My blog: http://isthisheaven-mike.blogspot.com
I was a guest Monday on "Cover To Cover," on KPFA radio, Berkeley, with host Denny Smithson.
We talked about my newest novel, "The American Dream." You don't know how much I appreciate the opportunity. That's the big-time to me. Not that I deserve it. More that I am thankful to be given a chance. It took me thirteen years of staring out the front window at the mostly empty mailbox to get here. And when you get "here" it's a half hour on the radio, and then that's it, and I'll take it.
You can listen to the interview here, if you wish:
[See American Dream Cover: www.mikepalecek.com.]
The cover artwork was done by Keith McHenry of Taos, NM, the founder of Food Not Bombs. [firstname.lastname@example.org]
The publisher is Chuck Gregory of CWG Press of Ft. Lauderdale, Fl. [email@example.com]
It was my good fortune to bump into those guys last summer and get this project done and out there. Thanks, guys.
And just when you thought you were the only dummy on your block who believes Bush & Co. did 911 themselves:
Is This Heaven?
by Mike Palecek
But it's Iowa. And that's pretty good, too.
And it's almost noon, Iowa time. That's when the show starts. Blow that whistle. Pull those cords. Mow them lawns. Put them hamburgers on the grill. Give those cats some fresh water and bring in that wash. Rock on.
I'm not from Iowa. I'm from Nebraska. I have today off from work and I think I'll drive over to Norfolk this afternoon to visit two sisters who still live there, Donna and Rosemary. Another sister, Connie, lives in Fort Collins. We had a brother, Anthony, who died at birth in Canton, South Dakota. We drive through Canton when we go to Sioux Falls. The cemetery is up on a hill on the west edge of town. Dad and Mom couldn't afford a grave. When I heard I had a brother I was a senior in high school. I drove right there from Norfolk, with my dog. We walked all over that effing cemetery in the hot, hot sun. Couldn't find it. Then mom says when I get home, there probably wasn't one. It was a shoebox and a hole. Well, it was the best they could do. Mom said it was because of bad roads and not so great shock absorbers on the Ford, or maybe Model T, I forget what she said. It's sad. I try not to think about it so much.
Tuesday we had our protest at the four-way stop here in Sheldon.
There were three of us, Judy, Jane, me. We stood out there for an hour, in front of the new Mexican food store, across from Kum n Go, Hardee's, A&W.
Mostly we got smiles and honks and thumbs-up.
Some dumb guys hollered, but that's what dumb guys do. Give a monkey a diamond, he's going to try to eat it first, not step back to admire it.
Well. I might drive awhile and then take a nap somewhere if I don't make the three-hour drive all at once. It is a beautiful afternoon.
Can't find my billfold. That bugs me, like not having my proper papers on me.
Nope. I looked there.
It's not in the dryer either.
Well, wake me up in October. I'm going to take a month to read a few books I bought in Lawrence and Minneapolis and somewhere else on my book tour a few months ago.
When I got back in May I started typing to finish this novel that's been in the works for a while. I finished it, then I sent it out to see if I can get it published. Now I'm going over it again to polish it. That's kind of backwards. Yep.
So, I'm going to sit in a folding chair by the pond waiting for my message in a bottle to come back to me and read me some, wonder about running for Congress again, maybe whittle some, maybe see if I can figure out how to make the next book the big one. The next big thing.
The next big thing.
And then I pass the hitchhiker by, dreaming of literary glory.
That would be just like me.
I'm going to take a month and try to do better.
Thanks for letting me send you these columns. I appreciate it. I might start again in October. I might do a lot of things in October.
November's also nice and would suffice.
To see book covers, more information: www.mikepalecek.com
Killing George Bush: I like KGB because it tells the forgotten story of prisoners and conspiracy theorists and people slaughtered by Bush Sr. in Panama and women and children in jail visiting rooms and other stuff.
"Well-written and imaginative."
- Danny Schechter, one of the first CNN producers
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Publish America (December 2001)
Joe Coffee's Revolution: I like Joe Coffee because it tells the truth about the Democratic Party and about farmer revolutionaries and farm kitchen tables.
"Palecek's greatest talent lies in his ability to depict the ordinariness of life. After a few chapters of Palecek's tender attention to the characters' small lives, readers will feel the same itch for revolution that the characters give into."
- Meta Hogan, Voice Of Olympia [Olympia, WA]
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Badger Books LLC (April 2003)
Twins: I like Twins because it talks about a prison burning and about the Twin Cities, which I love, and about robbing Twin Cities banks to give the money to the poor on Hennepin Ave.
*Review by Michael Wilt, Nimble Spirit Review: http://www.nimblespirit.com/html/twins_review.html
Paperback: 332 pages
Publisher: Badger Books LLC (October 2003)
The Last Liberal Outlaw: I like Outlaw because it talks about a reporter in a small town doing what a reporter in a small town should do, pay attention to the commas and oppose the construction of the prison near town.
"Palecek is at his best when writing about small-town America ... We haven't had a writer like this since Kurt Vonnegut was at his peak."
- Chuck Gregory, All Books and Records, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: New Leaf Books (September 15, 2004)
The Truth: I like The Truth because it was written in the run-up to the current war and was written in a rage against pre-war stupidity in Iowa. I tried to stop the war with this book. I tried to expose the lies, stuff a dish towel in Tom Brokaw's mouth to keep him from lying.
"As a professional writer and editor I want to strongly second all the positive comments for this book. In addition to its fine message, its layout and Mike's real deftness with plotting make it a great reading experience, like few books I know."
- Phil Hey, Professor of English & Writing, Briar Cliff University, Sioux City, Iowa
Publisher: New Hampshire Writers Collective
Looking For Bigfoot: I like Bigfoot because I think there is a Bigfoot and I think Bush did 9/11 and I think the CIA killed the Kennedy's, and I like baseball, a lot.
Publisher: Howling Dog Pr (November 30, 2005)
"Mike Palecek poses powerful questions. He has constructed a masterpiece in this novel. It deserves to be read. It's exhilarating and terrifying. It's realer than real."
- January Magazine
Terror Nation: I like Terror Nation because I think it would be cool to be a small town sports reporter who was put into the local mental institution for writing anti-Bush letters to the editor. And a dream of mine would be to cover Iowa sports or coach baseball and have that be good enough.
"If you haven't heard of Mike Palecek, you should have."
- Karris Golden, Waterloo-Cedar Falls [IA] Courier
"Palecek is ... a natural - or highly practiced - writer. With his rolling rhythms, everything he writes, even Charlie Johnson's brutal confinement, goes down easy."
- Russ Wellen, Intervention Magazine
Paperback: 496 pages
Publisher: Mainstay Press (April 4, 2006)
The American Dream: I like The American Dream because it's like punching America in the nose, it's like punching George W. Bush in the nose and Karl Rove in the nose. And I think those two pussies need to be punched in the nose. And it punches those ministers with American flags and dead children on their altar, and it punches my neighbor right square in the kisser for mowing his lawn and worrying about his damn lawn while we are killing children in Iraq.
Publisher: CWG Press
"Palecek is fearless, skewering religious extremism, political right wing fundamentalism, gung-ho patriotism and the use of fear to play upon the innocent...and ignorant. And it works. I finished the book in one night...but it's been in my brain ever since, like a song that won't go away...haunting."
- Marie Jones, Book Ideas