Fiction Collective Two is an author-run, not-for-profit publisher of artistically adventurous, non-traditional fiction.

The Blue Guide to Indiana


Blue Guide to Indiana
by Michael Martone

Paperback
2001
Price: $12.95

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The master of the nearly true is back with The Blue Guide to Indiana, an ersatz travel book for the Hoosier State. Michael Martone, whose trademark is the blurring of the lines between fact and fiction, has created an Indiana that almost is, a landscape marked by Lover's Lane franchises and pharmaceutical drug theme parks. Visit the Trans-Indiana Mayonnaise Pipeline and the Field of Lightbulbs. Learn about Our Lady of the Big Hair and Feet or the history of the License Plate Insurrection of 1979. Let Martone guide you through every inch of the amazing state that is home to the Hoosier Infidelity Resort Area, the National Monument for Those Killed by Tornadoes in Trailer Parks and Mobile Home Courts, and the Annual Eyeless Fish Fry. All your questions will be answered, including many you never thought to ask (like: "What's a good recipe for Pork Cake?").


"Michael Martone is a man with a mission, a fabulous inventor of history and memory, landscape and people. His quirky, magical tours hurl the reader across the borders between fact and fiction into a country of the mind where what we desire and fear fills our senses. Take the tops off your convertibles and fly! Indulge your secret curiosities! Trust The Blue Guide to Indiana to point you to some of the most delightful places on the planet." —Melanie Rae Thon

"One of our most gifted new realists gives beautiful, uncanny voice to the ordinary. Michael Martone's work is original and important. " —John Hawkes

"Most of The Blue Guide to Indiana is hilarious, though none of it makes much sense--unless you're from Indiana." —San Diego Tribune

"A skilled writer, Martone is a careful and insightful observer. His imagination is rich, but his anthropological skills help make the place he describes just as real as the Indiana we dull-witted visitors might observe." —Ruminator Review

"Like Mark Twain and Kurt Vonnegut, Martone is using a satirical eye to examine the multitude of artificial stories that we layer and layer on top of each other until they become a part of our collective myth system."—American Book Review


Excerpt

A LETTER FROM THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF INDIANA

There is no argument that the State of Indiana is the Birthplace of Vice Presidents. Seven Hoosiers have held the second highest office in the land. Thirteen more have run unsuccessfully for the office. Indiana is, after all, the only state in the union which holds primary elections expressly for the selection of Vice President. Hence, the first lesson gleaned by the careful reader of this guide is that Indiana endows those of "second" station with boundless respect and all requisite power. Thus, the constitution of the state recognizes the Lieutenant Governor, that would be me, as the ultimate executive in our government, with the Governor serving mainly as President of our Senate and as "Designated Father of the Bride" in our traditional wedding service.

But our governmental uniqueness does not end there. Let me draw your attention to The John Chancellor Memorial Pavilion in downtown Indianapolis, designed by the architect Michael Graves, from which, in every national election since 1958, powerful microwave transmissions emanate at precisely a nanosecond after the closing of Indiana polling places, uplinking the expected information to news dissemination organizations everywhere. Once in space, the signal rebounds off orbiting dedicated satellites, also designed by the architect Michael Graves, and received instantaneously in New York City, indicating a clear Republican victory in order for Indiana to be "called" for the Republican candidate immediately upon the commencement of that evening's National News.

The building also contains a Baptistry where those public officials elected as Democrats gather during their ritual conversion to Republican status. Now this realignment of party affiliation is standard for every politician in this state (I myself have run and won various offices as a Democrat three times, each time renouncing the party and becoming a Republican upon election). The Baptistry hosts many out-of-state conversions as well. Delightful quirks such as the above, unique to our state, hint at the many other distinctive features of Indiana chronicled by this guide.

The state, recognizing the value of your visit, now offers the only Ph.D. in tourism in the country at its Bloomington campus of Indiana University where out-of-state tuition is less than that paid by those in-state. The degree can easily be obtained during your two-week jaunt through the state if you utilize the regional campuses and distant learning facilities. Revenue from the tourism industry, according to the 1990 census, contributes nearly two-thirds of our state's gross income (coming in ahead of agriculture and hard currency derived from out-of-state relatives sending checks and money orders to their locally domesticated kin).

It is my honor also to introduce you to our newly renovated rest areas located a few feet inside every border. Here political appointees gladly greet you, the visitor, with refreshing pawpaw canapes and free glasses of buttermilk cider drawn from our state's native bison herds.

Those of you relocating to Indiana will find this edition of this guide indispensable to your relocation. Though I was born above my father's hobby store in Atwood, I myself found the following information informative. From the seismic hills outside Etna to the deepest coal mines down around Evansville, you will find this guide a godsend for your orientation to your new home. This book will help you find all of it. Bring your cameras to record each corner of the state's picturesque beauty from the excitement of our sporting events to the annual draining of the swamps, from the blessing of the crop-dusting fleet to the continual sweeping of the front porch steps by the widows of North Judson.

Be sure to visit me in my office at the State House, and I'll be happy to show you the famous desk (its top cut in the shape of Indiana and made from weathered planks taken from the teakwood deck of the USS Indiana). I will gladly present you with a complimentary bottle washer, manufactured by our sister state of Xi Juan, in the People's Republic of China, and a vial of rancid though medicinal French Lick's Own World Famous Pluto Springs Water, the secret ingredient of this, the most regular state in the union. Indiana!

Indianapolis
2001