Last week, I had the privilege to sit down for a remarkable conversation with author Mark Budman. He is the author of An Accidental American Odyssey, a collection of 21 short stories well-crafted to raise awareness about the plight of millions of people around the world who leave their homes each year in search of a better life elsewhere. In fact, Mark is one of those immigrants; and not surprisingly, the protagonists of his stories bear his own experiences as an immigrant. One story particularly caught my attention: The Perfect Rhyme. It depicts the life of a Chinese immigrant who works as a waitress in a restaurant and the restaurant manager who is preying on her vulnerability. I stressed on the vulnerability issue, and Mark agreed. “Yes,” he said. “When I create a character, I try to have a multidimensional character. I don’t want to have a person who is purely evil or purely [perfect]. I want to have a person who combines a lot of qualities,” he continued.
In the story, the author never tells us the name of the waitress. He identifies her as “The Waitress.” However, he beautifully describes her in this line. “The manager watches a flash of the waitresses’ legs and the flaunting curve of her spine, and he’s ready to flip. She doesn’t see him watching her, he hopes. On the other hand, she never sees him.” However, Mark said he purposely decided to create this nameless character because in doing so, the waitress simply represents the precariousness in which many immigrants live as they try to immerse into society at large.
Mark Budman was born in the former Soviet republic of Moldova. He immigrated to the United States in the early 1980s. He now lives in Boston, Massachusetts. “Mark follows the fine American tradition: a person moves to the US, learns the language, takes any job he can find, complains bitterly, but perseveres,” one reads on his author website. I am also a first generation of immigrant, and I see myself in this statement, for I was born in Haiti and immigrated to the US around the same time he came here.
In all, we spoke about a variety of issues pertinent to literature and the publishing industry.
Mark Budman is a trained engineer who worked for IBM for many years. He is an inventor, medical interpreter, professional photographer, and, above all, he is a prolific writer. To learn more about Mark Budman’s works, you can visit his author’s website.
You can also visit his Twitter page.
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