Just up on Medium’s Human Parts: “The Long Good Friday.”

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Several lifetimes ago, I was an ardent Catholic. I was an altar boy, a church janitor’s helper, a bible reader. I prayed every night and went to confession and defended my faith and went on day trips with priests.

I would say the high point was playing Jesus in my church Passion Play. That above photo is from a more recent production.  I remember it fondly now, and tell the story in my new book. Shader.

Here’s an excerpt, just up today, on Medium’s Human Parts.

William F. Buckley makes a cameo.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Shader: 99 Notes on Grief, Car Washes, Making Out in Church, and Other Unlearnable Subjects, Shameless Self-Promotion

Sign up for Daniel Nester Shameless Self-Promotion Disguised as Newsletter Email List!

Queen45s

If you were an avid listener to the Serial podcast, you heard those super advertorial MailChimp ads at the beginning of each episode. It wasn’t too long after that I started getting invitations to sign up for people’s email lists–writers and artist friends who like to keep in contact with their audiences. They all used MailChimp, an email newsletter web app.

Well, I’ve joined those ranks. I like writing to people and I have some things coming out soon, so why not join the MailChimp ranks?

Update: Well, it turns out MailChimp is for corporate people, or tech-heads, or whatever. It’s way too complicated. So I’ve switched to TinyLetter, which is owned by MailChimp, but is more for, like, human beings.

I’m calling it what it is: Daniel Nester’s Shameless Self-Promotion Disguised as Newsletter. I was going to call it a DanZine, but that’s a little too cute.

Sign up at tinyletter.com/danielnester.

I promise I won’t fill up your mailbox with a million things. I’ll send weekly emails at most, probably once a month.

 

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“He plays music by the book”: article on Adrian Butler, Rutgers-Camden pianist and library staffer.

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I loved writing news features. This one was actually for the Rutgers-Camden magazine, I think? It was also a press release, and then it ran in various freebie papers around South Jersey. I thought I’d hit it big. What I remember is how Barbara, the head of public relations, edited it, and I rewrote it, and edited it, over and over. At the time I thought it was because I was a horrible writer, but now I know she needed it to be perfect, and I needed it to be an article. Barbara was beyond generous to me, I know now. And I loved Adrian Butler. I worked at the library shelving books and Adrian, who was a serials assistant, regarded me as a real writer.

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Filed under Shader Outtakes, Shader: 99 Notes on Grief, Car Washes, Making Out in Church, and Other Unlearnable Subjects

Just out in Courier-Post: My Op-Ed on proposed Martin Luther King memorial in Maple Shade, NJ.

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A 2009 Google maps image of the site of Mary’s Cafe, later The Jade and then Moorestown Pub. It was razed in 2010.

 

For 20 years, I read the Courier Post, and now I’m in its opinion pages. That’s pretty cool. What’s also cool is I got to offer my opinion–and, hopefully, move a conversation forward–about a particular aspect of my hometown, Maple Shade, NJ.

I write about this in my next book, called Shader, but here it is again, in a nutshell, one more time: one night in June 1950, a Maple Shade bar owner threw a 20-year-old Martin Luther King, Jr. out, at gunpoint, refusing to serve him, his friend and their dates. (They ordered beers, but also ginger ales, after they were refused the beers. But that’s not as sexy.)

Recently, some activists have proposed to put a historical plaque or memorial there to mark the spot where it happened. There are a good amount of people from Maple Shade–a couple blood relatives–who say forget about it and move on, why dwell in the past, or what good can come from doing that?

I offer my take on it as a native Shader.

I worked hard on this one. It went through a million drafts, loads of research, interviews and emails, discussions with people from Maple Shade. And a lot of soul-searching.

Here’s a core belief I have: history should be acknowledged, good and bad (thus the piece’s title). That’s probably why I don’t think Maple Shade, my beloved hometown, needs to turn away and continue to exclude it from its history, which it does. The more it’s suppressed–and I’ve come to think that’s the right word for it, suppressed, from town histories, historical societies, even the Wikipedia page–the more complicit it looks we were in the event.

How should it be acknowledged? There I’m not sure. I’m not a plaque-maker or memorial expert. I’m also not a historian.

That’s why I spoke with Clayborne Carson, one of the world’s top King historians, for the story. He’s not the biggest fan of historical markers, either, at least next to highways. But I did like his idea of setting up a website, perhaps along with something to mark the spot, which today is just a patch of grass beside Route 73.

Read the piece here. Below is a screenshot from one of the King biographies that mention the Maple Shade incident, To See The Promised Land (page 153).

MLK To See The Promised Land Page 153

 

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Filed under Shader: 99 Notes on Grief, Car Washes, Making Out in Church, and Other Unlearnable Subjects, Shameless Self-Promotion

This ad for ‘broadminded swingers’ asks you to send to a P.O. Box in Cherry Hill, NJ.

SwingersCherryHill

This comes from a March 3, 1970 issue of the defunct East Village Other, an early competitor to the Village Voice.

Anyone from Cherry Hill know about this? Please write to me.

 

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Filed under Beyond Camp