On March 3, 2013, the Wisconsin State Journal published the very first “Roughneck Grace” column.
On June 26, 2022, they will publish the final one.
If you want to skip ahead and find out what we’re gonna do about that, scroll down to “What’s Next?”
From Mike: “I offer a solid salute and heartfelt thank you to all the editors, copyeditors, proofreaders, and folks I never met who week after week, for nearly a decade now, took my typing in whatever shape it was and from wherever I sent it (mostly from my little room above the garage but also from my phone in a van on family trips, from islands in the Caribbean, from tree stands, from many a hotel room, from backstage dressing rooms, from our old recliner in front of the woodstove) and polished and shaped it up so it was fit to print.
“And a big thank you to the readers. I cannot adequately express how much it meant to me to be out signing books or shaking hands after an event and have someone tell me, ‘We love to read your column on Sunday mornings.’ As a kid who grew up reading the newspaper the minute I could get my hands on it, I never dreamed someone would one day let me fill a few column inches.”
“I have long joked that being a newspaper columnist in this day and age is akin to being the guy hired to scrape barnacles off the Titanic. I can’t believe they let me do it as long as they did. Things have long been tough and a-shuffle in the newspaper industry and when the phone call came, I had been expecting it for a few years. I say that neither blithely nor dismissively but in the spirit of standard gallows humor realism. I’m used to surfing for a living and have options.”
Here’s what we’re gonna do, starting next week:
- Mike will continue to write one fresh “Roughneck Grace” column per month. It will be published as part of “Michael Perry’s Voice Mail,” which is a 6-8 minute recording similar to a mini-podcast. It arrives in an email. One simple click on the “play” button and you’ll hear Mike read the column. We’ll also include the text of the column if you’d prefer to read it that way. And as current Voice Mail subscribers know, Mike will also likely offer an offhand comment or two.
- Mike will continue to record Voice Mail episodes in which he reads, revisits, and reflects on a piece of writing from one of his many books. Again, as current subscribers will tell you, Mike’s tone–especially while commenting off the cuff about the pieces–is intentionally very informal and conversational.
- Finally, we’re going to start working in a monthly episode in which Mike goes a little more behind the scenes, reading and discussing unpublished works, sharing audio and photos from works in progress, or discussing the business of making a living as a freelance writer and whatever else it takes.
- Voice Mail episodes come out once a week–usually on Wednesday or Thursday, although we’re toying with moving it to Sunday morning, as that’s when so many of you used to read Mike’s column.
- This is a subscription-based newsletter. However, now and then we send it to paid and free subscribers alike. Subscription information is here. We publish a few free episodes now and then, so if a subscription isn’t in the cards you’ll still get a taste. If you would like to try the paid subscription version free for 2 weeks (no credit card required), please contact us here: https://sneezingcow.com/email-mike/
- If you are willing and able to subscribe, we thank you as the Voice Mail is one of the ways Mike keeps the Sneezing Cow barge afloat.
- Finally, if you haven’t already, please sign up for the Sneezing Cow mailing list so we can let you know if Mike has a new book or music out, and if he’ll be performing live in your area.
Whatever you decide, we’re grateful. Mike will keep on typing. And talking. And recording. And being Dad. And husband. He’s already lived a life filled with kindnesses and opportunities he never anticipated. Thank you for your part in that.
See y’down the road!