In the final few weeks of Spring 2020, I opened the front door one glorious morning and was treated to the tranquility of an American Goldfinch resting atop our planter. Truly a delight to see. So, I decided to pay it forward.
I’ve been broken
Like a lonely dream
Looking for a mind to enter,
But I follow the footsteps of love
Through the crowded halls of hate.
I’m a patient man,
From every act of unkindness,
One day, I will escape--
Meet me at dawn,
We’ll gaze at yellow birds,
Our affection will be new
Like the first day of creation.
~ by Uriah Hamilton
Kevin Roose's terrific interview on today's Fresh Air (March 16, 2021) about his new book, Futureproof: 9 Rules for Humans in the Age of Automation, spoke to the transformation that occurred in the automotive industry and the effect on later generations in factory towns like Flint.
"We need to prepare for the possibility that a lot of people are going to fall through the cracks of this technological transformation. It's happened during every technological transformation we've ever had, and it's going to happen this time. And in fact, it already is happening. ... [A] lot of the people who went through those technological transformations ... didn't have a good time. They weren't necessarily happier, or living better lives, or wealthier as a result of this new technology. ... Old jobs have been disappearing faster than new jobs have been created."
This promise and peril of automation -- also known as "deindustrialization," from an earlier period -- is a theme in my novel Motown Man, which is set in the early 1990s in a fictionalized version of Flint. Bradley, the book's main character, is reminded of the plight of two individuals who fell "through the cracks" as industry automation, designed by electrical engineers like him, made certain jobs obsolete.
Meghan Markle told Oprah during the CBS-televised interview that several members of the Royal Family discussed with Harry concerns over what the color of Archie’s skin would be.
Her comments struck a core theme in Motown Man. Abby, a main character in the novel, is faced with that issue when her father questions what his daughter's marriage to Bradley will mean for future generations.
Read the Motown Man excerpt below:
[Abby's father] focused instead on the future grandchildren. No doubt they would be black even if they looked white. They would be black and forever marked with that indefinable quality of separateness. And if they came out with permanently brown skin, which was quite likely because of Bradley's complexion, there could be no faking it for the white grandparents pushing the stroller in the park.
Bob Campbell, an essayist and novelist, likes his bourbon neat. His debut novel, Motown Man, was published by Urban Farmhouse Press in November 2020.