An Inappropriate Life

Memoir by Stan Gotlieb

I grew up in the heyday of the automobile, and my idea of freedom is to get behind the wheel and boogie. Being in an automobile on the American highway is the closest thing to invisibility our culture has to offer. A picture taken in a car could be anywhere, and anywhere is my favorite place to be. (Photo by Diana Ricci)


"Inappropriate" is a curious word to use to describe one's life, yet in my case it seems to fit. I don't remember a time when I could regard myself as "normal". As soon as I was old enough to inform my own choices, I headed for the edge: the radical; the naughty; the freak show; the illegal; the criminal.

Once there, however, I found myself inhibited by all the socializing influences that my family, school, and culture had imposed on me. I became more an observer than a participant, at least in my own head. To the mainstream, I appeared to be a nonconformist; to the dedicated I was a visitor, not a resident.

These tales are as true as I can make them: part observation, part experience and part confession: just like life as I know it. If you find it strange, weird, hard to believe, occasionally disturbing, or lacking a certain coherence, then I say to you that that is the way that I have experienced life. Only fiction is believable, compassable and coherent; life is stranger by far.

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All materials copyrighted, 1994-2004 by Stan Gotlieb and