Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Post #1,001: Who I am.

Recently, I wrote a bio for another website, explaining who I am and what I'm about. I'm including it here for new readers or those who just want to reacquaint themselves with the blog.

My name is Benjamin Carr, and I'm from the "lovely," formerly redneck and formerly small town of Buford, Georgia - now home to the gigantic Mall of Georgia. Born to two Yankee transplants from Ohio in 1976, I spent the better part of my formative years trying to avoid developing a Southern accent. This was made more difficult when my Yankee parents divorced and eventually married two Southerners. When I'm drunk or feeling otherwise lithe, I can do pretty spot-on impressions of my stepfather.

Also, I was born with a condition called cerebral palsy - which affects how my brain communicates with my muscles. My condition is very mild, leaving me with a bit of a limp and a perpetually bent arm on my left side. It was thought, at one point, that I'd be severely retarded or suffer from low brain activity. I didn't end up that way. When I was a kid, though, I developed this way of talking a lot and showing off so that people would notice my personality before they noticed the disability. I still talk too much. I still try too hard to impress.

Others with cerebral palsy use wheelchairs and are barely able to move. It's weird, but I don't feel lucky around able-bodied people because I don't like my limp. Still, when I'm around someone with severe cerebral palsy or meet the parents of a severely disabled child (as it has happened with customers in my bookstore), I get sorta ashamed of myself for not realizing just how bad my situation could be.

When a child who's barely able to speak, who cannot walk and can't move his arms without shaking, looks at me as though I'm a miracle or an example or a hero or something just because I'm able to move, I can't help but think that I'm some kind of punk who wasted God-given blessings, doesn't do enough with his life and complains too much.

Everybody feels like that sometimes, probably.

I've been a TV and movie buff since I was an adolescent, enjoying the escapism a movie can provide, and I'm always trying to broaden my tastes and try new cinema. (This weekend, I watched Ingmar Bergman's CRIES AND WHISPERS. Which was a really beautiful, well-acted Swedish movie about dysfunction, pain and death. I recommend it.)

There are a lot of classics I've managed to not catch yet, but I'm a good man to have on a bar trivia team.

I also read regularly, for working part-time at a bookstore for seven years can cause you to develop an addiction to book-shopping. My apartment looks like a really messy small library with stacks of stuff everywhere.

I call myself a writer. Prior to taking improv classes, I attended a writer's workshop at the Margaret Mitchell House for over a year. In college, I was a journalism major, and I've done news and arts coverage for THE RED & BLACK (which should tell you where I went to college), ATHENS BANNER-HERALD and AUGUSTA CHRONICLE. I also worked briefly (very briefly) for CNN. I've worked for a construction trade publication through McGraw-Hill for over seven years.

I blogged fairly regularly for about four years, but that hobby fell by the wayside when I rediscovered that attending the theater all the time is more fun and actually allows for face-to-face interaction with real people, which I enjoy.