Saturday, October 22nd, 2011
As my book, HERE COMES TROUBLE, wraps up its third god-awfully awesome week on the New York Times bestseller list, and tens of thousands of you have now read it or are reading it, I'd like to take this moment to first thank you for buying it, borrowing it, or stealing it -- however you acquired it, I'm just happy you've got it. I poured months -- years -- of my life into this work and it means the world to me that I get to share these stories with you. I have kept most of them "inside" for decades, waiting until I was ready to write them down and share them with you. Now is that time.
And the response has bowled me over, to say the least. Many have written about how deeply affected they've been by this book. Others have told me how much they've laughed out loud while reading it. Some of you have written to tell me your own stories. I am honored that you would share your writing and your life with me. Thank you.
If you haven't had a chance to pick up a copy of HERE COMES TROUBLE, I hope you do. It is, as both I and the New York Times have said, my best book to date. It is unlike anything I have written before. I think most of you will be pleased -- and perhaps surprised. These two dozen short stories from my life (the life I lived before I made movies) will not only let you in on how the hell I turned out this way, but they will, most importantly, give you a goodly number of hours of (I believe) very satisfying reading pleasure and enjoyment.
This book also acts as a way for me to tell a piece of American history (1954-1989) through the life of a kid raised in a factory worker's family, a child who grows up during a time of post-World War II working class prosperity -- but it was a prosperity that had its dark side, one that would lead to a country numbed with despair and nearly destroyed by those who just couldn't get enough.
Here's a sample of what you'll find in HERE COMES TROUBLE:
• The story of how, in 1986, I snuck into a private meeting that was organized by the Reagan administration to literally plot the moving of factories and jobs overseas and south of the border ("I was there. I was a witness to the murder of the American Dream.");
• The story of how a police raid on my alternative newspaper, The Flint Voice (a raid in which the police, upon orders of the mayor, seized files in an attempt to arrest the source of a story on the mayor), helped lead to a law passed by Congress to prohibit police searches of newsrooms;
• The story of how my Catholic priest confessed to me some forty years later that he was the chaplain who personally blessed the bombs on the mornings they were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki;
• The stories of my encounters in my youth with Bobby Kennedy, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan;
• The story of how I planned my escape to Canada should I be sent to Vietnam;
• The inside scoop on the only two dates I had in high school!
Over the next few weeks and months, I'd like to tell you more about all this, the stories behind the stories, and to hear your reactions to them. I'd love to answer any questions you have and discuss how, though these are stories from "the past," they relate very much to what we are all going through these days (except the dating story -- don't ask me about that). I'll be writing to you more often. I'm going to hold some online chats, and have some twisted Twitter contests. (If you're not on Twitter, please join even if just to get my daily 140-character rants! I now live on Twitter whenever I'm not playing Angry Birds.) I will even be reading you some "bedtime stories" from the book, live online each week. Think of it as a sort of virtual HERE COMES TROUBLE Book Club. Everyone's a member!
Meanwhile, the Trouble Tour continues across the country. Over the next few weeks I'll be visiting Chicago, Denver, Miami, Houston, White Plains, Oakland, Palo Alto, Nevada City, San Diego, Storrs, and a special Halloween party in Portland, OR! There's also going to be some big community-wide events in Flint, Traverse City and other towns in Michigan. Details will be posted on my website.
Finally, as you know, I have been very active in the Occupy Wall Street movement for the past month. To say that I am thrilled with how fast this has spread across the country would be an understatement. That 59% of the U.S. (according to the latest poll) is already in support of the Occupy movement is the most heartening thing I have witnessed in a very long time. I've been spending all the time given to me on TV during this book tour not talking about the book, but about the protests against Wall Street. I know of no other cause in my lifetime that has exploded this fast and achieved majority support this quickly. There is much more to be done, and I invite and encourage every single one of you to do what you can to "Occupy" your towns so that the message is heard loud and clear by the banks and corporations: "This is OUR country, WE are the people -- and a corporation is not a person." The richest 400 Americans having more than 150 million Americans combined is not only immoral and undemocratic, it is an act of violence. It kills people, here and abroad. Whether it's the $2 billion a week we throw away on the U.S. war in Afghanistan, or the 45,000 Americans who die every year because they lack adequate health insurance, the days of Greed are going to come to an end because The People have had it. (Each day I am posting on my website the latest Occupy Wall Street news, ideas and video plus my in-person participation and first-hand accounts down on Wall Street. I also provide breaking news updates on Twitter.)
That's it for today. Read the book! You won't regret it. You WILL like it! And you will be able to participate in my online Book Club! By Thanksgiving, you'll be able to tell your conservative brother-in-law everything he didn't want to know about my childhood!
Talk to you tomorrow ...