Yo what up, it's 5 in the morning here, snowy. I'm down in the basement working on the 2nd FOUND book and listening to the 2nd 8 Mile soundtrack (More Music from 8 Mile). Just to explain real quick, FOUND is a collection of notes and letters and shit that folks have found on the ground, on the sidewalk, the street, the floor of the city bus, the bowling alley parking lot, prison yards, beaches, etc., and sent in to me and my friend Jason. I'm pleased with the page I just put together. A guy named Mike Smith walked a few thousand miles on a charity hike and found lots of incredible stuff and sent it to me — this is maybe my favorite, this '60s or '70s-lookin' greeting card he found in an abandoned house in Alabama. On the outside it's printed, AIN'T DOIN' NOTHIN'... and then on the inside — ...BUT THINKIN' OF YOU. Then the message written inside is this:
Hi Kids, I am always thinking of you and praying for you. Mommy will certainly have to account to Jehovah for not taking you to the meetings. There is no excuse. Also if you stay there and do not go to meetings or out in service you will surely lose your lives at Armageddon. I love you and want you to live. Do not listen to excuses. They are from Satan. I am anxious to see you. It won't be long now. Love always, Daddy (your only)
Hahahaha, funny shit, huh? Apparently, the old, broken-down house where Mike Smith found this card was totally ripped apart — there were stuffed animals with their innards strewn all over the floor, food mashed into the carpet, a real mess. Mike thought maybe this Jehovah's Witness dad had come and done a number on his family. Or maybe it was merely Satan's work.
Last week, I was in Kansas City, visiting my friend Byron. Byron is a voracious reader. The three magazines he subscribes to at Crossroads Correctional Facility are the New Yorker, Wired, and Juxtapoz. It got me thinking about which three magazines I would subscribe to if I were locked up. Probably the New Yorker, SLAM, and the Sun, same ones I subscribe to now. Byron and I also got to talking about our favorite books. He's about the most well-read guy I know. He's exhausted the library at his prison the same way I always seem to exhaust the artsy/indie video store in any city I live in. Byron's always looking for suggestions for new books he hasn't read and I came up with five for him. I thought this week, on this Powell's blog, I'd mention one each day.
There's a guy named Dean Bakopoulos who wrote an amazing novel called Please Don't Come Back from the Moon, it just came out this year, and the New York Times called it one of the Best 100 Books of the Year. It's actually the best book of the year. It's about Detroit, it's about fathers and sons, it's about growing up, all that shit. It's really beautiful. Dean also just wrote a great article for the L.A. Times trying to wake people up to the dire straits that Michigan is in right now with all the auto plants closing down. Anyway, if you are from Michigan, or have any family that's worked in an auto plant, or hell, if you've ever even driven a car, you should check out this book. The prison won't allow anyone to send Byron any full-on books, but I can send him up to ten photocopied pages at a time, so I'm going to send this book to him in little increments. If you are reading this and you are not in prison, you're lucky, you can just get the whole actual book from Powell's.
Okay, I better get back to work. I have four weeks to finish this FOUND book. If you are sitting on any fantastic finds, send them to me immediately!
attn: Davy Rothbart / Urgent last-minute submissions
3455 Charing Cross Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48108-1911
Peace out for now y'all.
Books mentioned in this post
Davy Rothbart is the author of Found II: More of the Best Lost, Tossed, and Forgotten Items from Around the World