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Neeli Cherkovski–The Rusty Truck Interview

Posted in INTERVIEWS, Neeli Cherkovski with tags , on October 8, 2012 by Scot

Scot:  As a child what did you want to grow up to be?

NeeliI’m not sure.  Childhood hardly exists.  Sam and Clare Cherry were loving parents, old bohemian souls.  But I was needy, alienated, muddled, easily angered, mistrustful, etc, etc.  To put a positive spin on it, I was sensitive.  My friends were outcasts.  Public school was horrific, fraught with psychic danger.  Often, I challenged my teachers, especially in junior high school.  Later, I held my breath because it wasn’t worth the effort.  Making an adult eat his or her words when you are twelve or thirteen is embarrassing all the way around.  The worst thing was play period.  Participatory sports was one of the dangers.  I did have a playmate, who I still see now and then, the Mormon kid from across Rosewood Avenue in MarVista, Los Angeles.  The latter half of childhood was spent in San Bernardino where my folks eventually opened a bookstore/art gallery that provided a constant source of books. It was Walt Whitman who spoke to me and for me.  I heard his secrets and cherished them.  I also came into possession of some haiku books that were in the family bookshelf and a book of Longfellow’s poetry.  My father occasionally recited The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, especially when he was drunk.

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