Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Well, One Big Completed Project

Yes, with the publication of my book, Choosing the Hard Path: A Personal History and Memoir, that's one heck of a completed project. Anyone who tells you that writing and publishing is an easy task is most likely pulling your leg. It's complicated and takes a lot. Now the route I took was what's known as 'self-publishing' and there are all sorts of products out there to help guide you through the process.

I was lucky, extremely lucky, because my brother in law was able to introduce me to a publisher who would help me through the process of 'self publishing'. I guess in effect I had a hybrid process in that respect. Frankly I was in no shape, between health and age, to learn a whole new set of skills dealing with layout and uploading to an end publisher like Apple or Amazon.

My publisher ended up being a company near Lake Placid, NY run by Beth Rowland. High Peaks Publishing is their name and Beth's husband Tim is part of the team that brings everything to fruition. They've got a cracker jack designer and layout person, Ryan Harpster at Silverback Designs, who throws himself into all their projects. So, High Peaks takes the author's work, edits it, makes recommendations on order, placement, design and everything else you can think of, including hand holding. The whole process is like being on the publisher's team, or them being on your team. Either way, it doesn't matter.

They upload it to whatever platform you go with and...voila, you just got published. I really can't say enough about Beth, Tim and Ryan. I never could have done this without them. For an author who has no real history, reputation or experience, this is a great way to go.

So now it's over, that project at least and I really do feel a sense of relief and accomplishment. I've had some things I've wanted to say for decades that finally got out on the table and it feels good.

Buy now from

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Choosing the Hard Path

Choosing the Hard Path, A Personal History and Memoir, my book, is published. It isn't just a story, it's a series of stories, one right after the other. It's the story of a young family in New Jersey looking for a better life, one different than the previous generation of immigrants and working class folks who had to fight for every inch of recognition and success. 

It's the story of those immigrants and early Americans from places like Ireland, Scotland and Germany. They were butchers and farmers, seamstresses, and bakers, working and living hard in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Michigan. 

It's the story of the 60s where change was coming at high speed. Where parents scratched their heads at new music, new fashion and new ideas. The cars were faster and sleeker. Polaroid cameras gave people what they considered near instant pictures and tape recorders and high fidelity record players were things every one wanted.

It's the story of the civil rights movement. White liberals and religious groups got involved in things like Freedom Summer, Selma and Freedom Rides.

It's the story of a young man looking for his place, his vocation, his calling and all of the people he met.

Along the way and woven through these stories, one gets a sense of conflicts and choices needing to be made by lots of people, lots of players. Families struggled to understand each other. Political movements and leaders learned about and utilized new tactics to bring about change.

John Lewis, Dorothy Day, Dan and Phil Berrigan are a few of the people you'll meet but there are so many more.

Writing this book has been exciting for me. There are people who needed to be written about and that has been a joy. There are records and stories that needed to be set straight or clarified. I hope it offers something to historians and inquiring minds. Perhaps to people who are faced with their own hard paths and choices.

So, go to, books and search for Choosing the Hard Path: A Personal History and Memoir by Jim Wilson. The book is $16.95 + shipping and handling. Enjoy!


Sunday, December 19, 2021

Coming Soon - A Book About The 60's, Civil Rights, Vietnam and Family

Well folks, it's almost ready. Choosing the Hard Path, A Personal History and Memoir, by Jim Wilson. Yes, I've been working on this project for a long time, a lifetime I guess. It's near completion and will be available to purchase within the next month. Final proofing, design work and cover art are all taking place now.

Choosing the Hard Path, tells the story of a young man growing up in times influenced by Elvis Presley, the Kennedys, formica counter tops, Vatican ll, Martin Luther King, Jr along with shifting values and economics. Come along for the ride. Learn about growing up in that era and join in as a young man goes off to a Catholic seminary, college and protests.

You'll be surprised by some of the facts and some of the players. In the end though, you'll learn about experiences and choices that kept leading to more choices.

Final details will be posted here so watch for information and notices.

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Remembering Roger Laporte - Nov. 9, 2021

In the early morning hours of Nov. 9, 1965, a young man named Roger Allen LaPorte completed his trip to the UN carrying a container of gasoline. He sat down on the pavement, poured the gasoline over his body and ignited himself in flames. This self immolation was Roger's protest against the war in Vietnam. Roger was taken to Bellevue Hospital with burns over most of his body. He identified himself as a Catholic Worker and indicated that he was against war, all war and that he did this as a religious act.
Roger was 22 years old, a former seminarian and someone who volunteered at the Catholic Worker's House of Hospitality close to the Bowery in NYC. I knew Roger and worked with him. I was 21 and was in the middle of my own protest against the war. There were many other people who knew and worked with Roger. We were living in a somewhat surreal time. We worked with the poor and the marginalized. We cooked soup, gave out clothes to those who needed them. We sat up at night singing songs, drinking beer and arguing with each other about war, peace and our actions and reactions to the politics of the time. The times were intense. People were making decisions about their lives and about their futures.
Roger was quiet and thoughtful. He watched what was happening around him. A week earlier, another man, a Quaker named Norman Morrison, had set himself aflame in front of the Pentagon and the office of the Secretary of Defense.
A few days before Roger's action he had attended a draft card burning demonstration at Union Square. He stood in the crowd and listened to hecklers telling the young men on the platform to burn themselves, not their draft cards.
Roger made a choice. He didn't tell any of us about his plan. He went to the UN early, before people would see him and intervene. He sat down and acted.
Roger died the next morning. There are those who spent and continue to spend time analyzing Roger's action. Was it this or was it that? It was what it was, a young man seriously frustrated and angry about a war that seemed to have no end.
Roger was a good young man and he should be remembered as such. That's the way I remember Roger LaPorte fifty-six years after his death - a good young man. I hope memories of him are never lost.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

What Did We Learn this Week - 10/16/21?

Well I'm a bit behind schedule this week. My internet service has been down for a bit. This morning I and many other New Yorkers in the Finger Lakes were awakened by a Tornado Warning instructing everyone to take shelter immediately. It was at that point that I realized I really don't have any central rooms other than a hallway and I'm tethered to a heavy oxygen concentrator that would probably wrap plastic tubing around my neck as we (the machine and I) flew out across Seneca Lake. That said, I got myself disoriented for a bit but everything is back to normal if there is such a thing in 2021. So, down to business. What did we learn this week?

We learned Steve Bannon has no respect for Congress or the rule of law. We also learned that Democrats in Congress can't get out of their own way when it comes to communicating and acting on holding people accountable. They talked for two weeks about how tough and swift they would be and now we find out that tough and swift isn't really something they know how to be.

We learned some related things about the Democrats. Their base is far ahead of their leadership on many issues. After months and months of time to put a plan together, it turns out there is no real plan on getting voting rights passed. Voting rights, the most basic rights of a democracy will have a test vote next week. This while states are passing more and more restrictive laws on voting. Perhaps they will learn that when marchers in a parade or demonstration overtake the leaders, new leaders appear. More and more it looks like that time has come.

We learned that the Moderna and J&J vaccines will be approved for a booster shot within the next week or so.

We learned about the supply chain this week, something we probably should have known about for some time. We also learned that ports in California will start operating 24/7. Interesting because many people thought they were alreadyoperating 24/7 for years. Some are saying Christmas and the holidays will be ruined but let's be clear, Christmas will be fine. Perhaps a little less materialistic. Wonderful!

We also learned that the tractors that pull those trailers full of goods that we're all dying for, get about 6 to 7 miles per gallon of diesel fuel, that we had a truck driver shortage before the pandemic, that DMV office closings caused problems related to new drivers getting CDL licenses. Too bad all of those railroad tracks were pulled up and removed.

We learned that the media just can't get enough of Donald Trump. They know it and he knows it. He doesn't need Twitter or Facebook. He just says something outrageous and every news outlet has a story on it. Free advertising and promotion and then they'll act shocked and outraged when he does so well in some poll somewhere.

We learned that Jeff Bezos and William Schatner are two peas in a pod. Two marketers who pretend for the cameras. Their sincerity and emotions are pretty phony if you ask me. It looked to me like weightlessness didn't seem to kick in for Shatner. I just wish that a guy who can afford all of these space shots could pay his fair share of taxes.

We learned, not just this week but over time,  that the conservative GOP that exists today is unbridled and power hungry. The people who make it up are interested in controlling abortions, creating voting barriers, gerrymandering. controlling academics and banning books. These are all part of goals that have been worked on and planned over a long period of time. What we see happening in Texas is an example of white power and the desire to control what happens when people of color take the majority. This game plan is exactly what we saw in South Africa. We should not turn our heads or avert our eyes to any of this. We should speak out wherever and whenever we can.