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I love them both. They complement each other. My professional journalism life started in June, , when I answered a classified ad in the New York Times for an "editorial assistant. I was 19 years old and had just graduated from Columbia. I was going to California to seek my fortune as a book and movie writer. I never went. I hated my new job - copyboy in the sports department - but I loved working at the paper. At 21 I became a reporter.
Why waste his valuable time? So they sent another kid - me. Cassius Clay whipped Sonny Liston and guess who became the new boxing reporter? And I started my professional fiction writing career.
I got the idea for my first YA novel, "The Contender. He told me about a gym he once owned in a tough neighborhood in Manhattan.
It was at the top of three dark narrow twisting flights of stairs. He often slept at the top of the stairs, with a gun and German Shepherd. But he slept with one ear open - listening for a kid who would come up those stairs alone, at night and scared, but willing to conquer his fear to become somebody, a fighter, a contender.
He had enjoyed reading my boxing stories. Would I like to try my hand at a novel with boxing as its "milieu? You bet, I wrote. And I have a title - The Contender. Soon after the book came out, I became a sports columnist, and got very busy traveling and writing for the paper.
It was called "One Fat Summer," and it was sort of about me. Not an athlete. Read alot. Started writing so I could make up stories in which thin kids died horribly. I think my parents were happy I was a reader and too fat to get into trouble. My Dad, Sidney I. Lipsyte, was a principal and eventually director of all the New York City schools for emotionally-disturbed kids. He died in at the age of My Mom, Fanny Finston Lipsyte, died in , at She had been a school teacher and guidance counselor in New York city public schools.
I finally lost my weight at 14 when I lied about my age to get a job cutting the lawn and tending the yard of a nasty old man who worked me thin. But I was afraid of writing about it truthfully - how I had hated my body, was ashamed of myself for being different, in my case for being fat.
And once I did, the book rolled out. I made up the characters and the adventures of that book, but not the emotions. In , when my generation of copyboy became the top editors at the Times, I was invited back to write columns again - a sports column and a cityside column called "Coping.
That was a great decade, lots of fun, great stories and even some prizes. In I had won that same award for the sports column! In , I won the Margaret A. That one sent me back to the computer actually, I write first drafts in pencil to write more, faster. I left the paper again after and got back to writing fiction although working occasionally for ESPN keeps my sports knowledge current. Alfred and Sylvia and the children of Ceridwen Morris, a birth instructor and writer, and her husband, Sam Lipsyte, an associate professor of creative writing at Columbia and author of four books, including the best-selling novel, "The Ask.
Susannah is married to Ben Nachumi, who writes mostly in math in physics. Daniel is their son. In , I published two new books - "Heroes of Baseball" and "Raiders Night," a novel about a high school football star who has to make some tough decisions after a brutal hazing incident. It came out in paperback in In September, , "Yellow Flag," a novel with stock car racing as its "milieu" will be published.
The hero of the book, year-old Kyle Hildebrand, is torn between love of the trumpet and duty to his famous racing family to continue the tradition by climbing into a fast car. Morris, researching stories for the New York Times about classical music, especially opera, which we both love.
Lois is best known as a writer of books and magazine articles on mental health and psychology. A page-turning tale of the Cultural Revolution. The excellent Dinah Stevenson was my editor.
The sequel, " Twin Powers," came out two years later. By that time, I was the ombudsman at ESPN, a fascinating month hitch in the belly of the sports beast. My New Memoir "Jock Culture glorifies the young, the strong and the beautiful, and Lipsyte, the would-be Chekhov, gets the tragic implications.
Future Tense By Robert Lipsyte