Editor's Note: A Life in Books: The Rise and Fall of Bleu Mobley, written and designed by Warren Lehrer, is an incredibly original exploration of one man’s use of books as a means of understanding himself and a half-century of American/global events. A Life in Books contains 101 books within it, all written by Lehrer’s protagonist — Bleu Mobley — who finds himself in prison looking back on his life and career. What follows is Bleu's introduction to the "memoir" and a link to a slideshow of some of the book covers, al reprinted here with permission of the author.
I am not the hero some have made me out to be, that I made myself out to be. I violated a sacred trust. If only I understood better myself how I let this happen, and when exactly I started losing my way. I’m still trying to puzzle it out — how a life writes itself. How one thing leads to another without a plan or a map; how a simple compulsion to tell stories — turned into something else, twisted this way and that.
I never wanted to write a memoir. Certainly not a fallen-celebrity memoir, whispered into a micro-cassette recorder in the middle of the night from the wrong side of freedom. All these years, I preferred to write about other people, real and imagined. Looking past my twice-broken nose out into the world has been far more rewarding to me than gazing endlessly into a mirror of negligible returns. But my current circumstances and too many sleepless nights leave me no choice but to reflect on my own life. If I begin at the end, you’d probably close the book on me forever. You’d shake your head, thinking, What an idiot! Why should I believe another word he has to say? That’s one reason I need to begin at the beginning. And maybe by coming to grips with my story and putting it in a book, I can set myself free of it. For mine has been a life in books (101 of them, I’m told). Books have been my oxygen, my fix, my wings, my armor and fortress, my bread and butter, and now the cause of my demise. And if the story of my life in books can be my last book, I might (finally) be able to start a new chapter.
If youd like to hear Warren talk, you're in luck. On December 6th at 7pm he'll be doing a performance/reading at the Queens Council On The Arts with Judith Sloan.