I’m just back from this year’s New England Young Writers Conference at the Bread Loaf writing center near Middlebury, Vermont. As usual, it was awesome, challenging, inspiring, and exhausting all at the same time. I made some new friends among the writers in residence, reconnected with some old friends, and spent time with a magnificent group of high school student writers. Their talent, intelligence, and mutually supportive nature just blows me away. They’re awesome writers and awesome people.
(Next weekend, I get to do it all over again at the Champlain College Young Writers Conference. Two of my Bread Loaf students are doing that one, too. Talk about dedication!)
This year I particularly enjoyed the readings given by other writers in attendance. One piece I can actually share with you (though not the voice part). This is a story called “Joe Biden Is My Homeboy,” written by Rone Shavers, and inspired by Damon Weaver, a kid who as a 5th grade reporter interviewed candidate Joe Biden for internet TV.
Here’s how the story begins. Try to imagine a sonorous black man’s voice, with cheerful jive intonations, reading the narrative in a voice so fluid it makes you forget that the language is something other than standard English. That would be the voice of the author, who is also by the way a great guy.
Joe Biden Is My Homeboy
by Rone Shavers
Ooh, Ms. Noonan, the reason I was not in your class last week was cause I went to the White House. I was all up in the White House and I was on TV. Okay, you got me, maybe not TV, that is my dream, but I was on TV on the internet, which is called Youtube. I was all up in the Youtubes, but I been there before so you can’t fail me for missing no school. You said if I told you the truth you would let me take them tesses I failt, so I am telling you now the truth.
Ooh, but it is not just the truth, it is also the background, which mean it is the scenario, and that word I learnt in a rap song. No, my whole for real true life story is once, way back when, back in the day, when planet internet generation Kids TV first came to our school, I met Joe Biden. I also met Shawn Marion and Dwayne Wade, star of the Miami Heat, but that is a different story from the one I’m telling you now, so please listen. You got to listen and focus up on my right now story, my story is Joe Biden, he is vice president, and he is my homeboy for real. I sent him a internet email video, and in it I had me on some khaki pants and a smooth polo shirt and I said Joe Biden, I heard you is gone be vice president. That is cool. Will you be my homeboy? If you is my homeboy, I get to interview you, so just say yeah, like Shawn Marion and Dwayne Wade, who is the basketball star of the Miami Heat. Joe Biden, do you like basketball? I love basketball.
I had to wait a long time, it was so long I almost forgot, but then, so and also, Joe Biden, he wrote me back in a friendly letter and he said Thank you so much Kenny, cause you done ask me to be your friend, I know you is cool. I will too be your homeboy. Besides, all I been waiting for is for you to ask me, so now that you done did, you can come to my birthday party but only if you want to. My party is gone be the bomb party, it is so cool it even got its own name. It is called Bidethon 2013 but I’m thinking ’16, what you think? Well, maybe when you is older you will understand, but in the between time here is these two beer cozys to keep your soda cold. My mama said me and all my friends, we can have all the soda we want at my birthday party, and she said I promise, so you know she mean it. Cheers champ! P.S., I like basketball too, you is my new secret best friend. P.S. also, I’mma come to your school and I’mma see you real soon, cause that is what friends be all about, and you is my secret best friend until we meet in front of everyone, including the internet and your homeroom class. Ooh, and my lady wife is a teacher like Ms. Noonan, so what that mean is she get to change your grade and you gone get a A in language arts and also on them tesses you just failed, but it wasn’t your fault, cause everybody know you wasn’t at school. Goodbye and I am so glad we is now homies. By the way, this is Joe Biden who is sending you this letter. When we hang out, if you want to flip the script, just call me Biden. But if you see me afterschool, you got to call me the Bidenator, cause that is my street name… [read more]
Here is a YouTube video of young Damon Weaver interviewing Joe Biden. How much of the rest of the story is true, I do not know.