I am excited to bring you news of my next release, WEEDS of DETROIT.
Some of you might or might not know that at sixteen, I was a high school drop out and a teen runaway.
One of the tragic parts about being a runaway is that no one wants to rent an apartment to a teenager. Without options, I ended up living at a Detroit motel off Woodward Boulevard, short of 7 Mile, and stayed there for about six months.
I grew up in the semi-sticks (a very rural area that slowly became suburbanized throughout my youth) and it left me totally unprepared for living in the slums of Detroit. At home in the country, we didn’t have to lock our doors or worry about leaving our cars running in the driveway. The other kids in the neighborhood and I would walk up to the corner store (about a quarter mile away) at night for Cokes, laughing and shouting and throwing rocks in the ditches as we went.
In the city, I had a metal room door with deadbolts and chains and it still didn’t guarantee that I could keep people out. There were iron grates on windows, bullet proof glass separating customers from cashiers. Walking the couple blocks to the gas station from the motel at night could’ve gotten me killed, mugged, or raped. Detroit doesn’t play. I learned fast that the safest way to move about in the city was to be as invisible as possible.
The struggle of living in Detroit was just like that too–I needed to carve out a life without being swept-aside as invisible, while also needing to be as invisible as possible in order to survive. It wasn’t just me that lived like that either– it was like that for everyone I knew–we were all just trying to make it.
And it was all those people I came to know in Detroit, those weedy humans that take survival to an art form every day of their lives, that are the reasons I survived at that hotel. I was young and ridiculously naive; I had no fear of meeting and living among the criminals and addicts I met there. They were just people to me, although the acquaintances I made were largely with people in circumstances I wasn’t familiar with: prostitutes, addicts, criminals, cops, the homeless, transvestites, etc. Those people taught me one of the most valuable lessons of my life–that despite anyone’s current situation–
we are all still glorious human beings.
Some of us simply make more glaring mistakes than others. Some of us are caught in circumstances beyond our control. It’s the same reason the tenacious weeds survive in the cracks of a city that would otherwise stomp them out.
So, my upcoming book, WEEDS OF DETROIT, will draw on the experiences I had, but I want to be clear: it is in no way a memoir. It is still too close to me to write that way. Instead, it is a complete work of fiction. Names, faces, places–other than the name of the city and the long boulevard that runs through it– and situations have been changed. What’s real is the truth of the city, its way of surviving, and its people.
This will be the story of the Detroit I knew and I hope that when you read it, you will all enjoy the telling of the beautiful and tenacious weeds rooted within it.
Thanks for reading.
Release Date: October 25, 2016
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