Monday, March 18, 2013

Gideon, etc.

In Chasing Gideon, The Elusive Quest For Poor People's Justice published today, on Gideon's birthday, of course, Karen Houppert outs me in a number of ways--that at the time she spoke with me, I had black hair and nails (sorry, Mom!), I was smoking cigarettes (sorry again!), and that I was unemployed. Karen had contacted me after reading my blog, told me that she was writing a book about indigent defense, and asked if I had time to talk to her. "Sure," I said, "I've got plenty of time--I just got fired."

Karen traveled from Baltimore to see me in early November 2011, and spent several days talking to me. I had been fired about a month earlier, and was in, I'm pretty sure now, a state of shock. As the months of my unemployment passed, her interview receded into a surreal haze--"A reporter from Baltimore came to talk to me? Did that really happen?"

In December 2012, I sent Karen an email, "I got my job back!" 

"Congratulations!" she replied. "Hope you don't lose it again when my book comes out!" Ah, writers--so funny. (Don't worry PD friends, the Teamsters have my back.)

Buy Karen's book--I don't have the time or objectivity to write a review right now (I finished reading it last night), except to say that Karen has the gift of seeing the humanity in every story, and weaves these individual stories into an insightful study of the complex and human problem of indigent defense.

I do, of course, have a lot more to say about all of this, but not right now. Right now I am sitting in Karen's dining room, getting ready for her book party, and a story that she asked me to tell at The Stoop Storytelling Series, in conjunction with the book's release (you can find a link to the podcast on The Stoop's website). My piece is only 7 minutes, and the fact that I am a trial lawyer notwithstanding, I'd rather tell a story in writing than out loud. So now I'm off to practice!