HomeAnnouncementPhoenix Writer Publishes Book

Phoenix Writer Publishes Book

By Roland Becker

As some of you long time Utica Phoenix readers know, I wrote short fiction for the paper for a couple of years. (Let’s define those years)

After a couple of years of writing, the majority of the short stories and a couple others, that the Phoenix would not publish, were made into a book, “A Few Days In The Poverty Of Utica.”I am writing this letter to correct a misconception with the cover.

When the Utica Phoenix first published one of my stories, it was “Called the Jaguar.” It was a story about an insurance scam two poor people were trying to pull off for meager money. It was an underworld story, and I continued that concept through a lot of my writing. A friend of mine refers to the book as good toilet bowl reading.

One of the things I did after that story was poke fun, at Utica. When we decided to make the book I was going to use an editing company. The editing company wanted a lot of money, and a former editor from the Phoenix, Mark Ziobro, wanted to help me out. He did the work extremely low cost for me. But he and his friend designed the front and back covers.On the back, he used a quote from one of the stories, “The Traveler.”

The Traveler is about a hobo who stowed away on freight trains and wound up on the West End Schuyler Street train. The man winds up in Utica, gets off of the train and runs into a disheveled man. The man gives him a line where the punch line refers to Utica as the ‘armpit’ of New York. Only in the book, it does not say ‘armpit’ of New York. It is uncensored.

Lately, and somewhat throughout the past, people have been picking up the book and taking the comment seriously. It was intended as a joke when I wrote it, and I am sure it was intended as a joke when the editor put it on the back of the book. I thought that when I approved it.
It was never my intention for the line to be taken seriously. I love this city. I wanted to write about some of the good things that have gone on since the time I have been in Utica.

I bought a house on the West Side. It was a fixer upper and still a work in progress but I don’t think I have loved any of the homes I’ve lived in any more than this one.I have met great friends. Had a lot of fun adventures. And of course, now, I have the book.I have been working on marketing it a little and it is my promise if any publishing company picks up on it that I will take that comment off of the cover.

To purchase a copy of Roland’s book email him at rolandbecker13501@yahoo.com or order it directly from Amazon.com


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