Michael C. Keith







Once Prolific


This author is really good, I think, and check out his bibliography in the front matter of the paperback. I notice its copyright date and I’m surprised the book is five years old, because I was under the impression it was new when I ordered it from Amazon. The title had caught my attention when I was checking out the catalog of a press to which I was considering submitting my own first manuscript of stories. A couple hours later, I’ve read all but two pieces in the collection and am more impressed by the writer than ever. The author’s bio on the back cover is brief, so I Google him for more information. He’s written a lot and I calculate by his date of his birth that he’s 18 years younger than I am. A wave of envy sweeps over me, and then I notice that the Wikipedia entry on him is using the past tense––he was. Something keeps me from finishing the book.




The Inspiration and Curse of the Superior Talent


Is everybody else under the spell of Lydia Davis? Do you stop reading and dash to your keyboard because once again she’s activated something in you? Have you written a piece that’s still inferior to everything she’s ever written?




Getting It Write


Will feared his prose was pretentious. It worried him that it might lack grit and candor. He took this mindset to his next story, reminding himself what Hemingway had recommended––“Write one true sentence.” Okay, let’s do that. Thus he began:


“The world can be a very cruel place . . .”


At his next writing group, he was praised for his veracity but criticized for his cynicism.




Hard to Read


Three women poets were the first to present their work at the Elm Street Consortium for the Arts. All were young, attractive, and gifted orators. The first wrote of giving birth and the joy of transcendent love. The second had elegantly composed lyrics relating to a magical place her mother took her when she was a child. The third poetess spoke of her transformational experience following a domestic mishap and how it gave her strength she did not know she possessed. Warm and appreciative applause followed each of their recitations. There was a palpable change in mood among those in attendance when the only man on the schedule read his dark stanzas with affecting emphasis. Not one of his verses contained the words birth, joy, love, magical, or child. Instead kill, bomb, war, rape, and destroy suffused his narratives. A tentative silence followed his reading and then the audience sprang to its feet and cheered wildly.




Literary Investigation


The question that loomed large in the minds of many in the Academy was what had David Foster Wallace done to guarantee the wellbeing of his beloved dogs as he prepared to commit suicide? After extensive research, noted scholar Dr. Larry Collette concluded that the acclaimed author likely figured that whoever discovered his body would feed Werner and Bella.




Due Process


The garden appeared empty, so I snuck a rose to give to my girlfriend. As I was about to continue to her house, a cop stopped me and asked for my ID. “Why am I being stopped, officer?” I asked, and he said for vandalizing a public space and for resisting arrest. “What vandalizing and what resisting arrest?” I blurted in disbelief. “Turn around and put your hands behind your back,” he ordered. I attempted to hand him the flower to hold and he shouted FREEZE, firing off his Taser. I was cuffed on the ground and then put into the cruiser. I was so shocked by what was happening that I didn’t recognize the black face looking back at me in the rearview mirror.











Michael C. Keith     


Michael is the author of over 20 books on electronic media, as well as a memoir and ten books of fiction. In 2009, he coedited a found manuscript by legendary writer/director Norman Corwin. What he refers to as his “fringe” group series consists of a monograph that examines the use of broadcast media by Native Americans—Signals in the Air (Praeger, 1995), a book that explores the nature and role of counterculture radio in the sixties—Voices in the Purple Haze (Praeger, 1997), a book that probes the extreme right-wing’s exploitation of the airwaves—Waves of Rancor (M.E. Sharpe, 1999, with Robert Hilliard), a book that examines the role of gays and lesbians in broadcasting—Queer Airwaves (M.E. Sharpe, 2001, with Phylis Johnson), a book about broadcasting and the First Amendment—Dirty Discourse (Blackwell, 2003, with Robert Hilliard), and a volume that evaluates the loss of localism in American radio—The Quieted Voice (Southern Illinois University Press, 2005, with Robert Hilliard).

Keith is also the author of the most widely adopted text on American radio—The Radio Station, (now Keith’s Radio Station), an oral history—Talking Radio (M.E. Sharpe, 2000), a study of nocturnal broadcasting –Sounds in the Dark (Iowa State University Press, 2001), and The Broadcast Century, 4th edition (Focal Press, 2005, with Robert Hilliard. His most recent books include Radio Cultures (Peter Lang, 2010) and Sounds of Change (University North Carolina Press, 2010, with Christopher Sterling). He is also the author of the critically acclaimed memoir, The Next Better Place (Algonquin Books, 2003), as well as numerous journal articles and ten books of short stories for which he’s received several Pushcart Prize nominations.

Prior to joining Boston College, Keith served as Chair of Education at the Museum of Broadcast Communications. He is co-founder of the Broadcast Education Association’s Radio Division, was director of the communication program at Dean College, and served as an invited professor at George Washington University and Marquette University. He is the recipient of numerous awards, among them the International Radio Television Society’s Stanton Fellow Award, the Broadcast Education Association’s Distinguished Scholar Award, and the University of Rhode Island’s Achievement Award in the Humanities.





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