I know how to make adults laugh pretty well. I don't know if kids think I'm that funny.
There's a lot of people around Alaska now who are actually running the place who claim to just have gone there for the summer once 30 years ago. And that seems to be what happens.
My work is still very much light-hearted, positive outlook, laugh at yourself. But it isn't going to be the laugh-a-minute kind of thing that my early work was.
I originated my own cliches, but I'm finding that's not working for me anymore.
Did you ever notice that nobody you see on television looks like anyone you know?
Could the garment and appliance industries be in cahoots together, creating an artificial sock demand to keep us buying?
What you hear is southern Michigan, not a drawl, but a halting kind of speech where you leave spaces when there shouldn't be any. We take a breath anywhere.
John Muir, the famous naturalist, wrote in his journal that you should never go to Alaska as a young man because you'll never be satisfied with any other place as long as you live. And there's a lot of truth to that.
I went to Alaska as a young man just looking for adventure. And like so many of us in the '70s, we found it.
Thirty-two is the age we turn into actual adults.
I'm not an impersonator. I've only got one voice and only do one guy and his first-person essays.
It's not like Alaska isn't wilderness - it mostly is. But most Alaskans don't live in the wild. They live on the edge of the wild in towns with schools and cable TV and stores and dentists and roller rinks sometimes. It's just like anyplace else, only with mountains and moose.
Professor Al Drake encouraged me to just write the way I talk. I decided if that's what I needed to do, I didn't need to be in school to do it.
For some people, you know, Garrison Keillor, Rush Limbaugh, really the stars, they've got a passion. They eat, drink and breathe radio, and I'm not like that. I used to think I wanted to be. But I need to be away from it, too, and that's the difference, I think.
I'm happy to report you still get nothing you don't need at Motel 6, and, therefore, you don't have to pay for it. I don't need valet parking. If I can drive the old crate 300 miles to the hotel all by myself, I can certainly handle the last nine feet to the parking space.
I come from very common stock, and I've always been uncomfortable with pretension and all the forms it can take, including disingenuous broadcasting.
Kids in Alaska don't know they're growing up on the Last Frontier. It's just what they see on the license plates, and it's something tourists like to say a lot because they've never been around so many mountains and moose before.
People feel vulnerable when they travel. Nobody wants to be taken advantage of or talked into something they don't want. Staying at Motel 6 makes you feel smarter. In fact, I think it actually means you are smarter, but I have no hard data to support that.
Somebody says, 'Do a Tom Bodett, a folksy kind of thing,' and it sounds like something out of 'Hee Haw,' very insulting. They turn wry humor into disparaging sarcasm, and you get what amounts to insulting advertising.
Tom Kizzia hasn't just observed and written about Alaska for three-plus decades, he's lived it. 'Pilgrim's Wilderness' is a story that needed to be told by the only man who could tell it.
Americans are generally very self-sufficient and I think generally averse to pretension, just as I am.
Mine is not a story to tell struggling writers,
Like most Alaska immigrants, my roots continue to petition for equal time.
That's what the American odyssey is really about: Leaving home. Leaving home and coming home, and trying to understand the difference.
In the America I see from here, anything is possible - especially the impossible.
The media is in the business of finding exceptions to everyday life. Bad things are still the exception. That's good, because once bad things stop being news, we really are in trouble. If people forget that bad is the exception, they think they live in a horrible world. There is so much that works and is right and friendly and warm. But we take that for granted.
You can make a new friend but you can't make an old one.
In school, you're taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you're given a test that teaches you a lesson.
I'm real. I believe what I'm saying. If Motel 6 wasn't the type of operation they say it is - and I stay at them when I travel - I wouldn't do their commercials. That comes through on the radio, and that's what it's all about.
The difference between an optimist and a pessimist? An optimist laughs to forget, but a pessimist forgets to laugh.
They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world: someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for.