Michael Kimball Writes Your Life Story
(on a postcard)

It's a Book!

Michael Kimball Writes Your Life Story (on a postcard) started five years ago at a performance arts festival. Between then and now, I wrote over 300 postcard life stories, condensing over 10,000 years of life. Now it's a book. You can get it directly from Mud Luscious or from Amazon. Unfortunately, I couldn't publish everybody's postcard life story in the book or it would have come in around 700 pages. So the book is a selection from the project. Here's the Table of Contents: #45 Adam Robinson, #46 Karen Lillis, #52 Josh Maday, #49 Red Delicious Apple, #66 Blake Butler, #67 G, #70 Elizabeth Ellen, #75 Moose the Cat, #76 Deborah Ling, #91 Kathryn Jachowski, #98 Chair, #100 Jonathon Bender, #101 Elizabeth Crane, #102 Shanti Perez, #103 Rachel Joy, #111 Aaron Goolsby, #114 Sammy the Dog, #117 Baby C, #118 Nate Jackson, #125 J, #129 Matt Bell, #130 El Duque the Cat, #131 Tao Lin, #133 Rahne Alexander, #137 Rhode Island Red, #141 Steve Katz, #149 Christopher Douglas Bowles, #158 Patrick King, #161 L, #166 Beowulf the Cat, #167 Ken Baumann, #170 T-Shirt, #176 Cyndy Taylor, #184 Stephanie Barber, #188 R, #195 Kaya Larsen, #197 A. Jarrell Hayes, #199 Luca Dipierro, #200 Grendel the Cat, #209 Julie Riso, #210 F, #221 Effie Gross, #228 Nick Kane, #240 Monte Riek, #242 N, #249 Umbrella Cover, #255 Andy Devine, #263 Edgar Allan Poe, #265 Abby the Horse, #267 Michael Kimball, #280 Brin-Jonathan Butler, #282 Robin Black, #288 Stephen Graham Jones, #290 Catherine Lacey, #302 John Quincy Adams, #304 Shannon Sullivan, #307 Soap.

#280 Brin-Jonathan Butler: Boxing and Happiness

Brin-Jonathan Butler was born in Vancouver, the son of a Gypsy mom from Budapest and Dutch lawyer dad. He was a really happy kid until he was about 11 years old. That was when a group of kids tricked him into going to the woods to see a fight. He didn’t realize he was about to be beaten up and swarmed by a huge crowd of kids. He just remembers a lot of feet coming at him and a hailstorm of phlegm. That attack left him afraid to leave his house for 3 years. When he was 13, Brin started riding the school bus with one girl even though he lived a block from school. He was afraid to talk to her, but he watched her read her book everyday. That was about the only thing that kept him going for a few years. Later on, Brin wrote his first book about that bullying incident and the girl he stalked on the bus. A decade after he last saw the girl on the bus, she found him on Facebook and asked for a copy of the book. After reading it, she flew over from Europe and wanted to get married. That was weird. When Brin was 15, he caught a Mike Tyson interview on TV where he talked about being bullied growing up and the books he was reading in solitary confinement. The next day, Brin went two places he'd never been: a library and a boxing gym. He read about Tyson's life and how he'd been serially picked on for being a sensitive kid (and, 15 years later, Brin sat in Mike Tyson's living room thanking him for saving his life by introducing him to boxing and books). Brin’s first day in a boxing ring, he was knocked unconscious, but it was less scary than showing up to the gym in the first place so he went back. Boxing taught him that cowards and heroes feel the same, but act differently with those feelings. At 20, Brin became obsessed with Cuba, a place where books and boxing meant more than anywhere else. He trained under Olympic coaches in Cuba and boxed as an amateur light-heavyweight. For a couple of summers, he hustled speed chess in the park (Bobby Fischer was always a hero of his) before teaching boxing to support writing fiction and making films. Brin met his wife on Facebook and propositioned her the moment he saw her photo on a friend's page. She had on a furry ski hat and a strange in-between expression. He asked her to fly to Vancouver and when she didn't write back he called her in Manhattan and asked what time he was picking her up at the airport. They spoke for an hour and he called back the next day. 3 days later she flew over. In 2000, Brin visited Cuba and discovered a haunting and beautiful place. Brin has spent the last 11 years going back as often as he could and he knows less about it now than when he first visited. Right now, he’s directing a film about a Cuban boxer who left his home and family to shipwreck into the America Dream and working on a memoir about his time in Cuba. He’s happy and excited to find out what happens next in New York City.

[You can read about Brin’s meeting with Mike Tyson and other writings here, as well as more about his documentary at Hero, Traitor, Madness. You can find out about taking boxing lessons with Brin here.]
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