This week Superstition Mountain Press published Richard Grayson's Indian Summer: Park Slope. It is available in a 207-page trade paperback edition for $11.99, as well as an e-book published by Art Pants Company available at the Amazon Kindle store for 99 cents.
The promo stuff says in part,
Richard Grayson started writing a daily diary in the summer of 1969, when he turned 18, and has compiled daily entries since then. In the six volumes of THE BROOKLYN DIARIES (SUMMER IN BROOKLYN, AUTUMN IN BROOKLYN, WINTER IN BROOKLYN, SPRING IN BROOKLYN, MORE SUMMER IN BROOKLYN, and A YEAR IN ROCKAWAY), Grayson published selected entries from 1969 to 1980.
Now, in THE EIGHTIES DIARIES, Grayson describes his itinerant life in his thirties during the Reagan era. Following the two previous volumes, SOUTH FLORIDA WINTERS and WEST SIDE SUMMERS is this book, INDIAN SUMMER: PARK SLOPE, covering two months Grayson spent back in his native Brooklyn after an absence of six years.
In 1985 the historic brownstone neighborhood of Park Slope is still not totally gentrified and Brooklyn is neither fashionable, cutting-edge nor entirely safe.
Grayson recounts the rhythms of his life: his lunches and dinners with fellow writers and others in the arts and media; his frequent trips to Rockaway Beach for visits his beloved grandmother; his often dispiriting remedial writing classes at the City University of New York; his own graduate courses in programming on mainframe computers and graphics on the earliest Apple desktops at Columbia University’s Teachers College; his bizarre juggling of a credit chassis that includes several dozen credit cards and numerous bank accounts; his experiences witnessing brazen subway muggings and spectacular sunrises as seen from the Manhattan Bridge; being in both an earthquake and a hurricane within two weeks; and, as always, his struggles as a writer: here, with three hardcover fiction books published, he wonders if his modest early success has been a mere fluke and considers alternate career paths an uncertain future.
An excerpt:I slept fabulously, glad to be near Ronna. . .
At 8 AM, the alarm went off, and I started kissing and hugging her; then I cleaned up and got dressed and went off. . .
It was a foggy, dreary morning; after returning to Happy Burger for breakfast, I took the subway up to Columbia and arrived just in time for Computer Graphics.
Howard did more BASIC programming today, and I learned more about POKE-ing things into memory than I had known before. We discussed the principles of graphics and went over other stuff. . .
During our hour break, instead of having lunch, I went downstairs to the computer room to meet Chris – he’s not only such a hunk but very sweet too – and other members of the Programming class. . .
After class, I stayed on, programming till 1:30 PM, and then I went back downstairs to the DEC-20 and worked on the Pascal program for our first project. It needs a lot of refining, but I know I’ll do it before it’s due in two weeks.
Both courses seem under control. I had some lunch and then got on the IRT. At 72nd Street, an amputee on crutches came into the car to collect money. I gave him some coins, and then, as he came to the door to the next car, he burst into laughter.
I soon realized why: crossing his path was another amputee, this one in a wheelchair, also begging. I gave him some loose change, too. At 14th Street, a guy got off the car and waited for a moment, then suddenly stepped back in and grabbed at a woman’s neck; then he quickly ran away as the doors closed.
I’d seen it perfectly from my vantage point, but he was so fast, I couldn’t react. What he’d done, of course, was snatch three gold chains.
The woman, a young West Indian, hardly reacted at first. She said she’d just bought the chains and still had the receipt for them.
“I never usually sit next to the door,” she told me. As we made our way into Brooklyn and the reality of the event hit her, she kept saying “I just can’t believe it.”
Back home, the phone was working again; evidently they fixed it from the outside, for Tim said no repairman had come to the house. I went out for dinner, got my laundry, typed up some letters, did some more programming, and watched "Dallas," which I'd taped.
It will also be available on Scribd and Lulu for free online reading.