A boy grows up just outside of Detroit, Michigan. All he wants is to be a boy who plays hockey (a goalie, no less), likes to box (under the influence of Joe Louis and Sugar Ray Robinson), learns to play jazz piano (under the influence of Art Tatum and Nat “King” Cole), and perhaps find a genuine girlfriend—but he is inundated, imposed upon—to his mind—by stories his parents tell of illustrious ancestors, with the implication that he has much to “live up to.” Swamped with tales of ancestors who go back to 17th century New England and Middlesex County, Virginia—Civil War heroes on both sides (Southern and “Yankee”), notable authors who wrote praiseworthy memoirs and hobnobbed with Mark Twain and Walt Whitman—it would take this boy a number of years to “reconcile discordant elements.”
The Inherited Heart: An American Memoir tells the story of that endeavor, directly, up to the age of nineteen, and indirectly—through simultaneous narration or “robbed time”—throughout a lifetime. The book tells the tale of many meaningful, invaluable discoveries made along the way. It’s a “trip,” an adventure, described in the author’s lucid, playful and purposeful prose—a book that will appeal to everyone with a family (which is all of us!), those interested in American history, American humor, boyhood adventures, adolescent agony, or just those who enjoy storytelling at its best. The book suggests that we are each linked, through inheritance, by all that surrounds us, to an extended family we may learn to love.
8.5×5.5 • 432 pages • $12.14
William Minor was originally trained as a visual artist (Pratt Institute and U.C.-Berkeley), and exhibited woodcut prints and paintings at the San Francisco Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Honolulu Museum of Art, the Smithsonian Institution, and other museums and galleries. His woodcut prints incorporated the text of Russian, Modern Greek, and Japanese poetry–which he also translated. Attracted by the “multimedia” work of William Blake, e.e. cummings, Kenneth Patchen and Shiko Munakata (and the voice of Dylan Thomas)} he began to write poetry as a graduate student in Language Arts at San Francisco State, producing his first book containing poems and woodcut prints, Pacific Grove, in 1974. Bill has, since that time, published five more books of poetry: For Women Missing or Dead, Goat Pan, Natural Counterpoint (with Paul Oehler), Poet Santa Cruz: Number 4, and Some Grand Dust (Chatoyant Press), for which he was a finalist for the Benjamin Franklin Award. His poetry has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, as has his short fiction—-which was selected for inclusion in Best Little Magazine Fiction (NYU Press) and The Colorado Quarterly Centennial Edition. A one-act play, Contacts, was performed at Monterey Peninsula College in California, and then published in The Bellingham Review. A jazz writer with over 150 articles to his credit, Bill has also published three books on music: Unzipped Souls: A Jazz Journey Through the Soviet Union (Temple University Press), Monterey Jazz Festival: Forty Legendary Years (Angel City Press; Bill served as scriptwriter for the Warner Bros. film documentary based on the latter, same title as book), and Jazz Journeys to Japan: The Heart Within (University of Michigan Press). A professional musician since the age of sixteen, Bill set poems from For Women Missing or Dead to music and recorded a CD–Bill Minor & Friends (on which he plays piano, tenor guitar, and sings). A second CD, Mortality Suite, offers original poems and music. Bill was also commissioned by the Historic Sandusky Foundation to write a suite of original music and voice script based on a married couple’s exchange of letters throughout the Civil War: Love Letters of Lynchburg. In May, 2011, Bill was “first grand prize winner” in a national essay contest, “What Music Means to Me,” sponsored by RPMDA (Retail print Music Dealers Association). More biographical information and links are available at www.bminor.org.
- An exciting memoir about a boy growing up in Detroit in a family with historical roots back to the 1700’s. This guy of course has talent that we can all envy. He accomplished many things in several different art venues. I laughed, I cried and I wondered. How did this fascinating family background influence these artistic skills? A great read from a talented author. Loved it. (By Vernon Lee Rexroat on June 28, 2013)