MICHAEL L. SCHUH FROM LEARNING DISABILITY CHILDHOOD TO PUBLISHED AUTHOR
FROM LEARNING DISABILITY IN CHILDHOOD TO PUBLISHED AUTHOR, AN INTERVIEW WITH POET AND NOVELIST MICHAEL L. SCHUH
Robert Hewett Sr.
1. Mike, where are you from, tell us a little about your background, family and career. This will help the readers of your page understand your writing.
I have lived in Springfield, Illinois, USA all of my life. I have two brothers and two sisters. I was a learning disabled child, but the schools had no special programs for children like me. I was treated sort a like a dunce and made to stand in the corner a lot. I fell behind and did not do well. I attended a Catholic grade school and that was a bad experience. I was naturally left-handed, but the Nun whacked my left hand repeatedly to make me use my right hand. At age 16 I dropped out of school because my father told me that I was too dumb to go to school I got a job as a cook and then joined the Air Force when I was 19. While serving my country I got my GED and I treasure that achievement. After leaving the service with an honorable discharge under medical conditions I worked as a cook in a bakery and also at a restaurant, sometimes up to 100 hours a week.
My refuge was the music and song lyrics that filled my head. I wished that I could write them down, but I could not read very well and could not spell well enough to compose anything.
2. When did you first consider yourself a writer?
At age 60 when my highrise manager asked if anyone could write a poem about the building. I told him that I could, but that I couldn’t spell well enough to publish it. The lady in the office corrected it for me and it was published in the local newspaper. Then I met Pat Simpson and she took me under her wing. She helped me write and publish 8 books. I never thought that I would be able to do that.
3. Do you have a specific writing style?
I like rhyming poetry.
4. How did you come up with your book titles?
I have written 8 books; four poetry, one song lyrics and three novels. ￼
THE PORTER FAMILY The Porter Family is about a father left to bring up his two sons after the death of his native American wife 'Golden Feather' He eventually becomes the town sheriff cleaning up the town to make it a safe place to live in. But all goes terribly wrong when gold is discovered in the nearby hills, to bring in miners, gamblers, wild women and thieves…thus making the Sheriff’s job so dangerous he ends up getting very badly shot so that he can no longer intercede with the crimes leaving the town free to be taken over and be completely ruled by the saloon owner gambler ‘Blackie Price’ Who drives all the good people away but only after robbing them of all the gold they had gained from the sale of their homes and land…Eventually though the Sheriff gets his health back and along with his now grown up sons he plans to recruit others to help bring about the downfall of Blackie Price, by destroying the corrupt town that he had now built up….￼
The Cross is about three sisters (triplets) each with their own disability living on a mountainside where they befriend a young man who has been brought up by wolves' He lived in a cave with them after being taken there by his parents to protect the gold that his father had mined. This gold corrupts and destroys not only the young man but also corrupts two of the girls...Only Mary the most devout of the sisters is not tempted by it, refusing to go on a spending spree like the others for she genuinely cares for the wolves that befriend her... this story, told in an adapted rhyming couplets style, is a wonderful read about love, life, nature and greed. It has a really good twisting climax with a really wonderful moral within... ￼
Mike and Joe IS A wonderful fictional story about another boy Mike living in the hills of Tennessee. A young boy who befriends Joe, a lad greatly abused by his father, until one day after tragic circumstances Mike's parents adopt him to be Mike's brother... Joe is a very special boy loving and kind... An angel on Earth? Maybe for he does knowingly sacrifice his own life to help any animal in the wild that he see's in distress...Having no fear of wild Cats, Bears or Boars as he moves in close to help them... This is a very loving, very moving story that will be loved by all...Told in rhyme it just flows from page to page showing clearly one event in these boys lives after another... until they become young men then their lives take different directions with Mike going to fight for his country as a marine in the Korean War...Joe staying behind...￼“The two boys in the cover picture are Pat Simpson’s grandsons. She got her own grandsons to play the part. They are also named Mike & Joe, the eldest and youngest sons of Jeannette Dupont for whom you also did e an interview.
Mike’s Choice Song Lyrics is a book of song lyrics covering all song styles, country and blues, varied topics, emotions and life...that I have written…￼
Precious Prayers The 4th book that I am very proud of is a most beautiful book done to reach out and touch all that read. It is a book of many poems of prayers asking for love and understanding, peace and good health not only for the sick but also for the young and the healthy that truly worry about all the ailments of man and all the troubles in the world... It is a book that will help any church, organization or school where there is prayers said...and it will grace any doctors or hospital waiting rooms. In this book that I arranged there are many poems too from my poet friends world-wide contributed for me to put in the book purposely to raise funds for the Charity...The Ronald McDonald Houses￼
But It’s Mine, My 3rd book is my favorite poetry book. I believe it to be very unique because the main character is the Hillbilly moon-shiner that is seen to be the writer of all the poems. In doing so I portray through him the life he lives and the life lived by all his hilly-Billy friends too. His many tales tell all about his daily life, his dog, his cap and his gun and of cause his moonshine making and drinking in his very run down home which he is so proud to say, "But It's Mine"￼
Spiritual Thoughts on Love and Life my 2nd book is a wonderful book full of poetry to show my love of God. With many poems on love, marriage, joy and the pain of loss....￼
Fruit of My Pen my 1st book is a good variety of poetry that covers all of life's emotions by all walks of life... within this book I let my love of God be seen along with my sense of humour and outlook on life. It is in this book that I first introduce my fictional character the Moon shiner with poems on his stories on life…..
5. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes, that people with handicaps can survive and excel at something in life. My poems and my books are my proof.
6. How much of the book is realistic?
There is a lot of reality in my writing, but it is wrapped in fiction that is inspired by my life experiences.
7. What books have most influenced your life most?
Never was able to read much, but I can and do read the Bible. I recently read a Western all the way through.
8. If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Never had the opportunity or confidence to read such books
9.What book are you reading now?
Mostly the Bible and a book on poetry writing.
10. If you had to choose one book to read the rest of your life, and nothing else, what book would it be and why?
War and Peace, always wanted to read that book.
12. Do you have something you are working on at the moment that you’d like to share with us?
I have some of unpublished poems and I hope to get back to writing more so that Pat can do me my 9th book
13. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Not really, but might have tried to use more varied poetry styles .
14. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I was always interested in reading and writing from a very early age, but I was not able to keep up with the other students, so I pretended that I could read. My teachers made me stand in the corner a lot and the other kids called me a Dunce. My parents would not help me either, they just scoffed at me and made fun of me.
15. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Yes, finding the right word, spelling and punctuation are hard for me. Thanks to Pat Simpson for editing my writing to make it okay to publish. Thanks to her and you, Robert for putting this interview together for me.
16. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Stephen King, I would love to read his books and also Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone With The Wind.
17. Who designed the covers of your books.?
Pat Simpson, you can find her at “poetryandpublishing.com”. She is my angel.
18. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Just the mechanics, but I have Pat Simpson who has my back covered on everything that I publish. Without her I would not be able to publish anything, not even poems on the poetry forum.
19. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
That there are people all over the world with the same love of writing that enjoy writing and helping each other..
20. Do you have any advice for other writers with learning disability backgrounds?
Never give up, you are never too young, or too old. Writing is a gift from God. You have the talent, so use it. The same goes for the talent to play an instrument. If the home support isn’t there, look around for a mentor. But, be careful that the mentor is a safe person. Because before I got in touch with Pat, I had some bad experiences along the way.
21. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Most of my readers are other poets and I want them to know how much I appreciate them.
22. Do you have a muse? (a person, type of music, location you love)
I have music in my mind and it is there when I write.
23. What is the most interesting thing about you?
My desire to help others, particularly children.
24. Is there a website or page you would like to be included on your review post?
http://apfpublisher.com/Schuh.htmlhttp://youtu.be/_w4D-FbXutk This is a video of my books that includes one of my own written songs ….
25. Can you name a few of your contemporary writers who have inspired you, and/or whose writing you especially like to read?
Pat Simpson, Lisa Cain (now deceased), John Henson, Erich Goller, others too, have helped me.
26. What thought would you like to leave with the readers of your interview?
I am proud that I have never had to say things to hurt anyone, that I have been able to help children and others whom I have met, and that I can show that people with a learning disability can achieve things too.
Here are two poems that I wrote and that I like very much.
The Power of Love
There was a cross made of timber That held a man who was so limber. The life was draining out of him fast And the rain came in at last The sky became very dark As the point of a spear found its mark His side was struck by the blow Then blood poured out in a steady flow He cried out to his Father who was looking down While blood entered his eyes From the thorn crown. This cross that He once held its weight, Was now holding Him as He met His fate. Three days after Jesus died. He rose up to His father's side Yes he died on the cross He carried that day For all of our sins to be washed away. It was Easter day when He rose above. Can you imagine the power of His love?
Hello! I Am The Moonshiner The Star featured in Mike's books! Here's one of my poems.
A HORSE NAMED PRIDE
One day a man went out for a long horse ride.
He was on his horse named Pride,
He was out about an hour are so..
He was riding along very slow.
All of a sudden the horse stood still.
He heard a voice say "Bill."
Bill was this mans name of course. The voice was coming from the horse.
He couldn't believe what he was hearing,
He got off of the horse and lead him to a clearing.
He gathered himself and said, "What did you say?" Pride said "Bill I don't like just hay" Bill's eyes were as big as could be. He thought, this can't be happening not to me. Pride went on to say, "You have gained some pounds, your belly is getting very round." By this time Bill knew he wasn't having a dream. He lead his horse to a near by stream. Then Pride said" Thank you! for letting me drink, and by the way Bill you always stink". Bill didn't know what to do at this point in time. The horse said, "Bill you are good and so very kind, And a better owner would be hard to find." Bill said “thank you for saying that”. As he put on his hat, Pride said, "I don't want to be unkind, But I just don't like hay all the time. Bill gave Pride a big smile, and said he would give him some oats too, once in a while. Pride said, "A bath would be good for you, and don't forget between your toes too." He said “yes! I will take one now.” Giving Pride a big smile. When his bath was over and he was dry. He got back on Pride and finished his ride. Pride never said a word after that day. Bill just thinks he'd said all he had to say. But now Bill takes a bath everyday. And puts oats out for Pride with his hay. Bill has since lost fifty pounds, by the way.