Richard Grayson (writer) bigraphy, stories - Activists

Richard Grayson (writer) : biography

1951 -

Richard Grayson (born 1951) is a writer, political activist and performance artist, most noted for his books of short stories and his satiric runs for public office.

Grayson's fiction is largely autobiographical, or pseudo-autobiographical, and his early work heavily influenced by the metafictionists of the 1970s, such as John Barth, Donald Barthelme, Ronald Sukenick, and his mentor, Jonathan Baumbach, who headed the Brooklyn College MFA program in fiction and was one of the founders of the publishing cooperative The Fiction Collective, for which Grayson worked as an editorial assistant in the 1970s.

Political activity

In 1983, Grayson filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to run for President of the United States as a Democrat.http://www.nytimes.com/1983/05/28/nyregion/new-york-day-by-day-197653.html Over the next year, the exploits in his humorous campaign to replace President Ronald Reagan were widely covered by newspapers, magazines, radio and television. Perhaps his best-known remark, quoted in Time, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal, was his explanation of why he asked the actress Jane Wyman, star of the then-current nighttime soap opera Falcon Crest and the former wife of the incumbent President, to be his Vice Presidential running mate: "She already has experience in dumping Ronald Reagan."http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20086819,00.html Other platform planks in the Grayson campaign included making El Salvador the 51st statehttp://who-will-kiss-the-pig.blogspot.com/2008/12/miami-news-reports-on-richard-graysons.html and moving the U.S. capital to Davenport, Iowa.http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1948&dat=19831022&id=eTwuAAAAIBAJ&sjid=btcFAAAAIBAJ&pg=4217,3398969

For the next few years, Grayson spent less time on literary fiction and more on what he called "publicity art." In 1982, he received 26% of the vote in an election for a town council seat in Davie, Florida, where he worked as an English instructor at Broward Community College; his sole campaign promise was to give the town's many horses the right to vote. Over the years, Grayson created numerous political action committees, officially registered with the (FEC); these included the Committee for Immediate Nuclear War, the Council of Armed Rabbis, and committees to draft actor Burt Reynolds, designer Gloria Vanderbilt, and socialite Claus Von Bulow as candidates for the U.S. Senate. Grayson also worked as a humor columnist for the Hollywood, Florida, newspaper The Sun-Tattler and published in People Magazine a satirical article alerting readers to the perils of a developing "celebrity shortage."

Recent work

Although Grayson had originally published some of the stories in The Silicon Valley Diet on early internet sites that featured short fiction, in 2004 he began appearing widely in various literary webzines with his memoirs, satire, and stories. His "Diary of a Congressional Candidate in Florida's Fourth Congressional District," a recurring feature on the website of McSweeney's, covered his 2004 campaign as the sole opponent to Rep. Ander Crenshaw, a Jacksonville Republican, and brought him a new audience.http://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/the-diary

More recently, Grayson published two short story collections almost simultaneously. The more experimental book was Highly Irregular Stories (2006), which Kirkus Discoveries called "an eclectic anthology of intriguing short stories...Grayson’s stories here recall no one so much as Richard Brautigan, who walked a similar line between wit and warmth in his more eccentric novels."https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/richard-grayson-6/highly-irregular-stories/#review The second volume, And to Think That He Kissed Him on Lorimer Street, which Kirkus Discoveries termed "[a] funny, odd, somehow familiar and fully convincing fictional world,"https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/richard-grayson-7/and-to-think-that-he-kissed-him-on-lorimer-street/#review featured more representational and autobiographical stories, mostly set in the author's native Brooklyn.

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