Michael’s passions for reading and creative writing inspired him to devour everything from contemporary novels to classical literature. As a high school student, he wrote poetry for his own enjoyment. That joy blossomed into a zeal that would not be contained. Composing poetry rippled into short fiction writing that led to the literary path of creating short stories, novels and screenplays.
Michael studied English Literature and Creative Writing at Point Park College, Sonoma State University, and Portland State University in an effort to perfect his craft. He has written creatively for more than three decades, and has had poetry and short fiction published in numerous literary publications.
Emancipation is short stories concerned with individuals as they fit into the web of other lives -- as opposed to how that web entangles them. While the characters represent a cross-section of urban life, these are plain folk trying to survive as they attempt to make sense of their circumstances and the world they have inherited. It is also a book for every generation that may be wondering, “Where did all the answers go?” It is for the youth who thorough a litany of bitter experiences can only see the world through callous eyes -- and for adults who battle to keep whole a fragile sphere within what may appear to them to be a deteriorating society.
The life of Gratey Johnson provides a universal fulcrum around which this diverse collection of human and humane stories pivots. Gratey is an honorably discharged army war veteran whose life was sent tail spinning out of control into a posttraumatic stress disorder nightmare. As the layers of Gratey’s life are peeled away, the worlds of other characters stories intersect with his in an omnipotent manner that only real life can assemble. Parents, grandparents, children, lovers, executive, thief, cop, educator, and drug dealer all have their unique tales to share. Their individual narratives of virtue, mischief, faith, immorality, morality, commitment and perseverance bridge generational gaps and make whole a humane patchwork in an otherwise ambiguous life-scape.
In a society where quick labels and categories are selective means of branding one’s character, the individual is suffocating. These stories attempt with grace and dignity to embrace our amazing differences allowing hope ample space to breathe. As we step through this journey of ordinary and extraordinary circumstances, perhaps the lesson learned in these snapshots is that we possess more common threads that bind than differences that divide.