Fort Wayne native and noted author Michael Martone will sign copies of his latest book Saturday at Hyde Brothers, Booksellers
When Fort Wayne native and author Michael Martone thought about Coliseum Boulevard, he realized “my life is sort of out there on that stretch of road.”
His parents’ last house was just inside Coliseum, also known as “the bypass.” When young, he worked at Glenbrook Square mall and Georgetown Square shopping center, both of which are near the bypass. And his parents, longtime community leaders Patty and Tony Martone, now are buried in a cemetery near the bypass.
He explored his connection to “the bypass” in a series of essays for Fort Wayne Magazine, which is published by Fort Wayne Newspapers. Those articles now are part of a new book of his essays, “Brooding: Arias, Choruses, Lullabies, Follies, Dirges and a Duet,” which was published in March.
Martone will meet people and sign copies of the book during a book signing from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday at Hyde Brothers, Booksellers, at 1428 Wells St.
Martone also will be one of six North Side High School graduates honored that morning at the North Side High School Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumni Breakfast.
His essays involving the bypass are just one section of Martone’s works in “Brooding,” which was published by the University of Georgia Press as part of its Crux series in literary nonfiction.
The Crux series seems to highlight experimental, edgy and different writing, which is what he’s been doing all of his career, Martone said during a recent phone interview with News-Sentinel.com.
He writes along with teaching as a professor of English at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Throughout his career, Martone said he has explored the idea of writing prose that maintains the lyrical nature of poetry, the latter of which is one of his other loves.
The essays in “Brooding” also probe what writers can do with new technologies, such as Twitter and Facebook, and how it can impact writing, he said.
For example, one essay was written entirely as tweets on Twitter. He also used Facebook to write essays on his mother’s death in July 2012 and then his father’s passing in April 2014.
Martone salutes his parents in the book’s dedication: “These are for Mother and Dad, more or less.” The words are a play on the beginning — “All this happened, more or less” — of “Slaughterhouse-Five,” by author Kurt Vonnegut, whose work Michael Martone admires.
The cover of “Brooding” also honors a Martone family tradition — carrying a Thermos to work. Martone collects Thermos bottles, and the ones on the book cover are ones he collected from his father and male relatives.
During his sabbatical from teaching last spring, and he completed a few other book projects:
• He hopes to be promoting “The Moon Over Wapakoneta: Fictions and Science Fictions from Indiana and Beyond” during an Indiana book tour this fall.
“Kind of the underlying theme is not much happens now (here) and not much will happen in the future, but it will be neater,” he said.
The tales are based around the idea that a Fort Wayne teen drives over to Wapakoneta, Ohio, to get a beer, where the drinking age was lower, and he looks up at the moon, Martone said.
One of the stories is titled “Amish in Space,” he said. In the book, the only people still farming on Earth are the Old Order Amish. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) officials come to the Amish to ask them to go to another planet to bring farming there.
In another story, aliens decide that, rather than capturing humans to analyze them, they can be more successful in probing human makeup if they become doctors performing colonoscopies.
“One of my favorite stories of all time,” he said.
• A sequel to “Winesburg, Indiana,” which contained one or two-page biographies of fictional people living in the fictional town “that time forgot in an industrial sense,” he said. He also invited other writers to contribute bios for the original book.
He since has written 150 or more bios of fictional residents, he said.
• “The Complete Writings of Art Smith, the Bird Boy of Fort Wayne” focuses around the renowned local aviator, who also was a pioneer in the realm of skywriting.
Martone said his book includes some factual history about Smith, but it also features the author’s fictional chronicle of skywriting messages he attributes to Smith.
Pieces of the book have been published already in online publications, such as “Always Crashing” at https://www.alwayscrashing.com.
“When you are a creative writer, you are not making things up like God,” Martone said. “… You take the things that people overlook or gloss over and say, ‘This is interesting.'”
WHAT: Author Michael Martone, a Fort Wayne native, will sign copies of his latest book, “Brooding: Arias, Choruses, Lullabies, Follies, Dirges and a Duet.”
WHEN: 5-7 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Hyde Brothers, Booksellers, 1428 Wells St.