I just published this piece about my early start in the world of violence.
Here’s the first graf as a teaser.
The first fight that I remember happened before I was five. My mother had called from work and I grabbed the phone. As we talked, my younger brother Marc hopped up and down shouting, “Give me the phone! Give me the phone!” After some minutes of this, my grandmother had heard enough. “Give him the phone,” she said. So I did, by smashing the handset into his mouth. Dark blotted his white teeth and blood flowed down his chin.
Soon after they started sleeping together, she told him that she had a personality disorder. When he asked her what she meant, she said that she couldn’t handle getting close to anyone, and that the closer she got, the more desperately she wanted to get away. To get away, she said, she would find herself starting to hate the person, man or woman. Once the hate grew strong enough, it would propel her away, far beyond any threat of emotional attachment. Perversely, the more she liked someone, the more she would end up having to hate him.
He had no idea what she was talking about. They’d only been together a few times but she was smart and funny and the sex was great. He thought that she might just be worried about rejection and preparing herself in advance. But he had no interest in breaking things off with her.
Then one morning in a coffee shop she stormed away from their table with no explanation. A few minutes later she called, and coldly informed him that he had not gotten her a refill on her coffee and she couldn’t believe how inconsiderate he was.
I hate you, she said. I’m never going to speak to you again. It’s over.
This confused and hurt him. He hadn’t known she wanted more coffee.
The next day she called, all forgiven, and soon they were in bed. After the usual fantastic sex, she sighed happily and looked into his eyes.
‘I like you A LOT,’ she said.
An article from the Times about an especially vocal Williamsburg native pushed out by the Bloomberg regime. The article is fairly incoherent and the writer’s attempt at metaphor are ghastly. I hope the subject, Dennis Farr, has a more nuanced take on the changes in the neighborhood. I’ve come across his blog a few times in my research for the book. You’d think with that hair I’d remember seeing him but nope, nada. The article doesn’t make clear exactly what it is he does. Here are the first few grafs.
‘Growing up in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in the 1980s, Dennis Farr dreamed of a life that was mythical. His fascination with the murals slathered on the walls of the abandoned buildings on the neighborhood’s post-industrial waterfront satisfied his longing for adventure, looking like tags written by phantom giants.
But he also envisioned a life that was biblical. He got that soon enough when he started writing and warning against the influx of artists and other trendsetters who were slowly colonizing the area in the early 1990s. Where others saw a brick and mortar change for the better, Mr. Farr was alarmed that these newcomers would push out members of the area’s long-established Puerto Rican community.
“Was the Puerto Rican community going to be Isaac to the gentrifiers’ Abraham?” he asked one afternoon, walking along Kent Avenue, much of which has been remade into a wall of towers.
His writings and debates on the issue – much of which are captured in long and frequent comments on blogs and social media sites – have been consistent. They have won him admirers and detractors. He is unafraid to speak his mind, and with his long hair and sometimes severe manner, he can come across like a throwback to another era. Make that millennium.’