Remember the movie from long ago titled “The Thorn Birds?” It was based on a novel by Colleen McCullough in which she created characters that exhibited the same strong commitment to goal achievement as found in The Celtic Legend of the Thorn Bird.
The “Detroit Thorn Birds” series is about regular people fighting back, trying to maintain their dignity in a city of gloom and doom. Like the thorn bird who sings its own song, some individuals strive to play the most beautiful music of all. They are the doers, the leaders — the people who make a difference. They are the thorn birds. They work their hearts out without fear of failure, reprisal or dying. They’re driven, sometimes blindly, to accomplish a goal, they’re on a mission. And so it is with the thorn birds of Detroit – they’re driven against all odds – to take back their city.
As is so often the case, authors write from real experiences. That is how my new series, Detroit Thorn Birds, was hatched. In my younger life I lived in Detroit for several years. As a basketball coach at Western High School on Detroit’s Southwest side, I got to know athletes on a personal basis. We talked about their home life and their struggles. I was also the Director of the Vocational Co-op Program which meant I was in the community every day. Here I was involved in “no-holds-barred” conversations at the local coffee shop; often, followed by lengthy conversations with the captain at the precinct police station. The Sax Club, too, was a real place—one of the hottest strip joints going—on Six Mile/McNichols. On Friday nights, I met regularly there with three other doctoral students. It was a time to “let our hair down” and release our stress. Part of our fun was talking with locals (acting like we were one of them) and, of course, each of us watched that special dancer when she performed. These experiences and many others have been packed in my head for years, and now are coming alive in the Detroit Thorn Birds series.