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On the Same Page with George Singleton


George Singleton brings Why Dogs Chase Cars, a series of interwoven short stories, to the Arkansas Educational Television Network. OTSP host Tommy Sanders had the opportunity to speak with Singleton at That Bookstore in Blytheville. Set in the tiny town of Forty-Five, S.C., in the 1970's, Why Dogs Chase Cars tells the story of a precocious Southern boy coming to terms with his father's odd legacy.

Mendall Dawes' mother runs off to Nashville, leaving his jack-of-all-trades father to raise him. He gained a reputation for being "some kind of loner hermit freak at Forty-Five High School" because his father made him read Durkheim and Marx and recite it daily. Among Dawes' friends are Shirley Ebo, "the only black girl pre-integration at Forty-Five Elementary," and Compton Lane, also motherless.

"In between swipes at homogeneity and herd mentality, Singleton creates a dead-on portrait of the way we carry our childhoods into adulthood and how, despite vows to leave small towns, we can end up back home, still running, like stray dogs hoping a passing car will stop and give us a ride somewhere else."

Singleton, a writing teacher at the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts, has also published These People are Us and Half-Mammals of Dixie. His short stories appear regularly in The Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, Zoetrope and Playboy, as well as literary journals including The Southern Review, Shenandoah, The Georgia Review, Yalabousha Review and many others.

After the interview, Sanders met with a panel of readers at WordsWorth Books & Co. in Little Rock. Those discussing the book are Sherry Bischof of Little Rock, a retired Christ Lutheran School junior high English teacher; and Thomas Butler, executive assistant for the Arkansas Martin Luther King Jr. Commission. "On the Same Page" has been called "Good television for people who love good books." Previously featured authors include: Crescent Dragonwagon, "Passionate Vegetarian;" Rick Bragg, "All Over but the Shouting;" Fannie Flagg, "Standing in the Rainbow;" Donna Tartt, "The Little Friend;" and Sandra Cisneros, "The House on Mango Street."