What would you like to tell readers about yourself?
* Iris Dorbian is a former actress turned business journalist/blogger. Her articles have appeared in a wide number of outlets that include the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Venture Capital Journal, DMNews, CFO.com, Playbill, Backstage, Theatermania, Live Design, Media Industry Newsletter and PR News. From 1999 to 2007, Iris was the editor-in-chief of Stage Directions. She is the author of “Great Producers: Visionaries of the American Theater," which was published by Allworth Press in August 2008. Her personal essays have been published in Blue Lyra Review, B O D Y, Embodied Effigies, Jewish Literary Journal, Skirt! Diverse Voices Quarterly and Gothesque Magazine. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.
Today Iris Dorbian will be talking about how she became a writer and what inspired her in regard to the story she's promoting.
* I think I was always a writer in my soul yet it wasn’t something I fully acknowledged until later on in life. Certainly, my love of words and storytelling guided me toward that path. But it wasn't until I attended Columbia's Journalism School that I truly become a professional writer.
* Of course, some creative writing stalwarts might blanch at the notion that through journalism I became a writer, thinking those two disciplines are diametrically opposed. However, that kind of thinking is faulty. Journalism gives me the tools to tell a story, to ask the relevant questions, fill in the necessary details albeit within a factual context. Writing a novel is almost the same except the material you’re dealing with isn’t a news story but a story forged within the crucible of the imagination.
* In the case of “Love, Loss and Longing in the Age of Reagan,” I had been wanting to write for the longest time a coming of age novel based on my experiences as a very callow and naïve student attending NYU in the early 1980s. There were so many things that transpired during those four years, things which left a lasting psychological imprint on me, that I knew if I was going to write fiction it would have to start with those years. Plus, it was truly a very fascinating period—MTV was in its infancy, the internet did not exist, yuppies were ruling Wall Street and cocaine was the drug du jour. And in the first NYU dorm I lived in, I was surrounded by people who were so gifted they would later become this social, political and artistic crème de la crème. To give you an example, Bill Wilhelm (whom New Yorkers know better as Mayor de Blasio) was the president of the dorm! I remember when he campaigned for the spot and I just couldn’t understand why anyone would want that position!
* So in many ways, “Love, Loss and Longing in the Age of Reagan” is a roman a clef although a lot has been fictionalized. It’s also my affectionate tribute to a long-lost bygone chapter in my life.
* As droning synthesizers ushered in this song, which sounded like something George and Jane Jetson would listen to on crack, I’d pull out from my bureau the short and slightly pleated black skirt I got at Macy’s at the Garden State Plaza mall in Paramus, New Jersey. The store was having a special “New Wave” sale and I, eager, to fortify my loyalty to the passing trends of my volatile youth, bought up some stock that consisted of a yellow lame dress that I had convinced myself looked like it came out of the ‘20s and a really cool Betsy Johnson sweater skirt that had purple and pink butterflies strewn all over it. Because Ritz management decreed that all waitresses wear black, I shoved my legs into black Capezio tights and threw on a black sweater whose sleeves and collar were trimmed with a furry boa I adored.
* Usually by the time the tune ended, I was ready to go, dressed head to toe in full Ritz regalia. This was my cue to turn the needle back to where it started, scratch it up some more and play the ditty yet again. I fed off every detail of this clockwork ritual, the way a diabetic feeds off insulin. It was a necessary prelude to an evening rarely without consequence. I was steeling myself for the possible insanity that awaited me.
ANNOUNCEMENT! Iris Dorbian will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour! So be sure to leave a comment AND use the Rafflecopter below. Also, visit the other tour stops for a greater chance of winning!
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