Two significant events have happened in my life since last I blogged, and I will attempt to address them in today's latest blog entry. I've started and stopped this particular blog about 54 times over the past week or so, and each time real life steps in like Dikembe Mutombo and prevents me from finishing. I shall try again to just that.
The first big thing that happened two weeks ago was my son's graduation from Pre-Kindergarten. I have no problem admitting that at first glance, the whole concept of a Pre-K graduation sounded ridiculous as hell. Their attention spans are basically 30-seconds long, it was in the middle of the morning when most adults are supposed to be at work, and the kids will have more substantial graduations as they get older, which are way more meaningful. That being said, graduation was awesome.
My son, his classmates and his two teachers performed a song that I do not remember, they got their names called one by one, and then they closed the ceremony with this song My son saw me as soon as he and his other classmates walked into the auditorium, and he could not stop smiling. I heard him tell his other friends, "There's my mommy and daddy!". During the ceremony he pointed at his mother and father, he strutted across the stage, and he kept that million dollar smile on his face. All the kids were happy, the parents tried to navigate that balance between being proud and taking pictures like paparazzi. I can't say I want to do this every year, but considering this was my son's first year of school, it was rewarding.
90 minutes after the ceremony was over, I hopped on a bus and headed to New York. My main man Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was being interviewed by Walter Mosley and the New York Public Libary. The NYPL asked Kareem to show up and talk about his latest book entitled, "Mycroft Holmes" which is now in paperback. They asked Kareem who he wanted to be interviewed by, and he said Walter Mosley, who also had a new book out entitled, "Charcoal Joe", which is the latest in the Easy Rawlins series.
For approximately 90 minutes, Kareem and Mosley traded stories about writing, their past, Muhammad Ali, the shooting in Orlando, religion, jazz and race. Kareem is usually reserved and a bit shy, but Mosley asked the right questions to get him to open up, and Kareem was up to the challenge. My favorite exchange is when Mosley asked Kareem who his favorite mystery writers, and aside from Mosley, he named folks who I had never of in my life. Kareem then asked Mosley that same question, and he paused, then he told the audience that most writers lie about their influences. He revealed that most writers want their colleagues and their readers to think they are deep, so they bring up some obscure or seemingly deep authors. Mosley then admitted that his two biggest influences were Nancy Drew and the Marvel comics series.
After the talk, I went and bought Kareem's book, and I started to remind him that I had interviewed him back in 2009, but I didn't want to be "that guy", so I went another way. First I asked him to sign his book for my son Nyles and he did, and then I asked him to recommend a jazz artist I should be listening to, and he gave me the name of an 11-year old prodigy named Joey Alexander from Indonesia. I said thank you, he said you're welcome and that was that.
I had so many more things I wanted to ask Kareem--in fact I felt the same way after my 2009 interview--but it wasn't meant to be. I'm still hoping that one day, I'll get 30 minutes of uninterrupted time to ask him about jazz, basketball and everything else, but who knows if that will happen. But considering that day started with my son graduating and it ended with me getting an autographed book from Kareem, I gotta say it was a good day.