Next week Michael Martone makes another visit back to his hometown, and as is often the case, he comes with a new book to share. But this trip will also feature a visit to his alma mater, North Side High School, which will be honoring the author as one of the school's Distinguished Alumni. Like the school's new team name, the Legends, Martone is most certainly one himself, not only at his former school but also in Fort Wayne.
Following his honor at North Side on the morning of June 16, Martone will also visit Hyde Brothers and his friend Julia Meek when the bookstore hosts a book signing from 5-7 p.m. Light refreshments will be served, and the public is welcome to visit Martone as he signs copies of his book Brooding: Arias, Choruses, Lullabies, Follies, Dirges and a Duet. The collection of essays mines familiar territory for those who are familiar with Martone's work, but he feels the title reveals a bit about his approach to the work.
"Those who write prose emphasize either a narrative or storytelling approach or more of a lyrical approach. While the essays here are all different, they are definitely more lyrical than narrative in style."
The sense of brooding is also interesting, since Martone uses the story of an emerging cicada brood in upstate New York as a metaphor for computer browsers. While now we all use Google regularly, Martone ponders the now-defunct search engines of the early days of browsers - Alta Vista, Netscape, et al - and how we have seen our own 17-year cycle of change on the technology front. He also transformed his own social media posts as his parents were dying into essays for the collection. His next book, set for release in the fall, will likely bring him back home once again with something altogether different.
"My next book is The Moon over Wapakoneta: Fictions and Science Fictions from Indiana. The idea behind that is that nothing happens in Indiana now, and nothing happens in Indiana in the future either."
Although Martone is now settled in Alabama, he has clearly not left Indiana behind. And it's nice to know that Indiana appreciates and honors one of their most fascinating ex pats.