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January 10, 2008

PAGES: 'Brooklyn Was Mine' Can Now Be Yours

Brooklyn Downtown Star
By Shane Miller

Twenty Brooklyn writers, including novelists, memoirists, poets, and journalists, all donated original works for "Brooklyn Was Mine," the profits from which will in turn be donated to Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, the group fighting Forest City Ratner’s proposed mega-development at the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic avenues in Prospect Heights.
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Perhaps the contributor who has explored, unraveled, and mythologized the borough the most in his own work is Jonathan Lethem, who offers a short tale of a future Brooklyn collapsed into disarray and phonetic interpretations of familiar places, such as Schumer’s Horn, Why Cough, and Albeit Squalor Mall.

What follows, however, is a very personal essay about Letham’s own connection with the borough of his childhood. Letham, who is also a DDDB board member along with Egan, Lopate, and Robert Sullivan, writes how he became involved in the fight against Ratner’s project:

The risk, of seeing wrecked what I never completely wanted to protect, felt vertiginous. As it happened, I’d also just quit writing about Brooklyn. I’d reached a limit, for the time being, in the meanings I could plumb from my fantasia. So, this taking-up of a real commitment to the real Brooklyn replaced the writing. Perhaps it was even what the writing had been trying to make possible, all this time. I’d written myself, to my own astonishment, into some long-delayed sense of possession.

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Posted by lumi at January 10, 2008 7:32 PM