Overwhelmed (in a good way)

Here’s more or less my previous writing experience:
– I write something
– My parents like it
– My friends like it
– I write something else

For whatever reason, Working in the Shadows is getting–for me, at least–a lot of attention, and seems to be attracting a readership beyond the ten people closest to me. This is fabulous, and no doubt has a lot to do with the dedicated work of my publicist, Mary McCue. It’s also just a little crazy. Yesterday at this time, for example, a woman was putting makeup on me at a studio at 30 Roc before I went on a show on MSNBC called Morning Joe. (She spent a few minutes trying to cover up this very red zit on the side of my right nostril, so it wasn’t as glamorous as it might sound).

There’s also been a lot of help from NPR, and some nice reviews, which I’ll soon try to post all in one spot. For now, I’m just going to try and enjoy the very weird experience of people wanting to talk to me, and do my best to remember to highlight the real point of the book, which isn’t that what I did was so special (it was a short adventure) but to try and remind folks of the work that millions of people–both immigrants and US citizens–are doing everyday.

For now, I’ve put two pieces below–a new review from a progressive website called Toward Freedom, written by Micah Williams, and the clip from Morning Joe that I did yesterday. For me, the highlight was watching the show afterward and realizing that while I spoke one of the factoids they had on the screen was that “I admit to wearing a tie only twice in my life.” Also, I thought it pretty cool that one of the guys tried to compare me to whoever it was that tried to bug the Senator’s office in Louisiana.

(One note I would like to make about the MSNBC appearance, which I didn’t realize until watching it later, was that I appear to say that the jobs I did were very unskilled. In this case, I was talking about much of the work in a chicken plant, which to a large measure has been de-skilled. This actually can make the work harder to endure, because, as one of my coworkers put it, “It’s work that a trained monkey could do,” and humans generally crave some sort of challenge. But my time in poultry was the exception–most of the work was incredibly skilled…)

Toward Freedom review: http://towardfreedom.com/home/content/view/1845/1/

Link to video of MSNBC: http://www.thenation.com/doc/20100215/thompson_video



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8 responses to “Overwhelmed (in a good way)

  1. Shawn

    Hey– great job on your MSNBC appearance. It must be difficult to talk so briefly about your book and balance your substantive comments against the hosts’ hunger for soundbites, and I think you managed that well. And congratulations on all your success with the new book. I hope you stay busy (in a good way).


  2. Carmen

    Gabriel – I am cheering you on from the “your parent’s friends camp”. I have never responded to a blog EVER before; I am terrified of Facebook, I don’t understand Twitter but I keep reading your blog. You are the “Converter”. In so many ways. Thank you for your good work, your great wit and excellent journalism. You have found a wonderful medium to shed light on hard subjects. I plan on attending your Powell’s presentation in Portland and will say hello if I can wade through the mob. Keep on truckin’! Carmen

  3. ralph hietala

    I thought your answer to the question did you go undercover. You emphatically said yes, they would not have hired me otherwise. The stark honesty of your answer impressed me.

  4. I found your book through an excerpt from the recent issue of The Week.

  5. Shelagh

    Saw a quick review of your book in an academic listserve – bought it, read it, several in the department here want to know more about it. Think we might use it in our class on industrial relations as a “read along each week and reflect” feature in addition to the academic texts.

    What’s next for you?

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