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Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Back in 92 I worked in a used book shop in Port Jefferson, New York called Good Times. I rented a small room on Main Street for $100 a month and ate most days on $5.00. Back then I could do this with an egg sandwich in the morning and wonton or egg drop soup and rice for dinner. I wrote a short story each week on a Brother word processor that was slow and frustrating to work on. It stopped to save a file in the middle of typing, almost every fifteen minutes. I worked two days out of the week at the store and more if someone was scheduled off. I was not allowed to use the cash register; I think the owner, Michael Mart, felt I was unable to determine what the correct sales tax was. He gave me a couple of chances and I made two mistakes. Knowing I wrote, and wanted to pursue writing, the Mr. Mart arranged a meeting with a novelist who lived in Stony Brook.

“He’s a little strange, but I think you two would get a long.”

Richard Elman’s best known work may be the novelization for the move Taxi Driver. You can purchase a copy on EBay for a few dollars. The first time we met, he asked to meet me at his office at Stony Brook University. If a student interrupted us, he would ask me to leave. I was to bring in one short story, what I felt was my best.

He stood up as if he was sizing me-- we were both over 6’ 2”. After shaking hands and small talk he asked me to take a seat. He sat down in the office chair and took the story from my hands. I was about to explain a little about the story, but he waved off any comments and leaned back. He leaned back so far, he scrambled his feet and kicked his legs forward so he’d not fall back. With a sudden glance of shock he waited for my outburst of laughter, but instead like his wave to stop any comments on my story, I kept quiet, nodded my head with sense of we’d best ignore that scene and let some peace settle back into the quiet office. Somehow I knew at that moment we were friends since I did not make fun of him.

Michael Robert Gordon is married and a father of four. He attended Stony Brook University. He writes most often while commuting to work on the Long Island Rail Road. His short stories and poems have appeared in small lit magazines both print and ezines. His novel Killer Commute was released last year on Champagne Books.

1 comment:

CarysWeldonblog said...

I wish you'd give us the list of magazines, so we could go in search of some of his other works.
Good job to him for being a mentor. Heaven knows starting writers need to learn the ropes somewhere. I'm grateful to my mentors, especially Dusty Richards. Although he writes western and I generally don't, he has taught me a ton of necessary stuff about the business. The first thing I'd ask Michael is...what is the best piece of writing advice you ever got? (Thanks!)