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I'm Talking


Nathan Black

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" I'm Talking "

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About the Book:

"I'm Talking" is a collection of over 40 opinion columns and short stories written by teen commentator Nathan Black. By voicing his strong and diverse views, he hopes to encourage other teenagers to join the conversations on the issues that affect our lives - conversations we teenagers are too often left out of.

About the Author:

Nathan Black is a freshman at Rice University in Houston, Texas. He has written professionally for nearly four years, and has appeared 30 times in such publications as the New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, Albany Times Union, Houston Chronicle, Colorado Springs Gazette, Denver Rocky Mountain News and Denver Post. The Post nominated him for the 2001 Pulitzer Prize in Distinguished Commentary. When he graduated from his Littleton, Colorado high school in May 2002, he was named in the top 20 entering college freshman in the United States by USA Today. Nathan is a history major at Rice and is currently consuming himself with a grassroots project known as "Different Religions Week" (July 11-18, 2003).

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Mostly, there are two types of adolescents who have voices in the mainstream media. There is the Chicken Soup for the Soul type, with their poignant stories of how they beat drugs, or cancer, or romantic rejection, or some other kind of massive obstacle. That’s the kind of teenager who makes you, the reader, cry. Secondly, there is the Eminem type (for the rapper Eminem might as well be considered an adolescent), who scream in your face of how they are mistreated and ostracized and how they would really love to slit their mothers’ throats.

That’s the kind of teenager who makes you sick. Well, I’m not going to make you cry or make you sick—I hope. I do want to make you think. The aim of this book is not necessarily to change your long-held belief system and force you to agree with me on one, more or all of the 44 topics I present. As a Democrat, I realize this would never happen. And my goal is certainly not to make you think I am a genius—a child prodigy who somehow was blessed with this inquiring, reasoning mind beyond his years and had nothing better to do with it than write a book.

Quite the contrary; I want to show you there are more teenagers out there than the ones who make you weep and vomit. If you looked hard enough around this country and world, you would find thousands, maybe millions of adolescents like me, who have plain, reasonable messages about their lives and others’ and want to be heard. I just beat them to it. One of the strangest and best friendships I’ve had was with an 80 year old man, known to me as "Doc." I met Doc when I was writing a guest column for The Denver Post; after almost every appearance, he would e-mail me to give his often critical thoughts on the article.

Since we usually disagreed, I would e-mail back and rebuke his points. He would find a weakness in my argument and e-mail again…and so on. He wrote so much that my mother decided he was a child molester. What was special about our relationship was not that through our bantering back and forth, we eventually became friends, but instead that he bothered to acknowledge my existence and legitimacy in the first place. I could tell from his long, philosophical arguments that he had not just given my column in the Post a quick once-over and thought to himself, "Wow, there’s a sixteen year old in the paper." He read my columns just as carefully as I wrote them, and spoke with me as though I were another 80 year old, not a teenager who between columns had to worry about girls and school and getting a real job that paid more than a $50 honorarium per piece.

To him, I was intelligent enough to mean what I said, and while he hardly ever liked my thoughts, he liked that I thought them and shared them with the Denver area. By publishing this book, I want to find a million more Docs—a million more people who can respect or learn to respect a teenage opinion, but who will argue with it too. I’m trying to reassure the adult readers of this diatribe that there are thinkers in the upcoming generation—so please reassure me there are thinkers in the older one.

My e-mail address is No spam, please. As for the teenage readers, I hope this book shows what you, not I, can do. I’m the managing editor for my high school newspaper, and frequently I see that what separates me from the writers on my staff who don’t get published in the professional press is not talent or even work ethic, but ambition. I’ve met at least a dozen writers in my high school alone who could easily publish before millions of people, but they’re content just to turn their brilliant poetry and prose into ecstatic English teachers for those coveted "A"s and "A+"s. Please, don’t be content.

The thrill of getting your voice heard before the world—even if you’re wrong, or unclear—is like no "A" you’ve ever gotten. My drama teacher once told an actor, who was asking about his chances of making a play, "I can promise you one thing: if you don’t audition, I won’t cast you." The same applies for writing, or radio or television or any other way you might want to express your opinions. If you don’t submit, I can promise you that you’ll never get exposure. If you do…who knows?

Click On The Link below and Look For

" I'm Talking "

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