Whether you are from the Midwest or not, this essay by Michael Perry is so engaging–a wonderful weekend read, if you’re so inclined. “A friend said Prince created his own creative world around him, something many of us in the Midwest have had to do in one way or another. When I heard Prince, when I saw Prince, I felt moved to be more than I was.” I just love that! Don’t you? My first memorable Prince moment was hearing his “Raspberry Beret” in an arcade on vacation in French Lick, Indiana. Somebody with more quarters than I picked that song on the jukebox (yes, this was the 80s, not the 50s) and played it over and over. I discovered something new each time it played. For those of you celebrating Memorial Day weekend here in the U.S., I have no cute tie-in with Prince–go ahead and suggest one–and to everybody else, the world over, who still gets goosebumps at the Prince of the Midwest, read on… ~ Rebecca


Michael Perry| Under Purple Skies| Belt Publishing | May 2019 | 10 minutes (1,861 words)

You’d never dream it looking at me, all doughy, bald, and crumpling in my 50s, but I owe the sublimated bulk of my aesthetic construct to Prince Rogers Nelson, circa Purple Rain. The film and album were released the summer after my fresh-off-the farm freshman year in college. I sat solo through the movie a minimum of four times, wore the hubs off the soundtrack cassette, draped my bedroom with purple scarves, stocked the dresser top with fat candles, and Scotch-taped fishnet to the drywall above the bed. Intended to create seductive shadows of mystery, it wound up a pointless cobweb.

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6 thoughts on “Prince of the Midwest

  1. Yay – this is great, thanks for sharing. Remember when I said I was disappointed that Perry didn’t make it on the 100 book list you shared a while ago? This is the Michael Perry I was talking about :-)!

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    1. Oh, of course! I don’t know why I didn’t put two and two together, but I should have. I loved his essay on Prince–so tender and funny and observant. Which book of Perry’s would you recommend I read first? I’m thinking Population: 485. (Makes my town of 700 seem huge!) Hope you’re having a nice Memorial Day Weekend, Shelley!

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      1. Yay – glad you’ve made the connection. If you loved his article, you’ll love the book. Yes, Population: 485. Hope you’re having a nice weekend too. We’re enjoying lovely weather so far!

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  2. An excellent essay to share, Rebecca. I loved Prince and his music, and when I learned about the mutual respect he and Joni Mitchell had for one another — well, I thought, of course. Two brilliant talents, minds, understanding one another. Thanks for sharing this, thanks for your post. Wishing you and your family a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! Deb

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  3. Prince really was one of those artists who left an impression on those who grew up during the height of his popularity. I didn’t realize this until I read The Picture of Dorian Gray and considered that “When Doves Cry” would be the perfect soundtrack to the scene where Dorian looks at portraits of his ancestors.

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