vic fortezza
4 min readMar 2, 2024

Michelangelo’s David gets a cleaning. Photo by Tiziana Fabi, AFP Via Getty Images, posted at

Among the many celebrations on March 2nd, it’s Read Across America Day. What books have impacted your life? Here are my major influences. In the blurb for Close to the Edge, I dub it “…Crime and Punishment with sexuality at its core. Raskolnikov was sexless. These three are not.” I’m a big fan of Dostoevsky’s major novels… Even though I understand only about ten percent of James Joyce’s Ulysses, I love the idea of spending an entire day inside the subconscious of a character. Vito’s Day is patterned after it. I think of it as Ulysses for DummiesKilling is in part influenced by John Steinbeck’s The Winter of Our Discontent, the part that deals with a father surprised at which of his children will carry the metaphorical light of civilization. The penultimate chapter in Killing is influenced by Hamlet. Why not steal from the best?… I consider Henry Miller’s Tropic of Capricorn and Sexus general influences, but dominant in Inside Out, the blurb of which asks: “Can a novel be explicit and meaningful?” It began as a sort of retake on Erich Segal’s Love Story, except that the woman is not a sweetheart, a very uninteresting tale of the peril of excess. It eventually evolved to old fashion vs. modern, the woman representing those few who opt for freedom, at least at that stage of her life, early 30s… Also influential: Saul Bellow’s The Adventures of Augie March and, in one particular passage, Herzog, who at one point muses: “But what is the philosophy of this generation? Not God is dead, that point was passed long ago. Perhaps it should be stated Death is God. This generation thinks — and this is its thought of thoughts — that nothing faithful, vulnerable, fragile can be durable or have any true power…” What I admire about …Augie March is that it gets life right and, in my mind, that’s what serious fiction is all about… All my speculative stories were influenced largely by Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Photos from Google Images:

Headline from “I got arrested and my sexy mugshot went viral — now I’m making bank and living the good life.” Sometimes crime pays. I’m not posting her picture.

Laugh or weep? Headline from “US National Debt Rising by $1T Every 100 Days.” Pols are praying AI will create an economic boom that will take away their sins, just as the internet boom did in the ‘90s. Hoping to erase my own financial gaffes, I’ve just bought three separate AI funds. I hadn’t bought anything since before I failed to act on Bitcoin ten or so years ago, so dismayed was I at not following one of my mantras: No risk, no reward. Of course, my purchase of these funds may be a sell signal for everbody else.

From NM: “Bud Light Boycott Cost Anheuser $1.4B in Lost Sales.” On the one hand, I hate to see a successful company hurt, on the other, I haven’t bought Coke since the “Be Less White” nonsense, so I understand the anger.

Headline from “University of Florida fires all DEI employees and reallocates millions of dollars in savings.” Kudos.

From FN: “Liberal Oregon U-turns, passes bill to recriminalize hard drugs as overdose deaths skyrocket.”

The floating book shop was rained out.

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vic fortezza

I was born in Brooklyn in 1950 to Sicilian immigrants. I’ve had more than 50 short stories published world wide. I have 13 books in print.