What She Said

Writers yearn for professional acknowledgement of their work, so it was a delight to find St.Paul Pioneer Press’ Mary Ann Grossmann’s recommending my fourth paperback, Six Short Stories, ¬†as good summer reading. Mary Ann is a regional treasure and has been boosting Minnesota and local writers for many years. Here’s what she had to say in the Sunday, July 16, 2023 edition:

The Headline: Three Books To Relax With

“It’s the time of the year for easy reading so today we offer three well written paperbacks that will entertain you on the screen porch, at the cabin or in a hammock.” She then summarized two books by women. When she got to me, she wrote:

“Six Short Stories by Mark Hayes Peacock (independently published, $12) “There had been a shooting, a murder, and both Charlene and Derek seem to be implicated, or, at least, both had motives for doing in Randall Dodge. And as a priest, I have an interest in honesty, truth and justice. Maybe it’s just that I’ve seen too many television movies about priests who somehow manage to solve mysteries, which, on the surface, seems way out of character.” – from “Six Short Stories”

“In his fourth short story collection Peacock, of Luck, Wis., introduces us to a variety of intriguing characters. There’s Bomber, who solves two problems at once by shooting a politician. There’s a paralyzed guy who listens to two women he loves argue about keeping him on life support while he thinks of how he loved the bike (motorcycle) that almost got him killed. A priest tries to find justice in a story with a surprise ending, and a letter from a man’s dead mother leads to bitter disappointment.A sweet story tells of how a devoted wife guides her husband’s career as a sculptor and the final story is a funny ‘mangled fairytale’ featuring the retired seven dwarfs.”

What a delightful and satisfying thing to come home to find! Marina and I had been to Minneapolis’ Caspian Restaurant to lunch with a former student of mine, his wife and daughter. “Fred” has become a very successful programmer, with some of his work rocketing into space. After 53 years, it is a fine experience to be able to keep in touch with people who fulfilled the promise we thought they would have when we admitted them to Macalester College. Back then, Mac was dubbed “The Harvard of the Midwest” and my job was to help people from 32 different countries succeed in a foreign and very high-test environment. Some of them give me more credit than I deserve for their subsequent success, but the truth is that I simply had scholarship money and a welcoming institution, as well as an International Center and an excellent orientation outline to help them as they began their college experience. (To the Middle Eastern students: “Hamburgers are beef!”) Also, I was not much older than most of my advisees so the age barrier was minimal: I was a lot like they were.

All in all, Sunday was a most satisfying day. I’d love to have more of them!