Friday, December 1, 2017

Great New Video, Book Party! Capital Hill Jan.20th for Micah Harris' "Only Small Things Are Good," from the Texas panhandle to D.C.'s Pentagon


https://www.facebook.com/micahhharris/videos/2057934947783952/

Great new video!

ALL info about this event, ttps://www.facebook.com/events/200649817153156/  
Join us on Capitol Hill on January 20 for an open house to celebrate the official release of Only Small Things are Good. You’ll have a chance to hear from author Micah Harris, chat with early readers, and pick up your own signed copy. Feel free to invite a friend!
The doors will be open from 4-6 p.m., with a brief author introduction and Q&A beginning at 4:30. Hope to see you there!
If you can’t make it to the launch, visit www.micahharris.com to see what people are saying about the book, watch a brief intro video, and to order your own copy.

A new interview.  http://humanepursuits.com/only-small-things-are-good/

"Every other country is a place, a race, a language
 but America is an idea and if the idea dies we become a collection'
of parts that used to be a whole thing-
like the parts of a car that has
lost its bolts."
--From Only Small Things are Good.

About this book:
Q. It is interesting how the style shifts from a boy in the natural world to a man thinking in memos, bullets, and footnotes. I also like how you intertwined the stories of Joel’s life at the Pentagon and his childhood in rural Texas and how they meet at the end. Was that a plan?
MH. Yes. This is where Plato’s Republic comes in. Its framing question is what does a “just soul” look like? A soul is local and, according to Plato, so small we must model it on a larger scale if we hope to see it well. Plato spends much of the Republic considering the functions of a “just city.” My novel is the reverse. America is too large to see so I’ve modeled it in a person, a family, and a community.




Another excerpt. "The core of power is credibility. The key to credibility is communication, and the first rule of communication is that you listen tremendously to learn who the other person is. The second rule is that you must know who you are. And the third rules comes after the first two: you must tell yourself generously to that person. If that sounds easy, it means you've never tried."

Advance praise for ONLY SMALL THINGS ARE GOOD
“I can’t remember the last political novel I read with any enjoyment. But Harris’s writing is smart and deeply attentive to the importance of language itself in human relations, and his characters all have functioning hearts, even if bruised or buried. I’m pretty sure Joel is more conservative than I am, and I rooted for him, which felt good.”
– Dr. Devon Miller-Duggan, author of Alphabet Year, Professor of Creative Writing, University of Delaware

“Only Small Things Are Good draws you in with its hilarious, too-true notes on the travails of a Washington policy staffer but it keeps you hooked with Joel’s family story and increasingly essential questions about our country and our life together. Anyone who wonders what life is really like for us much-maligned beltway insiders, or misses worthwhile political discussions, should read this book. It left me wanting to urge nearly everyone in my office, ‘read this, and then we’ll really talk.’”
– Jessica Rodgers, Foreign Affairs Officer, U.S. Department of State
“Only Small Things Are Good is the Iliadic tale of a hero who, despite the tidal wave of events put upon him by the gods, remains determined to see his task through to the end. I’ve spent my time down range and I can only say: I wish everyone at the Pentagon had a friend named Sam-Bob. I hope you laugh or groan (or groan/laugh) as much as I did over this book.”
– Matthew Thomas, former Sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps infantry
“Small Things offers a deft rendering of how policy is made in our nation’s national security bureaucracy, and of how a prophetic voice may be betrayed while speaking truth to power. As an academic who has worked in these institutions, I would highly recommend this novel to the seasoned Washington D.C. policy wonk and I would also extend this recommendation to everyone who seeks a better understanding of the civil servants—the mothers, fathers, sons and daughters—who are the backbone of these institutions.”
– Dr. Elizabeth (Libby) Turpen, President and Co-founder of Octant Associates LLC

Another short excerpt from Only Small Things are Good.

The Unwritten Rules

Last year I started work in the office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) and, in that place, I found five facts, lined and balding i n a row, each coming from the one before like a series of Russian dolls, and all of them judging the occupants of my desk.

1. Something is broken about my world.
2. People expect me to fix it.
3. I can't fix it but...
4. I can possibly make it better by trying, and...

5. My job is to try.
Excerpt from Only Small Things are Good

"The Unwritten Rules

A bolt lies loose in the oil under your government, and the reason it broke and fell down there instead of holding things together like it should have done, is because this bolt is a bolt, and bolts are dead. Governments should be run by the living.

My name is Joel Alden. I became what I am in a mechanic's shop where the wrench slips and you skin the knucles of God's hand that He gave you for the purpose of working. You curse not at all and the good people of the earth pay you a hard dollar for the trucks that were set right by your labor. I grew my handshake hard there, and my voice took such a tone that you cannot doubt but I have told you straight all that I have told..."


"...a novel that offers a lively portrait of the realistic and fantasy life of a Pentagon staff officer."--Madelyn R. Creedon, Former Assistant Secretary of Defense.

In Micah Harris’ new novel, Only Small Things Are Good (January 20, Pagescape Press), Joel Alden, a low-level employee at the Pentagon, unexpectedly finds himself at the nexus of power. Raised in a devout, rural Texas family, Joel grew up working on the farm and later as a mechanic in his dad's shop. His people gave him a sense of what is real and true. He was also raised with a mission to protect the weak. That mission and his faith sent him to Africa to alleviate suffering. He returned an agnostic.

In this novel, less about politics than the reality of how government works, Joel’s origin story is interwoven with that of the present day realist, who brings the craftsmanship of a mechanic to his job at the Pentagon. Yet, in the Pentagon, he spends frustrating days writing memos for actions and initiatives that may never happen. Then he reads a memo that grips him, about the repatriation of released detainees and religious “deradicalization” studies, required by their home countries and funded by the U.S.

Joel’s critique and proposal to improve this program, attract the attention of his President. He asks Joel to take some time to describe what makes us American and how we might repair this thing. Joel is overwhelmed. Can one person speak such a truth and set a wrong right?  Does he have anything meaningful to say?

Joel asks for the help of his perceptive ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend “Socrates.” But their abstract philosophical conversation pales against the good sense of Joel’s housemate, who has actually served in the military. Joel also pays a visit to his family and realizes the distance between his life, working in the Pentagon, and the lives of people who work hard in small towns. In the end,  can Joel's truth have meaning for a president isolated by layers of bureaucracy from his people?

A beauty of this novel is Harris' voice. With echos of John Steinbeck and David Foster Wallace, this novel is at once earnest and self-deprecating, sincerely seeking what's true with personal footnotes both funny and explanatory. The novel is a kind of universal wish fulfillment fantasy about having the chance to talk truth to power.  This thoughtful novel unifies divisions in a tale of America as it is and might be. .

About the Author

Micah Harris grew up on a West Texas ranch then moved to Washington, DC. Over the past 12 years he has worked in the Senate, the White House, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He holds an MA in Liberal Arts from St. John's College and works as a consultant for the Department of Defense. Only Small things Are Good is his first published novel.

Pagescape Press

Pagescape Press is a publishing cooperative. Originally founded as a virtual publishing house specializing in e-book editions, it now offers paperback versions of selected titles as well. It features works of literary merit, including poetry, fiction, and non-fiction, in the arts, sciences, and humanities. A list of its titles can be found on its website at www.pagescapepress.com.