“I try to tell the truth,” says Frankie Leone, a local writer.
I personally have a different approach; I like to play with the truth, distort and regurgitate it, that’s what I love about fiction writing but Frankie believes otherwise. He says: “The truth is really elusive, I think, and that’s what I try to find in my writing.”
I discovered a piece of fiction on FreeWilliamsburg last week, entitled “Ponce Funeral Home.” Intrigued by the title I clicked the link and was taken to a website with an online-book-look to it. After reading the four-page short story, I had to read more. The great thing about the Facebook-era is that I was able to find the author of this enigmatic piece of writing in five minutes, and also other works of his. One of those stories “Christ on Kent Avenue,” turns a trivial event into something big and alluring, which shows skills crucial to good writing. “[It shows] how you can turn someone, even a stranger into an idea or symbol.” Frankie uses his own poetic justice, which can be a little shaky at times, but the raw emotions are evident, he places himself completely into his work. “I am the narrator of the stories; I don’t know how to write from other people’s perspectives. When I started seriously writing I wrote a lot about my experiences…I write about meaningful connections with other people, and more often than not, they tend to be with women.”
I met Frankie in his usual hang-out: The Black Bird Cafe, where he goes to get his creative juices flowing. I wanted to get to know a little bit more than the usual Name, Age, Relationship Status and Religious Views that Facebook gives us. When with him in his usual habitat, I found him to be a little more guarded than I had thought he’d be. His writings bare all, they are the raw descriptions of the life he is experiencing and because of that I thought the real life counterpart would be the same. He gave me just enough information to write about, not the complicated undertones I expected. When asked to describe himself a little, he replied; “I’m a narcissist that desperately wants not to be one. That’s who I am. Sometimes I tell the people the truth about myself. That’s why I think the people that listen to me do. I don’t have use for social inhibitions. They’re a tragic waste of time.” I found that he would touch the surface, but never really delve into the depths of an answer, giving me rather confusing responses. But what more can I expect from an artistic writer, with a hipster-matic flare that I had only just met.
Frankie’s aspirations to become a writer, stem from his mother, who he reveals was a well-respected journalist. Those aspirations have taken him to Craig’s List and more localised, the Missed Connections page, however, at first he never even signed his name. “It wasn’t really about myself as a writer. I really liked reading people’s responses, especially when I had something nice to say.” For someone with a rather unique, yet familiar way with words, I would have thought the sky to be the limit, yet I got the feeling Frankie is quite content with posting his poetically worded ramblings online and “moving other people’s shit.” Maybe he is able to be a man-with-van, when he has to be, to be able to be faithful to his writing, so as to not sell himself short. Maybe there is some truth in that.