Bio

jakewizner2012

I was supposed to be born on Hitler’s birthday.  To my mother’s great relief, I arrived late and was born on Freud’s birthday instead.  My parents wanted to name me Max, but my grandfather, a Holocaust refugee, strenuously objected, saying the name sounded too German.  My original birth certificate read Baby Boy Wizner.

My mother was a college dean, and I spent the first ten years of my life living in a dormitory.  I ate meals in the college dining hall, explored the campus tunnels, and became a foosball prodigy, sharpening my skills against opponents more than twice my age.  Occasionally, I would sleepwalk around the dormitory at night, and be picked up by drunk students returning from parties in the early morning hours.

I went to Wesleyan University, and it was in one of my English classes that I made my first serious attempt at writing fiction.  I was immensely proud of the piece I had submitted and remember smiling confidently at the student next to me as our professor returned our work.  He got an A.  I got a B-.  After college, he dubbed himself Lemony Snicket and became the second most famous children’s book author in the world.  I moved to New Orleans to teach public school, dubbed myself the Phantom Bard, and chronicled my experiences in the local Teach for America newsletter.

Since 1996, I have been an eighth grade teacher at a public middle school in New York City.  I live in Manhattan with my wife and children.

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