He came from Florida, though I forgot which part as soon as he said it. Definitely not Miami. His skin was a fierce pink and he wore a turquoise Marlins baseball cap on backwards, a loose-fitting tank top, and board shorts. Pudgy, thirty-something, and reeking of booze. Something about the guy I liked. He had a big drunk laugh and seemed unstable in a refreshing way.
I’m thrilled to have a new essay in this gorgeous issue of New England Review. NER is a lovely and well-respected print journal, available at what was referred to in olden times as a “bookstore.”
Originally published in Tin House – Winter 2014
My parents meet on a blind date in 1976. Richard with his leather cowboy hat and hand-painted jean jacket, Meridy with her purple turban and kohled eyes. He reads her aura; she reads his tarot cards. The first time they make love he has an epileptic seizure during the night and urinates in her bed. Nothing is simple.
On their third date, he takes her to an Italian restaurant in the Castro, the kind of place where “That’s Amore” plays on an infinite loop. “There’s something important I have to tell you,” Rich says. “I am carrying a spirit-child with me, a little boy, and he’s ready to be born into the here and now.”
Most likely, Meridy doesn’t believe him. But there is delirious magic in his way of speaking. A few weeks later, he looks into her eyes after lovemaking and says, “There. Now you’re pregnant.” So she is.
San Francisco’s Inaugural GrandSLAM Championship: Fish Out of Water
The Moth presents the GrandSLAM, a battle of wits and words – fierce, hilarious, heartbreaking and all points between. Listen as ten StorySLAM champs tell tales of being out of their element: the freak, the foreigner, dressed for the opera at the clambake, out of the loop, the only person in the loop, the voice of dissent, the lonely fool. Outsider, interloper, odd man out. The black sheep, the chatty monk, the juror with a doubt.
The Moth is dedicated to finding intriguing people to tell inspired stories. At The Moth StorySLAM, those people find us. On this night, using words as weapons, they battle to determine San Francisco’s first-everMoth GrandSLAM Story Champion.
Tuesday, April 8th
Producer: Jenifer Hixson
Associate Producer: Robin Wachsberger
San Francisco StorySLAM Producers: Anna MacKinnon & Andrew Slusser
at The Castro Theatre
429 Castro St, San Francisco, CA 94114
7:00pm Doors Open
8:00pm Stories Begin
$20 tickets available here
Corey Rosen is an actor, director, writer and visual effects artist who lives in San Francisco. Corey began his career writing for Jim Henson Productions and Comedy Central in New York City. He spent 11 years at Industrial Light & Magic as both a computer graphics artist and staff writer for animated feature films. His film credits include The Phantom Menace, Terminator 3, The Day After Tomorrow, and War of the Worlds. As an actor, Corey works on screen and stage, including a 10 year run as a main stage company player at BATS Improv, where he improvises feature length plays. Corey is the creator of The A**hole Monologues: A Comedy For Anyone Who Has One, Knows One, or Is One. www.mrbagel.com @coreyrosen
At age five, Josh Cereghino was sent home from kindergarten, for allegedly biting Mikey Duda. When Mom asked for an explanation, he told his first story, with spaceships, dragons, jetpacks and Kung Fu, explaining that he bit in self-defense when Mike Duda attacked him with nunchuks. Josh learned the value of a good story that day, and he’s been telling stories from his life ever since. Josh is a writer who lives in Berkeley and holds a BA degree in Rhetoric from the University of California. This explains his penchant for storytelling and talking a lot.
Case Conover grew up on the coast of Maine, where his passion for stories, art and circus was born. As a youngster he juggled, unicycled, and clowned his way into the international youth troupe Circus Smirkus. He went on to study visual art at Oberlin College in Ohio before moving to the Bay Area. Case is now the Producer of West Coast Live, a weekly national radio variety program featuring authors, musicians and other cultural figures.
Neshama Franklin lives in Bolinas, works at the Fairfax Library, and has been telling stories since she came to language. She is an omnivorous, eclectic reader and plays this out through a weekly blog, a local TV show hosting Marin poets (both on the Marin County Free Library website), and a local radio show in which she reads what she loves. She’s performed frequently for libraries, camps, and at Tell It On Tuesday in Berkeley. She’s thrilled to be part of The Moth.
Ben Pote hails from Nashville, TN. He made his way to San Francisco three years ago by way of working in restaurants in Baltimore, New York, and Denver, and is now a research and development chef at a culinary consulting firm here in the city. He lives with his fiancee Pilar and two Boston terriers Sadie and Max, and enjoys eating his way through the city, playing the drums, a well-placed pun, and all three extended editions of Lord of the Rings.
Scott Sanders Ex actor, ex new yorker moved to the left coast about 15 years ago and still wrestling with cross cultural challenges. I’ve mustered pocket change as a gonzo international entrepreneur in Asia. I introduced graffiti / urban tagging to the Inner Mongolian territories. I’ve been kidnapped in China and hit by lightning in Brooklyn. I have told tales with The Moth, Snap Judgement, Fireside Storytelling, Porchlight Storytelling and LitQuake.
Anna Seregina is a stand-up comic and performer, described as having the “worst aura.” She was named a “Comic to Watch in 2013” by the SF Weekly, and is a regular member of the San Francisco-based show the Business. She starred in Joey Izzo’s Stepsister, which screened at the San Francisco International and the Cannes Film festivals in 2013. Most facts about her are true. Most truths about her are facts..
Maida Taylor practiced medicine in the Bay Area for 23 years, before going to work for the dark side of the force, the pharmaceutical industry. She is now a consultant. Born in Brooklyn, she moved to the Bay Area for graduate school and never looked back. Her husband and her kids are native Californians. Though she loves San Francisco, and her east coast accent is long gone, she still cannot shake off her New York edge (aka bitch). When not traveling for work, she can be found scuba diving, gardening, watching obscure foreign films, or walking with a Dandie Dinmont dog named King Arthur.
Alia Volz recently completed her first novel, HOOF, a mean little cowboy noir story in which all of your favorite characters die. The spawn of dope-crazed California hippies, Alia has crossed Spain on foot, seen Fidel Castro speak in a downpour, and made love at the feet of Easter Island’s Moai—but she keeps rolling home to good old San Francisco. Stalk her at www.aliavolz.com.
Brianna Wolfson is a New York native living in San Francisco, California. She spends her days with charts, graphs, colored pencils and ice cream. She buys a lottery ticket every Friday.
Here’s an excerpt. Read the full piece in Defenestration.
I operate 01194, a white Plymouth bearing the sundial insignia of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation. The steering wheel is constructed on the right, to facilitate chalking. I hang the chalking stick out the window and cruise up Fountain at 4 miles per hour, marking the left front tire of every car.
I’ll maintain this speed until La Brea, double back via Santa Monica Boulevard, then snake through my run east of Highland, returning to this spot at precisely 11:00AM. In accordance with signage, many of the vehicles will have been removed. Anything remaining is mine. I’ll issue 10-15 citations on this morning loop. Punctuality is key.
I turn onto La Brea and, right away, the vista gets bueno. I issue a 540.2 for expired registration and a 490.1 for a WHITE ZONE violation. On the next block, I spot a vehicle parked approximately 1’6” from the curb. It’s a close call. I pull over, unclip the tape measurer from my belt and kneel on the concrete. The rear right tire is 1’7” away from the curb. I slap him with a 412.1.
They’d park upside down if they could.
Visit Defenestrationmag.net for a great variety of contemporary humor writing.
See Alia Sunday, October 7, at Vesuvio for “Do You Come Here Often?”: Writers at the Bar, with Alan Black, Jack Boulware, Beth Lisick, Chuck Thompson, and Missy Robac.
- 1. What is your favorite book?
- It must be As I Lay Dying, because I’ve reread it more than any other book. It’s got rage, comedy and transcendent beauty all happening at once. That economy slays me.
- 2. Who is your favorite writer?
- Cormac McCarthy.
- 3. If the answers to 1 & 2 are different, why?
- They’re similar. I obviously have a yen for dark, funny, poetic novels with horses.
- 4. How old were you when you were first published?
- Around 28.
- 5. What writing style do you most abhor?
- I adore being a woman. But “chick lit” embarrasses me. It makes me wish I had a penis.
- 6. What is your favorite writing cliché?
- I like the cliché about writers being drunks. It gives me an excuse. Cheers!
- 7. What is your favorite word?
- Succotash. Or motherfucker. I can’t decide.
- 8. When and how do you write?
- I don’t have a set routine, but my self-esteem nosedives when I don’t make creative progress. Fear of self-loathing keeps me diligent.
- 9. What is your greatest fear when you first turn in a manuscript?
- I fret endlessly that it isn’t as good as it might be—that if I wait a bit longer, I’ll get that last zap of inspiration that knits loose ends, or floats the piece to the next level. Consequently, I’ll tinker with manuscripts for years without sending them anywhere. Honestly, I wish I was more relaxed.
- 10. In what era do you wish you’d been born?
- I’d love to arrive in the “gay nineties” so I could ripen in the “roaring twenties.” They sound magnificent in comparison with this most recent decade: the “gloomy oughts.”
- 11. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
- I’m editing a novel right now, and I’ve discovered that I overuse “low-slung sky.” Go figure. I also cuss too much.
- 12. Which talent would you most like to have?
- I want a talent for being in two places at once. One me can roam this astonishing planet, while the other me stays home to nest and write. Of course I’d end up getting jealous of myself, which could be problematic.
- 13. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
- I’m still working on it.
- 14. Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
- The Cheshire Cat: chaos in a fur coat.
- 15. How would you like to die?
- I’d like to croak in my husband’s arms. My least favorite way to die would be away from him. Corny but true.