BA, University of Minnesota, 1972
News Editor, Worthington Daily Globe, 1978-1980
Proprietor, Future Shoes, 1985-2003
Proprietor, Big Canary, 2003-
WASH ("Working with Artists, Sharing the Healing") Symposium Participant, 2005
For a list of books: http://mfinley.com/booklist2.htm
I'm a St. Paul writer and poet, videomaker and performance artist who’s been writing and publishing since 1966. Depending how you define "book," I have published between 100 and 300 titles. (The number might include ghostwritten books, translations, second editions, self-publication, etc.).
I grew up in northeast Ohio -- in the small cities of Amherst and Vermilion -- and discovered hip poetry in a Cleveland bookstore that year. The poets there were funny and dark and rebellious and I set out to be just like them.
A college dropout, I traveled around the country having Kerouackian experiences and writing. I was the kind of young man who would hitchhike to a girl’s house 700 miles away, knock on her door, cry “Ta-da!“ on the front porch and expect people to take him in and feed him. Amazingly, one did, which is how I wound up in St. Paul, where I finished school and have lived most of my adult life.
In St. Paul I worked as a security guard in a menswear store, writing poems and stories and reviews by the light of the moon. It was easy to publish in those days because paper plate printing (Insty-Prints or Kinko’s) was cheap, so I got accepted in hundreds of magazines.
I was offered an editor job at the University of Minnesota, or I might still be guarding bellbottom pants.
At one point I heard Robert Bly advise writers not to publish, too soon. Give yourself a chance to wise up a bit, he said. I now think he just wanted us all to go away. Nevertheless, I dropped out of the poetry scene and lived as a journalist and ghostwriter, writing poetry only on the side.
In the 1990s I became one of the first digital publishers, reissuing my six chapbooks as e-books. Kraken Press took off, and today I have had about 2.5 million downloads – who they are, or why they downloaded, I have no idea.
In 1995, my nonfiction title, WHY TEAMS DON'T WORK, was named " Best Business Book, The Americas," by the Financial Times Global Business Awards. I have also won (not been nominated for but won) a Pushcart, plus various other honors.
I married Rachel in 1981, the same Sunday that Prince and Diana married, only we married in a bird sanctuary, not in a castle. We had two wonderful children, sweet punky Daniele, who died in 2009, and Jon, a globally respected guitar composer.
I’m in my sixties now and have had a good life, without quite breaking through as a writer. Well, screw that. I am still having fun publishing projects by myself and friends at Issuu.com.
I invite you to join me on Facebook. Also, to be kind.