In Praise of Hot Summer Nights and Seeing Your Name in Print

Unlike blogging, for which seeing your name in print is simply a product of how much you are willing to write and self promote, getting by the banshee gatekeepers of major publishing houses is still a epic task.

Yesterday, for the first time, I saw my name printed in a work from one of these wily publishing houses. I was mentioned in the acknowledgments of Benjamin Barber's 'Consumed: How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults, and Swallow Citizens Whole,' published this year by W.W. Norton.

I did some initial research for this book for Ben, mostly in the NYU Library overlooking Washington Square Park, in the summer of 2003. I hadn't expected my name to be mentioned, but a friend called me when I was on the way to Cameroon saying that he was in a bookstore and saw my name among those acknowledged.

After the trip, settling back in to Cambridge, I finally got around to going to the Kennedy School library to pick up the volume and see for myself. I have to say, its quite nice to see your name in one of those properly bound, hard back books (though I haven't read it yet.)

After picking up the book (oh, what a gorgeous day it was) I sauntered through Harvard Square, up Mass. Ave towards my house, my mind was wandering back to that fantastic summer of 2003, when I was 19 and living in Manhattan. It was a maniacal summer, hot in any number of ways. I was living in a 17th floor apartment (overlooking the other corner of Washington Square Park), dating an (aspiring) actress named Elizabeth, and doing research for a real life writer. Elizabeth had grown up in Manhattan, and family friends let her stay in her own apartment in Hell's Kitchen, so we would go up on her roof (a few blocks from Times Square) with good friends, tell stories and make up rhymes.

In honor of a past summer in New York, a current summer in Cambridge, and the fact that here in the blogosphere we can still publish rubbish, I hereby present the first (and only) rap lines I've ever written, conceived on a hot, New York summer night:

"I was up on the roof
spittin' vernacular truth
wise words interplayed
like we're on a verbal raid
eye's towards Manhattan
our lyrics they were crackin...'"


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