November 28, 2012

Thank You Michael Perry

Thank You Michael Perry

Taped on the inside of my notebook--my motivation.

I would like to talk to you about a video I linked at the bottom of this post. It's an interview with author Michael Perry. It's about his new book Visiting Tom. I feel strongly about acknowledging the role Michael Perry has played in my life, and in my desire to write. Whether you know me personally or only via your visit(s) here at Raining Iguanas please do yourself a favor and take the time to see the piece. Grab a cup of coffee, turn the television off, and see what I see. When I first stumbled upon Mike's book, Population: #485 - Meeting Your Neighbors One Siren At A Time, it was like finding a hidden door that opens up to a world you had been searching for all your life. The parallels of Mike's life growing up in rural America to my own is what hooked me. What dragged me into the boat was the courage he had to keep penning his way to the life he was drawn to create. Mike equates his writing career to cleaning calf pens-"just keep shoveling, and eventually you've got a pile so big, someone will notice." From the moment I first read that quote I was hooked. I used the few small pieces I had submitted locally as kindling wood to start a fire that keeps burning brighter each day. Getting the opportunity to meet him at a book signing some months later was like hitting that campfire with a generous squirt of lighter fluid. Since that day I have been blessed with the support and encouragement of author Jon Katz and my Hubbard Hall Writing Group. I will refer to that lottery win as Stage #2.
There are two specific things that draw me to Mike's writing. One is the style in which he writes. It speaks to me so easily. It flows as sweet and smooth as, "a tipped pitcher of warm maple syrup." The second is how genuine Mike is. It beams from his writing and spoken word. He knows exactly who he is and he has no intentions of trying to portray anything different. It doesn't get any simpler than that. It's what gives me the courage and determination to tackle uncomfortable or unfamiliar ground in my search for more out of life. I may get nervous about entering a new venue, but I keep telling myself--to be myself. It's not that I don't care whether you like me or not, because I do. I think we lie when we say otherwise. The truth is, I can't function unless I am being myself. It's too difficult to pretend. I don't write this because I think you are that interested in my story. I do want you to read it so you too might have an 'ah ha' moment that ignites a fire. I have a long way to go--I hope. I am smart enough to know the limits of my talent. I am also dumb enough to keep forging ahead regardless. As long as the pen has ink and there is a pencil left in the junk drawer, I will be here, or there. What I won't be is fermenting. I plan to keep showing up at work until the prox-card beeps red. I plan to remain the annoying husband who forgets where he leaves things. I will continue to photograph, write, tell stories, and compose an eighth grade level line or two of poetry but I will do it for me, in hopes it will do something for you. Thank you Michael Perry, I wish you much success. You have already placed a platter of it on my picnic table.

Mike is the young guy on the left holding his book, Truck: A Love Story. 


  1. Hey, that Mike guy is my kind of folk. As I travel the back country roads here in Kentucky I meet many folks that are just "salt of the earth" types. Our conversations are priceless. Enjoy your posts -- barbara

    1. I appreciate your comments and visits. Based on your blog I think you would enjoy his books, especially if you come from or lived in a farming or country background.