July 19, 2018
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I’m very pleased to announce the publication of my first book, Don’t Care None: A Collection of Uncle Oscar Stories.
The book grew out of a chance encounter with a treasured childhood memory. I was in a store in a coastal resort town in Maine one summer day and saw a book of Bert and I stories by Marshall Dodge and Robert Bryan for sale. These stories, particularly in audio form, were a big part of my youth and represent, in my opinion, the pinnacle of Maine storytelling and Down East humor. Over the years, I lost track of my copies of the old stories and no longer had the tapes I used to listen to (or a tape player for that matter). I hadn’t thought about Bert and I for years and was delighted to come across these stories again. So, I made an impulse purchase and walked out of the store with the book and promptly devoured it.
I came away from this experience with two observations. First, that the Bert and I stories were funny and, at times, profound. The second observation was that I could see perspectives and currents of thought in the work of Dodge and Bryan that echoed ideas found in a wide variety of sources which I had encountered over the years, from the Mulla Nasrudin stories of the Islamic Sufi Idries Shah, to the traditional tales of the Mad Monk Ji Gong in Chinese literature, various Buddhist teaching stories I picked up from Alan Watts and other sources.
My hope is that Don’t Care None can be enjoyed on the same two levels on which it was written: by losing oneself in the time and place, in the cultural milieu in which it is set, but also by appreciating the larger philosophy that animates Uncle Oscar’s perspective.
As always, thanks for reading,