I was born and raised in Normal, Illinois. As an adult I lived in Chicago and Dallas before returning to central Illinois and the small town of Hoopeston where my wife and I and our two kids have lived for the last fifteen years. I hold a B.S. and Masters in English and am a former sportswriter and columnist with the Pantagraph newspaper. My short stories and excerpts from novels have appeared in such literary journals as Euphemism, Touchstone and Aethlon. You can read excerpts from my work and touch base with me at www.mikepembertonbooks.com.
As for “Transcendental Basketball Blues,” I guess the seeds of its creation were nurtured one spring day over a decade ago when my wife, Yolanda, and I were cleaning our garage.
“I’d forgotten I wanted to be a writer,” I remember telling her.
We were sorting through boxes not touched in years. Buried beneath work related awards and business books from my gig as a corporate employee were creative writing notebooks, college term papers and newspaper articles from my days as a sportswriter. In the months that followed the 9/11 attacks occurred, I turned forty, and my father died. Whether it was those milestone events or a forgotten passion unearthed in a messy garage, I do not know, but I began to write. A few years later I was in graduate school at Illinois State University studying for a Masters in English. Not long after I had my first short story published and was invited to a literature conference to read my work.
For me, “Transcendental Basketball Blues“ is more than an engaging tale about a season-in-the-life spinning around issues of mental illness, alcohol abuse and the clash of cultures. It is ultimately a story about finding one’s passions, the ability to laugh in the face of despair, the strength of family, love and forgiveness. When my life gets too messy, and I do a personal spring cleaning, those are the bedrocks to which I return. I hope everyone who reads “Transcendental Basketball Blues“, and especially teens and young adults who may be struggling with the challenges of “growing up,” can find solace and inspiration in Jack, his family and friends as they strive to make the best of what life has to offer.
“Who’s Got Next?” Aethlon: Journal of Sport Literature
“Camaronero” Touchstone Literary Journal
“Yonquero” Euphemism Literary Journal
“Take it to the Limit” Aethlon: Journal of Sport Literature
Various articles and columns in Pantagraph newspaper and Champaign-News Gazette