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Tony Gentry

Wow, My New Website!

Updated: May 22

Way back ten years ago, I was teaching courses on assistive technology and occupational therapy for adult disability, writing up research on smart homes and mobile devices as cognitive-behavioral aids, shepherding our sons through high school, and taking long walks with our dear golden retriever Ginny. I was also beginning to dip my toes back into a passion project, creative writing, that had been sidelined since my turn towards a helping profession in the 1990s.

 

The only bloc of time available then was dawn, a couple hours at my laptop in the guest bedroom before the tumult of the day struck. So I took it, and by dint of repetition and good coffee made it a habit. Shy and secretive about this mission, I was afraid to let on to others outside our busy household what I was about, mostly because it seemed a folly, and in those first tentative weeks any raised eyebrow might have sent me scurrying back under the covers.

 

In the news at the time was a shooting at the old coal tower in downtown Charlottesville: A teenaged couple killed by an off-kilter neighbor for no apparent reason. I don’t know why the story grabbed me, but I read all I could about it, then went to work. Three years later, thanks to Amazon’s free publishing platform KDP and to my longtime mystery writer friend Katy Munger, who showed me how to format it, I’d written a novel The Coal Tower.

 

By then the cat was out of the bag. In the year before covid, local book stores allowed me readings, I collected and published some of my short stories and poems, and cobbled together a Wordpress website that was mostly a blog. The first entry, dated April 22, 2017, titled “Challah French Toast at Veselka,” hearkened back to young adulthood, when I lived in the East Village across the street from that delightful Ukrainian cafe and made lifelong friends amongst other young and struggling creatives. The blog, like the books, was a message in a bottle tossed into the vast waters of the internet. The message read: I’m back at the keyboard, I’m loving it, but it's scary; let’s see what might be said.

 

That blog has grown to 150 posts – essays, poems, short stories, interviews, reviews, rants, musings, etc. – and I’m happy they’re still available on this new website you’ve clicked on today. But I’m especially happy to have a site that so elegantly showcases my writerly doings. It’s sweet, too, that the site’s designer, Zuzu Feller, is the daughter of Katy Munger, who – as noted – taught me how to publish my debut novel. Zuzu is a multi-talented young woman, who could do pretty much anything she wanted. How wonderful that she’s chosen to go into public school teaching as a career. And how fortunate for me that she was able to squeeze in this side gig before things got too hectic for her.

 

Thank you Zuzu; I’m dazzled. Thank you long-time blog subscribers. Hope you like the new website, with its videos and audio readings and announcements and, of course, the ongoing saga of this blog. It’s some of what’s emerged from those dark mornings over coffee a decade ago, this reclaimed habit of stringing words together in the hope of saying something worth reading. The boys have launched, my professoring days are done, dear Ginny is gone, and her successor dear Buddy lies snuffling at my feet. Christine is off to work and here I sit, long past dawn, giddily free to let ‘er rip. May your day, too, hold such fun.

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