Literary Nonfiction. In this warm and humorous memoir, the boy you meet is irrepressible, devilish, curious, rambunctious, imaginative, sports-minded, friendly, naive, and absolutely joyful—definitely the kind of boy who would get in trouble from his teacher for “unnecessary talking.” Mike O’Connor’s stories remind a reader of what it was like to grow up in small-town 1950’s America.
“With UNNECESSARY TALKING, poet Mike O’Connor leads us through the streets and neighborhoods of Montesano, Washington–circa early 1950s. These stories and sketches make up a memoir of a young boy’s clean, clear understanding of a world where mystery is common sense and adult rules are slippery as a wet bar of soap. O’Connor’s writings, though rooted deeply in the rain-soaked soils of the Pacific Northwest, reach out to touch, in a tender and wise way, the very heart of an America lost but still loved.” —Finn Wilcox.
Mike O’Connor, born in Aberdeen, Washington, is a poet, writer, and translator of Chinese literature. For 12 years, he farmed and worked in the woods before pursuing Chinese studies and a journalism career in Asia for fifteen years. He is the author of nine books of poetry, translation, and memoir. His most recent publications include IMMORTALITY (2010) and UNNECESSARY TALKING: THE MONTESANO STORIES (2009), both from Pleasure Boat Studio. O’Connor is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship (2003-4); an International Writers’ Workshop Fellowship, Hong Kong, (2006); and a Washington State Artist Trust Fellowship (2009). He served as publisher of Empty Bowl Press in Port Townsend, a writers’ co-operative, and care takes forest land on the Big Quilcene River.
Adrianne Harun, author of The King of Lambs –
With its winding episodic structure, intrinsic good heartedness, and flawless storytelling, Unnecessary Talking feels like childhood–cocooned by family but plumbed with vast and thrilling occasions for interesting trouble. Mike O Connor’s tales and tall tales read like a travelogue from a distant land, a place anyone who has had a youthful adventure will recognize and celebrate and long to visit again.