An Interview with Stan Maron, Author of the Hard Ball Press Book ‘New York Hustle’
By Marivir R. Montebon
New York Hustle (Hard Ball Press, 2014) isn’t a book you can put down. This memoir by Stan Maron, a New Yorker born in New Jersey and peddling in downtown New York to raise a family and make sense of living, tells each reader of how the Big Apple metamorphosed in the old days into one of the most powerful cities of the world, by the toil of working men and women, like the author.
I will remember the images of old New York in this book, particularly his uncle, the one who originally made the Murphy bed which has been copied and mass produced by another businessman. I will remember too his mom, who died mysteriously, and whose death did not benefit from any investigation. It will be up to the reader on how to close this chapter in Maron’s young life, who certainly had his own coming to terms with the circumstance.
Excerpts from the interview:
1. How long did it take you to finish writing your book?
On and off it was over a period of about twenty years, but not steady. I went for long periods without writing at all. It wasn’t even intended to be a book, but more like vignettes that I wrote in a writing club I belonged to. I became more serious about a book after meeting publisher Tim (Sheard) sat a book reading in Northampton, MA and I worked really hard the last year to get it published.
2. Has writing about it been a ‘healing’ journey about your mom’s demise?
Yes, it helped me to understand better that there are lots of things I will never know and it helped me understand more about myself and people who were close to me as a young boy.
3. Who has inspired you to write about this book?
My wife, Sally, has always encouraged me to write – she thinks I’m a good story teller. And some members of my writing group in New Jersey.
4. It is amazing how you loved the art of street vending. What tricks of the trade have you learned, on the street, that is? Do you think street vending still works as a lucrative business these days?
The last time I sold anything on the street was 1980. I learned that being a street peddler in New York was 90% nerve (like a lot of life) and the rest trying to figure out the strategy of where you want to get to from where you are. Probably no different from buying, selling and marketing any product, except there was the added aspect of ‘negotiating’ with police and other peddlers. I still see street peddlers in New York. Some seem to be doing well and I’d like to wager they have some pretty good connections – I also learned there is never a free lunch.
5. You did not categorically point out as to the cause of the death of your mom. But it seems it is up to the reader. On a personal note, upon accepting the truth, how did you rise from this ‘domestic violence’? In your time, there was no such term yet.
I don’t know how the domestic violence affected me. I do know there are some scars. I don’t think I’ll get rid of them in my lifetime, but I have learned to live with them. (Some of them may have made me stronger.)
6. Any upcoming book?
Yes, but I haven’t yet formulated enough ideas in my mind to give a definitive answer.