Saturday, October 27, 2007
"Burnt Hill Road" and the "L" Train
Once firmly ensconced with a glass of New York-only wine, I enjoyed:
- A chapter from Nora's novel-in-progress, Burnt Hill Road, about a family curse affecting three generations of women;
- Anne Landsman's The Rowing Lesson, a work of fiction informed by her childhood in South Africa;
- Dexter Jeffries, a professor who used to drive a cab, read from his novel, Hack Professor about...a professor who used to drive a cab. And also read from his memior, Triple Exposure: Black, Jewish and Red in the 1950s, dedicating the excerpt to Barack Obama;
- And last but not least, Brett Berk, who teaches short fiction at The New School and wrote The Gay Uncle’s Guide to Parenting, read a charming short story where the protagonist's body unintentionally "outs" him in a middle school wrestling match.
It was a warm, balmy night with everyone in shirt sleeves and Summer clothes, although it got a bit nippy for Summer by nightfall. I sat outside for a while in The Stain's backyard and enjoyed the view of a uniquely Brooklynesque working class form of architecture: Three-story apartment buildings covered with aluminum siding.
The "L" subway line that runs across 14th Street in Manhattan and out to Canarsie in Brooklyn has been the Chisolm Trail by which you can mark gentrification in Brooklyn for the past ten years. At first, young artists priced out of Manhattan colonized the first stop, Bedford. Then gradually, it moved one stop at a time until now you can find luxury condos being built in Bushwick, a neighborhood that was neglected for years after its own residents got so disgusted with it that they set it on fire during the 1977 Blackout.
So, I'm looking forward to hearing what becomes of Mae, Nora is running in her 5th NYC Marathon Sunday Nov. 4, and to everyone who was sitting near me when I had a sneezing fit in the middle of Brett Berk: Don't worry, I wasn't contagious anymore.