My 10th-grade creative writing teacher, Bob Maloney, would write notes in red ink on the top of my papers that always had the same message. Your writing is special. Your writing is daring. Learn to punctuate and avoid run-on sentences. Continue to spill your thoughts and tears onto the page. I believed him when he told me my writing was special. So, for 37 years now, I have considered myself a writer.

 

The Men of TTB is a series where we focus on some of the men who helped get The Tattooed Buddha off and running and also continue to keep it growing! We sent out a few interview questions to some of these writers and artists so that we could find out more about them and highlight their many talents! We recently ran the series The Women of TTB if you’d like to see more of these amazing writers!

Tell me a little about yourself. Where do you live? What is your living arrangement like?

My name is Louis De Lauro. My friends call me Lou. My family calls me Louis. I live in a rural county in densely populated New Jersey with my amazing wife and talented daughter. My county is proof that New Jersey is still the garden state. Horse farms and Alpaca farms make every drive scenic. We grow the best tomatoes and corn in the northeast.

How did you get into the arts/writing?

I can’t draw, paint, dance, or sing, but I have always been an artist. A long time ago I was a professional juggler and a juggling instructor. Most modern jugglers are much better than me, but I can juggle four balls well and throw and catch five beanbags in the air for a few seconds. I can pass clubs, and do a handful of unique circus tricks too. I am also a chess coach and I love to play strategic games. Yes, a great game of chess is art.

I grew up in the colorful 80s. I had funny new wave haircuts. I wore oversized clothes. I loved the Clash, The Cure, and Ska music. I loved growing up in the 80s.

My 10th-grade creative writing teacher, Bob Maloney, would write notes in red ink on the top of my papers that always had the same message. Your writing is special. Your writing is daring. Learn to punctuate and avoid run-on sentences. Continue to spill your thoughts and tears onto the page. I believed him when he told me my writing was special. So, for 37 years now, I have considered myself a writer.

Do you meditate? What is your practice like?

Yes. I meditate for 30-60 seconds a time. I close my eyes and focus on breathing. I also believe repetition is meditation and I enjoy repetitive activities. So juggling is meditation. Hitting a tennis ball is mediation. Shadowboxing is meditation. I am a great shadowboxer, but fortunately, I have never entered the ring.

How did you get into meditation?

I read books about Buddhism in my 20’s and 30’s. I am 52 now. When I was younger, I tried to meditate for 30-60 minutes at a time, but I couldn’t do it. I realized 30-60 seconds was my sweet spot. 30 seconds of meditation benefits me. I will meditate for 30 seconds five or six times most days.

Do you identify with any specific spirituality? If so, how did that happen for you? What spirituality were you raised in?

I was raised Catholic. When I was a child I liked reading about the good work of the Catholic saints. I liked the charity work I did at my church. I discovered Buddhism because as much as I liked Catholicism, I did not accept the divinity of Jesus and wanted a religion or life philosophy that was based in practice and improvement, not worship. I like the teachings of Jesus and I am glad I grew up Catholic. Today I favor the teachings of Buddha. I especially like the Eightfold Path to enlightenment. I try to practice this path daily. In other words, I fail at practicing this path daily.

The steps of the Noble Eightfold Path are Right Understanding, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, and Right Concentration.

What are your goals in life? What do you hope to do some day? Do you have a bucket list?

My bucket list exists. I have accomplished about 95 percent of the things I wanted to do. Some of the most interesting bucket list items that I have accomplished include.

Marrying a person who makes me laugh.

Traveling to Italy with my wife.

Traveling to Russia with my Dad.

Enjoying cappuccino and cookies with my Italian-American parents as often as possible.

Performing on stage.

Making a positive impact on the lives of my students.

Coaching chess. Four of my middle school chess teams have won state championships!

Winning a Teacher of the Year Award.

Getting published in several publications.

What is still on the list? 

I want to help my daughter get into a great college and guide her to be the best person she can be.

I would like to travel more with my wife. We have been married for 25 years and when the pandemic is over, I hope we can travel again. And laugh more. She is a very funny person. I will try to be funnier as I get older.

When the pandemic is over. I would like to hug all of my friends and family as much as possible. I am going to give a few of my closest friends uncomfortable bear hugs.

I have written two unpublished books. I would like to publish my non-fiction book, titled January Fever, about a charitable man who was very gifted and died too young.

I would like to live to 82. I want to see what the world looks like 30 years from now. And there is more that I hope to do.

What do you do for a living?

I am a teacher. I teach 7th and 8th grade writing at an amazing private school for students who struggle with anxiety and other issues. I love teaching. I love my students. And I love my school!

I taught for 25 years at three different public schools. I retired from public school because I wanted to explore new possibilities. I am very proud of my career. I struggled as a young teacher, but I wouldn’t change a thing.

How long have you done that?

I have been a teacher for 28 amazing years!

What is your most favorite memory?

My favorite memory is featured in a Chicken Soup for the Soul book, called The Best Mom Ever. My wife and I traveled to China in 2005 and we adopted our daughter. She was nearly 2 at the time. I can’t believe that she is 17 years old now! Grab a copy of this book on Amazon, go to page 250, and read my Soup story. It’s a short read! I think you’ll like it.

If you could meet anyone living or dead, who would it be?

I would love to back in time and spend the day with my grandfather Dominick Napoli. He died when I was two years old. He only had a 5th-grade education and was a dock worker and an amateur boxer.  In the ring, he was a knockout artist. In real life, he was kind and easy-going. I imagine a day together would bring us both great joy and a few tears.

How did you get involved with TTB? How long have you been involved with TTB?

I was writing about teaching for Pearson. I was writing about adoption for adoption magazines. I needed a publication to feature my Buddhist pieces and my pieces about love, friendship, and family. The Tattooed Buddha has now published over 20 of my blogs. My first TTB blog was published in November of 2017. The blog was titled, My Life is Awful & Amazing (And Sometimes it is Just Okay). The TTB blog that gained the most attention for me was titled, Anthony Bourdain talks with Buddhists about Life, Death, and Happiness. My favorite TTB blog is titled, My Grandmother, My Daughter, and a Flannel. 

What would you like to see TTB do in the future?

I would like to see the TTB continue to bring meaningful stories and blogs to as many people as possible. The writing in the TTB is special. Yes, I used a red font to honor my 10th-grade teacher, Bob Maloney.

Anything else you would like to add about yourself?

I don’t want to add anything. I would like to subtract a few pounds. I would also like to subtract negative thoughts. But negative thoughts come and go, so maybe I will embrace them as part of my life experience. I am eating healthy, so I am going to lose those pounds. There is more that I hope to do!

 

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