Just the other day, while I was at a soccer tournament, an old friend of mine who played college baseball with me, came over while I was watching a game. “You son of a bitch,” he said. “I read ‘White Chocolate’ the other day.” He was laughing and he had his hand on my shoulder. He tugged me back so I would look at him.
He went on to name all our ex-teammates he thought were in the story. He was quite perceptive and nailed the personalities of the guys he knew inspired the characters I created. I was impressed.
In the story, while driving south through Alabama in a small van, a group of college baseball players are forced to stop on the freeway when they come to pass by a Ku Klux Klan rally. With a cross, three stories high and raging in flames near the road, the narrator must not only hide the only black player on the team from view, but he also must fight a hateful and cynical teammate who threatens to give up the black player.
What inspired this story happened thirty years ago. In the case of my friend, he recalled the events as if it happened yesterday. That day, he was on the second team van that drove behind us. He remembered the KKK rally, and only heard of what took place in our van in his conversations with players that were with me.
In the collection, My Dog Tim: and other stories, the novel St. John of the Midfield and all the other stories were inspired by obscure moments in my life. Some of the stories were built around characters I knew, or events that took place, or in one case, something that was merely said.
Garasamo Maccagnone studied creative writing and literature under noted American writers Sam Astrachan and Stuart Dybek at Wayne State University and Western Michigan University. A college baseball player as well, Maccagnone met his wife Vicki as a junior at WMU. The following year, after injuring his throwing arm, Maccagnone left school and his baseball ambitions to marry Vicki. After a two year stint at both W.B. Doner and BBDO advertising agencies, Maccagnone left the industry to apply his knowledge of marketing in a new venture in an up-and-coming industry. Maccagnone created a company called, “Crate and Fly,” and turned it from a store front in 1984 to a world-wide multi-million dollar shipping corporation by 1994.
In the mid 90’s Maccagnone decided to fulfill the promise of his writing career, by first penning the children’s book, The Suburban Dragon and then following up with a collection of short stories and poetry entitled, The Affliction of Dreams. His literary novel, St. John of the Midfield was published in 2007, followed by his For the Love of St. Nick, which was released in 2008. Maccagnone expanded the original version of For the Love of St. Nick and had the book illustrated for a new release in June 2009. My Dog Tim and Other Stories is a literary anthology of the author’s best work.
Garasamo “Gary” Maccagnone lives today in Shelby Township, Michigan, with his wife Vicki and three children. At this time, he is researching the location for his second novel, tentatively titled, He Lay Low.
You can visit Gary online at www.garasamomaccagnone.com