David Seerman was a teacher and an educational consultant for thirty-five years. He has written some stuff, some of it published, but nothing like this first novel.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn. It was a tough neighborhood and I learned to be nimble and fast on my feet, but on a few occasions I wasn't fast enough. I was a quiet kid, a good boy, but being good was a state of mind and was only one of many to choose from when growing up. I was considered an exceptional athlete and sports was a major influence in my life. The Rutland Little League was a big hadoo back then and I played shortstop and pitched. I also ice skated at Prospect Park on winter weekends, bowled at Freddie Fitzsimmons Bowling Alley, was a pro at Stoop Ball and Hit-The -Penny and couldn't get enough of Stickball. I also took great interest in the museums and the library up on Eastern Parkway and became Captain of the crossing guards at school. Sometimes, when I wasn't so good, I got five-finger discounts at a candy store around the corner from Empire Boulevard and scrawled a few things I shouldn't have on the side of our tenement buildings. However, my greatest influence on my writing was reading. In my spare time, and there was plenty back then, I read everything I could grab hold of. When books and magazines were in short supply, I read the 1963 World Book Encyclopedia with the crazy pullouts. Over time, I would stay in my room reading mystery books and horror stories and westerns to the point that I had to be booted outside on sunny days. It was great consternation to my family that reading was slowly overtaking baseball and basketball as my primary avocation. I suppose I was bored but I realize now that hitting a slow curve or sinking a long two couldn't compete with the greater adventures I discovered in books.
When did you first start writing?
I first started writing poems when I was 11. I remember my first poem was selected by my elementary school to be read at graduation night. The theme, of course, was America: the Beautiful, and I chose to write about JFK whose passing we mourned en masse behind our little chain link world almost a year prior. I remember the last two lines of my tribute: "John F. Kennedy was the man we had loved, Now his great soul rests above." There was a sprinkling of polite applause. That sprinkling was like a spark, igniting a dangerous hunt for approval that even today, burns bright. I didn't know it at the time, but I had a distinct affinity for words, their musicality, their ability to be mixed and mingled in infinite ways. I think it was the sound of language rather than its meaning that first drew me to writing and the rhythm and melody of words slapped carefully together that still moves me today.