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Shea Serrano Coming to OKC

Bestselling author to talk writing (and other things)



 



There is an army of humans – the FOH Army, to be precise – who will not be happy if this next part is wrong, but: Shea Serrano is a sports writer for really smart nerds who happen to love sports. He’s much more than that, but he’s at least that. His fan base is bigger than that, but it’s that nerdy core that animates the movement. It is entirely likely that none of them will be offended by the nerd designation, which speaks volumes about the kinds of humans who read his work.
 

Serrano, a San Antonio native, is one of the best follows on Twitter right now, and that’s in large part due to his ability to shape 140-character tweets (“i’ll cut my fingers off before i send a 280 character tweet” – tweet from 10/30/17) into comic brilliance, combined with deep thought, reading and reflection on why sports matter. No, his skillset is not limited to Twitter; he’s a master of the essay, too, and that gift is regularly on display at The Ringer – the sports and pop culture website that is the brainchild of Bill Simmons – as well as in his books: 2015’s The Rap Year Book and 2017’s Basketball (and Other Things).

A former middle school math teacher, Serrano got started writing because his wife, a former special needs math teacher, was pregnant with twins, and he needed the income to support his family. The details of his writing career are well documented, but it’s worth noting that he said openly that some nights you have to stay up all night to balance family, work and a budding career as a writer.

On March 17, Serrano will be at the Downtown Oklahoma City Public Library for a presentation about writing and freelancing, followed by a book signing. Judith Matthews, the adult engagement supervisor at the downtown library, reached out to Serrano, and he accepted. He agreed to speak with 405 Magazine ahead of that visit – we spoke by phone, and he actually refused to consider seeing the questions in advance.

Is this part of a nationwide tour you are doing?

“No. Not a tour at all. I really like libraries. She hit me up and said she was from the Oklahoma City library, and asked if I wanted to come give a talk. I said, ‘All right, I’ve never done that before, so let’s do it and see what happens.’”

Have you talked to writers before about the process in a formal setting like this?

“Yeah, I’ve done that at a bunch of places: journalism classes at colleges, newsrooms, newspapers, those sorts of places.”

 


 

You spent time at a Title I school in Houston after your emergency certification. What was that experience like?

“Resources were not great, but the kids were great. I wanted to teach at a school like that because that’s the kind of school I attended. I’m from the south side of San Antonio, and the school I went to teach at in Houston was 90-something percent Hispanic. My school in San Antonio was about the same percentage, so that was where I felt the most comfortable, but also felt like I could do some good there.

After becoming established as a writer, you told GQ, “You just gotta say you’re a thing, and people will think you’re that thing.” Is that still a truism in your life?

“One hundred percent. That’s the way I became a writer – just started telling people I was a writer. That’s the way I became an author. They asked if I could do a book, and I was like, ‘Of course.’ I had no idea how to do a book. That’s how I sold a TV show. They just asked if I could do it. I said, ‘I know how to do that.’”

You’re well known for your quirky approach to asking questions, as you did in your book Basketball (and Other Things), wherein you include a chapter titled “If 1997 Karl Malone and a Bear Swapped Places for a Season, Who Would Be More Successful?” With that in mind, and thanks to my roommate for this, please answer this question: LeBron James versus a shark – who wins the fight?

“You need to set up some parameters. This is the thing I’ve learned about asking questions like that: You can’t just ask an open question like that without building a fence to keep the conversation under control. There would have to be some specifics, like – where are they fighting, first of all? Are they fighting in the middle of the ocean? That’s different than fighting in the middle of a three-foot saltwater pool.”

Let’s try this, then. They’re in the middle of the ocean. LeBron has a knife, and it’s a tiger shark.

“OK. What I would do then is read a whole bunch about tiger sharks. Where do they do most of their hunting? How aggressive are they? Do they even frequent the middle of the ocean, or do they try to stay close to shore so that LeBron would have an advantage there? When are they fighting? What month is it? My gut just tells me LeBron would win.”

Why is that?

“The argument I would make without knowing anything else is that we saw a very similar situation in the movie The Beach. It was Leonardo DiCaprio versus a shark, not a tiger shark. He was a medium-sized shark. But he killed him with a knife. He defeated him. If Leonardo DiCaprio can kill a shark with a knife, then I have to believe LeBron James could, too.”

 

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Calendar

September 2018

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More than 20 speakers in a one-track session designed for the digital marketing professional, marketer, business owner or anyone interested in branding, PR, advertising, social media, SEO, search,...

Cost: $250

Where:
Tower Theatre
425 NW 23rd St
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
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Sponsor: BigWing
Telephone: 405.475.4185
Contact Name: Janelle Archer
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This year will mark the eighth time the John F. Kennedy Awards have been celebrated, honoring individuals making a significant contribution to Oklahoma, its communities and its people, while paying...

Cost: $300

Where:
Skirvin Hilton Hotel
1 Park Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
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Sponsor: Santa Fe Family Life Center
Telephone: 405-840-1817
Contact Name: James Timberlake
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More than 20 speakers in a one-track session designed for the digital marketing professional, marketer, business owner or anyone interested in branding, PR, advertising, social media, SEO, search,...

Cost: $250

Where:
Tower Theatre
425 NW 23rd St
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: BigWing
Telephone: 405.475.4185
Contact Name: Janelle Archer
Website »

More information

Price Tower Art Gallery in Bartlesville will host Women Artists of the West's 48th annual juried art exhibition, featuring over 200 original art works, created by women in all mediums, subjects...

Cost: Free 2018-09-21,22,23

Where:
Price Tower Art Gallery
510 S. Dewey Ave.
Bartlesville, OK  74003
View map »


Sponsor: Price Tower Arts Center
Telephone: 918.336.4949
Contact Name: Angelina Bourgou
Website »

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Escape the ordinary, and learn about OKC from a different point of view. Relax in the climate controlled cabin on one of our 65’ cruisers, or enjoy the breeze on the viewing deck and listen...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

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A fabulous art auction to raise money to help support Oklahoma A+ Schools at UCO.

Cost: $100

Where:
CHK|Central Boathouse
732 Riversport Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73129
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Sponsor: Oklahoma A+ Schools at UCO
Telephone: 405.974.3791
Contact Name: Heather Bryant
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The evening Cocktail Cruise offers stunning views of the downtown skyline, the Boathouse District and Finish Line Tower, the Wheeler Ferris wheel and quite possibly an amazing Oklahoma sunset. Come...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

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Join supporters in communities across the nation for the St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. This family-friendly event raises funds to support the...

Cost: $10 for adults or children six and older

Where:
Stars and Stripes Park
3701 S. Lake Hefner Drive
Oklahoma City , OK  73116
View map »


Telephone: 405.403.7762
Contact Name: Emily Drover
Website »

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Let’s end childhood cancer. Together! This September, supporters across the country will unite to participate in the St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer, an exciting, family-friendly...

Cost: $10 for Registration

Where:
Stars and Stripes Park
3701 S Lake Hefner Dr
Oklahoma City, OK  73116
View map »


Sponsor: ALSAC St. Jude Oklahoma City
Telephone: 405.403.7762
Contact Name: Emily Drover
Website »

More information

Price Tower Art Gallery in Bartlesville will host Women Artists of the West's 48th annual juried art exhibition, featuring over 200 original art works, created by women in all mediums, subjects...

Cost: Free 2018-09-21,22,23

Where:
Price Tower Art Gallery
510 S. Dewey Ave.
Bartlesville, OK  74003
View map »


Sponsor: Price Tower Arts Center
Telephone: 918.336.4949
Contact Name: Angelina Bourgou
Website »

More information

Escape the ordinary, and learn about OKC from a different point of view. Relax in the climate controlled cabin on one of our 65’ cruisers, or enjoy the breeze on the viewing deck and listen...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

More information

The evening Cocktail Cruise offers stunning views of the downtown skyline, the Boathouse District and Finish Line Tower, the Wheeler Ferris wheel and quite possibly an amazing Oklahoma sunset. Come...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

More information

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