Episode #57: Reading an Excerpt from Lost in Place: Growing Up Absurd in Suburbia by Mark Salzman
This week, I’m reading the first chapter of perhaps my favorite book of all time, Lost in Place, by Mark Salzman. I first read the book as a teenager and still find it hugely entertaining two decades later. It’s probably not surprising that aspects of Mark’s writing style have influenced how I portray characters in books like The Thirteenth Hour.
He writes about his coming of age with an honest, Wonder Years-style of sardonic narration infused with just enough boyish innocence to capture both the magic and despair of adolescence and young adulthood. That’s not everyone’s up of tea, of course, but when I first opened up the book, I immediately felt at home. I imagine if John Huges (screenwriter and director of 80s teen movies like Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club), had written a memoir, it would probably be something like this book.
On a personal level, I suppose it’s extra special since he writes about his experiences in the martial arts and early desires to be an astronaut (a lifelong hobby and short-lived career aspiration that my mother and father, like Mark’s decidedly earthbound parents, humored for years, for which I’ve always been grateful).
I found out a short movie clip of Mark talking about aspects of his writing and some of the themes that crop up in his books as well as this clip discussing his first kung fu teacher in action.
As an aside, you can watch a movie Mark wrote and starred in based on his first book teaching English in China while training in Chinese wushu. Watch Iron and Silk here.
And, if in the unlikely event that this page makes its way across your computer screen, Mark, PLEASE COME ON THE SHOW!
I’ve gotten control of myself and will tone down the rampant fanboyism. Can’t help it. =)
As a side note, if you hear a sound in the background that sounds like Darth Vader, it’s because I was reading this episode while holding my daughter, who was sleeping. Just so you know.
On that note, as always, thanks for listening!
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