watching seasoned newsman lose their objectivity in covering this president. However the moment of true inspiration (to coin your phrase) was watching continues news coverage of an event, taking place in Florida, that quickly turned into a revival meeting, I was especially amused at watching a young man jump from his seat, as if being hit by a bolt of lighting and transformed into a babbling convert asking for divine (presidential) intervention for stuff. It reminded me for a moment of my own mom. She would watch those TV evangelists and place her palms on the TV screen and also ask for 'divine intervention', and of course she would send a check, and as long as it made her feel good, and the checks weren't to large, there was no harm done, similar to what President Obama is currently doing, with his town-hall type venues. However unlike those TV preachers, President Obama isn't asking the tax payer, he's simply taking, and that's the rub'the redistribution of wealth, for states, businesses, homeowners, who for whatever reason mismanaged, stole, or just didn't care to be responsible, and now we're subsidizing them, and rewarding bad behavior.
In the time you've been part of Broowaha, how have you grown as a writer or interviewer? Maybe you can tell us about your first article, your favorite article to write and you're most recent.
I like the diversity of opinion on Broowaha, and as long as it's substantive I will engage in a dialog of ideas. However, there are times that some of my more vocal and 'progressive' colleagues take short cuts, and rather then engage in a good natured debate of ideas, tend to get personal. When that happens, the dialog ends, being rude or name calling, for me isn't part of the deal. My favorite article is usually the last one I've written, however the article that I identify with is the one that I was a part of, and it has nothing to do with politics. It was a review I wrote of a play that originally opened in LA, in 1989, and then again in the movie version starring Robert De Niro and Chazz (Calogero) Palminteri, who wrote the original story. The play is 'A Bronx Tale', and I had an opportunity to once again see Palminteri weave his magic spell on Broadway, by once again doing the play as he had intended it, as one man show and performing all 18 characters on stage. The main character of course is 'Sonny', a street wise powerful wise guy, who befriends a young neighborhood kid that witnesses Sonny's cold blooded execution of a rival gangster and the youngster's oath of silence. After that incident the relationship slowly grows into a lifelong friendship. It's a reverting coming-of-age tale that also mirrors to an extent my own 'Bronx tale', and my own story entitled 'The Prince of Belmont Avenue' that's currently being reviewed by several publishing houses.
If you could get could write about anyone or any situation, what would it be?
Wow'that's really an interesting question I need to think about that for a moment. I suspect it would be someone or something that would have a profound effect on me, and perhaps change us, to be more tolerant of one another. Being a none practicing Roman Catholic who rarely attends church, but knows scripture well, and believes in divine intervention I suspect I would want to speak to Jesus, and ask him the question, that all mankind hungers to know'is there life, after death, and if so what must we do to achieve everlasting salvation, and though scripture speaks of his inner turmoil before his death, I would also ask Jesus was there any doubt within him, as a mortal man that he would rise within 3-days from the dead, and be transformed? I suspect that even after we know the answer, we'll doubt it, question it, and eventually reject it'the paradox for us is that 'free will' thing that keeps getting in the way. What artist (musician, author, painter etc) inspires you? The list is long, and there's not enough space on this website, to list all the names that have inspired me, as a writer, artist and human being.
Of course there are names we all know like Brando, Di Niro, Pacino, Nickelson, Palminteri, Bogart, Tracy, Hepburn, Hemmingway, Pavarotti, Verdi, Sinatra, Elliot, Santana, Gyra, Greenwood, Charles, Barbieri, Parker, Coltrane, Davis, Gibson, Eastwood, Guns & Roses, Queen, Picasso, Ali, Forman, Mantel. There work is legendary, and they've all inspired me at times, as I suspect they have for millions and millions of others around the world.
However, there are others that have had a more profound effect in my life'my dad Joseph, who came from another time and place, but was wise enough to understand my passion, and allowed me the freedom as a youngster to express myself, and follow my own dreams, my wife Judy who puts up with my insanity, who has a tender heart and rally thinks of herself, and scores of little known authors (like myself)), that I've been privileged to meet across this incredible country and share our passion for writing, that have inspired me through their own tales, and artistry and of course their friendships'names like Bell, Baxter, Caldon, Gordon, Barry, Yarbrough, Perry, Girandola, Jackowski, Alexander, Wigley, Ward, Edwards, and the list goes on and on.
Of our topics (city life, night life, culture, sports, etc) what is your favorite? Is there a reason why you tend to write/read more articles in that section?
That's easy to answer, being a political junkie, it's obvious my favorite topic would be 'politics' followed by 'opinion' To coin a worn-out metaphor 'politics is indeed a contact sport, more so then watching any sporting event. What transpires in the State House or within your local municipality or on Capital Hill, directly affects us, and our way of life more so then what takes place on any field or on any court. Astoundingly, most of us only think of politics at election time, and I would imagine that the majority of voters who voted for either Obama or McCain couldn't tell you the voting record of either one of the candidates , or what laws they authored or were a part of. Most of us vote based on ideology, or perception, yet we all know that stats of our favorite baseball team. Finally: Tell us something about Amo that we don't know! Well, back in the day, I was an illustrator, and graphic designer, today I have a novel currently in the marketplace and two manuscripts that are being looked at by several publishing companies, and I like to cook, so much so that I'm in the final stages of completing my 4th book'a cook book for guys that 'hate to cook'. It's really a survival guide for bachelors, who don't have a clue what to do with a frying pan. I'm also a watch collector you know tic-tock'tick-tock. I must have over 60-wrist witches, within my collection'some expensive some not.
To view Amo's Broo profile go to http://www.broowaha.com/author/amo and you'll find a listing of all the articles he has written for the Broo community.