David Marchino and Nina Friend read from their theses, with Julia Bloch

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

It was wall to wall. It was genuine heart. It was Kelly Writers House celebrating the Honors thesis writers. That's Julia Bloch, who directs us all (directing only me would be a full-time job) (oh, we love her). That is Nina Friend. That's David Marchino.

We had thirty seconds each to introduce these students with whom we have learned. My words were these, below.

Congratulations, Nina and David. And so much love.
Nina Friend observes. She listens. She cares. She has, for many years, wondered what “serving” really means, also “waiting.” To write this thoughtful and deeply engaging work of narrative nonfiction, Nina has read widely, spent countless hours in the company of leading restaurateurs, major novelists, and a wide variety of servers, even donned a waitress apron herself. You may think you know what a server does. But you won’t know the half of it until you read Nina’s explications of stigma and community, addiction and freedom. With fierce, often delicious language, Nina pulls the curtains way back on a world all of us would do well to ponder—and appreciate—more completely.
In hunting down his family mythology, David Marchino has traveled far—sitting again, after years of absence, with his own elusive father, sifting through the artifacts of an enflamed past, returning to neighborhood cemeteries and family homes in an effort both to remember and to understand. To all of this David has brought a giant heart, an eye for the telling detail, and a steadfast compassion for the people in his life. David may be the product of a home that will always throb with mysterious unknowns. But David is, first and foremost, his own person—a magnificent, blue-rose tattooed writer who teaches us, with this memoir, that love, in the end, wins hardest, fastest, most.


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