Michael Rosen

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August 2009 Archives

Literary Bookpost, in Salisbury, NC, (home to an infamous Civil War prison - nobody told me that part of the story, 11,500 Union Soldiers buried in mass graves, but both sides atrocitified, plundered and more) is a transcendent space. Okay, so the bookstore peoples were just setting up their new store on the opposite side of Main Street from their old store. So the Salisbury newspaper wrote an article about Dean and Sheila and their bookstore partners saying "Literary Bookpost is closing." So school started that week & parents stayed home and I'm sure there are a thousand other good reasons only very few people came out last Friday night at 5:30 PM to sit with me, BUT the town of Salisbury nonetheless has a strong sense of presence, of integrity, & it is felt and seen there stacked on the shelves of the this wonderful and wondrous bookstore. It's worth a trip to see Main Street and browse the Literary Bookpost shelves.

I met a couple who have just opened a store in the building on the corner across from the bookstore. They live upstairs.

And the man, whose name I don't remember, told me a story about coaching soccer years ago. About having last pick among coaches and being told a kid who wasn't there was really, really good. So he picked the kid. With a Latino name. A Mexican kid, it turns out, carried over the border when a young boy. And that man also picked his brother, younger by a year, and another boy related or friends with them. And this team, which hadn't won a game for the past few seasons (under his coaching) went undefeated that year. And those boys started studying in that couple's house, the people who recently opened the store and live upstairs in the corner building across the street from Literary Bookpost.

The boys' mother, also illegal, didn't speak much English. The couple I met went to parent teacher conferences, studied with the boys, mentored them. Similar to the story I tell in What Else But Home, similar to the woman I met in North Conway, NH, at White Birch Books, helping raise boys from Boston.

Rodeph Shalom 3 flyer.jpg

This Tuesday, Aug 25 @ 7 PM @ Congregation Rodeph Sholom (7 W 83rd St) I'm absolutely excited to be paired with Matthew Aaron Goodman, author of the epically beautiful novel Hold Love Strong as we each read a little from our books, talk and participate with you in a conversation about "Bridging the Racial Divide", a literary event sponsored by The Jewish Week & moderated by Sandee Brawarsky.

It's near the end of summer, New York's become like Hong Kong & Hanoi in August - why not come in from the heat and thickness and share words, ideas & a bit of wine?

Thank you, the White Birch Books people in North Conway, NH. Appreciation to you who sat and talked with me. One woman, White, living in NH - you told us about the 3 inner city Black brothers you are helping raise. Please write to me, tell more of your story. I shouldn't have let you go without learning more. You wondered, aloud, about how deep you should commit. I said, of course, I couldn't answer. But that is the essence, isn't it? And to Brenda's friend in D.C., who mentors. I need to be in touch with you too, hear your story. Yes, you should reach out to the boy who has cut himself off. Because you don't want him to be lost. But don't go alone. And tell me your story, too. These are stories - life and death.

Thursday, Aug 20 (TONIGHT!) I am reading/talking at White Birch Books, in North Conway, NH. 7 PM. Please join me, if you're in the neighborhood.

and about neighborhoods, Shakespeare & Company, in their Broadway store, 716 Broadway @ Washington Place, (212) 529-1330, have What Else But Home in the window !! Right next to Satchel Paige. Owen - thank you, for this and for this&that.

tomorrow (Monday), Aug 13 @ 7 PM, I'm reading What Else But Home @ Politics and Prose.

Carla Cohen, from there, has been a beacon of bright support. If you're in D.C., if you're near D.C., if you want to get to D.C., PLEASE come to this wonderful bookshop and coffee house and let's talk about what our society should and can be. I'll read to you, but not long enough to bore you. Then we'll have plenty to time to talk about what's up.

tomorrow (Monday), Aug 13 @ 7 PM, I'm reading What Else But Home @ Politics and Prose.

Carla Cohen, from there, has been a beacon of bright support. If you're in D.C., if you're near D.C., if you want to get to D.C., PLEASE come to this wonderful bookshop and coffee house and let's talk about what our society should and can be. I'll read to you, but not long enough to bore you. Then we'll have plenty to time to talk about what's up.

so Ria Gruss, sharp, suave, sophisticated & sleepless (I know that club), correctly points out that the 3-way intersection of What Else But Home, "tomorrow" & The Diane Rehm Show is at AUGUST 17, rather than September.

so PLEASE listen! 11 AM tomorrow, Monday Aug 17 on your local NPR station, or HERE (live on the Internet).

I'm scheduled to be interviewed on the Diane Rehm Show at 11 AM this Monday morning, September 17.

PLEASE LISTEN on your local NPR. & if your local NPR doesn't carry the Diane Rehm Show, listen live HERE on the internet.

I'm honored, I'm excited, I'm nearly ready. I've packed my best clothes. I know it's radio, but respect is respect. My friend Bill Bender - friends since 7th grade, skiing and playing chess after school every day in 7th Grade - says Diane Rehm is the best ! I read that she loved interviewing Mr. Rogers.

Whitney Peeling, at PublicAffairs, created this opportunity. Thank you !

a lot of dirty sneakers...

By Michael Rosen on August 14, 2009 7:10 AM | 0 TrackBacks

Leslie Gruss (aka Dr. Leslie Gruss) has indeed put up with a lot of dirty sneakers along these last eleven years since Ripton walked us onto the Tompkins Square baseball field and the extended family of us knitted our way together. She has been a constant partner as we grew through this experience and have developed a deeper appreciation of each other. Dirty sneakers, the mess of mud cakes clothes, the deep mess of boys and men. I didn't say enough about Leslie last night at the Tenement Museum. Leslie has held us all together, has held us all up. Love.

Have you ever seen a ski jumper getting ready to defy rationality - the individual large hill, the K-point more than 100 meters, those people who fly? I raced cross country in high school (John Dolan was our strongest racer, I've never found where he went?) and we traveled in the same yellow school bus with the jumpers. I'd grown up skiing downhill with them, and I didn't care about how steep a slope was but I wanted my skis ON THE GROUND. Those guys were different. They strapped on very wide skis, heavy things with two grooves down the middle. They climbed to the top of the jump with the skis on their shoulders, strapped their boots into the bindings inside the jump shack, sat down on a bench and shimmied themselves out into "NOTHING" onto the top of the chute. Stopping when their skis got into the track.

And then they stood. That was it. A long, sliding, heart ripping point of no return. For them maybe it wasn't heart ripping. They'd be focused on the lip, below, how to hurl themselves into the abyss. Maybe not an abyss. To hurl themselves into flight. Flying up from the earth.

I've not blogged for too long.

Tomorrow night, Thursday August 13 @ 6:30 PM I have my first reading of What Else But Home at the Tenement Museum @ 108 Orchard, just below Delancey. Hon Margarita Lopez is introducing me. Clive Priddle, my editor, is honoring me by sitting near and helping lead & guide our conversation. Please come.

I'm starting four months of traveling across America, talking with people about What Else But Home, about poverty, education, fathering, fatherlessness, adoption, fostering, mentoring. About making sure there's enough flour to study (that's a Jewish allusion).

 

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