Friday, February 13, 2015

Me Part 2

I had to write a longish bio for an upcoming online book promo. Since I’m too lazy to write a blog today, I thought I’d offer a three-parter on me me me me me me. This is part two.



My family moved to the United States when I was ten. By age sixteen I had written a series of short stories in English—my chosen writing language—on the unfairness of society and the tribulations of being an immigrant. I wrote songs, poetry, essays, fiction, a play, and complicated letters to an imaginary friend who, I think, got bored. One day he left.


I struggled through both American high school and the curriculum of a French lycée. I went on to attend Georgetown University’s Foreign Service School but dropped out when offered a copyboy position with the Washington Post.


In time I became an in-house free-lancer specializing in the nascent hippy movement. I wrote about radicals, Yippies, Black Panthers, drug dealers, thieves and scammers, bikers and rock stars. I was in the newsroom during Watergate. I participated ever-so-slightly in the scandal’s coverage by fielding telephone calls from Martha Mitchell, the demented wife of Richard Nixon’s duplicitous Attorney General, John Mitchell. I left the paper after a noisy disagreement with the then-editor, Ben Bradlee, who did not approve of a story I had written for the Sunday Post about being a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War.


By then, I had written Bike! Motorcycles and the People Who Ride Them. Harper & Row published it, but unfortunately, the book hit the shelves the same week as another bike book that became an overnight classic—Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. I got a shining review from Rolling Stone, did a quick book tour, and some radio and television talk shows. My future as a writer was assured.


I free-lanced compulsively. I wrote for newspaper and magazines both here and in Europe. I produced short television documentaries for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and authored weekly columns for Le Devoir, Montreal’s leading newspaper, and other publications. I had regular shows on Radio Canada and Radio Romane. I got married and divorced. I learned how to play the guitar and the Dobro and played in blue grass and rock ‘n’ roll bands. I was commissioned to do a tourist book for Washingtonian magazine. I traveled cross-country to help a French reporter for the Le Figaro newspaper write a series of articles on American youth. In short, I had a blast.



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