Gov. Gretchen Whitmer/ Image Courtesy of CNBC

If you’ve lived long enough — and I have — then you probably know what it’s like to care about someone who doesn’t care about themselves. You keep trying to rescue them from the flames of their own self-destructive behavior, maybe feeling like some kind of hero, only to watch them pull away and jump headlong right back into the pit. But rather than let them catch fire, you figure it’s up to you to keep jumping in after them and pulling them back to safety, no matter how many times it takes.

Until that one time.

Because sooner or…


Is this the normal we want to go back to?/Photo by Cassandra Hall on Scopio

Not long after the pandemic became accepted as a real thing among those tuned into the reality station, the word ‘normal’ started cropping up quite a bit in stories and conversations dealing with the topic of what is supposed to come next. There was — and still is — this yearning to return to solid ground. So supposedly, whenever we return to ‘normal’, then we will all be back on solid ground and all will be right with the world.

Because what could possibly be better than that?

Well, once upon a time, slavery was normal. Of course, I would…


Image Courtesy of ABC News

So I suppose the first thing we need to define is the meaning of a ‘bad day’, right?

Like pretty much everyone reading this post, I have had a few bad days myself. Actually, quite a bit more than a few, if we’re being honest. But so far as I know, none of those bad days have resulted in anybody getting buried. I’m guessing it’s kinda like that for you, too. I mean, we all have our days, right? And anyone who has ever had a job has fantasized at one time or another about what they would like to…


This is Dr. Seuss too…

So picking my way through Dr. Seuss is how I learned to read.

It started with my mother reading Dr. Seuss stories to me as a child, and then, as my mother told it, I started reading Dr. Seuss to her before I turned three. The first Dr. Seuss book I ever read was Green Eggs and Ham.

Once I had read everything by Dr. Seuss several times, I eventually progressed to reading Winnie the Pooh, Peanuts, and other stuff. I also remember a fun little volume that couldn’t have been longer than 10–15 pages called Ant and Bee.

Since…


Way back once upon a time long, long ago in my struggling musician days when I was sitting in at various and sundry bars and dives on Chicago’s South Side, it was a given that you would run into any number of characters. It was as much fun interacting with them — or just watching them — as it was getting up on stage to play my two or three numbers before I had to take my seat. That was about as many songs as George would allow, and it was usually the same blues tune each time. I guess…


A small statue of Jimi Hendrix given to me by a dear friend that now sits in my office.

Until Jimi Hendrix, all my heroes were white.

I see no need to apologize for this fun fact, but I may as well be honest about it. Malcolm X, Miles Davis, and George Clinton didn’t enter my teen world until years later, although I did start reading Richard Wright (Native Son, Black Boy)at a young age when I saw it in the middle room library of my childhood home in Denver, Colorado. I think it was on the second shelf. But Bigger Thomas didn’t exactly qualify as a hero, no matter how much I loved Wright’s painfully violent story of…


3B Story, the early days…

Yesterday I was up in Berkley, a nearby suburb of Detroit, getting my guitar worked on. It’s been more than a year since my last set-up, which is generally regarded as a sin by any working guitarist who even pretends to be serious about the calling. But I haven’t performed live on anything close to a regular basis for several years now, and that has led to some rusty habits.

Back in the day, when I was performing at least three to four nights a week even with a full-load day job as a journalist, I would get a setup…


Trying to find a reason to still hope…

America would not exist if it weren’t for racism. Consider that.

It was white racism that fueled the mass slaughter of Native Americans, and it was white racism that figured it was OK for the visitors to shove the occupants onto reservations.

That covers the land.

It was white racism that powered the cotton industry, America’s first great economic engine which powered its ascent into the super power colossus that it is today. Of course, there would not have been a cotton industry without slavery. Which is why when you may hear some so-called radicals make the claim that America…


If my father were alive today he would be celebrating his 107th birthday. But he died when he was 62.

I actually just discovered this — or, I guess, re-discovered this — several days ago when for some reason that has already receded in memory I was going back through my electronic records to track down his death certificate.

Wait, yeah, I remember it now. My brother-in-law celebrated his birthday several days ago, and I decided to call and wish him a happy birthday rather than just send him the obligatory one-sentence email or text. …

Keith A. Owens

Longtime Detroit-based journalist, musician and writer. Co-founder of Detroit Stories Quarterly.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store