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The Starting Gate Hardcover – March 10, 2016
Paul Mullin enters sacred territory in American Letters, the Temple of the Tavern wherein both grace and alcohol are dispensed. Like its successful predecessors, FALLING THROUGH THE EARTH, THE LIARS CLUB, and THE TENDER BAR. Mullin s entertaining memoir is an attempt to reconcile the irreconcilable, to explain the mystery of the now with a Drunkard s Walk through his past of hard manual labor, art, and Zen Buddhism. It s funny and moving, and Mullin s chapter on how to properly appreciate a bar should be required reading for all those coming of age. --Robert Schenkkan, Tony Award-winning author of All the Way
Playwright Paul Mullin deploys his gift for vivid storytelling in this lively memoir of work, play and apprentice barkeeping. --Richard Rhodes, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb
Do you want to know how to behave in a bar? Do you want to know how to live? Maybe they're not so different. Paul Mullin finds a real honor and wisdom in the messy practice of a life, and he makes me wish I too had learned how to work as a kid at a little country tavern in Maryland called the Starting Gate even on Taco Night. How am I suddenly nostalgic for a life that wasn't even my own? --Tom Nissley, Jeopardy Champion and author of A Reader s Book of Days
About the Author
Paul Mullin is a playwright, screenwriter, poet, and teacher, recognized by Seattle's The Stranger as a Theater Genius. His plays have been produced across the U.S., exploring subjects ranging from personal nuclear catastrophe to the uncelebrated underbelly of American History. He lives with his wife and two sons in Seattle.
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This book is weird only because it defies categorization. It's a memoir, an introduction to Zen Buddism, a guide to the proper way to drink in bars and a collection of essays on work, creativity, growing up, being human and living life.
I was just going to say that I have never read a book like this and I would not be surprised if Mullin has invented a new genre. Then I remembered that most singular of books, Thoreau's Walden. To me, The Starting Gate is like Walden, full of beauty and wisdom and descriptions of personal experiences but, for me, this book is much better because it makes sense to me as a real person living in the 21st Century. I just referenced Mullin's take on the role of work in life, one of the book's major themes, in conversation with my wife who is contemplating a career change. I don't highlight stuff in books, ever, but I highlighted all over this baby.
I can't wait to read the next one.
I think if you are lucky as a reader you can ride along and have something close to that same experience.