Writing the Wind

It’s been said that some see writing as a holy chore, but I suspect that for Jeff Spevak, it’s anything but a chore. Heck, his blog is even called “Jeff Spevak, Writer” lest anybody miss the point. I’ve been reading Spevak’s music reviews and interviews for years now, and even when I may not agree with him, I can sense that he loves what he’s writing about, which makes me enjoy what I’m reading about.

Spevak’s blog goes on to mention that he is a “rent-a-writer,” which leads us to his opus, a book about Ernie Coleman, a 96 year old sailor, soldier, and all-around hard-lifer with an incredible eye and ear for detail. Chasing the Wind: the Humble, Epic Century of a Sailor is a read as breezy as the wind in the sails of Ernie’s boats down at the Rochester Yacht Club. Ernie’s stepdaughter hired Jeff to tell the story not only of Ernie’s quietly remarkable life but of his on-the-spot view of the Battle of Savo Island, an early and key battle in the War of the Pacific. It’s the stuff of award-winning documentaries, had there been any archival footage available. Such first-person accounts are increasingly hard to come by, and Spevak makes it all come to life with the same sort of patience and conversational tone he has when he’s talking to musicians or reporting on a local concert.

I don’t want to spoil the story for you by relating all the copious details, but Mr. Spevak will be on hand Sunday, February 17 at the Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County in the Rundel Auditorium, 3rd floor, Rundel Memorial Building, from 2 to 4 p.m., to tell you about Ernie directly. Sadly, Ernie was supposed to be there alongside him, but passed away just this last December. Jeff will also be selling and signing his book, but if you’d like to get a head start on the tale, here’s a list of places that also have Chasing the Wind available:

  • Herrema’s Food Market, 125 Pattonwood Dr., in Stutson Street Plaza.
  • Lift Bridge Book Shop, 45 Main St., Brockport.
  • Yesterday’s Muse Books, 32 West Main St., Webster.
  • The Generosity Store, 39 S. Goodman St. (Half of the proceeds from all sales go to the Golisano Children’s Hospital.)
  • The Eleventh Hour Gift Shop, 1922 Monroe Ave., Brighton.
  • Record Archive, 33 1/3 Rockwell St.                                                                                 —–Bob Scheffel, Local History Division

Published in: on February 14, 2013 at 4:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

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