• Jeff Pollak

Diving Into Blogging

Updated: May 2

I admit it. Blogging isn't something I ever expected to do. Not because I was averse to the idea, but because I didn't perceive a need for my views to fill any of the limitless space inside the internet. Of course, the internet still has no need for me to clutter it up, but I now have a reason to add to the mess. I have a novel. Some folks out there will hopefully like it, and some smaller percentage of that group might actually look at my page and want to hear from me. Wonders never cease.

So where do I begin? I'm tempted to explain that the seed of First Second Coming came from a random thought I had while watching the World Trade Center collapse on 9/11. This was the thought: Earth needs a god who can turn this world around. The thought came, it went, and I continued to live my life. Over a decade later it came back, transformed into a skeletal form of the novel it now is. Another wonder.

Instead of diving into that story, I'm inclined to speak of my mother, Marian Pollak, nee Harris, who passed away at age 39 when I was sixteen. My brother Gerry, then known as Buddy, was thirteen. (My dad died earlier, at age 25, when I was three.) I mention her because I couldn't possibly write a novel without listening to music while pushing the keys of my computer. I wouldn't have an everlasting love of music without my mom's influence. Music was the first of all the wonders I would experience.

The three of us lived in a one bedroom apartment in the Bronx. My brother and I shared the bedroom, my mother repurposed the dining area into her bedroom. Books on cinder block shelving lined the hallway from the bedroom to the living room, contributing mightily to my love of reading. The living room couldn't be accessed without detouring around a piano that would later become Buddy's focal point. He became a musician in college and still plays in a band. Which is wonderful.

My mother rarely played the piano herself, although she was self taught. Like Gerry, she had "perfect pitch" - they could both recognize a note by ear. More importantly to my upbringing, since I would rather play whatever sport was in season than sit in front of a keyboard, Mom took us to Broadway musicals, symphonies and, just once, an opera. The musicals - West Side Story especially - enchanted me. The symphonies not so much, opera not at all. And she supported my love of rock music when the Beatles and Beach Boys came on the Ed Sullivan Show and hooked me with worship and wide-eyed wonder.

Although the talent to make music escaped me, I've had an insatiable love of it ever since. I can't go more than a day without listening to rock, folk, country, alternative, bluegrass, Irish or Latin rock, among other genres. I doubt I could create characters or plots, devise narrative or dialogue, or summon my stick-to-it focus without Mom's example of perseverance and her love of music. I wish she was with us to see First Second Coming published, but somehow I think she knows about it.

RIP, Mom - and don't wonder about me. I'm doing fine.


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