M. Thomas Apple
Originally from Troy, New York, M. Thomas Apple spent part of his childhood in a tiny hamlet in the Helderbergs and his teenage years in a slightly larger village in the Adirondacks. He played high school baseball for four years and was a decent base-stealer, adequate outfielder, and terrible batter. Occasionally he dreams of the sole (running) homerun he hit on a 3-0 count, and the subsequent beaning that followed during the next at-bat. He studied languages and literature as an undergraduate student at Bard College and later creative writing at the University of Notre Dame du Lac, where he wrote a controversial, award-winning weekly column for the student-run daily newspaper, The Observer. After further studies in education at Temple University, he now teaches global issues and English as a second language at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Japan. He lives in a house co-designed with his wife and partially decorated by his two daughters, nestled in the foothills of the mountains and surrounded by lots and lots of Japanese cedar and cicada. A holder of a 4th degree black belt (4-dan) in Shorinji Kempo, he also enjoys hiking and running, as long as his asthma behaves itself.
"All you can do is play and make numbers in the minors. You know, all those statistics, all those numbers, they’ve all been done before. You’re not going to make it into the Hall of Fame or whatever. All you can do is make more numbers, right?"
Journeyman relief pitcher Jonathan “Ditch” Klein was all set to be a replacement player during the 1995 baseball strike...until the strike ended. Offered a contract in the minor leagues, on the same Upstate New York ballpark he once found success in high school, Ditch has one last chance to prove his worth. But to whom?
A manager with an axe to grind, a father second-guessing his pitching decisions, a local sportswriter hailing him as a hometown hero, a decade older than his teammates and trying to resurrect an injury-ridden career...Ditch thinks he may have a possible back-up plan: become a sportswriter himself. The only question is whether he is a pitcher who aspires to be a writer, or the other way around...
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Notes from the Nineties
Short story anthology, literary fiction, poetry
A beach in Ireland, a mountain temple in Japan, a hot summer drive in the Bronx, a dentist’s office in Michigan, a hospital in San Francisco, and a bus ride through the Hudson Valley. Notes from the Nineties ties these disparate stories together with poems and photos between, with raw emotions: rage, tenderness, vindictiveness, jealousy, terror, sorrow, loss, acceptance.
Stories featured in this collection include:
Cois Fharraige – A group of exchange students in Ireland finds there is more to do than study language
Father Knows Least – A college baseball player at home during winter break discovers all is not well with family
The Firebrand – What happens when you’re lost and your car breaks down in New York City?
Kannuki – Self-disclosure is not necessarily the same as closure
Boys Will be Boys – Family relations can sometimes be close…too close…
The Lost Bunny Shrine of Annandale – Come with us into the Enchanted Forest. It’s not too dark…
Pockets – What happened after that one party? Only Rose knows…
Frank – He says he’s a liar…speaking frankly…
The Four Teeth of the Apocrypha – Dentists and the occult should never mix
The Green and the Grey – On the bus from Albany, a chance conversation between fellow passengers may be telling
Training the Mountain Warrior – I did, actually, dangle my friend off a cliff in Japan. Seriously.