Alan Ziegler started writing after being rejected from his grade-school choir. His memoir, in the form of ninety-nine very short stories, is an album of the poet’s half-century of life, pursued with charm, heart, and spontaneity, across New York City’s five boroughs. The hallmarks of Ziegler’s style are reflective irony, simplicity, kindness, and humor. His prose recalls the tone of Joni Mitchell’s 1971 album, Blue. The variegated nimbleness and sudden nuances of Mitchell’s guitar work counterpointing the expressively wide range of her voice produced an intimate confessional. Ziegler’s rhythmic patterning of imagery and narrative recalls folk music’s transformations into higher musical art:
It is Robert, distraught. He has had a fight with his girlfriend and walked out. Can he stay with me? Sure, I say, and put on some tea. I really don’t want to deal with this, but you don’t turn the lovelorn away from your door.