I am from a small town outside of Flint, Michigan called Clio. Most people read that and pronounce it “clee-o,” but most people are wrong. It’s pronounced with a long “i”. Cly-o. When I tell people that, they often scoff. I have never understood why. I guess when a town’s name is pronounced differently than you might expect, it gives the impression that the town was named by amateurs. When people laugh at my hometown’s pronunciation, I always assume that they’re really thinking, “boy, your town is so full of stupid that they can’t even pronounce their own name properly.”
Clio is just like any other small town in America. Maybe slightly better because we don’t really have any strip malls. Wal-Mart moved in a few years ago, though, so I guess we’re headed in that direction.
Most of the people I know from Clio have moved elsewhere. I have moved elsewhere. There is nothing wrong with Clio … I thought it was a very nice place to grow up, albeit somewhat lacking in diversity. The main problem with Clio is that it is stuck right between Flint and Saginaw, neither of which are exactly crawling with opportunity.
My friend Jon McCarron stuck it out. Jon is a writer. He’s a good writer; my old publishing company, Contemporary Press, published two of his stories in our Danger City anthologies. We didn’t publish his stories because he was my friend, we published his stories because they were among the best from the hundreds of submissions we received.
Recently, Jon and a few friends started a free, alternative newspaper in Flint called Broadside. I have read this newspaper, and it is a really great example of the kind of community paper that we need more of in America. Plus, it is funny. They are only a few issues in, and already they’re turning a profit on ad sales. It is far more impressive than anything I have ever done, because A) people are actually reading it and B) it is actually making money. Michael Moore, you will recall, got his start as the editor of the Flint Voice, the last good alternative newspaper in Flint. So basically what I’m saying is that I know the next Michael Moore.
Yesterday, Michigan NPR did a really great piece on the paper. You can listen to the interview here or read it here. They introduce McCarron as a “computer expert,” which is pretty awesome. If I am ever interviewed for NPR, I hope they introduce me as some kind of expert. I’m pretty sure that holds as much weight as an honorary degree in most circles.
I am proud to call McCarron my friend and Awkward Press is proud to extend our very-highest, most-supportingest 6 PIZZA SEAL OF APPROVAL to Flint Broadside! And for only $20/year, you can experience the magic yourself. Do! Now!