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The Kicker

Even the best whiskys may, at times, need a chaser, just as the fine writing here on The Transcendental Dram could occasionally benefit from a little kick of the female point of view. That’s where I come in, the TD Kicker. When I’m not sitting here at my desk writing beneath a photograph of favorite poet and marathon whisky-drinker Dylan Thomas’s sun-dappled writing cottage in Swansea, Wales, I like to kick things. Hard. And repeatedly.

I follow sports, especially pugilism, and, five days a week, I climb into the squared circle to practice the art of muay thai kickboxing. My dream would be to have Teddy Atlas follow me around every day with a spit bucket, an ice pack and a pep talk, keeping my head in the game as I bob and weave my way through modern life.

For the past 27 years, I’ve lived in the historically Irish neighborhood we long-term residents still call Hell’s Kitchen, despite the best efforts of real estate developers to rechristen us “Clinton.” (As if.) My husband, an actor and blues guitar player, and I live in a brownstone stocked with colorful characters, including one of the original members of the famously brutal Westies street gang, who is also our dog Robedeaux’s adopted uncle and best buddy.

I listen to the blues, read voraciously, love history, vote Democrat, and want to know the story behind everything. I tolerate high heels, but I prefer combat boots, and if I happen to earn a black eye in training, I wear it proudly with my little black dress. (FYI: The last black eye I earned was in yoga. I punched myself in the face. Hence the transition to kickboxing.)

When the gentlemen of The Transcendental Dram invited me to contribute a column to their site, I jumped at the opportunity, because they are experts, and I love to hang out with experts in pretty much any field. Experts are insatiably curious people, and curious people tend to do things consciously, whether it be drinking whisky, watching movies, appreciating screen sirens, looking at photographs or tracking down the truth about blues legend Robert Johnson selling his soul to the devil. I look forward to hearing their stories and sharing mine with you.

Under the category “Write of Passage”, I intend to write about whatever irritates or intrigues me at the moment, from the Sky Ceiling at New York’s Grand Central Station to reading Hemingway for the first time as I prepare to visit Key West (yes, I confess I never have…) and anything else that strikes a chord. Under “Good Wilda Hunting” – “Wilda” means “untamed” – I will report on the adventures I seem to fall into, from a mud-covered obstacle course race to a pole dancing class that gave me flashbacks to climbing the rope in elementary school gym, swimming in the Hudson (maybe) or testifying in front of the State Liquor Authority (three times). And, finally, I plan to educate myself in the fine art of whisky drinking. “My” bartender is out there somewhere. Adventures in fine living await. So much to learn. So many stories to be told. What a kick.

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About Author

Leslie an Emmy Award and two-time Writers Guild Award winning scriptwriter and she is a Muay Thai kickboxing student. Her essay collection, How to Kiss Like a Movie Star, will be published by Greenpoint Press next year. She is an actress who turned her experience playing Erica Kane's prison guard on All My Children into the one-woman show, Guarding Erica, which is anthologized in Talk to Me: Monologue Plays (Vintage Press). Her work has been published in the New York Times, O Magazine, and Salon.com.