We’re thrilled to have here today Shiekie from Sharon van Ivan’s new memoir, Juggle and Hide. Shiekie is dead now, but he was the President of Off-Track Betting – before it went under. He lived most of his life in Brooklyn, New York.
It is a pleasure to have him with us today at Beyond the Books!
Thank you so for this interview, Shiekie. Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers? Well, I’m not as nice as she made me out to be, but I’m a lot more interesting.
Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality? If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently? She could have added a few more chapters about relationships with several very beautiful younger women. And she could also have mentioned that I was an extremely handsome man. Both men and women were attracted to me. It was partly my good looks and partly my great personality.
What do you believe is your strongest trait? Well, I guess I can’t say “humility” now, can I? But in all honesty, I truly like everything about myself. I guess my strongest trait would be that I am always, always on time – never late.
Worse trait? Lying.
If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)? Gosh that’s a hard one. Maybe Anthony Hopkins or Robert Redford or Antonio Banderas. Nah, not Banderas, but he’s good.
Do you have a love interest in the book? Myself.
At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out? Chapter 2. That’s when I’m introduced.
If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why? No, I wouldn’t want to trade places with any of them. Especially not my father. Or any of those crazy cats the writer (my daughter) had. She had a couple of cats that were brothers and she named them Cain and Abel. I always wondered why she loved animals whose only claim to fame was that they could go to the toilet in a box.
How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away? There’s no ending. She stopped writing it when her mother died. She’s got a lot of life left to write about.
What words of wisdom would you give your author if she decided to write another book with you in it? She could start when I was younger, more vital, more exciting. Or she leaves me out altogether.
Thank you for this interview, Shiekie. Will we be seeing more of you in the future? Well, probably not. But I had a good long life even if I wasn’t the greatest dad in the entire universe. I was an exciting dad and I don’t think she’d be a writer today if I hadn’t given her one of those Remington portable typewriters when she was six years old.
Title: Sharon van Ivan
Author: Sharon van Ivan
Publisher: Cygnet Press
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Juggle and Hide is award-winning writer Sharon van Ivan’s dizzying story of her unconventional, often harrowing, and sometimes hilarious life. With a childhood split between time with her alcoholic mother in Akron, Ohio and her gambling dad in Brooklyn, New York, as well as other challenging family members along the way, she was destined to find comfort on the edge and in the company of highly creative and self-destructive individuals.
Hers is a story of getting drunk and getting sober, of triumphs and failures in her work as an actor and screenwriter, and of exhilarating love affairs, including her twenty-year relationship with the renowned artist Charles Pfahl. The book is quirky and compelling, and engaging on many levels. Sharon takes the reader on a roller coaster ride into the depths of personal tragedy with unexpected outcomes.
Sharon van Ivan lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with her two cats, The Duke and Earl. She was born in Brooklyn New York and couldn’t wait to move back to New York when she grew up. Her parents divorced when she was a baby and she lived with her mother in Akron, Ohio, until she returned to New York in her early 20s. There she studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and was a working actress for many years. But she was always writing. Her debut as a playwright was when she was 10 years old and living in Sacramento, California. She wrote about the hardships of a young girl in Mexico. The play was so good, it was presented to the whole school. Sharon was mortified and did not write again until high school. Then when she had a writing assignment, she would dream about it the night before, and write it just before class. She was an A student in English. Not the most popular person in school, however.
Growing up with an alcoholic and, therefore, mentally ill mother and a mostly-absent father (plus a slew of stepfathers) was a challenge that Sharon met head-on – as she had no choice. Later in life when she did have a choice, the patterns had already been set and she followed a similarly disastrous road until she found show business, a great psychiatrist and the love of her life, the renowned realist painter, Charles Pfahl.