Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Peter Schwartz Writes Your Life Story (on a postcard): #227 D.E. Oprava

David Edward Oprava was born in New York City on Easter Sunday 1973 for which his mother still has not forgiven him. He grew up in a two-bed apartment on the upper West Side a few blocks from Central Park and to this day still remembers the smell of dog crap and sand from the playground. He practically lived in the Museum of Natural History, standing under the nose of the great Blue Whale for ages, quietly peeing himself for fear of its immensity. At five, he saw a ghost but told nobody. At seven, the family moved to a 200-acre farm in rural Pennsylvania where he was the odd kid out and received the usual taunts and teases that go with that. An only child, he spent a lot of time in the woods. There was no trash collection out there; trash dumps were simply scattered across the property. The family also had a 20-acre swamp with horse skeletons at the bottom, which David also enjoyed. What he didn't enjoy was how his history teacher used to make little girls sit on his lap during class. So he asked his parents if he could go to boarding school and at age twelve they relented and off he went. In college, he studied politics, fascinated by the idea of analyzing how and why people control other people. He specialized in demagoguery and his first degree was in international studies, received from the School for International Training in Vermont, a former Peace Corps training school and hippie hide-away. He visited the war in Bosnia as part of his studies and it scared the hell out of him, but the experience fueled his desire to earn a Masters in politics with a thesis written on the demagogic causes of that war in relation to the racism and fascism of the Second World War. This led him to a series of teaching jobs at both the university and secondary levels. For 15 years, he taught in one place or another in almost any subject area: politics, history, international relations, German, environmental studies, English, etc. In 2004, he stopped teaching after being fired from one too many jobs. In 2005, his wife Kate gave birth to their son, Ziven. David isn't exactly sure what happened next, but something in him broke. He knew then that he needed an outlet, a way to face the wild demons he had been chasing across the globe through ten different states and four different countries in less than thirty years. What he found was writing. He wrote a novel in eight months that he considered dreadful, but the important thing was that he was now writing for real. Soon after, he rediscovered his lust for poetry and has been writing non-stop for the past three years. His new book American Means has just been released through American Mettle Books. It goes straight to the heart of modern America: its guts, bones and woes exposed through poetry. David runs his own press Grievous Jones Press Ltd., whose mission is to publish talented writers with something important to say whom he feels the mainstream will never touch. David is proud of his many published books, his children, meeting Allen Ginsberg in a café in Prague, having taught many amazing students and learned from them in his years as a teacher/professor, and having lived exactly the way he wanted for many years, living for experience and nothing but experience.

David E. Oprava’s website
David’s book, American Means
Grievous Jones Press

1 comment:

David said...

Jesus Christmas, that postcard is going to need a shitload of stamps!