Mike Handley

Mike Handley

As I’ve said before, we get the doom, gloom, and crappy people usually, but that’s why we have to latch onto the good ones. Today, I’m introducing you to a triple threat.  He’s a writer, a painter, and an editor/deer hunter/Southern comedian type.  Guess that makes him a little more than a triple threat, huh?  Mike and I actually met via the page.  I started writing on the same flash fiction site he did, and then we met in person at a writer’s retreat.  To say he’s fascinating is a complete understatement.  I adore his candor, his talents, and his Southern charm which especially shines on paper.  I could read his stuff endlessly and am still waiting for him to finish that novel!  In the meantime, here he is, in all his glory.
Allow me to introduce Mr. Mike Handley:
What is your biggest annoyance/pet peeve?  (Be sure to explain yourself in full detail so we can be frustrated with you!)

Nothing is more frustrating than being a moderate in today’s polarized landscape, to be scorned by liberals because I own (long) guns and shoot animals, and to be scorned by conservatives because I judge and vote for presidents on their merits, believe in separation of church and state, and I see gay marriage as a civil rights issue instead of blasphemy. Unfortunately, people in my shoes have learned to keep their mouths shut, which is a shame.

If you had super hero powers, what would be your first act in fixing the world? (world peace comes to mind – lol)

If fixing the world were my goal, I’d start at home. I might consider shutting down or limiting the technological advances that have led to our not speaking to one another, the advances that have turned our local communities into global ones, that have killed newspapers and many magazines, that have, in effect, dumbed down the populace and helped shorten their attention spans. I might say to those who do not vote that they get two passes (or more for excused absences), and then they forfeit the right. I would ban lobbyists from statehouses, cut out campaign contributions, pay Congress a more equitable wage, limit their terms, and force them to buy their own insurance and feather their own retirement nests.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten and who bestowed it upon you?

 It wasn’t so much advice as praise at just the right juncture. I owe my life and career to Martha Hamby, my high school English teacher, who recognized a tiny grain of talent in my writing. If not for her encouragement, if not for that A+ on my very first essay, entitled “That Sonofabitching Armadillo” (about a deer hunt gone wrong), I’d probably be working in a foundry, punching a clock and hating it.

What’s your Guilty Pleasure (scrogging or Facebook stalking are both completely acceptable answers – lol)?

My guilty pleasure is writing creative nonfiction. Before I bought Alexandra Fuller’s autobiographical debut novel, “Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight,” I had little use for nonfiction (outside of writing newspaper and magazine features). I bought that book because I’d fallen in love with southern Africa. And hers was a tale of growing up in the former Rhodesia. I devoured it, and I’ve been carrying a journal with me ever since, scribbling not only notes about my life, but also about the people and places I encounter.

If you have a business or a cause you’d like to promote, add your link here or attach a picture and give me a description.  (It’s okay if it’s simply to Spay and Neuter your Pets!) 

I began answering your questions with political and social observations, which I hope doesn’t give a false impression of me. I’m really not a grumpy old man. I’m far more the laid-back, somewhat-oldish-but-not-really fiftysomething – a writer, first, and also an artist. I didn’t start painting until 2001, upon returning from a safari in South Africa. My first painting was of a group of AIDS orphans who sang and danced for me around a campfire.

one of his fab paintings

one of his fab paintings


You have to check out his art website at www.mikehandleyart.com.

Go to his blog at http://handlets.blogspot.com

And he also created a website last year for flash fiction writers: http://houseofwriters.ning.com

If there’s anything you’d like to add, here’s your chance to put it out to the world:

A few random thoughts …

  1. Labels are for ketchup (or bourbon) bottles.
  2. Art is not something you buy at WalMart, K-mart or CostCo.
  3. For the life of me, I cannot understand why Twitter is so popular.
  4. Buy books, even if they cost more than downloads.
  5. Believe exactly 25 percent of what the talking heads say on television news shows.
  6. Um … What is scrogging?                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Author’s note:  I cleared up what scrogging was for him, but I also told him I was stealing his label quote! 

Agree with something Mike said?  Want to add a comment or a random thought of your own?  Feel free to put it in the comments.