my strange childhood

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Conversations about secrets and story-telling

11939678_178968955786178_1218388252_nFirst there was the silence, The years and years of silence. Then slowly there were a few stories. I let it slip that my entire alternative school use to go skinny dipping together. That I used to be some kind of radical.  That I was writing a book. Then finally there was the book. Red Star Tattoo. And now, as though to make up for those years of silence there are so many conversations. Conversations about secrets and story telling, revolution and resilience, getting through and moving on.

Red Star Tattoo Book Trailer

I said when I began writing this book I would embrace all the learning and growth opportunities that the work gave me. I’ve battled with honesty, fear, ego, and now….IMovie.  Here is a quick visual […]

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Halloween 1973

We were walking down the road towards the full moon.

A blue pick-up truck passed us. In the back of the truck were a witch, a fairy, and a ghost. I was Little Red Riding Hood. My sister was sixteen, so she wasn’t anything at all.

By the time we got to the school, the Halloween party was already half-over. There were no more goody bags, or chocolate or even candy corn. All that was left were hard orange toffees wrapped in waxy Halloween paper, and black jaw breakers. The punch was warm and watery pink, with the cherries all sunk to the bottom.

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Countdowns

There was a sign over the door at the safe house in Brooklyn that told us how many days were left. Left until the revolution was supposed to start. That sounds crazy now, that feels […]

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Flipping the bird

Getting the finger from an 8 year. Is that funny or fucked up? When you work with kids you learn it can be both. Sometimes it has to be. Her tiny little hand shaking in […]

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One day and then another

This past week was pretty hard for me. Even after sixteen years of working with vulnerable kids, kids beaten up by poverty, cultural genocide and addiction, it is still hard to know that a kid who is talking about suicide can’t get a bed in a hospital for a night. To know that when you call for help for a kid what you’re going to get is cops with guns questioning them. Some cops are nice and some are not but everything about them: their handcuffs, their tazers, tell a kid they’re in trouble.  And after they talk to the kid they will more than likely leave them behind because they know when they get to the hospital they won’t admit them.  “I’m happy to sit in a hospital waiting room for five hours until they send her home,” the cop tells me. “But my boss is not going to like it.”  Sometimes even if the hospital takes them they release them a few hours later in a taxi alone.

It’s like a kid coming to you with a broken arm and having to tell them: It’s not broken enough.

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Before the Revolution

My memoir “Before the Revolution” will be published by Knopf Random House Canada in spring 2016. I am represented by Trena White, associate agent with the Transatlantic Agency and principal with Page Two Strategic Publishing.