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August 24, 2020

Updated: Apr 1, 2021

Reading your appraisals of stories and songs shared on has been an extremely gratifying diversion from the blog-writing and email duties I’ve assumed on a monthly basis since we began on May 31st, 2016. Well, I shouldn’t stop there; I’ve appreciated the positive feedback to the blogs and emails as well. And a couple of weeks ago, a close friend of mine not only read my one novel from cover to cover but also conveyed his enthusiastic reactions via phone calls - and a written review!

I alluded to his gracious act of kindness in the August monthly email sent out just yesterday, but he seemed a bit perplexed as to why so many lines from his incredibly well thought and positive review (his words) were omitted. I hinted that maybe I’d been saving them for an upcoming blog.

So here they are. And thanks again, Andrew!

“THE REINVENTION OF RICHARD BENT“ IS HILARIOUS Please read this book and enjoy a mind-Bent-ing tour of the innermost thoughts of the egomaniacal and self-obsessed Richard Bent, a less than spectacularly talented musician sailing fortuitously through a spectacular career as a pop star. The author, Michael Laba, paints a laugh out loud portrait of a mediocre but incredibly lucky, and yet blissfully oblivious pop rocker who always lands on his feet in spite of a preposterously inflated sense of self. Ozzie Osborne and Milli Vanilli have nothing over this guy!

The reason Andrew began reading this book in the first place is because I casually mentioned how perhaps its themes and humor were now more timely than ever, due to the insanity running rampant in the age of Trump. Though this wasn’t mentioned in his incredibly well thought and positive review, a couple of follow-up phone calls had him agreeing with my observation. My friend even offered to purchase a copy for the next ten people who intend to download, but I already owe him too much for the several other short story collections currently in his possession. But maybe his assessment will entice a few of you to check out The Reinvention of Richard Bent for yourselves!

This past month, two members of The Factory Rhythm Band (from my days in Vermont, unfortunately disbanded before Phish and Grace Potter lured all sorts of record executives to the Green Mountain) got in touch to offer some nice comments about my songwriting. (Although praise for the drumming and bass playing - their particular talents - was mysteriously absent, I noticed…) And many of you have taken the time to listen to the monthly song suggestions I’ve been including in emails for the past year. I’m so appreciative of the support displayed - especially to those who have made the effort to reach out with reviews of your own!

And another great friend recently had overwhelmingly positive things to say about “The Danny Psychosis”, a story included in the Michelle collection. This seemed particularly poignant, because if I was forced to choose one individual story I felt best encompasses all the little Michael Laba touches in my fiction, this would be the one. So - thanks Mary Beth!

Now, of course I realize most of the free-lance commentators on are friends who have the overwhelming decency to keep potentially-dispiriting remarks to themselves. But all the same - I am grateful for all the feedback received so far.


If Website-Genius Kyle hadn’t persuaded me to embark on this adventure years ago, most of this stuff would have continued to remain unheard and unread and, quite likely, unedited. I can’t wait till I can partially repay my enormous debt by helping him edit whatever masterpiece he ends up composing. I’m sure his sales will end up dwarfing mine; Kyle’s expertise tends to center around things that matter. But in any case, I’ll be among the first to convey some positive reenforcement his way when the time comes. I know how nice an encouraging tap on the shoulder can feel.

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