A new story from Charlotte Readers Podcast
Let's get to the stories. I'm your host Landis Wade thank you you for listening thank God. My duty was only a one night thing one night just one night. I smacked the plunger and watch the Brown sludge World Pool. It's way down the drain. The bathroom reeked of melon. Scented poop. Not a good candidate for chanels fall line of Perfume. I have to Grandpa out of his swamp and wrapped them in a tau. They just stood there and dripped water on the floor. I'd have to drive them to nasty. I started with his white main shaggy and thin and only partly damp but it was good enough on hand me. I didn't respond just tried to mop as much moisture often as I could before I puked dad's row but do the rest wrestled grandpa to the bathroom like a prisoner of war and lifted him into bed. John fitted the mattress with a clean crisp. Said if she's the only sign that anything out of the ordinary Mary had happened in the room was the faint smell of disinfectant. In the Air I read to Grandpa from Walt Whitman's leaves of grass. We've studied a few passes. Passages and Mrs Alonzo Alonzo Eleventh Grade English class. Everyone thought it sucked. But they don't appreciate good poetry like I do. Call Me Weird. My classmates did GRANDPA's eyelids. drooped shutters I read. I've heard what the talkers were talking. The talk of the beginning and the end but I do not talk at the beginning or the end. Jonah told his parents he probably probably spend the night so he was in the basement. Playing Video Games kid was an addict hours had passed between our madden marathon and FEMA Gatien time. I had to be maybe two. She were three in the morning at that point and the phone rang at two or three in the morning. Nothing good ever comes from a phone ring that our there's never a crazy radio. The host on the other end offering a cash prize out of the blue. There's never one of your teachers. Just getting in touch to cancel the homework assignment. You forgot was due the next day. It's never ever good so my heart did little flip flops. In my chest and GRANDPA's eyes fluttered open or what. I please my hand on his phone to keep them calm. Maybe keep e Com. John John I shouted as the shrill vibrated drew my stomach. Can you get that either. Heard me where it was wrong number because the ringing stopped at once I continued need. Reading from Whitman will never be any perfection than there is now anymore heaven or held in there is now and then I heard footsteps on the stairs in the hall slowly slowly Shuffling Holding Back Gabe. John said with a waiver in his voice. It's the police a jolt of Electrobi- shot up from my feet through my spine burned in my ears. I felt the blood in my face. Every red cell each tiny molecule bubbling and brewing. I saw a hand reach for the phone. Was it mine. You couldn't tell heard the voice on the other end very official deep monotone. Gambling left early. Atlantic City Expressway. Sway fell asleep. They were going not coming back forever. Yes forever no sure. They can't be right. This only happens to other people people. Please come to identify the bodies. Yes sir. John's hand on my shoulder warm tears on my cheek alone just me and grams and no no one can protect me. Not even John Frame rarely debut young adult novel. No sad songs. Two thousand eighteen was a two thousand nineteen Jasa quick picks picks for reluctant readers nominee and a vox top hope title fiction and essays appeared numerous publications including the Saturday Evening Post Cobalt Review Philadelphia Stories and Jersey. Devil press the first book and his debut Middle Grade Series. Please return to Norbert M Finkelstein it came out in September two thousand Nineteen Philadelphia Native Frank's life was transformed when he accepted a teaching fellowship. NYC public schools and discover discussed that a lifetime spent eating cafeteria. TATER tots will be a small price to pay for chance to shape. The future continues to split time between the page and the classroom will forever be amazed. At how each enriches the other. Frank now lives in high point. North Carolina with his best friend and use noxious alley cat and two hundred pounds worth of dull Charlotte readers. PODCAST is a member of the twin city. PODCAST network powered by North Carolina for more information. Go to Queen City PODCAST NETWORK DOT COM. Hey Frank welcome to the show. Thanks for having me Landis. Yeah so you're a middle grade teacher Eh. Some people call me slightly insane for doing that but I I would say that. It's probably one of the best decisions I've ever made in my life was well well. I wasn't a person that ever wanted to be a teacher. I watched my mother teach for about twenty years and I saw how difficult it was and how little money she made so one of the things that I wanted to do. Have a job that made more money and I told everybody I become a doctor because you know what Dr in their family forgot about the part. We're I'm afraid of blood and I just kind of fell into teaching by chance at a point in my life where I didn't really know what direction I wanted to go into and New York City public schools schools desperately need a teacher so I decided I would just give it a try and just being in the classroom first of all time to to get my thoughts looking towards writing but at the same time it gave me inspiration because every single day you come in contact with the type of readers that you're writing books for and you get a chance to see what kinds of things interest um you get a chance to see what kinds of things we're gonNA problems. They have in their lives and I just thought that it really added to the stories that I was always kind of thinking in my head. Did you cook. The middle school would have middle school. Picky that's a great question. When I when I joined a New York City public schools at the end there wasn't really a choice of either going to be middle school or high school and it Kinda just threw you into the school where they needed you? Most and I wound up in teaching eighth grade and I remember when they told me that I thought to myself. Oh my goodness because I've heard so many horror stories about how terrible what is teach middle grade level students and how the turn to you know monsters at that time of their lives but I found it pretty quickly that that is absolutely the opposite of the truth. At least he's in my in my experience and I just felt like it was a perfect age level for me for one reason. I don't know that I've ever actually progressed. Behind Middle School in my mind and for the reason You get a group of students who are still really eager to learn but at the same time. They're advanced enough on an academic level to go go pretty far into into literature. What subjects do you teach? I teach language arts which is basically a writing class and then I also teach literature which is which is reading. And you says something a moment ago about your readers So you you see your readers as the very the people that you're teaching. It wasn't always like that when I first started writing I I thought that was going to rape for adults in these espionage. Novels stuff And then when I started to really sit down and examine my writing. I realized that that wasn't the kind of rare that I really was. I was trying to be something that I wasn't. I had already been teaching for maybe ten years when I when I decided sided. I was going to start to write young adult and middle great stuff and I just thought to myself what am I doing. I have a group of students in front of me every single day. That are showing me the types of things things that should be in books today and I think I need to use that. Use My voice and get that out there in the world so it was kind of just fit lockstep for me in my life and so no sad songs. Your protagonist is a high school student and then in the book we're going to talk about that came out of September You're back down into the middle grades right. That's right and I noticed it in your writing First Person No sad songs did you. Did you do that as well. And the other other. I love writing in first person. I'm the type of person that likes to kind of stand around in somebody else's shoes and kind of walk around in learn their experiences one of the reasons why decided to use first person in no sad songs because I wanted to kind of live the life of this youth caregiver that I almost had the unfortunate opportunity to become when I was a teenager but I had my my parents around and kind of protect me there and just kind of wanted to live that that life so being able to write in the first person allowed me to kind of channel my own experiences through the character and and and then pick up on that character's experiences as well so I I kind of liked to read in first person. I don't have a rule against writing and other points of view but it just feels like for this this this particular age or both Middle Grade and young adult they respond. Really readers responded really well to hearing the voice of the actual character and feeling like they're actually on the page with uh-huh and there's a lot of humor Embedded within this poignant story in and the conversations that this protagonist tagging says in his head and with others. But it's very much high school and I'm sure this book as well as is Middle School so you hear that in the classroom you take notes about was when you're passing down the hallway or do you just remember from from your days. All of that is true. I think that first of all humor is is basically a major part of my life. I don't think I'd do anything or take anything very seriously. And it's by design part of that is from my experience dealing with with Alzheimer's in my life and knowing that you know when you're in a situation where where things seem dire sometimes the only way to get through it is through humor and through laughing being able to take the small moments and kind of laugh about them gotta raises your spirits in my classroom room. Yeah I'm constantly cracking jokes myself. I think I might be the biggest class clown in the class. which which might be a problem? I guess but I like to. If you're trying to keep I like to bring humor into into stories that have a serious a serious bent to them because I think that that is kind of how human beings get through. Those difficult difficult times is that we're we're able to laugh at things that normally would be pretty dire in your life but then you you can wind up getting through it by seeing heart parts of it are you are you do you become. Are there moments in your classroom. You taste language arts and and riding where you're inspired with. These young young kids writing others others constantly times when I read a story that we do a lot of creative writing my class and constantly town I read a story and I thought I think to myself. I really wish I would have thought the press by a student WHO's twelve or thirteen years old putting these putting these sentences together and these were together. That are just so poetic and I think back to myself when when I was thirteen or fourteen years old and definitely could not do that so yeah. I'm I'm inspired by seeing the progress that my students make and then I think he kind of pushes me to want to do even editor with my craft. Well no sad songs is said it. It's a story That has humor in it but also it's it's a story that has a serious side as well and you say that some of that Came from your own experiences in life. Talk about that when I was a teenager about fourteen years old. My grandfather was diagnosed with pick's disease. which is a form of dementia and At first we didn't really notice it it or we notice small changes in him. I don't think we really wanted to accept what was happening But when he got the diagnosis it all became real and pretty quickly and we started to see decline in his memory in his ability to socialize with people and he lived in Philadelphia at the time. When when my parents I live in South Jersey and they had to move into South Jersey to stay in a smaller apartment.