Shady Fraternal Biznez

Under the Brooklyn el, we said we’d keep in touch, my high school buddies and I, but we knew—deep down in the dark recesses of a 1990 Summer night—that that just was not true. We were splitting up and going off to college, to full-time work, to technical schools, to rehab facilities, to jail, to the morgue. We were the Whatever Generation, a group of kids smart enough to be left alone by our parents but not special enough for anyone to take a particular mentoring shine to.Everything after that night–rain-soaked Kings Highway dark and damp and dirty and dismal–would be completely different.

And it was.

I remember stepping onto the sun-bright campus of New Paltz College and thinking, “Welp. This is different.”

The Brighter Edge

I knew I could play baseball, and I knew I could drink a lot of beer, and I wasn’t sure if that was really going to be enough to propel me through the four-year experience of higher education, where Shakespeare and Socrates and Nietzsche and Hegel and Freud and all those dudes chilled. You had to do ALL the reading, apparently, and not just skate by on CliffsNotes and boyish charm like I’d always done before.

The Hawks

Soon, though—after the first-semester haze of getting through class registrations and campus bookstore rip-offs and dining facility “meals”—the preferred method of getting through college was made abundantly clear to me. I was urged, in the most urgent back-alley-at-midnight way—to rush a certain fraternity, if I knew what was good for me. Being from Brooklyn, and having watched the Godfather movies, I instantly got the message.

It’s a world I chose NOT to explore back then (and I still have the scars to remember that decision by, especially the one across my left middle finger since I have to look at that one most frequently.) But I have revisited that sacred ground in my novel, ALMOST HOME: THE NEW PALTZ NOVEL. I have a lot of regrets about opting NOT to get involved with that sketchy fraternity back then, because, well… Let’s just say, I’m pretty confident I could have been a lot more upwardly mobile than I have been to this point in my life if I hadn’t passed on that opportunity. And regrets can have an oddly haunting effect over the years, I’ve found.

Maybe those regrets are why I was so driven to recreate this weird and wild world in fictional form for ALMOST HOME: THE NEW PALTZ NOVEL. Maybe I was just trying to fully explore that world and wring as much drama out of it as I could. Maybe that’s the revisionist act of a coward. Maybe it’s the gauntlet-lifting act of a hero. I don’t know. All I know is that the act of recreating that world in fictional form was an emotional roller-coaster for me, and even I was surprised where the plot-twists took me.

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

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Posted by Frank Marcopolos

Frank Marcopolos founded "The Whirligig" literary magazine in 1999, which has been called "a landmark, demonstrating the power of the literary underground." It has been said that "you get this true lion-roaring sense that Editor Frank Marcopolos knows what he likes, and how to read, and how to publish, and he has guts, and eats insects on Wheaties with bleach." His long-form fiction has been reviewed with such praise as "thorough-goingly entertaining" and "highly readable...recalls the style of Michael Chabon or John Irving. A literary gem that should not be missed." A broadcasting-school graduate, his unique literary-audio work has been featured in movie trailers, scholastic environments, and on YouTube, with one of his audiobooks achieving over 100,000 "views" there.


  1. Ah-ha! Found the comment form, it was only right in front of me. 😉 Cannot wait to read your book. Will review asap which is probably Novemberish…sorry. Still: Cannot wait! 😀

    1. Yeah, sorry if it it’s confusing. Glad you’re looking forward to it, and I hope you thoroughly enjoy it! Novemberish sounds good to me.

  2. Frank, just downloaded the book, and will comment when done. I worked at Mohonk, so I know New Paltz well, and will look for proper detail.

    1. Thanks, Dale. Hope you enjoy it!

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