Tuesday, September 30, 2008

#90 Michael Mussman: Speaking Spanish (and French) Saved His Life

Michael Mussman was born on October 27, 1978, a birthday he shares with Dylan Thomas and Teddy Roosevelt. His parents were Jehovah's Witnesses and were not happy when he brought home Madonna's Immaculate Collection. They were less happy when he started burning incense and reading the Lotus Sutra in his bedroom. They were incensed when he declared himself Jewish. Michael has lived in California all his life, except for one brief attempt at bohemia in Europe, which ended with a serious gall bladder attack on a staircase in the Gare du Nord. He spent a harrowing night in a Parisian hospital, in a cot beside a gunshot victim. He might not have survived if he didn’t speak Spanish and French so well. When Michael ran out of money, he flew back to San Diego, and crashed on the floor of his little sister's apartment until his big sister got him a job in human resources, for which he was terribly ungrateful. He despised that recruiting job and four more years of different jobs until he was saved by a marketing job in which he is quite content to get paid to write. Michael used to be a poet, but he abandoned that muse when he realized that he was no longer a hysterical sobbing teenager. Now that he’s grown up, he’s writing his second novel, the story of a cutthroat salesman who runs away from home. What else? Michael finds a certain satisfaction in the fact that Spanish still finds its way into his mouth quite often now that his boyfriend is from Chile. His boyfriend, Michael loves that he gets to dance and sing and misbehave around him without a drop of embarrassment or self-consciousness.

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