Member since April, 2008
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If you were to throw up your hands in exasperation and yell "it's the story of my life," what would you be talking about?
As of today, February 2, 2011? Definitely the controversy over which NYC teachers should be fired: the last to be hired, or the under-performers and "rubber roomers," some of whom are awaiting disciplinary hearings (and presumably, dismissal).
Back in the mid-1970s, when I was at Lehman High School in The Bronx, I remember how my English, art, history and music teachers, who somehow knew how to relate to and inspire a troubled 15-year old were suddenly gone, replaced by weary, lumpen battle-axes who only cared that you passed their tests. Who knows if I would been more motivated to go to class instead of...not go to class...which pretty much affected a large part of my subsequent life. Then again, maybe if it hadn't been that way, I wouldn't have had a story to tell, albeit 35 years later.
I turned out OK (at least I think so). But what about the thousands of other 10th graders who were affected by teacher layoffs that year? Is it worth taking a chance on shortchanging another whole generation? The people who seem to be in charge of making these decisions are always unaccountable, but then again, their children are probably all private-schooled.
Besides SMITH, I read stories at:
For other people's stories, I mostly go to as many different live reading/storytelling events as I can. My latest faves are: Standard Issues, Franklin Park, How I Learned, The Story Collider and Told.
As for where I read/tell my own stories, I'll go anywhere that will have me on, so please, book me! Recently, I've read or told stories from my new memoir, "Fish Out Of Agua: My life on neither side of the (subway) tracks," with Franklin Park, The LIAR Show and In The Flesh. I've also just recorded a story with Broadcastr and am looking forward to "Married by Elvis, Divorced by Friday: Six-word Memoirs on Love & Heartbreak," on Valentine's Day at 92Y Tribeca!
In bed I like to read:
When I wake up, as opposed to before sleeping. If a book is good, it's going to keep me up...and up... and that's not good on a "school" night when I stumble into work bleary eyed and my co-workers think, "Hangover!" Yeah, I got "Lit" on lit, ha ha.
My favorite story of all time is:
The "Lord Of The Rings" trilogy. Yes, I admit it. I know there are so many other epics in this genre now, but for me, this is STILL the tops.
For non-fantasy, five novels have always stayed with me: "Light in August," by William Faulker, "Remembrance Rock," by Carl Sandberg, "Pillars of the Earth," by Ken Follett, "House on Mango Street," by Sandra Cisneros and "The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao," by Junot Diaz.
Right now, I'm reading:
I'm re-reading "Please Kill Me," by Legs McNeil and Gillian (Cain?) It's the definitive oral history of punk rock in NYC told by the people who were there. It's kind of like the biography of Edie Sedgwick, "Edie," except this story holds NOTHING back. It begins in the mid-1960s with the end of Edie's reign as an Andy Warhol Superstar and ends in the early '90s with two sad deaths you knew were long coming. It also has the absolute best description I've ever read of what "art" is, both metaphorically and literally, in Scott Kempner's (The Dictators) recount of the first time he saw Iggy Pop play.
Next up: "Gotta Have It: 69 Stories Of Sudden Sex," edited by the awesome Rachel Kramer Bussel and Kiri Blakely's new memoir, "Can't Think Straight: A Memoir Of Mixed-Up Love."
Latest Memoir (of 10):
Finally, I Learned How To Listen
- Finally, I Learned How To Listen
- Sleep with co-workers? Kiss job goodbye!
- Definitely my first time around. Yep.
- Even when sucky, beats the alternative.
- Finally, I learned how to listen.
- Keep smoking. Gain weight. Just kidding!
- No more walking with clenched fists.
- He became a Goth. I didn't.
- Good lovin'. At fifty? Miracles happen!
- Night of The Black Crysanthemum