Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Riding the Carousel

Today we have a guest blogger, Abdul Ali. He's the editor of The Writer's Carousel. Here's a visual for you...

Some may choose to forget about their jobs when they leave to go home. Such is not my fate. Here’s a birds-eye view into the day of a newsletter editor:

Find a photo for the cover. Call an instructor to write for our column. Sell some ads. Wait for instructors to return my call. Go to lunch. Receive message that instructors called. Return call and send an email apologizing for missing their call. Select a Book Reviewer. Contain tremor that travels the length of my left arm. Wait....

The next day arrives.

The beat goes on…

As a preview to our summer issue of Writer’s Carousel, I’m including an excerpt of an interview I did with poet Kyle G. Dargan who teaches in the MFA program at American University.
Abdul Ali:
What was it like growing up in Newark?

Kyle Dargan: It was like living, happily, in a skeleton. You could see the abandoned S. Klein's department store building, the old Paps and Ballantine Ale breweries. It was clear that industry and manufacturing once thrived here, but, as was the fate of many industrial towns, things changed towards the end of the 20th century. Newark has never been a slouch of a city. While it always exists in New York's shadow cast over the river, it has a rich history. Its neighborhoods are varied, and I continue to discover new pockets of the city every time I go back.
Still, there are a number of places where I'd walk around at night as a child that I would not be so keen on visiting after hours today. The gang problem wasn't anywhere near as developed as it is today. But as a child, I felt safe in knowing that I was "of" this place, and that I had a certain eye for my surroundings that allowed me to avoid danger while appreciating the beauty of the city. So, I understand why Newark is, to some, an acquired taste these days.
The most profound effect Newark had on me is that it gave me a false sense of America. Newark had an African-American mayor, Sharpe James (my mother was his chief of staff), an African-American Fire Director, a predominantly African-American city council, and I went to a predominantly African-American Catholic school.

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