Perry Glasser, a professor at Salem State University, was recently named a Fellow by the Massachusetts Cultural Council. His newest book, Metamemoirs, is made of up essays that depict the author’s childhood, fatherhood, teaching career, and relationships. When I asked why he wrote Metamemoirs he replied with a smile, “It’s a long story.” It all began in a basement in Wichita, Kansas when he asked himself, “How did I end up in a basement in Wichita, Kansas?”
Glasser decided to revisit the high points in his life, translating them from memory into essays. Over five years, he wrote 25 to 30 essays and dubbed them “The Rock and Roll Memoirs” because each essay’s title was a named after a 60’s baby boomer song. He felt that everything he was writing about was associated with a particular song. Though most believe memory is strongly linked with aromas, Perry feels that, with certain generations, if someone hears a song on the radio they can remember exactly where they were and what they were doing. He feels that everyone is “walking around with the soundtrack of our lives playing in our heads.”
This musical journey is separated into three section. The first is entitled “Origins,” which includes tales of his adolescence . The second section is called “Chalk,” which follows his time a teacher, and the last part “Still Looking,” covers his relationships One particular essay that truly moved me was entitled “Stairway to Heaven” in which Glasser recalls three students who had committed suicide. His frustration and anger bleeds through the text and I can almost picture him violently punching the keys as he typed those words, taking out his anger at the only thing available. The paths not taken, the lives not lived – it is dark but it is also a true, fearless reaction to suicide.
Beyond being a Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellow, he has also received other awards such as a Gival Press Novel Award, residency fellowships at Norman Mailer House, Ucross, Yaddo, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, a USA Book News National Best Books Award for Short Story Fiction, Good Men Book Project First Prize, American Society of Journalists and Authors Best Personal Essay and many other. His most recently published books include Riverton Noir: Novel (Gival Press, 2012) and Dangerous Places: Stories (BkMk Press, 2009).
Perry Glasser, along with other Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellows/Finalists in prose and poetry, is reading selections from Metamemoirs at the 2013 Commonwealth Reading Series taking place on Sunday, April 7th at 4:00pm at the Gulu-Gulu Cafe. So why not stop by and grab a cup of coffee and listen to some of the most exciting and talented writers and poets in the Commonwealth.
To get a true feel of the book before reading and listening to the words, open your ears and listen to the soundtrack of Metamemoirs