I don’t have a television. But my friend in Florida lets me stream his
Comcast offerings. It has all the channels and then some. I don’t do much with
it. I’ll watch Anderson Cooper, sometimes Don Lemon. PBS NewsHour with Judy Woodruff. I watched the
Showtime four-part series on the New York
Times, ‘The Fourth Estate,’ three times. I surf around YouTube. Last night I didn’t watch anything after the NewsHour. I read the latest New Yorker. There’s a short
story in it called ‘A Refugee Crisis’ by Callan Wink. I read a book of his stories
a year ago. He's young and lives in Montana and works as a fishing guide. I don’t fish or
live like he does or his characters do. But his stories are wonderful to me.
There’s no show on my laptop TV that would be anything like them.
I’ve been a schoolteacher. Right after college in 1969, like a lot of guys, I taught school as an alternative to serving in Vietnam. I was married with a week-old daughter on graduation day. I taught grade school English in Cleveland, Ohio for six years. After that, I ran, eventually owned, a longstanding bookstore in downtown Cleveland. It felt something like Three Lives in the West Village. I went on to found an alternative weekly paper like the Voice, also in Cleveland. It lasted 12 years. Twenty-one years ago I moved here, armed with an idea and a prototype for a national book magazine. Like a Rolling Stone for books. I never raised the huge amount of money I needed. I then worked for a media company, editing a couple of neighborhood weeklies, more than once using my editor’s space to talk about city kids and reading. Between the editorial jobs, I taught English for a year here in Manhattan at a Catholic boys’ high school with mostly minority kids. I was terrible at discipline. But sometimes when we found a book or a story we liked, it all came together.