1. What is your living situation?
I live in a one-story bungalow on the east part of town, in a neighborhood that used to be the suburbs back in the late 1950s.
My family consists of me, my wife, and my young son, Rocco. We have two cats, two cars, and a bocce court in my backyard. A few years ago we sprang for a piano, which is something I’ve always wanted to have in my home.
2. What are the particular challenges of your life?
The biggest challenge for me has to be that there is not enough time in the day for me to accomplish all of my goals. I want to go back to school, pursue my artistic endeavors, play with my son, write another book, travel, work out, and maintain this blog. Before I know it, though, the day is over and I have not accomplished half of what I wanted to do. I find that I have to prioritize my desires, and something always has to be cut out.
3. What is your favorite family activity?
Without a doubt, my favorite family activity is watching Steelers games on Sundays. We don’t just watch the game—it's more like a mini-reunion for the Brame family. Everybody shows up—parents, brothers, wives, children—and we have a big party. There’s a lot of food and people talking and hanging out together. The game is important (you’d better believe it’s important!) but what really lasts are the memories of us all in the same place, enjoying one another’s company.
4. What is your favorite solo activity?
I love to read. That may not be the most exciting answer to this question, but it’s the truth. I’m always in the middle of a book (currently, it’s Child of God by Cormac McCarthy), and whenever I have the day to myself I reach immediately for a novel or magazine. Aside from that, I like playing my guitar really loud or pounding on my piano.
5. Who or what inspires you most in your life?
I am inspired by my friends, who are all very talented and hard-working people. I’m inspired by people who take time in their lives to be creative and artistic, even though these activities take up a lot of time and rarely pay. Musicians, photographers, writers, actors, and singers inspire me, and I am lucky enough to know people who are all of these things. When I see my friends being creative, I feel inspiration to get to work myself.
6. What are some talents you would like to develop as you get older?
I would like to be better at meeting new people. Sometimes I engage myself in solitary activities at home or at work, and shy away from getting out and talking to others. Also, I’ve always felt inadequate because I’m terrible at chess. I’d like to get better at that. There are languages I’d like to learn. My bowling game needs some attention.
7. What makes you different from most other people your age?
Many people my age share certain values. We’re raising families, getting ahead in our careers, and getting our yards to look nice. (I never know how much pressure there was to have a nice-looking yard!) But what separates me from other people my age is that I am still working on my education. I got my teacher's license in December and now I’m looking forward to getting my masters degree. On Mondays I take a class in Greek at the Greek church in town. And I’m always reading.
8. What would you like the rest of the world to know about you?
One of George Saunders’ characters said that, even though he made a lot of mistakes and flubbed up some things in his life, he was proud because he reduced the amount of misery in the world. (He said it with a lot more grace than my paraphrase, but work with me on that.) I’ve decided to make that my goal. No matter what I do every day, and whatever mistakes I make, I’m trying to reduce the amount of misery in the world.